Ford uses this week’s State Fair of Texas to show updates to its heavy-duty pickups in a segment in which the Dearborn automaker is battling newer models from its Detroit competitors.
Among the Detroit Three, GM has the newest pickups on the block while Ford has the oldest. GM recently introduced its new light-duty trucks and is preparing to launch the heavy duties. At Chrysler, Ram light-duty pickups are only a year old and the heavy-duty trucks launched in the spring. Chrysler also plans to put a diesel in its light-duty pickups next year.
Ford is expected to up the ante with its next-generation pickups next year that should be lighter, more fuel efficient and could be among the first Ford vehicles to get the new 10-speed transmission for rear-drive vehicles being developed with GM.
Ford is leading the work on the 10-speed, while GM is focusing on a nine-speed for front-drive vehicles.
To maintain its truck leadership in the interim, Ford is showing its 2015 lineup of F-Series Super Duty pickups in Dallas with the second generation of the 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 turbodiesel engine. Towing capacity improves on the F-450 and the leather-swaddled King Ranch model has been updated.
“Truck leadership means never resting, and the Super Duty team has been tireless in finding ways to improve the industry’s most popular heavy-duty pickups,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of the Americas.
The Power Stroke diesel was introduced in 2011. The engine and six-speed transmission were engineered and built by Ford. For the 2015 model year, the turbocharger is larger, which means more airflow that will translate to more power than the current 400 horsepower and 800 pound-feet of torque, said David Ives, Power Stroke technical specialist. “We’ve dramatically improved performance while reducing overall engine complexity by focusing on the turbo system.”
The new specifications will be revealed closer to the launch of the vehicles next spring. Pricing will be released closer to the sale date.
For 2015, the F-450 has a stronger frame and suspension as well as new commercial-grade 19.5-inch wheels and tires (from 17 inches now), which will combine to improve the tow rating. For competitive reasons, Ford won’t release the new numbers yet.
The newest Super Duty King Ranch edition was updated after the F-Series design team made a trip back to the 825,000-acre Texas ranch.
“What really stood out is how prominent the ‘Running W’ is, and how it defines and unifies the ranch,” said Barb Whalen, Ford color and material design manager, referring to the ‘Running W’ brand used to mark the ranch’s cattle. “We wanted that brand to define the new Super Duty King Ranch.”
Designers created an interior that appears to be branded as well, with the ‘W’ stitched into the seats, center console and steering wheel.
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