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Ford to increase its fully electric vehicle offerings

Automotive News  /  October 2, 2017

Ford Motor Co. said Monday it will increase its battery electric vehicle offerings beyond the 300-mile range crossover EV it plans to offer by 2020.

The automaker is setting up an internal team named "Team Edison" to study and develop fully electric cars. It will be separate from Ford's other electrification efforts, which include hybrid and plug-in hybrid offerings.

"We see an inflection point in the major markets toward battery electric vehicles," Sherif Marakby, Ford's head of electrification and autonomous vehicles told Automotive News. "We feel it's important to have a cross-functional team all the way from defining the strategy plans and implementation to advanced marketing."

Marakby said Ford is on track to deliver 13 electrified vehicles over the next five years. The automaker has announced seven of those vehicles, which include the 300-mile range crossover. He said Ford will increase the number of battery electric vehicles it will offer, but did not offer details or a timeline.

He also said the new team will explore partnerships. Ford was rumored to be in talks earlier this year about acquiring Lucid Motors, and in August said it would form a joint venture with Chinese automaker Anhui Zotye Automobile Co. to manufacture all-electric vehicles for China.

"We are open to partnerships, but this team will be responsible to define the strategy," Marakby said.

He said the team's goal was to "move fast and think big and really grow the BEV offerings from Ford."

Pictured below is Thomas Edison with Henry Ford. Photo credit: Ford Motor Co.

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Ford's Hackett calls for sweeping changes in vehicle development, investment

Automotive News  /  October 3, 2017

DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Hackett on Tuesday outlined sweeping changes that include redirecting a third of the company's internal-combustion engine expenditures to vehicle electrification and cutting costs by $14 billion. He said the automaker would develop new vehicles faster, shift $7 billion in product-development funding from cars to more profitable light trucks and build Internet connectivity into Ford’s full U.S. lineup within two years.

The updates are designed to improve Ford's competitive fitness, a term Hackett has used to describe how the automaker must evolve to stay ahead of competition. He said Ford leadership must focus on problems “near, now and far” simultaneously so that the company will be prepared to thrive in the future without losing sight of its current, highly profitable operations.

"When you're a long-lived company that has had success over multiple decades the decision to change is not easy -- culturally or operationally," Hackett said. "Ultimately, though, we must accept the virtues that brought us success over the past century are really no guarantee of future success."

Hackett's goals include aggressive cost-cutting. He plans to slash internal combustion expenses from $1.7 billion in 2016 to $1.2 billion by 2022 and redeploy that money to electrification efforts. The company said Monday it would dedicate a team to expanding the number of electric vehicles Ford will offer, and said in its investor presentation Tuesday that it would expand its battery electric vehicle lineup “post 2020.”

Overall, Ford plans to reduce the rate of growth in automotive costs by half through 2022. It plans to cut $10 billion in incremental material outlays and reduce engineering costs by $4 billion over the next five years. It will achieve that through utilizing common parts and implementing technology in the design process so it doesn’t spend as much on building prototypes.

Ford said it's reallocating $7 billion of capital from cars to light trucks. Earlier this year, Ford decided to move production of the next-generation Focus sedan from North America to China, saving money.

The automaker said that shift in spending on light-vehicle development would result in fewer car nameplates but did not provide specifics. It did not say it would exit any vehicle segments, but rather that it would continue in a more focused, reduced manner.

Jim Farley, Ford’s president of global markets, said the automaker would target what utility vehicles it offers to specific markets. For example, he said Ford was planning multiple utility vehicles in North America in the “authentic, off-road, capable” category, or offering larger, three-row SUVs in places such as China.

On the car side, Ford will focus on higher-revenue sub-segments, such as hatchbacks or performance variants.

Farley also confirmed that Ford’s 2021 autonomous vehicle will not be a Fusion sedan, the midsize car on which it has been testing the technology.

Ford has said that the key to autonomous vehicles will be high utilization rates.

“The best model to do that is to have a diverse group of business and services to utilize the vehicle all day long,” Farley said.

That could result in more partnerships. Ford recently hatched deals with Domino’s to explore autonomous pizza delivery, and with Lyft to eventually deploy autonomous cars on its network.

It also plans to simplify what vehicles customers can order. Ford said the team has identified a more than 90 percent reduction of orderable combinations in the next-generation Escape. In addition, it's moving from 35,000 combinations in the current Fusion to 96.

"We really offered too many options," Hackett said.

Ford also plans to add Internet connectivity in every one of its vehicles in the U.S. by 2019. About 55 percent of its lineup is connected today. By 2020, 90 percent of Ford's new global vehicles will feature connectivity, the company said.

The automaker is still exploring how it will commoditize that connectivity and what services it could offer.

“I don’t feel that where we are competitively is where we should be,” Hackett said, adding that that could be fixed rather quickly.

Ford said it was reaffirming its long-term goal of an 8 percent operating margin on its core automotive business as it looks to boost overall profitability. It also reaffirmed its financial guidance of a $9 billion pretax profit for 2017.

“It’s clear that Jim Hackett and team are preparing for the future, balancing a near term vision for its product portfolio with longer term goals for electric vehicles and autonomous driving,” Akshay Anand, executive analyst for Kelley Blue Book, said in a statement. “Partnerships is also a theme that Ford is focused on, as is the industry as a whole, which makes sense given how quickly automotive has shifted towards technology. Regardless, Ford’s biggest challenge may be delivering shareholder value and gains in a time where many other company stocks have been booming.”

Note the Disqus comments - http://www.autonews.com/article/20171003/OEM02/171009909/ford-hackett-strategic-plan-wall-street

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Ford plans $14B in cost cuts as part of new CEO's strategy

Associated Press  /  October 4, 2017

Ford Motor Co.'s new CEO plans to cut $14 billion in costs, drop some car models and focus the company's resources on trucks, SUVs and electric vehicles as part of a renewed effort to win over skeptical investors.

Jim Hackett, who became Ford's CEO in May, met with around 100 investors in New York Tuesday to lay out his plans for the future. He said getting the company lean and flexible will help it handle the changes the auto industry is facing, from car-sharing to self-driving vehicles, to the shift to electric cars.

"I feel a real sense of urgency for what we're doing here," Hackett said.

Hackett and his executive team spent the summer reevaluating Ford's operations after former CEO Mark Fields was ousted in May. Hackett traveled to Russia and Turkey and visited North American plants and Ford's Silicon Valley research center as part of his review.

