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Can Ford Ranger Sales Ever Eclipse The Toyota Tacoma?

Since the reintroduction of the Ford Ranger several years ago, the midsize pickup’s current generation has been praised not only for its value and reliability as a new vehicle, but also as a lightly used, pre-owned truck. The Ranger has been recognized as being a better truck than rivals like the Chevy Colorado, and has even been placed first when it comes to comparisons against the highly popular Toyota Tacoma. However, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that the Tacoma consistently outsells the Ranger, which begs the question: can Ford’s offering eventually claw its way past the Tacoma in terms of sales?

In recent years, the Toyota Tacoma has commanded the top spot in the midsize pickup segment, thanks in part to its exemplary reliability and the fact that it has a plant dedicated entirely to its production. The Ford Ranger, on the other hand, has yet to make its name synonymous with the quality that the Tacoma is known for. The Ranger also lacks a dedicated plant, as it shares the Michigan Assembly plant with the Ford Bronco, with priority going to the latter vehicle for now.

The Ford Ranger was also absent from the market from the 2013 through 2018 model years, creating a gap in its segment that undoubtedly benefitted the Tacoma. It’s also worth noting that prior to its five-year hiatus, the Ranger was a best-seller for quite a long time, but the Tacoma has been outselling it for almost a decade now.

Sales Numbers - Midsize Mainstream Pickup Trucks - 2010 & 2011
2011 2010
Tacoma 110,705 106,198
Ranger 70,832 55,364
Frontier 51,700 40,427
Colorado 31,026 24,642
Canyon 9,590 7,992
Total 273,853 234,623

The fight began to tip in the Tacoma’s favor back in 2010 and 2011, where the Japanese pickup outsold the Ranger by quite a lot. Not long after, though, the Ranger was pulled from Ford’s lineup before being resurrected, allowing Toyota to gain a serious foothold on the segment in the interim.

Sales Numbers - Midsize Mainstream Pickup Trucks - 2018 - USA

MODEL YTD 18 / YTD 17 YTD 18 YTD 17 YTD 18 SHARE YTD 17 SHARE
TOYOTA TACOMA +23.99% 245,659 198,125 50% 47%
CHEVROLET COLORADO +19.33% 134,842 112,996 27% 27%
NISSAN FRONTIER +7.11% 79,646 74,360 16% 18%
GMC CANYON +4.32% 33,492 32,106 7% 8%
TOTAL +18.21% 493,639 417,587

In 2018, the Tacoma’s popularity had exploded, outselling its next-closest rival, the Chevy Colorado, by over 100,000 units, before the Ranger had even made a dent in the market.

Sales Numbers - Midsize Mainstream Pickup Trucks - 2019 - USA

MODEL YTD 19 / YTD 18 YTD 19 YTD 18 YTD 19 SHARE YTD 18 SHARE
TOYOTA TACOMA +1.28% 248,801 245,659 41% 50%
CHEVROLET COLORADO -9.30% 122,304 134,842 20% 27%
FORD RANGER * 89,571 0 15% 0%
NISSAN FRONTIER -9.14% 72,369 79,646 12% 16%
JEEP GLADIATOR * 40,047 0 7% 0%
GMC CANYON -1.99% 32,825 33,492 5% 7%
TOTAL +22.74% 605,917 493,639

In 2019, the Ford Ranger finally reentered the market, and while 89,571 sales was certainly nothing to discount, it didn’t hold a candle to Tacoma sales, which continued to soar to almost 250,000 annually.

Sales Numbers - Midsize Mainstream Pickup Trucks - 2020 - USA

MODEL YTD 20 / YTD 19 YTD 20 YTD 19 YTD 20 SHARE YTD 19 SHARE
TOYOTA TACOMA -4.02% 238,806 248,801 41% 41%
FORD RANGER +13.30% 101,486 89,571 18% 15%
CHEVROLET COLORADO -21.31% 96,238 122,304 17% 20%
JEEP GLADIATOR +93.63% 77,542 40,047 13% 7%
NISSAN FRONTIER -49.09% 36,845 72,369 6% 12%
GMC CANYON -23.26% 25,190 32,825 4% 5%
TOTAL -4.92% 576,107 605,917

One year later, the Ranger surpassed the Colorado and set its sights on the Tacoma. Sales of the Tacoma dipped in 2020, indicating that the Ranger had begun to eat into its share in the throes of COVID-19 woes. However, all told, the Ranger accumulated less than half of Tacoma sales.

