By on August 10, 2018

Image: GM

Figuring out how best to shave weight from the next-generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra wasn’t an easy task, with some General Motors engineers resorting to taking public tours of Ford’s Dearborn truck assembly plant just to see how their rival handled its all-aluminum body.

Ultimately, GM opted for a hybrid solution of sorts — some aluminum, backed up by varying grades of steel, to slim down its 2019 full-size pickups. But the obsession with Ford didn’t end with the plant tours.

Speaking to Reuters, Tim Herrick, executive chief engineer for GM’s truck programs, said his spies noticed, “[Ford] had a real hard time getting those doors to fit.” With stopwatches in hand, they watched and timed the operation as the F-150s moved down the line.

Focusing on the doors, Herrick’s team bought and disassembled F-150 doors sold as parts. It was then they realized GM could get away with using thinner, high-strength steel plus aluminum to shed pounds (up to 450 lbs per vehicle), without having to make the entire body from the lightweight commodity. Seven grades of steel make up the cab, while aluminum is the material of choice for the doors, hood, and tailgate.

Tariffs and rising aluminum prices are currently hurting Ford’s profits, but GM’s not exactly outside the boat. There’s also new tariffs on imported steel, and the rise in commodity prices have taken a chunk out of GM’s earnings, too. Still, the team’s glad they didn’t go all-aluminum.

Herrick claims the company battled with the decision at all levels (“it was a really hotly contested item for us”), but feels the decision to mix metals will ultimately help the company reap a larger windfall per truck.

“We think we have thousands of dollars advantage (over Ford) just in the aluminum costs. It’s big,” he said, adding that the extra profit will help fund other programs while keeping shareholders happy.

The reduced weight of the slightly larger crop of 2019 pickups meant the opportunity to do the unthinkable: add a four-cylinder offering to the engine mix. Backed by a host of efficiency-minded tech, GM’s turbocharged 2.7-liter “Tripower” inline-four generates 310 horsepower and 348 lb-ft of torque, and could give the General an edge in the full-size fuel economy fight. Currently, no EPA ratings exist for this mill.

We’ll have a first-drive of the 2019 Silverado for readers next week.

[Image: General Motors]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

60 Comments on “Eye Spy: GM Engineers Hopped on the Ford Tour for Pickup Inspiration...”


  • avatar
    VW4motion

    “Tariffs and rising aluminum prices are currently hurting Ford’s profits, but GM’s not exactly outside the boat.”
    Why are Americans sitting back and allowing trump to cause these profit challenges to American companies?!? He obviously does not have a grip with micro and macro economics.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Have you ever made a mistake and been so committed to the idea that begat the mistake you looked for any reason to support it or ignore any sound evidence to the contrary?

      That’s the case here…

    • 0 avatar
      civicjohn

      @VW,

      I’m here to learn. Please get me up to speed on this. I was under the impression that the US was the only country that imposed tariffs.

      Perhaps you and Big Al can set me straight. I still don’t get that chicken tax stuff.

      • 0 avatar
        VW4motion

        @civicjohn,
        Please send a link to an economist that is not linked to the trump klan that agrees with these tariffs. An economist that does not think the trump tariffs will increase cost to Americans and decrease U.S. Jobs.
        The farmers can handle losing money ? Those are the words of our current president. And those words were not just another lie. Those costs are going to the tax payer as a $12.9 billion tax to be a subsidy to hard working farmers being strangled by trump and klan.
        Trump went bankrupt for a reason. He failed at owning a Casino. How that happen?!?

        • 0 avatar
          civicjohn

          @VW, this is like taking candy from a baby, you’re making it too easy. First, do your Google search and give me a list of economists that are pro-NAFTA, 2 people can play this stupid game. Then, I’ll do my Google search and we can compare notes.

          From a historical perspective, all of the economists in 1984 could hardly be considered “linked to the trump klan”, because I don’t believe Trump and his “klan” were occupying the White House. I can’t believe I really have to explain this.

          Next, I don’t understand this fraction of a sentence: “An economist that does not think the trump tariffs will increase cost to Americans and decrease U.S. Jobs.” Please elaborate, are you trying to say “find an economist that believes in trying to address the current global tariffs”? I can do that.

