Materials Matter When Buying a Truck

If you’re buying a truck this year – get ready to be overwhelmed with all of the options available. Trucks and crossover vehicles are some of this year’s most anticipated new models, but with so many models on the market, it’s difficult to know what features are most important. Even Jimmy Fallon needed help deciding what kind of truck to buy! In his case, he wants a truck to haul pumpkins and carry his baby, but you might be looking for something different. It’s easy to get swept away in the hype of a sleek design and shiny exterior, but most of us need a truck that can work hard and get the job done.

Image Credit: FallonTonightNBC

Image Credit: FallonTonightNBC

In a recent research study, 50 percent of people said that truck and SUV frame and body type material is just as important as other features such as brand, hauling capacity, seating capacity, exterior color and how the vehicle fits with their lifestyle. Why? Because it makes them feel safe and secure.

However, one of the popular buzzwords you hear automakers tossing around is “lightweighting,” because manufacturers have been tasked to achieve 54.5 mpg fuel economy by 2025. One of the easiest ways to increase miles per gallon is to reduce vehicle weight, and in the rush to do this, some manufacturers are using alternative materials, perhaps without considering the long-term consequences.

V141002 - EPA

When it comes to lightweighting, advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) is the best option out there to reduce weight, save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, the use of AHSS can reduce a vehicle’s structural weight by as much as 39 percent and can cut total life cycle CO2 emissions by up to 10 percent more than any other automotive material!

© Arcady / Fotolia

© Arcady / Fotolia

As a consumer, the sticker price plays a big role in purchasing decisions. Steel body structures using AHSS can be constructed without the severe cost penalties associated with alternative materials, which can be 20 to 30 times more expensive than steel. In the long run, who will end up paying for that increase? Consumers.

But the costs don’t just skyrocket there. In the event of an accident, steel can be easily replaced or repaired. Replacing an entire door panel, for example, with alternative materials? That means big bucks.

V141006 - collisionThese results have led automakers to choose AHSS over alternative materials for the production of the majority of vehicles hitting the roads in 2015. So when you head to the showroom to pick out your next vehicle, make sure it has the right material for you and the environment.

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