By on January 31, 2014


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.

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44 Comments on “Ford Won’t Actually Require Shop Certification for F-150 Aluminum Repairs...”

  • avatar

    I’d bet good money that the costs related to switching to Aluminum are gonna bite Ford right in itsAss.

    Aluminum is weaker than the equivalent amount of steel. PERIOD.

    Aluminum’s costs are going to raise premiums and repair costs.

    Who’s going to swallow these costs??? The consumer?

    I bet RAM and GM are laughing their heads off.

    And then they TOOK THE V8 out of the NAVIGATOR…

    Someone needs to be FIRED.

    • 0 avatar

      Wow, I thought I was a huge retro-grouch.

      I am hardly the Ford apologist. Who wants to hear a 47 hour rant about the horrors of Fox body cars? I have never owned a Ford but I have worked on a bunch including a 351W powered Capri, track/autocross prepped Mustangs, and a fun to autocross (but still slow as hell) 5.0 Fairmont with most of the crap from an 80s Mustang GT bolted in. With that clearly stated…

      “Aluminum is weaker than the equivalent amount of steel. PERIOD.”

      What amount? Volume or weight? Are you talking about a tensile strength test sample, bar stock, tube, or a fabricated sheet metal structure? Comparing the yield strength of two materials is nearly useless. The structure of a part can be optimized to take advantage of desired characteristics (low density, corrosion resistance) in a “weaker” material to build something just as strong as one made from the “stronger material”. Those advantages can often be used to overcome deficiencies such as increased flexibility (Young’s modulus), lower yield strength, and/or lower ultimate strength. Go walk around your local bike shop an look at the aluminum and carbon fiber mountain bikes.

      “Aluminum’s costs are going to raise premiums and repair costs.

      Who’s going to swallow these costs??? The consumer?”

      Yes, I imagine they will since I doubt any manufacturer can afford to give away crash repairs. Of course, there are long term benefits such as corrosion resistance. I see plenty of 5 year old trucks with tin worm rotted beds and doors.

      “I bet RAM and GM are laughing their heads off.”
      Fiatdodge and the General are probably working on the same thing while screaming at their marketing people for not coming up with it first.

      • 0 avatar

        I think my favorite part of BigTruck’s commentary is when random words ARE BOLDED because THEY REQUIRE more EMPHASIS. It’s a LOT like FRANK MILLER if your READ many comics.

        When he’s defending Dodge to the death, he makes some compelling arguments. But every story talking about Ford and a certain metal in the last 3 months has multiple BTRS comments, and inevitably it circles back around to liberals destroying America. It’s not his fault – he’s simply reinforcing stereotypes.

        What I think he fails to appreciate in his arguments is that this isn’t a question of strength – never was, never will be (other than in the competition’s ads to redneck-minded truck buyers.) Body panels are almost never a stressed component, so the only time ‘strength’ becomes relevant is during a collision, and more often than not car designers would rather every component outside of a safety cell be damn near destroyed if it minimizes the transfer of force to the passengers.

        As for dents and dings, you are talking about memory and plasticity, not actually ‘strength.’

    • 0 avatar

      yeah those idiots at Beoing and Airbus still use aluminum instead superior steel. And you see airplane superstructures collapsing every day.

      Aren’t you the same guy who yesterday argued steel is superior since it is used in buildings? So you say a steel skyscraper gets better gas mileage than an aluminum skyscraper?

      Yeah and car companies still suffer fromt he cost of switching to ignition, or introducing any new model. Just changing from steel to a new steel model is expesnive, Al adds jsut a bit more. Al has been used for body panels in sports cars forever, nothing new.

      If it were for people like you , we still would ride on horses, becasue you know, switching from a horse that just grows naturally to a totally machine-made steel engine is a huge technical risk.

      I’m really not a Ford fan, but appreciate the huge undertaking and engineering they do with their best model.

      • 0 avatar

        Yep, that’s BIg Truck Series Review himself who claims to have a BS in Physics and a MS in Geology. My guess is that he somehow missed the segments on the Scientific Method during his six plus years of schooling as well as a basic understanding of engineering concepts and applications. Never slow to blame the Climate Change theory on “Liberals”, he seems to delight in the churn his postings here generate.

        • 0 avatar

          M.S. in Physics.
          M.S. in Geology
          Both from an accredited university.

          Keep telling jokes about me while LIBERALS ruin American industry.

          I must know something to have used conservative values and financial expertise to be doing well.

          GO AHEAD – keep on telling jokes.

          • 0 avatar

            @bigtrucksreview- It’s too bad that all that education didn’t teach you a thing about disregarding silly partisan arguments like this one.

            Folks like you make this site’s comment section look like a failed comedy routine.

            Let’s not involve politics with EVERY SINGLE GODDAMN ARTICLE on here.

