However, there is just one catch. The cost of the Ford-endorsed ARB accessories are expected to be slightly higher than the same parts sold via ARB stores.
The extra cost is said to go part of the way to covering the longer warranty period.
The price list for the Ford-backed ARB accessory range was yet to be released as this article was published, but dealers contacted by CarAdvice said they expected there would be a price difference.
Ford will continue to offer its own range of bullbars and accessories for the Ranger ute and Everest 4WD, and customers can still ask dealers to fit accessories from other aftermarket suppliers.
However, the tie-up between Ford and ARB is designed to streamline some of the more popular options, as well as give Ford dealers a greater chance to intercept some of the profit from 4WD accessories.
Anecdotally, buyers of such vehicles typically spend $10,000 to $20,000 on aftermarket accessories – and the profit margin on such components is often greater than the profit margin on the vehicle itself.
Australia – which is the home of ARB, founded in 1975 – will be the first country to introduce the tie-up with Ford, although other countries are expected to follow.
The USA is expected to be next given Ford recently showed off a Bronco concept vehicle with ARB accessories and logos (pictured below).
Ford has confirmed the ARB accessories sold by its dealerships will not have Ford branding, but do have the backing of Ford engineers.
A selected range of suspension options will be available as part of the collaboration with ARB, however Ford says the full list of accessories won’t be revealed until later this year.
Asked to clarify the difference between a genuine Ford accessory and the Ford-endorsed ARB products, a statement from Ford Australia said:
“Genuine Ford accessories undergo years of rigorous safety and durability testing … meaning they integrate perfectly with the design and safety features on (the) vehicle.”
By comparison, the company said: “Ford-licensed accessories are carefully selected products, manufactured to very high quality standards, from reputable third party suppliers. These products undergo a rigorous evaluation process by Ford, and as a result, many (Ford-licensed) products feature unique aspects compared to similar products sold in the aftermarket to ensure optimal integration and performance.”
Both the Ford genuine accessories and the Ford-endorsed accessories are covered by the company’s five year/unlimited kilometre warranty, the company said.