One of the hottest topics in the industry these days is automakers' expanding use of aluminum, especially for vehicle bodies and platforms. While the lightweight metal has historically been the preserve of premium brands and sports cars, Ford shocked the industry when it announced that its 2015 F-150 would go aluminum-intensive for its new generation. As it turns out, the material change doesn't even mean a big jump in the prices for most of its trims. Possibly in reaction to the big change, General Motors is said to be using the lightweight metal in its next-gen trucks, too. That only leaves Ram as an open question among the domestics, and at least for now, the company is apparently in no hurry to push tin.

According to Reuters speaking with two, unnamed insiders, the Ram 1500 isn't getting an aluminum infusion until sometime after 2020. That's not to say the truck is going to be stagnant for the next half-decade or more, of course. According to Ram's five-year plan, there's a refresh for the 1500 coming in 2015 and much bigger changes on the way in 2017. Those same sources tell Reuters that further revisions aren't expected until at least 2021, which is when the aluminum could be added.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne hasn't minced words about his thoughts on using the lightweight metal in pickups. "I have better use of aluminum in this house than a pickup truck," he said in May. Having said that, Marchionne was clear that if the material turns out to be revolutionary in the segment, the company would be willing to follow.

Depending on how successfully Ford and GM make the transition to aluminum, Ram could possibly gain a short-term advantage. There are rumors of a shortage of the metal in the early years as automakers begin using it more and producers ramp up supply. If that actually happens, the brand could find itself in a good position by sticking with steel.


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  • 39 Comments
      bullitt2605
      • 3 Months Ago

      I have no need for a pickup now or in my future as far as I know. But once they get the F150 going with aluminum and then it starts trickling down to their other vehicles, now that gets interesting. That being said RAM waiting might benefit them as far as they will be able to see how it works out for Ford and what problems might occur. Either way it will be interesting.

      Carter Ardoin
      • 3 Months Ago

      Just to let everyone know, I have purchased the Ram Eco Diesel Gib Horn 4WD and I am already getting 600 miles on 23.8 gallons diesel.  I had a Silverado before that only got 360 miles to 21.4 gallons of gasoline and very little pulling power.  I will take my Ram 1500 ecodiesael any day over the Silverado.  So I don't think the Ram 1500 Diesel is lacking in performance.


      Donny Hoover
      • 3 Months Ago
      Nobody does it fully right. I wish I could get the Ram air suspension with the Ford Atlas looks and aluminum body and the Chevy power train. That would make for a pretty nice gas truck.
      Cheetahjab
      • 3 Months Ago

      There is a hilarious comment here , but I don't have one, but basically he is saying. "We're much better off late to the game cause we can be the budget steel truck if aluminum is in short supply ".  Considering Ford had this whole thing planned with Alcoa , and there is already significant use of aluminum in the automotive industry. It seems he'll be late to the plate like Chrysler usually is..

      Indubitably
      • 3 Months Ago

      In other words, not enough money to develop it. 

      Rob
      • 3 Months Ago

      When you think of the sales and profit from trucks, you might want to reconsider your priorities for the US market.  This is just step one into a backslide for this brand.  They have put out some very nice vehicles lately and I would like to see them continue to push, lead, follow, whatever to make great products.  I test drove a Jeep EcoD and a VW Touareg TDI back to back and will be putting the Jeep in my driveway very soon.  On paper it is slower than the VW, but on the road I couldn't tell the difference and had an indicated 29 mpg on a short 9 mile loop (which included several WOT runs and some rolling hills, not a light stroll in the country).  It really is a fine vehicle (they both are). Hopefully this guy understands the US market better than his statements suggest and he remembers what segments butter his bread.

      G Johnson
      • 3 Months Ago

      I see a lot of comments about aluminum being corrosion resistant. Well, it may not rust, but it does corrode in a variety of ways and that process accelerates when exposed to moisture, salt and dissimilar metals. 

      scott3
      • 3 Months Ago

      Since Fiat does not have the money or man power to keep up here too just drop in the 707 HP engine and that fixes everything for 6 months.

      While I jest here the fact is Chrysler and Dodge are in trouble as the new products are slow to market and the ones we have gotten are not all that praise worthy.

      The Hellcat was a hail mary due to a new Mustang and Camaro soon to come while Chrysler has neither the time or money to replace their RWD cars till 2018-19.

      The only real reason the Ram is doing well is they are discounting the hell out of them.

      Even the 300 my In laws just bought was $10K off sticker.

      I really am worried about Chrysler as they may not slip the firing squad this time. Note that the repeat buyers at Chrysler is down in the 20% range only one worse is Mitsubishi.

      I would not be shocked if in 10 years only Jeep and Ram are left.

      While many deny it Ram was removed from Dodge as a golden parachute and for no other reason. If Dodge finally follows Plymouth the Trucks the only real profit center at Dodge can live on without any stigma. Now if Fiat lets the truck fall behind too much by 2025 they will be in real trouble.

