Interview with Todd Eckert, Ford Trucks Marketing Manager
PickupTruck.com interviewed Todd Eckert, Ford Trucks Marketing Manager, about the introduction off the new F-450 Super Duty and what it means to the heavy duty pickup market.
PickupTruck.com: Todd, thanks for taking the time to talk with PickupTruck.com today. Let’s discuss the new 2008 Ford F-450 Super Duty. Can you give us an overview?
Todd Eckert: The F-450 is new in our (Super Duty) lineup, (previously) it’s been just a chassis cab. Now, for the first time for the retail market we’re introducing the F-450 with a pickup box. The reason for this is simple – our consumer demands it, because it will provide over 24,000 pounds towing and over 6,000 pounds of payload capacity. Really, when you think about it, that’s a lot. It’s over 12 tons of towing capacity!
You might ask, why would we do that? Well, the bottom line is that when you look at the recreational vehicle (RV) market and you look at horse trailers these days, they keep getting bigger and bigger. You’re seeing RVs that have countertops made of granite, so those things are also getting heavier and our consumers are demanding the capability to tow them – thus the F-450 pickup.
So, we’re very excited about it. In addition, when you talk about trucks from Ford, and specifically the Super Duty, we typically talk about the three Ps: Presence, Power, and Package and then a variety of other things that go along with that like capability.
In terms of presence, on the new Super Duty we’ve done a variety of things. The hood and front end are all new. The grille is raised and stronger from an overall powerdome view. Also, the grille has gotten larger and you’ll see in a number of places we’ve stamped Super Duty at the top so that you won’t miss where you’re at or what’s coming at you. The grille is much more muscular.
The key to all these design improvements we’ve made on the Super Duty is not only do they look great, and tough, but they also have a functional purpose. The grille is larger because it allows more air to get into the engine compartment to cool that engine. We have an all new 6.4-liter diesel engine that we’ll talk about later. And, there’s a different stack for the headlamps and a clearly stronger looking front end.
PUTC: Is the plan to make the F-450 only available with a diesel?
Eckert: Yes, the F-450 pickup truck only has the diesel engine and it’s only available in a crew cab with an 8-foot box. Those are some of the restrictions on the F-450 but ultimately it’s because we know our buyers are looking for the absolute top-end of capability.
PUTC: Talk a little about the stricter emissions requirements this year and what changes you needed to make to the Power Stroke (diesel) to accommodate them, and how you plan to handle even stricter emissions requirements in the future. How are you going to manage the pricing of these diesels as it increases costs to meet emissions requirements?
Eckert: Basically what we’ve done in our Super Duty, remembering one of the Ps is Power, is offer an all new 6.4-liter Power Stroke Diesel engine. It’s a turbo diesel engine. Not a twin turbo, but dual sequential turbos. The purpose for that is its new technology and we think important because the key is getting that heavy load or whatever you’re towing moving from a dead stop. So, there’s a smaller turbo that starts the process at very low RPMs. Once it’s spooled up and you’re at higher and more mid-level RPMs, the second turbo kicks in as well, so they’re both working together and then the final one takes you at the highest RPMs. It will deliver 650 lb-feet of torque. The key to that is at 2,000 RPM is where the torque peak comes in, so it’s very low on the torque curve.
When it comes to emissions we’ve added extra (particulate) filters to the engine and increased the engine temperatures. We add a filter to the front end and all the way back to the exhaust on the back end. The higher temperatures help burn off particulates that would have been out in the air and the filters catch the rest, so there’s ultimately a 90 to 95% reduction in particulate emissions.