One of the few new or updated vehicles that will be displayed this week at Detroit’s major auto show is the vehicle that sells the most in America, and it will get a slight facelift next year.
In a ceremony held close to Huntington Place, the convention facility that will host the North American International Auto Show beginning with media day on Wednesday, Ford debuted the most recent iteration of the F-150 pickup truck on Tuesday evening.
Only four new or updated vehicles, including models from General Motors’ GMC and Cadillac brands and Stellantis’ Jeep off-road brand, will be unveiled during the exhibition.
That is much less than the 40 or 50 new models that were frequently introduced when the show was at its height.
Automakers have been avoiding car shows as their preferred venues to introduce new vehicles over the last four or five years. Instead, they are choosing to post them online, where they may be seen by more people for less money and at different times.
A new contract agreement between Detroit automakers and the United Auto Workers union appears to be far from being reached before a deadline on Thursday night.
Instead, the Detroit exhibition will place more of an emphasis on consumer experiences, such as a track for electric vehicles indoors and ride-and-drives on public streets.
Tesla, which has been missing from the exhibition for years, will make a floor display appearance on those occasions.
Along with new features, the F-150 will get a new front grille, headlamps in a dark tone, and some new vents. Ford will no longer use a 3.3-liter V6 engine as the standard engine.
The company’s more potent 325-horsepower 2.7-liter twin-turbocharger V6 will now come standard on even the base XL trim line.
Other engines are still running. A 12-inch touchscreen is now standard on all versions, and the interior has been updated.
The same exterior updates will also be made to gas-electric hybrids, which Ford claims account for 10% of all F-150 sales.
Additionally, there will be a smoother transition between fuel and electricity.
The “Pro Access Tailgate,” which Ford refers to as its coolest feature, can swing open like a door for loading and unloading even when pulling a trailer.
To avoid hitting portions of a trailer, the door swings wide to a maximum of 100 degrees for loading heavier things and stops at 37 degrees otherwise.
Of course, the hitch will also collapse completely. The function is not available on less expensive cars and is optional on all but the top trim lines.
Additionally, the 5 1/2 and 6 1/2 foot beds come with a tiny storage box in the back as standard equipment.
Milton Wong, the chief engineer, says testing is still ongoing, but despite the 2024 model’s reduced emissions, he doesn’t anticipate an increase in the F-150’s fuel efficiency over the 2023 vehicles.
Engineers will recalibrate the engines, transmissions, and exhaust systems to comply with upcoming government gas mileage and pollution standards, he said.
Currently, a 2.7-liter engine in a two-wheel-drive F-150 achieves 26 miles per gallon on the interstate.
There has been a trend in the industry to get numerous product cycles without significant changes, and the F-150 has undergone two updates without fundamentally altering the truck.
Previously, vehicles would receive new chassis every four to five years, but automakers have been saving money so they can afford to create and assemble electric vehicles.
According to Wong, the present F-150 chassis is quite capable, and utilizing it frequently frees engineers to focus on developing technology to make towing simpler or supply electricity at construction sites.
According to Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst with Guidehouse Insights, “the majority of these platforms are so good that completely engineering them from scratch every four years doesn’t make any sense.”
It makes sense to keep older internal combustion vehicles on the road longer given that automakers are spending billions to develop and produce electric vehicles, he said.
Additionally, most analysts predict that sales of electric vehicles will increase at the expense of models fueled by gasoline.
You may not get a significant return on investment if you invest a lot of money in platforms for internal combustion engines, according to Abuelsamid.
Next year, the new F-150 will be offered for sale in the US with a starting MSRP of $35,570 before shipping. That is roughly $1,700 more than the base model as it is now.