7 of 10 Pickups Will Sport Aluminum Bodies by 2025

Posted by at 1:13 pm on June 11, 2014

2015-f150-1The majority of pickups manufactured within the next decade will have aluminum bodies, according to a study commissioned by the Aluminum Association.

Production of aluminum is estimated to grow steadily over the next 50 years, with 75 percent of all pickups having aluminum bodies and closures by 2025, according to the study conducted for the industry by Ducker Worldwide.

Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are projected to lead the charge as the biggest users of aluminum sheet, the study said, but neither GM nor Chrysler has yet made public commitments to making aluminum-bodied vehicles.

Ford will produce the first aluminum-bodied F-150 later this year and is expected to sell 650,000 units per year.

Richard Schultz, managing director of Ducker Worldwide, said the aluminum F-150’s prominence in the market is inevitable.

“Our assumption is that the Ford F-150 will be successful, there is no way Ford won’t let it not be successful,” Schultz said. “And there is no way GM and Chrysler would not follow Ford.”

He added: “GM and Chrysler are taking this pretty seriously. The truck business is competitive. They are lemmings, they follow each other.”

On top of competition, fuel economy is another concern for automakers. U.S. regulators will require automakers to double the average fuel efficiency of their fleets to 54.5 mpg by 2025. Though aluminum is more expensive than steel, it increases fuel economy significantly.

According to a study by global investment firm CLSA, the aluminum-body F-150 is projected to have a 10 to 12 percent improvement in fuel economy, with the base V-6 engine expected to have 26 mpg on the highway and the EcoBoost V-6 at 28 mpg on the highway. The estimated increased production cost is about $750 per truck.

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