By Mike Davey
Peterborough, Ontario — January 3, 2017 — Aluminum is hardly a new material, but it jumped to the forefront of repairer consciousness with the introduction of the aluminum-bodied Ford F-150 in 2015. It seemed as if almost every body shop was investing heavily in aluminum repair equipment and training.
Collision Repair magazine recently surveyed our readers on the investments they’ve made in aluminum repair and how it’s paid off. Our next survey looks at the customer experience in today’s autobody industry. You can participate in that survey at this link.
The first question in the survey asked if repairers had invested in equipment, in training or in both. The majority of the survey respondents (59 percent) indicated that they had invested in both equipment and training on how to use it. The next largest category are shops that indicated they had neither purchased equipment nor conducted training (19 percent). It seems likely that these facilities intend to sublet any aluminum work that does come through the door.
The next most common response (12 percent) was to indicate that one or more techs had received training, but that the shop had not yet purchased the equipment. The two smallest groups were “Not yet, but we plan to” and “We have invested in equipment, but still need training” tied at 6 percent each.
Next, we asked survey respondents to give us a rough idea of how many aluminum repairs they’ve performed since the start of 2016. Answers ranged from as few as three to over 150. Below are some of the comments left on this question. As always, these comments are provided anonymously and with minimal editing from us:
– 3 jobs , none that required welding , all had spr work done with steck spr hand tool
– 104 2015 F150’s, 42 2016 F150’s, 9 2016 F350’s, 1 2015 Jaguar f type: 156 total
– Few. Not many. All cosmetic.
– Approximately 10, all cosmetic repair
Finally, we get down to where the rubber meets the road: was the investment in aluminum repair worthwhile?
Not one repairer who filled out the survey indicated that the investment wasn’t worthwhile. A total of 40 percent of respondents indicated that it was a worthwhile investment. A further 20 percent indicated that while the investment hadn’t paid off yet, they expected it to do so in the future. Finally, 20 percent of respondents indicated that while the investment wasn’t necessarily worthwhile in terms of revenue, it was worth it to indicate to partners that the facility can handle new technology.
Make sure to check out our next survey on customer experience and feedback and watch for results next Wednesday!