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June 27, 2019 2:15 PM, EDT

Ford Looks to Cash In on Off-Roader Appetite for Fatter Tires

Ford Ford pickup truck (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News)

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Ford Motor Co. is going after a greater cut of a lucrative business: those willing to pay big bucks for pricey pickup accessories such as big, off-road tires and kits to jack up their trucks.

Late this year, Ford will start offering a new Tremor package on Super Duty models that will boast fatter treads and could help beef up the company’s bottom line. Upgrades include 35-inch tires that Ford says will be the biggest available on a heavy-duty pickup and boost the ground clearance of the trucks to 10.8 inches.

The off-road offering is yet another extension of F-Series, Ford’s most profitable franchise and the top-selling vehicle of any kind in America for decades. Revenue from the business beats the likes of McDonald’s Corp., Coca-Cola Co. and Nike Inc.

Almost 15% of F-250 and F-350 customers take the factory wheels and tires off their truck within six months to replace them with beefier, more rugged and capable off-road wheels and tires, Brian Rathsburg, marketing manager of Super Duty pickups, said during a briefing on the Tremor package. In all, about 70% of Ford’s customers accessorize their trucks, he said.

Ford wants to bring the upfitting process in-house to retain customers and refrain from losing business to aftermarket parties that charge upward of $10,000 to customize big rigs. The Tremor package—available on XLT, Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum models — is meant to cater to the evolving tastes of Super Duty customers, who use their vehicles not only for work but also for fishing and camping trips and weekend vacations to the trails or dunes.

While Ford isn’t releasing pricing details for the trucks yet, the automaker “brings products to market that make sense for the customer and make sense financially for Ford Motor Co.,” Rathsburg said.