Ford and General Motors upgrade heavy-duty pick-up pick-up machines

Ford and General Motors upgrade heavy-duty pick-up pick-up machines

Written by Joseph White

DETROIT (Reuters) – Ford Motor Company (NYSE) on Tuesday unveiled the latest version of its Super Duty pickup truck, providing a look at how the US automaker is managing one of Detroit’s biggest challenges.

The problem: How to modernize the biggest combustion trucks to keep demand strong and profits flowing, without overinvesting at a time when automakers need to spend on developing electric vehicles and battery plants.

At Ford, many of the latest things about the new Super Duty are connected to the connectivity and business productivity programs that Ford hopes will generate revenue over the life of the vehicle. Ford CEO Jim Farley has stressed the importance of software-enabled features and is hiring more executives with experience in digital commerce.

Ford will install 5G modems in 2023 Super Duty trucks to enable services such as driver behavior monitoring and digital paperwork systems for fleet operators. The dashboards have been reprogrammed to make it easier for companies that install specialized equipment such as lift arms to connect their equipment controls to truck displays. Onboard scales will measure payloads and the new Super Duties will have more power sockets.

Super Duty, rival General Motors’ (NYSE:) Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD heavy-duty pickup and heavy-duty versions of Stellantis NV’s Ram Pickup are among the most profitable vehicles sold today by the three Detroit automakers, or any competitor. .

Ford said the Super Duty franchise generates “more revenue than many Fortune 500 companies, including Southwest Airlines (NYSE :)), Marriott International (NASDAQ 🙂 or Nordstrom (NYSE :).” Southwest reported revenue of $15.8 billion for 2021.

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Powered by large diesel or petrol engines, Super Duty prices start at $41,240, but can go up to over $100,000 for a fully loaded model.

Heavy duty pickup trucks like Super Duty and Silverado HD do dirty work on oil fields and construction sites. But many are sold to individuals who use them to tow large trailers, and want the same connectivity and convenience features they expect in a luxury SUV.

Currently, battery electric powertrains cannot provide the same towing capacity and driving range of heavy-duty trucks as combustion power plants. Both Ford and GM are upgrading existing engines and transmissions, but they aren’t investing what it takes to develop new powertrains from scratch.

Ford on Tuesday unveiled the latest generation of the Super Duty V8 Churchill Downs (NASDAQ: A racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky, not far from the factory where most Super Duty trucks are made.

Ford said Tuesday it will spend $700 million to modernize its Kentucky Truck plant, and expects to hire another 500 workers at the plant to support Super Duty production.

The day before Ford’s Super Duty was revealed, Chevrolet outlined a list of improvements to its heavy-duty Silverado HD pickup line, which track Super Duty in sales.

Chevrolet said it will now only offer a 10-speed automatic transmission on Silverado heavy duty trucks. The 6.6-liter diesel gets more horsepower and torque, and certain models get upgraded interiors with larger displays.

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