Updated: 03/26/2014 4:48 PM
Created: 03/26/2014 4:16 PM WDIO.com
The Ford F-150 pickup truck has been the top selling truck in the country for decades. And it's also popular here in the Northland.
"It's a mainstay of why we're here," said Al Birman, owner of Cloquet Ford Chrysler.
For the 2015 year, Ford Motor Co. has created the next generation of trucks, making the body out of an aluminum alloy.
"The truck will be about 700 pounds lighter. It's going to be safer, because it can stop faster, and it can haul more, with better mileage," explained Birman. "Our staff are excited about it. Customers are already asking about the new F-150."
However, the change might mean auto body shops are going to have to make big changes of their own.
"Aluminum is here to stay. In my 44 years in the business, this is one of the biggest changes I've seen," said Mike DeBoer, owner of the two Abra Auto Body and Glass shops in Duluth and Cloquet. "With manufacturers being required to meet mileage standards, this is the wave of the future."
DeBoer said he is working on making sure all of his technicians are trained for the new body work. "We're concentrating on having all of our guys trained and certified, in structure repair and the welding aspect that goes along with aluminum."
"There's also a lot of equipment that needs to be bought, because aluminum repairs require separate tools, hammers, etc. Metal shavings, if they come in contact with aluminum, can cause it to corrode."
Because of the need for separation, DeBoer is planning on building a completely separate "clean" room for aluminum repairs at his Cloquet location.
Back at the dealership, Birman said it's hard to pinpoint a delivery date. "We hope they are here in the fall."
The body of the truck is still made out of steel.
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