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That Ford F-200 Trademark Probably Isn’t for an Electric Pickup Truck

Don't get too excited for an even bigger, badder electric Ford pickup than the F-150 Lightning.
Ford F-150 Lightning Lariat off-roading
Ford

In recent days, news that Ford has trademarked “F-200” has been circulating the internet, with some connecting it to the company’s next-generation electric pickup truck. In all likelihood though, it’s just a media frenzy whipped up by outlets who don’t understand how car companies treat trademarks.

The “F-200” trademark was filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on August 28. It’s said to encompass “motor vehicles, namely gasoline and electric automobiles, pick-up trucks, sport utility vehicles and their structural parts.” A bunch of outlets, beginning with InsideEVs, extrapolated this to mean F-200 could appear on Ford’s upcoming electric truck, codenamed T3. But there are a whole lot of problems with that interpretation.

Ford F-150 Lightning Lariat off-roading
Ford F-150 Lightning Lariat off-roading. Ford

For starters, the F-200 trademark says it could pertain to everything from trucks to SUVs, powered by either gas or batteries. That’s a huge spread, but it’s pretty much standard for auto industry trademark applications, which err on the side of claiming too many uses rather than too few. Including an EV also doesn’t meant the name is meant to be used on one—the Mustang Dark Horse’s trademark filing is evidence of that. Ford’s locking down the name in case it might call something an F-200; it’s protecting its intellectual property. Car companies have more unused trademarks for models and trims than you can imagine.

Then there’s the problem with the Project T3 theory. We know very little about the vehicle, except that it’s gonna be a “next-gen” EV that arrives in 2025, and may target production of 500,000 units annually, per a press release. Ford has covered the full-size segment with the F-150 Lightning, which leaves the T3 to either address a narrower, heavier-duty niche, or a broader, lighter-duty one. Half a million trucks a year suggests the latter is more likely. This may also be hinted at by the T3 name, which echoes the T6 platform used by the midsize Ranger, but also reportedly stands for “Trust the Truck.” It’s too early to say for certain, but odds are we’re looking at that Maverick Lightning that Ford trademarked last year.

Ford BlueOval City factory in Tennessee as of March 2023
Ford BlueOval City factory in Tennessee as of March 2023. Ford

There’s also the fact that F-200 breaks with the number scheme used by U.S. F-series going back decades. The only F-series to end in double zeroes here were the original F-100 and some medium-duty trucks above the Super Duty—though F-200s have been sold in Mexico. (Curiously, so has an F-200 Lobo, though another recent Ford U.S. trademark was explicitly for an F-150 version.)

Unless Ford’s coming out of left field with a truck aimed at a new niche like the failed, heavy-duty-ish Nissan Titan XD, you’d be better off putting your money on the F-200 name going unused. As for the EV connection, it’s a weak one that almost certainly won’t culminate in an EV above the Lightning. And if this coffin needed any more nails, Ford has explicitly put “Lightning” in multiple electric truck trademarks—it didn’t include as much with the F-200.

If this is your first rodeo, then remember this: Trademarks are almost never newsworthy, and breathless speculation about them will only be published as long as the public clicks on them. They can sometimes be our first look at an unreleased model, but you can’t know the wheat from the chaff until carmakers themselves show you.

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