The aluminum 2015 F-150 is just the opening salvo of an aluminum onslaught designed to trim weight from every car in the Ford lineup. The 2015 Ford F-150, which managed to ditch an incredible 700 pounds versus the previous model through the use of aluminum and lightweight steel. It’s a bold move by the Blue Oval, but will it pay off?
The 2015 F-150 is actually the second of Ford’s major vehicles to go on a diet, with the 2015 Ford Mustang shedding some 200 pounds through the use of aluminum in the front fenders, hood, and front suspension. But the F-150 went all-in with aluminum, shedding 700 pounds which should help it deliver at least a 3 MPG fuel economy improvement. If Ford thinks aluminum is good enough for its best-selling, highest-margin vehicle, you can bet it’s good enough for the rest of the Ford lineup.
Bill Ford Jr. himself told Reuters that there is “no reason” why aluminum couldn’t be used in other Ford vehicles, and when combined with improved aerodynamics and EcoBoost engines, fuel efficiency has clearly become a top priority. Ford has touted aluminum as a fuel-saver before, though the concepts never made it into production because of high costs. It’s a new day though, and there are new attitudes regarding far-out ideas, so aluminum is a comparatively benign pill to swallow. After all, niche carmakers like Jaguar and the popular Tesla Model S is made almost entirely out of the lightweight metal.
The real question is, how will consumers react? Ford says the aluminum F-150 is more resistant to dings and dents, but the price aluminum is bound to increase the cost of these new cars. Will the fuel savings justify the added cost?
That’s up to the buyers to decide.