Since debuting, there has been a lot of speculation about the durability and strength of Ford’s aluminum-bodied F-150. Well, helping to answer some of these questions, the NHTSA announced earlier this week that the truck received a perfect, 5-star crash test safety rating.
“The five-star safety rating is a terrific example of One Ford collaboration and innovation,” said Raj Nair, Ford’s product chief. “Our truck team worked together for years to deliver this accomplishment, using an unprecedented combination of advanced materials throughout the all-new F-150.”
No doubt, much of the credit for this perfect crash safety rating can be contributed to some of the variations that Ford’s engineers implemented to help re-enforce the aluminum body.
Matt Niesluchowski– Ford’s truck safety manager– says, “The team had to invent new ways to manage crash energy, because advanced materials like high-strength steel behave differently. We found that changing certain shapes led to a weight reduction, while also improving crash performance.”
Included amongst these differences was the way that Ford’s engineers added an extra crossmember in the frame and their development of a 12-corner crush horn that helps to minimize energy in head-on collisions.
Of course, the body design wasn’t the only factors that helped propel the F-150 to a perfect rating. New, innovative technologies and interior components played a huge part, including inflatable rear safety belts, lane control technology, and advanced air bags.
In the end, all of those things helped to create the perfect blend of safety for Ford, while also silencing many of today’s critics.
“It was important to have five-star,” says Matt Niesluchowski. “Customers understand it and can relate to it. We knew people would question whether aluminum would be as strong and safe.”