Fresh off a major Super Sunday appearance, the newly launched 2008 Ford F-Series Super Duty hits high gear with top billing at NASCAR’s Daytona 500 race, including a record road trip, massive displays and new versions of the truck’s Super Bowl ad. Ford’s boldest, most capable and toughest truck ever will be promoted heavily throughout the NASCAR season as part of a massive marketing launch that trumpets the pickup’s “Built Ford Tough” pedigree as it set new standards for Ford’s rigorous truck development testing.
“This is a super February for Super Duty as we launched the new truck on the Super Bowl and build on that at NASCAR’s biggest race,” says Cisco Codina, Ford’s group vice president of North American Marketing, Sales and Service. “Its presence at the races, on the football field and on the street is a fitting way to celebrate 30 years as America’s best-selling truck.
The new truck also is quickly racking up accolades, including the most prestigious truck award in the largest pickup market in the country. This is the fourth consecutive year that the Texas Auto Writers Association has named F-Series the “Truck of Texas” – a feat unmatched by any other manufacturer – as the new 2008 F-Series Super Duty took the award amidst one of the most intense years for new truck launches.
F-Series Powers the Daytona 500
Viewers tuning into the Daytona 500 broadcast on FOX will see a new 30-second Super Duty commercial highlighting the powerful 6.4-liter Power Stroke® diesel engine that produces 350 horsepower and 650 foot-pounds of torque. The ad shows the diesel engine with dual turbochargers and Ford Clean Diesel Technology being assembled before viewers’ eyes.
“Race fans are very loyal truck buyers – the parking lots at NASCAR events are filled with F-Series pickups,” says Todd Eckert, Ford Truck marketing manager. “Ford trucks have been a part of NASCAR for decades, and we will continue to build on that strong foundation by pushing the new F-Series Super Duty heavily at the Daytona 500 and beyond,”
Ford racing fans are invited to attend the “Super Duty Saloon” at one of Daytona’s most popular waterfront clubs, the Ocean Deck Restaurant and Beach Club, Feb. 15-17. At the event, fans can enter a live drawing for a chance to win an all-expenses-paid trip to the Ford Championship Weekend NASCAR finale in Homestead, Fla., Nov. 16-18.
Ford NASCAR drivers will make special appearances to sign autographs and participate in live question-and-answer sessions. The new Super Duty also will be featured in interactive games, offering the chance for fans to win Ford Racing prizes and giveaways. In addition, the Ford lineup of vehicles will be on display.
The Ford truck racing efforts – including a major presence in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series – are part of Ford’s strategy to reach out to customers where they live, work and play. Ford research demonstrates tremendous loyalty among the growing NASCAR fan base of 75 million people worldwide. Two-thirds of Ford Truck owners are racing fans, and 60 percent of the owners specifically say they follow NASCAR racing. In general, 72 percent of NASCAR fans are loyal to products they see associated with the race series and their favorite drivers.
70,000-mile Road Trip
The “Bold Endures” F-Series Super Duty team will finally take a quick break and make its first big public splash at Daytona 500 after traveling more than 70,000 miles across the nation. The team’s record road trip adds to the stories behind America’s toughest road test, created to demonstrate the new 2008 F-Series Super Duty’s “Built Ford Tough” pedigree.
Two “Bold Endures” teams and traveling across the country 24 hours a day, seven days a week, stopping only f or regular maintenance and driver changes. The two 2008 Ford F-450s will travel 150,000 miles through 49 states and six Canadian provinces, towing a trailer with up to 18,000 pounds. They travel an average of 1,000 miles a day in all types of terrain, elevations and weather conditions.
“We cause a stir wherever we go,” says Al Hunt, lead driver for the “Bold Endures” team. “It is tough for us to get back on the road after our fueling stops because curious Super Duty fans want to take our picture and learn all about our cross-country adventure.”
The “Bold Endures 1” team, truck and trailer will be at Ford’s truck display at Daytona’s Ruby Tuesday restaurant on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and at the Home Depot on Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Both locations are on International Speedway Blvd. The team will be back on the road accumulating miles during its non-display time in Daytona.
