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Ford aluminium bodies are not more expensive to repair than steel

Ford aluminium bodies are not more expensive to repair than steel

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Remember when Ford first announced that some F-150 body panels would be made out of aluminium? All the fuss people were making over fears they would be weak, hard or expensive to repair and not worth the fuss? No surprise they were wrong. 

We quickly learned anecdotally that the F-150 was as strong as ever but now a piece in Automotive News bears it out. The piece interviews a Ford dealer from Texas who invested heavily in equipping his dealership with the new machinery and training for his guys to handle aluminium body repairs. After two years of it being in use, that dealer now says repairs can cost up to $2,000 less than the original steel panels.
The piece also cites The Highway Loss Data Institute that is part of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. They have found that overall claims for body damage for aluminium F-150s is around 7% lower overall than the original steel models. This is offset by a rise of 7% in claims, which may or may not be related to the panel material.
So insurance costs look fairly even across both materials. State Farm, another Us insurer agrees that aluminium trucks don’t cost more than steel to repair.
Add the lower parts cost for the newer F-150s and you have compelling evidence that the newer trucks are not more expensive to run or repair. This pricing was a deliberate move by Ford to help reduce overall running costs of the F-150. Another reason to buy.
Aluminium over steel
The original fears were in part fuelled by the US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. They originally estimated that aluminium repairs would cost up to 26% more than steel. While it was just an estimate, it was very wrong. You can’t criticize them for making that assumption either.
Aluminium is more expensive than steel. It is more expensive to machine, takes longer to form and is thought to sustain damage more easily. All would lead anyone to think that cars made of the stuff would be more expensive to repair. Not so.
It would be interesting to know more about how those collision numbers break down. Are more truck owners crashing their vehicles or are they suffering more damage because of the material? Is it because Ford are selling more trucks or owners being more careless? Either way, there seems to be firm evidence that aluminium does deliver on its weight saving promise while not being more expensive to repair. I think that’s 1-0 to Ford don’t you?
Check out the Ford F-150 truck in all its forms at Northway Ford Lincoln, 388 King George Road Brantford ON N3S 3N2.

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