By on January 30, 2014

ford f-150_r

Automotive News is reporting that assembly plants in Dearborn and Kansas city will be shut down for a total of 13 weeks as it retools to switch production to the all new F-150 pickup truck that has an aluminum body. The launch of the 2015 F-150 will be closely watched, as Ford and its competitors see how consumers accept the lighter, more expensive truck.

Meanwhile, an analyst report seems to confirm TTAC’s initial story that Ford was forced to delay production of the new truck by up to three months due to difficulties with the new aluminum body.

Brian Johnson, an analyst with Barclays Capital, noted that

“There has already been a delay in the production schedule, likely due to challenges in stamping, riveting, and welding of the aluminum,” Johnson said in a report published earlier this week. “Moreover, Ford also faces risks with regard to potentially higher warranty expense and customer acceptance (large pickup buyers may be resistant to change, and may be skeptical of the new truck’s durability).”

The success of that launch will have a significant impact on FoMoCo’s 2014 profits. In 2013, F series trucks (which include the heavier duty pickup lineup that starts with the F-250 and runs through the F-650 medium duty truck) represented 31% of Ford’s light vehicle sales . Morgan Stanley estimates that the F series accounts for 90% of Ford’s global profits.

The increased downtime for the F-150 launch might lower Ford’s North American pretax profit by $800 million this year, according to Buckingham Research Group analyst Joseph Amaturo.

It’s not just a question of how they start making and selling the new truck either. Ford needs to manage production and inventory of the outgoing model if they want to maximize profits. The automaker needs to build up a large enough inventory so that when the plants shut down dealers are not affected. At the same time it doesn’t want to accumulate too many, leading to discounts and incentives.

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118 Comments on “Barclay’s Report Confirms TTAC’s Story About F-150 Aluminum Difficulties...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Consumers will gobble them up, repair shops will adjust, and life will go on.

    Chrysler delayed the new Cherokee to get its transmission right. Sometimes, that’s the price of avoiding costly quality problems in the field.

  • avatar

    #1 Aluminum is more expensive than steel.
    #2 Aluminum is more expensive to fix than steel.
    #3 Aluminum is not as strong as the equivalent steel.
    #4 Liberals are DESTROYING AMERICA.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      #5 Aluminum is one of the easiest and best materials for recycling. Scrap aluminum is currently worth about 4 times what scrap steel is worth. Anything other than a minor repair should instead be swapped out with a new part with the old sent back to Ford for processing at a bulk scale. Cost issues should become negligible over time.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Actually, I blame America’s decline on Internet trolls. Take a bow.

    • 0 avatar
      Wacko

      you wouldn’t be saying the same thing if Dodge was doing this!

    • 0 avatar
      hf_auto

      #3- I really hope you’re not an engineer.

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      Aluminum is stronger than an equal weight steel.

      • 0 avatar

        “Aluminum is stronger than an equal weight steel.”

        Steel generally has yield strengths ranging from 30,000 – 150,000 psi, and ultimate strengths ranging from 50,000 – 200,000 psi.

        Aluminum generally has yield strengths ranging from 15,000 – 70,000 psi, and ultimate strengths ranging from 30,000 – 90,000 psi.

        NO IT IS NOT.

        Aluminum is lighter yes BUT it isn’t stronger than it’s steel equivalent.

        • 0 avatar
          Kinosh

          Awesome. The first right thing you’ve said so far. On a cubic volume basis, it is the same strength.

          However, there are many places (like body panels) where the strength required is zero. They already try to make the steel as thin as possible. Now that they’re replacing the steel with aluminum, they cut the weight by a third.

        • 0 avatar
          Eric M

          Bigtrucks,

          Ummm… you’re wrong… let me put it this way. Tensile stress (psi, or MPa/GPa if metric)is stress per unit area. Strength per unit weight is a little different given the density difference between Steel and Aluminum. If you go by weight, steel has to have not quite 3 times the tensile stress (psi, GPa) of aluminum to be equal.

          While I’m at it in correcting you, 200,000 psi (ultimate tensile) steels are not even close to what is used in car bodies, way too expensive. Closer to ~50,000 psi for steel as a general guide, and ~20-30,000 psi for aluminum, giving aluminum a definite weight advantage for equal strength.

          PS: If you really want to make a technical argument against aluminum in trucks, I suggest going with a fatigue cracking argument, you have (a very little) more ground to stand on there. However you might want to do your math beforehand.

