Monday, April 11, 2011

Will the Ford F-150 Be Back in Black?

STONEHAM, Mass --When Henry Ford introduced the Model T, he said that drivers could have it in “any color, so long as it’s black.” In a surprising twist, the opposite is now true for customers who want a 2011 Ford F-150 with a black exterior.

Ford Motor Company has instructed its dealers to stop taking new orders for vehicles in its Tuxedo Black color due to the limited availability of a paint pigment exported from Japan. Shipments of the pigment have been stalled in the wake of the 9.0-magnitude earthquake that shook the northern part of Japan on March 15.

While buyers in search of Japanese cars expected some delays, the shortage of American-made black F-150s is a bit more surprising. Customers searching for a black F-150 without the wait can find them at Stoneham Ford, thanks to the Massachusetts Ford dealer’s extensive selection of F-150 pickup trucks.

With multiple Tuxedo Black 2011 Ford F-150s currently available, Stoneham Ford is offering potential buyers an extended chance to get the best-in-class vehicle in Henry Ford’s favorite color before production becomes limited to other colors. Ford’s Dearborn, Michigan and Louisville, Kentucky plants halted production of the black F-150 the week of April 4, while the automaker’s Kansas City plant will continue limited production of Tuxedo Black models.

“Black trucks look cool, even when they’re dirty, so it’s no surprise that black is a popular color for the Ford F-150,” said Alan Melkonian, owner and general manager of Stoneham Ford. “The F-150’s fuel efficiency has also been a strong draw. The idea that such a bold vehicle can be gentle at the pump was a foreign one only a few years ago, but the F-150 has made it a reality on the road just in time for skyrocketing gas prices.”

Ford’s short supply of black F-150s dipped in March, the same month that the EPA rated the truck the most fuel efficient in its segment. With a combined city and highway fuel economy of 19 mpg, the all-new 3.7-liter V6 F-150 model beat all other non-hybrid, full-size pickups that the EPA tested. The Ford F-150 achieves superior fuel efficiency without any compromise in power, offering up to 6,100 pounds of conventional towing and 302 horsepower, numbers that both lead in their segment.

The 2011 Ford F-150 offers additional engine options for those who want more efficiency or power, including a 3.5-liter EcoBoost and a new 5.0-liter V8. Providing 22 mpg highway and 16 mpg city, EcoBoost-powered F-150s offer fuel economy that cannot be matched by trucks with similar horsepower. The 5.0-liter V8 offers the best performance in its segment in highway fuel economy, maximum conventional towing, horsepower and torque.

As the F-150’s companions in the top-selling Ford F-Series, Ford Super Duty trucks will also be affected by the black-paint shortage. Stoneham Ford will also be able to meet demand for these Super Duty trucks in the near future, as they currently have a number of models at their Greater Boston Ford dealership in the suddenly hard-to-find Tuxedo Black exterior.

“Right here, right now, we have Tuxedo Black,” Melkonian said. “Word is getting out about the shortage, so these may not last for long. We’ll do everything we can to keep these trucks in stock, but for someone who really wants one, the best advice is to come in soon.”