Sales Numbers - Midsize Mainstream Pickup Trucks - 2021 - USA

MODEL YTD 21 / YTD 20 YTD 21 YTD 20 YTD 21 SHARE YTD 20 SHARE
TOYOTA TACOMA +5.74% 252,520 238,806 42% 41%
FORD RANGER -6.63% 94,755 101,486 16% 18%
JEEP GLADIATOR +15.69% 89,712 77,542 15% 13%
CHEVROLET COLORADO -24.14% 73,008 96,238 12% 17%
NISSAN FRONTIER +64.73% 60,693 36,845 10% 6%
GMC CANYON -4.23% 24,125 25,190 4% 4%
TOTAL +3.25% 594,813 576,107

The gap widened even further in 2021 as new competitors entered the market. To this day, the Ford Ranger has quite a bit of ground to make up if Ford wants to claim the top spot in the midsize pickup segment.

Next-Gen 2024 Ford Ranger

Next-Gen 2024 Ford Ranger

However, all is not lost, as a new generation of Ranger is set to hit the North American market in 2024, and its revised styling and technology could very well be the catalysts needed to tip the scales in The Blue Oval’s favor. Even so, it’s bound to be a tough fight.

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Alexandra is a Colorado-based journalist with a passion for all things involving horsepower, be it automotive or equestrian.

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Comments

  1. Greggt

    Until Ford solves its ongoing quality and supply chain issues, the Tacoma will be untouchable!

    Reply
    1. M S Watchdog

      You have completely correct! Ford the recall king has got to get Quality Issues fixed and Farley just said the other day it take Years to fix!

      Reply
      1. GetReal

        The Tacoma has been recalled the same number of times the Ranger has.

        Reply
    2. Michael J Genzale

      The Tacoma was recalled a few years ago for chassis rot. So bad that Toyota advised owners in the short term to remove spare tires so as to not have them brake loose in traffic and hit following vehicles. Toyota replaced chassis or bought back the trucks.

      Reply
  2. M S Watchdog

    Ranger will always be behind just a not good enough product! I have driven both a lot and Ranger is just not there!

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      I recall that when Ford bought some Toyota pickups for benchmarking, one went out to APG (Ford’s Arizona Proving Grounds) to go through the truck durability cycle.

      The exhaust fell off the truck partway through the cycle.

      Maybe Toyota’s pickups have closed the gap to Ford in the last few years durability wise but who’s to say?

      Reply
    2. GetReal

      So you’ve driven the 2023 Ranger? Most people consider the Tacoma uncomfortable and a chore to drive. But the poser crowd loves them

      Reply
      1. Mike M

        Yes, I have owned several Rangers, and 2 Tacoma’s. My 2021 fully-loaded Ranger Lariat does not compare to the Tacoma Sport.
        Power Moonroof – n/a
        Power rear Window – n/a
        Wireless Charging – n/a
        Fold-down rear seat cargo area – n/a
        Cargo Rail System – n/a
        V6 Horsepower & Torque – nope.
        Max Towing capacity – Tacoma 6800 v/s Ranger 3500

        Reply
        1. Mark

          The ranger can tow 7000 something pounds if you get the towing package

          Reply
  3. GetReal

    2019 was 10 years ago? That’s about the stupidest headline I’ve seen here in a while.

    Reply
  4. Walter Thomas

    NOT at all. First, the Ranger needs a complete makeover, by designers who cares about design. Even the 2023/24 Model looks like a refresh just for today, not the future. The Ranger is not a strong competitor at all especially when it comes to design and technology. Ford is well known to play it safe. Let’s be honest here, looks are subjective but only a person who understands design would agree that all of the Rangers competitors have a much better design both inside and out. The new Canyon, Colorado and Frontier, all are leaps forward to the backwards Ranger. When I see a Ranger, it looks like a hunk of depression driving down the road. The price of a bland Ranger just does not make sense for people to bypass the aging Tacoma. Even with the aging Tacoma, it still look so much better than the Ranger.