He said he was impressed by the talent at Ford, but wants to update factories and speed product development and decision-making. One of his first moves was to pare down the number of people reporting to him. Hackett has eight direct reports, compared to 18 for Fields.

Ford told investors it expects to reduce material costs by $10 billion by 2022 through new deals with suppliers and simpler designs. The company plans to share more parts between vehicles and reduce the options available for configuring a car. For example, customers can now order a Ford Fusion sedan in 35,000 possible combinations. Ford is reducing that to 96.

Ford also says it will cut $4 billion in engineering costs through 2022 by making fewer prototypes and reducing product-development time.

It plans to cut one-third of its engine development costs and redeploy them to electric and hybrid vehicles. Ford plans to introduce 13 new electrics and hybrids over the next five years, including a small electric SUV coming in 2020.

The company plans to reallocate $7 billion from cars to SUVs and trucks. Global demand for those vehicles is rising, and they are critical to Ford's bottom line. Jim Farley, head of Ford's global markets, said Ford plans more off-road SUVs like the upcoming Bronco for North America and more low-end small SUVs and seven-passenger SUVs for China.

The automaker plans to cut some cars from its lineup, but didn't name them Tuesday. Farley said Ford will still offer small cars, like the Focus, but will stick to more expensive — and more profitable — versions.

Ford emphasized that it's open to new partnerships, such as its recent agreement with Indian automaker Mahindra Group to cooperate on mobility, electric cars and other projects. It is also working with ride-hailing company Lyft on self-driving technology and with China's Zotye Automobile Co. about an electric car partnership.

The company says its vehicles will get smarter, with 90 percent of its global vehicles getting modem connectivity by 2020. That will allow things like software updates or apps that help drivers find parking. Ford can differentiate itself by offering, say, connected commercial vans that help small businesses keep track of their deliveries.

Marcy Klevorn, Ford's head of mobility, said Ford launched a medical van service eight weeks ago that can pick up wheelchair-bound patients and take them to the doctor. The service uses Ford-developed software for scheduling appointments, and it will help the company figure out ways that consumers will eventually use self-driving vehicles.

"We have created a box of assets that we can pull out and use for various things," Klevorn said.

Ford stuck to its previous guidance for 2017 on Tuesday. The company expects adjusted earnings of $1.65 to $1.85 for the full year. Ford earned $1.76 per share 2016.

Hackett, the former CEO of office furniture company Steelcase Inc., joined Ford's board in 2013. He briefly led Ford's mobility unit before being tapped as CEO.

Ford hired Hackett, in part, to turn around its share price, which has languished for the last two years even as rival General Motors Co. saw its shares rise to their highest level in seven years. Ford sunk below Tesla Inc. in market value earlier this year, even though it earned $4.6 billion in 2016 and Tesla has never made a full-year profit.

Ford's shares rose 2 percent to close at $12.34 Tuesday before Hackett's presentation. It's not yet clear if his pitch will improve investors' confidence.

"Straddling the now and the future will be tricky, especially in terms of profitability," said Michelle Krebs, an executive analyst for the car-buying site Autotrader.com.

Investors have been critical of Ford for waiting too long to bring a long-range electric vehicle to market, as GM did with the Chevrolet Bolt. They also struggled to understand Ford's plans to compete on autonomous cars.

"In the past few years, Ford simply hasn't had a compelling narrative that investors could latch onto," Barclay's analyst Brian Johnson wrote in a recent note to investors.

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Ford, in strategy shift, to develop EV vans for China

Reuters | 2017/10/6

BEIJING - Ford Motor Co. likely will develop electric commercial vans for China as part of its bid to catch up with global rivals in China’s fast-moving market.

Two high-ranking company insiders told Reuters that the new China strategy comes as CEO Jim Hackett rethinks the company’s global "One Ford" strategy.

The shift in China would match Ford’s assumption that it can profitably develop electric and autonomous delivery vehicles, a segment where it is already strong in the United States and Europe.

The “One Ford” strategy – which helped the automaker’s turnaround under former CEO Alan Mulally – doesn’t fit all regions, the two insiders said, particularly in China and India, two crucial markets where Ford’s sales have slowed.

“That’s why nobody internally talks about 'One Ford' (in those markets) anymore,” said one of the insiders, who is familiar with Ford’s Chinese strategy.

In a sign that Ford is turning away from a global push of its Ford and Lincoln brands, the U.S. automaker wants to position its truck-making Chinese partner Jiangling Motors Corp. in the market for electric commercial vans.

Such a move is "potentially lucrative" as China’s big cities effectively ban gas and diesel trucks and vans, said Yale Zhang, head of Shanghai-based consultancy Automotive Foresight.

“None of the foreign automakers has made any major investment or strategic move in this emerging electric commercial vehicle segment,” Zhang added.

Sherif Marakby, Ford’s vice president of autonomous vehicles and electrification, told Reuters that he couldn’t comment on specific partnerships that haven’t been announced. 

“But we are absolutely open to (EV) partnerships in different markets, and we continue to talk to other companies and Tier One suppliers,” Marakby said. “Don’t be surprised to see more partnerships in electric vehicles in different markets.”

China ventures

In August, Ford said it was considering a joint venture with Anhui Zotye Automobile Co. to build electric vehicles in China under a new brand, tapping Zotye’s low-cost technology. One insider said Ford is seeking China’s regulatory approval for this.

Ford has also brought in Jason Luo, a Chinese-born American, from U.S.-based airbag supplier Key Safety Systems to run its Chinese operations. 

One insider said Luo has been tasked to build closer ties with local partners Jiangling Motors and Changan Automobile Co. He also has been asked to work more effectively with regulators and respond more quickly to changing consumer tastes.

“One big issue at Ford China is that our decision-making process is too slow,” one of the knowledgeable insiders said. “We try to manage everything, all aspects of the business under One Ford,” and that has hobbled the company’s ability to move quickly.

Ford’s China sales are expected to decline 4.6 percent this year, according to LMC Automotive, a far cry from double-digit growth just five years ago.

Slow lane

Ford has no affordable electric plug-in cars for the Chinese market, even though Beijing announced new quotas last month for battery-electric cars and plug-in hybrids.

Nor does Ford have a high-volume brand of affordable entry-level cars for China - such as the Baojun cars sold by General Motors and its partner, SAIC. Launched in 2010, Baojun sold more than 2 million vehicles last year.

