Ford NZ’s communications man Tom Clancy says a recent story in Automotive News NZ about the carmaker’s upcoming Everest SUV “is incorrect and causing a few issues out there. We will release detailed spec (specifications) soon.”
That’s it. A ‘nothing to see here, move along’ sort of response to a story that asked why Ford would leave out of its new Everest SUV (above) active safety gear that it says will be standard on the updated Ranger ute.
It was a legitimate question, coming after Ford confirmed at the launch of the Everest last month in Thailand that although it would come with a smart safety package – including self-parking, blind spot monitoring, and cross traffic alert – it would not get the Ranger’s active safety equipment as standard.
Readers of Automotive News NZ picked up on the story and asked Ford NZ the same thing. Clancy replied to one reader: “We haven’t even discussed specifications for our Everest. That said, I know it has adaptive cruise control, collision warning and mitigation as well (as) rear view camera as standard across the range – amongst other very smart features.
“We will release full spec details and pricing closer to launch but I can assure you the Everest will be one to keep an eye on.”
Whether or not radar cruise control, collision warning, and lane departure warning will actually be standard or optional on the NZ-spec Everest will not be known until closer to the launch.
But the fact remains Ford said at the official Asia Pacific launch of Everest that it would not get the Ranger’s active safety equipment as standard. The Automotive News NZ story said: ‘It remains a talking point that an SUV likely to be mostly used by families isn’t equipped with the same advanced safety gear as a commercial ute. Why this is so hasn’t been made clear by Ford.”
The answer might have something to do with Ford Australia looking at a special Ranger model to sit at the top of the range, above its current Wildtrack.
Such a vehicle would come with every up-to-date safety device and be a signature Down Under Ford model, something like the F-150 SVT Raptor is for Ford in the US.
Ranger chief engineer Ian Foston told Australian media the company was considering a range of possibilities for future hero models. “Certainly at Ford we look at a lot of different things,” he said. “We have a lot of irons in the fire and we do a lot of investigation.”
But he said Ford Australia wasn’t ready to produce a Ranger that stands alone above every light truck offering, like the SVT Raptor does for Ford US. The Raptor gets a V8 engine and off-road suspension enhancements.
“Certainly not in the short term and not in the scope of what I’m doing,” Foston said. “But we are looking at all sorts of things for the future.”
Foston said the role of the ute has evolved. “The segment has changed in the last four years since Ranger was first introduced,” he said.
“People now use it for lifestyle things. People expect it to have as good road manners in a town as it does going through the Kimberley … it should also appeal to a lot of people that want a more comfortable, contemporary vehicle as well.”