Detroit — Ford Motor Co. executive chairman Bill Ford Jr. says the Dearborn automaker will launch production of the F-150 in the fourth quarter this year.
"A lot of people are surprised we took such a big step with this product. I think people probably thought, 'Well, you're the leader already — you're going to play it safe with the new truck. We are not playing it safe. We are adding lots of new features to the vehicle. The market's never seen a vehicle like this," Ford told reporters at Joe Louis Arena after the truck was unveiled.
"I think the bigger risk is if you stand pat. We know our customers really well. We've done a lot of research and we know what they are looking for and this truck gives it to them."
Ford said the company isn't putting out any sales targets for the new aluminum F-150 that will be as much as 700 pounds lighter as the current truck, which has been the best selling truck for more than 30 years. He declined to say if the new truck will get 30 miles per gallon. He said production will begin in the fourth quarter. "It's a staggered launch," Ford said.
Ford said he was pleased that Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally had put the Microsoft speculation behind him.
"Alan's obviously done a great job and we're thrilled that he's here and that we also have speculation off the table. This is a whole team effort," Ford said.