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Aluminum Frenzy Still On The Up-rise Part IV

car-body

More Ford vehicles

The F-150 pickup — the industry’s highest-volume vehicle — switches from a steel body to aluminum late this year. Once the two plants that build the truck are running at full speed, Ford will overtake Jaguar Land Rover as the industry’s largest manufacturer of aluminum-bodied vehicles, with expected volume of around 650,000 per year.

Rosner’s sources indicate that by 2017 Ford will be using aluminum bodies on five other pickups and SUVs: the F-250, F-350, Navigator, Expedition and Expedition EL.

That would bring Ford’s aluminum bodies to more than 1 million units per year, he said. He added that the five vehicles will move to the F-150 platform.

Alcoa expects automotive demand for aluminum to double by 2025, while Novelis expects to increase sales to automakers 15 percent per year for the rest of the decade.

“When automakers decide to move into aluminum, they do that three or four years in advance of the model year,” Tom Boney, general manager of automotive for Novelis North America, told Automotive News.

“In that time, the aluminum industry is quite capable of capitalizing to meet those requirements. Novelis has spent more than $550 million to increase our capacity. We’ve done that in the United States, Germany and China.”

I think without a doubt, with this report found in Automotive News, those that had doubts about the future of aluminum need to reconsider their stance. There is no escape and if anything, the walls will start to close around those body shop owners that refuse to get ahead of these changes.

Manufacturers are quite competitive when it comes to this subject. The question becomes whose is bigger and better. Kind of reminds me of Tim Allen but instead of power we’re talking aluminum and who can get their mpg lower first. This competition is great for the consumer because its heated state will drive prices down, something none of us would complain about.

Are you preparing for the inevitable? Contact us to find out how we can help you get on board through training. Be prepared and don’t get left behind.

Aluminum Frenzy Still On The Up-rise Part III

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GM product chief Mark Reuss said he worries about repair costs.

“I read in Automotive News about the tools required to fix an aluminum truck. I saw those costs. We know it’s expensive,” he said at a technology conference in Detroit last week.

Aluminum-free Ram

At Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, CEO Sergio Marchionne said last month that the Ram pickup is not the best use of aluminum in the Chrysler Group lineup.

But he hinted that the next-generation Jeep Wrangler SUV, due to start production in 2017, could be the first Chrysler vehicle to get an aluminum body.

Chrysler has made big strides in boosting the fuel economy of the hot-selling Ram. With a V-6 gasoline engine, the Ram is rated at 25 mpg on the highway, highest for any full-sized pickup with a gasoline engine.

The Ram with an optional EcoDiesel engine is rated at 28 mpg on the highway, the highest ever achieved by a full-sized pickup.

Emmanuel Rosner, an analyst for CLSA Americas, says the increased capacity being installed by Alcoa and Novelis doesn’t necessarily mean that an automaker has committed to another aluminum-bodied vehicle.

The higher volume could be used for stamped body parts instead of entire bodies. “If they don’t go for full aluminum bodies, they may try to achieve similar outcomes through a combination of high-strength steel and some aluminum panels. For that, you don’t even have to make a major redesign,” Rosner says.

“If you just go for the hood, like the current F-150 has, you don’t need to change the entire production process. It becomes somewhat less effective, but also a less onerous type of bet.”

Aluminum Frenzy Still On The Up-rise Part II

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Japan’s Kobe Steel is in talks with Toyota Tsusho Corp., a trading company affiliated with Toyota Motor Corp., to form a joint venture to make automotive-grade aluminum sheet metal in the United States.

In April, Novelis Inc. broke ground for an automotive sheet metal line at its plant in Nachterstedt, Germany.

Outside of Ford, other mass-produced aluminum-intensive vehicles on the road or on the way include:

• Jaguar’s new XE compact sports sedan: Scheduled to begin production next year and reach the United States in 2016, the car will compete against the Audi A4, BMW 3 series, Cadillac ATS, Mercedes-Benz C class and numerous Asian luxury cars.

