No More Compact Trucks… For US

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Here’s the first known victim of the latest CAFE (government fuel efficiency) increase to 35.5 MPG: The compact pick-up truck. And the American truck buyer.

Ok, that’s two victims.

I’ve just discovered that Ford has dropped the Ranger – America’s last compact-sized truck -  for 2012. But not from its lineup. Just from its U.S. model lineup. Not only will the Ranger continue to be sold in export markets, the 2012 model will be a heavily updated model which, among other things, will offer a new diesel engine – something you can’t get in any current pick-up in the U.S. that’s not at least a 2500 series behemoth with a price tag well over $30,000. Meanwhile, the Aussies, among others, will get a brand-new Ranger, revealed at the Thailand International Motor Expo last month. It is a handsome-looker, with an available quad cab body and an all-new interior.

The 2.2 liter, four-cylinder Duratorq TDCi diesel-equipped version – offered with either six-speed manual or six-speed automatic – sounds like just the ticket for the U.S. market, too.

But, we lose. It’s not coming here.

The official reason for not giving American buyers the opportunity to buy this truck is that – supposedly – Ranger is too close to F-150 and so “redundant.”

Which makes no sense, especially since as recently as the 2010 New York Auto Show, Ford Spokeswoman April Fursten told www.pickuptrucks.com that “We took a long look at Ranger sales over the last two years and the numbers are better than we forecasted. Year-to-date, it’s outpacing 2009’s numbers, selling better than the all-new Flex crossover and is only about 2,000 less units than the recently updated Mustang… .” Fursten added that “(Ford CEO Alan) Mullaly said we be nuts to kill the Ranger in the U.S. because more than 7 million have been sold since 1983.”

I don’t get it, either.

The Ranger may not be a best-seller, but it’s a consistently solid seller. And its been a staple of the Ford lineup for three decades.You don’t just throw away brand equity like that. Also, it’s the only compact truck on the market, so Ford has the market all to itself.

Well, it did.

Ranger has a reasonably fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine capable of 22 MPG city, 27 MPG on the highway. The best the much larger F-150 can do is 17 city, 23 highway. That 4-5 MPG split may not sound like all that much but to many people in this economy, it’s a difference that matters. (I own a compact, four-cylinder pick-up myself that I bought precisely because I did not need a V-6 nor want to feed a V-6.)

And with the new Duratorq diesel, the upated 2012 Ranger is probably good for 30-plus on the highway, which would surely draw buyers’ attention. And not just because of the better mileage. The diesel would be better-suited to pulling and off-roading. You know, the kinds of things that people who buy trucks tend to be interested in. And there’s longevity. Assuming it’s a solid design, a decently cared for Duratorq engine ought to last longer than the truck itself. Another selling point.

Price is another factor. The current Ranger (2011) starts at $18,160. The base 2012 F-truck starts at $22,990. That’s a more than $4,600 difference. A huge difference. Ford is going to make you pay more for gas and make you pay more for a new truck. A lot more.

I expect a lot of people are not going to be happy about this.

Size also does matter to many people.

Not everyone wants a 1500 series truck. The F-150 is a big truck. Even the regular cab model stretches 213.2 inches bumper to bumper vs. 189.4 for the regular cab Ranger. That’s about two feet (and about 500 pounds) more truck than a lot of buyers need.

A compact-sized truck makes a great runabout. It’s easier to maneuver and park. And it’s pretty good on gas. What’s wrong with this picture? What would make Ford think that the compact-sized Ranger, which has sold well for decades, is wrong in concept? Actually, not wrong in concept – because after all, Ford committed major resources to significantly update it for 2012. Which certainly implies that Ford sees a future for the truck.

Just not here.

Again, why?

The only thing I can come up with is… CAFE. The federal government’s fuel efficiency edicts. But wait, isn’t the Ranger more fuel-efficient than the F-truck? Wouldn’t a diesel Ranger be even more so? Yes, and yes. So?

Bear with me.

CAFE is about fleet averages, which are measured based on annual production totals. So, the more of a given vehicle that gets less-than-par MPGs (35.5 MPGs by 2016) the lower a car company’s overall fleet average CAFE score. By getting rid of the Ranger, Ford will produce fewer trucks overall that don’t make the CAFE cut, which will help float the final number.

Ford is not going to drop the F-truck, a best-seller. But the merely ok-selling Ranger is expendable.

So, sayonara.

But don’t blame Ford. Or at least, don’t be too hard on Ford. It did what it probably had to do. Faced with the Hobson’s choice of keeping Ranger in the U.S. lineup and losing probably millions courtesy of CAFE fines or dropping the truck and losing a few thousand buyers – some of whom Ford knows it can probably up-sell into a new F-truck – the decision was predictable.

It’s just too bad that, once again, American consumers get to pay more – and get one less choice to make themselves – courtesy of the Clovers in Washington. 

Throw it in the Woods?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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eric

Author of "Automotive Atrocities" and "Road Hogs" (MBI). Currently living amongst the Edentulites in rural SW Virginia. 

  51 comments for “No More Compact Trucks… For US

  1. the other ken
    December 9, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    That’s a real shame. I’d love to replace my old Frontier with a diesel Ranger.

    • December 9, 2011 at 9:15 pm

      Agree. I’d be very interested in a diesel-powered Ranger. I love my Nissan Frontiers, but a diesel truck is it as far as I am concerned.

      • Brent P
        December 9, 2011 at 11:50 pm

        Nissan as well as other makes have diesel powered compact pickups, they just aren’t sold in the USA. So odds are neither would the Ford with that engine.

        CAFE is no exception to the rules regarding central planning but I believe it was always designed as an attack on the american way of life. Sure most of those voting for it think engineering is magic but those who write these bills aren’t so dumb.

