Customers waiting for the 2017 Ford F-150 pickup or Raptor performance truck like I am driving this week, with a new 10-speed transmission and second-generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, could be driving their new trucks soon.
Ford has delivered more than 7,500 trucks to dealerships around the country for several weeks now, after holding vehicles for extra quality tests that the company says are part of its normal launch ramp-up. This is a practice called “build and hold” which Ford started back in the days I was the Ford National Dealer Council President.
There are still about 7,500 trucks to undergo further testing before being loaded up.
Ford began delivering 2017 non-10-speed F-150s back in October, but the first trucks with the new 10-speed transmission and new second-generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine began shipping in late November according to dealers.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the shipments were delayed as Ford worked out an undisclosed issue with the new gearboxes, but went on to say in the article it had since been resolved. I have not been able to verify with anyone there was an actual issue.
“Launches are complex, and every one of them presents different challenges and opportunities,” Ford said in a statement. “Our process is to work through any issues and ensure that our customers receive a quality vehicle.”
Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas, told Reuters last week that Ford was “holding trucks longer so we could do more testing and make sure everything is right before we release them.” Over my years with Ford, they were very cautious to make sure the F-150 come out functioning properly since it is it’s most popular and profitable vehicle.
In checking with Ford dealers in Dallas and Houston, TX, I was told the 10-speed equipped trucks had just started to arrive as of last week.
The transmission, jointly developed with General Motors, features optimized gear spacing for improved acceleration and towing and uses steel, aluminum and other composites to save weight.