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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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Time to move some money around
By sgw2n5 on 2/19/2014 1:23:29 PM , Rating: 2
Great time to pick up Alcoa and Novelis stocks. They will be manufacturing tons of (both new and recycled) aluminum panels for this next generation of vehicles. I believe both mills are already at or near peak production capacity... looks like they are already expanding and building new facilities meet the coming demand.

RE: Time to move some money around
By stm1185 on 2/19/2014 4:50:23 PM , Rating: 2
Or if you are looking for a career, knowing how to properly weld aluminum will be in high demand in 2 years.

By Reclaimer77 on 2/19/2014 8:11:20 PM , Rating: 2
Being a welder long-term is pretty bad for your health. Just saying.

RE: Time to move some money around
By jbwhite99 on 2/19/2014 6:30:19 PM , Rating: 2
Alcoa, Tennessee operations (yes there is such a town) had a groundbreaking for a new plant to make this aluminum.

However, Alcoa announced that their Australian operations will stop making aluminium and be shuttered by the end of the year. This is a great new product, but due to dumping on the market by plants in China and Russia, aluminum costs are still down from where they were.

By FITCamaro on 2/20/2014 12:06:03 PM , Rating: 2
That's because the Australian dollar is really high right now and the government is being worse than the US in terms of regulations. Plus labor is insanely expensive there (and not just from the high dollar).

That's why GM is closing up shop too there.

By Mizerable on 2/20/2014 9:35:17 AM , Rating: 2
It's already too late. Hedge funds and asset managers have already gotten into those companies when they heard the news about the trucks. It's ancient history by the time the average DT reader hears about it.

RE: Time to move some money around
By mars2k on 2/26/2014 10:01:36 AM , Rating: 2
Making aluminum takes tons of electricity as well. With all our fracking surely the energy costs are a factor as well. Advantage USA

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