By on December 14, 2012

While GM is pushing its “evolutionary” styled  new pickups with tried and true marketing, touting brawn and toughness, Ford will go with a less macho approach. It will push fuel economy for its next-generation F-150 pickups. For that, marketing has to be preceded by engineering. Ford will make its trucks shed between 700  and 750 pounds of weight for a 15 to 20 percent better fuel economy, says a report by Reuters.

The 2015 Ford F-150, which will go on sale in late 2014,  “will be a game-changer that will alter the dynamics of the truck segment,” Reuters heard from an insider. “They’re shooting for best-in-class fuel economy.”

The weight reduction will largely come from an extensive use of aluminum for doors, fenders, cab and tailgate. Major chassis components will be redesigned to reduce weight.

The trucks will later be powered by a new family of highly efficient engines, currently being developed  under the internal program code Nano. Small-displacement V6 engines will employ Ford’s EcoBoost technology, including turbocharging and direct injection.

The first of the Nano engines, a 2.9-liter V6, will not appear until 2016 or later, the report says. A new family of hybrid gasoline-electric engines, jointly developed with Toyota, will help meet tougher emissions and fuel-economy standards.

The F-series and its SUV derivatives account for more than 90 percent of Ford’s global profit, analysts says.

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61 Comments on “Next Gen F150 Will Ditch Caveman Marketing...”


  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    Whie most truck drivers/owners don’t actually USE them, I find the idea of a pickup being made of aluminum and plastic that is not meant to take the dents and scrapes of normal use kind of pointless. A fleet truck with a dented fender will now need a specialized body shop that can deal with weldng and painting aluminum panels and the cheap-o fixes of steel trucks will turn into costly repairs. I’m sure that will go over well with people who need a handful to run a small business who until now could do most simple body repairs themselves.

    I’m still waiting to see the durability figures of the new turbo engines in fleet applications. I’m sure a fancy turbo engine is every bit as cheap to maintain and reliable as a pushrod V8 in the long run.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Or just replace the fender, besides if “”it can drive it’ll go” works for most fleet owners. Most fleet owners don’t the time, inclination, skills or tools to do bodywork. Anecdotal evidence, our (my) fleet didn’t get beat up that bad. Our Rangers got beat up the most due being used in the city and F-150′s the least due to being used at bridge sites or new house construction. Let the insurance company deal with it.

      • 0 avatar
        FJ60LandCruiser

        So then the aluminum trucks will cost a fortune to insure.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        Actually bed rails and tailgate rails proved their weight in gold and bedlinings cut down on wear and tear. Most of the dings and dents came from things being thrown/loaded into the bed. Body of the truck would still look good and the beds would look like a truck-borne version of Beirut. Accident rate was low with possible suspension or termination if the driver was at fault. Each accident was reviewed. It will be interesting to see how many fleets switch to GM/Ram because of the aluminum panels.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        I assume it’ll cost a few more chickens to insure, but resale value, especially in the rust belt, should more than make up for it. Mild steel (offshore) replacement panels or used parts should be readily available though.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      I’ve heard that paint-less dent removal works great on aluminum. It’s fairly easy to remove hail damage from aluminum hoods, for example.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        It has much to do with the strength of the aluminum. To make aluminum strong enough to be a structural member, it has very little ductility left & will typically break before bending back. Where aluminum can be the regular variety, its low strength & high ductility makes it easy to bend/shape.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      Commercial trucks (Kenworth, Freightliner, etc) have used aluminum, fiberglass, and composite body panels for years and they are subjected to far more abuse than most pickup trucks. The body panels hold up fine and are no harder to repair than steel.

      Fleet buyers are far more informed and analytical than most pickup buyers and fleets are fine with vehicle bodies not made from steel. If it is tough (and repairable) enough for dump trucks and road tractors it will be fine for virtually all consumers.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Most of the IN-YO-FACE Denis Leary-narrated F-Series ads do tout EcoBoost fuel economy, but don’t forget to mention their engines also have a lot of TORRRRRQUE, which, in case you didn’t know, GETS THE CAP OFF YOUR BEER.

    The former star of “Rescue Me” insists in his inimitable confrontational style, that only the F-Series is capable of handling REAL MANLY MAN WORK, while implying its competitors are WOEFULLY INADEQUATE TO THE TASKS OF THE HUNTER-GATHERER-WELDER, and only for girls to drive to the salon and stuff.