          • 0 avatar

            Eric

            Jousting with you about which is stronger to me seems irrelevant because NEITHER ONE OF US ARE METALLURGISTS and NEITHER OF US WORK AT MAKING METALS…

            …perhaps the FACT (notice I capitalized “fact”) that BUILDINGS use STEEL rather than ALUMINUM for the LOAD BEARING STRUCTURES, might tell you something??? (notice I capitalized some words there).

            I have NO illusions that taking Aluminum and making an alloy with magnesium or some other low proton metal (like Be) can’t make an alloy stronger than Steel, but the main point I also made is that IT’S VERY EXPENSIVE – and unnecessarily so.

            I could shave thousands of pounds off a car by building large portions of it from compact foam and chewing gum. But I sure as hell wouldn’t want to drive it near any structures or vehicles whatsoever.

            I’m not even gonna bother looking up tensile strengths or pressures in pascals or anything else.

            It’s a waste of my time.

            Tell you what…You drive some small econobox made of Aluminum but stay out of the way of anything made PROPERLY of steel. Or else, I’ll mail you a Darwin Award….

            …posthumously.

          • 0 avatar
            DaveBeNimble

            Hi Bigtrucks. I AM a metallurgist.

            First of all, when you say “aluminum is not as strong as equivalent steel,” you need to be clear on what you mean by “equivalent.” But, for most uses of the word you are wrong.

            if, in an application, I was told to compare an “equivalent” piece of aluminum and steel, I would, by definition, use pieces of the same strength. This means the aluminum would have a thicker cross-section, but weigh less, than the steel having the same strength. Which is almost certainly what Ford has done, as making a new heavy-duty truck with a body that is functionally weaker than its predecessor would be suicide.

            Metallurgy is a big, complicated science where you have to balance out a host factors, and where “strength” is incredibly imprecise. You actually have to look at things like “yield strength,” “ultimate tensile strength,” “hardness,” and “toughness,” which all have different, precise meanings to a metallurgist.

            Why does this matter?

            Because Ford certainly has hired metallurgists. And they HAVE looked at this. In fact, I would wager that, when making a huge technological change in the best-selling product line of a multibillion dollar company, they’ve looked at it a lot. From every angle. And I’m certain that someone there has thought of the “dur-hur, steel is stronger” argument.

            Actually, no, I’m definitely wrong. No one has thought of that, and you are the first to get there. Quick, someone call Ford and tell them!!!

            To be perfectly clear – you don’t know what you’re talking about, you know this, and you aren’t letting that prevent you from talking. You should.

        • 0 avatar
          hf_auto

          Please give up BTS, aluminum IS stronger than the equal WEIGHT of steel. Yield strength doesn’t mean anything on it’s own. Yes, if you loaded 1″x1″x1′ steel and aluminum bars, the aluminum would fail first. Fortunately, the world has engineers that understand material properties. Those engineers would size up the aluminum bar until it fails at the same load as the steel bar, but weighs 1/3 less.

          Specific strength is a much more useful real world metric (effectively strength to weight ratio). Free breaking length of a typical steel alloy is in the 8km range. Aluminum alloys are around 15km.

          Aluminum also has the benefit of being a much stiffer material, which pays dividends in the ride & handling department.

          • 0 avatar

            Hf_auto

            I’m done with this…

            but please, show me just ONE city in the universe where more than 50% of the buildings are made with ALUMINUM load bearing structures.

            If you can show me one, I’ll mail you a check for $13

            Why $13???

            Because 13 is the NUMBER OF PROTONS in ALUMINUM.

            Maybe you should read this…
            http://www.differencebetween.net/object/difference-between-steel-and-aluminum/

          • 0 avatar
            Kinosh

            Al is more expensive than steel… Buildings don’t need to be lightweight.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            What a ridiculous strawman. Aluminum costs more than steel – building weight doesn’t mean squat as they don’t have to move.

            However I could very likely point out almost any trailer park in the south where the buildings are most likely – mostly aluminum.

            You can send that $13 check to…

          • 0 avatar
            hf_auto

            Holy crap… buildings? Show me a building that cares about fuel economy/weight the way a car does. The requirements are completely different. Can you show me an airplane built primarily out of steel? I see a lot of concrete buildings, where are the concrete cars?

            Now, while you admit to Eric M that you’re not a METALLURGIST and don’t WORK AT MAKING METALS (???), I have a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering, a professional engineering license, and a career in automotive engineering. Material selection is part of my career, and I’ve done a lot of work on material selection on chassis components and safety systems. I’m not saying aluminum should be used on everything, but I am saying that 1) aluminum IS stronger per unit weight than steel, 2) yield strength is a myopic way to look at material selection and 3) AUTOMOTIVE engineers don’t give a s&%* about what BUILDINGS are made out of.

          • 0 avatar

            Hf_auto

            I don’t want you building anything for me or clearing me to purchase a specific type of vehicle.

            I will use free market economics against you.

            Airplanes need to be lighter to fly more efficiently in a place COLLISIONS aren’t likely.

            Cars operate in a place COLLISIONS ARE LIKELY.

            You and your liberal kind will not take my steel from me or my iron.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            Yes, when designing a building, lighter weight for maximum fuel economy is very important. However in aerospace where objects can be as heavy possible they use that heavier aluminum.

            That doesn’t seem right but BigTrucks says it is.

          • 0 avatar
            Eric M

            BTR,

            You know that math, physics, engineering, chemistry, and metallurgy are all part of the liberal conspiracy, along with empiricism and the scientific method.

            For the record, I am not a metallurgist, I am an engineer who makes things out of metal for a living. (PhD in engineering, by the way.)

            PS: If you hate aluminum as a structure so much, you had better not get onto any airplanes. Even the mostly-composite 787 has some critical structures made of aluminum.

            PPS: On your 13 comment: 4, 6, and 22 can all be made much stronger than 26. You can donate the $13 to the local high school science department in my name. Thanks.

          • 0 avatar
            Charliej

            BTSR lives an a world far removed from reality. An equal weight of aluminum is as strong as an equal weight of steel. The lighter weight of aluminum means that a part will be thicker for the same weight. High performance motorcycles use aluminum frames. For the same weight of steel, an aluminum frame is much stiffer. It will also last longer, because it will not be flexing as much as a steel frame. The only justification for steel in a vehicle, is cost. A properly designed aluminum frame will be lighter and stronger than a steel frame.

          • 0 avatar

            “PS: If you hate aluminum as a structure so much, you had better not get onto any airplanes. Even the mostly-composite 787 has some critical structures made of aluminum.”

            What kind of stupid argument is that?
            I’ve probably flown to more countries than you have – cross planet.

            I never, once said I hate Aluminum. I said I don’t want a car becoming unnecessarily expensive or weak from it.

        • 0 avatar
          daver277

          The Moment of Inertia is what counts in bending and if you double the thickness and have the same weight, the MofI goes up by 2 (thickness) to the 4th power.
          ie 16x the strength in bending for about the same weight.
          Science has never been a strong point with pickup truck drivers.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Not if Ford made it. Then it’s weaker. Now if it was a Dodge Ram – then it would be stronger.

        • 0 avatar

          “Trailer park” =/= city

        • 0 avatar
          chaparral

          Typical aluminum properties: 10 MSI elastic modulus, 25 ksi yield strength, 2.7 g/cc density (1/12 lb / cubic inch).

          Typical steel properties: 30 MSI elastic modulus, 50 ksi yield strength, 7.8 g/cc density (1/4 lb / cubic inch).

          PER UNIT WEIGHT:
          Aluminum: 120 M lbf*in/lbm specific elastic modulus, 300 K lbf*in/lbm specific yield strength

          Steel: 120 M lbf*in/lbm specific elastic modulus, 200 K lf*in/lb specific yield strength.

          Note that a piece of unsupported cantilevered aluminum of the same mass as a geometrically similar piece of steel is three times as thick. In bending, it will be nine times as stiff as an equally heavy piece of steel – stiffness is proportional to the cube of the thickness, while the elastic modulus is one third that of steel. This is useful for dent resistance.

          PS: Foam or paper honeycomb sandwiched by fiberglass makes every other material that costs less than ten times as much look absolutely silly from a specific strength or stiffness perspective.

          -CP

          • 0 avatar

            chapparal

            THANK YOU for the post, but I just abandoned this whole discussion because I realized a while ago that you can’t argue with Liberals. You have to beat them at the polls.

            We aren’t stupid enough to question the strength of steel because we already KNOW what Steel is. It’s the building block of every major skyscraper. Aluminum is far more expensive to achieve the same strength as the equivalent steel.

            These people are determined to turn American streets into bike path ridden, Electric vehicle driven, inefficient, anti-business, anti-free market capitalism cesspools and then they’ll distribute the wealth of the people who actually work and earn until they “level the playing field”.

            I vote NO.

          • 0 avatar
            daver277

            That was way, way, way too complicated for 95% of pickup truck drivers to understand.

          • 0 avatar
            probert

            We should recall all the airliners and military jets immediately. Who knew they were made of such crap!!!!

