DETROIT -- The Chevrolet Silverado grabbed its biggest piece of the U.S. full-size pickup market since January in the first month of its blistering ad campaign attacking the Ford F-150's aluminum body as too flimsy.
But the F-150 emerged from the fray looking no worse for wear. Ford said F-150 sales soared 40 percent in June from a year earlier, and segment share for the full F-series line jumped to the highest level in 17 months. Ford normally doesn't report F-150-only numbers but did so for June to argue that the Chevy ads didn't hurt it.
It's an intense battle between two longtime archrivals in which both sides act like they're winning, though Chevy's campaign clearly didn't deter the tens of thousands who bought an F-150 last month.
"I love this truck," said Alan Monroe, an accountant in southern Illinois who bought an F-150 Lariat a few weeks after Chevy started airing the commercials in heavy rotation. The ads, launched June 8, show a load of concrete landscaping blocks and the corner of a toolbox gashing the F-150's bed, while the Silverado's steel box sustains lesser dings and scratches.
Monroe, 55, who traded in a Ram 1500, said he researched Chevy's claims online and came away reassured. His Caribou-colored F-150 includes a $495 spray-in bedliner, a popular protective coating that wasn't on the trucks Chevy's marketers abused.
"When somebody's trying that hard to prove something, there's probably not a whole lot of truth in it," Monroe said. Besides, he added, "98 percent of the time, the heaviest thing that will be in it will be my golf clubs."