• Tesla Model X and small sedan: The Model X crossover is the next Tesla aluminum-bodied vehicle to begin production, which kicks off in late summer 2015. The following year, a new small aluminum sedan is scheduled. Tesla’s lone production vehicle, the Model S, sold 6,457 units globally in the first quarter, up from 4,900 a year ago.

• Chevrolet Corvette: The sports car, redesigned for the 2014 model year, uses an aluminum frame that weighs 360 pounds. It is on track to sell more than 36,000 units in 2014, more than double 2013’s volume of about 17,000.

• Range Rover and Range Rover Sport: Jaguar Land Rover will build about 100,000 of the aluminum-bodied SUVs this year, about the same as last year. The company is working on plans to boost capacity in 2015, the company says.

• 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-sized pickups. Due this fall, the pickups will have aluminum hoods.

General Motors is expected to decide within a year whether it will use aluminum bodies on the next-generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, due around 2018. GM has developed aluminum welding technology that could simplify bonding and riveting.

 

Aluminum Frenzy Still On The Up-rise Part I

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You may as well get used to the aluminum frenzy because I can tell you that it is not going away. Those of you that thought that this was a passing trend are in for a big surprise. The auto industry is in the middle of their own competitive nature and are aggressively looking for the way to make aluminum work for them and across what countries will this impact production? What’s coming down the pipeline and how will these changes continue to affect you?

Manufacturers are only just warming up and there is far more coming our way. Already there are vehicles made with more aluminum body panels, such as the doors, roofs and trunks. We already know about the Ford F150 coming out this fall with a projected annual sales of $650,000.  Ford has said that by 2017 they will make more than 1 million vehicles with aluminum bodies.

The rush to aluminum is chock-full of complexities. Aluminum is more expensive than steel. Manufacturing plants need to master how to bond and rivet aluminum parts. Body shop repair technicians need extra training to work on aluminum.

And the industry has many competing ways to boost fuel economy. The Ram 1500 pickup fitted with a diesel, for instance, gets 28 mpg on the highway, tops for full-sized pickups.

But for now, aluminum is hot. To meet growing demand:

Alcoa Inc. is expanding a Tennessee plant to boost production of automotive-grade sheet aluminum used to make hoods, doors and other stamped body parts. The company has applied for a Department of Energy loan to pay for the expansion, which is expected to be completed next year.

Alcoa officials say the company has secured long-term contracts for the aluminum that will be produced at the expanded plant.

How To Remove Motorcycle Tank Dents: It’s A Miracle! Part II

motorcycle dent

Now if your tank has a single wall, or metal skin, then the job just dropped from possibly impossible to very simple. Simple at least for a PDR Technician. First, the technician attaches an object that appears much like a flag into the emptied tank. This has a flexible mounting so can be adjusted to any angle necessary. The flag itself is like a rectangular card with parallel black lines running the length of it on a white background.

The flag is reflected in the shiny paintwork of the motorcycle gas tank. If the tank is in perfect factory condition, then the reflected black lines will all be smooth. If on the other hand the tank is dented, then the reflected lines will converge, balloon and be distorted where the reflected dent is.

As the dent is massaged and caressed from the inside, using a special tool designed for removing dents in motorcycle gas tanks, the reflected black lines in the region of the dent will become less and less ballooned and distorted. By the time the technician has completely removed the entire dent, the reflection will be smooth and perfect.

The actual surface of the motorcycle tank is constantly checked as well for smoothness but the reflections of the black lines is the most efficient way to get the best visual and actual guide as to the presence of other dents. If properly performed, the dent will vanish completely and the repair will be completely invisible. This will be the final judgment of a PDR technician and their expertise. There will be nothing left to see if done correctly.

The futile attempts made in the past to fix a motorcycle are behind us. No more removing the tank, rubbing it down or removing the paint with stripper, then applying filler, rubbing that down before re-spraying the entire tank. All gone!

