JOHANNESBURG - It’s no secret that the next-generation Ford Ranger will be built in South Africa, once again for both local sales and exports. And judging by the latest evidence, which has presented itself in the form of spy pictures from Europe, a plug-in hybrid model could form part of the mix.
As reported by Carscoops, a camouflaged next-generation Ford Ranger prototype was recently spied undergoing testing in Europe, with a yellow sticker on its windscreen implying that it’s a plug-in hybrid.
Given that Europe is Ford South Africa’s biggest export market for the current Ranger, it would seem more than likely that if that market received a plug-in hybrid derivative, it would surely be built in South Africa.
Of course, the ever-tightening European Union emissions regulations mean that the days are numbered for purely internal combustion models. In fact, if Ford SA wanted to export Rangers to Europe beyond the 2030s, there would have to be a fully electric version.
As previously reported, Ford has invested R15.8 billion to build the new Ranger in South Africa, alongside the next-gen Volkswagen Amarok through a partnership between the two carmakers. This is expected to create 1200 new jobs directly as well as a further 10 000 across the supply chain.
What else do we know about the new Ranger?
For starters, judging by the spy pictures, it will have a boxier front end design inspired by the latest Ford F-150. According to CarAdvice, the current 2-litre turbodiesel engine will carry over in both single-turbo and twin-turbo guises, and it is also speculated that a 3-litre V6 turbodiesel engine from the Ford F-150 will join the line-up, to power flagship models such as the Raptor. A twin-turbo petrol V6 is also rumoured for markets such as the US.
Although Ford has not provided exact time lines, the new Ford Ranger is expected to be revealed later this year, ahead of it going into production in 2022.