FORD Ranger Pickup To Be Built In Detroit with New Bronco Possible in 2018
The confirmation of the Ford Bronco comes ahead of a United Auto Workers (UAW) vote, as part of a tentative labor agreement reached this past week.
The timeline would assure that the new FORD Ranger would be built at the Michigan Assembly Plant beginning in 2018, while the Ford Bronco would be built at that plant by 2020.
The revival of the Ford Bronco has been a persistent rumor over the past year or so. And this past summer, those rumors were given new credence, given comments that the automaker was looking into moving production to Michigan for the upcoming Ford Ranger pickup—as a U.S.-adapted version of the global mid-size truck of the same name.
Now that move is nearly certain. The reason behind all of this is that truck sales are surging—and they’re expected to be one of the stronger growth areas of the market for the foreseeable future. Ford is instead planning to move production of the Ford Focus and C-Max, which are currently at that plant, to Mexico.
And the Bronco is a model with nameplate with a rugged history in the U.S.—one that wasn't around for nearly the past 20 years, when a softening of tastes turned some trucklike SUVs into softer family wagons. As a more of a ‘heritage’ model than a mainstream, family-oriented offering, a Ranger-based Bronco could arrive as a rugged reputation-builder for Ford, rivaling the Jeep Wrangler and TOYOTA 4Runner.
Ford had no additional comment on the timeline, or what a spokesman called speculation about future product plans.
United Auto Workers union leaders signed off on a tentative agreement with Ford on Monday that would deliver $10,000 in signing bonuses to every worker and $9 billion in new U.S. product investments, retaining or creating 8,500 jobs.
Now it is time for the members to vote.
The new-product investments include a commitment by Ford to bring its Ranger midsize pickup back to America and to revive the storied Bronco nameplate. Both would be built at the Michigan Assembly Plant which will stop making the Ford Focus and C-Max families of vehicles there in 2018.
Production of the Bronco is expected to start after the Ranger and no later than 2020, according to a person briefed on the agreement who was not authorized to speak publicly.
The Ranger will enter a revived field of smaller pickups while the Bronco, known to off-roaders from the 1960s, would likely be aimed at the four-wheel-drive, dirt trail-ready market.
"It is one of the richest agreements in the history of UAW-Ford," UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles said Friday in announcing the new pact.
Settles and UAW President Dennis Williams briefed several hundred Ford elected leaders Monday at the UAW-Ford National Program Center in Detroit on the details of the deal. Now that the national council has approved the agreement, it will be sent to the union's 52,900 Ford members for ratification. Voting is expected to take at least a week.
Ford workers will be eligible for about $8,500 in signing bonuses as well as other goodies including profit sharing, a $1,500 annual inflation protection bonus and possible $250 annual competitiveness bonus, according to people familiar with the deal.
Additionally, $1,500 of the profit sharing amount due would be pulled ahead so that workers would get a tidy $10,000 upon ratification.
The agreement also includes:
•$70,000 retirement bonuses for select production and skilled trades workers. Timing must still be determined.
•Commitment to add up to 1,200 skilled trades apprentices
•$9 billion in total investment commitments to create or retain 8,500 jobs
•Same raises offered to long-time General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles workers: 3% raises in the first and third years and 4% lump sum bonuses in the second and fourth years.
•Path to bring entry-level workers to the full wage scale within eight years and they receive the same health care as traditional workers.
•Profit sharing continues to follow the current formula but there would no longer be a cap on the amount workers could get which could prove to be sizable in this red-hot North American market.
•Retirees get $1,000 in four annual $250 cash payments or gift cards. Surviving spouses get a total of $500 over the four years in $125 annual payments. They also can use the revived Legal Services Plan.
•A $2,000 signing bonus for temporary employees with at least 90 days on the job.
•Temporary workers already employed by Ford will make $17 to $22.50 per hour, depending on the number of years with the company.
•New temporary workers will start at $15.78 per hour and progress to $19.28 after four years.
•UAW maintained restrictions on the usage of temporary workers.
