Milton Wong, the chief program engineer for Ford’s F-150, shares insights into the development process behind the 2024 Ford F-150 on the show. Holman provides a review of the Leitner Designs GearPOD Roof cargo box, and the crew addresses listener emails, including a valuable discussion on GVWR. Proudly sponsored by Nissan in association with Banks Power, this is The Truck Show Podcast.



The following transcription of The Truck Show Podcast was generated using a speech recognition software, and will contain errors. Please review the timestamp and listen to the corresponding audio for accuracy. 

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Jay “Lightning” Tilles (0s):

Welcome to another episode of The Truck. Show Podcast. I’m Lightning. And he’s Holman. So something tells me, Holman, you’ve got a surprise for me, And. it makes me uneasy. I gotta be honest.

Sean P. Holman (9s):

Why do I have a surprise for you?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (10s):

Because on this show we’ve got Milton Wong, the chief program engineer for the Ford F one 50, which is awesome. And then we’re gonna get your email. We, we’ve got some reviews to talk about, and I think we’re discussing the Lightener Designs, the new box that is on top of your Wrangler 3 92. But then there’s something else that you weren’t discussing with me. And I’m concerned.

Sean P. Holman (33s):

Why do you think there’s something else I wasn’t discussing with you? Because

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (35s):

I just, I can see it. I’ve done over 350 episodes with you and I know you’re, it’s not, you’re, you’ve got something that’s

Sean P. Holman (41s):

Really far. Really? That’s a lot of episodes. That’s a lot of episodes. What

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (48s):

Are you doing? Why are you going to the door? Why are you walking out of the door? Because

Sean P. Holman (50s):

I’m leaving the podcast. What

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (52s):

Don don’t understand. Done. I You just left. You want me to do it by myself? It’s gonna be awful. Just

Sean P. Holman (57s):

Kidding. I have a present for

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (58s):

You. Okay. Wait, what?

Sean P. Holman (59s):

Because it was your birthday. And I bought this freaking weeks and weeks ago and they were, it was out of stock at Amazon. Why

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 7s):

Are you Oh, Jesus. This

Sean P. Holman (1m 8s):

Heavy And. it And. it was, it just came back and finally arrived last week. Wow.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 14s):

This has a happy birthday party paper all

Sean P. Holman (1m 16s):

Over it. That’s the only, that’s the only paper I had. Well, I,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 18s):

I’m, I’m gonna pretend like you got me. You almost had

Sean P. Holman (1m 20s):

Me, you almost had Christmas paper on there.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 21s):

I would’ve been fine with

Sean P. Holman (1m 22s):

That. I was digging through. I asked my wife, I said, is there birthday paper? She goes, yeah. And. it was Hello Kitty.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 28s):

That would’ve been

Sean P. Holman (1m 28s):

Funny. Pink unicorns.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 29s):

Also funny. Something with

Sean P. Holman (1m 30s):

Glitter. which I don’t do glitter. Okay. ’cause it gets everywhere. Have

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 33s):

You ever been glitter bombed? Don’t. It’s the worst. Don’t we just don’t, I won’t do it to you.

Sean P. Holman (1m 36s):

No. Okay. No. You

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 38s):

Have daughters. I figured they glitter bombed

Sean P. Holman (1m 39s):

You all the time. Okay. People will be like, you have glitter on your face. Yeah, we, it’s all over our house because my, my sister-in-law gave our daughter something with a lot of glitter. And it. We literally threw it out. It got everywhere. And we’re like, Nope, this is done

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 53s):

Once it’s in the carpet. Oh man.

Sean P. Holman (1m 55s):

She doesn’t realize they play the long game and when she has kids. Oh yeah. That favor will be returned. Glitter bomb. 10 x.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 0s):

Okay, so this is a fairly good sized box and it’s got some weight to it. You want me to open it on the air? Yeah. That’s

Sean P. Holman (2m 6s):

Why it’s

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 7s):

Safe to you. It’s not exploding, right?

Sean P. Holman (2m 8s):

It’s a glitter bomb. Oh, that would be

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 11s):

Full circle here. I’m not gonna look at it. I’m just gonna, I’m gonna turn my head one way. I’m gonna rip paper off while I look the other way. Here.

Sean P. Holman (2m 17s):

Here, look at the, turn your box around first.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 20s):

This, this is, turn

Sean P. Holman (2m 21s):

It around this way. There you go. Okay.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 24s):

Build your good mood. Build your good mood. There’s no way this comes What? Build your good mood. Okay. Turn it this way. What is this? What is this?

Sean P. Holman (2m 34s):

So this is a one eighth scale model of a Mercedes G 63 6 by six. It’s a Legos knockoff, but it’s 3,300 pieces. Wow. So it’s, wow. It’s, this is what it looks like, by the way.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 47s):

Wow. That is so dope. Look at that. Oh, it’s black on black on black.

Sean P. Holman (2m 52s):

So it’s a murdered out six by six wannabe Lego trucks. So dude, I almost got you a cyber truck. and then, then I decided, no, that’s too cliche. And do

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 1s):

They have a cyber truck version of

Sean P. Holman (3m 2s):

This? Yeah. Well, not this particular one, but, okay. But that’s what you almost got. I went, nah, that’s too easy to build. and then I saw this one and it’s got like roll bars and opening doors and all sorts. I’m like, oh dude, this is, that’s gonna take him like four weekends. This is

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 13s):

Amazing. You’re just, you you want me to take time off the, the pod? Yeah. And just do

Sean P. Holman (3m 16s):

This? Yeah. Because you need r and r. Yeah. Because you haven’t done anything for yourself, so you need

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 21s):

Oh, that

Sean P. Holman (3m 22s):

Is, that is true. You basically need to build this for yourself and drink a lot of sour ales.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 27s):

Wow dude. Thank You very much. Where you going? Okay, he’s going over to the, you got a Dr. Pepper over here? Why are you in the fridge? What’s he getting? Something. You got me sours. No way. Orbital experimental sour orange. Julius and It is quitting time. Strawberry daiquiri. All. right. So

Sean P. Holman (3m 48s):

Dude, drink those while you, while you drink ’em now if you want. But drink ’em. No,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 52s):

I wanna save these. I’m gonna see these doing

Sean P. Holman (3m 53s):

Your 3,300 piece. Well, according to the Amazon listing, black pickup G 63 6 by six.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (4m 1s):

There’s gotta be a lot of pieces in I mean you said over 3000. Yeah. ’cause it weighs a ton. Yeah.

Sean P. Holman (4m 5s):

What do you think that weighs that box?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (4m 7s):

22 pounds.

Sean P. Holman (4m 9s):

I don’t know how, I have no idea how much it weighs. I I mean it’s pretty heavy.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (4m 12s):

It’s over 20 pounds. You think So

Sean P. Holman (4m 13s):

I think, eh,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (4m 15s):

No. Maybe it’s in the 15 ish All. right? What do you think? Yeah. That’s pretty heavy. Yeah. Pretty heavy. Dude. Thank You very much. Shake my hand. Thank You very much. That’s a great gift. I appreciate that. There you go. And I feel like a complete douche because I gave you a, a calendar with

Sean P. Holman (4m 28s):

Wieners on it. Wieners

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (4m 30s):

Natural occurring wieners out.

Sean P. Holman (4m 31s):

Well, yeah, that, that was didn’t, that was for Christmas. This is for your birthday.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (4m 34s):

Yeah. That’s very, that’s very nice. Okay. Wow.

Sean P. Holman (4m 36s):

All, right? Well I turned 58 this year.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (4m 38s):

I’m not 58, dude. 57. No, I’m not 57

Sean P. Holman (4m 41s):

I mean I’m not

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (4m 42s):

That old. I’m not that

Sean P. Holman (4m 43s):

Old. You said it.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (4m 44s):

I’m not 57. Are you

Sean P. Holman (4m 46s):

Over 50? Remember? No. Yeah.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (4m 50s):

Can we start the show now again? We just start. Yeah. I was What, what old guy do you know that loves Legos like I

Sean P. Holman (4m 55s):

Do? I know you weren’t expecting a, a

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (4m 57s):

Presence of you. I’m gonna spent all of Sunday drinking my sour. No joke when I wake up. Crack the sour. Yep. Get drunk and do Legos until the sun goes down. You should.

