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.
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|
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|
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|
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|
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.
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.