Ford is sending its high-performance Ford Raptor pickup to China

Ford RaptorFordThe Ford F-150 Raptor.

The Ford Raptor is a pickup for pickup-truck fans who want just a little bit more.

The truck is part of the Ford Performance division, which includes high-end Mustangs, the stonking Ford Focus ST, and the Le Mans-winning GT supercar.

The Raptor was first sold in 2010 and has been a popular member of the Ford family since, bringing some serious offroading credibility to the F-Series lineup of pickups, the bestselling vehicles in the US for decades.

Now the Raptor is headed for China.

“Ford has started shipping its all-new 2017 F-150 Raptor … to eager customers in China, marking the first time any U.S.-built F-Series truck has been officially exported to China,” Ford said in a statement

“Ford is one of America’s top exporters, and F-150 Raptor’s appeal and unmatched off-road performance has earned the truck a loyal following around the globe,” Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s President, the Americas, added. “Export to China enables us to bring a new group of enthusiasts into the Ford family.”

Ford RaptorFordOn the way to China.

Like the top-selling F-150 full-size pickups, the Raptor has been re-engineered to use lightweight aluminium in place of steel in its construction, and the truck gets Ford’s 3.5-litre EcoBoost V-6, which is good for 450 horsepower. With a 0-60 time that’s been estimated at under six seconds by some reviewers, the Raptor is every bit a performance machine.

So why is is headed for China?

As a pickup-and-SUV boom has gripped the US, China has begun to mirror America’s buying habits. Now the made-in-Michigan Raptor is headed for the Middle Kingdom — and a market that’s already bigger than the US, as Ford strives to grab its piece of a growing sales pie.

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