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The Spaminator
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Ford Planning to Slash Vehicle Weight Up to 700 lbs
Trimming mass a key to meeting future fuel economy goals.
by Paul A. Eisenstein
Apr.19, 2011
The Detroit Bureau

Ford Motor Co. plans to put its product line on a diet. The maker expects to trim 100s of pounds off the weight of its cars, trucks and crossovers over the next half-decade in a bid to dramatically improve fuel economy.

The move won’t be easy, Ford officials warn. The cuts will come even as consumers demand more content and features – and regulators pack on more safety devices. And the lighter substitutes for conventional materials, like steel, could add to vehicle cost.

“In the mid-term, from now to 2017 or 2018, we’ll remove anywhere from 250 to 700 pounds depending on the vehicle,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s global product chief.

The move attempts to reverse course for Ford, which has faced the same dilemma as its competitors. The typical automobile is today hundreds of pounds heavier than a similar model of a decade ago. That reflects the addition of such creature comforts as onboard navigation systems, 15-speak audio packages and heated leather seats – as well as airbags, advanced braking systems and the complex safety structures required of modern cars.

Even small cars, like the Focus will need to lose weight, and cutting mass is especially important on battery cars like the Focus Electric.

Though it’s more of a guideline than a hard rule, the traditional consensus was that every 100 pounds added or removed from a vehicle translates into a mile per gallon difference in mileage, so Ford’s target could translate into significant savings in fuel.

It’s possible to find ways to slice out weight in an existing product, noted Kuzak, during a dinner conversation, like switching from a steel body panel to one made of aluminum or plastic. But to make truly major gains, “Weight reduction starts with new platforms,” the overall redesign of a vehicle, he stressed.

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Mercury C557
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I hope 2 things
-- that the weight reductions will eventually be more than: 750# off the Superduty, 500# off the F-150 and largest CUVs, and 250# off the cars and smaller CUVs
(just a for-example-imho)
-- that they use alloys & composites for Lincolns to make the Ford reductions pale in comparison
(an excellent differentiator imho)
 

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It will be harder for Lincoln..adding thicker glass, bigger wheels, bigger brakes, retractable roofs, other technowonders...I wonder if transmissions with more gears weigh more than the older 4 and 5 speeds?
 

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Hi, I am new to FIN, but this topic immediately caught my eye. Not sure how many other competitor message boards you visit, but this is a hot topic everywhere. For example, there is much hand-wringing on the BMW boards over the soon to launch new 3 series (F30), which appears to be growing by a couple of inches but which will now be powered by a 4 cylinder turbo. Many are still concerned that even with the smaller motor the car will still gain weight. All the manufacturers are facing the increased CAFE requirements, so the weight issue is huge. I am looking forward to following how Ford handles this issue.
 
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