Last month, Ford executive Mark Fields underscored the importance of the company’s new work truck, ironically by botching a speech. Calling the truck an “essential” tool for fleet owners, the Americas division president said at the State Fair of Texas, “If the truck doesn’t do its job, [owners] don’t get paid. And these are the people that are building and maintaining the infrastructure of our company—of, of our country.”
Reminiscent of Charles Wilson’s “what’s good for General Motors” speech to Congress in 1953, Fields accidentally made the point: Despite the economic slump and outcry for smaller vehicles, big trucks are still valuable work tools. Ford maintains a 60% market share in the commercial pickup segment and plans to keep it with new powertrain options geared toward such heavy users as contractors.
The 2011 Super Duty, which goes on sale in the second quarter of next year, comes with a new, 6.2L V-8 gas engine that is ethanol-ready. Optional is a quiet, 6.7L V-8 turbodiesel that accepts 20% biodiesel but also can run on dirty fuels in remote countries.
Ford is quiet on details and pricing, but the company promises more power, torque and fuel economy in both engines. It is carrying over an optional, 6.8L V-10 for the one-ton F-350, up to F-550, including chassis cabs. Fuel economy should benefit from a new, six-speed, automatic gearbox that comes on the 6.2L and 6.7L. The diesel has an optional power takeoff that will drive implements while the truck is moving, Ford says.