          Has it ever occurred to you that beyond posting a response that is poorly written, many economists would come to the conclusion that having NO tariffs would be a good place to be? Again, give me 5 minutes and I’ll get you some. As I said in my original post, you, I, and anyone, can both find economists that will suit mine and your (albeit fuzzy) assumption.

          Let me help you some more. Your $12.9 billion tax hasn’t been approved, so I’ll have to throw the penalty flag on that one. It appears that once you hear something, it’s gospel. Lay off MSNBC for a minute.

          Next, check the 10-year price of soybeans. I’d do it for you but it is too taxing to do your work. Re: “farmers can handle loosing money” (come on, spell check is not that hard), well believe it or not, many of them DO want the foreign tariffs lifted. You must not be a farmer. My uncle is, and he farms 1200 acres of soybeans, corn, and tobacco. I worked on that farm every summer for 12 years. I’ve asked him recently, and his response “if Trump can get a better deal for me, I’m ok with it.” I know, thats only a comment from one farmer, and that does not make a majority. I guess you probably also don’t have any idea of how many acres in the US are farmed by “corporate farmers”, including the Koch Brothers, which I’m sure you already hate because you showed your colors with the lame “trump klan” bs.

          IIRC, Trump filed bankruptcy 4 times, so get your facts straight if you’re going to blame him. I’ll let you do your own research on “How that happen?”, you can probably find your answer on HuffPo.

          • 0 avatar
            VW4motion

            @civicjohn,
            Great list of economists that approve trump tariffs. Fascinated that you managed to list MSNBC, HuffPo which I guess is Huffing Post. All the great talking points of a true trumpkin klan member. And NAFTA has to do with which China tariff?!?

      • 0 avatar
        jjster6

        As soon as the US introduced a 25% tariff on imported steel, domestic steel manufacturers (which supply a large part of the domestic auto industry) raised their prices by 24.9999999% (or close to it).

        • 0 avatar
          civicjohn

          @jj, I think I put that fact in one of my posts, talk about taking advantage…I call bs.

          • 0 avatar
            civicjohn

            @VW4motion,

            Not gonna let this go. You wrote:

            “Fascinated that you managed to list MSNBC, HuffPo which I guess is Huffing Post. All the great talking points of a true trumpkin klan member. And NAFTA has to do with which China tariff?!?”

            Let me correct that for you, and I’m glad you are fascinated. I told YOU to lay off MSNBC for a minute, never did I use them as a source. Nor did I use HuffPo as a source of anything I wrote, I simply told you that maybe you could find your answer there. OK, I fixed that.

            Now let’s cover what in the hell you didn’t mention, since you felt the need to answer my post without any facts. Here we go:

            1. “linked to the trump klan”, didn’t answer, amazing how you can toss the KKK out there and expect that someone won’t call you out on that, especially when you are stating that “trump klan” staff worked on NAFTA. You can’t make that crap up.
            2. “An economist that does not think the trump tariffs will increase cost to Americans and decrease U.S. Jobs.” You never bothered to answer this either.
            3. “An economist that does not think the trump tariffs will increase cost to Americans and decrease U.S. Jobs.” You never bothered to even explain what this question means.
            4. “$12.9 billion tax” – where is it? Hint – it hasn’t happened except in your fantasy playbook.
            5. “Why are Americans sitting back and allowing trump to cause these profit challenges to American companies?!? He obviously does not have a grip with micro and macro economics.” And you’ve proven that you do?
            6. “All the great talking points of a true trumpkin klan member.” Man, you have a strange fixation with the KKK, considering one can assume that you don’t live in the US based on your comment of “All the great talking points of a true trumpkin klan member.” You need to seek professional help regarding the KKK obsession. Pray tell, from where do you hail? With your user name, were you a part of DieselGate?
            7. This nugget of wisdom: “And NAFTA has to do with which China tariff?!?” Where did I draw that conclusion?

            Snark is cool to a point, but dude, back it up.

          • 0 avatar
            VW4motion

            @civicjohn,
            Do you honestly think someone is reading your rambling word salad ?

    • 0 avatar
      dont.fit.in.cars

      Because it cost American jobs.

