• Jun 25th 2008 at 2:02PM
  • 52
The reality of $4 per gallon gasoline coupled with a major slowdown in construction work has conspired to put the US truck market in a world of hurt. Ford has already postponed the launch of the all-new F-150 by two months, and when the truck goes on sale, the Blue Oval will be focusing its marketing efforts on the people that use their trucks for what they were designed for: work. Ford is betting that customers that buy trucks for looks are all but gone, but like Ford Marketing Manager Mike Crowley says, you can't build America with a fleet of Priuses. Past F-150 launches arrived with mostly high-end crew cab models were geared towards recreational truck owners, but the 2009 model will arrive mainly in two door and extended cab configurations. Those less expensive models are a big hit with fleets and construction companies.

The truck market may be down 21% in 2008, but by focusing on core buyers Ford is hoping to gain ground on the competition. Since roughly one-quarter of Ford's sales come courtesy of its F-Series lineup, lets hope the 105 year old company is right.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm glad to hear they're finally ditching the crew cab for the most part in these full size trucks.

      I think it's silly how much interior room people think they need in a fullsize pickup. I'm 5'9 and I've ridden in the backseat of my mother's 1999 F-150 extended cab for a very long time with no problems, even with Car and Driver saying it was like sitting in a penalty box and making snide comments about needing ibuprofen after a ride back there. It's not the most comfortable seat but it's got enough legroom, headroom and incline on the back seat to make it comfortable if the front passengers give the rear passengers a little legroom.

      If the new F-100 extended cab comes even close to that size it'd work fine for a good deal of buyers.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'd like to know what Ford was thinking when designing that center stack.

      Too many buttons for a "work truck", and even on higher end models it's the same cheap knobs and push buttons that's found in the Focus. What happens if someone wanted to not spend the $$ on the Ford navigation system and instead go to an aftermarket unit? Your screwed.

      Climate control? Give me three knobs for standard models, fan, temp, and position.

      The front bumper, now is a "front fascia". Try pushing a gate open on a ranch somewhere and your going to push in the grill right along with it.

      And how about a NEW design Ford? This thing looks exactly like your old truck. At least GM, Toyota, and Dodge actually put all new designs in their trucks.

        • 7 Years Ago
        Anybody that pushes gates open with their bumpers probably has a bumper made for that kind of stuff... probably out of 4" or 6" pipe, and some diamond plate... that's what they all seem to use down here in TX anyway. Of course, that could also be because pretty much any truck made in the past 20 years has flimsy factory bumpers...
        • 7 Years Ago
        It hasn't been quite that long yet. Trucks didn't really car up until the 97 F-150 and 99 GMT800.

        11 years ago you could still buy a GM, or find a leftover F-150 .. with a noodley chassis, awful fit and finish and ergonomics, the poise and handling of a garbage truck... but bumpers and body panels built for real work.

        How far we've come.

      • 7 Years Ago
      Really? They don't want to market it as a gas saving commuter car?
      • 7 Years Ago
      "Ford to market F-150 as a work truck"

      Now there's a novel concept.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The other day, as I drove past a public works road construction site, I saw a government-issue, orange F250 (or was it an F350?) with the newly redesigned grill and parking lights/headlights configuration. And I again thought to myself: "Man, that's an ugly look. Why did they do that?"

      Then I realized why: Part of the stigma against U.S. automakers is a (largely correct) perception that the companies cajole innocent civilians into buying trucks they don't need.

      I don't happen to care about that; in fact, I don't think anyone ought to care. But, apparently, people do care -- to the point that they'll equate buyers of large pickup trucks and SUVs for leisure with everything else they hate politically, philosophically, etc. They then transfer that hate to their own country's ability to have an industrial base.

      So, in my opinion, Mullaly's on to something -- make ugly F250s and F350s. Make sure only people who really need them (e.g., work crews like the one I drove past). Make sure people who don't need them (that is, "don't need them" in the eyes of others) won't buy them because the vehicles are ugly and so obviously for their purpose. Take Ford out of the haters' equation.

