The first locally remanufactured right-hand drive (RHD) examples of the Ford F-150 have only just started to roll off the production line, but there’s capacity for other vehicles to get the RHD treatment.
Thai-based engineering specialist RMA Automotive has a long history with modifying Ford vehicles in other markets, and this latest venture has seen a 21,000-square-metre facility in Mickleham, Victoria established for remanufacturing the F-150 from left- to right-hand drive for the Australian market.
“The whole facility is being built with other products in mind, I guess,” said RMA Automotive Holdings Australia general manager Trevor Negus.
“So we’ve got the capacity to take larger F-Series. We’ve got the capacity to take other vehicles”.
In North America, the Ford F-Series Super Duty range consists of the F-250, F-350 and F-450. All of these larger and more heavy-duty pickups are available in a range of body styles, much like the F-150.
In terms of similarly sized rivals, Ram already offers the 2500 and 3500 pickups in Australia, and GMSV has the Chevrolet Silverado HD. All of these heavy-duty pickups are remanufactured from left- to right-hand drive by the Walkinshaw Group in Melbourne.
When asked if it’s possible that RMA Automotive could remanufacture the Bronco from left- to right-hand drive, Mr Negus said he thinks it’s “very doable” and he’d “love to have that challenge”.
“Yeah, we’d love [the Bronco], we’re looking at it, but we’ve got nothing to share,” added Ford Australia CEO Andrew Birkic.
“There will be lots of decisions that need to be made [for] left-hand drive [to] right-hand drive.
“When we go through a very rigorous process and due diligence, what’s the right way to do it?
“What’s the most effective way we get the supply? Is it commercially viable?”
In September 2022, Ford CEO Jim Farley said the company could “of course” engineer the Jeep Wrangler rival for right-hand drive, but it’s too busy clearing it order backlog, principally from North America.
Mr Farley said the company needed to invest in production capacity if it wanted to sell the Bronco.
“We could do Bronco and Bronco Sport for the globe for sure. But we have like a year or two of orders for now, we have a lot of work to do with capacity before we can even consider that,” Mr Farley told CarExpert in September 2022.
“Of course it can be engineered, like Mustang, but we have to invest in the capacity.”
He noted the company has been busy rolling out the entire Bronco range since its initial launch in 2021, with the Everglades and Raptor the latest additions.
“We’re still in the first or second inning… So give us some time,” he added.