TRUCK TRACKS

Ford knows this great Mexican place

Article December 28, 2000
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Ford Motor Co

Ford Motor Co.’s medium-duty commercial truck business is alive and well in, of all places, Cuautitlan, a suburb of Mexico City.


The sturdy trucks produced there are ideal partners in a lot of the road and bridge work done by readers of this magazine.


A veteran observer of the truck industry noted the Mexican operation is well developed and fitted with attractive components. He added that the line is selling well both in the U.S. and Mexico. It’s also rumored Ford will soon go back into the heavy-duty Class 8 truck business. The Mexican operation emerged as a free standing business when Ford sold its heavy-duty business to Freightliner Corp. and agreed not to compete for heavy-truck sales in major markets for 10 years.


Early on, Freightliner moved much of the former Ford heavy-duty action to Canada under the new Sterling Truck name.


Ford, in the meantime, transferred its medium-truck business to Mexico. The mediums were being dwarfed by booming light-duty business which was taking up much of the space in Ford’s U.S. truck facilities.

House specialties


A pair of new medium-duty models, the Super Duty F-650 (Circle 900) and F-750 (Circle 901), were developed to give the Mexican operation something distinctive to sell.


Those new offerings give customers a choice of three cabs, three diesel engines and the support of three times the number of dealers and service centers that formerly stood behind Ford medium-duty trucks, according to a company press release.


Factory-installed cab choices include standard, Crew Cab and a novel four-door SuperCab offering. Engines include the Cummins 5.9L ISB diesel, Caterpillar 3126E diesel and Ford 7.3-liter Power Stroke diesel. All engines are electronically controlled and drive through a choice of Eaton, Spicer and Allison transmissions.


The F-650 will be sold with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) rating of 26,000 lb, the highest rated truck that can be operated in most states by those who have not qualified for a commercial driver’s license. Companion F-750 trucks will be offered with GVW ratings of 30,000 and 33,000 lb (heavy-duty Class 8 models, which carry a federal excise tax of 12%, include all units with GVW ratings above 33,000 lb).


Both of the new medium models offer wheelbases ranging from 158 to 260 in. and are designed to compete strictly in the straight truck market.


On the driver-appeal front, the new Ford mediums "have been reengineered for low effort steering, tighter turning circles, a pleasant ride whether loaded or unloaded and improved front and side visibility," according to Barb Samardzich, F-650 and F-750 chief program engineer.


Luxury touches with high driver appeal are numerous and include air conditioning, power windows and door locks, air-ride driver seats and a massive front bumper.


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