US carmakers use aluminum, carbon fibre to cut weight
DETROIT (AFP) - More vehicles than ever on display at the Detroit auto show are using non-traditional materials - aluminum, carbon fibre, magnesium - as United States (US) automakers fight to get vehicle weight down and gas mileage up.
Ford's introduction of aluminum body panels for its workhorse F150 pickup truck was a radical shift which it said would knock up to 317kg from the truck's weight.
But it presents a challenge to discerning buyers who are accustomed to the country's premier pickup being built with solid steel, but also straining under high fuel costs.
"It's become critical. Carmakers are leaving no stone unturned while looking for ways to take weight out of the vehicle," said General Motors (GM) spokesman Dan Flores.