All-new aluminium-intensive Ford F-150 to be available here next year
Ford’s revolutionary new F-150 will become available in Australia in about six months.
The all-new 13th-generation pick-up, which made its global debut at the Detroit motor show in January, enters US production in October.
Some of the first Australian customer examples are due to be ready for delivery by Harrison F-Trucks and its right-hand drive engineering and compliance partner, Vehicle Development Corporation (VDC), by April 2015.
The MY15 F-150 breaks new ground by being the first to incorporate an aluminium body that rides on a steel ladder chassis, reducing weight by up to 320kg.
Ford claims the lighter F-150 delivers greater fuel efficiency, driving dynamics and braking ability, plus increased payload and towing capability, while the high-strength aluminium tray is said to better resist dents and corrosion.
Once again, the F-150 will be available in single-cab, extended super-cab and four-door crew-cab body styles, with a variety of wheelbases, tray lengths, (4×2 and 4×4) drivetrains, V6 and V8 engines, and equipment grades, including XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum, with high-performance SVT and Raptor models to again follow.
The F-150 is the most popular model within Ford top-selling F-Series range, which has attracted more than 34 million customers since 1948, averaging a buyer every 41 seconds.
Last year alone, Ford sold more than 1.9 million F-Series pick-ups, accounting for about a quarter of its entire sales, making it North America’s top-selling truck for 37 consecutive years and the USA’s most popular new vehicle – bar none – for the last 28 years.
Ford says the weight reduction allowed it to maintain the F-150’s status as a full-size pick-up, positioned above the Australian designed and engineered Ranger but below its larger Super Duty models, starting with the F-250.
From MY17, Ford’s big Super Duty trucks will also employ the same advanced aluminium construction as the MY15 F-150.
Last week, Performax International — Australia’s largest importer of new American vehicles — became the latest RHD converter to make Ford’s latest Super Duty models available in Australia with full-volume federal government approval, starting with the F-250 at $105,000.
The Gympie, Queensland-based converter hopes to build up to 500 F-250, F-350 and F-450 Super Duty trucks next year (plus a range of Chevrolet Silverado, Dodge RAM and Toyota Tundra trucks), for sale via outlets in most capital cities.
But Performax has no plans to import the smaller new F-150 because it would require local crash testing and sub-3500kg versions would attract luxury car tax, making them prohibitively expensive.
In contrast, VDC says it will offer all MY15 F-trucks both directly from its Broadmeadows base near Ford HQ, and via its exclusive resellers Harrison F-Trucks in Melton (Victoria) and Maroochydore (Queensland), and the Barbagallo Motoring Group in Perth.
Unlike Performax, VDC deals exclusively with Ford vehicles and has imported and converted more than 1000 F-Series models, including for the Victorian ambulance service, since 1982 – well before Ford Australia officially sold the 10th-generation F-250 here between 2001 and 2007.
VDC, which buys its vehicles directly from Ford in the US, is also recognised by Ford as a ‘Quality Vehicle Manufacturer’ and its F-trucks meet Ford’s internal Silver compliance standards. It also has a factory in Detroit, which converts F-Series trucks to RHD for export markets.
However, F-Series models converted here by both Performax and VDC all meet the same high-volume Australian Design Rule compliance regulations and all come with the same level of original Ford safety equipment, including electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, hill start assist, hill descent control, roll stability, trailer sway control, six airbags and five three-point seatbelts.
But while Harrison’s new-vehicle warranty is three years/100,000km, Performax offers a more generous four-year/120,000km warranty.
VDC says it will offer the 2015 F-150 with full-volume ADR compliance, but pricing is yet to be confirmed and could increase from the circa-$100,000 starting price of the outgoing F-150.
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