- America’s truck – Ford F-Series has been the best-selling truck in America for 26 years running, as of January 2003. It has been the best-selling vehicle in the country for 21 straight years.
- Growing popularity - With F-Series the clear sales leader, the full-size pickup market in the United States has doubled over the last 10 years. More than one in every 10 vehicles sold is a full-size pickup.
- Heart of Ford’s business - Ford Motor Company derives 23 percent of its total U.S. sales from F-Series. For Ford Division, America’s truck accounts for nearly 28 percent of sales.
- Changing landscape - Ford pioneered the personal use pickup truck segment. As new buyers with changing needs have entered the market, Ford has met their tough truck needs while providing personal-use flexibility.
- A Whole New Era of Built Ford Tough - The all-new F-150 establishes a new benchmark for full-size pickups. The groundbreaking design epitomizes decades of Ford truck leadership by extending traditional F-Series strength and toughness while confidently pioneering new capabilities, introducing new levels of refinement and dramatically enhancing the areas of ride, handling and comfort.
- Sharp, customer-based product differentiation - Based on strong market insight and the willingness to continually strive to better satisfy customer wants, Ford has sharpened the differentiation of the new F-150 lineup. Five distinct series offerings respond to the breadth of the full-size pickup customer base.
- Smart engineering - With more capability and content than ever, Ford F-150 still delivers value, a hallmark of the brand, thanks to its “smart engineering” accomplishments.
- Lean and flexible manufacturing - The introduction of the 2004 F-150 heralds a new era of manufacturing excellence at Ford, featuring the efficiencies of an intensive lean-manufacturing approach and introducing a forward-looking new flagship assembly facility at the very heart of the company – Dearborn Truck Plant at Henry Ford’s historic Rouge manufacturing complex.
- Full-size pickup trucks accounted for sales of nearly 2.3 million units.
- Full-size pickups represented 13 percent of all U.S. vehicle sales. In major regional truck markets, led by Texas, full-size pickups were even more dominant, achieving 24 percent of all vehicle sales.
- Three of the top-10-selling vehicles in the United States were full-size pickups.
- Reinventing the Leader - With courage to set a new direction for the marketplace, F-150 needed to emphatically assert its leadership by extending its recognized strengths in every key area important to truck customers. The new F-150 must be a Tough Truck all-around, taking advantage of the momentum of its predecessor and leveraging Ford’s reputation for truck toughness and capability. However, in the spirit of reinvention, it must also redefine the segment in terms of spaciousness, versatility, refinement and safety. In addition, development of the new F-150 also relied on Ford’s unparalleled customer insight, which pointed to evolving customer needs in the areas of ride, handling and comfort.
- Sharper Segmentation - While redefining America’s truck, Ford seized the opportunity to strengthen its position with newly developing subsegments within the full-size pickup market. Within the rapidly expanding and diversifying market, the F-150 lineup must be developed in a way to create sharper distinctions within its range to address more directly differing customer wants. The strategy and execution must distance itself from a conventional “one size fits all” approach.
- Stronger stance and style - The new F-150 features an all-new design, with a bold exterior shape that exemplifies Ford truck toughness and capability. The interiors boldly take the full-size pickup into a new dimension of comfort and refinement.
- Power - Ford’s new 5.4-liter, 3-valve Triton V-8 engine produces 300 peak horsepower – a 15-percent improvement over the previous award-winning 5.4-liter engine, and 365 foot-pounds of torque for improved low-speed and peak pulling power. Mated with the new 4R75E transmission for smoother shifts and improved fuel efficiency, the 5.4L 3V also contributes to a quieter cab environment for F-150 customers.
- Even tougher - The fully boxed frame is approximately nine times stiffer torsionally than its tough predecessor, providing the foundation for enhancements in durability, safety, driving dynamics and refined, quiet ride.
- Superior driving experience - Tremendous attention to detail has been applied to the chassis of the F-150 to deliver a confident, capable driving experience. F-150’s newly designed rear suspension, featuring outboard shock, is among the details that contribute to more confident and precise handling both in everyday driving and while towing a trailer.
