Now that this metal is in such high demand companies like GM have to order it years in advance of using it. GM wants to stay competitive with other car manufacturers like Ford Motors. They will not release any technical details about the trucks due to their desire to protect their products from competition.
They are researching how much aluminum is needed to build the body of a truck and how it is made. They want to know how the parts are made and even how the panels are designed. GM wants to use more lightweight metals to replace steel. Many companies want to use military grade aluminum alloys due to its strength and durability.
The truck that GM plans to design is a pickup truck. Ford is about five years ahead of GM because they started early using aluminum for trucks. They had to close their plants to install new equipment this year to use with this metal. Aluminum trucks helps with gas mileage but will they do well in crash tests? Often aluminum does poorly in accidents and is more expensive to repair than steel.
Aluminum designs should be used in combination with common metals. Many garages will have to deal with some of the problems that fixing aluminum vehicles cause. Many garages are claiming that having a separate bay to fix aluminum can resolve some of the problems. Still this is an added expense.
The trucks GM plans to make are The Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC Sierra which are both full size pickup trucks. They will be looking at cost increases and how to manufacture the trucks. They already use aluminum parts in other vehicles like hoods in the Cadillac CTS-V. The change to this metal has to do with fuel economy.
Photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar / Foter / CC BY-ND