Unless you've been living under a rock this week, you've probably heard that Ford (NYSE:F) took the wraps off of its 2015 F-150 pickup on Monday.
At first glance, the new F-150 might look a lot like the current truck. Like General Motors (NYSE:GM) with its 2014 Chevy Silverado last year, Ford took an evolutionary approach to its pickup's styling. It's new, but it's familiar. But don't be fooled: The new F-150 represents a big step forward for America's best-selling truck. It's packed with high-tech features, its frame is made mostly of advanced high-strength steel alloy, and -- in a first for a full-sized pickup -- its body panels are made of a special aluminum alloy.
Ford worked with Alcoa (NYSE:AA) and other key suppliers to develop and test the advanced alloys used in the 2015 F-150. That work wasn't done for marketing purposes, though. Ford's goal was to make the truck a lot lighter, but at least as rugged as its predecessor. Lighter weight improves fuel economy, performance, and towing capacity. The improvements in the 2015 F-150 are dramatic: Some versions of the new truck will be as much as 700 pounds lighter than the current model.
This is no beer-can truck, though. We -- The Motley Fool's John Rosevear and Rex Moore --were on the scene as the truck was unveiled. Over the course of our time in Detroit, we were able to talk to key Ford executives about the new F-150, including CEO Alan Mulally and COO Mark Fields. We weren't able to drive the new truck, but we took long, close-up looks at a whole bunch of the pickups, and even sat in a few.
In a nutshell, here's what we learned: The new F-150's aluminum body panels might seem like a gamble for Ford, but the Blue Oval has plenty of good reasons to think it has a winning hand. In this video report, we share our initial impressions of Ford's new truck -- and explain why Ford's "bold move" might turn out to pay off big for the Blue Oval.