To be more effective at repairing Ford F-150s and Ford F-250s, Mike’s Auto Body recently added its second aluminum facility in San Ramon, CA in a 13,000 sq. ft. building that is located nearby the shop. With a highly-trained crew and the right tools, equipment and people in place, Mike’s aluminum annex in San Ramon is ready to play a major role for the company now and in the future.
In 2017, Ford sold nearly 900,000 F-Series trucks in the U.S. with bigger numbers forecasted for this year, so Mike’s is ready to deal with what could be an avalanche of Ford aluminum trucks within the next few years.
Company CEO Brennan Rose has played an instrumental role in establishing both aluminum annexes from day one and sees great value in adding a second location. “We can load level, so that if we get a large amount of Ford F-150s at one location, we can adapt quickly and seamlessly, so that it won’t impact our cycle times and keep our production going,” he said. “Now in conjunction with our original aluminum annex in Lafayette, we’re prepared for when we get any increase in Ford aluminum trucks.”
With a growing influx of Ford aluminum vehicles in all of its 15 locations, the two annexes are strategically located and conveniently situated about 16 miles apart. “We looked at a lot of other places, but decided that San Ramon is an ideal solution for us,” Rose said. “If we’re going to be shuttling vehicles from shop to shop, we don’t want to spend a lot of time transporting them back and forth. The San Ramon location was chosen because it’s ideally located and the building is well-suited for aluminum repairs.”
Rose has his eye on the future as well as his bottom line, he explained, when it comes to O.E. certifications, like this Aluminum one with Ford. “We want to build on our current market and expand without having to staff up or increase our overhead and this is an ideal way to do that. This industry is changing literally every day, so we have to change in order to stay up with it.”
San Ramon’s Manager Joe Drago is a veteran of the collision repair industry, so he has experienced the aluminum evolution first-hand from the very beginning. “About a decade ago, car designers started looking at new materials to make vehicles lighter without sacrificing their integrity while improving gas mileage overall,” Drago said. “Our second aluminum annex is much-needed, because we’re getting more and more Ford F-Series trucks, and since they’re very popular in the East Bay, we’re confident that we’ll be seeing them in increased numbers from now on.”
To be able to work on today’s highly sophisticated aluminum vehicles, Mike’s Auto Body has to acquire special tools and equipment as well as Ford-sponsored training offered by Ford Motor Company. “The equipment involves special welders, rivet tools and a laboratory-level clean room,” Drago said. “We have two A-Techs that are Ford Aluminum trained and Platinum I-CAR working here in San Ramon and they’re another two in Lafayette. They’ve received the best O.E. aluminum training available, so we know that they’re better than adept at repairing these vehicles.”
Is aluminum the wave of the future? Only time will tell, but you can rest assured that Mike’s Auto Body will be right there to repair aluminum vehicles at a high level as they continue to live by their motto, “Where Quality Counts.”