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Behind the scenes with Ford’s upcoming 2011 Ford Super Duty

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Old 02-24-2010, 11:00 PM
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Behind the scenes with Ford’s upcoming 2011 Ford Super Duty

A revealing look at Ford Trucks from a somewhat unique perspective.

http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/523/2011_Ford_Super_Duty_in_the_dirt.jpg
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - Feb. 25, 2010

2011 Ford Super Duty doing just one of the things it does best. Going to work in the dirt.

Final specifications for the 2011 Ford Super Duty released today reveal class leading HP, Torque, Payload, and Towing Capacity. This new vehicle is quite obviously the truck to beat for the coveted “Truck of the Year” award.

Our interest (as always) is focused squarely on the Super Duty’s fuel efficiency. Along these lines, I am ecstatic to see a diesel truck’s NOx and PM emissions besting the tough 2010 EPA emissions requirements for the very first time -- by far the toughest in the world.

While hard specs make for interesting and sometimes heated discussions around the camp fire, poker table, or internet forum, marketing and sales efforts are what make or break a truck's success in the consumer market place... and thus its ability to generate a profit for the parent corporation.

CleanMPG was very fortunate be able to sit down with Ford’s Truck Group Marketing Manager Doug Scott for a detailed Q&A earlier this week, and we were treated to a look behind the scenes at what makes the Ford F-Series program a world class development effort. Doug walked us through Ford Trucks' recent past, current state, and possible future from an experienced marketer’s perspective.

http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/523/Doug_Scott_-_Truck_Group_Mgr.jpg
Doug Scott standing in front of the truck he knows inside and out, the 2011 Ford F-250 Super Duty.

2011 Ford Super Duty – Hardware Q&A

CleanMPG: Where would you like to see the boundary between OEM & aftermarket? I am starting to notice the trend to include more of the popular aftermarket hardware as OEM including brake controllers, bed storage options, 5th wheel hitch, etc.

Doug Scott: We strive to have that boundary defined by where the customer's needs are best satisfied. For example, the trailer brake controller from the factory is a better execution because it is more highly integrated with a vehicle's engine controls and braking systems.

Similarly, offering the 5th wheel hitch prep kit as we are with the all new 2011 Super Duty (industry exclusive) enables the incorporation of an additional cross member that can't be done in the aftermarket.

The aftermarket will always have a role in the full size pickup market because of the breadth of the product offering, the range of choice they can provide and our need to balance complexity, quality, and line speed.



CleanMPG: What types of HW do you foresee customers using the Ford Live PTO with?

Doug Scott: Salt spreaders, bucket trucks, Fire Fighting equipment, Dump Bodies, small Cement Mixers, etc.


2011 Ford Super Duty – Sales and Marketing Q&A


CleanMPG: Do you expect a lot of "catch-up" truck purchases as we climb out of the recession? In addition, do you see any changes in what customers are looking for in a commercial or personal truck as a result of the economy?

Doug Scott: Full sized P/U (FSPU) sales volume reached 1.2 Million units or 10.5% of all US automobile sales in 2009.

The Heavy Duty P/U market was particularly depressed in 2009 but we expect higher volumes in both Light Duty (LD) and Heavy Duty (HD) FSPU truck sales over the longer term.

While we may never see a return to 2003 through 2005’s 2.5 Million P/U sales per annum, a return to 1.8 to 2.0 Million units annually with a 12% share of all automobile sales for FSPU (9% LD and 3% HD) is possible. 1.8 million units is derived from a 12% market share of the expected 15.5 million US vehicle sales in the 2012/2013 time frame.

What we are currently experiencing from most accounts is a lengthening of their P/U replacement cycles which reduces near term purchases. In addition, the Government stimulus has not helped P/U sales to date.

By the end of 2010/2011 we should see replacement demand from fleet/commercial customers driving higher FSPU volume.



CleanMPG: Marketing budget to launch the Super Duty vs. the std. light duty vehicles? If not a $ value, a percentage?

Doug Scott: The Super Duty will be very prominent. Launch of the new F-150 or Super Duty, they lift each other’s sales. Not regional but a national launch without question.



CleanMPG: Regarding the Super Duty vs. Light Duty F-Series sales, was the sales fall-off as harsh or worse for the Super Duty trucks?

Doug Scott: Ford’s F-Series FSPU segment share increased by 4% but volume was off 19.8% in 2009 due to the challenging economic environment.

As a whole, HD FSPUs have taken a harder hit. Between the aforementioned slowdown in fleet/commercial purchasing, HD P/U owners moving down to LD P/Us because they were not making use of all the capability, affordability concerns and/or simply trying to escape the higher cost of diesel fuel (e.g. >$5.00/gallon in 3Q 2008), HD P/U volume is down more.

That said, the F-150 still commands 44 percent of the LD commercial/fleet market; and Super Duty is stronger still with over 56 percent of the HD commercial/fleet market.