- Increased interior spaciousness - Regular Cab and SuperCab models have a passenger compartment that is six inches longer, providing more space inside for occupants and their gear. For SuperCab models, that extra length means increased rear-seat comfort for three adults. For Regular Cab, it means 13 inches of secure storage space behind the seat.
- Greater access - Reflecting consumer demand for ease of access for both people and cargo, Regular Cab models feature new, class-exclusive access doors that open up new stowage possibilities and accessibility behind the seat.
- More cargo capacity - The new F-150’s cargo box is 2 inches deeper, providing greater cargo volume. Plus, a new class-exclusive Tailgate Assist feature, which is standard across the lineup, helps owners of all statures open and close the gate.
- Enhanced safety - Inherent strength and toughness plus the F-150 Personal Safety System’snew occupant sensing technology for the front outboard passenger makes the all-new F-150 a strong choice for safety. It has been engineered to exceed the rigorous new federal government safety standard, FMVSS 208, which governs air bag and off-set crash performance.
2004 Ford F150 Special Features
“Ford is the undisputed leader in the full-size pickup market. The all-new F-150 takes it to the next level and further separates us from the pack. No one should underestimate the importance of the new F-150 to Ford Division and the entire Ford Motor Company. It impacts our dealers, our employees, and most importantly, our customers. Our years of customer insight have allowed us to create a revolutionary new product that reflects a whole new era of Built Ford Tough.”
LEGACY OF LEADERSHIP
2004 FORD F-150 MEETS EXPANDING CONSUMER NEEDS
Power. Package. Presence. The Ford F-Series is America’s truck. Led by the F-150, F-Series has defined the full-size pickup in the United States and for more than two decades has been the country’s best-selling vehicle.
Ford pioneered the pickup with the Model T, gave it the first V-8 engine, created the famed Twin I-Beam suspension, and led the market by being the first in the under-8,500 class to introduce both an extended cab model with a standard third door, the SuperCab, and a crew cab model with four forward-swinging full-size doors, the SuperCrew. Along the way, Ford has amassed 85 years of experience in the truck market, built on 55 years of legendary F-Series accomplishments and established a brand that is synonymous with tough truck leadership.
Today, with its strong heritage as a foundation, Ford is redefining America’s truck. The new Ford F-150 introduces a Whole New Era of Built Ford Tough.
THE F-SERIES SALES LEADERSHIP STORY
The story of the Ford F-Series is one of sustained sales leadership. From the farm to the construction site, landscaping job or boat ramp, the full-size pickup has earned a special place in the fabric of American life, and F-Series is America’s choice. F-Series continues to stand out through its legendary value, quality, time-tested durability and multitude of accomplishments in the motor sports world. F-Series outsells every other full-size truck brand. In fact, F-Series has been America’s favorite vehicle – car, truck or SUV – for 21 years running, as of January 2003.
Statistics on the full-size pickup tell a compelling story of its significance on the American landscape and its importance to Ford Motor Company and other automakers. In 2001, full-size pickups comprised the best-selling single segment of the U.S. marketplace:
Ford F-Series started the 1990s as the market leader and extended its lead despite increased competition.
“Ford has a long and storied history of truck leadership with F-Series,” said Matt DeMars, executive director for tough trucks at Ford Motor Company. “We have a huge owner body and a reputation for toughness and durability that is unsurpassed in the industry. Our well-developed customer insight helps us anticipate the ‘next big thing’ in the market, and we continue to give new customers the most appealing products like SuperCrew, like the F-150 King Ranch, the F-150 Harley Davidson and the F-150 Lightning from SVT. Innovations like these have helped drive market growth.”
During the 1990s, Ford conducted extensive market research to gain a better understanding of consumer wants and needs. The company polled more than 10,000 car and truck owners of various makes and models for valuable perspective on how vehicles fit into customers’ lives.
