SOLIHULL, England -- The humble rivet.
That's what Demos Hoursoglou, Jaguar Land Rover's body-in-white manufacturing manager here, puts near the top of his list of worries about assembling the aluminum body of the Range Rover.
The 2014 Range Rover body uses 17 types of rivets, 3,722 per vehicle. If one jams in a gun or is inserted incorrectly, production stops.
Before a rivet reaches the production line, it is inspected at least twice, sorted and X-rayed. Each shipment of bar-coded rivets must be matched to the exact guns that will shoot them into the aluminum body parts.
So if you want a peek at the daunting manufacturing challenge awaiting Ford to assemble F-150s with aluminum bodies, you need to look at rivets -- and many other complex aspects of this assembly plant in England's industrial Midlands.
Manufacturing with aluminum is well understood; it's just complicated. Many more steps are jammed into the same amount of time it takes to make a steel body assembly.
Ford engineers say they aren't worried, because Ford largely devised the system when it owned Jaguar and Land Rover.
"Obviously, we did a lot of the advanced engineering work when Jaguar was part of the fold. And so we have a lot of experience," Raj Nair, Ford's group vice president of product development, told Automotive News in January.
But that won't make the task any easier this fall when Ford starts assembling about 650,000 F-150s per year at two plants. By contrast, Jaguar Land Rover assembles just 95,000 aluminum-bodied vehicles per year at Solihull.