Top 10 News Stories of 2007
By: Mike Levine Posted:
12-27-07 02:39 PT
© 2007 PickupTruck.com
  
|Lincoln Kills the Mark LT
father, like son
sales and marketing strategy for the Lincoln Mark LT never set
Mark LT was more mainstream and acceptable to truck drivers than
Lincoln’s previous attempt at a luxury
pickup, the Blackwood, but Ford’s own King Ranch and Lariat
Limited Edition F-Series trucks still outclassed the Lincoln pickup.
A chrome grille, big shiny wheels, and blinged-out rocker panels
justify the truck’s $43,000 base price to attract enough
Look for the 2009 Ford F-150 to reach the prestigious heights that
Lincoln had hoped to attain when Ford rolls out its high-end 'Platinum'
trim package, which we've glimpsed in spy photos (see #6).
Advanced Full Size Truck Powertrains
General Motors breaks technical barriers
with its light duty diesel and hybrid powertrains
other companies focused on bringing alt-fuel engines to passenger
cars, GM turned its attention to full size trucks and announced
two new green drivetrains that look to be winners on paper.
GM’s 4.5-liter V8 Duramax light duty diesel was designed entirely in-house
and represents a radical new approach to compression ignition engine architecture.
The ‘baby’ Duramax reverses the intake and exhaust relative to a
conventional diesel. In the 4.5-liter Duramax fresh air enters the cylinders
from the outer edges of the cylinder heads while exhaust gases are dumped out
between the cylinder heads and directly into a turbocharger. The breakthrough
design eliminates the intake and exhaust manifolds and other related components
- saving weight, reducing size and lowering costs by up to $600 per engine. GM
promises power ratings for the 4.5-liter Duramax will be over 310-horsepower
and 520 pound-feet of torque. And Automotive News says fuel economy will be close
to 30-mpg on the highway for 2WD models.
GM teamed up with Chrysler, BMW, and Daimler to develop its new Two-Mode Hybrid
powertrain for the 2009 Chevrolet Silverado. It’s expected to be the most
fuel efficient full size pickup on the market when it goes on sale in late 2008.
GM is already boasting improvements up to 25% in combined fuel economy, 40% in
the city driving, and a driving range over 500-miles compared to GM’s 5.3-liter
conventional V8 gas engine. The Two-Mode system provides all-electric driving
at low speeds and supplements the 6.0-liter gas V8 at midrange and highway speeds.
It’s rated to tow up to 6,100-pounds. A brief drive during the summer in
a Two-Mode Chevrolet Tahoe was enough to convince that the system is technically
slick and well integrated.
The biggest question for both powertrains will be whether buyers will step up
and pay a cost premium over conventional gas engines to realize the benefits
of being green.
|Ford and Navistar Fight Each Other in Court
once friendly and mutually beneficial partnership is forever tainted
bitter dispute between Ford Motor Company and Navistar International
came to light publicly in January when Ford filed a lawsuit against
Navistar and withheld a $160-million payment for Power Stroke diesel
engines. Ford's court papers said Navistar unjustifiably
raised engine prices and hadn't paid its share of warranty
claims for repairs to legacy 6.0-liter V8 Power Strokes.
In response to Ford's legal actions Navistar stopped shipping new
6.4-liter V8 Power Stroke engines for use in Ford’s 2008
Super Duty pickups. Navistar also filed a $2-billion countersuit,
claiming Ford was developing a new, in-house 4.4-liter diesel engine
for use in its light duty F-150 pickup by 2010. An in-house built
diesel would violate Ford’s supply agreement with Navistar,
which runs through 2012.
A judge forced Navistar to resume Power Stroke shipments, after production had
been halted for several weeks, and ordered Ford to immediately pay Navistar $80-million.
Ford also agreed to pay Navistar's full price for each 6.4-liter Power Stroke
engine until the dispute is finally settled.
It's likely we'll never see another Navistar-sourced diesel engine
under the hood of a Ford truck after this generation of Power Strokes runs its
course. Our sources say Ford is heavily considering Caterpillar for the replacement.