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Ford Motor Co. will offer a diesel F-150 for the first time ever this spring.

The automaker announced the option for a new 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel engine Monday ahead of the North American International Auto Show. In a Detroit show that’s expected to be packed with new pickup news, a move by Ford to bolster offerings in its pickup lineup could help the company clinch more of an increasingly competitive market.

Ford finished 2017 having sold 896,764 F-Series pickups, marking the 41st consecutive year the Dearborn-based automaker could claim the title of best-selling vehicle in the United States.

The 250-horsepower V-6 engine diesel that offers 440 pound-feet of torque will be the sixth engine choice for the F-150. Ford management in October said it would work to cut back the number of options on the Blue Oval’s vehicles. But U.S. customers apparently can’t have too many options for trucks.

“We really have the landscape cornered,” said Todd Eckert, Ford truck marketing manager. “It’s really about choice for customers.”

The new engine shares technology with the larger Super Duty’s existing 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel. It targets a small piece of the pickup market, but any gains in market share are valuable in pickups.

Eckert said Ford is targeting truck customers who need more power for towing. Delivering an estimated 30 miles per gallon, the F-150 with the Power Stroke diesel can tow 11,400 pounds with a 2,020-pound payload capacity.

The engine will be available to retail customers in both the 4x2 and 4x4 variations of the 2018 Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum edition SuperCrew F-150s. Fleet customers can order the engine on all trim levels with SuperCrew 51/2-foot or 61/2-foot beds, or the SuperCab with a 61/2-foot bed. The engine will cost between $3,000 to $4,000 more than standard engines on those vehicles.

Ford will begin taking orders for the new engine configuration in mid-January.

Prices will range from around $28,600 to nearly $64,000 for the upper-trim levels. The current model starts at $28,025 for a base XL and tops out at over $64,000 in Platinum trim with all the goodies.

The F-150 is built in Dearborn, Louisville and Kansas City, Missouri.

Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau

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