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Toyota Camry, Lexus RX to get aluminum parts

Tue, 23 Sep 2014 18:00:00 EST

Ah, aluminum. The lightweight, strong material has long held a following within the premium ranks, but as Ford prepares to launch an aluminum F-150, the material is gaining acceptance among more mainstream automakers. Toyota is one such brand, with a new report indicating that the Japanese giant will add aluminum bits and bobs to some of its upcoming vehicles.

These won't be full, aluminum-intensive treatments like the F-150, however. Automotive News reports that an aluminum hood and liftgate will be coming to the 2016 Lexus RX, and following that, the Camry will get a bonnet built from Element 13 for model year 2018.

As AN points out, Toyota is no stranger to aluminum, using it in Japanese-built models like the Prius and Scion FR-S. The RX and Camry, though, will mark the first time the company's North American factories will use the material, and they'll do so on a significantly larger scale, owing to the higher volumes that the Camry and RX represent.

"Toyota has plans to use aluminum on future vehicles for hood, closures and parts for lightweighting," Toyota's Jana Hartline told AN. "Also, we will increase usage of mix metals and resin materials to enhance lightweighting efforts."

The aluminum for the Camry and RX would likely come from a new joint venture between Toyota Motor's affiliate Toyota Tsusho and Kobe Steel, with an operation that could produce 100,000 tons of aluminum sheet (like what's shown above at an Alcoa factory in Indiana) each year.

By Brandon Turkus

See also: 2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid, 2015 Toyota Camry, Toyota C-HR hybrid crossover coupe concept leak ahead of Paris.