          • 0 avatar

            The world will end if Obama becomes president in 2008. Didn’t happen, oh wait, the world will end if he gets reelected in 2012…

          • 0 avatar
            old fart

            I do believe you’re becoming nothing but a troll, always trying to stir things up for no benefit but your own satisfaction. Also if everyone else is a liberal , does that make you a left wing radical anarchist ? (If this comment gets me banned it was worth it )

          • 0 avatar

            You remind me of the comedy show “Ask Dr. Science”.

            the sketch always concludes with the disclaimer that he is “not a real doctor,” although Dr. Science insists he has “a Master’s Degree… in science!”

            I have a B.Sc. and a PhD in Engineering. Both degrees are from universities that are ranked in the top 20 in the World. Frankly, old chap, I think you don’t know what you’re talking about.

          • 0 avatar

            People aren’t telling jokes so much as wondering, with true amazement, how a person who professes to hold not one, but two masters degrees in the hard sciences fails to engage any commentary on this discussion board with anything that would resemble a scientific background.

            The statement “from an accredited university” is a classic deflection about a dodgy degree certification. It makes no difference to me — but as a physicist myself your responses here do other scientifically-trained people a great disservice.

            Talk about your love of MOPARs, monster V8s, how much money you make on Youtube each month, and what kind of high-powered gun you carry — have at it. But your postings about the properties of aluminum and its application in industry border on the bizarre. Any serious discussion gets dismissed with a non-sequitur about “Liberals” wanting to control the masses and destroy the industry with CAFE standards. Why this comes up when discussing Ford’s upcoming roll-out of their most storied and treasured product is truly curious.

          • 0 avatar

            “People aren’t telling jokes so much as wondering, with true amazement, how a person who professes to hold not one, but two masters degrees in the hard sciences fails to engage any commentary on this discussion board with anything that would resemble a scientific background.”

            This would be a lot easier to accept if you just ignored the guy. You’re giving him what he wants.

          • 0 avatar


            How did you go from a Bsc to a PhD without a masters?

          • 0 avatar

            @28carslater. There’s no requirement to earn a Masters degree before going for a Ph.D. at most universities. As it happens I do hold a Masters degree but I hardly thought it worth mentioning. Masters degrees really are rather unimpressive things.

          • 0 avatar


            Interesting I did not know this. A good deal of the folks here have PhDs in psych, but they all have MAs in the field too, which I suppose is not required.

      • 0 avatar

        Airplanes need light materials because THEY NEED TO FLY.
        Airplanes typically DO NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT COLLISIONS.
        Airplanes smashing into each other would be obliterated due to VELOCITY.

        Trucks and cars are on the roads together.
        Trucks and cars are ALWAYS at risk of colliding with each other.
        Trucks and cars NEED strong materials because of this simple fact.
        OTHERWISE you are putting lives at risk.

        Buildings need strong materials to bear loads over very long periods of time.
        Aluminum and glass can be used for faial features, BUT NEVER for load bearing structures.

        STEEL = strong
        Aluminum = light and strong when alloyed with certain elements. It’s expenses make it undesirable until manufacturing processes can make it less expensive.

        Aluminum is one of the 4 most abundant materials on Earth: Oxygen, Aluminum, Silicon and Hydrogen. I want to see it used, but NOT AT THE EXPENSE OF SAFETY.

        Keep arguing while Ford suffers.

        • 0 avatar

          MS in physics and geology from an “accredited” university. Tellingly, no expertise in material sciences or mechanical engineering.

          So you spout total nonsense with nothing, not one thing, to back up your ridiculous assertions. As usual.

          If you knew what you were nattering about and could actually prove it, you’d win a Nobel Prize. Just like Sheldon Cooper.

    • 0 avatar

      @bigtruckseriesreview- Are you really such a Mopar fanboy that you’re completely blinded to what may be a great weight saving tool in the effort for better fuel economy in a full size truck? I don’t get all this hostility toward Ford for trying this? I’m sure there will be some teething pains but they’ll figure it out. And honestly i wont be surprised to see GM and Fiat…er Ram, following the same path within 10 years.

      • 0 avatar

        I would probably love to have an Aluminum HEMI 6.4-L in both my cars to save weight and maybe squeeze out 3 MPG more, but that Aluminum would have also raised the up-front cost of the vehicle to be similar to the lighter Jaguar XJ-L’s costs which I leased a few years ago.

        These companies CAN use WHATEVER THEY WANT.

        But they SHOULD NOT BE FORCED TO BY CAFE or some gotdamn Liberal who’s never actually managed a state budget before. Liberals don’t care about the costs. All they want is to tax the rich more.


  • avatar

    The sky is not falling. Aluminum is not that big a deal to work with. I’ve done it. I don’t have any special training or certification. Many cars and trucks already have aluminum hoods or rear hatches. There will be a bit of a learning curve for welding on it. Mostly for tacking in bedside skins and such. But, in the end if a shop wants the business they will get up to speed on this quick.

