By on March 19, 2014

2015-Ford-F150-Front
Ford dropped a heavy light weight military-grade aluminum gauntlet with a metallic thud when they announced that the aluminum-intensive F-150. With up to 97% of the body being made of aluminum, and with Ford’s claims that it has dropped 700 pounds off the truck’s curb weight, the industry took notice. So much so, that GM announced their plans for an aluminum Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra shortly after the North American International Autoshow, where the F150 was debuted.

According to WardsAuto reported that some analysts are not quite as impressed, and are unsure whether or not it will make as large of an impact as expected.


Part of the concern comes from recent advances in steel, with high strength steel seeing widespread use in the industry, and more importantly, Ford’s competitors. Craig Parsons, automotive-president of Nanosteel, told Wards, 

“If you look at steels out there years ago, you couldn’t lightweight; they weren’t strong enough and you couldn’t (form) the shapes needed. Aluminum has come a long way, as well, but I think technologies like nanosteel are going to give automakers alternatives to aluminum so they can do lightweighting with better geometries and thinner materials.”

Parsons points at the current 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra as an example of high strength steel’s effectiveness. He claims the ’14 GM trucks are 350 lbs lighter than the current generation F150. With Ford claiming a 700 pound weight savings from their current truck, the difference between the ’15 F150 and ’14 GM trucks would only be around 350 pounds, according to Parsons; a fairly negligible number when the difference in options on a truck can swing the curb weight by over 500 pounds, according to GM’s specs on the ’14 Silverado 1500.

“Each generation of truck is lighter. It’s always the most recent introduction that is the lightest in its class.”

Another issue is cost. David Cole, chairman of AutoHarvest and chairman emeritus for the Center for Automotive Research, touches on the issue

 “It’s a big roll of the dice. Whether it’s an advantage or not is yet to be determined. The trade off from the consumer perspective is, ‘What is it going to save me vs. what’s it going to cost me? That’s an important part of the discussion.”

Along with the higher material costs and production costs with sheets of heat-treated aluminum, Ford is also pushing for more advanced engines. The direct-injected and turbocharged Ecoboost engines have been pushed hard by Ford in the current generation F150. At the time of this writing, the EcoBoost V6 is $1,000 more than the 5.0L V8; and $2,000 more than the base V6. Only the rowdy 6.2L V8 costs more.

Richard Schultz, a project consultant at Ducker Worldwide, mentions that

“It’s more expensive, but you have to add in the value of scrap, which is very valuable. And when you save so much weight you can make suspensions and other parts smaller and thinner.”

Cole touches on anther key point, the 2017 review for the 2025 CAFE regulations. Specifically chosen to take place after the next election, the next president could cancel that F150‘s chance if he or she chose to relax the standards. Ford would have spent millions to push out the technologically advanced F150 only to have the goalposts moved. Ford may enjoy having the most fuel-efficient pickup in the market, but the extra costs of the new aluminum body and engines could alienate buyers, sending them to cheaper, more traditional pickups.

 

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140 Comments on “Wards Auto: Industry Analysts Unsure If Ford Gained Advantage With The Aluminum 2015 F150...”


  • avatar
    Flat6

    How about a starting with a slightly smaller truck to shave off 500 pounds of extraneous mass they have added in the last 15 years?

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      That would probably be a good way to help meet the CAFE requirements, but would they sell? There’s a lot of machismo involved with truck buyers today, many of whom don’t need a truck at all. You can’t put a sheet of plywood in the bed of the best sellers, because they now have full back seats and four doors. They’re basically the full size, RWD family sedans of the ’70s and ’80s, but allow “dad” driving alone to look macho.

      • 0 avatar
        Flat6

        Agree 100% on the whole “family-truckster” aspect. Hell, I am a guilty (owner) as charged. The concept of the statement was (Super Crew 4×2 V8) in 2001 was roughly 4600 lbs and a 2014 tips in around 5100. Meh, close enough to 500 lbs for essentially the same curtain climber hauler. FWIW…I don’t need to wheel a macho truck (LOL) mine is a base model with rubber floor mats courtesy of Weathertech. Plenty macho for Georgia red clay and cheerios.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @Flat6 – the 2001 F150 has less safety features than the 2014 F150. All that stuff adds weight.

          • 0 avatar
            Flat6

            @ Lou_BC – fully aware. 2 Degrees in Engineering targeting electronics and safety restraint. Good chance if you have had an accident and the belt retracted/ air bag deployed properly, your welcome. If not it’s the other guys. The weight is inconsequential relative to the weight of today’s infotainment architectures in the IP waterfall area. The amps, additional speaker systems, XM/Sirius modules, color displays, navigation systems add substantially more weight than 20+ electronic sensors and small PCB boards with 25 SMT components.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        This line of thought always perplexes me on an enthusiast site. Do most owners of these vehicles “need” a full sized truck? Maybe not, but then again do most of the “enthusiasts” on here really “need” a brown, all wheel drive wagon with a clutch pedal? Does anyone need an FR-S with a bigger motor? Wouldn’t a silver Toyota Echo with a CVT with a small trailer accomplish the same mission as a wagon? That’s the line truck buyers get anyway.

        • 0 avatar
          Flat6

          …but the all wheel drive brown wagon must also have locking diffs and 500 hp according to some. Personally avoided the full size and went for a mid-size Taco’ Crew with the plastastic bed. It’s cheap to buy, own, and insure and holds onto residual value like a pitbull on amphetamines.

          “Wouldn’t a silver Toyota Echo with a CVT with a small trailer…” = words of banishment. Joking of course.

          TTAC is and has always been, as far as I know, for the educated enthusiast who is allowed to be irrational. On Monday we can complain about gas prices and by Friday can be stoked about the weekend’s autocross and how much ‘ethanol-free’ we plan to burn.

          • 0 avatar
            mkirk

            Agreed. I actually went with the base Frontier instead of the Taco though as I can be a bit of a cheapskate and I liked the roll up windows LOL. I do like the full-size though, but not so much as to pay for one (needed 4 doors).

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-X

        I need my truck. If someone does something stupid on the road, I need all 6000 lbs of my vehicle vs. theirs.

        • 0 avatar
          KixStart

          And what’s the end result when you do something stupid with all 6000 lbs of your vehicle?

          • 0 avatar
            Detroit-X

            I don’t plan on doing anything like that.

          • 0 avatar
            mkirk

            In Kentucky, the result is likely 12,000 pounds of smashed pick up trucks.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            D-X: “I don’t plan on doing anything like that.”

            Imagine my relief.

          • 0 avatar
            alsorl

            Out west its very common for vehicles to hit cows wandering across roads. After seeing the front end if a Ford Excursion being destroyed by a caw and the passengers walking away. Yes, I want that 6000lbs vehicle. Any other car those people would be dead or in very bad shape. So yes, keep your little green machines and make sure you have good life and long term care insurance. And yes, if I can get up to 30mpg in a F150 next year. Count me in !

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @Alsord

            Here in the East, people hit moose with Saabs and walk away. I would rather hit a cow than a moose with pretty much anything, but I would prefer to stop or go around the animal in the first place rather than plowing into it. Much easier on the insurance deductible.

        • 0 avatar
          ect

          “I need my truck. If someone does something stupid on the road, I need all 6000 lbs of my vehicle vs. theirs.”

          Nonsense. You have a vehicle whose handling characteristics inevitably make it less enjoyable (really, not at all enjoyable) to drive, more expensive to operate, and much less capable of avoiding trouble in any emergency situation.

          The phrase “it drives like a truck” is pejorative. For good reason.

