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