  • avatar

    More like, Ford was going to require dealers to achieve certification to repair aluminum F-150s (under warranty), but the dealers cried and they cried and cried some more. And now they don’t.

  • avatar

    Considering the gross profit in trucks I would imagine Ford will absorb some of this cost and count on their volume to hold them through the transition. Al bodies have been used in lots of situations the demand high strength, and the body on frame light duty truck is a perfect place for it.

    GM and Dodge can do all they want but Ford is basically pulling off the ultimate power to weight advantage and the others will follow in due time. Now I’ll give dodge the diesel in the small truck but it has a high cost premium too. It’s also not too hard to engineer such a power plant so anyone could enter that market if they want. The turbo sixes (frankly the stock 3.7) provide more truck then most truck owners ever use. Guys who want the 5.0 will still have it, despite the EcoBoost being a better truck motor. I think Ford may see a tick up on the Super Duty sales for the first year or so, but I doubt that they would be upset with that.

    And my wishful prediction…. If cost are much higher on the F150, then the Ranger again has a solid place in the market as a cheap small truck!

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    As I mentioned in another thread, before this discussion turns into a 100+ hate posts thread, we should change the subject to the merits of bottling beer in aluminum cans vs. glass bottles.

  • avatar

    Does anyone really think that Ford is going to nail this out of the gate?

    I’m not sure what planes and buildings and Marmons and beverage containers have to do with anything.

    • 0 avatar

      More than likely. You have to understand that Ford has been developing the technology for a very long time. They used to own Aston Martin and Jaguar, both of which use aluminum extensively. Ford engineers also built prototype sedans (Sables) in 1993. Even though Ford sold off Aston and Jaguar they retained all rights to the IP.

  • avatar

    I just gotta say, to everyone harping on Boeings and Aston Martins and beer cans..


    It’s a Sodding Truck.

    It is not an airplane.

    It is not a luxury sports-car.

    It is a TRUCK.

    It is designed to haul stuff, lots of stuff, around…. Because Truck.

    It needs a whole lotta motor to do it’s Trucky Truck-type things, a big V-8, big Diesel, or small turbo-engine while on-boost will produce that power.. but won’t be economical…. Because Truck.

    It essentially has the aerodynamic properties of a brick…. Because Truck.

    WHY is everybody applauding and offering congratulations for a move that makes trade-offs veering away from it’s Trucky-Truck-Truck roots in order to offer an improvement in one performance metric that is tertiary at best in measuring ‘What Is Best In Truck’ and is only foremost in the minds of those who buy trucks because they secretly want a 70’s muscle-car but are too cheep to buy one… and too cheep to buy the gas to run one as well it seems.



    • 0 avatar

      The previous question above was could Ford get it right.

      As to it being a truck: Land Rover (since 1948), Humvee (the military ones), Grumman LLV (USPS delivery trucks), US Army FED, Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT), Range Rover, etc. etc. they’re trucks. Trucky truck trucks. This is the future of most vehicles. It’s about mandated fuel efficiency standards not whether you can afford the gas or not, but it sure doesn’t hurt. Get over it and buy AA (Alcoa).

      • 0 avatar

        Land Rover/Range Rover: Rich folk toys with pretensions of being Trucks.

        Humvee, FED, HEMTT: Military trucks, come with complimentary support platoon.

        Grumman LLV: Not a truck, big-ass van.

        I’m just peeved at one more sign of TRUCK being taken away from me and mine out here in the wide wild hinterlands and given-over to service urban/suburban tastes. :(

        • 0 avatar

          You obviously know nothing about Landrovers. I learned to drive in one on a farm. We’d haul bails, sheep and calves in the back. Go to Wikipedia and educate yourself and then come back and tell me they’re for rich folk. Not my fault that’s all you’ve seen. I guess you never lived in the UK.

          • 0 avatar



          • 0 avatar

            Which explains why you don’t know much if anything about the history of Land Rover. Funny that you think it’s just a rich folk car. It was for very many years an aluminum bodied working truck.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d say there are a couple of major reasons you WANT a truck to be made of aluminum. First is rust. Around here, the beds rot right off trucks. I have buddy with an ’06 F250 that looks like it spent time at the bottom of the ocean. Second is payload. For a given GVW, you should see an increase in payload. Third, if I am going to be hit by one of these things, I would just as soon have it be 700lbs lighter.

      And the reality is that MAYBE, and I am giving major benefit of the doubt here, maybe 10-15% of light duty trucks are ever used for trucky things. Most of them are commutermobiles for urban cowboys who justify owning a truck by bringing home a few 2x4s from Home Depot twice a year.

      If you don’t want an aluminum truck, for the moment GM and Chrysler have you covered. But probably not for all that long.

      • 0 avatar

        International Harvester used to produce the Scout, which made extensive use of fiberglass composits which are lightweight, don’t rust, and are CHEEP.

        …..I miss Scouts.

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