An aluminum F-150 Ford pickup truck will be a reality as the automaker is reportedly preparing to unveil the significantly lighter truck during January's Detroit Auto Show.
MotorTrend.com notes that the move by Ford
is part on the automaker's ongoing attempt to decrease fuel consumption in its best-selling vehicle.
The move would decrease the vehicle's overall weight by 700 pounds, MSN.com noted
, while simultaneously satisfying the Corporate Average Fuel Economy or CAFE standards – a series of new fuel regulations put forth by the Obama administration that will take effect in 2016 and improve the average fuel economy for both cars and trucks.
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"Like alternative drivetrain technology, lightweight materials will be a key component in meeting the fuel economy standards of the future," Karl Brauer, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book, said in an e-mail to Benzinga.com
. "Ford's use of aluminum in the next F150 foreshadows a widespread trend we'll be seeing across every vehicle segment in the coming years."
Already consumers are reportedly responding favorably to another environmentally conscious move by Ford – the installation of its twin turbocharged V-6 EcoBoost engine in F-150s, which account for approximately 40 percent of the vehicle's sales.
While Ford might be leading the pack with its innovative fuel saving measures, some analysts warn the automaker is taking a significant risk in making the move now, considering it could reportedly take up to six weeks to complete the factory switch-over to aluminum at a crucial time of the year with 2014 around the corner.
"This is already the most significant debut at the auto show," Joe Langley, a production analyst for IHS Automotive, told Bloomberg News
. "Everybody's going to be dissecting that thing for a long time, especially since Ford will be taking such a big gamble."
Despite the risk, other analysts were more confident Ford could complete the transition in the limited time period provided.
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"F-150 is a very key product, and some of the changes they’re talking about this time do elevate the risks in terms of getting that right," Warren Gibbon, a fund manager at Standard Life Investments, told Bloomberg. "They should be able to pull it off."
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