It's no secret that Ford's (NYSE:F) F-Series truck has been America's best-selling vehicle -- or at least, it shouldn't be. The F-Series has topped U.S. vehicle sales for 31 straight years, and been the top-selling truck for 36 years. Now Ford faces a new challenge as General Motors' (NYSE:GM) redesigned Silverado and Sierra saw July sales surge 45% and 49%, respectively. To keep the top spot away from its cross-town rival, Ford is giving Americans yet another reason to buy a Ford truck: environmental friendliness.
"Fuel economy is a top priority when it comes to Ford's environmental impact," says Carrie Majeske, Ford product sustainability manager, in a Ford press release. "But we also recognize the tremendous impact that can be made by using sustainable materials inside our cars, utilities and trucks."
Here are some of the details released by Ford.
- Recycled cotton: Used as carpet insulation and a sound absorber; every 2014 F-150 contains enough recycled cotton to make the equivalent of 10 pairs of jeans, 26 bath towels or 31 T-shirts
- Recycled carpet: Some F-150 trucks have cylinder head covers made with EcoLon, a nylon resin produced from 100 percent post-consumer recycled carpet
- Recycled tires: A thermoplastic material made from recycled tires and post-consumer recycled polypropylene is used to make shields and some underbody covers on F-150
- Recycled plastic soda pop and water bottles: A lightweight fiber derived from recycled plastic soda pop and water bottles is used to construct F-150 wheel liners and shields. The parts are significantly lighter than traditional injection molded parts and lead to a quieter ride. Select F-Series trucks feature fabric made from recycled fiber
- Recycled post-industrial plastics: Used in interior finish panels, including around radio and climate controls
All those recycled materials add up quickly when you consider that Ford's F-Series has averaged annual sales of 727,917 units since the year 2000. In case truck owners out there are worried that going green means giving up toughness, none of these recycled options seem to compromise the standard Ford durability.
These recycled options all join the EcoBoost engine option, which can improve fuel economy up to 20% and which reduces emissions up to 15% when compared to similar output V8 engines. It accomplishes these feats by using tricks from heavy-duty, turbocharged, direct-fuel-injected diesel engines.
Ford relies heavily on the F-Series to bring in the majority of its profits. If making its truck more environmentally friendly, yet staying Ford tough, appeals to a broader audience, it could result in additional sales. Even if those changes aren't enough to move the needle, Ford's F-Series is already off to an excellent start this year. Ford considers more than 50,000 sales a great month; as you can see below, it's far surpassed that goal from February onward.
Ford has drastically changed its image from the dog days before and during the recession, when consumers laughed at the idea that the company could produce a green or fuel-efficient ride. Those days are gone, and Ford now finds itself in better financial standing than any point in nearly 10 years. As Ford continues to expand its lineup into fast-selling segments in the U.S. and overseas, it will continue to be a valuable investment. Investors have been happy with its developments thus far, and Ford's stock price has soared nearly 70% over the last year. With the F-Series leading Ford's pack, its road ahead looks just as profitable.
Fool contributor Daniel Miller owns shares of Ford and General Motors. The Motley Fool recommends Ford and General Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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.