Have you heard about the Troller T4? Maybe because of the guys at Truck Yeah! who always talk about it as the Bronco that Ford never got the guts to build but still sold with his brazilian off-road brand. Well, when Ford bought Troller back in 2006 there was the Pantanal, the Hugo Simpson of the family, a rugged pickup with slow sells.
The Pantanal was a small sized pickup based on his T4 brother. It was built in the brazilian state of Ceará, knew for it’s industrial government incentives. It had a fiberglass bodywork, a 3.0 turbodiesel L4 MWM engine, all-wheel drive, a five speed Eaton manual transmission, Dana differentials, a 55 degree attack angle and a 1280kg payload. Everything to be lifelong, realiable, workhorse.
The next year after the purchase Ford decided to end up the production of the Pantanal. The other year they published a buyback recall for all the 77 trucks produced. Apparently, the weldings of the chasis were badly done and the rails could separate even without heavy duty use.
Ford offered buybacks based on the official used car prices sheet of Brazil, and the owners who didn’t want to give their trucks had to sign an agreement leaving the company without responsability over possible accidents. It’s said that most of the owners agreed but some Pantanals can still be seen in Ceara’s industrial zone.
In Brazil there was a whole controversy and conspirancy theories around the recall. It was the first time there that a car company offered a buyback recall. The most common theories that came afloat were:
- Ford didn’t want the Pantanal to compete against the Ranger and F250, that had a smaller payload and were more expensive
- It was a non-sense to sustain a parts network for ten years, as the brazilian law requires, for only 77 pickups
- The Pantanal sold fairly poor against the T4 so Ford decided to concentrate his efforts on the jeep competitor in a fairly small production line
- Ford wanted to generate a bad reputation of Troller justify it’s closing and eliminate the rivals
Actually, with the past of time, Ford kept Troller aliver and launched a new generation of the T4, which now it’s even desired abroad. Maybe the real reason behind the whole affair was that Ford actually bought a “goverment incentives factory” instead of a car factory. It was negotiated with Brazil to keep the Ceará’s production, and jobs, in exchange of having the poor state’s fiscal incentive also applied to the Fiestas and Kas built in the state of Bahia.
Anyways, here’s an old TV review of the truck, enjoy for the last time doing some crawling: