Ford got the nod for the first replacement order because of its large payload capacity; it can carry five adults and a ton of cargo, more than the French vehicles.
PARIS — In what might be construed as a blow to Gallic pride, the French army will soon be patrolling La Belle France, the land of Renaults and Peugeots, in Ford Ranger pickups.
The army is buying 1,000 of the Ford trucks as part of a “crash program” to begin replacing its fleet of off-road vehicles, said Pierre Bayle, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry. The army’s Peugeot P4 jeeps went into service in 1983 and are becoming obsolete, he said.
Two other vehicles were considered, Bayle said: PSA Peugeot Citroën’s Berlingo, and the Dacia Duster, made by Renault. But Ford got the nod for the first replacement order because of its large payload capacity, he said. The truck can carry five adults and a ton of cargo, more than the French vehicles.
“It’s not a question of America versus France,” Bayle said, as not one of the three vehicles in question was made in either country. The Ranger is made in South Africa, the Duster in Romania and the Berlingo in Spain.
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Maya Vautier, a Renault spokeswoman, said Ford did not really beat its French rivals since they do not make such large off-road vehicles. Renault does not even make a pickup currently, she said, but it plans to begin doing so in the second half of this year.
Peugeot declined to comment. Michael Baumann, a spokesman for Ford Europe, said the company was “unfortunately not in a position to comment.”
The work of replacing the fleet will continue over the next few years, Bayle said, and French vehicles could be chosen for other roles.
That might help tamp down any dissent from the economic nationalist crowd.
In political terms, sourcing military procurement overseas is a tricky business on both sides of the Atlantic. In 2008, the Pentagon chose the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co., the maker of Airbus planes, and its U.S. partner, Northrop Grumman, for a contract to replace America’s aging fleet of refueling tanker jets. That award generated a storm of protest and a fierce lobbying effort by Boeing.
The U.S. company ultimately won the deal, worth $35 billion, after the Pentagon revised the contract.