Redesigned Ram 1500 pickup

The marketing messages for new trucks and SUVs are as much about diets as horsepower and torque.

Trucks.com reported that the practice, known as “lightweighting,” is made possible thanks to a cocktail of advanced materials such as aluminum, high-strength steels and combinations known as composites. Every pound taken out of a pickup truck helps the vehicle increase its maximum payload, towing capacity and fuel economy.

“It’s critically important,” said Raj Nair, president of Ford Motor Co. in North America.

The results are pretty dramatic. The 2019 Ram 1500 pickup debuted by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit this month is 225 pounds lighter than the model it replaces. The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado introduced by General Motors is 450 pounds lighter than the previous generation. The redesigned 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class, a truck-like SUV, shed 375 pounds.

Ford introduced its 2019 Ranger midsize pickup in Detroit. It uses a steel body with high-strength steel in the frame. Components such as the hood and tailgate are made from aluminum.

“You’re going to see more aluminum, more composites, more high-strength steels as there’s an increased emphasis on lightweighting and efficiency,” Nair said.

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