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Ford Motor Co. is looking to raise the bar when it comes to the growing, profitable luxury pickup market.

The Dearborn automaker on Tuesday announced the return of the F-150 Limited — the most-recent top-end version of its popular full-size pickup.

The truck, which the company touts as its “most advanced and luxurious truck ever,” features additional chrome exterior features, upgraded leather interior and a host of special “Limited” badging and technology features.

“The F-150 Limited sets a new bar for what discerning customers should expect in a high-end truck,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “We’re adding segment-exclusive technology, and features that improve productivity, convenience and capability with distinctive style.”

The 2016 F-150 Limited is expected to arrive in dealerships this winter. Pricing was not announced, but likely will top $51,585 — the starting price of the top-end F-150 Platinum.

Ford first introduced a F-150 Limited model for the 2013 model year.

“F-150 Limited surpasses the well-appointed Lariat, the Western-themed King Ranch and contemporary Platinum edition models,” Ford said in a release.

Industry analysts say the market for high-end pickups in the U.S. hasn’t topped-out, even though average transaction price for large pickups, including full-size and heavy-duty models, increased 37.4 percent in the last decade to $42,103 in 2014, according to auto research and pricing website Edmunds.com.

Without adjusting for inflation, that’s nearly $10,000 more than the industry average last year, $16,500 more than a mid-size car and the highest growth of any mainstream segment in the U.S. since 2004.

“I don’t think we’ve hit the ceiling on trucks,” said Edmunds.com senior analyst Jessica Caldwell. “The demand keeps growing for more expensive vehicles. There is definitely a status symbol of having the top-of-the-line Silverado or F-150.”

Pickups, which a decade ago often were no-frills and typically had fewer safety features than SUVs or cars, are now increasingly being used for other purposes as well as for work trucks. These more expensive vehicles are among the highest profit products for Detroit’s Big Three automakers.

“It isn’t something that’s a basic mode of transportation anymore,” said Caldwell, who expects pickup prices to continue to grow. “It’s definitely more of a symbol or statement of how well your business is doing, in the case of small business owners.”

The F-150 Limited comes months after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV announced its redesigned luxury 2015 Ram 1500 Laramie Limited starting at about $51,000. General Motors Co. also has its high-end Chevrolet Silverado High Country and GMC Sierra Denali ,which both start at nearly $50,000.

The Limited comes standard with adaptive cruise control, active park assist, 360-degree camera system and remote tailgate release.

The pickup also features the automaker’s new SYNC3 with AppLink infotainment system and 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine, which produces 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque.

mwayland@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2504

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