Ford's F-150 Is Pulling Aluminum Out of the Bear Markets

Feb 27, 2015 05:00 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

Ford's F-150, the first high-volume production vehicle with an aluminum frame, has been boosting industrial use of aluminum enough to help bring it out of the bear markets, according to Bloomberg.

The new aluminum frame, which shaves some 700 pounds off the F-150's weight, has resulted in more hires from Ford to accommodate production as well as more consumption of aluminum in the United States.

Aluminum consumption in the U.S. is expected to increase about 7 percent this year to 5.38 million tons, its highest point since 2006, Bloomberg reported via Morgan Stanley estimates.

"The demand profile for aluminum is positive, for sure, and that's from the light-weighting trends in the auto sector," David Wilson, a London-based analyst for Citigroup, told Bloomberg by phone. "There's longer-term pressure on auto companies to reduce car fuel consumption, and I suspect we'll continue to see those trends in light-weighting."

Ford took a $1 billion hit to retrofit facilities for the newly aluminum F-150. As expected, the company's fourth-quarter and full-year 2014 earnings reported late last month were lower year over year.

The F-Series lineup is a vital one for Ford, with some analysts estimating that its sales make up as much as 90 percent of the automaker's profits worldwide, according to the Detroit Free Press.

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