        • 7 Years Ago
        Brent - forget it. You are a little to nuanced for this crowd of knuckle draggers. By the way, that was one of the best postings I have seen on Autoblog. You posses better insight and writing ability than many of the actual AutoBlog contributors.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The city I work for got four brand new 08 F-550s back in the fall. Great trucks. The only Ford SDs that I prefer in our fleet are our older 7.3L equipped F-550s.

        But I wouldn't give Mullaly all the credit. I believe the final front end design was greenlighted back when Billy Boy was in office...along with some of the company's other questionable designs.

        Oh and I still see a ton of everyday folk driving fully loaded Super Duties.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Man...I wish I could edit my comments here -- bunch of fragments and other beasties in there...apologies.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I don't know. I don't disagree with what you're saying, but you're kind of missing my larger point. I never said they shouldn't ALSO work on their smaller cars. But it seems like you think I did. I also don't think the premeditated idea was to FORCE those who MUST use trucks to drive ugly ones. And I also understand that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But I don't think many people will think those Super Duties front fascias are attractive.
        • 7 Years Ago
        You said to intentionally make trucks like the Superduty ugly so as to dissuade buyers who don't need them from getting them... thereby forcing the people who DO need them to be stuck driving ugly trucks.

        Personally, I like the look of the new SDs. I do think the old ones looked better (on the outside anyway), but the new ones don't look bad IMHO, and they're certainly better looking than that fugly new Silverado.

        What they need to do is work on making their small cars more appealing.

        Stick shock at the pumps is doing more to change buyers' habits than any styling could/would anyway.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Um, Jason? I think the inferences you made aren't what I necessarily implied. Sure, they're possible inferences, but surely not the only conclusions you could have drawn.

        I'm talking about full-size pickups and SUVs. We're talking about a huge, collective presence of vehicles across the nation that has basically become an advertisement NOT to buy Detroit iron because of global warming hype (more like ennui, if you ask me), and now energy price fatigue. Get it? Drastic times call for drastic measures.

        And let's be clear: I couldn't care less who buys big SUVs and full-size pickup trucks. I'm not of the goody-two-shoes, environmental proselytizer crowd. And I'd rather they look great, not bad. But, like I said, there may be a method to the madness.
        • 7 Years Ago
        So you're going to penalize those people that have to use these trucks for a living by only giving them ugly trucks? Yes, that's brilliant... /sarcasm.

        Hey, let's penalize mid to low income people as well by making all sub-$20K vehicles ugly too (oh wait, they pretty much do that already...).

        So who exactly gets the luxury of driving the "pretty" cars???

        • 7 Years Ago
        Back Canary...thank you. I think you might be right.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The headlights are the way they are is because of new federal headlight regulations so car drivers aren't blinded in the rear view mirror by higher up SUV and truck headlights. Though I am sure Ford could of designed it better........
      • 7 Years Ago
      After offering huge chrome wheels and fancy paintjobs to match the chrome and leater interiors we come to this.

      A need for trucks to be used as trucks.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Tomorrow's headline:

      "Ford to Give Away Free F-150 Crew Cab with Focus Purchase."
      • 7 Years Ago
      Marketing trucks based on their core strengths and intended purpose - what a great idea.

      These is a need for these vehicles, just not for a quick run to the store for a gallon of milk....
      • 7 Years Ago
      File this one under the no S#*t Sherlock category.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Finally, trucks will be marketed and used for what they were originally intended for.


      But who will dominate the class once it shrinks back to it's original size pre-truck/SUV boom?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Good start I guess. Then dump the Super Duty line and make Super Duty a package for the F-150.
        • 7 Years Ago

        Why don't we just make F-150 a package for the Ranger, too?

        The F-250, F-350, F-450, and F-550 super duties are only distantly related to the F-150. The super duties are engineered especially for commercial hauling and towing, rather than recreation.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Super Duty's are for super duty... you can't do that on the 150 chassis.

        Now, a truck being used for work? Come on... that's so out in left-field...
      • 7 Years Ago
      What was it before?
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