Ford F-150’s V8 Market Share Shrinks to Just a Quarter

As Ford prepares to launch the refreshed 2018 F-150 with a thoroughly updated engine lineup, Blue Oval product planners expect 2017’s engine selection to continue. That means the 5.0-liter V8, while mildly upgraded for 2018, will be found under the hood of only one in four 2018 F-150s.

The transition has been a rapid one. Twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6s were surprisingly effective when, in early 2011, 35 percent of F-150 buyers made the leap from conventional naturally aspirated powerplants. Three years later, when Ford was planning to expand the F-150’s EcoBoost lineup with a less costly 2.7-liter variant, Ford expected 56 percent of F-150 buyers to choose one of the turbocharged units.

Heading into 2018, Ford’s truck marketing manager Todd Eckert tells Automotive News that the 2.7-liter EcoBoost will be the most popular F-150 engine followed by the 3.5-liter EcoBoost. Together, they’ll claim 65 percent of all F-150 sales, leaving 10 percent for the new entry-level 3.3-liter, and roughly 25 percent for the five-point-oh.

So how many V8 engines is that?

A bunch.While far from the leader of Ford’s F-150 pack, the burbly V8 is 10-horses stronger (for 395) in MY2018 and adds 13 lb-ft of torque for an even 400. Thanks to a new 10-speed automatic, fuel economy climbs to 16 mpg city; 22 highway for four-wheel-drive F-150 V8s, up from 15/21 in 2017. By the EPA’s count, that’s an annual reduction in fuel costs of a cool hundy.

But upgrading to the 5.0-liter V8 (from the basic 3.3-liter V6) costs $1,995. The 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, with equivalent torque figures but 19/24 mpg numbers, is a $995 option.

The 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, meanwhile, costs $2,595. That extra $600 over and above the 5.0-liter V8 adds 1 mpg in both city and highway driving and an extra 70 lb-ft of torque.

The on-paper EcoBoost advantages are noteworthy, and they’ve gradually eaten into the F-150 5.0-liter’s slice of the gigantic F-150 pie. Ford doesn’t break down F-Series sales figures, but if production is matched to demand, we can safely assume 65 percent of F-Series sales so far this year are of the F-150 variety. That should work out to around 578,000 F-150 sales in the 2017 calendar year (if the 2018 refresh doesn’t spur greater demand.) Carry the one, multiply by the square root, move the decimal, hold the mayo…

That’s 144,500 F-150 5.0-liter V8 sales.

The V8’s not dead yet.

[Image: Ford]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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