Building on excellence in this segment is the best possible way to retain the glory and profits if you ask us. Well, that’s exactly what the Blue Oval brand will be doing with the updated 2018 Ford Ranger. Ford Australia’s chief recently confirmed this when he exclaimed how important it is for the company to focus on ‘offering excellence in the segment.’
In his interview with ‘CarAdvice’ earlier this week, Graeme Whickman, Ford Australia CEO, claimed that he couldn’t say or discuss anything about the new model however he emphasized that the company’s hopes lay in retaining and building on the current standard set by the model’s predecessor!
He said: ‘I’ll give you the stock, boiler-plate answer because you know I’m not going to talk about future product, right?’
He went on to add: ‘Firstly, we’ve gone from a 15-ish per cent share of that segment to, year-to-date, we’re about 21, or close to 21,” he said. “And that’s been very satisfying. But in truth I think that’s come from the excellence of the product. I think, I’m hoping – this is what I’m told by customers – is they see the vehicle as one of the must-haves.’
He also shared a few thoughts on customers’ repurchase intentions: ‘There’s probably two or three that set people’s minds around ‘if I’m going to buy a pick-up, I’m going to try that one, that one and that one’ or it might just be ‘that one or that one’, and I think, thankfully, we’re one of those vehicles.’ The latter part of the sentence probably refers to the Volkswagen Amarok and/or the Toyota HiLux since these are Ford’s rivals in the given field.
‘The challenge for us is going to be that we continue with the product excellence, and so, if you think about what we did last year and the year before – first in the market with five-star, some of the driver-aid availability. If you can keep hitting the sweet spot with product excellence, and the wonderful thing here is we have 1700 designers and engineers sitting in Victoria who happen to work on that program, and lead the global development of that program, and the Everest amongst some other things.’
He then continued to talk about Ford Australia engineers: ‘So you’ve got some pretty skilled, pretty talented Australians who know the geography, know the product, and understand how it ticks – so if we can continue to harvest that sweet spot, then I’m hoping we can earn the right to achieve those sorts of things.’
The only rational thing to think after these words is that a future democratization of advanced safety tech, better efficiency, and improvements to refinement are inevitable. Therefore we expect the new-generation model to get rid of the base model 2.2-liter diesel in favor of the new EcoBlue 2.0-liter four-cylinder that can be found in the updated Transit Custom however it is still unknown what will be the fate of the five-cylinder unit.
He then finished with moving focus on sales vs. customer satisfaction. ‘Sales is just one barometer of success: the Ranger is one of our highest customer-satisfaction vehicles, and that’s rewarding to us as well. It’s not always about sales, it’s about the critical acclaim. You read comparisons, you read what people have to say about the product, and it’s genuinely a pride point for us, and it has such a great Australian connection as well.’
‘I think there’s some magic in all that, wrapped up, which will hopefully allow us to continue to deliver a really good pick-up.’
Well, all we have to say now is good luck mate, those are some big shoes to fill in! And we surely expect excellence now!