Additional tested needed before shipments begin, including Raptor

Ford is conducting additional tests on some models of F-150 equipped with the new 10-speed automatic transmission. The news comes by way of Ford executive Joe Hinrichs, who is the head of Ford’s automotive operations in the Americas. Despite the testing, Hinrichs made clear these trucks would reach dealer lots by the end of 2016.

The news comes from Automotive News who interviewed Hinrichs Monday, December 5th. "We are launching the new Raptor and F-150 with the new 10-speed transmission," Hinrichs told AN. "We continued building but we’re holding (trucks) longer so we could do more testing and make sure everything is right before we release them."

Undoubtedly this is a smart move in today’s climate of near-daily announcement of recalls and publishing of Technical Service Bulletins. Ford has to get the F-150 right as so much of its business rides on the pickup’s success. As for the F-150 Raptor, this off-road beast serves as the company’s halo truck and ambassador to the wealthy. Having issues with the transmission while in customer hands won’t bode well.

Despite their rivalry, Ford co-developed this 10-speed transmission with General Motors. GM’s first application with the gearbox will be the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Six-speed manual-equipped ZL1s are already in showrooms, but GM has not shipped Camaros with the 10-speed as of early December. The transmissions share physical components, but Ford and GM have ownership of the proprietary software they use for programming. And of course, the Camaro ZL1 will have much different software than the F-150 – even the sport-tuned, 450-horsepower Raptor.

Neither Hinrichs nor Ford has disclosed the number of F-150s being held for testing, though it’s possible every example could. Ford will have plenty of other 2017 F-150 iterations at its dealerships, thankfully. Only the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 and its high-output Raptor version are currently offered with the 10-speed. While we expect the 10-speed’s prevalence to grow, Ford is still using a six-speed automatic in most versions of its F-150.

This story will be updated once Ford begins shipment of 10-speed automatic-equipped F-150s.

Continue reading for more information.

Why It Matters

It’s hard to convey just how important the F-150 is to Ford as a brand and as a business. The F-150 is Ford’s bread and butter product that defines the automaker as a dominating force in the market. The F-150 and its Super Duty counterpart also bring until profit for Ford, filling company coffers and paying for other vehicle development programs like the Ford GT supercar.

Ford must get the 10-speed automatic right the first time. Jumping the gun could lead to customer issues and a tarnished early reputation for the gearbox. That’s not what Ford needs. It will be interesting to see the outcome of this situation. Hopefully Ford engineers will resolve whatever necessitated the testing.

Read our full review on the Ford F-150 here.

Source: Automotive News

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