DETROIT -- Ford unveiled a new, lighter F-150 truck today at the North American International Auto Show.
The new F-150 has a high-strength aluminum alloy body. Engineers shed 700 pounds off the current model to make it more fuel efficient.
The vehicle also has four engine choices, including an all-new 2.7-liter V6 EcoBoost engine as a choice that sounds a lot like the new engine planned for the Lima Engine Plant.
Ford Executive Vice President and President of the Americas Joe Hinrichs acknowledged the new engine for the truck but stopped short of confirming that it will be built on the engine line under construction at Ford's Lima Engine Plant, saying he wasn't certain of the timing with the new line in Lima.
"I'll acknowledge the 2.7-liter engine, which is smaller than the 3.5-liter engine already being built," Hinrichs said. "Lima is good plant for us, and we're looking forward to building more engines there."
A new engine line has been under construction at the Lima Ford Engine Plant since 2012. Ford officials have previously said the new line would be for a smaller V6 engine using EcoBoost technology. An engine plant in Cleveland is currently building the 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost engine, which has won over F-150 drivers for providing power like a V8 engine while increasing fuel economy.
Reducing weight on the truck makes the smaller engine possible, said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president of global product development. Nair described the truck as "all-new."
The redesign and aluminium body is a significant risk for the company; the F-150 is the best-selling pickup truck in the U.S. market for the 37th straight year and best selling vehicle for the 32nd year. A new F-150 is sold every 41 seconds.
"The bigger risk is standing still," Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford said. "We planned this a few years ago when things weren't looking so rosy, and it was a big decision, but it was the right one.
Ford said people had "great skepticism" when the company introduced the EcoBoost into the F-series, but that it not only has been accepted, it has become popular.
The redesigned F-150 has more capability than the current model, company officials stressed Monday.
"Once people see it, drive it, they'll understand it," Ford said.
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