“They just don’t make ’em like they used to”.
We’ve all heard that adage before, time and time again. But the ways in which cars, trucks, and SUVs have changed over the last few decades is closely related to the change in today’s car buyer. And as Ford celebrates the sale of its 500,000th EcoBoost-powered F-150 pickup truck — an engine that has changed perceptions about the segment’s various requirements — it’s interesting to see what The Blue Oval thinks about today’s truck buyers.
“Today’s customer doesn’t hold to the old notion that a truck must be powered by a V8 engine,” said Doug Scott, Ford Truck Group marketing manager. “Just five years ago, you would have had a hard time making a case for V6 truck engines. Not today. Now, it’s all about fuel effectiveness. Customers are looking for the best combination of city and highway mileage, horsepower, torque, towing capacity, payload and value, asking the key question, ‘What is the most productive, efficient package for the work I need to do?’.”
Not only is the EcoBoost approach unprecedented in the industry, but so are the sales stats: in the last three years, no other automaker has surpassed a 20 percent take rate for V6 engines in half-ton pickup trucks. That means that until the introduction of Ford’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, the segment has predominantly purchased V8-powered trucks. Even more interesting is the fact that the EcoBoost motor has some characteristics that make it similar to a turbo-diesel engine.
“Truck customers should think of the EcoBoost truck engine as a gas-powered engine with diesel-type capability and characteristics,” said Jim Mazuchowski, Ford V6 engines program manager. “The twin turbochargers and direct injection give it the broad, flat torque curve that makes towing with a diesel so effortless and hard acceleration so much fun.”
The Motrolix Take
While V8s are still very capable and useful powerplants for pickup trucks, Ford has proven that they’re not a necessity to become and remain a leader in the segment — both when it comes to market and mind share, alike.