In January, Ford announced its 2015 F-150 truck would have an aluminum-alloy body, a change the company said would reduce the vehicle’s weight by 700 lbs., or 15%.
The truck features a frame made with more high-strength steel than before. The truck's body is made of high-strength, military-grade aluminum alloy, which Ford says will not only reduce weight but also improve payload, towing, and fuel efficiency.
The 2015 F-150 will be on sale late this year. What should fleet managers know about the vehicle and its new aluminum body? Government Fleet asked Mike Levine, Ford truck communications manager, questions we had (or have heard) about the truck.
1. What will be the cost difference for the aluminum-body truck? While high-strength aluminum alloy is more expensive than steel on a pound-for-pound basis, we’ve developed manufacturing efficiencies to reduce this cost as much as possible. We will discuss pricing closer to launch.
2. What is the expected MPG? The all-new Ford F-150 will be our most fuel-efficient yet. We still need to complete the fuel efficiency certification process and will discuss details closer to launch.
3. Does weighing 700 lbs. less affect the truck’s capability? Yes, it will enhance capability. Light weighting and improved capability aren’t mutually exclusive. As we remove weight from the F-150, we’re able to give our customers additional towing and payload capability because the truck can perform additional work with less effort, a key benefit of reducing weight.
4. How will aluminum affect body repair? Ford has used aluminum in body parts for years, such as in the hood of the 1997-2014 F-150. In many cases, the all-new F-150 may be easier to repair due to its innovative modular design. The majority of collision repairs can be completed by most body shops today, such as bumpers, grilles, mirrors, dings, and dents. Major collision repairs should be performed by aluminum-capable Ford dealers or independent body shops.
5. Will customers have to worry about corrosion? The high strength, military-grade, aluminum alloy in the new F-150 does not produce red rust like steel. We have gone to great lengths to develop coatings that will inhibit corrosion.
6. How is aluminum more “dent resistant” than steel in the previous F-150? We’ve improved dent resistance over the previous model in two ways: The high-strength aluminum alloy we use in the body is thicker than the steel we use in the previous model, and we have engineered reinforcement panels beneath the aluminum to help withstand impacts.