“Ford engineers put the F-Series Super Duty through extraordinary amounts and types of tests,” says Ben Poore, Ford Truck group marketing manager. “The ‘Bold Endures’ tours and every part of our huge launch campaign will reinforce that the new F-Series Super Duty is ‘Built Ford Tough.’
“The Bold Endures team is testing the pickup during actual road and traffic conditions while towing a load no other competitive truck can handle, which is still 6,000 pounds less than the all-new Ford F-450’s massive towing capacity.”
Pushing the limits
The Bold Endures tours build on the 10 million miles of testing the 2008 F-Series Super Duty engineering team logged to stamp the truck with the “Built Ford Tough” promise.
“’Built Ford Tough’ is one of the most enduring brand and product philosophies of any automaker, or any company anywhere,” says Poore. “Customers believe ‘Built Ford Tough’ is synonymous with the best trucks because they know we push them to the limits before they buy one.”
The definition of "Built Ford Tough" is rooted in a series of grueling tests in the hot Arizona desert. For example, before the new F-Series Super Duty began reaching Ford dealers, the truck’s testing regiment included nearly three million miles of real-world customer durability testing in some of the most extreme conditions possible.
At Ford’s Arizona Proving Ground (APG) in western Arizona, Super Duty test vehicles were driven thousands of times over 50 miles of torturous terrain specifically developed to shake, twist, rattle and batter the trucks. Furthermore, the trucks were tested during the summer when the average temperature was 103 degrees Fahrenheit with peak heat reaching 120 degrees.
“We build and test the most capable pickup trucks on the planet. We prove out our vehicles by running worst-case driving conditions that even our most extreme customers don’t experience,” says John Wagner, Ford North American Durability Manager. “We also know how we stack up against our competition. We test them and have a pile of their broken parts to prove it.”
All Super Duty durability tests at APG are done with maximum loads on the front and rear axles. For example, to allow for the customer who puts a snow plow on the front end, the front axle is loaded up. In addition, a maximum load is placed on the rear axle for the customer who loads to capacity on the rear of a truck, explained Wagner.
“A customer may not load up both axles like that, but this allows us to test for the worst-possible scenario and build a truck that will take it,” he said.
Considering more than 90 percent of Super Duty customers tow with their trucks, that capability also is pushed to the limit at APG. One of several tests for towing involves a highway road with a challenging incline. Loaded at maximum gross combined weight – the weight of the trailer and the truck – the grade of the road acts as an additional load, further taxing the truck ’s powertrain and towing components.
At the other extreme, Ford engineers subjected the new F-Series Super Duty to bone-chilling cold conditions above the Arctic Circle. Ford partnered with BP Alaska in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to test prototypes of the truck in their grueling work conditions at the most northern point of the Alaskan pipeline. This unique testing is documented on video at www.insidesuperduty.com.
“The capability of a Super Duty is defined by how much a customer can haul and tow in extreme conditions. Super Duty has no equal,” Wagner said.
The fact that Ford has more full-size pickups on the road with at least 250,000 miles than any other manufacturer would appear to suggest so.
More capability, more features … more value
The new Super Duty features an available all-new, more powerful 6.4-liter Power Stroke ® dual-turbo diesel engine; an industry first Ford F-450 pickup with unmatched capability; and numerous class-exclusive, innovative features such as the Tailgate Step and PowerScope Mirrors.
Even with so many improvements, Ford is lowering the F-Series Super Duty’s base manufacturer ’s suggested retail prices (MSRPs) while adding more standard content to provide more value to truck customers. The base prices (including destination and delivery) for the 2008 F-250 Super Duty range from $23,305 for a Regular Cab XL 4x2 model to $38,425 for a top of the line F-250 Crew Cab Lariat 4x4. The same configurations for the 2007 model year were priced at $23,455 and $38,670, respectively.
Since its debut in 1948, Ford has sold more than 32 million F-Series trucks around the world. Today, there are more F-Series pickups on the road with 250,000 miles than any other brand. It has also been the best-selling truck in America for 30 consecutive years and the best-selling vehicle for 25 years in a row.
The Ford F-150 half-ton pickup, like the Super Duty, is the capability leader in its segment with best-in-class payload and towing capacities. New for the 2007 model year, Ford has added to an unmatched lineup of more than 60 unique F-Series offerings with new F-150 FX2 Sport and Harley-Davidson SuperCrew models.