Ford is moving forward with its plan to release so-called white-space vehicles that fill the void left by cars like the Fiesta and the Focus. It recently showed one of these models, a sub-Ranger pickup truck, to its top dealers.
While photography wasn't allowed during the event, retailers described it to Automotive News as a pickup whose sides are oddly reminiscent of the original Ranger released for the 1983 model year. If that's accurate, it will arrive as a boxy, slab-sided truck that puts an unmistakable emphasis on function rather than on form. Spy shots of a heavily camouflaged test mule (pictured) suggest it will be offered with four doors and a long cargo box. Additional body styles might not be available as Ford seeks to keep costs in check by simplifying its range.
Called P758 internally, the trucklet will ride on a unibody platform shared with the current-generation Focus sold overseas. An earlier report claims Ford has put its Australian division — which no longer builds cars — in charge of developing it. Power will come from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that shifts through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive will likely come standard, and all-wheel drive will be offered at an extra cost.
Dealers reported the yet-unnamed model will be manufactured in the Hermosillo, Mexico, factory that currently makes the Fusion and the Lincoln MKZ, two nameplates scheduled to retire in 2020. Pricing will start at under $20,000 before destination. To add context, the outgoing Fiesta carries a base price of $14,260 while the Ranger starts at $24,410. The Blue Oval predicts it will sell about 100,000 units annually starting in late 2021, though the United States won't be its only market. Canada will get it, too, and many Latin American markets have a healthy appetite for small trucks. Its more-city-friendly-than-a-Ranger, car-like dimensions could earn it a trip across the pond, too.
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