UPDATE, 12:00pm, 01/04/21: Well done to our readers on uncovering the April Foolishness behind this one. Ford won’t be changing its branding any time soon. The original story can be found below.
Following in the footsteps of the expanded Mustang and new Bronco sub-brands overseas, Ford Australia has announced that it will consolidate its line-up under the Ranger moniker.
On the basis of full-year sales figures in 2020, the Ranger accounted for over 68 per cent of Ford’s model mix. In the hopes of emulating that momentum across the remaining line-up, Ford wants to hone in on the Ranger’s brand recognition in Australia.
“Ford has successfully expanded the Mustang from an iconic sports car into a family of vehicles, with the addition of the Mustang Mach-E electric SUV, and is preparing to revolutionise the off-road market with the recently launched Bronco family of vehicles overseas.” Ford explained in a statement.
“Ranger has forged itself a reputation for iconic styling and go-anywhere ability. Rather than impose limits, we want to remove borders. Ranger’s go-anywhere capability now includes racetracks, school runs, shopping centres, and of course the fire trails, beaches and rural roads the Ranger is already at home on.”
Following the example of Mustang and Bronco overseas, Ranger as a brand will remain under the Ford banner. The Ford and name and logo will appear in a secondary form on official brand communications, but the Ranger brand will take pride of place.
With Ranger set to function as a brand name, the current Ranger 4x2 and 4x4 utes will become Ranger Longreach models, pulling a name from Ford Australia’s back catalogue.
The new Ranger branding will also incorporate a horse-themed logo, joining the bucking Bronco and galloping Mustang logos, the Ranger will depict the silhouette of a rider on horseback, rounding out Ford’s equine-themed brand portfolio.
Other models in the Ford line-up will drop the ‘Ford’ part of their title, to be replaced with Ranger instead. Model names will stay the same, but variant names will be repurposed using Ranger ute parlance.
For current Ford Performance models, including the Fiesta ST and Focus ST, the Raptor name will feature. This will see the Ford Fiesta ST become the Ranger Fiesta Raptor, and the Focus will move to the Ranger Focus Raptor.
Because the Focus line-up already includes an SUV styled Focus Active, the new nomenclature will see the this version become the Ranger Focus FX2, signifying two-wheel drive instead of full 4x4 or all-wheel drive capability.
The XLS Sport name, another previous Ranger ute title, will also be deployed for the Focus ST-Line, and although not mentioned in Ford Australia’s announcement, is also believed to be coming as a replacement for the Transit Custom Sport, which will rebrand as the Ranger Transit Custom XLS Sport.
Despite the growth of Mustang into a sub-brand of its own overseas, Ford Australia’s decision to rely on the Ranger name will also see the iconic pony car incorporated into the new branding scheme.
“In the same way that Wildtrak stands as a respected pillar of the Ranger Longreach line-up, we believe Australian consumers will find the Ranger Mustang Wildtrak an obvious extension of the original’s style and capability.” Ford explained in its marketing materials.
“Wildtrak is a legend. Where better to realise that than on the most legendary model of all.”
Although the connection may not be immediately obvious, the car to wear the Mustang Wildtrak name will be the former Mustang GT, solidifying the interrelated nature of the new Ranger brand.
The Ranger rebrand is set to begin from mid-2021, with the completed branding make-over set to be completed before the end of the year.
CarAdvice understands there will be a media conference held at midday today confirming key details.
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