2020 Didn’t Slow Down the Ford Ranger at All

by Gabrielle DeSantis

With a pandemic raging throughout the year and many people reluctant to make major purchases, 2020 was not always lucrative for the auto industry. Surprisingly, however, some vehicles performed phenomenally, and the Ford Ranger is one of them. Let’s explore the Ranger’s impressive sales numbers over the past year and why it sold so well.

2020 Ford Ranger sales thrived despite the pandemic

RELATED: Pickup Truck Sales Appear to Be Pandemic-Proof

While many automakers experienced a drop in sales during 2020, data from GoodCarBadCar shows the Ford Ranger saw a startling sales spike during this period. It didn’t just hold its own, either: The Ranger’s 2020 sales were higher than they’ve been since 2005, when GoodCarBadCar began tracking these stats.

The Ranger sold 101,485 units in the United States in 2020. The previous year, it sold 83,571 units. And during its lowest point in 2012, this truck sold just 23,848 units. The only year in which it outperformed its 2020 numbers was 2005, selling 120,958 units.

The Ranger doesn’t appear to be slowing down, either. So far in 2021, it has sold nearly 37,000 units, and its first-quarter sales are approximately 3,000 units higher than they were for the same period in 2020. These numbers are also trending upward, meaning sales are looking great for the Ranger in 2021.

Why did the Ford Ranger perform so well last year?

The Ford Ranger’s staggering sales spike during such a challenging period begs the question: What exactly happened? Though there’s no single definitive cause, Ford Authority attributes the Ranger’s 2020 success to two significant factors.

The first is simply a matter of quality. The Ranger has always performed well in its segment and in 2020 maintained a lead over its direct rivals except for the Toyota Tacoma, Ford Authority reports. This level of brand recognition, as well as the Ranger’s affordability, likely helped this vehicle continue to attract buyers even during the pandemic. 

The second factor is more specific to 2020. Ford Authority hypothesizes the pandemic might’ve affected the Ranger’s supply chain less severely than its key competitors’ supply chains. This meant the Ranger was more readily available throughout the year, contributing to the rise in sales. 

What to expect from the Blue Oval’s midsize pickup truck

The 2021 Ford Ranger ranks second on U.S. News‘s list of compact pickup trucks. It starts at $24,820 and packs a 2.3-liter inline-four engine making 270 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. The 4×2 version is EPA estimated at 21 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 23 mpg combined.

The 2021 Ranger comes standard with a 2.3-inch display screen, 911 Assist, and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. Other convenience features, such as cruise control and automatic high beams, are optional.

U.S. News reviewers praise the Ranger, saying it “does almost everything well.” In particular, the Ranger stands out thanks to its good fuel economy and comfortable handling. Test drivers found that this truck shifts smoothly and accelerates rapidly, with minimal turbo lag. 

It also offers class-leading payload capabilities of up to 1,860 pounds. And it excels in towing ability, with a maximum capacity of 7,500 pounds. 

According to U.S. News, the only areas where the Ranger struggles are its firm ride and somewhat dull cabin. It also doesn’t offer the same off-road capabilities as many rivals. Though it can hold its own in off-road scenarios, it requires several optional packages to help it perform its best.

Even with these shortcomings, the Ford Ranger is popular for many reasons. Thanks to its class-leading payload and towing capabilities, fuel efficiency, and affordable price, it’s easy to see why this truck sold so well throughout this challenging time.

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