      Park off Uniroyal Drive just north of Laredo TX and watch a mile long train of truck chassis head north to Michigan. Those frames are made with Chinese Steel routed through Mexico via NAFTA trade agreement to bypass US tariffs on Chicom steel.

      Total cost to a truck $350.

      • 0 avatar
        civicjohn

        @dont.fit, isn’t it yet to be determined? Aren’t we trying to do a deal with Mexico?

        Do you think a trade agreement that’s 24 years old and at the time many economists said that it came at a cost of approximately 1 million jobs can possibly be relevant? Heck, back then, the only internet we had was AOL and our lovely 1200 baud modems to serve up news.

        President Clinton said that it would stop illegal immigrants from coming to the US.

        Do you think the Mexican plants pay a wage similar to those in the US? Just looking at manufacturing costs, it’s still a better deal for auto manufacturers in many cases. Near me, the sprawling Nissan factory, and the Saturn/ now GM factory wouldn’t have been here if the state government had not shoved bucket loads of incentives. And that money came from everybody in the state. Most every plant in the South is there because they got the same freebies, and they remain union-free because the non-union wages they pay are superior to what jobs used to be available in that market.

        I know, you can find an economist on every street corner and get the opinion you or I want to believe, so I’m hesitant to put that part in. But you probably remember Ross Perot and his “giant sucking sound”? Maybe he had a point there…

        There are so many constituencies that it’s impossible to draw a single conclusion, for example soybean exports have been at depressed $$ for years, but somehow the NY Times decided to make it a page one article?

        I guess I’m just open for a new dialogue.

        • 0 avatar
          ect

          civicjohn, you clearly have strong opinions, but they are not supported by facts.

          NAFTA has been beneficial to the US, both in GDP (a permanent addition of about 1%) and in jobs (net additive, albeit not large).

          Since NAFTA was signed, US industrial output, in current dollars, has doubled (BEA). During the same period, direct manufacturing employment has fallen by about 1/3 (BLS). Those job losses are from technology, which the current Administration is willfully ignoring.

          The Trump tariffs have raised the price of intermediate products (steel and aluminum) to industrial companies, which increases their cost of production and makes their products less competitive in international markets. And there are about 10-15 times more people employed in finished goods manufacturing than in steel and aluminum production. This policy is not smart.

          Your supposed uncle may be fine with the fact that soybean prices are at a 10-year low and that US farmers are being shut out of important markets, but his counterparts are clearly not. For good reason.

          We’ve been proving since at least 1846 that tariffs kill jobs and reduce prosperity. Which is why governments have been pursuing freer and free trade deals since the end of WWII.

          • 0 avatar
            civicjohn

            @ect,

            I do have a strong opinion, I didn’t vote for either in 2016, so maybe I shouldn’t have one.

            “NAFTA has been beneficial to the US, both in GDP (a permanent addition of about 1%) and in jobs (net additive, albeit not large).” Citation please.

            “Since NAFTA was signed, US industrial output, in current dollars, has doubled (BEA). During the same period, direct manufacturing employment has fallen by about 1/3 (BLS). Those job losses are from technology, which the current Administration is willfully ignoring.” BEA and BLS numbers don’t really excite me as completely accurate, since the BLS consistently misstates job growth every month. I found this quote from Clinton at the NAFTA signing ceremony.

            Clinton said: “In a fundamental sense, this debate about NAFTA is a debate about whether we will embrace these changes and create the jobs of tomorrow, or try to resist these changes, hoping we can preserve the economic structures of yesterday,”

            Even if you take the government numbers at face value, no one has a crystal ball as to what jobs would have been gained or lost without NAFTA – so I’m simply not willing to accept that the outcome would have been worse without NAFTA. Also, many agree that the decline of manufacturing jobs started in 2001, when China was allowed to join the WTO in 2001.

