Polish Army 4x4 Vehicle Procurement: Ford Vehicles replace Nissans

Ford Ranger XLT, Image: Ford Polska
Ford Ranger XLT, Image: Ford Polska

As mentioned by Mariusz Błaszczak via his twitter account, and then by the Polish Ministry of Defence in its press release, Ford Ranger trucks are bound to replace the Polish military’s Honker vehicles. This changes the original decision that had been made before, within the Mustang acquisition, aimed at the acquisition of Nissan Navara pick-up trucks. A relevant agreement annex has been signed with the contractor - allowed for by the regulations implemented as a result of the effort aimed at counteracting the COVID-19 crisis.

The main reason as to why the change has been made stems from the fact that the manufacturer, the Japanese Nissan company, has been facing trouble. For the first time since 11 years, Nissan is suffering from losses. Back in April 2020, the manufacturing of Nissan vehicles has gone down 62% (to 150 thousand examples), while the sales income is 42% lower. Even though the issues have been caused by the COVID-19 pandemic primarily, it needs to be said that Nissan has been struggling earlier on, especially due to the scandal involving its ex-CEO, Carlos Ghosn. Back in 2018 he was arrested, facing charges of fraud. It was on 28th May when the company announced that during the last FY 6.2 billion dollars loss has been recorded. For that reason, Nissan decided to cut annual production by 20%, from 7.2 million to 5.4 million vehicles, within the period between 2022 and 2023. Nissan also decided to shut down its factories in Spain and Indonesia. The factory located in Barcelona was manufacturing the Navaras to meet the demand in the European market. These vehicles were expected to be received by the Polish military as well.

After the information mentioned above was publicized by the manufacturer, we have submitted an inquiry to the Glomex MS Polska Sp. z o.o. company, asking about the impact that the closure of the Nissan factory could have on the delivery of the vehicles for the Polish Armed Forces. The company did not respond.

Let us recall: the agreement signed on 31st March 2020 by and between the 2nd Regional Logistics Base and a consortium formed by Glomex MS Polska Sp. z o. o. (leader) and Glomex MS s.r.o. concerning delivery of general purpose passenger/cargo vehicles between 2020 and 2022, in a quantity of 435 examples (guaranteed), with extension option concerning another 150 vehicles. The agreement had a value of PLN 121 million.

According to the agreement annex, signed on July 1st this year, the contractor shall deliver Ford Ranger XTL cars, replacing the Navaras. The delivery is to proceed in line with the previously adopted schedule - this has been one of the priorities adopted by the MoD. Through the negotiation, the Parties have managed to diminish the agreement value by more than PLN 2.5 million. This allows the MoD to procure 13 vehicles more, through the right of an option (163, instead of 150 examples).

Mercedes G-class vehicles procured by the Polish military in the early 1990s are also awaiting replacement. Image: Maciej Szopa

According to the MoD, the specification of the procured Ranger XLT trucks would be almost identical to that of the Nissan Navara. The Ford Ranger is a bit longer, with its trunk (probably the cargo space is referred to here) being much more spacious.

Let us recall that Ford Ranger has been offered a couple of times already, within the framework of the Mustang program and the following procurement procedures referred to as the “little Mustang”. The Ranger has gained most of the publicity back in 2017. Then, an offer has been placed by a consortium formed by PGZ Group and the WZM facility based in Poznan, within the framework of procurement procedure announced in July 2015. After that, the acquisition was to concern delivery of 882 vehicles (841 non-armoured and 41 armoured ones), by 2022. Back then the PGZ/WZM offer had a price tag of more than PLN 2 billion. This stemmed from the high unit price of Ford Ranger variants offered. 

The Double Cab Ford Rangers, interestingly, have been acquired in February this year by the 2nd Regional Logistics Base. The acquisition has been made within the framework of the delivery of 44 special-purpose vehicles. They are destined to carry the Moskit and Salkit lighting systems. The contract had a value of PLN 7.5 million (excluding the VAT), and it was signed with the Świętochłowice-based Demarko Sp z o.o. Sp. k. company.

Ford Ranger is manufactured in Thailand, Argentina, and South Africa. It is a vehicle that is quite common when it comes to military applications. It is operated by the Armed Forces of Ireland or France for instance. Interestingly, the French have selected the Arquus VT4/Trapper vehicles to replace their Peugeot P4s. Arquus VT4/Trapper is a militarized Ford Everest that was modified to meet the French requirements. Meanwhile, Everest is based on Ford Ranger. Arquus is also offering the Trigger vehicle - another Ranger derivative. The vehicle has replaced the ACMAT ALTV based on the legacy Nissan Navara.