Ford reveals aluminum-body Super Duty

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. on Thursday will introduce a completely redesigned Super Duty heavy-duty pickup that has an aluminum body, stronger steel frame and larger cabins.

It’s the first major update since the Super Duty’s introduction in 1999, and Ford executives say it’s more revolutionary than the smaller F-150’s switch to aluminum in 2015.

“It’s the leader in the market,” said Craig Schmatz, Super Duty’s chief engineer. “It was a huge opportunity to take a significant step forward.”

The reveal is scheduled to take place at the State Fair of Texas. An unveiling will happen at the same time for employees in Dearborn.

Through the first six months of the year, Super Duty sales represented 43 percent of the heavy-duty segment. The current version includes best-in-class horsepower, fuel economy and towing, but Doug Scott, Ford’s truck marketing manager, said the team needed to “improve the productivity of the Super Duty.”

The truck is 350 pounds lighter than the current steel-body truck. The weight savings from the switch to a military-grade aluminum body was greater than 350 pounds, Ford said, but it took advantage of the weight savings to make the steel frame stronger and making the axles, springs and suspension beefier.

The new Super Duty has a redesigned front end that sets it apart from its smaller F-150 counterpart and includes custom grilles for four of its five trim levels — XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum.

The steel frame for the first time is fully boxed and includes six crossbeams that makes it 24 times stiffer than the old frame, Ford says.

The Super Duty’s three cab sizes are all larger. The Regular Cab was extended by three inches, the Crew Cab was extended by four inches and the Super Cab was extended by six inches. The interior includes two locking glove boxes and a center console redesigned with more storage room and spots for four cup-holders.

The truck includes Ford’s latest technology, including the Sync 3 infotainment system, seven cameras that can help with trailering, and safety features like brake assist, blind spot information and lane departure warning.

There are three engine options: 6.2-liter V8 gasoline, 6.8-liter V10 gasoline or 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 diesel.

Pricing or powertrain numbers were not released. The truck will go on sale in the fourth quarter of 2016 as a 2017 model-year vehicle, Scott said. It will be built at Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant.