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FORD RANGER RAPTOR – FIRST UNITS ROLL OFF FACTORY LINE

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Dongas? No problem. Ditches? Power through it, of course. Well, in theory, that is what the Ford Ranger Raptor is all about. That, and of course it’s better-than-average bakkie performance figures.

And now, this steroid-injected blue oval bakkie, which is also the first Ranger to officially be introduced to the Ford Performance family, has taken its first production steps with the initial batch of ‘trial’ units leaving Ford’s Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria.

According to Ford, this is part of the plant’s preparation for full-scale production of the Ranger Raptor, which is earmarked for local introduction in the first half of 2019.

The carmaker also added that the first 10 official Ranger Raptor units form part of the ‘Tooling Trials’ build-up phase that validates the high-tech assembly line in Silverton which received an extensive upgrade through Ford’s R3-billion investment in its local operations last year.

Ford Ranger Raptor

“This is a momentous occasion for everyone at Ford, as we witnessed our first Tooling Trials Ranger Raptor unit coming off the line after more than 18 months of extensive upgrades and modifications to the Silverton assembly plant,” said Ockert Berry, Vice President of Operations, Ford Middle East and Africa.

Ford Ranger Raptor

Berry added that Ford will continue investing in local operations to meet the growing demand for the Ranger, and is currently introducing new equipment on the assembly line to improve several aspects of the Ranger and its manufacturing processes.

“The Ranger Raptor is an exciting and very important model for us, as it pioneers an entirely new dimension for the pick-up or bakkie market and represents the first Ford Performance model to be produced in South Africa, destined for export to customers throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa,” Berry concluded.

Ford Ranger Raptor

The Ranger Raptor is powered by a 2.0-litre Bi-turbo engine that produces 157 kW and 500 Nm of turning grunt via a 10-speed automatic gearbox, while on the handling front, it’s also not your run-of-the-mill family truck. Shock absorption is taken care of by a Position Sensitive Damping (PSD) set of shock absorbers manufactured exclusively for the mini Raptor by FOX, while it also boasts a Terrain Management System.

It can also conquer the great outdoors with a reinforced chassis, all-round disc brakes and, just to drive its point home, specially developed BF Goodrich tyres. We await with bated breath to see how this bakkie fares when it arrives here in 2019.

Report by DEON VAN DER WALT | Images © FORD SOUTH AFRICA

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