Why GM Took On Ford F-150 Aluminum Bed: Carbon Fiber Bed Coming?

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Thread: Why GM Took On Ford F-150 Aluminum Bed: Carbon Fiber Bed Coming?

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    News Contributor Premium Member Perian's Avatar
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    Why GM Took On Ford F-150 Aluminum Bed: Carbon Fiber Bed Coming?

    The Wall Street Journal
    December 6, 2017

    General Motors plans to use costly but lightweight carbon fiber to make the beds on premium versions of large pickup trucks, according to people familiar with the strategy, as the auto maker aims to stay competitive in the crucial category while also satisfying tightening fuel-economy standards.

    The change, which the people say is expected to be implemented within two years, is likely to increase the cost of the pickups, testing GM’s ability to charge a hefty premium. However, it would help the auto maker comply with the new regulatory standards by making the vehicles lighter and therefore more fuel-efficient.

    GM also is trying to keep innovating in the face of other moves by rivals. Ford Motor in 2014 launched aluminum-bodied F-150 pickup trucks, which GM criticized in advertisements by questioning whether aluminum is as durable as the steel that auto makers conventionally used to build work trucks.

    “I think you’re going to see GM go all out on this truck,” said Dave Sullivan, an analyst at AutoPacific Inc. “It’s a fight to keep these products relevant in a changing regulatory environment. They can’t afford to have a miss.”

    Carbon fiber, which today is reserved mostly for exotic sports cars, could deliver an advantage to GM because it is significantly stronger than steel or aluminum, but also far lighter. The composite, however, is much costlier and more complicated to produce than other materials, adding pressure to Detroit’s effort to charge more for products that already have risen well into luxury-car territory.

    GM will unveil redesigned versions of its next-generation full-size pickup trucks—the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra—in coming weeks, and will start selling those models at dealerships next autumn, without a carbon-fiber box available, the people said. The carbon-fiber pickup box is under development and expected to be offered on higher-priced pickup trucks in late 2019, the people said. Plans could change if the project hits technical or cost hurdles, the people said.

    A GM spokesman declined to discuss future product plans.

    Development of the new trucks slated for sale next year—along with several large SUVs such as the Chevy Suburban that will use the same underpinnings—consumed a few billion dollars and took several years. They will use a patchwork of materials to balance cost and regulatory concerns, including aluminum doors and a high-strength steel cabin, the people said.

    GM plans to add other features to its trucks to help hit fuel-economy targets, including a new diesel engine and hybrid version, the people said.

    GM’s use “would overshadow any other use of carbon fiber in the auto industry if they could pull that off,” Mr. Schultz said. Because the process requires expensive equipment and takes much longer than making stamped metal or aluminum, GM likely will have fully formed parts shipped from a supplier to its truck plants, he said.

    GM has experimented with plastics on pickup beds before. In 2001 it offered a pickup-truck box made of a composite material, though not carbon fiber, as an $850 option on the Silverado. But it was discontinued in 2003 after being hampered by quality problems and sales fell far short of targets.





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    News Contributor Premium Member Perian's Avatar
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    Re: Why GM Took On Ford F-150 Aluminum Bed: Carbon Fiber Bed Coming?

    GM will unveil redesigned versions of its next-generation full-size pickup trucks—the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra—in coming weeks, and will start selling those models at dealerships next autumn, without a carbon-fiber box available.
    Yikes! The new pickups are still a full year (when full production ramps up) ahead?

    2018 is going to be a great year for the Ford F-150 and GM incentives.




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    Re: Why GM Took On Ford F-150 Aluminum Bed: Carbon Fiber Bed Coming?

    GM materials strategy is quite interesting. They seem to have decided to go with flat panels only carbon fiber perhaps due to ease of manufacture.
    If they can pull off truck beds fulls of carbon fiber, heck even perhaps roofs and hoods only, it would be quite impressive..

    I wonder how aluminum intensive these trucks will be.

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    Re: Why GM Took On Ford F-150 Aluminum Bed: Carbon Fiber Bed Coming?

    "Carbon fiber is significantly stronger than steel and aluminum despite weighing less, but could also make the GM pickups using the polymer more expensive."

    They're already charging a fortune for trucks now and people are buying them, that won't change. Might as well go all out.

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    Re: Why GM Took On Ford F-150 Aluminum Bed: Carbon Fiber Bed Coming?

    Quote Originally Posted by RamJet502 View Post
    "Carbon fiber is significantly stronger than steel and aluminum despite weighing less, but could also make the GM pickups using the polymer more expensive."

