The Ford Ranger could make a comeback in North America by 2018 if the auto giant and the United Auto Workers can come to an agreement about the popular truck as they try to hammer out a new contract.
The midsize pickup, which was once popular in the United States, could be built at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, which has almost 4,500 workers, reported the Detroit News
Five vehicles are currently made in the hulking plant – the Ford Focus, Focus Electric, Focus ST, C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi – but the company announced it was pulling those vehicles from the facility in 2018.
"We actively are pursuing future vehicle alternatives to produce at Michigan Assembly and will discuss this issue with UAW leadership as part of the upcoming negotiations," said Kristina Adamski, a Ford spokeswoman.
reported that Ford could add a new Ford Bronco SUV to the Michigan Assembly floor. The company filed a trademark application for the Bronco name in February.
Ford discontinued the Bronco in 1996, two years after the O.J. Simpson's brand-damaging low-speed police chase through Los Angeles with a white Bronco.
The Ford Ranger, while discontinued in the United States in 2011, has lived on overseas. Rangers are sold in 180 foreign markets currently and is built in South Africa, Argentina, Thailand and Nigeria, noted the Detroit News.
Ford has not imported any of those vehicles to the United States because it would be hit with a 25-percent tariff.
Since the the Rangers departure, the smaller pickup truck market has witnessed resurgence, according to the Detroit Free Press
. General Motors and Toyota has taken advantage of the newfound interest with the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon and Toyota Tacoma.
"It's hard to believe the world's largest truck maker would leave an entire truck category to its competitors in the U.S.," said Karl Brauer, an automotive analyst with Kelley Blue Book.
"Despite Ford's initial doubts about GM introducing a lower-profit midsize truck to compete against its full size trucks, we know Ford is watching sales of the Canyon and Colorado very closely. Unless those GM trucks were rejected by the market, everyone knew Ford would follow suit. They weren't, and Ford is," said Brauer.
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