As we move toward alternative energy and stricter air quality requirements, what challenges do you see the collision industry facing while trying to remain profitable?
I think the next two years will offer great opportunities for the collision repairer, while remaining challenging. As vehicle manufacturers reinvent themselves with new products, consumers will be cycling themselves into these newer vehicles. In turn, that will begin reducing the average age of vehicles on the road and allowing for more “repairable” vehicles. Facilities and technicians will be required to focus on these new products, to learn new technologies and proper repair procedures. Along the way, I believe repairers will gain a new appreciation for their own expertise.
As vehicle manufacturers continue strive to meet fuel efficiency goals, they will continue to look at various composite materials and metals to help them achieve those goals. Collision repair facilities will also need to understand the proper usage of these materials and remain current on OEM product information.
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary. While doing so, it performed an offset front-end crash test using a 1959 Chevrolet BelAir and a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu (go to iihs.org to see the video). Traditionalists will tell you that “they don’t build them like they used to,” and after you see the video, you will be glad they don’t.
As an industry, I think we see changes as defeat rather than opportunities for success. Our confidence in repairing vehicles should meet or exceed our knowledge, and the profits should come as we begin seeking actual market value compensation for our trade.
Ray Fisher is the president of ASA-Michigan. This article represents his opinion and does not reflect the views of ASA-Michigan.