An eagle-eyed reader has caught on camera a truckload of new-generation Ford Ranger Raptors on the streets of Melbourne. However, customers need to pump the brakes for a little while yet.
The first shipment of new-generation Ford Ranger Raptor high-performance pick-ups has docked in Australia, however they are not heading to showrooms just yet.
A truckload of Ford Ranger Raptors was caught on camera in Melbourne this week by an eagle-eyed enthusiast who uploaded a photo to one of the Ford Ranger Facebook forums.
Although the image was posted a number of times last night, the original commenter posted: “Looks like the Raptors are here! Spotted north of Melbourne.”
However, customers at the head of the queue will need to be patient for a little while longer – as the truck was not heading towards Ford showrooms.
Drive understands the truckload of Ford Ranger Raptors was in fact a shipment of media evaluation vehicles being transported from the shipping docks to Ford Australia’s engineering centre.
As is normal practice, media evaluation vehicles receive an extra once-over before they are put through their paces in a range of demanding conditions.
They are also among the first examples to roll off the production line as “customer-ready” vehicles.
A number of photos of the new-generation Ford Ranger Raptor have appeared on Facebook forums in recent weeks, parked on suburban streets in Melbourne (such as the examples pictured above and below), and in driveways and shopping centre car parks.
However, these examples are final pre-production engineering evaluation vehicles.
These earlier examples are the first to roll off the line to check tooling and other production processes, but they are generally not saleable vehicles and are instead used for dealer training and marketing exercises – and are destined to be crushed.
The four ‘Code Orange’ Ford Ranger Raptors on the transporter are believed to be media evaluation vehicles getting their final preparations before press preview drives in the coming month or so.
Ford is yet to send invitations for media test drives of the new Ford Ranger Raptor, and is yet to announce a date.
However, Drive understands the test drive event will be conducted close to showroom arrival timings.
Ongoing production interruptions and shipping bottlenecks which continue to plague the automotive industry globally have also impacted Ford Ranger Raptor and Ford Everest deliveries.
Both of these models are now due to arrive in Australian showrooms in September rather than as originally planned in August.
Ford dealers canvassed by Drive say customer delivery dates remain fluid because of the ongoing supply and shipping constraints impacting all car brands globally.
However, some good news for Ranger buyers who are stuck in the queue: Ford has announced increased production capacity in the final three months of this year to try to trim waiting times.
Although delivery delays vary depending on models, options, and colour choices in the regular Ford Ranger line-up, examples ordered today could have wait times of six to 12 months.
However, a number of savvy buyers have jumped the queue by opting for twin-turbo 2.0-litre diesel variants that are already in dealer stock, rather than waiting for the new turbo diesel V6 models to arrive.
Joshua Dowling has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years, spending most of that time working for The Sydney Morning Herald (as motoring editor and one of the early members of the Drive team) and News Corp Australia. He joined CarAdvice / Drive in 2018, and has been a World Car of the Year judge for more than 10 years.