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There has been a lot of buzz in recent years about how well the collision industry is equipped to handle repairs of today’s vehicles. The emergence of advanced materials, such as high-strength steels and, more notably, aluminum, have helped fuel this discussion.

When the new Ford F-150 was announced, for instance, speculation began immediately about how many shops would be able to fix the new truck. How many shops have the tools, equipment, and training to do it right? That question can be asked of just about any new vehicle.   

At FenderBender, we started having our own discussion about the state of collision repair tools, equipment and training. It’s a huge topic, one that we couldn’t get to the bottom of in any one story. But we thought we could get a pretty good snapshot if we were able to create a concise enough survey. It couldn’t cover every piece of equipment, every hand tool, but it could cover the essentials, as well as what is needed to repair some of the most-hyped advanced materials. 

We turned to Assured Performance Network, along with our editorial advisory board and a select few other industry experts, to develop a guide to essential equipment for today’s repairs, along with aluminum and carbon fiber components. We then put together a survey based on that list, and it proved to be the longest, but also the most popular survey we have ever assembled. 

The core finding? 

Most shops are investing significantly in technology, tools and equipment, but many are still lacking the pieces that have become commonplace in the industry’s top shops, such as electronic management systems. Find the survey on page 39. Some of the results might surprise you. 

Shifting gears, the nation’s largest automotive aftermarket trade event, the SEMA Show, took place this month in Las Vegas. The FenderBender crew was there all week, putting together stories, videos and photos from the event. 

Yes, SEMA is well-known for its glitzy show cars and hot performance products, but it also has an established and growing collision segment. That’s what we focused on, talking with exhibitors of collision products, as well as industry experts, educators and attendees.  

The 2014 SEMA Show may be in the books now, but all of our content is still online. To see all of the action that is relevant to you and your business, along with a little bit of that glitz thrown in for good measure, go to  

Jake Weyer

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