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Full-size pickup sales - F-150 best selling truck, but for how much longer?

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Comments

  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    The reason we don't stock them at my dealer is they only come with BUTT UGLY 7 lug steel wheels.

    Also, with the 4.10 rear you are loosing a little fuel econ.

    Mark.
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    So if you saw the info on the new Ram, you will see that the dropped the leaf springs in the rear and went with coil springs. According to Rick Titus, Driver's Talk Radio, this will kill the trucks cargo and trailer towing.

    In addition, I know coil springs are much less able to take a beating compared to leaf springs. Ever have the springs in your car break?

    Anyone have insight into this? What was Dodge thinking? Or is Dodge only trying to cater to the people who "use their truck like a car"?

    Mark.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,691
    Dodge knows what they're doing. The new Ram 1500 will be able to tow and haul just fine. Will it win the "bragging rights" war? Maybe not, but for 99% of owners the vehicle will be perfect.

    BTW, you're flat out wrong about leaf vs coil springs. Oshkosh, the maker of huge severe-duty trucks for the military and airport service makes trucks, not only with coil springs all around, but also IFS/IRS and AWD. It's just a matter of time before this technology trickles down to consumer vehicles, and at realistic prices.

    http://www.oshkoshtruck.com/defense/products~wtanker~home.cfm

    http://www.oshkoshtruck.com/defense/products~lvsr~home.cfm

    http://www.oshkoshtruck.com/airportmunicipal/products~striker~home.cfm

    Bob
  • Yep, that new dodge will work them fields, cuz them big3 ones is just built that way from the get go. But them forien ones got that feather thin frame and them t100 pumpkins... them pumpkins pop and that frame twists quick if worked any now. Folks is quick too work that tundra on that hi-way now, but where is them folks that is workin them forien ones in them fields? We need them big3 ones with haul, not them shiny forien ones that bust when worked any. Facts is facts on this one. Good luck on this one now!
  • rsholland
    Sorry to disagree with you. I do agree that coils can be made to be very heavy duty, but doing so destroys the reason they would be used on a 1/2-ton, which is ride quality. Coils also require panhard bars and trailing arms to keep the rear diff from moving sideways and front-to-back. Leafs are bolted directly from the diff to frame and don't need all that extra junk. Also, panhard bars and trailing arms travel in an arc, which means overall generally less travel than leaf springs in the same application. Trucks are supposed to have a lot of travel, due to the varying loads they are required to carry and extreme road conditions they encounter.

    Dodge is using coils due to improved ride quality, so you can bet they aren't extreme heavy duty springs. They also don't expect the truck to carry heavy loads, needing a lot of rear travel.

    For many people, esp. those who value a softer ride and who use the truck bed to carry light loads on occasion, the coils will be fine. But for those who use their trucks as trucks, they will move away from Dodge.

    Dodge is making a big bet on a change in their demographic. If they're right, they'll gain a few sales. If not, they'll become a distant 4th in sales, behind Tundra. There is a lot at stake for Dodge.

    1offroader
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    A lot of the people making the claim about how the new Ram's rear coils won't work are using nearly 40-year-old GM trucks as their basis of comparison. C'mon people... technology has done wonders since that point in time. We were driving on bias-ply tires back then, for crying out loud.

    The Ram's rear suspension is a beefed version of the design used in the current Grand Cherokee - and no one seems to be complaining about the GC's abilities off-road in terms of travel or articulation.

    kcram - Pickups Host
  • h20h20 Posts: 42
    WOW no biased opinions on edmonds ? please don't E mail me with your threats.
  • dadoftaydadoftay Posts: 136
    Pretty bold remark. I don't remember edmunds being tied to a manufacturer.
  • kcram
    Can you show the readers anywhere in the post that I said "...Ram's rear coils won't work"? Of course they will "work". What I said is that they are not the best rear spring for what a truck is supposed to do. Rear coils aren't some sort of magic technology. Dodge did not invent something great and new. What sort of "new technology" are you referring to, exactly? As you said yourself, GM had them 40 years ago. If they were superior, truck makers would have been using them all along. They use rear leafs because that is the rear spring design that has been shown to be superior, time after time, for the full range of hauling/towing/working/pulling that truck owners do.

    Rear coils are used in cars with a live rear axle. Rear coils are used in SUVs where the short rearend overhang will not allow a leaf spring to be used, and because SUVs are not designed to haul or tow heavy loads. Rear coils are used in applications where ride quality is paramount.

    Rear leafs are used in vehicles designed to maximize towing and hauling. Is there any serious doubt about that?

