You have to give Ford credit: The automaker said it would comply with the Society of Automotive Engineers' recommended towing standards (known as J2807) when its next new truck hit the market, and it looks like that means the 2015 Ford F-150.
According to Automotive News, the Detroit Three half-ton truckmakers will follow the SAE guidelines in calculating the towing capabilities of 2015 model-year light-duty pickup trucks; manufacturers have not adopted the SAE standards for heavy-duty trucks. As you might remember, the SAE put together a committee that included truckmaker representatives to provide input into the requirements for calculating maximum tow ratings.
The new ratings were supposed to go into effect for the 2013 model year, but that was delayed until the introduction of Ford's new F-150. Both GM (Chevrolet and GMC) and Ram were ready to make the switch but decided to wait until Ford complied with the standards. Toyota was the first to adopt the standards in 2011, and we're told Nissan's Frontier is now fully compliant as well. We expect certain models to drop in towing capacity (in certain cases the Tundra lost 400 pounds of rated towing capacity), with other select model and powertrain configurations to change very little.
The SAE standards will allow consumers to more accurately compare similarly sized and equipped pickups with segment competitors, providing a higher level of confidence in comparison numbers that will all be based on similar testing procedures. Previously, manufacturers used their own unique set of testing procedures to determine maximum tow ratings.