Editor's note: In an earlier version of this story, the name of Ed Jolliffe, owner of Gorno Ford in Woodhaven, Mich., was misspelled.
When Jeff Carlson heard Ford Motor Co. was making its 2015 F-150 pickup out of aluminum, he became concerned many customers might not be ready for such a big change. After all, "Built Ford Tough" has always meant steel.
"We thought there might be some pushback because of the aluminum," says Carlson, who owns two Ford dealerships in Colorado. So Carlson and his staff decided to interview customers. What they learned surprised them.
"That has not been the case at all," he said. "Some of the more knowledgeable customers out there [are] saying 'I'm actually going to wait for that truck' because they like the idea of aluminum."
Other dealers who had similar fears say they have been surprised by how ready their customers seem to be to embrace the switch to aluminum. Ford says the new truck will be as much as 700 pounds lighter than the current truck, bringing improvements in fuel economy, performance and capability.
"My fear was they wouldn't think it was heavy-duty enough," says Ed Jolliffe, owner of Gorno Ford in Woodhaven, Mich., referring to his customers. "But I think they [Ford] have addressed that already."
Dealers and Ford officials say the notion that pickup customers are resistant to change is outmoded.