Aluminum = lighter weight. For the commercial trucking industry lighter weight = more payload. For the passenger car and light truck market lighter weight = more MPG because these vehicles are primarily operated near empty. In a previous life I did some work with Kenworth Truck and Ravens, East Manufacturing and MAC Trailers at manufacturing plants in Ohio. All utilized aluminum in their Class 8 trucks or flatbed & dump trailers.I don't know what all the fuss is over the use of aluminum in pickups. After all heavy duty (Class 8) trucks have used aluminum in their cabs and frames for decades. Ravens has used aluminum in their trailers since at least the 70's. Ravens By Kruz Aluminum Dump Trailers and Bodies also Kruz Steel Dump Trailers and Bodies - Kruz Inc. Aircraft have used aluminum in their construction since before WW2.
Although the steel used in modern car bodies has a high tensile strength compared to the steels of yesteryear; the stuff is pop can thin. I'd rather have thicker aluminum and lighter weight that resists dents better than pop can thin, yet heavier steel because that's how its always been done.
Ford is going with aluminum on the F-150 to get the MPG up and a 700-pound weight saving is significant. If the F-150 proves successful; then you can bet Ford will expand the use of aluminum in spite of its higher cost to meet the ever increasing EPA CAFE requirements. It's a safe bet that other manufacturers will eventually follow suit.
There are only so many BTU's in a gallon of gas or diesel, and all the easy tricks to improve mileage have been incorporated into vehicles. Now the engineers have to get creative to squeeze even more blood out of a turnip.
The manufacturers still have some tricks up their sleeves they just can't let them all out of the bag at once. With the government regulations ever increasing the manufacturers have to hold back so that they are always making gains.There are only so many BTU's in a gallon of gas or diesel, and all the easy tricks to improve mileage have been incorporated into vehicles. Now the engineers have to get creative to squeeze even more blood out of a turnip.
There's a lot going on at Ford now. New F150, Mustang, Raptor, Shelby GT350R, new GT and more to come!!I've always been a dodge truck guy but as a Ford stockholder I'm hoping this will be a great success for them. I really like how Ford has turned themselves around as a company in the last few years. My next truck might even be a Ford!