    • 0 avatar
      oldworntruck

      Ummm how much aluminum is in the hemi engines and transmissions in you fiat vehicles? I guess if aluminum is strong enough for a Dodge powertrain it should be plenty strong for some unstressed fenders and door panels lol

      • 0 avatar
        johnny ro

        don’t feed the troll

        • 0 avatar
          johnny ro

          if we left this all to free market forces, taxes on gas worldwide would drop, subsidies anywhere wold be removed, consumption go up and we would see much higher gas prices in the USA. So lets keep away from free market ideas here.

          Sorry I am not feeding the troll.

      • 0 avatar
        Charliej

        BTSR equates education with being liberal? I guess that he might be right, as most of the engineers that I worked with and was friends with were liberal. The level of liberalism seems to go up with the level of education. That makes it tough to be a conservative and know that your thinking is below par.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          One would have to possess a certain level of self-awareness to realize that his thinking was below par.

        • 0 avatar
          chaparral

          I wonder if BTSR ought to call Union Pacific and tell them that they ought to get steel boxcars and gondola cars instead of the clearly inferior aluminum ones they have.

          • 0 avatar

            Box cars on a gondola ARE NOT IN DANGER OF A COLLISION. Nor is a plane.

            Buildings have STEEL load bearing structures while AIRPLANES have STEEL LANDING GEAR…not aluminum. BECAUSE STEEL IS STRONGER.

            Why do you people keep making stupid counterarguments???

            Are you trying to counter troll me or something?

          • 0 avatar
            Kinosh

            BTSR, imagine an I beam made of equivalent (by weights) amounts of aluminum and steel. Because of the liberal conspiracy of engineering, the aluminum will be stronger by virtue of having a cross section whose maximum points are further from the centroid of the structure.

            Not by 10%, or even 50%. By hundreds of % points.

            The parallel axis theorem (another liberal conspiracy, to be sure) commands that it be so. I sure do hope the liberals quit pushing their conspiracies that have led to unprecedented improvements in materials, mechanical, and other sciences.

            Oh wait, that includes steels, whose mechanical properties improve on a daily basis thanks to the liberals running those steel plants.

          • 0 avatar
            Kinosh

            C’mon chaparral, we all know it’s because steel is more American. It grinds out to a silvery-white, glows red hot, and can even be blued.

            And BSTR is right, there has never in the history of ever been a railway collision or a plane crash.

            /sarcasm

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            >> liberal conspiracy of engineering

            I hope the aluminum they’re using has been certified conflict-free. I’d hate to see what would happen if I pulled into my local Whole Foods in one of these if it wasn’t.

            :^)

        • 0 avatar
          daver277

          Liberals are usually better at understanding numbers.
          Conservatives usually don’t understand science and it always screws up their arguments.

          • 0 avatar
            chaparral

            Wait, railway cars aren’t at risk of a collision?

            Why is it called “shunting?” How are railcars shunted?

            Why is it called a “trainwreck?” What happens in a trainwreck?

            Airplanes have 4340 or 300M steel landing gear because there isn’t enough space in the belly for aluminum landing gear. Aluminum sections have to be larger (though lighter) for the same strength, so if there’s a tight space the aerospace companies will consider steel parts there.

          • 0 avatar

            “Box cars on a gondola ARE NOT IN DANGER OF A COLLISION. Nor is a plane.

            I give up. Now you’re not even reading the quoted before replying.

    • 0 avatar
      LectroByte

      You’re just jealous because Ford’s sales figures will still crush Dodge’s.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    Purely a business decision by Ford. I think it will be good to see a regular cab 4X2 under 4,000 pounds.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Heck, I’d like to see a regular truck that fits in my garage. After seeing the new Colorado at the local auto show, I didn’t see anything ‘midsize’ about it, and I’m not sure how they supposedly got it to weight 1000 lb less than the Silverado.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      The 1976 F-150 XLT Ranger regular cab long-box 4×4 with a 360 FE engine, iron trans & t-case (NP435/NP205) that I used to own only weighed around 4,500 with fuel on board. A featherweight by today’s standards. The sheetmetal was so thick on that truck I swear you could make 3 of todays trucks with the same amount of metal.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    >>Morgan Stanley estimates that the F series accounts for 90% of Ford’s global products.<<

    I think you meant "profits".

    If so, Ford really is a one trick pony.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I love these stories (sarcasm). Company X tries radical transformation of product, delays ensue. Omg what’s wrong?! They are failing! See it was a bad idea! Blah, blah blah. We see it all the time.

    • 0 avatar
      LesM

      If Ford listened to the experts on forums, they would never have stopped building the Model T. Instead, they would have gone out of business and become automotive trivia.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I hope aluminum goes better Ford than composites has for Boeing.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      If you’re referring to the 787, composites haven’t been the problem – it’s the batteries they used.

