GM Inside News Forum banner
1 - 20 of 75 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,812 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Forbes.com

November 10, 2014



Article Quotes;

In fact, Ford has been studying aluminum as an alternative to steel for 20 years. In the mid-1990s, it came very close to introducing an aluminum-bodied Ford Taurus, but the plan was scrapped on fears that consumers would balk at the $500 price differential.

Instead, Jaguar and Land Rover, Ford’s European luxury brands, became the guinea pigs. Jaguar introduced the aluminum XJ in 2003 followed by the XK in 2006, allowing Ford to try out its processes without betting the farm. By the time Ford sold Jaguar-Land Rover to Tata in 2008, the development work was far along. Still, at the price of aluminum, it was hard to justify the business case for a mainstream Ford model.

Alan Mulally brought a different perspective. The former Boeing BA +0.15% executive led the engineering team that developed the aluminum-bodied 777 airliner so when he became Ford CEO in 2006, he was already very comfortable with it. But he saw a problem in Ford’s approach, according to metallurgist Richard Schultz, a managing director at Ducker Worldwide, a Ford advisor. “He told them, ‘You have to get more money for your scrap. Think of it as jewelry. You’re spending a couple of bucks on this stuff and you’re throwing one-third of it on the ground. You need to keep the alloys separate and protect their value.”

It was an epiphany of sorts that suddenly changed the business equation. If Ford could maintain its aluminum scrap in pristine condition and sell it back to its suppliers at favorable prices for re-processing, it could put a big chunk of its aluminum outlay back in its pocket.

Novelis, the world’s leading aluminum recycler, helped Ford develop an innovative closed-loop recycling system that FORBES estimates will save the automaker as much as $280 per truck.

Instead of gathering up all the mixed metal scraps in its stamping plants, Ford installed $60 million worth of pneumatic scrap-handling equipment from Ohio Compass Systems that separates the aluminum alloys on conveyors and deposits them in separate containers to avoid contamination by other grades of metal. Every 22 minutes, a trailer full of aluminum is filled and shipped back to Novelis or Alcoa, another supplier, for reprocessing. Those companies melt it, add ingredients as necessary to rebalance the alloys, then roll it again and ship it back to Ford.

It’s a sweet deal. Instead of the usual 15 cents per pound that scrap steel fetches, Ford will receive about $1.00 per pound for its aluminum scrap.

Here is FORBES’ math, based on interviews with insiders at Ford, its suppliers, and multiple metal and automotive experts:

Aluminum is about three times lighter than steel. But because Ford had to use thicker sheet to maintain the same strength and handling characteristics of the old steel body, the replacement ratio is closer to 1.7. So Ford has to purchase about 855 pounds of aluminum sheet for each F-150, replacing 1,455 pounds of steel, according to Schultz.

Virgin aluminum prices vary on the London Metal Exchange, but currently run about $2,050 per metric ton, or 93 cents per pound. Add the required “Midwest premium” plus the cost of additional processing to transform it into coils of high-strength aluminum sheet and the total cost is about $2.19 per pound. Automotive steel, on the other hand, costs about 55 cents per pound.

In either case, when body panels are stamped, about one-third of the metal ends up as scrap. Thus, a net 575 pounds of aluminum replaces 975 pounds of steel. The net weight savings of 400 pounds costs Ford an extra $725 per truck.

Here’s where the recycling comes into play. By selling the shredded and segregated scrap back to its suppliers for about $1 per pound, Ford recovers about $280 per truck, narrowing that cost gap considerably.

What about the rest of the equation? Replacing the truck’s steel body panels with aluminum accounts for a little more than half the F-150’s 700-pound weight loss. Aluminum extrusions save an additional 50 pounds and a new high-strength steel frame saves 70 pounds. The rest comes from smaller engines and other lightweight components.

