Ford Reveals New Super Duty Pickups

24 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

2017 Ford F-Series Super Duty Debuts with Lighter, All-Aluminum Body.

Ford is doubling down on the use of aluminum-bodied vehicles with the unveiling of the 2017 F-Series Super Duty pickup planned for later today at the State Fair of Texas. Given the level of comfort and convenience features built into the new heavy-duty trucks, in addition to its all-new aluminum body, that’s not too much of an overstatement. “With the new Super Duty, we want to be innovators,” says Craig Schmatz, Super Duty chief engineer. “As we remove weight, we’re making Super Duty more productive by giving our customers better towing and payload capability. Then there was that leaked photo of an F-250 in all its chromed out glory in March, and just a month ago, Ford wrapped one in some promotional camouflage and paraded it around a bit. We’re backing up improved capability with a stronger gasoline and diesel Super Duty engine lineup.” On sale a year from now, the ̛17 Super Duty represents the next step in Ford’s bold move to eschew steel body panels in favor or lighter-weight aluminum for the entire exterior and the truck bed.

Ford took a risk when it converted the body and bed of the popular F-150 to aluminum, which required taking two assembly plants down for months and which dented sales in the final months of 2014 and well into this year as inventories of the new model slowly built up. But converting the Super Duty lineup will not require downtime beyond next year’s normal summer shutdown at the Kentucky Truck plant in Louisville, said Ford spokesman Mike Levine. The previous Super Duty’s engine options, a 6.7-liter Power Stroke Diesel and a 6.2-liter gasoline V-8, carry over, though the V-8 mates with a new automatic transmission on the F-250.

Kentucky Truck has a new body shop that is almost complete and will make it easier to ramp up the new truck when production starts in the fall of 2016 as the outgoing model is phased out. Two chunky metal grille bars outline the large blue oval badge, and the squared-off headlights incorporate a few different lighting elements for a stacked look. Ford employs the same 0.55 in. (1.4-mm) gauge “military-grade” aluminum as it uses on the light-duty F-150 body panels, but increases the bed thickness to 0.63 in. (1.6 mm). This is the first all-new cab for the truck that was first introduced 17 years ago, said Dennis Slevin, vehicle engineering manager, and the first truck in the segment to have an all-aluminum cab.

Other new convenience features include an optional 360-degree camera system, LED lighting elements that shine all around the truck, and a remote tailgate lock. The lighter material allowed engineers to introduce sturdier parts such as larger axles, brakes and hitches, stronger driveline and transfer cases — and still reduce overall weight by up to 350 pounds, Slevin said. It can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/FordTrucks and there will be simultaneous events at the world headquarters in Dearborn as well as the Irvine design studio in California, said Brian Rathsburg, Super Duty marketing manager. The second-generation, 6.7-liter Ford Power Stroke V8 diesel is available for both Super Duty pickups and chassis cabs and provides what Ford says is the highest combination of horsepower and torque ever.

Starting with the 2015 F-150 and accelerating heavily with the 2016 F-150 Limited, the automaker has made technology that increases driver comfort and safety a primary focus on its latest pickups. Another camera provides the view for trucks’ trailer reverse guidance and the final lens can be mounted to the rear of a trailer for added visibility when backing up.

Then there’s adaptive steering, a feature that reduces the amount of steering input needed to change direction at low speed, while reducing sensitivity to steering input at higher speeds.

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