Ford’s New Small Truck Strategy – Cheap-Sell the F-150

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A source from Ford recently told us that they are going to switch gears in their marketing away from the big, luxury trucks and focus more on their basic F-150s. This is in response to what they see Dodge doing and might also been in response to Ford losing a significant amount of compact truck sales. Will this new strategy pay off in fending off Dodge and moving compact truck buyers into full-size truck owners?

Ford's New Small Truck Strategy

Can Ford make it for lost compact truck sales by cheap-selling the F-150?

By now, Ford is starting to realize that many of the customers it thought would just move up from the Ranger to the F-150 aren’t doing so. There have been many dealers and analysts pointing this out including and Edmunds tracks car shoppers on their site and they are finding Ford “compact” truck buyers aren’t moving up to full-size rather they are looking at alternatives like the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier.

“We do know that a good portion of would-be Ranger buyers are going to different brand,” said Jesse Toprak, vice president of industry analysis for told the Detroit News. “Ford may have been too optimistic in their assumption of how many Ranger buyers want to buy an F-150.”

“There’s no question Ford has lost customers by not having a compact truck.”

Ford’s plan all along was that ex-Ranger owners would simply trade up to the F-150. The plan was logical in that the MSRP and MPG between the two models is really negligible. However, it seems that compact truck owners aren’t willing to give up the maneuverability and smaller size just yet.

With no plans to bring the “Global” Ranger to the U.S., Ford is having to adjust its marketing strategy to keep these customers. According to our source, Ford is also adjusting its marketing because it believes Dodge is going to try to attract the same compact to full-size and entry-level truck buyers as well.

Chrysler-Fiat probably sees (like all manufactures) that car sales are booming right now. This boom is largely being attributed to cheap, fuel-efficient compact cars. It makes some sense then for Dodge to change its focus away from the high-end trucks to the low-end with hopes of attracting new customers. These buyers may have been wanting to buy a new truck, but the economy hasn’t let them. The economic signs currently point to an easier lending environment. Ford and Dodge hope focusing on this segment could trigger a boom in consumer truck sales.

Interestingly, while all of this is going on, rumors are circulating that Dodge is thinking about bringing back its compact Dakota. The timing for this could be ripe since automakers are developing new technologies to improve MPG in all vehicles. The challenge for Dodge (and everybody else) is to build a higher MPG, compact truck that has a significantly lower MSRP versus a full-size model.

Ultimately, the million dollar question for all the automakers is this: Will compact truck owners upgrade to an F150 or Ram 1500 if the price is right, or will they buy a Tacoma? Or is it more about size than price?

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  1. Mickey says:

    Cheaping the F-150 and Dodge Ram will do one thing. RESALE will go down the tubees for these trucks. Value will be lost and Ford and Dodge won’t be able to do a thing. So Go Ahead Ford and Dodge Make My Day!

    • Mickey,

      That could be very true.


    • LJC says:

      Mickey, I agree. However, in order for Ford to do this they’d have to ditch most of the fancy-gizmo stuff in the F150 and by doing so, it may raise the quality of it.

      From what I’ve read on PUTC, most small truck owners are a dedicated bunch, dedicated to a small truck, not so much to the brand of it as noted above.

      I had a 2000 Sonoma 4×4 ext. cab and I hated it. The wheel wells were not wide enough for a pallet, the bed was just a bit too short, it only had room for 2 passengers and the gas mileage was not that much better than my 2011 Tundra Dbl cab 4×4 TRD.

  2. mk says:

    If I was single with no kids or family, I’d buy a mid-sized dakota or S-10 or tacoma in a heartbeat as long as the bed is at least 6′ long. I really liked in 1996 my chevy s-10 ext. cab 4.3L V6 2wd. Had plenty of spunk and got 22 avg mpg much better than 16-17 mpg in a full sized truck costing under 20 grand back then easily new. Why spend 30K for a full sized pickup when for certain buyers a 22-23 grand truck will fit their needs?

    • MK,

      The comments I have seen are that old truck buyers are also stepping down to a compact truck or a smaller full-size truck. They simply don’t have the passengers/cargo like they did during their child bearing years.


