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Ford and General Motors believe there’s a market for large pickups that can pull 24,000 pounds, according to a report in the Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal.
GM thinks there are about 150 buyers per year willing to spend as much as $90,000 for a vehicle that looks like a commercial truck with a pickup bed. Potential buyers include owners of extra-large recreational vehicles and horse owners looking to haul bigger trailers.
Ford thinks the market could be as high as 50,000 units per year for its yet-to-be-priced F-450, a vehicle that would be hard to distinguish from other large pickups on the road.
“We have medium-duty trucks that we could have offered with a pickup bed,” Mark Fields, Ford’s president of the Americas, said last week at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas, referring to the class of vehicles that falls between consumer trucks and 18-wheel rig haulers. “Customers didn’t want that. They wanted something that would fit in a driveway.”
The F-450, set to go into production early next year, is capable of holding 6,000 pounds in its bed or towing 24,000 pounds. It’s the most powerful pickup the automaker has ever offered.
Ford has sold F-450 models for years, but those were commercial models that left the plant with a truck cab attached to a chassis. Aftermarket companies would then add delivery truck bodies, cherry pickers or other commercial applications before shipping the vehicles to customers.
During the summer, GM showed off GMC Topkick and Chevrolet Kodiak models in Louisville that could pull about 25,000 pounds. Those were medium-duty trucks with aftermarket beds.
Ford “has a truck that looks mainstream,” said Jim Sanfilippo, an analyst with consulting firm AMCI in Detroit. “This is a more civilized way to enter this market.”
The GM models are about 8 feet wide and 8 feet tall, bigger than the F-450 in both dimensions by about 15 inches. But at 21 feet, 10 inches, the F-450 is more than a foot longer than the GM models.