Ford Motor Co. is expected to unveil an aluminum version of its F-150 pickup truck at the Detroit Auto Show in January, according to reports from multiple outlets.
The switch to aluminum is designed to help the F-150 meet new fuel economy standards that go into effect in 2015. The F-150 current averages about 23 miles per gallon, but the new standards will dictate trucks get at least 28.6 miles per gallon. Ford is looking for ways to shed about 700 pounds from the F-150 and bump its fuel efficiency to about 30 miles per gallon.
A new material for the F-150, which is made at the company’s Kansas City Assembly plant in Claycomo and has been the top-selling vehicle in North America for decades, presents significant challenges. It would increase the cost of the truck’s production; require adjustments to the production process; and could jeopardize the rugged image Ford conveys with its “Built Ford Tough” slogan.