America has had a love affair with Ford F-series full-size pickups since 1948, making it the longest-running American made vehicle model. As of model year 2013, the F-150 has also enjoyed the honor of being the most popular American made truck. This is because Ford makes them with quality, although there have been some fits and starts and growing pains over the years.
Even When Poorly Reviewed, Americans Loved the Ford F-150
There have been a number of times throughout the years that the automotive press has decried some shortcomings they found with the F-150 they were reviewing. Usually, these shortcomings were in the power department. Basically, even though the engines that Ford engineers were putting in the F-150 were comparable in size to those being put in their competition, they were seriously underpowered. Because of this lack of power, the trucks didn't accelerate as fast as the competitors' trucks did and they didn't have the same towing capacity. However, they were Ford F-150s and people still bought them.
A Myriad of Trim Package and Body Style Choices Kept Customers Coming Back
Ford learned in the late 70s and early 80s that just making a quality truck wasn't enough to keep sales numbers up. When they figured this out, they started giving customers a large number of trim packages to choose from. This started small, with four or five trims to choose from, but when Ford started developing the F-150 in an extended cab, and the number of trim packages started to increase.
Some of these trims were only available in the old style two-door, while others were only available as SuperCab or SuperCrew models. Pretty soon Ford's "special engineers" got into the game. Ford had two groups of these "special engineers." One group was just for cars and they were called Special Vehicle Operations (SVO), and they brought us the Taurus, Thunderbird, and Mustang SVOs. For the trucks, it's the Special Vehicles Team (SVT). These guys brought us the SVT Lightning around the first part of the 21st Century, and in more recent years, the SVT Raptor.
Currently, Ford offers ten different trim packages across three different body styles. There is the Ford F-150 Regular Cab, the SuperCab, and the SuperCrew. Both the Regular Cab and the SuperCab have two regular doors and two smaller doors that open rearward to ease access to the storage area, and in the SuperCab, to the rear seating area. The SuperCrew has four regular doors.
Those that just wanted a basic work truck could had the F-150 XL. If you wanted a few more niceties, such as a better stereo or cloth seats, you went for the STX. The next just up the ladder was (and is) the XLT, with an even nicer stereo and power windows and locks. The XLT was and is the sales volume leader of all F-150 offerings. For those that wanted a little sportiness in their truck, Ford engineers provided the FX2, and if you wanted to take that sportiness off-road, there was the FX4.
Ford's Engineers didn't forget the jobsite foreman, either. This guy needs a tough truck that has some extra luxury, like leather seating and accents, embodied by the F-150 Lariat. Of course, it's also got a nicer stereo system as well. Ford also had an option for the rancher, the western saddle-inspired King Ranch. Of course, this baby's got leather seats and trim, as well as wood grain accents, power adjustable seats, heated mirrors, and more.
If the jobsite foreman needed the Lariat, the owner of the construction company needed something even nicer. In recent years, this need has been filled by the Platinum Edition, as well as the Limited Edition. Both are equipped with leather, bucket seats that are heated and cooled, as well as power adjustable in multiple directions.
Up until recently, Ford even had a truck for Harley owners (or just those that wanted to look like Harley owners). This black beauty had special Harley badging and colors. Ford engineers knew that tossing a few Harley-Davidson-inspired badges on the outside of the truck wasn't going to be enough, so they gave the H-D Edition a more powerful engine-in the early years of the H-D Edition this was a supercharged V8 that literally screamed.
Lots More Choices Were Offered Too
As if ten different trim packages and three different body styles wasn't enough, Ford engineers usually offered each trim package with two different engines, one designed for power, and one designed to deliver slightly better fuel mileage. Each of the trim packages was available in either a long bed, or a short bed, allowing the extended cab trucks to fit in a driveway or garage. To top it all off, each trim package, except the FX2 and FX4 were available in either two-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive versions. Usually, the SVT trims were also either 2WD or 4WD only, depending on which model it was.
Did we mention color choices yet? The XLT, the volume sales leader, was usually offered in anywhere from 15 to 26 different exterior color choices, and between five and ten interior color combinations. The other trim packages usually had far less color choices, with the H-D Editions only having two-solid black, and black and silver.
Topping off the list of choices that were available were options packages. One of the more recent editions to this is what Ford calls Ford Work Solutions. This is a tool storage system that uses radio frequency tags to track your tools. There is also special cargo tie-down system that allows you to secure objects in the truck bed as long as they fit in the bed. For model year 2013, buyers could also choose the MyFord Touch entertainment system on top of the Sync system. As if this wasn't enough, any of the features available on the higher-dollar trims could be special ordered and installed on the lower trims. Thus, if all you wanted was the XL, but you wanted the six-disc CD changer and the bucket seats, all you had to do was/is order and pay for them.