So it looks like Ford is going to be very busy in the next few weeks. And it's not because of COVID-19 mitigation or other back-office matters; no, they'll be launching a brand new model, and it's a big one.
We can now confirm that Ford will be officially introducing the F-150 pick-up for the Philippine market after the company released a teaser image showing the F-150 with the unusual marketing line: Big. Bad. Bold.
The 2020 F-150 may be much larger than the Ranger, but it's technically the “baby” of the Ford pick-up truck line that includes the larger Super Duty trucks (i.e. F-350). The current generation is the thirteenth overall and has been in the U.S. market since 2015, and features many revolutionary changes to the lineage, chief of which is the use of a body that is almost entirely made out of lightweight aluminum riding on a steel truck frame.
We're trying to get more details about the model, but we can tell that the teaser image shows a lone F-150 in the background being driven on a dirt trail. What we can notice is that there's a significant presence of chrome particularly on the grille and on the side mirrors; that means it's unlikely to be the F-150 Raptor variant. Sorry, Raptor fans.
So it's more probable that we'll get the premium versions of the F-150 line. We contacted some dealerships, and we were informed that there will be two F-150 variants that will be sold in the Philippines.
The first variant we were told of is the F-150 4x2 Lariat, while the other is the F-150 4x4 Platinum. Both models will likely be double cab 4-door variants, which would be the Super Crew. It's interesting to note that Ford previously sold the F-150 Lariat in Crew Cab (extra half cab in the back) configuration.
It also seems that Ford Philippines might not be offering the entry grade models such as F-150 XL and F-150 XLT, or the higher grade models such as the F-150 King Ranch or the F-150 Limited. That can, of course, change.
As for engine options, the U.S. market Ford F-150 Lariat is available with 4 engine options: a 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V8, a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 twin-turbo, a 2.7-liter V6 EcoBoost, or the 3.0-liter PowerStroke V6 turbo diesel. The U.S. market F-150 Platinum is also offered with those engines except for the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6. We expect that the Philippine market Lariat (being the lower grade model of the two) will likely have the 2.7L V6 or the 3.5L V6, while the Platinum could be powered by the latter, given that Ford Philippines does offer the Expedition Platinum with the 3.5L EcoBoost as well. 10-speed automatic gearboxes will very likely be the standard transmission.
With the premium positioning of the models (an F-150 in the local setting will unlikely be workhorses), Philippine market F-150 units will probably come with a long list of standard features like the latest version of SYNC (which would be 3), MyKey, automatic headlamps, automatic wipers, 360-degree camera system, and possibly even the Bang & Olufsen audio system (hopefully) for the Platinum. We're also expecting a lot of advanced safety features such as stability control, pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, trailer sway control, adaptive cruise control, so on and so forth.
Once launched, this will be the first time the F-Series will be sold in the Philippines from official dealers since the tenth generation model. It's rather ironic (if not weirdly apt) that the last time the F-150 was officially sold in the Philippines, the market was dealing with a regional problem: the Asian Financial Crisis. Now with the introduction of the new generation model, there's a different kind of crisis.
Ford was actually already making preparations to launch the F-150 at the 2020 Manila International Auto Show in April, but that had to be put on hold with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent states of quarantine that forced the postponement (and later cancellation) of MIAS.
Also, it's worthy to note that the Philippine market launch of the F-150 is so late into the current generation that the major facelift/redesign for the U.S. market is rumored to be coming within a year, or less.
Does the re-introduction of the F-150 make sense? A lot of it will depend on Ford's pricing strategy and the recovery of the economy. The former, we can confirm on June 24 during the virtual online launch. As for the latter, we'll have to wait and see.