        If CAFE were about fuel economy it would not have been needed, a simple fuel tax would have done that. CAFE was crafted in a very special way to eliminate vehicle choices. Initially designed to deny the american middle and lower classes the ability to choose the traditional american big car.

        Ford’s crown victoria was the last of the big affordable american cars. It’s gone now and CAFE is marching onwards. But what is its next target? Perhaps SUVs, but SUVs are largely evolving back into station wagons. So what then?

        The USA is being turned (deliberately?) into a third world country. Compact pickups are key to people getting by in many third world countries.

        Some say the globalists have a special hatred of americans. That third worlding the USA is an expression of that hate. Given this premise, wouldn’t banning compact pickup trucks be like a sick joke on top of third worlding the nation?

        • December 10, 2011 at 11:10 am

          Brent, I think your analysis is exactly correct. I’ve been an active car journalist for 20 years and seen the process up close and met many of the “movers and shakers” behind it. There is indeed a method to the (perceived) madness. As someone pointed out, mere stupidity is rarely consistent, successful at methodically reaching a given outcome. As to the Why? It’s my opinion that the elites who have been working to turn this country into a serfdom operate on the premise that economic tension is the necessary prerequisite to achieving political tension. In other words, that a comfortable, secure, middle and working class – especially one that is comfortable and secure enough to want better for its children and possessed of the means to help them achieve better – is by its nature anti-authoritarian and so must be undermined if not altogether eliminated. The desired societal model is a controlling elite of perhaps 5 percent of the population with the remaining 90-95 percent kept in a state of constant economic-social tension, fear and insecurity and thus, easily manipulated and easily controlled. We are at this point already. The working class is now a proletariat. The Middle Class is harried and fearful, with few concerns beyond desperately trying to shore up and maintain its position.

          The end result of this is very predictable.

          One cannot reason with the proletariat. It wants and it feels. And it is very, very angry.

          The dying middle class is politically impotent and numerically insignificant. A few of the “best and brightest” will manage to claw their way into the ruling elite. The remainder will be carried along by events.

          Meanwhile, the power of the ruing elite waxes. It now has all the fundamental building blocks in place. All the tools necessary to make the great leap forward (so to speak).

          I suspect it will all come to a head very soon, when the trigger is pulled. The trigger will be another false-flag attack, or engineered economic collapse.

          Those of us who see it coming are not unlike the lead character in the movie, Titanic, who knew the ship was doomed and did everything he could to try to prepare for it and survive.

          • Gil
            December 10, 2011 at 11:25 am

            Libertarians are against Elitism? Yeah right! Libertarians don’t have problems with the elites provided they earned their power in the marketplace. Libertarians hate the masses too – that’s why they’re against Democracy – the sheeple keep voting in Socialism.

          • December 10, 2011 at 11:56 am

            Clover, I let one through just to let you know that few will in the future – not because you have a different view, but rather because you’re “views” are mostly characterized by incoherent emoting, a refusal to acknowledge points made, ad hominem attacks and (apparently) efforts to incite verbal violence. I’m not having it here.

            Your comment above is a case in point.

            It has been explained to you literally dozens of times now that Libertarians start from the principle of non-aggression. That using force to control/compel others (excepting self-defense) is morally reprehensible and indefensible. We don’t want anything from you, materially or otherwise. We respect and defend your right as a human being to live your life as you see fit (provided you are not causing a demonstrable harm to others), to keep the fruits of your labor – to be left in peace and allowed to live in peace. And we ask only the same in return.

            You not only ignore this – you endlessly rant about its opposite, claiming Libertarians want to force people to do this or that. So, unless you can demonstrate how it is that a Libertarian who starts from the principle of non-aggression advocates or commits aggression against others – well, fuck off. I’m not going to let you post more of the same droning, repetitive scheisse.

            And:

            Of course Libertarians “don’t have problems with the elites provided they earned their power in the marketplace.” (Boldface type added.) As in, resulting from free exchange; not coercion.

            It’s not “power,” they have earned, Clover.

            It is typical of Clovers to equate earning material goods as a result of free exchange with coercion in attempt to demagogue and delegitimize honest productive work and its results.

            Also, Clover, we do not “hate the masses.” We hate the manipulation of ignorant people by demagogues who tell them they have a “right” to the products of other people’s work. And we are against democracy, because democracy is the principle of unlimited majority rule – a morally indefensible concept. Or do you suppose that if two people vote to kill the third person or take his property that’s ok because the majority has ruled?

            I’m through wasting time – and space – on you.

            Tell your handlers to send along a replacement.

          • BrentP
            December 10, 2011 at 4:36 pm

            Clover, an “elite” in a libertarian world is someone who earns the respect and business of others and must keep earning it. That’s why people use political power to achieve a fascist state where they can retain their market share via force of the state. “Competition is a sin” or so goes the Rockefeller credo.

            And all you clovers go along with this attempt to make a static world with no competition, no advancement… just static. never going anywhere.

            Eric, absolutely right, no matter what the ends are or how it turns out it’s been one manipulation after another.

            Ultimately it’s likely because the ruling classes think that creation is finite and they want to ‘win’ the game by having every last little bit of it for themselves, even if it means destroying it. All for them, nothing for anyone else.

        • Gail
          December 12, 2011 at 9:56 am

          “Some say the globalists have a special hatred of americans.”

          You mean like Obama? New Balance is the last domestic manufacturer of athletic shoes. Obama is like, “Wait, what? We can’t have this! I’ll teach those reactionary anti-globalists a lesson!” And presto, he enters an agreement with Vietnam to import cheap athletic shoes.

          Bye-bye, New Balance. Nice knowin’ ya.

          • December 12, 2011 at 10:13 am

            I’d refine this a little.

