Ever since its debut, there’s been a lot of speculation about the toughness of the new aluminum F-150. Can it withstand working class conditions? Can construction workers count on it? Is the F-150 dead, a sell out?
Well, Barrick Gold USA has no reservations about the truck, and earlier this week, became the first company to place a fleet order– 35 SuperCab 4×4 models with 3.5-liter V6 and 5.0-liter V8 engines — for the new truck.
Fritz Ahadi– Ford commercial and government fleet sales general manager– says, “This is terrific proof that even our toughest, most demanding customers recognize the benefits of high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloy to help them get the job done.”
But why did Barrick Gold USA go with Ford’s new, but possibly risky formula?
It turns out that Ford has actually been giving the company early prototypes of the truck for four years now. Actually, early on, Ford didn’t even tell the company that these prototypes featured aluminum bodies!
“Ford told us to treat it like any of our other trucks, maybe a little worse,” said Barrick Gold boss Mike Sena. “They told us to put it to work.”
And that’s exactly what they did. Over the past few years, the prototype trucks have had more than 100,000 miles put on them, hauling everything form compressors and drill bits to hitches and wooden stakes. Basically, they’ve been to hell and back.
Barrick Gold USA fleet manager Rebecca Caudill says, “The F-150s see tough duty from operations supervisors, exploration field technicians, project managers, maintenance technicians and closure personnel.
“Many of the trucks go into extremely rugged conditions during the planning and mapping out of new projects, core drilling and daily mining operations. Our trucks will see 30,000 to 35,000 miles per year, accumulating well over 100,000 miles in the 40-to-45-month lease rotation.”
After having been through that, Barrick Gold USA was so impressed by the performance that there was no way they weren’t going to go all-in on their partnership with Ford.