Hooniverse at the NTEA – The New Ford F-650 with a Gas V-10

I am here in Indianapolis for the National Truck and Equipment Association (NTEA) Work Truck Show, and it’s the perfect place to measure what is a leading economic indicator within North America. I know what you’re saying; “Jim, what the hell are you talking about?” Hear me out…. Trucks move freight, is used as a tool to repair roads, helps in the building of infrastructure, and are a necessary part of commercial commerce. Without trucks, the country you know will not be as vibrant as it is today. For the past three years, truck fleets have been shrinking, and municipalities are under constant strain to replace the vehicles that are breaking down. With that in mind, this show is attracting more and more attention from the mainstream media to see if there is any good news to report about the economy. From what I saw, there is a bright future ahead, except for this Ford…..

Last evening, Ford held their unveiling of their new Ford F-650 medium duty truck with a twist…. It has a 6.8L V-10 gasoline engine. This is the first time that this engine has been applied to this particular model, but I am wondering if this is the right move at this time. With the cost of diesel fuel (hovering over $4.00 a gallon as of this writing) and the significant up-charge when selecting a diesel, this is probably the right time to introduce this type of truck.

The price point for this truck is around $8,000 less that the comparable diesel model, which uses the inline Cummins Diesel that is found under the hood of the Ram Heavy Duty Diesels. The V-10 is rated at 362 HP, but the most importantly, there is 457 Lb/Ft of torque under control of your right foot. The transmission selected is the same Ford Six-Speed Automatic found in other Super-Duty pickups, and the guys at Ford said it is up to the task of this heavy hauler.
Other changes with this truck include an all new interior, which is borrowed from the F-450 and F-550 Super Duties. This truck is available in regular cab, Super Cab (Cab & a Half), and Crew-Cab variants. This truck will be available for order this October, with deliveries reaching showrooms during the first quarter of 2012.

Am I skeptical that Ford is introducing this truck at the right time? Sure I am, but with cash strapped municipalities in need of truck replacement, and a country that is still somewhat Diesel adverse, it could be another correct move that Ford is taking advantage of. So, what do you think?

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  1. Jim-Bob Avatar

    Americans are diesel-averse when it comes to cars but not so much in regards to trucks. I think it will not sell well but I guess it is nice to have the option open. Still, I tend to think that at least a few will be bought up by over-compensating douchebags who will stick F-350 truck beds on the back so they can have a truly big truck.

  2. chrystlubitshi Avatar

    Jim– Make sure you find the Broad Ripple Brew-Pub while you're in the area. everything is great there, and they are a micro-brewery, test (taste) their wares.
    now, applying to this article… i would consider one of these in cab & a half form (or maybe crew cab) for a custom RV someday when i'm swimming in cash.. that V10 should sound mean and move too

  3. skitter Avatar

    For low mileage where it would take a long time to make back the investment, this might make sense. For high mileage, the difference between 6 and 8 mpg is a lot bigger than the difference between 16 and 18 mpg. I'd comment on the relative levels of engine stress, but both options have ridiculous power compared to the bad old days.

    1. OA5599 Avatar

      It would also make sense for truck rental. A lower cost of entry means you can afford a bigger fleet. Fuel economy is of little concern to the rental agency, since the renter pays for fuel. In a few years, the fleet gets sold off to make way for newer trucks, and while the depreciation hit might be a bit steeper than for a diesel, from an overall cost standpoint the gas engine probably gives better ROI.

      1. skitter Avatar

        U-Haul especially spins gasoline engines as an advantage.
        We don't live in an information society. We live in a marketing society.

        1. Hopman Avatar

          I get a feeling that we're going to see these in U-haul fleets as a replacement for the now-dead GMC 4500.

        2. OA5599 Avatar

          To some people, a gas-burning truck means you can go to the nearest Stop-n-rob in your new neighborhood to fill up instead of driving around trying to figure out where to buy diesel, and they are willing to pay extra for that convenience.
          <img src="http://www.wytv.com/media/lib/129/0/3/d/03df602d-08d0-475f-800e-3ee8b31519c4/Original.jpg&quot; width=500>

      2. tiberiusẅisë Avatar

        It'll also save you a fortune in repairs on diesel trucks that have been filled with gasoline.

  4. muthalovin Avatar

    I agree that truck sales are a pretty important measure of the American economy, and I also think that Ford knows its market, and knows that this will sell like hot cakes. Municipalities will want to appear to be spending their dollars wisely. This means that selecting the cheapest truck for the job, regardless of fuel efficiency.
    As an aside, it is interesting to see these number from a 6.8L V10. I do an apples to oranges comparison of a 2004 Gen 2 Lightning with a supercharged 5.4L V8, and it makes very similar numbers.

