The Ford F-Series family this year is celebrating 40 years as the best-selling truck in America, and 35 years as the best-selling vehicle in the country. Obviously, it’s a very important product range for the global automaker; the stakes are high every time Ford decides to tweak it.
In charge of ensuring that Ford nailed the execution of the refreshed-for-2018 Ford F-150’s exterior design were Ford F-Series Chief Designer Gordon Platto, and Ford Studio Design Manager Sean Tant. According to them, the design team had three objectives in mind when revamping the Ford F-150’s looks for 2018: understanding the truck’s design heritage, catering to the needs of Ford F-Series customers, and plying some measure of craftsmanship.
“We call our F-Series customers ‘bold guardians of the brand,'” says Platto. “These customers know our Built Ford Tough DNA, and they want their trucks to convey strength, capability, boldness and power – without being ‘in your face’ aggressive.”
To that end, the revamped Ford F-150 features a new twin-bar grille that draws a connection with the F-Series Super Duty. The “C-clamp” headlamps are also new for 2018, and wrap tightly against the grille – again, much like on the Super Duty. And, depending on the trim level, bumpers, grilles, and other exterior touches are given a nice chrome finish.
“Chrome conveys durability and functionality in our customers’ eyes,” according to Platto. “Ford trucks need to be purpose-built for work and instill confidence among those who use them.”
“When we are designing F-150, we really look at the truck through the eyes of our customers,” says Tant. “We pay attention to detail, and always strive to ensure the truck demonstrates quality – in how its lines meet, accelerate and move through space. We always work to ensure a proper crown is added to the surfaces.”
All that talk of “through customers’ eyes” isn’t pure conjecture, either; Ford says that its design team meets with real truck owners multiple times during the design process in order to get a better feel for how the trucks are used, and what these owners are hoping for. The automaker even sent designers, engineers, and marketers out into the field to study customer routines and come up with “owner personas” to better cater the truck to the customer base.
The refreshed, 2018 Ford F-150 goes on sale this fall with a range of new, dual-injection gasoline engines, an available 3.0L diesel, and a standard 10-speed automatic transmission.