The 2011 Ford F-150 pickup will get three replacement powertrains.
Ford Motor Co. will offer a 3.7-liter V-6 and a 5.0-liter V-8 in the 2011 F-150 pickup when it goes on sale early next year, sources say. Those engines are in the 2011 Ford Mustang.
Also, Ford has announced it will offer a 3.5-liter V-6 engine with EcoBoost turbocharging and direct injection in the 2011 F-150.
All engines will offer 6-speed automatic transmissions, sources say.
The 3.7-liter V-6 will be the standard base engine for the 2011 F-150, sources say, and help Ford market the F-150 pickup to buyers seeking enhanced fuel economy. That engine will have improved horsepower and torque compared with the outgoing 4.6-liter 2-valve V-8 engine that is standard on the 2010 F-150, they say.
Ford hasn't offered a V-6 engine in the F-150 since the 2008 model year, when a 4.2-liter V-6 was offered.
Chief rivals Chevrolet, GMC and Dodge have all continued to offer V-6 engines in their full-size pickups.
Ford spokesman Richard Truett declined to comment on the new engine offerings, other than to say: “We are always looking to broaden the appeal of our products to give consumers the vehicle that best suits their needs."
Ford also offers a 4.6-liter 3-valve V-8 and a 5.4-liter 3-valve V-8 in the 2010 F-150.
The F-150's 4.6-liter 2-valve engine produces 248 hp and 294 pounds-feet of torque at 4,000 rpms. It earns 19 mpg on the highway.
By comparison, the aluminum 3.7-liter V-6 engine generates 305 hp and 280 pounds-feet of torque at 4,250 rpms in the 2011 Mustang. It gets an estimated 31 mpg on the highway for the Mustang.
Ford spent millions of dollars on the new Mustang engines and will reap additional benefits and profits by installing the powertrains in the high-volume F-150 lineup.
A marketing challenge
The EcoBoost will be a unique engine for the F-150 because it will be the first application of EcoBoost on a rear-wheel drive truck for Ford.
But Ford faces a challenge in marketing the EcoBoost to typical pickup buyers who often prefer a V-8 engine, says Mark Grueber, Ford's F-150 marketing manager.
“The EcoBoost is a V-6 and smaller displacement so there is going to be some work that we need to do as marketers to get people into the EcoBoost,” Grueber says.
That work includes advertising the fact that the EcoBoost delivers the same durability and more capability than the current engine offerings. The EcoBoost will also deliver better fuel economy than a standard V-6 and V-8 engine, Grueber says.
“If you can give them both, which is what the EcoBoost will do for us, then I think we've got a real winner,” he says. “The key for us will be verifying the truck passes all of our ‘Built-Ford Tough' durability standards. Some of the capability and fuel economy numbers on the truck will give us credibility with the customer.”
Grueber declined to say how much of a price premium the EcoBoost would carry or what he expects the production mix will look like. He also would not say when Ford will begin advertising it, but Ford starts building the pickup late this year.
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