Ford has announced a collaboration with Australia’s own four-wheel drive accessories colossus ARB, to sell aftermarket add-ons through its national dealer network.
The hardcore modifications will be buyable and fitted in dealers, be labelled as Ford Licensed Accessories, and be covered by the full five-year Ford factory warranty.
The tie-up will see “core off-road products” such as ARB’s winch-compatible bull-bars, electric winches and driving lights, and storage drawer systems all available at dealers for potential fitment ahead of vehicle delivery.
While not mentioned in the accompanying press release, Ford Australia also told us today “a select range of suspension options will be available as part of the collaboration” as well.
A full list of available accessories will be published closer to the program’s rollout in the second half of 2021, the company says. It remains to be seen if there’ll be any difference in pricing compared to ARB’s catalogue.
While statistics vary by brand, it’s common for Australians to drop a few thousand dollars modifying their ute or 4×4 wagon through the aftermarket. This concept has the potential to streamline the process on all fronts.
“Under the arrangement, ARB 4×4 Accessories and Ford Australia will work together to give local customers what they want: an easy, seamless way to kit out their Ford Ranger and Everest vehicles with high-quality and functional off-road accessories, so they can get out and explore their own backyard,” Ford added.
Ford says all the ARB accessories being rolled out at its dealers have gone through a validation process, including testing at its Lara proving ground in regional Victoria.
While Australia is the pilot market for the program, the goal is to replicate it overseas to “other selected Ford markets”. ARB already has an international presence and has worked with Ford before on accessories for the US-market Ranger and new T6-based Bronco.
Both Ford and ARB talk about their Australian credentials. ARB is headquartered in Melbourne – where it was established during the 1970s – though it has international offices in the US, Europe, and Middle East. Its export network covers more than 100 countries.
Ford meanwhile remains Australia’s largest automotive employer though its assembly plants are long-gone, with more than 2500 engineers, designers, other specialists working at four sites across Victoria. The Ranger global program is led from Australia, too.
“We are very proud to welcome ARB on-board as they are known globally and respected in the off-road community for their state-of-the-art manufacturing processes and stringent quality controls,” says Ford Australia president and CEO, Andrew Birkic.
“A lot of our customers have told us they’d love to be able to access a wider range
of quality off-road accessories through our Ford dealership network, and this collaboration will mean they can head off-road safely with access to a range of ARB accessories.”
Speaking on behalf of ARB, its managing director Andrew Brown said the company was “truly honoured to be working with Ford at a global level”.
“This collaboration is a great testament to the progressive vision of Ford and ARB to deliver to customers highly capable off-road vehicles with a broad range of best-in-class accessories.”