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By Jack Gilbert

The Blue Oval’s most profitable vehicle line, F-Series Super Duty pickups (F-250 through F-550), gets a major boost in the towing department for 2005 allowing it to wrestle tow-capacity leadership from General Motors.

By boosting the maximum tow rating on Super Duty to 17,000 pounds and upping torque on its diesel engine to 570 lb-ft of torque (still lowest of the Big Three diesels), Ford believes the Super Duty can help propel the company to a new F-Series sales record, as promised by Ford Division President Steve Lyons in January.

Ford sells more heavy-duty trucks than its two cross-town rivals combined. Neither GM nor Dodge carry the Super Duty brand cachet, Ford marketing executives say, and neither can run with Ford’s 27-year truck sales leadership record in the U.S.

The Kentucky-built Super Duty contributes about 360,000 units worth of volume to the F-Series total, expected to exceed 912,000 in 2004. Lyons admits the Super Duty lineup provides Ford the greatest per-vehicle profit and says that the company is selling as many as it can make, albeit with sometimes generous incentives.

Holding the line

2005 Ford F-Series Super Duty

2005 Ford F-Series Super Duty

Enlarge Photo

Those incentives, however, may fall slightly this fall as the newest of Super Duty trucks are rolled out with prices pretty much holding the line from 2004’s $22,500 to $44,000 range. The lineup includes a significantly revised Harley-Davidson F-250, which now features painted-on flames and 20-inch alloys; a King Ranch model that boasts an interior that competes with premium luxury cars; and a new limited-edition Amarillo trim package that will only be available this fall.

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