            Not sure I understand this statement “Those job losses are from technology, which the current Administration is willfully ignoring.” I just don’t know what you mean, perhaps you are saying that manufacturing jobs are being lost by technology, I’m just trying to answer you question. If you are “pro technology”, you should welcome the attempts to get China out of the business of stealing US Intellectual Property. I’m sure you know that in many deals, if you want to manufacture CPUs, memory chips, etc. in China, you’ll most likely end up with the government as a 50% partner, with access to all of your company’s IP. Notice Google bending over to the Chinese government simply to get into the market so they can sell some government-approved advertising. IP theft is a glaringly obvious problem with US technology and I’ll give the Don credit to try and get this changed. Why in the hell does China deserve Most Favored Nation status within the WTO? While I’m at it, no matter how many times the US goes to the WTO and registers a complaint, nothing happens. They are as toothless as the UN.

            I’m quite familiar with the ancillary jobs that are at risk with steel and aluminum tariffs, that’s been well publicized. As I’ve tried to say in other posts, everybody has an agenda, and as an individual it is impossible for me to determine all of the downstream ramifications.

            My supposed uncle is Mr. Curtis Bellamy in Guthrie, KY, you can look up his phone # and give him a call. You’re leaving out of the debate all of the corporate farm companies who are doing their best to head off anything that might affect their bottom line, I get it, but neither you or I know what the ultimate impact will be. If you are trying to support a position that the US has done great from 1846 and no country we trade with since 1846 has not increased or levied any tariffs on the US, well that’s just wrong. An example would be the auto industry – Germany is such a fair country to trade with. I don’t think that was an issue in 1846. One could argue that the German auto industry is one of the most protected industries in the world, and well-intwined with the government.

            I don’t mind the mild snark tone, but other than a snippet from BLS and BEA, you’re not exactly loading up the conversation with facts. To assume that we should leave things as they are is something that I’m not willing to accept. WTO MFN status for China has got to stop someday, or are you fine with that?

          • 0 avatar
            VW4motion

            +1
            And yes agreed that civicjohn lives in that fakefack world. Always entertaining to read the words of someone like civicjohn.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Why?

      /snark on

      Because everyone knows that government mandated price controls (aka socialism) is a highly effective tool for stimulating economic growth.

      /snark off

      /snark on

      Because everyone knows that government mandated wage controls (aka subsidies to support the price controls aka socialism) is a highly effective tool for stimulating economic growth and industry innovation.

      /snark off

    • 0 avatar
      srh

      Unfortunately, at this point, Americans have very little say in what the President does, because congress has for years delegated its duties to the President under the mistaken notion that the President would always be of sound judgment. Even Republicans (real Republicans, not Trump supporters) now realize that was a mistake.

      Not only that, a sizable percentage of Americans are so economically ignorant that they fail to understand the benefits of free trade beyond the “They’re takin’ our jobs!” rhetoric. Many, including our President, believe that the “trade deficit” is a bad thing. Perhaps they can’t see past the word “deficit”, and renaming it “foreign investment surplus” would help.

      It’s a sad state of affairs. The damage being done not only to our economy but to our reputation will take decades to recover.

      As Margaret Thatcher once said “Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become habits. Watch your habits for they become your character. And watch your character for it becomes your destiny.”

      • 0 avatar
        civicjohn

        @srh,

        Please elaborate on your “free trade” statement. While you’re busy calling many Americans “economically ignorant”, you’re actually going to posit that free trade even exists?

        Maybe I don’t understand what you mean. To me, “free trade” means no tariffs on either side. Please point me in the direction where that actually happens. Please keep any Thatcher comments out of your posts, as you are doing her legacy zero. Everybody has Google now, I’m sure that quote rolls off your tongue every week.

        • 0 avatar
          srh

          @civicjohn: OK, replace “free trade” with “freer trade”. Americans are better off without tariffs even if other governments impose tariffs.

          That quote actually does roll off my tongue. The benefits of an education I suppose.

          • 0 avatar
            civicjohn

            @srh,

            “OK, replace “free trade” with “freer trade”. Americans are better off without tariffs even if other governments impose tariffs.” Well, now that is an answer for the “trump klan” to work with.

            What in the heck are you saying? Do you mean that “Americans” don’t have tariffs (hint, we do), and “even if other governments impose tariffs?” the US should be OK with that? I’d love to hear how you explain that.

            Kudos on your Thatcher knowledge base. I retract my earlier assumption, as I’m sure you are well educated and you just showed it! Congrats!

            Now please explain what in the heck you are saying.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            It’s the idea that both countries benefit from trade, even if one of them is less efficient at everything (tariffs are one kind of economic inefficiency), is one of the standard arguments in economics.

