Ford’s 2014 SVT Raptor. Photo Credit: Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F).
Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) bread-and-butter F-Series truck has been America’s best-selling vehicle for 31 straight years, and the high-performance F-150 SVT Raptor is maybe the hottest premium version of the popular truck, setting record high sales in eight of the past 10 months. Five years after the worst recession in decades, people are finally beginning to purchase trucks for recreational use, not just for work. Can Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) take advantage of this trend and turn the Raptor into a big-time seller over rival General Motors Company (NYSE:GM), or will it remain a niche for off-road enthusiasts?
Across the auto industry, days’ supply is a typical way to measure consumer demand for vehicles, with 60 days’ supply being average. Sales for the increasingly popular Raptor are up 14% for the year, and Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) has maintained only a 15-day supply.
“Raptor owners are looking for a high-performing, uncompromising off-road pickup truck with the features and luxuries found in today’s premium trucks,” said Doug Scott, Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) truck group marketing manager, in a Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) press release. “Since its launch in 2009, we’ve continually moved Raptor forward in capability and design, and the 2014 Special Edition is the best Raptor yet.”
In addition to its flashy looks in a typically bland styling segment, here’s what makes the truck so popular.
Built Ford tough
To start things off, the SVT Raptor is available only with a 6.2-liter V8 engine that muscles up the best-in-class 411 horsepower and 434 pound-feet of torque. For all that performance power, the Raptor’s 16 MPG on the highway isn’t horrible, and is only about 2 MPG less than my Mustang GT.
Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) has put out some innovation in the high-performance ride, too. It produced the first application of a wheel with both conventional and beadlock mounting abilities. A beadlock wheel simply secures the edges of a tire to the wheel between two surfaces so the tire is less likely to roll off the rim — providing extra grip when needed off-road. The folks at the Blue Oval have even filed a patent on the system.
For the past three years, the SVT Raptor has set the standard for performance in part because of its industry-exclusive internal triple-bypass FOX Racing Shox dampers, skid plates, and Hill Descent Control.