    The truth is, you’ll probably be okay whether you choose an F-Series, a Silverado, or a RAM.

    The latest Silverado ads, meanwhile, involve dad driving his sleeping daughter to day care, and a little boy playing with a toy version of his dad’s trusty truck. Compared to the Leary-VO’d BIG WORDGASMS Ford puts out, these were downright sissy.

    RAM ads had the unhappy task of making a rotary shift knob MANLY, but Sam Elliot in FULL STRAIGHT COWBOY MODE could sell tampons to Schwarzenegger. And there’s nothing tougher than BURLY MOVABLE TYPE.

    Perhaps most annoying are the newest Tundra ads, which feature a strapping Übermensch making bits of the Toyota longer, wider, thicker with HIS DIRTY GREASY BARE HANDS. You’re half-expecting him to start describing the side effects of whatever ED pill the ad is hawking.

    tl;dr: American truck marketing is an absurd mess; almost as bad as light beer marketing…and the Chevy ads are probably the least testosterone-laced…for now.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    That weight target will get the trucks back to where they were 20 years ago. Fuel economy would be most easily bumped by simply putting a Prius nose on them, and dropping them down about six inches.

    • 0 avatar
      Onus

      I couldn’t agree more. I was at college with my 1990 diesel rear wheel drive f250. A 2004+ f150 parked next to me. It’s a good 4 inchs taller on the hood. My truck looks like a baby in comparison.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        I saw an F-250 from that era the other day, and it looked downright tiny compared to the 2012 King Ranch F-150 I saw five minutes later. The F-250 was a true work truck too (the bed had the rails and the toolboxes and everything), and looked like it had been used continuously as a work truck, but still looked in great condition considering.

      • 0 avatar
        ICARFAN

        Yep, my old 73-F250 Camper Special looks like a mini-truck these days compared to the new trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Section about 2 inches of metal out of the height below the belt line and it would be better proportioned in the short-bed regular cab form.

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      “It will push fuel economy for its next-generation F-150 pickups.”

      Ranger cancellation remorse?

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    I agree that getting rid of the frontal area and lowering the truck would do as much to help fuel economy as the weight reduction. The current F150 4X4 dwarfs my ’04 GMC 2500HD when parked next to it. Even the current Tacoma 4X4 has a higher hood height than my full size GMC 4X4.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I am still shocked when I pull up next to a current generation F150 at a stoplight or one passes me on the highway. I drive a 2003 4×2 F150 and the size difference is shocking. I also hate the way that the logos on the trucks have gotten silly huge. The “FORD” on my grille is about 6 in across, the “FORD” on the new trucks is visible from the stratosphere.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        Visible from the stratosphere,eh? Perhaps Ford should have fought a bit harder for towing the Space Shuttle to its new home over Toyota.

      • 0 avatar
        supremebrougham

        I remember when the new-for-2004 F-150′s came out, Ford made a bit if a big deal about how the Ford oval on the grille was now a whopping nine inches across.

        The day might come when the front end is nothing more than a stylized logo…

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Weight reduction will improve city mpg. Reducing frontal area will improve hwy mpg.

  • avatar
    Jeffer

    Maybe this will start a devolution of pick-ups back into the pre-macho era of the 1980-96 F-series; I can only hope! I guess that could put a lot of voice-over guys out of work though; especially those that specialize in the deep, husky, real-man voice.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Trucks grew for a reason so why go back in time? I don’t know if they’re more macho, but current trucks have an approx 7″ longer nose/clip for the sake of aerodynamics compared to vintage trucks. They’re approx 7″ longer from the steering wheel to the back window for the sake of comfort. The steering wheel was too close for comfort even with the seat all the way back (in reg cabs).

      The bench seats in those vintage reg cab trucks didn’t even recline and were like bus stop benches with padding.

      Current trucks have just the right cab specs for me and I don’t see any owners complaining. Oh and trucks haven’t grown an inch in width.

      I’ve got a reg cab ’86 I’ll sell ya.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        There are plenty of people complaining, but because they aren’t happy with today’s oversized trucks, they don’t buy them.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        I doubt the extra length of trucks is keeping too many snivelers away. Maybe 3 or 4, but I highly doubt they’ve ever owned a full-size truck. Or any truck at all… They just love to hear themselves complain.

        Truck owners agree they grew in the right places. Heck they, we’re the ones that asked for the changes.

        Besides, are these upset complainers talking about regular cab, short beds that they were thinking about buying, but were way too big? Once you’re talking full-size extra cab or crews, who the heck cares about a few extra inches???

