Ford’s New F-150: Still the Reigning Champion?
For many years, Ford’s F-150 has been the truck to beat on the bestsellers lists, and it looks as though the newly remodeled F-150 is retaining the crown. This is fantastic news in the automotive community considering this is going to be the first model released with the new body style. Given the massive redesign, there have been a plethora of doubters regarding the future of the truck’s popularity.
The overhaul of the former model features an aluminum body, in an effort to lighten up the nearly three ton pickup. The switch-up has been both highly contested and lauded as the potential future of vehicles. Due to shaving off almost 1000 pounds, the new F-150 boasts an impressive 25MPG, an upswing from the mileage the often accompanies driving a truck. With a company whose motto has been “Built Ford Tough”, the redesign has critics questioning “Really?”
Production has barely begun on the vehicle, slated for release late this year. So what makes people think that the new F-150, a vehicle that has yet to hit the retail market, is going to perform so well? Throngs of people have made their way to the Ford website to configure a custom built model of America’s favorite pickup. Another quarter of a million people have passed on their information to Ford in order to be notified when the vehicle becomes available.
Whether on the smaller side or a massive model, trucks aren’t exactly known for their eco-friendly potential. In addition to the lighter body, Ford has dropped an Eco-Boost 2.7 liter V-6 into the new truck. The first Eco-Boost engine hit the scenes in 2011 and was met with skepticism from discerning Ford fans as it claimed to possess the power of a V8 engine. Despite this risky move, fans remained loyal and began to purchase the new engine in droves. Ford supporters claim that the aluminum bodied F-150 will sell with the same potential.
Some fans are fully backing the aluminum panels as long awaited forward movement by the vehicle giant. However, the naysayers are making some excellent claims. Some say that there aren’t enough mechanics properly trained to fix the aluminum body used for the truck. There are concerns for the durability of the truck because the aluminum panels are not welded like the steel models were. Others objecting the new design are concerned for their wallets, due to the possibility of increased insurance premiums.
A great deal of faith and more than a billion dollars is on the line in support of the aluminum body. The biggest group of dissenters are making the claim that Ford is rushing the vehicle to the market, with a lofty goal of producing 14,000 F-150s every week. The plant where the trucks are produced underwent a complete overhaul in order to rapidly produce the vehicle. In addition to the money spent on the redesigned plant, the material used to produce the panels is a great deal higher than the steel used in the previous models.
While Ford remains steadfast that this new model will sell with the same intensity as the F-150 over the past fifteen years, competitors are dropping their prices. The plunge in prices seems to be having an effect, especially considering that an increase in GMC and Chrysler sales have been seen. In addition, to meet demands for the F-150, Ford is reducing the amount of incentives they’re offering in hopes of having enough vehicles to satisfy customers until the release. In response, sales are dropping. Critics are pointing to the drop in sales as a loss of faith in the carmaker’s ability while Ford maintains the slump is temporary.
With the massive investment in both materials and the new plant and the toxic commentary of critics, Ford is certainly putting all of their eggs in the F-150s bed, or basket rather. Some argue that Ford is so maniacal in promoting the new vehicle in hopes of recouping some of the money they’ve put out. Ford maintains that they’re simply looking to produce a better vehicle and continues to plow ahead with production in the face of criticism.
In the automotive world, Ford has shaken things up with the redesign bringing both negative and positive opinions to the surface. In terms of the website numbers, that continue to increase every day as we move closer to retail release, are consumers sharing the critics’ opinions or are they marching head on in support of Ford’s radically envisioned new product? In the end, is it not the customer’s opinion that truly matters?
Is Ford making an irreversible mistake is such a radical overhaul of the country’s most popular vehicle or are they visionaries lighting the way for the future of vehicles?