The upcoming 2015 Ford Super Duty trucks may not follow the F-150’s footsteps in making the transition to an aluminum body anytime soon. Ford may stick with steel for the bodies of its flagship “Ford Tough” pickups.
The F-150, it was recently announced, will be made almost entirely out aluminum for the 2015 model year and beyond. The reason is mainly to meet federally-mandated improvements in fuel economy, and Ford is trying to meet those CAFE standards which required an average fleet fuel efficiency of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Lighter materials in their heaviest vehicles will help them towards the rumored goal of at least a 3 MPG improvement over the outgoing model. Roughly half a million F-150s are sold each year in the United States.
Super Duty trucks are mainly used as work trucks and for hauling. Ford is increasing the number of Super Duty trucks produced by 15% this year, with an $80 million investment in its Kentucky plant that produces F-250, F-350, F-450, and F-550. These trucks have to be tough, and while Ford claims their aluminum bodies are just as tough as steel, repair costs on these aluminum pickups will definitely be higher.
However, the 2015 Ford Super Duty lines may be exempt from the move to aluminum. Ford has not officially said their Super Duty trucks will or won’t be making the change, so we can only speculate that the move might be related to the increased wear and tear Super Duty customers tend to put on their trucks. Perhaps Super Duty customers are less willing to embrace such a drastic change as well.
Super Duty trucks are not included in the CAFE standards – not yet, anyways, which means that the move to aluminum to save weight and improve fuel economy might not be necessary. However, President Obama made mention of new fuel efficiency standards for larger trucks in his 2014 State of the Union address. Once those regulations are in place, perhaps we will see lighter bodied big trucks.
In the meantime, it may make more sense new 2015 Ford Super Duty trucks to stick with steel. Steel is cheaper than aluminum, and perhaps more important for Ford’s reputation, people are used to steel trucks and know what to expect from them. Since Ford’s Super Duty trucks make more profit per vehicle than the F-150s, that’s perhaps the important point to remember.
Source: The Truth About Cars.