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @DenverMike: I’m out of the truck fandom until they tone it down a bit. If/when I do need a truck, it’ll be a 1990s Ranger or a Colorado with a few modifications I have planned out.

        Anything bigger is just for my handyman purposes, unless I buy whatever ginormous trailer I’ll be towing with it first.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @Luke42 – Have you ever owned a full-size truck? Spend 10 hours a day in and out of one? Reg, extended or crew? Before they grew? For me, it was a welcome change and a minor one at that. It’s as if they did it just for me. Oh well, there’s mid-size for anyone else. Sure, your choices are limited there, but there’s a few that also cry for the old days of mini-trucks.

        As an OEM, what can you do? Can you please everyone all the time? No, you listen to what actual truck owners want in their next new truck. Do you think full-size OEMs are losing sleep over a few supposed lost sales?

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I cannot listen to Bob Seger’s “Like a Rock” without the image of a 90′s C/K Series truck pounding through the mud with a building loaded in the back.

    I hate truck advertising along with most beer advertising. For those football fans, do they tailor the ad to your home team? For example, we get lots of “Black and Gold” Steelers themed advertising here in Pittsburgh. Do the other team-obsessed markets get the same thing?

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Any rumor of composite beds ala Tacoma?

  • avatar
    carguy

    Did someone say manly truck?

    www dot youtube dot com/watch?v=u1C0r2EHQfY

  • avatar
    mjz

    So, the “new” Silverado/Sierra will be obsolete about a year and a half after they go on sale next year. Good going GM!

  • avatar
    mikey

    Somebody correct me if I’m wrong. Wasn’t the low/huge frontend a safety mandate. Something about pedestrian safety,or if a Tahoe hits a Cobalt, the Cobalt get run over?

    I don’t like that look on any truck,but I think they were forced into it.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Nope. The Euro pedestrian standards nixed things that could impale people in a collision (fixed hood ornaments and flip-up lights), called for a strke point above the knees and minimizing the effects of a body impacting the engine through the hood (bye bye ’80s Honda front ends). None of this impacted pickup truck design.

      The jacked up bodies and blunt fronts on contemporary trucks are nothing more than empty macho posturing.

      • 0 avatar
        d524zoom-zoom

        “The jacked up bodies and blunt fronts on contemporary trucks are nothing more than empty macho posturing.”

        Started by the 1994 Dodge Ram.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        I keep wondering why trucks don’t have more van-like front-ends. It seems like it would provide better visibility, and still have plenty of room for the engine.

        I know, I know, the manly posturing sells trucks… But what about making the truck more useful?

  • avatar
    carguy

    Based on these new trucks and the new Malibu, it seems that GM engineering has been nowhere near as ambitious as Ford or even Chrysler. While GM can probably rightly make claims about the dependability of “proven technology”, in the long term, that is a losing strategy. A big part of running a commercial truck is fuel costs and if they fall behind Ford and Chrysler on that score then they will lose market share.

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    What I want to know is, will Ford have corrected the 3.5l Ecoboost “limp-mode” issue caused by condensation buildup inside the intercooler (or the Charge Air Cooler or CAC) by then?

    Google it, it makes for some interesting reading. Some people have had their engines actually hydrolock from this. I can’t believe that Ford didn’t find this problem in their own testing.

  • avatar
    chas404

    I have a 2010 king ranch F150 loaded out. Kinda silly at times but I can use it for building houses and also taking clients. It essentially replaced having an Escalade EXT (comfortable but junk) and heavy duty 2500 dodge Rams (reliable for me believe it or not). Tried a V6 fwd Acadia for a while. Nice but eek kinda hard to get away from v8 full size comfort no?

    I was worried about the 5.4 liter power but with the 6 spd it runs fantastic. Not a hemi but i am no longer towing for now. (to be honest the 4.6 and 5.4 to me were always car engines due to higher revving hp).

    I think the new 5.0 liter or even 6.2 is ideal but I got all the rebates at the time (now 2 yrs later finally coming to the $6000 level). These ford trucks are fantastically comfortable and if you notice the luxo 4 door pickups hold their value higher than an SUV. Nicer interior than an Escalade. Better built.

    15mpg to 17mpg solid but this is a 4×4 loaded “long” bed. I would never want a turbo in a full size truck. Sorry. I also don’t believe as you say given the aerodynamics you are ever going to get over 20mpg hwy on a full size truck. 8 spd or cylinder deactivation or turbo or what have you. won’t happen i dont believe the marketing. maybe with a 6 cylinder turbo diesel.

