Ford and Me

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Sunscreen // #RangerRaptor

The final straight, and we arrived in Essaouira itself to reluctantly hand back the Ranger Raptor and grab some lunch before heading back to the airport.

Despite the sandblasting and the adventures of the previous 24 hours, it was of course in this last hour that we got a bit singed by the sun…

Time, then, to reflect.

The Ranger

I wasn’t sure what to expect before the event. I mean I’m hardly the pick-up demographic.

But what a bloody magnificent vehicle! So effortless we almost had to remind ourselves that there were features to stop, observe and remark on – this workhorse is strong, tough, capable, and will take you everywhere you want to go, and plenty of places you haven’t even thought of yet.

The adaptability, comfort level, and technical specification combine to make something I think will suit almost everyone. You can check out other sources for the specs; all I know is how it made me feel – courageous, brave, and with a smile that lasted all the way back to the terrible Frankfurt airport and beyond. To me, it’s a magical flying carpet!

The Experience

Regular readers will know I like to reflect with a few final thoughts (in no way aligned to Jerry Springer) from me and my colleagues about the experience. Being an employee ambassador is an absolute privilege, we all agree, and not just because we get to experience a particularly spectacular office for the day.

So I asked a few questions, and here are some of the answers, always interesting to me with my employee engagement hat on:

What did you expect before the trip, and did the trip match (or exceed) expectations?

Filip:  I expected a lot of driving and interacting with the new Ranger Raptor in a variety of places (and different terrain) and this is what we’ve eventually experienced. The drive was cool and the scenery definitely exceeded my expectations, as did the car itself as well.

Florian: The experience was way more than I’d expected!

What were your thoughts on the vehicle?

Filip: I liked it a lot. It makes a seriously intimidating impression when you first approach it as it’s huge and looks like a performance vehicle which in fact it is! Then when you actually get inside and know that it’s your friend, not a scary monster that will run over you, it was giving a very pleasant feeling of controlling something very powerful and unusual. People look at it with jealousy from the outside which may be its selling point in many cases. It makes the environment more colorful and interesting, especially in Performance Blue.

The experience of driving the Ranger Raptor off-road was fabulous. I’ve been driving a modified Nissan Patrol Y61 also with AT tires for a few years but the Ranger Raptor is in another league in every aspect. The power and torque are totally enough there and the way the car handles any type of terrain is truly impressive and makes me proud that it’s one of our products now.

What surprised you about the experience?

Filip: How perfectly everything was planned and executed. The huge number of people involved was a surprise to me and it gave a very professional impression. I also noticed the Rolls-Royce level of attention to detail, like aligning the cars perfectly in the morning of the second day. I was truly amazed and it was making me glad that I’m a part of it.

Florian: How the people interacted with each other… it was like a school-trip!
Everyone was so nice and friendly, whether Ford Team or media.

What was the most valuable/interesting thing about the trip?

Florian: Seeing the passion and dedication how our brand & product was presented to the journalists by the Ford Press Team. I am very proud to be selected as a Brand Ambassador.

Filip: To me personally, interacting with other members of the team like you, Florian, Elisabeth and (wow!) Steven Armstrong was truly motivating. Actually, the fact that Steven spent some time with us in the evening on Thursday and then we had these photos with him taken – that blew my mind and filled me with motivation. It really was motivating because it made me feel that the company cares about what we do.

I also got a kick out of the responsibility to deliver the results now in a form of my videos for YouTube. That’s also motivating to me! Especially that they may be seen by thousands of people.

What was the most challenging/difficult thing on the trip?

Florian: It was quite tough to not forget each and every task I’ve planned like filming and taking pictures as the location and driving the Ranger Raptor was kind of mindblowing.

Thanks both! I really enjoyed our ‘school trip’ too!

The journalists we were with were clearly delighted with the Raptor and the event, and I am so pleased to be able to share my experiences with my colleagues in the UK, to share my excitement about the vehicle and my pride in representing the Company.

Just to add – there was also another group attending the Spanish media drive and you can check out their reflections via their Instagram: David and Juan.

A note on Essaouira: I didn’t see much of the region (work, not holiday, remember) but I will find a way to get back! Everyone we met was incredibly welcoming (except for the donkeys, but I can forgive them not moving out of the way), and hearing the call to prayer across Essaouira during Ramadan felt very special.

