DEARBORN, Mich. -- Ford Motor Co. is preparing for production of its latest F-Series Super Duty pickup, one of the automaker's most profitable vehicles.
Ford showed versions of the 2005 Super Duty to automotive journalists for the first time Friday. The large trucks are part of Ford's best-selling F-Series lineup, which accounts for about 900,000 sales annually, or roughly one-quarter of Ford's total volume.
The 2005 Super Duty, which goes into production this summer in Louisville, Ky., will have a stronger frame, more powerful engine options and increased towing and payload capabilities.
"This truck is all about capability and control," said Susan Dehne, the Super Duty's chief engineer. "Knowing 90 percent of our customers tow trailers, towing had to be a priority in our improvements."
Ford's Super Duty lineup includes the F-250, F-350, F-450 and F-550 trucks. Ford began selling an all-new version of its smaller F-150 pickup in September.
Through April, F-Series sales were up 10.6 percent over the same period last year, according to Autodata Corp. The trucks contributed heavily to Ford's $1.9 billion first-quarter profit, which handily topped Wall Street estimates.
The new Super Duty trucks are scheduled to hit showrooms this fall. Their prices range from $22,400 to $44,000, Ford officials said.
The Super Duty trucks compete against heavy-duty models from Dodge, Chevrolet and GMC.
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