Majority of Pickups Could Be Aluminum by 2025

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Depending on who you talk to, the idea of making pickup trucks out of aluminum is an idea that could catch on with truckmakers, resulting in as many as 7 out of 10 trucks being made from aluminum during the next few decades.

According to The Detroit News, marketing research firm Ducker Worldwide is predicting that once the 2015 Ford F-150 debuts and works out the bugs with dealerships and the auto repair industry, other truckmakers will likely to follow suit. In fact, a recent study by Ducker suggests that by 2025 as many as 7 in 10 pickup trucks made for the U.S. could be made completely or substantially from the lighter alloy.

The study was commissioned by the Aluminum Transportation Group, an organization dedicated to promoting the use of aluminum in new production areas. The Detroit News noted that members of the Steel Market Development Institute (you can guess where their biases lay) think more advances are likely to be made with less-expensive advanced high-strength steels. What a surprise.

All of this speculation about the use of more lightweight materials is motivated by the aggressive federal fuel-efficiency targets full-size pickups (those with a gross vehicle weight rating less than 8,500 pounds) will have to meet in the near future. Now that Ford is pushing the industry, it makes sense that others are likely to follow. Making vehicles lighter will naturally help improve a vehicle's EPA fuel economy numbers, but there are many other ways pickup truck makers can help their average fuel economy as well. Look for more less conventional solutions coming down the road, as well.

Cars.com image by Mark Williams

 

Comments

In the future I say it will be aluminum cabin structure with aluminum hood and roof and all body panels will be plastic for reduced repair bills. Ford's aluminum skin is going to be costly to buy and fix.

I just rode in a 97 F150 and its hood is aluminum so seems like the prefect next step to make the rest of the body out of aluminum.

I guess that front end will grow on people, looks a little like a Tundra and to me that's not a good thing.

Looks like I need to buy stock in aluminum companies....

It will be interesting to see how this impacts the steel industry. They're already making moves to compete but it might be a bit too late.

I don't think I like the new front end on the Ford, but I'll wait until I see it in person, From the side it looks exactly the same only the windows are lower on the beltline.

This makes sense along with plastic and carbon fiber, but it will be very expensive. I can't see where the manufacturers have a lot of choice along with the multigeared automatic transmissions, smaller more efficient engines, more aerodynamics, and shutters in the grill that open and close. There might be a few less people buying full size pickups unless they need them. Buy stock in aluminum producers.

@Peter

Hell it looks like the Ford Atlas concept truck, which was released for viewing about to 2 years ago. I like it

Exactly. It looks just like the concept which was revealed before the Tundra.

and maybe by 2050 they'll be made of plastic panels (like a Saturn) with carbon fiber chassis and with the overall shape of a prius (or a raindrop), lol.

The 14 Tundra has a raised aerodynamic hood similar to Ram but the 07-13 does not have the raised hood just the aerodynamic portion which this looks similar too so the 15 F150 or Atlas didn't have it before Tundra.

By the way this thing could use a hood raise and new headlights as well.

This is no surprise. If the aluminum f150 does well i think ram and gm will both introduce aluminum trucks within 5 years. If they didn't already have plans for an aluminum truck they are probably scrambling to make plans. Didn't we hear GM is already working on a deal with alcoa? If not aluminum, they need to find some alternative to "high strength steel." The steel panels and bed on my truck are not nearly strong enough.

You are being hypnotized!
You are getting sleepy, very sleepy!
Repeat after me!
Aluminum is good!
Aluminum is wonderful
You love a pickup truck made from aluminum!

COME ON YOU PEOPLE! YOU'RE FALLING FOR IT!
Ford is just making excuses cause they themselves are NOT confident they made the right choice using aluminum!
Insurance rates are going to skyrocket!
The body panels are GLUED together!

I would imagine most cars will be going aluminum as well at least for the doors, hood, trunk, fenders, not sure about the sub struction though.

Aluminum expands and contracts MORE than steel.
Why don't they use aluminum siding for houses anymore?
Cause it comes loose and falls off or blows off from the wind.
Why does it come loose?
Cause the force of it expanding and contracting from the different temps causes the nails to pull out.
What's going to happen to your glued together aluminum body truck when its outside below freezing then sits in the sun and warms up into the 80's?

COME ON PEOPLE! WAKE UP !
DING-DING-DING!
A load of BS is being forced down your throats!

Lou BC ,, where are you? I know you're not that stupid!

FYI, the 2015 F-150 concept was revealed in January 2013 and the exterior is virtually identical to the 2015 F-150. The 2014 Tundra was shown in February 2013. Anyway, the two look nothing alike.

To me the front end looks a lot like the Super Duty, which had that look long before the Tundra. Ford's Super Duty had that general look since 1999 model year and moved to the horizontal bar look with the 2005 model.

