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While many high-end autos are boasting seven or even eight gears in their transmissions, mainstream vehicles often are saddled with units including only half that many. The lack of mechanical gear ratios is rather detrimental to fuel economy, so we're happy to see that Ford is launching more six-speed units for both front- and rear-wheel-drive applications. The new 2009 F-150 will feature a six-speed, and considering the huge sales numbers of that vehicle, the 4 to 6 percent improvement in fuel

One of Ford's most important debuts at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show is the new 2009 F-150. While Ford doesn't have a gas-electric hybrid system suitable for big trucks like GM's Two-Mode system, they will have offer some technology to improve fuel economy and emissions. Back in 2002 at the Detroit Show, Ford showed a concept called the F-350 Tonka. The Tonka truck featured a technology called hydraulic-launch-assist (HLA) which will debut on the new F-150.