Ford abandons practice of removing items to boost heavy-duty pickup payload ratings

The moves today are reversals of Ford's previous positions and mostly align the automaker's marketing efforts with those of other pickup makers.
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DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. said it will abandon its practice of stripping removable items from its heavy-duty pickups to boost their payload ratings and will join competitors in using base curb weights.

The automaker also said today that it will state the maximum towing rating for the 2015 F-450 using the industry’s SAE J2807 towing standard.

That’s a change from Ford’s previous practice of using its own tests to determine the heavy-duty pickup’s maximum towing rating.

Ford previously said it would only adopt the J2807 towing standard when it redesigned individual vehicles. For example, it said its redesigned 2015 F-150 would adhere to the standard, but its heavy-duty pickups would not until they had been redesigned.

A spokesman said today that the towing ratings for the F-250 and F-350 would not be restated under the J2807 standard until they were redesigned. But the F-250 and F-350’s maximum payloads would be restated using base curb weights.

The moves are reversals of Ford’s previous positions and mostly align the automaker’s marketing efforts with those of other pickup makers. That makes it easier for consumers to compare pickup capabilities from different brands on an apples-to-apples basis.

In the 2011 model year, Ford was the first pickup maker to strip some equipment out of its pickups to lower their weight and boost their payload ratings. General Motors later followed suit on its pickups’ payload ratings, but abandoned the practice this summer after stories in Automotive News.

In a news release today on the F-450, Ford lowered the maximum payload of its largest pickup by 150 pounds, to 5,300 pounds. That allows the F-450 to remain under the 14,000-pound gross vehicle weight rating that defines it as a Class 3 pickup.

The automaker also said that the 2015 F-450’s maximum towing rating remains at 31,200 pounds, under the J2807 standard. The figure is 1,200 pounds higher than its closest competitor, a regular cab 4x2 Ram 3500.

The towing standard measures pickup capability in three categories: climbing, acceleration and launching, setting standards in each category that a pickup must meet while pulling a specific load.

Raj Nair, Ford’s vice president for global product development, said in a written statement: “We leave no doubt with customers that the F-450 pickup truck has best-in-class towing of 31,200 pounds -- whether tested using our own internal towing standards or SAE J2807.” 

You can reach Larry P. Vellequette at lvellequette@crain.com.


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