Could the 13th-generation of the Ford F-150 be the one that kills the truck’s amazing run as the best-selling vehicle? Normally, I wouldn’t even pose such a ridiculous question, as Ford has been ultra-steady for many years. But the fact is, Ford is taking a big swing at change with the 2015 edition of the F-150. So big, that it is changing the makeup of the body – to aluminum.
The fuel economy benefits of the aluminum body are well documented (a fact that Ford is yelling at anyone that will listen). By switching to aluminum, the truck will save 700 pounds of weight, therefore becoming much more efficient. But the other part of this is the factor that people are having a hard time swallowing. How can any kind of aluminum – even military-grade as advertised – really hold up to the Built Ford Tough image?
As if getting consumers to believe in a new body material wasn’t enough, now we are seeing some other potential fallout. The aluminum body is likely to make the truck more expensive to insure. And, if you damage it – you guessed it – this will cost you extra as well. We are now hearing that Ford dealers will be investing up to $10,000 each to get equipped to repair the new aluminum F-150.
So many questions. And all to replace a truck that, you know, has been dominating the competition for years. Literally crushing it out there. Sure, the Ram 1500 was “Truck of the Year” – and the Silverado was redesigned. Didn’t matter. The F-150 still dominates them in sales every month.
I have to wonder if Ford is worried it made a mistake here. Sure, fuel economy is a big deal, and automakers have to hustle to hit the high marks the current administration is proposing for the future. But did Ford take too big of a swing too quickly?
Maybe the perceived problems will all blow over nicely and the F-150 will remain in the top spot. After all, big gambles often pay off and Ford has always hit the mark with its full-size truck.
If nothing else, it will be intriguing to see how this plays out. What do you think will happen? Weigh in below in the comments.