Ford Motor Co. (F) has started to ship its 2017 F-150 Raptor to China—the first time the automaker has exported any of its F-Series trucks to the country.
The Ford F-Series has been a dependable profit maker for the automaker, particularly in the U.S. where it’s been the best-selling vehicle for more than three decades. Ford reported Wednesday that F-Series sales in its home country totaled 57,995 trucks in January, a 13% increase and the best sales start for the series since 2004.
Ford hopes to extend the sales streak to China, the world’s largest auto market.
The exported second-generation F-150 Raptor is a four-door SuperCrew model that includes a military-grade aluminum-alloy cab and a high-output version of its 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine. The exported 2017 Raptor model also has a steel frame with racing shocks to provide higher ground clearance, a dual-exhaust system, and 10-speed automatic transmission.
The F-150 Raptor, which is manufactured at Ford’s truck factory in Dearborn, Michigan, is among more than a dozen new performance vehicles that will be rolled out by 2020.
The truck’s unique look and capability has generated “amazing buzz at every auto show” around China, according to David Schoch, Ford’s group vice president and president of Ford Asia Pacific.
He said the truck is another example of the company’s commitment to offering a wide range of vehicles to customers in China.