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Report: Ford F-150 Insurance Rates Expected to Be High, Certified Repairer Numbers Low

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Jan. 21, 2014—Insurance rates for the 2015 Ford F-150 could be higher compared to past models, and there may be a low number of certified technicians who are qualified to work on the vehicle’s aluminum body structure when it hits dealerships at the end of the year, according to a recent Automotive News report.

According to an estimate by Darrell Amberson, chairman of the Automotive Service Association (ASA), less than 10 percent of the 30,000 independent repair shops in the U.S. meet certifications and equipment requirements necessary to work on aluminum vehicles. Aluminum requires a host of different tools and training for repairs because the metal reacts differently compared to other vehicle materials such as steel. Although some dealerships perform auto body repairs in-house, a majority of collision repairs in the U.S. are conducted by independent shops, Amberson said.

However, Ford said most of its customers will have access to a qualified repair center, according to Automotive News. Ford's internal data reveals that 80 percent of Ford customers live within 30 minutes of a capable repair center for the current F-150 model, while 90 percent of consumers live within two hours of a capable repair center. The company said buyers of the aluminum-bodied 2015 F-150 will have the same access when the vehicle arrives in dealerships during the fourth quarter of 2014.

"We've just been waiting for the reveal to unveil a certification process for dealer-owned body shops and the independent channel," Doug Scott, Ford's truck marketing manager, told Automotive News.

Ford estimates that the 2015 Ford F-150 will drive a 10 percent increase in insurance costs compared to previous models. But the company believes consumers will accept the insurance cost increase in exchange for improved fuel economy, towing and payload.

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