Gallery: Ford unbridles new Super Duty at Churchill Downs

Sept. 30, 2022
Thoroughly redesigned 2023 F-Series Super Duty truck and chassis cab lineup boasts more torque, advanced towing capabilities, integrated upfitter features, Pro Power Onboard, and more.

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky—Ford’s live reveal of the all-new 2023 F-Series Super Duty lineup at Churchill Downs fittingly started with the first running of the “KenTRUCKy” Derby.

Super Duty faithful, including long-time F-Series truck owners, dealers, and builders, rolled down the world-famous dirt track with more than 1,000 attendees roaring in approval, each jockeying a classic model, from trucks with trailers to a lifted beast with big tires and upfitted workhorses, as track announcer Travis Stone called the action.

See also: Gallery: A look back at 75 years of Ford F-Series trucks

Then Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear—who declared Sept. 27 KenTRUCKy Day ahead of Ford’s event—heralded the main attraction: The introduction of the redesigned Super Duty by Ford CEO Jim Farley, whose grandfather, Emmett Tracy, helped Ford founder Henry Ford build Model Ts in Dearborn, Michigan.

“This is the truck that builds our country—and now it’s built like never before,” Farley said.

“It’s the vital tool so many people working in so many industries depend on. It’s the engine for progress in our country. I can’t wait to come back to Louisville when this amazing new Super Duty is coming off the assembly line with high quality, and raise a glass with all of you—a little Kentucky bourbon, probably.”

Speakers also included Jackie DiMarco, Ford’s vehicle programs director for F-Series and commercial trucks, who revealed new Super Duty truck and chassis cab features; and Ford Pro CEO Ted Cannis, who highlighted new capabilities for commercial users. After their presentation, Beshear, Farley, and Cannis visited with customers and took questions from media gathered outside the track, underneath the iconic twin spires.

The 2023 Super Duty, built at the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, and Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake, Ohio, is expected to go on sale in early 2023, Ford said, with some features and trim series available starting next spring.

“From F-250 pickups to the F-600 utility truck, Super Duty is the badge America’s hardest-working men and women have come to trust to get the toughest jobs done,” Farley said. “Super Duty customers are builders—the backbone of our communities and our economy. We poured every ounce of know-how and ingenuity we have into developing the truck of their dreams—smarter, more powerful, full of clever features and technology.” 

Advanced capabilities

DiMarco said Ford “dreamed big” while targeting best-in-class capability in towing, payload, horsepower, torque, and engine choices, from a standard new 6.8L gas-powered Power Stroke V8, to a 7.3L gas V8 with increased power and torque, a 6.7L Power Stroke diesel with 450 hp and 1,050 lb.-ft. of torque, and a new high-output Power Stroke V8 diesel that targets “the most power and torque, period.

“We’ll be sharing those very impressive numbers with you down the road,” she promised.

Every Super Duty features a Ford-designed and built 10-speed TorqShift automatic transmission, and every chassis cab model comes standard with a power take-off connection to run added equipment, like boom lifts and plows, Ford said.

DiMarco also raved about advanced features, like the available Pro Power Onboard, which outputs 2.0 kilowatts of power for job sites—which is “five times more electrical output than any other competitor in the segment,” Cannis told FleetOwner. “Pro Power utilizes an auxiliary alternator, as well as a dedicated inverter and smart software to operate as a mobile generator, just as it does in other non-hybrid F-series pickups,” he said.

“It is available on all the engine configurations and is also an available package that can be installed by upfitters on chassis cabs.”

Further features include onboard scales for measuring payload weight, box steps with handholds on the side rails for easier cargo box access, a lowered rear tailgate step, driver-assistance technology like lane centering and intelligent adaptive cruise control, head-up displays that can project trailer or offroad information onto the windshield, and an integrated work surface that turns Super Duty into the “ultimate mobile office.”

