Automakers work to reduce weight of pickups to meet fuel-economy targets

GMC Denali XT Concept

In order to meet new federal fuel economy standards for cars and trucks, GM is working to reduce the future weight of its full-size pickups by 10 to 20 percent over the next ten years. “It’s a tough task, but we’re facing it as grown-ups,” said Rick Spina, GM’s full-size truck vehicle line executive. “We’re going to do everything we can to keep the customer from realizing we’ve had to make changes in a fundamental way.”

GM hopes to cut 500 pounds – or about 10% – from its half-tons by 2016 in order to bring average corporate fuel economy to 30 mpg for light trucks. Further downsizing by another 500 pounds to meet even higher standards is expected by the beginning of the next decade.

Ford is also taking similar measures, as they seek to use a magnesium alloy ladder frame and aluminum body panels to reduce weight on the next-gen Ford F-150; two measures that could combine for savings of up to 800 lbs.

– By: Stephen Calogera