How are customers liking that aluminum body F-150?
Despite the lower sales, there were some bright spots for Ford. The company said retail sales of its F-Series pickup trucks were up 7 percent. It said the F-150, which features a standard new aluminum body this model year, was the fastest-turning vehicle on dealer lots.
To get some perspective on this, I had a conversation with Greg Howell, sales consultant at Carriage Ford in Clarksville. He said customers he’s spoke to about the aluminum truck are both knowledgable and excited about them.
Many Carriage customers have owned Fords previously and are familiar with the changes to the body. He said if they do have questions, it’s usually about body work — as some are wondering whether getting an aluminum body will increase the cost of repairs. Ford has done a pretty good job with explaining to customers that the aluminum is more dent resistant, he said. He also said repairs do not cost more because Ford has sent plenty of military grade aluminum to dealerships and provided training on working with it.
“Parts are readily available,” he said.
The aluminum is lighter weight and therefore more fuel efficient, which Howell said is important to consumers. The 2015 F-150 weighs about 700 pounds less than the 2014 model, he said.
Ford operates two assembly plants in Louisville and has about 9,000 employees here. The company has said the aluminum body likely will come to F-250 and F-350 trucks in the future, though it has not given any specifics as to when. Those trucks are made at the Kentucky Truck Plant on Chamberlain Lane.
Carriage has been selling the trucks since January. The dealership had a poor sales month in February because of cold weather, snow and ice, so Howell didn’t have a very good estimate of how long the vehicles are staying on the lot.
He said Carriage is directing customers to 2014 F-150s that it still has on the lot, so as not to let inventory linger. That said, he expects to see a lot of 2015s on the road.
He said customers “love the body, love the way it drives.”