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Ford and IIHS Disagree Regarding Post-Collision Repair Costs for Aluminum F-150

Photo Credit: Ford Motor Company


In the United States, there is two major bodies that evaluate the crashworthiness of vehicles; the government-based National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The IIHS was assembled by insurance companies to assess the potential cost of vehicle damage and personal injury that could be suffered in a particular vehicle. IIHS tests are traditionally more rigorous than the NHTSA tests. For Canadians who buy almost identical vehicles to the ones of our American neighbours, the results of crash tests is regarded as reputably as it is stateside. When the IIHS published recent crash test results released for the revolutionary new 2015 Ford F-150, truck buyers in Canada would be most intrigued to know how one of the country's most popular-selling vehicles performed.

Testing of the 2015 Ford F-150 SuperCab and SuperCrew by the IIHS was a good news/bad news story for the blue oval purists. On the positive side, the SuperCrew version of the F-150 pickup recorded high-rated 'Good' performances in all five crashworthiness disciplines. The SuperCab model captured Good ratings in four of the five tests.

In a performance that earned the 2015 Ford F-150 SuperCrew a coveted Top Safety Pick award for acing all of its IIHS crash tests, the F-150 SuperCab's small front overlap impact test was a little more troubling. In the test conducted at 40 miles per hour (64.37 kilometers per hour) against an offset barrier, the Ford F-150 SuperCab's structure bent in such a manner that caused the pedals to move up to 13 inches closer to the crash test dummy. IIHS researchers were also concerned with the way the dummy's head landed into the front airbag. Despite the faults, the 2015 Ford F-150 SuperCab still received a mid-level 'Marginal' rating. 






Aside from the crash test, the IIHS performed calculations into repairs following less serious impacts. With the predominant use of aluminum in new Ford F-150's shape, the IIHS has tabulated the cost of front and rear damage done with a 10-mile per hour collision would be 26 percent more expensive than a steel-bodied vehicle. It is this second area of study by the IIHS that has sparked a strong difference in educated opinion. While Ford Motor Company proudly accepts the Top Safety Pick and appears to be investigating the small front overlap result of the F-150 SuperCab according to IIHS, the auto company strongly objected to the assertion that their aluminum-bodied truck cost more to repair.   

Following the publication of the IIHS' test, Ford rebutted with their own information. Using what they call real-world accident repair data, the automaker argues the costs are contrary to the crash institute's research. In fact, Ford Motor Company counters repair costs for their 2015 truck are lower than what is encountered with the 2014 F-150. Ford has recorded average repair costs have averaged $869 less. A number of components involved in the 2015 Ford F-150 utilize modular structures that requires less labour to repair.

The auto company also dispelled myths are more expensive to insure and own due to the aluminum body panels. Ford cites State Farm Insurance and Allstate Insurance expressing coverage for the new F-150 is comparable to the last-generation truck.


Information source: Ford Motor Company, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

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