According to people from within the industry, Chrysler’s best-selling Ram pickup trucks could refrain from using the lightweight aluminum metal as far as beyond 2020.
The third largest automaker in the US plans a thorough redesign of its full-size Ram 1500 pickup for the spring of 2017, but industry sources point out that steel body panels will remain the norm until the 2020s outing of a complete new generation. Meanwhile, General Motors is said to follow in the footsteps of archrival Ford and soon use aluminum for its full-size range of pickups, sometimes in the fall of 2018.
Even Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne, who leads both Fiat and Chrysler, told investors in May that the weight-saving metal “is better suited in other vehicles than pickup trucks.”
Chrysler is sticking with the traditional use of steel mainly because of two key reasons. The first one is that commercial users are still not convinced that aluminum is more durable and cheaper to operate than steel. The second is that Chrysler lacks the financial power to invest in converting all the necessary parts and equipment to aluminum – the bigger rivals can do it by spreading the cost on more vehicles. General Motors has several brands using common architectures while Ford sells nearly twice as many pickups as the Ram brand.