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Ford's move to aluminum in top selling vehicle puts pressure on competitors to find their own aluminum supply

Ford has made a serious move to reduce the weight of its incredibly popular F-150 truck through the use of aluminum. The 2015 F-150 uses so much aluminum that it has shed 700 pounds, and 95% of its body is now made from the lightweight material.
 
Not only does lighter weight mean better fuel economy, but it will also mean better performance and greater towing capacity as well.
 
“There’s a very simple reason for it [weight reduction]: CAFE,” said General Motors Co. spokesman Klaus-Peter Martin, referring to the U.S. government’s tough new fuel economy standards. “Every gram you can take out of the vehicle, it helps with fuel efficiency.”


2015 Ford F-150
 
With Ford making such a huge move with its top selling F-150, its competitors are now left rushing to sign their own agreements with aluminum suppliers. Since the F-Series trucks sell in such huge numbers, Ford’s appetite for aluminum in the industry will be unmatched (and it has already locked up much of the automotive-grade aluminum sheets available on the market for the F-150).
 
Tom Boney, head of North American automotive business for Novelis Inc., also noted that every automaker was forced to look at Ford's plans for the new F-150 and adjust their plans accordingly.
 
Aluminum maker Alcoa is also boosting production with new plants in the U.S. and Saudi Arabia to prepare for the increased adoption of aluminum in the automotive world.
 
Competitors are going to be significantly behind Ford in moving their [volume] trucks and cars to aluminum. They will not only have to redesign their vehicles but will also need to secure an adequate supply of aluminum and invest in retooling factories to make the body panels from the aluminum sheets. 

Source: Detroit News





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