According to a report in Bloomberg, the 2015 Ford F-150 will indeed be showing up at the Detroit Auto Show next month. It will bring attitude with it, not only in the form of sheetmetal inspired by the Atlas concept (pictured) that appeared at the 2013 Detroit show but also in the Alcoa military blast shields among the display being used to showcase the ruggedness of aluminum.

There's been a lot of talk about the F-150 switching to aluminum body panels (although maintaining a steel frame), and for good reason. The lightweight body is expected to shed more than 700 pounds and greatly increase its highway mileage, but production-line issues and possible delays have been a major focus of attention concerning the best-selling vehicle in America for 32 years, meaning Ford has to get it right. F-150 is responsible for a massive portion of the company's global profits and it will come in a year when company profits are already predicted to decline because of new car launches.

When it comes to dings, the Bloomberg story says Ford wants Alcoa to supply some of the military-grade aluminum it uses for blast shields on battlefield vehicles to help it talk up the toughness of aluminum. Reading commentary on the many stories about the F-150 reveals there are many more little questions about the aluminum overhaul, like "How much will it cost to repair and insure?" and "How will companies hang their magnetic signs?" Answers should start coming in a couple of weeks.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 57 Comments
      thumerzs
      • 1 Year Ago
      Almost as important as potential fuel savings will be corrosion resistance. These things won't rust out, which is the main reason most pickup trucks end up in the scrap yard. As nice as they are, I wouldn't consider a Ram due to their propensity to start rusting out about seven years down the road. This Ford could have a 25+ year service life, assuming they don't cheapen out the frame.
        John Ward
        • 1 Year Ago
        @thumerzs
        My truck is about 17 years old and it's getting to the point that I either need to do some seriously restoration or scrap it. Rust is getting pretty bad (it's never been garaged). I could see an all aluminum truck doing 25+ years easily.
      AcidTonic
      • 1 Year Ago
      Mitsubishi has been using aluminum body panels and roofs in the lancer Evolution since 2003 in the USA. The Evo X has an aluminum front clip, rear clip, aluminum doors, and an aluminum roof. Perhaps Ford should ask another automaker for help.... One that's been doing aluminum body panels for over 10 years.
        AngeloD
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AcidTonic
        @Acid Tonic You seriously don't know what you're talking about. Ford invested heavily in aluminum auto body technology starting in about 1999 when they purchased Jaguar. Ford's Jaguar XJ had an all aluminum body starting in 2003. Mitsubishi merely had an aluminum hood and front clip. The 2003 all-aluminum XJ also predated Mitsu's limited use of aluminum in the Evo in 2005.
        john96xlt
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AcidTonic
        LOL, can you get your foot any more in your mouth?
        metric91
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AcidTonic
        The Lincoln LS body consisted of aluminum hood, fenders and trunk lid....... so they've had there hand at aluminum panels for some time.
          Josh
          • 1 Year Ago
          @metric91
          Yeah, not to mention the number of SHO and Sable concepts using ALCOA parts. Not to mention Ford and GM's investments in ALCOA stemming from the 1960's onwards. Last I checked base Evos were still being sold in 2014 model years w/ 5 speed transmissions. Ford's recently putting 6-speeds in their base $22k 6 cylinder base mustangs, perhaps Mitsu can learn a little from them? :)
        Jarda
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AcidTonic
        Ford asking Mitsu for help, LMAO, good one
        mitytitywhitey
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AcidTonic
        Mitsubishi still makes cars?
        cpmanx
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AcidTonic
        Hmmm...since last night, somebody erased the entire -10 votes on AcidTonic's ill-informed comment. Somebody who cannot take criticism, perhaps?
          Jarda
          • 1 Year Ago
          @cpmanx
          people overvoting that silly comment is more simple/likely explanation
      CoolWaters
      • 1 Year Ago
      Ford needs to develop some real mpg engines, instead of those Eco-Fraud engines.
        Indubitably
        • 1 Year Ago
        @CoolWaters
        First step in gaining mpg is weight loss.
        jz78817
        • 1 Year Ago
        @CoolWaters
        I would pay money* for an F-150 with one of the Duratorq 5-cylinder turbodiesels. *as if I could pay anything else...
        • 1 Year Ago
        @CoolWaters
        [blocked]
      Lucky Stars
      • 1 Year Ago
      Too bad Ford cant build one 10% smaller in length and size. 90% of these are just mommy mobiles and soccer mom cars and will never see a day of work.
        jz78817
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Lucky Stars
        as much as I like my Ranger, and wish there was something still on the market like it, I don't think it's going to happen.
        Arturo Rios Jr.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Lucky Stars
        Where do you live? Anyways over here mommas drive CUVs, and V6 camaros. 90% of the trucks are driven by people who use them as they are meant to be use.
          Dean Hammond
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Arturo Rios Jr.
          So Cal, home to Home Improvement warriors....