    You can't be serious about comparing the overall capability of a Grand Cherokee and a full size Ram pickup. That's just ridiculous. The GC is built to do a small fraction of what the Ram can do. No one's complaining because no GC owner can tow 8,000 lbs. safely, or haul 2,000 lbs. safely in the bed, and they're not stupid enough to try it in the first place.

    Time will tell, but I predict that current Ram owners who use their trucks for big, heavy work will look elsewhere when it comes time to buy new. They may be outnumbered by buyers who've never had a truck before, and don't use it hard. It's a BIG gamble for Dodge.

    1offroader
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,691
    A couple of things:

    To the best of my knowledge, Dodge is using rear coils only on 1500 series trucks. I expect 2500 and 3500 models, when they're introduced the following year, will continue to use rear leaf springs.

    As to your assertion that if rear coils were so good, that truck makers would have been using them for year. Well, my take is this:

    As KC mentioned, suspension technology has come a long way. Second, I have no doubt that coils can be made to "work" as well if not better than leaf springs. The problem is—and you're a perfect example of this—is convincing truck customers that it's possible. Truck buyers are notoriously conservative, and are very slow to accept new ideas. The truck makers know this. So they too have been slow to change.

    Taking this discussion even one step further, Ford, Nissan and now Toyota have moved to IRS on their full-size SUVs. Now that IRS has proven itself on those vehicles, it's only a matter of time before we see this being used on a 1/2-ton pickup truck; and once it proves itself on a 1/2-ton, it will show up on 3/4-ton models. That's the way progress happens—and it will happen, eventually. Remember... 50 years ago IFS was unheard of on pickups. Now they're all using IFS.

    The trick is coming up with new technology—and being able to "time it" with customer acceptance. Automotive history is littered with marketing failures—not because the ideas were bad, but rather because they were just too far advanced for the market at that time in history. Remember the Chrysler Airflow from the mid 1930s? A great idea, but an utter marketing failure because car buyers just weren't ready for aerodynamic styling 75 years ago.

    Bob
  • rs
    What exactly is this "new technology" you refer to as it relates to rear coil springs? The technology is quite old. It has been tried. It works fine on lighter duty applications, less well on heavier duty applications. To look at the extremes, show me a Kenworth or a Peterbuilt with rear coils. Ain't happenin'. I love new technology, I am no Luddite. But, more importanly, I like what works.

    You say you have "no doubt" that rear coils can be made to work as well or better than rear leafs. What do you base your assertion on? Facts, or opinion? A long history of owning a heavy duty truck with rear coils? No, the real problem is me and others like me, just not open minded enough to get with the program. Maybe you're right - I don't like being the guinea pig who needs to be "convinced" to try what hasn't been successfully done. I'll hang back and wait for others to test it out, then if it works, I'll buy. If not, I get the last laugh.

    Full size SUVs use IRS because sales and marketing show that buyers of these vehicles prize ride comfort over hauling and towing. SUVs are the new minivan. Minivans are 'out', SUVs are 'in'. Minivans are for fuddy-duddies, but SUVers want that comfy ride, too. Rear coils allow the rear axle to move farther back without increasing the overall length of the vehicle. A longer wheelbase and rear coils means a better ride.

    I have a Trooper with IRS/rear coils. It's a fine vehicle for what it is but it won't do what my Silverado will do, in terms of work, and I don't expect it to.

    I'll go way out on a limb here. Rear coils in full size 1/2 ton trucks will not catch on. The next iteration of the Ram will go back to rear leaf springs, and they will claim it as a big improvement over the 'older' model. Dodge will rediscover the amazing new technology of rear leaf springs for heavy duty truck applications!

    1offroader
  • Funny how folks is now that expert on coils and springs... same folks will argue on them colors and shine next week! Fact is them tractors and such use them coils for many years now, not a lick of troubles. So much for them coil worrys now! Work them trucks in them fields, that will bring that knowin of what works and what don't now. Good luck on this one now!
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,691
    What exactly is this "new technology" you refer to as it relates to rear coil springs? The technology is quite old. It has been tried. It works fine on lighter duty applications, less well on heavier duty applications. To look at the extremes, show me a Kenworth or a Peterbuilt with rear coils.

    Check out the Oshkosh truck links I provided earlier. Those trucks are as heavy duty as an Peterbuilt or Kenworth out there—and they use coils and fully independent suspensions.

    As to Dodge reverting back to leaf springs, I'll take that bet. In fact I bet that coil springs on the Ram is just the first of many such applications on full-size pickups.

    I will also bet that the new coil spring Ram 1500 will be fully competitive with leaf spring 1/2-tons. Note: I didn't say it would be the best—but fully competitive.

