But larger V8s may soon have their time in the spotlight.
It’s clear that Ford’s EcoBoost program has been a success because the forced-induction engines have even invaded markets where customers once held a staunch love for naturally-aspirated V8s, like the pickup segment. The real marker of EcoBoost’s success, however, can be seen in the latest news to come from Ford: the fact it’s just decided to slow down the production line of its 5.0-liter Coyote V8. That’s the same power plant the Blue Oval uses in the Mustang GT and is available as an option on the F-150, but demand for that engine has been dropping as customers spec their trucks with Ford’s 2.7-liter, 3.3-liter, and 3.5-liter V6s. As Ford spokesperson told Automotive News Canada that Ford cut one of three shifts at its Coyote plant in Windsor, Ontario "to better align with consumer demand.”
Before you go thinking this is the latest sign of a job-cutting displacement armageddon, rest easy knowing that those extra workers are going to be fully employed building engines even larger than the Coyote. "All employees affected by the shift reduction will have the opportunity to move to Windsor Engine Plant Annex to support 7.3-liter engine production,” said Ford Canada spokesman Matthew Drennan-Scace. As you may remember, the 7.3-liter gasoline V8 is a new engine for Ford’s line of Super Duty trucks. Yeah, it may sound contradicting to use a large displacement V8 in lieu of a smaller turbocharged unit at a time where fuel economy is of paramount importance, but there’s logic to it. Being a pushrod engine, the 7.3-liter V8 makes lots of power at low RPMs, meaning that customers using it to haul won’t have to push too far into the rev range to get the job done.
Smaller EcoBoost motors manage better fuel economy when commuting around town, but under the strain of work they have to run at higher RPMs and waste more fuel. The 7.3-liter’s main advantage takes place on the job site, where it wastes less fuel than an EcoBoost engine does under heavy loads. That makes it a practical pick for Ford’s Super Duty trucks, but not so much for the F-150 that many customers use to commute. And neither is the 5.0-liter Coyote V8 for that matter, which is why demand has been steadily dropping. "We’ve had down shifts every week since January, and we have two down weeks in the summer, and two more down weeks scheduled in September,” said Unifor Local 200 President John D'Agnolo. "We could see that sales of the 5.0-liter were dropping.” Only time will tell what will happen to the Coyote V8, but the fact that hybrid Mustangs and F-150s are on the horizon doesn't look good.