Buyers of the latest Ford Ranger and Everest could get a shock when their vehicle arrives in Australia.

    The top-selling ute and SUV have been the subject of specification changes for 2024 which have seen some standard equipment removed, such as a hands-free power tailgate on the Everest.

    Ford Australia sneaked the changes through in a bulletin to dealerships but has only provided full details after an enquiry from CarExpert.

    “We make changes to the rollout of certain features based on a range of factors, from external market evaluation to customer demand,” a Ford spokesperson told CarExpert, without providing any details of the exact factors which led to the loss of the hands-free power tailgate.

    “We’ve collated a list of all additions and removals of content from Everest and Ranger for 2024.

    “Removals include hands-free lift-gate, auto high beam (it remains standard on Platinum), Ford MyKey, as well as minor changes to badging,” it said of the Everest.

    The Everest will still feature a power tailgate on its Trend, Sport and Platinum grades, albeit without a kick sensor,.

    As for the Ranger, it said: “Removals include auto high beam (it remains standard on Platinum and Raptor, and optional on Wildtrak), Ford MyKey, changes to availability of Tough Bed Spray-In Bedliner, discontinuation of optional Ranger Raptor Beadlock Capable Wheels and Decal Pack, as well as minor changes to badging.”

    Ford Australia noted the additions it has made to the Ranger and Everest’s features lists this year, some of which it announced earlier in the year.

    These include standard zone lighting and stand-off roof rails on the Everest Trend and Sport (previously only standard on Platinum) and optional Pro Trailer Backup Assist on the Everest Trend, Sport and Platinum.

    As for the Ranger, all models apart from the single-turbo XL gain automatic stop/start, with XL models also getting standard heavy-duty suspension.

    Pro Trailer Backup Assist is an option on the Ranger XLT and Sport and standard on the Wildtrak, Platinum and Raptor.

    The Flexible Rack System previously exclusive to the Ranger Platinum is now optional on the Sport and Wildtrak, while the XLS now has a standard Tow Pack and Tech Pack.

    The changes for Ford buyers are akin to the widespread ‘de-contenting’ many brands did during the COVID-19 pandemic and the worldwide shortage of microchips.

    Many brands cut the use of microchips to keep their production lines rolling, reducing the number of high-tech features which were microchip-heavy.

    Sometimes it even meant choosing between safety and convenience features.

    At the peak of the de-content crisis Porsche even shipped cars to Australia after fitting incorrect headlights on the production line, before air-freighting the proper parts for a changeover in Australia ahead of delayed deliveries to owners.

    There was a predictable backlash against the spread of ‘de-contenting’ cars, which was previously widespread in the 1990s when Japanese carmakers looked to cut costs in a program called ‘endaka’ to combat the effects of a high Japanese yen.

    MORE: Everything Ford Ranger
    MORE: Everything Ford Everest

    Paul Gover

    Paul Gover is one of the most experienced and respected motoring journalists in Australia. After more than 40 years on the automotive beat there is nothing he has not done, yet he still brings the enthusiasm of a rookie. He has worked in print, digital, radio, television and for every major publisher in the country. He is also a national motor racing champion and once co-drove with Peter Brock at Bathurst.

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