Paintless Dent Removal techniques are the way of the future. Sign up for classes now.

How To Remove Motorcycle Tank Dents: It’s A Miracle! Part I

motorcycle dent

Motorcycle dents have been the thorn in the side of body shops for longer than you can imagine. Well, for as long as there has been motorcycles and side-car bikes I would imagine this has been a problem. For as long as this has been a challenge, customers who accidentally knocked their bike off of it kickstand, only had one option and that was to replace the tank. This, especially in our times, is a very expensive solution and can cost in excess of $400 dollars.

Welcome to the 21st Century, now there are Paintless Dent Removal Technicians who have the skill set and industry tools necessary to remove those accidental dents for a small fraction of the cost of replacing the tank. The techniques that are used are like magic. In fact, you need to stick around to see how it’s done just to witness the miracle touch.

Depending on the extent of your damages, the technician will use their well-honed expertise and finesse the dents into submission from either the inside, outside or both. What you end up with is a tank that looks as if you never had a moment of bad judgment.

The process of dent removal can be tricky depending on the bike. You will always find the gas cap at the very top to allow the complete filling of the tank. Unfortunately, the caps are not a very large opening.

You will need to figure out quickly if you are working with a double skinned tank because the process changes considerably if it is. A double skinned tank is much like a metal tank within a metal tank. This type of tank makes it very difficult to remove the dent from the inside as you will be applying pressure to the inside metal skin and not the outside skin where the dent is.

 

Ford F-150 Representatives Try To Explain Collision Repair On Aluminum Alloy Part III

  • Posted On May 7, 2014
  • Categorized In PDR
  • Written By

f-series-body

 

Not having to peel back the entire roof to get to the B pillar will not only save time but is far less invasive on total repairs. The A pillar tube you can section it right on top of the B pillar. Now you won’t have the need to replace the entire assembly, saving you precious time and saving the customer precious money.

Another efficient change is that there are no castings in the truck; everything is a stamping, extrusion or hydroformed piece. 

For a time, every sheet metal part will come with instructions. You will receive the box and the instruction sheet detailing all of the procedures to remove and replace or section and listing the parts needed to perform that job.

Ford’s final thoughts on this new truck was that when you loot at accident data and see that 80% are light hits that impact bolt-on parts and bumpers, most repairs on the F-150 will be nothing new.

The bumpers on this new truck are still steel bolted, the grille is still plastic and the headlamps are still plastic. So a lot of collisions you’ll be dealing with will be business as usual.

This is really good news for a PDR Technician, especially if you have been trained to work on Headlight Renewal, Scuffed Bumper Repair, and all of the other repairs that are internal. As it applies to body repair, King of Car Care is ready and able to teach you the necessary information to be successful at your job and a part of that success is that you can trust that we will always be at the forefront of technology, and we will always bring that information to you by way of our blog. Make sure to subscribe to our blog so that you will always be notified immediately when something new is ready to be shared.

Ford F-150 Representatives Try To Explain Collision Repair On Aluminum Alloy Part II

  • Posted On May 6, 2014
  • Categorized In PDR
  • Written By

f-series-body

Aluminum Sample

Ford representatives are busy trying to convince the auto body industry that repairing the new Ford F-150 military grade aluminum alloy truck has been made easier with collision repair as its number one concern when the idea of this new truck was conceived in 2009. The new 2015 F-150 is set to hit the market this fall and anyone with overactive curiosity, or a need to know because of the collision repair industry, will be able to touch and feel the truck. The picture above shows the different part sections that make this truck unique.

The front apron tubes were designed with repairability in mind. Currently, the F-150 is a two-piece system of hydroformed steel. Two sections go inside the hinge pillar, to remove or replace the part, you have to drop the instrument panel to get to the backside of the hinge pillar. However, on the 2015 F-150, it’s now a single piece with all external joints. You no longer have to get into the hinge pillar or instrument panel. This alone will save many hours of removal work.

