Voices

Ford’s new Ranger and the Reversing Camera debate…

there’s a bit of noise about reversing cameras not being standard on 2016 Ford Ranger. Here’s my two cents…

I WAS THERE at the launch of the revised 2016 Ford Ranger and listened to both sides of the conversation. I get the point – reversing cameras are a very good feature for safety, there’s driveway accidents and as Ranger is being oriented as a family truck it should have a camera as standard not as an option, and across the range. So Ford’s MD and PR boss copped some heat at the launch for not including it as standard when it is available on far cheaper vehicles.
 
Here’s another perspective. 
 
You want a camera, get your backside down to your local auto shop, or buy one online. Line up a Saturday arvo to fit it, then job done, move on with your now-safer life. Or flick the work onto your local auto sparky, even then it should be under $500 all up.   
 
No, an aftermarket option won’t be as beautifully integrated on the screen and the guidelines won’t work as well. But it’ll work well enough, maybe even better as you get to position the camera(s) where you want, perhaps on top of your canopy or service body for example. You might also fit a striplight for even better illumination. Oh, and if you can’t reverse without guidelines then buy a Fiesta instead.
 
This reversing camera whinge isn’t like a lack of stability control or active cruise control which can’t be retrofitted. It’s an easy fix.
 
It’s also cold hard commercial reality. Every car manufacturer has product planners who dedicate their lives to figuring out what trim levels should exist and what kit should be in each level, and much as us journos reckon we know the market, we don’t have the evidence manufacturers do.  Ford would have decided that the cost/sales of the camera wasn’t worth it, and they do that by figuring out what people want, it’s a simple commercial decision. 
 
And you know what?  Car buyers in general, and ute buyers in particular don’t pay much extra for safety gear.  That’s why government needs to exist, so they legislate stuff people need but won’t buy – stability control being a prime example, with AEB up next.  I’d certainly support cameras being mandated too.  But why should Ford or any other manufacturer compromise their business by ignoring their own evidence and offering anything other than what they think sells best?  They have shareholders to answer to.  If you really want to hop into Ford feel free to tell them what you think of the “3500kg” tow rating, a much harder problem to fix.
 
So, Australia.  Think of your new cars as a base for improvement and modification.  Not everything in life has to be handed to you on a plate, there’s a big wide world of aftermarket out there ready to help make your car really yours.

Stop whinging and start fitting.


9 Comments

  1. Dancar
    August 21, 2015 at 6:50 pm — Reply

    WHen the first Ranger backs over a child, Ford’s MD &PR and YOU Pepper remember that it MAY not have happened if a reversing camera was fitted from new and if just one child is saved it’s an option that Ford and you Pepper in that arrogance fail to even care about. Utes and Dual cabs are mobile child killers in reverse and your condescending article of what to do if you don’t get one on your new Ford is an insult to readers who help pay your wages and inadvertently Ford is the first car firm to leave Australia because they just couldn’t read the ‘Aussie” market demands.

    • August 21, 2015 at 7:04 pm — Reply

      Hey Dancar. Ford are reacting to consumer demand. If they thought they could sell more Ranger by making cameras standard fit they would have done. But they didn’t. I’m explaining how things work in the real world, you may not like it and that’s fine but it doesn’t change the facts. I’d like to see more safety features legislated for as I’ve said for AEB for example, because unless forced consumers won’t demand it and therefore manufacturers won’t fit it.

    • Joel Tuckett
      August 22, 2015 at 1:00 am — Reply

      I’m sorry, you NEED a reversing camera to not BACK over a child?? Are you mental??

      These aids are great for idiots that don’t know how to drive a vehicle (80%+) but do nothing for an observant driver, you know, the type WE are touted as being???

      Seriously, You guys are insane if you rely on technology to keep you safe.

    • Glenn
      July 26, 2016 at 5:30 pm — Reply

      If a driver fails to option a camera, and backs over a child, they should worry. Not Ford.

  2. […] Ford’s new Ranger and the Reversing Camera debate… – there’s a bit of noise about reversing cameras not being standard on 2016 Ford Ranger. Here’s my two cents… I WAS … You want a camera, get your backside down to your local auto shop, or buy one online. Line … […]

  3. Ryan
    February 20, 2016 at 2:33 pm — Reply

    Yes, you can buy an aftermarket camera for it, but that is not the point. You said it costs $500 to get an aftermarket one installed, which means Ford could add one from factory for next to nothing. To the customer, it’s a bit rude not to have a standard camera on a vehicle that costs over $55,000 (whether you use one or not).

    What other class of vehicle would try and get away with not adding a camera to a car that costs so much to purchase?

    To option it costs another $4,000 from factory (because you have to bundle it with other SAFETY AND LIFE-SAVING EQUIPMENT).

    In the business world, this is called upselling. Make the product more attractive by offering it at a lower price, then force customers to add on the essentials such as a reversing camera to make extra profit… Turning a $55,000 car into $60,000. 🙈👎

    Sorry it doesn’t add up in a world where the customer is looking for value for money. It may not be an essential item, but it should be included when you are asking such a high price….
    And that’s $60,000 for a vehicle that is still running leaf springs and drum breaks- but that’s a whole other argument…

    • February 20, 2016 at 2:38 pm — Reply

      People happily pay the asking price, so you can’t blame Ford for acting like a commercial business. You’ve answered your own point – in the business world it’s called upselling, and that exactly why Ford – cynically you may say – haven’t bundled the camera and added it to a safety range. It’s cold hard free market captialism at play. The only way around it is not to call on Ford to abandon its pursuit of profitability, but to ask the government to mandate cameras as it did with ESC.

    • Glenn
      July 26, 2016 at 5:29 pm — Reply

      Umm, no. Optioning it costs $1,100 from factory. $500 for the camera, $600 for the life saving tech features no other dual cab ute bothers offering.

  4. buster
    September 3, 2016 at 3:31 pm — Reply

    A lot of people are missing the point, main use of a rear view is if you are hitching a trailer up, it makes this job really easy, think people are loosing the plot

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Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper is a motoring journalist, offroad driver trainer and photographer interested in anything with wings, sails or wheels. He is the author of four books on offroading, and owns a modified Ford Ranger PX which he uses for offroad touring. His other car is a Toyota 86 which exists purely to drive in circles on racetracks, and that's when he isn't racing his Nissan Pulsar. Visit his website: www.l2sfbc.com or follow him on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RobertPepperJourno/ or buy his new ebook!