    No I don't expect you to be a guinea pig, as you're a classic, old-school truck buyer. Newer and younger (folks who are more open and accepting of new ideas) will eventually replace folks such as yourself. Whatever happened to Caddy Fleetwood buyers? Their equally wealthy children are now buying CTSs, etc. Time marches on...

    Let's revisit this conversation in 10 years and see who's right. :)

    Bob
  • Yep... some folk sure lack that knowin on them coil springs, thats for sure!

    Folks that work them farms and such, be using them coils in tractors and such for 100 years now! And how bout them trains? Yep... coils in them ones too!

    This aint no trick photo... them coils is used big and small now...
    image

    Learn up on them coils here now...

    Good luck on this one now!
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,691
    Ah... I think you addressed your reply to the wrong person. I'm "supporting" the use of coils springs.

    Bob
  • Yep.... you got that knowin on em... but some folks sure lack it! Some foks must work them hiways more than them farms... cuz they sure enough aint looked under them tractors now! Them coils work hard and long, that is the fact of that one. Good luck on this one!
  • Mr. Rube...True enough about Big3 being tougher than Tundra. I own a 1st gen. Tundra that is a total city truck; never worked an honest day in its life. Reliable as it gets, as was my 394K '85 SR5. But, I looked at the video of the 2007 Tundra crashing and smashing around on a washboard. Disgraceful. The Ford was well-controlled, as was the GM truck. Boxed frame or not, you can make either stiff AND strong. C'mon, Toyota.

    Now, combine what you saw in the video, the 2009 F-150 highlights, and Toyota's history. Toyota will fix all these flaws with time (but probably faster than Big3 would). The F-150 updates are merely cosmetic, with the exception of new trailer package. Finally, Toyota's history teaches us they ruthlessly pursue their target and don't let up until they capture it. If they want the "working" truck market AND Big3 sits on their laurels, Tundra will beat them all. Someday.

    Ford, you are screwing up by not investing heavily in product. Make Toyota chase you instead of fearing what's in your rearview mirror. Toyota will catch you and crush you (and your Number 1 product) it you don't.

    As for Big3, they are still better as Real trucks than the Tundra, for now. I drove the 2008 Tundra and Sierra Denali. The Tundra drove like hell. The GMC Sierra was far superior. I will buy the GMC, after previously buying a total of 4 Toyota's. The Tundra is far from sorted out, and uses crappy materials inside.
  • Good gawd, farmer rube, perhaps you need to read the posts and follow the thread. Of course coils can be made extremely heavy, as I've said in previous posts. BUT, that defeats entirely the purpose of using the coils on the Ram, which is ride quality. You can make a coil spring so stiff it won't flex at all, but what's the point of that?

    Bob says that the Ram will be competitive, but not class leading. I totally agree, Bob. The Ram is already not class leading, it's in 3rd. It will soon be in 4th IMO. But in this business, if you aren't out in front you are losing sales. Like the old saying goes, "If you ain't the lead dog, the view never changes." If Dodge doesn't do something soon, instead of looking at the rumps of just GM and Ford, it will also be looking at the Tundra's rump. Not a good long-term view, IMO. I'd like to see Dodge open a big ol' can of whupass in the full size market, but apparently they folded and instead took the easy route.

    Ram is clearly going for the lighter duty, softer riding market. What will be the impact on sales of that change in strategy? How about addressing that original point? Isn't this the thread to discuss sales leaders? Am I missing something?

    Here's what I want in my next 1/2 ton 4x4 truck:
    small v-8 diesel w/250 hp, 400 ft lbs., and 25+ mpg hiway
    really nice interior, comfy seats, like the GMs currently have
    robust, proven drive train parts
    auto rear locker, front air locker
    optional factory offroad pkg. incl. a mild lift (2"-3"), larger wheels and tires

    Build that truck and I, and a bunch of guys, would stand in line to buy it.

    1offroader
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    Class exclusive features galore and you call it cosmetic?

    The new 2009 Ford F-150’s “smart” features turn the half-ton pickup truck into an even more skillful tool.

    Industry-exclusive features:

    SIRIUS Travel Link™ for real-time data on traffic, weather, fuel prices and more
    Tailgate Step makes access to the bed easier
    Integrated Box Side Step makes accessing the front of the box easier
    Easy Fuel™ capless fuel filler system
    Ford SYNC™ in-car communications system that allows hands-free operation of MP3 and cell phones

    Class-exclusive features:

    Trailer Sway Control
    Integrated Trailer Brake Controller
    Power running boards
    Sony premium audio system
    Most comprehensive safety package on any full-size pickup, including standard AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control, standard side curtain air bags, Ford’s Personal Safety System, and a hydro-formed high-strength steel body structure that improves roof strength.
    6-inch stretch to SuperCrew features a fully-flat load floor
    Stowable bed extender
    Strongest cargo management system

    The wheel is not reinvented but there is enough new stuff there that I think people will be trading in old ones sooner than they planed.

