The most popular selling vehicle in North America has been redesigned and will begin rolling off the line in Kansas City by the middle of February and Rob Sight at Rob Sight Ford in Martin City says they are really looking forward to welcoming the new F-150 to their lot.
Ford has transformed the highly popular F-150 steel pickup truck into a vehicle made largely out of aluminum. The frame is still steel, but the box (the cab, the front end, the bay) is almost all aluminum. That shift alone saves about 450 pounds in weight, which brings a big increase in gas mileage. The changes are seen as a bold move that could change the direction of the auto industry altogether.
Several years ago, as Ford looked ahead to how it could keep improving its pickups, it became apparent that making the vehicles lighter was the best option. And the best way to make them lighter would be to swap out steel for aluminum wherever possible. But switching over entirely has been a long process.
“It changed our production system,” says Peter Friedman, the self-described “aluminum guy” who manages the manufacturing research department at Ford’s innovation center. “We have 100 years or more of making steel vehicles, stamping, framing line and welding a body structure together. Many of these processes had to change.” Ford has chosen to go aluminum on all versions of its highest-selling product, which is made at the River Rouge plant in Michigan, and the Kansas City plant in Claycomo. This is not a test. “We have stopped production of the steel vehicle at the Rouge, and won’t make it again,” Friedman says.
According to USA Today, $1.1 billion is being spent at the Kansas City plant, which will close for about a month in the new year to transform its body shop. The two plants will have the combined capacity to make more than 700,000 trucks annually. The KC plant expects to begin shipping trucks by the end of the first quarter.
Ford isn’t making concrete promises about mileage yet, and the EPA has yet to weigh in. But analysts are projecting that the F-150 could get up to 27 or 28 miles per gallon on the highway, a significant increase from the 21 or 22 miles per gallon that 2014 F-150s get. And Ford is promising that the aluminum pickups will be just as tough, durable, and able to pull loads as well as the steel-based ones they’re replacing, all without corroding or rusting.
The basic F-150 XL will have a base price of $25,420 in 2015, only $395 more than the 2014 version.
What does this mean for Martin City?
We’ve got one of the top Ford dealerships in Kansas City right in our own backyard! Rob Sight Ford was recently selected as one of 3 finalists for “Best Car Dealership” by popular vote in The Pitch Magazine’s “Best of Kansas City 2014”. Their sales professionals are not paid on commission so they will not try to sell you a vehicle you don’t want. If you have questions or want more information about the F-150, please contact the helpful staff at Rob Sight Ford.