Are U.S. Pickup truck buyers prepared to set aside their love affair with V-8 engines and climb into more fuel- efficient models instead?
Time will tell because Ford Motor Co., in a high-stakes move, is promoting a high-tech, 6-cylinder engine in its best selling F-Series pickups.
Ford this fall will introduce a 300-h.p. V-6 and a new six-speed transmission in its F-150 pickups , the No. 1 seller in a market in which eight cylinders still rule, The Wall Street Journal reports. And for the first time, Ford will offer a V-6 in its popular crew cab model, which accounts for 60% of all F-150 sales.
While Ford in the past has offered V-6 engines only in its most basic, two-door F-150’s, the automaker plans to start marketing F-150s with a 3.5 liter “Ecoboost” V-6 — potent enough to tow a 11,300 pound trailer — that gets up to 20% better fuel economy than a V-8 with comparable power, F-150 Marketing Manager Mark Grueber told The Journal.
Behind the move is an attempt by Ford to hedge the risk that its highly profitable vehicle line could get battered by another run-up in gasoline prices, and it also must meet federal fuel economy rules that will steadily ratchet up the minimum mileage required by all vehicles.
Ford in 2009 sold more than 500,000 F-Series trucks — the best selling U.S. model line for 28 years — and sales were up nearly 35% through the end of July.