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Ford preps for aluminum F-150 production in 'massive' undertaking

  • Ford (F +0.4%) is in the process of upgrading a plant in Dearborn, Michigan to prepare it for manufacturing the new aluminum-bodied F-150 pickup.
  • The automaker built its last 2014 F-150 on Friday at the facility. A production version of the 2015 F-150 model is expected to roll out by mid-October.
  • "This is a massive undertaking, one of the bigger logistical challenges we’ve ever seen," says Ford exec Joe Hinrichs.
  • F-Series sales are up 0.3% YTD. Some analysts think sales have been impacted by consumers wanting to wait for the lighter F-150 model with improved fuel economy.
Comments (16)
  • MisterJ
    , contributor
    Comments (666) | Send Message
     
    Progress is being made right before our won eyes. congrats!
    25 Aug, 03:07 PM Reply Like
  • tinta
    , contributor
    Comments (2) | Send Message
     
    Aluminum engines are lighter then conventional engines. But but they cannot withstand the heat. Possibility of warping like they did many years ago when they were first introduce by Europeans. Hope Ford did their testing before production starts.
    25 Aug, 03:09 PM Reply Like
  • caupachow
    , contributor
    Comments (379) | Send Message
     
    I think they are only speaking of the bodies, not motor. I hope
    25 Aug, 03:12 PM Reply Like
  • mmangen9@gmail.com
    , contributor
    Comments (49) | Send Message
     
    Parts of the body, but not the engine sounds correct.
    25 Aug, 03:15 PM Reply Like
  • PGRIMES76
    , contributor
    Comments (32) | Send Message
     
    The new F150 has an aluminum cab and bed.

     

    Aluminum engine blocks and heads have been in use for over 20 years. Today, most passenger car engines are aluminum.

     

    I helped build Ford's first aluminum engine block and head plant in 1992. I was the PM for all of the control systems.
    25 Aug, 03:25 PM Reply Like
  • PGRIMES76
    , contributor
    Comments (32) | Send Message
     
    Only the cab and bed. The Frame is still steel. It takes on the energy in a crash, unlike a car body that does not have a frame.

     

    Steel will remain in the car body for the foreseeable future.
    25 Aug, 03:27 PM Reply Like
  • mikeRetirement
    , contributor
    Comments (170) | Send Message
     
    "The Frame is still steel. It takes on the energy in a crash, unlike a car body that does not have a frame.

     

    Steel will remain in the car body for the foreseeable future. ."

     

    Unless it's a Corvette!

     

    Long F and GM and FIATY. Hope the transition goes well!
    25 Aug, 04:18 PM Reply Like
  • starcorral
    , contributor
    Comments (464) | Send Message
     
    Where did you get your PhD in Metallurgical engineering?
    25 Aug, 05:13 PM Reply Like
  • starcorral
    , contributor
    Comments (464) | Send Message
     
    Wow; I did not know that. My 1994 car is an aluminum monocoque (struturally integrated unit) as are more and more cars today. Lighter and stiffer and usually stronger. Depends on alloy.
    25 Aug, 05:16 PM Reply Like
  • starcorral
    , contributor
    Comments (464) | Send Message
     
    Ford is introducing a new high strength webbed graphite/steel engine block which is light as aluminum for 3.7 liter base V6 engines. Currently aluminum remains the standard of higher performance engines.

     

    Aluminum is superior in higher output engines, but the newer graphite steel has a tigher molecular matrix allowing thinner sections and more pronounced webbing in less demanding applications.

     

    Back in the 1970s Porsche build 12 cylinder 5.7 liter aluminum engines capable of living at 1600 horsepower. The BMW Formula 1 turbocharged aluminum engine in the mid 1980's made up to 1400 horsepower from 1.5 liters. When this engine was later transplanted in a BMW 320I IMSA racer drivers were smoking the back tires at any speed until they developed mechanical means to mitigate the power.

     

    I believe this pretty much covers the durability of aluminum engines 30 years ago when metallurgy was far less advanced.
    25 Aug, 05:41 PM Reply Like
  • mikeRetirement
    , contributor
    Comments (170) | Send Message
     
    Just a voracious reader. Aluminum in the Vette's frame is working out quite well.
    25 Aug, 08:54 PM Reply Like
  • David at Imperial Beach
    , contributor
    Comments (4004) | Send Message
     
    Consider buying (NASDAQ:CENX) for a play on aluminum.
    25 Aug, 03:26 PM Reply Like
  • karman6557
    , contributor
    Comments (54) | Send Message
     
    CENX has gone from around $8 to over $23 in the last 12 months. What kind of additional increase do you think is left in the short term (< 12 months) or long term (> 12 months)?
    26 Aug, 06:57 AM Reply Like
  • M31
    , contributor
    Comments (8) | Send Message
     
    Sales of the F150 may pickup....pun intended.
    25 Aug, 05:43 PM Reply Like
  • stormtrooper
    , contributor
    Comments (4) | Send Message
     
    From what I've read about the new engines they are iron/graphite engine blocks
    26 Aug, 02:31 AM Reply Like
  • jameskm03
    , contributor
    Comments (105) | Send Message
     
    2014 F150's are on sale right now. I know because I bought one earlier this month. Lots of excitement over the 2015 but lots of people, like myself, are buying the deals as they unload 2014's to free up inventory for 2015's. As much as I would have loved a 2015 F150 your not going to get any of the discounts that you can get on the 2014's right now. As a consumer and Ford buyer that's great but it's going to be even better in a few months for Ford when they are charging full sticker price for the 2015's and people aren't blinking an eye and buying those too. That's just the reality. In taking to my sales guy about all this I can't even begin to tell you how excited he is about selling the new truck. He's already got a lot of people interested and he knows he's going to make a killing.
    26 Aug, 09:56 AM Reply Like
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