            It’s not Obama per se. He – like The Chimp before him – is just the errand boy of the global financial elite that controls the U.S. These elites – who operate the major multinational corporations – pursue “free trade” policies that enable them to squeeze the last ounce of profit out of their products via such practices as labor arbitrage; that is, by exploiting the low-cost stoop labor of second and third world countries, then shipping the finished products back to the US at huge markup.

            This has been going on for years, but accelerated greatly under Clintigula and The Chimp’s sire, who passed and pushed for “Most Favored Nation” and “NAFTA” legislation that made labor arbitrage – the exploitation of second and third world labor – much easier.

        • Brad
          December 12, 2011 at 5:17 pm

          BrentP’s comment is right on target. Especially under the current regime, there has been a systematic war against the middle class and smaller businesses. Many people don’t remember the raid on Gibson Guitar in TN due to some violation of not US law but Indian law ! Bottom line they were told that the work needs to be done in India and not in TN.

          This might be off tangent but working in the halls of Corporate America, I see many decisions that are systematic to be harmful to people’s financial well being. Personally, management at my last employer kind of suggested that I get rid of my old beat-up Toyota truck and buy something newer. This was due to one of the executives complaining about it being an eyesore. Why would I do something like that ? Not only buy something newer but then have a car payment and pay higher license fees and insurance as well versus driving a vehicle that is paid off, cheap on license fees and insurance! I was also told by management later that I must fully pack up, move and take a job on the East Coast or it is the door. I took the door. I still keep in contact with some folks there and things have really gone downhill. Oh, cannot forget the importation of foreign workers and offshoring of work to drive down wages and if you are lucky to have a job, you are expected to work a lot of OT for free and on taking vacation, there are not enough people, therefore you will have to skip taking vacation and give the time back to the company !

          Back on tangent, being still an owner of that pickup truck, it is too bad I cannot buy a simple pickup truck today like the Toyota pickup like from the 1990′s and on back. Now you can only get like a full-size now and you cannot even get a simple manual transmission anymore either.

          Also want to mention cash for clunkers, not only did it destroy the used car market not only by making used cars much more expensive but also took parts out of circulation that can be used to repair other cars !

  2. ChuckD
    December 10, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    I own a 99 Ranger with the 3.0 v6 and love it! It’s a great little workhorse, extremely reliable and simple with a manual transmission, rollup windows and no power door locks. I get around 22 mpg city, high 20 s on the highway. Too bad Ford is quitting production on this truck which has not changed much from its roots in the early 80s. Ford has produced the overseas Ranger previously but this was a separate design from the North American Ranger.

  3. December 10, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    I don’t blame Ford for not bringing that Aussie Ranger to the US market….because it’s just “too big!” So called “compact trucks” have outgrown their original market niche, and now really are almost as big as a standard half ton pickup.

    A “real” Compact Truck should be around 500 pounds lighter. They’re not supposed to be used for towing fifth wheel trailers. They are at their best hauling lighter, but bulky cargo (like furniture or refrigerators) or dogs, or surfboards, etc. It is more important that they retain good off road ability, than massive cargo capacity.

    With all that said, I will admit that my (or rather my wife’s) 2006, V-6, 4×4, quad cab TRD Off Road, Toyota Tacoma is in many ways, “just right.” ;-)

    • December 10, 2011 at 9:49 pm

      I love my two Nissan Frontiers; the current unit is too big – might as well get a full-sized. It also requires a V-6 if you want 4WD (because of the size/weight) whereas you could get 4WD with the 4 cylinder engine in the old (compact) Frontier. It’s not quick, but I didn’t get it for speed. I use mine to drive down into the fields, haul trash, get us to where we need to go when it really snows. It does all that while being fairly cheap to buy and operate.

      I’m not sure what I’ll get to replace my Frontiers when the time comes. Luckily, they’re both in very good shape and the newer one (2002) has only 72,000 miles on it, so it’s got at least another 100k to go before I need to start thinking seriously about it.

      • December 10, 2011 at 9:57 pm

        I bet that some of the major manufacturers will build a new generation of compact trucks….once they, and the market come to the realization that crossover SUVs, are not necessarily “the perfect tool for every mission.”

        • December 11, 2011 at 10:48 am

          I’d like to think so, but the new 35.5 MPG CAFE requirements – which for the first time apply to trucks as well as passenger cars – are going to make it very difficult for any mass-market company to build any trucks, period. I predict that 1500 and larger trucks are on the endangered species list, just as large V-8/RWD sedans were almost completely killed off (as mass market vehicles) by the original CAFE requirements.

          Even a small truck with a four cylinder engine will have a hard time averaging 30 MPG. To get there, the truck would need to be capable of 40 MPG on the highway and 30 MPG in city driving. There are only a handful of economy cars that achieve 40 MPG on the highway right now. Getting a truck to achieve 40 on the highway will probably – almost certainly – require:

          * A dramatic reduction in weight via the use of composites rather than steel.
          * Very high-efficiency diesel engines or other advanced technology.
          * Significant reduction in power/capability.

          All of which will significantly increase the cost of the vehicle, perhaps to the extent that it is no longer economically viable to manufacturer.

          The Chevy Volt provides an example. Yes, it is capable of operating for long stretches entirely on electricity and so uses very little gas. It also has a retail sticker price of $40,000. Even with a massive federal subsidy of $7,500 the thing still costs about as much to buy as a BMW 1 series or similar entry luxury-vehicle. It’s thus a toy, or at best, an engineering concept. Whatever you’d like to call it, it’s not economical – and few people, other than than very affluent people, can afford to buy one.

          With trucks, it’s even worse, because to a great extent the market for such vehicles is middle and working class. Not many such people will be willing or able to plunk down $30,000 for a “high efficiency” compact truck, as outlined above.

          It’s an impossible situation for the car companies. You can’t have both very high fuel economy and the capability people expect at a reasonable cost, while also meeting all the government’s existing crashworthiness standards, too.

          So, I predict it’s all over. We just don’t realize it yet.

