1 Reason Ford’s Atlas Will Dominate the 2014 Silverado

If you saw pictures of Ford's (NYSE: F  )  Atlas concept truck at the 2013 NAIAS show, you know that it looks tough and rugged. If you haven't seen it, look below. There's a reason for this new look -- it's all a part of Ford's plan, which I'll uncover shortly.

The Atlas wasn't the only truck making noise at NAIAS, with the new Ram winning truck of the year, and the 2014 Chevy Silverado from General Motors (NYSE: GM  ) slated to release mid-2013. That gives the new Ram and Silverado at least a year head start on sales before Ford's new F-150, the Atlas concept, hits the showroom in late 2014. Chrysler and GM are going to need every minute of the head start; here's one reason why.

 Take a look 

Brand loyalty
Let me set the stage here: We know how important brand loyalty can be, especially with certain categories. Ford and Chevy trucks have just as loyal a fan base as you'd expect with Apple and its competitors. For instance, during last year's Super Bowl, when General Motors put out a few commercials  taking shots at Ford, people got a little worked up.

That said, Ford and GM are taking two different paths with their next generation of trucks. GM is banking on muscle attracting customers to its popular trucks, and offering a different, smaller truck for fuel efficiency. Ford is cramming both concepts into its next generation truck, taking a huge leap into fuel efficiency, yet keeping its tow power.

It's taking a huge risk by replacing a chunk of steel in the truck with aluminum, reducing the weight by 700 lbs. One large risk will be convincing its consumers that the truck is still "Built Ford Tough," and won't jeopardize its towing capacity. That's the reason Ford made a more intimidating, muscular looking concept, hoping it will persuade consumers' first impressions that aluminum hasn't made it any less of a truck.

Ford is number one in survey
One thing Ford clearly has in its favor is brand loyalty, giving it the edge needed to keep its customers coming back, even with the drastic change that the Atlas represents. Here's a survey released on Tuesday by Experian Automotive, a leading global information services company, ranking the top 10 brands that command the most loyalty:

Brand Percent
Ford 44.10%
Toyota 43.30%
Kia 39.90%
Hyundai 38.60%
Honda 38.10%
Chevrolet 38.00%
Subaru 35.70%
Nissan 34.70%
Mercedes-Benz 34.60%
Lexus 34.10%

What the percentages measure is how often an owner of a certain brand returned to market to buy the same brand, yet again. This is proof that Ford's rebound since the recession is for real, and that it's producing a much better product than it was a decade ago. Jeffrey Anderson, director of consulting and analytics for Experian Automotive, says it perfectly:

Ford continues to perform exceptionally well in brand loyalty, with a range of products that are getting customers back to the showroom again and again ... Loyal customers provide a ready-made source of sales and constitute an important element of maintaining or expanding market share and profitability.

Aside from being number one overall, what's more impressive is that Ford has seven of the top 10 models for brand loyalty. Obviously, this includes more than trucks, but Ford having brand loyalty to this degree enables it to take risks, like the Atlas, to differentiate its brand and gain market share.

Bottom line
Timing is everything, and the 2013 NAIAS should have been GM's time to shine, with Cadillac ATS winning "Car of the Year," the new Corvette unveiling, and its most profitable auto -- the Silverado -- being paraded. Ford stole the spotlight when its flashy Atlas Concept was introduced, lowered from the ceiling. Ford is doing its best to entice potential buyers to wait for its next generation truck release, while GM is going to use its new "Find New Roads" marketing campaign to get a foothold during its yearlong head start.

My bet is on Ford, it's already proven that it has completed an entire company turnaround since the recession. It's proven that it can run a long-term successful marketing campaign while producing a better product, helping it create strong brand loyalty. I believe those factors will aid Ford in releasing a successful next-generation truck, take market share from the Silverado, and enable its bottom line to continue growing.

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Read/Post Comments (21) | Recommend This Article (12)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2013, at 2:33 AM, prginww wrote:

    What?!? Ford has not even decided to build this truck. The Silverado is expected to start selling in mid-2013. Even if Ford were suddenly decide to build the Atlas, it would not reach dealers before 2015. Also, I don't really see what is much different about it. It is mostly bells and whistles and a design that looks like a truck made to star in an Australian movie. And that is a design; that's a one-off. It is not a manufacturable, marketable vehicle. A lot of engineering is involved in the difference. Whether the showpiece indicates much about future F-series vehicles is speculation. Also, I think it looks too much like a Honda Ridgeline and not enough like a vehicle for ranching, farming, and construction.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2013, at 7:52 AM, prginww wrote:

    I think Ford was kind of acting like a little kid.So, you have a new truck look what we are going to have! when you lump the Chevy and GMC Togeather they both.Ford and GM sell about the same number of trucks in a year.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2013, at 8:57 AM, prginww wrote:

    @rh33 The Atlas may not be the end result, but it's for sure that the next generation F-150 will be using the aluminum for fuel efficiency. It's expected to hit showrooms in late 2014 as a 2015 model. Hince the yearlong head start I mentioned.


