Return of the King

As Ford prepares to unveil the latest F-150, we dissect the factors driving its 38-year reign as the best-selling vehicle in America.

 

When Ford unveils the 14th generation of its F-150 pickup truck, there’s no reason to believe that it will relinquish its title as the best-selling vehicle in America – a title it’s held since 1981. This truck has become the foundation of Ford’s business, and impacted the automotive industry in numerous ways.

It could be argued that the overwhelming popularity of the F-150 has been a primary contributor to the decisions of Ford, and other automakers, to transition away from sedans to SUVs and trucks. The truck’s popularity has pushed GMC to evolve its Sierra and Chevy Silverado, while the RAM 1500, Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan have also been developed primarily in response to the popularity of the F-150.

According to a recent report from Business Insider, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has failed to impact trucks sales in the same manner as other vehicle purchasing. Some of the reasons for the buying power of the F-150 can be seen in features that it either pioneered or elevated more quickly than its competitors.

Under the hood, the F-150 offers a variety of engine choices, but the ability to generate over 450 horsepower with its high-output variant V6s translates to higher reliability marks when compared to some larger engine types. The ability to utilize a smaller engine to produce this much power and still tow over 13,000 pounds also helps keep the price down.

A smaller, more efficient engine leads to gas mileage marks of 21 mph on the highway and a 0 to 60 time of just over 5 seconds. The F-150 was also an early adapter of the club cab, a retractable running board, and a body-on-frame construction that allows for it to haul like a truck, but handle and ride like a car.

The latest models, which are built in Claycomo, Missouri and Dearborn, Michigan, are expected to have base model pricing of just under $30,000.

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