Ford: “Big trucks are big fun”

Ford: “Big trucks are big fun”

OEM unveils new telematics platform and special-edition Tonka truck

INDIANAPOLIS. Ford Motor Co. reached back to the days of yesteryear during its press conference Tuesday night to kick off the NTEA’s Work Truck Show here. Back to a time when kids played in the sandbox dreaming of one day owning their own construction vehicles. A time when the only concern was whether mom thought the ground was too wet to play outside.

Quite simply, it was a time of playing with Tonka trucks.

To celebrate its new F-650 and F-750 models, which are entering production launch said John Davis, chief programming engineer-commercial vehicles, Ford, in partnership with Funrise Toys (which owns the licensing rights to the Tonka name), has created a special-edition F-750 Tonka dump truck.

The one-of-a-kind version will tour the country at truck shows and toy shows to promote the F-750.

“Remember, big trucks are big fun,” said John Ruppert, general manager-commercial vehicle sales & marketing.

The truck is painted in the signature Tonka yellow with a custom blackout nostril grille and fully functional dump body from Truck Tech Engineers.

Aside from the “wow” factor of the Tonka design, Ruppert and Davis took time during the event to detail Ford’s market leadership (43.2% 2014 market share in Classes 1-7, “more than the next four competitors combined,” said Ruppert), hit on a few highlights of its all-aluminum 2015 F-150 and the Transit van.

The company also announced its next-generation telematics solution, Ford Telematics powered by Telogis, which will replace its current Crew Chief solution. The new solution, which will provide Ford-specific data in addition to mobile connectivity, data reporting, workflow and information gateways, in-cab alerts, driver scorecards and fuel management, will be available globally, Ruppert said.

Read more: Ford and Telogis introduce Ford Telematics

As to the Class 6 F-650 and Class 7 F-750 2016 models that will be available for purchase, Ford said it will offer 8 configurations, including a tractor model. The vehicles will be available in regular cab, SuperCab and crew cab versions and in straight frame and dock-height.

“We’re leveraging our space in engineering and manufacturing and that is allowing us to take the (F-Series) to new places,” said Davis.

The vehicles, which Ruppert said will be ideal for beverage, parcel delivery, towing and dump applications, will be “upfitter-friendly” and feature a 6.7L V8 PowerStroke diesel engine. The engine will offer three power ratings: 270 hp. and 675 lbs.-ft. of torque; 300 hp. and 700 lbs.-ft.; and 330 hp. and 725 lbs.-ft.

The PowerStroke engine includes a 5-year/250,000-mi. warranty.

See the F-750 being tested: Ford 2016 F-750 Truck Robotic Testing

Also available is a 6.8L V-10 gasoline engine producing 320 hp. and 460 lbs.-ft. of torque.

The engines are mated to a 6-speed TorqShift HD automatic transmission with available power take-off provision. It is rated for 50,000 GCWR.

According to Davis, the vehicles feature less noise, producing 45% less interior noise at idle, 35% less exterior noise at idle, and is 25% quieter inside the cab at 60 mph.

The trucks will be available this summer and built at the company’s Ohio Assembly Plant.

Wrapping up other Ford news, Ruppert noted that the Transit full-sized van has sold 23,000 units in the past three months and that December was the best-selling month for Ford vans since June 1999.

That quick start to the Transit is also happening with the F-150.

“Like the Transit, it’s off to a great start, selling four times faster than the segment,” said Ruppert.

The F-150 is built at the Dearborn Truck Plant, which is producing them at capacity, he added. The truck will be built in Kansas City as well, starting this summer.

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