With the competition from GM, Chrysler and Toyota having a much fresher product mix for their half-ton pickups, Ford has sweeten the pot by offering segment exclusive features and new trim packages to retain the F-150’s momentum as the #1 selling truck since 1976. This includes a new CNG/LPG fuel option for commercial vehicles, a more attractively priced STX / Sport package for the SuperCrew, a new Tremor sport truck package for the FX regular cab, and a dressier special edition package for the SVT Raptor.
Ford Motor Co.’s June sales look to once again outpace industry growth, Chrysler Group LLC extended its monthly streak of year-over-year sales gains to 39 and pickups continue as the story of 2013. Ford’s F-Series posted a 24 percent sales gain and sales of Chrysler’s Ram truck were up 23 percent. General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet (2013) Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks had sales jumps of 29 and 33 percent, respectively. Ford’s F-series truck remained the best-selling vehicle in the country in June 2013. Sales for the month were 68,009 units, up 28.4 percent from a year ago (Ford Motor Co.). Through May, sales of full-sized pickups are up 21 percent this year, compared with 7 percent for the industry overall, and are on pace to hit 2 million units for the first time since 2007.
The Texas market is a battleground for manufactures’ of full size trucks, accounting for 1 in 6 pickups sold nationally. According to registration data compiled from research firm R.L. Polk & Co. more pickups are sold just in the Dallas-Ft. Worth and Houston metro areas combined than in any other U.S. state, including No. 2 California.
Through April, Ford had a 39.4 percent share, compared with 34.2 percent for GM, and 18.4 percent for the No. 3 Ram brand. Doug Scott, Ford’s truck marketing manager, says GM’s marketing blitz for its redesigned 2014 models actually affords Ford “an opportunity for us to build share” in Texas, which accounts for nearly 20 percent of F-150 volume. Scott welcomed the chance to sell 2013 models against GM’s new 2014 model, which will initially be light on incentives.
And, in a barb that could have come straight from a Ford showroom floor, Scott says GM is at a disadvantage in the crew cab-heavy Texas market because the Silverado and Sierra crew cab isn’t as roomy as the crew cab F-150, even though GM repackaged the redesigned models to improve rear seat access.
Scott said that crew cabs, or in the F-150s case, SuperCrews, account for more than 70 percent of the F-150’s Texas sales.
It’s anticipated that the next generation F-150 will arrive as an early 2015 model. Though no specific details have been revealed, it’s fairly known that the Atlas Concept truck is a close rendition of what to expect.
CNG/LPG fuel option
Ford, America’s truck leader, will offer the 2014 F-150 with the ability to run on compressed natural gas, making Ford the only manufacturer with an available CNG/LPG-capable half-ton pickup.
The 2014 Ford F-150 with 3.7-liter V6 engine will be available this fall with a factory-installed, gaseous-fuel prep package that includes hardened valves, valve seats, pistons and rings so it can operate on either natural gas or gasoline through separate fuel systems.
When the 3.7-liter V6 F-150 is equipped with a CNG/LPG engine package, it is capable of achieving more than 750 miles on one tank of gas, depending on the tank size selected. The Ford F-150 averages 23 mpg on the highway.
“Businesses and fleet customers have been asking Ford to make F-150 available with CNG capability to take advantage of the fuel’s low price and clean emissions,” said Jon Coleman, Ford fleet sustainability and technology manager. “With the money saved using CNG, customers could start to see payback on their investment in as little as 24 to 36 months.”
CNG/LPG engine prep from the factory costs approximately $315 before the customer chooses a Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier to supply fuel tanks, fuel lines and unique fuel injectors. Upfits run approximately $7,500 to $9,500 depending on fuel tank capacity.
CNG conversions can provide stability against fluctuating fuel prices as well as lower vehicle operating costs for fleet administrators. CNG sells for an average of $2.11 per gallon of gasoline equivalent, and is as low as $1 in some parts of the country, representing a significant savings over unleaded regular fuel. The national average for unleaded regular fuel is $3.66 per gallon.
During the 2014 calendar year, Ford will offer eight commercial vehicles with a gaseous-prep option, a number no other full-line manufacturer can match.
Customers are enthusiastically responding to this powerful array of choices. Since reintroducing the option in 2009, Ford has established itself as the leader in CNG/LPG engine sales. Ford is on pace to sell more than 15,000 CNG/LPG-prepped vehicles this year, an increase of more than 25 percent from 2012.
Qualified Vehicle Modifiers
Ford has established a rigorous qualification program for alternative-fuel vehicle modifiers. The QVM program is intended to help modifiers achieve greater levels of customer satisfaction and product acceptance through the manufacture of high-quality vehicles.
QVMs offer a wide variety of CNG/LPG options to help customers find the best, most cost-effective solution to their diverse operating needs. Ford maintains the engine and powertrain limited warranty (five years or 60,000 miles); the modifier is responsible for the system component warranty.