          • Jean
            May 21, 2013 at 4:38 pm

            Interesting how this comes following the big “cash for Clunkers” routine (that FedGov cheated the dealers on, for those who didn’t know.)
            So, first reduce the supply of older, useful less-sophisticated and user-repairable cars; then, up the fuel efficiency requirements… Consolidation of business again. Consolidating trucking, basically – no more private operators, they just can’t afford to own their truck.
            And similar for the individual auto. the two-car family is becoming a thing of the past as well, but limit mobility to public transport, make it impossible (impractical, more) to simply roam the country and experience things, places, people… Limit the communications (watch for an EMP or hack-attack to take down the ‘net sometime in the not-too-distant future, and there’ll be a “security push” there, too, with MS re-tooling their OS into a “secured” system – which just HAPPENS to track everything you do online, by tying in MAC address, IP, probably unique identifiers of other hardware, too – like the Windows 7 and Vista situation, the OS was “locked” to the hardware, so you couldn’t migrate the HDD to a new machine, for instance. That required a new license for the OS.)

            For those who don’t know, the original telecom “Hacker” attack was caused by badly-designed software. AT&T I think it was, rolled out new software to their systems (Want to call them mainframes? Probably minis.) End result: The East Coast went semi-dark, most of telecomm was down. They blamed it on “Hackers.” Their on-site technicians were being trained on teh new system, upstairs – and blissfully ignorant of the problem downstairs. See, when a call came in within 2 seconds of the last call’s disconnect (somethign like that), the system threw an error – and to correct the error, it offloaded it’s load, and then rebooted to recover. By offloading, the error cause was reproduced on server after server – cascade failure, if you will, like dominos.

            But far easier and better to blame “Hackers” than to admit you rolled out buggy software. What can I say, it was pre-Microsoft. ;-)

          • BrentP
            May 21, 2013 at 11:33 pm

            Government (in the USA) has been at war with the ‘old car’ for decades. When I got into cars in 1985 or so the war was well under way. Cash for clunkers was simply a more recent attack.

    • December 11, 2011 at 12:20 pm

      The thing that strikes me most about all this is the way the manufacturers – all of them, now that Ford is dropping the Ranger – decided to give up on what had been a very successful type of vehicle. Nissan’s little truck (before it even became the Frontier), the Mazda B-series and Ranger, etc. – once sold in vast numbers. I still see old-model (compact) Frontiers like mine all the time, even though the last one was made eight years ago. I don’t think the current (mid-sized) Frontier is selling nearly as well and I know it is a much more expensive vehicle to buy, especially if you want 4WD, because if you do, Nissan requires you to upgrade to the 4 liter V-6. Base price for a 4WD 2012 Frontier is $28k. Base price for a ’98 Frontier XE regular cab like mine was just under $17k. Adjusted for inflation, this is equivalent to about $22k in today’s money. So, they’re up-selling buyers by some $6k. How many people these days can afford to spend an additional $6k on a truck? Then there’s the fuel economy issue. The V-6 Frontier is a pig. 15 city, 20 highway. My ’98 four-cylinder Frontier can pull mid-20s on the highway, easily 5 MPG better, overall. It’s a significant difference that amounts to a significant savings (for me) and would be a significant disincentive to even consider a new Frontier. It’s bad enough spending $50 to fill up my compact Frontier’s tank once a week. A new Frontier – with a larger tank and a bigger appetite – would probably cost me another $100 a month to operate. I doubt I am the only one concerned about such things.

      Bigger is better worked when the economy was riding the wave of easy credit and inflated real estate equity. That’s all gone now, as we all know. Most people have had to tighten their belts considerably, me included. Who the hell is buying $30,000 15 MPG trucks?

      Not me.

      • clover
        December 19, 2011 at 3:09 am

        I am sure you will not print this but just wondering how you are capable of the mid 20s on a 98 Frontier 4 cyl 4wd when it shows as 19 mpg on the EPA rating?

        I drove over 500 miles this weekend with my car and averaged right at 38 mpg. I know you could never get that because it is rated at 35 highway but I did not do it by driving it 75 mph or more with the accelerator pressed to the floor.

        • December 19, 2011 at 10:45 am

          Clover, I ceased allowing your posts through because it gets tiresome dealing with your endless nonsense. Like your notion that the Founders intended the government they created to be premised on “safety.” I just can’t take you anymore. It’s like trying to get one of my chickens to wear clothes.

          Reason just does not fit you.

          Here again: The Frontier – the one I have, the old model, the compact model – rates 23 highway (not 19) with King Cab, 4 cylinder engine and 5-speed stick. See here, you godawful, insufferable Cloveroni: http://www.edmunds.com/nissan/frontier/2002/features-specs.html?sub=king-cab&style=100003334

          My ’98 model, which is a regular cab and thus lighter, does better than that. With street radials, it routinely manages 25-plus on the highway.

          Poor old Clover.

          • Boothe
            December 19, 2011 at 4:17 pm

            Clover once accused me of making things up. I’ve actually taken risks, done some exciting and even dangerous things. In some cases I’ve run afoul of the system. So I’ve had experiences that are outside of clover’s mediocre life scope. A piece of advice clover: don’t judge other people based on what you’ve done and what’s in your heart.

            I was going to respond further to clover on some of its points, but then something my mom used to say hit me: “It’s like trying to teach a pig to sing. You waste your time and annoy the pig.”

        • dom
          December 19, 2011 at 4:47 pm

          OMG.. Spoken like a true moron. I’m amazed by your ability the continually lower my impression of you with each post. I think my shitsu has more reasoning/understanding abilities than you! And she eats her own shit!

  4. Gail
    December 12, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Eric: “Meanwhile, the power of the ruing elite waxes. It now has all the fundamental building blocks in place. All the tools necessary to make the great leap forward … I suspect it will all come to a head very soon, when the trigger is pulled. The trigger will be another false-flag attack, or engineered economic collapse.”

