Aqaba – MENA Herald: Ford is recreating one of the most daring and memorable military campaigns in history, employing its built Ford tough truck and unstoppable SUV lineup to follow the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia across the desert.
One hundred years ago in today’s Jordan, T.E. Lawrence led a grueling, two-month march through a desert many believed to be impassable to capture the Red Sea city of Aqaba. Even then, Ford vehicles navigated the desert terrain – archive footage shows Lawrence driving a Ford Model T throughout the region. Ford provided 40,000 Model T’s, used as ambulances, tanks and transporters, to the WWI effort.
Fast forward one century, and customers in Middle East and Africa, and indeed around the world, continue to appreciate the capability and utility of Ford’s legendary trucks and SUVs, whether in the desert or on the daily commute. Built Ford Tough is more than a slogan, it’s the DNA of Ford’s truck and unstoppable SUV lineup, and it informs the capability, comfort and innovation Ford customers expect.
Ford is retracing the steps of the march of Aqaba with seven of the strongest SUVs and trucks in its stable: The F-150, Ranger, Edge, Expedition, Explorer, Escape and EcoSport. The seven-nameplate convoy will converge on the Seven Pillars Mountain in the otherworldly Wadi Rum desert, for which Lawrence’s “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” is named. “At Ford we are incredibly proud of that we make the best trucks and SUVs in the world and what better way to demonstrate the capability and performance of Ford’s trucks and utility vehicles, than recreating the historic march to Aqaba,” said Jim Benintende, president of Ford Middle East and Africa. “T.E. Lawrence and the Arab army rode two months through the desert to take Aqaba by surprise. We’re doing it in only a few hours, with ten-fold more horsepower, off road capability, comfortable seating and storage for all passengers, individual climate controls and a host of other great technologies that make driving enjoyable and easy. Jordan is an incredibly picturesque, safe and historic backdrop in which to showcase our SUV and truck fleet.”
Ford has a long history of truck and SUV leadership. Last year, Ford sold more than 1.5 million SUVs globally and more than 1.1 million F-series and Ranger trucks. More than 33 million F-Series trucks have been sold since its inception in 1948, making it America’s best-selling vehicle for the past 39 consecutive years. The Ford Ranger is the best-selling truck in Europe and the second best-selling truck on the African continent.
Ford helped create the SUV segment with the Explorer more than twenty five years ago. Since then it has sold more than 7 million globally, or one every 2 minutes.
In the next few years, Ford will bring four new all-new SUV to its global lineup, complete with smart technologies, enhanced safety features, and superior comfort that empower Ford SUV owners to go anywhere – anytime.
William Dalrymple, famed author and historian, is an expert on T.E. Lawrence and is part of the program.
“The conquest of the Aqaba Fort via the desert was one of the most strategic and creative military victories of our time,” said Dalrymple. “It was part of a series of events in World War I that created today’s Middle East, and that continues to resonate to this day. Lawrence took great pride in his ability to endure the harshest of conditions for which the Bedouin are famous. I’m thrilled to join Ford in recreating this incredible event — and even more so to be experiencing it from the comfort and style of a Ford SUV instead of by camelback.”
BUILT FORD TOUGH TRUCKS AND UNSTOPPABLE SUVS
From the legendary F-series and Ranger pickup trucks, to the full-size Expedition and Explorer SUVs; and from the mid-size, chic Escape and the compact, muscular EcoSport SUV, Ford is showing the strength and breadth of its global truck and utility portfolio.
Ford F-150 continues to set the standard for the future of trucks. The all-new F-150 delivers an impressive combination of power, capability and efficiency – from advanced materials that improve durability and inhibit corrosion, to faster processors that enhance driving performance, to breakthrough cargo management and towing solutions. In designing the backbone of the F-150, Ford engineers improved the truck’s signature fully boxed ladder frame. It is all-new with more high-strength steel than ever – making it stronger and lighter. High-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloys – already used in aerospace, commercial transportation, energy and many other rugged industries – are used throughout the F-150 body for the first time, improving dent and ding resistance and also saving weight. Overall, up to 700 pounds of weight have been saved, helping the F-150 tow more, haul more, accelerate quicker and stop shorter, and contributing to efficiency.
The new Ford Ranger pickup brings a new level of comfort and refinement to its segment without compromising on the rugged capability that customers demand. The Ranger is a tough and capable mid-size pickup, with 3.2 and 2.2 Duratorq diesel engine options, and is available in several body options, from single and double cab to the striking Wildtrak version. The Ranger remains one of the top selling vehicles in South Africa. The new Ranger sold in Europe, Middle East and Africa is produced at Ford’s Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria and exported to 148 markets.
The all new Ford Edge is the newest SUV taking part in the march to Aqaba. The Edge– the original crossover sport utility vehicle – demonstrates what happens when a proven leader gets even better. Loaded with more technology, higher levels of craftsmanship, and greatly improved vehicle dynamics, the latest Edge is a better vehicle by every measure.
The Explorer is Ford’s signature full-size SUV. It is the centerpiece of Ford’s global utility vehicle lineup because it delivers an ideal combination of form and function. Introduced in 1990 as a 1991 model, Explorer featured generous interior space customers were looking for, and was engineered specifically for people seeking adventure for their families and a way to express their individuality. The new Explorer offers more innovations and driver assist technologies. Explorer has been the most popular SUV in America for the past 25 years and is the best-selling three-row SUV in the world. The new 2016 Explorer, including the new Platinum model, was introduced in the Middle East at the end of 2015.
Ford’s biggest SUV, the Ford Expedition, joins the convoy as one of the best-selling SUVs in the Middle East. The new model is the most powerful, fuel-efficient Expedition to date, with a 3.5 liter EcoBoost V6 engine delivering 370PS and best-in-class torque. Customers appreciate the space, performance, comfort and capability the Expedition delivers for up to eight passengers and as much water and supplies as any small army would need to cross the Wadi Rum desert.
Escape is the second best-selling vehicle in the Ford lineup, only behind the Ford F-150. Ford Escape’s popularity is born of its reputation for great fuel economy, versatility and technology aimed at helping customers – all in a sleek design. This is a competitive segment, and Escape offers features and amenities that make it irresistible to customers. Escape’s signature technology is its available hands-free liftgate that allows fast and easy access to the cargo area with a gentle kicking motion. Along with versatility, great fuel economy is another reason Escape is popular with customers. The 1.6-liter EcoBoost® four-cylinder engine is now standard on the SE series. Customers can also select the 2.0-liter EcoBoost or the 2.5-liter iVCT I-4.
The Ford EcoSport is Ford’s compact SUV, featuring bold lines, contemporary shape and sophisticated interior, all reflecting its credentials as a capable, flexible and practical urban SUV. The EcoSport provides roomy space for five, a high driving position with outstanding visibility, a refined cabin environment engineered for quiet operation, carefully selected and matched materials, and a modern design ethos. It all adds up to make the Ford EcoSport a compelling alternative to the run-of-the-mill compact car.