  3. Mickey says:

    Well I will refuse to step down. Had a 92 Sonoma which was good for that timeframe. I don’t care fopr mpg’s. I can get it when I have the need for it. I will enjoy my comfortable ride and sit a little higher for my pleasure. Never did care for a Dakota much less the Ranger and Colorado. It’s just the wife and I now. Yes I don’t have a need for the room of my CM. I got it now so why change? Go back into debt again? I’ll keep my peace of mind and worry free Tundra. Why? Because I can.

  4. […] F-150 FX4 FTX Custom Crew at Brondes Ford Toledo – Toledo, OH Maybe you need to show him this: Ford's New Small Truck Strategy – Cheap-Sell F-150 | Tundra Headquarters Blog __________________ MIDNIGHT RIDER THIS TRUCK CAN TAKE A HIT AND KEEP ON […]

  5. kapu415 says:

    I do not want, or need a full size truck. You don’t see them any where else in the world. So I will keep buying Tacoma’s until someone in the US builds a midsize truck thats worth a shit!

    • Mickey says:

      If I did decide to go smaller the Tacoma would be the one I go for. They do look sharp.

      • Mickey,

        We have written several stories on this on Most of them conclude that compact truck buyers agree with you that the Tacoma is the truck to buy.


  6. DrLou says:

    Full size pickup trucks are – big and generally expensive. I drive a Nissan King Cab with a bumped up camper shell and I’ve found that I can haul more than a F-150 without a camper shell. Granted it’s light hauling but that’s all I do. If I needed a vehicle for heavy hauling or towing, I’d rent one. My point is compact pickup trucks can most of one’s needs, which are easier to park in urban settings and garages, and generally get better fuel economy. I wouldn’t buy a full size pickup even it were less expensive because I prefer compact pickups. The real issue is OEM’s don’t offer new compact pickups in NA anymore. One must settle for a mid-size pickup or buy a used compact pickup.

  7. jeremy says:

    Trucks are getting bigger and bigger with each new model and new design. For some applications, you need a small truck that can turn around without a 3 point turn. At work we have an F-150 that we are simply wearing out the transmission every other year due to so many gear changes. We need a small truck to get around the 15 acre facility, pick up samples, check buildings/equipment, etc. Big trucks are of no use to us. So, hello Toyota. They have picked up the NC State contract for compact pick up trucks. Smart move on their part, but they don’t offer a “work truck.” How many WT packages that you know of have cloth interior and carpet flooring? Work trucks are supposed to be vinyl seats and rubber flooring, not even an option on these so called “work trucks.” Hard to keep clean, can’t wash them out easily, start to smell rotten after a year and Toyota doesn’t offer any aftermarket parts or options for their entry level trucks. Rubber flooring and vinyl seats are only offered on one of their top of the line “off road” packages. Good greif! Bring back the Collys, Dak’s or Rangers please…

    • Jeremy,

      Your right, Toyota doesn’t make a work truck in the Tacoma size. Frankly, there hasn’t been that much demand too, however, with the Ranger gone forever and other compact trucks on the shelf at the moment, maybe there is a demand. It will be interesting to see if Toyota responds to this market need.


  8. Anonymous says:

    Ford people want a small pick up , once again ford goes stupid, oh yes fire the Lincoln design team. Wake up Ford

  9. […] and has a maximum torque capacity of 44o ft. lbs. This transmission was widely used in many light duty Ford trucks and SUVs. Let’s take a look at a few of the problems most commonly found with the Ford 4R44E […]

  10. Juan says:

    Yeah- really dumb Ford is not bringing the Global Ranger over. At least limited production. Looks like I’m forced to buy a Tacoma.

  11. j hawthorn says:

    wanting to know about the RANGER coming toUSA

  12. DrLou says:

    As always, all OEMs will follow the dollar$. If Ford thinks building a small truck will increase their bottom-line, they’ll do it. I think Ford may still be trying to make a business case for a small truck. Maybe they already have and will be introducing a new product to NA soon. Time will tell! Patience my friends.

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