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Ford Ranger interview

By Ninemsn Motoring, 24 Aug 2011 News

Insight: New Ford Ranger

4X4 Australia’s exclusive interview with Gary Boes, Vehicle Line Director, T6 Programme Ford Asia Pacific and Africa.

4X4 Australia’s exclusive interview with Gary Boes, Vehicle Line Director, T6 Programme Ford Asia Pacific and Africa.

The ute segment of the Australian vehicle marketplace has never been hotter. Long awaited improvements in stability and traction control systems, drive and new-tech engines with Euro emissions legislation catered for, have all made appearances. Ford’s new Ranger, built on a global platform under the banner of One Ford, has also built local excitement for this homegrown workhorse.

As Ranger nears its Australian launch, 4X4 Australia’s Tim Scott caught up with Gary Boes, Vehicle Line Director, T6 Programme Ford Asia Pacific and Africa, to see what we can glean from the man in control.

Why is the One Ford strategy so important for the motor industry in Australia?

The all-new Ranger is a great example of why our One Ford Strategy is so important in Australia. It allowed our team right here in Australia to lead a global design and development project.

Has the strategy helped save development costs for Ranger, as opposed to if it had been pursued as a single-model redevelopment?

Our One Ford Strategy clearly enables us to efficiently leverage resources from around the Ford globe, and to develop the all-new Ranger as a world-class product. We can share product content, product development processes and manufacturing processes, enabling the all-new Ranger to compete globally and efficiently.

Who is the closest ute rival here? Amarok? Or possibly D-Max when it arrives? Do you consider Toyota to be just playing catch up?

I don’t know that we single out any one competitor; our goal is to understand all of our competitors and ensure the all-new Ranger fully meets or exceeds all of our customers’ needs.

With two new Duratorq diesel engines that are Euro 5 compliant (2013 in Oz), is it a simple step for Euro 6 compliance, with regulations to be mandated in Oz from 2018?

We have a comprehensive strategy to remain compliant and to meet the market’s needs.

Do you expect the dual cab 3.2 to be the highest-selling engine model? We will let the markets and our customers determine the mix. We feel we are offering a complete powertrain line-up with our 2.5 petrol, 2.2- and 3.2-litre diesels.

Is it manual-only for the petrol version?

Correct; five-speed manual. Six-speed manual and auto for the diesels.

Will buyers be able to swap wheel packages to ease off-road tyre selection?

The all-new Ranger is available with 16-, 17- and 18-inch wheels. Customers will be able to choose.

Given the recent steps forward in ute safety, is there a reason, other than cost, that Ford didn’t look to steal the march and employ full-time 4X4, rear disc brakes and the ultimate – rear coils?

We believe the component and systems strategy that we selected for the all-new Ranger meets all of the customers needs. Some selections, like rear springs or brakes, are decisions that we believe deliver on the all-new Ranger’s attributes, including off- and on-road capability, as well as ease of service and repair in all markets worldwide.

A 50mm increase in wading depth from PK Ranger is quite impressive. With good ground clearance, what underbody protection has been employed for the off-road work found in Australia?

We have added underbody protection for all critical components (diff, fuel, etc).

Rear diff lock – why not standard?

Gives our customers choices based on use.

What has replaced the tie-down rail that was on the outside of the cargo area? Is there some kind of system similar to Nissan’s Utili-Trak?

Yes, we have a very useful and user-friendly tie-down system. Probably best to demonstrate it for you. [Guess we’ll have to wait, then!]

Is the 12V socket still in the tray?

Yes, it is available with the optional bed liner.

A 3350kg braked towing capacity and 1500kg payload are class leading numbers. But still only vans take pallets?

We believe the all-new Ranger will meet all of the needs of our consumers.

When does ANCAP safety rating take place?

Later this year.

Do we know what off-road mapping will be in the satnav-equipped models?

The hardware for the nav system was developed with Bosch Automotive. The software was developed in conjunction with Tele-Atlas/Census-Navtech using maps from various suppliers depending on the region.

Is it too early to ask Ford prices?

We are getting close to releasing the pricing, just not quite yet. Sorry!