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  • The Ford F-150 is America's favorite pickup truck, actually,

  • scratch that, it is America's favorite vehicle, full stop.

  • SUVs might be the talk of the automotive industry, but the

  • F-150 is still the strongest selling model of any kind in the

  • United States. It is also the product that many say keeps the

  • lights on at Ford.

  • The F-Series line of full sized trucks sells so well in the

  • U.S. that in 2019 it outsold all of rival GMs full sized trucks

  • by 11%.

  • That includes both the Chevrolet and GMC brands.

  • But the F-150 needs to stay on top.

  • Due to some steep US taxes on imported trucks, a loyal and

  • patriotic customer base, and to be fair, very strong products.

  • Americans dominate the domestic truck market.

  • Toyota and Nissan, for example, do sell pickups in the U.S.,

  • but more than 80% of sales go to Ford, General Motors, and Fiat

  • Chrysler. And yet competition is fierce.

  • General Motors is still a formidable competitor.

  • And Fiat Chrysler's RAM brand has been ratcheting its way up

  • from third place to vie for second among brand names with GM's

  • Chevrolet. Pickup sales are growing and automakers are carving

  • out niches in the market, hoping to scoop up a few more buyers

  • here and there. And, of course, the electrification trend is

  • penetrating the truck market as well.

  • Not only are these so-called Big Three competing with each

  • other, a new crop of truck makers such as Tesla and Rivian want

  • to be the brands present and future generations turn to for

  • their everyday workhorses.

  • Ford is also becoming ever more dependent on sales of large

  • SUVs and trucks and on North American customers.

  • Unfortunately for Ford, its Detroit rivals are in a similar

  • position. In 2020, the second largest U.S.

  • automaker was still in the midst of a multiyear turnaround plan

  • and had just appointed its third CEO in six years.

  • During this time, Ford also began rolling out the latest

  • generation of its market leading and profitmaking F-150, which

  • it needs now more than ever.

  • Ford's earliest pickup was basically just a chassis or vehicle

  • frame that was strong and large enough to accommodate third

  • party truck beds.

  • I think Ford saw the potential of trucks earlier than anyone

  • else. On July 27th, 1917, Ford released the Model TT a

  • chassis and cab that was based on its Model T sedan.

  • The Model TT came with a heavier duty frame capable of carrying

  • one ton of payload.

  • The factory price was $600, 209 were sold that year.

  • F-Series debuted in 1948.

  • The line had an alphanumeric naming system like today, but then

  • the half ton was just called F-1.

  • The F-1 was later called the F-100.

  • The 1950s were the years when Ford began dressing up its

  • pickups a bit. It included amenities many would now consider

  • standard, but were unusual at the time for a utility vehicle

  • armrests, dome lights, and sun visors.

  • The F-150 didn't come out until 1975, when Ford beefed up its

  • pickup to compete with new trucks from General Motors.

  • Two years later, F-150 was the sales leader in the segment.

  • Really by the late 70s, early 80s, Ford had cemented that role

  • as not just the best selling truck in the truck market, but the

  • best selling vehicle in the entire U.S.

  • market. And it never has relinquished that.

  • The late 1970s were also a time when truck owners began to see

  • their trucks as more than work vehicles.

  • In 1978, Ford introduced its Lariat trim package, which again

  • included features any buyer today would consider basic.

  • The F-Series Super Duty models began rolling out in 1998 to

  • serve customers and businesses in need of bigger trucks.

  • Over time, F-Series has continued to fill out its offerings at

  • the higher end of the truck market as truck buyers opt for more

  • luxurious interiors, dazzling technology, and aggressive

  • performance. It was a purpose driven vehicle at that point in

  • time, and the big, amorphous shift that happened over time is

  • it went from a purpose driven vehicle to get a job done to a

  • prestige vehicle to be seen.

  • Throughout its history, Ford's F-Series has grown in sales.