          • 0 avatar
            Detroit-X

            My truck is enjoyable to drive. In fact, I feel more calm and relaxed when in my truck, and I take my time. I’m fully aware that my truck doesn’t handle like a sports car, and I drive it accordingly. In an “emergency situation” good drivers don’t leave themselves the only option to swerve violently to avoid something. Avoiding trouble is being alert, looking ahead, and anticipating what may happen, before it does. If I want to buy more gas, that’s my business. If you want your small car, fine.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            ^+100

            Whenever I drive something small with a manual I can’t help but push it to its limits, around corners, through the gears what have you, and add to that a loss of forward visibility from being so low. I have no such feelings in a truck, they are 100% comfort.

          • 0 avatar
            zerofoo

            I can say this for sure. The way I drive a GTI puts way more people at risk than the way I drive a Grand Cherokee.

            It should surprise no one on this site that fast, good handling cars are driven much more aggressively than slow wallowing trucks.

            By far, the most dangerous things on the road, are minivans being driven by distracted parents.

        • 0 avatar
          Grumpy

          The best laid plans of mice and men–in 2013 there was a fatal crash on the Big Island of Hawaii. An elderly tourist driving a Altima apparently suffered a medical emergency and came over the centre line colliding head on with a dually Ford pickup. The driver and two passengers in the Altima were killed, but the big Ford went up on it’s side, and caught on fire, killing the middle aged local couple as well.

          • 0 avatar
            dantes_inferno

            +1

            All that extra weight resulted in a bigger vehicle fire.

            D-X’s 6000 lb. reference comes from the same ideology as “I have 4-wheel drive! I can drive through anything! Flooded roads and show-covered highways are child’s play.”

            Funny how those individuals who follow said philosophies are the ones who usually wind up in a ditch, embankment, or worse.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Ok that accounts for how many similar accidents?
            More weight the better chance of survival, the smart car proves that. Watch its videos, it hits a concrete wall and doesn’t distort, you wouldn’t die from being crushed externally, but rather force. Obviously anything hitting a solid wall would experience the same fate as a smart car driver, but it helps to show the more weight you have in an accident the better your going to be.
            It’s physics, not witchcraft.

            Btw Dante I do feel pretty safe on flooded roads…

            http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Stm6kyXmmsw
            (Not me)
            If it gets above the hood time to turn around before it reaches the snorkel.

            I don’t have mattracks so I can’t touch the snow one.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Lorenzo – – –

        Bingo! You said, “They’re (Pickup Trucks) basically the full size, RWD family sedans of the ’70s and ’80s, ….” (Hey, try the 50’s and 60’s!)

        I felt that for years. Having grown up in the 1950’s and 60’s with full-size, BOF, RWD cars, by the time we got into the 80’s and 90’s, I missed the “real” vehicles of that earlier era. And apparently so did America. The current full-size pickup truck, with 4 doors, fills that need (i.e, that market segment), — a real hunger in this country for a reliable, multipurpose “something” that wasn’t over-engineered, over-priced, over-fragile, — and is NOT dinky or wimpy.

        And it applies to women often as much as men. I know a bunch of gals who love their pickup trucks!

        ————-

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          “a real hunger in this country for a reliable, multipurpose “something” that wasn’t over-engineered, over-priced, over-fragile, — and is NOT dinky or wimpy.”

          I agree, but want to point out to any auto execs that may notice, there still is a desire of this, so if you could stop turning trucks into exactly the opposite of what he said, it would be appreciated.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Bingo! My ’02 Dakota Quad Cab is perfect sized… that’s why I bought and still drive it today. Everything else is too darn big. Imagine what mileage an aluminum, Ecoboost powered Ranger would make? Sure there a few people who need BIG, heavy duty trucks, but most (>80%) people don’t. Given how much people think bigger = better I don’t see smaller trucks making a come back any time soon even with $4 a gallon gas.

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    It would be interesting to know how much Ford is spending on DC lobbyists in comparison to other manufactures. Would that be “public record” stuff?

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      If the truck gets the mileage gains that it is touted to, then what would they be spending it on…trying to keep the regulations from being rolled back? Tighter regs?

  • avatar
    LALoser

    I thought aluminum would be a tough sell. It is an improvement that looks no different than steel. It looks the same, feels the same, etc. Selling an improved interior, faster engine, better brakes, etc is an experience. Once the MPG drop to a certain range, I think the selling point between X marque and Y marque become blurred.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      LALoser – – –

      Do you actually mean, “Once the MPG rise to a certain range, …”?

      ————–

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Ford is the opposite of Honda in so many ways.

        Honda implements elegant, cost effective solutions in order to achieve their goals, with reliability baked in, testing the end product to ensure the end user benefits.

        Ford implements absurd complexity & non-cost effective designs & crosses their fingers, hoping for the best, and basically wishing best luck to their customers (especially early adopters).

        • 0 avatar

          DW, I respect your opinions and knowledge of cars, but believing that Ford crosses its fingers and hopes for the best is an oversimplification that is removed from reality.

          The opposite argument could be made, you know, Ford pushes the envelope while Honda relies on decades old tech.

          Nothing in the world is so black and white.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            The other way to express what I did above is that Honda is far less likely to sell unreliable, unproven technology/components to their customers, statistically speaking, than Ford is apt to do.

            The factual, historical record supports this statement as being rooted in provable fact, no (especially as of late, where Ford is scraping the bottom of CR’s reliability index, with unreliable transmissions, cooling systems, and especially, motors – having one of their ecoboost motors rated as “worse than average” in terms of reliability, and every other ecoboost motor being rated as “much worse than average” in terms of reliability).

          • 0 avatar

            DW, your first paragraph is a good point and probably true.

            The second one could be the so called teething problems. I don’t believe Ford didn’t test it out to the most stringent standards. If the real world results don’t reflect the testing, than it’s a shame, but I can hardly believe it’s a malicious action by the company.

            Where’s tresmonos when we need him? He could shed some light if he felt so inclined I believe.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I think “teething problems” is just another expression for lack of a high level of quality control and appropriate product development, and is a phrase that’s bandied about frequently to soft pedal poor quality, especially by apologists for particular manufacturers/makes of vehicles (not that I’m casting you in this category of people).

            Honda vehicles certainly seem to have a mere fraction of the teething problems that Ford vehicles do.

          • 0 avatar

            Again DW, great point. Try as I did to avoid the expression , my vocab came up short.

            Let me fill you in on a little secret in the business. Do you know which companies have the most Euro Car of the Year Awards? Irrespective of what you think of them, but bare with me.

            It’s not Wolkswagen, the Toyota-Honda of Europe. Rather it’s Fiat and the various French bands. WHy is that? VW, being the market leader, rarely if ever develops anything by it’s ownsome. When push comes to shove, they usally buy someone out in order to access the technology. They did to Audi to access water cooling and FWD tech for example. Just to stay in the VW group, why do you think Audi developed Quattro tech?

            Those that come from behind must develop new things. Those on top, don’t. Maybe that explains the oh so slow development of American cars. Maybe that explains why Honda was so innovative in the past (playing catch up to Toyota and Nissan). Once you’re the leader, you let others do it, cause others will do it in order to progress, and you as leader can sit back and see what proves itself and what doesn’t

            Ford is playing catch up in cars to the Japanese in America and also in Europe to VW. They do and will continue to do so. If the EcoBoost proves a gem, they’ll reap the rewards. If a bust, they’ll have to try again. Toyota and Honda can afford to sit back and relax. Ford can’t.

