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GM plays catchup in the aluminum game

We’ve all heard about the 2015 Ford F-150 and the fact that its aluminum diet allowed it to lose 700 pounds. While the ladder frame of the all-new F-150 is still constructed of high-strength steel, 95 percent of its body structure made of “high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloys” according to Ford.
So Ford has gone to aluminum to reduce weight and thus improve fuel economy. Chrysler has gone a completely different route by providing a new V6 diesel engine for the half-ton Ram 1500. So that leaves the industry looking to General Motors to provide a counterpunch in the full-size pickup fuel efficiency wars.
We are now learning that General Motors will take the Ford approach by using aluminum for the body of its next generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size trucks. According to The Wall Street Journal, GM’s hand has been forced by increasingly stringent fuel economy standards (and of course market pressure from rivals).

2014 Chevrolet Silverado
According to the WSJ report, GM is partnering with both Alcoa and Novelis to supply aluminum sheets for its next generation trucks. As we reported earlier this month, Ford has already inked a deal with Novelis to supply aluminum sheets for its F-150.
“There’s isn’t an automotive manufacturer that makes vehicles in North America that we’re not talking to,” said Tom Boney, head of North American automotive business for Novelis, in an interview with The Detroit News. “Our customers will be making announcements fairly regularly over the next six years that will transform the automobile industry.”
GM last redesigned the Silverado/Sierra in 2013 for the 2014 model year.

Source: Wall Street Journal/Reuters

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Catch Up
By tng on 2/19/2014 1:00:59 PM , Rating: 2
So GM is playing catch up with Ford? I would have thought that they would have both thought of this years ago.

RE: Catch Up
By tng on 2/19/2014 1:03:10 PM , Rating: 2
Is it the CAFE standards that are prompting this? I am not familiar with what the new standards cover.

RE: Catch Up
By Flunk on 2/19/2014 1:10:01 PM , Rating: 3
The reason they didn't is that it wasn't economically viable to. It made more sense to keep the trucks heavier and save the extra cost for aluminum over steel. Now with the additional costs from CAFE and a more efficiency-conscious consumer aluminum makes a lot more sense.

RE: Catch Up
By KentState on 2/19/2014 4:16:36 PM , Rating: 3
GM released their new model in 2014 with more fuel efficient engines than Ford. So they are both playing catchup with each other.

RE: Catch Up
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 2/19/14, Rating: -1
RE: Catch Up
By Andrwken on 2/20/2014 1:19:47 PM , Rating: 5
Considering the 700 lb. weight reduction only gives Ford a 300 lb advantage over the current GM truck lineup utilizing no aluminum body panels, I would say its fair to say you are making quite the assumption that they are going to widen the gap at all. Feel free to look up curb weight on either company's site to verify. Also, in terms of mileage, GM does have a small displacement diesel if further mileage gains are needed.

I am curious how 700 lbs. is going to gain them 5-6 miles per gallon? My current truck does not lose 5 mpg with four or five people in it versus one. Is there some other tech they have shown that will help the mileage figure?

RE: Catch Up
By stm1185 on 2/19/14, Rating: 0
RE: Catch Up
By Spuke on 2/19/2014 5:58:33 PM , Rating: 2
Ford is pushing out a major upgrade, the smaller turbo v6 could pull 30mpg highway in a full size truck, which is rediculous.
I'm looking forward to that new engine big time. Hopefully it doesn't disappoint.

RE: Catch Up
By gerf on 2/19/14, Rating: 0
RE: Catch Up
By Jeffk464 on 2/20/2014 12:16:45 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but why didn't they go aluminum on the upcoming mustang? Now that would have been something.

RE: Catch Up
By Jeffk464 on 2/20/2014 12:11:56 PM , Rating: 2
Is it just me or does the current gen GM pickup look boring as hell. Ford is going to absolutely wipe the floor with this thing.

RE: Catch Up
By ajdavis on 2/21/2014 10:31:22 AM , Rating: 2
They both look terrible to me.

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