    To this end I posted the following in your Forum earlier today:

    Speaking of civil unrest, today’s LewRockwell column published a piece by Mac Slavo delineating concrete details on the planned FEMA detention camps of recent rumor. As Slavo writes, the camps, heretofore believed to be “a figment of tin foil hat wearing conspiracy theorists”, are proved to be the real deal by virtue of various actual reports, which he details, with hyperlinks.

    I read the piece twice. To be honest, the conclusion that the camps are meant to be for domestic military prisoners appears to be Slavo’s. I don’t see anything in this particular piece that supports that the camps would be anything other than rescue facilities for the thousands of citizens who will be displaced in the event of economic collapse and the consequent cutoffs of life-supporting supplies, like food — probably with a prison component for the lawless zombies who will inevitably prey on these people. As opposed to the camps being specifically a response to massive revolt against the government. Although of course that could happen, too. But I think the people are going to be too occupied with survival to have much time for storming Washington.

    I mean, what’s the fedgov supposed to do, let people die in ditches?

    Slavo and others who believe as he does could be right, I’m not saying they aren’t. But from this piece anyway, it seems more likely that the occupants of the camps will be more refugees than prisoners. Just sayin’.

    Let’s hope the federal planners do it better than they did after Katrina.

    More to Eric’s point, the message I take from the planned establishment of the camps is that the feds know something the citizenry doesn’t know (although those who aren’t asleep strongly suspect): That the collapse is in fact coming. That’s the important lesson here, I think, confirming that all the European can-kicking isn’t going to work (well, duh) and the dominoes are going to fall; it’s just a question of when.

    Better start stocking up on your BBB’s, boys and girls: Beans, Bullets and Band-aids. Or, if you’re of a religious bent, BBBB’s: Beans, Bullets, Band-aids and Bibles.

    You can read Slavo’s piece here: http://lewrockwell.com/slavo/79.1.html.

    • krb
      December 12, 2011 at 10:44 pm

      “I don’t see anything in this particular piece that supports that the camps would be anything other than rescue facilities for the thousands of citizens who will be displaced in the event of economic collapse and the consequent cutoffs of life-supporting supplies…”
      So what you’re saying is that they are more like the SuperDome rather than Guantanamo?

      • Gail
        December 13, 2011 at 1:27 pm

        No, I’m saying I don’t know one way or the other. The camps could be either. But based on this article only, I can’t conclude that it’s a Gitmo scenario.

        Depending on what happens, things could get stratospherically awful, in a way not seen by anyone now living. The vast numbers of statists, clovers and nanny-dependants in the population will be helpless. I’m not set up to help them; are you? Really, only the fedgov is in a position to even remotely address the problem — not that I’m overwhelmed with confidence in their ability to do so. The camps could be their prep.

        But like a poster wrote in the Forum here, once the crisis is past, well, they’ve got these perfectly good camps in place, don’t they? If I didn’t see a disbanding, then I’d be more worried about the G word.

        • Boothe
          December 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm

          Gail, regardless of how noble *refugee* camps might seem for humanitarian reasons, I think the real question is are they Constitutional? If there is this tremendous need to deal with potential refugees of epic disasters, why not leave it up to each state to develop their own plans? After all a good number of states are now more than sufficiently populated to qualify as countries. Just asking…..

          • Gail
            December 13, 2011 at 5:58 pm

            That would be better, sure. I don’t know nearly enough to answer your why-not, Boothe, but since that hasn’t stopped me yet, here’s a couple of thoughts.

            What if they didn’t? That is, what if the 50 states *didn’t* set up refugee facilities? Fifty legislatures would have to be convinced of the need enough in advance to have them in place timely. And there’s not a lot of time. At least some of them would palaver the thing to death first … 50 states would have to have the infrastructure and supplies, and I bet they don’t, being used to federal intervention in any crisis.

            And what if one state, say Virginia, did manage to do the setup and West Virginia and Pennsylvania got caught short? Guess where the people would flock to? How would you coordinate all that? It seems impossibly difficult.

            I don’t know about the Constitutionality. Maybe it’s covered under the general welfare clause? And since when has the fedgov let the Constitution stop them?

            It’d be a hella time for them to get all delicate about Constitutional issues, wouldn’t it? Heh!

          • Boothe
            December 13, 2011 at 6:43 pm

            Gail, very good points. I would also add that the Confederacy had an issue with individual governors holding back “state” supplies, because the “state” might need them, rather than supporting the overall war effort. We know how that turned out.

            The bigger question still is what does FedGov know that we don’t? You don’t divert resources from your other priorities (like lining Wall Street pockets and killing brown people) to prepare for epic disaster unless you have a real good reason. I think most of us here have a pretty good idea how sustainable the current system is. So, here’s some food for thought (Dom, please weigh in on this): http://www.survivalblog.com/2011/12/i_can_see_you_–_a_digital_vie.html

    • BrentP
      December 13, 2011 at 12:51 am

      Government loves dual use. One use to tell the clovers while they do what they really want.

  5. Lurker
    December 12, 2011 at 11:30 am

    What is seen and what is not seen …

    Removing the number of Rangers while keeping the same number of F-150s does improve the CAFE number of the overall fleet, because fewer trucks in total are sold; this is seen.

    However, when prospective Ranger buyers step up to (reluctantly) buy 1500-series pickups (there really is no substitute for an open-bed truck), the number of F-150s sold may climb, worsening the overall CAFE number, because those Ranger buyers don’t go away or buy cars, they buy trucks; this is not seen.

    • December 12, 2011 at 1:16 pm

      You’re right, but I see this as just the first domino to fall.