      Composites have actually been used extensively in aircraft for a LONG time (first example I can recall is the F-14, which was designed well over 40 years ago).

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        The battery issue was only part of the problem after production started. Getting to production in the first place there were numerous problems, including the composites – including required modifications to the wing spars IIRC due to issues around the materials. IIRC again, the problems didn’t manifest itself until test flights began.

        The far more public battery issues are just in addition to other problems they’ve had.

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      Unfortunately Ford’s track record with aluminum and corrosion is dismal.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    This was somewhat predictable.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    The F Series accounts for 90% of Ford’s GLOBAL PROFITS.

    Talk about the Goose that lays the Golden Egg, and speaking of eggs, placing of all of one’s eggs in one basket.

    There’s more than a slight risk (that so many claim is the actual statistical chance) that the new aluminum-intensive F Series will be to Ford what the 787 “Dreamliner” is to Boeing, but only more so given that Ford literally goes from massive loss to massive profit dependent on F Series sales & revenue (whereas Boeing isn’t nearly as narrowly dependent on the 787), and won’t it be ironic if that turns out to be the case given Alan Mulally’s respective tenure at each company when these products were conceived of and developed.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Not a Ford fan, are ya?

      I don’t know if the 90% estimate is accurate, but it is surely skewed by the fact that Ford’s European operations are a loss-producing drag on the entire company. If Europe could produce even a modest profit, that alone would push down that 90% figure (again, assuming that it’s accurate.)

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        If it’s true that the F Series accounts for 90% of Ford’s GLOBAL profit, how exactly is Ford’s performance in Europe specifically relevant to what I wrote?

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          It’s just arithmetic.

          Europe produces a loss, instead of a profit. That (a) reduces the overall profit that the company should be producing while (b) exaggerating the relative profit that is produced by the remaining regions.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Unless you had already cited the revenue and P/L for Europe vs the revenue and P/L for the other regions Ford vehicles are sold in, it was more of an irrelevant statement than “just arithmetic.”

            Now go forth and hurriedly research and cite the actual specific breakdown regarding Ford’s revenues, profits/losses, etc. by world region, in an attempt to try to salvage your irrelevant statement.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Ford releases earnings by region. Surely you must already know that?

            Europe produces losses for Ford. Surely you must already know that?

            When you take two fractions, each of which have the same numerator but different denominators, the fraction with the largest denominator is also the smallest number. Surely you must already know that?

            Perhaps math is not one of those things that they “teach” the readers of Zero Hedge.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Let me repeat your own statement, in an effort to highlight the fundamental flaw in the logic that lay therein, one last time (since I refuse to get into one of your infamous, back and forth marathons today):

            “I don’t know if the 90% estimate is accurate, but it is surely skewed by the fact that Ford’s European operations are a loss-producing drag on the entire company. If Europe could produce even a modest profit, that alone would push down that 90% figure (again, assuming that it’s accurate.)”

            Okay, Pch101, please advise everyone how your pointed remarks about a “loss-producing drag” in Europe has any particular relevance to the fact that the F Series accounts for 90% of Ford’s’global profits, despite the fact you didn’t quantify that loss, nor more importantly, recite what Ford’s profits/losses were in their other areas of operations, from Asia to South America, and everywhere in between.

            You do realize that fiat currency is fungible, correct?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            OK, I’m going to type this very slowly, and hope that this helps.

            In 2013, Ford had net income of $7.1 billon,

            If the F-series trucks were responsible for 90% of that, then one could attribute about $6.4 billion to those vehicles alone.

            In 2013, Ford had losses in Europe of $1.6 billion.

            If Europe had just hit breakeven instead of losing money and everything else was otherwise the same, then Ford’s net income would have been $8.7 billion.

            If Ford had had net income of $8.7 billion and net income from the trucks of $6.4 billion, then the F-series truck earnings would have been 74% of the total, not 90%.

            (For the sake of argument, I’m assuming that you are aware that 74% is a smaller number than 90%.)

            And because at least some of the European losses are cyclical/ temporary in nature, one would expect that the drag from European losses will be reduced or replaced with profit in future periods.

            You’re welcome.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I await as Pch101, whose clearly identifiable deadly sin is “Pride,” extensively researches and analyzes that which will inevitably be his literal encyclopedic response to my query (if only for the lulz).

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            LMAO! I was too late!

            Boom! There it IS!

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Pch101
            Never wrong!

            Are we ;)

            I do support Deadweight on this. What you wrote has nothing to do with what he wrote.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            If you weren’t embarrassed before, then you definitely should be now.

