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Is the F-150's Aluminum Body Really that Great?

Truck / 30 Comments

The debate that started in Detroit refuses to die, with more arguments for both sides.

When Ford unveiled its new, aluminum-bodied F-150 pickup truck at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, it sparked an ongoing debate that just won't go away. Is the lightweight material really the evolutionary metal that Ford made it out to be, or will it just lead to higher costs and harm passenger safety for truck buyers? Speaking to various industry experts, Wards Auto delved deeper into the question, finding that opinions are still quite polarized.

Supporters like Ducker Worldwide's Richard Schultz and Randal Scheps of Alcoa say that higher costs and lower supply won't impede the acceptance of aluminum in the industry. They also argue that using the lightweight metal will actually improve vehicle safety, allowing for increased crush space on larger vehicles. On the other hand, Craig Parsons of steel-producer Nanosteel said "I think technologies like Nanosteel are going to give automakers alternatives to aluminum, so they can do lightweighting with better geometries and thinner materials". With no conclusive answer, we'll just have to let buyers decide for themselves.

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