Sean P. Holman (5m 6s):

That’s my plan. Are you gonna sit in the backyard or in the house? Mm.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 9s):

It’s been pretty cold. We’ve had a cold snapping cold. It’s been in the fifties. I know you guys are like a fifties. It’s been cold out here. And that’s cold to us. I have to get a Dr. Pepper. Sorry. Okay. The,

Sean P. Holman (5m 19s):

This morning when I took my kid to school.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 21s):


Sean P. Holman (5m 22s):

38. Which for being by the beach in Southern, California. It is frosty. It’s pretty, pretty damn cold. Yeah,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 26s):

That’s frosty. We had a frost alert, didn’t we? A couple days ago.

Sean P. Holman (5m 29s):

We had a frost alert. We had massive swells that came in and washed out a bunch of people’s living rooms and all sorts of stuff. It’s,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 35s):

It’s earthquake. There are guys just clowning us right now. Like Oh, you serious? 38. That’s why. But you minus 38 Ryan.

Sean P. Holman (5m 41s):

Well, that’s why I threw an earthquake. It’s like, oh, how do you like the cold now and the ground shaking sucker. Yeah,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 45s):

That’s, that’s, that’s

Sean P. Holman (5m 46s):

True. All right. Enough for promoting people that don’t advertise with the truck. Show Podcast. So before we start the show, I got fake art buddies over at Nissan. And right now I’ve been driving a Nissan Frontier Pro four x, which has been great. I’ve put almost a thousand miles on that thing in the last three weeks. Been driving it everywhere. And

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (6m 5s):

How do you like the suspension? That’s one thing you haven’t told me about. Yeah,

Sean P. Holman (6m 8s):

It’s got Bill Steins on it. This is a Pro four x And. it, it’s great. It’s around town. It’s awesome. It’s just, it, it rides nice. It’s super comfy. Like the seats are super comfy. Love the zero gravity. You can Wheel it into a parking space real easy. It’s like you forget when you’re driving a full-size truck, like how much work It is. and then you get in the mid-size, you’re like, oh yeah, this is like, this is super easy. And then

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (6m 30s):

Got the million dollar question for you. Yep. Yep. How does it fit through the wiener schnitzel drive through?

Sean P. Holman (6m 33s):

I haven’t taken through Wiener Schnitzel yet. What? It’s, it fits fine through in and Out. Fits fine through former boys. Even fits fine through Wendy’s, but I haven’t been through the wiener one yet. Okay. All, right. If you want, if you’re looking for a new truck, head on down to your local Nissan dealership. Check out the frontier. Or of course you can always check out the Titan or Titan xd, the industry’s best warranty five year 100,000 miles. Or you can go over to your website browser and type in

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (6m 59s):

Http. No one does that

Sean P. Holman (7m 1s):

Slash slash www Nissan

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (7m 4s):

Don’t you hate when people say like www like, dude, just type it into the browser. Just just the words. You don’t need the dubs. Don’t need the MYP

Sean P. Holman (7m 10s):


Jay “Lightning” Tilles (7m 11s):

Exactly. And if you’re looking for a really good looking exhaust that reduces the back pressure So, it takes the strain off your engine and you get a few more MPG and a little bit more power. Look no further than Banks Power dot com where you’re gonna find a four inch or a five inch monster exhaust. It comes with the patented sidekick tip. It reduces back pressure, which you can measure all the way back to the head of the piston. It means more power. So if you got a Diesel, head over to Banks Power dot com, type in your year, make and model and find the bank’s monster exhaust for your rig.

2 (7m 41s):

The truck show. We’re gonna show you what we know. We’re gonna answer What? The truck, because truck rides with the truck show. We have the lifted, we have the lowered end. Everything in between. We’ll talk about trucks that run on Diesel and the ones that run on gasoline. The truck show. The truck show. The truck show. Oh whoa.

3 (8m 13s):

It’s the truck show with your hosts Lightning and Holman.

2 (8m 19s):


Jay “Lightning” Tilles (8m 21s):

I opened the Legos. I’m sorry, I just had to have a peek.

Sean P. Holman (8m 23s):

Listen, if you lose any pieces in here and I step on ’em when I’m in the studio barefoot, I’m gonna, I’m gonna make it clean in your room.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (8m 29s):

No, no, they’re, they’re all in bags. I just wanted to see the instructions. It’s, it’s impressive. I can’t wait to start. I’m

Sean P. Holman (8m 33s):

Not giving ’em back to you.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (8m 34s):

Give what back to me.

Sean P. Holman (8m 35s):

All the pieces that you leave behind.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (8m 37s):

I’m not leaving any pieces.

Sean P. Holman (8m 37s):

There’s 3,300 pieces. You have a trail going from here to your truck. They’re

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (8m 40s):

All shrink crapped in bags. I’m not taking those out. I just wanted to see the instructions.

Sean P. Holman (8m 43s):

You just want, and you wanted to see if they look like Lego pieces and weren’t like cheap Chinese.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (8m 46s):

No, they are actually, I’ve heard, it’s funny because I’ve been looking Lego is, has been I mean when you and I were kids Yeah. They released a Lego set like once every six months. Pretty clean.

Sean P. Holman (8m 57s):

Now they do once every other day.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (8m 59s):

Now they’re doing all the, the Bugatti. You can get a Ferrari. My kid’s got horses. Horses and

Sean P. Holman (9m 2s):

All that stuff. This one, I think it’s one eight scale is what I said. But this is basically the equivalent of a Lego technic set. So it’s got all the moving things and funny shaped pieces. It’s got roll bars on it and suspension

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (9m 13s):

That, so this company and which is knife nili

Sean P. Holman (9m 16s):


Jay “Lightning” Tilles (9m 17s):

Knife, yeah. I don’t know how to pronounce it, but they are coming out, they’re basically filling in all the gaps that Lego doesn’t have. Yeah. So they’re doing a lot of four by fours, stuff like that. So yeah. I’m, I’m stoked. Since we’re talking about four by fours, can we jump into some hot F-150 action?

Sean P. Holman (9m 33s):

Well we’ve got Milton Wong, the chief program engineer for the Ford F one 50 standing by. So I think it’s time we should give him a call.

5 (9m 50s):

Hello? Hi Sean. Hey.

Sean P. Holman (9m 52s):

How’s it going? Milton? What’s

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (9m 53s):

Happening? It’s Lightning too.

5 (9m 55s):


Sean P. Holman (9m 55s):

Well, yeah. We don’t care about that guy. Hey,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (9m 57s):

No Hold on a second.

Sean P. Holman (9m 58s):

Good to have you on the phone. Last time I saw you was in Detroit when you were showing us the cool new tailgate when we were walking around kind of the, the media preview of the UF one 50

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (10m 7s):

Hold on a second. You can’t just jump in without the intro hold just a All,

Sean P. Holman (10m 10s):

Right? Well we gotta intro for you. All. right? Here we go.

6 (10m 25s):

It is never used to share what you,

Sean P. Holman (10m 28s):

So we should start with what he does. So what is chief program engineer mean to a lay person who’s listening to, to the interview?

5 (10m 38s):

Well that means that I get the great honor to lead a great group of men and women and our great engineers to put together F-150. Right? So the whole kitten caboodle, right. So from concept all the way through production and you know, so the chief program engineer is more than just an engineering position. It’s really looking at the entire business and kind of orchestrating all the cross-functional within Ford to deliver our, you know, a product program to, to market.

Sean P. Holman (11m 9s):

So you’re working with product planners, So it a great job. You’re working with Oh yeah. All of the engineers who are responsible for each aspect of the truck. And you’re working with the bean counters to make sure that all the things that you guys decide you want to get into the truck can actually happen

5 (11m 24s):

Me in check all the time. Right?

Sean P. Holman (11m 26s):

Well don don’t know. I I, I saw the new truck and you guys packed a lot of new tech into that. That could not have been an easy fight to get all of that into the new truck.

