Ford Ranger Max Concept unveiled in Thailand

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 26, 2010

A fresh pickup truck concept vehicle was lately revealed by Ford bearing the label 'Ranger' at this year's Thailand Motor Expo. The new concept, sporting the complete label of Ford Ranger Max Concept, highlights a daring exterior look and many interesting traits, and its designers assert that it contains some elements that will ultimately be included in the production variants.

It was acknowledge by the crew responsible for the Ford Ranger Max Concept that their design "wasn't meant to be elegant or pretty", but instead to highlight the "dependable workhorse" side of the truck.

Presenting bright orange paint finish with matte black highlights, the developers illustrate the appearance as being directly motivated by the functional design found in some contemporary power tools.

In addition, industrial forms such as the cog-like detailing in the body highlights and wheel arch moldings preserve this scheme.  

The truck's engine is also a feature, with a flexed 'power dome' shape on its engine cover illustrating its pulling capacities, and a continued power dome above the rear compartment cover.

Resting on 18in deep-dish six-spoke alloy wheels dressed in 285mm rubber, the extremely potent Ranger Max brings along a large footprint, making it useful for working situations.

Although the details of its potency are not discussed by Ford, the visual presentation of the vehicle continues to be the main focus.

Exterior Design

Engineers from Ford took several cues from the Ford Ranger to create the concept of the Ford Ranger Max, but most of the changes made were meant to simply improve the toughness of the truck. No changes in the original Ranger’s mechanics and engines were needed.

With the production Ford Ranger already tough in its own right, Ranger Max’s chief designer Paul Gibson stated that his team had the objective to create a purely for show truck that looked tough and looked cool. Gibson said that there’s no question about the dependability of the production Ranger, hence he and his team wanted a version of the Ranger that challenged the limits of toughness.

For inspiration, Gibson and his team took into mind “tough” features that touch a chord with truck owners. The color themes in power tools used by workmen served as inspiration, hence the black accents on hardcore orange body paint. Most of the owners of Ford Rangers use power tools in their jobs every day, and are sure to appreciate the image of durability and reliability that the Ford Ranger Max represents.

The image is completed with the use of details that take on the shape of cogwheels, as well as distinctive moldings on the Ranger Max’s wheel arches. Continuing with the theme of industrial tools, Paul and his team added in words in the Ford Ranger Max’s interior.

These words are used in the same way that industrial tools and equipment contain words of warning in their exteriors. These words reinforce the “industrial workhorse” feel of the concept. In the Ford Ranger Max, these words are used in an instructional manner, like the subtly printed GRAB in the sportsbar.

There are many such details throughout the Ford Ranger Max. All words use a ‘truncated’ font to further convey a tough and reliable image. Disciplines that require physical toughness provide additional inspiration for Paul Gibson and the Ford Ranger Max Concept design team.

Sports and technical manuals are just some of those sources of inspiration. The whole goal in the Ford Ranger Max’s visual design is to convey an image of dependability.

When one sees a power drill at the hardware story, they’d want to buy it because they know they can depend on it. That’s the image the Ford Ranger Max team is aiming for. As designer Gibson says, the Ranger is already dependable on its own. However, the Ford Ranger Max simply takes that to a whole new level.

Press Release

Ford Ranger Max Concept

Renowned for its genuine toughness and strength, the Ford Ranger takes a confident step forward with the debut of the high-impact Ford Ranger Max Concept show truck at the 2008 Thailand International Motor Expo.

Ford Ranger Max pushes everyone's expectations of Ranger. Visually bold and muscular, it takes to the stage at the Ford stand with confidence, sophistication and craftsmanship. The Ford Ranger Max extends Ranger's reputation as the best all-around compact truck on the market.

"We know Ranger is tough and durable, and Ranger Max adds to those qualities. The show truck does not follow a trend; it sets a new tough style direction for compact trucks," says Paul Gibson, the chief designer of the Ranger Max show truck. "Ranger Max is genuinely tough, and it is a truck that gets the job done. This high-impact show truck also has the bold visual presence that looks great on the urban scene."

