Report: GM Plant Investment To Include Mixed Metals Manufacturing
Next-Generation Trucks To Use Combination of Aluminum, Steel
With the official announcement of the 2015 Ford F-150 going to a nearly all-aluminum body, it set off a firestorm of posturing, contradictory claims and hair splitting among the Detroit Three, with each of them claiming the superiority of their chosen method of construction. That conversation is about to get a lot more nuanced, if a report from Reuters is to be believed. Following General Motors’ announcement yesterday of a $877 million investment in its Flint, Michigan, truck plant, the report claims that a major part of the retooling of the plant is to incorporate mixed-metals manufacturing techniques and tooling, with aluminum likely playing a much more prominent role in the next-generation trucks than in the current model, which features an aluminum hood but a predominantly steel body.
Also in contrast to Ford’s total closure and overhaul of its Dearborn Truck and Kansas City, Missouri plant to transition over to aluminum bodies, the change to Flint will reportedly be a running change, with a much shorter downtime than the 13 weeks that was required for the Ford changeover. It’s unknown whether GM’s Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Silao, Mexico, plants will eventually undergo a similar transformation. GM’s fullsize SUV models have traditionally shared much of their hardware with the pickups. GM announced a $1.4 billion investment for its Arlington, Texas SUV plant last month.