The Ranger died because Ford abandoned it. A 2009 Ranger had essentially the same interior as a 1994 Ranger - just look at picture of the dashboards. It was saddled with old outdated V6 engines and lame 5-speed automatics. The V6 Rangers towards the end were getting the same or worse economy as the new F-150 V6s - and cost nearly as much. The only reason the Ranger lasted so long was because it remained small, which was its only desirable aspect towards the end, that and 27 MPG from the 2.3L 4 cylinder wasn't terrible.valiant67 said:12 years ago the Ranger alone outsold the whole compact/midsize volume indicated at the link above. The market is gone.
The Dakota died because the last generation got too big and had bizarre styling. The 3.7L V6 was hilarious slow and got the same fuel economy as the 4.7 V8. On top of that, the 4.7L V8 Dakota got the same fuel economy as a 5.7 V8 Ram. It was just a "why bother with the Dakota?" type of situation. Chrysler killed everything that had made the 3rd Gen Dakota desirable.