Don’t Count Ford’s Aluminum Chickens Just Yet, Critics Say
The decision by Ford (NYSE:F) to swap out steel for high-strength, military-grade aluminum alloy in the body of its new F-150 pickup is without a doubt one of the most highly anticipated decisions that will play out in the auto industry this year. While the use of aluminum for car bodies isn’t a new idea, per se, it’s the first time that such a strategy will be applied to a vehicle of such scale.
The move is also expected to give Ford’s leading vehicle — the best-selling vehicle in the United States — a sharper competitive edge in an industry that has seen a tremendous heating up of the competition in recent years. The Ram 1500, Ford F-150, and Chevrolet Silverado are three of most high-volume vehicles in America, and with Chevy’s truck renewed for 2014 and a so far industry-exclusive diesel engine available in the Ram, Ford is the odd one out without a meaningful change for this model year — but that will change later, when the 2015 model is introduced.
But a story from WardsAuto is questioning whether the decision to switch to aluminum will end up being a meaningful one for Ford. While it will be the first aluminum-bodied truck on the market, Ford Trucks spokesman Mike Levine told the publication that it wasn’t about gaining a first-mover advantage. Instead, it’s about offering the most advanced truck on the market, he said.
“We used high-strength, military-grade aluminum alloy throughout the body, which improves dent and ding resistance while saving as much as 700 [pounds], giving our customers improved towing, improved payload and better fuel efficiency,” Levine told WardsAuto.