Ford is targeting dealers with large body shops to establish the Ford National Body Shop Network of dealers and independent shops capable of large structural repairs for the 2015 F-150. Ford says these large dealers have to shell out between $30,000 and $50,000 for a single repair bay. But for these large dealers, the cost of having a body shop ready for the 2015 F-150 could reach $70,000 or more.
For Ed Joliffe, owner of Gorno Ford in suburban Detroit, getting his body shop ready for the aluminum F-150 pickup would cost him from $50,000 to $100,000. “That's a hell of a chunk," Joliffe told Automotive News. “All the small shops won't be able to touch it." He estimates that it could take between five and seven years to recoup that investment.
The network will be composed of dealers having the proper tools and training. The network will be Ford's conduit for insurance company repair referrals. Ford wants to assure both its customers and insurance companies that collision repair rates will be competitive with rates on the current F-150.
Dealers and independent repair shops who would invest in equipment and training can hang a Ford National Body Shop Network sign in their showrooms and will be listed on a body shop locator on ford.com. Ford aims to have a network of around 1,500 aluminum-capable body shops, including its 460 dealerships and over 1,000 independent shops. [source: automotive news - sub. required]