In fact, the switch to an aluminum body created a domino effect that freed Ford to make other once-unthinkable changes to the F-150, like a tiny-but-surprisingly powerful 2.7-liter Ecoboost engine option, smaller brakes and a lighter suspension, all of which were cheaper than previous versions and provided secondary weight benefits that further enhanced fuel economy.

More important, says Ford, there was no tradeoff in performance. The end result is a more efficient truck that’s 700 pounds lighter, and more capable, too, with a towing capacity of up to 12,200 pounds, best in the industry.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,812 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·

The first (official) 2015 Ford F-150 has been produced. Image Credit: Detroit News

A huge day for Ford. Years of planning and preparation come down to today's Job One moment.

Best of luck to them.

It's only a matter of time until GM and Ram follow in Ford's aluminum footsteps. Not to mention Toyota - I was unaware that the next generation Camry will have high-percentage aluminum content, but I guess most vehicles will follow that path.
 

·
Registered
2015 Cadillac XTS Platinum, 1989 Merkur XR4Ti, 1989 Merkur Scorpio
Joined
·
11,300 Posts
More important, says Ford, there was no tradeoff in performance. The end result is a more efficient truck that’s 700 pounds lighter
Than their own fat ass truck.
Compared to a Silverado, not nearly so much.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,220 Posts
700 pounds on a completed truck or the Body in White? Everything I've seen is 700 lbs off the Body in White.

Very interesting insight on some of the decision making. Another part of the story that may or may not be known is that Ford hired away from Chrysler their entire aluminum team!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
88 Posts
I don't think I would be afraid of the aluminum body. Would have to look into it though before buying.
I would have a harder time with that new front end. Looks almost as ugly as the new Tundra front.
Those mirrors are ridiculously big too. When it comes to styling, the Fords and Toyota's are just gaudy looking and overdone. The Dodge is the sportiest of the group. The Frontier is just plain ugly and not worth looking at. The GM twins are the best looking.....Classy and richer looking. They have styling that will last and look good for years and years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,040 Posts
Sounds like the girl who says " You're skinnier than me now but you used to be fatter."
May be, but my friend has an F150 and his doors are HEAVY compared to mine! So yes, the new one might be 700 lbs lighter than the old one, and it needed to be, but it'll only be 200 to 300 lbs lighter than mine depending on model.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,237 Posts
A huge day for Ford. Years of planning and preparation come down to today's Job One moment.

Best of luck to them.

It's only a matter of time until GM and Ram follow in Ford's aluminum footsteps. Not to mention Toyota - I was unaware that the next generation Camry will have high-percentage aluminum content, but I guess most vehicles will follow that path.
Dodge/Ram has said it will continue on with steel.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,341 Posts
700 pounds on a completed truck or the Body in White? Everything I've seen is 700 lbs off the Body in White.

Very interesting insight on some of the decision making. Another part of the story that may or may not be known is that Ford hired away from Chrysler their entire aluminum team!
A while back, Ford did a comparison between its 2014 F150 and the new 2015 F150,
the complete trucks are between 600 and 700 lbs lighter than their predecessors.

Considering that the 2014 Silverado only just eclipses the fuel economy of the heavier 2014 F150,
I have a feeling that this much lighter 2015 F150 puts Ford out in front in "clean air", not so much
because it beats competitors but because it allows Ford to build the heavier 4x4 Crew cabs without
fear of CAFE regulations and fines. That far out weighs any bragging rights for superior economy.
Funny how Ford chooses to fix economy of its heavier truck versions while Ram seeks top economy
with its V6 diesel models, almost completely opposite..

And then there's the battle in the volume mid range where all three trucks have major differences in engine offerings.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
142 Posts
On a side note, I think one other benefit here is the lack of corrosion on these truck bodies in the long term. It doesn't seem anybody has really spoken of the rust (or lack thereof) prevention benefits of aluminum. If done right, these trucks should be able to claim "longest lasting trucks on the road".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,237 Posts
A while back, Ford did a comparison between its 2014 F150 and the new 2015 F150,
the complete trucks are between 600 and 700 lbs lighter than their predecessors.

