Ford Ranger now the top-selling pickup in Thailand

The Ford Ranger ruled Thailand’s roads in 2017, taking the top spot among Thai pickup truck buyers with a rise in sales that bested the Japanese models that had dominated the market for decades, as Ford sold more Rangers in Thailand than in any country in the world outside of the United States, Ford executives said last week.

And it wasn’t just the Ranger that sold well for Ford in Thailand. The company said it set a record for full-year performance with retails sales of its full range of cars and trucks rising by 37 percent compared to 2016. The total was spurred higher by a soaring 76 percent sales increase during the fourth quarter. The strong sales allowed Ford to increase its share of the Thai auto market to 6.4 percent, a gain of 1.1 percent.

The models that powered Ford’s sales were the Ranger, Everest mid-size Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) and the EcoSport compact SUV. Thailand is one of the world’s largest markets for pickup trucks. The Ranger also finished first in sales in New Zealand, Taiwan, Viet Nam, Myanmar and Cambodia for a 22 percent sales increase across the Asia-Pacific region, according to Ford.

“We continue to make significant progress in Thailand with share gains being largely driven by the growing success of our Ranger and Everest,”said Yukontorn “Vickie” Wisadkosin, president of Ford ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations).“The Ranger is integral to our business in Thailand and across Southeast Asia.”

Ford’s success comes in tandem with a sector-wide revival in the Thai auto market and production. The Federation of Thai Industries forecast last week that vehicle production will hit 2 million units in 2018; the first time it will reach that level in five years, with domestic sales of roughly 900,000 units.

Thailand has been labeled the Detroit of Asia for its large auto manufacturing industry, but the Big Three automakers from Detroit have never made strong inroads into the Thai market despite having a large manufacturing presence in the Kingdom, mainly for export.

Despite initially entering the market in the 1970s, they largely pulled out before returning and investing in producing cars in the Kingdom during the 1990s and early 2000s.

Aside from the Americans, nearly every major automaker from Europe and Asia manufactures in Thailand. The market, however, has long been commanded by Japanese car companies with Toyota and Honda battling for the lead in passenger cars. Isuzu had been the long-time leader in pickup truck sales until Ford took first place last year.

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