Ford Motor Co. executives spared no expense in overhauling the F-150, all with an eye to appease U.S. regulators demanding cleaner vehicles. But now, about 40 percent of the versions of the truck still don’t meet the government’s 2016 emission and fuel-economy mandates.
For Ford, the stakes couldn’t be greater. The F-Series, America’s best-selling truck line, accounts for 31 percent of the company’s North American sales and half of its profit in the region, according to Barclays analyst Brian Johnson.
“Not meeting the standards is not really an option, especially on your most profitable product,’’ said Gopal Duleep, president of H-D Systems, a Washington research company. “On fuel economy, the regulators allow you to pay a fine if you fall short. But on greenhouse gas, they don’t. You either meet the standard or they shut you down.’’
Cutting fuel consumption reduces greenhouse gases, so Ford and other manufacturers are racing to incorporate new technologies in their pickups, including gas-electric hybrids and 10-speed transmissions. They also may plead for relief during a so-called midterm evaluation of the U.S. requirements beginning this month. Just retooling the factories that produce the F-150, including the Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, cost $1.2 billion, according to figures provided by Ford.
Read more: Bloomberg