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Ford opens Michigan plant to relaunch Ranger pickup, Bronco SUV

By Ed Adamczyk
Ford opens Michigan plant to relaunch Ranger pickup, Bronco SUV
Production began Monday on Ford's new Ranger pickup truck at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Co.

Oct. 22 (UPI) -- After nearly a decade, the Ford Motor Co. resumed production Monday of its mid-sized Ranger pickup truck in the United States.

The Michigan Assembly Plant near Detroit was the site of the relaunch Monday after an $850 million renovation of the facility to build Ranger truck and future Bronco SUVs, which is another 4x4 making a comeback for Ford after years away.

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The Ranger was discontinued in North America in 2011 but has been produced in other countries. Ford said the Bronco, last built in 1996, will return in 2020.

The 369-acre plant was built in 1957 and made Ford's small Focus car until earlier this year, when it was closed for retooling for the Ranger assembly lines.

The Ranger and Bronco are high-profile examples of Ford's line of vehicles, and the new facility signals the company's intent to stay focused on the American appetite for pickup trucks and SUVs. Ford is transforming its product line to eliminate passenger cars. Except for the iconic Mustang, all car models made by Ford will eventually be scrapped.

"We have been waiting for this day for a long time," said plant manager Erik Williams. "The Ranger is back home in the U.S., and our employees at Michigan Assembly Plant are thrilled to be able to build it for our customers."

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The cost of new Ranger will start at $24,300 and will have comfort and safety features, unlike the basic earlier version of the vehicle.

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