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Aluminum Frame for SUV Can Save 40% Weight, Shown in Test Results Presented During SAE 2003 World Congress

    WARRENDALE, Pa., Feb. 14 -- Ford Motor Company engineers will
present results from a feasibility study that concludes that a 40 percent
weight reduction is achievable for an aluminum truck frame at an equal
performance level compared to a steel frame, during the SAE 2003 World
Congress, March 3 - 6, Cobo Center, Detroit, Michigan, USA.
    Automakers are actively looking for ways to reduce vehicle weights in
order to improve fuel economy and reduce pollutants.  A principal technique to
reduce vehicle weight without affecting size or functionality is using
alternative materials to manufacture cars and trucks.  Aluminum is one example
of a material that shows great promise as a component in creating fuel-
efficient vehicles.
    Preliminary analysis indicates an aluminum frame of a gage required to
achieve desired stiffness needed for ride, handling and NVH (noise, vibration
and harshness) will likely have excellent energy absorption during frontal
impacts.  Engineers assessed the overall capability of aluminum frames for
sport utility vehicles (SUVs) to achieve equivalent performance to the 2002
Ford Explorer steel frame.  The study was conducted as a part of the joint
government/industry Partnership for a New Generation Vehicle (PNGV), Ford
Motor Company, with the support of Alcan Aluminum Corporation and The Budd
    "A Design Concept for an Aluminum Sport Utility Vehicle Frame" (SAE paper
2003-01-0572) will be presented at 10 a.m., Tuesday, March 4, Room 02-33.
Numerous other technical sessions and panels will address lightweight
materials during SAE 2003 week.  Notably, "Putting Vehicles on a High-Protein
Diet: the Challenge of Making Lighter, Safer Cars," a panel discussion on the
issue, will take place 8 a.m., Thursday, March 6 in the Technology Theater in
the exhibit hall, and is open to anyone attending SAE 2003 World Congress.
Another panel on materials selection will begin at 1 p.m., Tuesday, March 4,
Room 02-33, and is open to conference registrants.
    New to the SAE 2003 World Congress:  DaimlerChrysler, Ford and General
Motors will hold corporate engineering meetings at Cobo followed by VIP tours
of the SAE 2003 exhibit floor; a Technology Theater on the exhibit floor, home
to executive panel discussions throughout the week; and a re-categorized
technical session program.
    SAE World Congress, the world's largest showcase of automotive engineering
technologies, will attract an estimated 40,000+ attendees from more than
40 countries.  This year's host company is DaimlerChrysler.
    To attend, visit or call 1-877-SAE-CONG (723-2664); outside
the U.S. and Canada, call 1-724-772-4027.

    SAE is a non-profit engineering and scientific organization dedicated to
the advancement of mobility technology to better serve humanity.  Nearly
84,000 engineers and scientists who are SAE members develop technical
information on all forms of self-propelled vehicles, including automobiles,
aircraft, aerospace craft, trucks, buses, marine, rail and transit machinery.
This information is disseminated through SAE meetings, books, electronic
products and databases, technical papers, standards, reports, and professional
development programs.