      How will Ford (and GM and Chrysler) get their 1500 series trucks to comply with a 35.5 MPG fleet average CAFE requirement? It’s a virtual impossibility. The current F-150 with 3.7 V-6 and 2WD is rated 17 city, 23 highway. So, about 20 MPG average. Ford would have to up that by 15 MPG to meet the 2016 requirement, just four years away. The V-8 1500 trucks are all in the teens, average, so the challenge is even greater.

      I do think trucks will still be available. But they won’t be available to the masses, as volume sellers, as they have been up to now. It will be a lot like what happened to the large, RWD, V-8 powered sedan. They still exist, but for the most part are low-production, high-end luxury-badged vehicles. I think the Chrysler 300 C (Hemi) is the last one on the market that’s priced under $40,000 and it just barely (MSRP $38,170). Affordable cars of this type such as the Ford Crown Vic – which you could buy for well under $30,000 – are history. To a great extent, because of CAFE.

      I think this is deliberate social-engineering policy. The goal is to get the average person out of a larger/V-8 (or even V-6) powered vehicle, truck or car.

    • BrentP
      December 13, 2011 at 5:46 am

      The missing factor is profit. Rangers are going to be a low margin truck. F150s on the other hand not so much. CAFE limits the product mix. That’s what it was designed to do. This means low margin vehicles have to go bye-bye unless they improve the average.

      • December 13, 2011 at 10:24 am

        Yes. Low margin – or very high profit per unit. This is why large, RWD V-8 sedans are still available. They’re just not available for less than $40,000 anymore. There will likewise still be Land Rovers and Escalades. But I suspect the F-150 and Silverado 1500 will either go the way of the Crown Vic – or go the way of the Land Rover and Escalade.

  6. Eric_G
    December 12, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Sorry I’m late to the game, came across the post over at LewRockwell.com this morning. I happen to be in the process of buying an Audi A3 TDI. VW and Audi are selling diesels like crazy right now in the US, even with limited model selections, just because people are figuring out that hybrids aren’t worth much on the highway. In my case, about 90% of my driving is highway/sustained speed driving, where regen braking and other tricks just don’t work.

    I was looking at pickup trucks and other vehicles prior to finding the A3, and just wasn’t impressed with the engine selection. Either underpowered 4 bangers or thirsty V6s and V8s.

    But there is some hope. Chrysler is rumored to be putting diesels in the entire Jeep line (a Wangler with a diesel? Sign me up!) in 2013. One of the big problems continues to be the EPA/DOT ultra-low sulfur fuel and over the top NOx requirements. I’m sure Ford’s diesel can’t rid of the NOx without a urea additive in the exhaust, and because it’s “different” the marketing department’s focus groups decided they didn’t like it …and I’m sure someone would have pointed out that it’s made of cow pee, just to make sure everyone hated the idea. As for the ultra-low sulfur fuel, I’m sure it will take time to get ramped up, but in the mean time, if the King really wanted us to have cheap fuel he could lower or eliminate the fuel taxes on it until there are more refineries able to produce it.

  7. Charlie
    December 12, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Stupid Gubment rules actually hurting everybody instead of the “as advertised” helping people. This really is a shame – any sensible person would buy a Ranger and not a 150. No one needs something as big as a 150 unless they are hauling a HUGE trailer. TOO BAD.

    • December 12, 2011 at 7:45 pm

      To be fair, there are people who need a larger truck. For example, farmers and others who need a vehicle that can pull/carry more than a compact-sized truck. My attitude is that people ought to be able to buy whatever kind of vehicle suits their needs and wants – not the government’s idea of what they “ought” to be driving. Hell, I don’t need five motorcycles, either – but it’s my business, not the government’s.

      The government’s proper role is protecting individual rights by interceding when someone’s rights are violated. It’s objective, easily definable and involves no use of violence or its threat against people who are minding their own business and just trying to do their thing.

  8. Geoff
    December 13, 2011 at 3:58 am

    I hope this doesn’t backfire for Ford. I went from a station wagon to a GMC S-15, to a Ranger to a F-150. If I hadn’t had a small pick-up first I probably wouldn’t have stepped up to a full-size truck later on – I wouldn’t have seen the value for my $$ or to my business. There’s a big leap between a station wagon or small SUV or cross-over and a big truck. Where does Ford think their customers will come from or how will they be educated to become full-size truck owners?

  9. Neil
    December 13, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Hey Ford, Bring back my old 1988 Ranger with a 4 banger and manual. I put over 250,000 miles on the truck before giving it away. It is still running with over 325,000 miles.
    I know that truck did not get 35.5 MPH, but it would be easier to achieve than putting the F150 on a diet.
    What you have to do is loose the two extra doors (which no one uses), the 4X4 decals (along with the extra 2 drive wheels), the 20 in wheels and the 8 foot bed.
    Will this force the mine is bigger crowd into Fiestas? I don’t think so.

  10. Byron
    December 14, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Dodge Dakota is also on the chopping block I expect for the exact same reason. I just bought a 2011 model and hope that it lasts until some future president can turn this silly CAFE thing around.

    • December 14, 2011 at 9:30 pm

      I wouldn’t hold your breath! The 35.5 MPG standard that goes into effect in four years is devastating enough. There will be major changes in all the car companies’ product portfolios within the next two years as a result. Many models will be retired or altered significantly. It is entirely possible that the 1500 series truck will disappear as a mass-market vehicle, just as the under $30k, V8/RWD passenger sedan is a piece of history now.

      But then comes the next round of CAFE, which will almost double the 2016 35.5 MPG standard.

  11. ekrampitzjr
    December 15, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Some misconceptions about the Ranger’s demise need to be cleared.

    Ford announced the US Ranger’s demise back in 2007. Alan Mulally reportedly had two reasons to kill it:

    (1) He wanted to reduce the sheer number of Ford global vehicle platforms, then about 40, and the Ranger didn’t share its platform with any other vehicle. The Explorer had gone its own way several years ago and was no longer directly based on the Ranger.