Considering that the 2014 Silverado only just eclipses the fuel economy of the heavier 2014 F150,
I have a feeling that this much lighter 2015 F150 puts Ford out in front in "clean air", not so much
because it beats competitors but because it allows Ford to build the heavier 4x4 Crew cabs without
fear of CAFE regulations and fines. That far out weighs any bragging rights for superior economy.
Funny how Ford chooses to fix economy of its heavier truck versions while Ram seeks top economy
with its V6 diesel models, almost completely opposite..

And then there's the battle in the volume mid range where all three trucks have major differences in engine offerings.
I've often said it can't really be accurate that axle ratios and curb weight matter not at all, but in the NHTSA CAFE rating system as it now stands, there is a rating for 2wd and 4wd. There is no separate rating for heavier crew cabs
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
267 Posts
700 pounds on a completed truck or the Body in White? Everything I've seen is 700 lbs off the Body in White.

Very interesting insight on some of the decision making. Another part of the story that may or may not be known is that Ford hired away from Chrysler their entire aluminum team!
I think the 700 lbs difference is between completed trucks. I would think the 700 pounder would be a crew cab, long bed, 4x4.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,043 Posts
No doubt the marketing people from GM and FCA will continue to rave about the benefits of steel, while in the background engineers from their respective companies start planning for aluminum. They really have no choice.
As it's been previously discussed, the point of the new aluminum F-150 isn't to take the fight to GM and Chrysler, who will happily upgrade their trucks to aluminum. It's to put Nissan and Toyota out of business in the full size truck department. The investment is catastrophically high compared to the very weak Titan and Tundra sales, making it virtually unjustifiable to meet Ford's challenge.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,341 Posts
I've often said it can't really be accurate that axle ratios and curb weight matter not at all, but in the NHTSA CAFE rating system as it now stands, there is a rating for 2wd and 4wd. There is no separate rating for heavier crew cabs
EPA controls CAFE not NHTSA.
Secondly, if the EPA audits a manufacturer's claims and actually picks vehicles off the line,
you would expect the largest 4x4 would comply with the advertised rating, yes?
otherwise there would be hell to pay.

What Ford manages to do with a lighter larger truck and the elimination of the 6.2 is to group
the worst possible combination much closer to the best possible combination, thereby narrowing
the variation in fuel economy figures between lightest and heaviest versions.
That's just as good for CAFE as adding a small diesel while giving all customers better economy..
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,341 Posts
Base Curb Weight - 2.7L EcoBoost® V6 Single Cab
6.5-ft. Styleside 4x2 4,168 lbs.
6.5-ft. Styleside 4x4 4,425 lbs.

Base Curb Weight - 5.0L Ti-VCT V8 Super Crew
8.0-ft. Styleside 4x2 4,664 lbs.
8.0-ft. Styleside 4x4 4,930 lbs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,449 Posts
A huge day for Ford. Years of planning and preparation come down to today's Job One moment.
Production startup of MY 2015 F-150 actually commenced week 43 (week of Oct. 20) at the Dearborn Truck Plant. A lot of hard work on the part of Ford employees and contractors was involved in updating the facility, and they deserve kudos for their efforts.

Today's "milestone" is merely Ford's PR department doing what they do so well.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,527 Posts
Production startup of MY 2015 F-150 actually commenced week 43 (week of Oct. 20) at the Dearborn Truck Plant. A lot of hard work on the part of Ford employees and contractors was involved in updating the facility, and they deserve kudos for their efforts.

Today's "milestone" is merely Ford's PR department doing what they do so well.
Yes pretty much. It's baffling for me to know that they never separated their scap medals, seriously? It's common sense and here Ford is bragging about it?? Millions of dollars wasted by Ford. Whomever their scrap company was is not going to be happy, guarantee they were separating it after they picked it up.
 
1 - 20 of 75 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top