New Ford F-Series truck is key to automaker's future

Ford unveils all-new truck in Detroit

(Image: Ford)

DETROIT – Ford showed off the next generation of America's best-selling vehicle Monday morning at the Detroit Auto Show.

The F-Series trucks will be completely redesigned for the 2015 model year, with enhancements like an aluminum-alloy body on a steel frame, LED headlights, spotlights on the side mirrors and a remote release for the tailgate.

The extensive use of aluminum allows Ford to shave about 700 pounds off the weight of the truck. The company says that weight reduction helps the new F-150 tow more, haul more, accelerate faster and stop quicker.

Ford says its new truck is also smarter, with features like a 360-degree camera view, which uses several cameras to show the driver every inch around the truck. There are also integrated loading ramps to make it easier to get things into the bed of the truck and LED lights embedded in the walls of the cargo box to better illuminate the bed.

Safety features on the new F-150 include things like automatic braking in curves when the truck senses that it's taking a corner too fast, inflatable seat belts in the second row seats, adaptive cruise control, a lane departure warning and a blind-spot monitoring system.

Powering the new truck will be one of four engine choices. there's a new fuel-efficient 2.7-liter engine with Ford's "EcoBoost" features, a regular 3.5-liter V-6, a 3.5-liter V-6 with the EcoBoost features and a 5-liter V-8.

Ford touts the fact that it entered a disguised F-150 in the Baja 1000 off-road race using the new 2.7-liter engine and the truck was able to run all 883 miles of the grueling course.

There's a lot riding on the new version since the F-150 and other F-Series models have topped the list of best-selling vehicles in the United States for the last few decades.

In 2013, Ford sold more than 763,000 of the trucks. By comparison, popular cars like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima each sell about 300,000 to 400,000 per year. Even GM's best-selling trucks - the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, which just underwent their own redesign - sold a combined total of around 660,000 in 2013.

Watch for the 2015 F-150 and its F-Series siblings in Ford showrooms by the end of the year.