          • 0 avatar
            Grumpy

            Consumers Report is rather black and white on the reliability spread between Ford and Honda products

        • 0 avatar
          alsorl

          Yes the Honda Fit such an elegant vehicle. Its so loud driving down the road its probably quieter with the windows down. And it looks like some Japanese high school kids designed the dash. My 1987 Ford escort drove better and that was a POS.

        • 0 avatar
          tobaboy

          I get that you’re not a Ford Fan, and Honda does have a reputation as being reliable, it is very interesting to note that Honda was #2 as a manufacturer in recalls on vehicles….. just sayin

  • avatar
    Omnifan

    Also need to consider theft of the truck itself. Scrap aluminum fetches more than scrap steel. Important when you live in the scrappers paradise known as Detroit.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    Umm, well no one is sure if they have gained an advantage since it isn’t on sale yet. I think the dividends here will be down the line though so long as there are not huge quality issues. Think about it, if Ford can successfully manufacture an aluminum vehicle on the scale of the F-150 line then you can bank on other models moving over.

    Anyway, this piece reads as if it was written by a Steel industry insider with helpful input from General Motors. If the F150 is a good truck without significant quality control issues, then this is a huge win. If your company’s strategy relies on lobbying for a rollback of fuel economy regulations then I certainly don’t want to own your products, be it a vehicle or your company’s stock.

    And what about perception? If Chrysler and GM are seen to be lobbying to relax fuel economy regs and Ford is not then once again it just looks like the old, bailed out companies can’t compete yet again. At least RAM is playing the game with the small diesel and the transmissions. So lets recap:

    Ram – probably the nicest truck, small Diesel, best infotainment (and I prefer Fords)

    Ford – Technologicaly advanced trucks – Aluminum body, turbocharged motors (for better or worse, but they are popular and will continue to improve)

    GM – well, I like the LS/LT motors.

    • 0 avatar
      Dimwit

      It’s pure FUD.

      “We reworked our complete line, ALL NEW, ALL GOOD!, and no one noticed. The marketplace perceived it as a refresh, and thinks they are a stiff. Now our competitor, the market leader, is going to release a new lineup that innovates. We have no response for at least 2 years. Quick, tell everyone it’s a mistake and it will be trouble!”

      Right GM. It’ll be entertaining to hear their excuses when they go to release their own all aluminum version. And you know that it will be completely different from Ford’s.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @mkirk – I have to agree. Asking a representative from a steel company to give an opinion on aluminum is odd especially if one expects an unbiased opinion.
      I googled his company and this is on the front page;
      “NanoSteel is a leader in nano-structured steel materials design, bringing unprecedented performance to the world’s most trusted material”.

      Using GMC to tout steel is very misleading since the GMC siblings were already considerably lighter than the F150 to begin with.

      GMC announcing an aluminum next gen truck makes it sound like GMC is playing catch up or jumping on the bandwagon. I read GMC was looking at aluminum around 2008. The “great recession” and bankruptcy would of killed an aluminum truck from GMC.

      David Cole is giving consumers too much credit when he says; “‘What is it going to save me vs. what’s it going to cost me?”

      Most won’t understand and many will buy into whatever PR is crammed down their throats.

      An aluminum truck will cost more but GMC increased the price of their 2014 trucks and there is jack $h!t that stands out about them.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Agreed.

      Too much thinking about what-ifs, when the truck isn’t even for sale yet, and many other factors affect its success besides the use of aluminum or steel.

      I remember this discussion in the 1970s and 80s as mfrs used more plastics everywhere, and used more aluminum in engines and suspensions. All I know is that making trucks heavier isn’t going to help anyone’s CAFE numbers, so I think the trend toward lightening is going to continue.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Just a thought that you gave me….

        How much to turbos weigh, associate plumbing, as well as strengthened components?
        Diesels certainly aren’t light, and a aluminum diesel would be hard to perfect that could take abuse when cold.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    As long as American pick-up buyers demand trucks with “f*** the wind” aerodynamics, there is going to be a limit in fuel economy gain even if the truck is made out of unobtainium.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      This is a true statement. I suppose the 97ish F-150 was the pinnacle of truck aerodynamics.

    • 0 avatar
      hgrunt

      Good aerodynamics isn’t necessarily a function of how a car looks, just how air is managed around it. There’s no denying an american pickup has a front area of a duplex, but clever airflow management tricks like active grill shutters, under-body optimization and even how the wheels are styled, can all increase highway

      However, once the bed’s loaded or a trailer is hitched, it comes down to the engine to save fuel.

      • 0 avatar

        > Good aerodynamics isn’t necessarily a function of how a car looks, just how air is managed around it.

        Aero drag is function of frontal area vs. coeff of drag. A big boxy design implies doing poorly in both.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          The main reason why trucks are getting lighter is because they don’t want to deal with trying to meet tighter CAFE rules associated with a smaller truck. If they keep the footprint the same but make it lighter, it is a win win for the auto companies.
          There are rumours that reg cab full sized pickups may die, especially short box reg cabs because they will have to meet smaller footprint emissions and MPG regs.

          It is telling that Toyota will no longer offer regular cab Tacoma’s and the new Colorado/Canyon siblings will not be available with a regular cab.

          Margins are very low on regular cab trucks coupled with the added expense and low sales volumes means it is more prudent not to make them.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Lou_BC – Small truck OEMs got tired of taking a loss on regular cabs. And yeah, they sold a lot of them. Up to half of all mid-size truck sales had to be regular cabs.

            We’ll see how much Tacoma sales drop, without a reg cab. Possibly similar to how Nissan Frontier sales absolutely tank’d when the King Cab became their base truck. The Nissan Hard Body was a top seller. But it’s just a ploy by mid-size truck OEMs to repel fleet, cheapskates and other bottom feeders.

            Damn’d if they do, damn’d if…

            With the Colorado/Canyon hitting the market (also without a reg cab), the Tacoma will be lucky to see 1/2 of current sales volume.

            The CAFE schedule should have been no problem for regular cab small trucks, technically. But there’s not much money generated by midsizers to justify huge investment in new tech. Possibly, negative cash flow on reg cabs. More reason for them to be killed off, ASAP. The high end mid-size trucks would have to subsidize and surrender what little profits the do have.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Denvermike -show me the statistics that prove your claim that there were large numbers of regular cab small trucks sold.

            Small regular cab base model trucks are a very small part of Tacoma sales.

            I’m not going to waste my time proving you wrong since you come up with lame assed excuses each time I post evidence.

            Prove it.

            Put up or ……….. you know the rest.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Lou_BC – One would have to turn a blind eye to the ‘only’ small trucks fleet customers are interested in. Orkin alone accounted for more than 1 in every 100 Tacoma sold last year. Almost two. That’s just ONE company in ONE industry… Never mind all the private, noncommercial cheapskates and other bottom feeders not interested in multi-cab small trucks. Totally defeats the purpose.

            The regular cab small truck is also the target of budget minded commuters, looking for fuel economy and the cheapest new vehicle around, car or truck, not counting subcompacts. That just leaves the Tacoma and the Tacoma. There’s no doubt, Toyota is taking a loss on it.

            The deal and unbeatable value of regular cab Tacoma strippers are almost too good to be true. I’d say get one while you can. Absolutely, it must die… I can’t be the only one that sees it.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @DiM – where is your proof? Fabrications based on what you see out the window of your truck means jack sh!t.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Lou_BC

            >…fabrications based on what you see out the window…

            I could say the same to you, but at least I have logic on my side. Except for visits to Disneyland, you’re not even in the US to see it for yourself… Canada’s irrelevant as the regular cab Taco was dropped years ago from the Great White.

