According to The Wall Street Journal, Ford intends to utilize aluminum for the body of its next-generation F-150. In order to meet tightening fuel economy regulations, the WSJ says Ford will turn to the lightweight material, which could cut curb weight by a whopping 700 pounds. Working in tandem with more efficient powertrains, that weight loss could result in a whopping 25-percent boost in fuel economy.

But not so fast, suggests spokesman Said Deep. In regards to the reported aluminumization of the F-Series, Deep tells The Detroit News that "It is premature to discuss specific approaches or solutions that we might use for future product," a quote, we note, that is not necessarily an outright denial.

Industry analyst Jim Hall of 2953 Analytics points out that while some F-150 components are already aluminum, it is also a tougher material to work with. "Full-aluminum structured vehicles are much more expensive to insure because they are much more expensive to repair." Not only that, Hall notes, but not every body shop knows how to work with aluminum. Thus, it's unsurprising to learn that the original WSJ report suggests only that the next F-150's bodywork may be rendered in aluminum, not the chassis.

While there may be manufacturing hurdles in switching over to aluminum, perhaps more difficult will be determining its impact on sales. The F-150 is one of the industry's perennial best-selling vehicles, and it's uncertain how diehard truck buyers might react to a move away from steel, particularly if it sends costs upwards. Of course, Ford recently took on another pickup buyer taboo and registered a resounding victory – challenging the long-held notion that full-size buyers won't buy anything other than a V8 in real volume.


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  • 58 Comments
      Vinuuz
      • 2 Years Ago
      The day is not far when pickup trucks would be constructed from carbon fiber!
      Dave
      • 2 Years Ago
      The '90-'05 Miata had an aluminum hood. The rest of the body was steel. There is no reason why ford can't replace a limited number of components (the hood, fenders, and doors, perhaps) with aluminum, but not the entire body, let alone the entire chassis. Using thin aluminum in unstressed components works well. Using it in a tailgate that you are going to stand on is another story.
      JonathanBond
      • 2 Years Ago
      Please oh please ford. Please use aluminum body. I have a 2006 f-150 crew cab and it still runs strong. It has 122,200 miles on it as of now. I will buy another one for sure if you put aluminum body on. TAKE MY MONEY MR. FORD. TAKE IT
      guyverfanboy
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hopefully a 3.0 V6 diesel to go with this lighter body would be nice too.
      4gasem
      • 2 Years Ago
      My guess is ALCOA is hoping for a YES to that question... Since Alcoa is a large customer of ours and gives a few thousand jobs to our community I too hope YES is the answer...
      Hazdaz
      • 2 Years Ago
      This isn't an all-or-nothing proposition here. Using more aluminum is of course going to happen. That's a no-brainer. But they can also use more high-strength steel. Or even more exotic materials. With the volumes that the F150 sells at, Ford could really try using some carbonfiber. Yeah, I know that sounds crazy, but Lamborghini (along with Calloway Golf clubs) co-developed a way to make carbon parts at a fraction of the cost of the traditional methods. I am not saying that they use that particular material or that particular technique, but Ford should be researching higher tech materials to use in their cars and trucks. Material Science is going to play a huge part in the automotive world in the coming years. They could also do something *CRAZY*, and actually shrink the size of this truck too. But that's just insane, because 'mericans apparently always want bigger, bigger, bigger. If they were smart, they would release a new Ranger that was as small as the old one. Keep it 4-cylinder only, and possibly even make it unibody and base it on a car platform... a Ranchero for the new Millenium. Then they could release an in-between model, similar in size to the Ranger sold in Australia and other foreign markets. And of course finally the F150. It might steal sales from the F150, but I would say that collectively, they would get more sales with all 3 vehicles than the 1 that they have now. But I know that's not going to happen since the F150 is Ford's cash cow.
      kart45
      • 2 Years Ago
      WHOPPING! WHOPPING!
      carguy1701
      • 2 Years Ago
      I highly doubt we'll see an aluminum truck frame any time soon. Cab will most likely be aluminum, with the frame incorporating HSS and maybe that new nano-tech steel. Powertrains will be more turbo V6s with maybe one V8 (the 5.0L). Considering the F-series sells around a half a million units each year, Ford might take the plunge.
      carguy1701
      • 2 Years Ago
      As an addendum to my first post, the bed will probably go the aluminum route, maybe composite. The current Toyota Tacoma uses composite inner bed panels (not sure about the out panels) and GM offered a composite bed option on the Silverado/Sierra for a few years called the ProTEC bed (it was last offered for MY 2003 IIRC; not sure why they dropped it).
      hdcjm1
      • 2 Years Ago
      Maybe? Oh no, it is happening. It will be aluminum! Surprised they haven't gone to this material earlier. Look for 25-27 MPG hwy. From what I understand that is a goal of theirs
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @hdcjm1
        Actually, you can downsize the engine and get lower pumping losses as a result if there is 700 pounds less of mass to move.. and not lose any hauling power in the process.. :) You can also reduce the size of the tires as well, that means less tire friction loss. It all adds up.
      QCRamAir
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm all about the use of more modern tech and materials to bring down the weight and drive up the efficiency. However, driving up the efficiency through use of exotic materials also drives up the cost. And as if these full-size trucks aren't ridiculously overpriced already, an aluminum-intensive chassis will only make it moreso.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @QCRamAir
        [blocked]
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 2 Years Ago
          A TIG machine capable of working on car-sized aluminum frames is going to cost a few thousand dollars.. do you think that Ford or an auto body repair shop couldn't afford that? Tell me why most cheap bicycles are made out of aluminum as well. Even those at walmart ;) Why do some of the most critical and intense applications use aluminum? airplanes, downhill bikes, dirtbikes, exotic high performance cars.. you.. seriously don't think it's strong enough?
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @QCRamAir
        Exotic material, lol.. yeah, go to wal-mart and cross shop some steel and aluminum bikes. you'll see a tiny price difference between the two. Most bicycles are made of aluminum now. Dirt bikes too, and some motorcycles ..
      PeterScott
      • 2 Years Ago
      It should be noted that this really doesn't make economic sense as it would price the cash cow F-150 out of the market and make a workhorse truck expensive to repair as an exotic. Oh and Ford shot it down: http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2012/07/ford-denies-aluminum-f-150-in-the-works.html
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