DEARBORN - Leaders don’t stand still.
At no time has that mantra been more evident than at the 2014 North American International Auto Show when the all-new 2015 Ford F-150 made its worldwide debut.
“You have to always keep moving ahead and you have to be the first with breakthrough technology,” said Raj Nair, group vice president, Global Product Development. “We don’t rest on our laurels with our trucks, and the new F-150 is a great example of that. It redefines the industry, and it demonstrates why we’ve been America’s best-selling truck for 37 straight years.”
How do you make America’s best-selling truck even better?
“This is what we’ve always done. We’ve always continued to improve the truck and give our customers a better solution,” said Doug Scott, manager, Truck Group Marketing. “We’re making a very radical change with the 2015 F-150 by bringing in advanced lightweight materials, which is allowing us to take significant weight – up to 700 pounds – out of the truck that we can redeploy in more towing and hauling and better fuel economy.”
The new F-150 features an all-new high-strength steel frame and a groundbreaking high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloy body. And it is tougher and more capable than the current truck.
“One of the beauties of high-strength aluminum alloy is that it is one third the density of steel so what that affords us is the opportunity to up-gauge or thicken the material. So by volume, there’s more material in this new F-150 than there is in today’s truck,” said Scott. “As a result of that increased gauge, we’re able to offer more strength and more dent and ding resistance in the door panels, fenders and box than we have in today’s truck.”
According to F-150 Chief Engineer Pete Reyes, ‘lighter, stronger, smarter’ was the internal rallying cry that united and motivated the entire truck team each and every day throughout the development of the new F-150.
“It flowed into everything we did – from the styling to the engineering of every component,” he said. “We wanted to take weight out of the seats, out of the wire harnesses, the transfer case. We wanted every part we touched to be more efficient.”
Reyes likens the tremendous weight-save on the truck to a human being who drops a significant number of pounds.
“It’s not unlike an athlete with powerful legs. They keep the power, improve their strength but all of a sudden are moving with 15 to 20 percent less weight. They move quicker, jump higher and turn faster,” he explained. “That’s really the analogy here.”
As with every other aspect of the truck, the design of the new F-150 reflects the voice of the customer.
“This truck is all about being tough, powerful and bold and some of the crisp, clean, and full shapes really give us that brand DNA that we were looking for and that our customers demand,” said F-150 Chief Designer Gordon Platto. “The new shape of the exterior suggests increased capability with a wider stance and a chiseled grille that is bold and purposeful. And many of the sheer surfaces and crisp edges on the sheet metal provide for better aerodynamics and a more efficient vehicle.”
Platto said it was important to make the truck more comfortable and a more productive “tool” for the consumer while still maintaining the signature Built Ford Tough® look and feel inside and out. He said the design team paid particular attention to adding features that would give truck customers an enhanced feeling of interior spaciousness and better visibility.
“We lowered our signature drop in the front door approximately two inches and the belt line down relative to today’s truck approximately one inch. When you sit inside you can feel how that benefits the customer by improving side and forward visibility,” he said. “We also increased the headroom inside the truck and moved the driver and passenger seats outboard by about 20 mm on each side which provides more elbow room and 40 mm more storage volume in the center console.”
Visibility is further improved by 360 Degree Camera System – one of 11 class-exclusive smart features – that uses exterior cameras to monitor all four sides of the truck and provide a bird’s eye view to assist the driver with parking and maneuvering in tight spots or on narrow roads.
The team also enhanced the appearance and functionality of the truck through the use of class exclusive LED headlamps and tail lamps, LED box lighting, a puddle lamp on the tail gate and LED spotlights on both of the side view mirrors.
“The spotlights are very powerful and they allow you to light up a work site at night or light up a camp site if you’re using the truck for recreational use,” said Platto.
Reyes said now that the new F-150 has been revealed – in all of its glory and splendor – it’s time for the entire team to look ahead to the next step.
“We are all so proud of this truck,” he said. “But revealing it to the public also reminds me that we’re three-quarters of the way done because we still have to launch this truck with the world-class quality, and that’s impelling us forward.”
11 Class-Exclusive Smart Features