From the Floor of the Detroit Auto Show

Ford reveals its future vision for pickup trucks—the Ford Atlas Concept

Ford unveils its F150 Atlas Concept at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show.
Ford unveils its F150 Atlas Concept at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show.

DetroitJan. 15, 2013—On display at the Detroit Auto Show, held January 14 to 27, Ford unveiled its new pickup truck—the Ford Atlas Concept—which showcases new design details and features; capabilities; fuel efficiency and smart technologies; and provides a glimpse of the auto manufacturer’s future product direction.

“The Ford Atlas Concept previews the innovations that will transform what people expect from their pickup,” said Raj Nair, Vice President, Global Product Development, Ford Group. “With 36 years as America’s best-selling pickup, we are absolutely committed to setting the agenda in the truck market.”

The Ford Atlas Concept is inspired by decades of listening to customers at the places they work and play. The result is a purpose-driven design with prominent wheel arches and a wide stance and chiseled grille—all to reinforce its functional Built Ford Tough image.

“We wanted the concept to reflect how Ford trucks help customers in both their worlds—professionally and personally,” said J Mays, Vice President and Chief Creative Officer, Ford Group. “Every surface and feature in the vehicle has been crafted for purpose and capability while retaining an unmistakable Built Ford Tough look.”

Designers enhanced truck functionality, while creating new advanced features. For example, multiple tie-down points are integrated within the cargo box walls and load floor; along with 110-volt electrical outlets in the cargo box to charge power tools. An integrated roof carrying system and hidden extendable ramps give the truck unique functionality for a variety of jobs.

The interior theme features structural styling cues; and the latest thinking in comfort, utility and refinement. Innovative, thin, lightweight seating in comfortable leather allows for extra legroom for rear passengers—along with integrated storage for smaller items. “Floating” instrument pods and glove-friendly buttons and controls keep the interior functional and ruggedly stylish.

The Ford Atlas Concept also features a next-generation EcoBoost powertrain, which introduces truck-enhanced Auto Start-Stop engine shutoff technology. Auto Start-Stop shuts off the engine when stopped in traffic to save fuel—and smartly suspends the feature when the truck knows it is towing.

EcoBoost engines use gasoline direct injection and turbocharging to deliver fuel-economy gains of up to 20 percent and reduction of CO2 emissions of up to 15 percent, compared with larger-displacement engines. More than 500,000 EcoBoost engines have been sold globally, including 250,000 in the Ford F-150.

The Ford Atlas Concept also saves fuel through a combination of active aerodynamic elements that reduce wind resistance. They include:


  • Active Grille Shutters: Automatic shutters behind the grille stay open when extra engine cooling is needed, such as during low-speed stop-and-go driving or while working in hot weather. The shutters automatically close to improve aerodynamics when cruising on the highway at steady speeds.
  • Active Wheel Shutters: Automatic shutters in the wheels are hidden to improve style at rest and low speeds but automatically close at highway speeds to improve aerodynamics. Self-charging batteries use energy from the wheels’ motion to power the shutters.
  • Drop-Down Front Air Dam: A drop-down front wind spoiler lowers at highway speeds to improve underbody airflow. The air dam is raised at low speeds to improve ground clearance.
  • Power Running Boards: Auto-deploying running boards help passengers enter the truck at rest and tuck up against the truck when it is moving to improve aerodynamics and ground clearance.


The combination of these fuel-saving features saves more than two mpg on the highway without diminishing towing or hauling capability.  

Additional features of the Ford Atlas Concept include:


  • Dual-Purpose Tailgate Step and Cargo Cradle: The Ford Tailgate Step also acts as a cargo cradle—lifting and holding extra-long cargo items above the truck and freeing valuable bed space.
  • Trailer Backup Assist: This segment-first innovation allows drivers to back a trailer with the twist of a knob.
  • Dynamic Hitch Assist: Dynamic Hitch Assist helps precisely line up the truck’s hitch with the trailer coupling to eliminate maneuvering guesswork by showing visual cues in the truck’s center display screen.
  • 360-Degree Point-of-View Camera: A Ford truck first, the system gives a bird’s-eye view of the truck to help position the vehicle in tight places or when there are obstacles near the truck—such as on a busy job site or grocery store parking lot.
  • LED Headlamps and Taillamps: Advanced LED lighting offers better road illumination than conventional halogen or HID lights and lasts longer. LED lamps also offer near-instant response, giving valuable extra warning time for following traffic.
  • LED Cargo Box and Side Mirror Lighting: Advanced, powerful yet efficient LED lighting brightly lights the cargo box and job site after the sun goes down with minimal battery drain compared to standard headlights or plug-in lights.
  • Hidden Cargo Ramps: Lightweight, durable loading ramps stowed below the cargo box can be quickly removed and set up to assist with loading wheeled items into the bed—from landscaping equipment to dirt bikes.
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