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GM, Ford expand production of heavy duty trucks

Ford Motor Company has unveiled the newest version of its popular and profitable Super Duty pickup truck. Just a day earlier, Chevrolet released a list of improvements it will make to its line of Silverado HD heavy pickups. The two vehicles, along with heavy-duty versions of Stellantis NV’s Ram pickup, are some of the biggest money makers sold by the Detroit Three automakers, or any other company for that matter.

Ford has said the Super Duty line generates “more revenue than many Fortune 500 companies, including Southwest Airlines, Marriott International, or Nordstrom. The Super Duty has a starting price of $41,240, but fully loaded models can easily top $100,000.

The problem facing companies like Ford and Chevrolet is finding ways to modernize a standard work-horse pickup truck and make it more attractive to a new generation of buyers. This problem is complicated by the recent focus on developing electric vehicles and the technology to support an electric future.

Ford showed off its updated Super Duty from the Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky. Nearby is the factory where most of those trucks are made, which the company recently announced will receive $700 million and an additional 500 workers for modernization.

The new Super Duty received a host of updates that focus on connectivity, productivity, and software-driven features that the company hopes will generate revenue over the life of the vehicle. This includes 5G modems that will enable behavior monitoring and digital paperwork systems, dashboards that integrate with specialized equipment, and onboard scales.

Many Super Duty owners use their pickups for heavy, dirty work. But many of them also want the power to tow large trailers. At the same time, owners expect top-of-the-line connectivity and comfort features included in the offerings.

At the moment, battery electric powertrains cannot provide the same towing capacity and range as combustion engines. While both Ford and Chevrolet are busy upgrading existing engines and transmissions, neither company is investing in developing new powertrains for their vehicles.


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