Ford gets emotional with the ‘Ranger Life’

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The Blue Oval is hoping that sales will continue to, well, pick up

By Kap Maceda Aguila

THE RANGER pickup line has, by far, helped the most to shore up the numbers of Ford Philippines last year when, as company Managing Director PK Umashankar reported, the industry tanked by 40% overall owing to the onset and onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The executive narrated during an online press conference last week that even if sales were down for the Blue Oval brand here, the company successfully piggybacked on the Ranger to realize a 30% decline — still better than the aforementioned industry dive.

Indeed, the Ranger lineup alone accounted for the company’s 9,767 units sold in 2020 (see pie chart) — 66% of 14,775 total vehicles moved — on the way to selling the most 4x4s (cornering 41% of the niche). Ford also reached a sales milestone of 10,000 units for the Ranger Raptor since it was introduced in September 2018. In fact, the appetite of Filipinos for this alpha Ranger is unequalled. Two of every three Ranger Raptors sold in the ASEAN region went to Filipinos.

Last month continued to reflect a consumer preference for pickups. Around 800 vehicles out of Ford’s 1,720-unit take-up were comprised of Rangers. Notably, the Ford Territory SUV had its best month to date with sales of 577 units, according to Ford Philippines Director for Marketing and Field Sales Operations Ryan Lorenzo.

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Thus, it makes perfect sense to keep the lights trained on the fast-moving 13-trim nameplate. Ford Philippines has launched the refreshed Ranger lineup, which boasts new design and exterior enhancements across its XLS, XLT, and Wildtrak variants to offer customers “a new look more attuned to today’s needs and lifestyles.”

Said Mr. Umashankar in a release, “Our new Ford Ranger lineup will allow us to continue building on our leadership in the pickup segment in the country… The new Ranger is set to deliver on its promise of functionality and capability while enabling the diverse needs and lifestyles of our customers.”

Wildtrak changes include a new trapezoidal grille with a Saber accent. The line gets gloss-black wheels and accents of the same hue on the grille, lower bumper, rear bumper, fog lamp bezel, exterior mirrors, fender grille, sports bar with Saber insert, roof rail, and tailgate handle. New Wildtrak decals on the side door and tailgate (the latter in 3D style) have also been added. Exclusive to the 4×4 variant as an option is a power roller shutter, “a load compartment accessory which is an original equipment from Ford.” The fully automatic feature (to be made available by the second quarter of the year) is complemented with three power buttons located in the dashboard, remote key and pickup bed for easy access, and comes with power tailgate lock.

Enhancements on the XLT include a new front grille with chrome accents and exterior gloss-black accents on the front grille, exterior mirrors, door handles, and fog lamp bezel. Finally, the XLS trims receive a new front grille.

To highlight these changes and more, Ford Philippines is further buttressing its marketing efforts to “bring the Ranger’s values and persona to life.” The campaign to further push the line is encapsulated in the “Live the Ranger Life” effort, which aims to “highlight and celebrate the many ways that the renowned strength and engineering capabilities of the Ranger reflects and support its customers’ personal goals and drive in life, centered around five guiding values: “Up and Over,” (tackling challenges); “Can’t Help But Help,” (assistance to others); “Where There Isn’t a Path, Carve One,” (fearless leadership), “Bring Others Along the Journey,” (family and friends); “We Make Our Own Fun,” (fun in driving).

Said Ford Philippines Assistant Vice-President for Communications Edward Joseph Francisco, in an interview with “Velocity,” “‘Live the Ranger Life’ is a new brand expression to position the Ranger as more than just a pickup but an enabler of our customers’ needs and lifestyles. The Ranger has proven a lot already. Now, we intend to connect with our customers in a deeper, more emotional level.”

When asked if Ford is looking at further growing the model lineup, Mr. Umashankar replied that it will depend on the clamor, and that the variant mix is shaped by customer needs. “One of the important things that we’re looking at is the stocking level that we could have if we’re looking at increasing the number of vehicles in a given range. However, it’s also important to stay true to the philosophy behind Ford — to make vehicles available for the users’ need. That’s why the range is defined by the users.”

The Ranger lineup has the following pricing below. Only the XLT MT and Wildtrak 4×4 get a price bump from last year’s figures. Mr. Umashankar clarified that the year’s pricing is not yet indicative of safeguard duties.

In response to our question, he posed, “Will (the lineup) grow? We don’t know, but if that’s what the consumers desire — if they want a niche product in a particular space, we’ll go out and carve one for them… We go about offering what the consumers want while we carefully balance out the complexity of having multiple products in the portfolio in a given time.”

For more information, visit www.ford.com.ph/trucks/ranger or a Ford dealership.

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