Being the pickup truck sales leader for 43 years is no accident, as Ford Motor Company seems to continue to be a step ahead of the competition when it comes to innovating new content for its F-Series pickup trucks. For instance, the F-150 has had a multifunction tailgate since its 12th-generation model, which goes back a decade, when it introduced the integrated tailgate step and grab pole that allowed for easier entry and exit into the bed. The 14th-generation 2021 Ford F-150 evolves that concept a bit by offering a Tailgate Work Surface that includes integrated rulers, a mobile device holder, cupholder and pencil holder.
The 2021 F-150 tailgate also features cleats mounted to the sides of the tailgate to act as tie-down locations for extra-long items in the bed. Additionally, new clamp pockets are built in to the tailgate of every truck, so customers can hold materials down for precision work.
Despite these advancements, Ford is continuing to go further with its F-150 tailgate design. According to recent spy photos that can be seen at Motor1, the Dearborn automaker is hard at work prototyping various multifunction tailgate designs that could more effectively rival the MultiPro/Multi-Flex tailgates from Chevrolet and GMC, along with the barn-door tailgate seen on the Ram trucks. Currently, the solutions in the works from Ford are simply assembled with plywood, as a final design hasn’t been decided yet. It’s rumored that a frontrunner design is a three-way split-style barn door design that’s similar to that of Ram, but the design could be more advanced than that.
For those who truly pay attention, they may recall that Ford Motor Company patented a multistep, multifunction tailgate for the F-Series back in 2018, and we’ve compiled an image gallery for you to get a better idea of what could be on the way. The biggest differentiator that Ford has patented is an extender, which pulls the entire tailgate away from the truck bed, in a sense to make room for longer objects while maintaining an enclosure to the bed itself. This can be seen via the patent image above.
Whatever they end up using, expect some clever features you may not have considered before. That’s a theme running through the 2021 Ford F-150 and Bronco, down to a change in thinking about vehicle development. The F-150 gets a built in generator offered in three power configurations, fold flat front seats, a fold-out desk in the center console, and other useful features nobody else has thought of. We wouldn’t be surprised if Ford ties it in with the generator in some way, by allowing owners to mount tools on it more easily. It could even get some modular accessories that plug into the truck. But alas, this is all speculation, and we’ll have to wait for more spy shots or a final product before we know more. Unless Ford is actually planning on making it out of wood.