Under The Hood

Last U.S.-built Ford Ranger built in St. Paul assembly plant

Dec. 16 was a sad day for Ford Ranger fans and St. Paul, Minn., area auto enthusiasts, as it marked the day the last Ford Ranger was built, and the last day a new vehicle would roll out of the assembly plant.

I’ve had many friends and acquaintances that have worked at the St. Paul Ford plant, which is the only automobile assembly plant I have ever toured. I was too young to remember the occasion for the tour, which may have been a Cub Scout outing, but I  vividly recall watching 1980s Northland Edition F-150s moving down the assembly line. I also remember the pride I felt when my dad bought new Rangers in 1986 and 1990, knowing those trucks had been built at the St. Paul Ford plant just 20 miles away.

My father’s Rangers were just two of the more than 6 million Fords built at the plant since it opened in 1923. After Model T production began in 1925, the plant built T-17 medium armored cars and M8 armored cars during World War II, then shoe box Fords, 1955-’56 Crown Vics, Galaxies and full-size truck, among others. (Check out this story on a “bumble bee” yellow-and-black 1955 Ford Sunliner convertible built at the St. Paul Ford plant.)

According to Ford, the last U.S.-built Ranger will find a home with Orkin Pest Control, which has purchased thousands of Rangers for its fleet since 1983. The end of Ranger production also signifies the last vehicle to be built with Ford’s famous “Cologne” V6, ending 49 years and more than 25 million units of production.

After building more than 6 million Fords in Minnesota, the company has ceased production of vehicles at its St. Paul plant.

11 thoughts on “Last U.S.-built Ford Ranger built in St. Paul assembly plant

  1. Marques

    Yes, its sad that the Ford Ranger is not being built anymore or is it? You did say Last U.S. Built Ford Ranger. So, I have to ask, Who stuck it to us this time. Asia, Middle East, South American. Who is going to building our US Ford ranger besides us. If its not going to be built here…I’m gonna be pissed. If the ranger is done for that one thing if its being exported to another country and then imported back for us to buy….that will really suck. How many people will be out of work? Sad, Sad.

  2. Mike Berry

    Ford apparently believes we all want full-sized trucks. I bought my first Ranger this year, a ’93 regular cab with 4 cyl & 5 speed. So far, it is up to the jobs I need done and makes decent gas mileage. Now if we can just get the A/C to work in the summer and the heater in the winter, instead of the other way around.

  3. Andrew

    Does this mean the entire plant is shutting down,,or just the end of Ranger production,,or does it mean that Rangers will still be built, only over seas,,or something like that??

  4. Charles LaBella

    I bought a 2000 4L v-6 in 2005,extended cab,fully powered w/ac etc; it has been a good reliable truck used as my daily driver; has only 62000+ miles; only 2 weeks ago needed 3 freeze plugs and a thermostat replaced; only repairs made. I’d recommend a Ranger.

  5. Wally

    A sad statement. I bought the very same vehicle shown in July. It has a totally redesigned undercarriage and handles beautifully. Exemplifies how out of touch American auto industry has become after doing all that retooling and then just stop manufacturing it.

  6. John Fitzgerald

    I’ve owned two Ranger Supercabs – a ’94 and an ’08. Both were 4 cylinder five speeds which are very hard to find – I actually looked for my 2008 for three years. Ford wanted to sell me a full dress, 4 wheel drive, v6 automatic, which I simply didn’t want.

    Recently a Ford VP commented that their market research indicated that customers were using Rangers as commuter vehicles rather than pick up trucks, and said that Ford wanted those folks to drive a Fiesta, Focus or Fusion. Can you believe it?

    The Ranger was available everywhere else in the world as a crew cab, and in Europe they were most commonly sold with a 2.5 liter turbo diesel and a five speed. Needless to say, I would have killed someone in order to get one, but Ford once again has chosen not to sell American consumers what they wanted to buy.

    This year I regretfully traded in my 2008 because I need a crew cab with an automatic. Obviously, that ruled out buying a Ranger. I ended up buying a Nissan Frontier which was made in Tennessee with a v6 that was manufactured in Georgia. By the way, it’s such a great truck that I wish I would have been smart enough to buy a 2008 Frontier King Cab rather than a Ranger Supercab – the Nissans really do give you more for your money.

    Finally, I can’t tell you show frustrating it is to try to buy an American made, American company vehicle. In 2009 I bought a made in Indiana Subaru Legacy (another great vehicle) rather than a Ford Fusion which is made in Hermosillo, Mexico. The only thing I don’t like about the Subaru and the Nissan is that they weren’t built by UAW workers and that the profits end up going to Japan, and not staying in the USA.

    But, hey, that’s still way better than buying a Mexican Ford, no?

    1. Cathy

      Just looking at the new 2012 model, they made it really modern and stylish. Why didn’t they make it that way in the US? They might have gotten more sales if they had! Really stupid, Ford!

  7. Angelo Van Bogart

    The plant will be closing with no plans to build vehicles there in the future. I believe I read in the St. Paul Pioneer Press that this Ford plant will likely be sold eventually and make way for a different business, as it’s located on a very desirable slice of property.

  8. David

    I am 12 my dad has had a 1999 ford ranger that was blue we had it for ten years then we bout a 2011 ranger that was white and had the 4.0 liter engine and I got to admit the gas millige really stinks 15 city 20 highway but they are very good looking truck I think they look better then a f150 in my opinion


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