Ford Motor Co. has commenced building the aluminum-bodied 2015 F-150 pickup, vowing to fully stock its dealers with the vehicle in the second quarter of 2015, according to chief executive Mark Fields. Ford will start shipping the first stock F-150s to dealerships in next month and the retail orders in February.
The carmaker had to spend 10 weeks to install new equipment in its Dearborn truck plant in Michigan to prepare for the production of the new F-150, which requires different assembly techniques from its predecessor, including riveting, adhesive bonding and laser welds.
Once Ford’s Dearborn site reaches full production speed, Ford start revamping its Claycomo assembly plant in Missouri in January to enable it to build aluminum bodied F-150. The launch of F-150 production at the Dearborn site was presided by Fields and Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford.
During the launch, Bill Ford quoted his great-grandfather and the carmaker’s founder Henry Ford, “The only history worth a tinker’s damn is the history we make today.”
He recalled that the site almost came into closure in the 1990s, but thanks to an agreement between the carmaker and the United Auto Workers union, they were able to rescue the plant and rebuild it as a modern, sustainable facility.
Fields remarked that Ford is open to producing aluminum vehicles, with next-generation Super Duty pickup tagged as the next in line to the F-150. While the auto industry has been observing Ford as it makes the shift to aluminum, customers are also on the watch.
According to Fields, over 250,000 customers, through the Internet, built and priced versions of the F-150 from Sept. 25 to Oct. 25, 2014. He added that over 225,000 customers have submitted contact information for updates on the model.
The new generation Ford F-150 has just been unveiled, marking the rebirth of America’s most beloved truck. Now even tougher, more capable and high-tech, it sets the pace anew for the future of pick-ups.
The all-new F-150 offers power, performance and efficiency, all without compromise, thanks to the use of the latest materials for increased durability and corrosion-resistance, high-end processors for superbly responsive drivability, and innovative systems for cargo management and towing.
Mark Fields, Ford Motor Company chief operating officer said that the F-150 has always been “Built Ford Tough”, like their slogan. But now, it has also become smart. Fields added that the new-generation F-150 represents the future of pick-ups, being another product under the One Ford plan, which ensures the best vehicle quality, fuel economy, safety, design intelligence and value for maximum customer benefit.
The Ford F-150 is a member of the company’s F-Series truck stable, which has led American truck sales for the last 37 years, and overall American vehicle sales for 32 years.
Ford’s unique relationship with customers can be illustrated by the F-150 throughout its history, according to Joe Hinrichs, Ford executive vice president and president of the Americas. As a truck that epitomises toughness, it is also known for having smart features that enable ideal work and recreational capabilities, as it is built “to their high standards."
For the new F-150, Ford’s engineers further developed their patented fully boxed ladder frame from preceding models by incorporating even more high-strength steel in its construction to create an all-new stronger but lighter vehicle backbone. And for the first time, the new F-150 body utilises high-strength, military-grade, aluminium alloys conventionally used in various rugged industries (aerospace, commercial transport, energy, etc.).
This also contributes to vehicle weight reduction while increasing dent and ding resistance. In all, the new F-150 is approximately 700 pounds lighter, which affords more towing and hauling capacity along with quicker acceleration, shorter stopping distance and more fuel economy.
Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development, said that more than ever, their customers want a truck they can depend on with the versatility to be a mobile office or go-anywhere workshop. As such, they are focused on implementing innovative systems, advanced material construction approaches, and new performance-enhancing but economical engines.
The 2015 Ford F-150 is more powerful and more durable than all its predecessors. Prior to introduction, it will have undergone lab torture-testing and more than 10 million miles of test runs at Ford proving grounds while driven by some of their most demanding truck customers.