Ford has pulled the silks off the all-new 2022 Ford Ranger, which will go into production next year for more than 100 global markets.
The memorandum of understanding between Ford and Volkswagen was announced to media in mid-2018 by Volkswagen Group chief executive officer Herbert Diess, but the shared dual-cab ute program wasn’t set in stone until June 2020.
It turns out the partnership has actually been in motion for significantly longer, with Volkswagen solidly embedded in the design and engineering process.
“It wasn’t really long after we started the work on the next generation platform for T6, or the third-generation platform, that we actually got contact from Volkswagen,” said Ford T6 chief platform engineer, Ian Foston.
“Probably in about 2016, late 2016, we had first contact and it was more of an exploratory relationship discussion, on a very high level,” he said. “We didn’t start in anger, in terms of doing any engineering with them until probably mid, mid-to-late 2017 – once we got some commercial agreements in place.”
Volkswagen knew the Amarok would reach its use-by date around the time Ford was due to launch a new Ranger. And while the timing lined up almost perfectly, there wasn’t any other brand Volkswagen wanted to associate itself with in the dual-cab ute space.
“When [Volkswagen] came in, they said the only manufacturer that they could possibly see themselves going into collaboration with is Ford,” Mr Foston said.
“What we did when we first went through the platform development, we explained what we were doing for Ranger in terms of the bandwidth of what wanted to do, and it was actually very mutually compatible with what they were doing,” he explained.
“Everything that we were doing was really what what they wanted. So there was never any kind of misalignment. What we were doing and executed for Ranger was exactly what they wanted as well, from a platform point of view,” Mr Foston said.
While Volkswagen could have let Ford go ahead with the engineering program on its own and simply switched badges down the line, it was committed to being embedded in the process.
Both dual-cab ute programs ran parallel and featured their own product experts to drive outcomes. According to a spokesperson from Volkswagen Australia, a German team from Volkswagen’s commercial division has been working with Ford Australia to ensure the program matches Volkswagen’s expectations.
“Volkswagen has for the past two years had a team from Germany based in Melbourne developing the generation-two Amarok. Amarok and Ranger are the two best utes on the market and this project cannot fail to make both better.”
“Amarok has revolutionised dynamic and performance expectations in the ute market. Given the runaway success of the V6 Amarok in the Australian market – it comprises 90 per cent of Amarok sales – it’s gratifying to see a V6 engine as part of the new Ranger line-up,” the spokesperson said.
Volkswagen isn’t expected to launch the all-new Amarok until late 2022. Between now and then it will continue selling the current Amarok in Australia, with a number of special editions due to tide the ute over between now and the launch.