By on October 24, 2012

In July, the good old boy contingent was horrified to hear that Ford would contemplate building Ford tough trucks from a material considered good enough for beer cans: Aluminum. Now, they will be absolutely terrified by the news that GM wants to build trucks from a material known to treat heartburn: Magnesium.

It’s all for putting trucks on a weight-loss diet in order to meet fuel economy requirements. Magnesium is 75 percent lighter than steel and 33 percent lighter than aluminum, GM engineer Paul Krajewski told Reuters. Magnesium also costs three to four times as much as aluminum.

The stiff space-age metal is a bitch to work with. Usually, magnesium parts are formed by high pressure die casting. GM developed a way to stamp parts from magnesium sheet metal. Still, the process is slow and complicated: The sheet metal must be heated to 842 degrees Fahrenheit before stamping.

By 2020, magnesium will be able to take out 15 percent of the weight of a vehicle, leading to fuel savings of 9 percent to 12 percent, Reuters says. GM is just at the beginning. It’s first use for stamped sheet metal magnesium is a rear deck lid inner panel. Weight savings: 2.2 pounds. And you need to be very lucky to get a  magnesium-enhanced truck. GM will make about 50 vehicles, which will be sold to consumers, using the magnesium sheet process in the fourth quarter, but nobody is telling which models will be graced with the space-age parts.

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89 Comments on “Do You Have The Stomach For Magnesium Trucks?...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Perfect spokesman… Larry the Cable Guy, right from Prilosec commercials to magnesium trucks!

  • avatar
    aristurtle

    Eeeew, technological advancement! Get it off me!

    • 0 avatar
      DinosaurWine

      You’re confusing genuine technological advancement with “technological advancement” made to satisfy legislation that some politican came with because he thought it would be popular with his constituency.

      There is no logical reason to use magnesium in automobile construction. Compared to steel, it’s extremely expensive and difficult to work with, not to mention flammable. Unfortunately, the government hath dictated that we want more fuel efficient cars so this is what we’re stuck with.

      It’s OK though, when an F150 costs $65,000 I can console myself with the fact that I could make up the increase in fuel savings in as few as 10 years.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        “It’s OK though, when an F150 costs $65,000 I can console myself with the fact that I could make up the increase in fuel savings in as few as 10 years.”

        The problem with that grand plan is that the turbo(s)…errrr eco-booster(s) that’s/that are helping the 4 or 6 cylinder, 2.2 to 3.0 liter motor pull the weight of the “light” 5,000 pound pickup will have burned itself/themselves out within 30k to 75k miles (even though Ford claims they won’t die until 150k under ideal, utopian conditions), thus requiring the expenditure equal to 3x the amount of fuel you saved over 10 years to replace/repair (or more).

      • 0 avatar

        “[the turbo(s)] will have burned itself/themselves out within 30k to 75k miles”

        Turbos last longer than that. Feel free to not buy them, though.

  • avatar
    ...m...

    …the first time a magnesium vehicle lights up like a fireworks factory, the press backlash will be epic…

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      In Navy firefighting we were taught one thing about magnesium: Jettison

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      The 25 gallons of highly flamable gasoline in the tank of the truck will also light it up pretty good. And it is a WHOLE lot easier to set gasoline on fire than a magnesium panel.

      • 0 avatar
        jetcal1

        Khrodes,
        A magnesium fire cannot be put out with your average firefighting gear. Also, you could hardly ask for a better anode in a car. A little moisture, some dissimilar metals…..voila!
        Except for exotic applications in exotic vehicles, i have no use for magnesium. Maybe I am biased since I have worked with it in aviation applications and been exposed to it via training as a damage control team member while in the Navy.

    • 0 avatar
      kuman

      Yeah… burn baby buuuurrrrnnn

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFoaFRG1rqo

      LOL

  • avatar
    rpol35

    It makes a great explosive when mixed with sulphur. (I don’t know if that will enhance or detract its image with truck guys.)

