Ford will build Ranger Raptor for Asian market
Ford Motor Co. announced Wednesday plans to introduce an all-new Ranger Raptor off-road performance pickup overseas.
The new vehicle from Ford’s performance team will launch in the Asia Pacific market. It builds the company’s performance lineup. Jim Farley, Ford president of global markets, said in January the Blue Oval plans to launch more performance vehicles.
“The Ford Performance team is excited to extend the Raptor name from our flagship off-road performance F-150 to Ranger,” Jamal Hameedi, chief engineer of Ford Performance, said in a statement. “Just like the F-150 Raptor, the Ranger Raptor builds upon the core capability of the range of vehicles it comes from and carries the unmistakable Ford Performance DNA appearance.”
The company would not comment on whether a Raptor version of the new truck would be introduced in the United States. It will go sale in the Asia Pacific market ahead of the Ranger’s return to North America scheduled for early 2019. Ford had previously announced plans to launch the performance Ranger Raptor in 2019 in South Africa.
“We'll have more to share about Ranger Raptor at a later date,” Ford spokesman Mike Levine said.
Ford showed its redesigned midsize Ranger for the North American market in January at the Detroit auto show. The automaker will begin building the truck later this year for a first-quarter 2019 launch. That will mark the first time the truck is sold in North America since Ford pulled it in 2011.
The 2019 Ford Ranger built at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne for North American sales will have three trim levels, an off-road package and one engine option, a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. The truck will replace the Focus and the C-Max there. Focus production will move to China. The C-Max will be discontinued once Michigan Assembly is retooled to make the Ranger and the 2020 Bronco.
The Thailand-built Ranger Raptor brings more power to the truck. The Ranger Raptor boasts a 210-horsepower 2.0-liter Bi-Turbo diesel engine mated to a 10-speed transmission it shares with the popular F-150 Raptor.
It looks like a F-150 Raptor, too. The trucks grille takes design cues from the performance pickup, with “Ford” stamped in block print across the front. The new performance pickup is taller, wider and longer than the base model. Inside, the seats offer “high speed performance support,” among other changes to the cabin.
The company engineered the truck to tackle terrain, but handle well on paved roads, too. The vehicle has six driving modes.
“The standout experience of the Ranger Raptor, hands down, is how far you can push it off-road versus any other available production road vehicle in our markets, and still ride like a millionaire on-road,” Damien Ross, chief program engineer of the Ranger Raptor, said in a statement.
Wednesday’s announcement comes just over a year after Ford announced it had started shipping 2017 F-150 Raptors to China. A black market had developed there, in which truck enthusiasts were paying up to four times the U.S. sticker price for the mean-looking pickups.
The Ranger Raptor could build on demand for the performance truck there. The company also announced in December it would launch the Ranger Raptor in South Africa in 2019.