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Auto blogWed, 11 Jun 2014
In the next decade, the auto industry will see an explosion in its use of aluminum to cut weight and increase fuel economy, according to a study from market analysts Ducker Worldwide cited by The Detroit News. We are already seeing the lightweight metal show up extensively in luxury models from Europe, but with the impending launch of aluminum-intensive 2015 Ford F-150 (pictured above), North America is using it even more, as well. The report predicts 70 percent of US pickups to have aluminum bodies by 2025.
It won't just be pickups that see the benefit, though. The average amount of aluminum in US vehicles is forecasted by the study to grow from an average of 350 pounds in 2013 to about 550 pounds by 2025. The most common parts to use it will be hoods, doors and - to some extent - roofs, as well.
The massive increase in pickups' aluminum content hardly seems surprising. The F-150 is predicted to use so much that it might cause a short-term shortage, according to one earlier report. At the same time General Motors is heavily rumored to be negotiating with suppliers for the next generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. Ram is the last holdout of the Big Three, but the study predicts that not to last.
A lot more happened during this latest brutal winter than days of snow and Netflix binges. Automotive sales took a battering. After all, going out car shopping when it's eleventy-billion degrees below zero isn't a good time.
Because of this Old Man Winter-induced sales slump, inventories are abnormally high as we head into the summer car buying season. That's led some analysts to predict that automakers will be more inclined to idle factories this summer, in a bid to trim some of the built-up inventory. Traditionally, American manufacturers offer up a two-week break in the middle of summer, although the burgeoning sales of the past few years have seen this practice become less popular.
"We're likely not going to see an acceleration this year," Jeff Schuster, a senior vice president at LMC Automotive, told The Detroit News. "We'll see production increases in 'pockets' but I don't know if it will be as widespread as in recent years."
Put on your space suits and diving bell helmets, for it's time to step into a time capsule. The 50th anniversary of a historic model, like, say, the Porsche 911 this year, is certain to bring flights of nostalgia. This historical trip with the 1965 Mustang, though - preliminary hype for next year's anniversary, we know - is a swell museum exhibit for anyone who enjoys bygone days of the automobile.
Lee Iaccoca gave a speech to motoring journalists on April 1, 1964 at the New York World's Fair to introduce a sporty car for younger drivers. His opening line: "Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to one of the proudest moments of our lives." The company was so excited by what it had made that the Mustang was Ford's first "International Press Introduction," being introduced to some 2,000 journos around the world on the same day in the US and 11 European cities. Even through its difficult points, no one at the time could have known how well the Mustang would acquit that pride.
After the intro, the press drove Mustangs 750 miles from New York to Dearborn, MI, reading press kits that touted features like the "vertical, three-sectional taillights/turn signals," "170" six-cylinder engine with 101 horsepower and the available Cruise-O-Matic transmission.