Though a Ford Motor Co. executive told the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in New Orleans that repair shops would need factory certification to work on the new aluminum bodied F-150 pickup truck, in a report by Karl Henkel at the Detroit News, Ford now says it will not require service center and repair shops to be certified if they they want to do body work on the new F-150. However, Ford will have a voluntary training program, and those businesses that do participate will be certified and be able to use that certification in advertising.
The automaker says that it expects most Ford dealers to get certified, which in addition to the training will require new tools for working with aluminum panels that will cost an estimated $30,000 to $50,000 per shop, before up to $10,000 in rebates that Ford is offering as an incentive.
Other automakers that sell aluminum intensive cars are a bit more restrictive. For example, Audi will not ship aluminum body parts to repair shops that are not certified.
Ford won’t necessarily object if independent body shops opt out of certification. The Dearborn based automaker has been trying to increase service and repair business at its dealers, citing that 80% of all automotive repair work in the United States is done by independent shops, not factory authorized dealers.