2017 Ford Raptor

China – Chasing the Raptor

As personal wealth within China grows, so does the demand for haute fashion and western icons of status, such as luxury automobiles from premium American and European manufacturers.

That sort of image-boosting lust is predictable in a country which for so long sheltered its subjugated populace from capitalist influences. Less predictable though is their new-found obsession with the American cowboy image, replete with Stetsons, leather, and the ubiquitous pickup truck; but we’re not talking hay wagons. It’s still luxury and performance to the max, but with four-doors, four-wheel drive, and a cargo box.

Sensing a market with huge growth potential, Ford plans to be first in this fall with a specially designed version of the all-new 400-plus horsepower 2017 Raptor. Presumably, riding in the rear seat of a Buick has become far too commonplace on China’s congested roadways, so hey, driving a US-built Raptor is the new status symbol.

“The people who buy the Raptor maybe own some other premium vehicle already. This is another toy,” said Wesley Liu, Ford’s Asia-Pacific director of sales.

Whether Chinese demand for “toy” pickup trucks is a flash in the wok or not remains to be seen. Nonetheless, it’s a fascinating to observe which representations of western lifestyle become the sought-after representations of status in the east.

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