Look who had the look first. The current F-series DNA goes back to the 1999 Super Duty and 2004 F-150. The full-size Tundra didn't start until 2007. Toyota tried to copy Ram, GM and Ford. That's for all the low information people out there.

Definitely makes sense. Ford built an aluminum Fusion prototype. It weighs less than a Fiesta! I think all vehicles should use aluminum, carbon fiber, and titanium where possible. No doubt it would drive up prices though.

The front end has the signature Ford truck bold block-style grille with nostrils, signature Ford dominant grille style relative to headlamps, and Built Ford Tough style which goes back to the 1999 Super Duty and 2004 F-150. If you see a Tundra, it's because Toyota has been trying for a more traditional and agressive pickup look due to complaints on its looks.

and due to low Tundra sales.

I think all vehicles should use carbon fiber, and titanium .

Posted by: Alex | Jun 16, 2014 3:38:50 PM

Why all vehicles?

@Jim, to get better performance, fuel economy, handling, and less corrosion.

Or, instead of aluminum, we could just elect politicians who respect our need for cheap energy and quit jerking us around.

Go to Washington or your state capital and see how few of the elected representatives actually drive econo-cars themselves.

Instead of Toyota priuses, you'll see long lines of Suburbans and Escalades with the engines idling--waiting for hours with the AC on, so that the Congressman or Senator won't have to sweat when he gets to his car.

Looks like an E series van.

@papa jim--Yes you are correct, but remember it is not just Democrats but Republicans and Tea Party members. Remember "Power corrupts and Absolute Power corrupts absolutely."

@Tom#3 - I'm here Tommy Boy and I agree with you!

Why don't they Sure Don't Make Basketball Shorts Like They Used To? Cause they come loose and fall off or blow off from the wind.
Why do they come loose?
Cause the force of it expanding and contracting from the different temps causes the material to pull out. Besides I always buy my shorts 1 size to large!

COME ON PEOPLE! WAKE UP !
DING-DING-DING!
A load of BS is being forced down your throats!

Buy shorts that fit you!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImPEQVBbnqU

Speaking about a load being forced down your throat, how's your sister doing Tom?

The long and short of it. Don't get foiled by aluminum or you might lose your shorts.

No I agree with some of you. Lets not advance into anything new. It might not work. Lets pretend we know all about the new aluminum alloys....not. No instead lets just use really really thin steel that dents when you spit on it.

And there is always somebody who doesn't like the look of the front end....so what.

I have a 13 and love it really not diggin the 2015 new front clip, sorry ford. I not sure about aluminum although my hood is, insurance cost are high enough now you may need deep pockets for this one. P.S. Ford the 150 now looks to much like the 250 and up, with tones of toyota tundra yuk !!!!

Aluminium will be strong enough for a motor vehicle. It has been used in the transport industry since the 30s.

I don't think the cost of aluminium vehicles will make them the same price or cheaper than what we currently have now. Also, aluminium consumes lots of energy to manufacture.

So, how many years of driving an aluminium pickup will it take before the pollutants in producing the aluminium are paid down??

Protectionist CAFE???

http://www.tai.org.au/documents/dp_fulltext/DP44.pdf

The industry consumes over 25,000 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity per year in
Australia, or almost 15 per cent of all the electricity consumed in Australia. In
addition, the industry consumes a small amount of natural gas and other fuels. The
greenhouse gas emissions produced to satisfy this demand for energy are substantial.
Further, smelters directly emit perfluorocarbons, themselves potent greenhouse gases,
as well as carbon dioxide (CO2). Overall, the activities of the aluminium smelting
industry were responsible for greenhouse gas emissions in 1998-99 of around 27 Mt
of CO2-e, or around 5.9 per cent of Australia’s total emissions (excluding land-use
change).

@Big Al,

You've been drinking the Global Warming koolaide again, Al.

@papa jim
No, again, you haven't read what I wrote.

Is aluminium 'saving' the planet, considering the amount of energy required to produce it?

What are over life savings in terms of pollutants in comparison to making a lighter steel truck?

I don't have an issue with the emissions argument. I do have an issue to way the spin doctors sell policy to shape trends for the consumer, especially if there is no real advantage.

I thought you actually read my writings. I don't support poor policy by government to protect those that shouldn't be protected, ie, unions, large and overly powerful corporations, etc.

They are in it for themselves and not the consumer. Who is paying in terms of pollutants, purchase price, etc.

Are the government law maker, regulators, working in the interest of the consumer (public)? Even Wall St doesn't give a rats ass about the consumer.

