The fault, which only afflicts the 4×4 versions, was discovered before deliveries of the two vehicles started in earnest. The two pick-ups are virtually identical and are built on the same production line in Thailand.

“The technical fault may have affected a small amount of vehicles, and we're being advised not to release vehicles to customers until we can look at the root cause,” said a Ford spokesman.

The Ranger had been scheduled for delivery from last November, but customers are now being told none of the 4×4 pick-ups will be released until sometime in March. Mazda has given a similar date for the BT-50.

Around 60 vehicles are thought to have been delivered already, but a recall will be issued to bring them back for a dealer fix.

Eastbourne-based carpenter Ken Francis paid for a single cab 4×4 Ranger on January 9 but the original 10-day quoted delivery time kept being pushed back. “I was tearing my hair out,” he said. He's now been refunded his money.