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Ford Ranger pickup truck production begins



Ford RangerThe Ranger, rolling off the line at Michigan Assembly.Ford

  • Ford has begun rolling pre-production Ranger pickup trucks off the line at its Michigan Assembly plant.
  • Ford has invested $850 million in the factory, which dates to the late 1950s.
  • The new Ford Ranger will be a modern, high-tech midsize pickup.

The hotly anticipated new Ford Ranger pickup truck is starting to roll off the automaker’s assembly lines. But the truck is only part of the story.

It’s being built at Ford’s Michigan Assembly plant, which opened in 1957. The factory has bolted together some legendary trucks, including Ford’s bestselling F-150 pickup and the legendary Bronco SUV (which is also being updated and will be built at Michigan Assembly in 2020, according to Ford).

Ford has pumped $850 million into the factory to upgrade its capabilities.

Ford RangerA line worker at Michigan Assembly.Ford

“Ford truck fans demanded a midsize pickup that’s ‘Built Ford Tough,’ and we’re delivering with our all-new Ranger that’s specially designed and engineered for American truck customers,” Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of global operations, said in a press statement.

“At the same time, we’re revitalizing our Michigan Assembly Plant and securing good-paying jobs for our hourly employees here in the US.”

Ford is in the midst of an $11-billion restructuring under CEO Jim Hackett. Some markets have become serious problems, mainly China, but in the US the company’s core pickup business remains solid — and is throwing off the cash that Hackett needs to reorganize the carmaker.

New pickups and SUVs are critical. The Ranger is particularly important. After years of Detroit ceding the small pickup market to the Japanese, Motown has come roaring back. Chevy’s Colorado almost singlehandedly revived the segment, and now Ford is joining the party with its most famous, small-pickup nameplate.

Ford RangerBehold! The new Ranger.Ford

Ranger was a stalwart in the 1980s and ’90s, but Ford dropped the truck in the US eight years ago. 

“Ranger is designed for today’s midsize truck buyer who blends city living with off-the-grid adventure,” Ford said in a statement.

The pickup will have 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbocharged engine under the hood and nifty, fuel-saving 10-speed automatic.

“Ranger will deliver driver-assist technologies and connectivity features as well as best-in-class payload [and] towing,” Ford added. 

At Michigan Assembly, 3,000 Ford employees were on hand to witness Ranger’s rebirth on Monday.

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