Monday, October 04, 2010

Can New Engines Drive Market Share?
Part 1 - Ford Launches 4 New Engines in the F-150

The Ford F150 pickup is the #1 selling light vehicle model in the United States, and it has been for a generation. Ford's 2011 models are coming a little late this year, but they should come on like gangbusters, because Ford is showing off not one, not two, not three, but four new engines in its signature pickup line. The base engine is a version of the 3.7 liter V-6 that debuted to great acclaim in the 2011 Mustang earlier this year. The 3.7 is tuned to generate 300+ horsepower in truck form, a substantial increase over the previous base engine. Combined with a revised 6-speed automatic transmission, the 3.7 liter engine is expected to outperform General Motor's upgrade V-8 engine, but still deliver best-in-class fuel economy, exceeding the Chevrolet Silverado hybrid's 21/22 MPG. In fact, the superior fuel economy in the F-150 is a big reason Ford is discontinuing the compact Ranger pickup. The Ranger with a V6 only rates 16/21 with the EPA.

Ford's other engines for 2011 include two V8 engines, a 5.0 liter and 6.2 liter, for those who need more torque for towing, as well as its technological star, the 3.5 liter Ecoboost engine. The 3.5 liter is a V6 with gasoline direct injection (GDI) and dual turbochargers. A version of the engine has powered the Taurus SHO and the Flex and Lincoln MXT for a year or two. Ford hasn't releasted power or fuel economy numbers for this engine, but promises that trucks with the Ecoboost will match the 11,300 tow rating of the 6.2 liter V8 while having fuel efficiency close to the base 3.7 liter V6. The Ecoboost will come at a price premium, and will not be available until sometime in 2011, so it'll be awhile before we see how much people will pay for top of the line fuel efficiency and power combined with untested durability.

It appears that the 3.7 liter and 5 liter engines will be the volume motors for the F150. It won't take much of a market share boost to increase sales by the 11,000 unites needed to push Ford into the #1 position ahead of General Motors, this time not just in trucks, but in light vehicles (cars and trucks) altogether.

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