  • avatar
    MarkP

    Aluminum burns pretty well, too, under the right conditions. I have to wonder at the economics of making car panels out of Mg. But then again, of course, Al is a pretty energy-intensive material if obtained from ore.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      As airplanes move toward increased composite usage, a lot of hydro-powered aluminum production will become available for the auto industry. No idea about magnesium though.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        I’d be surprised if automakers’ newfound love for Al and Mg, is unrelated to the increase in availability of dirt cheap, non-portable, energy off of shale gas in the US.

        As for “saving the environment”, whatever happened to building cars from renewables, like wood? With fancy computer controlled cutting and scoring, you’d almost think one could make parts that deform properly in a crash. And talk about bragging rights for the “gripping on woodgrain” set.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      In powder form, lots of things burn very well. The hot flares used to distract heat seeking missiles, is supposedly just aluminum and rust powder mixed together.

      • 0 avatar
        Felix Hoenikker

        Yep!
        The mixture of aluminum powder and ferric oxide powder(rust) is called thermite!
        Pretty neat stuff if you like really hot fires!

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        In my high school chemistry class, the teacher demonstrated the thermite reaction. It needs a lot of heat to get it started. In this case, a strip of magnesium ribbon inserted into the mix of powdered aluminum and iron oxide, sticking out like a fuse, lit with a bunsen burner. It took ony seconds to produce molten iron. That memory is literally burned into my brain.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Bunki, was that teacher Stephen Portnow?

  • avatar
    Ex Radio Operator

    You could probably take 500 pounds off the current crop of half ton pickups by simply shrinking the bloated monstrosities they are selling now.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Gotta have a big ol’ honk’n truck so you can fit those southern belles in the cab without greasing their hips up!

    • 0 avatar
      CobraJet

      Correct. The main reason I keep my old 94 Siverado is the size. I can actually stand beside the bed and reach in to load and unload things. Try that with a new Chevy or Ford full size. They have gotten too big to be useful for hauling things in the bed.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        +1. Bed height has consistently risen through the years causing more difficulty in getting items out of the bed. Maybe they can make a WT/XL/Avocado (Just kidding Dodge guys)with a lower bed. Ah, it won’t matter, whatever I need next is always dead center in the bed.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      So you’re offering me

      A) A 5500 lb, 16 mpg truck with a spacious four door cab, adult sized ride height, deep bed.

      B) A 5000 lb, 16.5 mpg truck with a smaller cab, low ride, shallow bed.

      You know, I know, and the manufacturers know that nobody would buy the second one. The Tacoma and Frontier are down another 700 lbs over B and are as good non-monstrosity trucks as you could imagine and they’re outsold by big half tons 7:1.

      • 0 avatar
        BrianL

        First, the Tacoma and Frontier are not as good. They have less powerful engines, smaller beds, and smaller interior. The MPG of the Tacoma and Frontier don’t make sense given their smaller size.

        Taking a Tacoma V6 (if you want to haul anything), expected fuel costs are 3050 a year.

        Silverado with a 5.3L V8 is 3400 a year.
        F-150 with ecoboost V6 is 3200 a year.

        Half ton trucks don’t need to be as big as they are today. I think some improvements in the packaging department could help. For vehicles like the Tacoma to make sense, they really need to step up the fuel economy part of it where the smaller truck trade off makes sense.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        Depends on what you’re using your truck for. There’s still a market for work trucks. An extended cab makes a handy place to lock up your tools. The crew cab market has exploded often taking place of a large car. Usually, how dirty you are at the end of the day and how many tools you carry and use determines the type of truck you drive.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      Yes, exactly. Look at the dimensions of a 9th generation (1990-1996) Ford F-150:

      Specification ext. cab long bed ext. cab short bed reg. cab long bed reg. cab short bed
      Wheelbase, in. 155.0 138.8 133.0 116.8
      Overall Length, in. 235.3 219.1 213.3 197.1
      Overall Width, in. 79.0 79.0 79.0 79.0
      Overall Height, in. 74.0 71.9 71.0 71.0
      Curb Weight, lbs. 4316 4186 3982 3886

      Here are the stats on a current regular cab, short bed of the current 12th generation F-150 — the smallest one you can buy:

      Width: 79.2 in.
      Height: 74.8 in.
      Length: 213.2 in.
      Wheel Base: 125.9 in.
      Curb weight: 4685 lbs.