Among the most significant insights was the dramatic evolution of the full-size pickup segment. It became clear that while truck customers continued to value traditional workhorse capability and functionality, they wanted a truck that would express their individuality. This would serve as a roadmap for developing the new F-150.
As the segment has expanded, models with more space, more versatility, more comfort and more features have grown in popularity. And the full-size pickup market has begun to appeal to a much broader range of customers while still retaining its traditional owner base. New four-door cabs meant more customers could migrate to the pickup for its versatility for people and cargo.
Ford was at the forefront of the growing personal-use trend, playing the leader’s role in bringing more space to pickup customers. Ford introduced SuperCab and SuperCrew variants of the F-150 that brought true F-Series capability to a more diverse customer base and brought product flexibility and greater choice – without compromising Ford toughness. Extended cab models started the 1990s with less than 20 percent of the total market. Today, they represent approximately 80 percent of sales due to the increased functionality afforded by greater cargo and people space.
WHERE FORD F-150 HAS LED, THE MARKET HAS FOLLOWED
While the pickup market has broadened and diversified in 10 years, new customers and traditional truck buyers share one passion – a desire for uncompromised truck toughness and capability. Ford F-Series embodies this spirit, its toughness central to its enduring customer appeal.
In a decade of substantial market growth, Ford asserted its sales leadership convincingly. The year 2001 culminated in an all-time sales record for the Ford F-Series of 911,597 units. In truck terms, this performance was a rout. F-Series’ nearest rival trailed by nearly 200,000 units.
With sustained popularity and a substantial leadership margin, Ford was readying its ‘next big thing.’ Behind the scenes, development of the all-new F-150 was well under way for a debut in January 2003 – when F-Series would mark its 26th consecutive year as America’s truck sales leader.
The numbers tell the story of why Ford is aggressively striving to extend its leadership as the best-selling full-size pickup. The F-Series is extremely important to Ford’s success. It accounts for nearly 28 percent of Ford Division’s sales and 23 percent of Ford Motor Company’s total U.S. sales.
“There’s no question about the importance of trucks to the Blue Oval,” said Doug Scott, Ford Division truck group marketing manager. “For Ford and our dealers, the F-Series is absolutely the foundation of the franchise.”
STRATEGIC DIRECTION FOR A NEW F-150
Given the significance of F-Series to Ford’s overall business, Ford adopted a strategy to build on the momentum of its sales leadership with the development of the all-new F-150. The objective: Redefine America’s truck and launch a Whole New Era of Built Ford Tough. This applied across the entire development process, including design, engineering and manufacturing.
DESIGN AND DIFFERENTIATION
Ford’s strategy was developed with the recognition that the market had evolved significantly since the most recent F-150 redesign was introduced in January 1996. Ford’s understanding of this expanding and changing customer base was central to keeping F-150 at the forefront.
Customer insight shaped a two-part strategy that guided development of the new product:
A WHOLE NEW ERA OF BUILT FORD TOUGH
Just as an Olympic champion trains to shatter previous records, establishing a whole new era of Built Ford Tough meant improving the Ford F-150 where it matters most for customers, including customers migrating to full-size trucks. Making the 2004 Ford F-150 unapproachable for competitors in terms of all-around product strength was the objective.
A broad range of overarching product enhancements that would benefit every F-150 customer was the result:
“Our goal was to create a full-size pickup that is stronger than ever and meets previously unaddressed customer needs,” said Frank Davis, F-150 chief program engineer.
“We’ve created an all-new architecture that puts F-150 in a class of its own and demonstrates that pickup owners don’t have to accept things like an uncomfortable ride and spartan interiors,” Davis said. “We know our competitors will attempt to follow F-150’s lead, but this all-new architecture will be difficult for them to copy.”
SHARP DIFFERENTIATION FOR A DIVERSE MARKET
The 2004 Ford F-150 features five distinct series offerings. This segment differentiation strategy is at the heart of Ford’s approach to appeal to the diversity of the full-size pickup market in America.
