Speaking to Australia's caradvice.com.au at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Group Vice-President for Ford Asia Pacific, Peter Fleet, stated that the recent introduction of the diesel powered F150, as well as the sales hit that is the Mustang, could possibly pave the way for the world's best-selling vehicle to arrive Down Under, meaning it could also come to South Africa.
"Yes, to answer you directly. The availability of diesel in F150 would make a discussion about a vehicle that could be sold in RHD a less difficult conversation. But it’s still a very challenging conversation. But there are lots of markets that’d love to have F150," Fleet said.
Last offered Down Under in 1993 with the Brazilian sourced F250 being the last F-series model sold in RHD back in 2006, the latter also in South Africa powered by a 132 kW 4.2-litre straight-six turbodiesel engine, Fleet stated that a solid business plan needs to be drawn up first before RHD production of the F150 could commence, and that introducing it when the current model debuted back in 2015 rates as being "ahead of the curve".
"It’s all about scale. That’s the tricky bit, it’s only that. Can you get enough scale to warrant the development of RHD, and which plant do you put it in?".
RHD American pick-ups a Aussie speciality
Earlier this year, General Motors owned Holden confirmed that its in-house tuner, Holden Special Vehicles, would convert the mid-size version of the Chevrolet Silverado, the 2500 HD, to RHD for Australia with the same applying to the Camaro.
Up until now, RHD conversions of both models, including the Silverado's upscale GMC Sierra twin, have been carried by Performax International whose resume includes other US pick-ups such as the Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan, while a joint venture between Ateco Automotive and Walkinshaw Performance, American Special Vehicles, imports and converts examples of the Ram 2500 HD and 3500 HD to RHD.
The Ram in South Africa
On local shores, Richards Bay based US Truck Sales have been converting versions of all Ram models, the 1500, 2500 HD and 3500 HD, to RHD since 2006 although like American Special Vehicles, are not affiliated with Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles South Africa (FCASA).