Ford resumed U.S. production of the midsized Ranger pickup on Monday for the first time in seven years.
The move is part of a plan to strengthen Ford's historically robust presence in profitable trucks at a time when the automaker faces pressure from shareholders and an uncertain future. Ford shares are down more than 30 percent this year, and the automaker is contending with high costs for materials, threats from traditional competitors and disruptive tech companies, as well as a trade war.
The second-largest U.S. automaker invested $850 million in the Michigan assembly plant to build the Ranger and the Ford Bronco. The Ranger was discontinued in the U.S. in 2011, but produced internationally, while the Bronco was discontinued in 1996.
Reintroducing both vehicles to the U.S. market is part of the company's gambit to take advantage of America's shift in consumer sentiment toward pickups, SUVs and crossovers. Ford plans to replace 75 percent of the vehicles in its lineup by 2020 and will move away from selling sedans and compact cars.