    I thought the King Ranch was over the top but once you sit in one you will be hooked.

    I would hire my two nephews 4 and 8 to do an ad. They always run out and want to climb in the bed of “Uncle Chuck’s Truck”. I have the pop down tail gate step.

    Macho marketing is fine. We have enough camry commercials with the dude ‘riding bitch’ (No Country for Old Men). Oh brother.

  • avatar

    Speaking of aluminum, why did ute beds never caught on? They seem to be durable enough for Aussies and Home Depot rentals. Is this because they have no wheel arches and so the loading hight is greater? Or poor aerodynamics? Or any other reason?

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      As an ex-Aussie I was wondering the same thing. Having the bed integrated with the body panels only leads to unsightly scratches and only allows for a tail gate and not sides that can also be lowered. Where is the love for aluminum beds?

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Pickup beds are just a camper shell away from having SUV, van or wagon utility while keeping their truck utility.

      Besides the obvious style advantage pickup beds, people used to be able to legally ride back there and I understand, still can with a camper shell.

      My dogs don’t like to ride on my flatbed work truck. They’re scared of falling out, even when tethered.

      Also, you can’t buy a pickup without a bed in NA. You also can’t legally drive a cab-n-chassis pickup without a bed.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Potential lawsuits. Some of the flotsam and jetsam in the bed of your truck flies out and hits someones car and you’re paying 100k for damages for a beater ride and the owners mental anguish. Don’t discount the urban mayhem of people slowing down/swerving for trash and construction material on the road. Stuff falls off trucks. I would think it was funny if some of the -ahem- waste from a stake sided cattle truck landed on a lawyers ride. Apologies to all who have suffered serious injuries or worse from flying truck borne debris.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      If I buy another Ranger, the ute bed is the 1st modification. That and a snazzy double-din NAV system + backup camera that puts modern high tech in the right pace (and none of the wrong places).

      After 8 years of Ranger ownership, the wheel-wells were the biggest design-problem I had with it. Give it a mostly-FWD AWD system (like the Escape), and it would handle way better in rain and snow, and then put in a small turbo diesel for torque and efficiency — and it’s suddenly the *perfect* “compact” truck.

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    So is it just me, or does the truck in the pic above, other than the mirror, dipping door glass and current-look headlights, look an awful lot like the 1997-2003 F-150?

    • 0 avatar
      IHateCars

      Agreed….even the wheels look to be from the ’97 – ’03 gen. Perhaps this is an old spy pic from the redesign for the ’04 F-150?

      The lamenting for the days gone by amuses me as well. Pick ups are too big now? Really? Too many features? Wow. When I compare my new SuperCrew to the truck I drove in the early ’90s….no contest, I’ll take the new one.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    Fleet trucks don’t get involved in a lot of wrecks (as drivers of said trucks tend to get fired). However IF Ford can deliver on the fuel economy I guarentee fleet managers will take notice. You might have to pay for body damage, but you will certainly have to put gas in it.

  • avatar
    MK

    Meh, haters gonna hate.

    Once I settle the family into the 09 f150 supercrew and drive for 13 hours with plenty of room for people, luggage, DVD player, bluetooth, multi adjustable heated and cooled seats and tow package…well I sure as hell won’t be going back to a std cab ranger.

    Mileage for my f150 5.4 is about 16.2 doing 80mph.
    Mileage for my 04 ranger auto 4.0 was about 17.8 at the same speed.

    There’s NO comparison in ride quality, comfort and towing ability.

    Despite diesel-wagon enthusiast pogroms, there’s plenty of reasons people buy these that have very little to do with marketing, Especially if you’re not living in a loft downtown.

  • avatar
    Roland

    I now drive a std cab Ranger. Most of my driving is on the steep, winding, 2-lane highways of interior British Columbia. I get 30 mpg hwy with the 2.3 L auto.

    The Ranger’s considerably easier to parallel park in the city than a full-size p/u. It’s also easier to get it turned around on an old logging or mining road in the mountains.

    20 years ago I drove an 1980 F-150 with a 302 V-8. I never found it cramped or underpowered.

    I prefer a plastickey interior. I actually wish my Ranger was MORE utilitarian.

    I am a bona fide driver of pickups who thinks that today’s pickups are much less efficient than they could be and should be.


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