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Body shops face huge costs to gear up and train for aluminum vehicle repairs

Mainstream auto manufactures have used aluminum in the construction of vehicles for a number of years. However, most of the panels on cars and truck were traditionally made from stamped steel, while in some cases hoods and trunk lids were made from aluminum.
 
With Ford rolling out the all-new F-150 that uses a body made 95 percent from aluminum, the future looks expensive for body shops charged with fixing vehicles after an accident. Reports indicate the costs of tools and training at body shops could soar.


The Aud A8 has been primarily constucted of aluminum for nearly two decades
 
That would lead to labor rates at the shops rising as well, leading to more costly repairs. Ford is blazing the trial into mainstream vehicles made mostly of aluminum, but other manufactures will follow. Making broader use of aluminum to reduce the weight of vehicle is one of the big ways that automakers plan to meet CAFE standards handed down by the White House.
 
Some body shops will have to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in new training and equipment to be able to repair the aluminum used in Ford trucks. Smaller body shops might not be able to justify the cost, which could be a big benefit to dealer-owned body shops.
 
“Not every shop in America will be equipped to repair the new F-150,” said Dan Risley, president of the Automotive Service Association. “It’s cost prohibitive because there aren’t a lot of vehicles on the road with aluminum, so the return on investment could take a few years. When you throw aluminum into the mix, everything changes.”


The 2015 Ford F-150 will be the first mainstream vehicle to make wide use of aluminum throughout its body structure
 
He says that less than 20 percent of body shops will be equipped to fix aluminum body structures. Shops certified to fix high-end European brands like Porsche, Jaguar, and Audi cars that are used to working with aluminum will be the best ready to deal with the influx of new aluminum vehicles needing repairs.
 
Ford is not the only company that will employ extensive use of aluminum in full-size pickup trucks. General Motors announced last month that its next generation Silverado and Sierra will use the lightweight material.

Source: Detroitnews



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RE: Yup
By Jeffk464 on 3/24/2014 12:55:41 PM , Rating: 2
Yup, I'm pretty sure its easier to make a 3000lbs car perform well in crash tests than it is to make a 5500 full size suv. Plus you have the physics of two 3000lbs cars crashing into each other being less energy to dissipate than two 5500lbs SUV's.


RE: Yup
By Dorkyman on 3/24/2014 2:30:16 PM , Rating: 2
But I think this misses the point.

Oh yeah it's great for gas mileage to make "every" car 500lb lighter. But barring an edict from above (even Obama wouldn't dream of such an Executive Order) you're going to be dealing with light cars and regular heavy cars. And the light car will ALWAYS lose.

Like the gun argument. Ban all guns, and deaths will drop. Ah, but what if most people don't have guns but the bad guys decide to keep theirs? Still have a lot of gun deaths.


RE: Yup
By SeeManRun on 3/24/14, Rating: -1
"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins














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