A team of Ford truck specialists in Thailand worked closely with Ford's Australia-based Asia Pacific and Africa design team, led by Gibson, to create Ranger Max. Ford's design team incorporated design cues into Ranger Max that may be seen in future-generation Ranger.

"The Ford Ranger Max is not just about creating show excitement," Gibson said. "We have a great opportunity to test design themes that may make their way into production. Ranger Max says exciting things about the possibilities for truck fans in Ranger's future."

"The tough style of Ranger Max is based on the capability and versatility that make Ford Ranger the choice of the most demanding truck owners," said Mr. Saroj Kiatfuengfoo, senior vice president, Ford Thailand. "Ranger Max's high-impact design and tough style appeal will excite truck enthusiasts in Thailand."

Delivering Tough Style

Genuine truck toughness comes from great design and engineering, which means the production Ford Ranger is the ideal foundation for creating Ford Ranger Max Concept. No under-skin modification was needed with Ford Ranger to produce Ranger Max.

Gibson and his team of designers concentrated on exploring the limits of tough style. "Ranger Max wasn't meant to be elegant or pretty. The robust nature of Ranger means that it is the dependable workhorse, and with Ranger Max we wanted to create a show truck that is cool as hell."

They took inspiration from things many truck owners know and appreciate. The distinctive contrast between Ranger Max's hardcore orange paintwork with matte black accents is inspired by the functional design found in some modern power tools - just like those used by many Ranger owners every day. Ford designers recognize how absolute function and durability inspire these industrial tools and make them more appealing.

Industrial shapes such as the cog-like detailing in the body accents and wheel arch mouldings extend Ranger Max's theme of tough style as the ultimate power tool.

Pushing the power tool inspiration a step further, the Ford Ranger Max Concept design team noted how power tools and similar objects incorporated words into their design to convey instructions or warnings. Ranger Max uses 'words' in this same style to accentuate its robust 'industrial feel'.

Ford Ranger Max is full of details like this, such as the word GRAB‚ imprinted subtly on the bold, black grab handle in the side of the sportsbar linked to the cab. Every letter is precisely shaped in a 'truncated' font that complements the toughness and utility the overall truck design communicates.

Several power tool brands have inspired Ford designers. Other inspirations for Ranger Max have come from active sports, such as rock climbing, and the tough, technical products used by active sportsmen.

Just like Ford Ranger, the robustness of these products is affordable and their designs are purposeful. People buy these products because they know they can depend on them to get the job done.

"Ranger is respected," Gibson says, "and Ranger Max amplifies that identity, which gives it a modern and youthful character that's really suited to sporting and social activities, too."

Taking Ranger to the Max

With its character as the ultimate power tool, Ford Ranger Max Concept exudes confidence and purpose. It's up for the job - work or fun - and its tough style says so. It features full surfaces that convey the power and strength of its tough-truck backbone. The detail of its design demonstrates this show truck has been designed by people who know trucks and love them.

Like a high-quality power tool, it's ready for tough use. This means purposeful matte black plastic accent features and trim items - and no fussy, fancy chrome.

Ford Ranger Max has innovative features such as a remote-controlled power tonneau cover for the cargo bed and a distinctive sportsbar that visually extends the length of the well-proportioned Ford Ranger side-access Open Cab.

And Ranger Max rides on distinctive, deep-dish, 18-inch alloy concept wheels and custom technical-look tyres that finish its extreme looks.

This is a Ranger and proud of its tough-truck heritage. RANGER is boldly embossed in the hood and sidesteps on Ford Ranger Max.

Dynamic Profile

Ranger Max's high impact establishes a powerful presence wherever it goes. And that bright orange high-energy colour is officially known as Mango Hit. It is the colourful creation of Debbie Pascoe, colour and trim manager, Ranger Max design team.

Its profile exudes power and dominance as well as balanced proportion. The flexed 'power dome' shape of its hood communicates the pulling power and high torque of the engine. The power dome shape carries through to influence the design of the hard tonneau cover at the rear of the vehicle. These two overt muscular design elements give Ford Ranger Max power and solidity. It's enough to scare the typical pickup into the gym for serious weight training.

