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Ford admits “desire” to create V8 Raptor and further variants

Rumours are swirling about Ford Australia producing a Ranger Raptor V8, and the local arm says it wants one in its lineup, along with other performance utes. 

FORD AUSTRALIA HAS admitted there is at least a “desire” to create the widely-rumoured V8-powered Ranger Raptor, while also confirming it plans to develop more niche variants of the popular dual-cab pick-up and its seven-seat Everest sibling.

Speaking to Practical Motoring at the launch of the locally-developed, supercharged Mustang R-Spec, Ford Australia President Kay Hart was reticent to divulge any firm details regarding the V8 Ranger Raptor, which was first touted on the cover of Wheels Magazine earlier this year. But she did concede that such a concept has created a lot of noise in the market, and led to significant enquiry through the Ford dealer network.

“That is purely speculation,” she said when quizzed about the state of play on V8-powered Ranger Raptor. 

“One of the things we are extremely proud of here with the team that have designed and engineered that vehicle is the passion and enthusiasm that our customers and the broader public have for that vehicle and the desire to always ask for something new, and we love that. It is something that is a pride point for us.

“Is there a desire for it? Yes, and I think the speculative story that came out proved that with the amount of enquiry and discussion that has caused,” Hart added.

“It is purely speculation. We literally have nothing to say; it is purely speculation at this stage.”

There has been speculation that a local third-party might prepare the V8 Raptor in partnership with Ford Australia, however, considering the significant amount of engineering work required for such a program, it is highly unlikely to manifest itself in the current-generation Ranger which is due to be replaced within the next 18 months by an all-new model being jointly-developed with Volkswagen.

In the interim, Ford is investigating other niche variants of the Ranger and its wagon-bodied Everest sibling having now successfully driven through the Mustang R-Spec program, which was created in partnership with renowned Melbourne-based performance tuner, Herrod Performance, and is built under a second-stage manufacturing scheme.

“It’s a first for us in terms of learning – and we have learnt a lot along the way. We have brought it to market fairly quickly, which is something we really wanted to test, and it no doubt opens up further opportunities for us,” said Hart.

“I think a number of different things, I think Ranger, Everest… really vehicles where we believe customers have a lot of modification or customisation on their vehicle and are looking for a manufacturer to do that for them – and Mustang was a great example of that; one of the most customised vehicles in the world.

“So we had plenty of customers asking us ‘Can you supercharge it?’ type-of-thing. I think there are options for Ranger, for Everest… for off-road and performance.”

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Andrew Maclean

Andrew Maclean