Ford Australia and New Zealand have an anxious two-month wait before it is known if the special-edition ute based on the Ranger can be called Raptor.
The Raptor name is a Ford trademark in North America. But in Australia the Raptor trademark has been owned since 1994 by Toyota truck division, Hino.
Hino across the Tasman has continued to renew the trademark but has never applied the name to a vehicle. Ford claimed last year that it was therefore not in use.
It applied to IPAustralia, the Federal Government body that oversees trademark disputes there, to have Raptor removed from the Hino inventory.
Hino objected and IPAustralia granted it a six-month hold on the name. It extended the hold late last year for a further six months, ruling that the second extension came “with the consent of both parties, and remains ongoing.”
IPAustralia is to rule on the dispute in late June. Ford has said it will use the Raptor name “appropriately”and that Hino’s use of it is “for a different category of vehicle.”
But motoring observers in Australia expect Hino to hold on to the name. They cite a precedent, which involves New Zealand.
Ford in both countries wanted to use the name ‘Edge’ for a new Canadian-built SUV that gets here in the next few months. The Ford Edge is called the Ford Edge in North America and Europe.
But in this part of the world the Edge name is a Toyota trademark. Indeed, Toyota NZ renewed the name late in 2016 for the Hilux Edge. The name was last used on a Hilux in 2014.
Toyota’s HQ in Japan refused to release the Edge name to Ford, forcing the American giant to call its new SUV, Endura. The Endura replaces the Australian-built Territory.
What happens if Hino – and Toyota HQ – doesn’t release the Raptor name? Ford has reportedly other names on the back burner for use Downunder.
But it has made much of the all-American name, trumpeting Raptor as the ultimate expression of Ranger. Whatever its moniker when it lands here later in the year, it has already been priced at NZ$84,990, plus on-road costs.
Under the bonnet is a twin-turbocharged four-cylinder 2.0-litre diesel delivering 157kW/500Nm. Its 10-speed automatic gearbox was developed jointly by Ford and General Motors.