Story originally published April 16, 1998
wade through will replace the light commercial Courier model with a new model made in Thailand next year.
The new vehicle, which can be called Forest rangerwent on sale in Thailand in September with exports starting to the Asia/Pacific region and Europe later this year.
Courier Substitute will also wear Mazda badge and will replace the Series B range sometime in January.
So far, Ford has released basic information about the Thai market model, which was first spotted last month at a motor show in Bangkok.
Called Forest ranger in that market, it will offer two diesel engines: the basic injected 2.5-liter powerplant that currently powers the base Courier model sold here; and a new, more powerful turbocharged version that will be available as an option.
The turbo engine is equipped with an intercooler and twin counter-rotating balance shafts. Ford claims this engine offers the best power and fuel economy in its class. Manual and automatic transmissions will be offered with both engines.
It is hoped that a gasoline-fueled power plant will be included in the export version, including vehicles bound for Australia. The V6 engine, which is now offered by most of its competitors, seems unlikely to join its ranks. A reworked version of the current 2.6 liter, four cylinder engine is possible.
Two- and four-wheel drive versions will be produced, and standard and super cab bodies will be offered. Three trim levels – Standard, XL and XLT – are likely.
On the outside, the new model features a more modern and rounded body. On the front, the large “chess-cutter” grille is similar to the one on the Explorer.
The Ranger is being built in Thailand, which has a large ute market, and was designed with that market in mind.
Ford Thailand operations president, Mr David Snyder, said: “We conducted extensive market research in Thailand, the world’s second largest pick-up truck market. These findings tell us that Thai customers want trucks that provide, above all, quality, reliability, comfort. , good performance and useful features.”
The Ranger name has been used in the United States in Ford light advertising since 1982.
The new generation Courier will play an important role in driving Ford’s commercial vehicles, which has seen the introduction of the European transit van and the marketing slogan “Built Ford Tough”.
Last year, the company sold nearly 23,000 light trucks, with the Courier range making up 5,275 of the total.
Ford did get its hands on a Thai-made pick-up truck in 1998 but, perhaps a little embarrassed by the loss of the tried and tested nameplate, Ford Australia stuck with the Courier badge for what was a Ford Ranger in international markets.
Australia had to wait until 2007 before the first utes with the Ranger badge started showing up at local dealers and in 2009, the growing ‘lifestyle ute’ market gave rise to the first Ranger Wildtrak.
Over the following years, the Ford Ranger has become one of Australia’s most popular new vehicles, regularly competing with fellow twin-cabin Toyota HiLux for the number one best-selling vehicle in Australia.
The Ranger has been second in the sales race for the past five years, including most recently in 2021 where its sales of 50,279 were only beaten by arch-rival Hilux (52,801). Ford can, however, take some solace in knowing the Ranger is Australia’s most popular 4×4 vehicle, Toyota creeping forward only after sales of the two-wheel-drive HiLuxes were added.
The new Ford Ranger will be released in 2022.