The launch of the new Ford F-150 (AKA our favorite topic over the past year or so) was the biggest step towards mainstream usage of aluminum in by auto manufacturers. While the unveiling was met with a mix of excitement, curiosity, and skepticism, the reviews wound up showing that Ford made the right choice. Now, the popular opinion has changed — rather than the F-150 being Ford’s giant gamble, automakers around the world see it as a critical choice that will change the industry. From the Detroit Free Press:
By 2025, 18% of all vehicles will have all-aluminum bodies, up from less than 1% now, according to a recent report from Ducker Worldwide.
The industry is now engaged in a conversation about the pratfalls and possible solutions of using aluminum on a high-volume vehicle. The challenges are being solved with new ways of joining aluminum and steel, manufacturing with speed and efficiency, crashworthiness and repairability, cost and consumer acceptance.
Ducker forecasts that next-decade aluminum will be used for 75% of the panels and parts on pickups, 24% of large cars, 22% of SUVs and 18% of minivans.
The F-150 is an industry catalyst, said Gary Silberg, national auto industry leader at KPMG. “They’re figuring it out. People are studying it and making it a reality.”
From questionable decision to industry catalyst — the F-150 has come a long way since its unveiling at the Detroit Auto Show, and it hasn’t even gone on public sale yet. But in the coming months, people will be able to find out for themselves. Chances are, they’ll be just as impressed as the rest of the industry.