The Auto Channel
LOUISVILLE, KY, – The world’s best-selling line of commercial trucks just got stronger with Ford Motor Company’s introduction of the all-new 2006 Ford LCF (Low Cab Forward). Ford’s response to customer demands for a differentiated alternative in the growing tilt cab segment was unveiled today at the Mid-America Trucking Show at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center.
"The low cab forward segment is one of the fastest-growing niches in the commercial truck industry, with sales up almost 50 percent in the last decade," said Joe Castelli, Ford Division Commercial Truck Director. "With the ‘Built Ford Tough’ heritage, the Ford LCF is designed to answer an unmet customer need with a viable, new alternative in what for Ford is a highly incremental segment."
The new Ford LCF model further strengthens Ford’s complete line of commercial trucks, which offers twice as many combinations of cab, vehicle, powertrain and driveline types as the nearest commercial competitor. Ford aims to maintain its leadership by providing customers an even more complete one-stop shop with best-in-class vehicles and service that only its extensive dealer network can provide.
"We know that one truck doesn’t fit all our customers in this market," added Castelli. "We’re committed to being the industry’s leading full-line commercial truck provider with a product to meet every customer need."
Built in and for North America, the Ford LCF offers best-in-class maneuverability and a segment-exclusive V-6 diesel engine with more power than the leading competitor. The LCF also boasts the segment’s strongest standard frame in a U.S. industry standard 34-inch width and a wide range of configurations for easy vocational conversion compatibility.
The new trucks go into production early next year as 2006 models. Class 4 and 5 configurations, with GVWRs of 16,000, 17,999 and 19,500 pounds, may be ordered later this year.
Led by its F-350 though F-550 conventional cab models, Ford holds more than 40 percent of the total commercial truck market. Ford’s commercial truck line includes F-250 through F-750 pickups and chassis cabs, and E-Series van, wagon and cutaway models.
CONFIGURATIONS TO MEET EVERY NEED
The Ford LCF is designed for a wide range of uses, from pickup and delivery to leasing and rental companies, towing and recovery, landscapers and urban service providers. "It offers exceptional maneuverability through dense traffic and the agility to park and load in confined areas," said Frank Davis, Vehicle Program Director, Pickup Trucks and Commercial Vehicles.
"The Ford LCF is designed for and built in North America, which gives it a competitive advantage over other tilt cabs sold here but designed for Asian markets," Davis added.
Among its key features, the Ford LCF has:
Best-in-class maneuverability with the segment’s tightest turning diameters, although the shortest Ford LCF wheelbase is four inches longer the leading competitor. A segment-exclusive V-6 diesel engine with more power than the LCF leader in Classes 4 and 5. With 200 horsepower and 440 lb.-ft. of torque, the Power Stroke ® 4.5L V-6 diesel is paired with Ford’s proven TorqShift® 5-speed electronic automatic transmission. A "Built Ford Tough" chassis, based on a proven Ford Super Duty chassis to meet North American needs. The Ford LCF frame is the segment’s strongest, with cross-members joined by segment-exclusive Huck bolts for the highest assembly integrity and longevity. In Resisting Bending Moment (RBM), a key strength metric, the segment leader has an RBM of 316K in.-ft. compared to 461K for the Ford LCF. Unlike competitors, the Ford LCF has a U.S. industry standard frame width of 34 inches, plus Axle-to-Frame (AF) choices compatible with the industry-leading chassis cab – the Ford F-350 to F-550 Super Duty. With four AF choices, five Cab-to-Axle (CA) options and five wheelbase lengths, the range of Ford LCF configurations fits many vocational second-unit bodies, including multi-length van and dump truck units, along with stake trucks, tow trucks and utility vehicles. For reduced downtime, it offers a choice of fuel tank capacities. Depending on wheelbase and configuration, choices include the standard 40-gal. tank located rear of the axle and between the frame rails, an optional 35-gal. side-mounted tank or dual side tanks with a capacity of 70 gallons. SUPERIOR POWER
The new Ford LCF provides more power than its major competitor. The Power Stroke ® 4.5L V-6 diesel delivers 200 horsepower at 3,000 rpm and 440 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,850 rpm. And its V-6 design, with inherently smooth performance, is exclusive in the Class 4 and 5 tilt cab segment.
The Power Stroke ® diesel is paired with Ford’s proven TorqShift® 5-speed electronic automatic transmission, which debuted in 2003 on F-250 through F-550 Super Duty diesel trucks. Compared to earlier four-speed truck automatics, the TorqShift® features improved gear ratios, higher capacity pumps for better cooling, more robust components and simplified shift controls.
These contribute to improved fuel economy, reliability and smoother, quieter shifts. The transmission is designed to allow lower engine idle and torque converter lockup speeds for improved fuel economy.
The standard powertrain also features the popular Tow-Haul mode to help when drivers tow loads up and down steep grades. Going uphill, the powertrain controller automatically adjusts the shift points to keep the engine in its maximum power zone with no gear hunting. And downhill, a tap on the brakes automatically downshifts the transmission to help slow the vehicle. An optional power take-off provision also is available to run specialized equipment.
The Ford LFC further augments Ford's commercial portfolio, responding to customer and dealer needs for one-stop shopping. Along with package efficiency, it provides a large glass area and unsurpassed lines of sight for exceptional visibility, and superior maneuverability – the smallest LCF turning radius – for agility in urban environments. It is also driver-friendly, for easy handling and operation, and easy to maintain and service, with the tilt cab providing unobstructed engine access.
LOW CAB FORWARD MARKET
Low cab forward trucks, also known as tilt cabs, provide a roomy cab where drivers sit over the engine and a set-back front axle. Various second-unit bodies are designed for specialized applications, especially in congested urban areas where the truck’s payload is leveraged by its small, agile footprint.
Ford's new LCF truck will satisfy customer needs for a differentiated new entrant in the growing LCF segment. The current Class 3-5 cab forward segment comprises annual sales of about 24,000 units – but growth projections show sales of 40,000 units by 2010.
Truck showroom research shows that tilt cab customers are extremely loyal and that 76 percent of tilt cab customers' second choice is another tilt cab. Once customers choose tilt cabs, they tend to stick with them.
Tilt or low cab forward customers understand that minimal downtime contributes to total cost of vehicle ownership and directly impacts their business’ profitability.
The LCF is being developed as part of the Blue Diamond joint venture (JV) and will be assembled at the JV’s Escobedo, Mexico facility. The joint venture was formed in February 2001 to build a variety of commercial trucks to be marketed and serviced separately by Ford and its JV partner.
In September 2002, Ford debuted its 2004 F-650 and F-750 Super Duty trucks, the first products to result from the joint venture. The 2004 models offer extensive breadth and depth of product with a choice of three cab configurations, three diesel engine options and 38 wheelbase choices, allowing the trucks to be easily upfitted across a wide variety of body types.
Ford Truck Man and country music superstar Toby Keith confirms that Ford trucks are "Number One" at the Mid-America Trucking Show. Toby joined Ford Division commercial truck director Joe Castelli and general marketing manager Marty Collins for the reveal of the all-new 2006 Ford Low Cab Forward (LCF).
The Ford LCF includes a tilt-telescopic steering column, seating and trim options and a large windshield for enhanced visibility.