    They're already charging a fortune for trucks now and people are buying them, that won't change. Might as well go all out.
    Five years ago the $50,000 pickup truck was a topic of conversation. We've now reached $100,000 (Ford). As long as people are willing to buy these trophy vehicles...why not?




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    Re: Why GM Took On Ford F-150 Aluminum Bed: Carbon Fiber Bed Coming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Perian View Post
    Five years ago the $50,000 pickup truck was a topic of conversation. We've now reached $100,000 (Ford). As long as people are willing to buy these trophy vehicles...why not?




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    I saw Ford is upping the power on their Super Duty Diesel. Its already a beast yet they gave it more power for 2018. These are not pick ups anymore but freight train tractors.

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    Re: Why GM Took On Ford F-150 Aluminum Bed: Carbon Fiber Bed Coming?

    "...the people said."

    Seriously WSJ? I'll get right on that subscription...

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    Re: Why GM Took On Ford F-150 Aluminum Bed: Carbon Fiber Bed Coming?

    classic GM
    FORD bring out Aluminum and EVERY F150 "benefits" whereas GM will OFFER CF as a cost plus option ON EXPENSIVE to begin with models and in 5 years will drop it as LOW take up rate (see composite box and quadrasteer not to mention 2 mode hybrid)

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    Re: Why GM Took On Ford F-150 Aluminum Bed: Carbon Fiber Bed Coming?

    Quote Originally Posted by richmond2000 View Post
    classic GM
    FORD bring out Aluminum and EVERY F150 "benefits" whereas GM will OFFER CF as a cost plus option ON EXPENSIVE to begin with models and in 5 years will drop it as LOW take up rate (see composite box and quadrasteer not to mention 2 mode hybrid)
    GM has proved they can engineer weight out of vehicles without expensive materials. This is a luxury option, just so people can say my Denali has carbon fibre.

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    Re: Why GM Took On Ford F-150 Aluminum Bed: Carbon Fiber Bed Coming?

    This is just stupid. The last place a Silverado needs to lose weight is right over the rear wheels. My 2015 crew cab spins the tires just about any time I start out from an intersection while turning right - and I'm not being aggressive. They need to make the cab completely out of aluminum and keep the box steel. Combine this with GM's newfound light-weighting skills and you end up with a very competitive truck - in both performance and build cost. This would also prevent them from having to eat crow over their aluminum Ford bashing ads.

    Those of us up here in the snow belt also need to wonder about how a carbon fiber bed would perform when it is about -30F outside...
    Last edited by minnfang; 12-06-2017 at 02:19 PM.

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    Re: Why GM Took On Ford F-150 Aluminum Bed: Carbon Fiber Bed Coming?

    I don't think carbon fiber is likely for the whole bed. Maybe for the tailgate.

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    Re: Why GM Took On Ford F-150 Aluminum Bed: Carbon Fiber Bed Coming?

    I'm also questioning if the entire bed will be carbon fiber...I'm reminded of the spy photographers slapping magnets on T1XX IVERs last year.

    Granted the article does say the carbon fiber beds won't be available until a year or so into production, but still.
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    Re: Why GM Took On Ford F-150 Aluminum Bed: Carbon Fiber Bed Coming?

    What happened to "Nano-Steel"? Didn't GM buy the company that developed it just so they could use the technology?

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    Re: Why GM Took On Ford F-150 Aluminum Bed: Carbon Fiber Bed Coming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ambalanche View Post
    What happened to "Nano-Steel"? Didn't GM buy the company that developed it just so they could use the technology?
    how do you think they are able to engineer light weight steel vehicles?

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    Re: Why GM Took On Ford F-150 Aluminum Bed: Carbon Fiber Bed Coming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Perian View Post
    Yikes! The new pickups are still a full year (when full production ramps up) ahead?

    2018 is going to be a great year for the Ford F-150 and GM incentives.


    .
    GM's not going to have many T1XX's out and availalbe for sale until calendar year 2019, just to illustrate, below is calendar year 2018 production forecast:

    K2XX ----750,000
    T1XX ----135,000

    (these numbers (DO NOT) count SUV's, which will all be K2XX)

    And in 2019:

    K2XX ----130,000
    T1XX ----830,000




    Quote Originally Posted by mbukukanyau View Post
    GM has proved they can engineer weight out of vehicles without expensive materials. This is a luxury option, just so people can say my Denali has carbon fibre.
    Not sure it'll matter, the type of truck you are describing usually has a beg-rug in the back........


    Quote Originally Posted by mbukukanyau View Post
    how do you think they are able to engineer light weight steel vehicles?

    Yup, lighter.......... thinner/smaller.
    Last edited by Ed753; 12-06-2017 at 04:02 PM. Reason: correction/clarification
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