It's one of the most highly anticipated vehicles expected to debut next year, and its significance to Ford and to the domestic auto industry in particular can't be over-stated. It's the 2015 Ford F-150. We've seen numerous prototype mules showing a strong resemblance to the Atlas Concept that was a surprise debut at last year's Detroit show, and now a few more details about the truck's upcoming debut have surfaced from a Bloomberg report.
The 2015 F-150 is believed to make extensive use of aluminum in a bid to decrease its weight by as much as 750 lb. While the frame is believed to remain steel on the new model, almost all exterior body panels will reportedly be aluminum. To combat the perception of aluminum as being weak or flimsy, Ford is reportedly teaming up with supplier Alcoa to supply some of its military-grade aluminum armor as part of the Detroit Auto Show display for the 2015 F-150.
Obviously, both Ford and Alcoa remain tight-lipped about future plans for the truck, which is hugely significant as both Ford's, as well as the country's best-selling vehicle model for more than 30 years. The changeover to aluminum body panels is expected to take as long as six weeks to prepare the plants for the production changeover. It's believed one of the two plants that build the F-150 will continue to build the legacy model into calendar 2014, as the other switches to the new model.
In addition to significantly greater use of aluminum, the 2015 F-150 could also use the 10-speed automatic that Ford is developing in collaboration with General Motors. The new truck could also employ Ford's next-generation EcoBoost V-6, believed to be as small as 2.7 liters, code-named Nano. With its 28-mpg highway rating, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel has significantly raised the bar for expectations of full-size truck fuel economy, and Ford is reportedly aiming for close to 30 mpg highway on the new model, and without a diesel engine option.