Ford: Party Harley, Dudes

Ford Motor Co. is confident its '10 Harley-Davidson F-150 pickup will be a hit, despite the downturn in demand for personal-use pickups. When Ford launched an all-new '09 F-150 last year, it emphasized its best-in-class payload and hauling capacities aimed at commercial-use customers, noting personal-use buyers, or as they're sometimes called, largely had left the segment. But there are still enough

Ford Motor Co. is confident its '10 Harley-Davidson F-150 pickup will be a hit, despite the downturn in demand for personal-use pickups.

When Ford launched an all-new '09 F-150 last year, it emphasized its best-in-class payload and hauling capacities aimed at commercial-use customers, noting personal-use buyers, or “air-haulers” as they're sometimes called, largely had left the segment.

But there are still enough of those folks left, says Doug Scott, Ford's truck marketing manager.

“You have to be careful about black and white, decisions or conclusions you come to when you're looking at the market,” he tells Ward's. “There is still an image buyer out there. There's certainly less of them then there were a year ago, but this is a truck that fits that need for that person.”

Ford declines to provide volume projections for the new niche-market truck, which marks the 8th generation of the F-150 Harley-Davidson edition. Some 74,000 units have been sold since 2000.

As soon as the new F-150 launched, Chief Engineer Matt O'Leary began receiving emails and phone calls from customers interested in knowing if there would be a Harley edition.

“So there are people just waiting for this version,” he says.

As with previous iterations, both Ford and Harley designers teamed up to evoke the motorcycle maker's signature image. The team took the pulse of its customer base at numerous Harley events.

“We look at what they like, what they want and what they wish they had, and we go from there,” O'Leary says.

The truck's exterior gets a new front fascia and 6-bar billet-style grille, as well as specialized forged aluminum and Harley-Davidson chrome badging, while a new integrated deployable running board gives the vehicle a lowered appearance.

Inside the Harley theme is continued, with hand-made cloisonné badges on the seats and console lid, as well as a limited-edition serialization plate.

It goes on sale this fall. Pricing has not been announced.

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