When the last Ford Ranger rolled off of assembly lines about 4 years ago, the market for mid-size pickups seemed to be in its death throes. But that market has been revived in a big way, thanks in large part to crosstown rival GM and its new midsize truck entries, the Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon twins. Not one to rest on its laurels, rumors of the Ford Ranger’s return have been circulating for the better part of two years, and those rumors have turned out to be true.
The Detroit Free Press parsed new contract details between the United Auto Workers union and Ford Motor Company, revealing that the Blue Oval is planning to bring back not just the Ford Ranger, but the Ford Bronco too, as part of a $9 billion domestic spending package.
Of that $9 billion, a little over half ($4.8 billion) is earmarked for Michigan facilities, including the Michigan Assembly Plant where the Ford C-Max and Focus are currently produced. Ford and the UAW say this contract saves two plants that were otherwise slated for closure, and gives customers two products they’ve been asking for ad nauseam. The Ford Ranger has been a particular sticking point for Blue Oval fans, especially given GM’s overnight success with the Colorado and Canyon.
While the return of the Ranger has been churning through the rumor mill for a couple of years, bringing back the Bronco is a bit more of a surprise. The fabled off-roader has been out of production for a solid two decades, but sales of the Ford Raptor and rivals like the Jeep Wrangler have proven that there’s a strong market with deep pockets for vehicles with real off-road credentials. Whether or not the Ranger and Bronco will share a platform, it isn’t revealed, but it’s probably a safe bet.
Production of the Ford Ranger will begin first, and no later than 2020. The Bronco will likely follow within a year or two, with both vehicles being built at the Michigan Assembly Plant, which was losing its products to manufacturing facilities in Mexico. This is huge news for Blue Oval and truck fans alike, and we’re counting down the days until the Ranger and Bronco make their triumphant return.