Ford’s aluminum F-150 was one of the big stars today at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, taking the prize for truck of the year.
The F-150’s aluminum body cuts about 700 pounds off the truck’s weight. A report from NPR’s Sonari Glinton says the F-150 is Ford’s most important vehicle, and quotes Aaron Bragman, Detroit bureau chief for Cars.com, as saying the automaker’s move to aluminum is one of the biggest gambles in the auto industry in years.
The lighter body weight is important because automakers will have to adjust to stricter fuel efficiency standards. Forbes says Ford’s redesigned truck will get about 26 miles per gallon on the highway.
Steel vs. aluminum? By choosing to build the 2015 F-150 with an all-aluminum body, Ford is shaving 700 pounds from the truck’s weight. And that’s a critical factor as automakers struggle to reach a 54.5 mpg fleet average by 2025. The F-150 has been America’s favorite vehicle for 32 years, so light weighting it—and reaching, maybe, 30 mpg on the highway—is really important to Ford.