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Enough Soda Can Jokes: Ford’s F-150 Just Aced The NHTSA’s New Vehicle Tests

Enough Soda Can Jokes: Ford’s F-150 Just Aced The NHTSA’s New Vehicle Tests

(Images: Ford) When Ford announced that the next-generation F-150 was switching over to an aluminum-intensive structure, there was plenty of doubt about the durability and safety of one of the world’s most popular vehicles and a long-running best-seller in the United States. Well, worry no more: the 2015 Ford F-150 just scored a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA, which would make the new Ford the safest one yet. The military-grade aluminum alloys, combined with high-strength steel in certain areas, not only shed over 700 pounds off of the truck, but also contributed to the improved crash rating.

From Ford’s press release:

The all-new Ford F-150 SuperCrew has earned the government’s highest possible crash safety rating –  adding to the F-150’s strengths as the toughest, smartest, most capable F-150 ever.

Thanks to 31 new safety-related innovations developed by the Ford truck team, the 2015 F-150 SuperCrew has earned a five-star Overall Vehicle Score in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s New Car Assessment Program.

“The five-star safety rating is a terrific example of One Ford collaboration and innovation,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “Our truck team worked together for years to deliver this accomplishment, using an unprecedented combination of advanced materials throughout the all-new F-150. The 2015 model is engineered to be the safest F-150 ever, which matters to customers who depend on this truck to not only get the job done, but also get them safely home.”

F-150’s improved performance is enabled by up to a 700-pound weight savings through the use of high-strength steel in the frame; high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloy in the body; and smart engineering.

A cross-functional group comprised of Ford truck product development veterans and researchers worked to precisely optimize vehicle weight savings and manufacturing design to deliver improved durability, capability, fuel economy and crashworthiness. The team created and patented new structures, materials and joining methods that were tested virtually with supercomputer simulations, then retested in Ford’s advanced laboratories to engineer the safest F-150 ever.

2015 Ford F-150 4d

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15 thoughts on “Enough Soda Can Jokes: Ford’s F-150 Just Aced The NHTSA’s New Vehicle Tests

  1. loren

    Looks like a crash-test/safety rating for the people up in the cab only, and not something to base too many durability claims on. Aluminum is pound-for-pound stronger than steel and makes an adequate structure (why they make airplanes out of it) however all the concerns about repair expense and long-term fatigue problems still apply, same as cars made of the stuff. We shall see over time.

  2. RockJustRock

    Does that test consider the impact on an owner’s wallet? If aluminum was cost effective and had superior durability the industry would have adopted it decades ago. Maximizing profits from initial expense, repair costs and obsolescence is the goal here cloaked in a guise of environment consciousness. The public is willing to spend an incredible amount of cash on trucks. Ford is just capitalizing on that trend.

    1. jeff

      No, it’s just a crash test.
      And, the industry has been integrating aluminum and other new technologies (like the high strength steel in the Ford and GM trucks) for years. It’s called progress. Years ago, they didn’t have the technology to accomplish a full bodied truck, that met consumer and government requirements for safety, comfort, quietness, manufacturing EPA stuff, etc. Aluminum, obviously, is more expensive for Ford to use than steel, so maximizing profits from initial expense is an invalid argument even if they were to raise the MSRP. Also, invalid is the argument for maximizing profits from repair costs, as all body shop work isn’t performed at a dealership, and many body parts used by insurance companies are aftermarket or used, and not always OEM. As far as a guise of environment consciousness….don’t ALL truck manufacturers tout their fuel mileage benefits? They didn’t switch to aluminum just to act like they were hugging more trees these days. They did it for market advantage. A lighter truck, in theory, should get better fuel mileage and be able to haul more due to weight savings. Which, by the way, are both better with the new truck than the older models. If you don’t believe this, throw 600lbs in the back of your car or 1/2 ton truck and note the difference in performance and gas mileage. It will also be less prone to body rot (although, we’ll see how corrosion affects it in the long run). If anything, it’s a good marketing ploy…but with much truth behind it. And yes, until repair technology increases and body shop techs get more training and experience with the repairs, costs will be higher in this area. That will eventually decrease and even out. I’m sure when plastic bumper covers and other plastic and fiberglass parts started appearing on cars years ago people were just as skeptical as they are with the new, aluminum F150.

