In an effort to improve fuel economy, Ford Motor plans to add more aluminum parts to its popular F-150 pickup, a company source said – but the automaker says reports are “premature”.

The F-Series pickup is Ford’s top moneymaker and has been the top-selling vehicle of any kind in the U.S. for 30 years.

Ford is hoping the switch to the lighter metal will cut the weight of its F-150 truck by about 700 pounds, according to Ford executives familiar with the company’s plans. That is roughly a 15% reduction for the F-150. Such a drastic diet would allow the F-150, which currently gets up to 19 mpg combined and 23 mpg on the highway, to operate with smaller, more fuel-efficient engines.

In order to compensate for the change in material, the F-150 will also have a more “muscular design,” a Ford designer told the WSJ.

But Ford spokesman Said Deep said, “It is premature to discuss specific approaches or solutions that we might use for future products.”

“Ford is already a leader in aluminum use in full-sized pickups,” Deep said.

“We’re constantly looking at multiple ways to improve the fuel efficiency and capabilities of our cars and trucks with innovative technologies.”

The next generation Ford F-150 is coming in 2014.


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