OH, WHAT a feeling.
Ford’s bid to bring a hi-po Raptor-badged version of its Ranger trade ute to Australia appears to have hit a huge speed bump – Toyota’s trucking division already has its fingers all over the Raptor name.
Hino Motors, the truck division of Toyota that is somewhat famous for being the first brand in Australia to include digital radio as standard across its vehicle range, currently owns the Raptor name after securing the rights to it in the early 1990s. Though it appears Hino has never used the name, it has ensured its hold over the name is regularly updated.
In an embarrassing case of deja vu for Ford, Toyota recently refused to release its hold on the Edge name, forcing the US car maker to buck the global name for the vehicle and instead badge its incoming Mazda CX-5 fighter as the Endura when it arrives in 2018. The US brand has now had to go and ask its Japanese rival if it can use Raptor here.
Ford is yet to confirm that it is bringing the Raptor-badged Ranger to Australia. However, the lengths it is going to in its effort to secure the Raptor trademark for the Ranger – and the as-yet unannounced-for-Australia F-150 Raptor – suggests its plans for performance trade utes are a little more than mere rumour, and could range a little wider than just the Ranger.
However, Ford is now trying to strip Hino of the trademark “on the basis of alleged non-use”, but not without resistance. IP Australia, which oversees the trademark application process, told Wheels, “Hino Motors have opposed this request for removal action.”
According to IP Australia, Ford Australia and Hino Motors have agreed to a “cooling-off period” while talks between the companies, aimed at coming to some sort of an amicable settlement, continue.
Ford and Hino were asked for comment.
Ford’s battle to secure the Edge name to fit to its updated five-seat Territory large SUV replacement was years in the making. Ford wanted the Edge name – used on limited edition Toyota Corolla and RAV4 models about a decade ago – to fit in with its new global strategy of starting the name of every SUV in its line-up with the letter “E”. Instead, it will endure with Endura.