DETROIT -- And you thought the real Super Bowl battle would be between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants.
Not if bitter rivals Ford and Chevrolet have anything to do with it.
A snit developed Sunday between the two brands over a Super Bowl ad (see link at the bottom of the story) for the Chevrolet Silverado pickup that showed a group of Silverado owners surviving the cataclysm supposedly predicted by Mayan culture for 2012.
In the ad, the group meets and takes a moment to mourn a friend who didn't make it because "he drove a Ford" and praises the Silverado as the longest-lasting, most dependable full-sized pickup.
Today Chevrolet parent General Motors, in a statement, said Ford had sent a letter requesting that GM pull the ad.
Jim Farley, Ford global vice president of marketing sales and service, told reporters in Las Vegas: "We've been the leader in the truck market for 35 years. We will absolutely defend our leadership. The letter was intended to challenge the assertion toward that type of claim. It's up to GM. We have nothing else to say."
According to The Detroit News, which obtained a copy of the letter written by Ford lawyer Lynne M. Matuszak, the letter said this:
"Ford demands that Chevrolet immediately cease and desist from making any unsubstantiated and disparaging claims regarding Ford's pickup trucks," Matuszak wrote. She demanded that GM not run the ad and to "permanently remove the commercial from its website, its YouTube and Facebook pages and any other internet sites," according to The Detroit News.
"If Chevrolet does not comply with the above terms prior to the start of the Super Bowl, then Ford will take all appropriate steps to enforce and protect its reputation," the letter said, according to the report.
GM: No way
GM marketing chief Joel Ewanick said GM has no intention of pulling the ad.
"We stand by our claims in the commercial, that the Silverado is the most dependable, longest-lasting full-size pickup on the road. The ad is a fun way of putting this claim in the context of the apocalypse," said Ewanick, GM's global chief marketing officer.
"We can wait until the world ends, and if we need to, we will apologize. In the meantime, people who are really worried about the Mayan calendar coming true should buy a Silverado right away."
The issue arose during dealer meetings today in Las Vegas.
"Most-dependable longest-lasting truck has been a theme of ours that we've substantiated time and time again," said Chris Perry, Chevy's vice president of global marketing, said following a Chevy dealer meeting.
"There have been Super Bowl ads showcasing Coke versus Pepsi, Miller Lite versus Bud Light. This is simply in that same genre."
The Silverado ad ran in the first quarter of the Super Bowl and was one of five spots that Chevrolet planned to debut on Super Bowl Sunday. The spots can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chevrolet/home.
Bradford Wernle, Philip Nussel, and Mike Colias contributed to this report.