@DeverMike/Paul/Tom Lemon/Greg Baird/TRX4Tom/Dave/Hemi V8/Tom Terrific/sandman 4x4/lautenslager/zveria/Bob/US Truck Driver/Glenn/Jason/Hemi Rampage/smartest truck guy/Maxx/SuperDuty37/Ken/Ron/johnny doe/jim/ALL1/Frank/Idahoe Joe/The Guy/AD/Casey/papa jim/Young Guy/BeeBe/Steve/Chris/The truck guy/Alex/Mr Chow/Yessir/All Americans/Scott/Buy American or say Bye to America/Ram Big Horn 1500/Hemi Monster or whoever you want to call yourself.

Quit the crap, really.

It's getting long in the tooth.

You want to debate, but it has to be on your terms.

Learn to debate with good information, then we might be able to have a decent debate.

Opinions are good, but if they are only your view to support the UAW, then how good are they. Look at what you guys have done to Detroit.

Terror tactics (union tactics) don't work on me.

If PUTC wants the UAW or whatever to control this site I suppose it's their decision.

It's not kids like I've been told by PUTC.

@Big Al,

Confusion reigns in your comments.

You can't decide if the world is a place worth preserving for future humanity's sake, or if humans are simply selfish and unreliable creatures, unworthy of consideration and unredeemable.

The entire Climate riff is about empowering key groups of politicians, i.e., the UN committee on climate, with the power to pick who wins and who loses.

There are millions of people alive today whose futures depend on cheap energy. They're going to try real hard to get it. If western nations continue to bleat about Warming, the rest of the world's population will happily use the energy resources that we could have used.

Lastly, did you fall for the whole peak-oil riff too?

@papa jim
You are attempting to remove my argument regarding the 'climate issue' at hand.

My argument has nothing to do with my beliefs in the climate debate. Re-read what I wrote.

If you want to create a Dim'ism to move the debate into a different direction I'll be glad to debate you on climate issues.

But, my point was, how well was CAFE thought out? Why is it vehicles will be produced using a high CO2 producing material in comparison to what has been the norm, ie, steel.

As you can see this has little to do with what you are attempting to argue.

All pickups will be aluminum by 2025. The pickups not willing to make the jump to all aluminum will become another footnote in US pickup history. And join the ranks of Studebaker, International, Mazda, Mitsu, Isuzu, VW, and Subaru pickups.

@Tom#3

High performance Air force jet aircraft are glued and riveted together and they see more stress and temp extreme's than the F150 will ever see in there life.

Ford is using the same bonding methods that the aircraft manufactures have used for decades.

ok, I got another one:
Ford is making up from its failure of making a fuel efficient engine by making the truck lighter using aluminum.
Chevy and Ram made a fuel efficient V8 and don't need to reduce weight to get good gas mileage.
Ford's Chief Truck Engineer stuck AKA foot in mouth by saying engine deactivation is the wrong way to go so instead of admitting he was wrong they save face by sticking to the failed eco-boost and making the new truck lighter in weight.

Ford would have been better off if they stuck with the 5.4 V8 and transformed that engine to engine deactivation like Chevy and Ram did.

All the $$$ Billions Ford invested in tooling manufacture of the eco-boost engine they are forced to continue producing it even if it is a failure.
They have you guys fooled!

Ford seems really quiet about the 2015 F-150 when its going to hit the dealers in a few months.
I think Ford is in a panic where they are not seeing the gas mileage numbers they were expecting from the weight reduction aluminum and the 2.7 eco-boost.
They are doing the huckly-buck doing last minute fuel map and transmission programing.
Remember back in 2010 how they were promoting the eco-boost saying 22-24 MPG more than a year before it came out?
I say the new F-150 with the 2.7 EB will have dismal MPG numbers in the low 20's never exceeding 24 MPG and the worst part is lackluster engine performance matched with poor gas mileage.
I predict by this time next year F-150 sales will fall flat.

Lou BC, I gave up trying to impress you but I bet those big boys at GM and Ram are reading my posts and agreeing with me.

@Big Al, actually my argument has not changed in years--it's bloody simple!

Our president and his execute branch employees have just three key areas of authority granted under the US Constitution.

1. operate the executive branch and military
2. assure the independence of the federal judiciary
3. maintain the nation's currency

The EPA, CAFE, CDC and the rest of Washington's alphabet soup are extra-constitutional excursions into creating permanent state control of just about every aspect of our lives, and continual interference in the lives of people in other lands.

Why do you worry about CAFE, FE and the rest. Buy what you want--use it the way you want to. Forget all the other crap and find something useful to do.

@Denver Mike--You are in a fish bowl if you think Mitsubishi, Mazda, Isuzu have gone away. They all still make trucks including pickups, just that their pickups are not in the USA. Also look around you the next time you see a delivery truck, it will either be an Isuzu, or a Chevy or GMC that is a rebadged Isuzu, or you will see a Mitsubishi Fuso. Yes we are among one of the largest markets but the world does not revolve around us. Google those brands and see that they are very competitive in a global market.

