GM’s Attack Ads Against Ford: Did They Work?


Not long ago we wrote about GM’s attack ads against the Ford F-150 trucks. The ads compared the durability and strength of Chevrolet’s high-strength steel truck bed against Ford’s aluminum bed.

Of course, the test results skewed heavily in Chevrolet’s favor, showing multiple puncture holes in the Ford bed while the Chevy bed escaped mostly unscathed after a front-loader dropped a heavy load of landscaping blocks into each.

Chevy hoped the strategy would scare buyers away from Ford dealerships and cement the Silverado’s reputation as the toughest truck on the market.

Did the campaign work? Not if we base the results on recent sales numbers.

The Detroit News said,

During June, U.S. sales fell 3.7 percent for the Silverado and 7.8 percent for the Sierra, while Ford’s F-Series deliveries surged 29 percent.

Chevy’s ads began in May, so the June sales numbers surely must come as a disappointment to GM’s marketing team. Not only did GM fail to surpass Ford’s sales, the ads may have actually sent buyers into the Blue Oval’s showrooms.

Even worse for GM, incentives for its trucks have seen staggering increases. According to the article, June discounts averaged $7,962 on the Chevrolet Silverado, up 76 percent from May levels, and $9,457 on the GMC Sierra, an increase of 147 percent.

What’s the takeaway from all of this?

It’s pretty clear people who buy trucks are rational people. They know that they aren’t likely to dump 800 pounds of concrete blocks into the back of their trucks on a regular basis, or even once for that matter. They also know that they’ll probably install a bed liner and make the entire argument a moot point anyway.

Plus, aluminum appeals to folks because its lighter weight increases fuel economy without sacrificing any real-word toughness.

The Ford F-150 remains the undisputed king of pickups in the U.S., with 780,354 trucks sold in 2015 compared with 600,544 Chevy Silverados. However, include the GMC Sierra in the mix and GM outsold Ford by about 40,000 trucks.

What are the most important factors to you when buying a full-size pickup?


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