As of the past few days, the 2017 Ford Raptor is the first Ford F-Series truck to be officially exported to and sold in China. Aside from the price, which has not been announced yet, there’s really only one distinctive difference between American and Chinese-spec models: the headlights. The other unique features for China are much harder to find.
You’ll notice that the headlight on the Chinese truck doesn’t have the amber accent. Well, it’s amber on the American truck when it’s lit. In resting-mode as pictured it looks like a silver bar running the length of the light.
It also looks like the main-beam LED light has been swapped for a halogen or HID projector housing on the Chinese truck. Interestingly, China’s Raptor does away with the constellation of amber dot lights that make the Raptor’s face so distinctive.
On the American version, these little amber specs are legally required as size-indicators due to the Raptor’s immense width. You usually see them as a row across the top of the windshield on big rigs or heavy duty trucks, but one of Ford’s designers wisely decided to work them into a style statement in the truck’s first iteration and carried the look over for the 2017 model. Except, apparently, not for China.
The lineup of Raptors in this image is heading for China, and as you can see, the spots that would normally hold amber lights have been blanked-out with plastic. Similarly, the American Raptor has little red dots below its main taillights, while the Chinese Raptor does not.
These Raptors (and all others) are currently still built exclusively in Dearborn, Michigan.
A representative from Ford informed me that the Chinese Raptor’s instrument cluster and centerstack is also “market specific,” and that the high-mounted rear brake light had been changed as well.
But mechanically speaking, the Raptors heading to China are the same claimed 450-horsepower High Output 3.5-liter EcoBoost engined monsters we get here, on the same tires and with the same neat traction control technology.
A 2003 paper I found from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine seems to indicate that China has high standards for fuel quality and 95-octane gas available at pumps, so Chinese Raptor owners should be able to get as much power out of their turbocharged engines as possible.
I’m extremely eager to see what the Raptor’s price tag ends up looking like in the People’s Republic, which heavily taxes large luxury vehicles. As recently as the end of last year, the country increased such taxes on small vehicles and added an extra 10 percent import tax on “super-luxury” vehicles costing over $190,000.
The Raptor, which starts at about $50,000 in the U.S. and easily options up to $70,000, isn’t quite in the “super-luxury” category but I have no doubt the truck will cost a fortune in China. There’s also the matter of pickup trucks being classified as commercial vehicles and banned from certain roads and cities in China. I guess Raptor owners will have to stick to the off-road trails?
Ford plans on selling “more than 12” Ford Performance-branded vehicles in China by 2020, including the Ford GT, Focus RS, Shelby GT350 and Shelby GT350R—all of which will be expensive, but there’s got to be some good in the globalization of enthusiast-oriented cars, right?