      Here’s a current SuperCrew, long bed of the current 12th generation F-150, the biggest F-150:

      Width: 79.2 in.
      Height: 74.6 in.
      Length: 243.9 in.
      Wheel base: 156.5 in.
      Curb weight: 5345

      For comparison, I believe a 7th generation (1980-1986) F-250 weighed about 3700 or so. That was when you could still get an F-100 — not sure what that weighed.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Ford has already been using magnesium in the F-150 rad support members since 2004.

    I’m not all that thrilled about magnesium or furthering the use of aluminum in body panels however. Magnesium will have even more paint adhesion and corrsion issues than aluminum panels.

    Just have a look at the hood on an ’05+ Mustang or last gen BOF Explorer that has spent any time in the rust belt and you’ll see what I mean.

    • 0 avatar
      eamiller

      Must be a Ford problem.

      My 05 Subaru Legacy with aluminum hood and tailgate are pristine looking. Nice thing about the aluminum hood is that rock dings down to the metal don’t produce rust and the aluminum oxide that forms on the surface is pretty tough.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Depends a lot on the climate and exposure. It’s not a Ford issue alone, Ford has just been one of the biggest implementers of aluminum body panels en masse. So you’ll just see them the most.

      • 0 avatar

        My 76 Chevelle had aluminum headlight buckets and rear fender extensions, and it had issues with paint adhesion on the rear, and just lots of rock chips on the front.

        My 77 Chevelle has no issues with paint despite still wearing its sun-faded original GM crap lacquer paint, other than rock chips on the front.

        Both lived their lives about 30 miles from each other made in the same plant, and about 8 months separates them in production. Only difference was one was sky blue and the other is a metallic green.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Kelsey Hayes had huge issues with corrosion causing their mag wheels to disintegrate back in the day in very short order. I hope that the anti-corrosion processes have been perfected because magnesium body panels will turn to dust quickly when exposed to any electrolyte.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    Wood! Build the beds out of wood, keep it painted or varnished on the high dollar ones, when it rots, replace it yo-self. Cheap, easy and they’ll never do it.
    This was a jab at all the drug store cowboys and 9 to 5 “farmers” that drive a pick-up to haul air.

  • avatar
    johnny ringo

    Wow! Another great technological advance from General Motors who gave us things like the Corvair, the Vega and X-cars…considering the flammable qualities magnesium has watching one of these trucks light up in case of an accident should be a real treat. Somebody should inform the IIHS of GM’s intentions, I sure they put together a nifty demo. If the automakers want to reduce the weight of their trucks, why not simply downsize the beasts?

    • 0 avatar

      I was wondering if anyone would mention the fact that Magnesium burns like a mofo and very hot!

      I’d be all for downsizing the full size trucks, back to sensible sizes like the 67-72 era trucks. Heck even my neighbors 88 F-150 is of a useful size with the 8 foot bed and not jacked sky high. His son’s recently aquired 68 GMC c-1500 shortbed weighs about 3200 pounds and is shorter than my 2nd gen Explorer, and about as easy to enter thanks to a sensible ride height.

      • 0 avatar
        toxicroach

        A lot of elements have interesting properties under certain conditions. It doesn’t mean a body panel will have the slightest tendency to catch on fire.

        Or to misquote Snowcrash, if you are ever in the presence of a force that can get a magnesium body panel to ignite, you’re already dead.

        If my napkin math is right I think its a bit odd that they aren’t adopting carbon fiber as well, since that seems to be in the same price range as this stuff, if not cheaper than magnesium. But I guess if they are worried about a marketing backlash for switching to other metals is going to be bad, switching to a graphite/plastic composite would be too much.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        No way it’s that light. 3200 pounds is about what a ’90s extended-cab compact pickup weighs. Depending on the engine, that GMC is anywhere from 4200 to 5200 pounds.

      • 0 avatar
        nrd515

        I remember watching a VW bug burn about 40 years ago, the magnesium distributor (I think) went up and it took too long for the fire dept to get there to save it. The owner, a woman who lived down the street was blubbering away. Once it was out, it got towed off to the junkyard, and two days later, a brand new bug was sitting in their driveway, same orange color, just brand new. She had that one for the next 25 years or so, then it was replaced by a misty green Jetta that she didn’t like at all and was soon replaced with something out of left field, a Toyota 4Runner. She’s on her third 4Runner now, just got the latest one.