    I agree with your first part. On your last part though, while you can lump them together and the numbers are similar. However, if you look at the bigger picture, before the recession, GM used to dominate Ford in truck sales, in 2010 Ford surpassed and hasn't looked back. A trend I expect to continue when the new generation F-150 is released.

    Thanks for the comments

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2013, at 8:57 AM, prginww wrote:

    When you look at a 2014 chevy truck, you can put a tux on a pig but it still is a PIG CHEVY TRUCK

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2013, at 12:21 PM, prginww wrote:

    Agree to disagree! I probably couldn't even pick out the new Silverado from last years version. Just sayin'. Time will tell, like I said, my money's on Fords next generation truck to expand its market share over GM even more.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2013, at 6:14 PM, prginww wrote:

    I don't know what coolaid this writer has been drinking, but I know his mind is polluted with bias.

    The Ford looks tough he says, but looks don't mean anything. The only thing Ford has that's better than GM is better marketing. GM will leap-frog the Ford truck, just wait and see.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2013, at 6:41 PM, prginww wrote:

    Articles written with OWNERSHIP BIAS are reserved for the trash bin. Let me know when you advocate for another of your holdings so I can ignore the pump and dump.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2013, at 6:42 PM, prginww wrote:


    Appearance, and reasoning behind it, which I mentioned, is all a part of marketing as you say. Which is one reason that Ford has taken market share from GM and the same reason I expect that trend to continue.

    I'm not biased, I call it like I see it. I think GM has quality trucks as well, but I've yet to hear any valid analysis as to why they would "leap-frog" the F-series anytime soon. Look at a chart trend of GM's market share since the 50's, that says it all.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2013, at 6:44 PM, prginww wrote:


    I've written many positive things about GM. However, for a multitude of reasons, I think that Ford will continue to do better as an investment. I'm watching GM closely, because the next 18 months could be exactly what the company needs to turn things around. It's very possible with all the money it's putting into its vehicle portfolio refresh.

    And pumping and dumping a stock with a market cap like Ford is silly. You should really think twice before saying that to anyone else. You lose all credibility with that comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2013, at 7:03 PM, prginww wrote:
  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 4:17 PM, prginww wrote:

    Talk about poor journalism. Sure the F-150 has taken away market share from the Silverado when was the last time they did a refresh on it? 2007. When did Ford redo the F-150? 2009 I believe it was, and Ford changed the engines that they offered in the F150 for the 2012 model year. GM didnt do anything like that. The 2007 Silverado is the 2013 Silverado.

    Now that GM is redoing the trucks they will eat away at the F150 market share. Even if Ford does a revamp in 2015 they should be playing catch up with GM then.

    I am hoping the new GM doesnt operate the way the old GM did and go 6 years without changes to their vehicles like better fuel efficiency, upgrading interior colors or materials. If they keep up like Toyota and Ford making changes every 2 or 3 years GM will blow Ford away.

    After all the Sierra/Silverado are the most fuel efficient 4 wheel drive V-8 trucks on the road. The Ram gets 25 in 4 x 2 trim reg cab short box form with a V-6. The Ford that gets 23 is the same way. The Silverado is 21 MPG in 4 x 4 trim with all 3 cab sizes.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 4:34 PM, prginww wrote:

    I personally just don't see GM blowing anyone away.

    I understand your point about the recent Ford market gain due to GM's dated vehicles, I mentioned that in the article. That said, GM has consistently lost market share for the last 50 years..... There's an underlying reason, and it's not all because Ford has the freshest truck revision. Ford does a better job marketing and up-selling innovative features to increase margins. Ford's margins have more than doubled every year from 09-11.(That's more of a company wide investment note, I suppose)

    Thanks for your comment though, I appreciate you at least have some substance to validate your argument. There are many takes and angles one could have. This article focused on Brand loyalty, and how it will aid in Ford's attempt to take more market share. I still believe that to be 100% accurate.

