Steel Markets

Chevy Ads Take Aim at Aluminum Ford F-150

Written by Sandy Williams

Chevy is taking on the aluminum Ford F-150 with a series of ads sure to tickle consumers and annoy Ford marketers.

The new ads for the Chevy Silverado poke fun at the F-150 while lauding the benefits of steel construction. The ads which are currently running in social media, point out the disadvantages of aluminum. In one, focus group members are asked to choose the safety of a cage constructed of aluminum or high strength steel to seek refuge from a grizzly bear. Steel is the overwhelming choice. Watch here.

Another introduces “Aluminum Man” and asks comic book fans to comment on the feasibility of an aluminum clad superhero. Hmm, not strong but at least he won’t rust… Watch Aluminum Man here.

A third ad, in a more serious vein, compares F-150 to Silverado head-to-head on repair costs, resulting in the F-150 repairs costing more and taking nearly twice as long to complete. See the ad here.

Sandor Piszar, director of marketing for Chevy trucks said in an Automotive News article, “Our trucks are built with high-strength steel. We think that’s a tactical advantage and an important differentiator.” He added: “We have a pretty healthy sense of humor about it.”

Car manufacturers are not rushing to redesign their pickups with aluminum. Nissan, Honda, FCA and Toyota are all sticking with high strength lightweight steel.

General Motors does use an aluminum hood on its Chevy Silverado and may add a few more aluminum parts in upcoming models, but steel will still be the material of choice in areas where strength matters.

Automotive News says aluminum is a way for Ford to “differentiate the pickup from its competitors and to hone an image of advanced engineering.” The F-150 was overweight compared to other vehicles in its class, so use of aluminum trimmed the weight and complemented Ford’s new smaller, but still powerful, V-6 engines.

The necessary retooling of manufacturing plants to produce the F-150 cut into profits for Ford. Other auto manufacturers are looking to lightweight their vehicles with less costly and disruptive methods.

AK Steel recently announced the introduction of Next-Generation Advanced High Strength Steels and plans for a $36 million world-class Research and Innovation Center in Middletown, Ohio. Last month, ArcelorMittal hosted an investor event in London highlighting the company’s automotive research and development capabilities.

Missouri University of Science and Technology announced it is working on “Gen 3” steels that are lighter, stronger and formable for the use in automotive applications. The research project is overseen by steel manufacturers, Nucor, US Steel, AK Steel, and ArcelorMittal.

Latest in Steel Markets