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Ford's monumental task of convincing tough truck buyers to accept aluminum isn't as big of a challenge as some predicted. Dealers are receiving feedback from customers that the all new aluminum F-150 is eagerly anticipated.
Aluminum often brings to mind images of crushed beer cans, not exactly meshing well with the "Built Ford Tough" motto. There is definitely an image problem to overcome, but Ford dealers are pleasantly surprised by the feedback. They say that many customers are waiting for the new F-150 because the idea of aluminum appeals to them.
The new aluminum F-150 will weigh as much as 700 pounds less than it's predecessor, improving fuel economy, performance and capabilities. Aluminum also doesn't rust. Ford had a lot of floor space at the Detroit auto show dedicated to demonstrating how tough this truck will continue to be, and improve people's perceptions of aluminum.
Ford, the market leader in trucks for nearly 4 decades has earned the trust of it's customers, and the company feels that consumers will trust them to get it right. After all, truck customers are surrounded by new lightweight, high-tech materials throughout their lives- carbon fibre rifles, titanium fishing reels, and aluminum tool holders in the back of their trucks. Despite the truck market being a traditionally conservative bunch, dealers feel that they are ready to accept the new technology.
Now if only Ford can convince insurance companies and auto repair shops to embrace aluminum. The metal can be tricky, and thus expensive to repair, which may cause higher insurance premiums, and so far only 10 percent of auto body shops are equipped to deal with aluminum in the U.S.
Consumers also know that aluminum isn't new to automotive. It's been used in HumVees, and delivery trucks have been made of aluminum for the last 40 years. The public already knows that aluminum holds up under tough conditions.
By Linda Aylesworth - autoExpert.ca