Editorial: Minnesota will miss the Ford Ranger

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 24, 2006

In Minnesota, Ford Rangers sold at twice the national rate. Minnesota, it is clear, loves Ford’s compact trucks.

Home-state product loyalty is powerful, according to Rajesh Chandy, a marketing professor at the University of Minnesota. Spam, made in Austin, is one example, he said. He was mentioned in an Associated Press story about the state’s love affair with Ford trucks.

The managing editor of this newspaper owns a Ford Ranger. Though he lived in Washington state at the time, he bought it in January 2002 after flying back to Minnesota for the holidays. He said he likes knowing the sticker in the window says it was made in St. Paul.

Sadly, even though Minnesota supported its local product, sales of small trucks have slumped nationally. Minnesota alone couldn’t change that trend. It was hoped Ford would hold onto the plant and its employees and convert it to a new product, but that is a costly proposal, too. Either way, it’s a tough nut to crack.

With all due respect, we bid farewell to the Ford Ranger. We will miss you, and Minnesota will miss you.