It's no secret that a significant part of every small and large truck maker's design strategy will have to include a considerable amount of weight loss. Even with the huge improvements and advancements in powertrain technology, the biggest and best results in meeting the ever-escalating governmental fuel economy requirements will come in the form of weight savings.
Rumors have been swirling around for years that the next-gen Ford F-150, seen several times in past spy photo stories, will reportedly include more high-strength steel, carbon fiber, aluminum and magnesium in just about every combination you can imagine. We've already seen several pickup truck makers use aluminum and high-strength plastics in hoods, decks and doors to save weight, and we're likely to see even more as each of the big pickup truck makers refresh and redesign their highly profitable big trucks.
Clearly this strategy makes more sense for midsize and half-ton trucks, but we're even hearing that heavy-duty models are looking closely at ways to save weight without sacrificing capability.
According to Reuters, General Motors is looking at its newly released 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500, hoping to find even more ways to save more weight. Silverado engineers told us that the 2014 Chevy Silverado is somewhere between 200 and 400 pounds lighter than a comparably equipped 2013 model, with the caveat that the new pickups have much more standard equipment and higher towing and payload ratings.
The Reuters article notes that the manufacturer in the driver's seat now looks to be Ford, with the release of its next-generation F-150 likely to come out in 2015. No doubt all the attention and speculation surrounding the recently debuted Ford Atlas will keep this story burning for at least another year. It will be interesting to see if Toyota, with its 2014 Tundra (set to debut for the media in the next few weeks), decides to publicize how much weight-savings it's wrung from the new half-ton pickup.