Ford announced its new Class 5 entry, the E-550 Super Duty Cutaway, at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas.
The truck will be used for several aftermarket applications, including motor homes, small buses and rescue vehicles, but Ford expects to sell 42 percent of the trucks as vans for package delivery customers. That will include delivery of small parcels through expedited carriers, such as FedEx Custom Critical.
Given the rapid growth in online ordering, by 2004 package delivery “will grow some four or five times,” said John Fink, commercial truck group marketing manager.
Production of the E-550 will begin in the first quarter of 2002 at a new, dedicated line in Lorain, Ohio.
Ford has offered smaller cutaways – the E-350 and E-450 – but saw a need for a Class 5 version because of customer demand for high weight rating and payload capacity, longer wheelbase options and improved maneuverability.
The E-550 comes in five lengths, with wheelbases of 159.5 to 233.5 inches. There are two engine choices: the standard 6.8 liter V-10 Triton or the optional 7.3-liter Power Stroke turbo diesel V-8. A four-speed electronic overdrive transmission is standard.
Ford Motor Co. (www.ford.com)