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The Move to Safe Repairs – Still No Leader

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

In 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 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 and in this they are faced with at least three significant challenges.

The obvious one is working with insurance companies to come to an understanding of safe repairs.

The next is working with their contracted independent dealers to send a unified message. This is not as simple as telling them what is needed. The culture of car dealerships is as older than that of the repair industry and it will take more than a memo to achieve real changes.

The third challenge is also a tough one. Too many of their requirements appear to be driven by their marketing and legal departments rather than safety motivated. 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.

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