Ford Motor Co. plans to offer a peek at its 2015 F-150 pickup truck at the Detroit auto show next month, the latest example of attempted one-upmanship in the highly competitive American truck market.
The teaser for the next generation F-150 takes direct aim at General Motors, two people familiar with Ford’s plans told Reuters. GM’s new trucks, which the automaker unveiled this week, are its most crucial launches since its bankruptcy restructuring in 2009.
GM’s redesign, shown to reporters and analysts on Thursday, were “evolutionary, not revolutionary,” said Barclays Capital analyst Brian Johnson in a research note today, echoing a sentiment expressed by several other analysts. This provides an opening for Ford to seize attention from GM’s lineup during the Detroit show, one of the industry’s most anticipated events of the year.
Ford, which declined to confirm its plans to show the truck, aims to launch the 2015 F-150 in the fall of 2014. GM will introduce its new trucks, the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, in the second quarter of 2013.
The two largest American automakers are fierce competitors in the full-size pickup segment, which accounts for about 11 percent of the U.S. auto market. But in their latest redesigns, the two U.S. rivals have diverged in their focus, with Ford placing more emphasis on fuel economy.
In his note, Johnson said GM’s new trucks will make the company more competitive in the pickup truck market and narrow the gap with Ford on prices. But “they will not displace Ford as leader in the highly profitable U.S. full-size pickup segment, unless Ford misfires on quality in its 2014 F-150 relaunch,” he added.