New F-150 may spur more aluminum use across lineup: execs

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 13, 2014 10:36 AM

By Deepa Seetharaman

DETROIT (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co may incorporate more aluminum into its other models in the future, executives said, after the second-largest U.S. automaker unveiled a new lightweight version of its F-150 pickup truck at the Detroit auto show on Monday.

The new F-150's body is 95 percent made of a military grade aluminum alloy typically used in Humvees and weighs up to 700 pounds less than the outgoing model.

"Obviously this is our first shot at a big volume vehicle and there's absolutely no reason why we couldn't think about taking it elsewhere," Executive Chairman Bill Ford told reporters after the press conference.

"It is a lightweight, high strength material and 700 pounds out of a vehicle like this -- that's a big deal," he added.

During the press conference, the company emphasized the lightweight metal can be tougher than steel.

Bill Ford said the company may use more aluminum across its lineup, including in sport-utility vehicles like the Ford Explorer. Bill Ford added the company had no announcements to make just yet.

The new F-150 will help the company meet U.S. fuel economy standards for the first time, Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields told reporters.

Production of the new F-150 would begin in the fourth quarter in Dearborn, Michigan and in early 2015 in Kansas City. The truck will be in U.S. showrooms by the end of 2014.

Bill Ford as well as Chief Executive Alan Mulally both said they were happy that speculation about Mulally going to run Microsoft Corp was behind them.

(Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman; editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)