The equipment upgrades and higher quality materials reflect the fact that many customers in Europe buy high-spec versions.
“The majority of our [Ranger] business is really high end,” Hans Schep, Ford of Europe’s head of commercial vehicles, said at a Ford capital markets day in May. “You would be surprised at the money customers spend. Not just on the vehicle, but what they bolt on afterwards.”
In the first quarter, 89 percent of Rangers sold across Europe were five-seat, four-door, double-cab models, Ford said. Of the total, 78 percent were high-spec lifestyle variants such as the Wildtrak and Raptor.
Ford dominates the relatively small European pickup market with the Ranger after rivals such as Mitsubishi, Nissan and Renault cut or scaled back models.
The current Ranger led the segment at the end of September with a share of 39.9 percent on sales of 45,539 units in Ford’s 20 European countries, the automaker said. Its main competitor is the Toyota Hilux.
Ford has said the new Ranger will be sold in 180 countries globally. No plans have been announced for the U.S., where the Ranger, revived in 2019, is sold alongside the vastly more successful F-150 full-size pickup, but the company is expected to add the new model at a later date.
The new Ranger was designed at Ford’s Product Development Center in Australia.
“Our team was focused on one goal – to make this Ranger the toughest and most capable we’ve ever created,” said Graham Pearson, Ranger vehicle program director, said in the statement.
The new Ranger is equipped with a body-on-frame ladder chassis, in line with previous generations, but Ford said a hydroformed front end allowed for a wider engine bay to accept the 3.0 V-6 diesel.
A 50-mm longer wheelbase pushes the front wheels further forward for better off-road ability, while the track has been widened by 50 mm width to allow larger items to be loaded in the bed, including full-size pallets or sheets of plywood.