Mechanical and Collision Wish Lists for 2008Posted 12/11/2007
Now's the time many of us make wishes for the holidays and for the coming year. And the directors of ASA's Mechanical Division and Collision Division are no different. Following are their wishes for the automotive industry and their fellow independent repairers. They talk about some of the things they'd like to see.
Mechanical Wish List
By Earl Dohner, AAM
As 2008 approaches, I thought I would write down some wishes for the coming months.
Over the last few years, the Mechanical Division has focused on Right to Repair legislation. With the success of the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF), I believe that now is the time for a shift from Right to Repair to super warranties, which are now a great threat to our industry. To ensure the future of automotive repair and service businesses, I would like for the industry to come together and jointly disrupt any momentum super warranties have achieved.
It would be nice, in 2008, to reach a consensus on whether or not shop licensing would benefit our industry. Most professions require licenses or some other form of certification. And yet, the majority of people will place their family vehicles in the hands of someone who may not have the necessary training. Shop licensing is a diverse subject with many opinions. Perhaps, establishing a mandatory number of hours for training and education could be feasible.
The results of mandatory training could lead to solving poor attendance at training events. Whether it's a regional or national event, in the daytime, evening or on the weekends, training providers are experiencing the same problem: empty seats. Many events are cancelled because of poor attendance. I would like for shop owners to realize the importance of training and implement or invest that realization in their employees and technicians. Technology is not going to slow down for us to catch up.
It will be interesting to see what can be accomplished in 2008.
Earl Dohner, AAM, is director of the mechanical division of
ASA. He is the owner of E&E's Garage in Brookville, Ohio.
He can be reached by e-mail at EEGarage@aol.com.
Collision Wish List
By Darrell Amberson, AAM
I have several collision repair wishes for 2008. First, as a way to combat the declining number of reported claims, I would wish for the removal of consumers' fear that their making claims will cause insurance rates to rise. With this fear gone, consumers would report necessary claims and increase their number of legitimate repairs.
As vehicle technologies continue to increase, may 2008 bring better identification to the various material substrates being used, improved affordability for the elaborate air bag systems, and increased repairability of vehicles designed with weight reduction, safety and manufacturing efficiency in mind.
To address the overcapacity issues created by declining work and increased efficiencies, may 2008 bring balance to the insurer-repairer relationship and may repairers find themselves in a strong bargaining position. May the insurers who are applying negative pressure, through aggressive negotiation practices and estimating practices - such as the abuse of blend within panel philosophies and denial of payment for some repair processes - recognize this color matching process is highly technical and agree to compensate repairers accordingly for the work they perform.
With the toll of the 2008 bell, may insurers also recognize the process of prime, block and fill as a refinish process and begin compensating for it. Their recognition of this common procedure would only be fair and would add to the bottom line of collision repair facilities and move profit dollars in a positive direction.
Lastly, may consumers recognize their right to take their vehicle to the collision repair facility of their choice and receive quality craftsmanship to return their vehicle to safe, pre-accident condition.
I would wish all this - and the elimination of any steering.
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