DEAD SEA/AQABA, Jordan – Ford is recreating one of the most daring and memorable military campaigns in history, employing its built Ford tough truck and unstoppable SUV lineup to follow the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia across the desert.
One hundred years ago in today’s Jordan, T.E. Lawrence led a grueling, two-month march through a desert many believed to be impassable to capture the Red Sea city of Aqaba. Even then, Ford vehicles navigated the desert terrain – archive footage shows Lawrence driving a Ford Model T throughout the region. Ford provided 40,000 Model T’s, used as ambulances, tanks and transporters, to the WWI effort.
Fast forward one century, and customers in Middle East and Africa, and indeed around the world, continue to appreciate the capability and utility of Ford’s legendary trucks and SUVs, whether in the desert or on the daily commute. Built Ford Tough is more than a slogan, it’s the DNA of Ford’s truck and unstoppable SUV lineup, and it informs the capability, comfort and innovation Ford customers expect.
Ford is retracing the steps of the march of Aqaba with seven of the strongest SUVs and trucks in its stable: The F-150, Ranger, Edge, Expedition, Explorer, Escape and EcoSport. The seven-nameplate convoy will converge on the Seven Pillars Mountain in the otherworldly Wadi Rum desert, for which Lawrence’s “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” is named.
“At Ford we are incredibly proud of that we make the best trucks and SUVs in the world and what better way to demonstrate the capability and performance of Ford’s trucks and utility vehicles, than recreating the historic march to Aqaba,” said Jim Benintende, president of Ford Middle East and Africa. “T.E. Lawrence and the Arab army rode two months through the desert to take Aqaba by surprise. We’re doing it in only a few hours, with ten-fold more horsepower, off road capability, comfortable seating and storage for all passengers, individual climate controls and a host of other great technologies that make driving enjoyable and easy. Jordan is an incredibly picturesque, safe and historic backdrop in which to showcase our SUV and truck fleet.”
Ford has a long history of truck and SUV leadership. Last year, Ford sold more than 1.5 million SUVs globally and more than 1.1 million F-series and Ranger trucks. More than 33 million F-Series trucks have been sold since its inception in 1948, making it America’s best-selling vehicle for the past 39 consecutive years. The Ford Ranger is the best-selling truck in Europe and the second best-selling truck on the African continent.
Ford helped create the SUV segment with the Explorer more than twenty five years ago. Since then it has sold more than 8 million globally, or one every 2 minutes. In the next few years, Ford will bring four new all-new SUV to its global lineup, complete with smart technologies, enhanced safety features, and superior comfort that empower Ford SUV owners to go anywhere – anytime.
William Dalrymple, famed author and historian, is an expert on T.E. Lawrence and is part of the program. “The conquest of the Aqaba Fort via the desert was one of the most strategic and creative military victories of our time,” said Dalrymple. “It was part of a series of events in World War I that created today’s Middle East, and that continues to resonate to this day. Lawrence took great pride in his ability to endure the harshest of conditions for which the Bedouin are famous. I’m thrilled to join Ford in recreating this incredible event -- and even more so to be experiencing it from the comfort and style of a Ford SUV instead of by camelback.”