The day-long visit included a detailed two-hour presentation by Ford engineers and technicians on the the new F-150, which makes more extensive use of aluminum parts than any other mass-production vehicle. Prior models of the pickup truck, consisting mostly of parts made of steel, have been among the most popular fleet vehicles in North America.
Following the presentation, Neuman and his colleagues visited one of Ford’s collision repair shops, which featured a color-coded cutaway model of the new truck. Neuman said Ford engineers and repair experts explained the techniques, materials and equipment necessary to making high-quality and safe repairs.
“They went into great detail on a number of parts and procedures, down to the right rivets and glues, the different types of welds, and the maximum temperatures for welding,” said Neuman. Although his department had already taken the ICAR course on repairing the new vehicle, “This one-day course gave us even greater insight, particularly in being able to evaluate repair shops’ qualifications to repair the new F-150 and the quality of the work they will be doing.”
Neuman’s department reviews shop estimates for every repair CEI manages, to uncover cost savings and assure high-quality workmanship. In 2014, CEI saved its fleet customers $15.8 million in collision repair expenses.