Many Ford Motor Company vehicles cost less to repair after a collision on average than all other vehicles in their segments, according to a new U.S. government report based in insurance claims database.

This is good news for the pocketbooks of current and future Ford, Lincoln and Mercury owners because auto insurance companies often factor in model-specific claims data in setting premium costs.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 2010 Relative Collision Insurance Cost Information Booklet shows more Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles lead their segments for the lowest collision insurance cost than any other automaker. The report will be available in all dealerships this spring to help consumers anticipate repair costs that insurers rely on for setting insurance rates.

Ford has 10 segments leaders, including Taurus, Focus and F-Series trucks, from the 2007-2009 model years, more than three times as many as Toyota and Honda combined. The NHTSA ratings based on claim costs data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

"Vehicle affordability continues to be the most important purchase consideration for car and truck buyers, rivaled only by fuel economy," said Frederiek Toney, vice president, Ford Customer Service Division. "We design our vehicles to be easier and more affordable to repair because we know this saves our customers money in insurance premiums and repair costs over the long term."

According to NHTSA, Ford's 10 segment-leading 2009 model year vehicles include:

  • Ford Focus - Small Cars (four-door)
  • Ford Taurus - Large Cars (four-door)
  • Ford F-150 - Large Pickups (two-door)
  • Ford F-150 Super Cab 4WD - Large Pickups (two-door-plus)
  • Ford F-250 4WD - Very Large Pickups (two-door)
  • Ford F-250 Super Cab - Very Large Pickups (two-door-plus)
  • Ford E-350 Econoline wagon - Cargo/Passenger Vans (tied with Chevrolet Express 3500)
  • Mercury Grand Marquis - Very Large Cars (four-door)
  • Mercury Mariner 4WD - Small SUV
  • Lincoln Town Car - Very Large Luxury Cars

Approximately 78 percent of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models rated at or better than the industry average.

Designing to reduce damage

In 2009, Ford opened a Paint and Body Technology Center to leverage the combined expertise of Ford's repair and safety experts, auto repair technicians and insurance companies to identify design solutions and repair procedures that will lower repair costs.

"If your vehicle costs less to repair, it generally costs less to insure," said Gerry Bonanni, Ford damageability collision repair senior engineer. "We're working harder to help reduce insurers' repair costs by developing more affordable repairs earlier in a vehicle's development."

For example, Ford Focus maintained its hold on the top spot in the four-door small car segment thanks in part to a bumper design improvements.

"Ford's repair-ability experts and safety engineers made the Focus's bumper bigger and stronger to better protect adjacent components," said Larry Coan, Ford damageability engineer. "The new technology center will help us build on these leading efforts."