For decades, General Motors and Ford match each others moves closely. But the launch of GM's new pickups mark a new chapter in the battle for dominance in the the most profitable segments of the world's auto markets. Global auto editor, Joe White, is in Detroit.>> GM has trailed Ford Motor Company for years in the large pickup market.
And Ford has taken great pride in claiming that its F-Series pickups are the best-selling vehicles in America. But now, GM is going after Ford with a truck that it believes is more competitive in every way starting with the way that it's built. The new GM trucks aren't made out of aluminum the way Ford truck bodies are.
They're made out of a combination of high strength steel with some aluminum, in the doors, hoods, and tailgate.>> Ford shook the industry in 2014 when it switched gears to an all aluminum F-150, slashing 700 pounds off the previous steel model, as it raced to meet escalating fuel efficiency targets.
The move challenging automakers like GM to find a better way to match the fuel efficiency and towing power using aluminum.>> GM engineers went to great lengths to get intelligence about Ford's aluminum truck. Some of them took tours of Ford's Dearborn truck factory, stopwatches in hand to measure the efficiency of Ford's assembly system.
Others spot doors that were sold by dealers as repair parts and tore them apart to see how Ford had put aluminum pieces together.>> GM engineers looked for weights and cost savings down to 20 cents a vehicle in the redesign of the new Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups.
And while seemingly small, these penny-based decisions will have major implications as GM is banking on strong sales of these expensive trucks to fund its push into automated electric vehicles. Additionally, the risks for both GM and Ford are even higher now as both automakers have taken major hits from US President Donald Trump's tariffs on aluminum and steel.