            Never mind all the private cheapskates and bottom feeders for a minute, Orkin alone buys 2,000 Tacomas annually. OK, try to keep up here… That’s what % of 160,000 approx Tacoma sales last year? Now multiply that by thousands of companies and small business, buying between 1 and several hundred Tacomas in a single transaction. A large portion of which don’t even get recorded as “Fleet Sales”. Toyota’s requirements for what qualifies a buyer as a “Fleet Customer” are about the toughest in the industry. That doesn’t mean commercial buyers buy elsewhere just because a sale gets recorded as “Retail”.

            Now next year, as Tacoma sales tank, that % will become much bigger as companies like Orkin are still under contract to buy Tacomas even when the Colorado/Canyon hit the market. Next year we’ll have the discussion on how extended cab (King Cab also) mid-sizers are the majority of that market. Probably 90%.

            freep.com/article/20120926/BUSINESS01/309260035/Orkin-turns-to-Toyota-Tacoma-to-fill-out-pest-control-fleets

            tundraheadquarters.com/blog/fleet-sales-versus-retail-sales-trucks/

            fleet.toyota.com/support/how_to_customer.asp

            fleet.ford.com/get-started/eligibility-documentation/

            Now back to those private, noncommercial cheapskates and other rebate demanding bottom feeders…

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @DiM – not one of your links provides a number.

            ZERO

            The Orkin link requires a paid subscription to read the rest of the information.

            It said Orkin has 5,000 trucks and annual purchases up to 2,000. (“Up to” does not mean 2K per year).

            Vague.

            Also 2 years old…..

            In 2012 Toyota sold a grand total of 140,490 pickups of which 7,013 went to registered fleets. That is under 5%.

            Even if you added an extra 2K to that number it still is low = 6.5 %.

            You haven’t proven a single thing.

            BTW….. the internet is not country specific.

            I’m using USA stats.

            “And yeah, they sold a lot of them. Up to half of all mid-size truck sales had to be regular cabs”

            1/2 is 50%.

            You either do not know simple math or a full of bullsh!t.

            Full = 100%

            I’d say another “50% assed” attempt.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Lou_BC – Not one of your links provides a ‘number’ either. Oh, what links?? But small truck OEMs don’t give out the number anyways. I know I’ve seen the ratio of cabs (reg/extended/crew) from one full-size OEM or the other, but mid-size truck OEMs will never tell. That doesn’t mean we can’t do the math for them. It must be embarrassing for them no doubt! But we’ll know soon enough as mid-size truck (OEMs) force buyers away for lack of regular cabs. Nissan forced buyers to other brands when they cancelled the regular cab Frontier. Sales took a complete nose dive at that point. And I don’t have to remind you how Toyota can hardly give Tacomas away in Canada, now that the regular cab has been gone for years up there.

            But you forget that Orkin, although the biggest private Tacoma buyer, is but a small player in the grand scheme of fleet, cheapskate and other regular cab demanding bottom feeders.

            And it’s near impossible for small business and mom & pop operators to qualify as Toyota “Fleet Customers”. These are the backbone of the US economy. But they must still maintain at least 10 commercial vehicles (currently) not counting personal vehicles, or they get shuffled off to Retail Sales. They may still qualify for sizable discounts and rebates, but sale of the regular cab stripper still gets recorded as “Retail”.

            Get informed or keep looking foolish. Your choice.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @DiM – how do you keep your businesses running when you are incapable of simple math.

            Statistics from PUTC (I’ve posted the links before multiple times) state that in 2012 there were 140,490 Tacoma pickups sold of which 7,013 went to fleets.

            How hard is that to comprehend.

            More numbers – again from PUTC:
            Tacoma
            crewcab………5486 = 62%
            Ext. cab……..1953 = 22%
            Reg cab ……..1199 = 13%
            not listed …..284 = 3%

            Registered fleets account for 5% of Tacoma sales.
            Reg cab (all trims) account for 13% of listed vehicles.

            I’m still waiting for you to provide evidence of that 50% number.

            The only 50% number you have provided is in relation to your buttocks or more simply put………….. 1/2 assed.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Lou_BC – You’ve never posted that so called link, and I’ve asked you repeatedly. Imaginary! You’re simply pulling #’s out of your arse. So I’ll ask once again. Where is it? You must be referencing something right in front of you, so if it really exists, let’s see it already…

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Getting DiMMer,
            Lou has on many occasions caught you out with that lame assed comment.

            Why don’t you start providing data and links so we can verify your comment.

            This would a great idea, especially if you want to improve you credibility or lack of.

            You have stated you now run a fleet of trucks. Only 6 months ago you ran a tow truck company with two tow trucks.

            6 months prior to that you had 2 new F-650 powered by gas.

            6 months prior to that you had 1 F-150 that you used for you heavy charity workload and a diesel F-650.

            6 months prior to that you owned two F-150 and wanted to start a F Series pickup dealer network in Spain where you stated there was a big market for pickups after you went over there 36 times! ;)

            Prior to that you stated M Series BMW’s were created to counter Ford Mustangs.

            I can keep on going on.

            So, as you can see you come out with some real bull$hit. And you never can substantiate your comments.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAF0 – Lou can’t even furnish the (imaginary) link that’s right in front of him.

            Then you’re so out of usable facts, you start with the personal attacks. But you know more about me than my pastor. And you’ve managed to twist everything I’ve said about my personal setting, but whatever. This isn’t about me. I guess.

            I’ve proven my stance with concise facts and links, so what does SPaM (Small Pickup Mafia) have? As always, jacksh!t!!!

          • 0 avatar
            Les

            ” …cheapskates and other bottom feeders.”

            @DenverMike

            As someone who is interested in small regular-cab pickups I’m wondering, is there any particular reason why you deliberately choose such inflammatory and demeaning language? Did someone in a single-cab Ranger run over your dog?

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Les I’m not sure where you get the impression I’m not a fan of smaller trucks. I’ve owned more small trucks than big ones, but it’s the endless trolling by SPaM, exaggerating the virtues of small trucks and how they’re such the victims of so called “protectionism” or everyone would own one. And all the alleged government conspiracies that artificially keep sales of full-size trucks so strong. Other than that, what are you talking about?

        • 0 avatar
          daver277

          Driving in the middle lane going the same speed as the traffic around you reduces drag a great deal.
          Going slightly slower (we live in an everyone for themselves, f** the others society after all) delivers much, much better fuel economy.

  • avatar
    James2

    I’m presuming Ford looked at every material available to them, lightweight steels included. It seems to me they made a decision not just for 2015 but for the long-term future.

    • 0 avatar
      hgrunt

      It looks like a wise long term move to me–It also nets them manufacturing and R&D experience to scale it out across more models in the future, should they choose to keep moving ahead with it.

      • 0 avatar

        > It looks like a wise long term move to me–It also nets them manufacturing and R&D experience to scale it out across more models in the future

        Yes, apparently according to actual study (linked below) the entire cycle (esp recycling the alum) needs to be implemented to maximize effectiveness. This implies scale

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    People might not realise this, but the current Ranger/BT50 are largely built using light gauge high tensile steel for weight reduction.

    I do see a large market for full size pickups in the US and even Canada, but I do think this reliance on the one vehicle isn’t the answer.

    The Ranger is currently Ford’s and possible the world’s best pickup.

    Maybe Ford, GM should lobby the government to remove CAFE and use better methods to ‘encourage’ a cultural shift in vehicle expectations for the US vehicle market. The reason I didn’t mention Fiat-Chrysler is they don’t make a midsizer. But they could adopt the Rampage concept to base a future midsizer on.

    Increasing and change a few of the technical trade barriers and tariffs will offer the best opportunity for the Big 2 plus Fiat to provide pickups with far superior FE like we have.

