In our reality check segment this week, we take a closer look at the risky move Ford has taken with going to an aluminum F-150 body construction for their 2015 F-150 pickups.
During this event I had the chance to query a number of top for brass about the weight and gravity of their move to lighten the 2015 Ford F-150 by going to an all-aluminum body construction as the move has so many implications and potential pitfalls.
The obvious concerns are from the consumer angle with how they will accept it with their own questions of long term durability, cost of repairs or replacement parts, and even long term corrosion resistance.
But for Ford the impact of this new direction went well beyond just that. Changing from steel to aluminum changed every single aspect of the design and engineering for this new truck.
You cant just roll a different metal through the stamps. And entirely new stamping procedure and plant had to be created. A new supply chain needed to be built to keep that aluminum coming.
How the bodies are constructed is completely different. Spot welds give way to rivets and high-bond adhesives, something not common for mainstream mass-production.
Going into this, Ford had to buy a long term one-way ticket in every aspect of design, construction, and manufacturing.
Bottom line is there is no going back. In two or three years they can’t just say “oh wait, this sucks lets start making these out of steel again”. They are well too far into the woods for that.
While the decision has a risk Ford is doubling down having announced the next generation Super Duty will also be built of aluminum. And the rest of their truck based models are rumored to follow.