Ford Motor Company is unveiling its trucks in China to meet the country’s budding pickup market. Ford President and CEO Mark Fields is in Shanghai this weekend to outline the automaker’s strategy. Pricing for the new F-150 Raptor will be announced along with plans to sell the Ranger in China next year.
Recently, shipments of the F-150 Raptor were sent to China while Ranger remains the best-selling midsize truck in Europe, South Africa, and New Zealand
“We’re very excited to bring Built Ford Tough, one of the world’s best loved and most successful brands, to customers in the world’s largest auto market,” Fields said.
Although tucks represent barely two percent of the Chinese market, the winds of opportunity for Ford are still blowing. The automaker did exhaustive research, finding that Chinese customers thought most pickups fit the typical truck image: lacking features, not very comfortable etc. However, through television, film, and the internet, Chinese customers are more aware of the modern truck. Ford believes this creates potential growth in the market.
“We see a significant white-space opportunity with Chinese buyers increasingly looking for more capable, more refined, and more stylish pickups,” Fields said.
In fact, China is currently the fourth largest truck market with 14 percent growth last year alone. Ford’s research also indicates that Chinese customers lead active lives, both at work and at home, creating a need for an useful but comfortable pickup. At the same time, China is easing restrictions on truck usage.
“We see an opportunity to satisfy unmet need in China – for world-class, stylish, and refined pickups – and also to be a pioneer in this emerging segment,” said Dave Schoch, President of Ford Asia Pacific and CEO, Ford China.
Ranger & Raptor
The F-150 Raptor will introduce Chinese customers to one of the world’s most capable off-road trucks. The Raptor features an exclusive high-output version of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine mated with a Ford-built 10-speed automatic transmission. Other off-road signatures include 3.0-inch FOX Racing Shox and 17-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires.
“The F-150 Raptor has created a lot of buzz among Chinese customers since it was revealed for the first time last year and we are extremely excited to have it arriving in our showrooms in China, ready to be delivered to customers,” said Peter Fleet, Vice President, Marketing, Sales and Service, Ford Asia Pacific.
The Ranger is the second best-selling midsize truck globally outside North America. Ford has designed the truck with a fine balance of capability, refinement, and technology. The automaker believes the diversity and history of their trucks will find favor with Chinese buyers.
“Built Ford Tough is a proven brand, dating back to 1976 and we believe it has the opportunity to resonate powerfully with Chinese consumers,” Schoch said.
Ford has sold more than 26 million F-Series since 1977, making it the top-selling truck in America for 40 consecutive years, and the country’s best-selling vehicle overall for 35 years.
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan.