the early 1990s, various manufacturers considered what the ‘Asian Car’ should be. With the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) created, there was a need to choose a product which would be suitable for the different markets in the region. While Toyota and Honda decided on a low-cost sedan, Ford chose a pick-up truck which it felt would be a suitable alternative to sedans. And with its long history and experience in making pick-ups, it could come up with a very good world-class product.
The new model was called the Ranger and it was built in Thailand at a brand new US$500 million factory Ford set up to be a production hub. Apart from attractive investment incentives offered by the government, the choice of Thailand was also because it was the second largest pick-up truck market in the world after the USA.
The Ranger would be sold mainly around the region(but also exported worldwide), imported tax-free as a light commercial vehicle as well as with the privileges offered by the AFTA Agreement. Ford had gone further with the development of the new model, making it more like a passenger car in comfort and convenience as well as safety.
Leading and shaping the market
In countries like Malaysia, where the regulations were changed to allow private use of trucks, the introduction of the Ranger was timely. In its launch year, the Ranger was only on sale in the last quarter of the year and yet achieved a 21% share. The following year, sales crept up quickly as it became the pick-up that everyone wanted. By the early 2000s it was the market leader with a share of around 50% of the pick-up segment. The Ranger certainly helped to develop pick-up popularity and started a new segment of ‘lifestyle machines’.
Sime Darby Auto ConneXion (SDAC), the sole distributor for Ford in Malaysia, has now adopted a new brand positioning – Live the Ranger Life – which celebrates the Ranger’s evolution into the modern lifestyle truck that it is today. The new brand essence encapsulates the values and persona of the Ranger, which has transformed over the years beyond being just a truck for work to one that can be used as an alternative to the car, supporting the lifestyle choices of a diverse range of customers.
“’Live the Ranger Life’ is spot-on in personifying how the Ranger is more than a purely utilitarian workhorse. It is now leading the pack as a versatile and premium truck that is increasingly purchased for lifestyle reasons that people aspire to own. Customers are choosing to purchase a Ranger not just for work, but also for play and family, thanks to its renowned strength, engineering capabilities, smart technologies, luxurious cabin and passenger vehicle features,” said Turse Zuhair, Managing Director, Sime Darby Auto ConneXion.
Bringing the brand essence to life
Five core tenets fuel the guiding principles for fully expressing the ‘Live the Ranger Life’ spirit and way of life which was gathered through a global customer survey which was conducted by Ford across its markets:
“We Make Our Own Fun” (fun in driving and in living),
“Up and Over” (tackling challenges),
“Bring Others Along the Journey” (family and friends),
“Can’t Help but Help” (assistance to others), and
“Carve Our Own Path” (being bold and fearless in life).
“These five values reflect the way that Ranger owners and those aspiring to own one go about their lives. They are always open to new experiences. They are fearless in tackling challenges not just on or off road but also in life. They form kinships with each other and enjoy having their own fun adventures. They are also always finding ways to give back the community and support others in need. And in everything they do, they make a point to go over and above,” said Encik Zuhair.
More lifestyle options
To enhance the lifestyle focus, SDAC will soon have a Lifestyle Ford Merchandise store on its e-commerce enabled website. Here, customers can browse for the available merchandise and make their purchases which can be delivered to an address they specify.
Encik Zuhair added that other exciting programmes targeted at the pick-up segment will also announced in the coming months.
If you want to ‘Live the Ranger Life’, visit www.sdacford.com.my to know more about the wide range of Ranger models available and where to experience them.