New Ford Ranger Challenges the Toyota HiLux's Dominance in the Mining Sector

By Admin
After dominating Australias ute sector for 35 years, Toyotas HiLux is getting a run for its money by Fords newly introduced Ford Ranger. Targeting minin...

After dominating Australia’s ute sector for 35 years, Toyota’s HiLux is getting a run for its money by Ford’s newly introduced Ford Ranger. Targeting mining corporations as their prime demographic, Ford’s Ranger is flying high on the radar of large mining companies and government agencies, already doubling sales to private buyers so far in 2014. Designed and engineered in domestically in Australia, and priced reasonably in the $46,280 to $52,760 bracket, Ford’s Ranger 4x4 XL comes packed with a 3.2 litre turbo diesel engine, automatic transmission, locking rear diff and 3:5 tonne towbar.

In addition to the Ranger’s technical bells and whistles, the truck has also earned a 5-star ANCAP safety rating after surpassing the safety requirements for new vehicle purchases by large fleet companies. Australian Mining reports, “There is a range of factory features fitted to the donor XL model to better meet the needs of mining customers, and is designed to make the installation of commercial equipment simpler and more integrated for efficient transition from delivery to operation.”

These factory features that will better-serve Australia’s mining needs include: heavy duty canvas seat covers (which come standard to protect seats from mud and dirt while ensuring the seat mounted thorax airbags remain unobstructed), mountings for driving lights, antennas and flags, the provision of an expanded wiring harness, additional pre-wired electrical circuits and an auxiliary switch bezel (which facilitates the easy installation of electrical equipment such as light bars, driving lights and radios). Ford recently released a statement further describing its strategy for designing and manufacturing the 4x4 Ranger, stating, “[the Ranger is] designed to suit the needs of mining industries across Australia”, and is geared to be a lightweight vehicle capable of handling the harsh terrains and work environments that accompany mining activity.

When comparing the Toyota HiLux’s previously recorded mining-industry success to current sales of the Ford Ranger, the numbers speak for themselves. In 2013, Toyota sold 2,600 HiLuxes to state and federal governments compared to the 3,500 purchases of Rangers to the same organizations. This year, Ford’s Ranger is leading the way for the mining industry’s automotive needs with an astounding 800 reported sales in the first quarter of 2014 alone— putting Toyota HiLux’s 500 to shame. Taking it even a step further, industry analysts have reported that Ford may be closing in on Toyota’s lucrative mining contracts both domestically and abroad, making this rivalry even more cutthroat than it already is.

In lieu with the success of Ford in Australian markets, Ford Australia’s vice president of marketing, sales and service, Graeme Whickman, stated that Ford worked with the mining sector and government agencies to develop the Ranger XL Plus. "These industries have very specific demands on their vehicles so that's why we created the Ranger 4x4 XL Plus," said Mr Whickman, "It will be a popular addition to mining industry and business sector fleets but we also expect there to be strong support from private customers who have a particular need for this type of vehicle."

The company will be debuting and promoting the Ranger 4x4 XL May 6-8 at the Mining and Engineering Expo in Western Australia next week, and is set to stir quite a bit of interest for those active in cultivating a more safety-oriented mining culture; and with all the recent notoriety and mining-industry success, Ford could be moving closer and closer to ending the reign of Toyota HiLux by the end of 2014. 


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