Look out Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500, the Ford F-150 is closing in on Australia.
Orders for the pickup are officially open, with pricing starting at $106,950 before on-road costs and extending to $140,945 before on-road costs.
Having put the car through its paces on local roads and at local proving grounds, Ford is preparing to start sales in the third quarter of 2023.
The first batch of vehicles set to be remanufactured in right-hand drive is now on a boat to Australia from Dearborn, Michigan.
The F-150 will be remanufactured to right-hand drive by RMA Automotive at a facility in Mickleham, Victoria – unlike the Ram and Chevrolet Silverado, which are imported (by Ateco and GMSV respectively) and remanufactured in right-hand drive by Walkinshaw in Clayton, Victoria.
Two trim levels will be offered in the F-150, both of which can be had in either short- (3683mm) or long-wheelbase (3987mm) guise. Regardless of which length you opt for, the F-150 will feature a two-row crew cab in Australia.
Unlike its American pickup rivals with their V8 engines, the F-150 will be powered by a 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine. The EcoBoost engine makes 298kW of power and 678Nm of torque, sent through a four-wheel drive system.
The entry-level XLT variants have a part-time four-wheel drive system with 2H, 4H, and 4L models, whereas the flagship Lariat variants have a full-time four-wheel drive system with a 4A mode.
With a braked towing capacity of 4500kg, the F-150 matches the Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500 when it comes to claimed heavy hauling ability.
Ford makes no bones about the fact strong Silverado and Ram sales are behind its decision to bring the F-Series back to Australia after almost 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 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.”
Ford Australia is aware of the F-150 Hybrid, Raptor, V8, and electric Lightning options. It hasn’t ruled out bringing them Down Under, 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.”
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.
MORE: Everything Ford F-150