“When you spend nearly four decades at the top of the pickup truck market, you learn some things,” is the leadoff line on Ford’s release to the media introducing the 2015 F150. What Ford seems to have learned best is how to keep ahead of the competition when it comes to truck sales numbers. The F150 has lead the market for 37 years.
For the 2015 model year, Ford is hoping the top-to-bottom redesign it just gave its shining star will keep it solidly in first place in the hearts and minds of pickup truck customers. Among other things, engineers put the truck on a diet and it will emerge 700 pounds lighter when the new models start rolling off the assembly line later this year. The company claims it filed more than 100 patents relating to the new design, “demonstrating the number of features and breakthroughs that will benefit customers”, it adds proudly.
The 2015 F150 comes with no less than five trim level packages. And there are four different engine options, including a practically microscopic 2.7-litre version with automatic start-stop. This little engine shuts down when the truck is stopped in places like waiting at a traffic light. There are two 3.5-litre versions and a 5.0 engine options for those who really need power.
Features like that little 2.7-litre engine and the big weight reduction means Ford has its eye on giving the already popular pickup truck even broader appeal by boosting fuel economy numbers.
Building advantages like that into new trucks signals Ford and all the major players in the full-sized pickup market intend to drive the good sales outlook for trucks even higher. Keeping new models well stocked with cutting-edge features, like some versions that really get thrifty with a litre of fuel, gives consumers some real incentive to buy new trucks, prompting them to spend more to get more.
And that strategy seems to be working. Sales numbers for vehicles in Canada hit a record level in 2013.
“The Canadian retail automotive market posted a new record in 2013, with 1.74 million new cars sold in Canada last year, ” notes a press release from the Canadian Automotive Dealers Association (CADA). “This is only the second time the retail market has surpassed 1.7 million units in Canada, and breaks the old record set in 2002. The 2013 record represents four per cent growth over 2012 and is a new sales record for Canada’s new car dealers.”
“Overall, the record was driven by historic levels of new vehicle affordability and quality combined with solid consumer demand,” says Michael Hatch, Chief Economist at (CADA).
Globally, the market for vehicles looks pretty good too. GM just announced it delivered more than 9.7 million vehicles worldwide. They also reported that their luxury brands posted some of the most impressive gains. Cadillac sales jumped 28 per cent and 15 per cent more Buicks rolled out the factory doors.
Clearly, despite a lingering global economic recession, somebody has money.