Ford Commercial Truck is extensively redesigning its F-650 and F-750 medium-duty trucks to use more of its own components as it prepares to move production from Mexico to Ohio, USA, in about a year.
The 2016-model vehicles will be completely of Ford’s own design and manufacture, including the engines, transmission and main frame, Ford executives said in unveiling a pair of prototype trucks, one with a dump body, at the National Truck Equipment Association’s Work Truck Show in Indianapolis.
As previously announced, the Blue Diamond joint venture under which current Class 6 and 7 models are now built by Navistar International is being terminated. Ford’s plant in Avon Lake, Ohio, is being fitted to build the trucks. It now makes E-Series vans, which will be phased out by the end of this decade.
A second generation of Ford’s 6.7-liter PowerStroke V-8 diesel will replace of the Cummins ISB6.7 inline 6 now offered in the F-650 and 750, said John Davis, the program manager and chief nameplate engineer. This higher volume, lower-cost diesel will help with “value pricing” of the new trucks, though prices will be announced later, he said.
The Triton gasoline V-10 will be available on the F-750 as well as the F-650, as now. A gaseous preparation package, with hardened valves and valve seats, will continue, allowing conversion to propane and natural gas fuel.
Both engines will be mated to a beefed-up version of Ford’s 6R140 6-speed automatic transmission. No manual transmissions will be offered.
A dedicated tractor model will be among offerings in the 2016-model F-650 and 750, which will be available starting in spring on 2015.
The Navistar-supplied main frame is being dropped and a new Ford “work-ready” frame used instead, executives said at the unveiling on Tuesday. Ford engineers are designing the frame with input from body makers so it will accommodate vocational bodies with little or no modification.d
“Bold” external styling includes a new mesh grille and sculpted fender lines, and internal trim packages are fresh. As with the current trucks, interiors will be shared with lighter-duty F-SuperDuty trucks.
Regular, Super and Crew cabs will continue to be offered. Cab structures are the same as now, but some sheet metal, primarily on doors, is restyled to match the fenders and nose.
By controlling every aspect of development in-house, from design to manufacturing to service, Ford will be able to offer F-650/F-750 customers exceptional value, convenience and cost of ownership, said John Ruppert, general manager of commercial sales and marketing. More than 3,000 dealers will be ready to handle service and repair needs.
Available SYNC and Crew Chief factory-installed fleet management telematics, and a rapid-heat, supplemental cab heater that quickly warms the cab in cold climates. Remote start is also available.
“We have a lot of design and feature comforts that you might otherwise find in more mainstream products,” Davis said. “Comfort and convenience additions include our quiet diesel, hands-free mobile device connectivity and improvements to ride and handling.”
The new F-650/750 are being extensively tested to ensure durability under tough conditions. Part of the testing at Ford’s proving grounds at Romeo, Mich., includes robotic controls.
“Some of the tests we do on our commercial trucks for North America are so strenuous that we limit the exposure time for human drivers,” said Dave Payne, manager, vehicle development operations.
The robotically driven vehicles are repeatedly run on torturous surfaces that can compress 10 years of daily driving abuse into a few months. Course surfaces include broken concrete, cobblestones, metal grates, rough gravel, mud pits and oversized speed bumps.