Ford previews 2009 F150 at SAMA February Luncheon
By Paul Borden
A near overflow crowd of automotive journalists and guests were treated to a spectacular view of Biscayne Bay and Coconut Grove, a delicious lunch, and an up-close look at Ford’s new 2009 F-150 with a myriad of new features when they gathered for the March luncheon at the Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove.
Ford graciously sponsored the luncheon, which marked the 12th consecutive monthly meeting for the group that formed last March.
on pictures to enlarge
Mike Crowley, Ford’s group truck/SUV marketing manager, came from Detroit and the vehicle, a brilliant can’t-miss red, was shipped in from the Cincinnati Auto Show expressly for the SAMA luncheon, the first time the new F150 had been displayed in the southeastern United States.
Crowley devoted a half-hour to the truck, telling the rapt audience about the new features of the truck, giving a thorough walk-around of the vehicle, which made its debut at the Detroit and Chicago auto shows, but will not go on sale until fall.
The new 2009 F150 was developed with features that resulted from Ford listening to what the buyers said they wanted in their truck, Crowley said. The results are options that include a new tailgate step that allows easy access to the truck bed, but conveniently slides out of the way into the tailgate.
When buyers told Ford they wanted to be able to reach over the side of the bed to get to items without having to climb up on the rear wheels, Ford engineers listened. Crowley says they could have simply lowered the bed, but, he said, “When you do that, you take away from the volume of the truck.”
Instead, they designed revolutionary new side steps that eject from beneath the bed, and which may also be easily returned with a push of the foot. Step up and just about anybody can reach over the side and into the truck bed to retrieve stowed items.
Ford previewed a crew cab model for the SAMA luncheon, which most likely will be the most popular version and account for about 62 percent of total market sales, Crowley said. With its four-door cabin, it allows for both excellent cargo-hauling capacity people transport.
Pricing on the 2009 F150 has not yet been announced, but will be Crowley said it will be “competitive.”
Following the walk-around, SAMA members and guests adjourned to the seventh floor of the hotel to a dining room where a treat for the taste buds and eyes awaited. It was South Florida picture-postcard afternoon, with the sunlight glistening on the nearby waters of Biscayne Bay and Key Biscayne in the distance.
Main courses for the buffet-style lunch were Moroccan-rubbed flank steak with red wine sauce and southwest-seared salmon, along with vegetables, salads, and three different samplings of desserts, including Key Lime Pie (are those of you who could not be there drooling? You should be! You missed a great lunch!).
It’s just a guess, but odds are that the group will be looking to return to this location some time later in the year. It was a wonderful location and a marvelous lunch.
Our next meeting will be a bit earlier than usual and SAMA member John Kiskinis has arranged sponsorship by the South Florida Auto & Truck Dealers Association in conjunction with the Fort Lauderdale Auto Show. The luncheon will be on March 13 at Smith & Wollensky’s Restaurant on South Beach – another SAMA favorite – beginning at noon. The auto show will open a week later. An invitation to members will follow very soon, so watch your email for more details, but pencil in the date right now! And don’t forget to RSVP.
Also, we had at least one new member sign up after the luncheon. If there is someone you think should be a member but has not joined, please let us know and bring them to the next luncheon.