    (2) He wanted to close the plants that were farther away from headquarters in Dearborn. This included the St. Paul, Minnesota, plant that made the Ranger. It also included the F-150 plant in Norfolk, Virginia, a heartfelt loss for many of us here in Virginia.

    The announcement was made while George W. Bush was still President and before the announced CAFE hikes. The end of the Ranger has been repeatedly postponed, and its demise has everything to do with the preceding two factors. If Mulally really said Ford would be “crazy” to kill the Ranger now, he is (1) being disingenuous, as he wanted to reduce the number of platforms, and (2) he had all the power he needed to keep the truck in production. All he had to do was to say, “Keep St. Paul open pumping out Rangers.” He didn’t.

    The foreign Ranger and its Mazda BT-50 sister are not exactly compact trucks. In fact, they are approximately 90% of the size of the F-150, according to numerous web sources, or about the size of the first-generation Toyota Tacoma. That’s the main reason Ford has given unofficially for not importing this new truck. (I’d love to see the Mazda version come here, but in the interest of full disclosure, I work for Mazda. :) ) The US “chicken tax” imposing a 25% tariff on imported light trucks from most countries is also a factor. That tariff dates back to the 1960s and isn’t new; it was originally meant to target the pickup version of the VW Microbus/Kombi and did drive it from the US market (the “bus” version was not subject to the tariff).

    Another point requires making. On these stringent CAFE increases, the US is following in the footsteps of Europe and even Japan, which signed on to Euro auto regs several years ago. Every industrialized country will face dramatic changes in automobiles to meet the new fuel economy regulations.

    And at the risk of being called a clover and being chased off here as I was from the Bob Is the Oil Guy forums: I must say there might not be much choice. Earlier this year one of the leaked Wikileaks documents discussed a meeting our diplomatic personnel in Saudi Arabia had with a Saudi official, who admitted that that country’s estimates of its oil reserves are inflated by 40%. In other words, Saudi Arabia has only about 60% of the oil it had claimed to have. Also, some of the major oil companies reported in a widely published news story in November that oilfield production has declined 7% in one year as these fields begin to give out without replacement fields coming on line. Suppose next year brings another 7% decline, then another, then another…? Say hello to peak oil and $20 per gallon gasoline.

    We might have to restrict vehicle choice to preserve our way of life in any real fashion. Research by Ford years ago showed that most pickups never hauled a load, and fuel economy for light trucks is far worse than for an automobile of the same weight. Most pickup buyers, then, are driving them for fashion or to look macho. Time to rethink this motivation. But also, some people I know who drive light trucks all the time got them because they MIGHT pull a trailer or go down a dirt trail to a hunting cabin, oh, once a year. We should encourage them to rent appropriate vehicles for these duties when they need them so that they will drive more thrifty vehicles the rest of the year. Please note that light trucks are just not used much as personal vehicles in other industrialized countries outside North America.

    Remember, freedom of vehicle choice won’t be worth a lot if fuel is strictly rationed, priced like gold, or not obtainable at all. I fear that’s what we’ll face soon enough without some more rational choices now. Once resource depletion becomes apparent, complaining about light trucks not being available to tool around town in will seem very, very quaint.

    • BrentP
      December 15, 2011 at 11:15 pm

      The writing was on the wall for CAFE increases in 2007. Here:
      http://news.consumerreports.org/cars/2007/06/cafe-mpg-increa.html

      On this site, unlike most on the web, it is generally accepted that there is no fundamental difference between the figure heads we have had for the last couple decades at least.

      Now with regard to peak oil, I want to see those who believe that oil field reserves are inflated to sue the oil company executives and have them criminally charged for fraud. Big oil has put reserve figures on their annual reports every year. When those who believe in peak oil put their money/action where their mouth is, I’ll listen. Meanwhile the world by all appearances is swimming in oil. This does not mean it will be made available however. The goal between the oil cartels, governments, banks, and those looking to starve the population of the planet of energy for one reason or another is to restrict energy. That is use it to have power, to achieve agendas, and of course have more wealth for themselves.

      Gasoline is currently very cheap in terms of 90% silver US coin. The problem is and will be that we pay for gasoline in FRNs. It is the federal reserve note that is losing value.

      With regard to specific fields in saudi arabia, perhaps. But there’s more than enough oil about to replace it. Oil will not go to the heights predicted because it can be manufactured for well under the scary prices predicted. That is in constant dollars. Gasoline might hit $50 a gallon, but that $50 will only buy two 90% silver dimes. The wars upon oil rich nations are not needed to secure oil for the USA. They are needed by those who wish to diminish the development of other people economically. That is to keep them poor. It is also about a global chess game. That is to deny some other countries being able to buy that oil. Namely China.

      Simply put the oil is not running out and isn’t about to run out. What we have to fear is a political and finanical structure that will deny us access to it as well as other forms of energy. It’s about controlling us, we will be told any lie that works towards those ends.

    • December 15, 2011 at 11:32 pm

      Brent’s already dealt with the CAFE aspect; the increase in CAFE beyond 27.5 MPG was as predictable as the sun rising in the east.

      On oil: Again, Brent’s making sense. If we’re close to peak oil (and I’ve been hearing how close we are to it since the 1970s) then why are so many energy intensive industries making huge capital investments based on the premise of economically affordable oil into the foreseeable future? Why, for instance, are Airbus and Boeing building huge new airliners? If oil really were about to become scarce or massively expensive, investing in fleets of 600-plus passenger airliners doesn’t seem very smart. Just one example.

      The thing that makes more sense to me in re Ranger is that (a) profit margins on it were less than on F-series and (b) by eliminating this model from its US lineup, Ford improves it overall CAFE compliance without incurring too much of a hit to its bottom line (see first point).

