General Motors Reportedly Securing Aluminum Supply for Future Trucks
High Global Demand Requires Supply Contracts Years in Advance
Ford got the lion's share of attention at this year's Detroit auto show for the 2015 F-150's aluminum body, considered a very bold move in a vehicle segment traditionally characterized by staying the course and sticking to tried-and-true formulas. Although Ford will be the first to market with a full-size truck with an aluminum body, it looks as if it won't be the last, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The Journal reports that General Motors has secured major supply contracts with both Alcoa and Novelis, two of the largest sheet-aluminum suppliers in the world. Because of strong global automotive demand for aluminum, manufacturers must secure supply contracts years in advance.
GM global product development chief Mark Reuss has made no secret of his curiosity about Ford's engineering and construction techniques on the new F-150, and said he wanted to "see how much aluminum is actually in it," and do an engineering analysis on the new truck.
Although in a different market segment than the F-150, GM has made a bold move of its own with the decision to reintroduce the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon after a three-year hiatus, with an all-new platform, and an optional diesel engine that will be available in its second model year on the market. GM hopes to challenge the current midsize truck oligopoly of the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier, both of which are also due for redesigns soon.
Four years ago, Ford also shook up the industry with its introduction of the turbocharged, direct-injected EcoBoost V-6 as an ostensible V-8 replacement. Initial take-rate projections of 10-25 percent have been surpassed considerably, with the EcoBoost comprising more than 40 percent of the F-150 sales mix.
Source: Wall Street Journal (subscription required)