CleanMPG: Any chance of a reduced displacement Power Stroke ever making it to the Light Duty lineup or are the Tier II/Bin 5 emissions specs too expensive to meet for the average light duty truck buyer?

Doug Scott: Currently, we have no plans for a diesel in the F-150.



CleanMPG: Was the decision made not to go that route because it could cannibalize the HD truck sales?

Doug Scott: No, this is not one of the key decision factors as this is already occurring for other reasons.



CleanMPG: Are you considering a LD marketing campaign directed at Toyota’s light duty Tundra like they went after the Ford’s LD products or hang back and let the chips fall where they may?

Doug Scott: Achieving 33 consecutive years of Truck Leadership can only be accomplished when you set your sights on being the best every day regardless of the competition. From a market share perspective, 2009 was an even better year for F-150 than it was for Super Duty with F-150's share of the LD PU market at 33%, up 5.5 percentage points over 2008 and the highest level since 2004. Most of the share came from Toyota and GM. There is no need or specific plans to emphasize benefits of new F-150 over the competition. There are plans to incorporate the 3.5L EcoBoost into the F-150 series which will allow a 20% improvement in fuel economy over the current engines. This will further distance the LD F-Series from the competition. Production of the EcoBoost variant is scheduled to begin late this year with consumer sales early next.



CleanMPG: Will you take on the Duramax and Cummins head to head or just promote the Super Duty’s capability, durability, long term sales success and Ford as a manufacturer making a comeback?

Doug Scott: As Super Duty is unveiled, you will see it. We will continue to promote our leadership and emphasize we know the customer better than anyone else and we make it our business to satisfy their needs. In the case of the 2011 Super Duty, it's all about the Most Capable Truck, now becoming the Most Powerful and the Most Fuel Efficient Truck. No one else can make this claim so we are further strengthening our leadership position in this segment.



CleanMPG: Given the current and future aggressive marketing of the 2011 Super Duty, are you interacting with the Ford PR War room like the rest of the company’s products or do you have a separate working group to handle the PR side of the launch and release?

Doug Scott: Marketing, Public Affairs, Product Development, Engineering, Finance, Design, and all the other functions work together as an integrated team in launching a new vehicle like the 2011 Super Duty.



CleanMPG: While you have seen the public’s excited reaction to the new 2011 Super Duty at the Texas State Fair, are you “seeing, reading and experiencing” the same level of enthusiasm from the Automotive Journalist community? I am really excited myself due to the low emissions/high FE 6.7L Power Stroke but other groups may be interested in 0 to 60, maximum payload and ease of towing.

Doug Scott: There is a tremendous amount of anticipation for the 2011 Super Duty due to its promised “Best in Class” Fuel Economy and Horsepower/Torque in addition to its legendary capability leadership.



CleanMPG: Do you believe Ford can achieve 500,000 + F-Series sales in 2010?

Doug Scott: We cannot control the market size (e.g. how big the pie is) but are doing our best to increase our share of the available business and in the case of HD FSPUs, our 56% share of the segment in 2009 was the highest share since 2002.

2011 Ford Super Duty at work




2011 Ford Super Duty – Engineering Q&A

CleanMPG: With the initial release of the Navistar 6.0L Power Stroke being problematic at first yet turned into one of Ford’s lowest warranty claimed engines, why did Ford decide to move to the 6.4L back in 07 and an all-new in-house designed and built 6.7L for 2010?

Doug Scott: More stringent emissions control requirements have been the big driver in diesel engine changeovers over the last ten years. This is again true in 2010 with our all new Ford engineered, designed, and built 6.7L Power Stroke V8 turbocharged diesel. We expect that this engine will account for approximately 65% of our total Super Duty volume.



CleanMPG: Similarly, what has Ford done different to avoid the Navistar built 6.0L Power Stroke debacle that occurred almost a decade ago while preparing the all-new, in-house designed and built, 6.7L Power Stroke for real world reliability?

Doug Scott: The all-new 6.7L Power Stroke diesel available in the 2011 Super Duty incorporates the most rigorous engine tests ever performed in a Ford vehicle.

From the Power Stroke’s initial design, reliability was the priority. This included extensive use of computer aided design (CAD) and computer aided engineering (CAE), sub-zero temperature testing in which the engine was started more than 2,600 times and lab testing where engines were run continuously simulating 10 years of use in arctic conditions.

All said, over 10.3 million miles of both road and lab testing have been completed to date. In addition, real world testing using 2011 Super Duty Prototypes was performed by actual fleet customers and documented in the “It goes where tough lives” video series.



CleanMPG: About the towing and payload capacity’s, which platform offers the maximum?

Doug Scott: The 2011 F-550 DRW chassis cab with a 5th wheel has a maximum towing capacity of 26,400 pounds. This is a 6,000 pound advantage over the current Silverado HD. The F-550 DRW’s payload capacity is just as impressive at 12,711 pounds.



CleanMPG: The F-150 has a more car like interior than the new 2011 Super Duty. Can you comment as to why you did not move to a more car like interior in the HD lineup?

