DETROIT -- The buzz in Detroit is that the lightweight aluminum body of the upcoming 2015 F-150 pickup will give Ford a significant advantage.
Bob Hegbloom, chief of the Ram brand, isn’t buying it.
After a lot of customer research, he said, “I don’t see anyone asking for an aluminum truck today.”
He added that “people say they feel much safer with steel in the doors — where they feel exposed.” Hegbloom spoke at a media event at company headquarters here on Thursday, Oct. 30.
He acknowledged that aluminum will help the F-150 shed up to about 700 pounds in some models. But after the weight loss, the 2015 F-150 will be about 300 pounds lighter than the Ram, Hegbloom said.
“It’s a small piece of the equation,” he said.
For the record, the base curb weight of the lightest Ram 1500, the V-6-powered Tradesman, is 4,509 pounds.
Hegbloom acknowledged, though, that the Ram must shed pounds as the industry strives to meet rising federal fuel economy standards and customers’ desire for good mileage.
“Do we have to lightweight our truck?” he said. “Absolutely.”
Ford spokesman Mike Levine said customers “want a better truck, a more capable truck, and that’s what we gave them. If you take weight out of the truck, you can tow and haul more.”
Levine said that many models of the F-150 will be more than 400 pounds lighter than the Ram.
Ford says the 2015 model, due in showrooms in December, will be the company’s most fuel efficient F-150.
Levine declined to say whether he expects the redesigned model to get the best safety rating, five stars, from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The 2014 Ram 1500 has a four-star rating. c
Richard Truett contributed to this report.