“The sharpening of our product differentiation represents one insight into today’s full-size truck market and our latest thinking on how to appeal to its major subsegments,” Scott said. “This has driven our approach to create a distinct character for each of the five series offerings of the all-new F-150.”
F-150 traditionally has been well equipped to respond to diverse customer needs. With a wide array of choices in terms of cabs, box lengths, powertrains, towing options and equipment levels, this product can be configured to meet very specific functional needs.
The 2004 F-150 extends that tradition. Each model is distinct at a glance, with the power, package and presence that will appeal to a diverse customer base.
The F-150 series range features familiar names but with new, sharper identities. Ford has configured its lineup for strength at the center of the market, while appealing to traditional workhorse buyers and luxury customers at the edges and adding two more defined “image” segments in-between:
The workhorse of the F-150 lineup, the XL delivers capability and functionality – traditional F-150 strengths. The XL target customer wants a truck predominantly for work with towing and hauling capability, but also enjoys a truck from a personal perspective. Many customers in this group are family-oriented truck enthusiasts who also enjoy outdoor pursuits, such as camping, hunting and fishing.
Available in Regular Cab and SuperCab bodies with a 61/2-foot or 8-foot Styleside box, a choice of two V-8 engines and either a 4×2 or 4×4 drivetrain, the XL benefits from additional interior space, all-four-door accessibility and standard 17-inch wheels. Regular Cab models introduce the XL to Ford’s new rear access doors, which open up a more spacious area behind the 40/20/40 split bench seat for stowage.
Toolboxes, five-gallon paint buckets and even golf clubs can be secured inside the vehicle without impeding the three-across seating. Plus, it embodies toughness and durability thanks to F-150’s rigid new fully boxed frame and the versatility of the new standard 40/20/40 cloth split bench seat. New features also include standard tilt steering wheel and a display center system in the instrument panel.
A growing base of customers is aspiring to the full-size segment but looking for a sportier image to match their lifestyles. Customers in this group tend to be younger and value-oriented and believe a truck rather than a car best fits their active lifestyle and is best for their basic transportation, light hauling and towing needs. The new F-150 STX combines a sporty style with workhorse capability and value to fit a unique set of customer needs. Available as a 4×2 or 4×4 in Regular Cab or SuperCab with a standard 61/2-foot Styleside, 51/2-foot Styleside or 61/2-foot Flareside box, STX is powered by the 4.6-liter Triton V-8 engine and equipped with unique 17-inch sporty cast aluminum wheels. It has a cloth interior with a 40/20/40 split bench seat and offers an available premium audio system with in-dash 6-CD player and subwoofer.
At the heart of the five-series lineup, XLT is expected to be the most-popular seller due to its capability, versatility, comfort and convenience. The XLT model is aimed at a predominantly family-oriented group of customers who need a truck capable of hauling or towing, when necessary, but also appreciate the versatility of the F-150 during personal or recreational pursuits. It is available in Regular Cab and SuperCab configurations, both benefiting from an extra six inches of body length, or as a SuperCrew model. XLT offers three choices of Styleside box (5 1/2-foot, 6 1/2-foot or 8-foot) or a 6 1/2-foot Flareside box. Of special note is the introduction of the class-exclusive new, more “garage-able” combination, the SuperCab with a 5 1/2-foot Styleside box. The XLT also offers two V-8 engine choices, 4×2 or 4×4 options and standard 17-inch wheels. Plus, XLT comes with an array of additional standard equipment, such as second-row power windows and a new overhead storage system on SuperCab and SuperCrew models. Power mirrors, Autolamp, delayed accessory power, outside temperature/compass display and speed control are among other standard XLT features. Optional equipment includes a defrosting rear window, foglamps on 4×2 models, a keyless entry door keypad and a power moonroof (on SuperCab and SuperCrew).