  • Report this Comment On January 26, 2013, at 12:44 PM, prginww wrote:

    I can say that all that defend government motors you are a fool who got the bail out in 2008 tens of billions and you say that its because ford revises its lineup every few years NO its because all the smart farmers and construction workers out there buy ford. i work for an oil and gas company a big one we we would buy a few of the big three every couple of years and by far throughout the last 8 years we pick ford over chevy and dodge because they take the abuse brand new trucks should not have to go to the shop and we have on site mechanics to fix them but when you have to have new tools with every new vehicle does not make it better and for those of you that buy GM thanks you are part of the reason the economy is the way it is so pat your self on the back

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2013, at 12:20 AM, prginww wrote:

    Frankly I think dominate is a pretty strong word. While I agree the Atlas styling is very good (to me it looks like a cross between a Raptor and the F-350 Tonka SuperDuty), I am not sold on the Ecoboost twin turbo engines. Mileage figures while towing are not much better than the 5.0 V8 and who knows how long 2 turbos are going to last with most consumers not knowing how to care for them. There are already reports of intercooler damage because of its location and I see huge reliability/longevity issues with the Ecoboost twin turbo V6. My buddy recently purchased a new F-150 and I was not at all impressed with the carpet or upholstery in his truck. The dash is nice but the other 2 items detracted from the cabin ambiance. I spent a rainy afternoon with my wife at the Rogue Plant last October and it was interesting to see these F-150's being built. Ford makes a good looking truck, but where I live in Southern California Chevy owns the 1/2 ton market. There are 2 reasons I see 1. They last 2, They have better resale value. For those of you that think Ford did not take any government money or loans, you better do your homework a little better. They did it before GM and Dodge and saved the public embarrassment, but Ford did get government assistance also.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2013, at 1:25 AM, prginww wrote:

    Let me correct my reference to the plant! It was Rouge, not Rogue. I want to remind you the F-350 Tonka Superduty was a 2002 concept, 2012 was the SuperChief and this year the Atlas. Take a good look folks, Ford is getting a ton of mileage out of the design, its been pretty much the same look for the last 11 years!

  • Report this Comment On January 31, 2013, at 1:05 PM, prginww wrote:

    There's a reason Ford owners are bias to the brand and it's backed up by 36 years of solid proof. The GM owners need to stop hiding behind their jealousy, swallow their pride and gain a little dignity by purchasing the brand which has proven its worth year in and year out. I've spoken to many truck owners who have switched brands and those who switched to GM were not very happy they did so however, the GM contingency have had nothing but praise for Ford. I have even heard a few say they had waited much too long to make the change to finally become satisfied with their ride.

  • Report this Comment On February 14, 2013, at 12:16 PM, prginww wrote:


    I appreciate the well thought out comments. Although Ford did not take government assistance. Ford took out its own loans, put up its own collateral, and paid it back with no additional assistance.

    General motors and Chrysler took a much different route of assistance.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2013, at 6:00 AM, prginww wrote:

    the atlas does look sick.

    i'm a chevy fan and bought a 2009 brand new. good looking truck, but man... not what i expected for what it costs when you compare it to ford, dodge, and toyota.

    the 2014 silverado is a joke. who in the world designed the thing? 900 different people? not only that, but they took a few things from the ram and tundra. i didnt notice if they copied anything from ford... until i saw the exterior of the atlas. GM stole that too pretty much!

    man is the new silverado ugly.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2013, at 4:22 PM, prginww wrote:

    WOW! How scared and insecure are all you Chevy/GM rubes. When this truck comes out take a test drive and eat crow!

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2013, at 12:46 PM, prginww wrote:

    ugly truck to futuristic we wont a tough looking truck not one that will float or hover please make a better manlier truck

  • Report this Comment On June 04, 2013, at 10:27 AM, prginww wrote:

    Comments on any article almost never disappoint when it comes to LOLs. People get so bent out of shape and / or make erroneous claims to prove their comment has merit. Never ceases to amaze me.

    Here are the facts: Ford has been doing what it takes over the past decade or so to build quality cars and trucks people WANT to buy. Then, they create a logical marketing plan which shows people the advantage of buying this brand. The numbers don't lie, Ford kicks butt selling trucks.

    Now, the only problem I still see with them (and GM as well) is keeping resale value at bay. It seems in my area, Ford is correcting this much quicker than GM as well.

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