The Ford Ranger is Australia’s top-selling 4×4 ute, partly because the company has made constant updates over the past 10 years. So why is Ford discreetly stripping some luxury features?
The Ford Ranger is under attack by the beancounters at Ford Australia who are trying to find ways to save money as the ute reaches the end of its lifecycle.
With the 2022 Ford Ranger just around the corner, Ford had anticipated it would be in discount mode in the last six months of this year.
So Ford went over the vehicle and started removing a number of features it hoped customers wouldn’t notice were missing.
However two problems have emerged (1) customers have noticed and (2) there are no discounts because there is a shortage of vehicles.
Which is why some Ford Ranger owners are now feeling short-changed.
CarAdvice has been contacted by a number of owners, including who one who recently upgraded from a three-year-old Ford Ranger Wildtrak to the latest model.
The example in showrooms today has better low beam headlights than before, a USB port near the driver’s rear-view mirror in readiness for a dash cam, and a power-operated tonneau cover.
However, the customer noticed the sun visors no longer have an extendable arm to better block side glare, and the vanity mirrors are no longer illuminated. The plastic pocket under the rear seat is gone, revealing bare metal. Meanwhile, sound-deadening glass has been deleted from cheaper models in the range.
Until the discreet change, the Ford Ranger was the only ute in the segment with extendable sun visors, a small detail that was apparently appreciated by some buyers.
“It’s not the end of the world, but it’s annoying,” said the disappointed Ford Ranger Wildtrak customer, who asked to remain anonymous.
“I signed up for a new one not imaging in a million years Ford would take stuff out of the car. Why would they do that?”
Ford has updated its brochure to reflect the changes but, the customer said, “who goes into that level of detail when you already know the car?”
“It just leaves a bit of a bad taste,” said the long-time Ford fan. “Deleting those sun visors would have saved them a couple of dollars. I spent seventy grand. Surely they have enough profit margin in these things to absorb a cost like that.”
The customer says he will do more research next time he buys a new vehicle, but he feels he made a fair assumption that all the features he liked in his old Ford Ranger Wildtrak would have made it into the new one.
As reported by CarAdvice earlier this year, Ford Australia said the CD player will be removed from the Ranger by the end of this year as more customers use streaming services via their smartphones.
Ford is not alone in discreetly stripping vehicles as they near the end of their production cycle. But usually car companies raid parts customers can’t see or won’t notice are missing.
Meantime, the next-generation Ford Ranger is due in showrooms in early 2022, and could be unveiled later this year, pending any delays.
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Ford is stripping small luxuries out of the Ranger as it nears the end of the road