      1. RockJustRock

        People were just as skeptical when the DeLorean came out with stainless steel body panels. They were RIGHT! If GM and Dodge don’t go alloy I give it 2-3 years at best.

        1. jeff

          Yes, but stainless steel his extremely heavy, costly, and you absolutely can’t do any body work to it. The only quality to stainless steel on those cars was that it looks cool. Aluminum has many benefits. Not a good comparison. GM and Dodge probably won’t go to aluminum soon. GM has already blasted it too much, so it will look hypocritical. They’ll phaze it in slowly, as not to make a big deal of it. Dodge is always behind the other two in development, so it will take more time for them to drink the koolaid.

  3. Lee

    “54.5 MPG CAFE standard for 2025

    After a long, political battle, both on Capitol Hill and in Detroit, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Obama administration have confirmed new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for all cars made between 2017 and 2025.

    The final ruling, originally due two weeks ago but delayed because of continued political wrangling, will require average fuel economy of all new cars and trucks sold in the U.S. to reach 54.5 mpg by 2025.”

    Ford is going in the right direction. They have to reduce the weight of cars and trucks to get to that 54.5 mpg MANDATORY fuel mileage in just 10 years. That is not a lot of time to accomplish an almost doubling of today’s mpg.

    1. jeff

      You’re right. It’s going to be hard to crank out the kind of power these trucks are required to make now, and have good fuel economy. However, and correct me if I’m dead wrong, I’m pretty sure the 54.5MPG standard is an average of all vehicles from the manufacturer, not a requirement for each vehicle.

      1. Whelk

        Yep, fleet wide. Every Fiesta they sell pulls the average up, every F-150 pulls it down, with a gas guzzler tax to try and put a minimum mileage per vehicle. It’s in Ford’s best interest to get every vehicle as efficient as possible. Failing to meet CAFE has consequences.

  4. loren

    In our very-petroleum-based economy, nearly anything that costs anything does so partly because of fuel used. A higher MPG figure in a car means less when it comes at the cost of using more energy-intensive materials (aluminum) to build it and more energy to repair it, such as from humans who drive their cars to work so they can work on the cars that need the extra work (follow that?) If a car winds up costing extra to have over it’s life, a lot of that will be in petroleum beyond what’s fuel going into the tank. Maybe a car that saved ten grand in fuel over it’s life used five grand more in fuel just to be what it is? Hope that’s figured in when things are calculated out, I remember ‘way back when the Porsche 928 was introduced in aluminum, they figured on something over 150k miles before the fuel savings from the lighter material would even out against it’s extra cost in energy to produce it. Big whoop.

    Counting what it takes to run a factory starting with driving every employee to work, all energy consumption within, then petroleum costs for paint, plastic and rubber ingredients, and on and on, I figure I may use less of the earth’s fuel driving an older car ’cause no one had to use all what it would’ve taken to build me a whole new vehicle I didn’t actually need. Again, something to figure in.

    1. Threedoor

      Exactly right! There Aint No Such Thing As a Free Lunch. Its just moving the energy/cost/work/materials around and at each step there is a natural loss of efficiency, the coal powered ‘electric’ car is the perfect example of this.

  5. Craig

    Ford has been using aluminum hoods on their trucks since the 90’s. Mopar and the imports have been using aluminum for years for hoods and deck lids on their cars. Again…….GM is too cheap.

  6. Threedoor

    Now if they could do something about that GMC hood, Toyota grill and those ugly ass headlights with the male appendage intruding into them. Just when I started liking the looks of one of the pickups on the market Ford goes and jacks it up.

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