As the second model year of aluminum F-150s begins, Ford’s breakdown of dealership and independent auto body shops certified to fix the truck has crept up slightly, but not dramatically since the summer.
The size of the Ford aluminum network, which the OEM recommends to customers seeking repairs on other Ford models as well, matters to drivers as well as the repairers in and out of it.
Ford collision marketing manager Mark Mandl noted at a July NACE panel on OEM certification that customer interest in a service facility drops off quickly if the customer has to drive more than 10 minutes to reach it. If the trip exceeds 20 minutes, they’re not going.
So with that in mind, we asked if Ford was concerned by the apparent levelling off of the number of shops.
“We feel we have good coverage among dealers and independent repairers across the country,” Ford spokeswoman Elizabeth Weigandt wrote in an email. That said, Ford was “always open to inquiries from dealers and independents who want to explore training or join the network,” she wrote.
Weigandt said Ford didn’t plan any major changes to the aluminum certification program at this time.