It’s true that there has been a great deal of information surrounding the topic of Ford’s upcoming release of the 2015 F150 and its military-grade aluminum alloy body and high-strength steel frame.
The Collision Industry has been rocked out of its comfort zone. Some in the industry have been reduced to sheer panic while others are completely ignoring the entire process and feel that it will soon turn around and go back to ‘business as usual’. For the latter, i’m sorry to say, that is not going to happen. In fact, I think that the industry should be continuously on their toes and anticipate that there will be many changes coming down the pipeline. Embracing the future can be exciting and yes scary at the same time. But that’s what is so exhilarating.
At the recent Collision Industry Conference, the buzz was afoot and many were concerned about the fact that in our industry, there are still many that haven’t conquered welding on steel yet. The focus on aluminum is taking away from the technical challenges that are still afoot, such as Carbon Fiber, Collision Avoidance Systems and the new translucent finishes coming from OEMs, even glass has its own set of challenges.
The fact is, until our industry can catch up to the industry changes that have already happened in just the past year itself, it will be difficult to move forward with the additional education needed for working with military-grade aluminum. This, I believe, is the making or breaking point of each individual and shop within the industry and if we don’t seize every opportunity to gain the additional knowledge and experience needed to progress, then I fear there will be many left behind. It comes down to perspective and focus.
There’s no need for panic, but there is need to open your eyes and figure out how you fit into the grand scheme of things. Be positive about the changes and make your move when you feel the time is right. Do keep in mind that automakers are working towards the mandates that CAFE has demanded, meaning that by 2016 automakers must hit the 35.5 miles per gallon and by 2025, 54.5.