You don't have to go far in most parts of the United States to see a number of small trucks cruising the highways. Many of the major automakers make small trucks including Nissan, Toyota, and Chevrolet. For number of years Ford was in the small truck market with the Ranger. However, Ford ended production of the Ranger in December of 2011.
Ford believes that small trucks that overlap significantly with full-size trucks in size, price, and fuel economy make no sense. However, Ford believes that there is still a demand for a compact truck that is actually compact. Ford also believes that any future replacement for the Ranger may not need traditional truck body-on-frame design and the key to making an appealing small pickup could be a unibody frame.
Rather than trying to compete with the rather large "small" trucks from Nissan and Toyota, Ford thinks there may be a true place in the market for compact truck with about 1000 pounds payload capacity, 3000 pounds of towing capacity, and dramatically improved fuel efficiency compared to full-size trucks. For now, Ford has not given the green light to a replacement for the Ranger.
Ford says that it looked at its global Ranger truck and decided that it had too much overlap with a large and robustly selling F-150. The automaker doesn't feel that adding a smaller four-cylinder engine or a diesel would set the global Ranger apart enough from its larger siblings to be successful. Ford says the big challenge is making a business case to support the cost of designing a new automobile and the automaker is still working on that.
[via Car & Driver