Aluminum, carbon, silver and gold.
Ford (F) is going to introduce an F-150 truck that will feature a body made of aluminum. This is not striking as the first vehicle ever made of aluminum (or aluminium if you are British) but may mark a large shift towards better materials in vehicles.
A shiny and exotic thing, aluminum was briefly prized above silver and gold in the 1800's. Times changed, and aluminum became a useful engineering material for the military due to its lightness. It also became less exotic and now is a common foil and material for beer cans. Nevertheless, the F-150 made of aluminum is notable in that we may now be entering a new transition for automative materials. Light, yet strong, metals may lead to greater fuel efficiencies and new car designs. As well engineered planes face great stresses from heat/cold, winds, and landing - aluminum will be able to stand the stresses placed on large trucks. One concern I would have with aluminum will be salty-roads. Aluminum can be damaged by salts and corrosion.
Carbon based materials will be the next generation in building car chassis, etc. These will offer better strength-weight than aluminum or steel. They will also be more resistant to corrosion than metals. Companies such as Zoltec, that have carbon fiber technologies are now worth investigating (Zoltec - ZOLT merged in Oct 2013, with Toray - TRYIY).
As for those other shiny metals, they are less and less attractive. 2011 was the top of the precious metal bubble and the year that the sentiment shifted from fears to greater optimism. See the blog I posted in that May of 2011 ( Look at the Silver bubble pop! ) and the CAPS player GoldTop11. Investing in anything based solely on predictions of higher stock/commodity prices is a mistake (Looking at you TMFsinchinuria!). Same to Bitcoins, house prices, oil, etc.
So, at the end of 2013, my motto is "be adaptable - try different things (or materials)!"
(Side note, been seeing lots of Red Manitowoc Cranes everywhere. Seems like there is again plenty of building and investment in the midwest).