Despite high fuel prices and climbing interest rates, Ford Motor Co. believes the demand for medium-duty trucks will continue to grow - and it wants to dominate that market.

At a press conference during the Mid-America Trucking Show, Phil Bonfanti, Ford's commercial truck director, said, "We believe the market will continue to grow at the annual 10-15% rate it's been growing at since 1991. Two factors will continue to spur growth: the federal government's budget surplus, part of which will be spent on highway and bridge construction, and the growth of e-commerce." Ford defines a "commercial" truck as any Class 2-7 vehicle that generates revenue.

Ford, which holds a market share of over 45%, says that to maintain a leadership position it must become a one-stop shop for Class 2-7 truck buyers, offering not only a wide range of truck configurations, but premium customer service programs as well. "We have 34 truck configurations for Class 3-5 vehicles alone," Bonfanti said. "Customers don't want simplicity. They want a customized tool, one that will fit their job."

That's one reason Ford rolled out a new Lo-Pro package option for its Super Duty F-650, with regular cab, super cab (four-door), and crew cab options. This package includes 19.5-in. wheels and tires and a top frame that is 5 in. closer to the ground than standard-height vehicles. In addition, three new axle ratios are offered: 3.42, 3.58, and 3.91. A variety of wheelbase and cab-to-axle combinations allow installing bodies ranging from 12 to 26 ft.

Remanufactured starters and alternators for medium- and heavy-duty trucks join the Sloan Transportation Products lineup. Coverage also includes component parts such as fans, hubs, pulleys, and solenoid assemblies. All units are remanufactured and tested to meet or exceed OEM standards

Chevron Lubricants has made its Delo 400 Multigrade SAE 15W40 heavy-duty motor oil available at all coast-to-coast Speedco Truck Lube locations. Speedco currently has 28 facilities and plans to eventually open 50 to 75 additional service centers along most major interstates.