Watch How Retooled Factory Makes Aluminum-Bodied Pickup
Ford has given the F-150 a dramatic makeover for 2015, switching to an aluminum body that helps reduce weight by about 700 pounds. Because the truck is dramatically different, Ford also had to change the way it makes the F-150, so we went inside its sprawling factory in Dearborn, MI, this week to see the Blue Oval's new manufacturing techniques in action.
Perhaps more than any other vehicle currently for sale in the United States, the Jeep Wrangler is viewed by purist fans as a vehicle that simply must maintain the status quo. In this case, that means a body-on-frame design, solid axles, a relatively large engine sitting up front and a removable top. It's always been that way, and it always will be.
The Jeep Wrangler may be a timeless design, but sooner or later, time will run out and Chrysler will have to replace it with a newer model more friendly towards the earth it's designed to traverse. That will, it seems, mean a shift to aluminum construction (whether just for the body or for the entire structure) – but what will that mean for the Wrangler's long-time home of Toledo, OH?
Ah, aluminum. The lightweight, strong material has long held a following within the premium ranks, but as Ford prepares to launch an aluminum F-150, the material is gaining acceptance among more mainstream automakers. Toyota is one such brand, with a new report indicating that the Japanese giant will add aluminum bits and bobs to some of its upcoming vehicles.
Novelis, based out of Atlanta, is the largest supplier of aluminum sheet to the auto industry, counting Ford, Audi and Jaguar among its clients. It's owned by Mumbai, India-based metals company Hindalco, the world's largest producer of aluminum sheet, and company reps see the aluminum market and their place in it expanding. In June, Novelis' VP of global recycling forecast carmaker demand for aluminum sheet to increase five-fold by 2020. The managing director at Hindalco said the company expecte
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, Gen
With around a month away from its world debut on September 8, Jaguar continues to issue a constant drip of updates about its upcoming XE compact luxury sedan that's aiming to take on the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. Where the company's last bit of info focused on the car's suspension setup, this time Jag's putting the spotlight on the new model's modular platform and making some big promises about it, too. How big? Try over 75 miles per gallon big.
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.
There's a logical progression of technology in the auto industry. We've seen it with things like carbon-ceramic brakes, which use to be the sole domain of six-figure sports cars, where they often cost as much as an entry level Toyota Corolla. Now, you can get them on a BMW M3 (they're still pricey, at $8,150). Who knows, maybe in the next four a five years, they'll be available on something like a muscle car or hot hatchback. Aluminum has had a similar progression, although it's further along, m
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 bo
It's a fairly well known fact that removing weight from a car is essentially a panacea for many of the modern automobiles problems. Does it handle like crap? Remove weight. Underpowered? Don't add power; trim the fat. Need to improve fuel economy? It's diet time.
Phinergy and Alcoa show off a modified Citroen C1 with two battery types
If the groups behind it are to be believed, this little electric vehicle could travel 1,000 miles on a single charge. Battery developer Phinergy and metal manufacturer Alcoa have teamed up to demonstrate their aluminum-air battery in a small electric vehicle at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, and our friends at Autoblog Québec were there to check it out.
Automakers getting clever about disguising development vehicles isn't anything new. Between mules wearing the sheetmetal of other cars and prototypes decked out in as much camouflage as is practical, automakers know how to make it very difficult for the general public to get an exact idea of what kind of vehicle is in development. Ford, though, is rapidly becoming the master.
During the Fiat-Chrysler briefings on Tuesday, Reid Bigland, head of Ram Trucks, outlined the new product plans for his brand, including confirmation that an all-new light-duty Ram 1500 will launch in 2017. From there, discussions spun off in two directions, with the main questions being: will Ram build a midsize pickup? And, following Ford's move to extensively use aluminum in its new 2015 F-150, will Chrysler be using this weight-saving material for the next round of its fullsize truck, as wel
When the best-selling US truck sheds the equivalent weight of three football fullbacks by shifting to aluminum, folks start paying attention. Oak Ridge National Laboratory took a closer look at whether the reduced fuel consumption from a lighter aluminum body makes up for the fact that producing aluminum is far more energy intensive than steel. And the results of the study are pretty encouraging.
Ford made some serious waves when it unveiled the latest F-150. Instead of making its bodywork out of steel, like just about every other truck on the market, Ford went with aluminum. And you can bet the F-150 won't be the last Ford model to go with the lightweight alloy construction, either.
There's no doubt that Ford is taking a risk in producing the body of its upcoming new F-150 pickup truck in aluminum. What is up for debate, however, is whether aluminum was a wise risk to take in the first place. Wards Auto took the opportunity to poll some experts on the subject of aluminum versus steel in the automotive sector, with somewhat unsurprising results.
Ford's extensive use of aluminum in its 2015 F-150 is a big deal. A really big deal. Big enough, in fact, that General Motors is reportedly changing its fullsize pickup strategy. According to The Wall Street Journal, The General has locked in partnerships with Alcoa Inc. and Novelis Inc. – companies that will supply aluminum for the next-generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks.
Aluminum is the new buzzword in the automotive industry. The latest Range Rover and Range Rover Sport both take advantage of the lightweight material to shave huge amounts of body fat (only it's called "aluminium" over there). Audi and Jaguar have been using the stuff for years in their A8 and XJ, respectively, and now, aluminum is going mainstream, arriving on the 2015 Ford F-150.