        • 0 avatar
          srogers

          Pch will never back down, even when mistaken.
          In this case he’s right. Take a math course before arguing this one.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I will address to you and not Pch101.

            The fact that Ford derives 90% of its global profit from its F Series is a static fact (assuming Bloomberg correct).

            In responding to my statement that Ford’s profits are overconcentrated in one vehicle segment, Pch101 raised what is known as a red herring (that such a concentration of profits in one vehicle line could and would be lessened if ONLY Ford could reduce its losses in Europe, or maybe even turn a profit there.

            I could say a similar thing regarding the U.S. (e.g. If only Ford could increase its profit from each passenger car sold in the U.S. From 800 USD to $4,500, it could reduce the % of profits that F Series nets Ford Motor Company as a % of global profits).

            I could say the same thing about any vehicle, in any region, as a hypothetical.

            I could even say monkeys are about to jump out of my ass.

            None of this changes the fact that as things stand today, the F Series accounts for 90% of Ford’s global profits.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I realize that you’re heavily invested in your anti-Ford jihad, but the point remains that improvements in Europe will somewhat reduce the relative importance of the F-series trucks in Ford’s operations.

            And since those improvements are surely going to happen with an economic recovery, the eggs-in-one-basket issue is temporarily overstated.

            Consider that to be your free finance lesson for the day. That’s the type of number crunching that you need to do in order to understand a business.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            What does your new attempt (clairvoyanty predicting a European turnaround for Ford’s fortunes at some later date) to derail the central point (that 90% of Ford’s current global profits are derived from the sale of the F Series) have to do with the price of Ka in China?

            I shall now make a prediction: If Ford manages increase its profit margin on the Ford Festiva to $5,000 USD per vehicle, and then proceed to sell 80 million of them next year, it will reduce the global % of profits that the F Series now accounts for.

          • 0 avatar
            sunridge place

            I think Derek or someone from TTAC should try to reach out to the analyst who wrote the 90% thing and see if he would provide some detail on his statement.

            His name was Adam Jonas with Morgan Stanley. I don’t really care to research who the heck he is or his qualifications…but he’s the one quoted on the 90%.

            Surely he wasn’t so simplistic to do some math like…

            F Series has margins of $10k per truck. 2012 CY F Series sales= 800,000 ish

            800,000 x $10000= $8 billion

            Ford pre-tax profits in CY 2012= 8.6 billion.

            Thus 8/8.6= a little over 90%.

            Surely this ONE GUY who said this ONE TIME didn’t try to simplify it that much but why not try and ask him?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Operations in Europe should improve as the European economy recovers. That’s fairly straightforward stuff for anyone who isn’t addicted to internet economic doom porn.

            Ford’s car business in Europe is not a shining star within its operations, and it leaves much to be desired. The brand is only so-so, with modest pricing power, and doesn’t compete well against the Germans.

            But its current losses are also not indicative of future performance, since the car business is cyclical and moves with consumer spending cycles. And that pop should help overall earnings. It’s the marginal analysis that tells the story.

            As for the 90% being true now or recently, I can believe it. That’s in the range of $8k per unit, and Americans will pay ridiculous prices for pickups with higher trim levels. Those options are heavily marked up.

      • 0 avatar
        OldandSlow

        Bloomberg mentioned the 90% estimate. Even if it is less the current F 150 is a cash cow for Ford that dwarfs it’s other offerings.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        The 90% “estimate” was covered by TTAC actually, do a search. A full 90% of Ford’s GLOBAL profits come from the F-150. That’s a bit of a precarious position when the lion share of profitability comes from a single product line sold mostly on a single continent in an increasingly global world.

        Gee – apparently if anyone says anything you disagree with – they must be out to get that company.

        Jihad! Jihad! Mullah mullah mullah dirka dirka jihad!

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          If the position is motivated by unbridled fanboy ridiculousness or something that resembles OCD, then yes, it should be called out for what it is.

          And what I addressed above was simply a math problem. The F-series should become less important over time as the other markets improve. There isn’t much reason to believe that Ford’s situation in Europe won’t improve (or perhaps more accurately, become less bad) over the next few years.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Uh…may I point out to Mr. Gekko that if the 787 had been a disaster for Boeing, no one would be buying it, and their stock wouldn’t be selling for $128 a share today?

      And anyone who thinks Mulally’s tenure at Ford has been ANYTHING but successful is not paying much attention.

      Are you sure you wouldn’t rather buy some more Teldar Paper stock?

