The 2015 F-150 is due to be with US dealers from December

The 2015 F-150 is due to be with US dealers from December

Due to Dearborn Truck having been closed in the late summer in preparation to begin making the new F-150, the company's plants which build the F-Series range built just 63,002 trucks last month. This compares to 93,111 in October 2013.

Project P552, the new F-150, is crucial to Ford's US sales. F-Series registrations for last month were 63,410 units compared to 63,803 during the same month of 2013. For the year to date, F-Series sales are 620,447 (623,309). This includes heavy duty versions as well as the F-150 and the recent dip is due to the main production plant being down for the whole of September for the shift to the new 2015MY F-150. FCA in particular took advantage of this, with the Ram 1500 having a big sales month in October.

Dearborn Truck, the plant which had been closed for a refit, built 2,688 units of the F-150 in October, Ford's own production data show. By way of comparison, the high point of 2014 was the month of July, when 35,809 F-150s rolled off the line, with 34,922 in August. This fell to 25,729 in August as the plant wound down for its temporary closure.

Kansas City Truck, by contrast, has had a steady 2014 for F-150 production. In October, it made 30,513 units of the vehicle, just slightly fewer than the previous best month (30,618 in March). Ford took the decision to refit one plant at a time, so Kansas City will not switch over to making the newer, lighter model until 2015.

The Super Duty range is built at Kentucky Truck. It continues to make the heavier and pricier F-Series models, with 29,783 manufactured there in October, which was a new record for 2014.

Five primary trims will be offered for the 2015MY F-150: XL, XLT, Lariat, Platinum and King Ranch. Chrome appearance packages will be available with XL, XLT, Lariat and King Ranch. Monochromatic sport appearance packages will be available for XL, XLT and Lariat.

Aluminium is used for the body-in-white, pickup bed and most exterior panels, though the frame is steel. The bed is aluminium for all F-150s but will be steel for the next range of Super Duty trucks. Ford claims 27kg has been saved in the frame and an average 320kg in the vehicle overall, compared to the outgoing 2014MY F-150.

There are four engine choices: a new 325hp 2.7-litre EcoBoost V6 with standard start-stop, a 283hp 3.5-litre V6 with twin independent variable camshaft timing, a 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 and a 5.0-litre Ti-VCT V8. F-150s equipped with EcoBoost engines have standard Active Grille Shutters. These stay open when extra engine cooling is needed, such as during low-speed stop-and-go driving or while working in hot weather. They automatically close to reduce aerodynamic drag at cruising speed.

In March 2014, Ford stated that the 2.7 EcoBoost would be made at Lima Engine Plant, alongside the 3.5-litre and 3.7-litre Duratec V6 engines. The latter two are fitted to multiple Ford vehicles including Edge and Explorer utilities, as well as the Lincoln MKX crossover, MKT utility and MKZ sedan.

Super Duty versions of the next F Series should follow for North America's 2016 model year. There may also be four-cylinder EcoBoost F-150s added for the 2016 model year.

As well as the F-150 and future Super Duty trucks, the new P3 architecture will underpin a variety of other models due to be launched later this decade. 

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