    These trucks are as capable as most full size trucks and are superior off roading.

    I do know that the actual function of a US half ton pickup and a global pickup varies marginally.

    I think the US should keep full size trucks, whether aluminium or not, remove the chicken tax and allow other foreign entrants into the market. Then re-regulate the EPA and CAFE standards to harmonise with the rest of the world.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      I think ironically that Chrysler has the only means to profitably sell a small/midsize truck in the current US market (other than the current Toyota/Nissan method of keeping the same model around for a decade or so). Badge it as a Jeep (maybe even on the Wrangler platform). People pay more for Jeeps which is why the Durango is not long for this world.

      And we already have Foreign branded full-size trucks here, they just aren’t particularly competitive, at least sales wise. I do wish we got the Ranger though. I’ll agree on that.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @mkirk
        The US isn’t the world, even the US’es World Series sports isn’t the world.

        There is a huge market already for a vehicle of this type outside of the US. It would possibly could be on of the largest seller if Fiat-Chrysler would manufacure a mid sizer.

        Fiat has the engines, design already for an attractive and very marketable vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          mkirk

          You are correct, but for these vehicles to be successful requires a fundamental shift in American Culture..a shift that not even the reality of 4 dollar a gallon gas could bring on. The midsize GM trucks will be the barometer. Plus I think we are due a new Frontier (or overdue) in 2016 or so. There is talk of a small Cummins in that particular truck but all things equal, Americans will buy the bigger truck.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @mkirk
            I haven’t stated the larger pickups will not sell. I do wish people would stop with that kind of crap remark.

            The reality is full size trucks are advantaged in the US and the mid sizer market is much larger than most will give it credit for.

            The other assumption people make is midsizers will canabalise full size sales. I don’t think this will be so. I think many midsize sales will come from SUVs, CUVs. Some full size sales will drop off to midsizers.

            Vehicle culture is primarily driven by economics and regulation in the US.

            If these new aluminnium GM’s and Ford’s are to expensive I do believe the Colorado will be given more serious consideration.

            The only other outcome I forsee is the Euro style commercial vehicles will eventually dominate the US market and full size trucks will become just SUVs. Oh, when I mention full size I’m describing a full size 1/2 ton.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @mkirk
            The culture will not change in the US if more people start buying midsize pickups.

            Did the US culture change on those road barges were taken off of your roads? No.

            I do think it’s quite narrow minded to make statements like it’s the US culture. You are overstating a situation. Why?

            Buying a larger or smaller pickup isn’t a cultural change. Everyone in the US converting to Islam would be a cultural change.

            You would then state utes are a part of Australian culture. They’ve changed.

        • 0 avatar
          daver277

          Agreed.
          If Fiat brought over their fwd pickup with 3 pedals and their sweetheart diesel, it would get about the same FE as a Prius.

    • 0 avatar
      Onus

      Harmonization is the key. It would allow companies to sell more models here with little worry if they only sell 10,000 since the exact same vehicle will be sold in the rest of the world.

      I am crossing my fingers on TAFTA and hope it results in at least mutual recognition.

      Since Canada pulled it off, or will be, the us is pretty much guaranteed to do the same. Plus it appears automakers, and legislators are behind it as well.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        Not entirely. We already get the Frontier the rest of the world gets. The Tacoma and Hi-Lux are more alike than different. What separates the global models is the power train choices. It’s just like brown Eurowagons…We never get the good engines in the US. My old 80 series Land Cruiser was begging for a diesel. It got a single digit MPG gasser instead. I do like the VQ in my Frontier, but given the option of a more efficient Diesel I would have probably sprung for it provided it wasn’t like an 8000 dollar option or something stupid.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @mkirk
          The US does NOT receive the same pickups we do. Period.

          It’s a fallacy to make that statement.

          If the Tacoma and Frontier were in Australia they or are, referencing your comment they would be deemed (and are by some) almost agricultural.

          The Frontier and Taco don’t compare to a Amarok, Ranger, BT50, Colorado, Dmax, etc.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAF0 – The Navara and Frontier are the same truck, but in OZ the Frontier would be deemed “agricultural”? The only difference is the gas engine, even though diesel fuel is lots more agricultural. So what makes the Tacoma so “agri”??

            What are other differences would confine Americanized pickups to the farm???

          • 0 avatar
            daver277

            Big Al:
            So the rest of the world actually gets honest work trucks and NA only gets poser versions?

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @daver277
            The reality is most US half ton pickups are SUVs and only work at Lowes or Home Depot to bring home some fertilizer once a year.

            Most don’t tow.

            I have been told that the 8’x4′ pickup bed is used so a sheet of ply can be thrown in the back. Most beds I see are only 6′ long behind a fancy pickup. I have yet to see a sheet of ply in the back of a US pickup.

            I’m not in no way saying no pickups are used for work. But most I see are mid to highend versions and dual cabs at that.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Is Canada really a good example of free trade agreements? they are losing manufacturing plants at a fairly quick rate.
        If anything Canada is a good reason to keep FTA off the table… For now.
        We have cheaper vehicles and a much larger auto manufacturing sector, its win win for us.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @Hummer – who profits from past FTA’s? The USA auto companies. THEY lobbied against Canada forming FTA’s with other countries.

          THE USA car companies want FTA’s with the EU but not Japan?
          WHY??
          Manufacturing has declined for several reasons:
          1. automation (robots don’t get stoned on their lunch breaks and don’t cost a fortune once retired)
          2. offshoring inflation.

          Are you willing to pay double for your product by excluding all competition, reducing automation AND decreased reliability?

          It is too bad that the manufacturing sector in Ontario Canada has taken a huge hit.

          My area (Northern BC) is heavily dependant on Lumber sales. The USA used to be our largest market. USA Protectionism forced Canadian companies to look for markets elsewhere.
          We now export more lumber to Asian markets than the USA.
          We were hit by the USA housing market collapse but it was minor compared too past bust cycles. (and this downturn was one of the worst post great depression).

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Big Al from Oz – brace for an onslaught from the usual suspects ;)

      Ford wants a FTA with the EU that covers emissions and safety standards. If reciprocity is obtained, I am sure we will see the Ranger and even the Amarok stateside. The EU would gain more exposure to the Mustang in exchange.

      It is not financial feasible to build a factory for the USA market but it is feasible to import to fill a smaller niche market.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @BAF0 – The sky’s not falling, Chicken Little… Full-size trucks are progressing in a manner to take away a bigger market share from other vehicles, not just mid-size trucks. There’s nothing new or innovative in the pipeline for mid-size trucks, regardless of what part of the globe they may be from. Irrelevant if anything.

      Dropping all tariffs and harmonizing regulations could bring some new mid-size global truck choices to the American market, but I wouldn’t expect much. It’s the American fleet and other cheapskate consumers that keeps the global truck OEMs away. And that sent former small truck makers packing. Mitsu, Mazda, Isuzu, Subaru, VW…

      Picture worldwide, 100% free trade… Would Americans suddenly start demanding and buying up Peugeots, Renaults, Fiats, Citroens, Daihatsu, Tatas, Ladas, etc, in big numbers? In small measurable numbers?

      No, the American market is very close to where it would be naturally, if there were zero tariffs and regulatory differences. In fact, the American market is the friendliest to foreign OEMs, of all meaningful markets.

      That doesn’t mean all the world’s automotive OEMs are dying to come here. Not even close. Nor are they wanting to bring all their regional (world) cars here, if they already sell here.

