Ford to Show 4-Trac Concept in Thailand First

4-trac Image

Thailand is the second largest market for pickup trucks after the US! Sometimes this fact does damage to the country's efforts to draw in manufacturers like Renault who don't deal in pickups and so look at a 50% smaller market for their cars. But Thailand's love of the truck does more good than harm in attracting big automakers like Ford, who have recently named Thailand as their hub for the ASEAN region.

Ford will back up this commitment early next month at the Thailand International Motor Expo, when the will unveil the 4-Trac concept for the first time. The truck should provide a few clues for the 2006 Ford Ranger pickup due for release in Thailand next year. Traditional boxy Ford lines, but somehow it works. It looks more the part than some of the recent efforts from competitors.

4-trac Front
4-trac Tailgate

It should be noted that the Ranger will probably not hold onto all of the design elements presented in the concept. The innovative tailgate design that folds out in two sections to provide a step up into the cargo shelf is unlikely to make it into production. The concept also features a hatch that provides access between the cargo bay and the cabin. The Mitsubishi Triton does have an opening rear window to allow similar access, so this hatch might be included on high end Ranger trucks to compete.

The Ford lags well behind market leaders Toyota and Isuzu in this segment. Toyota and Isuzu have developed very strong brand images for the Vigo and D-Max respectively. It will be very hard for the new Ranger to put a dint in the dominance of the top two, but if the 4-trac is anything to go by, it will at least offer an attractive and strong alternative.