It almost goes without saying the new Ford F-150 is one of the most innovative and revolutionary trucks to hit the market in decades. With its aluminum body, upgraded frame and a cabin full of new tech features, the 2015 F-150 certainly raises the bar of what a half-ton truck should be. These updates are certainly interesting news for new truck buyers, but how will the redesigned F-150 affect the used truck market? Here is what it may look like.
The Overall New Truck Market
This last year, overall new truck sales hit a high of nearly 2.25 million units sold, which is the highest it’s been since the recession. Many of these new trucks are quite different than the pre-recession models. With fuel economy target deadlines looming in the next 10 years, truck makers are focused on making trucks more fuel efficient. Also, the average truck transaction price has been on the rise, with more customers buying higher trim levels than ever before. For used truck buyers, this means the marketplace is going to change in the next three to five years.
A used truck buyer today is likely going to find a marketplace filled with pretty comparable models at higher prices. Many of these pre-owned trucks were planned and built during the recession. During this time, automaker’s budgets were shrunk and there was very little in the way of new innovations.
Also, fuel economy and comfort were not at the top of the customer’s wish list as they are today. The older trucks can’t match the ride quality or fuel economy of many newer models.
Lastly, the truck boom of the past year is expected to run through 2015. This means in three years or more, the volume of used trucks will grow exponentially. While these trucks had a higher selling price, the volume of used trucks could drive down prices on used car lots, which means bargains for used truck buyers.
The Aluminum Ford F-150 is Game Changer
Cheaper used truck prices and an increased selection are great things to look forward to, but how does the aluminum F-150 figure into the equation? While it is too early to know for sure, we know several things that could impact the market:
- Aluminum is more expensive to fix. An issue that may arise from Ford’s use of the new material is its increased cost to fix. Currently, repair facilities are being updated to work with aluminum. However, hourly repair costs for aluminum are higher when compared with steel. For used truck buyers this means, you will need to be more vigilant when looking over the truck for any defects.
- Aluminum does not rust. On the plus side, aluminum doesn’t rust like steel does. This will have an interesting impact on the truck’s value as a whole since no rust should mean higher resale value. However, an increasing supply of rust-free trucks may offset this over time. Aluminum does corrode. This corrosion is actually aluminum oxide, a very hard material that protects the aluminum from further corrosion. You will notice this corrosion by seeing dull spots on the body. There are aftermarket treatments you can use to remove the corrosion and bring the shine back.
- There’s potential for less supply. One of the unknowns is how insurance companies will handle damaged F-150s, which is a problem that lies in the increased cost for repairs. This may lead more insurance companies to total the truck rather than repair it. For used truck buyers, this means there could be less supply on the market if repairs are too expensive.
Used Truck Ownership Costs could Increase
If you have been following along with the 2015 F-150 news, you know it can achieve upwards of 25 mpg on the highway, depending on the powertrain. This remarkable fuel economy is great for used and new buyers, yet the fuel savings could be completely offset by higher costs to own.
Repair costs may drop over time as more vehicles are built with aluminum, and as more aluminum itself is made available. Also, as shops recoup their investment in new equipment, repair costs could also drop.
The reality is the new 2015 Ford F-150 sets a new benchmark for half-ton trucks. While we’ll have to wait to see how it impacts used truck prices, that doesn’t mean you should avoid buying one when the time comes.