Ford surprised the industry with its initial success selling the high-performance turbocharged EcoBoost V-6 in the F-150. During the past four months, the combined sales of the F-150's base engine, which is the naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V-6, and the 3.5-liter direct-injected turbocharged EcoBoost V-6 have consistently outperformed sales of the two V-8 engines provided in the F-150.
The V-6 engines have consistently accounted for more than 55 percent of the sales mix, with the EcoBoost having the lion’s share of the V-6 sales.
Five years ago, Ford’s endeavor to put a pricey, premium V-6 in more F-150s seemed like a risky gamble with the full-sized pickup known for its capacity and toughness. For many company insiders and dealers at that time, the move seemed like a bad joke.
Martin Gubbels, owner of Torrington, Wyo.-based Big Sky Ford-Lincoln recalled that at that time he would say, “Bubba don't buy nothing but a V-8, and we've got a lot of Bubbas out here.'"
With Ford’s shocking initial success on the EcoBoost, Gubbels has become a believer, stating that a customer will purchase EcoBoost when told by a knowledgeable salesperson that the ride has better fuel economy and more horsepower and torque than a V-8.
Aside from the addition of a second V-6, Ford made an even bolder move when it priced the EcoBoost higher than the bestselling V-8. Although that risky decision proved to be a good one, it was a difficult road for the marketers and engineers of Ford.