Increased pickup demand in China has led Ford to announce that it will start selling its mid-size Ranger pickup there next year. The announcement follows Ford’s introduction of the F-150 Raptor to the world’s most populated nation.
“We’re very excited to bring Built Ford Tough, one of the world’s best loved and most successful brands, to customers in the world’s largest auto market,” said Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO. “We see a significant white-space opportunity with Chinese buyers increasingly looking for more capable, more refined and more stylish pickups.”
While pickup trucks currently represent less than two percent of the market, China is already the fourth largest truck market in the world with 14 percent growth last year.
Ford recently completed extensive market research to better understand Chinese attitudes, wants and needs when it comes to trucks. Those surveyed said pickups traditionally have been perceived as lacking comfort and modern features.
Chinese customers, however, have had more exposure to modern trucks through TV, film and the internet and have become more interested in pickups with more SUV-level comfort and refinement to support their work needs and expanding outdoor lifestyle.
At the same time, China has been easing restrictions on pickup usage in city centers, which is another factor driving growing interest in pickups.
“We see an opportunity to satisfy unmet need in China – for world-class, stylish and refined pickups – and also to be a pioneer in this emerging segment,” said Dave Schoch, president of Ford Asia Pacific and CEO, Ford China. “Built Ford Tough is a proven brand, dating back to 1976 and we believe it has the opportunity to resonate powerfully with Chinese consumers.”
Ranger comes to China with a strong track record. It’s the best-selling midsize pickup in Europe, South Africa and New Zealand, and second best-selling midsize truck globally outside North America.
Exported as a four-door SuperCrew model, the second-generation F-150 Raptor leverages the latest advanced technologies, including a military-grade, high-strength, aluminum-alloy cab, while its body is uniquely composite. Equipped with an advanced six-mode Terrain Management System, including Baja 1000, F-150 Raptor is engineered to meet the needs of demanding drivers.
“The F-150 Raptor has created a lot of buzz among Chinese customers since it was revealed for the first time last year and we are extremely excited to have it arriving in our showrooms in China, ready to be delivered to customers,” said Peter Fleet, vice president, Marketing, Sales and Service, Ford Asia Pacific.
Ford announced that the 2017 Raptor has only two levels of pricing in China: Roughly $72,500 for a standard series and nearly $80,000 for a high series. Reports of gray market sales of the truck have pushed pricing over $100,000.
The Raptor features an exclusive high-output version of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine mated with a Ford-built 10-speed automatic transmission. The truck features 3-inch FOX Racing Shox and 17-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires.