Today, at their historic Dearborn Truck Plant, Ford is starting production on one of the biggest gambles in company history: the aluminum based 2015 F-150. The truck is set to hit dealerships next month, but nobody is quite sure what kind of impact it will make on Ford and the industry as a whole. Only time will tell on those fronts.
As anticipation grows, many business insiders have been wondering aloud if the move was even necessary. They wonder this because Ford’s F-Series trucks have been the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. for 37 straight years, and just last year, Ford sold about 100,000 more full-size pickups than General Motors. So, why mess with the formula, right?
Well, Ford is confident in their technology and their wisdom. They know that the auto industry is always evolving and that products can always be fine tuned, no matter how rich a company’s history is. Ford believes that this move to aluminum will help keep them one step ahead of the competition and help them secure the pick-up sales crown for years to come. It’s what being an industry leader is all about.
Ford CEO Mark Fields, says, “Were we recognizing that it was a risk? Sure. But it was a very calculated and informed risk that gave us the confidence that we were going to get this done.”
Undoubtedly, Ford’s confidence stems from their wholehearted belief that aluminum does not decrease the truck’s strength and will only enhance the truck’s capabilities, including providing increased fuel efficiency, tow rating (which is already best in class), and power-to-weight ratio. Ford has also re-iterated time and again that they have put the aluminum body through the most rigorous of testing- which they’ve promoted as the Torture Tests (see videos below)- to ensure that it can handle rugged conditions.
But still some people are hesitant to believe, but why?
Well, the F-150 is a work truck, and until it has gone through the daily pounding at the construction site, there will be a lot of skeptics.