When details on the 2015 Ford F-150 were revealed confirming rumors of an almost all-aluminum body, among the many questions about the new truck was the cost premium associated with the exotic (for the class) body material. Although admittedly more expensive than using conventional steel, Ford has found an innovative way to cut the net price premium of aluminum to just $750 per vehicle. Automotive News reports that the 2015 F-150 uses four different types of aluminum alloys in its production and produces approximately 310 pounds of scrap aluminum in the process.
Simple bulk recycling on the material would yield $0.80 per pound. But by sorting the material by type, Ford will reportedly get back $1.20 per pound. Based on projected sales volume for the F-150, the optimized recycling process will yield $80 million in savings for Ford. The pneumatic aluminum sorting equipment reportedly cost $60 million, potentially paying for itself in the first year.
Ford has only shared some details on the F-150's construction and manufacturing so far, highlighting its modular repair process, and going on a nationwide campaign to train dealerships, and independent repair shops on aluminum repair methods and best practices. Additional details of the new F-150's manufacturing process are expected to be revealed later this year.
Source: Automotive News (subscription required)