Making the big switch from steel to aluminum will be a double-edged sword for the 2015 Ford F-150. While it may save owners money at the pump due to improved fuel economy, it will cost more to insure and repair. According to Automotive News, the swap to aluminum will send ripples deep into the insurance and repair industries, both of which could significantly impact used vehicle pricing down the road. Some experts are saying that insuring a new F-150 could cost as much as 10 percent more than insuring a conventional pickup.
Then there's the lack of qualified mechanics. Ford doesn't seem worried by the fact that only a small percentage of U.S. repair shops have experience and certification for working with aluminum. Obviously the two metals are very different and require different processes when making repairs, but Ford says it has been working with its dealership network to get dealer repair shops up to speed with the changeover. Ford says 90 percent of its pickup truck owners are within two hours of a qualified repair shop.
Some experts say it could take independent repair shops up to 10 years to become proficient in aluminum repair. That could make for some interesting customer satisfaction issues in the first several years of 2015 F-150 ownership because accidents will happen. Other experts are pretty sure this will all get worked out in time because Ford CEO Alan Mulally has plenty of experience working with aluminum. About 147,000 pounds of it went into each Boeing 747-400 when he was an executive at that company.