Ford (F) today unveiled its new F-150 with a body built almost entirely out of aluminum, which shaves as much as 700 pounds off the 5,000-pound truck, a response to small-business owners’ desire for a more fuel-efficient and nimble truck - and stricter government requirements on fuel economy.
It's a big risk: F-Series trucks - which include the F-150 and heavier duty models like the F-250 - have been the best-selling vehicles in the U.S. for the last 32 years, and Ford makes ~$10K profit on every F-Series truck it sells.
The 2015 F-150 goes on sale late this year; although aluminum is more expensive that steel, Ford says the truck will stay within the current price range.
Will customers accept the change? "Trucks are put to such hard use. They take bangs and dings and a lot of hard use," says a somewhat skeptical Kelley Blue Book editorial director Jack Nerad. "We'll see."