A much discussed topic of late is the future of the Ford SVT Raptor. So far, Ford has been mum on the 2015 details and it doesn’t sound like the truck is part of their current production plans. With the multitude of changes coming to the F-150, is the Raptor dead? Maybe, maybe not quite yet.
When Ford unleashed the Raptor into the truck world, it seemingly became a gigantic hit overnight. It isn’t hard to see why with its stock off-road capability and no-holds barred power. The truck has been a big sales hit as well for Ford. In fact, it has really helped Ford’s bottom line and their reputation as a truck maker. Yet, with all of this success, Ford has said the Raptor was developed as a “limited run” model.
The sales success and brand recognition Ford receives from the Raptor would lead one to believe the truck is not going anywhere. Yet, the changing market conditions and the new aluminum used in the new F-150 lead elsewhere. Yes, it is true that Ford took the new aluminum based F-150 to the Baja (dressed as the old F-150), the reality is that the lower weight of the truck means a lot of re-engineering on Ford’s part for mass production.
Another big obstacle for the Raptor is the upcoming CAFE regulations. These regulations mean all trucks must hit a certain MPG target and the Raptor falls well short. Right now, the standard 2014 EcoBoost gets 15/21 while a Raptor gets 11/16. These Raptor is meant to tear up the dirt, not set MPG records.
Adding to the Raptor’s possible demise is the rumor mill running rampant with news that the truck isn’t in Ford’s 2015 production plan. Also, Ford’s truck marketing manager Doug Scott has so far declined to confirm the model was being axed but said the company didn’t have anything to say about the truck right now.
What is the Future of the Raptor?
Most likely it will re-emerge in a few years with the new aluminum body panels and modified to better perform at the lower weight. This is because Ford has investing millions in R&D on this truck and simply throwing that and its significant sales away would be foolish. For this option, Ford would have to spend significant sums of money to keep it going, but they also make lots of money, so…
Another thought would be to re-release a new Ford Raptor as a trim-level upgrade over the stock truck. Yes, it wouldn’t have the same modifications that the current Raptor has, but it would keep the name alive. This would be akin to the Rock Warrior offered by Toyota until this year. Then, reinvented as a TRD Pro Tundra.
There is another possibility in that Ford could continue to produce the vehicle with the current mock-up until supplies run out. When this happens, they could discontinue it and claim CAFE regulations caused its demise (see: FJ Cruiser). This will be the most likely near-term future.
What do you think? Could Ford kill the Raptor?
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