And I think I’ll probably still have sand in my ears for some time yet anyway…

If you’ve enjoyed this blog series, do feel free to comment and share (who knows, you might get me another go at this some time!). But even if you haven’t, I enjoyed it, and I’ll leave you with pictures of the team, and the last of my photo memories from this very special trip.

I’ve been taking part in a really special @fordeu event this week, sharing all the excitement with you on Social Media. Be social with me using the icons below #RangerRaptor More…

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Blue Boats // #RangerRaptor

Essaouira was once Morocco’s biggest port, and the workhorses of those generations were the traditional blue fishing boats.

Times have changed, although you can still see catches coming in and shipbuilders building and repairing these special vessels.

I think the Ranger Raptor, designed to carry people and cargo to get modern business done on land, fits in beautifully here, at the start of our final long off-road stage.

Rangers are part of our official relationship with the RNLI in the UK as well – something we in the Company are hugely proud of given the challenges the RNLI face on our behalf, every single day.

I’ve been taking part in a really special @fordeu event this week, sharing all the excitement with you on Social Media. Be social with me using the icons below #RangerRaptor More…

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Why did the Chicken Cross the Road? // #RangerRaptor

I warned you that I go off on a tangent…

Well actually this time we went off-ROAD on a tangent. Throwing the (by now quite dusty) Raptor up a rocky hill to admire the views, we heard a strange sound in the bushes…

Clearly someone else had come to check out this machine. Maybe to investigate the load area for a suitable laying spot?

I would like to take the time to point out that according to some studies I found on Google, chickens are the birds most closely related to dinosaurs (inc raptors) … well that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

I’d also like to reassure you that no chickens, tortoises, or other animals were harmed in the making of this photo series. I badly bruised my hand trying to get a particular shot, but that’s it.

We were certainly well placed to ruffle some feathers (sorry) with this beast of a pickup…

I’ve been taking part in a really special @fordeu event this week, sharing all the excitement with you on Social Media. Be Social with me using the icons below #RangerRaptor More…

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The Tortoise and the // #RangerRaptor

Of course I needn’t have worried. Once my trusty co-driver has given me a quick briefing on the 10-speed auto gearbox, we headed off. Naturally we were last by this point, and actually I liked being behind the pack – having no other people around meant I felt like everything was being explored anew for us alone.

The Ranger Raptor is of course an immensely capable vehicle. I was only a few minutes in before it was like I’d been driving it all my life.

Back in the Real World I’m still driving an S-Max, and because of the incredible power seats with 8-way adjustment I was able to quickly set a high, familiar driving position (even at 5ft 0 tall!), easily reach round the cabin for everything I needed, and generally just relax and enjoy the experience, effortlessly.

I may have been a bit slow and steady, but on our travels we found someone even slower…

I wonder what he thought?

I’m thinking with the body styling and the unique 2.3mm high strength bash plates to deflect off-road obstacles he felt he’d met a kindred tough spirit…

I’ve been taking part in a really special @fordeu event this week, sharing all the excitement with you on Social Media. Be Social with me using the icons below #RangerRaptor More…

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Fasten Your Seatbelts // #RangerRaptor

Day two dawned, and with it the threat/promise (depending on your vantage point) of Me Driving.

Regular readers may recall that my very first LHD drive, in fact my very first drive outside the UK, was back in Valladolid with my patient co-driver Pete.

Well since then I’ve driven abroad and/or LHD…

Zero times.

So here I am, in a bloody big truck, left hand drive, AUTOMATIC (I have never driven an automatic before either), in Morocco.

No biggie.

Here are some of my favourite details while I procrastinate.

I’ve been taking part in a really special @fordeu event this week, sharing all the excitement with you on Social Media. Be Social with me using the icons below #RangerRaptor More…

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Sunset // #RangerRaptor


A quick change, and time for the technical presentation hosted by our Chairman, Steven Armstrong.

Then dinner, and catching up with Elisabeth and Florian, from the other employee pair.

We were all exhausted, sand-blasted (I swear sand poured out of my ear like a cartoon), and smiling from cheek to cheek – reflecting on our good fortune to be here at all but also on the experience of being in such an effortlessly capable vehicle in such exciting surroundings.

You know, we are still only on day one… stay tuned!

I’ve been taking part in a really special @fordeu event this week, sharing all the excitement with you on Social Media. Be Social with me using the icons below #RangerRaptor More…