Ford told investors today that it's set to introduce a slimmed-down aluminum Expedition in 2017 as a 2018 model. Fuel is cheap and SUV sales continue to hold strong, but that can't last forever. Add in ever-tightening government fuel economy and emissions standards, and the move to the lightweight alloy is a major step in keeping the Expedition relevant in the coming years.

Moving Ford's largest SUV to aluminum construction has been rumored for a while now. The Expedition is based heavily on the F-150, which took on an aluminum architecture with the current generation. The material helped the truck shed several hundred pounds and should do the same for the Expedition.

While the new Expedition will move over to the latest F-150 platform, don't expect the wide array of engine options available in the truck. The Expedition's most recent refresh ditched V8s for Ford's slightly more economical EcoBoost V6, so expect the newest version of Ford's turbocharged engine to reside under the hood.

While there was a lot of hubbub leading up the aluminum F-150's release about the material's durability and expense, sales have been strong. Ford is surely hoping an aluminum architecture and better fuel economy will help boost the Expedition's fledgling sales. Full-sized stalwarts from GM, like the Tahoe and Suburban, have been outselling the Expedition hand over fist. Sales for the GM products are up more than 100,000 units through August 2016. Combined Expedition and Lincoln Navigator sales in that same period total just 46,808.

In addition to an aluminum Expedition in 2017, Ford is poised to introduce four all-new SUVs in order to capitalize on the segments current hotness. No details are available yet on where these will be positioned in the company's lineup or if they will be arriving in the US.

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