Ford Australia says it put the incoming F-150 through its paces over 135,000km of torturous durability tests here, ahead of the re-engineered truck’s local launch in 2023.

    The USA’s top-selling vehicle will lob here in Australia in XLT and Lariat spec levels using a twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 (US outputs are 294kW and 680Nm) with a 10-speed auto, in short- and long-wheelbase body styles.

    The Blue Oval brand’s Aussie outpost says test versions of the F-150 have now faced temperatures of between -40 and +50 degrees Celsius, trailer towing, mud, ultra-fine sand, water crossings, and corrosion tests.

    The big rig has also been driven across Ford’s Silver Creek Road durability track hundreds of times, while more of the world’s “most punishing roads” were replicated in the laboratory at Ford Australia’s You Yangs Proving Ground – with the F-150’s driveline, steering, wheels and suspension punished on a Kinematic and Compliance rig.

    Ford Australia retains a large research and development operation in Australia that oversees the global Ranger and Everest projects, among others. The You Yangs proving ground is in Victoria’s west, near the city of Geelong.

    “When F-150 hits Australian showrooms, customers can rest assured it’s been put through the same local durability programme as Next-Generation Ranger and Everest which, of course, is the same programme left-hand drive F-150 went through in the States,” said Ford Australia Performance and Customisation Chief Program Engineer Dave Burn.

    “We’ve torture-tested, tuned and re-worked the right-hand drive F-150 so that Aussie customers know they’re getting the full factory F-150 experience. We’re doing everything to make sure the truck will be right at home here in Australia.”

    Since plans were announced to bring the F-150 to Australia in May this year, Ford says it has been swamped with more than 8000 expressions of interest and has taken “thousands” of prospective orders through dealers – despite pricing staying under wraps.


    A version of the F-150 pickup truck remanufactured from left- to right-hand drive should be in local Ford showrooms by the middle of 2023, at which point it’ll take on the locally re-engineered (to right-hand drive) Ram 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500.

    Ford makes no bones about the fact strong Silverado and Ram sales are behind its decision to bring the F-Series back to Australia after almost two decades. Sales of full-sized American pickup trucks have soared since 2018, and the Blue Oval doesn’t want to miss out on the action.

    The F-150 will be remanufactured to right-hand drive by RMA Automotive at a facility in Mickleham, Victoria. The car will be backed by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, and will be sold and serviced through the Ford Australia dealer network.

    Ford is obviously aware of the F-150 Hybrid, Raptor, V8, and electric Lightning options. It hasn’t ruled out bringing them to Australia, but only once the remanufacturing process is established and demand for the EcoBoost has been proven.


    Ram Trucks Australia posted another record-breaking month in November – in terms of both local right-hand drive remanufacturing, and retail sales.

    Head of Ram International Bob Graczyk, who visited Melbourne recently to see the expanded production facility, said demand had “completely exceeded our expectations”.

    The newly expanded Melbourne Manufacturing Facility – run by Walkinshaw – tasked with re-engineering Rams to right-hand drive, pumped out 900 of the brand’s pickups in November.

    Year-to-date, Ram trucks has sold 5520 vehicles (up 54.3 per cent) putting it on track to eclipse 6000 for the year. This YTD tally places it ahead of the likes of Hino and Land Rover, while its November result placed it ahead of Jeep, a fellow Stellantis brand.

    Over the same period, rival Chevrolet – sold by General Motors Special Vehicles (GMSV) and converted at another newly-opened Walkinshaw facility in Melbourne – has delivered 2045 Silverados.

    GMSV has notched up 5000 Chevrolet Silverado right-hand drive conversions for Australian and New Zealand buyers after two years – and expects a “significant increase” in throughput going forward as demand for American pickups explodes.

    Given Ram and Chevy’s success and Ford’s big plans, other rivals are leaping into the fray. Toyota Australia has a plan to sell locally re-engineered Tundras here in the near future, with their point-of-difference being the hybrid engine.

    The project to locally re-engineer Tundras to right-hand drive (they’re only made at the American factory in left-hand drive) is a world-first for Toyota, and if all goes to plan will give the company’s local division something to sit above the HiLux and LandCruiser 300 Series.

    MORE: Ford F-150 officially coming to Australia

    Mike Costello
    Mike Costello is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
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