@papa jim--The real world of politics today is full of regulations regardless of party affiliation. You cannot turn back to the 1950s.

There is that word could again. I could win the lottery during the next ten years. I will just wait and see in ten years what pickups are made of.

@Jeff S - I doesn't matter if Studebaker, International, Mazda, Mitsu, Isuzu, VW and Subaru pickups didn't totally go away, just that they went away from here. Those trucks stopped being relevant, so guess what happened next?

Those OEMs just switched their focus to other, more relevant/profitable product lines. (HOW DARE THEY!!!)

Once all-aluminum pickups become the standard, and remaining steel trucks are seen as too heavy, rust magnets, and generally unwanted, guess which automotive graveyard they'll head to???

@Denver Mike

Have you ever noticed that whenever Big Al is away, that Jeff S shows up? Just sayin!

@Denver Mike--My point was that Isuzu, Mazda, and Mitusubishi are not Studebaker. If Ford is successful with the aluminum bodies (GM is planning on aluminum in 2018) then Ram and others will follow. They will be pricey but then many consumers might decide they don't really need a truck. In the business world there is no guarantee of success even if that business has been around a long time. There is also no guarantee that a market can be protected indefinitely from outside competition.

@papa jim--You worry too much about things. Just vote for who ever you choose and go about living. Maybe you can run for office and get your own chauffer driven air condirtioned Suburban.

OK, where to start? I think it is highly unlikely that all pickups will be aluminum in our lifetime, for a number of reasons.

In the first place, aluminum is just one experiment, like Chrysler's 8-speed transmission and mini diesel engine, and Ford's Ecoboost. All the manufacturers are making their own expensive R&D bets on how to get to a 25 mpg pickup.

Aluminum is very corrosion resistant, which is why nearly all premium horse trailers are now mainly aluminum. But it is not necessarily lighter than steel for the same application. Motorcycle manufacturers have been making frames out of aluminum for decades, and still some of the lightest motorcycles have steel frames. I wish Ford well with the aluminum experiment.

Second, the A in CAFE is average. As the EPA's 576 page document states, "EPCA further requires that separate standards for passenger cars and for light trucks be set at levels high enough to ensure that the CAFE of the industry-wide combined fleet of new passenger cars and light trucks reaches at least 35 mpg not later than model year 2020."http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-10-15/pdf/2012-21972.pdf

As has been pointed out in an earlier article, that means Toyota has to do exactly nothing, because the Prius has become a popular vehicle. Chrysler, on the other hand, is screwed. But in any case, not every manufacturer will have to go to great lengths to achieve huge mileage gains.

Third, these are standards that came out of the Obama administration, which has hit something of a rough patch recently, and will be gone in little more than two years. It is anyone's guess whether a future regime will honor, modify, or drop these requirements.

@Jeff S

You DON'T like cheaper gas? Just checking...

@papa jim--Yes I like cheap gas, but cheap gas has gone the way of nickle cola. Oil could go down to $50 a barrel and the prices would go down little because of limited refinery capacity and the the increased demand from China and India. As for regulations they will always be with us and if so more regardless of political persuasion. Big Al does have a valid point about aluminum in that it is very energy intensive to make it and if you are measuring energy use and environmental impact it might be cheaper and less damaging to have a little heavier vehicle made from steel. Then again Ford is doing this in order to meet the upcoming EPA standards. I don't see a problem with gluing the aluminum panels but it will be more expensive to repair aluminum because if a panel is damaged it will most likely have to be replaced. Also there will be a learning curve for the body repair shops in fixing damaged aluminum bodies. I would wait a couple of years before buying an aluminum body truck to give Ford time to iron out production problems and to give body shops more experience on repairing them. Ram is smart to wait this one out but eventually Chrysler will have to lighten the Ram up to meet the higher mileage standards.

@Jeff S

Gas prices rise for the same reason that pork chops, orange juice and milk products do--the value of the dollar goes down. It's been going down for almost fifty years.

It's not an accident.

The price of pork sausage and other processed pork products has doubled since 2009. Beef too. Chicken is next.

This is the same thing that happened in the 1970s. I'm thinking about selling a line of men's leisure suits and platform shoes...

@papa jim--That is just part of it, but it also comes down to other factors as such as how much the consumer will pay, refinery capacity, World demand, and geopolitical events that effect the commodity price. Consumers are getting use to paying just under $4 a gallon so why would the oil companies charge any less if they can get a higher price. At a certain price it doesn't pay for oil companies to produce and refine more oil. Better to take your excess profits and buy back some of your own stock--much less risky and a lot less expensive. That is one reason why corporations have been buying back their own stock.



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