Ford’s F-Series pick-up will return to Australia in 2023, giving customers a bigger option than the smash-hit Ranger ute.
The latest Ford F-150 will be sold with the same five-year warranty and customer guarantees as any other Ford.
As with the RAM 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado, it will be imported to Australia as a left-hand-drive model, then converted to right-hand-drive locally.
Ford Australia boss Andrew Birkic said the project converting the latest F-150 to right-hand-drive was the only Ford venture of its kind anywhere in the world, reflecting the brand’s determination to offer the model here.
“We’ve listened hard to fans and dealers and found a way to bring F-150 to Australia,” he said.
“As the pinnacle of ‘Built Ford Tough’, it will give our customers even more choice when they’re in the market for a pick-up. We just can’t wait to unleash it.
“F-150 has been part of F-Series, America’s best-selling vehicle line, for the past 40 years, with more than 40 million F-Series Trucks produced to date.
“With such a local fan base, and with full-size truck sales in Australia tripling in recent years, we just knew we had to find a way to bring it back to Australia.”
The Blue Oval has contracted engineering firm RMA Automotive to “remanufacture” the F-150 in Australia, in an extensive process that requires far more work than a repositioned steering wheel and new dashboard.
RMA has worked with Ford on a wide variety of projects including ambulance and military versions of its Ranger ute and Everest four-wheel-drive.
The model will go on sale locally in high-grade trims, XLT and Lariat.
Full prices and specifications are not available for the models. But the $115,000-plus price asked for the similar-sized, locally-converted RAM 1500 suggests Ford’s contender will be a six-figure proposition.
Standard equipment includes a huge touchscreen, 10-speed automatic transmission, and safety gear such as front and rear auto emergency braking, lane keeping assistance and blind-spot monitoring.
Ford F-150 XLT and Lariat
Price: To be announced
Warranty: Five years/unlimited kilometres
Engine: Twin turbo 3.5-litre V6 petrol
Transmission: 10-speed automatic, 4x4
Kerb weight: To be announced
Payload: To be announced
Gross Vehicle Mass: To be announced
Gross Combination Mass: To be announced
Towing: 3500kg (50mm ball), 4500kg (70mm ball)
The Ford Australia boss said the Ford F-150 was the jewel in Ford’s crown and so all care will be taken to ensure vehicles completed locally will meet Ford global standards.
“It’s a much loved and desired icon and we are super proud to bring it back,” said Mr Birkic. “We know it’s got much more than credential. It has road presence, the name, and quite frankly, an aura.”
Natalie Manariti, who is part of the team overseeing the Ford F-150 program in Australia, said in a presentation to media: “Customers can be assured that we (will) maintain the same Ford quality and reliability”.
“Our product development team – the same team that brought your next generation Ranger and Everest – have played a key role in bringing F-150 to the market.
“Working in conjunction with our US counterparts, Ford Australia’s product development engineers will collaborate with RMA Automotive to ensure a seamless … conversion.
“There is genuine Ford US and Australian DNA all over this truck. We are even employing our own special vehicle (operations) team. An Australian group of engineers who have the experience to work on projects just like this, in conjunction with … RMA Automotive.”
The F-series was last sold in Australia between 2001 and 2006, when F250 and F350 variants were imported from Brazil in right-hand-drive guise.