5 (11m 36s):

Well, you know, at Fort Border Company, I mean we take a lot of pride with F-150, right? And we do what it takes to keep the crown, to win the crown to innovate really for our customers. Right? And that’s what it’s all about. And our bean counters understand that. Right. It’s lifeblood of the company. Right. It’s, it’s what funds everything.

Sean P. Holman (11m 54s):

So what you’re saying is you get a little bit more leeway than, and I don’t wanna disparage the, the Ford Fiesta guy back in the day, but I’m guessing that you probably, you know, they go, well it’s, it’s Milton and he’s got the F-150 So I. Guess we can give him that. That metal hinge

5 (12m 13s):

Doesn’t always harsh

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (12m 14s):

Work that way. Theory

5 (12m 15s):

Love that way. But you know,

Sean P. Holman (12m 18s):

So you mentioned that you, you we

5 (12m 20s):

All have to be responsible with our money. Right?

Sean P. Holman (12m 22s):

O of course. Well you mentioned that you kind of oversee everything from concept all the way through production. So two questions. One is, what are some of the other programs you’ve worked on that people would know your work? And then the other question is, how early does it start? So you just had a refresh of the F-150 for 24. When did that process start? When did you get the job where they said All, right. Milton, your next assignment is F-150. And then did you look at yourself in the mirror and go, I can do this.

5 (12m 47s):

I started with the company back in 1996. I’ve worked on lots of different products over the years and in different functions. You know, some of the things I’ve worked on Escape Mustang. I actually started my career in with the Lincoln Town car. Right. Oh dude.

Sean P. Holman (13m 5s):

Working on, I missed the town car

5 (13m 7s):

Dynamics with the Yes, yes. I used to do hot laps around a handling track with a Lincoln Town car. Did

Sean P. Holman (13m 13s):

You drift it?

5 (13m 14s):

Yes. Yeah.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (13m 16s):

Now, okay, wait a minute. As as an engineer that was working on the town car, were you thrilled that they were the most ubiquitous limousines or

5 (13m 25s):

Oh, I loved it.

Sean P. Holman (13m 26s):

All I wanna know is how many J turns, did you do that in the name of science for like a security guys in a limo? In a no no. Well just in a regular town car. like a little J turn. Let me show you

5 (13m 34s):

I mean. so we used to spend a lot of our time at the track in Florida, right. We used to, we used to have a track in Florida and we would, during the winter, we would like around now, right? We would move our operations down to our down, down south in like Maples, Florida. We had a test track down there. And yeah, whenever we had time didn’t and had some spare time even, you know, these were like month long trips at a time. Right? So on weekends you have time, you know, either we’d go go-karting or we put some slap on some tires, some town cars and you know, do some, do some drifting, do do some hot laps.

Sean P. Holman (14m 7s):

What was the fastest, was it the executive or the Bill Blas edition Bill

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (14m 12s):

Bla. Was that a thing?

Sean P. Holman (14m 13s):

It was, he’s Milton’s laughing ’cause he knows Well

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (14m 17s):

Does that, did that compete against like the Nica edition of

Sean P. Holman (14m 20s):

No, no, no. Nica was, that was Mercury. Mercury. That was a different brand under

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (14m 23s):

The umbrella. Oh got it. Okay.

Sean P. Holman (14m 24s):

Yeah. Come on, come on there.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (14m 26s):

No fashion brands, right?

Sean P. Holman (14m 28s):


5 (14m 28s):

Blast, you know, it was, it was Crown Vic, the Mercury Grand Marquee and the Lincoln Town guy. All one

Sean P. Holman (14m 34s):

Platform, right? Yep. Panther. so

5 (14m 35s):

We worked all, all three of them. Panther. That’s right.

Sean P. Holman (14m 37s):

So, I once was somebody who went to the police academy and worked at the police department. So, I. I have a lot of experience in Crown Vic and one of my favorite times is when I went to our EVOC driving course where it was the Emergency vehicles operations center and they put us in Crown vs. And we had to do like, you know, pits and we had to chase rabbit cars through a, like a fake city and do the skid pan. And I’ll tell you a story. We had these old five liter crown vs. They weren’t even the, the modular motor ones at the time. It, it was all the leftovers that they took to the driving school. ’cause they figured these are all new drivers that are gonna, you know, just crash ’em anyway so they’re not gonna give you good cars. And we did the skid pan and there were eight cars and we were all on the radio one through eight.

Sean P. Holman (15m 19s):

So car one is This, is the skid

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (15m 21s):

Pan the one where it takes it sideways on

Sean P. Holman (15m 22s):

Water? Yeah, it’s wa basically a polished concrete big apron that’s flooded with water. Okay. And so what they’re teaching you is there’s, in driving dynamics, there’s a point of no return. I think it’s like 25 degrees of swing, something around there. So when the tail gets out beyond 25 degrees, you can’t recover from a spin at that point. So what you do is you fish tail in there, get it to the very edge and show that you can recover the car and then you drive through and you get points based on that. so we did that for hours all day and I was the only one who had no spin outs the entirety. So the whole class was like spinning out left and right. So the instructor’s like, and I was in car number one, the instructor’s like be like car number one. He knows what he is doing. So at the end of the, the end of the day, it was our very last one.

Sean P. Holman (16m 4s):

so we would take it at like 45 or 50 miles an hour and then spin ’em. I get a little bit faster. I just cranked the Wheel and I did like 15 pirouettes all the way through the apron. And he gets on the radio, he is like, number one, what happened? I go, I just wanted to see the fun everyone else was having. So anyway, true story of of me and, and having fun in the Panther platform.

5 (16m 21s):

That sounds like a great day.

Sean P. Holman (16m 23s):

That great

5 (16m 24s):

In the office, right? Yeah. So I. Yeah. I love this industry. I love this business because you Can you can do things like that, right?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (16m 30s):

I didn’t know Milton that you had an office. You said Naples, Florida, that sounds like an excuse to hang out at the beach and just kind of part-time. Do some, some auto work.

5 (16m 40s):

No comment.

Sean P. Holman (16m 43s):

All, right? so we know, we’ve established that you worked on some important Ford products in the past. So now moving up to F-150 today, when did you get the, the assignment to take on the mid-cycle refresh for the 24 F-150? And

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (16m 56s):

Were you nervous? Yeah,

5 (16m 56s):

So, I took it over. Well I took it over. So I mean this has always been a dream job for me, right? Any chief program engineer at Ford, you know, wants to eventually do F-150, right? ’cause it’s the crown jewels. So in 2021, I was actually finishing up an assignment in China and I had two stints in China, right? One to localize Lincoln over in China. And then the second stint in China was to build up our commercial vehicle business with one of our joint venture partners. So then in 2021, you know, the company asked me to come back and take over F-150 and I said, absolutely right.

5 (17m 37s):

This, this is great. You know, it’s an honor, right? It’s really an honor to be trusted and to have earned the opportunity and the, the privilege to lead the F-150 team.

Sean P. Holman (17m 49s):

What generation is this f150? Is this like 10 or 11? It should be 14th. 14th. This should be 14th.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (17m 55s):

Holy mackerel. All,

Sean P. Holman (17m 56s):

Right? So when you walk into the F-150 office on the wall, is it like a headshot of each of the previous chief program engineers? And you now you now you’ve got your, your painting on the wall with them?

5 (18m 6s):

Not quite, not quite. But we do remember all the, I do remember all of the, the past, right? The whole lineage of F-150 chief engineers.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (18m 14s):

So when you get this assignment, you’re excited. Are you nervous? Again, you’re talking about you’re stepping into some, some rather important shoes.

5 (18m 23s):

So every, you know, we, we say that every F-150 chief, you know, gets number one, Hey, congratulations, the job is yours. Number two, don’t screw it up.

