By Mike Pickford
Anaheim, California -- August 10, 2016 -- Following months of build up, the eagerly anticipated 2016 NACE CARS Expo and Conference kicked off in Anaheim, California on Tuesday (August 9), with collision and service repair professionals from across the globe jetting in to enjoy five-day’s worth of full-on industry action.
The premiere attraction of the event - the Expo - got underway at 9 a.m. this morning (August 11,) with more vendors than ever before flocking to the Anaheim Convention Centre, keen to show off their businesses and products. Several presentations and seminars were penciled in for the opening couple of days, with many of those in attendance highlighting Greg Horn’s discussion on the immediate future of the collision repair industry on Wednesday (Augut 10) as one of particular interest.
In the presentation, Horn, of Mitchell Industry Trends, analyzed the change in the Canadian and US buyers market, with consumers moving away from purchasing passenger cars in favour of larger models. The transition, according to Horn, could have a significant effect on our industry moving forward.
“When it comes to the Canadian market, we’re seeing a couple of really interesting changes, most notably relating to vehicle purchases,” Horn told Collision Repair Magazine. “Just as we’re seeing right now in the United States, more and more people are opting to buy crossover SUVs.”
Horn says the switch can be attributed by and large to reduced fuel costs over the past few months, with customers no longer focusing too much on the mileage they’re getting from their vehicles. While he may have predicted such a swing, Horn says he didn’t expect it to come so rapidly.
“I got a quote from Toyota recently stating that they wouldn’t be surprised if Rav 4 sales actually outpaced Camry sales in the US in the near future. The top selling car in Canada used to be the Honda Civic, but for the first six months of this year it was overtaken by the Hyundai Elantra, and (Honda’s) CRV isn’t too far behind,” Horn said. “We’re very close to that changeover, we could realistically see the CRV outsell the Civic in Canada.”
The end result of this could see more or less work for collision repairers moving forward, depending on certain variables and each shop’s primary line of work.
“If you look at most crossover SUVs, their bumper assemblies are literally almost a third of the front end of the car. What will happen is shops potentially seeing more refinish hours than they would with a passenger car,” Horn added.
While the extra time in the spray booth would boost revenues for most shops, it will likely come at a price, according to Horn.
“Because of the way cars behave in a collision, if more people are buying, and, as a result, more people are driving around in SUVs, we’re probably going to see fewer headlights damaged because of the higher ride height of an SUV,” he said. “When you look at your typical rear-end accident, the passenger car dives under the rear bumper, that isn’t going to happen anymore with the bigger vehicles.”
“So it will be interesting to see what happens moving forward. Shops are definitely going to get more refinish hours, which will bring a higher ticket price right off the bat, but the offset may be that fewer parts are damaged. It’s going to be a pretty significant change,” Horn concluded.
One of the many sitting in on the presentation was Marty Reddick, President of Supreme Collision. After listening to Horn talk for the best part of an hour, Reddick said he was impressed with what he heard.
“One of the highlights of NACE is the speaker series,” Reddick said. “Greg’s presentation on the potential changes to the industry was very insightful, especially the portion dealing with the Canadian marketplace.”
With plenty of other speakers on hand to discuss a wealth of hot-button industry topics, NACE was certainly the place to be for those with an interest in keeping up with the newest business practices. Wednesday night (August 10) featured a special celebratory street party, honouring all of those in attendance, and the official opening of the event.
Those in attendance will have the opportunity to dive right back into the action on Thursday (August 11), with several presentations and demonstrations taking centre stage. Amongst the most interesting for collision repairers is a complimentary Honda OEM training course, carried out by Chris Tobie. Tomorrow will also mark the sixth anniversary of the extremely popular MSO Symposium, which gives multi-shop owners and insurance professionals the opportunity to come together and discuss leading industry issues.
Friday (August 12) will see the launch of the Technology and Telematics Forum, which will see several members of the world’s leading automakers joining experts in vehicle security, telematics technology and diagnostics and repair to discuss how advanced technologies, connectivity and the Internet are changing modern automobiles.
For more news and information on the 2016 NACE CARS Expo and Conference, visit naceexpo.com. For more stories, check back with Collision Repair magazine regularly over the next couple of days.