If you think Aussies are mad for dual cabs, then South Americans aren’t far behind. The Sao Paulo motor show in Brazil keeps throwing up utes and trucks, including the world debut of Volkswagen’s Tarok concept – and now Ford has offered up a spin on the Ranger.
Called the Storm, the concept basically parrots the external looks of the $74,990 Ranger Raptor, including the massively flared guards, unique rims teamed with Pirelli Scorpion tyres (instead of the Raptor’s BF Goodrich KA2s), a customised sports bar and a new front bash plate.
What’s missing, though, are the bits that give the Ranger Raptor its teeth; namely, the heavily revised suspension system, strengthened chassis rails and 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel engine/ten-speed auto driveline – the Storm has the standard 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo diesel/six-speed auto powertrain.
We asked Ford Australia whether a Ranger that simply wears the visage of the Raptor would have a place in its line-up, but product communications manager Damion Smy explained that while the company recognised the fact that there’s a healthy aftermarket industry for cars like the Ranger, the bespoke nature of the Raptor means that it’s difficult to offer items like flared guards to fit regular Ranger versions.
“In terms of accessories, we’re keen to offer and develop them, but for ultimate capability, we now have the Raptor,” he told Whichcar.
“It’s more capable than any kit we could offer, and it’s fully warrantied, too.”
The Ranger Raptor, for example, has wider front and rear tracks (axle widths), a bumper that’s bolted directly to the chassis rails, completely different suspension mounts and a different tray, complicating any efforts to share parts across the various models.
However, Smy didn’t closes the door on the notion of the brand’s own skunkworks operation, Ford Performance, offering parts for local Rangers.
“I wouldn’t rule out Ford Performance Ranger parts for Australia,” he said. “The market is going to dual-cabs, and that appetite is still growing; that could possibly spawn more Ford Performance products that could apply to these vehicles.”
The Australian-designed and developed T6 Ranger goes on sale in the US in 2019, which will also have the knock-on affect of igniting an aftermarkets parts avalanche from the biggest 4x4 market on the planet.