Sean P. Holman (18m 35s):

Yeah, I can imagine that is a, that’s a lot of weight on your shoulders in the building in Dearborn,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (18m 39s):

When you took it over Milton, you were at what you were at generation

5 (18m 44s):

When I took it over, we were just launching the 2021 model year, right? So when we brought, brought on the 14th generation, right? My predecessor was on the brink of retirement, Craig Schmos, right? So then I finished up the 2021 launch for him. You know, right on the heels of that, we had already started working on the mid-cycle action and the mid-cycle action usually take us about three, three and a half years to do in 2021. We were already into what’s the strategy of the vehicle, right? What’s the strategy of the next program? What are the things that we wanna do, right? What are the priorities and what are the new, what, what are the, what are the problems that we wanna think about and want to solve for our customers, right?

5 (19m 26s):

What’s the next innovations that we wanna bring to the, to the F-150? Every F-150 program is always about building upon our build for tough heritage, right? You know, it’s always been about capability, productivity, dependability. Those are, that’s what defines built for tough. So anytime that we do a new program, a mid-cycle, actions continue to add to that, right? And continue to add new experiences for our customer that enhance capability, enhance productivity, and enhance dependability. Couple

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (19m 57s):

Of questions. So first, when you’re building three, you’re designing three years in advance of the next model. What is the longest lead time or what takes the longest to develop? If you are, you’re not doing real. Let’s say you’re not doing a refresh, you’re gonna do a, a major refinement of the platform.

5 (20m 16s):

Yeah. So like frame and body panels takes us a long time. Hardware. So electronics software development takes a long time, right? Lamps take a long time.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (20m 28s):

Seats, oh lamps, seats

5 (20m 30s):

Take a long time. Lamps are hard. I mean the, the jewels, the, the, the jewelry of the vehicle these days, right? And not only are they the jewelry and need to look high tech and look great and be the jewelry and shine, but they also have a lot of legal requirements, right? A lot of functional and a lot of optical requirements.

Sean P. Holman (20m 48s):

And you have to be able to translate it from a designer’s eye into something that’s actually tangible and real in the real world too, right? And, and see how close you can get it. ’cause obviously the, the styling details and things like that are, are gonna be approved based on the, what a designer has put down. And you may not understand until you see one. But there’s actually a lot of little changes on the, on the new F-150. I commend you though. There’s, it’s, I feel like there’s like two sort of, I don don’t know bookends. We know that the, and you, you’ve gotta order one ’cause no dealership’s gonna stalk ’em except for maybe one in Georgia. But the fact that you can get a five liter still in a regular cab ’cause people are putting like, you know, superchargers on those things and having like a their own basically, you know, redo of the original Lightning is pretty awesome.

Sean P. Holman (21m 37s):

And I’ve said this before, I think I, I know you guys are are are deep into eco-boost. The 2.7 is a great engine, the 3.5. But for me, my favorite out of all of the F-150 is the one that I think hits the sweet spot for both capability in terms of off-roading and towing. Everyday livability is a five liter tremor. That is to me and you guys have actually upped your game on tremor for 24 to bring it closer to Raptor. I don’t wanna call it a poor man’s raptor because it’s not, it’s actually for most people who will get a Raptor, it’s the third vehicle or they’re gonna go use it and bomb through the desert. But a lot of people want the Raptor look, but maybe they don’t need that suspension and you need more payload, they need more towing, they need more like truck capability and less kind of fun toy capability, right?

Sean P. Holman (22m 24s):

And that tremor man is just like the sweet spot of the lineup right now. I love that truck. We’ve

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (22m 29s):

Talked about that a few times on the show, Milton is that we don’t know, we’re not inside forward but we think that tremor is one of those things that you guys rolled out and said and said, well this will be a nice insert into the line and then it just exploded. A it’s got a cool name but B yeah the functionality, the usability of those bits that you put on really struck a note in the market,

5 (22m 53s):

Right? So not everyone you know needs a raptor. A raptor is a very capable truck for desert running, right? It’s a desert runner, right? Does great in the sand dunes. But we saw an opportunity, so back in the 2021 model year, you know we saw an opportunity, we have the FX four, right? That’s your base, that’s your very basic, you know, off road package. And then we have Raptor, right? Which is your desert runner. And we saw an opportunity for where there was, you know, opportunity to get into like the middle ground, right? It’s really, and so Trevor does a great job of going off road to places where you wanna get out into the middle of the woods and off, you know, and off road trails and know that you can absolutely get back and that’s tremor, right?

5 (23m 46s):

So it’s got a lifted suspension, you know, right out of the factory. It’s got knobby tires, trailer turn features,

Sean P. Holman (23m 54s):

It’s got that great modular front bumper that has some styling and, and shared parts with, with Raptor, which I love.

5 (24m 1s):

And you know, so we introduced in 2021, no, 21 and a half bottle year. And with the 24 bottle year we decided to, you know, up the game and we gave it, its very unique styling and we gave it, you know, a front end that’s commensurate of its rugged capability.

Sean P. Holman (24m 20s):

Yeah. It uses the sort of that STX style, what you guys call the coast to coast grill where the grill right and the surrounds of the headlights are kind of encompass the headlight all the way in to the body. There’s not like a separate body colors, rights, this, it’s this kind of one color. And I think to me it’s the best looking out of all the new trucks. So I, I always have a sweet spot for Raptor. It’s one of my favorites. I’m sure if you didn’t know I’ve got some history with Raptor with the original one and it’ll always have a, a soft spot. But the tremor just looks great, you know, having some more Raptors styling cues on the hood. There’s a lot of unique body panels on that truck. And, it just, it’s fantastic.

5 (24m 58s):

That is one that we’re really proud of. You know, in fact, you know, charmer didn’t look like that when I first took on the program and then I got into the studio and you know, I looked at all the different ways that we can do the front end and looked at trying to, you know, reduce the complexity. ’cause we had so many different drills and then it ended up like, you know, hey, you know we have this new front end design but it doesn’t really fit on that TREM series. That’s a tremor. Let’s turn that into the tremor, right? That’s, that’s what we did. And. it looks great.

Sean P. Holman (25m 32s):

I was looking through some of the documents that we got on the, on the press reveal and Lightning, you’ll appreciate this. So in 2022 Visa, you’ll be familiar with the credit card company. You probably have a couple of those in your wallet. Mm. Revenue was $29.3 billion.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (25m 50s):

29.3 billion. For Visa. For

Sean P. Holman (25m 52s):

Visa, okay. And then Netflix. Netflix is something you might have on your Apple TV or on your phone.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (25m 58s):

You do. I have it everywhere.

Sean P. Holman (25m 59s):

All, right? $31.6 billion,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (26m 2s):

31.6 with

Sean P. Holman (26m 5s):

A B All, right? And Starbucks, I’m sure your, your wife has contributed as mine has $32.3 billion,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (26m 12s):

32.3. Well half a billion is my wife’s.

Sean P. Holman (26m 15s):

Oh, got it.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (26m 16s):

Contribution there All.

Sean P. Holman (26m 17s):

Right? So if you had to pull out just the F-Series, not all of what Ford’s doing, just the trucks, just the F-Series trucks. So

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (26m 24s):

All F-150

Sean P. Holman (26m 25s):

And above F 3 54 5 F. What do you think that revenue was for Ford last year?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (26m 31s):

I’m gonna say, I’m gonna blow this out of the water. I’m gonna say 41 billion,

Sean P. Holman (26m 40s):

$41.5 billion.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (26m 42s):

What? What

Sean P. Holman (26m 43s):

For just the F-150

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (26m 45s):

That was,

Sean P. Holman (26m 46s):

Or just the F series rather.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (26m 47s):

Okay. Holy dude. Mackerel. So

Sean P. Holman (26m 50s):

When we’re talking to Milton that that’s how important he is, he flies around the country, they have security guards around him. Yeah. They don’t let him fly with anyone else. Important. Now he’s got four secret

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (26m 58s):

Service to their, their ears are wired. How big is your team Milton? Like personnel wise, if you, I guess you can’t really include the bean counters, right? But what about

Sean P. Holman (27m 8s):

Lighting’s asking how many people make the F-150 tick,

5 (27m 10s):

Right? The engineering team is about four to 500 people.

Sean P. Holman (27m 14s):

Huh? You’re impressed by that, aren’t

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (27m 16s):

You? I can’t imagine. Yeah. Managing four to 500 people.

