By: Elizabeth Sargeant
Toronto, Ontario -- June 28, 2019 - Collision repair is a massive industry, with more than 11 thousand operating businesses in Canada alone. But how did the CR industry grow to be so large? To discover the mysteries of the CR market, Collision Repair is taking a trip back in time to review how the invention of one car has lead to a market value of 6 billion dollars in the Canadian CR industry.
1867: A Car is Born
In 1867, Henry Seth Taylor, a watchmaker and jeweler, built the first automobile in Canada. The steam-powered buggy was regarded as a novelty by many and was unveiled at a fair that year. Unfortunately, the buggy was crashed into a creek later that day, which Taylor attempted to fix, technically making him, the first collision repairer in Canada.
1904: Do it Ford Canada
The next important Henry, Henry Ford, (unfortunately American), kicked off the automotive industry in Canada. In the next ten years, there were more than 50,000 cars on the road, making Canada the second-largest vehicle producer in the world, and calling for a whole lot of collision repairers. People quickly became auto mechanics and repairers to supply the massive need.
1930s: The Big Crash
As the economy crashed, so did vehicle sales. Fewer people purchased cars, therefore the need for repairs also dipped. However, with a big boom in the economy a few years later, the collision repair industry really gets rollin’.
1950s: Time for a Makeover
Auto mechanics and collision repair were now two different industries in 1950, all thanks to the CEO of General Motors, Alfred P. Sloan. A new wave of consumerism left Canadians not only caring about the ability of vehicles but the aesthetic. The desire to have the latest, newest, and least-dented car was in (next to sock hops and do-wops) and the real collision repair industry was born, forever making auto mechanics and auto repair two separate entities.
1953: Sundown Shop Opens
One of the oldest collision repair shops still standing in Canada opens in Sundown, Manitoba. Gateway Autobody Ltd. began when Ted Kostynyk fell in love with restoring his first car, a used 1929 Pontiac and decided there weren’t enough auto body shops in Canada. His wife Anne taught him how to apply paint, and ever since, the company has been owned and operated by the Kostynyk family, now on their third generation of owners.
1976: Buckle Up
On the first of January, the Canadian government passed a law stating all vehicles must be made with a seatbelt, and all passengers must wear one. This was big not just for people riding in the cars, but for Canadians who had to learn to repair them. And while the use of seatbelts spiked, so did gas prices, making people dream of a day where a car could be charged.
1998: E.V Go Home
They’re here. Nissan produces 200 electric vehicles. Although many weren’t driven in Canada, it did catch some Canadian OEM’s eyes, resulting in a huge boom of electric vehicles much later on. Collision repairers prepare themselves for repairing a whole new type of vehicle while auto recyclers struggle to determine what to do with that battery.
2019: There's No Time Like the Present
The secret to having a massive CR market is keeping up with the times, which is exactly what Canada is doing. From creating their own automobile to preparing themselves for huge changes, the Canadian collision repair industry has been developing and innovating for more than 150 years. What's next for the automotive industry? We'll just have to wait to find out.