            Here’s a link to a Khanh Academy video explaining the argument:
            https://youtu.be/C-xLUS5JGIM

            A more detailed write-up:
            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gains_from_trade

            Anyone who wants to tell the educated why Trump’s economic “theories” ate correct needs to explain why the argument in the video is wrong.

            There *are* some valid criticims of this argument. However, they are secondary effects which, in my opinion, are are best dealt with by the Democratic party plaform. But I’m not going to help you guys with the minor points, until you guys understand the headline argument.

            Alas, what I hear out of the Trump camp suggests that they don’t understand this argument. If they understood this argument and knew better, they’d explain why this bit of Econ 102 is wrong or doesn’t apply. Instead they handwave about trade deficits while increasing the federal spending deficits.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      I just read an article where 2 American steel plants are being reopened this month with a few more likely coming on line in the near future.

      So some Americans are likely cheering him on. Personally I fall on the free trade side of things, but he is doing exactly what he promised to do.

      • 0 avatar
        VW4motion

        @mrirky,
        Look a little deeper outside of trump words. One steel plant opened up One extra section of their already opened steel plant. Steel plants are not reopening opening as per trump words.

        • 0 avatar
          civicjohn

          @Luke42 and VW4motion:

          42, your wiki link regarding consumer and producer surplus tends to lend itself to dramatically different abilities of one country vs. another, primarily attached to cost of production. Not sure how this addresses inequality from a global market across all goods that are traded.

          I watched the video (it is Kahn, not Khanh, call me picky), all 9+ useless minutes. You are using “comparative advantage” with pants and shirts to explain global trade? “Constant Opportunity Cost “? You’ve got to be kidding, that is one of the most ridiculous analogies I’ve seen recently. Does Khan target this drivel for 2nd graders? Heck, even your home page “HuffPo” doesn’t get it:

          https://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-keith-devlin/khan-academy-good-bad-or-_b_1345925.html

          “Anyone who wants to tell the educated why Trump’s economic “theories” ate correct”. I’ll ignore the misspelling again, but don’t break your arm bending around to pat yourself on the back for being a part of “the educated”. I don’t recall agreeing with “Trump’s economic “theories “”.

          With respect to your comment “in my opinion, are are best dealt with by the Democratic party platform”, (again, ignoring the extra word), please do share. Your lofty rhetoric is appreciated, but point me to the planks of this platform. Thanks for the help you’ve provided!

          If you are referring to the DEBT doubling from 2008 to 2016, I’m with you. If you are speaking about the deficit, GDP growth will offset that. Of course, with a GDP under 2%, I agree. I’m sure you weren’t speaking about the debt, that continues to rise each year. I’d like to know which plank is addressing that.

          @VW, thanks for the kudos. Never heard the term “fakefack” before, but I’ll take the compliment!

    • 0 avatar

      Why anyone cares about taxing greedy corporations? Yes, tarifs are another form of taxation. I am all for that. I would say: tax them and put money into social security funds!

  • avatar
    ernest

    Yup- add a 4 cyl to the lineup. That’ll fix everything.

  • avatar
    salmonmigration

    That’s the good part about not being the first to release an aluminum truck. You get to learn from Ford’s mistakes.

    I like the concept of the tinfoil F-150. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ford had gone overboard with this design, though, being the first rev.

  • avatar

    This has made me wonder something. With all the different grades in steel, I wonder if they’ve put any lower-grade ones in areas which are more rust prone.

    Or as the trucks age, if it’ll be pretty evident where they used the cheaper stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      with the exception of “stainless” steels, the grade of steel doesn’t tell you anything about how quickly it’ll rust. Alloy steel grades are tuned for things like hardenability, yield strength, ultimate tensile strength, creep resistance, and so on.

      your 4340 “chrome-moly” alloy steel will rust just as readily as plain mild carbon steel.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        It makes me wonder how hard GM will be hit by steel tariffs as far as profit margins go. One article I’ve read about the subject of these GM trucks said that the company wanted to use truck profits to fund R&D in the alternative fuels field. (eye roll)

      • 0 avatar

        Well now I know!

