Trucks at the Super Bowl

Last year, Ram Trucks made a big splash during the Super Bowl with its commercial, “Farmer,” embedded above. (You can see a longer version with more of Paul Harvey’s speech here). It exploded across social media and got the company a great deal of attention, especially in the agriculture industry.

Chevrolet already released its Super Bowl commercial for the Silverado HD, called “Romance.” It takes the format of its super-serious, minimalist “Strong” campaign and has a bit of fun on the topic of where beef really comes from.

Chevrolet is running this spot as well as another unrevealed 1-minute spot during the big game.

As of this writing, Ram (now a part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), hasn’t tipped its hand on Super Bowl XLVIII, but we do know that Chrysler is the fourth-largest buyer of Super Bowl airtime this year. I’d say the odds are good it’s going to try and top the response it got last year with “Farmer.”

Ford has something hybrid-centered for the Super Bowl. There have been occasional rumors of a hybrid pickup from them, but nothing ever seems to materialize. We’ll see. Ford’s spot is expected to air just before kickoff.

Also, this Toyota commercial popped up just this past week. Could it be hinting at something to come?

We’ll update this post with any more Super Bowl commercials that appear. Let us know what you think of these ads in the comments section.

Monday morning update:

Well, the big game is passed. I missed a good bit of it because my TV signal went to pot sometime in the second quarter and didn’t recover until there were a few minutes left in the fourth. That’s just life for you.

First up is Chevrolet’s second big game commercial. It’s a bit of a slow burn that seems like a soft, romantic piece. Then, in the last few seconds it reveals exactly what is happening. Anyone who’s ever had a loved one fight cancer can relate to this:

Ram Trucks didn’t have anything to top its big hit from last year, but it did upload this little video yesterday.

I’m not sure if it aired on TV, and it seems Fiat Chrysler put its big money into its Bob Dylan ad for the Chrysler 200, a Maserati bit and this Jeep spot:

Ford kept its trucks in the garage for the Super Bowl. Its advertising was for the hybrid Fusion sedan. So did Toyota, but it did bring out the Muppets for the Highlander.

That’s all I saw last night, but between the technical difficulties and taking care of my kid, I might have missed something. If so, let me know in the comments.

Just look at these new trucks!

The automotive media is abuzz thanks to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. While there are some pretty cars being revealed at the show, a big component of the excitement comes from two new pickups that were unveiled in the past 24 hours: the 2015 Ford F-150 and the 2015 GMC Canyon.

Here are what several news outlets are saying about these new vehicles:

Copyright General Motors Corp.

The return of the GMC Canyon

General Motors pulled the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon after the 2012 model year due to disappointing sales. The returning Colorado appeared late last year, and now the GMC Canyon is back too.

Before the unveiling, GMC did a fair amount of teasing on social media, including these shots:


Automotive News reports the Canyon has a distinctly different look from the Colorado:

“While the Chevrolet Colorado is sporty and sleek, the Canyon, its corporate sibling, looks a bit like a little brother to the GMC Sierra full-sized pickup. And that’s by design.”

Automotive blog Jalopnik has been advocating for smaller pickups for some time now. It was pleased with the Colorado, and its reaction to the the Canyon has also been warm. Blogger Andrew P. Collins even said this Canyon is a worthy truck for taking on Toyota’s Tacoma:

“Both the Colorado and Canyon are nice little trucks. They feel tiny if you move into one straight out of a Silverado or Suburban, but would more than fulfill the pickup needs of many consumers.”

It’s been interesting to watch the differing strategies of the different truck makers. General Motors is going with the “three-truck strategy,” by making it so customers have trucks of three different sizes available from each brand. Who doesn’t enjoy choice?

I do wonder if there’s enough market available for selling these smaller trucks. This Wall Street Journal article pointed out the midsize pickups accounted for only 1.7 percent of all U.S. auto sales last year.

USA Today points out that this new truck’s electronic package includes a Teen Driver mode that lets parents set speed limits and gives a “report card” of broken laws and misbehavior.

Copyright Ford Motor Co.

The 13th-generation Ford F-150

As everyone is reporting, this truck made big news with its weight savings brought about through the use of aluminum in the body panels instead of rolled steel.

The rumor mill on this issue has been running for months, with countless stories quoting anonymous sources leaking bits and pieces about the new body material.

Most recently, Automotive News published this piece pointing out that the US Postal Service’s delivery vehicles have had aluminum bodies since 1987, and have been working out pretty well (Don’t miss the clever GIF video) Also, just before the reveal, MotorTrend magazine had a little fun by claiming to have an image of the new truck before anyone else:

When the reveal came, Automotive blog Jalopnik said the new truck looked good when photos were released, and said it’s even better in person. They also had a little laugh pointing out the lower melting point of aluminum compared to steel in a less-than-serious fashion:

“See, steel has a melting temperature between 2600°F and 2800°F, while aluminum melts at a much cooler 1220°F. Many types of lava flows can reach temperatures of over 1750°F, no problem for steel, while causing aluminum frames to turn into glimmering custard.”

MotorTrend says SuperCrew F-150s will have the most weight savings, at about 700 pounds each, because they had the most steel to replace. Regular cab pickups will shed 500 pounds or so. went all-out with stories about each part of the new F-150 filling up its news section. Powertrains, Bed Tech and Trim Packages, Oh My! Autoblog’s Truck section had this piece, and included Ford’s video on the new truck:

The New York Times took the Q&A format for reporting on the new truck, but also included this close look into all the work and research and science that went into using aluminum for the body as well as the new 2.7L EcoBoost V6:

“Ford is using 5000- and 6000-series sheet — the numbers indicate the particular alloys — supplied by Alcoa and Novelis. These alloys are popular with automakers because they are easy to form, rugged and, in the case of 6000, provide the smooth ‘class A’ surfaces required for visible panels like fenders.”

Automotive News shared a nice bit of detail about that new smaller EcoBoost engine, which uses special materials and designs that are beyond my ability to explain, so I’ll just quote the story:

“The two-piece block has compact graphite iron on the upper section, while the lower half is made from die-cast aluminum.

“‘We used iron only where we need the strength, which is in the main bulkhead,’ said Bob Fascetti Ford’s vice president of powertrain engineering. ‘This whole thing, including the [bearing] caps are cast together,’ he said.”

All this tech sounds fancy, but it makes a difference. Jalopnik is pointing out that this new F-150 can actually do more for the environment than the Toyota Prius.

Anything I missed?

If you know of any good stories on these new trucks that should be added to this digest, email me at with a link and a description.


Ford did a sneaky little thing to show how tough this new truck is. It took a 2015 truck, stamped a 2014 body for it out of aluminum, then ran it in the BAJA 1000 race:

How did the polar vortex affect our tonneau covers?

Pretty much the entire U.S. has been bathed in cold air this week thanks to a blast of arctic air coming south from way up north.

Here at our factory in Jamestown, North Dakota, it was 15 degrees below zero Monday afternoon when I filmed this spot:

You see, our tonneau covers are made with vinyl that’s made to remain flexible down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold days like today are normal days for our covers.

This cold isn’t so normal for electronics, however. I recorded this with a tablet that had a full battery when I went outside but, after I came back indoors, the battery was failing!