GM is about to find out, with the addition of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, if the U.S. market is interested in a small, less expensive and relatively versatile little pickup truck. Some analysts say that much will depend on the pickups' price, and depending on the customer reaction, other small truckmakers will be ready to respond. We've always thought the global Ford Ranger was a strong player, but Ford has said that the Ranger's price and sales volume wouldn't work in the U.S. and that's why it's not available here. Of course, it never hurts to be ready just in case.
This report from our spy shooters in the Rocky Mountains seems to bear that strategy out.
"We recently caught Ford engineers testing a prototype of an updated global Ford Ranger in the mountains of Colorado. The face-lifted prototype captured here gets a new front fascia and the camouflaged interior (partially revealed) shows that the interior is also getting some attention.
"The midcycle face-lift could be seen as a new chance for Ford to better tailor the Ranger for U.S. tastes — just as GM overhauled its global Colorado pickup specifically for the U.S. market. Of course, it would be very interesting to see the Ranger hit the U.S. market in light of the increased focus on smaller trucks from GM, Nissan and a new Toyota Tacoma likely in the works. But we know that's unlikely.
"With Ford's attentions and investment centered on launching the new aluminum F-150, and developing a thoroughly overhauled Super Duty lineup, it's unlikely that a U.S.-spec Ranger is very high on the priority list for Ford's U.S. product planners. Of course, if the compact pickup segment started to take off, however, one wonders how long it could continue to ignore this market segment."