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Ford and GM Compete for Truck Lightweighting Advantage

Posted By ASC, Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Ford’s F-series sets new records for fuel efficiency in the market for trucks, and GM was eager to follow suit. But General Motors engineers weren’t sold on the all-aluminum body that kept the F-series bodyweight low. Investigations led GM towards a lower-cost and even lighter weight solution: combining aluminum with high-strength steel.


With aluminum costs rising and the threat of import tariffs on vehicles made in Mexico where GM has a plant, both companies face headwinds. But GM is betting that its new, lighter weight Silverado will give it a competitive edge. The company’s lightweighting drive has shaved 450 pounds off the weight of a truck, allowing it to get 23 miles to the gallon.


GM’s decision to combine high-strength steel with aluminum has also leading to cost savings which it hopes to use on better entertainment and safety systems. However, despite GM’s efforts to attract consumers with better fuel efficiency and electronics, the F-series Ford truck remains the US national top seller.


Who is winning the fuel efficiency battle? So far, average fuel consumption for the two trucks is the same, but the Silverado has a slight edge on the open road where it gets 23 miles to the gallon while Ford gets 21 miles to the gallon. But GM plans to make more extensive use of carbon fiber in future while Ford will continue with its aluminum bodies.


As for consumers, they’re happy to get fuel economy from trucks most people see as gas guzzlers, and cost-efficiency is making the truck market attractive to light motor vehicle owners who would previously have balked at the fuel cost implications of driving a truck.


To learn about how adhesives and sealants are helping OEM’s with their lightweighting initiatives, visit the cars, trucks and buses portal at


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