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Ford Boosting the (Horsepower and Gear) Numbers for 2017 F-150

New 10-speed gearbox developed in joint venture with GM.

by on May.05, 2016

The 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor.

Ford is playing it by the numbers as it gets ready to roll out the updated, 2017 F-150 pickup.

The full-size truck, the most popular version of the comprehensive Ford F-Series line-up, has undergone a number of big changes over the last two years, starting with its switch to a lighter, “aluminum-intensive” body. It’s also gotten an assortment of downsized engines, including a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 that was already one of the F-150’s toughest haulers. But the twin-turbo package will get a 30 pound-feet bump for 2017, even as it delivers better fuel economy.

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A key to the mileage increase is the launch of an all-new 10-speed automatic transmission. That new gearbox was developed as part of an unusual partnership between Ford and erstwhile rival General Motors. Expect to see it roll out on a variety of Ford and GM products over the next several years.


Feds Investigating 420,000 Ford F-150 Pickups for Brake Problems

Some owners report complete brake failures.

by on Mar.04, 2016

A 2014 Ford F-150.

A slew of complaints has triggered an investigation into possible brake failure problems on Ford Motor Co.’s popular F-150 pickup.

The investigation is targeting about 420,000 of the trucks produced during the 2013 and 2014 model-year. The problem specifically appears to involved F-150 models using the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, according to a new post on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.

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It is unclear why the investigation is targeting that specific model, as Ford says the same braking system is used on a variety of other F-150 models. The F-150 is the light duty version of the Ford F-Series. That has routinely been ranked both America’s best-selling truck and the best-selling vehicle overall.


Lightweight Aluminum for New Ford Super Duty

Ford cuts weight, adds features, capabilities to heavy-duty trucks.

by on Sep.24, 2015

Ford's F-Series Super Duty follows the smaller F-150 in switching to an aluminum body.

Ford is cutting some of the mass, but increasing the capabilities, of its biggest trucks, the 2017 F-Series Super Duty.

Officially making a debut at the State Fair of Texas today, the heavy-duty models follow the more mainstream Ford F-150 model in switching from traditional steel to a lightweight aluminum body. That’s something Ford says will reduce the weight of the trucks by as much as 350 pounds. At the same time, the maker beefed up the towing and cargo capacity of the Super Duty models, it said.

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“There’s more change to this story than there was with the F-150” which went on sale for the 2015 model-year, explained Doug Scott, F-Series marketing manager, during a background briefing attended.


Chevrolet Teases Introduction of New 2016 Silverado

Brand hopes to rides sales momentum built by predecessor.

by on Jul.13, 2015

Chevy is giving folks an early look at the new 2016 Silverado.

New vehicle sales are booming and with the new “norm” of lower gas prices, full-size trucks are storming out of dealer showrooms. While much of the news about new trucks centers on Ford’s new F-150, Chevy’s enjoying a strong year as well and is poised heat up the competition with its rival with a new 2016 Silverado.

Silverado sales are up 14.6% so far this year, compared with Ford F-Series sales being down 2.4% due in large measure to production issues early in the new truck’s run. The brand hopes to continue the run this fall with the introduction of the newly updated 2016 Silverado.

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“The redesigned 2016 Silverado will build on Chevy Trucks’ legacy of dependability. It will feature a more muscular appearance and offer new customer-focused technologies,” said Sandor Piszar, marketing director for Chevy Trucks, in a statement. (more…)

Ram Outsells Silverado for 1st Time

Ford F-150 retains solid segment leadership.

by on Apr.02, 2014

The addition of the Ram 1500 Diesel has helped the truck gain new momentum in the market.

One month doesn’t a trend make.  And it’s too early to see whether General Motors’ worsening recall problems are having an impact – but for the first time ever, Fiat Chrysler’s Ram 1500 outsold rival GM’s Chevrolet Silverado 1500 last month  to become the U.S. market’s second-best-selling full-size pickup truck.

March also marked the first time since 1978 that Chevy’s big rig wasn’t in second place in the fast-reviving truck segment, behind only the long-dominant Ford F-150.

Keep on Truckin'!

The numbers were close, Ram delivering 42,532 pickups last month compared to the Silverado’s 42,247. And Chevy can take solace in the fact that it remains entrenched in second place for the year to date, holding a more than 10,000-unit lead over the Ram brand: 107,757 Silverado 1500s to 96,906 Ram 1500s.


Ford Bringing Heavy-Duty F-Series Back from Mexico

Move runs counter to trend.

by on Mar.07, 2014

Buyers take the heavy-duty F-Series chasses and add customized configurations such as tow trucks and bottle haulers.

With the launch of new factories by the likes of Nissan and Honda, Mexico has become one of the world’s largest automotive exporters. In fact, the U.S. now imports more vehicles from its neighbor South of the Border than it does from Japan – which is why it might come as a surprise to see Ford pulling back production of its biggest F-Series models from Mexico to the U.S.