      But it’s pretty far fetched (even for you…) to believe vans, Euro or otherwise, could ever replace full-size pickups in any kind of meaningful way. 1st vans would have to make a comeback as far as a lifestyle (molester/custom/surfer) choice goes.

      Imagine replacing your luxury BT50GT Mazda crew cab pickup with a cheesy, 2wd smaller panel van… FREE candy???

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @DiM
        Did someone flush the toilet? I’m hearing background noise.

        You have a fear of the US market not being competitive enough to manage FTA’s with other countries.

        DiM, I’ll put it in simple terms so your single brain cell doesn’t glow to hot.

        If, like you state the US only wants full size trucks, then why your constant comments regarding the Chicken Tax and technical barriers preventing a decent and competitive pickup market in the US not being true?

        You have been known to pass comments on how free the US is. Then as a freedom loving American, why don’t you have faith in the full size truck market.

        If you didn’t trust your full size truck market, I would expect you to support the retention of the Chicken Tax and technical protectionist barriers. Or make a comment on how the midsizers don’t threaten the full size trucks.

        What is your stance. Do you consider the lighter midsize pickups a threat to the US market if the chicken tax and technical barriers were removed?

        If you state yes then you past comments are null and void.

        If you state no, then this does highlight the fact that you do fear full size US pickups being exposed to another competitive product.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Why does it matter if the US market is competitive for say Europe? We have different laws, regulations, needs, wants, environments, etc.

          By keeping to ourselves we end up having a market that somewhat caters to us, one of the few that does. It’s not like the market is monopolized and we get only one poorly built brand that we must buy. Any manufacturer can come here, but they have to be competitive. Kia, Toyota, and BMW are great examples, they have offered products we wanted and they were rewarded, Suzuki, daihtsu (sp), and rover? Not so much.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          @BAF0 – Global small trucks would be somewhat or marginally competitive, but you said it yourself, they’d mostly cannibalize and compete with mid-size SUVs/CUVs.

          Your biggest sellers in OZ would conflict with cars, trucks, and SUVs/CUVs sold in America. The Navara vs the Frontier. The Hilux vs the Tacoma. Mitsubishi truck vs Mitsu cars/SUVs/CUVs. VW truck vs VW cars/SUV/CUVs. Isuzu vs GM cars/SUVs/CUVs. Ranger vs Ford/Mazda cars/SUVs/CUVs.

          The rest of the field are crude disposable trucks that are a joke.
          We don’t want them and their OEMs don’t want to sell in America.

          But in case you haven’t noticed, you’re missing several classes of pickups, above small trucks, up to heavy duty, medium duty. You say you don’t need them, well I guess we don’t either. But our love for them is not a congressional act.

          But you forget we’ve had a small truck craze, at cut-rate pricing, mind you. But we’ve also had a custom/molester/surfer van craze. Been there, move on…

          And you forget full-size truck sales hardly dipped, even at the height of the mini-truck craze/fad/invasion.

          Why even compare the two? And why would full-size truck OEMs be shaking in there boots???

          Point is, mid-size trucks are getting further marginalized by full size trucks. They’re not competing for the same customers necessarily, but you can’t help comparing the poor value prospect of midsizers, vs anything else on the market. And the relative poor mpg of mid-size trucks. Not counting base stripper, regular cabs, of course (while they last!).

          Mid-sizers, including global trucks like the Colorado/Canyon have nothing new to offer consumers. Same old, same old. We’re not interested for the most part. It’s a dying segment for a reason.

          The Chicken tax wouldn’t stand in the way of any truck we really want. And a truck that offshore OEMs would want to provide. They have to consider the Nissan Frontier and how they could possibly do better. They can’t. So why even bother?

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Hummer
            A unique American vehicle market requires unique regulations???

            WTF? That is lame.

            So you are stating the US market is unique because of the protectionism offered to full size pickup??

            So then, if as you state the US market is that unique, why does regulations need to change? To protect its uniqueness??

            Then the protectionist regulatory influence for large pickups is WHAT is making your market unique.

            You seem to be like a DiM;)

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAF0 – What exactly are full-size trucks, like the Titan and Tundra, “protected” from? Is there an Audi, BMW, Hyundai, Kia or other 1/2 ton pickup we don’t know about? What about that dually crew cab Mini???

  • avatar
    Dan

    200 pounds saved with aluminum is going to pay off in lighter and cheaper suspension parts? That’s less than 3.0% of GVWR.

    It’s going to pay for itself at the scrap yard? Yeah, 15 years and 4 owners later at 50c / lb instead of 30.

    There’s some serious shilling going on here.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Dan – Ford has been accused of magic spring dust when it comes to its tow/haul ratings. The 2015 F150 is supposed to comply with SAE J2807 Tow Ratings. All of the car companies have refused to sign on to the agreement and all have said “next model will comply”.
      If Ford drops 700 lb over the past model they should have an easy time maintaining existing ratings under J2807.

  • avatar
    Loser

    IMHO sales will not change much. A lot of folks are stuck in the past thinking that aluminum is too weak for a truck. Also a big price increase (like the GM trucks) will be another obstacle to good sales. I would not be shocked if the new Ford actually helps Dodge sell more trucks to those afraid of the aluminum. We’ll see.

    I’m a current Ford truck owner, have owned Toyota and GMC trucks in the past but if I needed a new truck right now I’d most likely go with a Dodge.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      Or they’ll buy an F-250. Is Ford going to sell the current F-150 alongside the new one as they have done the past few models with the “heritage” editions? That may help too.

  • avatar

    Would it really be too much of a bother for Wards or TTAC to do some reasoning rather than quote Nano*Steel* execs?

    F150 saves 700lb over conventional steel w/ alum.
    Silverado saves 350 over conventional steel w/ “advanced” steel.

    Does anyone actually know the price diffs between the 3 to figure if it’s “worth it”?

  • avatar
    canddmeyer

    Ford hit a home run with the 2015 F150 in my opinion. The only question is the durability of the components, and if Ford uses the right mix of alloys, it’ll be a winner. That’ll be known within the first few months. While initial costs may be higher, down the road as vehicles are recycled the costs will be contained as materials are reused. The only thing I’ll miss is the loss of the 6.2 motor.

  • avatar
    Onus

    I welcome my Aluminum non rusting truck.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      Now that does bring up an interesting aspect. Yes, I know, frames and what not can still rust, but if I were to move back to the rust belt the thought of a truck that wasn’t bubbling at the rear wheel arches before the last payment was sent would be something to consider.

      • 0 avatar
        Onus

        Frames can rust. But, even on my 24 year old truck driven in the winters its whole life the frame is clean. Body not so much. The frames usually don’t rust more than surface unless your plowing.

        The plow truck / parts truck i have not quite but that thing ate some serious road salt. I have never seen a frame like that. Then again most plow truck have scary frames even newer trucks look horrible after a few years.

  • avatar

    A 2007 paper which does some simple figuring. Assuming retained value of the alum and whatnot (ie resale/depreciation), alum can potentially pay for itself reasonably quick even with the $2.50 gas back then.

    http://www.phinix.net/services/Carbon_Management/Life-cycle_Cost_Analysis.pdf

  • avatar
    TW5

    Automotive technology is an interesting subject, but the new aluminum trucks seem like a waste of time and resources. How can I get 23mpg combined in my skyjacked living room? Finding an answer to this question doesn’t strike me as an activity with great promise for humanity.

    Lack of economic value is reason enough to make analysts pause. They were proven right about VW’s implementation strategy for MQB.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    So because its 700 lbs cheaper they find it necessary to cheapen the running gear? Great now the average ford ballpoint will go from 60k miles to every other oil change.

