Even though not officially confirmed, it’s pretty much common knowledge among those who pay enough attention that Ford’s next-gen 2015 F-150 will rely heavily on aluminum body panels in order to cut weight and boost fuel economy. But recent reports have stated that Ford is experiencing difficulty working with the aluminum provided by its suppliers. Supposedly, the problem involves the inability to manipulate the light metal to a desired shape. With reports making the rounds in a way that a tiger encircles its prey, we believe that the issue is a non-starter. Here’s why.
For starters, let’s assume that Ford manufacturing engineers are having a problem molding, stamping, or otherwise modifying the aluminum to their needs. If (a big if) this is really the case, fine. Unfortunately, it’s only part of the picture. What the reports don’t consider are the various alternatives to the problematic process at hand, which is to say that there is always a B-plan made especially for these kinds of situations. It’s part and parcel of being a successful, global, and experienced automaker. There are also back-up plans for the back-up plan. The reports don’t bring any of this up because they only have a small piece of the story, but even such a small piece seems to have sent some into a frenzy to run around yelling: “Oh my, Ford made a mistake by going with aluminum”, and “Ford is doomed, it’s time to close up shop and give the money back to the shareholders.” Right? Wrong.
Even if the unconfirmed reports are accurate, the 2015 F-150 — which is expected to use styling cues from the Ford Atlas concept (pictured) — is still months from production, giving The Blue Oval plenty of time to figure out whatever issues it is reportedly having. The reports also don’t discuss the fact that Ford employs some of the smartest people on the planet, and that through collaboration, brainstorming, advanced computer applications, good ol’ trial-and-error, and other techniques, these engineers solve complex issues on a daily basis. It’s what they do. And we’re certain that they will solve this aluminum issue, as well — assuming there even is one. In a nutshell, it’s called working through problems and persevering — something The Blue Oval has become known for over the last decade.
So, if you come across any more “end of the world” reports about Ford’s supposed issues with aluminum for the 2015 F-150, feel free to paste the link to this very article into the comments for the sake of sanity and a balanced perspective. As for us, we can’t wait to see, feel, touch, and drive the production-spec truck in person in 2014… aluminum panels included.