GM believes its new cost-cutting measures should give it a significant advantage over Ford.
The Ford F-150 continues to be the best-selling vehicle in America of all time, so it comes as no surprise the competition has been keeping a close eye on the truck's development to try and replicate its success. According to Reuters, General Motors sent engineers on a public tour of Ford's factory in Dearborn, Michigan to get a better idea of how Ford assembles the aluminum-bodied Ford F-150.
Launched in 2014, the redesign of the Ford F-series trucks have been praised for their fuel economy and lightweight construction, but GM's eagle-eyed engineers spotted several flaws during the tour.
"They had a real hard time getting those doors to fit," Tim Herrick, the executive chief engineer for GM truck programs told Reuters. As well as going on public factory tours, GM also bought and tore apart Ford F-Series doors sold as repair parts. This led to GM discovering it could reduce the weight of its trucks for a lower cost using doors made of a combination of aluminum and high-strength steel thinner than standard steel.
Further weight reductions in the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra were achieved thanks to a high-strength steel frame that is 88 lbs lighter than the previous model. They also feature an aluminum hood and tailgate, and higher-end versions have carbon-composite second-stage springs. As a result, the new Sierra weighs up to 360 pounds than its predecessor, while the new Silverado is up to 450 pounds lighter.
According to Reuters, these measures should give GM a significant cost advantage over Ford. Investor disclosures suggest GM makes at least $17,000 in pre-tax profit on every full-size it sells. "We think we have thousands of dollars advantage (over Ford) just in the aluminum costs. It's big," Herrick said.