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Ford Atlas Concept
Switch from steel to aluminum bodies is a major change for Ford

The F-150 truck is a very important vehicle for Ford, as it is the company top seller and a huge source of profit. The next generation of the F-150 is making a move to aluminum for portions of its structure in an effort to shed about 700 pounds and become more fuel-efficient.
The key for Ford is apparently to show F-150 fans the aluminum used in the truck has more in common with military vehicles that puny Coke cans. Ford has reportedly asked aluminum provider Alcoa to provide some military grade aluminum for its display at the Detroit auto show where the truck will debut.
“This is already the most significant debut at the auto show,” Joe Langley, a production analyst for researcher IHS Automotive, said in a interview with Bloomberg News. “Everybody’s going to be dissecting that thing for a long time, especially since Ford will be taking such a big gamble.”

The F-150 is a huge moneymaker for Ford and if fans of the truck don’t feel comfortable with the truck's new aluminum material, it could mean a big profit slump for Ford. The F-150 has been the best selling pickup line for 36 years and the bestselling vehicle in the country for 32 years.
Ford is looking at about six weeks of downtime for its truck building plants to switch machinery, tooling, and robots to facilitate the move from steel to aluminum bodies.

The huge weight savings are expected to help push the F-150 to nearly 30 mpg highway in its most efficient trim levels (there has been talk of possibly adding a 2.7-liter, six-cylinder EcoBoost engine to the powertrain mix). The most efficient model in the current F-150 lineup only musters 23 mpg highway. And it's almost guaranteed that the next generation F-150 will feature start-stop technology to improve city fuel economy.
The new F-150 is expected to resemble the Atlas concept that was unveiled earlier this year

Source: Bloomberg

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RE: Why so large now?
By Flunk on 12/28/2013 11:41:09 AM , Rating: 0
Big vehicles are what sell in the good old USA. I'm Canadian and every time I drive down into your country (I live close to the border) the vehicles get bigger and bigger. I've always assumed it's a cultural thing that people buy the biggest vehicle they can possibly afford. Feel free to disagree, but there has to be some sort of reason.

If I drive from Toronto (where I live) to Florida the vehicles get bigger and bigger as I go. My Mazda 3 goes from normal sized to tiny along the way.

RE: Why so large now?
By Nfarce on 12/28/2013 2:38:49 PM , Rating: 2
And the older we Americans get, the bigger the cars we like. Retirees have always loved large Lincolns, Cadillacs, and the like. Nothing new. Part of it is safety, the other part of it is comfort and luxury. You won't see many northern retiree "snowbirds" traveling to Florida for the winter in Mazda 3s and Corollas.

I personally do not like driving a land yacht (hated my parent's Cadillacs and grandparent's Town Cars). They are hard to park and fight city traffic with, take longer to wash and polish, and aren't exactly gas misers. About the only good thing about them is highway comfort. I rented one of the new Chrysler 300s with the Pentastar V6 and an 8-speed manual and got 32mpg on the interstate. After a 1,000 mile road trip, I felt much more relaxed than similar distance trips in my Infinity G37 sedan.

RE: Why so large now?
By Spuke on 12/29/2013 3:34:18 PM , Rating: 3
I'm Canadian and every time I drive down into your country (I live close to the border) the vehicles get bigger and bigger.
You're Canadian? Riiiight. You're best selling vehicles are the aforementioned Ford F-series and Ram pickups. The Ford selling more than double a Honda Civic which is your best selling car. And on top of that the F-series has been the best seller there for 15 years LONGER than it has here in the US.

RE: Why so large now?
By troysavary on 12/31/2013 10:02:15 AM , Rating: 2
True, but we also have a very resource based economy. A large number of those trucks are work vehicle owned by forestry, mining, or other industries that need them. Soccer moms are more likely to buy minivans than big SUVs here, I have noticed.

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