The narrative flow in the automotive industry has been firmly behind aluminum in the quest for lower weight and better fuel consumption, but steelmakers were never going to stand idly by and see one of their most lucrative markets rapidly eroded even though the speed of the change has caught some of them by surprise.
Brian Aranha, Vice President of Global Automotive at ArcelorMittal is quoted in Automotiveworld saying Ford’s decision to switch a large chunk of the F-150 to aluminum “…was a bad surprise for us, we just didn’t see it coming.”
Well, whether they saw it coming or not, they are reacting now. Steelmakers the world over are pouring millions into research and development to carve out a role for steel in the car designs of the future.
The Aluminum Challenge
They have much to fear, in an executive summary to a report by Ducker Worldwide last year called DriveAluminum highlight is made to the rapid gains made by the light metal.
Although the F-150 leads the class with 1,080 lbs. of aluminum, the pickup truck segment has embraced weight reduction more than any other. The average content will be 548.9 lbs per vehicle almost the same as E segment sedans at 549.9 lbs. and SUVs close behind at 410.3 lbs.