When Ford introduced the new version of its F-150 pickup truck last July, it revealed a host of innovations… but not a multifunction tailgate like found in some competitors.
But since the launch of the next-generation Sierra pickup at GMC, it's been a hot topic. The GM (General Motors) division has introduced a tailgate that can be deployed in six different ways to offer users more versatility.
Ram followed shortly afterwards with a tailgate that can open in two sections, laterally, in addition to the traditional way. Then recently, it was announced that Chevrolet would be working on its own multifunction tailgate for the Silverado.
All that leaves Ford at risk of falling behind. When the F-150 was launched, Dawn Piechocki, engineering manager for the automaker, told the Ford Authority website that customers wanted to use the rear area for work. That's why the company designed a tailgate to accommodate workers first. For example, the rear door of the new F-150 includes a place to store a shelf and pencils, as well as cleats and an optional sliding surface.
However, because of advances being made elsewhere, the company is considering revising its strategy. One of the ideas that’s said to be on the table is what’s described as a “barn-door-like layout with three vertical sections”. These could be lowered like a traditional tailgate, or could be "opened individually in thirds - left to right or right to left”. It remains to be seen whether this approach would be compatible with what the company already offers, described above. Perhaps the designers will go with one or the other?
It’s all merely speculation for now, but Ford Authority believes that this innovation could be integrated into the current model in the near-future.