In contrast to the other manufacturers at the NYIAS, Ford didn't have a splashy intro for its facelifted 2004 Ford Ranger. In fact the Ranger was barely noticeable on the Ford stand mixed in with other trucks in the show's lower level.
The Ranger's new exterior design cues are clearly shared with the 2004 F-150 and Super Duty full-size trucks while inside the Ranger has all-new seats designed to meet improved federal safety guidelines plus some IP improvements and an optional MP3 player.
But will a new grille and a few interior changes be enough to keep the Ranger in its number one sales spot among compact pickups? With the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon set to arrive at dealer lots by the end of the year and Toyota, Nissan and Dodge expected to bring new midsize trucks to market by 2005, one can't help but wonder if anything is seriously being done for the Ford Ranger besides keeping it on life-support.
The latest rumors keep pushing an all-new Ranger back until 2007 because of Ford's cash crunch and the extremely low profit margins found in the compact and midsize truck segment.
If Ford doesn't do something dramatic for this truck, and soon, it might as well rebadge it as the Lone Ranger.