Drive Type: Automatic
Model: Model A
Southwest Iowa, United States
Ford has given the F-150 a dramatic makeover for 2015, switching to an aluminum body that helps reduce weight by about 700 pounds. Because the truck is dramatically different, Ford also had to change the way it makes the F-150, so we went inside its sprawling factory in Dearborn, MI, this week to see the Blue Oval's new manufacturing techniques in action.
The company has added 850 jobs at the site and upgraded its stamping and tool and die facilities. The body shop is also modernized, and it has been fitted with 500 new robots that join the structures together. The first 2015 F-150 rolled off the line on Tuesday, and the trucks will begin arriving in dealerships in December. Get a closer look at the F-150's unique assembly process in our video.
During the recent unveiling of the 2015 Ford Mustang, we saw the car in both V6 and GT form, but we'll have to wait a little bit longer to see the successor to the Shelby GT500. In the meantime, though, it looks like SVTPerformance.com has confirmed reports that this high-performance model will bring the Shelby GT350 name back to Ford.
According to the forum post, a user found the Shelby GT350 name on a Ford promo website listing its 2015 lineup. The Shelby GT350 name was first used on a Mustang back in 1965, and most recently it has been a model created for customers as a post-title purchase by Shelby American. As for that car, Shelby confirmed earlier in the year that its GT350 would be phased out at the end of this month.
The million-dollar question for Mustang and Shelby enthusiasts is when we'll see next factory Shelby GT350. Last we heard it was planned for a debut at the New York Auto Show. We've included our previous spy shots of this hi-po, sixth-gen Mustang, and we've also captured it on spy video showing off its exhaust note.
Not only have we been told that the 2015 Ford F-150 is tougher, more durable and up to 700 pounds lighter than the current truck, Ford COO Mark Fields said it's also "CAFE-positive." That means, for the first time in the history of corporate average fuel economy standards, the F-150 would be a positive contributor on Ford's CAFE balance sheet instead of being a vehicle it needs to counterbalance with frugal offerings.
Fields' comments made at the Detroit Auto Show were among quotes from other Ford execs that confirmed the carmaker will be using aluminum for more of its vehicles. CEO Alan Mulally said it would "proliferate across our lineup," with speculation being that we'll see it applied to crossover and sport utility models first, since they'll benefit the most. Even gaining the massive scale of using aluminum on the world's best selling vehicle for its first effort - on average, the company sells two times as many F-150s in a single day as Land Rover sells of its aluminum Range Rover in a month - Ford will be looking to further spread the cost of its five-year development investment in aluminum technology. And that should mean better handling and fuel economy for those of us who don't need to wear hardhats at the office.