Ford's (NYSE:F) 2014 F-150 Tremor is the first sport truck powered by an EcoBoost engine, addressing desires of a street truck fan looking for high performance with fuel economy. It's a pretty smart move by the marketing folks at Ford to combine the growing brand image of its popular EcoBoost engine with its F-Series namesake. Will it be a hit with its target consumer, though? Will street enthusiasts who desire this type of sport truck accept a V-6? Let's take a look at the truck and see if the Tremor could be a successful addition for Ford.
Specs and facts
According to Ford's press release, the 2014 F-150 Tremor will come with the high-performance 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine it claims to offer V8 performance with V6 fuel efficiency. The Tremor will put out 365 horsepower with 420 pound-feet of torque while achieving 16 miles per gallon in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. According to the Detroit Free Press, the suspension has been tuned for performance and the 4.10 ratio rear axle will provide drivers with faster acceleration.
Looking at the exterior, its short-wheelbase and regular-cab Tremor has an FX appearance package that offers sleek flat-black accents and matching 20-inch flat-black wheels. Additional features include a floor shifter and HID headlamps. The Tremor also offers bucket seats rather than bench seats.
The interior has a more customized feel with its center console and red-stitched steering wheel and seats. It also comes standard with Ford's SYNC and MyFord Touch infotainment system -- which has been a little buggy for consumers but will continue to improve as the technology ages.
"The new Tremor gives F-150 customers yet another option to drive a highly capable, distinctive performance truck with features typically found only in the aftermarket," said Brian Bell, F-150 product marketing manager in a Ford press release. "Plus, the Built Ford Tough EcoBoost engine is available for the first time in a short-wheelbase F-150."
I initially thought that this would directly compete with Ford's Raptor, but it looks as if Ford will attempt to keep the base price under $30,000 -- although official pricing hasn't been released. If it can keep the price lower, it might open up doors to a consumer wanting an aftermarket look right off the dealer lot and at a fair price.
Keeping the price low will be key for the Tremor's success, but it will probably cannibalize sales of Ford's Raptor. Ultimately the Tremor and Raptor are niche vehicles that represent a very small amount of F-150 sales. Any incremental sales gained by the Tremor won't be enough to move the needle and create profits that the truck segment typically brings Ford -- but perhaps that isn't the goal.
Perhaps the goal is to simply attract as much attention from General Motors' (NYSE:GM) release of its 2014 Silverado and Sierra before Ford can release its next-generation 2015 F-150. A flashy looking ride, with high performance and fuel economy at a price under $30,000, could indeed be successful at stealing some thunder from GM's new models when the Tremor hits stores this fall.
The Tremor might be a success for consumers looking for this type of ride, and it will probably deliver performance-satisfying results. For investors, though, this is nothing to get excited about. It won't boost market share, profits, or sales numbers. But that's OK, because the F-Series already delivers a ton of profits to Ford's bottom line and has been America's favorite truck for 36 years. This can only steal excitement from GM's launch, which is fine by Ford investors.
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Fool contributor Daniel Miller owns shares of Ford and General Motors. The Motley Fool recommends Ford and General Motors and owns shares of Ford. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.