Pretoria - It’s no secret that Ford Ranger owners love to accessorise their bakkies, and with the new generation model due later this year, that is set to get even easier.
Best of all, these ‘Ford Licenced Accessories’, which are available in addition to its own Ford Genuine accessories, won’t void the vehicle’s warranty.
“You only need to look around your local shopping mall car park to see just how many bakkies and SUVs have aftermarket bull bars, wheels and lift kits fitted,” said Ford’s chief program engineer for special vehicles, Dave Burn. “Many people significantly accessorise their vehicles to suit their personal and work needs, so it was important that we engaged with these enthusiasts to see what we could do to help.
“We’ve traditionally engineered everything ourselves to ensure quality and performance standards were up to our expectations. But we also recognised that there were aftermarket companies out there that our customers were passionate about, that had excellent brand recognition and reputation for quality in their fields – and that we could collaborate with through the Ford Licensed Accessory programme,” Burn added.
Ford says extensive computer-aided engineering work, as well as real-world testing, was carried out to ensure that the accessories meet customer expectations.
“We made sure we actually went out and used the vehicles as our customers use them,” said Ford customisation supervisor Nathan Medbury.
“We took the cars and, for two weeks, we went to the Victorian high country and we lived out of them, off the grid, camping, and doing every track that we could possibly think of,” Medbury explained. “We also conducted a number of rolling road tests for thermal performance and a significant crash test programme.”
The product development team in Australia, where the new Ford Ranger and Everest were designed, also consulted key members from vehicle owner groups.
Ford has also made it easier to fit various accessories to the new Ranger and Everest.
For instance, all new-generation Rangers will come with six upfitter switches on the overhead console to facilitate aftermarket customisation.
The pre-wired switches are connected to the power distribution box, and each circuit is individually fused from 10A to 30A, with circuits placed in locations around the vehicle commonly used for the fitment of after-market equipment with two sets of blunt-cut sealed circuits under the hood (near the radiator support and the fuse box) and one at the rear of the bakkie, close to the trailer hitch.
A five auxiliary switch bank accessory will be available for other models with similar capacity to support installation of a variety of accessories customers might desire.
Certain variants of the new Ranger and Everest will also have a dedicated space under the bonnet for the fitment of a second battery to power things like your camping fridge.
“Our goal was to create the most comprehensive, factory-backed accessory catalogue we’ve ever had, expanding the versatility of Ranger and Everest for our customers and allowing them to work, play and explore with family,” said Ford’s vehicle personalisation director Michael Karageorgiou.
The new Ford Ranger is set to go on sale in South Africa during the fourth quarter of 2022.