Doug Scott: Interesting point. We look at the Super Duty as a tool. We have been the leaders in eliminating the compromise between capability and refinement. When you look at the 2011 Super Duty King Ranch, it is as luxurious an automotive interior you will find paired up with the most capable pickup hardware in the industry.

2011 Ford Super Duty Interior



CleanMPG: While the preliminary Super Duty releases have stated an 18% gain in FE for the P/U models, is Ford going to follow GM’s 2011 2500 HD release in which they actually stated a highway Fuel Economy rating for the first time in a commercial series vehicle that I know of?

Doug Scott: As you know, there is currently no requirement for EPA fuel economy labeling with trucks having a GVWR > 8500 pounds. Later this year, Ford expects to see FE labeling requirements from the EPA.

Any release of a specific city/highway number is tough given fuel economy variability due to a non-loaded vs. loaded truck let alone an F-250 SRW P/U vs. F-550 DRW chassis cab. We felt the most effective way to convey fuel economy to the customer is by stating an average improvement of 18% for P/U’s while the Chassis Cab’s average has improved by 25% over the 2010 models.



CleanMPG: With 97% of the Super Duty customers towing, do you have more details on a towing breakout in terms of < 7,500 pounds, 7,501 to 15,000 pounds and > 15,000 pounds?

Doug Scott: A significant percentage of our Super Duty customers are frequently towing over 8,000 pounds. Approximately 40 percent are 5th wheel towers at over 12,000 pounds. We'll talk more about this at the Media Drive next week.



CleanMPG: How many rear differential ratios is Ford planning to release with the Super Duty lineup?

Doug Scott: There will be 4 different axle ratios:
  • 3.31
  • 3.55
  • 3.73
  • 4.30


CleanMPG: I would like to know about the axle anti-spin options. (locking, limited slip, gov-loc, torsen, etc.).

Doug Scott: E Locker is the big news here. Limited slip on F-350 DRW's and E-lockers elsewhere.



CleanMPG: With the advent of the new 2010 Emissions specs and the new Power Stroke able to meet the minimum levels of NOx and PM, do you think there will be the same number of individuals that will “Chip” their trucks and bypass or remove the EGR/SCR/DPF emissions controls?

I am personally saddened to read that this activity is as widespread as it is but has Ford made it tougher to perform these mods for more performance and Fuel Economy or have the Emissions controls engineers paid more attention to making emissions control bypasses almost impossible to perform?

Doug Scott: Chris Brewer, the Chief Engineer for Super Duty is probably better equipped to answer this one.



CleanMPG: Is Ford working on combining Crew Chief with Ford Work Solutions (FWS) In-dash computer and NAVI as an all-in-one solution vs. the “Either/Or” as it is currently being incorporated in the Transit Connect?

Doug Scott: Application of FWS is the same in the 2011 Super Duty as it was in the 2010 and the Transit Connect.


2011 Ford Super Duty – Wrap-up Q&A


CleanMPG: How would you describe Ford’s current product lineup?

Doug Scott: We have a vehicle for every need, from the ultimate muscle car in the Mustang to a dynamic crossover in the Flex to the ultimate tough truck in the new Super Duty.



CleanMPG: On a more personal level, how many days out of the year are you on the road?

Doug Scott: This is highly variable depending on vehicle launches and other initiatives, but on average I would say 40 days a year. I would actually like it to be more because that’s the best way to keep your finger on the customer's pulse.



Thank you Doug for both your time and detailed replies to our varied questions.

2011 Ford Super Duty working above the Tree line

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Last edited by xcel : 03-22-2010 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 02-25-2010, 02:55 PM
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Re: Behind the scenes with Ford’s upcoming 2011 Ford Super Duty

Interesting. I can't help thinking while reading this that we
need more of those "tough truck working" pictures, except featuring
a Prius instead...
.
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Old 02-25-2010, 05:48 PM
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Re: Behind the scenes with Ford’s upcoming 2011 Ford Super Duty

Hey, Al... like this?



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Old 02-25-2010, 05:49 PM
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Re: Behind the scenes with Ford’s upcoming 2011 Ford Super Duty

Hi Al:

___I seem to remember you taking your Prius-II on a little water excursion a while back



vs.



___It may not match the Super Duty’s off-road, off trail or in the water capability but you were holding your own that day

___Back on topic… I sent a note to Doug this morning and thanked him for his time earlier this week. He really did provide a great level of detail and I was very appreciative of his willingness to do so.

___He replied by saying no problem and that he was glad to do it.

___Good Luck

___Wayne
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Old 02-25-2010, 11:18 PM
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Re: Behind the scenes with Ford’s upcoming 2011 Ford Super Duty

Hey, I understand exactly where they-all are comin' from, having
done the whole big-truck-big-tires-lift-kit thing back in the
day myself. That, in fact, is where my gauge panel came from,
now enhancing my Prius experience instead. Arrrr, the good ol' days..
.
_H*
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