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Ford dealers across Australia will start offering a range of ARB accessories to suit the Ranger pick-up and the related Everest SUV wagon.
To come on stream in the second half of this year, the accessories will be covered by Ford’s five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, under an agreement to sell a selection of off-road-related items as ‘Ford Licensed Accessories’, but ARB branded through participating Ford dealers.
The five-year warranty period is two years longer than what even ARB Accessories offers at the moment, which is for three years.
This is good news for consumers. It is designed to simplify the process, save time, offer expert advice and obtain very high-quality accessories tested and given the green light by Ford for two excellent vehicles that have been designed and engineered in Australia for local and global conditions. The pairing is a match made in heaven.
“ARB and Ford are working together to ensure the products are compatible with Ford vehicle systems on the Ranger and Everest and that the vehicle systems maintain full functionality with accessories fitted,” Ford Australia said in a statement this week.
But the concern is money.
What the full range of accessories will be and how much they will cost over the ARB-purchased equivalent items has yet to be revealed. It is believed that the Ford items might cost more than what the ARB equivalents do, though there is no official confirmation of this from either Ford or ARB.
We also do not yet know if Ford will offer the full range of ARB accessories when the deal kicks off in the second half of this year, or merely a smaller selection. If so, this may limit the choice to the customer.
In the aforementioned press release, Ford Australia says it will include winch compatible bull bars, electric winches, driving lights and storage drawers, among other items.
“Under the agreement, ARB 4x4 Accessories and Ford Australia will work together to give local customers what they want: an easy, seamless way to kit out their Ford Ranger and Everest vehicles with high-quality and functional off-road accessories,” Ford stated.
“ARB 4x4 Accessories for Ranger and Everest that will be made available through Ford dealerships have been validated by Ford Australia engineers, with testing conducted at a number of locations including the Ford Australia Proving Ground near Lara, Victoria.
“The ARB engineering team is also based in Melbourne, with a large team of engineers and designers working from its global head office and manufacturing plant in the eastern suburbs.”
This union between Ford and ARB is different to the many other vehicle manufacturers that ARB supplies its off-road equipment and expertise to, in that they are usually branded under the vehicle manufacturer’s branding. In this case, the ARB items will be branded with ARB's logo, and not carry the Blue Oval one.
It is also understood that Ford can either continue to contract ARB to fit the ARB equipment or Ford dealers can fit them themselves.
In time, the Ford dealer/ARB arrangement is expected to extend to New Zealand and possibly beyond.
Established in 1975, ARB was created when founder Tony Brown discovered that existing 4x4 equipment struggled to stand up to Australian conditions, so set to rectify this from his family home garage under his ARB (Anthony Ronald Brown) initials.
Since then ARB 4x4 Accessories is Australia’s largest manufacturer and distributor of said items, and has gone global with offices in the United States, Europe and the Middle East, serving more than 100 countries.