Under CEO Alan Mulally, the Ford Motor Company has tightened its belt and pared away all the excesses that were distracting the brand. The One Ford plan has successfully united almost every division of the Ford company, from Europe to North America to Asia, with similar products improving profit margins while powering something of a design and technology renaissance.
But there is one area that still doesn’t quite mesh, and that’s within Ford’s most popular segment, pickup trucks. See, while North America has the F-150, the rest of the world gets the global Ranger, and several global Rangers with Raptor V8s are currently racing across Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia as part of the 2014 Dakar Rally.
And when we say modified, we mean that Ford stuffed the F-150 Raptor’s 6.2 liter V8 under the hood of a truck never fitted from the factory with anything bigger than an inline-five cylinder, 3.2 liter turbodiesel. That’s nearly twice the displacement and twice the cylinders, and it lets Ford’s Dakar Rangers rip the hell out of the race track.
But they’ll need all the torque and advantages they can get, as the notoriously brutal Dakar Rally is already taking its toll on some racers. After a rough start that saw them leave the first stage in 130th out of 142 races, the Ranger of Lucio Alvarez and Ronnie Grau managed to take the 9th fastest time in the second stage, moving them up 100 positions to 30th place.
There’s still more than a week worth of off-road rally racing left though, plenty of time for anything to happen. Let’s hope the good luck of the Ranger team holds out all the way through to the end. If you want more info, check out Ford’s dedicated Dakar website for daily updates on the Blue Oval’s progress.