Ford to export its big, bad Raptor pickup to China – USA TODAY
Ford is going to export its ultimate high-performance pickup truck to China — showing how wealthy Chinese consumers’ appetites for American vehicles extend to some of the most extreme models.
The new version of the Ford F-150 Raptor SuperCrew arrives in China in 2017. It’ll be an off-road beast packing massive power combined with a special chassis and suspension meant to take on rocks or the toughest terrain. The automaker says the design will “enable it to travel fast over challenging desert landscapes” — including, it adds, the Gobi Desert.
Raptor will arrive with little modification — the most noticeable being some small lights added to the roof to comply with Chinese highways laws — but off-road enthusiasts there already know it well. Ford has been watching reports out of China that consumers have been paying up to $160,000 for the precious few Raptors from the vehicle’s past generation that were imported one by one.
“We’re seeing demand for it,” says Henry Ford III, a descendant of the automaker’s founder and global marketing manager for Ford Performance. “Chinese customers love products that are fun.”
In the U.S., a Raptor has been listing for about $45,000. Thewq new 2017 version, which comes to U.S. showrooms this fall, is yet to be priced.
Raptor’s formal entry into China signals again how the consumers have a huge interest in all things automotive. China has become one of the world’s most vibrant automotive markets, with foreign makes prized, especially luxury vehicles. While Ford is considered a mainstream brand, Raptor is sure to compete with the likes of other off-road nameplates, such as Land Rover, in China.
The new Raptor has a 3.5-liter turbocharged EcoBoost V-6 engine that Ford says will be more powerful than the 411-horsepower 6.2-liter V-8 in the outgoing version, which got 13 mpg in combined city/highway driving. The smaller engine will use less gas, although figures haven’t been announced yet.
“This is obviously the toughest and most capable truck we’ve ever built, and I think Chinese customers will really enjoy that aspect of it,” Ford said.