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by Tim Beissmann

Ford has threatened General Motors with legal action after the rival automaker refused to pull its Super Bowl commercial for the new Chevrolet Silverado, in which the blue oval’s top-selling F-150 pick-up is painted as less durable and long lasting than the Chevy.

The 60-second spot called “2012” shows a man driving his Silverado through an apocalyptic world. Four men make it to a meeting point but ‘Dave’ is not so lucky. One of the men explains: “Dave didn’t drive the longest-lasting, most dependable truck on the road. Dave drove a Ford.”

Predictably, Ford didn’t see the funny side. The manufacturer sent a letter to NBC requesting it not show the ad during the game, and sent another to Chevrolet asking it to pull the ad from the telecast as well as its website and YouTube channel, where it has racked up more than 1.7 million views alone.

“Ford demands that Chevrolet immediately cease and desist from making any unsubstantiated and disparaging claims regarding Ford’s pickup trucks,” the letter to the automaker read.

“If Chevrolet does not comply with the above terms prior to the start of the Super Bowl, then Ford will take all appropriate steps to enforce and protect its reputation.”

Chevrolet ignored Ford’s request and ran the commercial during today’s sporting event, which was estimated to be viewed by more than 110 million Americans and millions more around the world.

General Motors global chief marketing officer Joel Ewanick said the company had no intentions of backing down.

“We stand by our claims in the commercial, that the Silverado is the most dependable, longest-lasting full-size pickup on the road,” Ewanick said. The fine print of the commercial aimed to substantiate Chevrolet’s claims: “Dependability based on longevity: 1981 to July 2011 full-size pick-up registrations.”

Ewanick said the ad was “a fun way of putting this claim in the context of the apocalypse”.

“We can wait until the world ends, and if we need to, we will apologise. In the meantime, people who are really worried about the Mayan calendar coming true should buy a Silverado right away.”

The ball is now in Ford’s court. While the actual game nears its end, it seems unlikely we’ve heard the last of this Detroit stoush.