Ford Motor Co. hopes to keep up with the unexpected high demand for the Ford F-150 large pickups with six-cylinder EcoBoost engines and has raised its projection, according to Ford truck group marketing manager Doug Scott. Ford anticipated that F-150 pickups with the 3.5 liter EcoBoost engine sold to individual buyers will make up around 40% but this target was surpassed.
He said that Ford now predicts that EcoBoost equipped models will make up about 45% of retail F-150 sales. He added that retail sales of EcoBoost F-150s may total to around 100,000 vehicles in 2011.
Retail customers had bought about 75,000 F-150s with the six cylinder engine for the year through Sept. 30. During this period, Ford sold a total of 416,388 large pickup sales, including heavy duty pickups and vehicles sold to fleets – almost 8% higher.
On the other hand, rival brands Chevrolet, GMC and Dodge had bigger percentage increases in sales; however, the F-series is still the No. 1 model in its segment and leads by a huge gap. For the year to date, Toyota Motor Corp.’s sales fell by 11% and Nissan Motor Corp.’s sales dropped by 12%. For decades, V-8 engines have dominated the large pickup truck market.
Just a couple of years ago, Ford didn’t have a six cylinder motor in its F-series lineup. Automakers were forced to reconsider conventional marketing schemes due to demands from federal regulators to improve fuel efficiency as well as from the concerns on unpredictable gasoline prices. One of those affected by the change is the concept that there’s “no replacement for displacement” in this market.
Last February, Ford launched the EcoBoost engine in the F-150 line. During recent months, sales of EcoBoost models made up around 42% of total F-150 sales. According to federal government ratings, F-150s with EcoBoost offer an average 18 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving. Meanwhile, eight cylinder models have 14 to 17 miles per gallon. [source: WallStreetJournal]