      • 0 avatar

        I didn’t think it was that light either till I looked it up. although now I’m finding info that they are around 3500-4200. Still lighter than a modern FS truck. Either way it’s lighter than my 1977 Chevelle sedan which comes in around 3900 pounds even though it’s nearly 18 feet long. Lots of air space, not much in it. Those trucks also had almost zero sound insulation, and in the case of my friends 68, virtually all the weight in it is found from the cab forward.

        Cars generally doesn’t burn all by itself either. but add a spark from a shorted battery in a collision or an electrical fire or a fire by a fluid leak onto a hot manifold.

  • avatar
    Oelmotor

    Mercedes-Benz W196 LeMans tragedy…no thanks GM.

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      Listen to the man:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1955_Le_Mans_disaster

      “Rescue workers, totally unfamiliar with how to attack a magnesium fire, poured water on the inferno – greatly intensifying the fire. As a result, the car burned for several hours. ”

      Yikes!

  • avatar
    darkwing

    I was thinking about the best way to communicate the price/weight tradeoff to consumers — maybe some simple sliders, X miles per year, Y years of ownership, Z gas price scenario — when I started wondering: why aren’t manufacturers offering gas price contracts with the purchase of a new vehicle? Cheap(er) gas, rolled into the loan — seems like something your average truck-driving commuter would jump all over.

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    This should make car/truck fires more interesting.. pinto anyone?

  • avatar
    jmo

    For all this talk of fires, didn’t the original Beetle have a magnesium engine block? I don’t recall it being an issue.

  • avatar
    MarkP

    The only real problem with (slightly) down-sized trucks like the Frontier is that if you really need a truck for hauling or towing, they simply can’t do it nearly as well as what we call a full-sized truck. Their fuel economy is also not that much better than some full-sized trucks. My 4WD ’12 Frontier is a nice truck and I get 21 mpg on the highway. It suits my needs right now, but if I need serious hauling capability, it won’t do it. I made the decision that I needed the somewhat limited cargo capacity of a smaller truck way, way more often than I needed serious hauling capacity.

    On the other hand, I wish it got 30 mpg.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Thing is MPG is a lousy way of expressing fuel efficiency. Going from a 16mpg Full-size truck to a 21mpg mid-size actually saves rather a lot of fuel. Much more than going from 35mpg to 40mpg.

      And in my experience, you will be doing WELL to get 16mpg out of a current gen Full-size, unless you are doing exclusively highway mileage with a light foot and a tailwind.

      But hey, we are Americans! We have a God-given right to waste resources and buy more than we have any need of, from 5000sq/ft McMansions to Full-size Canyoneros! Because by God we might just have six children and need to tow a boat twice a year some day!

      • 0 avatar
        Athos Nobile

        Seriously man, you should consider moving to “perfect” Europe.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        I find your rude comments that pertain to mine and and other people’s lifestyles offensive. I have not received notice from the divine that your opinions are how we are supposed to live our lives. I love the irony that the people who are described in your last paragraph are stereotypical BMW owners. 16MPH is average for an F-150. Average, not downhill, with a tailwind, on a sunny day. Average.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        C’mon, there is a rational point that can be made that’s not “anti-American” to point out that, for a variety of good reasons, wasting resources and unnecessary consumption is not ideal nor responsible in a world of limited resources.

        I wouldn’t tell people what they can or can’t do with their money so long as what they’re doing doesn’t harm me or my loved ones, as I’m more libertarian than not, but that doesn’t mean I can’t call something that’s clearly a spade a spade.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        @Athos Nobile

        Move to Europe and have 3X the vacation, a secure retirement, and affordable healthcare not tied to my employment status? And for this I would have to live in a slightly smaller house (probably not – I have a pretty small house) and possibly give up some small amount of cheap consumer goods while paying somewhat more for the diesel station wagon that I would prefer to drive in the first place? That would be just bloody awful.

