ARLINGTON, Virginia — The aluminum-bodied 2015 Ford F-150 is more expensive to repair than its 2014 steel-bodied predecessor, according to a new report released on Thursday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The repairs took longer and cost 26 percent more than they did on a 2014 F-150 made of steel, the report said.
"From a simple bolt-on parts replacement to a more-involved removal and installation of entire body panels, fixing the aluminum F-150 is more expensive than repairing a steel-bodied F-150," said David Zuby, IIHS chief research officer, in a statement.
Ford immediately disputed the results of the report.
"Ford does not agree with the reparability costs and findings by IIHS and other stunts," the company said in a statement on its Web site.
Ford said its view is based on "real-world accident repair data."
The company cited a report by Assured Performance, an independent body shop certification company that said real-world repair costs on the 2015 F-150 average $869 less than the 2014 F-150.
IIHS contends there are pricier repairs for the aluminum F-150 in low-speed crashes.
"Damage to aluminum body parts can be more complicated and pricier to repair than steel," it said.
The Institute ran crash tests at 10 mph with the new F-150 crew cab and its 2014 steel-bodied predecessor. Engineers crashed the front left corner of the aluminum pickup into the right rear corner of the steel pickup at a 15 percent overlap and then flipped the test and ran the steel pickup into the back of the aluminum one.
"In both test scenarios, the aluminum F-150 had more extensive damage than the steel model," the report said.
It added: "Extra time to repair the aluminum body accounted for the higher price to fix frontal damage, while higher parts costs pushed up the repair bill for the rear damage."
Edmunds.com came to similar conclusions in January by taking a sledgehammer to the aluminum-bodied F-150. In a detailed report describing the repairs, Edmunds found that it took more time to complete the repairs than had the body panels been made of steel and that those repairs, whether through higher labor rates or longer service times, cost more money than they would have with steel.
Edmunds says: Although aluminum helps the 2015 F-150 slash hundreds of pounds of weight, another report states that it makes the truck costlier to repair.