        Paul P.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Lucky Stars
        I think the F150 could stand to be a little smaller, but it doesn't need to shrink significantly. I'd much rather see them just bring back a small to midsize truck like GM is doing. They could keep the body steel on that one (which I'm sure would help keep it cheaper), and they could use a range of 4 cyl engines like they do in the new Escape. The 2.3L Ecoboost from the new Mustang would be more than enough in a small-ish truck.
          Dean Hammond
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Paul P.
          dare I say it Paul, but my bet is Ford will be watching the Colorado's success and sales numbers pretty intensely....that Global Ranger could be waiting in the wings if deemed necessary....
      CoolWaters
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why does this truck keep getting more massive year after year, while the engines get smaller?
      HollywoodF1
      • 1 Year Ago
      I scrolled through looking for some negative comments about aluminum. None yet. Usually, there is a misconception that it is weaker. It is, in fact, roughly the same strength as steel. However, it is three times lighter and three times more flexible (the fact that it's 3x for both is a coincidence.) This flexibility can be an advantage with vehicle skin in certain conditions. There is a metallurgical property known as Resilience which is proportional to the product of the yield strength and the flexibility. Resilience describes a metal's ability to absorb energy without deforming-- in other words, dent-resistance. For this reason, aluminum is also three times as dent-resistant as the same thickness of steel skin. This is not the same property as Toughness, which is defined as being proportional the amount of energy it takes to fail the sample. In the case of sheet metal, that has to do with putting a hole through it or tearing it. Aluminum typically has a lower rupture strength than steel, and typical has about half the toughness of steel in sheets. Fortunately, the toughness of the truck is in the frame, where it ought to be, and the resilience is in the skin, where it ought to be. Overall, it should perform well.
        The Wasp
        • 1 Year Ago
        @HollywoodF1
        Regardless of the metallurgical explanation, if someone leans against the truck and accidentally puts a dent in it, that's not going to be popular with consumers. I'm supportive of aluminum for the weight benefits but I am skeptical that it will be as dent resistant as steel generally is (*with the side note that some steel body panels are still very much prone to denting). I also think it will be unfortunate if the extensive use of aluminum causes average vehicle prices to rise even further.
          Cesare
          • 1 Year Ago
          @The Wasp
          Rich boy toys? In my circle of truck owner friends and acquaintances, you hit it right on the nail. None of them use their vehicles for business. They've become some kind of perceived luxury item, go figure.
          thumerzs
          • 1 Year Ago
          @The Wasp
          I haven't seen many modern vehicles that won't dent if leaned on in certain areas without care. It's the price we pay for better fuel economy and one I'll gladly make (to a point.)
        leo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @HollywoodF1
        lets put it this way, there are some Al alloys like 6061 which are as strong and stronger than some steel alloys, but the highest strength steel alloys can not be matched by aluminum. as aluminum alloys are getting better so is steel, and i have very high doubts that Al alloys will catch up to steel. the higher strength steels are getting lighter as well, and their superiority in strength means thinner parts, so overall Al might not even save much weight. there is a reason the crumble zones are mostly sleet alloys, and this is due to their superior absorption of energy........
      tool0117
      • 1 Year Ago
      sweet
      Jeff Gilleran
      • 1 Year Ago
      Meanest Ford I've ever seen.
      VDuB
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm confused as to what the picture is supposed to represent. A truck on some beams represents......
        The Wasp
        • 1 Year Ago
        @VDuB
        Don't put too much effort into trying to figure it out.
        jz78817
        • 1 Year Ago
        @VDuB
        a non-running concept vehicle. that shouldn't have been too hard to figure out.
      mazeroni
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm skeptical about the 700lb figure. Aside from the fact the fact the body is still primarily steel, I can't see such massive weight savings without the implementation of carbon fiber. Maybe I am wrong, but the new Land Rover shed around 500~700 pounds when switching to a fully aluminum unibody construction. How can you get 700 pounds from body panels alone? Outside of that, people said the mustang was supposed to shed 300 pounds, but reports peg it at weighing up to 100 pounds more than the current model when fully loaded.
        macutty
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mazeroni
        Well your Mustang reference is somewhat disingenuous. The new model comes with considerably more options than the previous model and most sources are still claiming a small decrease in curb weight. When similarly equipped the '15 is expected to be >200lbs lighter. As I understand it the Atlas F150 will have an entirely aluminium cab and body panels. Only the frame underneath will be steel. The Range Rover uses a monocoque (unibody) design which is quite different than the F150 which uses a traditional body-on-frame configuration.
        cpmanx
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mazeroni
        The point here is to wait and see what Ford really does, since the rumor mill is frequently wrong. At one time, Autoblog claimed that the new Mustang would be 15 inches shorter and hundreds of pounds lighter. That news was based on hearsay (not any official word from Ford), and turned out to be completely wrong. Ford has hinted at weight-reduction targets for the new F-150, but has not given an official goal nor confirmed exactly how much aluminum the truck will use. I expect that Ford is keenly aware of the cost and repair issues, and that addressing them will make for a tougher but heavier truck than many are now anticipating.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      csrecord
      • 1 Year Ago
      It will be interesting to see if Ford will take such a risk. Right now I don't need a full size trucks, but this would be at the top of my list if I do.
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