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Automakers Going Tow-to-Tow

Big truck makers agree to uniform test of towing capacity.

by on Jul.11, 2011

Towing capacity is one of the most critical selling points among full-size truck manufacturers.

Some of the industry’s biggest automakers have decided to go tow-to-tow.  Few pieces of data in the car and truck business provoke as many claims and counter-claims as towing capacity, which can be even more important than raw horsepower in some segments.

Indeed, earlier this year, the nation’s two largest automakers went back-and-forth as they repeatedly raised their numbers, Ford ultimately asserting king-of-the-hill status for its big F-350s and F-450s, claiming 17,500 pounds of capacity on some models, 1,000 more than the top-rated Chevrolet — which prompted its Detroit rival to cry foul and many potential customers to ask who is really on top.

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But there should be no debate who really is the tow-master, reports our friend and colleague Mark Phelan, of the Detroit Free Press, thanks to an agreement between the leading full-size truck producers to accept a new Society of Automotive Engineers standard that should set uniform testing procedures.


Ford Reclaims Leadership in Heavy-Duty Towing

A battle with no end?

by on Feb.07, 2011

Ford reclaims towing leadership with the 2011 F-Series Super Duty.

Few pieces of data in the car and truck business provoke as many claims and counter-claims as towing capacity, which seems to have become more important than raw horsepower in some segments.

Towing leadership swings back and forth and truck makers are quick to assert their superiority even if their claims involve just a few pounds.

This time, it is Ford reasserting its leadership in the heavy-duty pickup segment, which is one of the most profitable in the business, claiming king-of-the-hill status, this week, on the Ford F-Series Super Duty trucks with upgraded towing capacity. The beefed-up frame and hitch return the industry’s best-selling heavy-duty truck to the head of the pack in conventional trailer towing.

The Ford F-350 and F-450 Super Duty trucks with the 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 diesel engine and dual rear wheels now can pull an industry-best 17,500 pounds. That’s 1,000 pounds more than the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 4×2, and 500 pounds more than the Silverado and Sierra 4×4.

“Super Duty stays on top because of our ongoing engineering work and analysis of extensive field data,” said Rob Stevens, chief engineer of the 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty. “We keep pushing to deliver the best-in-class attributes our customers demand,” he said.

Furthermore, Super Duty’s latest improvements arrive at a time when its customer satisfaction score – 83% – is the best in the industry for heavy-duty trucks; and when Super Duty’s market share is the highest in a decade, Stevens said.

The changes follow a series of third-party tests in which the Silverado briefly got the best of the Ford Super Duty.

But if the past few years are any indication, the battle is far from over.

Even Nissan, with the Titan, and Toyota, with the Tundra, have been touting tow capacity, in recent years.  Chevrolet and its General Motors sibling, GMC, will almost certainly make moves to regain their advantage as soon as possible.