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Ford Disputes the IIHS Report on Aluminum Repair Cost

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July 31, 2015—As reported yesterday, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announced that the aluminum crew cab 2015 Ford-F150 had earned a Top Safety Pick Rating and was found to be safer than the 2014 steel version. It was also reported that the cost to fix the aluminum Ford F-150 would be more, a claim that Ford has disputed.

The IIHS concluded that the F-150 crew had both “more extensive damage” and higher repair prices in both 10 mph front and rear collisions with a steel 2014 F-150.

The IIHS crashed the driver’s side front corner of the 2015 F-150 into the rear passenger’s side corner of the 2014 F-150 at a 15 percent overlap, and then did the same test with the 2014 banging into the 2015’s rear passenger-side test.

“In both scenarios, the aluminum F-150 had more extensive damage than the steel model,” the IIHS wrote.

The two vehicles were both fixed at a shop certified to fix aluminum F-150s. The bill came out to $4,147 for the front damage on the aluminum vehicle, compared to $3,759 for the steel. The rear of the aluminum truck ended up costing $4,738 to fix versus the steel model’s $3,275 repair bill.

“From a simple bolt-on parts replacement to a more-involved removal and installation of entire body panels, fixing the aluminum F-150 is more expensive than repairing a steel-body F-150,” IIHS chief research officer David Zuby said in a statement.

In response, Ford issued the following statement:

We do not agree with the repairability costs and findings by IIHS. Real-world repair costs for the 2015 F-150 to date are comparable to or less than other full-size pickups and an average $869 more affordable to repair than last year’s F-150 – not the higher numbers released after crash stunts orchestrated by IIHS and others. These costs are being tracked by Assured Performance, an independent body shop certification company that works with leading automakers. Insurance companies agree with the new F-150’s repair costs – with both Allstate and State Farm saying insurance costs for the new F-150 will remain comparable with 2014 models. Consumer Reports analysis also shows that the aluminum parts on the F-150 cost about the same as steel parts on last year’s truck and because the new F-150 is designed to make replacing components easier, in many cases labor charges may be lower.

This is not the first time that repair costs for aluminum versus steel have been disputed. FenderBender reported a similar story in February where Edmunds.com took a sledge hammer to an aluminum 2015 Ford F-150 to demonstrate the high price of repair for aluminum vehicles. The demonstration and the findings behind it were heavily disputed by Ford and the Assured Performance Network, which handles Ford’s shop recognition program for the aluminum-bodied F-150.

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