“We designed the vehicle so it can be easily repaired and accessible so the customer can go where they want to get it repaired,” said Massie. Massie said there will be no restrictions on what kind of shops can repair the vehicle. Ford will not require a shop to have a separate clean room however, it will recommend the use of curtains to separate aluminum from steel work and specific equipment to handle the repairs. The total investment for a shop that is starting from ground zero with aluminum repair can be as high as $50,000. (Autobody News’ next issue will detail a shop’s outlay on clean room setup.)
“That’s if you have absolutely no aluminum equipment,” Massie said. “So if you’re already in the aluminum business and already have the equipment and can separate aluminum from steel, you’re probably a long way towards having the equipment you need.”
Genuine Ford collision repair parts will be available to all shops. All parts sold will include instructions on how to properly install them.
Ford will begin its education on the 2015 F-150 and aluminum repair at the AASP/NJ Northeast Show March 21–23 at the Meadowlands Expo Center in Secaucus, NJ. A cutaway of the vehicle will be featured so repairers can see all of its structural components. Engineers will be present to talk about the vehicle, and I-CAR training developed with Ford will be available.
Ford is also offering to do a presentation on the 2015 F-150 at the next CIC April 9–10 in Portland, OR, although details are not firmed up yet. Information will also be available at NACE in July and SEMA in October.
“The goal is to make high-strength, military-grade aluminum alloy collision repair mainstream,” said Massie. “We want it to be as mainstream as it already is for steel.”
Elsewhere Ford has said it put the new model through rigorous tests, including cross-country hauls through desert valleys and over high-altitude mountain passes and in climates of 20 degrees below zero and 120 degrees above.
A disguised F-150 even raced in the Baja 1000, where it earned the distinction of completing the 883-mile race while some other purpose-built race vehicles could not.