Ford has already confirmed that the 2015 F-150 (pictured above) was just the beginning for its more extensive use of aluminum. CEO Alan Mulally said it himself during the 2014 Detroit Auto Show. We've even already seen the future Raptor testing with an aluminum body. But a recent discovery from an intrepid spy photographer might indicate that the lightweight metal is coming to the Blue Oval's Super Duty pickups in their upcoming generation, as well.

According to Automotive News, a spy shooter in Colorado spotted a prototype for the next-gen F-350 testing. He happened to have a magnet on hand and got close enough to check the truck out. When he held it up to the metal in the bed, it didn't stick, which signaled to him a switch from steel to aluminum.

Obviously, this claim raises some questions. Given that it was a test vehicle, one possibility is that the Blue Oval is just evaluating the feasibility of switching to aluminum for the Super Duty trucks, not necessarily committed to it yet. Ford has been testing it quite exhaustively, after all. In fact, much of the rest of the truck in question was covered in camouflage, so it's possible that the magnet failed to work along the rest of the body not because it was aluminum, but because it wasn't powerful enough to get through the disguising material. Thus, the lightweight metal's use could be far less substantial than on the new F-150. Still, it was a clever idea for the cameraman to check things out and might have given us the first hint about brand's next heavy-duty models.


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  • 26 Comments
      carguy1701
      • 5 Months Ago
      Interdasting...
      hemusbull
      • 5 Months Ago
      What a fuel waste promise these square North American pick ups fronts...Overseas this class of transport machines are long ago more aerodynamic.
        Knox
        • 5 Months Ago
        @hemusbull
        What vehicles are you referring to? Toyota or Nissan?
        xxmixedxtapexx
        • 5 Months Ago
        @hemusbull
        Unfortunately the market does not take kindly to super aerodynamic. People that drive trucks want them to look "manly, tough, and rugged," and something with a rounded off nose for aerodynamics will kill sales. Look at all the people that cried foul when the Escape went from boxy to aerodynamic, and multiply that by 10x at least and you have the anger that would be expressed by Ford truck buyers regarding a rounded more aerodynamic truck.
          jz78817
          • 5 Months Ago
          @xxmixedxtapexx
          the F-150 went "rounded" in 1997 and sales held steady. The loudest whiners are the ones who weren't going to buy your car/truck anyway.
      Greg Aryous
      • 5 Months Ago
      I expect at least 1000 lbs wt savings moving SD to new F150 aluminum body n HS steel frame... plus significant savings in suspension components wt will make new SD at last 20% better MPG...!
      mapoftazifosho
      • 5 Months Ago
      This makes no sense. If the lower the weight too much, then you have HD trucks that will be EPA-rated and count for/against CAFE.
        jz78817
        • 5 Months Ago
        @mapoftazifosho
        CAFE and EPA labeling rules go by GVWR, not curb weight. I think 8,500 lbs GVWR is the cutoff, higher than that and the truck is exempt from fuel economy requirements.
        Farmboy
        • 5 Months Ago
        @mapoftazifosho
        Isn't there a push to make HD trucks EPA-rated in the future?
          carguy1701
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Farmboy
          I thought the 3/4- and 1-ton trucks would be subject to fuel mileage requirements in a few years.
      Greg Aryous
      • 5 Months Ago
      The new SD is based on the 2015 F150 body cab n bed to support Fords global platform consolidation. That's why new F150 is wider frame to support SD aftermarket utility beds and strengthened for SD workloads with 77% high strength steel. Fully boxed too! Plus when GM n Ram 1500 go aluminum their HD trucks already use same body so they all get aluminum body... So Ford must use aluminum F150 as basis for new SD... Makes Cents...!!!
      car-a-holic
      • 5 Months Ago
      I'll bet this gets at least 10-15 perc better mpg!
      BipDBo
      • 5 Months Ago
      If they are doing massive retooling on the F150 to use aluminum, it only make sense that they would go to aluminum for the other, lower volume models. That way, they can make all of the components on the same, upgraded lines. Keeping steel in the other trucks might even prove to be more expensive.
      oc_surf_serf
      • 5 Months Ago
      One problem with magnet test: Many, if not most common, stainless steels (300 series for certain) are NOT magnetic. Stainless steels/hi-strength steels are becoming more and more common and many ignore a magnet.
      xspeedy
      • 5 Months Ago
      Isn't the only real difference between a standard and super duty the frame and hardware (brakes, suspension...)? The aluminum makes up the body which bears no load.
        EXP Jawa
        • 5 Months Ago
        @xspeedy
        F-150 and Superduty are completely different trucks with few significant shared parts. The frame, suspension designs (not just ratings) were all different, heavier-duty designs. At the time the Superduty was introduced (1999), it had substantially different styling, favoring a more commercial over-the-road truck look, whereas the then-recent F-150 was sleek and more aerodynamic. The Superduty was also larger in almost every dimension. Since that time, the F-150 has grown somewhat and the styling of the two models has grown similar. I could see a possibility of the two lines remerging (as F-150, -250 & -350 shared common bodywork prior to 1997MY), much like what GM & Ram continue to do with their models. Or perhaps share major body structures, with different front clips and such to visually distinguish them.
      Avinash Machado
      • 5 Months Ago
      Over to you,GM.
      csrecord
      • 5 Months Ago
      They use to have fiberglass beds.
      Adam Wadley
      • 5 Months Ago
      I work at a ford dealer. It will be out as a 2015 model along with a new myford touch system with the new software. That's why they changed the frame to a version of the f150 frame in 2014.
        carguy1701
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Adam Wadley
        Riiiiiight. Pricing for the 2015 Super Duties is already out.
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