The Ford F-150 is making news at the Detroit Auto Show. It’s been re-worked to be tougher–with “military grade” aluminum alloys throughout the body making it lighter, too. Ford also increased the percentage of high strength steel in the body to 77 percent, from just 23 percent in previous models. That’s a pretty big jump. And you have to credit Ford, because it’s not playing catch up. The Ford F-150 has been the best-selling American truck for 37 years. That’s since Jimmy Carter was president. The auto industry has undergone massive disruption since Jimmy Carter was president, when Toyota and Honda compacts swept into the states on the red carpet of rising gas prices. Venerable brands like Oldsmobile have since said goodbye. Lexus and Acura were invented. Cadillac ceased being a global metaphor for quality. Fuel injection. Electronics. On-board computing. Hybrids. Front wheel drive. Bailouts.
Through it all, the Ford F-150 has remained the best-selling truck. According to Ford, it’s been the best-selling vehicle over the past 32 years–astonishing even if it only goes back as far as Reagan.