Ford's plan to shift its best-selling F-150 trucks to an aluminum body is probably one of the boldest moves being made in car-manufacturing today, and there is a no shortage of risk.
Not only does Ford F need to change its entire manufacturing process to build the aluminum F-150, it also needs to bring along its suppliers as it retools its entire production process. And the current drop in fuel prices mean that drivers may be more relaxed about fuel economy ratings when buying a new vehicle.
Regardless of current oil prices, the change to the F-150 is a harbinger of the future as manufacturers meet strict 2025 fuel-efficiency requirements. In addition to a vehicle's weight (700 pounds less) and materials, its shape, powertrain, and wheels and tires will change dramatically over the next 10 years.