Ford's Radical New F-150: How Will General Motors Respond?

The all-new 2015 Ford F-150 was the star of January's North American International Auto Show. Photo credit: Ford Motor Company.

Lots of big news came out of the North American International Auto Show in January, but some of the biggest had to do with Ford's  (NYSE: F  )  new pickups. The new F-150 doesn't look particularly revolutionary at first glance, but it sports something radical for an American pickup: aluminum body panels.

It's a far cry from flimsy beer-can aluminum, though. Ford worked with Alcoa  (NYSE: AA  )  to develop a special high-strength aluminum alloy similar to what the U.S. military uses in its armored vehicles, and then put its new trucks through tough real-world testing before revealing them to the world.

We -- The Motley Fool's John Rosevear and Rex Moore -- were at the Ford event that opened the show, where the trucks were unveiled for the first time. Ford's event was an impressive one, and the new F-150 definitely had everyone talking. In fact, the new pickups were the talk of the show, at least among the industry analysts and experts in attendance.

Did Ford make the right move by switching to aluminum? How would Ford's loyal buyers respond? Was this the right time to make such a radical shift? How will Ford's rivals in the huge and lucrative pickup market be affected? Questions like those, and many more, were hotly debated.

We were right in the middle of some of those conversations. While at the show, we spent some time talking to several key auto industry analysts about Ford's new truck, including Edmunds.com's senior analyst Jessica Caldwell. She's an expert that we at The Motley Fool often look to for insight into sales trends in the U.S. pickup market.

In this short video, Jessica and John talk about the implications of Ford's move to aluminum with its new F-150 -- and how General Motors  (NYSE: GM  ) , which took a much more conservative approach to the new pickups it revealed last year, might need to respond. 

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