Ford Motor Co., taking risks with its top-selling and most profitable model, introduced an F-150 pickup that weighs as much as 700 pounds lighter to deliver a boost in fuel economy.
Bloomberg reported that the F-150 going on sale late this year boasts military-grade aluminum alloy throughout its body, Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford said in a statement. The second-largest U.S. carmaker also added a 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine, the smallest-displacement powertrain in its truck lineup.
CEO Alan Mulally, trained as an aeronautical engineer, is pushing Ford into the use of lightweight material commonly found in planes and never-before tested on this scale in automotives. The switch from steel-bodied F-150s will pose a challenge on the factory floors that have produced the top-selling truck in the last 32 years.
“More than the fuel efficiency or the weight savings, where you can say why this vehicle is special is it’s the first one that was high-volume to go aluminum, and it paved the way for everything else,” Kevin Tynan, an auto analyst for Bloomberg Industries, said in a telephone interview.
The lean F-150 being unveiled today (Jan. 13) at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit shares many of the same features as the Atlas concept truck that was lowered from the roof of the Joe Louis Arena during last year’s show. These include LED lights in the headlamps, taillamps, cargo box and side mirrors, and fuel-saving technology that shuts off the engine when the truck is stopped.
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