by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
Ford Ranger sales surged 19% in 2018 compared to the precedent year, increasing its market share in the pickup truck segment by 1.4 points to 15%.
The strong sales performance is expected to continue this year, according to Syed Ahmad Muzri Syed Faiz, the MD of Sime Darby Auto Connexion Sdn Bhd (SDAC) which is the sole distributor of Ford in Malaysia.
“We are confident that the Ranger sales momentum will carry into this year, while further building on our Ford customer service experience,” Syed Ahmad Muzri said in a statement last Friday.
The Ranger’s double-digit growth came on the back of a slowdown in the commercial vehicle (CV) segment due to the uncertainty of an election year.
The demand was further decelerated by cancellations or deferments of mega projects post-elections, though the pickup sub-segment may not be affected directly as much as trucks and prime movers.
Its volume was largely boosted with the launch late last year of the new Ranger which comes in nine variants — including the high-speed, off-road performance Ranger Raptor, the high-series Ranger Wildtrak, Ranger XL, Ranger XLT and Ranger XLT+.
The new line-up offers a choice of three diesel powertrains to deliver greater versatility and match consumer demands for a wider variety of requirements. These include the new generation 2.0L Single-Turbo and 2.0L Bi-Turbo engines, and the Duratorq 2.2L.
The “Built Ford Tough” Ranger finished 2018 as the second best-selling pickup in the market as more customers are seeking a versatile vehicle for work and lifestyle.
“The Ranger’s unmatched versatility and capability is continuing to drive its success and wide customer appeal,” Ford Motor Co Asia Pacific emerging markets MD Truong Kim Phong said.
Locally, the Ranger is competing against the Toyota Hilux, Isuzu D-Max, Nissan Navara and Mazda BT-50.
For the first half of 2018, Ford delivered 3,013 units of CVs at a 10.5% market share.
Ford was in the fourth position behind the top three Toyota, Isuzu and Nissan brands, but ahead of Mitsubishi, Hino and Mitsubishi Fuso.
The Ranger clinched the “Pickup Truck of the Year” awards at both the 2018 Malaysia Car of the Year and 2018 DSF.my Allianz Vehicle of the Year Awards.
The Ford’s segment-defining pickup truck also bagged a Gold for “Pickup Truck of the Year” at the Carlist.my People’s Choice Awards and Editors’ Choice Awards 2018.
Meanwhile, SDAC also opened two new and upgraded Ford dealer facilities last year in Kuching and Kota Kinabalu.