Saturday 14 December 2019

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Cork Independent


Ford develops secret new pickup truck

Wednesday, 7th August, 2019 4:33pm

With billions of emoji sent daily and nearly every mode of transportation including cars, scooters, boats, spaceships and ski lifts among the 3,000 approved icons available to emoji users, truck fans noticed a glaring omission: there is no pickup truck.

Ford decided it was time to do something about this and is celebrating World Emoji Day with the debut of the pickup truck emoji.

“When customers started demanding a truck emoji, we knew we had to help make it happen,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s President, Automotive. “Given the popularity of Ford trucks globally, there’s no one better than Ford to help bring an all-new pickup truck emoji to hard-working texters around the globe.”

The Ford Ranger is Europe’s best-selling pick-up. Ford sold 26,700 Rangers in the first half of 2019 and set a second quarter record with sales up eight per cent compared with the second quarter of last year.

In 2018, Ford submitted a proposal to the Unicode Consortium – the organisation that reviews and approves proposals for new emoji – to add a truck to emoji keyboards everywhere.

Now, the pickup truck emoji has been short-listed as a candidate for inclusion in a future version of Unicode.

The concept emoji’s capable styling has been tuned to meet current trends.

“Our team spent a lot of time digging through message boards, texting influencers and watching social media feeds to really understand our customers’ needs,” said Craig Metros, Ford North America Design Director.

“People want a truck emoji that’s fresh, stylish, carries their ideas, and ‘tows’ the line on what a truck means. The end result is a modern icon that should give all truck fans a smiley face emoji,” he added.

If the pickup truck emoji is approved in early 2020, the design will be customised for all mobile platforms to meet the needs of customers – from skilled tradespeople to active families and emoji lovers alike.

In real life, Ford is experiencing a big upswing in sales of its Ranger pickup in Europe.

The market for ‘one-tonne’ (that’s payload capacity, not overall vehicle weight) pickups has exploded in recent years, not least because they often represent a more affordable alternative to pricey SUVs, and can actually be used as hard-working vehicles when you need them to be.

Ford is seeing major success with the current Ranger, with its European sales up by 8.2 per cent in the second quarter of this year.

Indeed, for the first half of the year, it was the best-selling pickup truck in Europe, with 26,700 finding homes.

Ford has increased production at the Ranger’s factory in South Africa to help meet this demand, adding a third production shift, which increases the plant’s capacity to 168,000 vehicles per year.

Ford has also just launched the Ranger Raptor model onto European markets.

Unlike the V6 turbo-engined Raptor model of the US-marker F150 pickup, the Ranger Raptor isn’t that fast (actually, it’s out-punched by a V6-engined VW Amarok) but it looks cool, and has serious off-roading abilities.

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