Chevrolet Begins Steel VS. Aluminum War
Oh boy, the fighting never stops between truck manufacturers, does it? The latest battlefield advancement was just made by Chevrolet as it attempts to undermine the 2015 Ford F-150 for having an aluminum body. Chevy’s shot across the bow includes three videos featuring “real” people and one retired football player turned spokesman-for-hire.
Of the three videos, two are more comedic in their approach. The first features comic book fans giving critiques of a hypothetical superhero called “The Almighty Aluminum Man.” The second is a bit more burly-man centered, as it features bearded men in flannel shirts and safety vests choosing between an aluminum cage and one constructed of steel whenever a “wild” bear is unleashed within their concrete-lined room. Both are completely non-factual in the most obvious ways.
The third and most believable commercial spot features sports analyst and long-time Chevy spokesman Howie Long and the Silverado’s chief engineer, Eric Stanczak. The basic premise of this video is to showcase steel’s advantage over aluminum in both cost and time of repair. The ad makes the claim that aluminum costs more, is harder to repair, takes longer to repair, and requires dealerships to have a special certification in order to make aluminum repairs.
While there’s plenty of truth mixed in, the ad does stretch the case against aluminum a bit far. For example, Stanczak says the F-150 is manufactured “...in a way that combines aluminum, rivets, and adhesives in a process that’s different than Silverado.” Long simply responds with, “Huh, interesting,” as if the difference in manufacturing techniques is a negative.
Of course, if the rumors prove true that Chevy will adopt an aluminum body on the 2018 Silverado and its corporate twin, the GMC Sierra, GM will have a heck of a time trying to change its steel-is-better tune and convince its customers that aluminum is suddenly so much better.
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Why it matters
If GM does indeed move to an aluminum body on its 2018 trucks, the industry will likely rake the automaker over the coals like a Politian running for office after swapping sides of the aisle. Aside from the PR nightmare that might be brewing, the super hero and ravenous bear advertisements are very much on the hokey side of funny. It’s just my opinion, but I’m not sure that really appeals to the typical truck owner.
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Source: Automotive News