Ford was slow to expand Jiangling Motors – in which it owns a one-third stake – from the light commercial sector into entry-level passenger cars. That segment now has now become saturated with domestic Chinese models plus joint-venture brands like Baojun and Nissan Motor Co.’s Venucia.

Ford’s missteps in China were caused by rigid adherence to the “One Ford” mantra and a lack of local knowledge, one insider said. Company executives sent into China often lacked the cultural ties to work with Chinese regulators, policymakers and partners.

China’s market, consumer tastes and government policies shift rapidly, the source noted. “Ford is having difficulty keeping up with ‘China speed’. Everything here moves so fast.”

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On 7/29/2017 at 8:46 PM, kscarbel2 said:

Ford to repair U.S. police vehicles after carbon monoxide concerns

Reuters  /  July 28, 2017

WASHINGTON -- Ford Motor Co. said Friday it will pay to repair police versions of its Ford Explorer SUVs to correct possible carbon monoxide leaks that may be linked to crashes and injuries after U.S. regulators escalated an investigation into 1.33 million vehicles.

Ford said it will cover the costs of specific repairs in every Police Interceptor Explorer SUVs that may be tied to after-market installation of police equipment. The company said the modifications may have left holes in the underbody of the vehicles.

"If the holes are not properly sealed, it creates an opening where exhaust could enter the cabin," Ford said in a statement.

Ford acted amid concerns by some police departments about the safety of officers. The city of Austin, Texas, said Friday it was removing all 400 of the city’s Ford Explorer SUVs from use.

Several Texas media outlets cited a city memo that said 20 police officers have been found with elevated levels of carbon monoxide and three have not returned to work.

Ford said it has not found any elevated levels of carbon monoxide in regular Ford Explorers, but NHTSA is investigating reports of exhaust odors in those vehicles. Ford did not say how much it expected to pay to repair police vehicles and said its investigation is ongoing.

On Thursday, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it was upgrading and expanding a probe into 1.33 million Ford Explorer SUVs over reports of exhaust odors in vehicle compartments.

Police have reported two crashes that may be linked to carbon monoxide exposure and a third incident involving injuries related to carbon monoxide exposure.

The auto safety agency said it was also aware of more than 2,700 complaints that may be linked to exhaust orders and possible exposure to carbon monoxide and 41 injuries among police and civilian vehicles in the probe covering 2011-2017 model year Ford Explorer SUVs.

Ford has issued four technical service bulletins related to the exhaust odor issue to address complaints from police fleets and other owners, NHTSA and Ford said.

NHTSA said it is evaluating preliminary testing that suggests carbon monoxide levels may be elevated in certain driving scenarios.

NHTSA said it recently learned that the police version of the Ford Explorer was experiencing exhaust manifold cracks.

The agency said the reported injuries include "loss of consciousness, with the majority indicating nausea, headaches, or light-headedness."

Ford offers repairs to prevent exhaust leaks in 1.4 million Explorers

Reuters  /  October 13, 2017

WASHINGTON -- Ford Motor Co. said on Friday it will offer free repairs to North American owners of more than 1.4 million Explorer SUVs to help ensure that carbon monoxide and other exhaust gases cannot get into the vehicles, following the U.S. government's decision to upgrade an investigation into the issue in July.

Several U.S. police agencies have raised concerns about potentially deadly carbon monoxide gas entering the cabins of Ford Explorers that had been adapted for law enforcement uses. Federal regulators have said they are aware of more than 2,700 complaints, three crashes and 41 injuries that may be linked to exposure to carbon monoxide among police and civilian 2011-2017 Explorer vehicles.

Ford said its investigation has not found "carbon monoxide levels that exceed what people are exposed to every day" in the 1.4 million civilian vehicles. There is no U.S. government standard for in-vehicle carbon monoxide levels. Ford says it believes the vehicles are safe and is making the offer, which it is not classifying as a recall, in response to customer concerns.

The automaker said starting November 1, dealers will reprogram the air conditioner, replace the liftgate drain valves and inspect sealing of the rear of the vehicle. The fix covers about 1.3 million U.S. vehicles and about 100,000 in Canada and Mexico.

Ford declined to comment on the potential financial impact of the service offer that will last through the end of 2018.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in July upgraded and expanded a probe into 1.33 million Ford Explorer SUVs over reports of exhaust odors in vehicle compartments and exposure to carbon monoxide.

Police agencies have reported two crashes that may be linked to carbon monoxide exposure and a third incident involving injuries related to carbon monoxide exposure.

NHTSA said it is evaluating preliminary testing that suggests carbon monoxide levels may be elevated in certain driving scenarios.

Ford has issued four technical service bulletins related to the exhaust odor issue to address complaints from police fleets and other owners.

In July, Ford said it would pay to repair police versions of its Ford Explorer SUVs to correct possible carbon monoxide leaks that may be linked to crashes and injuries after some police reports temporarily halted use of the vehicles over carbon monoxide concerns.

The city of Austin, Texas, said in July it would remove all 400 of the city’s Ford Explorer SUVs from use for additional testing and repairs after the city said 20 police officers were found with elevated levels of carbon monoxide. The department returned the vehicles to service after repairs and testing.

In 2016, Ford agreed to settle a U.S. class-action lawsuit involving 1 million 2011-2015 Explorer SUVs over exhaust odor complaints, including reimbursements of up to $500 for repairs. The company agreed to make repairs. That settlement was approved in June but has not taken effect because of a pending appeal.

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Ford Q3 profit jumps 63% as truck sales rise

Automotive News  /  October 26, 2017

DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. on Thursday said its third-quarter net income rose 63 percent to $1.6 billion, helped by foreign tax credits and strong light-truck sales in North America.

Ford's revenue, pretax profit and operating margin all increased in what CFO Bob Shanks called a more balanced performance than recent quarters. Ford's adjusted pre-tax profit climbed 40 percent from a year ago to $2 billion, while revenue inched up 1 percent to $36.5 billion.

Its earnings were equivalent to 39 cents per share, 6 cents better than analysts' estimates in Jim Hackett's first full quarter as the company's CEO.

"This quarter demonstrates that our team's focus on fitness is showing early promise," Hackett said in a statement. "But we also know that we must accelerate that progress in the near term."

