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Ford Motor Co., Dearborn, Mich., expects to increase its share of the Class A gasoline chassis market by 20% with the introduction of its revised F-53 series motorhome chassis featuring a new 362-hp, 6.8-liter V-10 engine.
The new Ford engine generates the highest horsepower in the Class A gasoline segment, according to Ford.
“The new 362-hp engine is a tremendous statement about the Ford heritage and the power that we will deliver,” said Kenneth L. Farr, Ford’s RV & specialty vehicles sales manager. “We think this will help us get back to the market share that we rightly should have – at least half of the Class A gas business.”
Ford has steadily lost market share to Workhorse Custom Chassis LLC., Highland Park, Ill., since 2002, when Ford had 53.6% of the gasoline chassis market, according to research firm Statistical Surveys Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich. For 2004, through September, Ford’s market share had fallen to 35.6%.
The F-53 chassis, which debuted last week at the 42nd Annual National RV Trade Show in Lousiville, Ky., is built at Ford’s Detroit chassis plant and features the same gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWRs) – 15,700, 18,000, 20,500 and 22,000 pounds – as the previous Ford Class A platform.
A standard track bar to aid stability has been added for 2005 to all but the smallest GVWR rail. The revised chassis features a five-speed Ford Torqshift transmission with a tow haul mode that automatically invokes a special braking system when a vehicle is being towed downhill.
Prototypes of the revised F-53 chassis were sent to 13 A-body builders, and Farr said Winnebago Industries Inc., Forest City, Iowa, and Forest River Inc., Elkhart, Ind., showed Class A floorplans on the new Ford chassis at the Louisville show.