Uncertain future for Ford's RWD vehicles, more EcoBoost on the way

It's been a while since we've heard about FoMoCo's development of large rear-wheel-drive vehicles for Ford and Lincoln – no surprise considering the current climate. With fuel prices continuing their upward trajectory and CAFE standards looming on the horizon, Ford is apparently reevaluating the efficacy of offering RWD vehicles in a market starving for fuel efficient whips.

In addition to this morning's story that Ford is considering offering an EcoBoost four-cylinder on its F-150 pickup, Automotive News is reporting that Ford's use of turbocharged, direct-injected engines could expand to beyond 500,000 vehicles annually by 2012.

On the small side of the product front, Ford will likely equip the base Fiesta with a naturally aspirated 1.4-liter four-cylinder that would deliver around 40 mpg when it arrives in the U.S. in 2010. Ford is also considering a 1.0-liter, EcoBoost engine in the Fiesta, which could migrate into the Focus after 2012.

V8 engines will remain the sole source of power in Ford's large truck and SUV lineup until the end of the decade, when the EcoBoost V6 arrives and begins to expand throughout the Ford lineup. The boosted six is expected to produce between 290 and 390 hp, depending on the application, and could spell the end of bent-eights in many of Ford's range-topping products. When the redesigned Mustang arrives in 2010, Ford intends to continue its use of the 4.0-liter V6 and 4.6-liter V8, but both engines will give way to the 3.5-liter V6 and 5.0-liter V8 soon thereafter. Don't ask us why they're not rolled out at launch.

New diesels are also in the cards, including a 6.7-liter V8 (codenamed "Scorpion") currently being developed for Ford's Super Duty trucks and full-sized vans. A 4.4-liter, V8 turbo-diesel is also in the works and will find a home under the hood of the F-150, Expedition and Lincoln Navigator – assuming the two 'utes survive into the next decade.

[Source: Automotive News (1) (2) - Sub. Req.]

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