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The challenge is to anticipate where the competition will be by the time the truck gets to the market. Toyota showed a concept of a smaller version of its compact pickup as well as a pickup concept with a hybrid badge. Nissan remains strong in that segment while also expressing a strong commitment to hybrids and electric models. General Motors will soon deliver its first full hybrid pickups—although the production numbers will likely be very low. And there are wild cards like India’s Mahindra that threatens to bring in a diesel-electric hybrid pickup that could accomplish most of Ford’s goals, but at a much lower price point.
In its effort to redefine the pickup truck in an era of $4 gas, Ford has a great deal to gain—and everything to lose.