pick-up truck

Although Ford pick-up trucks are sold all over the planet, they are not seen in China as the company’s range does not include such products. This will soon change as the carmaker has announced that it will manufacture and sell the Ranger in the world’s largest vehicle market.

The announcement was made at Auto Shanghai 2023 and the model to be introduced will be the latest generation which made its debut in November 2021 (Malaysia in July 2022). The Ranger is exported from two production hubs – in Thailand and in South Africa – to some 180 markets.


30 years ago, many people came to know about a dinosaur that was called a raptor (full name: velociraptor). It was one of the dinosaurs in The Jurassic Park movie and it was very ferocious and very nasty.

Fast forward to today and people still talk about a raptor – except that they usually do not refer to the dinosaur but an equally ferocious Ford truck. Ford was quick to use the name, capitalising on its image known by the older generation and at the same time building an image of high performance and ruggedness for younger buyers.


The Europeans never really liked SUVs because they were seen as big, heavy, consumed excessive fuel and were therefore not good for the environment. Pick-up trucks have been moderately tolerated but generally, they have preferred their small vans and stationwagons if they required something more utilitarian to carry stuff.

Of course, over the past 10 years, European carmakers themselves have also begun offering SUVs but they are more passenger car-like. They are compact and use passenger car platforms and drivetrains, so they are still largely cars with the looks of SUVs. And they are in great demand too…


As the auto industry transitions towards electric vehicles (EVs), there is increasing use of common platforms which have been developed and engineered specifically to integrate electric motors, related systems and battery packs. These are flexible platforms which can be used for different  vehicle types by varying the platform dimensions.

However, most of such platforms are suited for passenger vehicles which have limited payload demands. They may not necessarily be suitable for pick-up trucks which have greater load-carrying requirements, hence the continued use of the chassis frame instead of a monocoque structure.

Magna International, the Canadian automotive systems and parts manufacturer, has come up with new technology which provides a simple way to electrify a pick-up truck without losing truck capabilities. Known as eBeam technology, it is the first significant change to solid beam rear axle in trucks in more than 100 years.


While pick-up trucks are popular in many markets, they have never appealed to consumers in the European markets. Their size has been one reason, given the narrow roads and tight parking spaces in many cities. For farm use, tractors would be preferred and if it comes to carrying goods, they have small vans that are more practical.

For this reason, Peugeot has never really given much attention to making pick-up trucks although it did produce one as far back as 1938. There were also a few other models over the years and one based on the 504 was quite popular – in Africa. In fact, to satisfy demand by its overseas distributors (mainly in Africa), it has provided ‘badge-engineered’ pick-up trucks, one of them being based on a model made by Dongfeng.

More recently, the French carmaker co-developed a truck with Changan, another Chinese manufacturer. Changan calls its version the Kaicene F70 while Peugeot calls it the Landtrek, and it is sold in some markets in South America and Africa. It is also now available in Malaysia, which is the first market in the Asia-Pacific region to well the Landtrek.


The pick-up truck was once just for work and regulations (in Malaysia) before the late 1990s did not permit registration for private use. When the regulations changed, Ford was the first to show people the fun side of owning a pick-up truck with its Ranger. Built tough for workhorse duties, the Ranger was also a very capable truck able to travel over difficult terrain.

Today’s Ranger is even more capable but many people don’t realise just how capable, or they do not have an opportunity to take it to its limits. Sime Darby Auto ConneXion, the sole distributor for Ford in Malaysia, can help Ranger owners discover the capabilities of their Ranger at a course specially designed for beginners.

To be held on March 19, the Ford Ranger Getaways M4TREC Beginner 4WD Course offers any Ranger owner the chance to master his or her vehicle. Participants will also gain in-depth familiarity with their vehicle and might even discover some features which they did not realise their Ranger had.


Ram is unlikely to be known to Malaysians as it is a brand presently mainly in North America. It used to be the name of a truck range in Dodge but got spun off in 2010 to become a brand on its own within the Fiat Chrysler Group. With the merger of Fiat Chrysler and the PSA Group in 2021, Ram became part of the enlarged Stellantis group.

Ram has always been a truck specialist and when it was a division in Chrysler, it focussed on delivering ‘real trucks’ and not the ‘lifestyle’ machines that have become common in recent times. It therefore has a solid niche in the market where capable trucks are sought for serious work.

At CES 2023 recently, Ram gave a preview of what it’s looking at further down the road in the age of electrification. It presented its vision in 3-dimensional form as the Ram 1500 Revolution Battery-electric Vehicle (BEV) Concept which also gives an idea of its design direction.


Bermaz Auto Alliance Sdn Bhd (BAASB) will soon be adding another model to its Peugeot range and this one will surprise many people: it’s a pick-up truck. Although the French carmaker has been making motor vehicles for over 100 years, pick-up trucks have never featured strongly in its range of products, even though the vehicles have been around almost as long as the passenger car.

This will be the first market in the Asia Pacific region to have the Peugeot truck, which has the name of Landtrek. However, the truck already exists in Asia – except that it is not sold as a Peugeot product but as the Kaicene F70 from Changan Automobile which jointly developed the model with Peugeot.


With the popularity of the Ford Ranger Raptor showing that there are people who want a truck that’s not only built tough but also includes high performance in its list of capabilities, the folks at Toyota Australia decided they too would also come out with a high-performance version of the Hilux. Although Toyota doesn’t make vehicles in Australia any longer, it has an engineering facility which does a lot of development work on Toyota’s 4×4 models so it was the best place for such a project.

The high-performance Hilux is designated the GR Sport, associating it with Toyota’s GR range of performance models. The hardcore off-roader is the most powerful diesel Hilux ever offered by Toyota with power and torque from the 2.8-litre engine boosted by 10% to 165 kW/224 ps and 550 Nm. The boost in output has been achieved through revised turbo-supercharging and fuel-injection control.


Like other types of motor vehicles, trucks too are electrifying. Some companies like Ford and GM have already begun selling fully electric trucks and eventually, the bestselling truck outside North America will also go electric. This is the Toyota Hilux, a popular model in many countries for decades, which has built up a strong reputation for durability and reliability.

Toyota already has a development program ongoing for an electric Hilux as evident by a prototype shown in Thailand recently. On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Toyota Thailand, Toyota President Akio Toyoda personally presented the Hilux Revo BEV to give a preview of a future Hilux with electric power.



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