Sean P. Holman (27m 21s):

It’s just a few, four or

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (27m 22s):

Five people I can wrap my head around, not in the hundreds.

Sean P. Holman (27m 26s):

So on the, the new truck, here’s the trim levels, XL, S-T-X-X-L-T, Lariat, king Ranch, platinum Tremor and then of course Raptor. And then also you can go with the 2.7 liter eco boost V six, the five liter coyote, the three five Eco-boost or the three five Power boost, which is the full hybrid V six. So Milton you love build complexity is what I’m reading from this.

5 (27m 53s):

You know, you gotta give, you know, one of the things that we do with F-150 is you know the power of choice, right? And so we, one of the things that we really emphasized on this program was to reduce the complexity, make the ordering process a lot easier for our dealers, help our customers understand our product and our program. But it’s not one size fits all. So there are customers who want the different powertrains and different capabilities depending on what they do. You know, the one that we introduced most recently, which is the three five power boosts full hybrid is a perfect example of it brings on a different use case And, it gives the customers new capabilities, right?

5 (28m 39s):

Because it’s not just about, you know, that is our engine, our on base F-150 outside Raptor, right? With it’s the engine with the highest torque, the highest horsepower. But it’s not just about the big numbers and the power output underneath the hood, but it’s also really about pro power on board, right? Power in the box. All of our hybrids come with, they come standard with a 2.4 kilowatt pro power on onboard generator or you can option up to a 7.2 kilowatts, right? And that which

Sean P. Holman (29m 13s):

Is a lot

5 (29m 13s):

Brand new capability. Yes. I mean with 7.2 kilowatts of power, you can run an entire construction job site, you know, heavy welders and heavy equipment for up to 32 hours continuously on max power

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (29m 27s):

Holy Mac. Because to me, to me a a 7.2 K KW would be like a, like an Onin Diesel generator in an RV where you’ve got air conditioning units, a microwave, all that stuff running simultaneously. That’s a lot of power.

5 (29m 40s):

And you know, so talking about camping, right? You know, when you camp, you know there are lots of campsites where there’s a modern day convenience. You can rent a campsite and you can plug in, right? And you have power, right? But there are a lot of places where you want to camp that it’s just off the, off the beaten path and there is no power there. Right Now you can actually bring your own power, right? And you can run your own campsite, right? You can run your campsite 85 hours on, you know, on a, on a full tank of gas And. it just brings new capabilities, right? So I talked about earlier that, you know, bill four tough is about capability, productivity and dependability, right?

5 (30m 21s):

In the past, you know, capability and productivity were synonymous. Were things like more torque, more horsepower, more payload, more towing capacity, right? Big numbers. But in what we’ve done recently, it’s we’re bringing new meaning to the words capability and productivity tell your story, right? So as I’m launching the F1, the new F-150, I bounce around between Dearborne truck plant and Kansas City assembly plant, our two assembly plants where we built our F1 fifties And. it was just about two weeks ago I was out in Kansas, Kansas City assembly plant and I was walking through one of our older areas, I was just kind of rummaging through, there’s like a lot of old stuff here, right?

5 (31m 4s):

So I was just kind of rummaging through and there were like a lot of old pictures and I pulled out this picture of a 2008 F-150 and that was probably Gen 11, gen 12, maybe 15 years ago when I was looking at the interior of an F-150. And I, I took a picture of that and I put it next to a picture of our 2024 model year F-150 and you know, just kind of you compare and contrast of how far we’ve come, but it’s not just about looking at the cockpit and looking at, we went from analog dials to full digital screens and you know, we went from a double din radio to, you know, digital infotainment.

5 (31m 49s):

It’s not just about screens and buttons, right? But if you take a look at what we’ve done in terms of transforming that cockpit, you know, now we have blue crew, we have a exterior work surface on the tailgate. We have an interior work surface, we have pro power on board to power up your laptops, power up your tools. It’s just really transforming the F-150 into a better tool, right? And it something that you can depend on to handle any pursuit that you have.

Sean P. Holman (32m 19s):

It literally has become a Swiss Army knife. Well, thing things fold out, we’ll talk about the tailgate in a minute, but things fold outta the tailgate. You’ve got center console lids that flip open. You’ve got the, the shifter that folds down and so that you, you know, you get room for your laptop. And That one of my favorite features, right? All those types of things. I wanted to go back to hybrid really quick. So through the first half of 20 20, 23, the F-150 was the bestselling full hybrid truck and 10% of the mix earlier this year were hybrids and Ford’s planning to double that for 2024, which is, which is huge. And when you look at the power boost numbers, you were talking about the the maximum horsepower and torque 430 horsepower, 570 pound feet of torque.

Sean P. Holman (32m 59s):

So that leads me to my next question is what really killed light duty Diesel for the most part in America? Was it cost, was it emission regulations or was it the advent of hybrid coming through and being able to do that kind of power output more affordably with a gasoline power plant? Is it a mix of those things from a chief engineer? Obviously you guys moved on from Diesel and light duty. Was that a hard choice? Do you think customers will miss it or do you think they’re gonna go to Power boost now?

5 (33m 30s):

So Power Boost is, you know, it was a great invention for us, right? Because it gave us new capabilities, like I said, right? And we, when we first started developing the Power boost, we, we knew that we could export power and we could bring power to the, to the back. But we didn’t quite yet imagine what were people going to do with it, right? We knew that it would be useful. I mean we, you know, you think about our concepts, you know, we drew up boards where we, you know, when we think about like what do we think the customers are gonna do with these technologies? And you know, if you think, if you think about, if you imagine our cartoons, right? You know, cartoons about like what do we, how do we think customers are gonna use it?

5 (34m 10s):

Yes. The job site was one of them, right? Powering up a job site, Bob,

Sean P. Holman (34m 14s):

The construction worker of shown here plugging in all the stuff and then here’s, here’s Jim at home and he just had a storm and he is powering his house. And then it’s almost like when the iPhone came out, there’s almost no way you could have understood how people would’ve used that today. And now that you guys have had feedback from first Gen Power Boost, you kind of went all in on this next generation, right? And gave people more power, but also really just more usability in the way that power gets exported, the vehicle runs the just It is almost like the strategy behind it changed to better utilize that and more situations for for customers.

5 (34m 49s):

Yeah, it’s been great for things like disaster recovery, right? So when we launched Power Boost, you know, it was unfortunate for our friends in Texas that they had the big storms, but some of our customers plugged their house into it, right? So, you know, these were not use cases that we had imagined, but you know, over the years people have found different ways to, you know, really change the way they used the truck as a tool, right? And so one of the stories that, that we came up upon as we were, you know, going into the reveal was, you know, we were trying to see how other, you know, how Power Boost and how pro power and board were, were changing lives and businesses, right?

5 (35m 33s):

And there’s actually this outfit in Maine called in the state of Maine mainly teeth, right? And they tow a trailer, a mobile dental office with their F-150. They get to different sites to provide dental services to the needy and they power up their mobile dental office with Power Boost. And when they told us that story, we were just like, wow. Right? And we never imagined that.

Sean P. Holman (36m 1s):

You’re telling me that they are the customer that’s not gonna miss the Diesel at all? No, they, they, they found a completely new technology that gives ’em similar power or better similar fuel economy in capability and then now they can do more stuff with it.

5 (36m 16s):


Jay “Lightning” Tilles (36m 17s):

Is that the strangest use case that you’ve seen? Mobile main man teeth mo a mobile dentist. There was

Sean P. Holman (36m 23s):

A Ford employee that powered their wedding. They had a, something went out at their wedding and, and the Ford employee had, it was

5 (36m 29s):

Actually his friend’s wedding. Oh

Sean P. Holman (36m 31s):

Was it?

5 (36m 31s):

Right. It was his, it was his friend’s wedding and then they, you know, they had an outdoor wedding and the, the power went out. But then one of our employees happened to have one of our new trucks and he said, wait, I, I can power this, right? So

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (36m 45s):


5 (36m 46s):

Got an extension cord and he plugged it in and all his friends cheered.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (36m 51s):

I can imagine the DJ the, the record just like a movie starts going.