"Jimmy Settles is a seasoned negotiator," said Kristin Dziczek of the Center for Automotive Research. "He knows what will pass and what members want. He's got respect and understands that the priorities are jobs."
The Ford agreement is the third national contract the UAW has reached this year with the Detroit Three. An agreement reached last month with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was ratified last month. An agreement with General Motors was ratified by production workers but rejected by skilled trades workers.
The UAW is also holding meetings at plants across the country today to determine why 59.5% of GM's skilled trades workers voted no while 58.3% of production workers voted in favor.""
August 26, 2015 Report: "If the UAW and FORD make a deal, the Ranger and Bronco might be back in the United States sales market in 2018."
Gary Newsome, Editor. Original Report August 26, 2015.
Ford recently announced that production of the Ford Focus and C-Max models would move away from Michigan Assembly in 2018, but did not announce any plans for a replacement vehicle to be built there. The Ford Ranger pickup is apparently a frontrunner in the final discussions between Ford and the UAW, an unnamed source told The Detroit News. The Ford Ranger was last sold in the U.S. in 2011, and a global version introduced in 2012 (pictured) is currently sold elsewhere in the world.
The possible Ford Ranger that would return to the U.S. would most likely be significantly different than the current global Ranger, which is codenamed T6. (First Photo in our group with Gold/Orange Colour) A BajaRacingNews.com Reader told us: "When I was living in Malaysia I owned a T6 ranger. It was the perfect size, totally reliable, got amazing fuel economy, was very good on road and was fantastic off-road. Mine was just the 2.2 but always felt up the the task. My friends 3.2 really felt powerful and might be better suited to the American market."
T6 Global Market Released 2012 Ford Ranger
Drivetrain layout Front engine, RWD/4WD
Engine type I-4, alum block/head
Bore x stroke 3.50 x 3.94 in
Displacement 152 ci/2.5L
Compression ratio 9.7:1
Valve gear DOHC, 4 valves/cyl
SAE horsepower 164 hp @ 6000 rpm
SAE torque 167 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm
Optional engine I-4 turbodiesel, iron block/head
Bore x stroke 3.39 x 3.72 in
Displacement 134 ci/2.2L
Compression ratio 15.7:1
Valve gear DOHC, 4 valves/cyl
SAE horsepower 148 hp @ 3700 rpm
SAE torque 277 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm
Optional engine I-5 turbodiesel, iron block/head
Bore x stroke 3.54 x 3.97 i
Displacement 195 ci/3.2L
Compression ratio 15.7:1
Valve gear DOHC, 4 valves/cyl
SAE horsepower 197 hp @ 3000 rpm
SAE torque 347 lb-ft @ 1500-2750 rpm
Transmission type 5-speed manual
Opt transmission 6-speed manual
Opt transmission 6-speed automatic
Axle ratios 3.55:1, 3.73:1, 4.70:1
Final drive ratios 2.63:1, 2.82:1, 2.58:1, 3.59:1
Wheelbase 126.8 in
Length x width x height 201.2-211.0 x 72.8 x 71.0-72.8 in
Track, f/r 61.4/61.4 in
Turning circle 41.7 ft
Approach/departure angle 28.0-29.0/20.0-28.0 deg
Ground clearance 9.1-9.3 in
Curb weight 4450-4850 lb
Payload capacity 2200-2600 lb
GVWR 7055 lb
GCWR 13,117 lb
Towing capacity 4850-7385 lb
Seating capacity 3-5
Headroom, f/r 40.2-40.3/36.9-38.8 in
Legroom, f/r 41.7/31.3-35.5 in
Shoulder room, f/r 56.7/55.1-56.3 in
Bed LxWxH 61.0-91.2 x 61.4 x 20.1 in
Width bet wheelhousings 44.8 in
Construction Ladder frame
Suspension, f/r Independent, control arm, coil over shock/solid axle, leaf spring
Steering type Rack-and-pinion
Turns, lock to lock 3.5
Brakes, f/r Vented disc/drum, ABS
Base price $19,300 (est)
Price as tested $51,600 (est)
Airbags Front, front side, side curtain
Fuel capacity 21.1 gal
Australian fuel economy, combined 25-31 mpg
Recommended fuel Regular unleaded, ULSD
The T6 model offers single-cab, extended-cab, and crew-cab variants, and offers a mix of gasoline and diesel four- and five-cylinder engines. Because of the Ford F-150 pickup’s wide-ranging lineup, the Ranger would need to offer better fuel economy and significantly lower pricing than Ford’s stalwart pickup in order to carve out a place for itself in the Ford truck lineup.
