While Midland always has been a truck town, staff at Rogers Ford Lincoln say the demographics on what kind of trucks sell are starting to shift.
For the first time since 1985, Ford F-150s with V6 engines are outselling those with V8 engines.
In June, more than 58 percent of new truck sales in the Dallas region, which includes Midland, consisted of F-150s with either a 3.5 liter V6 EcoBoost or 3.7 liter V6 engine. Through mid-July, V6 engines were accounting for just more than 57 percent of new truck sales, according to statistics provided by Ford Motor Company.
Midlanders have been a big part of that trend, said Beau Moore, new car and truck manager at Rogers Ford, as the EcoBoost engine has accounted for about 40 percent of not just their truck sales, but their overall vehicles sales.
“A lot of people in West Texas are pretty conscious of what kind of gas mileage they’re getting and what kind of vehicle they buy,” he said.
In truck sales specifically, Midland has ranked among the top five selling cities nationwide for the last several months. A good portion of that, obviously can be credited to high oil prices and the booming economy those create, he said. Part of the increase, though, also has been from individuals trading in trucks faster than they might have otherwise in order to purchase a V6 EcoBoost engine, Moore said.
“For the first time Texans are choosing trucks with better fuel economy,” Moore said.
Released in January, the EcoBoost engine utilizes new technology to provide better gas mileage. Typically trucks equipped with the new engine can run 22 miles per gallon or more on the highway and about 17 miles per gallon in the city, Moore said.
Though not near the figures being realized by drivers of hybrid cars, the gas mileage is an improvement from the V8 engines. Typically trucks with V8 engines get 18 miles per gallon on the highway and just 14 miles per gallon in the city.
“It’s a huge difference,” Moore said. “It’s a whole leap in technology.”
While reporting better gas mileage, the truck also offers the same about 11,300 pound towing capacity as other trucks, which is what Moore said makes it easier to sell than a different high fuel economy model.
The engine runs off direct-injection technology that helps produce a cooler, denser charge that in turn generates more power for each drop of fuel, according to For Motor Company. The system is meant to create an instantaneous low-end torque responsiveness so that there’s little to no turbo lag in the truck.
“With the EcoBoost you don’t have to sacrifice on any power,” Moore said.
Jim Wise, equipment superintendent at Jones Brothers Dirt & Paving Contractors Inc., said they purchased five trucks with EcoBoost engines about six weeks ago and so far have been pleased with the towing capacity.
Wise said he first heard of the engine during an infomercial that played after a bull riding competition and was interested because of the promise of better gas mileage.
“We do look at fuel economy,” he said. “It’s a major expense in our business.”
Moore said about 30 percent of the dealership’s recent truck sales have been for commercial use like at Jones Brothers while the other 70 percent are for personal use.
The new engine does come at a cost. A 3.7 liter V6 engine runs about $1,750 more than another model. Depending upon the truck purchased, overall prices can range from $28,000 to $52,000, Moore said.
Wise said since purchasing the trucks, superintendents at Jones Brothers have been getting about 3 miles more per gallon than they had with previous trucks. If that mileage improves even further — as he said it should when the engine is broken in — Wise said the extra cost will have been worth the savings they’ll receive in fuel purchases.
“It’s always hard to try a first year new product,” Wise said, explaining the uncertainty of the investment. “Our confidence in Rogers Ford and our relationship with our sales man has given us an opportunity to take a risk on a couple of occasions with new products coming out and so far we have had success.”
Since the EcoBoost engine was released, Moore said they’ve seen an uptick in trade-ins both with older Ford models and with Chevy and Dodge trucks. Used trucks being sold are usually 2007 to 2010 models and Moore said sales of those trucks have been on the increase, as well.
“In Midland, Texas we’re predominately a truck city,” Moore said. “Probably for every car we sell, we probably sell five to six trucks.”