Monday, November 26, 2007

So it's finally going to end in 2009?

I suspect that I'll be among a small group that mourns the passing of the Ford Ranger. But I've been reading lately that 2009 will be the end for the North American Ford Ranger. It's a shame really, but it's not really a surprise. For the last few years Ford North America has let the Ranger become obsolete, not investing anything in the platform, relegating the Ranger to the bargain bin and to fleet sales. Introduced in 1983 as a replacement for their Mazda sourced Courier compact truck, the Ranger went on to be a dominant force in compact pickups, not only here in North America, but around the world. Evolution was slow for the truck, but evolve it did, with gradual improvements across the board, power, comfort and styling, that is until about 2002, when only minor improvements in the cab size and power were the final real changes. It's been mostly trim pieces that have changed since then. I've been a vocal critic of Ford's abandonment of the "Compact" pickup market. But considering that none of these trucks are truly "Compact" any more I can't scream too loudly, nobody really cares. Take a look at Nissan, Toyota, GM and Dodge, their compact, now "Midsize" trucks are huge! I have a 1999 Ford Ranger and I love it, it's not too big, gets moderate fuel economy and can perform any task that the average home owner could expect from their personal truck. It's as comfortable off road as on, in the city as in the country and definitely at the mall or city dump. I can park this truck on Manhattan streets when I go to a Broadway show, or at Home Depot when going to pick up dry wall for endless renovations to our little Cape Cod style house. I did drive the Ranger as my solitary vehicle for several years, to weddings and to funerals and down to the recylce yard and organic dump. But I've been critical of Ford over the last few years and admittedly said that if I was in the market for a new truck the Nissan Frontier would be my choice, because unlike the Ford it has 4 doors, more power and a 6 speed manual trans.
So, as I read the posts at AutoBlog and Jalopnik about the demise of the faithful Ranger, what do I see in comment? People asking if Ford will bring this Australian Falcon Ute here as a replacemnt. Not a chance boys and girls, Ford will abandon this market segment. Besides, as cool as a new Ranchero would seem, a Ranchero isn't a Ranger. A car based pickup is not a truck. Since the Australian Falcon is not easily converted to Left Hand Drive and their Engines have no hopes of passing US Emissions, it's unlikely that Ford will rush them to our shores.
It's a nice thought, but it's not going to happen. Besides, Ford has the new Ranger already. Well they have it for everyone but us that is. I've talked about it before. The new Ranger/BT-50.

And if this was available in North America I'd buy one tomorrow. Why, well because it's a great truck, that's why. And it has 4 doors, is available with 2 great Diesel Engines and finally a 6 speed manual transmission. And since I paid $3.40 a gallon for 87 octane gas this morning and we all know it's going go higher, maybe a nice Diesel would make a huge difference.
I very much doubt Ford will bring this to the North American market, I hear it will be in Mexico but not the United States or Canada. Why not Canada I have no clue.
I wonder how big Mulally's bonus will be this year? I hope he enjoys it, because the way things are looking at FoMoCo he'll need to bank it.
I'm disgusted, I really am.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

There better be something really impressive under the the mask on that 09 Mustang or else ........

There had better be something really impressive about the refresh for the 09 Mustang or Ford can be expected to be handed their ass on a platter. It's bad enough that domestic competition is on it's way with the Camaro and Challenger, or that Japanese coupes will erode market share for Mustang, but now Hyundai?!
I was reading AutoBlog and found the story linked in title with pics of the what may be the new RWD coupe coming next year. And you know what? It looks good and if the specs are correct it's better than a Mustang on paper. And probably on the track too. While a V6 Mustang starts at $19k (realy $21K) and has 210 hp, the new Hyundai coupe will start at similar price and have a 2.0 Turbo I-4, making 215 hp! And do you think Hyundai is going to have a solid rear axel? Not a chance, I saw the Genesis concept at the NY show in April, IRS was visible and that's what I've read since. And before you say the Mustang GT has 300 HP in a V8, take a look at the specs for the V6 coupe, 300 hp and the price? Matching the base price of the Mustang GT. And what if Hyundai drops their V8 in the coupe? Well I've read that their V8 is expected to put out 360 hp without a supercharger. And you know one other thing that pisses me off? The Hyundai Coupe concept here has a moonroof, something you can't get on a Mustang. And don't tell me the Mustang comes as a convertible, if I were looking for a coupe, I'd want a moonroof. And you never know, Hyundai could eventually come out with a convertible if they feel the market will bear it. Jesus H Christ! Ford should shit themselves if Hyundai ever tries their hand at a full size truck! No doubt they won't screw it up like Toyota and Nissan did.

And I laughed my ass off the first time I drove a Hyundai back in 87. I was shopping for my first new car and bought a Ford Festiva, because it was better quality and had more equipment. Sure I payed over $1800 more than the Excell's base price, but I knew I was getting a better car. Coincidentally from Korea and actually built by Kia, who Hyundai now owns!
I like the idea of the 2.0 Turbo I4 and RWD, I had suggested Ford do something similar with this generation Mustang, replace the 4.0 V6 with a 2.3 or maybe 2.5. Comments were negative, but I saw it as a new SVO. Hell, when this comes out I'll take one for a spin and based on the quality I've seen from Hyundai over the last couple of years, who knows, maybe I'll buy one.
Unbelievable, Ford out Mustanged by Hyundai???