Sean P. Holman (36m 55s):

So when we talk about the new, the new F-150 max towing, 13,500 pounds max payload, 2,455 pounds. Both are best in class for maximum available. Obviously that changes based on trim and, and all that kinda stuff, right? But you’re really starting to get into Super Duty F two 50 territory of not too long ago where the is It, is it mission creep or is it better because the, the, the half ton trucks are, are so capable now is that eroding, you know, the heavy duty share or is that what people are kind of the tweeners they have a place to, to go now because maybe they felt like, God I don’t really need everything from a Super Duty and I like the better ride of the F-150.

Sean P. Holman (37m 39s):

Now they have a place to go.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (37m 40s):

No, this is where he gets an angry email from the Super Duty engineers are like, yo, you’re stepping on my turf buddy.

5 (37m 47s):

That Andrews a good, great friend of mine, right? He’s the, he’s the chief engineer. He is, he’s my counterpart on this Superduty and you know, we work together, right? And we’re in the same office. He’s big brother, right? He’s got Big Brother truck, right? There’s absolutely a different place for F-150 and Superduty. Actually I worked on Superduty as well. I I I finished up the P 5 58 superduty the 2017 right? That was one of my jobs prior to, prior to moving over to China. Right. And So I launched 2017 Superduty as well. So I know that product quite well and,

Sean P. Holman (38m 22s):

And So I know that team quite well as well. You know that product well enough that you went and poached as soon as you got into the F-150 on Hey sucker, I’m gonna take some of that low hanging fruit from you dude,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (38m 30s):

That when they were 17, so the Super Duty was good looking in 16, you know, 11 to 16, but the 17 just, it just redefined it. Yeah. And it, I think it brought a whole not to take anything away from F1 fifties, but it brought a whole new, I think it poached, it poached from your competitors. It really did.

5 (38m 49s):

So the only time that I feel small when I’m in an F-150 is when I’m side by side with a Super duty and I look over there and I’m like, I, I look up and wave.

Sean P. Holman (38m 60s):

Hello. You look over at the door handle next to your, next to your head.

5 (39m 4s):

Super duty capability has, has grown as well. I mean, you know, new Super duty could tow 40,000 pounds, right? so we had very distinct, that’s

Sean P. Holman (39m 15s):

Half a big rig,

5 (39m 15s):

Very distinct use cases. And customer

Sean P. Holman (39m 17s):

It is literally half a semi-truck, half a semi-load, you know, And it more than half a semi-load. ’cause the whole truck together is usually about 80,000 going down the road. That’s of 40,000. So I just got back from a trip to Arizona and was looking at all of the trucks that were out there towing five or six cars on a double decker trailer. Like all the hot Shotters, right? And, it was a, a lot of rams, a lot of super duties. Didn’t see too many GMs. Some of ’em had their bed removed with a, you know, with a gooseneck or a fifth Wheel on it and or I guess it would be gooseneck on those. But I was counting and trying to mentally in my mind figure out how much weight they were pulling and I’m looking like six cars at like 5,000 pounds each.

Sean P. Holman (39m 58s):

If you average amount was 30 plus that trailer’s gotta weigh 8,000 pounds. Right. And I’m going, man, that dude’s pulling 40,000 pounds down the highway almost. Right? And but the trucks guys do

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (40m 8s):

It. Don’t, no, they’ll maxim like there are guys that are not afraid to tow. Yeah. The max weight.

Sean P. Holman (40m 12s):

It’s, it’s insane. Well, and and

5 (40m 15s):

So you used to not be able to tow with, you know, a heavy duty pickup truck, that type type of weight. And so in order to tow that kind of weight, you would need one of the, you know, medium duty trucks. Right. But you know, if you tow those things and you get into town, then you, you really don’t have a, a vehicle to use. But with a superduty you can actually drop your load and you can go around town with it as well. Right.

Sean P. Holman (40m 36s):

So and looking at the technology that you’ve added to the new F-150 Pro trailer hitch assist. So basically that takes the frustration out of hitching a trailer And it uses the rear camera and the corner radars to align the hitch with the trailer coupler while it controls the truck speed steering and brakes to stop at just the right place at the touch of a button. Of course pro trailer backup assist where, you know you can do the steering with the knob, which is actually really cool for backing up a trailer. Awesome. Super awesome. One of the things that you guys implemented though on the new trucks that I thought was stupidly ingenious where you’re like, how has nobody ever done this before?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (41m 14s):

Stupidly ingenious.

Sean P. Holman (41m 15s):

Yes. It’s like, it’s like so

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (41m 17s):

Accidentally ingenious. No

Sean P. Holman (41m 18s):

Stupidly ingen. I know what I’m saying. Okay. It’s like, so obviously like the, the, the lamest person could have come up with this and then nobody did for so long. It’s the onboard scales where the LED lights in the tail lights when you hook up your, your trailer, they’re like vertical LED lights and they will tell, they will help you tell you how much payload and tongue weight there is. So that Wait, what? Yeah, there’s little lights on the tail lights. So

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (41m 45s):

Where, where are the, where are the, where’s the gauge, not the gauges, but where is the, the sensor? Like where is that in the axle in the spring? Like

Sean P. Holman (41m 53s):

What? Yeah, so it’s like a ride height sensor, right? so

5 (41m 55s):

We use the ride height sensor. Yeah. Right. We use the ride height sensors in the back of the truck. Right. And you know, based on the ride height, you know, we know how much weight is in the back of the truck and so we’re able to indicate it in a couple different places, right? So, you know, if you want more granularity of the readout, if you look on your 12 inch center stack display, you can get a lot finer detail. But if you just want approximate in the back on the tail lamps, there’s four LED lights and you know, the more you know, so if you’re somewhere between like, you know, a hundred to 150 pounds, it’ll be the first LED and then you have the second LED, the third LED and the fourth LED showing you that you’re at the max, you know you’re getting close to max weight.

Sean P. Holman (42m 42s):

So what Ford has done is they’ve removed our need for a toso because people no longer have to worry about tongue weight. No, because the F-150 tells you when you have too

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (42m 52s):

Much. No, listen, that would be if everyone went and bought one and then they would, they would clean out the inventory.

Sean P. Holman (42m 58s):

You don’t think after this interview they’re, they’re not all rushing over there right

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (43m 0s):

Now? Well they will be and then Milton will be out of a job because they won’t make them fast enough and they’re like, oh we don’t need you anymore ’cause we’re just gonna stick with this model for the rest of our, for the next 10

Sean P. Holman (43m 8s):

Years. No, no, they’re gonna, they’re gonna tell him to go do the new one. Oh, oh wait, we got, we got too many customers, we gotta go do the new one. But, and then now you guys have introduced Ford Blue Cruise, which is hands-free driving on the F-150. So now you can have that autonomous driving experience. I could definitely see a place, most people are like, ah, don’t take the steering Wheel outta my hands. But for those of us, like in Southern, California where you’re commuting to work and you’re in traffic, the worst thing is just like lifting off the pedal and steering a little bit in your lane. If you can get an hour’s worth of work done, just let the truck drive. I’m totally down with that. Now don’t take the steering Wheel outta my hand if I’m going cross country. ’cause I still like driving, but I can definitely see a place where

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (43m 46s):

It would be going. And by the way, for those listeners who are, who are calling BS on Holman, they’re like, he wouldn’t do it ’cause I, no, I’ve been in the, in the truck with him before when I’ve seen him do it where he takes his foot off the gas truck’s, driving truck’s, truck’s driving and I’m like, I don’t feel comfortable over here. I was Dr there’s a big center console and I can’t get over there with my foot.

Sean P. Holman (44m 1s):

I was driving to get the brake, I was driving the other day in a competitor’s vehicle that had the steering assist and, and all that. And the traffic in front of us stopped suddenly. And so the vehicle I was in also stopped suddenly. My wife’s like, and I looked at her because I knew she was freaking out because the car ha and I lifted up my knees So, she could see my feet weren’t on the pedals and I put my hands in the air, I go truck’s. Got it, you’re good.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (44m 25s):

Oh gosh. She was not happy about that. No, see, I wouldn’t either.

