Ford Likely Will Limit Aluminum Use to Pickups

2015 Ford Super Duty II

In case you were wondering when Ford was going to start making all its cars, SUVs and crossovers out of aluminum, that time is not likely to come soon.

According to Automotive News, what makes sense for half-ton and Super Duty pickup trucks might not be as cost effective for cars, crossovers and SUVs.

The obvious benefits of aluminum bodies — better fuel economy, higher actual payloads and more towing capacity — only seem to make sense when building pickup trucks, according to Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of the Americas. Pickups gain the most obvious capacity and capability with aluminum, and pickup buyers are willing to pay more for those benefits. Hinrichs said Ford "sees better, more cost effective ways to improve the fuel economy of its cars."

Still, as Ford moves forward with plans to redesign the Super Duty, it will be interesting to see if those buyers are as willing to accept aluminum as it seems half-ton buyers are. Durability, ease of repair and cost of ownership will continue to be major issues in the heavy-duty segment and may require updated or more advanced processes in regard to aluminum. The Super Duty is not in line for a major upgrade for two years, so we suspect we won't hear much until then.

Manufacturer image




I wonder when trucks will be made of carbon fiber?

"pickup buyers are willing to pay more for more capacity and better fuel economy"?
I want to pay LESS !
The 2015 F-150 4x4 SC only has a 6300 GVWR and 8000 lb towing, my exact equip 2013 F-150 4x4 SC has 7350 GVWR and 9600 lb towing!
The 2015 F-150 4x4 with the 2.7 EB gets 17 MPG and the Ram 5.7 V8 HEMI gets 19 MPG

you guys running Ford never learned from your past mistakes, the eco-boost was a flop, now you keep the eco-boost and ADD aluminum !
Here's what you do, go back and keep the 09-14 design, design the 5.4 engine to engine deactivation , bring back a manual transmission, make it a 6 speed. Keep the 5.0 V8 but offer it as a high performance engine.
Offer a super duty version of the F-150 where it has the load and towing of the F-250 and watch your sales take off!

Ford just sucks altogether. Ugly looking and the aluminum idea is a joke, so was the ecoboost. It doesn't get the fuel mileage it's suppose to. I have a relative with one and gets not much better fuel mileage then his old 6.2L Silverado.

Was thinking the Al was going to be in the 2016 HD's. Guess they will wait till the 150 is sorted out completely.

Let's leave the Engineering to Ford, you all have no idea what you're talking about.

I wonder why tom#3 doesn't run corporations

He couldn't run corporations of any kind because one week he would be for them and the next week be against them. Sounds female.

^^hahahahaha lmfao

I'm predicting the next gen Super Duty will get the next gen 3.5 EcoBoost V6. Can't wait to see it, but I would still take the 6.7 diesel.

Everything is riding on their 2.7 Eco. Out of the box, wonderful performance and great fuel economy to support the Aluminum body. 20 years and 300k miles will bear out the truth. Wonder what a 2300 psig fuel pump costs, or one of those turbos, or perhaps one of those dual overhead cam heads? Been watching the EccoBoost 3.5 run neck and neck with Chevy's 6.2. Chevy should be able to walk away with 40 ftlbs more torque, 60 more hp, and an 8 spd transmission, but can't seem to. Lends one to believe that Chevy is over rating their 6.2 or Ford is underrating theirs. Like to see them tested both with regular.

I don't like my 2013 F-150 anymore since I found out LouBC and Big Al also owns an F-150. FRANKLY I am ashamed to own the same truck they own!
Since visiting PUTC and reading the comments I changed my mind about the F-150 and now I like the Ram better cause I respect the people in here that own and comment about the Ram.
I would ratter be like them

I also like reading the Chevy guys too, they never make it personal like the F-150 owners do.

I made a mistake I bought the F-150 cause it was less expensive than a Ram

Like I've been saying.

Aluminium might not give the best cost to performance improvement that some seem to be thinking.

A steel midsizer like the Colorado is a shining star in what a pickup can be, even without the diesel.

A steel EcoDiesel Ram another example, 29mpg, not to bad a figure for a brick shape.

What is odd is Hinrichs's statement. Pickup benefit more than cars?

So if car were made out of aluminium they wouldn't weigh less, require lighter suspension, engines, drivetrains? Carry more weight, use less fuel.

Maybe I should have worked for Ford. You'd still have your steel F Series and the Ranger, both with diesel options. I'd be getting far better CAFE figure for Ford with their pickups.

The F-150 with the great (but expensive) 4.4 Lion V8 diesel. And the Ranger with the 5cyl diesel fitted to the Transit.

Commerical vehicles only benefit from extensive use of aluminium if used 24/7, not as a SUV/Car/daily driver.

Al -

Colorado a shining star? The 2.7L F150 practically matches it in mpg and exceeds it in every other area except being smaller in size.

That 29mpg Ecodiesel? It ius an SFE edition with a bunch of add ons to improve highway MPG. It turns the least capable 1/2 ton into the even more least capable.

Cars already have a high aluminum content and are far lighter than fullsized pickups. Plus, when is the last time someone buying a car asked about payload or GVWR? They also already have lighter drivetrains and lighter suspensions as well as many aerodynamic advantages.

