Why The Harley F-150 Stiil Makes Sense

Article From: 5/30/2009 Automotive Design & Production

In the age of declining truck volumes, it may be worth questioning the validity of such niche truck products as Ford’s latest F-150 Harley-Davidson model.


Exclusivity in name only: Ford’s 2010 Harley Davidson F-150 borrows from the parts bin and will contribute some of its “exclusive” features with other Ford products.

In the age of declining truck volumes, it may be worth questioning the validity of such niche truck products as Ford’s latest F-150 Harley-Davidson model. Matt O’Leary, chief engineer of the F-150, admits the business climate has changed dramatically from the time the F-150 development team began engineering the base truck and its multiple variants, but he says the Harley-Davidson model, which has accounted for more the 74,000 of F-150 sales over the past 10 years, still makes business sense for Ford because of its minimal cost.
 
Besides sharing its basic structure and platform with the rest of the F-150 family, the Harley also borrows parts from other members of the extended Ford family. The truck’s all-wheel-drive system is borrowed from the Lincoln Navigator, although a new two-wheel mode has been added; leather seating is sourced from the same company that provides the leather for the F-150 King Ranch edition; power folding running boards are shared with the F-150 Platinum edition (although chrome trim end caps have been added). The Harley’s “exclusive” lava paint will be shared with other Ford products in the future, while the tuxedo-black finish originally debuted on the Lincoln MKS. It’s this kind of smart sharing that keeps development costs low. Still, O’Leary admits demand for the Harley-Davidson F-150 will likely be impacted by the market: “Our absolute number of units will be lower.”