By Jeff Sanford
Chevrolet is clearly having fun with its new “steel-vs.-aluminum” ad campaign. When asked for comment on the new series of ads, a Chevy PR person got back to us within ten minutes with some interesting stats. Chevy PR was clearly ready for the inquiries.
“The full-size trucks market is starting to heat up this summer,” says Tom Wilkinson, a Chevy PR person. In an email interview with Collision Repair magazine, he went on to point out that, “Chevy pickup sales are up 32 percent in the US so far this year, with strong sales of the new midsize Colorado, and US sales of Silverado up more than 14 percent. Several of our competitors are struggling a bit. So it is a good time to crank up the pressure.”
The sales of the new aluminum Ford F-150 seem to be lagging a bit this summer. The latest stats, released the same morning of the new commercials, make this clear. Chevy is showing no mercy.
“We think there is a lot of interest and awareness among truck customers about the materials used for the bodies and boxes of trucks. We do think that steel is currently the best materials for major body components for pickups, and we are using the videos to help make that point,” says Wilkinson. “The videos with the cages and superhero are an entertaining way to look at customer perceptions of materials.”
No kidding. The video with Howie Long is the most interesting. To shoot it, Chevy damaged four alumni-bodied Ford F-150s and four Chevy Silverados. The trucks were then sent off to be repaired, while the time and cost to do so were carefully tabulated by Chevy. You can see the video here.
Aluminum, of course, is harder to repair than steel. Many in the collision repair industry are just now wondering whether to invest in the special tools and training needed to repair aluminum. Wilkinson supplied some additional stats on the repair procedure, “which may be of interest to your readers.”
· AMCI Testing staged the eight crashes. They were designed to be “typical of accidents that occur in parking lots and on job sites.”
· All eight trucks were subjected to a 9.1 mph side impact from a 1,700-pound test sled that had a truck bumper mounted on it.
· Trucks were taken to factory-authorized repair facilities, four in the Los Angeles area, and four in the Dallas area.
· The Ford facilities were Ford Certified Collision Care Providers approved for the repair of the 2015 F-150.
· Trucks were taken in for repairs in mid-April.
· Average repair cost for the four F-150s was $7,720, $1,755 more than for the Silverados. That is 29 percent more.
· Average repair time for the F-150 was 53 days, versus 18.3 days for the Silverados.
“That’s almost three times as long,” Wilkinson notes.
You can see the video featuring “Aluminum Man” in the player below.