A few days ago we took a stab at guessing what Ford could be launching next in the Philippines. Based on a recent invite, we guessed it was going to be the new generation Explorer. It was really a shot in the dark, but it appears we we're a bit off the mark.
Speaking to various sources, we can say with a measured degree of certainty that it's not going to be the new generation Explorer. There are three reasons for this, the first being the demand in the U.S. is strong and the initial sales there will undoubtedly be the priority for the Blue Oval.
The second reason is that Ford is reportedly having problems ramping up production to capacity at their factory in Chicago for the all-new Explorer. The shift is proving to be more complex according to several reports, particularly with regards to retooling to assemble the new rear-wheel drive Explorer as opposed to the current generation which was primarily front-wheel drive.
The third reason is that some dealers have told us that there is still a lot of stocks of the current model Explorer that it will be a while before they will roll out the new model.
So, if that's the case, what could Ford Philippines actually be launching on the 23rd of this month?
According to our contacts, there are two possibilities, both of which are pick-ups.
Based on a few dealer principals, they think (or are hoping) it could be the all-aluminum Ford F-150. There are actually quite a few Philippine customers that look for Ford's best selling pick-up truck from North America. All we have is the Ranger and Ranger Raptor; both of which are made in Thailand.
We're not quite sure how likely a local launch of the F-150 could actually be; Ford actually had the model in their lineup about 20 years ago in the Philippines with those big Triton V8 engines. It is worth noting though that the new tax law says that no excise taxes be levied upon pick-up trucks, regardless of where they're made. So that could mean pricing -if they launch it- could be better than it would have been had the model been launched prior to 2018.
The other possibility (which is perhaps more likely) is a new variant of the Ford Ranger from Thailand. There are actually a few new versions of the Ranger being offered in the region, one of them is an updated Ford Ranger FX4; a 4x2 variant of the pick-up which is a high-rider and has bars on the bed.
The other variant is more interesting: it's the Ford Ranger Wildtrak X; basically, it's a more capable variant of the Ranger Wildtrak that has a nudge bar, different fender flares, and even comes fitted with an official Ford air intake snorkel.
We can also toss in another wildcard just because we can: the Ford Everest Sport. The model is basically a de-chromed and blacked out Everest; yes, most of the exterior and interior details have been done in black or dark gray. The Everest Sport was first launched in November 2019 for the Australian market which also gets their units from Thailand.
We'll have to really wait for January 23 to see what Ford has in store; we're hoping that they do introduce the F-150, unlikely as it may be, but we'll be very interested in the Ranger Wildtrak X, especially when the rainy season comes