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Reinventing Tough: New Ford F-150 Features an All-Aluminum Body

Part of the Ford Motors F-Series truck lineup, the F-150 has been America’s best-selling truck for 37 consecutive years and America’s best-selling vehicle for 32 years. These “Built Ford Tough” trucks are known for being big and rugged machines. The all-new F-150, featuring an all-aluminum body coupled with the high-strength steel frame, proves that “tough” doesn’t have to mean heavy.

“The all-new F-150 redefines the future of trucks, and it is yet another example of our One Ford plan producing vehicles that serve customers with a commitment to the very best quality, fuel efficiency, safety, smart design and value,” said Mark Fields, Ford Motor Company chief operating officer.

High-strength, aluminum alloys, already used in aerospace, commercial transportation, energy and many other rugged industries, are used throughout the F-150 body for the first time, improving dent and ding resistance, and also saving weight. Overall, up to 700 pounds of weight have been saved, helping the F-150 tow more, haul more, accelerate quicker and stop shorter, and contributing to efficiency. Ford engineers selected these high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloys because of the metals’ unique ability to withstand tough customer demands.

“Our objective was to find materials that allowed us to design the truck to be as tough – or tougher – than the current model, yet could help it be hundreds of pounds lighter for better capability and fuel economy,” said Pete Friedman, manager, Ford manufacturing research. “Out of all the materials we tested, we carefully selected only certain grades of aluminum that met our high performance standards in all of our tests, while allowing us to trim hundreds of pounds from the truck.”

“Pound for pound, aluminum is stronger and tougher than steel,” said Alan Mulally, president and ceo of Ford Motor Company, in a CNN interview. “It’s just a perfect material to continue to improves the fuel economy and the durability and the capability of our F-series.”

In designing the truck’s signature fully boxed ladder frame, essentially the backbone of the F-150, Ford engineers used all-new high-strength steel, making it also stronger and lighter.

The 2015 F-150 also features range of four engines providing more power to meet almost any customer need — a new 2.7-liter EcoBoost with standard Auto Start-Stop, a new 3.5-liter V6 engine with twin independent variable camshaft timing, the long proven 3.5-liter EcoBoost, and the 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V8.

Auto Start-Stop technology helps save fuel. Unlike start-stop solutions in other vehicles, this technology – specially tuned for truck customers – shuts off the engine to save fuel when the vehicle is stopped, except when towing or in four-wheel drive. The engine restarts in milliseconds when the brake is released.

A longer editorial on the F-150 will appear in Light Metal Age’s upcoming February issue.

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