Drive Type: Automatic
Trim: 4 Door
Shenandoah, Iowa, United States
The Ford F-150 is one of the best selling vehicles on the planet. Considering that, one can imagine that when it comes time for a redesign, there are hardly any half measures. For its lucky thirteenth generation, Ford has gone all-in on the single most important vehicle in its portfolio, redesigning it from the ground up.
The big news is the F-150's new, lightweight, Atlas-inspired body. Ninety-three percent of that new body is made from a sort of aluminum alloy not unlike what the US military uses in its M2 Bradley fighting vehicles and Humvees, and it accounts for up to 70 percent of the F-150's 700-pound weight reduction. As a side benefit, the aluminum body should prove more resistant to dents and dings. Built Ford tough, indeed.
If you're wondering where the other 30 percent of that 700-pound weight loss went, 8.5 percent (60 pounds) came from the increased use of high-strength steel (up from 23 percent to 77 percent) in its ladder-box frame. Ford claims this steel is comparable to some of the heavy duty pickups used by its competitors, with a PSI rating of 70,000.
Automakers and their executives rarely like to divulge information regarding future goings on, but the board of directors at Ford sound like they're getting a little antsy about chief executive officer Alan Mulally and his plans for 2014.
According to Reuters, as news of Mulally's possible departure to Microsoft continues to swirl, Ford's board is looking to push the affable executive to make a decision about his future sooner rather than later. Apparently, the board is growing concerned that this will-he/won't-he drama may end up distracting the media from covering Ford's other big news events next year - items like the debut of key all-new products like the Mustang and F-150.
So far, the picture for Mulally's eventual successor remains fuzzy, but it's understood that the leading candidate remains the company's chief operating officer, Mark Fields. Just recently, we heard that Mulally will stay until the end of 2014, but a few months ago, Ford seemed open to the idea of him stepping down earlier than that.
Three weeks ago an analyst increased projections for European car sales this year, expecting them to climb three percent compared to last year instead of 2.7 percent. That number is a postive sign after years of hard times but it turns out February was especially good, overall European sales climbing eight percent on a wave of southern European recovery and discounts - and this comes after five months of gains including January's 7.2-percent jump over the year before.
The only country of Europe's five largest markets to post a decline was France, just as it did in January, Germany, the UK and Italy posting solid double-digit numbers, Spain rocking the charts with an 18-percent increase because of a government program to encourage trade-ins.
The only brand to miss the wave was Volkswagen, dropping 0.8 percent as it watched the double-digit growth at sister brands Audi, Seat and Skoda lift the Volkswagen Group sales up by seven-percent. Peugeot overcame flat sales at Citroën to improve the group by 3.5 percent, BMW and the Mercedes-Benz/Smart combo rose by four percent, the Fiat group jumped 5.8 percent, Ford was up 11 percent, the Renault Group 11.5 percent, General Motors 12 percent and the Toyota clan by 14 percent.