        While I have spent the majority of my life in the US, and I really do love my country, I have spent a fair bit of time in Europe as well. For the average “middle class” person the living is better on the other side of the pond. Less stress, less worry, more enjoyment, even with the lower quantity of mostly useless stuff that most people get by with. And the lower down the socio-economic ladder you go, the bigger the gap gets. Europe isn’t perfect, but on average it is a Hell of a lot closer than this country full of gun-toting keep-your-government-hands-off-my-Medicare wingnuts.

        @el scotto

        Hit a nerve did I? Oh well, opinions are like anuses, everyone has one and they often stink. Don’t take it personally. You should be right proud of that fabulous 16mpg average, especially at nearly $4/per. I am about as far from the stereotypical BMW driver as it is possible to get – I bought it because of how it drives, not because of the badge on the front. But obviously driving enjoyment is lost on pickup truck drivers. The morons who buy BMWs for the badge really should just buy a Lexus, they would be much happier in the long run.

        @DeadWeight

        Thank you.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        @khrodes
        “Move to Europe and have 3X the vacation, a secure retirement, and affordable healthcare not tied to my employment status?”

        And just look at how well that’s working out for them financially!

  • avatar
    8rings

    BMW has been using a magnesium blend in their engine blocks since 2005 or so.

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    Using it on the trunk lid to save 2.2lb seems rather wasteful. Why not use it on a more weight critical part like suspension a-arms? Wheels would be a great place for it too if they could somehow make magnesium stamped wheels.
    Cast magnesium wheels are very light, but traditionally have fracturing problems.

  • avatar
    rnc

    Wonder if Lithium Aluminum will be next wonder material, don’t know how the bonding with Al impacts the reactivity of Li, (Mig-29 and SU-27 primarily made of), significantly lighter and stronger than Carbon Aluminum, which is almost as strong as steel.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Goodness. Radical, crazy, insane thinking. Magnesium! In a truck.

    Never mind the M-B 300 SLR (Magnesium alloy body). Porsche LeMans frames and bodies. Porsche engine blocks and wheels. BMW 3-series engine blocks.

    Not to mention the Luftwaffe.

  • avatar
    ThirdOwner

    To most of the posters above: how about instead of belittling the GM’s attempt you welcome the very idea of trying to improve new models gas mileage not through some technological over-complications but in a simple way whose benefits are guaranteed to last throughout the life of the vehicle?

    • 0 avatar
      DinosaurWine

      “…whose benefits are guaranteed to last throughout the life of the vehicle?”

      Unless you happen to get in a wreck and you have to replace body panels that cost 10x what their steel counterparts do.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Not to mention corrosion issues. I’m not being cynical, from my time spent in body shops, aluminum and magnesium automotive components tend to turn to dust in short order compared to steel.

        That being said, I don’t know anything about the anti-corrosion processes to be used with these new panels from GM.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Something like reducing the cross-section and aero drag? Naaah, let’s build body panels out of titanium.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Magnesium and Aluminum…wonderful materials.

    I remember back in the 70’s when the old man brought home a Toro push mower with a magnesium deck. He was all excited due to the alleged weight advantages. After inspecting the mower, I had to break the news to him that the lower density of Mg was not helping lighten the mower, as the deck was probably 5x thicker than an equivalent steel deck! In fact, this little 21-inch unit weighed more than the 32″ dual-rotor beast it replaced. Not that the extra thickness helped much. Within a year, the deck was riddled with irregular holes from thrown pebbles (our lawn was more gravel than grass). Also, you could see via these holes that the deck was slowly expanding in thickness as some sort of corrosion mechanism caused the Mg to swell and form layers of an even flimsier nature. Sounds like the perfect material for urban cowboys to me.

    As for aluminum: anyone recall how all the 77-79 GM B-bodies’ bumpers fell off in salt country within a few years, due to galvanic corrosion between the steel frame and the gigantic ‘weight-saving’ aluminum structural insert in the bumper assembly? The aluminum flaked away just like the magnesium on the Toro above. Fortunately it was easy to replace the crumbling aluminum with a section of 2×4, which made for a perfect fit.

    Anyway, good luck to all y’all early adopters. I’m sure Ford will stand behind this newfangled stuff exactly as well as when they’ve used substandard materials in the past: Caveat emptor, and get lost.

