WORK TRUCK SHOW -- Ford Commercial Truck is extensively redesigning its F-650 and F-750 medium-duty trucks to use more of its own components as it prepares to move production from Mexico to the state of Ohio in about a year.
Like trucks, a dedicated tractor model will have a mesh grille and sculpted fender lines as part of new styling. New USA-built models are due out in spring of 2015.
As previously announced, the Blue Diamond joint venture under which current Class 6 and 7 models are now built by Navistar International is being terminated, and the new models will be completely of Ford’s own design and manufacture.
A second generation of Ford’s 6.7-liter PowerStroke V-8 diesel will replace of the Cummins ISB6.7 inline 6 now offered, said John Davis, the program manager and chief nameplate engineer. This higher volume, lower-cost diesel will help with “value pricing” of the new trucks, though prices will be announced later, he said.
Triton gasoline V-10 will be available on the F-750 as well as the F-650, as now. A gaseous preparation package, with hardened valves and valve seats, will continue, allowing conversion to propane and natural gas fuel.
Both engines will be mated to a beefed-up version of Ford’s 6R140 6-speed automatic transmission. No manual transmissions will be offered.
A dedicated tractor model will be among offerings in the 2016-model F-650 and 750, which will be available starting in spring on 2015.
The Navistar-supplied main frame is being dropped and a new Ford “work-ready” frame will be used instead, executives said at a press conference on Tuesday. Ford engineers are designing the frame with input from body makers so it will accommodate vocational bodies with little or no modification.
The area behind the cab will be kept as free as possible of accessories to more easily accommodate custom work bodies, such as tow truck, dump truck and ambulance cabins.
“Bold” external styling includes a new mesh grille and sculpted fender lines, and internal trim packages are fresh.
By controlling every aspect of development in-house, from design to manufacturing to service, Ford will be able to offer F-650/F-750 customers exceptional value, convenience and cost of ownership, said John Ruppert, general manager of commercial sales and marketing. More than 3,000 dealers will be ready to handle service and repair needs.
The F-650/750 interior is designed and engineered with a level of fit, finish and refinement that matches that of F-250 through 550 trucks, executives said. A new steering wheel will have multiple switches to control various functions and a 110-volt power outlet can power driver equipment.
Available SYNC and Crew Chief factory-installed fleet management telematics, and a rapid-heat, supplemental cab heater that quickly warms the cab in cold climates. Remote start is also available.
“We have a lot of design and feature comforts that you might otherwise find in more mainstream products,” Davis said. “Comfort and convenience additions include our quiet diesel, hands-free mobile device connectivity and improvements to ride and handling.”
The new F-650/750 are being extensively tested to ensure durability under tough conditions. Part of the F-650/F-750 testing includes Ford’s robotic test driving program – now in use at the company’s Michigan Proving Grounds in Romeo, Mich. – to meet demands that Ford trucks undergo ever more strenuous Built Ford Tough testing.
“Some of the tests we do on our commercial trucks for North America are so strenuous that we limit the exposure time for human drivers,” said Dave Payne, manager, vehicle development operations.
The robotically driven vehicles are repeatedly run on torturous surfaces that can compress 10 years of daily driving abuse into a few months. Course surfaces include broken concrete, cobblestones, metal grates, rough gravel, mud pits and oversized speed bumps.
“The same Ford engineers who developed the best-selling F-Series have designed this all-new medium-duty lineup that can meet the demands of our toughest customers with trucks that are cost-effective, ready for work, and, most importantly, can help keep them going on the job,” Ruppert said