A Ford spokesperson (and I'm sure those from other companies feel the same way) said that compacts are not needed because of the strides made in fuel economy of full size pickups. It is true that the most recent full size pickups get extraordinary economy but fuel economy was not the only reason people bought compact trucks. It's about the size - bigger is not always better.
Let's take a look at pickup specs over the years using Ford models just because. Here's some comparisons:
|YR/Make/Model||Overall Length||Wheelbase||Width||Bed Length||Load Height|
|50 Ford F-100||188.78"||114"||75.68"||6.5'||24.09"|
|10 Ford Ranger||189.4"||111.5"||69.3"||6'||29.7"|
|15 Ford F150||209.3"||122.4"||79.9"||6.5' (std)||34.1" (2014)|
But why did I put full size in quotes above? Because full size has grown over the years. Check out pickups from the '60s or '70s and compare them to anything built after 2000; big difference. One difference that baffles me is the load height. Why in the world does anyone want a higher load height?
And consider the non-contractor, people like me who like the utility of a pickup but who don't need a big one. I would venture a guess that most non-professionals rarely have anything in the bed and almost never load their truck to capacity.
I have an old Toyota pickup, a 1987. It gets pretty good fuel economy, about 25 mpg on the highway, and it will carry just about anything I desire. And I can afford to use it as a daily driver.
I'm not alone. There is a market for compact pickups. Ford should take the lead and build a next generation Ranger, one with a 4-cylinder Eco-Boost engine.