>The F150 is used by just about every contractor/construction
>worker in the US. Pretty much anyone who's involved in
>building/making anything of significant mass ends up with one
>at some point.
I think this argument does have some merit. We Brits are comparing the F-150 with family cars, whereas your post indicates that it is used both as a family car AND a tradesman's vehicle.
In the UK, a tradesman with a family would typically own both a Ford Transit PLUS a small/medium family car.
In the UK a tradesman would not own one vehicle to perform both work and family tasks, since (and here's the clincher) the British tax system penalises tradesmen for using their work vehicles for family purposes; for example, there is a restriction on claiming tax back on "double cab" vehicles unless you can prove that you frequently move more than 3 workmen around in the same vehicle. Using tax-deductable expenses such as vehicles for domestic purposes is viewed, in the UK, as cheating the tax system.
Whereas, if a British tradesman buys a single-cab van or truck, the cost is much easier to claim against tax. So a tradesman's family will buy a gas-guzzling van for the tradesman, which he will essentially get for free if he pays enough tax, and a cheap-to-run medium-sized MPV for the homemaker (or maybe even a compact/hatchback).
If you start comparing an F-150 with a Ford Transit (the most popular trade vehicle in the UK), rather than a family MPV, then the F-150 starts looking like less of a monster.
Engine size (basic): F-150 3.5 litres, Transit 2.4 litres
HP: F-150 365, Transit 140
Torque (Nm): 570, Transit 285
Length: F-150 5.8 metres, Transit 5 metres
Width: F-150 2 metres, Transit 2 metres
Height: F-150 1.9 metres, Transit 2 metres
Kerb weight: F-150 2 tonnes, Transit 1.8 tonnes
What's interesting here is that, with the Ecoboost engine, the F-150 is a far, far more efficient work vehicle than the Transit, both in terms of horsepower (where you would expect the F-150 to win) and in terms of torque (where you would expect the Transit to win).
When you factor in dual use for both trades and family, the F-150 suddenly looks like a very sensible purchase even by European standards.
Now there's something you don't see every day; a discussion on Slashdot actually discovering an answer. What do Americans use the F-150 for? Answer: As a multi-purpose vehicle for both trades and domestic family use, a purpose which is almost entirely absent from the British market due to the way tax claims are made more difficult for mixed-use capital expenditure.