The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been abundantly clear about their plans to decrease the amount of energy used in light cars and trucks through greater fuel efficiency by 2018. The pickup truck segment in America is about to undergo some pretty obvious changes.
As a way to increase fuel economy, CAFE or Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards were enacted back in 1975 by Congress – also put into place to help reduce greenhouse gas and smog-forming emissions from buses, motorcycles, and automobiles.
One of the ways NHTSA proposes to enforce the mandate is by increasing CAFE levels by 2016 for medium to heavy duty vehicles from 23.5 mpg to 28.8 mpg.
The organization has also just established new vehicle requirements for a fuel economy and environment label to be posted on the window sticker of all new automobiles in the U.S.
Manufacturers like Dodge have the opportunity to earn credits for producing alternative and dual-fueled vehicles. The NHTSA assigns a higher fuel economy value to these vehicles.
Increasing standards resulted in car makers looking for more efficient means of manufacturing their vehicles and an industry wide shift from using advanced high strength steel to produce the body of pickups like the RAM 1500 to the utilization of lighter-weight aluminum, is imminent.
American car makers such as Ford and General Motors have already publicly stated that they intend to switch to aluminum body panels to build their popular full-size pickups this coming Fall, as well as in the Fall of 2018. Chrysler, however, has made no immediate plans to follow their lead.
Mancari’s of Oak Lawn knows that RAM will undergo a pretty dramatic overhaul in 2017, but the automaker has made it clear that those changes won’t include the much talked about aluminum body panels.
So why not go with the flow, if aluminum is lighter, more efficient, and more corrosion resistant?
For starters, it’s about three times more expensive than steel and in order to make aluminum, car manufacturers must invest in new machinery and assembly lines that are capable of producing entire body parts.
Many pickup lovers believe steel is more rugged and able to take more punches than aluminum – and those are the customers that Chrysler says it doesn’t want to leave out.
Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive of Fiat, back in May, told investors that Chrysler’s use of aluminum is “better suited in other vehicles than pickups.”
Mancari’s Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram has no insight into if and when Chrysler will join the Big Two in revamping its fleet of pickups, but with the success the RAM 1500 has had this year with its drivers, it would be a change that would only increase the performance RAM enthusiasts already enjoy.