  • avatar
    wmba

    “Part of the concern comes from recent advances in steel, with high strength steel seeing widespread use in the industry, …”

    High strength steel has the same stiffness as regular steel, which everyone except structural engineers seems to forget. Using high strength steel in a car body does not increase its stiffness.

    What high strength steel DOES exhibit is the ability to deform more without yielding than regular steel. It thus can absorb more energy in a crash without tearing apart. Look at all those cutaways of car bodies, and the high strength steel is used in strategic places in the crash structure, not to make the body more rigid.

    In fact, using thinner sections of high strength steel will make things less rigid than before, from a normal driver’s point-of-view.

    Since I highly doubt these industry watchers have any clue at all about Young’s modulus, I would be wary if their pontifications about aluminum.

    Just google: stiffness high strength steel versus regular steel, and you’ll see what I mean.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Honestly, *I* never see much competition in truck sales. Even among fleets, what I see are people that are firmly entrenched in the Chrysler, Ford or GM (or Toyota or Nissan) camp, and will buy that company’s trucks no matter how it objectively stacks up against the other trucks on the market.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      The way trucks are headed now, that may change, it may be the manufacturer that offers the cheapest trucks at this rate, full sizes are starting to get out of hand in price.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      Fleets are a different beast from on the lot sales. Most fleet sales are based on fuel economy, weight capacity, & a handful of other statistics (if they have to tow equipment or not) and really if their particular modifier supports them which is one of the biggest issues when you’re not a mecha-corp but you run a fleet. I would actually be intrigued to see what the modified truck market seems to prefer for conversion units and I am guessing at the end of the day it’s what sells more often than not.

      As for individuals I think you’re right with it becoming a value judgment and not a logical approach to maximizing values.

  • avatar
    seanx37

    This may sound dumb, but how much more will insurance be for the new Ford? The new aluminum truck has to be drastically more expensive to repair. That could have a serious effect on sales.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I doubt there will be any significant difference. Aluminum Jaguars are no more expensive to insure than an equivalent steel Mercedes. My aluminum bodied Range Rover costs exactly the same to insure as the steel Jeep Grand Cherokee it replaced – and it is WILDLY more expensive to fix in every possible way than that Jeep. Ultimately, they may be bit easier to total, but I WANT my vehicle written off for anything more major than a minor fender-bender anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      It has been reported that insurance costs will be 10% higher for the aluminum F150.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      This is a big TTAC thing….If Doctor Olds can come up with a validated statement I would love to hear it. If body panels are aluminum it will be harder to get out basic dents and scratches per se but this is where just having another panel already stamped and ready to go pans out.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        “The automaker estimates that insurance costs will jump 10 percent using the new material, but says that
        buyers will likely accept that added cost…”

        Read more: http://wot.motortrend.com/1401_report_2015_ford_f_150_in_for_higher_insurance_rates_body_shop_costs.html#ixzz2wW7ETtfj

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Thank you, Dr. Olds. I appreciate that substantiation atleast. Overall though it seems to be an internal estimate with some other calculations. The fuel savings alone should amount to almost 400 dollars a year (assuming a 2 MPG increase and 3.25 fuel…). So it sounds like the insurance increase will still be a net gain for ownership.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Did anyone ask Ram what they were going to do???

    ———————

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @NMGOM – Ecodiesel

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Lou – – –

        Sorry, I meant with regard to aluminum bodywork..

        ———-

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @NMGOM – that is an interesting question and there are no rumours that I’ve heard. I suspect Ram will rely heavily on Iveco and/or VM Motori engines and drivetrains.

          The only thing keeping Fiat from replacing the I6 Cummins with one of their own is the fact that the Cummins engine is what saved Ram.

          • 0 avatar
            Les

            +1

            If only they’d thought to put small Cummins in other Rams (and maybe Jeeps) rather than try to justify the purchase of VM Motori.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            The small cummins was 5 liters, while that sounds like a blast for a half ton, the 3.0 was a better choice for efficiency.

            Unlike toyota and Nissan, Dodge already offers a strong engine with good fuel economy for those wanting more. The 5.7, and if fiat needs to step it up they can always throw the 6.4 into the half tons.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Les – Fiat already owned 1/2 of VM Motori. They purchased the other 1/2 from GMC.

            @Hummer – Ram was working with Cummins to put the 5.0 Cummins into their trucks but that deal fell apart most likely due to the takeover of Chrysler.
            It is interesting to note that Fred Diaz was Ram’s CEO and after he went to Nissan they are going to put that engine into the Titan.
            Diaz has an intimate knowledge of Ram and Nissan was going to use a Ram platform as a replacement for the current Titan.
            That knowledge would give Nissan an advantage when it comes to trying to jump ahead of Ram.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    A lighter truck should make less use of the turbo. The fuel economy improvement might be surprising.

    Ford was working with Toyota on a hybrid system tailored to trucks. That engagement was broken off but, at the time, Ford said they were proceeding independently. Weight matters less to a hybrid but it still matters. I wonder if Ford could manage to get adequate performance with a 4-cylinder hybrid setup.

  • avatar
    CapVandal

    I don’t see how a drop of over 10% of a vehicle’s weight can be written off as negligible. And it isn’t as if people would stop buying an extra 350 pounds of options if the trucks were heavier.

    As far as building em a little smaller — I had the misfortune of renting a mega Ram in an urban area and it was simply too big for me. Especially parking. So I would favor both using lighter materials and cut back a little on the size. But I’m not a customer, and if buyers just have to own big ones — I’m fine with it.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    Well I think everybody agrees but it must be said:

    No Republican is winning in 2016 without some massive gerry-mandering efforts to split electoral college votes or deny city dwellers a right to vote. So the odds of CAFE being lowered is unrealistic not to mention the reality of the political fallout with moderates. Only hardened conservatives are vehemently anti-environment or pro-business in the face of CAFE. When they were raised the general population seemed indifferent to the whining so lets just throw out the CAFE argument completely. If anything it may be pressed upwards if a much more progressive caucus is wins in 2020.

    As for aluminum, it’s a good approach, it’s probably one that will carry-over to more vehicles in Ford’s line up since they’re going heavily into the CUV/SUV field not with 9 Truck or CUV/SUV entries that all adds up. Pressing it into service on the heaviest models and then moving down as production kinks work out really helps solve a lot of high-engineering problems for atleast a decade. Chasing CAFE numbers with high-tech engines gets a bit of a breather with a chance to innovate by spreading the aluminum around and using it on the F-150 makes a great case for scale of production so that expanding it to each line is less costly and difficult.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      There’s nothing “anti-environmental” about wanting to get rid of CAFE, CAFE is no longer chasing big polluters, but rather chasing small problems that cost more and benefit next to nothing.
      Seeing how well the current administration is doing, 2016 looks bright for actual wellness of our country, it couldn’t be worse if nothing else.

      DC is a great example of a liberal paradise, 7% are republicans, democrats run the city, I mean what could possibly be wrong?…. Oh wait.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Funny how people blame the crew of the boat when in actual fact the boat has a rotting hull that has been taking on water for decades. Bailing out the water only makes it sink faster.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      Technically at this point CAFE isn’t about polluting as you’re right our emissions are substantially lower but spending fewer petrol dollars is actually a good thing. CAFE isn’t killing anybody, in fact when the last rounds of CAFE went up the Big 3 freaked out and cried foul while Toyota & Honda joined in. It was the Koreans who simply went along that broke the back of their argument. CAFE standards are exceptionally easy to meet if we’re willing to accept slightly slower 0-60 speeds and other changes. But we’re digging in our heels and demanding the same effects using less which is possible but more difficult. But if we can use 10% less gasoline in 2025 than we did in 2005 we’re actually in better shape both economically (as more of our dollars go into home) and national security is enforced by actually not giving money to people who hate us (mainly the Middle-East).