Essentially you say if you worked for Ford, there would be no innovation or forward progess on fullsized trucks, but you would make a larger and near fullsized Ranger that gets similiar mpg to the full sized trucks but it's main selling point would be "easier to park and fits in most garages."

With the nose thrust out they way they are today, they look like a bull with a ring in its nose--and that ain't necessarily pretty.

To get back on the topic that this technology isn't going to translate into Ford's car line at least not quickly anyway...

There are reasons. Good ones at least from the corporate prospective.

1. Switching a car body from steel to aluminum simply wouldn't save nearly as much weight as that in a truck as there is far less body mass. Cars also have less other things to take weight from than trucks. They lack the larger heavier more numerous components compared to trucks.

2. Cars have been trying to cut/shed weight and been more minimally/intelligently engineered than trucks for decades. Trucks are typically the last thing in a company's lineup to benefit from any kind of technology or advancement in design, engineering or manufacturing.

3. A car can only haul so much. Its got seats for X number adults, smaller lighter tires, its trunk can only be so large and only so much will fit in it. The weight saved from using an aluminum body wouldn't add much to the vehicles capacity or capability since 4 door sedans don't fight over "best in class" payload and towing. While they might gain some advantage in handling, braking, and MPG from such a change it would be small as the weight savings would be small and again small changes in such things in the daily commuter car are less important that looks, cost, reputation, and features.

4. Cost... its easier to hide costs in a field that starts in the 40s and moves on up the way trucks do into the 60s and still climbing. The added cost per vehicle even if it is less than a 1,000 means a whole lot more to someone looking at 15 to 20K car than someone looking at 40+K truck. Many small cars are already sold at a loss merely to raise the company's CAFE score. Making them a bigger loss is not wise.

5. There are other models it could be good for/helpful with. Yes it would noticeably improve the performance of the mustang BUT the vast majority of the mustangs sold are V6s to people who use them daily to commute so the improvement would be lost on them. It could make sense for the new GM pretend pickups (and all the pretend mid sized trucks for that matter) in that they are all about raising the CAFE, want to at least seem to offer capabilities (but are still smoked by full sized trucks) and aren't cheap (so the costs could be absorbed). As a whole they are probably the smallest non high performance vehicle it would make sense to do an aluminum vehicle it would make sense to do it to. Large SUVs are candidates but they really don't sell in the volume they used to and there has to be volume for whatever you choose to do this to.

If it's a Ford it's junk!

No need to invest in aluminum for cars.... Composite use like what bmw is doing is the future of of the car world. Combination of aluminum and light weight composites is where it's at for pickups.

CAFE regulations for pickups are more relaxed than cars.

So, one would assume if that is the case using alumimium would be more advantageous for cars.

Your FE comment is based not on real life FE results. The EcoBoost as has been shown can be a pig on fuel.

A Colorado will NOT have the same reduction in FE as a F-150 if driven the same.

Also initial purchase price of the F-150 for a similarly equipped vehicle as the Colorado will be a considerable amount more.

This argument of the additional load/tow advantage of the F-150 is straight from Ford marketing, and is of little relevance especially when the prime market for pickups is in fact a SUV/Car purchaser. It might really account for 25% of potential pickup customers.

Then look at the brands available, Ford isn't going to pickup another 25% of the market. The F-150 might actually reduce sales for Ford.

Ford has taken a large gamble and I really don't think it will pay off as well due to very competitive pickups.

The Colorado on the other hand will improve in sales.

The Titan will improve in sales when released and again, take sales away from the lighter HDs affecting Ford HD.

Ford will struggle to remain on top.

Keep on trying, all for one and one for all;)

This is not to say the F-150 is a bad or poor truck. Ether the F-150 will be overly expensive or is sold at a competitive price it will show in Frod's bottom line. It's more a poorer business decision at this point in time.

The only people who would buy a Colorado is because it will fit in their garage and they need to haul 50 lb bags of bird seed or kitty litter. Reality is that this is an overpriced, underpowered, low tech old school after thought. Anyone in their right mind who needs a real truck wI'll gladly pay several thousand more for a fuel efficient, high tech full size Silverado, F150, or even a Ram. The Colorado, oh I almost forgot to mention the useless clone Canyon is a Nitch market an will not be a big seller, especially with Toyota and Nissans updated verso coming soon.

Putc. You should do a test of the measure of fuel economy by only driving the vehicles as fast as the slowest vehicles in the test do. Then the you would have a better test to observe real world fuel economy. While the slowest vehicle may be floored in the test the most powerful vehicles in the test may be 1/2 throttle in the test delivering maybe even better fuel economy. There is no way a 3.6 colorado could even come close to the fuel economy of a 2.7 ecoboost if the ecoboost was only allowed to go as fast as the colorado/canyon twins. Everybody complains about the fuel economy of the turbo gas motors but of course they are using more fuel cause they are doing everything way faster then there competition.

The stall of the process of Super Duty seems to be a genuine as Ford needs to make an effective survey to find out the interests of people in getting this truck pickups made from Aluminium.

@crate - I disagree with almost everything you have siad and I currently own an F150.

