Ford Trucks will launch a long-haul truck at the IAA Show in Hannover this autumn, which it claims will be every bit as good as the latest offerings from the seven major European truck makers.
Emrah Duman, director of international markets, told CM: “There will no longer be seven sisters, there will be eight. And we have ambitions to enter all the markets that they are present in.”
The tractor, which has been in development since 2013, will feature a 2.5m-wide cab and a flat floor.
Having had a sneak preview, CM can confirm that it will look nothing like the Cargo, which remains in production for domestic and short haul. Underneath this camouflage is a bold, modern, European design, with an imposing grille, and an attractive belt line that is reminiscent of the latest Volvo FH. It will be powered by a 500hp version of Ford’s 12.7-litre Ecotorq engine, which is claimed to be more fuel efficient than the 420hp and 480hp versions offered in the Cargo.
In its first 18 months of production it will be matched to ZF’s TraXon gearbox, but in 2020 Ford Trucks will launch its own 2-pedal transmission.
Ford Trucks vice president Serhan Turfan said: “We need to be competitive and developing our own gearbox gives us a cost advantage.”
Duman was keen to stress that the new truck will be a Ford product built in Turkey, not a Turkish truck. He said in this respect it is no different to the Ford Transit. Senior management are tight-lipped about what it will be called, but told CM they are “very excited about the name”. Following the success of the Cargo name, Transcontinental must surely be a contender.
The truck maker is in the middle of a huge export drive, and is in the process of expanding its global distribution network. In 2017 it had a presence in 29 countries, but by the end of this year the figure will have increased to 41, which includes most of eastern Europe. By 2020, when it will have a presence in 50 countries, it expects 50% of its sales to be in Europe.
Although it is in the process of setting up a service network across western Europe, it has no immediate plans to sell trucks here. “And we will need a good business case before we offer a right-hand-drive version,” said Duman.