Now, with the new B pillar, if the truck takes a hit and the rockers and crossmembers are damaged, you won’t have to replace the entire assembly. The one place that this is not true is in the crew cab. The outer rocker reinforcement in front is an extruded part, you would have no choice but to replace the entire assembly.

The B pillar has an improved design in that the mounting tab stops short of going over the roof tube and underneath the roof panel.  Because of this, you won’t have to cut access to the roof panel or pull the roof panel to remove and replace the B pillar.

Follow me to Part III where we will continue to discuss the advantages of the new F-150.

Ford F-150 Representatives Try To Explain Collision Repair On Aluminum Alloy Part I

  • Posted On May 5, 2014
  • Categorized In PDR
  • Written By

Ford

Paul Massey, Collision Product Marketing Manager, Ford

On April 17th, 2014, Ford reveals more information with regards to its F-150 Aluminum truck. Up to this point there has been a great deal of posturing by nationwide body shops. There is a lot of confusion surrounding Fords new technology and most of it is on the subject of repairability. Ford will be releasing the 2015 F-150 trucks this coming fall and anticipate that it will be one of its biggest sellers. In an attempt to squash angry concern, Ford sent representatives to the Collision Industry Conference April 9th in Portland, Oregon, trying to enlighten collision repairers with the repair information they need to work with the military grade aluminum alloy.

Repairability

According to Ford, repairability and concern for whether this type of truck could even be built, were the number one factors when conceiving the idea back in 2009. Early in its conception, Engineers were gathered to discuss the design and any concerns with collision. So the basics are this; the high strength steel frame will be sectionable, with front stub, front third and rear third available sections for service. The key difference is that there will be separately serviceable front lower control arm mounting brackets. In addition, there are sectioning procedures for the floor pan, too, where you can section the floor pan skin in many areas and also section the floor pan crossmembers. Repairers will have a choice of two different repair methods: rivet bonding or welding. This truck, because of its crossmembers and sectionable frame, will create an opportunity for technicians at all levels to decide, based on skill set, which way they want to repair it. This also includes PDR Technicians that have been trained for this service. Fortunately for you, our PDR Technician graduates with this knowledge, which puts you at the cutting edge of history being made in the auto industry. Follow me to Part II to learn more.

5 Things Your Potential Customers Are Looking For Part I

  • Posted On May 2, 2014
  • Categorized In PDR
  • Written By

auto_dealers1You’ve graduated from PDR school and you’re ready to get started just as soon as possible, do you know what your customers are looking for? There are many websites and/or blogs that are dedicated to reaching out to the consumer, advising them on what to look for and what to look out for. As a PDR Technician, you should be in the know on these types of questions and you should have a plan in place to deal with the consumers checklist. You could do the research yourself and spin your resources into gaining this information, or you could also subscribe to our blog posts thereby, letting us do that research for you.

It’s quite often the case that a consumer looking for an estimate from a body shop will get estimates from one spectrum to the other ranging from $500 to a few thousand for the same work. So it’s up to us and you to figure out why there is such a wide gap and what the consumer should be looking for. Also, is it ever okay to go for the cheapest estimate? Or is there a huge risk in doing that?

Body Shop owners and PDR Technicians should know what makes them more reliable than the guy down the road. You should be marketing your strengths and experience so that the consumer has a true picture of your talent. Following are the “5 Things Your Potential Customers Are Looking For”:

  • Pay attention to word-of-mouth-Any and all businesses can advertise, but your customer would do better to listen to the advice of their friends, family, or trustworthy acquaintances. The advice received from these types are speaking from their own experience or someone’s close to them. Word-of-mouth can make or break your business, so your first order of business is to distinguish yourself from others by offering an honest deal. One that they will be happy with and one that doesn’t break your bank account.

Follow me through this series as we continue to discover what the consumer is looking for and how you can fulfill their needs.