The suits atcan exhale.
Three months after adding an EcoBoost V-6 to the F-150 pickup’s equipment list, trucks powered by the engine are “selling like crazy,” says Kenny Covert, general sales manager of CovertAustin, in Austin, TX.
This quells fears that the 3.5L turbocharged direct-injected engine would alienate core pickup buyers who historically prefer larger V-8s. Even in critical truck markets such as Texas and Oklahoma, demand appears strong.
April’s take-rate was 36%, higher than forecast, Marc Lapine, product marketing manager for the F-150, tells Ward’s. Pump prices appear to be the catalyst.
Of pickup buyers, Lapine says: “We started seeing fuel economy as a purchase consideration in 2008. When we saw gas prices tip over $4, we started seeing that as a top consideration. Fortunately, we were already working on addressing that need at that point.”
EcoBoost-equipped F-150s boast city/highway ratings of 16/22 mpg (14.7-10.7 L/100 km).
Along with a 3.7L V-6, 6.2L V-8 and a 5.0L V-8, there now are five F-150 engine choices. The 5.0L V-8, a Ward’s 10 Best Engines winner for 2011, is the top seller and is rated at 15/21 (15.7-11.2 L/100 km).
The EcoBoost engine generates 365 hp, 420 lb.-ft. (569 Nm) of torque and, according to Ford testing, is a solid performer in the harshest working conditions.
With maximum tow and payload ratings of 11,300 lbs. (5,125 kg) and 2,000 lbs. (907 kg), respectively, the F-150 with EcoBoost is on par with most fullsize pickups featuring V-8s.
The twin turbos are both air- and water-cooled, which makes them especially durable, Lapine says. “Even after you turn off engine, the turbos continue to be water cooled to prevent coking.”
It seems Ford’s only remaining concern is supply. When EcoBoost-powered units arrive at dealerships, they don’t stay long. “Our average days-on-lot is 13,” Lapine says.
Contacted by Ward’s, dealers such as Covert and O.C. Welch III confirm the quick turn-rate. “Very hard to get one,” says Welch, president of OC Welch Ford Lincoln Mercury in Hardeeville, SC. “The turn-rate is awesome, especially on the 4X4.”
Lapine says Ford is working hard to match demand with production, and is monitoring stock levels on a weekly basis. “Based on fact were selling them faster than can get them out, we’re not building large stock levels,” he says.