Towing capabilities include Pro Trailer Hitch Assist, which automatically steers and backs up the truck to the trailer; Smart Hitch, which uses the truck’s onboard scales to measure a trailer’s tongue weight for perfect balance; a tailgate with cameras and sensors on top that provide visibility while the gate is lowered; and 14 total cameras that can deliver 360-degree, bird’s eye views of the truck, cargo box, and trailer. “We are so proud to bring you this truck,” DiMarco said. “It is the most advanced and capable Super Duty ever.”

Commercial appeal

Cannis pointed out the Super Duty has helped Ford Pro earn more than 40% of the U.S. market for commercial full-size trucks and vans—more than double the next two competitors combined. “Now, while we are happy with the truck, Ford isn’t content to be just the market leader in commercial vehicles,” he said.

“Oh no, we are here to transform the commercial vehicle industry.”

That transformation starts with embedded 5G connectivity, a first for U.S. pickup trucks, Ford said. The capability enables over-the-air software updates, and
supports Ford Pro telematics and vehicle security. Ford Pro also provides a “one-stop-shop” for commercial internal-combustion engine and electric vehicle customers, with software, charging solutions, fleet services, and financing all available on a single platform. “Together, these solutions can help customers lower their total cost of ownership 10-20%, and it’s all backed by our network of over 650 commercial vehicle centers, 300 qualified upfitters, and a fleet of 800 mobile service vehicles,” Cannis said. “Pro equals productivity, leveling the playing field so that small and medium businesses get the most from their truck investment—more uptime, more capability, and yes, more productivity.

“Another game-changer that fleet managers and upfitters will love is the new Ford Pro Upfit Integration System (UIS),” he added. “This digital tool makes the all-new Super Duty the most upfit-friendly truck Ford has ever built.” With UIS, users can safely control added equipment, like utility cranes or plows, from inside the truck. The digital system allows for customization and safety interlocks, like locking the transmission so a boom lift can’t be raised while the Super Duty is in motion; and it provides aftermarket equipment makers with improved access to the truck’s electrical system and signals to seamlessly integrate and operate their hardware from the truck’s digital displays.

“Super Duty is a name that is trusted to get the job done, and our customers have helped to make it the most popular commercial truck in America, bar none,” Cannis said.

Team Kentucky

The reveal event coincided with Ford’s announcement of its plans to boost Super Duty production at the Kentucky Truck Plant—news Beshear celebrated on stage.

“The best part of KenTRUCKy Day is what Ford is bringing to the winner’s circle,” he said.

“Today [Sept. 27], Ford announced a $700 million investment. It’s going to create another 500 new Kentucky jobs, which includes building the all-new 2023 Ford Super Duty right here in Louisville at the Kentucky Truck Plant.”

The latest investment comes exactly one year after Ford and partner SK Innovation revealed what Beshear called “the largest economic development project in [Kentucky’s] history—a nearly $6 billion investment in electric battery production [at the Louisville SK Battery Park] that’s creating 5,000 Kentucky jobs” and establishing the Blue Grass state as the “EV battery production capital of the United States of America.”

The governor estimated Ford, along with its suppliers, dealers, and other associated businesses, are responsible for creating 120,000 jobs for Kentuckians, making them a vital, long-term member of “Team Kentucky.” Farley said 12,000 Kentuckians are building more than 500,000 Ford trucks and SUVs annually. The Kentucky Truck plant produced 135,428 Super Duty trucks in the first half of the year, according to reports.

“Ford is America’s commercial vehicle leader,” Farley declared. “Why? Because we love work. We honor workers, we honor builders. Their work might not make the headlines, but it should.

“They’re the heroes because they make the world we love run.”

About the Author

Jason McDaniel

Jason McDaniel, based in the Houston TX area, has nearly 20 years of experience as a journalist. He spent 15 writing and editing for daily newspapers, including the Houston Chronicle, and began covering the commercial vehicle industry in 2018. He was named editor of Bulk Transporter and Refrigerated Transporter magazines in July 2020.

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