Collision Repair: Issues and Solutions

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The 2018 edition of NACE took place August 8-10 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Ga.

An impressive number of supplier booths offering a vast array of products and services awaited visitors in the vast exhibition hall. Technology was front and centre, as the latest high-tech electronic diagnostic tools figured prominently at this year’s event.

NACE is also a major get-together event where ideas are exchanged and where industry conferences address important industry issues. Shop certification, technician training, recruitment, as well as collision repair shop liability, were among the featured topics. A full day is also set aside for multi-store owners to share information and discuss topics tailored to their specific realities.

Profound changes

Among the discussions, conferences, and presentations taking place this year, there was a common theme: the industry is in the midst of profound changes.

In the U.S., automotive manufacturers and repairers strive to maintain open communications and collaboration. The Automotive Services Association (ASA), which represents the American automotive aftermarket, and representative bodies such as the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which regroups 12 major automotive manufacturers active in the North American market, exemplify this relationship.

While the right for independent repair shops to repair and service vehicles isn’t being questioned, the repair methods themselves are under intense scrutiny. As lawsuits are a way of life for our Southern neighbours, more than ever, collision repair shops recognize the importance of abiding by approved collision repair procedures.

Mounting Shop Accreditation Costs

For Darrell Amberson, ASA committee member and multi-store owner from Minnesota, the collision repair industry would be better served by a universal shop accreditation program applicable to all automotive manufacturers, instead of the current situation requiring individual manufacturer accreditation. “We’re looking at an investment of nearly a million dollars in training and equipment,” he explained during a panel discussion. “This investment will never be recovered.”

Pre and post repair vehicle scanning, which is more often than not included in manufacturer approved repair procedures, was another popular topic at NACE. Dan Risley, Vice President, Quality Repair and Market Development, CCC Information Services and former ASA Head, pointed out that the decision to repair vehicles according to recommended repair procedures is no longer an option for collision repair shops.

“Twenty years ago, we could easily have envisioned universal collision repair procedures, but with all the technological advancements, this option is no longer viable” philosophized automotive manufacturer spokesperson, Wayne Weikel.  “In order to adapt to this new reality, we need to raise the level of cooperation with independent repair shops, as they are responsible for 85 percent of all repairs in this market.”


In response to a question by Collision Management magazine during a press conference, Wayne Weikel elaborated on this point of view. “As we see it, it’s impossible to implement a universal shop accreditation program covering all vehicle makes and models. On the other hand, we have an obligation to work together to simplify the process. A good example is equipment. Whenever technically possible, shop owners should be able to choose equipment that meets repair standards for multiple manufacturers.”

Weikel also emphasized the fact that the industry is undergoing a period of profound changes, which always requires open-mindedness and adjustments along the way. Along with his ASA colleagues, he is quick to point out that accessing vehicle repair information isn’t always easy, a situation that could easily be remedied to the benefit of all parties.

Categories : Collision

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