Ford Motor Co. has named Chief Automotive Technologies and Elektron approved collision repair equipment suppliers for the 2015 F-150 pickup truck that was unveiled Monday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Ford’s F-Series has been America’s best-selling vehicle for more than 30 years.
To improve fuel economy, Ford has significantly redesigned the F-150 to replace the vehicle’s traditional steel body panels and bed with military-grade aluminum. Ford has also increased the amount of high-strength steel in the new F-150’s frame from 23 percent to 77 percent. Properly restoring an aluminum collision-damaged vehicle to pre-accident condition requires new repair methods and equipment. Recognizing this, Ford has added a number of Chief and Elektron products to its Rotunda Dealer Equipment program and is encouraging its dealers to invest in the proper equipment and training before the 2015 F-150 hits the showrooms later this year.
“Chief has the largest installed base of structural repair equipment in North America and is a long-time Ford-approved supplier,” said Mike Cranfill, vice president of collision for Vehicle Service Group (VSG), parent company of the Chief and Elektron brands. “In fact, more than 60 percent of Ford dealers with body shops currently rely on Chief equipment every day. We have worked closely with Ford to develop a dedicated new structural holding package and target attachments for the 2015 F-150 that will function seamlessly with dealers’ existing Chief frame racks and measuring systems. We are also providing a full range of Elektron welders designed specifically for aluminum repair.”
In addition to the Chief frame racks, LaserLock live mapping system and Elektron spot welders that are already available to Ford dealers through the Rotunda Dealer Equipment program, Ford has approved the following F-150 special tools:
- Chief Structural Holding with F-150 Kit — Complete (part #128-3000001)
- Chief F-150 Holding Kit (part #128-300002)
- Chief Deluxe Chain and Clamping Package with Rolling Cart (part #128-619205)
- Chief Collet Style Target Attachment Set for Non-Ferrous Vehicle Openings (part #128-540-200)
- Elektron MultiMig 511 Welder with Standard Torch (part #128-EL900011)
- Elektron MultiMig 511 Welder with Push-Pull Torch (part # 128-EL900012)
- Elektron MultiMig 522 Dual Torch Welder Complete with Standard and Push-Pull Torch (part #128-EL900010)
- Elektron MultiTool Aluminum Dent Repair Station (part #128-EL930001)
Chief will also introduce new training through Chief University later this year that will cover proper aluminum repair methods to help technicians prepare to work on the new F-150.
“Our Chief and Elektron technical experts are working with the Rotunda team to help dealers ensure they are ready to properly repair the new 2015 F-150 as soon as it goes on sale,” Cranfill said. “We can equip them with the training, tools and equipment they need to smoothly transition to aluminum vehicle repair.”
Electron joins Chief Automotive Technologies in VSG's brand portfolio.