Liner Notes: All About Ford's New Factory Spray-In Bedliner
By: Mike Levine Posted: 02-19-08 00:12 PT
© 2008

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Ford Motor Company will become the second truck manufacturer to add the option of a factory applied spray-in bedliner - used to protect a pickup's cargo box from wear and tear. Called 'Tough Bed', the durable coating will be offered exclusively on Ford's 2009 F-Series Super Duty pickups built at its Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, KY.

Nissan was the first OEM to offer a factory spray-in liner, when the company introduced its 'Durabed' sprayable bedliner as an option for the 2004 Titan full size pickup.

Tough Bed debuted quietly at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show, on a Super Duty in the company's display area. Ford will market Tough Bed as an alternative to conventional, thermoformed drop-in plastic bedliners and similar aftermarket box coatings from companies like LINE-X and Rhino Linings.

Financially challenged Ford will also gain another new revenue source from Tough Bed installations, although final pricing hasn't been announced yet. According to a June 2005 report by research firm Boston Analytics, spray-in bed liner installations have been growing at 14% per year versus 1% per year for drop-ins. Drop-ins have long been a dealer-installed Ford accessory.

Last year we had a LINE-X bedliner sprayed in the back of a 2008 Ford Super Duty. A comparison between Tough Bed and LINE-X reveals the following similarities and differences:

  • Tough Bed will be applied robotically at the factory while LINE-X is applied manually by a trained technician at a local LINE-X franchise.

  • Tough Bed is the first spray-in bedliner backed by Ford. It will be covered under the truck's new vehicle limited warranty - three years or 36,000-miles. LINE-X offers a lifetime warranty to the original purchaser.

  • Tough Bed has been developed by Ford in partnership with chemical and paint manufacturer PPG, the same supplier for Nissan's Durabed spray-in bedliner. LINE-X has teamed up with Dupont.

  • Tough Bed is an aliphatic material - meaning its chemical bonds are open-chained or linear. This gives Tough Bed a high ultraviolet (UV) resistance to fading and chalking. LINE-X is an aromatic material - its chemical bonds form a ringed structure, giving it a higher cross-linking density than an equivalent aliphatic product - with an aliphatic top coat. Ford expects Tough Bed to maintain its original color saturation longer than aftermarket coatings.

  • Tough Bed will only be offered in black. LINE-X can be color matched to almost any color truck.

  • Ford and LINE-X both claim the spray-in liner improves a truck's resale value. According to the latest National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) Official Used Car Appraisal Guide, a LINE-X Spray-On Bedliner can add almost $200 in value to a truck at sale or trade-in time.

  • Ford and LINE-X both claim their spray-in liners are tough enough for military-grade usage scenarios.

Ford hasn't said when Tough Bed will be available for the F-150.

It will be interesting to see how quickly Ford truck owners adopt Tough Bed over LINE-X and other aftermarket spray-in liners. And it probably won't be long before we see General Motors, Chrysler, or Toyota also start to offer their own factory spray-in bedliners for their pickups too.

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