    Reply
  5. AC

    The 2024 tacoma will have the option of a hybrid 2.4L engine. The Ranger needs a hybrid version of their 2.3 Ecoboost to compete with that. But not just compete, it needs to be BETTER!

    Reply
  6. MIKE BARANOWSKI

    Seriously?
    Until Ford starts putting quality, durability and value back in their products they will never even touch Toyota !!!!
    It breaks my heart as a Ford employee and owner forever That I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER ONE !!!!!
    I take care of a fleet of them and to say they are crap is an understatement. So sad.

    Reply
  7. William

    🤣

    No way in hell!

    Reply
  8. David Jurgens

    This is garbage, there isn’t a mfg out there worried consumers just the bottom line.

    Reply
  9. blksn8k

    The biggest problem the Ranger has had is that it has always played second fiddle to the F-150 in this market. Add to that the fact that Ford now has another truck, the Maverick, that they are marketing to the same “lifestyle” crowd as the Ranger. As the article stated, the Ranger also shares a production facility with the Bronco. Then throw in the fact that the Ranger is designed in Australia for markets other than North America and it becomes all too clear that Ford doesn’t really want or need to sell a large number of Rangers in this market. It only needs to be good enough to sell a few thousand units per month but not so good that it steals sales from it’s in-house competition. That’s a completely different philosophy than what Toyota and GM use. They both build their mid-size models specifically for the markets they are sold in and their sales numbers reflect that.

    Reply
    1. David Pickford

      The basic Ranger design certainly is Australian but the North American is substantially re engineered for the American market who have safety standards and suspension/handling/comfort standards different to any other country in the world.

      Reply
  10. David Pickford

    In Australia the Ranger consistently outsells the Hilux(Tacoma) in the 4wd sector, Toyota only hold sway due to its cheap 2wd company sales. Toyotas legendary reliability is wanting as they continue to have diesel engine and rear diff issues. The engines have been so bad they’ve been subject to class actions and even the local regulators have canned their so called fixes. As for the Rangers being backwards in tech, comfort and handling then every motoring writer around the world where the new model is already on sale must have no idea on what constitutes a great car because without one exception every one tested has been rated way higher than any other mid size ute.

    Reply
  11. John W.

    Not even close, the Ranger will never close the gap. Ford has way to many quality issues due to their failed push for EVs. Toyota doesn’t make many updates in order to make what exists more reliable. Toyota even recently announced they will not focus on EVs, and it is paying off for them in multiple ways.

    Reply
    1. Martin

      What failed push to EV?? Are you referring to year 3 of the 8 year plan to offer a complete line of EV’s? Do you really think engineers need only a few months to completely design and build a car from the ground up rather than the usual 3 to 5 years? Mark Fields was the CEO when forerunner of the Mache E was green lite. Also, Toyota is very much in the EV arena. They have a fleet of vehicles under development. The only difference between a few months ago and today is the sheer amount of engineers dedicated to the EV push but it was always there…… right back to the days when they were part owner of Tesla.

      Reply
    2. RWFA

      Whether K-street lobbyist for Big Oil or a short seller, you are clearly working from the same scripted comments seen in many of the bad faith comments posted here by bogus users.

      Ford has hardly had a failed EV push. Nothing supports this fantasy your ilk are pushing.

      It’s not clear what the goal of your team is, but your BS game is very clear.

      Reply
  12. hot toddy

    in 2010 Ford killed off the Explorer Sport Track. A vehicle that I currently drive on a daily basis. Test drove a similar optioned new Ranger recently. After my test drive and ignoring all the offers to purchase my Sport Track from the dealer, I came to the conclusion that Ford made a mistake killing off the the Sport Track and have been trying to recreate it in the Ranger ever since. The similarities are unmistakable between the 2 vehicles.