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Sure, Mike, because nothing conveys the solidity & quality of a company like the trend in its share price on publicly traded indexes, especially during the last 5 years of retarded, bizzaro world monetary policy by central banks (where the worst companies in terms of credit quality were the most likely to see the highest appreciation in % terms in their share appreciation).

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Could Boeing be trading for $128 a share today because the company made $4.5 billion last year, or was it due to your BS about monetary policy?

          I’ll let everyone answer that question for themselves, thanks.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            The one thing I agree with you on, without reservation, is that you were wise to “let everyone answer that for themselves.”

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        And may I point out that Boeing has to pay back customers to keep them in the fold, pay late delivery penalties and have orders canceled due to the delays in the program. Do I need to remind you the plane was three years late. Then delayed again when fractures were discovered in test flights. Then production at a dead stop for four more months over battery fires. May I also remind you that South Carolina has never come close to meeting their production targets, and those greedy union bastards in Everett had fill the gap for Boeing to make their delivery targets, albeit late.

        Finally, if you can’t detect sarcasm and snark – it was snark – it wasn’t meant to be a factual statement (and I even posted as such long before I read this missive).

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I suppose this might make the diesel Colorado more attractive.

    The 2.8 diesel will tow enough, carry enough and move the average American family of 1.8 kids and get over 30mpg on the highway.

    I don’t think this aluminium truck is going to be a winner easily.

    The Diesel Ram will be a better truck, especially if it had a decent payload.

  • avatar
    jmo

    The Junkers J.7 was all aluminium and it went into service 97 years ago! It’s not like this is new technology.

    The only risk for Ford is that they rushed the process and deliver a suboptimal product. If they give it enough time to get it right, they are golden.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Bah, the thing was junk.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      The J 7 was the monoplane German pilots called the “tin donkey” and was rejected as a fighter because it wasn’t as maneuverable as a wood and canvas biplane, and was used instead for reconnaissance. I don’t think there were any flying 20 years after they were built, much less 97 years, but it WAS the first all-metal, monoplane design.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I think the issue at Ford has more to do with the bonding rather than the welding of aluminium.

    Bonding is a harder process that is more time intensive.

  • avatar
    hf_auto

    For what it’s worth, I’ve been on programs that had similar issues with steel bodies- deep stampings are not trivial to execute.
    Production issues happen, this isn’t unique to aluminum, so it’s disappointing to see the spin in the press lately. I’m sure an epic material fail on the best selling vehicle in America makes a great story, but it’s total crap.

  • avatar
    LALoser

    This is going to put a dent in the magnetic sign biz.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Fords track record with anything new to them is terrible, they perfect things and then get rid of them.

    Get a good pushrod V8 > change it to OHC that blows out spark plugs
    Get a good solid front axle> change it to ifs that can’t keep ball joints longer than 80k miles
    Perfect the BOF SUVs
    > kill excursion
    > push IRS on expedition
    > change explorer to uniframe
    I had 3-4 more examples when I began this idea, but forgot.

    Point is venture engineering never works well for Ford, even when it’s already widespread in the industry.

    NOW, what is my opinion on the use of Al?
    If it’s thicker than steel used right now, I’m all for its implementation.
    BUT, I would still rather have the dodge with the 6.4l

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      > The 4.6 has proven to be a very durable motor
      > While I lament the loss of Solid Front Axles, Ford held out longer than everyone but Jeep. For a guy named Hummer I don’t get the hate as even the up armored versions I have rolled around in lacked a solid axle.
      > 3.00 per gallon gas killed the Excursion

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I had a nice long response typed out that somehow got deleted…

        Yes the 4.6 should be a good motor with the amount of them built, but so far the move to switch to OHC hasn’t proven wise, GMs new 6.2 is rated at only 1 mpg less than the ecoboost, while ford is killing their SOHC 6.2.

        Independent suspension is fine, IF it is done correctly, my beef is that I’ve found Fords ball joints to be substandard. GMTxxx ifs ball joints tend to last twice the life of comparable fords ~ both on stock setups.
        AMGs Humvees Independent suspension cannot be compared to anything civilian, the setup is made to take abuse and brush it off, the 06 H1 was rated to tow over 17,000 lbs.
        As far as light duty vehicles, while I prefer solid front axles, rear axles are a must. The expedition suffers in ride, towing and resale from the IRS, while the GMTxxx not only have solid rears but do sell better with them.
        IFS can be made strong my H2 has a lot of duramax sled pulling front end parts under it, it’s pretty bulletproof as far as 3/4 ton IFS

        Excursions weren’t that bad on gas, I’ve been around a 6.0 diesel that averaged about 18 mpg and a V10 that averaged about 10mpg, both very acceptable being that it was basically and F250.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      You are correct Hummer. Ford can’t figure out spark plugs or how to make a reliable engine let alone twin turbos and aluminium trucks.

