Ford?s Ranger compact pickup has been in the lineup since 1993 and represents the best-selling line of compact pickups in the United States. How hot a seller is it? During one recent month, it actually outdid the industry?s No. 1 sales car, the Ford Taurus. The Ranger started out about a dozen years ago as a domestic basic pickup, built to answer the challenge presented by the Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Isuzu mini-pickups. They had become established on the West Coast and were in the process of moving eastward. Until then, Ford had no compact or mini-pickup of its own, but sold the Mazda B Series in this country as the Ford Courier. The Ranger and the Chevrolet S-Series/GMC Sonoma are the dominant players in this league, though the Toyota and Nissan do well in the West and South. And, in the same way that the S-Series/Sonoma is the basis for GM?s all-new sport/utility vehicles in 1995, the Ford Explorer sport/utility and the Ranger are related and continue to share a number of components and systems. Ford also sells Ranger trucks to Mazda where they?re known as the new B-Series line.