The best-selling vehicle in America is making the trip to Australia for the first time since 1993.
A version of the F-150 pickup truck remanufactured from left- to right-hand drive will be in local Ford showrooms by the middle of 2023, at which point it’ll take on the Ram 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500.
Ford makes no bones about the fact strong Silverado and Ram sales are behind its decision to bring the F-150 back to Australia after two decades. Sales of full-sized American pickup trucks have soared since 2018, and the Blue Oval doesn’t want to miss out on the action.
The F-150 will be remanufactured to right-hand drive by RMA Automotive at a facility in Mickleham, Victoria.
The car will be backed by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, and will be sold and serviced through the Ford Australia dealer network.
How many it will be converting hasn’t been confirmed (or revealed) yet, but Ford Australia boss Andrew Birkic made it clear the Blue Oval wants to sell the F-150 in decent numbers.
“We’re pretty confident in our truck,” he told media.
“We are not coach builders,” he said. “This is definitely not a hobby.”
Ram Australia sold 3819 examples of the 1500 in Australia during 2021, and GMSV sold 2114 examples of the Silverado 1500. Both those cars are remanufactured to right-hand drive for their respective distributors in Clayton, Victoria.
Ford will offer two models – the XLT and Lariat – in Australia at launch, both of which will be powered by the 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6 EcoBoost engine option.
With 298kW of power and 678Nm of torque, the turbocharged V6 engine sits 15kW shy of the 6.2-litre engine in the Silverado when it comes to power, but out-punches it by 54Nm on the torque front. Braked towing capacity is 4500kg, up 1000kg on what the Ranger offers and in line with the Silverado and Ram.
A 10-speed automatic transmission is standard, along with switchable four-wheel drive.
Ford is aware of the F-150 Hybrid, Raptor, V8, and electric Lightning options. It hasn’t ruled out bringing them to Australia, but only once the remanufacturing process is established and demand for the EcoBoost has been proven.
As for why it’s started with the V6? Ford Australia points to the fact it’s the best-seller in the USA, and says it’s the “most powerful, most capable” option in the range for people who want to tow.
“When we were looking at the F-150 powertrain options, it was a really clear standout solution for us,” said Natalie Manariti, Ford Australia global trucks enterprise product line manager.
“Of all the US customers they pick the EcoBoost V6 as the number one choice. It really is because of its power and torque, that makes it the tow-and-haul engine of choice,” she said.
When we think about the application of this product in this market, and what our Aussie customers want in a full-sized pickup truck, the research told us it had to be the most powerful, the most capable vehicle to be able to tow their big toys.”
In the USA, the F-150 XLT is pitched as a well-equipped workhorse, while the Lariat is a more generously-equipped option. The King Ranch, Platinum and Limited sit above the Lariat in the American range, but won’t be offered locally at launch.
Standard equipment for Australia hasn’t been locked in yet, but the American-market XLT features a smattering of chrome exterior trim pieces and body coloured door handles, along with 17-inch alloy wheels. The tray is finished with a spray-in bed liner.
It has a 8.0-inch central touchscreen and an analogue instrument cluster inside, along with cloth seats.
A 12-inch infotainment system with Sync 4 is optional, along with a surround-view camera, adaptive cruise control, keyless entry and start, trailer backup assist, and rain-sensing wipers.
The Lariat gains dual-zone climate control, ambient lighting, keyless entry and start, rear parking sensors, and a 12-inch touchscreen as standard. Wireless phone charging, front parking sensors, active parking assist, and a heated steering wheel are all optional.
Pricing hasn’t been confirmed, but Ford Australia says it will be “priced favourably” alongside the Ram and Silverado 1500. “We need to be competitive,” Mr Birkic told media.
Pricing for the stripped-out DS Ram 1500 starts at $82,950 before on-road costs, while the DS Express Crew Cab with RamBox is priced at $100,450 before on-roads.
The newer, higher-tech DT Ram 1500 starts at $123,900 before on-roads, while the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 range is priced between $106,990 and $114,900 before on-roads.
While the F-150 left local showrooms in 1993, its heavier-duty F-250 and F-350 siblings were sold here from 2001 to 2006 by Ford Australia.
It was produced in right-hand drive by Ford in Brazil, and depending on the variant was available with a 5.4-litre petrol V8 and a choice of two turbo diesels: a 4.2-litre six and a 7.3-litre V8.