Ford engineers are currently looking at overhauling the brand’s popular F-150 pickup truck for its next-generation model with a very significant change that could prove controversial. The American automaker could be building its next F-150 with a large aluminum body, potentially lightening its truck by 700 lbs.
Undoubtedly the move is being considered in order to meet tougher fuel-economy standards. The 700 lb difference is almost 15-percent compared to the current model, which could go a long way in terms of fuel efficiency. Lightening the weight also means that Ford could use a smaller, more fuel efficient engine to power the pickup, further improving fuel figures.
The uphill battle that Ford will have to fight is proving that its most popular pickup is just as strong and tough with an aluminum body. The common buyer however, could easily be persuaded with better mpg numbers and a more stylish design. Speaking of design, the next-generation F-150 will also feature a ‘more muscular look’ according to a Ford designer.
At the end of the day though, Ford has its ‘Built Tough’ reputation to live by. If cutting weight means a less durable truck, then it surely isn’t the best way to go. The American automaker also considered making a smaller, lighter F-100 truck, but it appears that it’ll be sticking with its popular F-150 model and finding a way to make it more fuel-friendly without sacrificing its durability.
[Source: The Wall Street Journal – subscription required]