  • In 1983, Ford sold 450,108 full size pickups.

  • By 2019, that number had roughly doubled to 896,526.

  • The F-Series has been the leading lineup of trucks in America

  • for a long, long time, but Ford knows it can't surrender its

  • leading position. F-Series is widely regarded as Ford's profit

  • machine. So Ford has brought forth a number of innovations to

  • keep convincing buyers they are purchasing the true market

  • leader. For example, over the years, the company has made a

  • name for itself in specialty trucks with fast and quick pickups

  • like the now discontinued SVT Lightning and off road beasts

  • such as the Raptor.

  • Trucks like these are basically F-150 trucks with tweaked

  • engines, brakes, suspensions, and other parts.

  • The Blue Oval has also had to innovate to keep up with

  • regulations and a truck buyer looking to hold down fuel costs.

  • In 2011, Ford debuted its EcoBoost Engine, a highly efficient

  • six cylinder engine that could deliver power when needed and

  • rationed gas the rest of the time.

  • EcoBoost technology is now found across the board on Ford

  • models, but getting the truck world to accept it took some

  • persuasion. The preferred engine for a full size truck had long

  • been an eight cylinder, and Ford's V8s have long been

  • legendary. There was a great deal of skepticism that an engine

  • with two fewer cylinders could match V8s in power and

  • performance. But the EcoBoost proved successful.

  • F-150s can still be bought with V8s, but Ford says the EcoBoost

  • engine has the highest take rate among Ford buyers.

  • Ford also took a risk in 2015 when it rolled out a completely

  • new F-150 with an aluminum body, the first in the business.

  • Aluminum being far lighter than steel, Ford said the reduced

  • weight would improve further fuel mileage.

  • The aluminum body is about 700 pounds lighter than steel

  • versions. And again, a lot of skepticism.

  • But here we are, five years, six years after that truck hit the

  • market and no questioning of the strength and durability of the

  • aluminum version of the F-150.

  • The truck remains the best seller.

  • And the aluminum has not proven to be any form of a weak spot

  • for the vehicle.

  • Of course, Ford trucks are not without their critics.

  • Reliability and quality surveys have been mixed.

  • Consumer Reports gives the F-150 a predicted reliability score

  • of one out of five.

  • However, the F-150 did quite well in J.D.

  • Power's 2020 vehicle dependability study and initial quality

  • study. There's also competition.

  • All three American carmakers increasingly rely on pickups and

  • large SUVs for their profits.

  • Competition from foreign automakers is a lot fiercer.

  • Among smaller vehicles, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler are

  • both leaning into the segments where they are strongest.

  • Fiat Chrysler's RAM brand has been something of a dark horse in

  • the truck wars as of late.

  • It wowed the truck world with its 2019 RAM 1500, a pickup that

  • won multiple awards and sold like crazy.

  • Industry insiders praised Ram's lush, high end interior

  • packages and its adoption of tech features, such as a 12"

  • touchscreen display embedded in the dashboard.

  • Ford has also had to fend off challenges from GM, which has

  • notched a few big innovations of its own in recent years.

  • For the 2020 model year, GM debuted a 2.7 liter turbo four

  • cylinder engine on its Chevrolet Silverado, which is more

  • powerful than the V6, despite its smaller size.

  • GM's premium truck and SUV brand GMC has offered all kinds of

  • gadgets on its trucks that have impressed the market, including

  • cameras that can give a view of objects behind the vehicle the

  • truck is towing and a multifunction tailgate that can be folded

  • into a workbench or a step into the bed.

  • GMC has also been the first to debut carbon fiber beds on its

  • trucks, which it says are lighter, stronger and more impact

  • resistant than steel or aluminum.

  • The aluminum body introduced on the previous generation, F-150,

  • was big news, so some of the changes to the vehicle this time

  • around might seem a bit less ambitious.

