Published December 17, 2012
2006 Ford F-250 Super Chief Concept (Ford)
20006 Ford F-250 Super Chief Concept interior (Ford)
The big news in the automotive industry last week was the introduction of General Motors’ all-new 2014 full-size pickup trucks. Now Ford is looking to make that old news.
Reuters reports that the automaker is planning a surprise reveal of a concept for its radically redesigned 2015 F-150, said by insiders to be a game-changer in the half-ton segment, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next January.
Where the new Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra are evolutionary designs, the new Ford is expected to be nothing short of revolutionary, with an extensive use of aluminum in its construction and re-engineered components like axles and brakes all aimed at cutting 700-750 pounds from the vehicles in order to improve fuel efficiency.
Reuters says Ford is aiming for a 3 mpg increase in fuel economy. That would represent a better than 15 percent improvement over the most fuel efficient F-150 available today, which is rated at 19 mpg combined. The trucks are expected to go into production in late 2014 as 2015 models.
Ford has not yet confirmed the plan to show the concept in Detroit, where it will be focusing its efforts on the launch of its E-Series full-size van replacement, the Transit.
The last time Ford brought a full-size truck concept to an auto show was in 2006 when it unveiled the F-250 Super Chief in Detroit. Inspired by the classic passenger trains of the same name, the heavy duty pickup featured an ultra-luxurious interior and a futuristic tri-fuel V10 engine that could run on gasoline, E85 or hydrogen.
This type of powerplant doesn’t appear to be in the works for the next generation F-150, but Reuters says a new line of turbocharged V6 engines is under development. Ford’s existing EcoBoost 3.5-liter V6 is the top choice of F-150 buyers today.
Ford is also known to be working with Toyota to design a hybrid powertrain for full-size trucks, but has yet to commit to putting it into production. General Motors is discontinuing its hybrid pickups and SUVs next year citing low sales.