If you told Detroit's Big Three they could dominate only one segment out of the entire U.S. market, they would choose the full-sized truck segment -- 100% guaranteed. That's where the money is. And that's what makes the next two years -- when the segment's market share could be up for grabs -- very interesting for Ford (NYSE:F), General Motors (NYSE:GM), and Chrysler.
Among those automakers, Ford's next generation F-150 is going to strike the right balance of fuel efficiency, design/innovation, and raw towing power. That's why I believe it will be a clear winner against its competition. Sorry to disappoint you loyal GM and Chrysler fans. Here's a quick breakdown of the details.
All three companies are taking the recent fuel-efficiency trends to heart, and using them well. The Ram 1500 sports the best-in-class miles per gallon, while the Ford EcoBoost engine has won over the American public. GM is fighting with the argument that its trucks require the least cost to own over a lifetime.
The kicker there is that GM's new EcoTec V8 option for the 2014 Silverado will be getting only 1 more MPG than the current F-150. That can't even match this year's version of the Ram 1500. In contrast, Ford's next-generation F-150 is expected to use lighter materials to reduce enough weight that it could boost fuel efficiency by as much as 20%. That could be enough to reach CAFE standards out as far as 2025 -- an impressive leap ahead.
For 65 years, Ford's F-Series has been a continuous success story, and its model in 2015 will be no different. Its aggressive new look will draw you in as a consumer, and its interior and innovative features will seal the deal. Here's a glance at the interior and a couple of features to consider.
- It offers a trailer backup assist to park a trailer like a pro.
- It has hidden cargo ramps and integrated tie-downs in the cargo box floor.
- Its tailgate step turns into a cradle to carry longer pieces of cargo.
- It has a high-power outlet in the cargo box to recharge tools.
- It includes lane-keeping and blind-spot information systems.
You get the idea. This truck is fully loaded. Click the link to get the rest of the 65 points of innovation.
Silverado vs F-150
The battle lines have been drawn between these two trucks competing for America's best-selling vehicle. GM does have a couple of advantages going for it. It has a one-year head start before the next-generation F-150 hits the road. In addition, GM is reintroducing two midsize trucks, essentially rebranded versions of the Canyon and Colorado, which could take away some F-150 consumers who no longer have a smaller option from Ford.
Let's also keep in mind that the truck segment is extremely loyal and that Ford recently placed No. 1 in Polk Automotive research. I don't think those two advantages will be enough for GM, although they will make things competitive. GM is certainly going to need every second of that yearlong head start if it wants to get a leg up on Ford's next-generation truck.
I think the new F-150 will be a heck of a work truck -- it will look mean while doing it -- and its MPG will be improved enough that it could remain a viable daily vehicle. If Ford executes the finished product as I expect, it's going to be a game-changer and could drastically increase Ford's market share in the full-size truck segment.
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.