      As for being anti-environmental, please, I would point out that Republicans are the ones trying to destroy the EPA and we have numerous cases now of fracking poisoning the local water supplies while that same party is looking the other way on the cost of clean up or seeking to use superfund money to cover the difference. It isn’t necessarily ‘anti-environmental’ but when almost all scientists who deal with the environment have been pushed into one party that statement becomes a reality.

      As for DC, it’s a major service town that has historically been a poverty-stricken zone because nobody with real economic impact wants to locate within the city’s borders. So you’re left with large legal firms, lobbyist groups, and a giant underclass of citizens. Please, you’re missing the relevancy within your own arguments.

      As for 2016, looks bright for what? I mean we’re actually out of the depression, jobs are picking up, ACA is enacted and actually covering individuals and conservative straw poll candidates appeal to basically the same white rural class they appealed to in 2008/12. Nothing has fundamentally changed to make conservatives more favorable and demographics are making it unrealistic for them to win with their current platform.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        Xeranar, if what you say is correct with regards to being out of the depression, employment improving and the ACA making 2016 look so bright, how do you explain the prospects for the President’s party in 2014. I know if I were a Democrat insider looking at polling data I would want to look past 2014 as well.

        Now yes, I realize this doesn’t mean squat for 2016, but still, to simply write off Republicans when the Democrats are staring at the real possibility of a loss of the Senate and no real prayer of taking the House back seems short sighted at best. I do wonder what will happen if these projections play out since, you know, Elections have Consequences.

        • 0 avatar
          Xeranar

          Oh please, in 2012 democrats won a majority of house votes but due to gerrymandering districts Republicans were able to hold on. Don’t confuse cheating the system with a mandate. As for 2014 poll numbers, most of the data still supports a slim margin. If it makes you feel better 2 more years of gridlock followed by a blow out in the senate will be hilarious as all those tea party senators eat it in 2016.

          Elections have consequences when the majoroty don’t vote so that we let the minority that is conservatives win. I think that’s qhat you actually meant.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            You do realize only 20% of registered voters are democrat no?
            40% repub and the rest independent

            Conservatives tend to be the ones to stay home, get them angry enough and it doesn’t take many independents to sway elections.

            I don’t think the tea party will have any trouble against the radical progressives in 2016.
            You can try and twist the movement all you want but you can’t honestly be ignorant enough to think its anything but grassroots.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Some of you just need to avoid these political “discussions” (if one can refer to factually inaccurate nonsense as being a “discussion”) altogether:

            “Registered Democrats still dominate the political playing field with more than 42 million voters, compared to 30 million Republicans and 24 million independents.”

            http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/politics/story/2011-12-22/voters-political-parties/52171688/1

  • avatar
    rpol35

    They gained a disadvantage in appearance, it’s as ugly as sin.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    DM–Maybe it is a good thing that pickup trucks become more expensive. The more expensive they become the less demand. Less demand means less cheapskates and less fleet sales. Making pickups more expensive will shift more buyers to less expensive and more efficient alternatives. Only those who want a high performance toy will buy the half ton full size pickups. Those who need a truck will skip the half ton toys and buy HD which are made to handle real work. Half ton crewcabs have become expensive sedans with a balcony. I think that 50k would be a good starting point at eliminating those cheapskates. Make the half tons out of aluminum and make them much more expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @Jeff S – We don’t know how much more aluminum trucks will cost, but it’ll likely be worth it. Besides big gains in mpg, payload, etc, longer life from weighing much less, rust won’t be causing an early grave. And much better resale, long term or short.

      I’m sure most will welcome aluminum trucks, if not, eagerly anticipate.

      Trucks are already crazy expensive in the down economy, but sales are still ever increasing. A few hundred more or even a couple thousand will hardly be felt. Never mind extended loan programs, into the 96 month range. I don’t recommend extra long loans, but with low enough interest and trucks that will certainly last decades beyond the loan, I say go for it!

      But 50K is still a little far fetched for most buyers, even before rebates.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @DiM
        Somehow your view of using aluminium to increase payload on a vehicle you describe as an on again/off again work vehicle is quite ludicrous.

        That extra 300lbs payload once a month will take many decades to pay off. Yet you will put down diesel.

        Commericial trucks will have a payback using aluminium, as most real trucks run 24/7.

        Aluminium pickups will rise in price by at least several thousands of dollars. Full size trucks will become $50+k SUVs.

        A highend diesel 4×4 Colorado will start looking viable at $35k. It will tow what most full size half ton trucks are used for. It will be as refined as a half ton pickup.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I don’t think 50k is that far fetched. When I was shopping for new vehicles 50k was the sticker price of many of the midsize and larger crossovers. Sure you can get a discount on many except maybe Toyotas and Hondas but a decently equipped vehicle was very much in the 35k to 50k range. A Buick Enclave and other similar vehicles were easily in the 40 to 50k range. It is becoming more typical to see 40k as a typical price for an average midsize to full size car, truck, or suv. Factory incentives and no or low interest loans for 60 or more months are enticements used to push the inventory. After buying a new vehicle for my wife this past summer I experienced this first hand. I have never bought a vehicle on credit up until last summer and then when I did not get an additional discount for paying cash I took the 60 month loan for 0.9% interest even though I had the cash.

    Trucks for the most part will become more expensive and not just because of the aluminum. If Ford raises their prices to reflect the additional price of aluminum then GM and Ram will raise their prices and then offer discounts and low interest rates instead of lowering the price. There is only so much discounting and financing that the manufacturers and dealers can use to move the metal when the price still becomes too high after all incentives. Many of these fleet buyers or cheapskates will search for alternatives to the full size half ton trucks. These half ton trucks will become less popular with the average consumer and with many fleet buyers. There will still be a market for these trucks but it will be less than it is now. If what you are saying is true that the truck market is losing money and does not want to sell to cheapskates then many will seek less costly alternatives in less expensive new vehicles or in the used market. The consumer always adjusts to the market and looks for alternatives when they feel the price of anything becomes higher than they are willing to pay. Demand is limited by price. At a certain price point demand will level off. This is not necessarily a bad thing because then competition will provide more affordable alternatives.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Jeff S – TTAC ran a story stating that most people cannot afford a 32K car with 20% down and 48 month amortization.

      Even PUTC ran a story saying GMC’s higher end trucks were selling well and lower end models weren’t. That is because most people who look at 50-60K trucks can afford them or afford the payments.

      The demographic that traditionally buys base model trucks can’t afford them. Corporations are nervous and are most likely staying away from large fleet purchases (another group who traditionally buys base models.)

      Truck prices will continue to rise and that will eventually push low end buyers out of the market. 50% of trucks are lifestyle (not for work) and it appears that trucks will become the domain of those with money or the ability to borrow money.

      We’ve already seen offerings of 100 month loans. Leases tend to be cheaper. I just saw a Ford add for a plan that involves continual serial short term leases for pickups.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @Lou_BC
        Full size pickups have become an American middle class status symbol. I think these aluminium trucks will start moving a little more up market for those who can afford them.

        Those little 2 litre Asian and Euro style vans that have the same payload as a half ton pickup are already becoming more attractive.

        TTAC ran an article a few weeks ago highlighting this.

  • avatar
    BillWilliam

    I miss my 1982 Ford F100, short-bed, stick shift…..Wimbledon White…..These new trucks are too big and look like cartoons….sad….As we say here on Cape Cod, these new trucks are for, “Captain Ride- Arounds”


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