      Let hope Fiat gets it together as Dodge will not get a 4th chance.

        JAMES Butler
        • 3 Months Ago
        @scott3

        I agree with most every thing you have said and I would add one more problem for "Fiat" Motors. Unions. The unions own a good part of the company and their members have been caught drinking and using drugs several times on their lunch breaks over a two year period. People don't lose their jobs over this and this has got to effect moral and quality of product. I would sure think twice about buying some if not all Fiat products as their car line (the 500) has a less then stellar repution for reliabilty and over all quality. This was what caused their failure the last time they sold cars here and history might well repeat its self.

      Really
      • 3 Months Ago

      Bye, bye RAM.


      Actually they are already doing this to themselves with the great drivetrain locking system and the underperforming diesel to name a few things.

        mitytitywhitey
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Really

        The only people that seem to disagree with you on the 'underperforming' diesel are.... everyone else who has driven it.  

        Sorry,  just because you don't like it doesn't mean every reviewer,  including Autoblog reviewers, don't see the value in it.   

          Carpinions
          • 3 Months Ago
          @mitytitywhitey

          @Dean Hammond

          The Ford 3.2 TD 5 cylinder may be cued up, but GM has both the Duramax 2.8 TD I4 with more torque from less displacement already on its way to market, and a pocket half-ton diesel V8 they've been working on.

          Ram's Ecodiesel towing capacity is not max for its class, but 9500 lbs isn't exactly disappointing. The EB 3.5 may tow another ton more, but the problem with that is that V6 is now the F-150's top engine while also supposedly being one of its more efficient ones. Ford can't say it's the fuel efficiency option while also making it the F-150's top towing engine. The two activities conflict. In Ram's case, the Ecodiesel doesn't tow the most for that model, but it will smoke any other Ram engine on MPG with or without a load, to say nothing of Ford's EB 3.5.

        Lab Ninja
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Really

        Only half-ton to offer a diesel. Just won Truck of the Year from Motor Trend.

        3/4 and one ton diesels have MASSIVE power. (as much as 385 hp and 850 lb-ft torque) I'm not a truck fan, let lone a Ram fan, but I think they've got some time before they're gone.

          Really
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Lab Ninja

          I don't buy "blank" of the year from anyone anymore, its all marketing BS.


          The 1500 diesel has the worst throttle response I've ever seen, just a tip/snap of the throttle should rip the tires loose yet the truck doesn't even move.

        carguy1701
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Really

        'great drivetrain locking system'

        wat

      car-a-holic
      • 3 Months Ago *Edited*

      those fords will cost more to repair and insure. Small dents will turn into replacing whole panels. Don't forget aluminum is beat up by road salts too. It doesn't oxidize like regular steel but it can produce failure of stress carrying members. 2 time toty??? Why hurry and throw that formula away. I see new rams everywhere. Haters gonna gate you ram no matter what.  It's okay tho those ford boys are ready to trade in those creaky sloppy f150's and those Chevy guys are frustrated thier truck is the same thing as it was before....

      Timothy Tibbetts
      • 3 Months Ago

      This does not mean they can't do it sooner and it certainly does not mean they can't put a small team on it. It's 2 unnamed insiders, so not confirmed. I have seen numerous articles here, and many other sites, about the possibility of aluminium shortages. I applaud Ford, but since they are using aluminum on the number one selling, large pickup truck, Dodge will know how it plays out in a couple years.

      OMG I CAN EDIT!

        Dean Hammond
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Timothy Tibbetts

        EDIT ROCKS...finally....As for waiting that could be a double edged sword, and they could actually fall further behind.....and the only way to counter that is to Fleet dump and put MASSIVE retail incentives on the hood which hurts product value, resale and of course the bottom line...oh wait, Rams already putting huge rebates on the hood to buy market share... 

          Timothy Tibbetts
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Dean Hammond

          Yes, but my point was that the industry fears this could be a problem. They aren't using aluminum here on a Prius, they are using it on the #1 selling large truck. That's a lot of aluminum. Dodge could, as I said, easily have a team on it and launch it as soon as 2017 if it looks like it will hold out. then again, Dodge also has the diesel getting 30 MPG. I speak from experience; my 13 F150 Limited would get 12-13 city, 16 highway, hardly what was promised. The transmission is outdated as well while Dodge has 8 and 9 speed transmissions, so in some ways Dodge is ahead without aluminum. 600-700 pounds is just a bonus.

          Dean Hammond
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Dean Hammond

          CEC...nice cherry picking, theres $2500 on the Fords OR subveened financing, te $5000 is if one finances through Ford at regular rates...and NO ONE DOES THAT......but good cherry picking....

      pwickl7404
      • 3 Months Ago

      All the poor people will steal the aluminum body panels and take them to the scrap yard to make money. 

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