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Future Pickup Trucks: 7 Out Of 10 Could Be Aluminum By 2025 (Says Aluminum-Industry Study)


2015 Ford F-150

2015 Ford F-150

Enlarge Photo

The aluminum-bodied 2015 Ford F-150 isn't yet on sale, but some analysts already believe it heralds an industry trend.

A new study from research firm Ducker Worldwide predicts seven out of 10 pickup trucks will have aluminum bodies by 2025, the Detroit News reports.

Those results should please the entity that commissioned the study, the Aluminum Transportation Group, a trade organization that promotes the use of aluminum.

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2015 Ford F-150

2015 Ford F-150

Enlarge Photo
Carmakers are using more aluminum--which is lighter than steel--to improve fuel efficiency in the face of stricter global emissions standards, and the report claims this trend will continue in both pickup trucks and passenger cars.

Ducker estimates that 85 percent of vehicle hoods will be aluminum by 2025, up from 1 in 3 in 2012.

So will almost half of vehicle doors, compared to around 6 percent in 2012, and one in three roof panels, increasing from 4 percent in 2012.

That would increase the average aluminum content in a new car from 350 pounds in 2013 to around 550 pounds in 2025.

However, some obstacles must still be overcome before any of that can happen.

ALSO SEE: 2015 Ford F-150 Team Fights Fear Of Aluminum Toughness, Repair, Cost

So far, only low-volume luxury cars--the Audi A8, Jaguar XJ, Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, and Tesla Model S--have featured aluminum bodywork, so it's still something of an unknown quantity when it will move down the scale to mass-produced vehicles.

2015 Ford F-150

2015 Ford F-150

Enlarge Photo

The Steel Market Development Institute told the Detroit News that similar weight reduction could be accomplished with high-strength steel--a more familiar material for manufacturers, service technicians, and customers.

Wariness of aluminum's cost, durability, and ease of repair have made selling the 2015 F-150 almost as challenging for Ford as building it.

The company is making efforts to educate customers and technicians, and it put the new F-150 through a tougher testing regimen than any of its predecessors.

The main advantage of an aluminum-bodied pickup truck is increased gas mileage, but the F-150's mpg ratings won't be released until closer to its launch later this year.

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