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HOLD STRONG, FORGE ON

We are amid a technical tsunami, of which only the most powerful collision centres will survive

BY ALLISON ROGERS

We are all more than aware of how fast this industry progresses. Procedures can change overnight, models become more complex by the months, coatings change like chameleons and top-of-the-line tools rotate annually. Just last Fall, the feds announced an investment into the exploration of wooden automotive parts.

Welcome to the rollercoaster ride that is a career in the collision repair sector—there are rarely dull moments. If you weren’t already tuned to the evertrudging pulse of the collision repair industry, the last year surely forced you to swallow a slice of reality. Some businesses have folded under pandemic pressure, giving way to new owners, while others have held on in the face of crisis or jumped to new roles as life as we knew it shuffles. No matter your position in our industry, your role of resilience amid these last twelve months (and counting) is applauded by this magazine.

Regardless of the pandemic, life continues to chug on. Damaged vehicles continue to roll into bodyshops across Canada and it remains the industry’s job to return them to pre-accident condition. All the while, rapid technological advancement, the complexity of the connected car and a bevy of other challenging changes continue to unfold behind the scenes. We are amid a technical tsunami, of which only the most powerful collision centres will survive. If your business is still standing, you’re on a roll. The next step is ensuring that you’re prepared for all the changes immediately unfolding ahead of us: is your business fully qualified to handle the complex models of today?

Many industry analysts predict there’s only one way the industry can go in terms of complying with the ever-changing and advancing sensors and car components—to Waltz with OEMs and associated certification programs. In urban centres, many suggest that’s the way the industry is already headed; into a segmented future where Ralph’s Auto handles Honda, Acura and a handful of other OE makes and models and Vincenzo’s Bodyshop up the street tackles the Fords and Chevys. Simultaneously, automakers continue to push their certification programs and already certified facilities. Earlier this year Nissan’s U.S. branch and Assured Performance network— which fosters the automaker’s collision repair certs—announced the successful campaign promoting its certified facilities to more than 4.5 million Nissan and Infiniti customers. The automaker’s consumer awareness campaign aimed to “further educate and refer vehicle owners to their nearest Nissan Certified Repair Provider and provide them with important links and instructions,” said Nissan.

So far, Nissan is the only automaker that’s publicly come out with such a campaign this year; but where one OEM goes, others are sure to follow. Even with all its moving parts, the Canadian collision repair industry has never been one to simply follow others’ leads. While this industry vision may present some truth, the future of collision repair is up to the members of this industry: the ones providing the parts, the paints, the products or the power to restore a vehicle to its pre-crash beauty.

Hold strong and forge on. The industry is what you make it.

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