The Australian-designed and engineered Ford Ranger ute isn't just a hit in our market, it seems. The Blue Oval workhorse also broke its sales record across the wider Asia-Pacific region over the first half of 2017.

Ford announced today that APAC retail sales of the Ranger during the first six months of this calendar year rose more than 21 per cent from the previous year, to a record 63,525 units - one-third of which were in Australia, where it's the market's second most popular vehicle behind the rival Toyota HiLux.

Additionally, the Ranger is the best-selling ute in Vietnam, Taiwan, Cambodia and New Caledonia as well as the number-one best-selling vehicle overall in New Zealand. Hardly huge markets, but at the very least it's symbolically important.

It's important for Ford Asia-Pacific's global design and development hub in Victoria that Ranger does well, given the ongoing durability and real-world testing and development that continues. Additionally, one must consider beyond this.

Ford announced an increased Australian R&D investment of $450 million in 2017 to support increased vehicle development programs. By this year, Ford will have a nearly 2000 person strong team in Australia, including 1750 engineers, designers and technicians - and the T6-based Ranger is the major driver.

As we know, the next update for the Ranger will be sold in the US from 2019, and will be accompanied by a new Bronco SUV in 2020 - based on a version of the body-on-frame T6 architecture that underpins the Ranger and Everest, the latter with its more SUV-friendly setup with a Watt’s linkage.

For the US and Canada, and possibly Mexico too, both the Bronco and Ranger will be built at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, replacing the Focus and C-Max currently made there. We get our stock from Thailand.