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The Toyota HiLux has been Australia’s best-selling new vehicle for the past five years, but with the all-new Ford Ranger just around the corner we could get a new favourite.
The key to Toyota’s success has been its strength in the more value-orientated 4x2 sector, where the HiLux had a 7236 sales advantage over the Ranger in 2020 – thus making it more popular overall.
Ford is acutely aware of this, and while the company didn’t want to delve into the details of its plan to combat the HiLux 4x2 with the new Ranger, the company said it was “really determined to grow our share” in 4x2 as well as 4x4.
The key to growing the popularity of the Ranger is its local development. While it’s manufactured overseas, like the HiLux, the outgoing and incoming Ranger has been developed by a team led by Ford Australia engineers.
And according to the company, the Melbourne-based team is able to incorporate local preferences to suit Australian customers.
“Australian-based engineers and designers lead the development of the Ford Ranger, and their local insights and contributions play a key role to its success in this market,” a Ford spokesperson told CarsGuide.
Arguably one of the key appeals of the Toyota range that allows it to generate its sales advantage over Ford is the price. The entry-level HiLux 4x2 Cab Chassis Workmate starts at $23,590 (plus on-roads), compared to the $29,190 starting price for the Ranger 4x2 Cab Chassis XL.
Ford obviously won’t reveal its pricing plan for the new Ranger, but it’s confident that it will sell on its merits in the highly-competitive ute market.
“We know how important it is for customers who use their truck for work, whether they’re sole traders or big fleets, to have the right equipment to help them get on with the job,” the Ford spokesperson said.
“That’s why we’ve really looked at the features they want and use, and this led us to develop new options that have been well received, like the Ranger XL 4x4 Heavy Duty Special Edition. Their feedback has also been around the importance of safety and technology – reflected in the fact that all new Ranger customers, 4x2 included, can benefit from the connected convenience of FordPass, and the peace of mind of AEB with pedestrian detection”
As we’ve written before, Ford cannot afford the Ranger to fail as it accounted for two-thirds of its total sales in 2020, but the blue oval is confident that it has a loyal fan base that will stick around for the new model.
“We’ve worked hard over a long period of time on developing Ranger, in terms of features, capability, quality and desirability. It’s a long-term journey, and a sustainable, satisfied customer base is our priority,” the spokesperson said.
Ford gave us our first official glimpse of the new Ranger earlier this month when it released a teaser video of the new model testing in a variety of conditions, confirming it will be revealed in full before the end of 2021.
As previously reported, it’s expected the new line-up will be powered by an overhauled engine range which will include a new 130kW/420Nm single-turbo four-cylinder diesel, 157kW/500Nm twin-turbo diesel and a pair of V6 engines with the flagship packing 230kW/540Nm. A plug-in hybrid is also likely at some point during its lifecycle.