  5. ZomBee Racer Avatar

    “Jim, what the hell are you talking about?”

  6. Seth_L Avatar

    Hey Jim, any possibility you could nab some pictures on opinions on the Nissan NV vans? Or any other vans at the show?
    I'm dangerously close to losing my mind completely and buying a van to customize. And probably live in.

    1. engineerd Avatar

      Down by the river?
      I'm interested to hear the chatter on the new Nissan van myself. I am not in that market, but to see Nissan take on Ford and GM in a market they control 98% of ought to be good theater.

    2. Matt Foley Avatar
      Matt Foley

      You're going to buy a van? Well lad-de-frickin-dah!

  7. Lotte Avatar

    Hey, I've seen that steering wheel before…
    <img src="http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/vehicle-pictures/2004/ford/f-150-heritage/98114051990302-480.jpg&quot; width="300">
    Not that I'm complaining, mind you. The rest of the interior looks gorgeous, too. It looks more like it belongs in a 60's (?) american luxury car what with the chrome and looks-like-an-aluminum-cover center dash piece.

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      That's a non-airbag steering wheel, isn't it? Airbags aren't required in Class 6. Also I notice that it's the XLT trim level, but doesn't have power windows, like it would have in an F-250 or F-350.

  8. tiberiusẅisë Avatar

    Seriously? A government would save a little now but spend more in the long run?

    1. scoutdude Avatar

      They'll save money now and later with the gasser. Many smaller municipalities don't put that many miles per year on a truck like that maybe 5K per year at the most. So in 50K the extra $8K and maintenance costs won't be recouped in fuel savings.

  9. topdeadcentre Avatar

    I wonder if a stumbling block for municipal sales might be upkeep on the engine. Repair (beyond what ol' Jim can handle in the DPW shed) on a diesel truck is usually handled by contract with a truck garage. The garages compete on price, and generally do good enough work to keep the trucks on the road. At least in the Northeast US, while they may sell the police cars after five years on the job, it seems like DPW trucks are generally driven until there aren't any useful pieces left after cannibalizing the non-running ones for parts.
    Repair for an oddball V10 gas engine truck might need to be handled by the truck dealership, which means more money for the dealer, but possibly significantly higher repair cost than going to the non-dealership garages.

  10. GTXEliminator Avatar

    Sterling was sold off to Daimler some years ago. The Ford medium duty trucks are currently re-branded Internationals.

  11. tonyola Avatar

    The Sterling brand has faded away as of 2010 since Freightliner is no longer building the old Ford designs. The Sterling name was even used for a while on a badge-engineered Dodge Ram truck.
    <img src="http://www.mrtruck.net/08pic/08sterling.jpg&quot; width="500/">

  12. Jim Brennan Avatar
    Jim Brennan

    To everyone above – I will be doing a posting on the Nissan NV Vans later this week. What I plan on posting is the following:
    – Isuzu has re-introduced the gasoline version of their cab-forward truck
    – Isuzu has also introduced a Step-Van in conjunction with Utilimaster
    – Hino has just introduced their new Low Cab Forward Hybrid Trucks, engineered for North America.
    – Mitsubishi Fuso introduced a new line of Cab Forward Trucks with a new "Automated Manual" Dual Clutch transmission.
    – Staples (The Office Supply Chain) has ordered a fleet of Smith Electric Trucks for Urban Areas
    – Freightliner introduced their new 112 SD models for Vocational Markets.
    – Ford has several options for Natural Gas and Electrified commercial vehicles with a Gas/Hybrid Chassis on display
    – I will be driving several of these vehicles in the next couple of days as well
    I hope I have enough time to do all of these postings. By the way, other authors will handle the Wagon Wednesday and Fastback Friday postings this week.

  13. ptschett Avatar

    For perspective, that Ford has probably more than 100 additional HP and torques compared to the 413 in our '69 Dodge C700. And that Dodge (pictured) was a single-axle semi for most of its years, though now it's a dump truck. (I guess you could say it's semi-retired.)
    There are reasons we don't have gasburning trucks much anymore; diesels get more out of a gallon of fuel, they tend to last longer and they tend to need less upkeep. As a semi our Dodge got 4 MPG, loaded or empty didn't make much difference; and I think the 413 is its 2nd engine if not the 3rd. The tach was helpfully marked with its power band of 2500-4000 RPM, and woe unto you if you had a load, upshifted too early (because 3800 RPM sounded like too much) and found yourself at 2300 RPM in the new gear.
    <img src="http://i847.photobucket.com/albums/ab40/ptschett/Dodge Dakota/DSC01310.jpg" width="500">