Analysts say use of aluminium body has not increased F-150 repair costs

AL Circle

When Ford launched its all-aluminium body F-150 pickup truck in 2015 with aluminium body panels instead of steel to make it lighter with improved mileage and rust-free, it was considered as one of the biggest risks for America’s most popular truck maker. The bigger concern was the cost of repairs, particularly the cost of replacing body panels.

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But recent reports show that the use of aluminium has not really increased the repair costs. A report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which carefully tracks insurance pay-outs support the claim. The organization’s latest report on the F-150, from April 2017, found that the cost of body repairs, compared to the 2014 F-150, has not increased during this period.

It is said that Ford offered discounted repair equipment to their dealerships, and offered training to the mechanics. They lowered the price of the spare aluminium body parts. Some of the aluminium body parts were even cheaper than comparable steel parts. And they made the truck more modular so that, for example, when an accident happens and the front corner is damaged, the owner can replace just the affected section rather than the whole front fender. This is smart work on the part of the automaker to make after sales service convenient and affordable for its consumers.

Since some of this cost control is dependent on Ford keeping the prices of their aluminium parts low, the repair cost part continues to remain conditional. In the beginning of the year, the second-largest U.S. automaker had warned that the rising costs for raw materials like steel and aluminium would add $1.6 billion to its overall costs in the current year.  Though the overall sale has not dropped, the tariffs have caused their costs to bloat.

As long as there is heavy demand for pickup trucks, and as long as the company’s supply of its key raw-material aluminium is not affected by costs, there will be no major cost increase in repairing F-150s.

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