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          to close the loop, “stainless” steels (I put that in quotes because they can still rust under the right conditions) get their corrosion resistance from a much higher amount of chromium in the alloy. including at least 10% chromium means the stainless steel protects itself (passivates) by forming a thin layer of chromium oxide on the surface; similar to the way aluminum passivates. Stainless steels tend to be somewhat weaker and more prone to galling.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      I was wondering how much harder it’s going to be to repair with all the different grades of steel? Weld techniques and the “metal memory” has got to be a little different with the different grades. Are you just going to have to cut and section every little repair?

      • 0 avatar
        salmonmigration

        Former steel metallurgist here – “High strength steel” in the automotive world is still very weldable. It has to be in order to get assembled. For most grades there’s basically no downside except for cost.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    The front end just isn’t imposing enough. I think they should raise the hood up to the level of the roof, eliminate the windshield and replace it with a forward-facing camera.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      If they want to improve MPG they could start with that brick wall front end.

      Also why is the XM antenna in that random place? Never understood why GMs trucks are like this – shorter wire to the radio? Hopefully the XM works better here then the unit in my recently acquired C7 ‘Vette.

    • 0 avatar
      R Henry

      This. I call this trend the “locomotive” look. Ford, RAM, and GM have all gone this route, and I don’t like it. I much prefer the leaner look of the late 90’s F series trucks. They were plenty big, but not over-wrought.

      https://cdn1.mecum.com/auctions/ch1017/ch1017-296490/images/1-1505510403494.jpg?1506713652000

      • 0 avatar
        Lightspeed

        “Locomotive” exactly! The drag coefficient on these things must be pretty awful. Then there’s the whole “Me drive big truck, me big man!” thing. Make no mistake, new trucks (the high-end models anyway) are super capable, really comfortable and drive beautifully, but I’m embarrassed to be seen in them.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Don’t be embarrassed. Most of us know most fullsize 1/2 ton pickup sales come from midsize pickups sucking so bad. I started out with mini-trucks then midsizers until I couldn’t stand them. Their “exterior dimensions” may be ideal (for my average size, “grower” manhood), especially around tight city parking, but that’s where their advantages begin and end.

  • avatar
    ItsBob

    Quoted from above—
    “That’s the good part about not being the first to release an aluminum truck. You get to learn from Ford’s mistakes.

    I like the concept of the tinfoil F-150. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ford had gone overboard with this design, though, being the first rev.”

    This reinforces that Ford is #1 in GM’s eye I guess?
    Ford “is” usually “first” with ideas and inovation in pickup trucks.
    I find it humorous and think GM should be embaressed to have the public know, that they are this open to spying on and copying Fords ideas.

    As far as the second statement in the quote from above, I can’t really figure out what the poster was saying?
    So do you think the idea of aluminum in the body of a truck is good or bad?
    You seem to say both.

    • 0 avatar

      At the end of the day, GM is happy to have RAM and Ford out front with most things, while they continue to make 100% profit margin on the Silverado and more on the Sierra.

    • 0 avatar
      salmonmigration

      You can reply directly to comments you know.

      Like I said it’s a mixed bag. I admire Ford’s forward thinking, more aluminum and high strength steel (aluminum especially) is the way of the future and to commit as much as they did into their #1 profit center is ballsy.

      That being said I’m sure it is not cheap to design the production of this truck or to pay for commodities. There are product downsides as well, primarily for the guy paying for the bodywork.

      At the end of the day the owners make some of that back in fuel economy and lack of rust, as well as by not being dead as much due to aluminum’s superior crash performance.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I remember touring the Ford Rouge complex as a kid in the early 60s.
    Of course it was so enormous you only saw parts of the operation but it was truly impressive.

  • avatar
    Zipster

    R Henry

    The late 1990’s Ford trucks were not intended to be Viagra substitutes. All trucks today must have that quality to be competitive.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    How is this, news?

    A company did competitive intel on another company using publicly available sources? That’s news???

    The next thing you know you’ll be telling me that auto manufacturers buy competitor vehicles to road test them and tear them down for reverse engineering purposes. Or maybe you’ll tell me they’ll send out RFP to vendors to find out, in part, what features and tolerances are already being made in competitor parts? Or maybe they hire analysts and consultants to advise on competitor activity?

