Getting to Safe Repairs – Still No Leader

In 2016, there was a 5-year time frame suggested for the changes needed in the industry to repair cars properly. If these changes were not made, there could very well be a real crisis in the industry.

At 2021, these changes have not been made, but the crisis has not yet arrived. This does not mean that the 2016 prediction was wrong—just that it was off by a year or two. So far we are still getting away with clean and shiny cars after a repair.

The consumer continues to be busy with all the other concerns in his or her life (in most cases of more immediate urgency) and as a result there has been minimal engagement on the part of the car-owning public. In this vacuum the major players in the repair industry are still continuing to compete and protect their own positions; they have not yet reached a significant level of collaboration.

It is starting to look like it will be the vehicle manufacturers who will take the lead in educating the vehicle owner about safe repairs. They are faced with at least three significant challenges:

  1. The obvious one is working with insurance companies to come to an understanding of safe repairs.
  2. The next is working with their dealers to send a unified message. The car dealer has a contract with the manufacturer and the objectives of the two parties in that contract are not the same.
  3. The third challenge is also a tough one. Too many of the vehicle manufacturers’ requirements appear to be driven by their marketing and legal departments rather than by safety. They are not providing a functional service if they present economically unrealistic procedures into their repair procedures and then wash their hands of any further responsibility.