Lab tests and field demonstrations show Silverado’s roll-formed, high-strength steel bed outperforms the competitor’s stamped aluminum bed, as shown in new videos released by Chevrolet.
The campaign is a dramatic example of Chevrolet engineers’ work to select the right material, enabled by the right manufacturing processes, for the right application.
According to Sandor Piszar, Chevrolet truck marketing director, it also demonstrates why Silverado is a smart choice for customers shopping for a truck they can use as a truck:
“We engineer and build our trucks with customers’ expectations in mind. For example, Silverado features a roll-formed, high-strength steel bed because truck customers demand the ability to haul their toys, tools and other cargo. These videos demonstrate the real-world benefits of the Silverado’s bed, in both extreme and everyday scenarios.”
To demonstrate the advantages of Silverado’s construction, Chevrolet conducted three comparisons to the stamped aluminum bed of the 2016 Ford F-150. Demonstrations were done without bedliners, evaluating the susceptibility of each bed to punctures.
In scientific testing using a wedge-shaped striker weighing 17 pounds (7.7 kilograms), the Silverado sample remained intact up to 90 joules of impact energy. By comparison, the aluminum bed floor exhibited hairline cracks at just 30 joules, and was completely punctured at 40 joules.
As an extreme example of the Silverado’s strength, 55 landscaping blocks weighing a total of approximately 825 pounds (347 kilograms) were dropped into the beds of both trucks from 5 feet above the bed floor. In 12 out of 12 comparisons shot for video, the Silverado exhibited only scratches and dents that did not affect the utility of the bed. The aluminum Ford F-150’s aluminum bed sustained punctures in every drop, with an average of 4.3 punctures per drop that could reduce the utility of the bed.
To replicate the kind of accident that can happen at any jobsite, the videos also show a steel, handheld toolbox pushed off the side rail of each truck. For the Silverado, the toolbox only dented the roll-formed high-strength steel bed in 12 out of 14 demonstrations. In the remaining two demonstrations, the toolbox left a pinhole puncture on the bed floor. For the F-150, the toolbox only dented the aluminum bed once out of the 14 demonstrations. In the remaining 13 demonstrations, the toolbox left a sizable puncture through the stamped aluminum bed floor.
The strength of the Silverado bed stems the material used and how it is formed. The high-strength steel alloy is so strong, the required geometry of the bed floor cannot be formed using traditional stamping. Instead, Chevrolet uses a roll-forming process that enhances material strength by creating less material fatigue than stamping.
“Obviously, any material can be pushed to the breaking point if you subject it to enough impact energy,” Piszar concluded. “If a customer does manage to puncture the high-strength steel bed of the Silverado, they have the added peace of mind knowing steel tends to be easier to repair than aluminum — potentially saving money and minimizing time without their truck.”
Sales update: The Ford F-150 continued to head sales charts in June, despite an attack ad campaign for the Chevrolet Silverado that called into question the Ford’s durability.
The Silverado’s June market share of 26.7 percent was the largest posted since January this year. Yet it was still comprehensively beaten by the Ford F-150, which took a 38.1% share.