(NEW YORK) — BY: MIKE DOBUSKI
The most popular vehicle in the United States has been redesigned. At a livestreamed event Thursday evening, Ford pulled the wraps of the fourteenth generation F-150. Ford’s F-Series pickup trucks, which also encompass the larger F-250 and F-350, have been the best selling vehicles in the United States since 1982, according to manufacturer sales data. “To say it has been impactful to many people’s lives is quite an understatement,” says Jessica Caldwell, Executive Director of Insights at car-buying site Edmunds. Last year, Ford sold 896,526 F-150s. That’s over a quarter million more units than the country’s number two seller, Fiat/Chrysler’s Ram pickup. The F-Series accounted for about $42 billion in revenue for the company, according to a study Ford commissioned from the Boston Consulting Group. That makes it the second most revenue-generating product on sale, behind only Apple’s iPhone. “It is a source of so much of [Ford’s] profits,” says Caldwell. “The margins for pickup trucks are actually quite high compared to SUVs or passenger cars.” One of the big changes to the F-150 is the introduction of an optional hybrid powertrain, which is a first for a Ford pickup. The hybrid F-150 combines a turbocharged V6 with a 35-kilowatt electric motor that’s integrated into the truck’s transmission. “I think that that’s an interesting change,” says Caldwell. “There’s just so much pressure I would say for Ford, being the category leader, to really up their game and look at the alternate powertrains.” Ford isn’t alone when it comes to electrified trucks. Fiat/Chrysler offers a “mild hybrid” option on the Ram. Companies like Tesla and Lordstown have both unveiled completely electric pickup trucks in recent months. General Motors is also planning to resurrect the Hummer name on an upcoming electric GMC pickup. According to Caldwell, “[Ford] really cannot afford any of these competitors coming in and taking their market away from them. It’s too important for Ford as a company.” Ford says it’s planning to introduce an all-electric F-150 in 2022. In the meantime, the hybrid model is set to be the only F-Series truck with any form of electrification. Caldwell says she expects it to sell in lower numbers than its gasoline and diesel counterparts. “I wouldn’t say that the volume predictions for that truck in particular are that high.” One factor could be pricing, which Ford hasn’t yet released. “I imagine it’s going to be high,” says Caldwell. Other changes to the new truck include an updated exterior, as well as an optional onboard generator. Ford claims the generator can produce up to 7.2 kilowatts of electric power. “We saw a lot of customers that were carrying generators in the bed of their truck, taking up that valuable cargo space,” says Travis Calhoun, Ford’s Marketing Manager for the F-150. He adds that with the new generator, “you could, in theory, power a washing machine in the middle of your campsite.” Ford says they expect to put the new F-150 on sale this fall. Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.