Monday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Ford Motor Company introduced its new version of the most popular truck in the U.S. – the F-150 pickup.
Although the redesign was a gamble, making major changes to the top American selling vehicle can be tricky, but the redesign was Ford’s effort to focus more on fuel economy. So they traded in the heavy steal for lightweight aluminum alloy.
The body, doors, hood, engine compartment, bed and tailgate are all lightweight aluminum, a rare event in the auto world, especially for a full sized truck.
Check out photos of the new F-150.
It was an expensive overhaul, but it did shave off 700 pounds and the payoff in performance and efficiency, Ford believes was worth the risk.
“They are trying to leapfrog the competition on fuel economy,” said Stephanie Brinley, an analyst at IHS Automotive. “As we get closer and closer to the stricter government regulations, this is something all automakers have to deal with.
Some consumers are likely to be skeptical that an aluminum truck will be as tough as one made from conventional steel, Brinley said. Ford will have to do some savvy marketing to relieve doubt.
“Ford should be able to pull it off,” said Larry Dominique, president of the ALG car valuation company and former vice president of product planning for Nissan North America.
“The all-new F-150 redefines the future of trucks,” said Mark Fields, Ford Motor Company chief operating officer.
This new model includes a second, smaller turbocharged V-6 engine. The new 2.7-liter V-6 engine is from the same “EcoBoost” family as the turbocharged four-cylinder that Ford recently dropped in its all-new Mustang and Lincoln’s MKC crossover.
The 3.5-liter EcoBoost remains the top-seller in the F-150 lineup. The power will be similar to the outgoing model, which now has 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque.