The Ford Ranger compact pickup truck has reached the end of its life, reports. The news of the truck’s demise was announced in the United Auto Workers 879’s June-August newsletter.

The Ranger, which has been around for about 30 years, will stop being produced on Dec. 22, 2011. About 7 million Rangers have been built over that time.

"We are scheduled to run until Dec. 22, 2011. The Leadership of Twin Cities Assembly Plant and its members thanked the UAW and Plant leaderships' for their support during these difficult times for our plant," said the UAW newsletter, USA Today reports.

The St. Paul, Minn. plant that builds the Ranger will close when production ends in December, Car and Driver reports. Ford has not announced plans for a replacement for the Ranger or commented on ending its production, but is introducing a new Ranger truck to sell later this year in global markets, excluding North America, reports.

If Ford doesn’t replace the Ranger with another four-cylinder small truck, the smallest option for Ford truck shoppers is currently the F-150, which has a standard V6. The 2011 four-cylinder Ranger gets an EPA-estimated 22/27 mpg city/highway with a manual transmission and 19/24 with an automatic, while the 2011 six-cylinder F-150, which is only available with an automatic transmission, gets 16/22.

Other options for shoppers who want a compact truck include the Suzuki Equator, Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, Dodge Dakota, GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado. The Suzuki Equator won our 2011 Best Compact Truck for the Money award for its combination of utility and price, and the Toyota Tacoma ranks at the top of its class for its above-average comfort and interior features.

Vehicles that are on the chopping block sometimes receive big discounts. For example, the $18,160 Ranger has up to $4,500 cash back this month in the northeast region, or zero-percent financing for five years and up to $2,000 in bonus cash.

There is a lot of wiggle room in the price if you have your heart set on a new Ranger. The average price paid for a new 2011 Ford Ranger in the New York area is $13,932, and in the Seattle, Wash. area, Rangers are selling for an average of $14,427, according to

Shopping for a compact pickup truck? Check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars. Then, look for a great deal on a new car by checking out this month’s best car deals. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter.