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Ford (F) reportedly is planning a radical redesign of its F-150 truck, trading in steel for a...

Ford (F) reportedly is planning a radical redesign of its F-150 truck, trading in steel for a largely aluminum body, in a bid to meet tougher fuel requirements. Ford hopes a switch to the lighter metal will cut the weight by ~700 pounds, a 15% reduction for the company's most popular U.S. pickup. But can die-hard pickup buyers be convinced that aluminum is as tough as steel?
Comments (49)
  • Need that Reardon metal
    26 Jul 2012, 04:02 PM Reply Like
  • More aluminum not less, redesigned will be good for US better saving weight distribution and milage plus 3 to 5 percent.. Real cost savings across all products.
    26 Jul 2012, 04:30 PM Reply Like
  • Wonder how this will affect the aluminum stockpile? Might be good for Alcoa if other companies follow suit.
    26 Jul 2012, 05:06 PM Reply Like
  • Hello computer.
    26 Jul 2012, 05:10 PM Reply Like
  • i think we need to slim down some of these fat truck drivers first.
    26 Jul 2012, 05:15 PM Reply Like
    26 Jul 2012, 10:01 PM Reply Like
  • What's wrong with tougher and lighter weight plassasstic?
    26 Jul 2012, 05:26 PM Reply Like
  • Like Saturn tried to do?
    27 Jul 2012, 08:36 AM Reply Like
  • I was thinking along the same lines - some carbon fiber perhaps.
    27 Jul 2012, 09:56 AM Reply Like
  • rust won't like this news
    26 Jul 2012, 05:38 PM Reply Like
  • Why stop at pick-ups? Let's make all types of vehicles out of lighter weight products such as aluminum.
    26 Jul 2012, 06:17 PM Reply Like
  • A good Aluminum alloy still costs significantly more than steel. Want your pickup and the rest of vehicles to cost 30% more for 15% less curb weight? Aluminum is among the most plentiful metals on the planet, and among the most recycled, and yet it still costs more in component price than a comparable piece made from plain steel.


    Also aluminum's fatigue life is significantly lower than steel, depending on the crystalline state. It is very sensitive to small dings and such (as from gravel and rocks in off-road use). Needs regular inspection. Want your structure to start cracking after a little off-road excursion, unpaved road, or rock climb, needing a frame replacement or a lot of welding of bolster and doubler plates just as the warranty expires?


    Ford and the other automakers know full well they must proceed with great caution in using aluminum. They still have a reputation to maintain. Or regain.
    27 Jul 2012, 08:49 AM Reply Like
  • As I read the article, they only want to use it for body panels, not for the frame. I could be wrong, but I do agree they should not use it for a frame of a truck. Now I am sure that there are other materials that they could use for the frames that are lighter weight, but again they would cost more. Also, don't forget that if they make it too well and it last longer, they will not sell as many in the future... which will cost prices to rise more.
    27 Jul 2012, 12:08 PM Reply Like
  • TSLA is so far ahead of the game
    26 Jul 2012, 06:28 PM Reply Like
  • Yeah cause they have been making an aluminum truck for how long now?
    26 Jul 2012, 07:38 PM Reply Like
  • How much do Teslas cost again?
    27 Jul 2012, 08:50 AM Reply Like
  • In fairness I think that is mainly due to the ridiculous cost of batteries...
    27 Jul 2012, 09:03 AM Reply Like
  • How will this change the raw materials prices for a truck?
    26 Jul 2012, 07:22 PM Reply Like
  • ALCOA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...
    26 Jul 2012, 07:41 PM Reply Like
  • Actually this is not news. Ford has been working with GLW (Corning) for some time now to develope light weight products for their electric cars. Seems like just another way to get positive headlines. Oh Wait!
    Want positive headlines? Ford should start buying back some of it's own stock...right now! On the cheap!
    26 Jul 2012, 08:08 PM Reply Like
  • With what cash? The 5 cent dividends? Ford needs to pay off the rest of the debt, and basically have nothing else to spend the money on, before dabbling in manipulating the supply side of share prices for shareholders.
    27 Jul 2012, 08:52 AM Reply Like
  • Think it is great for everything except the bed liner, where aluminum may dent too easily. Also what is the cost differential between sheet aluminum and steel? Maybe a margin compression.
    26 Jul 2012, 09:16 PM Reply Like
  • Aluminum costs more, and yes, not only dents and "dings" more easily, but then starts to crack at the ding. Bed liners would probably be mandatory for an aluminum bed. Which starts to defeat the weight benefit...
    27 Jul 2012, 08:55 AM Reply Like
  • They might be able to use some of the work they are doing with carbon fiber in addition to the aluminum. I do not know if it were to be feasible, but if they made body panels out of aluminum with aluminum supports throughout and layered with carbon fiber for additional rigidity.
    I'm sure they are working on something like that for the future.
    ...I do like the comment about the rust, although it will probably increase costs, and definitely increase the price of aluminum, I'm excited for less rust!
    26 Jul 2012, 10:43 PM Reply Like
  • The starting price for carbon fiber body cars is well into 6 figures.
    27 Jul 2012, 08:57 AM Reply Like
  • I wonder why the Honda Ridgeline was taken out of production?
    26 Jul 2012, 10:44 PM Reply Like
  • Now a car can get Sandwiched by two trucks wrapped in aluminum foil.
    27 Jul 2012, 12:46 AM Reply Like
  • Lightweight vehicles means more people will die in auto accidents.
    27 Jul 2012, 01:47 AM Reply Like
  • I'd rather not be hit by any truck, but if I'm going to be hit by a truck I'd like it to be a bit lighter if possible. Force = mass x acceleration.


    For the truck itself, lightness on its own does not mean it's any less safe than a heavier truck. I'd rather have a 100mph crash in an F1 car than in a truck.
    27 Jul 2012, 03:16 AM Reply Like
  • Momentum = mass times speed, but close enough. The principle applies.
    27 Jul 2012, 08:58 AM Reply Like
  • *velocity
    27 Jul 2012, 09:05 AM Reply Like
  • touché. And *inertia. but yeah.
    27 Jul 2012, 09:09 AM Reply Like
  • Haha, just being difficult....
    Honestly I think the far more important factor is the overall rigidity of the vehicle. Aluminum is weaker so it should allow the energy of the crash to deform the body of the vehicle rather than the driver.


    Also, less mass (and therefore momentum) is good if you are hitting another vehicle, but if you are getting hit I think you want as much mass as possible.
    27 Jul 2012, 09:30 AM Reply Like
  • Well actually I guess even if you are hitting another vehicle you would be better off with a larger heavier vehicle, but it would be worse for the other driver.
    27 Jul 2012, 09:40 AM Reply Like
  • The bigger concern may be these after-market jacked-up 4x4 pickups running around with factory bumpers now raised to around nose-height, rather than matching up with normal height car bumpers and structural elements designed to absorb and deflect the loads away from the occupants. The nose and head of the occupant is now the second line of defense in absorbing side impacts, after the glass...


    That said, yes the size and weight differential is kind of a big deal.

    27 Jul 2012, 11:53 AM Reply Like
  • Will it help if I put one of these on my 3/4 ton GMC?

    27 Jul 2012, 05:22 PM Reply Like
  • Whoops, that wasn't meant to be acceleration :)
    27 Jul 2012, 06:29 PM Reply Like
  • Built Ford tough.
    27 Jul 2012, 03:07 AM Reply Like
  • GM and Government lightweight answer..Paper Mache.
    27 Jul 2012, 04:19 AM Reply Like
  • Or GM and the government can make them out of tin..Lots of cans around Washington being kick around.
    27 Jul 2012, 04:22 AM Reply Like
  • F1 and Indycar moved to aluminum chassis in the 70s.
    F1 death rate dropped to 2 per racing season from 1 per every two races in the 60s.


    They further moved to carbon fiber chassis in the 80s.
    Since F1 fully adopted carbon fiber chassis in 1984, only 2 drivers had died during the past 28 years.
    27 Jul 2012, 05:32 AM Reply Like
  • And how much to F1 and IndyCars cost? Half a million for the chassis? And good for a maybe few races in one season?
    27 Jul 2012, 09:14 AM Reply Like
  • but this is because they are basically hand made, not industrially replicated
    28 Jul 2012, 07:00 PM Reply Like
  • They cost a lot, but they show the future way.
    30 Jul 2012, 02:49 AM Reply Like
  • Weight can translate into protection. If I'm involved in an accident, I'd rather be in a 5000 lb. vehicle rather than a 4300 lb. vehicle. Just something to consider. Also, aluminum is less forgving than steel when it comes to dents and dings. Not as easy to repair.
    27 Jul 2012, 07:07 AM Reply Like
  • That's not neccessarily true. Example being a truck from 30 years ago and a compact car from today. I'd take the compact car.


    Crumple zones, crash tests, etc. all matter far more than weight.
    27 Jul 2012, 06:28 PM Reply Like
  • Buy (DBC) if aluminum skyrockets...
    27 Jul 2012, 08:51 AM Reply Like
  • Tdot..............I got all excited reading these comments. As usual you are an encyclopedia of information and you presented a realistic and pointed observation on the drawbacks of aluminum in cars and trucks traveling at 70+ miles an hour, etc. Twice this month I've agreed with you 100%.


    I believe Ford is sending up a trial balloon for attention and to see if they get a response. I believe after some minor testing, they'll move on to other options................
    28 Jul 2012, 09:41 AM Reply Like
  • Wow..Ford hit a hot spot with the aluminum news article. The comments keep coming after 2 and a half days. I still think the Ford/GLW (Corning) approach makes more sense than Ford/Alcoa.
    I just love going to the local Ford Dealership, where shopping is such a pleasure, admission is always free and there is never a charge for stuff you don't buy.
    28 Jul 2012, 08:27 PM Reply Like
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