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2015 Ford F-150: Fewer models with a new EcoBoost equals more performance

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Ford has announced, as the debut of their innovative new 2015 F-150 aluminum pickup truck approaches, that the 2015 line will be smaller, have new power train options with more tow/haul capability and (as we all expected) cost more than they did in 2014.

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2015 F-150 now has just five models
One of Ford’s F-150 strengths has been their extensive 11 model trim level lineup that also includes the segments only off-road production pickup - SVT Raptor and the special edition F-150 FX Tremor. Ford, in the face of making a significant manufacturing changeover from steel body to aluminum, has wisely chosen to focus on delivering their most important and popular models in aluminum for 2015 – reducing the lineup to just five models for the coming year.

Gone (at least for now) are the F-150 STX, FX2, FX4, SVT Raptor, FX Tremor and the top-end Limited.

The shorter market-focused 2015 lineup includes the F-150 XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum.

Checking the just released 2015 Ford ordering guide, we note that the cab configurations available across the lineup include Regular, SuperCab and SuperCrew with cargo box options of 5.5-feet on the SuperCrew and either 6.5 or 8.0-foot boxes available on the others. Drive trains will include both 4x2 and 4x4 configurations and an off-road package (FX4) with locking rear axle and skid plates will be available across all 4x4 models.

2015 F-150 Pricing is up – how much depends on the model
Ford has taken what we would call a ‘market affordability’ approach to setting the prices for the new aluminum trucks. The military-grade aluminum alloys being used in the 2015 F-150 are measurably more expensive than the steel panels being replaced. Each model has about the same aluminum content suggesting that the manufacturer's material content cost increase is about the same for each truck - regardless of whether it is the base level XL or XLT, the mid-level Lariat or the more extensively featured and equipped King Ranch and Platinum.

Ford sells more F-150 pickup trucks in its segment than any other brand with near 70 percent being sold in the XL and XLT models. The XL and XLT are more price sensitive due to their more moderate income customer. The Lariat is considered the mid-level F-150 (under $40,000 base price) and shares some of that same price sensitivity as well.

Recognizing that sensitivity, Ford has set the MSRP (including delivery) for the XL at $25,615 and the XLT at $31,890 – both increased by only $400 over the comparable model from 2014. The Lariat is priced at $39,880 which is an increase of just $900 over 2014 – but still under $40,000.

At the top end, customers for the King Ranch and Platinum models are already accustomed to an MSRP well over $40,000 and routinely add features, amenities and options that take the final delivered price for these trucks well over $50,000 and even push or exceed $60,000. These customers tend to be less price sensitive with more focus on options, accessories and packages available to meet their needs (or wants) in a pickup truck. Ford has revised their standard and package content profiles for these trucks so that items previously considered options, accessories or part of a package are now included in the base MSRP price.

The 2015 F-150 King Ranch takes the biggest jump with an MSRP of $49,615 – increasing $3,615 over the comparable model in 2014. The King Ranch for 2015 has received a significant refresh and improved refinements as part of the new package. The Platinum (Ford calls it their ultra-premium truck) is priced at $52,155 for 2015 – an increase of $3,055. Both the King Ranch and Platinum come in just SuperCrew and use the 5.0L V8 engine only. They will be offered in two levels, base and luxury.

Power trains have more tow/haul and improved fuel economy
The 2015 Ford F-150 lineup features four power plants with two of them brand new. The new engines include an optional and brand new – engineered for the 2015 F-150 – 2.7L EcoBoost V6 that produces 325 horsepower and 375 lb.-ft. of torque. This engine is expected to deliver capability of 8,500 pounds tow and 2,250 pounds of haul. Furthermore, Auto Start-Stop technology has been included in this engine to deliver improved (numbers are not available yet) fuel efficiency.

The other three engines, that are either standard or available, depending on the model, include the (also new) 3.5L Ti-VCT V6, the 5.0L Ti-VCT V8 and 3.5L EcoBoost V6. All models will be equipped with the venerable electronic six-speed - with tow/haul mode – SelectShift automatic transmission with range select.

With the new Ford F-150 trucks weighing in more than 700 pounds less than prior year models, tow/haul and fuel economy numbers (to be announced later) are expected to be measurably improved over 2014 numbers for the same trucks.

2015 F-150 adds even more innovation and value
The all-new aluminum body on the 2015 F-150 and its expected impact on the full-size pickup segment has been the big story for the last year. Now we have the details on the new and more powerful 2.7L EcoBoost V6 - that will be available on the new F-150 - which will add a major performance impact to the segment as well.

Other new and innovative features on the 2015 F-150 that will make it an even more powerful market changer include the available a 360-degree camera view that uses exterior cameras to create a bird’s-eye view of the truck to help the driver park plus maneuver in tight spots and navigate down narrow trails. It will also have integrated cargo bed loading ramps and LED lighting embedded in the walls of the cargo box to brightly illuminate the box interior to help drivers find tools or other items in the dark.

The 2015 F-150 will also offer LED headlamps and tail lamps, a new trailer hitch assist in the rear view camera to help the driver line-up truck and trailer without assistance, a smart trailer tow module with an all-new wiring harness that helps identify and inform the driver of potential trailer connectivity issues, 400-watt 110-volt power outlets in the cab to handle power tools and major electronic devices, LED spotlights on the side view mirrors for bright lighting around the vehicle exterior and a new next-generation tailgate step fully integrated inside the tailgate and virtually invisible when not in use.

Other features available on the 2015 F-150 include the innovative second-row inflatable safety belts, Curve Control, Adaptive Cruise Control, Land Keeping System and Blind Spot Information with Cross Traffic Alert feature.

The 2015 Ford F-150 line of all-aluminum pickup trucks will arrive in dealerships late this year. We have had the opportunity to look at and touch several of the new trucks and can tell you, they are extremely well executed. But the proof will be in the driving. First drives for media are not scheduled as yet, but as soon as we have some time behind the wheel of a new 2015 Ford F-150, we will give you a report.

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