Compressed natural gas
Compressed natural gas is mainly composed of methane. It is stored and distributed in hard containers at a pressure of approximately 3,600 psi. About 85 percent of the CNG used in the United States is produced domestically.
Another benefit of this alternative fuel: Cleaner emissions. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency certifies CNG usage can result in up to 30 percent less greenhouse gas emissions.
STX / Sport Package
For 2014 Ford will make the SuperCrew even more affordable, with an available STX trim level for the base F-150. Previously, buyers had to select the XLT trim level to get the four-door versatility of the SuperCrew. The 2014 F-150 lineup will also offer an STX Sport Package.
The STX SuperCrew features the 302-bhp 3.7-liter V6 engine as standard. In rear-wheel drive configuration, it will retail for $34,240. The 4×4 STX SuperCrew with a 5.0 liter V8 making 360 horsepower starts at $38,665.
Many of the options available of the XLT SuperCrew are offered on the STX SuperCrew. This includes AdvanceTrac with roll stability control, 17-inch wheels, cruise control, and a 40/20/40 premium cloth bench seat for the front row. The STX also features MyKey, which allows fleet owners to limit the top speed and audio volume setting in their trucks, and set speed-alert chimes to remind drivers to drive safely.
The STX Sport Package is all new for the 2014 F-150, and is available on all cab configurations. The STX Sport Package includes a black billet grille with body-color surround trim, 20-inch machined aluminum painted wheels with P275/55R20 tires, and black tubular running boards. The STX Sport Package also receives black and gray piston cloth front seats, and color-coordinated carpets, in addition to unique box decals.
The 2014 Ford F-150 Tremor is the first-ever EcoBoost-powered sport truck that addresses the needs of street truck enthusiasts looking for high-performance V8 power with V6 fuel economy.
The 2014 F-150 Tremor package starts out as a F-150 FX2 Regular Cab with the regular 6.5-ft. box, then adds the 3.5L EcoBoost V6, which is rated at 365-bhp and 420 lb-ft of torque. Along with a six-speed automatic, other mechanical features include a launch-optimized 4.10 rear axle, twin independent variable camshaft timing and 90 percent of peak torque available from 1,700 to 5,000 rpm. Also included are high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps, SYNC with MyFord Touch, SYNC Services, single-zone manual climate control, power-adjustable pedals, and unique bodyside decal. The Tremor Plus package features plus Navigation System, rear view camera, Remote Start System, Reverse Sensing System, stowable bed extender, tailgate step, and integrated trailer brake controller (TBC). The Tremor package also includes a floor-mounted shifter with a flow-through center console; black leather bucket seats with red piping, plus Alcantara inserts; brushed metal accents; and a red-stitched steering wheel.
Exterior changes include Ford’s FX appearance package, 20-inch flat black wheels and black badges with red lettering.
The new F-150 Tremor offers another option to drive a highly capable, distinctive performance truck with features typically found only in the aftermarket,” said Brian Bell, F-150 product marketing manager. “Plus, the EcoBoost engine is available for the first time in a short-wheelbase F-150.”
Though pricing hasn’t been announced at the writing, expect it to be in the low- to mid-30 grand range, which would put it on par with the Ram 1500 Sport, its closet rival.
SVT Raptor Special Edition
Unlike the recently unveiled Shelby Raptor, which includes a healthy dose of horsepower with its distinctive cosmetics, Ford’s new special-edition package for the SVT Raptor is primarily a styling exercise.
The SVT Raptor SE comes in a choice of either a Ruby Red Metallic or Tuxedo Black Metallic exterior finish, and unique box-side graphics which spell out “Raptor” in crazy mud-monster lettering. Industry exclusive beadlock-capable wheels and HID headlights complete the exterior package.
Interior upgrades include brick red seat bolsters with black inserts and cloth honeycomb highlights, console top finish panel, and appliqué accents atop the console, and on the door panels. The latest renditions of SYNC and MyFord Touch are also included.
Mechanically, everything remains the same. Since 2011, the only engine offered in the SVT Raptor has been a 6.2L V8, rated at a mind-blowing 411-bhp and 434 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic, featuring a tow/haul mode, is the only transmission of choice. It goes without saying that a switchable four-wheel drive system also comes standard.
The Raptor’s extreme off-road prowess is possible thanks to standard features like Fox Racing Shox dampers, all-terrain tires, skid plates and a hill descent control system. The downside to all this brawn and off-road capability is that the SVT Raptor is one of the thirstier models in the F-150 lineup, which for 2013 was EPA rated at 12/16 mpg city/highway.
F-150 Model Lineup
The remainder of the 2014 F-150 model lineup consists of the XL, STX, XLT, FX2, FX4, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum and Limited. Regular cabs are limited to the XL and STX. SuperCab models are offered on the STX, XLT and Lariat. The SuperCrew is available on the STX (new for 2014), XLT, FX2/4, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited. Ironically the Harley-Davidson Edition (2000-2012) was discontinued on both Ford and Harley-Davidson’s 110 year anniversary.