Report: Cost of Aluminum Vehicle Repairs Will Hit Body Shops, Consumers Hard
March 24, 2014 10:40 AM
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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.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
3/24/2014 7:13:19 PM
I stand corrected and should go eat some humble pie.
I should have checked and not just presumed. The thing is I'm actually so used to see people here using metric units and the German pound and overlooking that the pound used in the UK/US and many other places is different. Since the German pound is 1/2000 of a metric ton I simply thought that here was a case of a wrong conversion from metric ton to UK/US pound.
3/24/2014 7:33:04 PM
You would hate to fly a plane then.
You have knots, pounds, kilo's, liters, gallons, kilometers, miles, you name it all mixed together and the pilots need to understand all the measurements.
It would just be easier if the USA and UK caught up to the rest of the developed world and ditched imperial and went fully metric.
"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan
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