Five Minutes With Ford's Frank Davis

FrankDavis II

By David Boldt

As executive director of Ford's North America engineering division, Frank Davis has his stamp on virtually everything sold by Ford in the U.S. And having just run the media marathon in support of the new 2015 Mustang launch Davis is back on the road with the launch of Ford's all-new 2015 Ford F-150, which debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. We caught up with Davis at Gilley's in Dallas, where north Texas dealers — along with select media — were in attendance for the first showing of the F-150 outside of Motown. With an all-aluminum body and new 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine, the new F-Series is doing a Texas Two-Step.

Government Mandates Versus Consumer Priorities

"Truck customers value payload, they value towing, and we've given them across-the-board improvements in payload and trailer towing. This truck is the end solution, where we get both fuel efficiency and capability. Fuel economy is important to our customers; it was outside of the top 10 [considerations] just a few years ago — now it's moving into the top 10. The No. 1 reason people buy our trucks is capability — this is what we do. We started the serious work on this truck in 2009. What we wanted to do is take it to the next level; [our attention to] real economy was a result of customer wants and not the government mandate."

Absent Aluminum, What Would You Do?

"We said, 'Let's use more high-strength steel.' The problem … when you use high-strength steel you thin the gauge, you bring the gauge down. And then it's not as dent or ding resistant as aluminum. With aluminum you can … increase the section in the doors; we've made the doors thicker, and so it's actually more capable as well. We call it 'tougher, smarter, more capable' — and that's the tougher part."

Performance Platforms

"We don't have anything to talk about [today], but that's obviously something we have in mind as we go forward, because it has been a consistent [strategy] for us. Raptor redefined a segment, and no one has come close to us yet. And we're gonna further distinguish ourselves from our competitors using this great platform."


"All cabs — regular, SuperCab and SuperCrew — will see an increase in capability. Seven hundred pounds is what we've actually saved per vehicle. Later on we'll talk powertrains, weight savings per platform; and there's a huge manufacturing story, too."

EcoBoost — to the Power of Two

"I think the 2.7-liter, which is an all-new engine for us, is a great platform to expand in the future, but I can't talk about the future. But I'll tell you … it's gonna open people's eyes on the fuel economy of the vehicle, and as we were discussing before, one of the things we focus on is big fuel efficiency while figuring out how we [obtain] around 8,000 pounds of towing. The 2.7 engine is amazing. The 3.5 EcoBoost has been a huge hit for us; we've sold over 425,000 since its launch in 2011."

For Davis's official bio, click here


15FordF150_02 II



I wish someone had the willingness to challenge Ford on their continued stubbornness regarding the Ford Ranger instead of these softball questions...

The Ranger ship has sailed, I had 3 of them, the profit is in the 150. I wished for a new ranger but I will say I love my 150, I had a 2012 Tacoma total pos, I should of went right to the 150 from my ranger.

This truck is really ugly in my eyes.

Need to see it in person, but so far the exterior is not wowing me. To me it has tundra DNA which makes me gag, so for now I am glad I have a 2013.

It has nothing in common with Tundra. It is more Super Duty than anything and is nearly identical to the Atlas.

I like the look of it, I don't get Tundra or Ram when I see it. Cant wait to see what the mpgs will be on the 2.7 ecoboost.

I really think all pickups are getting a little big in the grille. Do they need the cooling power for the new power trains?

And first thing I thought of with this pickup was Tundra. Bet it will look nice with body color grille and not all that chrome. Just a little over the top in the front end.

My friend runs a body shop and he said when the new Dodge design came out back in the day, they repaired so many front ends, because those guys just seemed over aggressive and would rear end other drivers. So this big grille could be looked at as a safety problem. Does he have any proof? Yes the $$$ he made in repair work.

Which Ford is in the top photo?

Can't wait to watch this ugly car want to be truck fail in sales.

There really is no similarities to the Tundra, if anything Toyota mimicked the F-150 designs.

IMO the 2015 F150 looks more similar to the 2008 superduty.

Frank Davis dropped a hint that there will be performance variations of this truck. A supercharged or turbo 5.0 is the only engine in the lineup that will please old school types.

