Corporate espionage is a real thing, and that point was reinforced by an Automotive News report about GM engineers spying on Ford’s Dearborn, Mich., plant. That’s the facility where the F-150s with all those fancy military-grade, high-strength aluminum body panels are fitted on the trucks. Ford practically wrote the book on making a lightweight pickup that doesn’t guzzle gas, but GM thought it could do better.
Instead of putting on fake mustaches and sneaking around, some GM engineers just went on the plant’s public tour. Apparently, the tour guide didn’t think it was odd some in the group had stopwatches and pads of paper, taking notes furiously.
It’s a funny story, but the GM team came to a conclusion Ford fans won’t like: the Blue Oval has been wasting money needlessly. To create the 2019 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra, the engineering team realized they could shave weight and cut down on bulk by using high-strength steel and aluminum. It was a compromise GM hopes will pay off.
GM faces a rough battle. The F-150 is the best-selling truck in America. Even if the new GM twins are made better, some people are loyal to the Blue Oval and won’t switch. Others are already turned off by the many ugly mugs that adorn the front fascia of the different Chevy and GMC trims.
Even if GM sells fewer trucks, if it has bigger profit margins it might keep ahead of Ford for years to come. Worse case scenario, engineers can keep touring Ford plants in plain sight.