Ford's Aluminum F-150 Put to the Test

By Auto FOXBusiness

A ride inside the new aluminum-body Ford-150

FBN's Jeff Flock talks to Ford F-150 marketing manager Eric Peterson about the new lighter aluminum Ford F-150.

Ford Motor Co. (F) is putting its new aluminum-bodied F-150 to the test.

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FOX Business got an exclusive look at a demonstration event featuring the 2015 F-150, which is expected to go on sale later this year. Ford is visiting 26 cities to introduce the pickup truck to sales personnel.

The aluminum truck has been the talk of the auto industry since it was introduced at the Detroit auto show in January. Few production cars are made almost entirely of the lighter metal. The F-150 will be the first truck to use an aluminum body.

By switching from steel, Ford cut 700 pounds from the nation’s best-selling pickup. While the company has yet to release fuel economy estimates, analysts widely expect the 2015 F-150 to get better gas mileage than previous versions.

At the demonstration in Romeo, Mich., Ford pitted its F-150 against the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra from General Motors (GM), plus the Ram 1500 from Chrysler Group.

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“We want our sales consultants to have confidence that this new truck is just as capable,” Eric Peterson, Ford’s F-150 marketing manager, told FBN’s Jeff Flock. “It’s got great performance and great capability just like the current truck. That’s what they get to experience firsthand.”

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Ford also added a 360-degree camera and remote tailgate release to the 2015 F-150. Another first is the option of a 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine with start-stop technology, which shuts off the engine when the truck is stopped.

Peterson noted how the smaller displacement engine still provides 8,500 pounds of towing capacity.

“It’s all about giving more capability, and when you take 700 pounds of weight out of the truck, you can give a customer more capability and more towing. That’s what truck guys really want, along with better efficiency,” he said.

Ford has touted the performance capabilities of its redesigned F-150, saying the truck’s aluminum body and steel chassis provide a durable combination.

The 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine is also rated at 325 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque, allowing for a max payload of 2,250 pounds. Ford will also offer a 3.5-liter EcoBoost, in addition to a 3.5-liter V6 and 5.0-liter V8.

“If you don’t have the toughest truck on the market, then you really don’t have the right pickup truck,” Peterson said. “So that’s why we run it through 10 million miles of testing to prove that it’s the toughest pickup truck out there.”

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