Ford's profits were driven by North America, where it made a $1.7 billion pretax profit, up 31 percent from the same period in 2016. Its profit margin in the region jumped to 8.1 percent from 5.8 percent a year earlier.

International results

It posted lower results in Europe but performed better in the rest of the world, including record earnings in its Asia Pacific region.

Ford attributed an $86 million loss in Europe, down from a $138 million profit previously, to the United Kingdom's vote to leave the European Union and costs related to launching a redesigned Fiesta sedan. It was Ford’s first quarterly loss there since the first quarter of 2015, although the company said it still expects Europe to be profitable both in the fourth quarter and for the full year.

Ford lost $158 million in South America, about half as much as it did a year ago, and $60 million in its Middle East and Africa region, a $92 million improvement.

Pretax profits in Asia Pacific more doubled to $289 million. Most of that growth was in areas outside of China.

Ford Credit contributed $600 million in profits, a 5.8 percent increase.

The automaker said it expects full-year earnings to come in between $1.75 and $1.85 per share. That is the top half of the range it had given previously.

Ford, in anticipation of corporate tax-reform efforts by Congress and President Donald Trump, brought $266 million in foreign tax credits back onto its U.S. balance sheet, continuing a planning practice it started in the second quarter.

Wall Street apathy

Ford’s stock continues to be met largely with apathy on Wall Street. The shares rose 1.9 percent to close the day at $12.27. Hackett on Oct. 3 met with Wall Street investors promising to redirect a third of the company's internal-combustion engine expenditures to vehicle electrification and cut costs by $14 billion.

CFO Bob Shanks said the results show the company is very healthy.

“This is a company that has delivered value and created value over the last seven years,” Shanks told reporters at Ford’s headquarters. “We’ve delivered consistently strong results, we’ve delivered healthy margins and we’ve delivered a lot of positive cash flow and we’ve given back by the end of this year over $15 billion dollars to shareholders. As we move forward, we’re driven to create value and we’re going to strengthen and make more fit the traditional part of the biz and we have a really good plan around autonomous vehicles and EVs.”

F-series sales rose 14 percent in the quarter, and Ford was able to post strong numbers despite selling fewer than 1,000 Expeditions and Lincoln Navigators in the quarter as it prepares to launch redesigned models of both high-profit SUVs. It sold more than 19,000 of the two nameplates in the same period last year.

The F-series’ average transaction price rose $2,500 in the quarter to $45,400.

“It’s one of those gifts that keeps on giving for us,” Hackett said.

2018 outlook

Hackett and Shanks declined to offer any financial guidance on 2018, although Hackett insinuated that the company would soon give more specifics on some planned cost-cutting measures and mobility ventures. 

“There are a number of things…we’re working really hard to conceptualize and imagine the implications of,” he said. “There are real things coming from us about that strategy.”

He said Ford would bring autonomous vehicles to a test market next year but didn’t say where or how many vehicles would be involved.

Hackett, when asked if Ford might try to raise its valuation by spinning off its Smart Mobility subsidiary, which he led before being named CEO, said Ford was not ready to even consider such a move.

"It's got to deliver on its promise,” he said. “We've had a lot of good things started, but it isn't at that scale yet."

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The truck that built Ford

Michael Martinez & Richard Truett, Automotive News  /  October 29, 2017

A century ago, Model TT paved the way for an automotive juggernaut

DETROIT — On July 27, 1917, Henry Ford responded to customer demands by introducing a model that fastened an open bed behind the cab of his popular Model T car.

He called it the Model TT, and it sold for $600.

It may have been his most important business decision since founding the company that bears his name.

Today, the success or failure of Ford Motor Co. rests in the bed of its F-series pickups. The F series is Ford's most profitable vehicle — five years ago, Morgan Stanley estimated that it single-handedly generated 90 percent of Ford's global profits — and it has managed to outsell its rivals for four consecutive decades.

Over the last 100 years, Ford became such a dominant seller of pickups because of the myriad choices it offered consumers, said Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book.

"It's the fact that they so early on recognized a market for trucks and were one of the first ones to support a wide range of truck styles," Brauer told Automotive News. "It's that breadth of configurations that has continued to prove one of its major advantages."

The Model TT, which logged 209 sales in its first calendar year, was made with a chassis that could accommodate third-party beds, allowing for a wide range of uses. It quickly became popular with farmers and other workers in rural areas.

Henry Ford was no stranger to trucks. Before he founded his company, he worked at Detroit Automobile Co., where one of his first ventures was production of a delivery truck, although it did not sell well, and the company eventually folded.

The Model TT was a different story. Ford says it had sold 1.3 million pickups by 1928. That year, it replaced the TT with the Model AA, a pickup with a 1.5-ton chassis. It came in two lengths and with new powertrain and axle options for greater capacity.

Five years later, Ford replaced it with the Model BB. Two years after that, in 1935, Ford introduced the Model 50 pickup, which came with a flathead V-8 engine.

"That really gave it some extra power," said Bob Kreipke, corporate historian for Ford. "Now it was able to carry even heavier loads, and you could build bigger boxes on the back."

F series arrives

Things changed with the onset of World War II, when Ford switched to wartime production of bomber planes and military vehicles, including Jeeps. Following the war, Ford benefited from a booming economy, and its president, Henry Ford II, vowed to make Ford the pickup sales leader.

Sensing an opportunity as rural families moved to cities to find work, and soldiers returned home, Ford in 1948 launched its F-series Bonus Built trucks, which ranged from the half-ton F-1 to the Class 7, 3-ton-rated F-8.

"They helped rebuild America," Kreipke said.

Ford ads promoted the trucks by citing statistics showing that buyers could expect them to last 10 years.

No one at Ford is sure who is responsible for the original F-series styling. More than likely it was Bob Gregorie, Ford's first design chief, says retired Ford engineer Jim Wagner, of Plymouth, Mich., author of the book Ford Trucks Since 1905.

Gregorie left Ford in 1946, but Wagner says the 1948 F series was well underway by that time. The styling of the 1948 model was a complete break from the past.

More importantly, Ford recognized that consumers wanted more comfort. Ford designers paid extra attention to the seats — which had more padding and a separate, adjustable backrest — the ventilation system and wide-opening doors.

"The truck became kind of accepted and suddenly became things you didn't mind going to church on Sunday in, either," Kreipke said.