    They took a public factory tour? You mean no one at Airbus has ever gone to Everett and taken the factory tour???

    • 0 avatar
      ect

      I recall from Brock Yates’ book “The Critical Path” that the Chrysler team designing what became the 1996 minivans received regular reports from a source in GM about the progress of Ford’s Windstar project. Fascinating stuff.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    One of the things I’ve noticed about the aluminum F-150s (I see lots of them here in DFW) are the door skins. Many of them are wavy. Strangely, the bed side panels don’t seem to have that problem (even though they’re larger in area), but I see lots of wavy doors, even on 2018 models.

  • avatar
    St.George

    The current price on the world market for aluminum is $0.96/lb. One month ago it was $0.976/lb. 5 years ago, it was $0.93/lb. In 1989, it was over $1/lb. I’m not seeing how these commodity prices are hurting Ford too much.

    http://www.infomine.com/investment/metal-prices/aluminum/

    Similarly, steel prices (yes, I’m aware there are many grades etc) don’t seem to be abnormally high. Traditionally, the price of steel has been driven by demand, when economies are doing well, the demand goes up, as does the price. Currently, the steel price is about 4,300 Yuan/MT. It has hovered around this level for about a year having climbed up from about half that price in 2016.

    https://tradingeconomics.com/commodity/steel

  • avatar

    I just had a revelation: Is the high cost of producing F150 the reason why Ford is not able (not enough cash) to develop new cars (like Fiesta/Focus, Fusion, Taurus)? It does not look like Toyota and GM have problem with that.

    • 0 avatar
      geo

      I’ve heard that theory before. The trucks went way over budget, at the cost of cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      No the high cost of the F-150 development is not why we are not getting a new Fiesta, Focus, Fusion or Taurus. Yes the costs were high but it did lift the average transaction price significantly and has not hurt volume either.

      Ford did develop a new Focus, they just decided that the plant would be more profitable producing the Ranger and Bronco, The fear of tariffs on cars produced in Mexico where they were going to move production made it very unlikely that it would generate significant profit. So the rest of the world will get the new Focus but we’ll only get the one they think will bring them a decent margin, the Active model.

      The Fiesta never should have existed in the US as there is not enough demand for cars in that segment for any hope of decent profit. It should live on overseas where its segment is more popular.

      The Taurus is in a dead segment and the only reason it hung around as long as it did was because it was produced on the same line as the Explorer.

      The Fusion is in a shrinking segment and I think Ford doesn’t believe that is going to change. The new one was supposed to drop in 2021 and would have been expected to sell in profitable numbers until 2028 to justify the development costs.

  • avatar

    Aluminium does not always give you the best crash test results. I get the impression GM trucks are more durable. However, Ford trucks still have higher quality interiors. GM does just about everything better than Ford with the exception of interior design execution.

    • 0 avatar
      don1967

      I found the Ford interiors more modern, but material quality is across the spectrum with many parts apparently developed by different committees. GM interiors are more cohesive, if a bit older-looking.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Nothing wrong with entrenching oneself in the #2 position. Especially in the truck market, where not every consumer wants bleeding-edge technology.

    The new F150 is a fine rig whose sales leadership is easy to understand. But when it was time to replace my 2008 I found the 2018 Silverado more to my admittedly old-school tastes. Sounds like the 2019s won’t stray too far from this.

  • avatar
    Carroll Prescott

    And this is what they were so inspired to build? Another third rate truck from a company that couldn’t care less about building a competitive product.

  • avatar
    Carroll Prescott

    Considering that we’ve caved into other countries’ desires for years, it is time to give them a taste of their own medicine.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • dal20402: Yep, in the ’21+ the outer seat portions are exactly the same.
  • JonBoy470: It is of course illegal to operate non-compliant vehicles on public roads, but the law, as written, also...
  • JonBoy470: These speed shops are operating without even the merest whiff of plausible deniability that parts vendors...
  • Carlson Fan: “Start saving, spring 2024 will probably be your first real opportunity.” Yep I’d say...
  • Carlson Fan: “I wanted to get my money’s worth out of the OEM tires, but when they’re done next year I may pick...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber