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.

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!