Fan boys go on and on and on ad nauseam about Ford copying competitors (or vise versa for that matter) but as Frank Davis pointed out, "We started the serious work on this truck in 2009".

Beef up this frame and suspension a little bit and you could sell this truck as an F-150 or a 1 ton! The Super Duty becomes pointless and Ford saves some additional cash. This truck looks more Super Duty then ever!

I think it looks like a Titan in the front just bigger with the center chrome and painted bumper ends.

The engine lineup already pleases old schoolers. With the 2014's only 5% of the sales mix was the 6.2 and that was mostly Raptor.

I bet the 6.2 will come back in Raptor only trim. See an increase in power. For those who buy a Raptor the last thing you look at is fuel economy. I would be disappointed if they put an ecoboost in it. Plenty of power but the sound isn't there.

I currently drive a 2008 tundra, it's a pretty good truck. The direction Ford is going with this truck is very exciting, I wish they would say more about it though I understand why they are going to draw it out a bit. If the 2.7 is as good as they say and will tow 8K comfortably I can see myself getting one in 2016. Each manufacture is going their own way in regards to design and efficiency. I like the way Ford is thinking, if they can pull it off and make it reliable.

@ p81
The Tundra could not have mimicked the 08 Super Duty design as it was the 2007 Tundra that had a hood with a raised curving slope from the windshield to the grill. The grill was kind of a trapezoidal shape that stuck out further than the headlights That is the only similarity I see and the 08 Super Duty did not have all of those features. I do agree though that Ford did not copy the Tundra as the 11 Super Duty has the more pronounced grill so they bought something like that to the F150 and added a more aerodynamic hood that the Tundra had. Truthfully though Ram has been rocking the aerodynamic look of the hood with a raised curving slope from the windshield to the grill with a grill that stuck out further than the headlights longer than anybody

Ranger may be coming back sooner than we think. Why would Ford have it on their backdrop at the North American International Auto Show?

Creig mac, " Each manufacture is going their own way in regards to design and efficiency."

I agree. I like the boldness of going your own way. Exciting time in the truck market.

I agree about Soft Ball, if these Gasser Turbos are SO great, why doesn't Furd step up to the plate with a better powertrain warranty then?

We can watch them tow the space shuttle like Toyota, or pull a freight train down the tracks but why can't Furd offer a better power train warranty, like RAM and GM?


I wish someone had the willingness to challenge Ford on their continued stubbornness regarding the Ford Ranger instead of these softball questions...

Posted by: Sam | Jan 19, 2014 9:17:57 AM

The Ranger ship has sailed, I had 3 of them, the profit is in the 150. I wished for a new ranger but I will say I love my 150, I had a 2012 Tacoma total pos, I should of went right to the 150 from my ranger.

Posted by: tpr1634 | Jan 19, 2014 9:26:32 AM

Ranger may be coming back sooner than we think. Why would Ford have it on their backdrop at the North American International Auto Show?

Posted by: FYI | Jan 19, 2014 1:26:00 PM

Regarding the Ranger, I don't understand what all the fuss is about. Ford has the right to make whatever cars they want. They were the only of the Big 3 to not go through bankruptcy, so I think people need to put a little more faith in Ford's decisions. I'm not saying that I agree with all their decisions(obviously I don't because I'm not driving one), but until Ford decide they need to have a Ranger, people will just have to live with it. Until then go buy a baby Chevy/GMC, Taco or Frontier. I'm sure one of those trucks will work out for y'all.

Mr obvious, while it's apparently not so obvious to you, no vehicle would need a warranty if it were 100% reliable. Inversely, the less reliable a vehicle is the more warranty it needs for people to be able to buy it. Get it?

I really like everything offered on the new F150.
It will be interesting to see how it does.
It is revolutionary contrary to the fanboi comments.
Not saying it will do well, though, the whole aluminum and 2.7 Ecoboost thing is breaking new ground. Time will tell.

If that nose behind him is a mid-size, color me interested. That actually looks sensible and certainly more economical through aerodynamics than this big slab of a nose even on the '15 model F-150s.

I wonder if it is the front end of a Everest.

The Everest is based on the global Ranger and it has a different shape, but it still based on the same frame.

What he said about aluminum was exactly what I said. you can use really thin steel to save weight and sacrifice durability like dodge and chevy, or use aluminum to increase durability and save even more weight. Probably the single most durable piece of equipment I have is an aluminum horse trailer. I would never go back to steel for any price.

I don't understand people that say it looks like a tundra. First, the trucks you see most of the pictures of are mostly their upper trims like the king ranch and platinum which you won't see as many of on the road. There are very few pictures of the XLT (I can't find ANY of the interior), which is far more common. But if you click on this link
, the black truck at the top has the XL and XLT grille. This will probably be the most common front end on the f-150 and has NOTHING in common with the tundra. And I think it is by far the best looking grille on the new f-150. Here is the tundra:

And here is the atlas:

People really think it looks like a tundra?

Good video Hemi v8 them Ford sure are built super cheap. It's only going to get worse now, sucks to be a Ford fan these days.

@Beebe--I see what you mean about the black F-150 and I agree with you I actually like it better than the higher trims.

Hmm. I've never heard anyone complain about the steel body panels on the current f-150 (anyone that actually owns one). It is a well-known fact in the truck community that the chevy has extremely weak panels at least pre-2014. I don't know about the 2014 but I heard somewhere it is "a little better". I'm not impressed at all with the steel panels on my ram. I actually have a lot more dings and dents on the body of my ram than I do on my f250, and I use the f250 a lot more for heavy work and it is 7 years older. The f250 has a lot more scratches, but hardly a ding or dent. I also noticed from the scratches on my ram that it seems to rust a lot faster, which doesn't make much sense to me. I never wanted to fix any scratches on my ford and never noticed any rust at all (the inside sides of the bed are scratched to hell with practically no rust), but the scratches on my ram seemed to turn deep rust red almost within a couple days. Don't know if it's just a different alloy that is more prone to rust or what, but it was kind of alarming.

@zviera, if it is ugly in your eyes then close them. @ johnny crow, I believe it sux to be a chevy or gmc guy these days as the sales are down on both of them and they are so-called new trucks. People are tired of the same and I mean the same old crap they make. As much as I dislike the fiat, you better not let your guard down as they are closing in on you!!! Be sad to get ran over by a fiat as FORD laughs at both of you.

It's pretty sad that the GM twins will be outdated once this truck hits the lots lol! Poor GM fanbois crying in their beers. Back to the drawing board GM!

It's funny. When Silverado had a 3 piece bumper every Ford fanboy was hating on it. Now! Look at that! Ford has copied a three piece bumper from Chevy and they all sit quiet. LOL

@Chevy guy- Im a Ford guy and I dont like the 3 piece bumper. Dont really care that much for the whole thing really. 04-08 was the best looking truck they ever made, with the 78-79 a close 2nd.

I agree with you about 04-08 F150s. They were the best looking trucks Ford made. Next generation was worse looking, this one is a bit uglier then the last one

@Truck crazy
It didn't help. It's still ugly. I can't get it out of my head now. I am going look at my RAM to sleep peacefully.

@ Chevy Guy - people hated the 3 piece Chevy bumper because it was ugly.

BTW, I'm not sold on the looks of this truck.

I like the '79 Ford looks much better than the '04-'08 trucks.

I have to say i might be happy with this in raptor form. With 700lbs drop in weight and hopefully a little more power i see a truck that will be offroad capable and still giving camaro ss and challanger srt8s a tough time at the dragstrip, even though its a purpose built off road racer. There still gonna be #1 for years to come. Hopefully the raptor will be here by 2016 and ill probably have one in my driveway

@Lou_BC I'd have to agree the 1973-1979 body style Ford had was probably their best looking truck, 2nd best look would be 1992-1996, then the 3rd the 1980-1986. The rest of Ford trucks just are plane out right ugly other then the Super Duty 1998-2007, but then Ford start making them ugly too.

I can't imagine how much more ecoboost buzzy the 2.7L will be versus the already annoying 3.5L.

This thing reminds me of the old Lincoln BlackWood the lower door handles and glass I guess, not a good thing anyway.

Every time I look at that picture Super Duty comes to mind first.
They made this truck look bigger. Big grille, big headlights, just like SD is.
Is it good or bad? I don't know. Some will like it, some will not.

"We said, 'Let's use more high-strength steel.' The problem … when you use high-strength steel you thin the gauge, you bring the gauge down. And then it's not as dent or ding resistant as aluminum."

- This is true. This is a huge factor in what hurt Chevrolet trucks with the 900 series. It hurt their Like A Rock reputation for many.

This new truck will get midsize highway mileage depending on how you order it and is twice as capable. It's gonna be epic and that's in a good way!
Let's all hold hands and MOVE ON!

The only reason the 6.2 is not a big seller was limited access...should have improved Ram.....and old timers "do not want blower or turbos....just non aspirated..for v8 can have all these complicated trouble in future ecoboost...

I like the looks and would be interested in this truck if the AC works and performs like in any other competitors trucks. IN triple digit heat here in az when a 20 degree difference than competitors trucks and a compressor that is constantly shutting on and off, that just doesn't work for me . FORD go back to the design you had in 2009 or earlier. Two little electric fans at the upper one third of the radiator and ac condenser coil doesn't work !! are your ac engineers really that inept?? put in a big fan and program the ac compressor to stay on when driver switches ac to MAX AC, like how your old trucks worked !!!
Back in 2010 i test drove 5 different ford f150s to be sure there wasnt an issue in one truck. THe AC under performs immensely compared to chevy, toyota, nissan or dodge.
The AC issue kept me from buying the ford in 2010, went tundra. And i ck every year ford makes another F150 and that poorly performing ac issue design remains.
One local dealer informed me a lot of people complain about the ac performance in summer. read the owners forums also.

Chevy Guy, it appears the bumper is one a piece made to look like a three piece. The model in the picture is a Platinum. The colored pieces on the end are probably caps. The XLT has a one piece bumper with creases in the same location to mimic a three piece bumper. The problem with the Chevy bumper was that the end caps were too big for the rest of the bumper. That's why my brother bought a (2010) GMC instead.


No. It's not just the economy of the Ranger that some of us want, it's the real, SMALLER SIZE of the Ranger that we want. Add to this the fact that by being even 20% smaller there would be a 10%-20% fuel economy advantage as well, even when using the same size engine. Smaller size for less wind resistance; less weight for lower power requirement; what's NOT to like about the Ranger?

A 2WD dual cab Ranger weighs 1 820kg or 4 000lbs.

How much will an aluminium 2.7 turbo weigh?

The 2WD Ranger is getting mixed cycle driving, 31 mpg US. Highway it would 35mpg, city 27mpg.

I would expect these figures from the new Colorado.

The Ranger and Colorado are built using the new high tensile steel construction. This reduces vehicle weight by 35% over traditional methods and aluminium reduces weight by 40% over traditional methods.

As a rule of thumb for every 10% of weight removed from a vehicle a an improvement of 6-7% in FE can be expected.

I would think a 700lb reduction in weight from a 6 000lb truck would give you a 7-8% improvement in FE.

So it wouldn't be hard to assess the FE of a 3.5 Eco Boost in one of these new aluminium F-150s.

If the 3.5 Eco Boost can give a genuine 23mpg on the highway that means the new aluminium F-150 will give 25mpg on the highway about 5mpg short of a VM diesel Ram.

I know some will state the 3.5 will have it for breakfeast in 0-60 times, but how much fuel will the F-150 use under hard acceleration.

Put 7 000lbs behind the 3.5 Eco Boost and the VM diesel Ram and the Ram will beat the Eco Boost by a long shot in FE, by at least 40%.

With the 2.7 in a 6 000lb truck the FE isn't going to increase a huge amount.

I think the 2.7 will be only a 2WD pickup offering.

Again the all steel Ranger still will tow about the same and get at least 8mpg better FE as the 2.7 Eco Boost F-150.

Which means I expect the diesel US Colorado to be significantly better in FE than the 2.7 Eco Boost aluminium F-150.

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