Paul Horrell14 January 2014

The all-conquering Ford F150 is back

New Supra? 911 Targa? Corvette ZO6? Nope – this truck is the most important thing at the 2014 Detroit motor show

While we were looking at all the cars, we ought to remind ourselves of the most important thing launched at the Detroit Show. Truck yeah!

It's the new Ford F150 pickup. Destined to be, like its predecessors, the biggest-selling vehicle in America. It has been that way for the past 32 years on the trot. They've now made 30 million of these things over the generations, which makes the Beetle or Toyota Corolla look, well, a bit niche.

And this one isn't just a simple evolution. OK, as usual it's got a steel chassis frame (but stronger), but the huge cab and body are made from aluminium. It's up to 300kg lighter than before, and in a truck that matters because it means it allows for a heavier payload.

But Ford doesn't want anyone to think light metal is unmanly. So we're told this is military-grade aluminium, which is extra-resistant to dents and dings.

As usual it comes in a huge smorgasbord of specs, engine sizes and cab lengths. But there are also a whole new range of driver aids, and clever loading systems like a pair of retractable ramps built into the tailgate. The Ford stand was covered in rugged looking work versions - even one with a snow plough.

But in truth many - even most - of these things are sold in America as family cars, useful for towing boats, racing cars and quads and other motorised paraphernalia. Even caravans, sigh.

If all the F150s sold last year were put end to end, they'd go from LA to New York. That's not just because each F150 is a very long vehicle, it's also because they sell so many. That's why it's the most important launch at the show.

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