Despite the wild success of Ford’s new aluminum F-150, the automaker says it currently has no plans to expand its production of aluminum cars. While aluminum has the ability to significantly increase fuel efficiency, the benefits just don’t outweigh the costs for models outside of the F-150.
“One of the big benefits you get from lightweighting on trucks is you give customers more capability that they want,” Ford America President Joseph Hinrichs explained to digitaltrends.com.
“You can tow more, you can haul more, you can do more of those things by taking the weight out. You don’t get those same benefits to a consumer on a car side,” he continued. “So truck buyers will pay for more capability. Car buyers will pay for better fuel economy, but there’s other ways to get fuel economy in a car.”
Ford says that building the F-150 with an aluminum construction also made sense because of the sheer volume of F-150 units sold. Aluminum isn’t cheap, but America’s best-selling vehicle brings in enough sales to help mitigate the high cost of military-grade alloys. No other vehicle in Ford’s lineup (or any lineup for that matter) brings in the kind of sales that the F-150 does.
For now, Ford’s EcoBoost engines, active grille shutter technology, and aerodynamic designs add to its cars’ efficiency enough to keep them competitive. Additionally, Ford has used aluminum parts on the newest Mustang’s fender and hood – so the automaker isn’t ruling out aluminum altogether.
Hinrichs points out that if the industry finds a way to reduce costs associated with aluminum construction, we’ll eventually see more vehicles using the lightweight material.