    Reply
  13. Michael J Genzale

    When Ford abandoned the compact truck segment in 2010 in the US market, it ignored not only customer needs but forced buyers in that segment to Toyota.
    The domestics seem to make this mistake over and over. Leave current owners without a replacement. Force ’em to a competitor and then expect them running back when they re-enter the segment.
    As a Ford salesman, retired, I and other Ford sales person used to tell Ford Corp. reps we need Ranger. Corporate line was always the same, F150 fuel economy much better now. Our response ‘its the size not the fuel economy!”

    Reply
    1. Mrx19

      Exactly. Not too long ago Ford said the was no market for compact trucks. Another genius statement. Had two Rangers and would like a Maverick. Too bad I can’t buy one and expect to see it for years.

      Reply
  14. JDE

    Toyota Tacoma has built a reputation of being tough-as-nails, ultra-reliable, a nearly bulletproof truck. once people went that route they seem to be hard to win back. Sadly the Mazda/Ford Rangers once held a similar customer opinion of them, but the current Ranger struggles to gain that reputation. and with the Maverick out there for a better price, the light duty pickup people are probably really questioning the need for the larger, but not quite full size enough truck.

    Reply
  15. BuyAmericanFord72

    Under the current Farley administration, Ford has suffered with Quality and decreasing truck sales due to price. Seems Farley is more interested in EV vehicles and has ignored the product quality issues while also ignoring the advancements of the other truck manufactures. At times, I think he is still getting paid by Toyota (a past employer). I have owned Fords since 1972 and that is the only product I buy because of my experience. I’ve driven 1.5 Million miles and my out of pocket for repairs (of course minus maintenance) has been $1154 for one repair of a heater core in a 2008 F150 with 105K miles. Also, I want all the profit from my purchase to go to the Bank of America and not the Bank of Tokyo!

    Reply
    1. Racer 76

      Thank you. I’ve had Ford ties since 1948 to this day. From dealerships to Ford Corporate. The major money maker is Ford Blue, and completely being over looked.

      Reply
  16. DRW

    Several comments favorable addressed Toyota’s reputation for quality. Exactly! If I had owned a Toyota for several years why would I want to switch to a product from a company with a spotty reputation for quality?

    Reply
  17. Racer 76

    Farley and Bill Ford need to rethink their one way or the highway mentality. Alan Mulally was the last great leader of ALL auto manufacturers. The photo ops with WEF tells it all

    Reply
  18. JDE

    Tacoma has 7 trim levels with incremental price points, Ranger has 3, but after the basic extended cab version the price nearly doubles. That may be part of it too.

    Reply
  19. Chris Blanchard

    Can’t sell ’em if you don’t build ’em. The white hot Bronco currently is getting priority for the short commodities. Ford has been pretty quiet about the 6G Ranger. Job 1 for the 2024 Ranger is scheduled for around May 22nd, and the SuperCab has been discontinued. Who knows, given a shortened production year, a ’23 Ranger SuperCab may be rare enough to become a classic. Its gm rivals ’23 Colorado & Canyon also dropped the Extended Cab and the Crew Cab/6′ box configuration; 5′ box only. Photos of a left hand drive RangerSuperCrew w/6′ box have appeared before, but not sure if it will make it into production for NA.
    Toyota moved all Tacoma production to Mexico, and will be building the Sequoia alongside the Tundra in San Antiono, TX. Nissan Frontier does have a Crew Cab/6ft box available on their new design. Maybe I’m the only one on the planet that wants a 6 ft box on a midsize truck.

    Reply
  20. Rob Mcginley

    I don’t think Ranger will ever catch Toyota because the power at Ford never wanted to bring the Ranger back as it would eat into F series sales.
    As long as they think like that Ranger will never catch Toyota
    Toyota has a past history of reliability that still remains in the minds of there past customers. This is very hard to compete with.
    Also Ranger along with most Ford products need a more aggressive appearance….

    Reply
  21. Jess T

    how does the Ranger’s production capacity compare to the Taco? Can’t sell more than you make…

    Reply
  22. Chris Blanchard

    Wayne Assembly can produce 275,000 peak total units per year of a mix of Rangers and Broncos. All 2022 and newer Tacomas are produced in Mexico now, and are running nearly flat out with a peak capacity of 269,000 est. Ford sold 174,000 Broncos & Rangers in calendar year 2022,

    Reply

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