Ford Motor Co. has a lot riding on the introduction of the new 2015 Ford F-150 pickup truck. The best-selling truck for the last 37 years is moving to an all-aluminum body, which runs counter to the rest of the industry.
But job one for Ford’s image makers is proving that the new truck’s aluminum body is as tough or tougher than the steel bodies used for rival trucks from Chevrolet, GMC, Ram and Toyota despite a legion of skeptics prepared to step up and say otherwise.
One tactic Ford plans to employ is to use testimonials from people who have actually used the new truck. So Ford is looking for truck buyers to test an all-new F-150 before it goes on sale.
Ford plans to utilize a contest in which Ford F-150 users and fans can compete for an opportunity to sit behind the wheel of the new 2015 F-150 “before nearly anyone else in the world.”
Rules for the contest a spelled out on a special web site, BuiltToughTest.com. Customers are being asked to tell Ford how they would test the toughness of the new F-150 pickup. Ford plans to select to five winners will be selected to spend up to a week behind the wheel of a new F-150 while video crews document the truck undergoing the real-world testing. The videos will be posted on YouTube and the Ford Trucks web site.
“We prove every day our trucks are Built Ford Tough – now we’re asking truck customers to help us prove it too,” said Eric Peterson, Ford F-150 marketing manager. “We’re looking for people who know how to punish a truck. Built Ford Tough isn’t just a tagline; it’s the philosophy that drives us every day to make the best trucks out there, and it’s what has made F-Series the No. 1 truck for nearly 40 years.”
(Ford reports $8.8 billion in 2013 profit. For more, Click Here.)
Entries must be received by May 31, 2014. Winners will be announced before Sept. 1. No purchase necessary.
Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally said he believes the use of the aluminum body, which is as tough as steel but more durable, will help cement Ford’s position as one industry’s technological leaders.
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Analysts, however, warn that if consumers don’t believe the aluminum truck is as tough as a steel truck body, it could be a disaster for Ford. The F-150 has been the best-selling truck in the U.S. for the past 37 years and also the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. for more than three decades.
Ford’s confidence in the full-size F-150 is such that the company has effectively ceded the market for compact trucks to such as General Motors, Toyota and Nissan. The company’s executives maintain value conscious customers prefer the F-150 to the smaller alternatives.
The all-new F-150 is the toughest F-150 ever, with a high-strength steel frame and a high-strength, military-grade, aluminum-alloy body, according to Mark Fields, Ford’s chief operating officer. The new F-150 will undergo more than 10 million miles of toughness and durability testing before it reaches showrooms later this year, he said during the North American International Auto Show.
The F-150 is also the preferred light-duty pickup among workers in some of the toughest vocations, the company said. Polk registration data of light-duty pickups indicates that 53% of these truck drivers in the heavy construction industry, 56% in the heavy hauling industry and 60% in the energy/utility industry already drive F-150 pickups.