North America is currently one of the largest manufacturers and consumers of automobiles in the world. Did you know that in the past several years, 71% of Detroit’s auto profits have come from trucks and SUVs? Automotive service technicians and students in mechanic colleges are well aware that trucks are something of a past time in North America – and our love affair with trucks is evident in 2014’s end-of-year rankings. The Globe and Mail ranked the Ford F-150 the most significant vehicle of the year, against fierce competition like the Tesla Model S and the BMW i8. On top of this, the North American International Auto Show has announced that the Ford F-150 is the Truck of the Year. Read on to find out more about this award-winning vehicle!
Truck of the Year Award
The North American Car and Truck of the Year are announced annually at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The jury for this selection is made up of 50 or more auto journalists, who usually favour vehicles which have made significant technological advances. In 2013, the Truck of the Year was the Chevy Silverado, and before that the RAM 1500 – a selection those in automotive careers will recognize as “The Big Three”. The “Three” refer to GM, Ford and Chrysler, who have historically ruled the automotive landscape of North America. History aside, the most evident reasoning for Ford F-150’s win is its revolutionary changeover from steel to an aluminum body.
The Transition to Aluminum
Ford’s bold transition from a steel auto body to aluminum for their F-150 has been called a game changer. Aluminum is much lighter than steel, making the new F-150 220 kilograms lighter than its predecessor. Engineers are showing great admiration for this changeover, which would have required a new model design, a whole new manufacturing process and new supplies of aluminum sheet metal. For the consumer, this weight reduction not only allows for more towing capacity, but also is better for fuel economy. These changes could not come at a better time, as the government of Canada recently announced that in 2016 there would be new strict manufacturer regulations in order to improve fuel economy.
What’s with Canadians and Their Trucks?
The Ford F-150 has been Canada’s #1 bestselling vehicle for 40 years now, and the tide does not seem to be shifting. So what is it about trucks that keeps Canadian consumers coming back? For the most part, you’ll find the answer is practicality. Despite the high gas costs associated with owning a truck, and the typical low miles per gallon, people will choose a truck simply because the results outweigh the costs. Canada’s economy of mining, logging and agriculture calls for heavy duty trucks to carry big loads. Trucks are also multipurpose – a Ford F-150 can carry up to 6 people, and still haul a load in the back.
Furthermore, what would hockey players do without a truck to toss their equipment into when travelling from rink to rink? When one takes into account the Canadian way of life, it seems like the truck is here to stay.
What innovations do you think could improve a pick-up truck’s performance?