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  ConnectNigeria_2014Ford   It has been reported that Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) has introduced a rugged new version of its highly sought after Ranger to the sub-Saharan Africa region. The new variant – the Ranger XL-Plus – is said to be going on sale early next year. It brings a new dimension of resilience and toughness to the already existing line-up, making it appealing to mining companies, farmers and other business owners with meticulous requirements. “The Ranger XL-Plus was born out of particular requirements from the mining industry, as well as other business owners whose main concerns were rugged capability and impeccable safety standards,” said Vice-President of Marketing, Sales and Service at Ford Sub-Saharan Africa, Mark Kaufman. “The vehicle is already extremely capable, and big mining companies have committed to using only vehicles that have five-star ENCAP and ANCAP ratings, which Ranger XL-Plus derivative boasts.” Built at the Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria and available in both left hand and right hand drive following a $1.8 million investment, Ranger XL-Plus will be sold in South Africa. It will also be exported to other markets with similar requirements. Some of the features of the new edition that comply with safety requirements determined by the international mine operators include; airbags for both the driver and passenger, as well as side impact, curtain, and a driver-side knee airbag. In addition to that, it has a steel bullbar as standard that is designed to work in conjunction with the vehicle’s existing safety systems, thus not compromising airbag deployment. To ensure that the Ranger XL-Plus will stand up to the harsh environments seen in mining operations such as those in Australia, New Zealand and here in Africa, an extensive list of modifications have been tested. External modifications and enhancements include a frame tested for an increased towing load of 3 500kg, extruded aluminium side steps, front mud flaps, and a lockable fuel filler cap. Bolstering about the safety of the vehicle, Kaufman stated that “Modifications developed for the Ranger XL-Plus came from extensive testing in real-world scenarios.” “We took feedback from our customers on what more they need from the Ranger in applications such as mining, and built a version of Ranger that will take a lot more punishment, as well as offer integration with technical equipment used on sites,” he said. By January next year, Ranger XL-Plus will be available to customers in sub-Saharan Africa in three body styles with two chassis cab models in single and double-cab variations, and a double cab model with a loadbox. Drive comes from the Duratorq 2.2-litre TDCi engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. All models have four-wheel drive and are fitted with an Electronic Locking Rear Differential. “We’re building the Ranger XL-Plus in South Africa, meaning we can give our customers on the continent a factory-ready version of a vehicle that meets their demands. Modifications for this version of the Ranger can be rolled out during production, so customers don’t have to wait for aftermarket customisations,” Kaufman concluded.

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This article was first published on 29th July 2014

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