Turbocharging and supercharging has increased in prevalence dramatically recently. Hyundai ditched six-cylinder power in its mid-size Sonata and many other automakers are following suit. As far as a company who has spearheaded this change though, we’d have to give it to Ford.
It has given a catchy marketing name to something that has real results; increased power with improved fuel economy. Beginning in models like the Ford Taurus SHO and Lincoln MKT, Ford has steadily expanded EcoBoost availability across the lineup. Look for more of it to continue in the future. The one dud has been the four-cylinder in the Explorer. Really guys, what’s the point of that? We thought that was pretty much DOA.
When Ford announced the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 for the F-150, many in the industry were similarly skeptical though. How were truck buyers going to take to this? They seem to be a more traditional bunch that is more likely to go with naturally-aspirated V-6 and V-8 engines. Ford’s strategy of proving engine durability (Baja 1000 anyone?) and marketing has paid off. Ford is reporting that over 100,000 EcoBoost F-150’s have been sold in 2011, just as it projected. The EcoBoost model has been on the market since February of this year.
The 100,000 milestone was crossed last Wednesday. As it has done with other models, Ford has positioned EcoBoost as an upmarket offering. It commands an $895 premium over the 5.0-liter V-8 equipped F-150. The EcoBoost has accounted for 40 percent of F-150 sales. Overall take rate for V-6 engines has increased by 50 percent for 2011, meaning the 3.7-liter naturally-aspirated V-6 isn’t doing too bad for itself either.
In fact, Doug Scott, group marketing manager for the F-Series trucks, says that the last time Ford sold as many V-6 trucks was in 1985. Increased sales of more efficient six-cylinders means some nice improvements to Ford’s CAFE numbers. Normally there would be a hit to Ford’s bottom line as well, but thanks to the price hike for the Ecoboost variant that doesn’t appear to be the case. With a full calendar year of sales in 2012 and boosted production, look for F-150 EcoBoost sales to only increase in the year ahead.