A fresh report out of the United States suggests Ford is indeed working on a petrol-powered Ranger Raptor for North America, despite insisting it had no plans to do so.

According to Road and Track, the Blue Oval brand will eventually introduce the Ranger Raptor to the US market, although not with the diesel engine offered in other parts of the world. And, crucially, only once the bakkie enters its next generation.

Based on information gleaned from social media profiles of various Ford engineers, the publication speculates this next-generation Ranger will arrive in 2022, with a US-spec Raptor derivative set to follow.

Road and Track says the next version of the Ranger has already been handed the internal code P703, adding that the new bakkie will share plenty with the as-yet-unrevealed new Bronco (the publication points out that the two vehicles will share a frame, built by the same team at Modatek).

One of the social media posts indicates a chassis engineer is working on a Ranger Raptor bearing the same P703 code and listed as being designed for North America. That same engineer, Road and Track notes, worked on the Ranger recently reintroduced to the US as well and the diesel-powered Ranger Raptor set to arrive in South Africa later in 2019.

Of course, it’s not yet confirmed exactly which engine this rumoured new US-spec Ranger Raptor would employ, but it’s all but certain to be a petrol-flavoured EcoBoost unit of some sort.

For the record, the SA-built Ranger Raptor destined for local dealers will be powered by a twin-turbo diesel engine producing 157 kW and 500 N.m.