This series was conceived to meet the needs of full-size truck buyers who demand the off-road image and power of a four-wheel-drive pickup. Four-wheel-drive capability and style are central to the character of the FX4 model. It is aimed at a base of customers who enjoy the outdoors and off-roading. They’re looking for an attention-getting truck with 4×4 excellence, that is just as capable of pleasure driving. F-150 FX4 customers have a broad array of choices, including a new-look 61/2-foot Flareside box or either the 51/2-foot or 61/2-foot Styleside box. All three cab styles also are available. A bold, distinctive exterior look, optional 18-inch machined cast aluminum wheels and unique sport cloth or sport leather interiors – with a choice of split bench seats or captain’s chairs including a class-first flow-through console and floor shifter – make FX4 the ideal truck for an active lifestyle. The increased horsepower and torque of the F-150’s new 5.4-liter, 3-valve Triton V-8 engine will be especially important to buyers in this sub-segment.
Demand for a truly premium truck with traditional F-Series capability has led to the creation of an even more distinctive and comfortable F-150 Lariat. The target customers view their truck as a reward for achievement and desire a fully equipped vehicle. Traditional themes of American luxury resonate with this group of truck buyers, who use their vehicles for everyday driving in addition to road trips and towing boats, horse trailers or travel trailers. Optional Arizona Beige two-tone paint, unique 18-inch bright aluminum wheels and the most refined interior design in pickup history make the Lariat stand out from the crowd, whether configured as a SuperCab or SuperCrew.
Leather interiors, featuring either optional captain’s chairs with the segment-first floor shifter or in a versatile standard 40/20/40 split bench, make the Lariat ideal for carrying people in style, comfort and refinement without shying away from Tough Truck tasks. Other Lariat features include an in-dash messaging center, electronic automatic temperature control, optional DVD player and memory power-adjustable seats and pedals. Its large, functional, heated side mirrors have built-in repeater lamps synchronized with the turn signals.
SMART ENGINEERING ADVANCEMENTS
Smart engineering techniques have been central to development of the all-new 2004 Ford F-150. They have been a key driver of the affordable business structure allowing for such a wide range of offerings and combinations.
From the backbone of the truck – its rigid, fully boxed frame – to its sophisticated safety features, the new F-150 was developed with extensive use of Ford’s computer-aided toolset called C3P. An integrated package of computer-aided design, computer-aided engineering, computer-aided manufacturing and a comprehensive product information database, Ford’s C3P system allowed designers and engineers to create the new vehicle largely in a digital environment.
The strengths of C3P played a major role in enabling Ford engineers to develop a product range with a high degree of complexity. This allows F-150 customers maximum freedom to configure their trucks according to precise needs, ranging from cab type to box size to powertrain choice to drivetrain configuration.
“With a program of the scope of F-150, C3P provides massive smart-engineering efficiencies,” said Bill Osborne, director of engineering for Ford Tough Trucks. “That’s important because people buy trucks because they represent excellent value. Our engineering objective for the new F-150 has been to extend our reputation for toughness and capability while offering the kinds of upgrades and creature comforts that customers want and traditionally haven’t been able to get.”
The broad capabilities of C3P allowed Ford engineers to reduce the number of hard prototypes created during the engineering process to test new component designs. The sophisticated array of computer tools allowed engineers to build virtual prototypes of their digital designs and to “test” their function entirely in the digital environment. This cuts significant time from the development program, speeds the product to market and allows engineers to concentrate their efforts on perfecting functionality rather than testing a succession of prototype parts, as done in the past. Virtual prototyping has paid massive dividends for Ford, especially at the scale of a project like F-150.
Surgically adding value where it matters most to customers was another facet of Ford’s smart engineering approach.
“When we developed the F-150 SuperCrew in 2000, the market embraced it enthusiastically and the industry followed,” Davis said. “SuperCrew went on to play a major role in extending the appeal of the full-size pickup. As the leader, we had the customer insight to recognize the needs of the changing customer base and we added value to the F-150 accordingly. What we learned in the process is that customers want even more. The all-new F-150 is designed to give it to them.”