The second-generation F series arrived in 1953 with power improvements and a new naming convention. The F-1 became the F-100, while F-2 and F-3 trucks were integrated into the new F-250 line. The F-4 became the F-350. Class 8 trucks were spun off into a new C-series commercial truck unit that produced C-, H-, L-, N-, T- and W-series Ford trucks.

That year, Ford began offering more special features, including armrests, dome lights and sun visors. The trucks came with two-tone paint, automatic transmissions and an improved heater and radio.

During that time, Kreipke said, Ford expanded its pickup marketing to younger buyers who could use the vehicles for a day at the beach or a romantic picnic with their sweethearts.

In the 1960s, it offered the Falcon Ranchero — a car-based pickup billed as "More Than a Car! More Than a Truck!" Kreipke said it helped pave the way for the smaller Ranger pickup in 1982.

While Ford outsold its rivals in pickups in the early 1970s, Chevrolet was the leader from 1973 to 1976. Ford replaced the F-100 with the F-150 nameplate in 1975, and the name has stuck to present day.

Keep on truckin'

Pickups have been driving Ford's success for 100 years

Becoming No. 1

Ford reclaimed the sales title in 1977 — and hasn't given it up since. That year, a copywriter for a Ford trucks magazine is said to have coined the phrase "Built Ford Tough."

"The success of our truck line has been that we've constantly tried to see what the customer wants in that vehicle and then keep raising the bar," Kreipke said. "To sustain sales, you have to constantly upgrade your product."

Not every change went over well with customers. Rounded "jelly-bean" styling introduced in the 1997 model year was abandoned during the next redesign after sales began to slide.

In 1998, Ford introduced the Super Duty name for the F-250 through the F-750, which mainly were used for commercial businesses. In the following years, it added more expensive trim levels with fancier interiors and more technology. In 2011, Ford pickups first came with an EcoBoost V-6 engine that increased fuel efficiency without sacrificing power.

The most important recent update happened in 2014, when Ford gutted its massive F-150 plants in Dearborn, Mich., and Kansas City, Mo., to retool them for building pickups with a body made of aluminum instead of steel to slash weight. It was a costly and risky decision, and though rivals such as General Motors have attempted to portray the aluminum body as weak, the changeover happened relatively smoothly, and sales continued to rise.

More recently, the automaker has added a 10-speed transmission and a host of driver-assist features. It has a diesel version of the F-150 on the way soon. Ford is reintroducing the Ranger midsize pickup to the U.S. in 2019 and, at the end of the decade, it will add a hybrid variant of the F-150.

"They're certainly positioning themselves to maintain a pure tech advantage over their competitors, and they also have a strong brand loyalty," Brauer said. "They have everything in place to maintain their dominance, but they do have to do what they've been doing, which is aggressive innovation. It'd be easier than ever for a competitor with a superior product to sway buyers away from Ford."

Challenges ahead

Pickup buyers are known to be extremely brand loyal, Brauer said. But that loyalty does have its limits.

"It's harder to maintain than ever before," he said. "We've found that customers have a willingness to simply find the best deal versus always sticking with the same brands. Even the truck market is subjected to that reality."

More challenges could be on the horizon.

As Ford and other automakers work to develop autonomous-vehicle technology, the trucking industry is widely regarded as a prime candidate to adopt self-driving systems. Ford has said its first autonomous vehicles could be used for commercial uses such as package delivery, although it hasn't specified what kind of vehicles those would be.

Brauer cautioned that Ford could fall behind if another company introduces a self-driving pickup that fleet businesses and other customers would want.

"If they can't keep pace with the autonomous technology," he said, "it could threaten their dominance."

Photo gallery - http://www.autonews.com/article/20171029/RETAIL01/171039996/the-truck-that-built-ford

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Car & Driver  /  October 27, 2017

Ford has confirmed that it’s bringing back the Bronco as a four-door SUV for 2020, but one customizer of vintage trucks thought, “Why wait?” The result is this first-generation Bronco made into a four-door and dubbed the Four Horseman.

The build is by Maxlider Brothers Customs, a Chicago-area shop that specializes in Broncos. Starting with a ’66 truck, the team, led by brothers Erik and Kris Barnlund, lengthened the chassis by 26 inches.

A supercharged 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 from Roush Performance supplies the power—600 horses’ worth; four-wheel disc brakes by Wilwood keep a leash on the big brute.

Naturally, the Bronco is four-wheel drive; the axles are from Currie Industries, with Yukon Gear & Axle supplying the driveshafts, differentials, and locking hubs.

MJR Industries created the custom suspension, which includes Fox Racing shocks. BFGoodrich 37 x 12.5/20 tires wrap 20-by-12.5-inch gloss-black wheels.

Power-deploying assist steps help passengers climb aboard. The custom-fabricated interior includes three rows of seats, upholstered in marine performance vinyl, while Wetsounds Bluetooth sound bars and subwoofers help supply the tunes.

The four-door Bronco is headed to this year’s SEMA show and will compete in that event’s Battle of the Builders. Will Four Horseman bring doomsday to its rivals? We’ll have to wait and see.

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I read a blurb last night in Petersen’s 4WOR that Ford is going to put a 3 liter v6 powerstroke in its half tons. I believe it was 375hp and 470lbft. Wonder why they didn’t go with an in-line to save weight in the half ton? Any clues on mileage yet? 

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Yup 2018 F150s get a diesel option. The V6 diesel has been used for years overseas in land rovers. It's called the Lion Family of engines. Ford builds the engines in the UK for Jaguar Land Rover. 

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22 hours ago, HeavyGunner said:

I read a blurb last night in Petersen’s 4WOR that Ford is going to put a 3 liter v6 powerstroke in its half tons. I believe it was 375hp and 470lbft. Wonder why they didn’t go with an in-line to save weight in the half ton? Any clues on mileage yet? 

https://www.bigmacktrucks.com/topic/43765-ford-preparing-diesel-powered-f-150/

 

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Ford invests $220 million to expand Ranger production, build Raptor in South Africa

Engineering News  /  November 3, 2017

Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) is investing R3-billion (US$220 million) in expanding Ranger production at its Silverton plant, in Pretoria.

The plant builds the Everest sports-utility vehicle and Ranger pickup, with the latter exported to 148 markets.

The focus of the investment would be on increasing Ranger capacity in order to cater for growing demand from local and export markets, a further improvement in quality, increased automisation, as well as enabling production of the Ranger Raptor, which would enter the South African market in 2019, said Ford Middle East and Africa operations VP Ockert Berry in Pretoria on Friday.

