Chevy Silverado's Toughnology Stays with Steel

Mechanic collegesAs a company established in Detroit by a race car driver, Chevrolet has now become a global brand selling trucks in almost all areas of the world. Chevrolet’s new motto “Find New Roads” perfectly fits the company’s belief in catering to adventurous Americana and providing medium-duty trucks to all for an affordable price. Those in auto careers know the pick-up truck market in America is the source of some serious rivalry, but perhaps none more competitive than Chevrolet against Ford. These two American companies are both seeing an increase in sales in part due to a boom in the hydraulic fracking industry where trucks are the most practical vehicle for workers. The Chevrolet Silverado has been in competition with the Ford F-150 since the late 90s, with Ford more often dominating sales due to the F-150’s long history. In Chevrolet’s newest concept vehicle, the company attempts to overtake Ford’s rule by boasting traditional heavy-duty steel over Ford’s new aluminum model.

Steel vs. Aluminum

An automotive service technician can quite easily deduce the benefits and cons of steel versus aluminum—and they are more or less even. Aluminum is becoming more popular in the automobile world these days, with more cars and trucks announcing their use of the material. Ford will soon release their first aluminum body vehicle for the 2015 F-150, this switch due largely to the fact that aluminum is considerably light than steel. To understand the difference, the switch to aluminum will shed 700 pounds from the current F-150 model. There is a long-standing myth in the automobile world that the weight of the vehicle equals strength, whereas Ford wants to show that strength is actually in the power produced by the vehicle. This 10% weight reduction means a 10% fuel-economy increase. A downside to this switchover is that less than 10% of auto body shops and mechanic colleges are certified for aluminum repair.

In response to Ford’s switch to aluminum, Chevrolet has been promoting the 2015 Silverado “Toughnology” concept. The concept release seems to be in direct response to Ford and other trends in aluminum bodies. The new Silverado would use 67% ultra and high-strength steel in its cab, which according to Chevrolet, is about 30% lighter than typical carbon steel and stronger too. In the company’s announcement of the concept Silverado, they state that their steel vehicle provides weight reduction at a lower cost than aluminum.

Future of Trucks

The outlook of pickups shows a mixture of heavy duty trucks, especially from Chevrolet, and a revitalized interest in smaller and more affordable pickups. A new heavy-duty diesel Chevrolet Duramax has been spotted doing hot weather tests in the U.S. south. Meanwhile, smaller vehicles have also been seen doing tests, such as a 2016 Ford Global Ranger and a potential 2016 Toyota Hilux. Compact pickups like the 2014 Nissan Frontier and the 2014 Honda Ridgeline are currently growing in popularity due to their affordability.

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