Aluminum trend is only growing

TO THE EDITOR:

Newest pickups leaving Ford on aluminum island” (Jan. 22) misses the fact that aluminum continues to expand market share across vehicle segments.

Automakers are using more aluminum year over year. Ducker Worldwide said its survey of automakers shows aluminum remains “the fastest growing automotive material over competing materials and is entering its most unprecedented growth phase since we’ve been tracking the shifting mix of automotive materials.”

A WardsAuto and DuPont Automotive survey also confirms aluminum is the first preferred material of choice among engineers and designers to help meet the expected fuel economy and emissions standards by 2025.

As to the aluminum-bodied F-150, Automotive News itself recognized that the materials switch “helped the automaker boost its share of the hugely profitable segment, post record transaction prices and increase its margin as America’s full-size pickup leader.” Clearly, the aluminum investment paid off for Ford. As for payoff for consumers, the steel-bodied F-150 was four-star safety rated while the top-selling aluminum-bodied version earned a perfect five-star safety rating, and it achieved best-in-class towing and the highest-rated fuel economy of all gas-powered light-duty pickups. Aluminum builds a better truck and a better car.

The trend lines are clear as automakers no longer simply default to steel. Instead, they are more and more choosing high-strength, low-weight aluminum for doors, hoods and trunk lids, body-in-white, bumpers and crash boxes. Maybe the headline should be: “Aluminum continues to gain in trucks and cars, leading the multimaterial trend.”

HEIDI BROCK, CEO, Aluminum Association, Arlington, Va.