Collision Repair and Hybrids
Toyota recently pledged to continue developing hybrids over the next five years. Other auto makers have not been so bold. Should collision repairers commit to hybrids?
In a word, yes. Alternative fuel is the wave of the future. Fuel cells, hybrid diesels, gasoline hybrids, electric vehicles and other technologies currently in development will continue to enter the marketplace. The most important thing to understand about these new technologies is that fear will not fix the car: Having an educated, properly equipped labor force and proper equipment will. There will be safety and environmental issues to handle. There might also be costs associated with mishandling hybrid components.
The collision industry will need to stay on top of the procedural pages and OEM specifications. Too often, when new products have hit the market, time studies have not yet taken place. Repairers waited for these studies—and then paid the price with “included” costs. Whether you are disconnecting a high-voltage wire, disarming a system for airbags or installing wheel covers on a vehicle, a form of billable labor is needed. With hybrids, protective gear may also be required for handling these vehicles; that creates another “extra cost” for these cars.
Consider these steps with an unknown vehicle repair. Check the procedural pages regarding included or not included. If necessary, time study the operation and expense accordingly. Save your information. Then contact the DEG (degweb.org) so they can inform the information providers.
Ray Fisher is the president of ASA-Michigan. This article represents his opinion and does not reflect the views of ASA-Michigan.