Lighter truck, lighter wallet.
Ford has announced pricing on its groundbreaking new aluminum F-150 truck, due to reach dealers later this year. Though cheaper models will see only a modest increase in price over current, non-aluminum models, the price of Ford's high-end editions will jump by more than $3,000.
The new 2015 F-150 XL will start at $26,615, while the XLT will start at $31,890. That's a gain of $400 for each version, which together make up about 70% of all F-150 sales.
The price of the midlevel Lariat is up $900 to $39,880, which includes a fully digital instrument panel and blind-spot monitoring.
At the high end of the F-150 lineup are the King Ranch and Platinum models. The 2015 King Ranch edition is up $3,615 to $49,460. The 2015 Platinum model will start at $52,155, an increase of $3,055.
That should help Ford reap even more profits from its top-selling line. The F-150 has been the bestselling vehicle in the U.S. for 32 consecutive years. In 2013, Ford sold 763,402 F-Series trucks.
All prices include destination.
Ford also announced the pricing of its optional EcoBoost turbocharged V-6 engines. The new 2.7-liter V-6 will add $495 to the sticker price, while the 3.5-liter V-6 will cost $1,995.
In an effort to reduce the F-150's weight and boost its efficiency, Ford took the bold step of building all the body panels on the 2015 model from aluminum rather than steel. This drops the weight of the new F-150 by more than 700 pounds below the outgoing 2014 model.
Ford is promising that the lighter curb weight will dramatically increase the truck's fuel economy, though official mileage ratings haven't been announced.
But using aluminum is also a risky move for the automaker. The metal is more expensive to buy and more difficult to work with in the factory, raising Ford's overall production costs.
And fewer body shops across the country have the tools necessary for repairing aluminum, which could increase insurance costs for consumers and make it more difficult for them to find a place to get their damaged F-150 fixed.
Yet Ford is confident that aluminum is the right move for its trucks. The company took a similar risk in 2011 by introducing the twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V-6. Many expected the full-size truck market to ignore anything that wasn't a burly V-8.