Report: Aluminum F-150 actually cheaper to repair than steel-bodied pickups

Dealers have been repairing the aluminum-clad F-150 for nearly five years.

Contradicting early predictions, a fresh report suggests Ford's aluminum F-150 has not proven more expensive to repair than the steel-bodied generations that ended at the 2014 model year.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2015 performed a matching fender-bender test on both generations, finding that the aluminum truck cost 26 percent more to repair.

Information gathered by the Highway Loss Data Institute and cited by Automotive News now suggests the aluminum F-150's claim severity is an average of seven percent less than the steel generation. The frequency of collision claims has risen approximately seven percent. however, which effectively negates the lower per-claim costs.

AN's talks with dealers suggest Ford succeeded in planning ahead for the transition, implementing a more modular design that mitigates repair complexity. The company also encouraged dealers to obtain specialized equipment and technician training.

"Given the fact it was aluminum intensive, and prior aluminum vehicles indicated collision claim severities increased, there was concern the same would occur with the F-150," said HLDI senior VP Matt Moore. "Simply put, when we look at the overall losses relative to the other pickup trucks, there's not a change, which was not consistent with expectations."

The F-Series is the long-standing king of the American automotive market, surpassing 900,000 units last year.

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