Queensland company Performax International has secured the rights to convert and distribute Ford F-Series pick-up trucks to Australian Design Rule standard, beginning with the F-250 from this August.
And its general manager Glenn Soper told me by phone from the company’s headquarters in Gympie (roughly a two-hour drive north of Brisbane) that buyers in New Zealand are welcome.
“If you have buyers over there, great. We’ll sell the trucks anywhere – we have been given approval to build any number we want,” he said.
The arrival downunder of the big Ford workhorses comes as rival company Fiat Chrysler moves to officially distribute RHD Ram trucks on both sides of the Tasman, although it is still to say so officially.
The Performax plant already turns out yearly more than 300 RHD examples of the Chevrolet Silverado, Toyota Tundra and Ram pick-ups. “You are welcome to visit our plant any time you are over here,” Soper told me. “It’s quite an operation.”
Soper said the converted Fords will be built to a production-line quality and covered by a four-year/120,000km warranty. Parts would be readily available. “Our warranty is a quintessential statutory warranty that any manufacturer offers: bumper to bumper-type coverage.
“We underwrite the whole vehicle. We’re very happy with the mechanical and interior finish quality of the unit we submitted for ADR approval. We’ve been able to meet the criteria as a full-volume, original equipment manufacturer. The upshot is that we can do an unlimited volume in these vehicles.”
He said he was looking at selling 270 units this year, 500 next year and 1000 in 2016. Prices would be subject to prevailing exchange rates but the Ford Super Duty crew-cab would start from “less than $A100,000”, with the higher-spec Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum crew-cabs for “around $A125,000”.
The 2014 F-250 comes with a 6.7-litre V8 common-rail turbodiesel delivering 294kW and a whopping 1084Nm of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and on-the-fly four-wheel drive gives the vehicle a claimed five-tonne towing capacity
Standard safety equipment includes six airbags, electronic stability control, hill start assist and descent control, and roll stability and trailer sway control.