In the next decade, the auto industry will see an explosion in its use of aluminum to cut weight and increase fuel economy, according to a study from market analysts Ducker Worldwide cited by The Detroit News. We are already seeing the lightweight metal show up extensively in luxury models from Europe, but with the impending launch of aluminum-intensive 2015 Ford F-150 (pictured above), North America is using it even more, as well. The report predicts 70 percent of US pickups to have aluminum bodies by 2025.

It won't just be pickups that see the benefit, though. The average amount of aluminum in US vehicles is forecasted by the study to grow from an average of 350 pounds in 2013 to about 550 pounds by 2025. The most common parts to use it will be hoods, doors and – to some extent – roofs, as well.

The massive increase in pickups' aluminum content hardly seems surprising. The F-150 is predicted to use so much that it might cause a short-term shortage, according to one earlier report. At the same time General Motors is heavily rumored to be negotiating with suppliers for the next generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. Ram is the last holdout of the Big Three, but the study predicts that not to last.

With that much additional aluminum use spread across the entire industry, demand for the material appears to only be increasing. Ford CEO Alan Mulally forecasted as much at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show when he said it would "proliferate across our lineup," and GM has seen more opportunities for its use as well.


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  • 32 Comments
      wafflesnfalafel
      • 6 Months Ago
      How about plastic? Those fiber reinforced plastic beds on the previous generation 4 door f150's were great. Light, rust proof, and you could beat the heck out of them.
        Montie
        • 6 Months Ago
        @wafflesnfalafel
        I still see lots of Saturns on the road. The plastic body panels age surprisingly well.
          yonomo200
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Montie
          It doesn't matter that plastic is made of oil. Plastic is recyclable. It's not like gasoline, which is one time use. Also, plastics can be made from many things other than oil. Just yesterday, I heard a report about making small plastic parts for cars out of tomato scraps left over from catsup production. The "enviro weenies" may be over zealous. But they're right to push for more efficiency, when it makes sound environmental and ultimately, economic sense.
          BodyBlue
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Montie
          The problem with Saturn was the huge panel gape required because of thermal expansion and contraction. Look at one in the winter with its huge gaps then one in the summer with tight fitting ones. And plastic is made from oil, you know the stuff that lib and enviro weenies hate?
      JonathanBond
      • 6 Months Ago
      I can't wait until this comes out. I'm trading in my car for an F-150. Give me the diesel engine please.
      Revis Goodworth
      • 6 Months Ago
      Not exactly earth shattering news since Ford sells about 60% of the f/s pickups sold anyway.
      Jesse
      • 6 Months Ago
      70% of pickups should use a diesel engine
      Not me
      • 6 Months Ago
      This is bad for repairs and insurance though
        waetherman
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Not me
        I don't think it's as bad as everyone thinks it is. Boats have been using aluminum bodies for years and they can be repaired pretty easily - patching isn't a problem for most major damage. Also, it dents less easily so it's kind of a trade off. No doubt body-repair mechanics will have to learn some new skills and buy some new equipment, but in the long run it's not much of an issue.
      fisho
      • 6 Months Ago
      Really this title should say: 70% of the pickups on the market should just be cars. Since that is all they do.
        BodyBlue
        • 6 Months Ago
        @fisho
        OK, so? Hate the fact that Americans can choose what they want to drive? Or would you prefer crushing taxation to control vehicle choice like in Europe?
          jtav2002
          • 6 Months Ago
          @BodyBlue
          Don't mind him. He's probably one of those people who thinks trucks need to be used for truck things 100% of the time and if he sees one at the mall assumes thats all it does. Clearly people should own a second vehicle to use when they dont need to use a truck as a truck.
          KaiserWilhelm
          • 6 Months Ago
          @BodyBlue
          I love that americans can choose. I just wish they wouldn't choose to drive huge trucks and SUV's that make it hard to see down the road while I'm driving.
      BF4ALTF
      • 6 Months Ago
      And 30% will still have pushrod engines across their entire line.
      • 6 Months Ago
      [blocked]
      BodyBlue
      • 6 Months Ago
      Right now the fanbois and paid bloggers are busy trashing Ford for its choice in going to Aluminum.....but when RAM and GM switch to it, it will be proclaimed a revolution! Again, Ford leads the way among domestic car makers. Not everything works (1st gen MFT) but they deserve credit for taking chances.
        yonomo200
        • 6 Months Ago
        @BodyBlue
        There are going to be issues but Ford is right to move to using more aluminum. There will be issues as body repair catches up. But corrosion resistance is a plus. They have to do something to keep up with ever increasing MPG requirements. Also, aluminum is highly recyclable. Aluminum makes the most economic sense in the near future when it comes to reducing weight for trucks.
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