Ford Goes All in On Aluminum – Gamble Grows

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Prior to the first aluminum F-150 hitting the dealer lots, Ford is planning on using the new metal alloy in the rest of the their truck lineup. Ford is going all in on the new alloy. Will consumers follow?

Ford Goes All in On Aluminum - Gamble Grows

Ford is planning on using aluminum not just in their F-150. They will use it throughout their F-series lineup including their large SUV.

When Ford introduced their new aluminum-based F-150, it was too such fan fare, you knew it was a big moment in trucks. Many, including myself, thought it was worth taking a shot and see how it worked out. Now, Ford isn’t waiting and is working on using the new aluminum alloy in their Super Duty trucks. It may also be the savior of their large Ford Expedition SUV. Using aluminum at this scale is a calculated risk. Going further with it before consumers have weighed in seems even riskier.

A recent article in talks about the growing activity in aluminum’s production and usage. This activity includes several aluminum production companies investing in new facilities and how all automakers are taking a second look at the product. It’s hard not to say Ford is/has causing a revolution in aluminum’s usage.

This usage is spurring the whole industry and a recent survey says 75 percent of trucks will be aluminum-based by 2025. The survey was conducted by an aluminum-trade group, so take the results with a grain of salt.

With that said, Ford isn’t waiting and is planning to introduce aluminum in all their larger products. It’s reported that some analyst think the F-150 will be the basic frame used for all Expeditions as well as the Super Duty, and that all will use aluminum bodies just like the F150 by 2017 (2018 model year).

There are three items here that stand out to us from the story.

  1. The Expedition isn’t going to die. That’s shocking news to us, but we guess Ford can make it work. Part of us wonders if Ford just doesn’t want to give this segment to GM out of pride/spite.
    Plus, CAFE regulations would seem to force Ford to give it up. Ford simply doesn’t sell a lot of cars or Expeditions to offset each other. Maybe the Expedition using aluminum-body panels will weigh substantially less AND will have better fuel economy. This could make it a better player in that segment.
  2. The Super Duty is going to use the F-150’s frame. Our question: is that a good thing for the F-150, or a bad thing for the Super Duty? For us, it sounds a lot like a design compromise that makes both trucks a little worse.
    Heavy Duty trucks and half-ton trucks are engineered so differently that they are more like cousins and not brothers. It will be interesting to see how Ford plans on sharing platforms.
  3. The Super Duty is going all aluminum in late 2017. We guess that we’re going to see a whole lot of changes in trucks happen all at the same time. Future Detroit auto shows are about to get really, really interesting.

The fact is Ford has gone to great lengths to test their aluminum F-150 including many secret tests. We are just a bit taken aback by their plan to not wait until consumers have their say. It seems Ford is going all in on their gamble. 

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Filed Under: Auto News


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  1. LJC says:

    So, just what does it cost for a consumer to insure an 2015 Ford F150?

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      I don’t think insurance companies know that yet. I think the truck has to be on dealer lots with a VIN before we can research it. When we hear something, we will let you know.


  2. DJ says:

    A 250 is going to have the same frame as a half-ton 150? Wow, I’m not so sure about that one.

    One thing is for certain, they made the F-150 very ugly.

  3. Randy says:

    Remember, Ford is a car/truck company that is strictly a numbers game to them. Quality and Reliability is not their strong suit. As long as they can satisfy the majority, then that is good enough for Ford. When things do not work out good, and then just push the owners beyond warranty so that the claims can finally be denied.

    The engineers at both Ford and GM went to the school of CYA and for that they get an A. Most of Ford’s success has come from America’s disdain for GM, even though both Ford and media would have one believe otherwise.

    The problems I see for the new F150 are: Neither EcoBoost engine has been tested for driving conditions at dew point. The new frame is not proven, there is a tremendous amount of shake rattle and roll in the videos I have seen and Ford has been working aggressively to hide it via marketing. And then there is Ford’s track record on faulty painting methods for aluminum, contamination that causes rust.

    For Ford it will be considered a success as long as they keep 80% of the owner’s pacified while under the 36 month warranty. It’s all about the numbers.

  4. mendonsy says:

    I wonder when the first “Made from recycled beer cans” commercial will show up?

  5. Matt says:

    Where in the Autonews article does it state the Superduty/F150 will share the same frame?

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      True it doesn’t specifically say Ford will use the same exact frame. It is our assumption that it will based on it due to the physics of aluminum panels and how the frame must adapt to changes in structural flex points.


  6. mk says:

    I like the banner ‘future of tough’ behind the ford pickup. Are they seriously thinking aluminum is tougher than sheet metal? Granted, sheet metal on vehicles are extremely thin vs. say in the 80’s but even a thin layer of metal is stronger than aluminum last time I checked.

    Ford is thinking reducing weight will increase mpg. It might by 1 mpg but that is about it. You’re still pushing 3 ton thru the air in an almost square box regardless of metal panels used.

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