The Ford Atlas concept truck, one of the show-stealers at the 2013 Detroit auto show, recently made its way to Southern California, first stopping in Irvine, just south of Los Angeles, for an encore appearance at the Saturday morning Cars and Coffee gathering. Shortly thereafter it visited the Motor Trend studios as the subject of a roundtable interview with Motor Trend editor-in-chief Ed Loh, Truck Trend's Allyson Harwood, Four Wheeler's John Cappa, and MT's Jonny Lieberman. Representing the Blue Oval was none other than Ford Trucks marketing manager Doug Scott.
Although many see the Atlas Concept as a potential dead-ringer for the next-generation F-150, Scott says it's more of a testbed to gauge consumer reaction to features being considered for future trucks. In particular, the wheel shutters on the concept seem somewhat farfetched and potentially fragile on a truck application. Scott admitted it's somewhat of a stretch feature, but that Ford engineers are looking at all options for improving fuel economy. "The wheel shutters are more of a stretch. There's a lot more work to be done on durability testing to see if they will work in rugged environments. We know ongoing, that fuel economy is the number one unmet need among truck buyers," he said.
Ford is far and away the sales leader in full-size trucks, but that the brand doesn't take its success for granted, and acknowledges the increasing competition, " We never take any competitor lightly. I've never seen a more competitive full-size pickup market than today."
Watch the full roundtable Q&A session in the video below.