F-150’s finely crafted and distinctive new interior designs are a vivid example of adding value. They reflect Ford’s insight into evolving customer wants and its confidence to buck convention.
The approach to delivering distinct interior designs was inspired, in part, by smart engineering. For example, the modular architecture of the F-150’s instrument panel – a design shared across the range – is the foundation for the flexibility that makes a new F-150 Lariat or F-150 FX4 stand out so distinctively from other series derivatives.
Using this modular architecture freed designers to achieve distinct interior executions for each of the five series, using different colors, materials, textures and features while retaining the essence of the design across the range. For designers, this approach is about design coherence. For engineers, it’s smart engineering because it rationalizes the investment required for tooling and testing. For customers, it means Ford offers a pickup with distinctive F-150 Tough Truck style that fits their lifestyle.
Similar differentiation can be found on the exterior of the all-new F-150. The new exterior design is well suited to different series executions – from the basic workhorse F-150 XL to the richness of F-150 Lariat. Ford’s attention to detail in the initial design and engineering has provided the architecture for flexibility. Examples include the confident new grille design and bumper accents, which are executed differently across the series range.
Additionally, every F-150 model, regardless of trim level, incorporates a lower body feature line that serves as the point of differentiation for higher series models, allowing for two-tone paint and differing front-end treatments while retaining design coherence across the range.
Ford continues to improve its manufacturing capabilities, and has made substantial gains in the area of flexible manufacturing. The company is introducing a new flexible manufacturing capability at its three F-150 assembly plants in the United States in conjunction with the introduction of the 2004 F-150.
Ford’s Norfolk (Va.) Assembly Plant, Kansas City (Mo.) Assembly Plant and the new Dearborn (Mich.) Truck Plant will pioneer next-generation flexible manufacturing systems that are geared to producing the diverse new F-150 product range and give the Blue Oval the ability to respond to future changes in market segmentation.
Body shops in all three plants will employ an industry-first system of standardized cells or modules, all built from a select group of components. Only product-specific tooling needs to be changed or computers and robots re-programmed to launch new products.
“With increasing market segmentation, Ford’s new flexible assembly system means the company can react more quickly to shifting customer demand,” said Al Ver, vice president, Ford Advanced Manufacturing Engineering. “The company will be able to produce a wider variety of vehicles, change the mix of products and options, and change volumes – all with minimal investment and changeover loss.”
Ford’s new system standardizes the assembly process, which improves productivity through reduced changeover downtime. Standardization helps improve quality through increased repeatability. Plus, improved ease of access results in improved safety and ergonomics for operators and maintenance crews.
Flexibility in the body shop is the most important component of flexible manufacturing because of the complexity and cost of the operation. Ford’s new flexible body shop system will cost less than both traditional body shops and other flexible systems, which generally are at a premium.
The new body shop will be able to handle two distinct platforms while producing different derivatives off each platform. The lines can be configured to accommodate front-wheel-drive, rear-wheel-drive, unitized body and body-on-frame vehicles.
The same type of standardization found in the new body shops also will be employed in final assembly. Final assembly operations will have a standard sequence, with standardized workstations that can be changed or modified quickly and easily to accommodate new vehicle options or features.
Norfolk Assembly Plant is serving as the lead plant, alongside the proven pickup producer, Kansas City Assembly Plant, to begin flexible production of the 2004 F-150.
Beginning in 2004, the Ford F-150 also will be built at the new Dearborn Truck Plant now under construction at the legendary Ford Rouge Center in Dearborn, Mich. The new flagship of Ford’s lean and flexible assembly plants, it will have the capability of interchanging three vehicle architectures and producing up to nine different models, if needed.
The new assembly plant construction is the centerpiece of one of the nation’s largest industrial redevelopment projects. For more than 85 years, the Ford Rouge Center represented a key element of Henry Ford’s vision of vertical integration – a self-contained manufacturing complex, where most vehicle components were made from raw materials and assembled into a finished product.