If you haven't heard, Ford is hedging a fairly heavy bet on lightweight aluminum for its 2015 F-150 pickup truck. But not all automakers see the value in pursuing a strategy based on the 13th element, and Nissan is among them.
Last week, in a conversation with John Martin, Nissan North America's senior vice president for manufacturing, supply chain management and purchasing, we learned that the Japanese automaker will not be following suit.
"We are not considering aluminum for the new Titan," Martin said.
While Ford touts triple-digit weight savings and increased fuel economy for the aluminum-bodied pickup truck—which does retain a steel frame—it remains the only company to replace steel with aluminum in a significant way.
"We don't see a need for it," he said. "With high-tensile steel, you can get the weight down just as effectively."
This isn't to say that aluminum won't make an appearance on the redesigned 2016 Titan, but it will take a supporting role rather than a leading one. Martin was skeptical of what the future holds for aluminum, regarding pricing and availability.
"Right now, it's an expensive material subject to huge market fluctuations, with limited global supply," Martin said. "For us, it doesn't offer any superior properties, other than weight. With high-tensile steel, you narrow the gap on that."
The next Titan will be assembled in Canton, Miss., alongside seven other model lines, including the 2015 Murano.