      Amazing how Ford is still in business with all of their mistakes over the past 9 years. Such a disgrace of a company

  • avatar
    Hank

    Reminds me of a conversation in a Texas feed store 20 years ago about steel vs aluminum trailers.
    “Expensive repairs!”
    “Better towing!”
    “I can’t weld it at home!”
    “Better mpg!”
    “Less filling!”
    “Tastes great!”

    And just like that argument, the trucks will fly out the door. Some buyers will get more hacked off at the repair cost than at themselves for texting while hauling, and most will be happy.

    • 0 avatar
      MrNiceGuy998

      +1 – Look at the exploding popularity of aluminum trailers in recent years, and they use aluminum for the frame and the body in most cases. It really seems blown out of proportion that they will be using aluminum panels, it’s not like the truck is going to have an aluminum frame.

    • 0 avatar
      schmitt trigger

      +10 on this comment.

      I think we should change this thread on the relative merits/drawbacks of bottling beer in aluminum cans vs glass bottles.

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    Being aluminium and not rusting as obviously, how likely are owners to keep their trucks for more years and not buy a new one? I guess Ford has decided a number of vanity and fleet buyers will get a new F150 long before theirs starts to look old.

  • avatar
    TW5

    I want to know if this truck will be CAFE 2025 compliant. If the rumors of 30mpg accurate, can the weight savings and the new 2.7 Ecoboos, really lift city economy to 20mpg?

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Everybody missed the most bothersome part of the story…the headline:
    “Barclay’s Report Confirms TTAC’s Story About F-150 Aluminum Difficulties”

    Now I read the story and the quote…and nowhere does it confirm anything.
    “likely due to challenges in stamping, riveting, and welding of the aluminum,” is not confirming…the term LIKELY is a clue….

    “potentially higher warranty expense and customer acceptance ” Look…this is just like most reporting today…full in innuendos and generalities and nothing with solid facts.

    How many times do you hear in reports…”Many People”?
    Many people? Um…how many is that exactly and why should I care? This is as misleading as me caring what somebody says when a mic is stuck in their faces. They are just one hand picked sucker by the editor to get a slanted story out.

    Good Luck, Ford. We need more pushing of the envelope these days.

  • avatar
    Mikein08

    Quote from the article:

    “There has already been a delay in the production schedule, likely due to challenges in stamping, riveting, and welding of the aluminum,” Johnson said in a report published earlier this week. “Moreover, Ford also faces risks with regard to potentially higher warranty expense and customer acceptance (large pickup buyers may be resistant to change, and may be skeptical of the new truck’s durability).”

    When I worked in IT, we called this sort of thing “testing in production”. You know, you make a big change to something, you try to
    test it as best you can, but the ultimate tests come when the change
    goes into production simply because you can’t – or don’t or won’t –
    imagine all the possible permutations of problems that will occur.

    So, Ford truck buyer beware: you’re going to be a tester for Ford.
    It looks like they’ve not ironed out all the problems yet – any maybe
    they don’t have any idea what the problems are going to be. But Ford
    will find out, at buyers’s expense.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      AKA Beta Testers

      AKA Guinea Pigs

      AKA Early Adopters

      But hey, it’s not as if the F Series is a vehicle line that represents 90% of Ford’s global profits*, so there’s that.

      *Or as Pch101 would put it, “[b]ut it wouldn’t account for 90% of Ford’s global profits IF Ford could only make a much higher % profit on its other vehicles, especially ones sold in Europe.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    Ford really bit off more than they can chew. So far this has been a disaster…and there’s no appreciable difference in going with aluminium.

    700 pounds ON YOUR HEAVIEST MODEL is a joke. Especially when your competition is already 500 pounds lighter. So a net savings of 200 pounds is just not worth this hassle. They could have saved that by making the F-120 a 1/2 ton truck again…and not a bloated turd.

    • 0 avatar
      Kinosh

      I challenge you to make a vehicle 15% lighter while maintaining or expanding the interior/exterior volume, towing, payload, and with a cost-up of less than 30%.

      Go ahead. There’s a job waiting for you as a lead engineer in at least one OEM if you do. Shit, they’ll probably give you a bonus of $x00,000 if you can do it.

      I’ve had proposals shot down because they added GRAMS of weight to parts.

      It’s pure insanity to think that theres “useless” mass in any vehicle built by anyone today.

      I


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