      The only portion of your post that’s Cloverish is the use of Cloverite terms such as “we” might have to restrict vehicle choice. In fact, you mean they are going to force us to buy certain types of vehicles by making other types – the ones people would freely buy, if they had the freedom to do so!

      CAFE originally targeted large, mass-market (affordable) V-8 sedans and wagons. They’re now defunct as mass-market vehicles. So the next target of this assault on the working and middle class is trucks; or rather, affordable trucks.

      An $18k Ranger is something a plumber or electrician can afford; so can his kid.

      But a $45k F-150 King Ranch is something neither can.

      See a trend? I do.

      The masses – that’s you and me, too – are being pushed out of certain types of vehicles, which are increasingly only for the rich.

      The least expensive V-8/RWD sedan on the market now is (I’m pretty sure, if I’m wrong, correct me) the ’12 Chrysler 300 Hemi. It’s about $39k, base price. The margin on this car also provides more wiggle room to offset CAFE compliance costs than, say, a $26k Crown Vic.

      The same cheesy business is now happening with trucks. In ten years’ time, owning a V-8 (or even V-6) truck will be as out of reach for the average guy as owning a new, V-8 RWD sedan is today.

      • BrentP
        December 16, 2011 at 1:07 am

        There is more oil today, measured in volume and in years until used up at present consumption than at any time since it started running out in the 19th century.

        The first government prediction of “peak oil”? between 1919 and 1928.

        The predictions of when oil would run out since the 1970s have IMO, been a way to mask the financial robbery that has been going on. Energy is something that is very sensitive to inflation so the inflators need a cover story to make sure people don’t catch on.

        Gas station on the way home today: $3.299/gal. Today’s price of a 90% silver quarter: $5.30. Silver dime: $2.12. Gasoline is 15.547 CENTS per gallon right now in the same money that was used before JFK was killed.

        • December 16, 2011 at 10:27 am

          Very telling, Brent. We need to keep talking about it until we are blue in the face.

        • Boothe
          December 16, 2011 at 4:31 pm

          If the liars club we call FedGov were really serious about “conserving” oil they would have already brought all of our troops home. In their statement (1) for the Senate Armed Services Committee, Aldridge and Etter assert that “Military fuel consumption for aircraft, ships, ground vehicles and facilities makes the
          DoD the single largest consumer of petroleum in the U.S.”

          Steven Anderson, Brig. Gen. US Army ret., estimates the cost of air conditioning alone in Iraq and Afghanistan at $20.2B per year (2), but the Pentagon disputes this claiming total worldwide U.S. Mil. energy costs are *only* $15B.

          If you try to actually pin down hard costs for mil. fuel, it’s a bit difficult and time consuming because the Defense Logistics Agency’s fact books treat the subject like they are running a business (cough) with purchases, sales and inventories to obfuscate the facts of government energy consumption (3). But it is an interesting peak at FedGov’s bureaucRatic mindset.

          I’ve seen If the government were really concerned with oil consumption (instead of restricting our ability to travel), one would think they’d stop all the international military intervention first.

          (1) http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL33110.pdf
          (2) http://www.npr.org/2011/06/25/137414737/among-the-costs-of-war-20b-in-air-conditioning
          (3) http://www.desc.dla.mil/dcm/files/Fact%20Book%20FY10%20Final%20Web.pdf

          • BrentP
            December 17, 2011 at 12:28 am

            Yep. I’ve made the same argument in the past elsewhere and a reminder doesn’t hurt.

            The US military is the world’s largest consumer of energy. Best place to start is with the biggest users, not the smallest.

  12. Jacob
    January 2, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Late to the party, but thought I would mention Nissan is currently developing a 1/2 ton Titan with a 4 cylinder Cummins Diesel in it. Supposed to come out in 2014 or 2015 if I remember right. They are building this to help with the Cafe standards.
    Now if they would build a compact truck with a smaller diesel, I would be sold.

    • January 2, 2012 at 6:49 pm

      Until last year, word was the Titan as such was going to be replaced by a badge-engineered Ram. That deal fell through (so it’s been reported) and the next Titan will be designed in-house. But it looks like it’s still going to be at least another year and maybe two before the current model is replaced.

      I’ve read that Nissan is testing that Cummins-built turbo-diesel. It’s apparently a 2.8L 4-cylinder that produces in the neighborhood of 350 lbs.-ft. of torque at 1,800 RPM and 220 hp. Reportedly, this engine will also be capable of 28 miles per gallon.

      Sounds good!

  13. PrezNixon
    January 20, 2012 at 6:43 am

    Earlier in the comments, someone said this:

    “I love my two Nissan Frontiers; the current unit is too big – might as well get a full-sized.”

    That’s probably why Ford is killing the Ranger in the US. Too many buyers say they might as well get a full-sized.

    The new Ranger isn’t a compact truck by any definition of the term. It’s a full-size truck anywhere in the world except the US, where the mega-truck has become the norm.

    (full disclosure, I own a mid-2000′s diesel 3/4 ton)

    A high MPG Ranger would actually HELP Ford’s MPG numbers, not hurt it. Claiming that Ford killed the Ranger due to a requirement that doesn’t even start going into force for 4 more years is a pretty long stretch.

    • January 20, 2012 at 12:37 pm

      “Too many buyers say they might as well get a full-sized.”

      Well, the counter-argument to that is the enduring popularity of compact trucks, including the Ranger. I haven’t looked into it, but I’d be willing to bet that the old (compact) Frontier sold better than the current (mid-sized) Frontier. I see more of the former on the road than the latter.

      Maybe I’m wrong, but it’d be interesting to find out…

      I submit it’s mostly about money. There’s less potential profit per vehicle in a basic, regular cab compact truck – which can be 4WD with a small, four-cylinder engine – than there is in a mid-sized truck, which forces you to buy a V-6 to also get 4WD, etc.

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