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Ford Should Do Like Toyota And Virtually Introduce Us To The 2021 F-150

Toyota did a virtual launch of hybrid versions of the Sienna and Venza, raising the bar as the first OEM to launch a product in 2020 under quarantine. Virtual launch of 2021 Ford F-150 would reinvigorate Blue Oval fans, excite dealers and give truck enthusiasts something to look forward.

Show of hands, who is tired of hearing about Ford’s exciting new products that will be launching soon? Everyone’s hands should be up. Mine sure is. Believe me, I’m tired of writing about it and speculating.

Ford has a lot of new products coming out many that are vital to its long-term financial success. None, more important than the 2021 Ford F-150, which will be the 14th iteration of America’s best-selling truck.

The F-150 is the keystone vehicle to the company’s bottom line and financial success. And thankfully, as I reported, production has begun again on the 2020 F-150, which should help alleviate the inventory shortage going on with the end of the 13th generation F-150.

Just yesterday Toyota was the first auto manufacturer to unveil a new vehicle in this social distancing environment we live in. They revealed the 2021 Toyota Sienna Hybrid and re-introduced a hybrid version of the Toyota Venza.

Both reveals took place virtually. One at Toyota’s World Headquarters in Plano, Texas and one in the driveway of a Toyota executive. It was bizarre and certainly was a reminder of the quarantine, social distancing world we currently live in. But you know what? The reveal worked great too!

I’ve been to many media drive events and launches throughout my career. They’re all pretty standard and have the same formula. And yesterday’s by Toyota followed that formula, only it was all virtual.

But journalists were able to get their stories and content and information that they needed, but Toyota fans, dealers and enthusiasts, hungry for information were able to see a reveal too. Many people don’t get the opportunity to see the big reveal when the sheet is pulled off. So kudos to Toyota for making this available.

I think Ford needs to follow suit and go forward with the reveals of their key products. The last reveal Ford did was for the Mustang Mach-E and that certainly sent shockwaves. But since then, there’s been talk, rumors and spy shots galore of the next-gen F-150, Ford Bronco and Mustang Mach 1.

And frankly, enough is enough, let’s get the sheets pulled already Ford. We want to see these vehicles. My colleague Marc Stern already reported that Ford has once again, delayed the Bronco to 2021 now. This has been the single longest “introduction” of any vehicle in Ford’s history.

The zest and excitement for the Bronco is high, but everyone’s patience is running thin too. Likewise, loyal Ford truck buyers want to see the new F-150. We now know, confirmed by Ford, that the 2021 F-150 will be on car lots later this fall as production is not expected to be delayed any further.

Let’s take a look at some of the vehicles that Ford should do a virtual launch program for, as soon as possible.

2021 Ford F-150 Lariat interior2021 Ford F-150
Obviously, this is the best-selling vehicle Ford has and the most profitable. The 14th-generation F-150 is coming out later this year as a 2021 model year. You can expect to see the 2021 Ford F-150 on lots by November of this year at the latest, barring any further shutdowns in production.

The order bank for the 2021 Ford F-150 will open July 15 and production for the last date to order a 2020 Ford F-150 is May 29.

Some of the unknowns, despite all the rumors and speculation, for the 2021 F-150 are about the trims and engines. There was a rumored spy photo that appeared to show a potential new trim. Although I don’t believe that to be the case. Also, we are not sure what, if any, new engines will be added or eliminated from the F-150 line.

What about the 3.0 diesel? This low-selling engine has merit, but also seems a money-saving cut from the F-150 line. Also, we know a hybrid version is coming, and certainly Ford should give this its own special reveal.

A hybrid F-150 is something Ford should tout and celebrate proudly. It could really impact the truck segment.

2021 Ford Bronco SportFord Bronco and Ford Bronco Sport
Ford has literally been talking about relaunching the Bronco several years now. It’s not rumor or speculation. A new Bronco along with a smaller Bronco Sport is coming.

The regular Bronco should excite all the die-hard Bronco fans. The spy shots look great and have that classic Bronco shape and rugged appearance.

The baby Bronco, now known as the Bronco Sport is more in line with the Chevy Blazer and Jeep Cherokee. It will likely have a broader sales appeal, while the standard Bronco will be more of a niche. Spy shots of the Bronco Sport upset many enthusiasts thinking Ford had sold out and abused the Bronco name.

2003 Mustang Mach 1Mustang Mach 1
I was the first to break the news back in December that Ford was bringing back the cherished Mach 1 nameplate. Of course it comes at the expense of the GT350 and the Bullitt, both of which are being eliminated after this year.

2003 was the last time Ford offered the Mach 1, so the long departure from this sporty, aggressive nameplate should be highly anticipated. Little to nothing has been leaked on the new Mach 1, with the exception of a few spy photos.

With the Mach-E having alienated many in the Mustang community, having the Mach 1 back will be a much-needed addition to the pony car.

It may upset some of my auto journalist friends to say this, but one thing that’s pretty clear is that auto manufacturers can save money in their PR budgets by doing more of these virtual launches even after the pandemic dust settles. Honestly, other than being physically present, we still get the same information we’d get from an in-person event with a virtual product launch. So, how about it Ford, let’s follow Toyota’s lead and give us some virtual launches?

Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.