GM Planning Aluminum Body Pickup Trucks

GM Planning Aluminum Body Pickup Trucks

General Motors might be the next company to field an aluminum body pickup truck.

Ford revealed its massive gamble during the Detroit Auto Show last month, claiming to have zapped 700 lbs from the curb weight. The news of an aluminum F-150 – the best-selling truck in the U.S. – triggered a rush for aluminum supplies. According to the Wall Street Journal, General Motors is working on building an aluminum body for the next generation of Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra due in 2018.

The Detroit auto maker recently secured contracts with aluminum suppliers Novelis and Alcoa.

If GM goes ahead with building aluminum-bodied trucks, it could have an advantage in production over Ford. The F-150 body panels are riveted and bonded, but GM would likely weld the panels together using the same process already in place for smaller panels on other General Motors products. That process would reduce the material required and ostensibly the curb weight. It would also be a faster production process than what Ford is using.

[Source: The Wall Street Journal vis TTAC]

Discuss this story at our General Motors forum

  • Boydnar

    For PETE’S FRIGGING SAKE . . . can we get them to do something about aerodynamics, too??? These super-macho, blunt front ends with high hoods just CAN’T be aerodynamically clean or efficient.

  • Vinnie

    There work trucks not cars!

  • mathieu

    Exactly they are work trucks not fashion statements less money spent on fuel with better aerodynamics means more money for the real fun toys!

  • Boydnar



    REAL toys . . . like dirtbikes and action cams. GUNS AND ULTRALIGHT AIRPLANES AND JET SKIS. A reloading press and 25,000 rounds of ammo. Stuff like that.

    I can think of a hundred things I’d rather spend my money on than sending it to some arab country for more of their oil so I can push my B-L-U-N-T fashion statement down the road.

    All hail aluminum, magnesium and smooth aerodynamics!

  • Boydnar

    Did you have a point, Vinnie?

  • wannabe engineer

    The massive, ‘blunt’, front ends are necessary for the huge amount of
    air that is needed to pass over the radiator and coolers to protect the
    drive train under load. That’s why the Camaro doesn’t come with option
    for a tow package! :)

  • Boydnar

    Wrongo, wannabe. The new blunt front ends of the last decade have nothing to do with air flow. It’s very easy to get plenty of air flow in a much lower hoodline and much more aerodynamic front end. This is all about styling: “MY huge, blunt and tall front end is huger, blunter and taller than YOUR huge, blunt and tall front end, therefore I’m cooler, more macho and more of a man than you are.”

    THAT’S what it’s all about. Styling and image. Period. The manufacturers are pandering to the emotionality of insecure men. It’s conspicuous ego- and emotion-stroking. Frankly, the whole trend makes me want to barf.

  • deck

    Your giving yourself away as a sissy talking about streamline and barfing. Probably should be looking into the new prius and not any truck at all. Sorry just my opinion. No offense.

  • Boydnar

    It’s a “sissy” who needs a truck to look macho to give him the emotional charge he needs (but shouldn’t). That’s exactly what this is all about: emotionality. The whole macho front end styling trend is born of men who are overly emotional and who are looking for validation of their masculinity through the image of their vehicle.
    Don’t get me wrong. I like a good looking truck. And I have definite ideas about truck aesthetics and proper shape and proportionality. But when the illogical and inefficient styling is so painfully and conspicuously aimed stroking the owner’s immature ego, I find it very repulsive.
    The whole trend just really goes to show that most men are actually emotional, insecure and irrational, rather than stoic, self-confident and logical — as they like to portray themselves.
    I’ll admit I’m probably beating my head against the wall on this one.
    I have an aunt and uncle who are hard-core, America-hating, muslim-sympathizing, socialist Leftists (they really have no business living in America). They own as Prius and I drove it once. I’ll pass.

  • Boydnar

    Your rite. I shood of used the word “puke” insted.
    [Rolling eyes.]

  • Boydnar

    wannabe said: “That’s why the Camaro doesn’t come with option
    for a tow package!”

    Nope. The Camaro doesn’t have a tow package option because only about 10 people PER YEAR would buy it. Almost no one who owns a Camaro ever wants to tow with it.

