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A Tesla Pickup Truck? I’ll Be The Blue Guy

Perhaps out of an interest to keep Tesla in the news, Elon Musk suggested yesterday that his company might build an electric pickup truck that would compete with Ford’s F-150 in the next 5 years. To that I say “I’ll be the blue guy,” a sarcastic way of saying “Don’t hold your breath.”

Tesla F-150 Competitor

For a company that hasn’t turned a legitimate profit – and barely has enough cash to keep the lights on – dreams of building an F150 competitor are preposterous.

Here’s why I think the notion of a Tesla pickup in 5 years is beyond fanciful.

Ford-Toyota Joint Hybrid Truck Collaboration Is Over

Ford and Toyota have announced that they will no longer be collaborating on a joint venture to produce a hybrid powertrain for the Tundra and F-150. While Ford has told the Chicago Tribune that they intend to continue to develop a hybrid powertrain for the F-150 (and other RWD vehicles) on their own, Toyota’s official statement on the matter has made no such promises.

Basically, the Tundra hybrid is dead, but the F-150 hybrid lives (for now).

Ford F-150 EcoBoost Problems: Shuddering, Power Loss & Limp Mode

UPDATE: We’ve been told that Ford has a fix for this problem coming ASAP. SeeĀ for the details.

In recent months, a growing number of Ford F-150 EcoBoost owners are reporting that their trucks can shudder and stall during normal use. In severe cases, some EcoBoost F150 owners have said that their trucks have suddenly gone into “limp mode,” where the engine loses almost all power.

Reports of EcoBoost shudder and power loss are coming primarily from humid states, such as Texas and Florida.

After reading numerous Ford truck forums, talking to various auto experts, and even talking to a couple of Ford technicians, this is what we’ve learned:

  1. Ford has a growing problem here, as the number of EcoBoost owners reporting issues isn’t getting any smaller
  2. Ford’s response to this problem has only served to anger afflicted EcoBoost F150 owners

Ford F-150 EcoBoost Problems

JD Power Rates 2011 Tundra Quality 2nd Behind F-150

Last week JD Power released their 2011 Initial Quality Survey results, naming the Ford F-150 the top quality large pickup. The Tundra, which has been at or near the top of JD Power quality studies since the 2000 model year, came in second in the same survey. Chevy’s Avalanche came in third.

JD Power Quality Ratings for Ford F-150, Toyota Tundra

While the F-150’s quality rating was top notch, the overall quality rating of the Ford brand did not fare as well. JD Power ranked the quality of the entire Ford brand about 8% worse than the industry average. As we reported a couple of weeks ago, Ford’s overall quality rating fell mostly because of problems with Ford’s in-car electronics system, MyFordTouch. Here’s how all the truck manufacturers ranked, in order from highest brand quality rating to lowest:

Wind Noise Problems At Ford?

Ford wind noise problems

Is Ford's $100 million investment intended to address a common Ford quality complaint?

Following last week’s news about Ford’s likely drop in the 2011 JD Power Initial Quality study (which is due out this Thursday), there’s more news about some of the quality problems Ford CEO Alan Mulally was concerned about. In the same press conference that Mulally warned about declining quality, he talked about some new robotic systems for makeing sure that doors were installed properly on all new vehicles. Was this bit of news shared to show that Ford is addressing a common concern with their products – specifically, wind noise?