Ever since Ford Motor Company officially announced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that the 2015 F-150 would be entirely made of high-strength, military-grade aluminum alloy, collision repairers have had many questions about what they need to do to gear up for repairing this vehicle. Some of those questions were answered at the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) held Jan. 16-17 in Palm Springs, Calif.
“We designed the vehicle so it can be easily repaired and accessible so the customer can go where they want to get it repaired,” said Paul Massie, powertrain and collision product marketing manager for Ford.
Massie stated there will be no restrictions on what body shops can repair the vehicle. Although Ford will not require a shop to have a separate clean room partitioned off with cinderblocks, it will recommend the use of curtains to separate aluminum from steel work and specific equipment to handle the repairs. The total investment for a shop that is starting from ground zero with aluminum repair is estimated to be around $50,000.
“That’s if you have absolutely no aluminum equipment today,” Massie said. “So if you’re already in the aluminum business and already have the equipment and separate aluminum from steel, you’re probably a long way to having the equipment you need.”
Also, genuine Ford collision repair parts will be available to all shops. All parts sold will include instructions on how to properly install them.
Ford will begin its education on the 2015 F-150 and aluminum repair at the AASP/NJ Northeast Show March 21-23 at the Meadowlands. A cutaway of the vehicle will be featured so repairers can see all of its structural components. Also, engineers will be present to talk about the vehicle, and I-CAR training developed with Ford will be available.
Ford is also offering to do a presentation on the 2015 F-150 at the next CIC April 9-10 in Portland, Ore., although details are not firmed up yet. Information will also be available at NACE and SEMA.
“The goal is to make high-strength, military-grade aluminum alloy collision repair mainstream,” said Massie. “We want it to be as mainstream as it already is for steel.”