Retail registrations for half-ton pickups with V6 engines has grown more than 600% in the last three years. So far this year, more than 57% of Ford's truck sales have been six-bangers. It's enough to make them drop $500M into in their Ohio facility to churn 'em out even faster.
Ford's Lima Engine Plant in Lima, Ohio is the birthplace of the Blue Oval's 3.5 and 3.7 Duratec V6 engines that power the Edge, Explorer, Lincoln MKX, MKT, and MKZ sedan. The 3.5 EcoBoost has been in 46% of F-150s sold this year, with it's naturally aspirated 3.7 option taking up another 11%.
The newly announced investment will renovate about 700,000 square feet of the facility, and fund a "flexible engine assembly system" needed to put together the new 2.7 EcoBoost V6 for the 2015 Ford F-150, which will of course be the smallest engine available in a half-ton truck when it comes out later this year.
"Lima Engine has kept Ford and Lincoln vehicles running for nearly 60 years," said Bruce Hettle, Ford vice president, North America manufacturing. "Bringing production of the new 2.7-liter EcoBoost to Lima Engine Plant helps build a solid future both for Ford and the dedicated workers in Ohio."
Ford promises some 300 new jobs to Allen County, where the plant is already one of the larger employers.
Ford says this year's demand for V6 trucks is the highest it's been since 1967, and obviously they expect the trend to keep heading that way. Ford also claims they've got the market nearly cornered, with their trucks accounting for "91% of the industry's growth in V6 truck sales."
There are still no performance or fuel-economy figures out for the 2.7 EcoBoost, but Ford is promising big improvements in both over the outgoing turbo 3.5.