Ford powertrain chief Dave Szczupak: Cylinder deactivation is overrated.
The Hurricane V-8, as it has been dubbed by Ford insiders, is a 6.2-liter engine to join the truck horsepower wars. Ford executives will not talk officially about the engine, but suppliers confirm it is in the works. One Ford source said the Hurricane project awaits company approval.
The first vehicles to receive the engine could be the redesigned 2007 Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, suppliers say. But that timetable may be hard to meet. The Hurricane engine also is expected to be offered in F-series pickups eventually.
Ford is concentrating its North American diesel efforts on the truck side. A V-6 diesel is in the works for the F-150 pickup, the Expedition and possibly the Navigator. Ford told Ford Division dealers to expect that diesel sometime after 2007.
The source of the V-6 diesel is unclear. The most likely provider is Cummins Inc.
Ford sources have pointed to the company's relationship with Peugeot. The two automakers have a highly praised 2.7-liter V-6 diesel used in Europe. But that "sounds a bit small for an F-150," says Dave Szczupak, Ford vice president of powertrain operations.
Ford also is working on the next-generation Power Stroke diesel engine for its Super Duty pickups. Ford could take design, engineering and manufacturing in-house after the troubled launch of the current 6.0-liter Power Stroke V-8 supplied by International Truck and Engine Corp.
For cars, Ford is developing a 3.5-liter V-6 to power a new family of mid-sized sedans and sport wagons. That engine will debut in the redesigned 2007 Lincoln Aviator. Ford is tooling up its Lima, Ohio, engine plant to build 325,000 units of the 3.5-liter V-6 annually.
The Aviator also will receive the new front-drive, six-speed automatic transmission being developed by Ford and General Motors, Szczupak says.
The 3.5-liter V-6 also will find its way into vehicles sharing Ford's Volvo-derived D3 platform, suppliers say. Those include the Ford Five Hundred sedan and Freestyle sport wagon, which should see that engine later in the decade.
The 2005 Five Hundred and Freestyle are being introduced this fall with a modified version of Ford's 3.0-liter, 24-valve V-6. Some skeptical industry watchers wonder whether the 203-hp V-6, with its 200 pounds-feet of torque, will provide enough power for these vehicles, especially the three-row Freestyle.
Szczupak acknowledged the 3.0-liter V-6 paired with a conventional four-speed automatic might feel underpowered. But the Five Hundred and its sister Mercury Montego sedan will be available with a continuously variable transmission and a six-speed automatic. The Freestyle is available with one transmission, the CVT.
The six-speed automatic and the CVT provide smooth, quick acceleration, Szczupak said, and make the 3.0-liter V-6 work.
CVTs, six-speed transmissions, engines with variable valve timing and gasoline-electric hybrid powertrains are core fuel-saving technologies being pursued by Ford during the next several years.
But Szczupak discounted cylinder deactivation, calling it "incredibly overplayed."
Some in the industry question whether gasoline-electric hybrid powertrains provide the real-world fuel savings suggested by their fuel economy ratings.
Ford nonetheless has three hybrids in the product cycle: the Ford Escape Hybrid debuting this summer; the 2007 Mercury Mariner hybrid; and the mid-sized Ford Fusion hybrid sedan for the 2008 model year.