Ford F-150 to get new aluminum body

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - After more than 100 years, Ford Motor Company is getting ready to unveil it's biggest gamble yet, at next week's Detroit Auto Show.

The F-150, the best selling pick-up truck and the best selling vehicle in the U.S. for the last 37 years, is trading in its steel body for aluminum.

Mike Baines of Jones Ford on Rivers Avenue says the company is "...trying to get better gas mileage. The easiest way is to use a high strength military grade aluminum that reduces the weight of the vehicle ... there in gives you better gas mileage."

The new aluminum F-150 body will be about 600 pounds compared to the current Steel F-150 which is roughly 1,000 pounds. Other changes that are top secret, until the unveiling, will help to make the popular truck even lighter.

"What I can say is it'll drop about 700 pounds off of the vehicle. And it says it's going to get about 30 to 31 miles to the gallon," states Baines.

Currently the EPA for the F-150 is 13 miles per gallon in the city and 19 on the highway.

There are reports that Ford has approached Alcoa about it's high-strength aluminum but as of right now there's no word on wether the companies made a deal.

Baines says "it's had a lot of tests and it's been crashed many times to see how that's going to with stand. And this military grade aluminum is going to with stand a lot better. Everybody says aluminum is going to wrinkle up but it's stuff they make planes out of."

The Detroit Auto Show will be open to the public starting January 18, following a two day press preview that starts next Monday.

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