Ford will close out production of its Ranger pickup next week.

One of North America's longest-lived nameplates is about to reach the end of its historic run. Next week, Ford will shutter its St. Paul, Minnesota, assembly plant, which means the curtain will fall on the Ford Ranger compact pickup.

Ranger, which first began as a trim level on the company's F-Series truck in 1965, became its own compact pickup model in 1982. For more than half of its run, Ranger was the country's best-selling compact pickup, but Ford has chosen to focus its efforts on more fuel efficient powertrains in its larger F-Series instead.

Although Ranger received several updates during its nearly 30-year run, much of its basic design dates back to the early 1980s.

As a result, the Ranger nameplate will be retired in North America as Ford exits the compact pickup segment.

The last Ranger is set to be delivered to Orkin, the national pest control company that has long relied on the compact Ranger for its fleet.

Ford sold a staggering 348,358 examples of its Ranger pickup in 1999, but sales dropped 20,000 to 50,000 units annually in subsequent years before leveling out in 2009 at around 55,000 trucks a year.

The demise of the Ranger also signals the end of the road for Ford's Twin Cities Assembly Plant in St. Paul. Opened in 1924 to build Model Ts, the plant was once one of Ford's flagship facilities.


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