    Mark
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,691
    I fully expect that one or more truck makers will follow Dodge's lead in offering coil rear springs on their 1/2-ton models the next time they're redesigned, which would be in 5 years or so. Maybe even IRS will show up by then, although that may be further down the road.

    Bob
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    A major chunk of the new technology Bob and I refer to is the ability to test trucks without building them. Computer simulation can easily determine in a couple of hours what used to take months in proving ground testing. Something as "simple" as changing where the coil's spring rates vary in order to maximize load without compromising ride can be done with mouse clicks, instead of having to forge another spring set.

    The half-ton pickup customer is also not the same person from 40 years ago. This is the guy who used to buy full-size LTD and Caprice station wagons - those are not available any longer. He needs a back seat for the family but doesn't really care about an 8-foot bed because it won't fit in the garage. The bed is more appealing than the full-size SUV because he doesn't have to keep it clean. So now we have a selection of crew cab half-tons with beds around 5' 6" or so for these people. The commercial buyers are getting away from half-tons because the manufacturers have "consumerized" them... and a base 250/2500 is no longer a price problem.

    In today's market, Dodge may have a better focus on what will actually sell, compared to Toyota's number-bragging. If you need to tow 10,000 pounds, do you want a truck that will be at its limits, or are you going to make the safer smarter choice and buy a 3/4 ton that offers a healthy margin above that?

    kcram - Pickups Host
  • Yep... puttin them coils on that dodge is a smart move now. That factory can tune them coils for cushy rides when empty and load them ones up when full. We got us a massey that works hard that way, thats for sure! That dodge factory got the knowin on them trucks, and how folks is workin them dodge ones hard. Problem with them forien ones is they break quicker if worked hard now. We need ones that haul and last long, like that 52 we still work them fields with now. Good luck on this one now!
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Class-exclusive features:

    Trailer Sway Control


    Not so fast, Mark... from the 09 Ram press kit:
    ---
    Trailer Sway Control System: Reduces trailer sway and improves handling in adverse towing conditions caused by crosswinds and traffic. Software monitors the vehicle’s movement relative to the driver’s intended path, then applies brake pressure to slow the vehicle and increases the pressure on one front wheel to counteract sway induced by the trailer
    ---

    If not at the same time, all the manufacturers will have these same features within a year. It's going to come down to design and price for most buyers.

    kcram - Pickups Host
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,691
    Exactly. Computer-aided engineering is allowing for new ideas to be explored that would have been unthinkable a few decades ago.

    Most 1/2-tons today are family vehicle substitutes—that can take on weekend chores when needed. That's why we're seeing so many 1/2-ton crew cab versions. A 1/2-ton crew cab was unheard of a decade ago.

    Yeah, the new Ram 1500 will probably ride and handle better than other 1/2-tons because of the coil springs. Dodge has stated it will have a payload and towing capabilities of the outgoing models. I see that as a win-win situation.

    Bob
  • True, crew cabs 1/2 tons are now to haul family. In LALA land, freeways are irregular concrete where several mile sections can be teeth-jarring, chest-pounding rides, followed by smooth asphalt. I've been in crew versions of each of the Big3 products (but more than 5 years back), but no improvement in ride. Perhaps coils will help.

    Mark, perhaps I was a little harsh on the F-150, but Serious improvements to the F-150 drivetrain are still needed. That would include more power from the 5.4L V8 and a 6 spd automatic. I drove the 5.4L and it sure didn't feel like 300 HP; it was slow. I drove a 4.6L to the CA high desert, and it felt reasonably quick. It turned into a high speed run to get it back to the rental place (85 MPH for 60 miles). Handled with confidence.

    The F-150 drove much better than the '07 Tundra, & similar to my '00 Tundra (not a Real truck). It can be had with waaaay nicer interior than the '07 Tundra. BUT, I do not want another under-powered truck (did I forget to mention that the '00 Tundra doesn't breathe and power is really lacking). 350 HP and 6 spd is what I want, and I think that's what a lot of people want.

