DETROIT -- Hordes of auto show goers will be lining up over the next few weeks to paw over the 2015 F-150 pickup that Ford unveiled here Monday. Among them: General Motors' incoming product chief Mark Reuss.
The guy in charge of developing the next-generation of the F-150's biggest rivals -- the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra -- sounds genuinely interested in finding out what the Ford is up to.
"I want to get my hands on it," Reuss told reporters Sunday night after unveiling the GMC Canyon mid-sized pickup. "I'm going to be looking at how much aluminum is in it. 'What are the panels? … How are they constructed?' I'm going to look at what they advertise as the weight savings from it. Then I'm going to go back and do some math."
Reuss acknowledged having some "concern" about Ford's new truck and the competitive advantage that shedding up to 700 pounds could reap on fuel economy.
"But am I scared? That's a different word," Reuss said with a smile.
Reuss believes that the mid-sized Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado that GM will roll out this fall is one answer to fending off Ford's aluminum advantage.
Fuel-conscious buyers can still get most of the towing and hauling capability they need from the smaller truck, GM reasons. Reuss acknowledges that its bid to resuscitate the mid-sized pick segment "is not risk-free."
He adds that there are advantages to gauging the market response to a Ford's aluminum-heavy truck. He says that GM "can play that game really easily" because it has technology to join aluminum panels without the use of rivets, which he calls "probably more advanced than anything in the industry."
The question is: How close will Ford allow the product chief of its biggest truck rival to get to the new F-150? Reuss says he might have to call on his friend Mark Fields, Ford's COO.
"I think Mark will let me see it," Reuss said. "I'll show him the [Corvette] Z06 and the mid-sized [Canyon], and he can show me the F-150."