This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

[video] Is the New Ford F-150 Tinfoil on Wheels?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- On Monday, I saw the next generation of Ford's (F - Get Report) F-Series pickup truck. It has been the top-selling vehicle in the U.S. for 32 consecutive years. So why change it if it ain't broke?

Simple. Because Ford can make it better. 

Right off the bat I want to show a video that does an incredible job introducing the new vehicle. Below is an interview with Pete Reyes, the chief engineer of the F-150 (compliments of WXYZ Detroit):


Reyes has worked at Ford for 27 years, most of them in product development. The man slammed down the question, Is the new F-150 tinfoil on wheels? with a resounding, No!

Must Read: Jim Cramer's 6 Stocks in 60 Seconds: MWV DECK DKS PETM URI HTZ (Update 1)

The company will still use a high strength steel for the vehicle's frame, but has replaced the cab, body and cargo bed with a high-grade aluminum alloy. The change in metals will allow for the pickup truck to tow and haul more, accelerate and brake faster and have vastly improved fuel economy.

Some may question the integrity of the new body and replacement costs of using aluminum rather than steel and assume the product is less durable.

But Reyes says the aluminum Ford is using is a high-grade alloy, the kind used for commercial aircrafts and in the military. Regarding its strength, he said, "Some of the alloys we heat-treat after you form the part, and they come out stronger than the steels we use today." 

That sounds pretty damn good if you ask me. 

The shift to aluminum will lower the vehicle's weight by 700 pounds, allowing the 2015 F-Series to achieve better fuel efficiency without sacrificing performance. 

Jack Narad, editorial director for Kelley Blue Book, said, "[Trucks] take bangs and dings and a lot of hard use. We'll have to see how the use of lightweight aluminum plays out in the field." 

That kind of skepticism is expected, especially when Ford is making such a big jump. 

"The company planted prototype F-150s with three companies - in mining, construction and power - for two years without revealing they were aluminum. The companies didn't notice a difference," Reyes told the Associated Press.

The truck could be a hit, especially in the the Midwest and Northeast, where harsh winters and salt-laced roads take a toll on a vehicle's armor. Aluminum doesn't have that terrible red rust look like many other vehicles on the road, simply because aluminum doesn't rust.

So, basically, what I'm hearing is that the F-Series will be lighter, faster, stronger, more fuel efficient and won't rust. Home run, right? 

Not so fast. Ford could encounter several obstacles. 

Switching production from the old model to the new model could be tricky. But that's a one-time event.

I worry about two things the most: the pricing and supply of aluminum, and consumer perception. So far, it seems like people are digging the new ride. But those hardcore truck fellas might have a tough time turning in their old steel whips for a lightweight truck. 

Fluctuating aluminum prices could hinder Ford's margins, while supply issues could choke production. Tight supply and higher aluminum prices could be a deadly combo. Ford would fail to meet demand from its customers, while getting nailed on higher production costs. 

But these are unknowns. There's always risk. Assuming the aluminum is as high of quality as it sounds, the customers will likely come in droves. 

It was a risk changing the best-selling U.S. vehicle, but as Reyes put it, "Doing nothing or not enough was a bigger risk." 

At the time of publication, the author was long shares of Ford.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

Bret Kenwell currently writes, blogs and also contributes to Robert Weinstein's Weekly Options Newsletter. Focuses on short-to-intermediate-term trading opportunities that can be exposed via options. He prefers to use debit trades on momentum setups and credit trades on support/resistance setups. He also focuses on building long-term wealth by searching for consistent, quality dividend paying companies and long-term growth companies. He considers himself the surfer, not the wave, in relation to the market and himself. He has no allegiance to either the bull side or the bear side.

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
F $11.55 0.00%
AAPL $93.99 0.00%
FB $102.01 0.00%
GOOG $682.40 0.00%
TSLA $151.04 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 15,973.84 +313.66 2.00%
S&P 500 1,864.78 +35.70 1.95%
NASDAQ 4,337.5120 +70.6750 1.66%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs