marketing manager Doug Scott says some Super Duty customers may want a trim level above the current top-of-the-line Platinum series.
Ford Super Duty gets upgraded engine options for ’15 model year.
DANIELS, WV – TheF-Series Super Duty pickup typically is thought of as a work truck, a favorite of construction workers, contractors and others needing massive payload and towing power.
But there are many consumers who purchase the truck for personal use, whether it be towing a recreational trailer, a boat or other weekend-warrior equipment.
For those buyers,offers a number of highly appointed trim levels, including the recently added top-of-the-line Platinum series, which comes with an upscale interior and a number of high-tech features.
The Ford F-250 Platinum starts at $55,510, and with additional options the price quickly can escalate to close to $70,000. Prices climb even higher for F-350 and F-450 models.
Even with such high-end trucks available, Doug Scott, Ford truck marketing manager, says there may be room for an even more upscale trim level.
“I think there is an opportunity above Platinum in Super Duty,” he tells WardsAuto during a Super Duty media event here. “We just have to figure out what that is and how can we put an offering together that adds value for the customer. When you have a loyal owner base like we do, there are always customers that are looking for an F-Series nobody, or few others, have.”
Scott does not disclose when or if such a model is coming but notes a Limited edition, which is top-of-the-line trim available on the F-150, is a possibility.
Ford is not the only manufacturer offering high-series heavy-duty pickups at premium prices. The Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD LTZ starts at $46,075, while the Ram 2500 Laramie Limited begins at $51,990. Like the Super Duty, the prices of both the Chevy and the Ram can push $70,000 or more.
While Scott admits $70,000 is a lot to spend on a pickup, he says high-end buyers are a special breed. Some have an equestrian lifestyle, he says, and after spending $200,000 on a horse trailer with living quarters and even more for the horses, paying for a high-end pickup isn’t an issue.
“The customers are there, and there’s a willingness to pay,” he says.
Unlike the F-150, where most of the volume comes from midlevel trims, the Super Duty is the opposite, with most customers choosing either entry-level models or top-of-the-line trucks, with little volume inbetween.
With a refreshed ’15 SuperDuty now hitting the market, sales are expected to experience a boost. Ford doesn’t break out SuperDuty numbers from the F-Series line but says they are about 25% of the mix.
Last year, F-Series sales were up 18.0% to 763,402, with about 190,850 units of that total being the SuperDuty. Through June, F-Series deliveries were down 0.45% to 365,825, with approximately 91,456 Super Duty models sold, according to WardsAuto data.
Scott says Ford is walking a fine line with the Super Duty, as the Kentucky Truck plant in Louisville where the model is built is operating at full capacity. That allows the automaker to keep incentive spends low and average transaction prices high.
“We’re going to manage the business and make sure we’re in a position to take advantage of opportunity, but balance what we do from a capacity standpoint,” he says. “If we weren’t constrained we might have a different approach to the market.”
Scott also expects a sales boost due to the increased capability of the refreshed ’15 Super Duty, which comes standard with a 6.2L V-8 gasoline engine producing 385 hp and 405 lb.-ft. (549 Nm) of torque, while an optional 6.7L turbodiesel V-8 makes an eye-popping 440 hp and 860 lb.-ft. (1,166 Nm) of torque.
A top-of-the-line F-450 with the 6.7L turbodiesel equipped with a gooseneck tow hitch can pull a class-leading 31,200 lbs. (14,152 kg).
“We’re doing great with Super Duty as it is, but this (engine upgrade) will strengthen our position because it improves the most important attribute from a customer standpoint, which is towing,” Scott says.