As 2018’s second quarter Collision Industry Council (CIC) meeting drew to a close April 12 in Westminster Colorado, Susanna Gotsch, Director and Industry Analyst with CCC, presented their latest results from CCC’s Crash Course 2018 report.
To attendees of the CIC meetings, it was obvious that the collision repair industry is in a state of massive change. The forces of change are driven largely by two factors: The very scientific and complex construction of today’s and near-future automobiles, and the lack of technical training for future workforce candidates. Cars are getting harder to fix and there are fewer and fewer qualified repair technicians entering the field.
Collision repairers are still blessed with plenty of work, but the unspoken question that begs to be asked is for how long? While there is continued growth in collision frequency, this trend is expected to taper off. Just recently, Ford and Toyota released news about new entry-level models such as the 2019 Focus coming equipped with a multitude of driver-corrective and crash-avoidance technology. Additionally, Ford and Toyota released statements about advances in semi-autonomous driving technology.
Ford announced that it would, by 2019, deliver “standard connectivity on new vehicles, paving the way for over-the-air updates and the Transportation Mobility Cloud, an open platform that will empower tomorrow’s mobility systems.”
“All of our vehicles will be connected by the end of 2019,” Ford North America product communications manager Mike Levine said.
Additionally, Toyota made a similar claim it would start producing V2V-equipped vehicles starting in 2021, “with the goal of adoption across most of its lineup by the mid-2020s.”
The same factors that are driving some of these changes could create a boon for SMART Repair professionals. Multiple contributors could augment the volume of work, such as increased severe weather incidents running the gamut from hail damage to extended winter weather patterns. Body shops are already feeling the squeeze to find the right technicians with enough technical knowledge to perform post-repair scans of vehicles and work with OEM electrical systems and sensors. This is paving the way for savvy SMART repair technicians with the right collision estimating software to make the right contacts and investments in their business and training to reap the benefits for body shops and dealerships looking for new ways to fix cars and remain profitable.