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.

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[Source: Detroit Free Press]