Sean P. Holman (44m 29s):

So don don’t know if, if Blue Cruise is gonna save marriages or it’s gonna take a while for people to trust it. But I do think it’s

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (44m 34s):

Cool technology. It’s, it’s not gonna bode well for many people. Milton how far, how far does this go in your opinion for trucks specifically? We know that people are working on autonomous driving and all this stuff and what are your thoughts as far as trucks are concerned specifically F-150, will we have autonomous F1 fifties? Is, is there a demand for that or is an F-150 a tool for a man’s man who wants to drive still or what’s your impression of it? Where do you see F-150 going ultimately 10 years from now?

5 (45m 10s):

Well, so 10 years from now I mean we’ll continue working on the, our ADAS technologies and there’s a, you know, a whole cycle plan of different things that our adas, our great eights team wants to do, right? And technologies that they’ll continue to refine and, and invent, you know, every year they’re working on new capabilities, right? so we launched Blue Cruise in the 21 model year F-150, right? And it hands free. So what have we done in the 24 model year, right? We’ve, we’ve added more hands, hands-free zones. And the newest thing that we’ve done with Blue Cruise is we’ve given an assisted lane change, right?

5 (45m 52s):

So now not only Can, you drive down the highway hands free, but if you want to make a lane change, you just need to tap your turn signal stock and indicate that you want to go to left, go to the right and the vehicle do it, do it itself. I mean it really takes a lot of the, the stress out of driving, right? It’s an assist technology, right? So if you’re doing a long road trip, if you’ve had a tire, if, if you’ve had a hard day at work and you know you’re commuting home, the blue cruise just helps you to, you know, relax a little bit and take the stress out of driving, right? Because it’s, it’s just great assisted driving technologies.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (46m 31s):

Melton, you mentioned that you added more hands-free zones. What did you mean by the word zones?

5 (46m 37s):

Blue Cruise mainly works on, you know, big highways, right? And so it’s all mapped right in terms of where we can be hands free. And as we get more and more data and more and more MA data, then we’re able to add more areas where you can go hands free. I mean our cluster, you’ll see that in our cluster when your vehicle is in more intelligent cruise control mode where the vehicle has radars, sensing what’s in front and also looking at the lane and steering for you. But that’s when we want you to keep your hands on the Wheel, right? But when you’re in a blue zone, which is we have that mapped out and we have hands-free capability on that stretch of the road, our instrument cluster will actually turn blue and will tell you that you can actually take your hands off Oh.

5 (47m 27s):

no kidding. And you know, for, for that road truck drives down the road by itself, hands free.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (47m 32s):

I gotta be honest, I did not know that it was tied into a map. I just thought it looked at the environment. Literally, if I’m going down a two lane road, And, it looks ahead X amount of distance, And it looks behind and the sides and whatever And, it makes the decision on the fly.

Sean P. Holman (47m 45s):

Yeah, it still, it still needs to no transitions and freeways and things like that. Right?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (47m 50s):

It makes sense now that you say that, but I just, I thought it was environmental more so than map based. But it makes perfect sense.

5 (47m 57s):

So, it uses all of what you just said in terms of cameras and sensors, but it also uses the map data so that you know when there’s potential incoming traffic from highway ramps for for instance right curvatures, right curvatures that are ahead of you that are, that may be too sharp where we might wanna give you a warning to put your hands back on the Wheel. So that map data is important. So

Sean P. Holman (48m 21s):

What happens when somebody has their hands off the Wheel? And, it would be like the lady I saw on the 4 0 5 eating ramen noodles while she was letting the car drive earlier today. Not even paying attention to traffic, just sitting there eating her ramen noodles while her Tesla model three is just doing its thing. And I looked over and I’m like, seriously? You’re not even looking up, you’re looking at like, did you get a, a piece of like tofu out of your ramen noodles or something like that. Right. And I’m watching her, and I watched her for a good amount of time. And, she never looked up at

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (48m 51s):

All. That was like my experience a couple episodes ago where I talked to you where I thought it was just, I was not okay with that. And I know that the technology is there, at least for that, that part of the driving experience. But I wasn’t Okay. I’m like, it’s not okay for you to be totally checked out yet. Well, so like, I don’t as a society, are we, what, what was your beef?

Sean P. Holman (49m 11s):

So, no. So my question is how does the F-150 respond as you go through? So, you know, some of the like steering assists that are in the industry now that aren’t quite autonomous driving yet, they may have like steering assist. As long as your hand is on the Wheel, it’ll steer as long as the angle isn’t too sharp. And if you take your hand off the Wheel to, you know, you drop your wallet on the floor and you’re like, oh, I can grab it. And, you know, it’ll give you a little beep and a warning, and the screen maybe turns orange. It’s put your hands back on the Wheel. What is the, the progression of alerts, and then what does the vehicle ultimately do? If somebody is completely checked out and you’ve said, Hey, put your hands on the Wheel. Hey, really put your hands on the Wheel. Is it like, you know, in a Diesel truck where your DPF goes out, And, it goes into limp mode?

Sean P. Holman (49m 55s):

Like what happens to the truck if you were to ignore all of the warning signs?

5 (49m 60s):

Right. So, so first and foremost, right? What our system uses is we have a driver state monitoring camera, right? So on the mirror, on your left hand mirror sale, and also in the center stack, there’s a couple of infrared cameras that are always looking at the driver’s eyes, right? And so by looking at the driver’s eyes, we’re able to see if we are able to detect whether they are paying attention or not. That’s

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (50m 26s):

Weird that it’s looking

5 (50m 26s):

Back at us. That’s what we want, want we, right? It’s looking back at us to, to make sure that we’re paying, because this is a driver assist system, right? Right.

Sean P. Holman (50m 33s):

It’s not full autonomous,

5 (50m 34s):

The driver, right? The driver needs to be able to take control when required, right? And so that’s why we’re monitoring the driver’s eyes and making sure that they’re paying attention.

Sean P. Holman (50m 47s):

So is that how, if

5 (50m 48s):

They’re not paying attention, then we’ll give you, we’ll, we’ll do graduated warnings.

Sean P. Holman (50m 52s):

Is that how the liability remains with the driver and not the technology? If there were to be an accident because you’re like, Hey, you’re still in control of this thing, we’re assisting you through it, but if you’re gonna ignore all this and something happens, that’s on you as the driver,

5 (51m 6s):

Right? The driver has to be responsible. Yeah. Right. Because the industry’s not there yet in terms of full autonomy.

Sean P. Holman (51m 11s):

Sure. Agreed.

5 (51m 12s):

Right? So you gotta be careful.

Sean P. Holman (51m 14s):

So what is the progression of warnings? I’ve ignored ’em. I’m going down some highway that’s a blue zone, and now it turns into a green zone or whatever the non-blood zone is, And. it says, Hey, now you’re out of the blue zone, time to drive. And I just ignore it. What’s the progression? What, what happens?

5 (51m 30s):

Yeah. So you, you get progression of chimes and warnings. There’ll be yellow, you know, there’ll be, there’ll be chimes and there’ll be yellow lights and there’ll be, you know, red warning boxes. And then gradually the, the vehicle will safely slow down and take you out of, you know, give you enough alerts and tell you to take control.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (51m 53s):

Tell me it has one of those spring loaded boxing fists, boxing gloves that punches you, right?

Sean P. Holman (51m 57s):

No, it has it. Pepper spray, it sprays you right in the face.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (52m 1s):

No, no, no. It just needs to wake you

Sean P. Holman (52m 3s):

Up. All. right? So Ford has been an innovator on the tailgate for some time. Now, you guys came out with the tailgate step and what we, all of us media and the industry affectionately call the stripper pole. and then you came to a,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (52m 15s):

You’re not supposed to say that with him on the phone.