  • avatar
    raded

    The current state of the pickup truck in the US is depressing. Pickups have gone from workhorses to gaudy fashion statements. Compact pickups, by far the most useful, don’t exist any more. And SUVs with truck beds instead of a hatch? Why? There is absolutely no reason to buy something like a Honda Ridgeline. If you want a SUV, buy an SUV. If you want a pickup, buy a pickup.

  • avatar
    JK43123

    Yes it is. Instead of using magnesium, give me milk of magnesia to keep me from being sick about how bloated and expensive trucks are these days. Or instead of using magnesium, let’s just make them medium sized and simple like they used to be. Rubber floor anyone?

    John

  • avatar
    JD-Shifty

    a lot of the fatties driving full size trucks need to lose a hundred pounds. Just a thought.

  • avatar

    I am convinced that a whole lot of weight could be taken off
    cars without using different materials. I see bolts that are too
    long, brackets that are redundant, parts that could be bolted to
    the block rather than mounts, too large of bolts, to many bolts, and
    too thick of metal used in nonstressed parts.

    I am no engineer, but have experience with bicycles. Typically we
    see a 25 lb. vehicle supporting 150 lbs. Can you imagine a truck
    weighing 2500 lbs. that could haul 15,000 lbs.?

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Does the BB here know why subcompact pickups, like the S10 or T100, got dropped?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Cheap gas and unbrideled lust for profits. My father-in-law drives a Canyon and every min in the sucker just screams “GO BUY A FULL SIZE TRUCK ALREADY YOU CHEAP BASTARD!” GM phoned it in soooooooooo badly on those trucks. I own an F150 but that’s because I was in the market for a used truck when I bought it. I couldn’t find a compact truck that hadn’t been worked within an inch of its life. 90% of the used full sizers were babied cream puffs.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        Could he have got a better deal on an WT/XL/Tradesman? Had an XLT 4.0 4WD extended cab Ranger; could’ve got an F-150 for the same money. I always wanted one and got one.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        He’s a dyed in the wool GM man and loves the local Buick/GMC dealer. He was only thinking MPGs when he bought the truck… now he’s thinking full size 1/2 ton.

        Having experienced Rangers, S10s, and first gen Dakotas. They were competitive with each other. Canyon/Colorado were a step backwards compared to the S10. Tinny and cheap.

      • 0 avatar

        Dad’s got a Canyon as well, and it’s a real pile. It will be most likely his last truck as in the 5 years he’s had it, it’s accrued 20,000 miles. At 72 he didn’t want a big truck, wanted something easy to park and had a decent sized bed, and no crew cab. He felt the Ranger too small, till he started using my ancient 95 Explorer to haul stuff and realized that it was bigger than it looked, and nicer than the Canyon. I’ve probably worked my Explorer harder than his Canyon ever will.

        I will not drive that GMC on long trips, as the seats are miserable. Powertrain is fine on it actually. More than once have I bumped against the 98mph speed limiter without any effort on the I-5. but yeah, the powertrain is all it has going for it, interior is meh, seats are meh, styling is ok, ride is ok, hauling is fine for what he uses it for, though I find it funny that my Explorer can pull more on the bumper than his truck.

      • 0 avatar
        JD-Shifty

        Colorados with V8’s in them are nice trucks

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Straight from Jim Farley’s mouth on why the Ranger was discontinued and the world Ranger won’t come to the US:

      The low end of the F-150 line overlapped with the Ranger so pickup buyers would just opt for the much more capable F-150. Fuel mileage handicap is minimal.

      While there is still a (small comparatively) market for compact pickups in North America, certifying the world Ranger, imorting them or building them here, then cannibalizing F-150 sales wasn’t worth the investment.

      Dollars and cents is the reason.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    How much lighter is the Tacoma’s composite bed over a steel bed? Ya got to start somewhere.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    Ford, GM, Chrysler, Diamler and Honda have been utilizing die cast magnesium products from Meridian (supplier) for a while, now. There aren’t many other Mg die cast players out there due to the stringent process and volatile raw material costs. That is a niche won by the leanest player and it’s a relatively young concept.

    Intriguing article. Thank you for the brain food!

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