The maker today will announce plans to invest $168 million to expand its truck plant in Avon Lake, Ohio, to handle the added production of those F-650 and F-750 models, starting early next year.  Going forward, that means that all F-Series production – from the smallest F-150 to the biggest commercial versions – will be based in the States.

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“Shifting production of the 2016 Ford F-650 and F-750 medium-duty trucks to Ohio Assembly Plant helps secure a solid future for the dedicated workers at this facility,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of The Americas. “Building these trucks in-house will utilize our expertise from our other tough truck and commercial vehicle lines to give our customers a better product at a competitive price.”


It’s No Beer Can – But Ford Must Convince Consumers Aluminum F-150 is Rugged, Durable, Affordable

Perceptions important - but Ford must also bring repair shops onboard.

by on Jan.21, 2014

Ford needs to make customers feel comfortable with the new aluminum-intensive design of the 2015 F-150.

Few new models have drawn more headlines lately, and there have been long lines to view the new Ford F-150 at the North American International Auto Show, where the 2015 pickup made its debut last week.

The question is whether the new full-size truck will be the year’s big success story or one of the auto industry’s historic failures.  The 2015 F-150 shifts from a traditional steel body to one made of lightweight aluminum, a move that is expected to yield significant improvements in fuel economy.  But the new approach has some potential serious risks, industry observers caution, that could cut into Ford’s traditional lead in a market segment that generated close to 2 million sales last year.

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While Ford is expected to promote the savings on fuel the new F-150 should yield, the automaker’s marketing manager, Doug Scott, also concedes that truck buyers tend to track costs much more closely than most other vehicle buyers. And one of the key questions is whether the use of aluminum will result in higher long-term operating costs, most notably in terms of durability, reliability and all but inevitable repairs.


Ford Turns Sales Champ F-150 into a Lightweight

Using aluminum body panels, lightweight steel, maker cuts 700 pounds.

by on Jan.13, 2014

Ford's F-150 rolled out onto the stage today 700 pounds lighter using aluminum body panels and a lightweight steel chassis. Photo credit: Len Katz.

With Joe Louis Arena – the home of the Detroit Red Wings – as the back drop, Ford Motor Co. kicked off the North American International Auto Show by revealing the new – and lighter –  Ford F-150.

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“We know our truck customers,” said Joe Hinrichs, who noted the F-Series has been the best-selling vehicle in the U.S for 32 consecutive years and the best-selling truck for the past 37 years.

“When you’re the leader you set the standards and then you exceed them,” said Raj Nair, who said the new truck contains more than 11 major technological firsts, including a new frame of lightweight steel and a unique all-aluminum body that reduce the trucks overall weight by 700 pounds, which improves fuel economy and overall performance. (more…)

New Ford F-150 An “Aluminum-Intensive” Game-Changer

Design could have competitors scrambling – or leave skeptical buyers on sidelines.

by on Jan.13, 2014

While the new F-150 may look as if it received only a touch up for this year, it's the extensive use of aluminum that's the real improvement.

The all-new F-150 making its debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week might initially look like little more than an evolutionary step forward for the best-selling pickup. But with its shift from steel to aluminum Ford hopes to rewrite the rules in the tough-truck segment. It’s a move that could send competitors scrambling – but also risks leaving skeptical buyers sitting on the sidelines.

Only a few years ago, skeptics began to wonder whether the once-massive full-size pickup market might be dwindling into insignificance. Indeed, during the depths of the recession, sales dipped to a mere 1.1 million, barely half the segment’s previous annual peak. But with the U.S. economy finally building momentum, the housing market, in particular, showing signs of life, pickup sales soared in 2013, to a solid 1.9 million.

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Leading the charge was the Ford F-Series, which accounted for sales of 763,402 trucks last year, about 283,000 ahead of its nearest competitor, the Chevrolet Silverado. That cemented the F-Series’ hold on the market as not only the best-selling truck in America for 37 consecutive years but also as the best-selling vehicle overall for 32. (more…)

Ford’s Aluminum F-150 a Likely Star at Detroit Auto Show

Big challenge overcoming concerns about durability.

by on Dec.27, 2013

The Ford Atlas Concept at its January 2013 Detroit Auto Show debut.

While most major automakers have already dropped broad hints about what they’ll reveal at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show, Ford has been unusually quiet about its plans for the annual show’s opening debut.  But the likely unveiling is expected to be a big one: an all-new version of the maker’s best-selling truck, the F-150.

And it’s not just a restyled pickup with a few more features.  The 2015 Ford F-Series is expected to mark a dramatic shift in a market segment that’s come roaring back over the last 12 months, the Detroit maker opting for a new, aluminum-intensive design that should shed 100s of pounds compared to the outgoing pickup – in the process improving fuel consumption by perhaps 5 miles per gallon.

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That said, the automaker could face a serious challenge with a redesign of what has long been America’s best-selling vehicle. Even though buyers in every segment of the market are demanding better mileage, the question is whether the generally more conservative buyers in the pickup segment will feel comfortable with this major shift from rugged, time-tested steel.  Ford will have to convince potential buyers they’ll not only save fuel but also get a durable truck that won’t offset those savings with higher maintenance costs.