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A Storm of Lightweighting: GM Plans Aluminum Bodied Pickups for 2018

GM Corvette Body Shop (Photo © General Motors)

Following the introduction of the aluminum-bodied Ford F-150, GM announced that it plans to introduce a largely aluminum-bodied truck by 2018, reports the Wallstreet Journal (WSJ).

“The push to develop what the industry calls an ‘aluminum intensive’ large pickup marks an apparent change of direction for GM, which has pursued smaller and lighter weight steel-bodied trucks,” said WSJ, GM introduced two smaller trucks for 2015, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, in order to meet fuel-savings demands.

GM reported that more advanced welding techniques for a lighter, stronger, and easier to assemble truck should counterbalance Ford’s head start in aluminum-bodied trucks and that it has a patented an aluminum welding process that uses multi-ringed domed electrodes and eliminates a lot of rivets from its assembly. The welding process is currently used on the 2014 Corvette Stingray (see photo).

GM has signed contracts with both Alcoa and Novelis in order to ensure aluminum body sheet for the new trucks.  Both aluminum suppliers will have to increase product to meet GM’s needs.

“Ford’s introduction of the 2015 F-150 pickup truck was a game changer, and it’s the first, not the last, conversion of this type,” said Charles Belbin, Director, Corporate Communications or Novelis.

Read the full WSJ article here.

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