Adding even more dynamism to the profile is the exclusive Ford Ranger Max sportsbar, which attaches to the pickup bed and arches across the vehicle. This unique crossbar is shaped to create the visual impression that Ranger Max is always on the move - or ready for action.

"The sportsbar makes a big statement," explains Max Tran, a Ford designer who played a key role in developing the vehicle. "It adds a feeling of movement and dynamic character, and incorporates some great design details, including twin air scoop shapes on top."

Built into each side of the crossbar is an integral grab handle. Finished in matte black plastic, the grab handle design is all about purpose. The dark shape of the grab handle visually extends the perceived shape of the Ford Ranger Max Concept side window shape, accentuating the feel of functionality and space of the Ranger side-access Open Cab - a functional feature which Ranger debuted in 2002 in response to feedback from tradesmen.

The grab handle is labelled - like instructions on power tools and on aircraft - with the word GRAB. Similarly, the side door of the Ranger Max is distinctively yet discretely labelled AXCESS. These functional callouts also extend to the Ford Ranger Max fuel inlet, which is designed to intersect one of the bold wheel arches, labelled FUEL.

"There's no mistaking the purpose of labels like these on power tools," Tran explained. "On Ranger Max, they fulfil the same role. It's the style of purpose."

For example, the vent on each front fender uses hexagon-shaped details and discrete chrome badging with the word RANGER. MAX adjoins this Ranger badge to reinforce the show truck's name.

Other design details in the Ford Ranger Max Concept profile include incorporating the side repeater lamp into the side mirror. The lower bodyside, with two-piece interlocked sidestep look, was inspired by rock-climbing carabineers and other outdoor gear you trust with your life.

Ranger Max's stance communicates power, purpose and athleticism. The design team has crafted unique, 18-inch alloy concept wheels for Ranger Max. These deep-dish, six-spoke wheels - with black graphic funnel shapes to their centres - are must-have sporting accessories perfectly suited to Ford Ranger Max. Featuring large offsets, the wheels build on Ranger Max's distinctive tough style.

Big P285/60R18 tires with a chunky tread pattern give Ranger Max the footwear and traction it needs to accomplish any job or adventure.

The bold wheel arches with cog-shaped detailing reinforce Range Max's stance and its purpose. Explosive, dynamic side graphics on the fenders and lower doors are inspired by the high-impact of shattering glass.

A New Face of Possibilities

Ford Ranger Max Concept is about confidence without aggression. It has a go-anywhere, do-anything attitude as well as great design detail. "When you look at the front design, the three-bar grille, the overt nostrils and open mouth, you're looking straight into the face of Ranger's evolution," said Gibson.

"There are design elements we are developing and Ranger Max is one possibility. We've crafted the face of the Ranger Max to explore a new look. Elements from it could evolve into the new identity of Ford Ranger."

The three-bar grille is a Ford hallmark design element, conveying strength and quality, integrated with a proud, large badge of the famous Ford blue oval. Ford Ranger Max adopts dynamic, modern headlamps which angle at the top to communicate energy and movement.

More robustness cues abound in the front design. Here, the power-dome hood is a dominating shape. Its leading edge features an integral hot-air vent and reinforces that Ranger Max is a tough, powerful machine.

Self-confident Ranger branding - embossed in the top of the front grille surround - is another proud aspect of the front design.

Two major design elements link together to form the dominant frontal look of Ford Ranger Max Concept. The corporate three-bar grille imbeds itself into the lower enlarge air intake. A distinct line starting from the headlamps follows around the nostril and borders the lower air intake. This signature line unites the major design elements to create the defined face of Ranger Max.

Powerful Pulling Away

Ford Ranger Max has presence on the road. Its bold rear design is the combination of proportion and details such as the pronounced contours of the tonneau cover which emulate the power bulge on the bonnet. The distinctive sportsbar integrates the cabin area with the tonneau cover. Continuing rearward, Ranger Max is neatly finished off with a tailgate cladding embossed with RANGER and a pair of unique tail lamps.

"We're really excited about the Ranger Max because we've been able to define a tough style and apply it to Ranger. It is credible and very believable. Ford Ranger Max amplifies the reputation of our truck," said Tran. "There's nothing minimal about the Ford Ranger Max."

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