SEMA SHOW

Ford addresses new program for aluminum F-150 repair concerns

New program is aimed at educating buyers and body shops

Published: November 05, 2014 03:30 PM

Saving money at the pump is a concept that any pickup buyer can get behind, but not all are ready to embrace the idea of driving an aluminum-bodied truck to get them there. That’s why Ford is working to dispel concerns about the cost of a fender bender on the newly designed, aluminum F-150. (Read our Ford F-150 first drive.)

As part of the aptly named 2015 Ford F-150 Collision Repair Program, the company brought an F-150 shell to the SEMA aftermarket show in Las Vegas this week, with various bits painted in different colors to illustrate what they say will make the new truck easier to repair than the old one.

Where the body of the old steel F-150 consisted of a lot of long pieces held together with spot-welds, the new one uses rocker panels, side pillars, and other components broken up into shorter pieces that are held together with rivets. This, they say, will save both time and material in the event of a crash. Shorter pieces are less expensive to replace than long ones, so there’s less waste if only a small section is bent. The only welds that remain are in the pickup bed.

The net result, according to a company representative, is body shop costs are expected to be about the same as before. Time will tell, because there is a fair bit of investment in training and new equipment required before shops can be proficient in aluminum repair. And Ford has yet to publish replacement costs for those new aluminum panels, along with the amount of time repairs should take.

In the mean time, the 2015 Ford F-150 Collision Repair Program is up and running. Buyers unfortunate enough to find themselves in need of a body shop after purchasing a new aluminum pickup can find a qualified shop by using a locator at www.Ford.com.

—Jim Travers

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