  • They're claiming that something like 90 plus percent of the

  • vehicle's new. But whether it's the styling or the drive

  • trains, it still feels largely carryover.

  • But you do have some some interesting innovations.

  • Importantly, there is an optional hybrid version of the F-150,

  • perhaps the biggest news for this redesign.

  • Ford has said it is stressing the power and performance

  • benefits of hybrid vehicles rather than ecological ones.

  • The hybrid version does get better gas mileage than other

  • F-150s. But Ford wants to remind buyers of the excellent low

  • end torque electric motors can produce, which makes hybrids

  • good options for towing or moving over steep or uneven terrain.

  • And what we're most excited about that is targeting over 700

  • miles of range with the PowerBoost and targeting over 12,000

  • pounds of towing. So, again, you get the benefits of improved

  • fuel economy, but at the same time don't have to give anything

  • up from a capability stand point. The F-150 has an array of

  • tools for towing, including a trailer backup assist feature

  • that drivers can control via a dashboard knob.

  • Cameras on the truck also help with steering.

  • There is even a steering guide that tells drivers which way to

  • turn the wheel. There are a number of features for customers

  • who use the truck for work, including a work surface on the

  • tailgate with rulers and holsters for mobile devices, a cup and

  • a pencil. There are also clamp pockets on the sides of the

  • tailgate for securing materials.

  • At least some versions of the F-150 come with some pretty

  • cutting edge tech features that appear to be aimed at that

  • growing segment of higher end truck buyers looking for plush

  • interiors full of gadgets and comforts.

  • We'll be the first full size pickup in the US that will offer

  • over the air update standard.

  • So this is an opportunity for us to improve the function and

  • feature capability as our customer goes through the ownership

  • cycle. There are also some available options for the truck that

  • show Ford is aiming at cabin comfort, such as fully reclining

  • seats and a 12" touch screen, a shot right at the one offered

  • in the 2019 Ram.

  • Being Ford's breadwinner F-Series is a product line Ford is

  • extremely careful with.

  • I think it's fair to say that no other automaker is as closely

  • tied to the success of its truck as a definition of the success

  • of the automaker than Ford and the Ford F-150.

  • Like many automakers, Ford has been hit hard by the coronavirus

  • with production pullbacks and at least temporary demand

  • slowdowns. Of course, one bright spot for automakers has been

  • that the pickup truck market suffered a lot less during the

  • Covid-19 pandemic than did other segments.

  • The second largest U.S.

  • automaker has also undergone some big changes at the top in

  • recent months financial results for 2019 and the last quarter

  • of that year were deeply disappointing.

  • In February 2020, the company said that Joe Hinrichs, a then 53

  • year old top executive who had been on many industry shortlists

  • for a future job as CEO of Ford, abruptly announced his

  • retirement. Henrik's went on to take a board seat for an

  • autonomous driving technology company called WaveSense.

  • Then CEO Jim Hackett who had taken the job in 2017, abruptly

  • announced his retirement in August 2020.

  • Hackett's successor is Jim Farley, another top Ford executive

  • who had been serving as the company's chief operating officer

  • before taking the helm.

  • Ford is struggling in its international segments.

  • It's having a hard time in Europe, a region GM exited entirely

  • in recent years, and in China, which is considered a key market

  • for global automakers.

  • But one where doing business is not easy, especially with trade

  • tensions between China and the U.S.

  • There have been some bright spots.

  • Ford is keeping up with the ever growing electric vehicle trend

  • with its Mustang Mach-E electric crossover.

  • The company's new Bronco off-road SUV has garnered praise for

  • its design, engineering, and innovative features.

  • Its North American business remains strong, thanks in large

  • part to the F-150.

  • The test for the company now is seeing if it can keep it that

  • way.

The Ford F-150 is America's favorite pickup truck, actually,

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Why Ford Really Needs Its New F-150 Pickup Truck To Succeed

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    joey joey に公開 2021 年 06 月 06 日
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