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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Rumorpile: General Motors Joins The Aluminum Truck Brigade

    General Motors To Ford: We Can Play The Aluminum Truck Game As Well

    Ford pulled off a bit of coup at the Detroit Auto Show last month with the introduction of the 2015 F-150 which features an all-aluminum body to help meet the upcoming fuel efficiency standards. Now, another truck maker looks to be following in the footsteps of the blue oval.

    The Wall Street Journal has learned from sources familiar with the matter that General Motors is working on making the next-generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra have aluminum bodies. The company has secured contracts with with Alcoa and Novelis Inc. to supply aluminum for the next-generation trucks, due out in late 2018.

    GM's global product development chief, Mark Reuss hinted at the company possibly going towards aluminum with their trucks last month.

    "We need to see how much aluminum is in it, not what they say is in it but what is actually in it. We are going to look at what they advertise as the weight savings from it and then we are going to go back and do some math.…We can play this game real easily."

    Sources tell WSJ that GM will use a patented method of where multi-ringed electrodes are used to weld the aluminum panels. This eliminates a number of rivets used in the assembly of the trucks and allows the company to build a lighter and stronger truck.

    Source: Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.


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    I would be cautious to come up to the conclusion of wholesale usage of aluminum like F150 based on just "locked-in supply contracts". GM already uses aluminum components on the trucks. Given the demand for aluminum has risen in the automobile industry, to hedge the rising costs, automakers are locking in longterm contracts.

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    I would rather see GM put R&D efforts into using flexible carbon fiber to reduce the weight of auto's and still hold up to the pounding of the real world.

    http://www.carbitex.com/

    I like what they are doing and figure you could get carbon fiber body panels that can take an impact and then return to original shape. Much like the original saturn auto's.

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    "to supply for 20XX" - it could be any coming vehicle... not just trucks. GM has been using various aluminium panels in cars for years. The last Riviera had an aluminium hood and I believe both Auroras did too. There is still a LOT in GM's product pipeline yet to be revealed... the product onslaught from them so far and into the future (that is, the shear volume of new models) is really impressive for a company that just went through BK.


    The truck and SUV lineup is pretty much all new. They have 2 new small crossovers and 3 just refreshed large crossovers. New Impala, new Lacrosse, new Regal, new Malibu, new ATS and CTS, relatively fresh XTS. New corvette, refresh Camaro.


    Even the stuff I would consider old is still pretty new at this point.... Sonic, Cruze, Verano, Equinox/Terrain, SRX, Volt.


    It's really something that the Cruze and Volt are the two oldest vehicles in the GM lineup. (not counting fleet stuff like vans, captiva, and impala classic)

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    Correct Drew. Honestly Ford is just now adopting the AL revolution. Alpha sits on complete aluminum structural components, Corvette sits on aluminum strcuture. I think VW is the only car manufacture other than GM with aluminum integrated in its lineup exhaustively.

    Ford trucks have traditionally been pigs weighing as much as 600 lbs (HD trims) more than GM counterparts who have traditionally been the lightest. So while attaining 700 lb weight reduction using aluminum is great it is not second coming of Jesus. Ford lacks hydroforming, it does not have abundant use of carbon fiber nor light alloys with titanium or magnesium. Metallurgically and materially speaking GM is better, alas the media. I wish smoke and screen Mulllaly was at GM. The goodwill he has brought to Ford is tremendous.

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