Friday, 08 December 2017 17:42

Education Was Major Industry Concern in 2017

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"Today, not only is our reputation of craftsmanship at risk, but the lives of our customers and their families are in our hands every time we make a decision to repair a vehicle. I believe that 2017 served as a ‘wake-up call’ to the repair industry reflecting on this very point via a major settlement. Just as the cardiologist does what their previous or their required annual training taught them to do during open heart surgery, the technician also has to apply their knowledge to repair the vehicle properly within the guidelines of the vehicle manufacturer to ensure safe and proper repairs. I understand keeping the cost of repairs down---that is the art of negotiation between two businesses---but it should never be used to pressure anyone to compromise proper and safe repairs being performed by the expert.” 

Burl Richards, President of the Auto Body Association of Texas (ABAT), said, “The most memorable things ABAT did in 2017 were related to Todd Tracy, who allowed us to visit his law firm in Dallas. It was unlike anything we had ever seen, with hundreds of wrecked vehicles in warehouses at his facility. It was eye-opening to see the amount of time and expertise that was being used to inspect these wrecked vehicles. Then, we invited him to speak at our tradeshow. His presence was met with a little resistance from the industry, but once everyone heard the message, ‘Repairing vehicles has consequences, so you better follow OEM guidelines,’ it was a message well-received, and I believe it made us all better for it.”

For the Automotive Service Association (ASA), the most important experience in 2017 was related to legislation. 

ASA Executive Director Dan Risley shared, “We have invested several thousand man hours representing our members and the industry in Washington D.C. We have been working tirelessly with legislators, other industry partners and the OE’s on new vehicle technology relative to telematics, (ADAS) advanced driver assistance systems, autonomous vehicles and the connected car. ASA has been extremely vocal and visible representing the best interests of the collision and service repair industries. Our goal is to ensure that our members continue to have access to the information necessary to repair their customers’ vehicles without having to enact legislation. As cybersecurity and data ownership continue to take center stage, we are ensuring that the independent repairer is part of the solution and equation.”

A lot of momentum was begun and carried through into 2017, and 2018 is gearing up to be an even bigger year for the collision repair industry as these associations and others continue to educate members, expand their offerings and fight for the rights of shop owners and consumers. 

Autobody News looks forward to continuing to bring you all of the latest association news in 2018. Happy holidays!

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