The first batch is heading Down Under.
While American buyers have to contend with the outgoing Ford Ranger, our Australian counterparts are rubbing their hands together in anticipation of the next-generation model. Drive reports that the first lot of the long-awaited Ranger is heading to Australia, after rolling off the production line at Ford's Thailand plant. Before the trucks were shipped off to their new home, plant workers celebrated the milestone with a celebratory send-off.
The pickup should arrive on showroom floors by June, with Blue Oval dealers expecting to receive the 2.0-liter, four-cylinder diesel variants at first. The desirable V6 diesel is expected to arrive shortly thereafter. More exciting still is the high-performance Raptor, which will be pushed down the production line soon. Australian buyers hoping to grab themselves an early Ranger Raptor may be in for a wait.
It's only set to arrive in koala country in the next few months and, even then, Ford has warned of delays due to the chip shortage - this affects all Ranger derivatives, though.
Still, that's nothing compared to the lengthy wait facing US consumers; we'll have to wait until next year. When the Ranger does eventually touch down on American soil, it's unlikely that local buyers will be able to choose from the turbodiesel powertrains available in other markets. Coincidentally, it's the lusty diesel V6 that's proving popular in Australia.
Demand for the six-cylinder engine has exceeded expectations, with Aussie Ford dealers noting some 70% of orders placed are for the V6 models. The USA may also receive a six-pot, albeit gas-powered. Much like the Bronco sent customers into a frenzy when it first arrived, it seems the Ranger is doing much the same with customers in Australia.
Would-be Ranger owners are stopping at nothing to get their hands on the darling of the Outback, often contacting dealers across the country to secure the mid-sized pickup, reports Drive. Sharp-witted consumers are sourcing unsold stock in smaller towns, for example.
The aforementioned production and supply issues will be alleviated somewhat when South African production kicks off. Ford's Silverton plant will also build the Colorado rival, along with the new Volkswagen Amarok, which itself is based upon the Ranger's underpinnings. Until then, Ford Thailand will steam ahead at full speed and has reportedly added a second shift, boosting production.
With the introduction of the new model comes an assortment of improvements, including new state-of-the-art technology to improve vehicle production and streamline the manufacturing process. The number of robots has effectively doubled and has increased automation significantly while leaving jobs unaffected - in fact, 1,250 additional roles were created. While the current generation is still a capable and appealing truck, it's starting to feel long in the tooth. We cannot wait to get our hands on the new model and envy those truck-loving Aussies.