Poll: Is the Threat of Higher Insurance A Deal Killer For the 2015 F150?
We’re pretty excited about the new F-150’s intensive use of lightweight aluminum. Less weight means more of everything else, like towing, payload, acceleration, responsive handling, fuel efficiency … and insurance costs. Uh oh.
That’s right. Ford estimates insurance rates for the 2015 F-150 will be 10 percent higher than rates for the 2014 model.
In addition to aluminum being more expensive than steel, it is also difficult to repair, and difficult to find a qualified shop to perform the repairs.
According to Bloomberg and the Automotive Service Association, less than 10 percent of body shops in the United States meet the requirements for fixing aluminum body components.
Ford thinks 2015 F-150 customers will be fine with higher insurance rates because of the extra capability and economy the new truck will offer. According to Doug Scott, Ford’s truck marketing manager, the current F-150 costs less to insure than competitors, so the 2015 model’s insurance rates will end up being in the competition’s ballpark.
But the new F-150’s higher cost to insure and repair could mean lower residual values, which translates to higher lease rates and less money in your pocket if you were to sell or trade your 2015 F-150 in, say, 2018.
Never before in the automotive industry has aluminum been used on such a mainstream product, but as the CEO of AutoNation, Mike Jackson has indicated, if any automaker is going to pull it off, it’s Ford. After all, the company’s CEO is former Boeing executive Alan Mulally, and that guy knows a thing or two about large-scale aluminum airplane manufacturing. It will be interesting to see how large-scale aluminum manufacturing/selling works in the auto industry.
Ford has calculated that 80 percent of its customers are comfortable with an aluminum-intensive F-150 because they often own tough aluminum toolboxes and ladders. While Ford says most customers like you are at ease with an aluminum F-150, are you comfortable with the extra costs involved with owning/leasing an aluminum vehicle?
Sources [Bloomberg, Automotive News, Jalopnik]