Sean P. Holman (52m 17s):

Yeah, but that’s I mean, he knows. He’s gotta know. and then you came out the gen, so the, the gen one was great, right? Like the, the step came outta the top of the tailgate. It’s like, oh, that’s cool. But the pole, I love the pole by the way, nestled into the tailgate, And, it would rip open the bottom of every cardboard box you tried to slide in there. And so then the second generation came out where you had a flat tailgate again, and you didn’t have to rip open all your boxes, putting it in there, And, it became even better. Well then, you know, GM’s like, Ooh, ooh, I wanna be it on the tailgate. So they’re like, Ooh, MultiPro. And then Ram’s like, Ooh, 70 30 split. And everybody’s going, well, ooh, Ford just has a stripper pole and a step. What are they gonna do? Well, you guys now have your own version of a multifunction tailgate, and you were really proud of demonstrating that back in Detroit when I was there.

Sean P. Holman (53m 3s):

Yes. A few months ago, because you guys have done something different than everybody else, and you think you’ve solved some pain points of how people use their, their tailgate. So I was hoping you would explain it to the audience and, and let them know sort of why you think you guys have a better mousetrap.

5 (53m 18s):

Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, the pro access tailgate was, it was all about human-centered design, right? And this is, you know, So I told you that early on that, you know, for generations we continue to work on innovations and, you know, look at all the pain points that customers have and how do they use their trucks. You know, the, the big thing about human-centered design is going out and observing pain points and observing how customers interact, right? And, and we gave them pro and our customers can be people that we recruit for research, and a lot of them are also our own employees, right? And so we do quick prototypes to mock things up with wood and foam and just see how people interact with these quick mockups so that we can learn and tweak, right?

5 (54m 6s):

So pro access tailgate, right? One of the things that we know about our customers, 75% of F-150 customers tow in some capacity, but with all the tailgates out in the market today, none of them work great with towing. Like your conventional dropdown tailgate when you’re towing and you have your typical, you know, your most typical a-frame trailers, we’ll have a trailer jack in the front. And so you

Sean P. Holman (54m 35s):

Mean the one that all the GM guys drop their tailgate right on top of, they’re, Hey, hey honey, check this out. I got this new cool MultiPro tailgate and they drop it right on the trailer deck. Yeah,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (54m 43s):

Dude, I have at work. Yeah, guys did it to us. Yep. I’ve seen customers come in with, they’re all dented right

Sean P. Holman (54m 49s):

Above. It’s a great design if you aren’t towing. Yep. They, they need to have some sort of towing lockout sensor. But I think the Ford design’s a little smarter than that. So

5 (54m 57s):

One of the things that we really wanted to prioritize is make sure that this tailgate can work with towing, because 75% of our customers tow, so putting the, the swing gate in the right place, sizing it properly, giving it the right opening angles, those were the things that actually make it work with trailering. So now when you have a trailer behind you, you know, we Can, you know, we put stops into the swing door as well, right? So the swing door can open into like three different positions, right? 37 degrees, 70 degrees, and a hundred degrees at 37 degrees. You can open it wide enough such that number one, most important, it stops, the door stops swinging before you hit the trailer jack, so you don’t bang up your, your tailgate, right?

5 (55m 43s):

But even at that opening, it’s wide enough so that you can step in and out of the truck bed and you can pull things out like, you know, your big coolers, right? So, you know, if you go, if you go camping and you still have your trailer back there and you need to access and pull out your, your drink cooler or pull out tools, you can do that.

Sean P. Holman (56m 5s):

So really quick, while we’re visualizing this, as you’re listening with the Ford system, it’s like a door within the tailgate. So the tailgate still opens down, but there’s a door within it that opens up on the driver’s side. So it’s hinged on the passenger side. And so Milton was talking about the first D 10 is 37 degrees, and then Milton will let you finish from there. But I just wanted

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (56m 23s):

People to be able to visualize what it looks like. It feels like a, is it a 70 30 split kind of No, no, no, no. There’s it. The,

5 (56m 29s):

It’s a 20 60 20 split.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (56m 31s):


5 (56m 32s):

20 a stationary, 60 swings. And then the other last 20 is stationary going from driver’s side to passenger side. So the middle section can swing out. And then also this gate is also powered up and down in the conventional sense. So that’s kind of a multifunction right? Pro axis tailgate.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (56m 53s):

How does it do all that and remain as rigid as it needs to be when I’m putting on a pallet of cinder blocks? No joke. Like, because you’ve got so many connection points at these opening, right? These joints where they’re opening like doors, multiple doors in different directions, they close together, but when they close, they have to lock so solidly that when the, it’s down and flat, like a traditional tailgate, they can hold, you know, three big men jumping up and down on it.

5 (57m 23s):

You know, this tailgate has to sustain all of the same loads that our conventional tailgate sustains, right? And we test it to the same requirements and same standards, right? So people sitting on it, people putting load on it, people loading, you know, motorcycles and dirt bikes on it, you know, has to sustain all that load. I mean there is a big frame structure inside that tailgate. You know, there are big beefy hinges and latches to allow you to do all of

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (57m 54s):

That’s a feet of engineering.

5 (57m 55s):

Very carefully engineered.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (57m 57s):

If you’re listening to this, you need to go, there’s plenty, obviously you can go to Ford site website and and check it out. But you need to, we are not gonna do justice trying to describe this tailgate until you’ve gotta see it for yourself.

5 (58m 9s):

When you drop down a tailgate and you need to pull things out of your truck bed, you’re still a good two feet away from the back of your bed. So you have to lean over and hunch over in order to grab anything, right? But with the swing gate on the pro axis tailgate, you open up the swing gate, you’re right at the edge of the bed, right? And so you have much further reach into your bed. And so if you think about, again, going back to productivity and capability, right? Pick, look, let’s face it, pick up beds. If you’re doing normal everyday activities, like on the weekend, if you’re gonna Costco, gonna go grocery shopping or something like that, find a place to, you have this big truck bed, you have this big truck, right?

5 (58m 55s):

But you know, having a good place to store your groceries or, you know, bring your groceries home or your cases of water is a little bit of a pain. Because if you just put it in the back of the pickup truck, by the time that you get home, things have rolled around and you find your watermelon all the way at the front of the bed and it’s hard to retrieve, right? With a bed divider that sections off the, you know, back third or back half of the bed with the tunnel cover on top of your bed and with the swing gate, you all of a sudden have a trunk, right? And very easy access to do everyday task, right? Good for golf bags, right? Good for your luggage, right on runs to the airport, right?

5 (59m 35s):

Normal everyday activities, right? So, it really transformed the customer experience. It makes the pickup truck very usable for everyday activities.

Sean P. Holman (59m 44s):

Now, when the tailgate is It is in tailgate form, does it still have the step in it? Because I, I know that it still has the, the backside with the measuring and all that. You can still have that on the, when you put the tailgate down, but does it have the step or do you guys have another accessory for that?

5 (1h 0m 1s):

No. So, right, so this, this tailgate that no longer has the pullout step cartridge, right? The, the tailgate step. What we found is that as again, human-centered design, right? We observed a lot of people, our customers, so we observed a lot of help clinics within our own engineering team. And we found that when you give the customer the choice of trying to get in and out of the pickup bed with our traditional tailgate step that we’ve had around since 2009, or the pro axis tailgate, the pro axis tailgate actually makes hopping in and out of the bed a lot easier.

5 (1h 0m 41s):

When you think about the, the pullout step, there’s a lot of activity before, there’s a lot of, no pun intended, steps, processes before you can actually hop onto the bed with the pro tailgate, it’s simply push the button, swing open the gate, hop in and you’re there. So what we’ve done is the bumper step is the step now, and we’ve widened it, we’ve made it deeper so you can have sure footing on it. We’ve also added a retractable step to give you an intermediate step. So that’s a retractable step that bolts onto the hitch bar and you can just tug it out with the, you know, balls of your, your foot and just pull it out and, you know, it’s probably about a foot off the ground.

The Truck Show Podcast is a production of truck famous LLC. This podcast was created by Sean Holman and Jay Tillis with production elements by DJ Omar Khan. If you like what you’ve heard, please open your Apple Podcast or Spotify app and give us a five star rating. And if you’re a fan, there’s no better way to show your support than by patronizing our sponsors. Some vehicles may have been harmed during the making of this podcast.