Ford is planning on boosting pickup production in China to meet increasing demand, along with adding a brand new unknown pickup to their lineup.
We already know that pickup trucks are a hot market in the United States, and North American carmakers love them for their high margins. Turns out that demand for pickups is also rising in China, and margins there are even higher. So Ford, naturally, is looking to take advantage of soaring demand in the Far East.
Pickup trucks weren’t always an option for the average Chinese consumer. Previously, government regulations prevented them from being used outside of industry, such as farming, construction, or general maintenance. But restrictions preventing pickups from entering certain urban areas were lifted in 2016, and laws requiring ugly labels marking pickups as commercial vehicles were similarly dropped in 2018.
This lead to a huge increase in average joe’s looking to get behind the wheel of a pickup. According to a report from Reuters, China is now the second largest pickup market in the world, having surpassed Canada in terms of total pickups sold last year.
And just like in America, the people buying pickups aren’t necessarily the people you’d expect. They’re middle and upper-class businessmen that either like using them to take their bikes into the mountains for a weekend of fun or they just like the image of a big truck.
Ford knows all about that image and is planning on capitalizing on it with an expansion in Chinese production. They plan on adding a completely new pickup truck to the Chinese market this year to go along with the F-150 Raptor and Ranger which arrived there in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
In an email statement to Reuters, a Ford spokesperson said: “Ford continues to see growing opportunities in China’s pickup truck market, because of a combination of regulatory conditions and growing consumer interest.”
We have absolutely no details on what this new pickup could be. We know that Ford is working on a compact, unibody pickup to sit below the Ranger which could be a good fit for Chinese consumers. There’s also rumors of an electric F-150 floating around, although Ford is still supposedly in the early stages of development and it seems unlikely to release anywhere in the near future.
The Bronco and Baby Bronco aren’t set to debut until 2021, so we’re a little lost on what Ford could be hiding. We’ll be sure to report back once we hear more.