By on January 15, 2015

2015 Ford F-150

The King of Truck Mountain may have new aluminum armor these days, but Ford has no plans on fully equipping the rest of its lineup with the metal.

According to Automotive News, Ford President of the Americas Joe Hinrichs says other, more cost-effective methods for improved fuel economy take precedence over building an all-aluminum Mustang, Fusion or Fiesta:

One of the big benefits you get from lightweighting on trucks is you give customers more capability that they want. You can tow more, you can haul more, you can do more of those things by taking the weight out. You don’t get those same benefits to a consumer on a car side. So truck buyers will pay for more capability. Car buyers will pay for better fuel economy, but there’s other ways to get fuel economy in a car.

As far as lightweighting the overall line is concerned, Hinrichs says aluminum may be kept to individual parts such as the hood and doors. Other materials could come into play down the road, however, such as the carbon fiber wheels on the Shelby GT350R that helped the super-pony car shed 52 pounds of unsprung weight.

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14 Comments on “Hinrichs: Extensive Use Of Aluminum Only For Truck Lineup...”

  • avatar

    Seems like the raging truck wars are only allowing Ford to go so far towards improving fuel economy in the trucks, having the need to improve the towing and hauling at the same time to stay competitive. A diesel F150 with the 10speed auto would be an interesting truck.

    • 0 avatar

      @dwford – everyone was expecting huge mpg improvements with the aluminum Ford trucks, even pundits expected more.

      the real benefit is as pointed out, improved tow/haul capabilities. All of the various truck weight classes are GVW based so shedding 700 lbs (on selected models LOL)can be added directly to capacity without changing the suspension or going into the next weight class.

      The 1/2 ton class which is mostly Class 2A will see benefits but it will be more important in the Class 2b (3/4 ton) and class 3 (one ton) class.

      We’ve already seen the “mine is bigger than yours” war with 1 ton trucks. Ram claims supremacy since technically the Ford F450 dips a big toe into the class 4 MDT segment.

      If Ford drops 500 or more lbs of the SuperDuty no one will be able to catch them for capacity unless they too drop weight.

  • avatar

    I can understand not using it on the Fiesta and Focus however the Fusion sells enough that it just makes sense. The Fusion is what 300-400lbs more than its most of the others in class? It feels sold yes but it cost it real world MPGs doing so. If it shed 300lbs “real” pounds Ford wouldnt get so much grief about its MPG reporting. I realize and understand that its more than shedding weight that improves MPG however that with a new 10 speed would be a great start.
    Look at what Mazda did with the 6. It still feels very solid and lost several hundred pounds. It also gained compared to the prior 4 cylinder about 9 MPG real world on the HWY.
    I dont expect that much from the Fusion due to the fact its not that bad to begin with however with what I stated above it wouldnt have anything for Ford to apologize for.

    • 0 avatar

      I completely agree. Ford gets alot of grief from the media regarding the terrible real-world fuel economy of the Fusion and Explorer/Taurus, and I think too much of the blame goes to the engines. If these cars were 300-400# lighter as you mentioned, the 2.0T (and esp the 1.5T) wouldn’t be struggling all the time to keep up. Would more forward gears help? Of course; but that’s just another band-aid for what are otherwise cars that are too heavy. Your Mazda example is exactly where Ford and GM need to be moving towards. The Germans and Japanese firms have already realized that cutting weight is just as important as displacement…

  • avatar

    Aluminum makes a whole lot more sense for BOF vehicles than for unibody vehicles. Switching a unibody vehicle to aluminum would mean a whole ton of structural re-engineering, whereas in a BOF vehicle, the (still steel) frame does most of the structural work.

    Aluminum Panther, anyone? :)

  • avatar

    The new styling is growing on me. That Sport model is pretty handsome, even if it might never see a drop of mud.

  • avatar

    It makes more sense for large crossovers to be the next beneficiaries of aluminum. The higher margins can absorb the cost easier and they are also heavier vehicles. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the next Explorer with some aluminum.

  • avatar

    I don’t get the “terrible real world fuel economy” statement. I drive dozens and dozens of 1 and 2 year old Fusions/Taurus/Explorers through a large auto auction. Just pushing the fuel economy readout shows most Fusions at 22 to 28 mpg, Taurus at 21 to 22, and Explorer at 18 to 21 mpg. These are primarily ex-rentals and those numbers are probably a fair representation of what the cars are getting over 10 to 20,000 miles. These numbers are between the EPA city and combined rating. I just drove my 2011 Taurus from Pigeon Forge Tennessee to Nashville and got 28.7. That being said, making the cars lighter than they are is a good idea.

    • 0 avatar

      My 11 year old BMW 330i is RWD, has almost as much HP as a Fusion 2.0t, has a sonorous straight six instead of a turbo 4, and a Fusion 1.6 doesn’t do much better (I’ve had one as a rental). That is pretty terrible. A 4 cylinder Camry, Altima, Mazda6, or Accord will all do much better with normally aspirated engines.

  • avatar

    Somebody slapped the front end of that truck with an ugly stick so hard it went cross eyed.

  • avatar

    Yeah, skip the aluminum. Carbon fiber FTW!

  • avatar

    Super Pony. I have not seen that before. I like the term, is it new?

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