    A car-savy buddy bought a new Sequoia (no, not an oxymoron). He "ooo's & ahhhs" about the 375 HP and 6 spd. IMHO, Ford needed these things badly to compete. Failing this could really hurt upcoming sales. Hope they can survive this decision.
  • I don't know much about pickup trucks particularly but here's how I imagine the conversation went at the Dodge head office:

    [management] So... what are we going to do with the Ram? We keep getting ranked last in magazine articles and it ain't gettin' any younger!

    [accounting] Well if we spend as much on a redesign as Ford and GM, but only sell half the units, we'll just continue to fall behind in profits.

    [marketing] We need to pull a play out of our history books and make a bold statement. I say we swing for the fences! If we win big the company will be saved. (If not I've got a cousin at Toyota - hehehe.)

    [consumer research] The new trend these days is recreational trucks. Nobody actually does hauling anymore. If we make it more comfortable maybe we can pull in more new customers than we lose old ones? You know, like the Ridgeline...

    [engineering] Let's put coil springs on the back. It won't cost any more and its on the bottom of the truck where most people won't notice the change. It'll improve the ride for everyone with an empty bed.

    [management] Something for nothing, eh? Sounds good to me. Proceed!
  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,065
    The Avalanche and the Caddy Escalade EXT both have coil springs since their inception. Course the only SUV in GMs lineup that still has leafs are the 3/4 ton Burb and Yukon.
  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,065
    Still no specs eh? Makes you wonder what exactly they are waiting for.
  • dino6dino6 Posts: 7
    Horsepower is not the most important element in the volume half ton truck segment. Practicality, car like smoothness, capability, style, reliability are all more important than power or fuel economy. The biggest customer segment consists of mature baby boomers purchasing trucks for personal/family use or business/fleet use. That's why Ford and GM have the most tasteful, conservative styling in this product segment, and the biggest market shares; and Dodge/Toyota/Nissan have edgier styling for the younger customer, and are mainly competing for the first time truck owner.
    Anyone who pulls trailers on a regular basis knows that it is stability not horsepower that limits speed (unless you're going up a very steep hill). Ford's idea of combining the electronics of roll control, traction control and brake control to manage trailer stability is the single best feature of this new F-150, and puts them one up on the others (at least temporarily).
    Ford's marketing is also spot on in coming up with new premium editions. Again, because the typical half ton buyer today has more income than people expect, it's not just penniless cowboys anymore. The half ton has replaced the traditional large, rear drive Detroit sedan as the family vehicle of choice in many suburban and rural markets, hence the popularity of crew cabs. Crew cabs are also replacing large SUVs since they now offer as much comfort and luxury; more practicality and better towing. It was the 04 F150 that finally brought trucks to parity w/large sedans and SUVs in terms of comfort, luxury and driving dynamics.

    True, the new F150 is an evolution of the 2004 model, not a radical revolution but the 2004 redo simply moved pickup truck comfort and smoothness one level higher for the industry than before and the new pickups from GM and Toyota were playing catch up in these dimensions.Since Ford has the largest market share all it needs to do is to prevent owners from switching to GM or Toyota on their next purchase. (I have yet to meet any truck owner that switched from Ford to Dodge or Nissan). This 2009 update is enough of a move to parity w/GM/Toyota on the most important features. To get the lead, Ford will have to introduce a good half ton clean diesel engine. I doubt that many buyers, except urban commuters, will find a boosted V-6 appealing in this segment even with a fuel economy improvement. But it will be good PR.
    Horsepower and payload/towing numbers are more important in the 3/4 ton, 1 ton markets and here Ford has to work harder on its Super Dutys. The 6 liter diesel engine fiasco made some people switch to GM and to Dodge (more due to Dodge's Cummins diesel engine despite the rest of the truck). But where I live, which is one of the continent's number one truck markets, the Ford 250/350 still outsells GM and Dodge by a wide margin.
    The typical long time truck buyer is VERY conservative. They have the highest brand loyalty in the automotive industry.
    That's why the leaders: Ford/GM can play it much more conservative than the other 3 challengers, who have to try different things just to get noticed.
    The economies of scale that Ford has w/the F150 also allow it to drive prices down along the model cycle. Don't look at MSRPs, look at actual sales and lease deals at the dealership. Ford is more aggressive in these areas than GM in the half tons, and the other 3 don't have the e.o.s. to drive prices down in the cycle. Where I live you c/d get a 07 F150 for almost $100 less on similar lease terms compared to GM, and Toyota dealers weren't even trying to compete.
    Ford knows that the whole industry is looking at their F150 sales numbers and this is one thing they will fight tooth and nail to preserve, with prices if need be.
    Too bad, Ford doesn't have its act together in cars as much as it has in trucks.
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