Ford earns respect of rivals and suppliers for aluminum F-150

Article by Anita Panait, on January 24, 2014

Ford Motor Co. unveiled its aluminum F-150 pickup at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, expecting to attract plenty of attention on the new vehicle. The vehicle is expected to appeal to event visitors as well as suppliers and more importantly, rival carmakers. They look closely at Ford’s new pickup, noting all the features based on only on their observations.

Not contented, they examined the new F-150 by touch and even snapped pictures of it. In the end, they judged that Ford's high-aluminum body cannot be considered as an advancement of the art of carmaking. All the basic technology used in assembling aluminum bodies have already been used on various production cars for years. Despite that, Ford earned their respect for creating aluminum body for the F-150 pickup.

"That took some guts," Mark Bacchus, a Toyota r&d engineer who works at the carmaker’s Ann Arbor, Mich., technical center, told Automotive News. "It's an aggressive maneuver, but it is not a moon shot. The industry is going that way anyway. Ford just did it first," Bacchus noted. He remarked that at Toyota, a vehicle based on the expensive aluminum metal would surely give rise to the question of cost and how it could be offset.

He noted that Toyota is already going in that direction, remarking that they already have aluminum hoods. An engineer for ThyssenKrupp Steel said he was intrigued by the aluminum F-150. Another engineer from Chrysler Group engineer, however, was skeptical of Ford's claim that the 2015 pickup will be around 700 lbs lighter than the 2014 F-150. "I want to see how Ford did the math," he said. He also questioned the durability of the aluminum pickup truck.

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