The purpose-built, desert-racing inspired Raptor forms part of the Ford performance brand, with other members of the club the well-known ST, RS and GT derivatives.

Berry said the Silverton plant would produce more than 100 000 units this year.

Current capacity at the plant is 100 000 units a year.

The R3-billion investment will see capacity increase to 167 000 units a year.

The changes to the plant should be in place in January next year, following a four-week shutdown period over December.

The Silverton plant operates on a two-shift rotation, with a three-shift operation not currently on the table.

Employment was set to increase through the capacity expansion, noted Berry, although he could not yet quantify the number of people to be added to the Silverton payroll.

The newest investment from the US car maker in its South African operations was an indication of Ford’s commitment to South Africa, noted FMCSA MD Dr Casper Kruger.

“The market response to our announcement that Ford will be introducing a Ranger Raptor has been absolutely phenomenal,” he added.
“We are exceptionally proud to confirm that this highly anticipated performance model will be assembled in South Africa. This is yet another fantastic achievement for our local team, and signals our ability to produce world-class products of the highest calibre.”

In the first ten months of the year FMCSA Ranger exports from South Africa reached more than 46 000 units, with local sales at 27 048 units.

Ranger production at the Silverton plant started in 2011.

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Ford recalls 73,000 Transit vans, 30,000 F-150 pickups

Trailer-Body Builders  /  November 7, 2017

Ford issued four safety recalls involving Transit vans, which potentially could catch fire, and F-150 trucks. Here are details of the recalls, which concern a towing module that could be corroded by water; two different transmission/ shifting problems; and a small number of improperly machined cylinder heads.  

Specifically, these affect 2015-2017 Transits and certain 2017 and 2018 F-150 pickups, with the Transit vans representing by far the largest number of vehicles being recalled.

I. 2015-2017 Ford Transit vehicles equipped with trailer tow module 

Ford is recalling approximately 73,000 2015-2017 Ford Transit vans with trailer tow modules. Water can get into the module and connector, Ford said, potentially corroding wiring and damaging the module.

In affected vehicles, water in the module may cause:

Turn signals to flash rapidly;

—Loss of the instrument cluster display;

—Loss of heater and air conditioning controls; and

—Loss of multimedia including radio, screens and SYNC.

Wiring corrosion from prolonged water intrusion could also cause an electrical short to the ground, which could cause: 

—Faulty seat belt pretensioner deployment;

—A burning smell; and/or

—Increased risk of fire, including when the vehicle is parked and the ignition is off.

Ford said it is not aware of any accidents or injuries associated with this issue, but knows of two reports of vehicle fires on Canadian fleet vehicles potentially related to this condition.

The reference number for this recall is 17S34.

Affected vehicles include 2015-17 Ford Transit vehicles built at Kansas City Assembly Plant from Feb. 3, 2014 to Aug. 2, 2017.The recall involves about 65,000 U.S. vehicles and some 8,000 in Canada.

Ford provided further details of the recall repairs. Until the final repair is performed, customers should take the precaution of parking their vehicles outside. 

As an interim repair, until parts are available for the final repair, customers may have dealers disable the trailer module. For the final repair, dealers will add a drainage hole to the driver's door stepwell and incorporate a fuse into the vehicle wiring harness. All services and repairs will be performed at no cost.

II. 2018 Ford F-150 vehicles with 3.3L engine, 6-speed automatic transmission and column-mounted shift lever

Ford is recalling about 15,000 2018 Ford F-150 trucks with 3.3L engines, six-speed transmissions and column-mounted shift lever due to inaccurate gear selection that could result in unintended vehicle movement.

In affected vehicles, moving the transmission shifter from park to drive rapidly may cause loss of the "PRNDL" gear indication in the instrument cluster and momentary engagement of reverse before the vehicle moves forward.

Alternatively, an operator could get a momentary neutral gear selection rather than reverse. Unintended vehicle movement as a result of this may increase the risk of accident or injury.

Ford said it is not aware of any accidents or injuries associated with this issue.

The reference number for this recall is 17S35.

Affected vehicles include:

—2018 Ford F-150 vehicles built at Dearborn Assembly Plant from Jan. 12, 2017 to Oct. 9, 2017; and
—2018 Ford F-150 vehicles built at Kansas City Assembly Plant, Jan. 30, 2017 to Oct. 9, 2017.

The recall involves about 12,400 U.S. vehicles, 2,000 in Canada and about 575 in Mexico.

As a fix, dealers will reprogram the powertrain control module with the latest level calibration software at no cost to the customer. Prior to the repair, customers and dealers should carefully shift into the desired gear and confirm intended gear selection in the "PRNDL" instrument cluster display.

III. 2017 Ford F-150 vehicles with 10-speed automatic transmission

Ford is recalling some 15,000 2017 Ford F-150s with 10-speed automatics for an inability to shift the transmission using the shift lever.

In affected vehicles, the pin attaching the transmission shift linkage to the transmission may come out.

If this happens, the driver moving the shift lever won't change the transmission gear; the transmission will stay in whatever gear it was in when the pin came out regardless of the position of the shift lever.

The shifter indicator could display inaccurate information, and the key can be removed even if the vehicle is not in park. However, a warning chime will sound and a message will be displayed in the instrument cluster indicating "Transmission not in park."

If the transmission is not in park or neutral, the driver would not be able to restart the vehicle. If a vehicle cannot be shifted to park and the parking brake isn't applied, the vehicle could move unintendedly and increase the risk of a crash.

Ford said it is not aware of any accidents or injuries associated with this issue.

Affected vehicles include:

—2017 Ford F-150s built at Kansas City Assembly Plant from Sept. 16, 2016 to Aug. 9, 2017; and
—2017 Ford F-150 vehicles built at Dearborn Assembly Plant from Aug. 23, 2016 to July 2, 2017.

The recall involves about 11,800 U.S. vehicles, 3,200 in Canada and 700 in Mexico. The reference number for this recall is 17S36.

To resolve the issue, dealers will remove the roll pin and replace it with an updated part at no cost. Prior to getting their vehicle repaired, customers and dealers will be instructed to make sure the parking brake is applied whenever the vehicle is parked.

IV. 2018 Ford F-150s with 3.5L engine

Ford is recalling about 30 2018 Ford F-150s with 3.5L engines for possible loss of power and engine failure.

