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Ford to fit certain Ranger accessories in Thailand

Option opens for Thai fitment of accessories to Australian-bound Ford Ranger models

25 Jan 2024

This article was updated at 6:30pm on Thursday, 25 January to include comment from Ford Australia.


MOST Ford Ranger buyers – and nearly all one-tonne ute buyers – accessorise their vehicle with various options from either aftermarket local manufacturers/suppliers or from dealers who make a tidy profit from the business.


That’s about to change following Ford Australia’s decision to factory fit some of the most popular Ranger accessories ex-Thailand.


Thailand is where the Australian-specification Ranger is made, the news breaking at the same time as  Ford announces recalls for its right-hand drive converted F-150, also managed by a Thai-based operator.


Further, the deal means Ford dealerships may lose out on “upfitting” some optional accessories from their premises; an objection Ford Australian counters in saying it has expanded factory fit options “to support growing demand for vehicle personalisation on Ranger.”


The accessories will be added at a newly established Ford Vehicle Personalisation Centre (VPC) in Thailand that Ford Australia says will “make it easier to get the accessories that you want for your Ranger, now factory fitted by Ford”.


“VPC in Thailand offers customers the ability to have Ford factory fitted options installed immediately following the build of their Ranger and prior to being shipped, further reducing wait times for vehicles in Australia,” the importer said in a statement.


The facility will initially offer four accessories, including two variants of a canopy, a commercial canopy, and a manual roller shutter on all dual-cab Rangers, except for Platinum and Raptor models with more accessories to be added.


Further to that, it will also build further retail-focused Special Edition Ranger and Everest models in future.


The new VPC is operated in partnership with Thai outfit RMA Automotive (the same responsible for the conversion of the F-150 to right-hand drive) and is located near the port where the vehicles are loaded for Australia.


Ford Australia says the process ensures that accessory fitment can typically occur within just two days of a vehicle completing its build.


“As the concept of the Vehicle Personalisation Centre came together, we consulted with our National Dealer Council about the growing trend toward customisation and how we can deliver more options for our customers and increase capacity in the system,” the spokesperson said.


“All accessories fitted at the VPC continue to be available through our dealers, and all orders for VPC-fitted accessories are made through our dealers. The VPC is just another convenient option for having certain accessories fitted – especially larger, bulky accessories like canopies.”


RMA Automotive is currently embroiled in two vehicle recalls in Australia affecting its re-engineered Ford F150 pick-up that has issues with the twin-turbocharging system and potentially catastrophic steering failures.


Ford Australia says accessories fitted at the facility will be the same Ford Genuine Accessories and Ford Licensed Accessories as are available at dealers and backed by Ford's five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, ensuring that “customers can enjoy their customised vehicle with the peace of mind that it is fully backed by Ford”.


“We know Aussies love utes and we have developed the most comprehensive factory-backed catalogue of accessories ever, expanding the versatility of Ranger for our customers and allowing them to use their vehicle for work or for play with family and friends,” said Ford International Markets Group vehicle personlisation director Michael Karageorgiou.


“The new VPC is the next step at giving our customers the customised vehicles they want, straight out of the box (and) will complement the Ford Dealer Network by providing us the opportunity to offer customers a faster and seamless one-stop-shop solution for all their personalisation needs.


“Customers can now order select accessories through a Ford dealer knowing that their vehicle will arrive in Australia with the accessories fitted and ready to go.”


The factory fit option comes on stream this month (January 2024) applicable to the recently revised 2024.5MY Ranger which was Australia’s most popular vehicle in 2023 chalking up sales of 63,356 units – up 33 per cent on 2022.


The factory fit announcement follows Ford’s recent three-year lease of the Grand Quest vehicle carrier ship it says will expedite Ranger and Everest deliveries with the ship having transported more than 9000 vehicles to date.


Thousands of vehicles are expected to be fitted with canopies and roller shutters at the VPC to further speed up delivery once they reach Australia.


“We’re excited to offer Australian customers another convenient, factory-fit solution for customising their Ranger,” said Ford Australia and New Zealand president and CEO Andrew Birkic.


Ford Australia said its high-level collaboration with Australian aftermarket accessories provider ARB  remains unaltered by the latest development.


“The Vehicle Personalisation Centre has no impact on our collaboration with ARB, which is focused on making available selected off-road accessories as Ford Licensed Accessories through participating Ford dealers,” a Ford Australia spokesperson told GoAuto.

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