Unless you’ve been living under a rock this week, you’ve probably heard that Ford (NYSE: F ) took the wraps off of its 2015 F-150 pickup on Monday.
At first glance, the new F-150 might look a lot like the current truck. Like General Motors (NYSE: GM ) with its 2014 Chevy Silverado last year, Ford took an evolutionary approach to its pickup’s styling. It’s new, but it’s familiar. But don’t be fooled: The new F-150 represents a big step forward for America’s best-selling truck. It’s packed with high-tech features, its frame is made mostly of advanced high-strength steel alloy, and — in a first for a full-sized pickup — its body panels are made of a special aluminum alloy.
Ford worked with Alcoa (NYSE: AA ) and other key suppliers to develop and test the advanced alloys used in the 2015 F-150. That work wasn’t done for marketing purposes, though. Ford’s goal was to make the truck a lot lighter, but at least as rugged as its predecessor. Lighter weight improves fuel economy, performance, and towing capacity. The improvements in the 2015 F-150 are dramatic: Some versions of the new truck will be as much as 700 pounds lighter than the current model.
This is no beer-can truck, though. We — The Motley Fool’s John Rosevear and Rex Moore –were on the scene as the truck was unveiled. Over the course of our time in Detroit, we were able to talk to key Ford executives about the new F-150, including CEO Alan Mulally and COO Mark Fields. We weren’t able to drive the new truck, but we took long, close-up looks at a whole bunch of the pickups, and even sat in a few.
In a nutshell, here’s what we learned: The new F-150’s aluminum body panels might seem like a gamble for Ford, but the Blue Oval has plenty of good reasons to think it has a winning hand. In this video report, we share our initial impressions of Ford’s new truck — and explain why Ford’s “bold move” might turn out to pay off big for the Blue Oval.