Ford has taken the bold move of ditching its in-house 10-speed automatic transmission in favour of a ZF Sachs eight-speed automatic for the Chinese-market version of its Ranger ute.
Produced by Jiangling Motors Co, a 49 per cent Ford Motor Company-owned Chinese manufacturer, the next-generation Ford Ranger has recently been launched in China in a limited Wildtrak 1st Edition trim.
Limited to 800 units, this launch edition debuts with a host of features and technologies not yet seen on Australian-market Rangers.
The Ford Ranger Wildtrak produced in China (and to be exported to a number of Asian and Middle Eastern markets) is exclusively powered by a 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, as seen locally in the Volkswagen Amarok and in US-built Rangers.
Instead of Ford’s in-house 10-speed automatic transmission, however, it uses ZF Sachs’ ZF8HP eight-speed automatic.
The petrol engine produces 190kW of power and 450Nm of torque, slightly down on the 222kW and 452Nm in the Amarok with the same engine.
This signals a big change for Ford given it now uses the 10-speed automatic transmission in a large number of its commercial utilities.
The eight-speed automatic transmission could also signal a move to the German gearbox for future iterations of a plug-in hybrid Ford Ranger given the 8HP transmission features plug-in hybrid compatibility.
In a video produced by a Chinese media outlet, some of the changes can be seen in action during a product demonstration.
In addition to the different gearbox, the Chinese-market Ranger also features front and rear differential locks, turn assist and ditches its leaf-spring suspension setup for a coil-sprung setup with Watts linkage, similar to the one seen in the Everest.
Other changes include a integrated winch, bead lock rims, front and rear steel bumpers, a modified interior and panoramic sunroof.
Pricing for the Chinese market Wildtrak 1st Edition kicks off from 268,000 yuan, which converts to around A$56,000.
It’s understood Ford’s Australian team worked on this vehicle out of Australia in joint collaboration with Jiangling Motors Co. We also understand that this vehicle unfortunately won’t be offered in Australia.