I see a lot of commentary about how Ford is losing sales, etc. and some of it just doesn’t make sense. There’s no logic or understanding of how businesses work, just emotional noise that doesn’t do anybody any good. Big Al from Oz at least shows a modicum of understanding when he says:
“Ford has an issue with the new Ford, as I have pointed out in many previous comments. The cost of developing, designing, refitting factories, new processes, etc, makes it harder for Ford to reduce costs to be comptetitive with the other manufqcturers. If the new aluminium F-150 is offered at a comptetitive price Ford will have little or no profit. Oh well, Ford has made a poor decision or more correctly the aluminium wonder truck is premature in the market.”
He’s right. Most of you have no idea of the costs involved with such a major changeover not only of the vehicle itself, but the entire manufacturing process for the vehicle. Even at their existing price, their ‘profits’ on the model are a fraction of the other brands’ and will remain so until all the little bugs are worked out and the line can run efficiently. Those “Starting price $25,800” models are going to be few and far between until the trucks really start paying for themselves.
But don’t go thinking the advantage is all GM’s. Both GM and Ram know they’re eventually going to have to do the same thing. All their full-sized trucks are too heavy and the Ford now has a huge payload advantage as well as a power advantage through their use of smaller, turbocharged engines. We’ve been shown videos of how a turbocharged V6 can handle high-altitude pulling better than a normally-aspirated V8 and the simple fact is that at altitude, the turbocharger lets that smaller engine produce more horsepower than the big V8 can. The V8 is starving for air and only some form of blower system increasing air volume into the cylinders can feed it what it needs. At sea level however, the difference isn’t so pronounced.
So over the next few years we can be certain of major changes coming for both GM and Ram. GM is already talking aluminum and turbo while Ram–or at least FCA–is considering something a bit different; hybrid technologies where batteries provide the acceleration boost probably through a system not too unlike GM’s early hybrid truck concept that honestly wasn’t thoroughly thought out. (The motor on the driveshaft idea really was a good one, it just needed a lot more battery than they provided.) Moreover, we may see a new player in the game somewhere between 2020-2025 as Elon Musk has hinted at a pickup truck in Tesla’s lineup.
However we look at it, the price of full-sized trucks is going to jump again across the board. The average sale price is already over $35K while one commenter above noted that he couldn’t find a single Ford UNDER $40K. This issue alone is one of the reasons why Ford truck sales are down by comparison. The offshoot of this is that with full-sized trucks getting so expensive, smaller trucks are seeing a slight resurgence and it appears that even more compact trucks may be on our horizon, prices topping out where many trucks today only begin.