So, with the new Power Stroke, it’s roughly about a $1,500 increase
in cost to meet emissions regulations over the engine this replaces?
Yes, exactly. And when we talk to diesel customers, this is a big issue
for us because we want to make sure we continue to deliver things like
Ford’s clean diesel technology but at the same time Super Duty and
F-Series is all about being a value oriented product and to provide choice.
So, in the F-250 and F-350 we still have two gasoline engines as well,
plus the diesel, and lot of other choices to appeal to buyers. We expect
this new Super Duty to do very well with all buyers.
Is the new engine available in all 50 states with the 6-speed automatic?
Yes, it’s meets the emissions requirements for all 50 states with
the new 6-speed automatic.
What about fuel economy, with the additional filters and changes, are
you seeing much of a drop?
I think with fuel economy we are a little bit less than what we would
typically see in the previous diesels. But, at the same time, we know
diesel engines are about 25 to 30% more fuel efficient than gas engines.
So, still from that standpoint, we’re very strong from a fuel economy
perspective. The difficult part in the over 8,500 pound market is it’s
very hard to peg a number for fuel economy because it’s really about
how consumers use the truck. Those owners that are using these trucks
heavily for towing and pulling large loads, well that has a pretty big
impact on their fuel economy.
Can you talk about the interior changes we’re seeing in the 2008
Eckert: Yeah, really it’s an all new interior for us, which is
huge. I think that when consumers see it they’ll be pleasantly surprised
because the comment we hear most often, when we take it to shows and events
is that consumers say, wow, I never would have expected this in my F-450
truck. The entire interior has been reengineered. Much more in line with
the very well received interior we have in the F-150. It also has larger
knobs and grab handles because we know people are going to be getting
in and out of the trucks with gloves on, so we made sure the interior
also met this requirement. The bottom line is we know one of the major
trends in the market for over 8,500 (pound) buyers is more and more time
in their cab. And, especially in this market, these buyers are spending
lots of time in these trucks because they are away from home and this
becomes their office. When they’re out there at the construction
site they’re doing a lot of work from their truck and so it needs
to be an interior that’s comfortable.
How long do you think it will be before we see Nissan or Toyota jump into
the heavy duty pickup truck market?
Well, we can’t make any predictions about this. That’s a question
you’d have to ask Toyota or Nissan. We know that with our install
base, with F-150 and Super Duty and the over 8.500 (pound) market, that
this is a segment we’ve always been in. We enjoy our customers.
They’ve always been very loyal to us and we very much appreciate
that. I don’t know what the competition might do. All we can do
is concentrate on continuing to meet the needs of our consumers. I think
we’ve done that with this truck. And we intend to keep our lead
in full size trucks in every segment of the market. We’ve held the
number one position in sales for 30 years and we’re making a commitment
to maintaining this leadership going forward.
Todd, thanks so much for your time. We really appreciate you walking us
around the new Super Duty F-450.
Thanks for your time too, to learn about our new truck.