There’s something to be said for familiarity. For auto manufacturers, that’s all they really want; people who have heard of their products are way more likely to be the ones who buy them. Over the years, a few car models have stood the test of time and outlived their competitors, and they all have one thing in common: name recognition. The Ford F-150 is one of those lucky few.
The F-Series lineup has been around since 1948, with the F-150 making its official appearance almost 30 years later. Today, it’s the best-selling truck in the U.S. and has been for over 40 years. Is the reason behind its popularity simply that it’s been around for a while?
The Ford F-150 has been successful for many years
When Ford created the F-Series in the years following World War II, the economy was beginning to grow and the auto industry was growing right along with it. While most trucks at the time were made to be working trucks, the F-Series appealed to people from all walks of life. Its wide array of design elements allowed consumers to pick which truck in the lineup worked well for them, giving Ford more sales than ever before.
The Ford F-150 hit sales lots in 1976, and the F-100 was removed from the lineup shortly after, making the F-150 the lightest truck available. It quickly became a Ford fan favorite thanks to the versatility of being able to utilize it as either a work truck or an everyday vehicle, and that was the first year that the F-Series became the best-selling truck in the U.S. It’s stayed there ever since.
Sales for the F-150 speak for themselves
Ford was one of the first auto manufacturers to make headlines a few years ago when they announced they would be stopping the production of passenger cars and sedans in favor of producing more trucks and SUVs. They were met with skepticism and doubt that they would sell enough bigger vehicles to make up for what they’d be losing in sales. While it may still be too soon to tell for sure what their future holds, it’s clear that the Ford F-150 is still their powerhouse vehicle.
In 2019, Ford sold a staggering 896,526 F-Series trucks. That was down from 2018’s sales when they almost hit almost 910,000 units, but the automaker has been increasing its sales for the F-Series overall for the past decade.
When you compare the F-Series’ sales in 2019 to its competitors, there’s no questioning who the clear winner is: Ram sold 633,694 of their pickup trucks last year and Chevrolet 575,569 Silverados. Neither is even close to the success of the F-Series.
What’s behind the popularity of the Ford F-150?
It’s possible that the Ford F-150 has done so well for so long simply because of name recognition. The longevity of the brand and the F-Series lineup certainly plays in its favor. Consumers shop based on recommendations from others, so a long life for a vehicle’s nameplate means that more people will have driven it in its time. But there’s more at play with the Ford F-150.
The F-Series is designed to be whatever anyone needs. If you need heavy-duty, there’s a pickup for you. If you need an everyday vehicle that can seat your entire family, there’s a pickup for you. If you need a truck that can handle both, you guessed it, there’s a pickup for you.
The Ford F-150 is a great example of how versatility can outshine the toughest competition. And while it doesn’t hurt to have the name recognition that so many years in the business can give you, it’s quality that likely keeps people coming back for more.