Seriously, we can't think of another reason to make this move.
When we said Ford should make the F-150 Raptor in right-hand drive people said that was a crazy idea. Well is it a crazier idea than selling the truck in China? Because that's happening! Ford announced the move in a press release today, saying that the new Raptor SuperCrew will be available in the country come 2017. As you'd expect, the Raptor will play the role of halo car/truck in China. "F-150 Raptor is the ultimate showcase of the tough capability available throughout Ford's family of trucks and SUVs," said John Lawler, head of Ford China.
Using the Raptor to attract buyers to the F-Series line makes sense, and that's something Henry Ford III is counting on. He spoke to Autoblog about the move, saying, "We do see a big halo lift from these performance products in the US and Europe, and we do expect to do the same thing in China." Fortunately for Chinese drivers the Raptor won't be neutered in its trip across the Pacific. Autoblog detailed the changes to the truck, which include: a tweaked front bumper, a marker light on the roof and a big reflector on the side grille. You'll also notice there's no lit border around the headlights. Autoblog asked Ford spokesman Mike Levine about how much the Raptor would cost in China. As you'd expect he didn't let much slip.
"We have some internal numbers, but it's not something we normally share," he said. But he did say the truck market in China was "low volume," so there's that. It'll be interesting to see how America's most badass truck is received overseas. The domestic market is seemingly dominated by knockoffs and the imports that do get the most attention are stretched luxury sedans. The Raptor is obviously neither. But who knows, maybe some America-obsessed Chinese millionaires will spring for one as a novelty purchase. That probably won't be enough to boost F-Series sales in China but at least it'll be good publicity for Ford.