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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: No free lunch
By bug77 on 3/24/2014 2:07:22 PM , Rating: 3
Much of the money spent on EV research is money NOT spent on health or education. So making "this planet a better place to live" is a little debatable if you consider the bigger picture.

RE: No free lunch
By ven1ger on 3/24/2014 2:37:51 PM , Rating: 2
Well, let's look at the bigger picture. Investing in EV research means that we have alternatives to just using up our natural resources that is being depleted leaving less for our descendants. Using alternatives like EV helps keep the air cleaner.

So, what's your debate, again?

RE: No free lunch
By TSS on 3/24/2014 6:17:27 PM , Rating: 2
Considering what i'm hearing coming out of the US on the topics of health and education, more or less money, research or otherwise isn't going to make a difference. How the money currently allocated to those 2 is utilized is a much bigger issue. In those paticular cases the money is better spent on EV's.

That said though, making "this planet" a better place to live, none of the above subjects will have any impact what so ever. On the US, maybe, but even that is a stretch at this point. Most likely they'll improve the lives of the few families who either own the companies who have patents or provide health/education services. As i said, how the money is spent is a much bigger issue then the amount.

RE: No free lunch
By Mint on 3/25/2014 10:13:46 PM , Rating: 2
Americans spend almost half a trillion dollars per year on gasoline. An MIT study pegs ~50k premature deaths a year on vehicle pollution, and many times more illnesses. A few billion on research/subsidies over the course of a decade to get the ball rolling on reducing both of those figures is a very worthwhile goal.

Think about how much more coal we would be burning (and all its associated health issues) if we didn't invest in nuclear research.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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