February 20, 2014

GM joins the love for aluminum

It’s no secret that Gator loves aluminum, for lots of reasons.  But frankly, we’re getting a little jealous.  Automobile manufacturers are courting aluminum, too—big time!

The auto industry is on a long-term quest to improve fuel economy in order to meet government mandates.  There are many ways to improve fuel economy, and weight reduction stands at the top of the list. Thanks to aluminum’s high strength-to-weight ratio, car makers are gravitating to aluminum as their metal of choice.

Exhibit A is Ford’s extensive use of aluminum in its new 2015 Ford F-150, the world’s best-selling truck.  The vehicle’s body is constructed almost entirely of military-grade aluminum.  “This F-150 takes tough to a whole new level,” gushes a Ford F-150 webpage. “Weighing in as much as 700 lbs. less than its predecessor helps make this truck a whole lot more capable and more effective too.”

And just yesterday, the Wall Street Journal came out with Exhibit B: “GM Locks Up Aluminum Supplies for Future Trucks.” (Click or search the headline for subscription-free access to the full article.)

“The push to develop what the industry calls an ‘aluminum intensive’ large pickup truck marks an apparent change of direction for GM,” reports WSJ.

Much of the credit for GM’s wake-up call, we think, goes to Ford’s engineering leadership.  The company invested hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the WSJ story, to shift truck plants away from welded steel body parts to riveted aluminum panels.

Join the aluminum party, guys!

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