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Ford F-450 claims best-in-class towing, company abandons practice of removing items to boost payload numberTue, 02 Sep 2014 18:30:00 EST
The ongoing heavy-duty truck battle between Ford and Ram is showing no signs of slowing down. The Blue Oval is trying to remove at least one point of contention between the two brands by testing its 2015 F-450 Super Duty using the Society of Automotive Engineers J2807 towing standard, which Ram also uses. In the new evaluation, the F-450 is rated at a max towing capacity of 31,200 pounds. That's an identical amount as under Ford's own, previous test.
"We leave no doubt with customers that the F-450 pickup truck has best-in-class towing of 31,200 pounds - whether tested using our own internal towing standards or SAE J2807," said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president for Global Product Development, in the company's release.
At the same time, Ford is also changing how it calculates the F-450's payload. Instead of using its minimum curb weight as before, the brand is now using the truck's base curb weight. The revision lowers the pickup's rating to 5,300 pounds, compared to 5,450 pounds previously. The company said in its announcement that the reason for this is "aligning its payload rating practices with other manufacturers to make it easier for customers to compare vehicles." General Motors made a similar switch for its pickups in August.
Twenty-five years since its debut in 1990, Ford will celebrate a quarter century of Explorer models next year with the debut of a refreshed 2016 model at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show on November 19. The Blue Oval is keeping mum on hard details about the updated SUV for now, but the brand promises, "a new look, added capability and additional driver-assist technology," in its announcement.
Company marketing boss Jim Farley elaborated a little more on what to expect. "The new Explorer is still the SUV America fell in love with - a vehicle built for the perfect family adventure," he said in the release that you're welcome to read down below.
An updated Explorer is a pretty big deal for Ford's bottom line. Worldwide, SUVs and crossovers account for about 23 percent of Ford's sales, and the segment is projected to grow to around 29 percent by 2020. Ford further says that SUVs and CUVs are the world's quickest growing segment with demand up 88 percent since 2008.
The mind behind the look of much of the modern Ford global range is retiring. Martin Smith, Head of Ford Design in Europe, will give up his position on July 1 and will leave the company altogether at the end of the year. He will be replaced by current Strategic Concepts Group leader Joel Piaskowski (pictured above).
Smith has led Ford of Europe design for the past 10 years, and he was partially responsible for the brand's Kinetic Design language with a large grille and swept-back headlights found on the Focus, Fiesta and C-Max, as well as several other vehicles abroad. After stepping down on July 1 until his retirement at the end of 2014, Smith will work on a project to decide the future direction of the company's look with Moray Callum, its vice president of design.
Piaskowski already has some impressive credentials in terms of automotive design as well. He joined Ford in 2010 as director of exterior design and led the teams responsible for the 2015 Ford Mustang and next-generation F-150. He was also previously design director at Ford Asia Pacific. Before working at the Blue Oval, Piaskowski held positions at Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and General Motors. Scroll down to read the complete announcement of this changing of the guard.