When Ford went aluminum, it was solid gold for Alcoa

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Alcoa had tried for a couple of decades to persuade carmakers to produce a high-volume vehicle with an aluminum body. The effort finally paid off when Ford decided to make the switch for the F-150 pickup, America's top-selling vehicle. So how did folks at the giant aluminum supplier react when it finally happened?

An Alcoa executive, who asked not to be named, recalled the afternoon when it became clear that Ford was all in for the 2015 model.

"We'd had meeting after meeting with Ford, but a lot of people inside Alcoa still didn't think it would happen," he said. "Then one day in 2011 our team came out of a meeting in Dearborn ... and there was stunned silence as we were walking to the parking lot. We suddenly realized there was no turning back, that Ford was really going to do this. I finally broke the silence. I said, "Holy @&%!'"

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