2 Factors That Could Derail Ford Motor Company's 2015 F-150

Ford's most popular and best-selling vehicle should be a success when it hits dealerships. However, here are two factors that might give car buyers reason to pause.

Jan 18, 2014 at 10:20AM

Images
Ford's 2015 F-150. Photo credit: Ford.

By all accounts, at least so far, Ford's (NYSE:F) all-new 2015 F-150 is going to be a major success when it hits the dealerships later this year. That shouldn't come as a surprise, considering Ford's F-Series has been the best-selling truck for more than 37 years and has outsold the Silverado, America's second best-selling vehicle, and the Sierra combined for the past four consecutive years. Since 1948, Ford has sold more than 33 million trucks, and in 2013, a new F-Series pickup sold every 41 seconds. While I fully expect sales of the F-Series to surge next year with its new F-150 design, there are two factors I think consumers will struggle to accept.

Images

Ford's 2.7-liter EcoBoost. Photo credit: Ford.

2.7-liter EcoBoost
Ford is introducing a smaller EcoBoost engine option to power its "Ford Tough" pickup – and it's a 2.7-liter. While the engines aren't at all similar, you can find a 5.0-liter in my Mustang GT. I think many car buyers are going to have a tough time swallowing the idea of a big truck with a small 2.7-liter EcoBoost powertrain. However, Ford has proved that it can market and sell the EcoBoost.

F Ecoboost Sales
Source: Ford.

You can see how quickly sales of the EcoBoost surged globally, and narrowing it down to the United States, it has already topped 425,000 units and can be found under the hood of 35% of F-150s sold in the past three years.

I have no doubt the engine is solid and that Ford's engineers took lessons learned from its 3.5-liter EcoBoost that has been selling in the F-150 and applied them to the new 2.7-liter engine, but I'll be curious to see the take rate information when the truck begins selling later this year. While many may not purchase the small engine, the upshot is that selling the new engine won't set the company back hardly at all if it flops, and at the very least, it improves the F-150's engine flexibility.

The 2.7-liter engine will simply be an addition to the company's lineup of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost, the 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V6, and the 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V8. The lineup should have the flexibility to meet every, and different, consumer needs.

Frame
Ford's pickup frame is as durable as ever. Photo credit: Ford.

Beer can or Humvee?
The second thing I think some consumers will struggle to accept is that Ford is adding a significant amount of aluminum to its truck. Immediately people will think of empty beer cans being smashed against foreheads. However, Ford should be able to dispel those thoughts by explaining how it used the aluminum.

Ford actually increased the use of high-strength steel from 23% to 77% in its F-150 frame -- making the backbone of the truck just as durable as ever. The high-strength, military-grade aluminum can be found throughout the F-150 body, and it will improve dent and ding resistance in addition to helping cut up to 700 pounds of weight from the full-size pickup.

Ford believes the move will enable the F-150 to tow and haul more while accelerating more quickly and stopping in a shorter time. Ford is also going to extremes to test the lighter truck to make sure it performs just as well as, or better than, any previous F-150.

The all-new F-150 will undergo more than 10 million miles of testing by the time it hits dealerships -- that's more testing than any other truck in Ford's history. While aluminum doesn't rust, it does corrode, and the truck underwent strenuous salt and acidified sprays to make sure the aluminum would hold up. The folks at Ford racing even went as far as disguising the pickup and entering it into the 2013 Baja 1000, a grueling 883-mile race. According to the company, it didn't even suffer as much as a flat tire.

Bottom line
Ford's 2015 F-150 is the company's most important vehicle, and it probably always will be. By some estimates, the profits from these trucks fuel as much as 40% of revenue in Ford's North America region and even more in pre-tax profits. If the idea of more aluminum and smaller engines creates hesitation with consumers, it could be a big deal -- but I believe the truck's biggest two worries thus far won't hold the F-150 back from continuing to reign on top of the sales charts.

The car-buying secrets you must know
You don't know it yet, but you probably spent thousands more than you should have on your vehicle. In fact, the auto industry can be such a dangerous place for consumers that our top auto experts are determined to even the playing field. That's why they created a a brand new free report on The Car Buying Secrets You Must Know. The advice inside could save you thousands of dollars on your next car, so be sure to read this report while it lasts. Your conscience, and your wallet, will thank you. Click here now for instant access.

Fool contributor Daniel Miller owns shares of Ford. The Motley Fool recommends 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.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of fool.com.

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to www.fool.com/beginners, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at www.fool.com/podcasts.

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.


Compare Brokers