In affected vehicles, cylinder heads manufactured for the 3.5L engines are missing machined holes for supplying lubrication to the camshaft. Improper camshaft lubrication will result in premature engine failure and loss of power without warning while driving, increasing the risk of accident or injury.

Ford said it not aware of any accidents or injuries associated with this issue. Ford also noted it not aware of any affected vehicles that have been delivered to customers.

Affected vehicles include:

—2018 Ford F-150 vehicles built at Dearborn Assembly Plant from Sept. 3-16, 2017; and
—2018 Ford F-150 vehicles built at Kansas City Assembly Plant, Sept. 5-17, 2017.

The recall involves some 22 U.S. vehicles, seven in Canada and one in Mexico. The reference number for this recall is 17S37. 

Ford is tracking down affected vehicles at dealerships. If an affected vehicle is in the possession of an owner, the company said it will arrange to transport the vehicle to a Ford or Lincoln dealer to have the engine replaced at no cost.

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Americans want everything (latest trendy models, technology, ect.), but they also want a low price. Then complicate that with excessive, convoluted safety standards that add to the cost. The final outcome is Americans get cheapened cars. Compare any brand and model car sold in the U.S., European and Chinese markets. The U.S. version looks like a "stripper" rental car, compared to its global market equivalent.

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Ford pilots Ekso exoskeleton technology to help lessen chance of worker fatigue, injury

Green Car Congress  /  November 10, 2017

Ford is working with California-based Ekso Bionics to test the use of exoskeleton technology for Ford assembly workers. Some Ford assembly line workers lift their arms during overhead work tasks some 4,600 times per day, or about 1 million times per year. At this rate, the possibility of fatigue or injury on the body increases significantly. The new upper body exoskeletal tool is designed to help to lessen the chance of injury under these conditions.

Called EksoVest, the wearable, non-powered technology elevates and supports a worker’s arms while performing overhead tasks. It can be fitted to support workers ranging from 5 feet tall to 6 feet 4 inches tall, and provides adjustable lift assistance of five pounds to 15 pounds per arm when its springs are activated. It’s comfortable to wear because it’s lightweight, it isn’t bulky, and it allows workers to move their arms freely.

As a result, the worker will get a noticeable level of support for overhead tasks that require either no tools at all or tasks requiring tools that weigh up to approximately 8 pounds.

Primary tools used with the vest vary by application, including applications that use no tools at all—just manipulating parts with hands overhead. The vest is optimized to support the weight of the worker’s arms so that any overhead work puts less of a strain on the worker’s shoulders and arms.

Designed and built for dynamic, real-world environments such as factories, construction sites and distribution centers, the non-powered vest offers protection and support against fatigue and injury by reducing the stress and strain of high-frequency, long-duration activities that can take a toll on the body over time.

With support from the United Automobile Workers and Ford, EksoVest is being piloted in two US plants, with plans to test in other regions, including Europe and South America.

EksoVest is the latest example of advanced technology Ford is using to reduce the physical toll on employees during the vehicle assembly process. Between 2005 and 2016, the most recent full year of data, the company saw an 83% decrease in the number of incidents that resulted in days away, work restrictions or job transfers—to an all-time low of 1.55 incidents per 100 full-time North American employees.

To date, Ford ergonomists have worked on more than 100 new vehicle launches globally using ergonomic technology tools, including most recently the 2018 Ford Mustang, 2018 Ford F-150, and the all-new 2018 Ford Expedition and 2018 Lincoln Navigator. Through significant investments in the program, not only has Ford achieved a reduction in employee incident rates, it has seen a 90% decrease in such ergonomic issues as overextended movements, difficult hand clearance and tasks involving hard-to-install parts.

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Because they work so hard assembling vehicles. 

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Ford will avoid layoffs, plant closures as it cuts costs

Automotive News  /  November 14, 2017

When Ford Motor Co. went through its Way Forward restructuring a decade ago, it closed 14 plants and slashed tens of thousands of blue-collar jobs.

But Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of global operations, said Tuesday the company's latest effort to become more financially efficient won't involve any such actions.

"We don't expect restructuring costs tied to any specific initiatives," Hinrichs said at a Goldman Sachs conference in Boston. "We don't have that kind of footprint redo that has to be done."

CEO Jim Hackett has called for Ford to shed $14 billion in costs over the next five years. That includes $10 billion in incremental material cost reductions and $4 billion in engineering savings.

Hinrichs said the material cost cuts will involve "aggressive plans" to save money with suppliers on production of current vehicles, as well as reductions on new models that will come early next decade.

The automaker also plans to save money by reducing complexity. That includes a tenfold reduction in orderable combinations of the next-generation Escape crossover.

The $4 billion savings on the engineering side will focus on reducing product development time, Hinrichs said.

"None of those require restructuring charges," he said. "They do require redesigning how we do our business together."

Hinrichs likened Ford's goal to be more financially fit to losing weight, saying that your first steps would be to examine your diet and then start working out. Ford is doing the same thing in looking at how its vehicles are made.

"We can't afford the cost structure we have today if we want to get to the margins we want to get to," he said.

Ford is targeting global profit margins of 8 percent.

Without offering specifics, Hinrichs said that growth could mean a drop in revenue.

"Expectations are going to be lower on the revenue front," he said. "It's all about margins, clearly."

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All of this spells out, lower quality parts, sub-par engineering and vehicles brought to market that aren't ready. 

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If you look at the public domain reliability studies like Consumer Reports, Fords are slightly more reliable than GM or FCA, but clearly less reliable than much of their foreign based competition. Ford needs to invest in improving reliability, not cutting costs. While Ford stock is currently highly rated because Wall Street loves cost cutting, I'm tempted to dump mine before the consequences of cost cutting drive Ford stock down.

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Ford will spend $885 million to build next Kuga in Spain

Reuters  /  November 17, 2017

MADRID -- Ford will invest more than 750 million euros (US$885 million) in its factory in Valencia, eastern Spain, to produce the next-generation Kuga SUV [what the US market Escape is based on, but without the engine fire feature].

The Valencia plant employs more than 8,000 people and, in addition to the Kuga, makes the Mondeo and S-Max alongside the Tourneo and Transit commercial vans, according to Automotive News Europe's car assembly plant map. Kuga production represents nearly half of the output at the Valencia plant.

The Kuga is Ford's No. 3-selling nameplate in Europe behind the Fiesta and Focus.