  • longnhard

    I happen to like the fact that the truck LOOKS like a TRUCK! I couldn’t care less about aeromax garbage! If the truck looks good with a wide and tall grill, SO WHAT? GM had plans to build a drop line front end about 15-20 years ago, until the super duty was released and guess what? GM would be out of business if they did that and pandered to the green lovers of the world. There are more people who like for a truck to look like a truck than want to drive around a pussy mobile. Don’t buy it if you don’t like it!

  • Boydnar

    See my responses to “deck” above and below.

  • Longhauling

    Aluminum is great to keep away rust, great idea if you live along the coast or in areas where salt is used on the roads in the winter. But aluminum will still corrode and will be more costly to repair if you been in a acident.
    It will be a good start for better fuel millage in half ton trucks. I have a 3500 duramax and I could care less about switching over to aluminum. With my welder and skid (2000lbs) in the box I still get better millage than most half tons empty.

  • Boydnar

    You’re right about aluminum corroding. Aluminum “rust” is white and occurs much more slowly than iron rust occurs — but it does occur. Alloying magnesium in with aluminum makes it much more corrosion resistant. I’m sure Ford & GM (and eventually Ram) have spent lots of time working out the corrosion problem. One solution may be some kind of base coating to seal the atmosphere away from the aluminum. Or they may just rely on the paint.

    About your diesel . . . have you seen the new Ram 1500? It’s Truck Trend’s 2014 Truck Of The Year. It has a 3.0L V6 turbo-diesel option for $2800. It comes with their 8-speed auto. With this engine & tranny, the 2wd model (either extended or crew cab, can’t remember which) gets 28mpg on the highway.

    Pretty damn good, huh? And they say that diesel engine is really, really quiet. Truck Trends couldn’t say enough good things about that little diesel engine. I’m amazed at how good this new generation of diesels is.

  • deck

    Aero dynamics doesn’t really come into play until you reach speeds of 90 or above. The drag is negligible at speeds below. The weight on the other hand is the main factor. So efficiency will only be improved if you start building them out of carbon fiber and titanium and then nobody will be able to afford them anyways. We buy trucks to haul stuff and also to be men haha. Not to save gas. If you want to save gas get a car.

  • Boydnar

    deck said, “Aero dynamics doesn’t really come into play until you reach speeds of 90 or above.”

    That is absolutely and totally false. You’re welcome to your own opinion but you’re NOT welcome to your own set of physics. Aerodynamics becomes very significant at anything over 30 – 35 mph. At normal highway speeds of 60 – 75 mph, aerodynamic drag is THE largest source of drag on a vehicle and is the largest consumer of fuel. It’s greater than tire rolling resistance and mechanical losses and therefore causes the greatest hit to fuel mileage.

    At highway speeds, aerodynamic drag affects mileage more than mass does; in stop-and-go city driving, mass affects mileage more than aerodynamics does.

    The question is . . . where did you come up with such a bewilderingly absurd and false idea??? Did your semi-illiterate uncle Cletus tell you that when you were seven years old?

    You said, “We buy trucks to haul stuff and also to be men haha.”

    I haul so much stuff that a truck is the only option for me. In fact, I’ve never figured out how any household can get by WITHOUT a truck. To me, that’s a real head-scratcher. I’ll never forget walking out of Best Buy and seeing a young yuppie couple with their tiny little black VW Passat parked by the curb. They had the trunk up and a large screen TV sitting on the sidewalk and they were clearly stumped as to how they were going to get that huge TV into their dweebish little Euro-trash econobox. I’m sure what they did in the end was call one of their gun-totin’ redneck friends (like me) and ask him if he’d come haul their TV to their apartment.
    I have nothing against econoboxes, but not having a truck FIRST makes no sense to me.

    As far as being a man goes . . . I’m a man with or without my guns, with or with or my dirtbike, with or without my truck, with or without anyone else’s approval. The source of YOUR manhood is in question.

    You said, “If you want to save gas get a car.”
    That statement is so impertinent it doesn’t warrant a direct response.

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