Dodge Pickups Are Sticking with Steel

fordalFord has been making headline news over the past couple of years for their controversial decision to use aluminum in their pickup truck production. Initially, some Ford fans and customers were skeptical over the transition, wondering if the lightweight metal might diminish durability and ruggedness.

Ford has done their best to change this cynical dialogue by guaranteeing that aluminum will in no way take away from their pick-ups’ strength. And it seems that Ford’s efforts have worked as more people have become comfortable with the idea of the lightweight metal being used.

Dodge, however, has taken a firm stance against the aluminum. In fact, in May, Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne told investors that the use of aluminum at Chrysler “is better suited in other vehicles than pickup trucks.”

Late last week, in keeping with this attitude, Chrysler confirmed that their new Dodge trucks will not be joining the aluminum frenzy. Part of the reason for this decision is because Dodge doesn’t need help in improving fuel economy, with their trucks currently rated as the most fuel efficient pickups on the market.

They’ve done this by focusing on the engine, offering such fuel saving features as a six-cylinder diesel engine, an eight-speed transmission, and an automatic stop-start system.

dodge3In an interview with Car and Driver, Ram director of marketing- Robert Hegbloom- said about aluminum, “It’s the best material to use for beer cans… We worry about dent-resistance and longevity. It’s good, but we’re getting a much better return in economy through powertrain efficiencies and aerodynamics. Widespread use of aluminum at this point may be a little premature.”

The jury is out on whether or not this resistance will be a good move for Dodge. Since Ford’s aluminum announcement, many of the other major manufacturers, including GM, have also indicated that they will switch to aluminum. This typhoon-like wave of change has altered public perceptions about the use of aluminum in pickup trucks.

But Dodge doesn’t think perceptions are always realities,  and that is why they are sticking to their formula, a formula that they say is for the better.

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