Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Ford to beat 9.5 L/100 km with aluminum as GM, Ram stick with steel by Nicholas Maronese

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Ford is hoping its new diesel engine and extensive use of lightweight aluminum will make the F-150 the first full-size pickup to offer better than 9.5 L/100 km when the new powerplant debuts this year.

Despite a marketing assault from rival General Motors attacking Ford’s use of the material, the company is continuing to go all-in on aluminum, expanding its use to the Super Duty, Expedition and new Lincoln Navigator. The just-unveiled Ford Ranger, too, will use aluminum for the doors, hood and fenders.

When it debuted, the 2014 F-150 cut more than 300 kg out of the curb weight of its all-steel predecessor, thanks to a body and bed made largely of aluminum. It looked to be the start of a trend, but GM North America president Alan Batey told Automotive News his company never seriously considered the material.

Instead, GM is sticking with mostly steel while still finding ways to cut down weight — the recently revealed 2019 Chevrolet Silverado saw its weight drop by about 200 kg versus the current version. The company’s “mixed materials strategy” for the truck include a frame still made 80 percent out of high-strength steel but swinging panels – doors, hood and tailgate – pressed in aluminum.

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