The interior options for Ford’s new ’04 F-150 buyers are almost limitless thanks to Johnson Controls Inc.’s new Overhead Rail system.
The system allows for customized storage in the overhead area of the vehicle. It is standard on the XLT, FX4 and Lariat SuperCab and SuperCrew models.
Overhead Rail uses two brushed aluminum rails that are incorporated into the headliner. The system starts behind the rearview mirror and extends to behind the second row of seats and is designed to carry electrical wires inside the rails.
Customers can choose which modules they would like included in the system. Standard on the F-150 is a front module with a dome light, DVD player and small and large storage modules, says JCI.
Other optional modules include:
- JCI’s AutoVision screen allows passengers to watch movies or play games.
- A big storage module can be used to store window scrapers, snacks, gloves and maps, while the small storage module can hold things like sunglasses, garage door openers and pens.
- A satellite radio system will allow the driver to slide in a receiver and pickup satellite radio’s music, talk, news and sports stations.
- Black & Decker designed the content of two modules for the system. The first is a mini snakelight that was designed to fit into one of the storage module’s molded compartments. Black & Decker also designed an AC Power Invertor that slides into the rails and acts as a secondary outlet.
- A set of two-way radios with 22 channels fit into the molded storage compartment.
- The cell phone holder was designed to cradle cell phones, keeping them locked in place.
- A DVD/CD holder keeps discs secured in place.
- The fishing pole holder uses clasps that fit into the rails and keep disassembled fishing
- A first aid kit keeps supplies close by in case of an emergency.
Overhead Rail is designed to allow customers to change the modules whenever they like from point-of-purchase and throughout the vehicle’s lifecycle. The modules will be available for purchase at Ford dealers and eventually by aftermarket companies such as Black & Decker and Pioneer. Since the modules are lightweight and compact it will be easy for automotive manufacturers, car dealership personnel, maintenance technicians and vehicle owners to remove and install them in a “plug and play” fashion.
The system also allows automakers to refresh vehicle interiors in the middle of a lifecycle without additional design, engineering and tooling costs, says JCI. Additionally, it will allow automakers the opportunity to include the most up-to-date infotainment and telematics technology without reworking the vehicle’s interior.