STURGIS, S.D. - Ford Motor Co. has kicked off an alliance with motorcycle builder Harley-Davidson Motor Co. of Milwaukee with a limited-production Harley-Davidson F-150 pickup for the 2000 model year.
The specially badged truck, which goes on sale next spring, is just one part of a five-year agreement between Ford and Harley-Davidson. It will include an exchange of technology between the companies and other vehicles to be announced later, said George Magro, Ford truck program manager for the alliance and a Harley rider himself.
'We have some computer analysis tools and some technology that we're going to offer the opportunity for Harley-Davidson to tap into,' Magro said.
Meanwhile, Ford plans to build about 10,000 copies of the special-edition F-150 at its Oakville, On-tario, truck plant, which also builds the Ford SVT Lightning pickup.
Harley has expanded its ties to the auto industry in recent years; the company is developing a joint venture with Germany's Porsche AG to make components and has hired Audi AG subsidiary Cosworth Technology Inc. to develop new engine technology.
Ford replaces DaimlerChrysler as the auto industry's cross-brand partner with Harley-Davidson. Dodge sold orange-and-black versions of its Ram pickup badged with Harley-Davidson decals until last year. When that relationship ended, Ford stepped in.
The all-black 4x2 Supercab flare-side truck features a billet chrome grille and nurf bars, special two-throat chrome exhaust tips and massive 20-inch polished aluminum wheels wrapped in low-profile 275/45 R20 Goodyear Eagle GTII tires.
The black leather seats have a stitched Harley-Davidson logo, the dash has chrome accents and a Harley logo and the front fenders feature a chrome Harley-Davidson badge. The truck's design was approved by Harley-Davidson.
Horsepower will be a stock 260 from the 5.4-liter single-overhead-cam V-8 engine. Ford did not announce pricing for the package.
Ford plans to build the pickup for only one model year, says Magro. 'Next year, there will be a totally different truck.'
In fact, a new vehicle will be produced every year during the alliance, with vans and sport-utilities among those being considered for the Harley treatment, he said.
Said Magro: 'Like Harley-Davidson, we want to create some exclusivity.'