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Ford’s chief designer says that the purpose of that grille is to fill a rear view mirror when an F-150 comes up behind you. Apparently that’s important

THIS week sees the eyes of the global motor industry turned on Detroit, and being the USA’s leading motoring extravaganza the halls of the North American International Auto Show are filled with pick-ups.

You see no amount of global warming or lack of ready cash is going to stop Americans buying trucks – this becomes very clear when the new version of the best-selling pick-up is bigger and tougher than ever before.

It’s the Ford F-150 and Stateside it’s as popular as the Transit van is in the UK. No other pick-up has come close to the F-150 in 37 years and 2013 saw the best results in seven years with 763,402 sold – or one every 49 seconds…

While the all-new F-150 is physically a bigger machine, it’s also lighter by some 700lbs, with resultant economy and emissions advances (often not the most pressing concern of a truck owner in the States…), thanks to the use of bang up-to-date high-tech materials.

“We have been able to take weight out by using high strength lightweight steel for the frame while the body is now 93 per cent aluminium – this has also made the vehicle even tougher and stronger than before, ” Says Ford chief engineer Pete Reyes.

Several features seen on the Atlas concept at last year’s Detroit show have made it to the production F-150. “We have worked on some styling points to improve aerodynamics and visibility and have given the interior a more premium look and feel,” says chief designer Gordon Platto.

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