In the case of the Ranger, Ford started with a clean-sheet design, putting everything it learned from more than three decades of F-truck dominance into what would become the F-Series' kid brother. Ford's team of experts traveled the globe and examined the primary compact pickup competitors, namely the Toyota Hilux (a rebodied version of the Tacoma), Nissan Navara, and Mitsubishi Triton -- three popular workhorses in sold in Asia, Europe, and South Africa and had them on hand during the Ranger's design and development.
In Detroit, the Bronco is currently in development. The new Bronco would be built upon the new Ranger frame with new off-road enthusiast concepts included. Bronco turns 50, here in 2015. New Bronco possible in 2018.
Four years ago, a trio of Ford heavy-hitters was sent from Michigan to Australia, the designated homeroom for this new-generation global vehicle, even though it is built in Argentina, Thailand, and South Africa. Before being redeployed Down Under, designer Craig Metros had just finished work on the latest F-Series, vehicle line director Gary Boes had overseen the development of the Mustang and Flex, and engineering director Jim Baumbick had been responsible for more than 20 new nameplates for Ford in North America. In the end, though, the Ranger utilized expertise from all points of the globe. It was tested in the Australian outback, in the jungles of Thailand, and on the ice roads of Sweden, and it spent a lot of time in North America doing altitude, durability, and tow testing.
FORD insiders tell BajaRacingNews.com, the 2018 release Ranger is within 10 percent of the new F-150's dimensions and capabilities, likely another reason Ford is reluctant to bring the Ranger here. It wants to protect its homegrown hero, given that the F-Series' sales rate is roughly 50 percent of what it was half a decade ago.
The Off-Road Driving Tests. Well-sorted stability control ensures the Ranger stays shiny side up, no matter the surface. Perhaps the most impressive aspect was how well the stability control worked on loose gravel roads, typical terrain in many countries where these vehicles have been driven.
In the middle of the Australian outback, while driving on a gravel road covered in a thin layer of dirt as fine as sawdust, in one FORD test, the Ranger was repeatedly pushed to trigger the crew cab 4WD XLT Ranger into a skid by swerving abruptly. But the system worked so quickly and so efficiently that it gathered things up, time after time, without raising a sweat, and long before we were in any danger. It's a credit to the team who did the calibration. The speed and effectiveness of the stability control is as good as any road car I've driven. Interestingly, the stability control works well despite having disc brakes up front (the biggest in the compact pickup class, says Ford) and drum brakes on the rear (typical in this class around the world, including on the VW Amarok and Toyota Hilux).
Ford has also adapted hill descent control, which inches the vehicle carefully down steep slopes without the driver having to touch the brake pedal. The rate of descent is adjustable using the cruise control switch on the steering wheel.
The other issue is price. The T6 Ranger has been sold at a premium in most overseas markets, not as a bargain basement model as it had been in North America. Although the 2012 range starts from $AUD20,000 (about $19,300 ') for a 2WD cab-chassis, the XLT crew cab pictured here starts at $AUD53,390 (about $51,600 'Merican).
If it does come back to America in 2018, the Ford Ranger would join a revived midsize pickup market in the U.S., with the new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon picking up steam, an updated 2016 Toyota Tacoma going on sale soon, and an updated Nissan Frontier expected to debut within the next few years. RAM Trucks line is also showing sales gains despite the headwinds of production challenges.