Trucks Go Alloy

GM looks at lighter materials for next-gen pickups

Andy Bolig - March 01, 2014 05:25 PM


Mark Reuss, GM's product chief is quoted as saying, "I want to get my hands on it…then I'm going to go back and do some math."

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I want to get my hands on it…then I'm going to go back and do some math

Sources are reporting that officials within GM, specifically Mark Reuss, are also looking into the viability of building truck bodies from aluminum.

Rumors currently circling around the Renaissance Center is that by 2018, when the next generation of trucks is due for introduction, that their bodies will be mostly manufactured from the light-weight material. Looming fuel economy standards are the main reason for the tightening of the waistline for the General’s heavy haulers.

According to the Wall Street Journal, GM recently locked-in supply contracts with Alcoa Inc. and Novelis Inc., who are now working to increase production to supply the next-generation GM pickup. Aluminum sheeting in body panels has long been a vision of engineers in an attempt to lighten a vehicle’s weight. Now, with Ford’s announcement at the recent Detroit Auto Show that their next truck will feature the use of aluminum in construction, that idea has finally become mainstream. Even Reuss voiced interest in thoroughly investigating rival Ford’s use of the material.

Being such a deviation from the long-accepted norm of steel panels, the implementation of aluminum is sure to bring with it some genuine concerns and hurdles. Every step of the process from manufacture, shipping, and even repair procedures can change from what was normal only a year before. GM’s competitor coming-out with the use of aluminum may be the future so far as pickups is concerned and Mark, along with the rest of the team at GM, might have the right idea of letting them answer most of the hard questions before 2018.