We’ve been hearing that the next-gen 2018 Jeep Wrangler will have aluminum body parts to cut weight down. Today a report floating around the forums gives us a better idea of what that means exactly.
(Update: Alcoa will not confirm (or deny) this report.)
A team in the Farmington Hills (Michigan, USA) Aerospace and Automotive Products group is leading a new profitable growth opportunity with the 2018 Jeep Wrangler program. The next generation Jeep becomes the first to utilize our C6A1 high form alloy; we are currently the only supplier of this high form product.
Alcoa will also supply 6022 and A951, including front and rear door inners, hood outer and inner.
6022 is described as the aluminum alloy sheet “typically used for closure panels such as hood, decklid or doors” while A951 refers to a “durable pre-treatment aluminum sheet bonding technology.”
Weirdly I’m having a hard time finding any reference to this “C6A1 high form alloy” anywhere on the internet.
(Update: Alcoa returned our inquiry about the report and simply said “they can’t confirm” any of the information that we quoted from the forum.)
If true, this tells us the next-gen Jeep Wrangler will have an aluminum hood and inner door panels at the least. Of course Fiat Chrysler could end up using another aluminum supplier for other parts or expand Alcoa’s involvement with the program later.
Aluminum hoods on vehicles, even trucks, is old news. Ram trucks have used aluminum hoods for years, Chevrolet’s fixing to do the same for Silverado. Ford caught controversy with the 2015 F-150 redesign because that truck’s entire body is aluminum raising questions about repair costs and durability.
(You see nobody cares what a hood’s made of because it’s hard to dent and easy to replace.)
As an off-road vehicle, the Wrangler’s body is in the line of fire as much as anything. I’m sure the keyboard cowboys are already asking if aluminum is tough enough for Moab or the Rubicon trail on some forum somewhere. I reckon the material would be a great choice for the Wrangler’s body. Less is more when you’re trying to drive over obstacles, after all.
But at this point it sounds like Jeep is warming up to the material in small pieces.