"Reality is that this is an overpriced, underpowered, low tech old school after thought."

The Colorado isn't overpriced. Its price reflects the cost of manufacturing. There isn't much of a difference between it and a full sized 1/2 ton.
One can thank a 25% tariff for preventing lower priced small trucks from entering the market.
Nope - the V6 in the Colorado is on par with any normally aspirated V6.
Low tech?
Nope - you complain about cost but all of the fancy gizmos add complexity and cost. The drivetrain is just as up to date as any full sized truck.
"Old school afterthought"
Nope - The Colorado is based upon the global truck which is as up to date as current 1/2 tons.

There are those who do not want the size of a domestic 1/2 ton.
It boils down to buying what you desire since any truck that is not a work truck is a luxury. At least 1/2 of pickup sales are for personal use.

I commend Ford for taking a gamble with Aluminum in their efforts to stay innovative, but for Medium and Heavy Duty Trucks, most buyers will have more confidence with High Strength Steel, which has equal durability and lost cost effective when building a truck.

Save the Aluminum for Compact and Mid Sized cars!

"That 29mpg Ecodiesel? It ius an SFE edition with a bunch of add ons to improve highway MPG. It turns the least capable 1/2 ton into the even more least capable."

Posted by: KeithCT | Jan 22, 2015 6:39:43 AM

B.S. More Ford propaganda. Check your numbers on the capability on that 2.7 Eco burst. Than look at M.P.G. while towing.

Not only is the Eco diesel capable it's the class leader in M.P.G.

Remember to recycle those Aluminum cans boys. lol

DETROIT -- Next stop 30 mpg?

Ram has added a bit more daylight between the hot-selling Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and Ford’s redesigned lightweight F-150 in the highway fuel economy race.

At the Detroit auto show today, Ram officials said they re-certified a version of the EcoDiesel pickup, bumping the fuel economy from 20 mpg city to 21 and from 28 mpg highway to 29. The combined rating is also up 1 mpg to 24.

Ford’s highest rated F-150 is the 2.7 EcoBoost model rated 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 22 combined. General Motors 2015 Chevrolet Silverado V-6 has EPA ratings of 18 mpg city, 24 highway and 20 mpg combined.

“We added a tonneau cover [on the bed] and running boards, and that allowed us to get the aerodynamics improvements to recertify with the EPA,” said Mike Cairns, Ram chief engineer.

To get the higher mpg ratings, Ram customers will have to buy the HFE version of the Ram Express, a lower trim model. That adds active grille shutters and other tweaks. The pickup goes on sale this spring, said Bob Hegbloom, head of the Ram brand.

The Ram EcoDiesel is the first full-size pickup to earn an EPA rating of 29 mpg.

Hegbloom said the wide gulf in prices between gasoline and diesel fuel has not slowed sales of the Ram EcoDiesel, which had its best sales ever in December. In many parts of the country, diesel costs about 75 cents or more per gallon than gasoline.

Hegbloom said Ram engineers are pushing hard to get to 30 mpg on the highway, but he couldn’t say when that goal would be met.

“We’re very happy with the 29. We will continue to work on improving it,” he said.

@ Hemi V8: The problem with Ram is that it's a lead sled. The thing is about one beer cooler away from 3 TONS. It is absurdly heavy. I don't care how good the milage is -- I ain't buyin' no lead sled that couldn't out-accelerate a Yugo with a blown head gasket. With two guys and two dirtbikes it's over gross. Screw that.

The EcoDiesel engine is obviously a good idea, but the 1/2-ton Ram needs to lose at LEAST 500 lbs. and preferably 1000lbs. so it will weight the same as the Dorf. You ARE aware that the new F-150 is about 1000 lbs. lighter than the Ram . . . right? (And 600 - 700 lbs. lighter than the Chevy.) Go to Home Depot and pick up a 94 lb. bag of cement . . . and then multiply that times 10 . . . and that's how much the Ram out weights the Dorf.

One wonders where Ram is hiding all that mass.

Life long ford guy, traded my 08 6.4d in on the new Titan XD with the Cummings. I'll keep my old big 3 trucks. But I'm done with the games, ford does not make a dependable diesel, dodge does not make a dependable body, Chevy sucks.
I'm trying something 'new'. Weight, torque, comfort, towing stability, smoother quite ride, I am in LOVE with this new truck.
Been towing for over 30 years, never thought I'd trade my rigs in on a Nissan. I am GLAD I did at this point! Loving the Cummings 5.0, getting up to 22 average on the freeway.
Nissan has stepped 'up'. If you actually TOW
The big 3 have been stepping 'back' in my opinion, beer cans and baby powertrains, dodge even stole blender knobs as gear changers in noticed the other day.

FYI my buddy with a brand new 3.0 Eco ram showed up all proud, then showed up with road harmonics death rattle, then showed up with 3" of oil in radiator fluid. 2 more days in shop and he can use lemon law he says.? Lol.
For me the old Titan was a 'car', I TOW. The new XD had me hooked though. Time will tell, but at this point, I'm still at beer cans are for crushing on drunks foreheads.
All depends on WHY you want a truck I guess.

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