General Motors enjoyed its 15 minutes of fame this week with the reveal of the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500, but it may not be basking in the limelight for long. Reuters is reporting that Ford is expected to show a concept version of its 2015 F-150 at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show in January, a mere month after the unveiling of the GM twins. Although it may just seem like opportunistic showmanship on Ford’s part, considering the current-generation F-150 debuted for the 2009 model year, with all-new engines and other enhancements for its mid-cycle refresh in 2011, the 2015 model year would be a rational timeframe for an all-new truck.
But the Detroit reveal of the concept does not necessarily mean imminent arrival in the showroom, as the 2015 F-150 isn’t expected in production form until Fall 2014. The 2014 Silverado and Sierra are expected to be available in the second quarter of 2013. Fullsize trucks are major profit-centers for all of the domestic manufacturers, and all want to demonstrate leadership in the critical segment.
The main area that has become the focus in the half-ton segment is fuel economy, with the Ram 1500 equipped with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and eight-speed automatic achieving 25 mpg highway. The most-efficient F-150 equipped with the base 3.7-liter V-6 can get up to 23 mpg highway. Ford has reportedly set an ambitious 15 to 20-percent fuel economy improvement target for the next-generation F-150 models, which will be achieved with extensive use of aluminum, and a new generation of V-6 engines, reportedly dubbed the “Nano” family, in the 2.7 to 2.9-liter displacement range. Like Land Rover achieved with the 2013 Range Rover, Ford is aiming to cut up to 700 lb or more from the next-generation trucks.