Ford has invested around 3 billion euros in upgrades at the plant over the past six years, making Valencia one of the two largest assembly operations in Ford's global manufacturing system, alongside its Changan-Ford joint venture in Chongqing, China.

"This significant investment underlines Ford's commitment to Spain as one of its most important manufacturing sites in Europe," the company said in a statement.

The investment in the Spanish plant continues a trend of auto production moving south or east in Europe, where wages tend to be lower.

Spain's car industry, including auto parts manufacturers, employs just under 300,000 people, according to official statistics. It accounts for about 7 percent of the country's economic output, according to the vehicle manufacturing association Anfac.

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Ford may exit some South American markets

Automotive News Europe  /  November 21, 2017

Ford Motor is on the verge of taking dramatic action to turn around its money-losing business in South America, including possibly exiting some markets in the region, a JPMorgan analyst said after meeting with two of the company's top executives.

"Ford seems to be working on an out-of-the-box transformational plan to stanch what it deems as unacceptable losses in South America, which we suspect could be announced over the short-term," auto analyst Ryan Brinkman wrote in a note to investors Tuesday.

Brinkman said the company may work more closely with rival automakers, "perhaps even via some sort of formal tie-up. It could also entail selective exits from certain markets."

Buffeted by economic and political crises in South America, Ford has struggled to earn money in the region.

In the first nine months of the year, the automaker lost $587 million in South America, though that was an improvement on 2016 as it boosted revenue on stronger sales and pricing. Still, most of the industry's recovery on the continent is coming from low-margin fleet sales, Brinkman wrote after meeting with CFO Bob Shanks and Jim Farley, president of global markets.

General Motors Co. shut down operations in Venezuela this year after the government seized its factory there.

Ford "is dedicated to doing whatever it takes to stanch the unacceptable losses in the region," Brinkman wrote.

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How Ford plans to market the gasoline-electric F-150

Keith Naughton, Bloomberg  /  November 30, 2017

DETROIT -- People who buy F-150s don’t much care about fuel economy. It ranks No. 28 on their list of priorities, way below pickup essentials like durability and reliability, even the roominess of the cab.

And yet Ford Motor Co. is plowing ahead anyway with a gasoline-electric version of the crazy-popular truck, the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. since the Reagan administration.

To coax devotees into the greener future, the company won’t be stressing the benefits of cutting back on carbon-dioxide emissions or the costs of tanking up. Instead, the marketing will go something like this: The battery in the hybrid F-150 not only feeds the electric motor, it’s a mobile generator that can keep the beer cool at a tailgate party, charge your miter saw and run the coffee maker on a camping trip.

“It still may be a hard sell,” said Michelle Krebs, an analyst at Autotrader, “but they’ve got to have this in their lineup.”

That’s in part because of tough federal regulations. The hybrid F-150 was greenlighted in 2014, three years after the Obama administration set a target for automakers to achieve an average of 54.5 miles per gallon in their lines eight years from now. The expectation that President Donald Trump will ease regulations hasn’t reduced the industry’s interest in electrification.

But Ford’s playing catch up in the race to put electric vehicles and autonomous technology on the road. Investors have punished the company for lagging electric carmaker Tesla Inc., whose market value is higher, and crosstown rival General Motors, which introduced the Chevy Bolt electric for the 2017 model year. Ford is up less than 1 percent so far this year, while Tesla has risen 49 percent and GM has gained 29 percent.

So Ford is spending $4.5 billion to field 13 electric and hybrid models by 2020, including a gas-electric Mustang. The company has the most “pricing power” in its best sellers to cover electric propulsion costs, said Hau Thai-Tang, the product-development chief who has led the move to electrify the lineup.

There’s risk, of course, in Ford messing with its trucks. The F-series will bring in about $41 billion in revenue this year -- and the vast majority of the company’s profits. But there’s no way Ford can meet the federal mandate without boosting the trucks’ fuel efficiency.

The most recent data show that about 2,500 of the pickups are purchased in the U.S. every single day. Offering a hybrid version will be “kind of like trying to sell beer to a teetotaler,” said John Wolkonowicz, an auto analyst and former Ford product planner who once worked on the F-series. 

This is where the battery-advantage marketing plan kicks in. The company came up with it after researchers spent a year on an anthropological mission, embedding for thousands of hours with hundreds of F-150 owners. “We immersed ourselves in their lives,” said Nadia Preston, the research team’s project leader. “That meant going camping with them, tailgating, going to rodeos, even spending the night.”

They were looking for what CEO Jim Hackett calls “bungee-cord solutions” -- workarounds for tasks the F-150 couldn’t perform. They found owners often in need of portable power.

Electric motivation 

“We would see our customers just literally buying generators from Home Depot and strapping them down in their truck beds,” Thai-Tang said.

There was the welder in Texas who lugged his generator in and out of the bed whenever he needed it for work. Then there was the builder in Denver who didn’t own one, relying on a jumble of extension cords that he stretched to an outlet to operate his saw. “He told us, ‘Access to power in any shape or form would absolutely help me do my job,” ’ Preston said.

Ford won’t say how many hybrid F-150s it plans to make, nor how much more expensive they are to build, though analysts estimate adding electric power tacks on at least $5,000 to the cost of a vehicle. In any event, the company will still sell hundreds of thousands of traditional pickups, including the new Super Duty Limited 4X4, which when topped out with all the extras will cost around $100,000.

Needing motivation

At this point, “you would need some motivation to invest in an electric pickup,” said Xavier Mosquet, a senior partner at Boston Consulting Group, who just authored a study that found pickups were least likely to be swept up in the electrification trend. “Unless you think the generator itself has value.”

The idea at Ford is that hybrid trucks will catch on, following a path similar to turbo-boosted V-6 engines that were first offered on the F-150 seven years ago when anything less than a V-8 was considered wimpy. Today, the smaller engines account for almost two-thirds of sales.

The company has courted F-150 controversy before, when it it outfitted the truck and its larger sibling, the Super Duty, with aluminum body panels that lopped hundreds of pounds off the weight of the rigs -- part of the effort to lower gas consumption. GM responded with attack ads accusing Ford trucks of going soft. But the aluminum F-Series trucks gained market share and are driving profits upward.

“The F-150 is so important to Ford, they have to maintain leadership by offering every powertrain option,” said Krebs, the Autotrader analyst. “I don’t expect it initially to be a big percentage of sales, but the timing is right.”

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