Five Auto Body Shop Industry Trends Making Waves
Over the last few years, conversations at collision industry events and body shops across the country have often centered around auto body shop industry trends. It’s no wonder that the collision repair industry is so focused on these fast-changing trends. Vehicle technology is advancing so fast and there are no signs of it slowing down.
It can be a challenge to keep up with the latest composite body materials, computerized systems and safety features, much less stay on top of current repair procedures. Professional technicians can count on vehicle technology to continue to evolve, making it a challenge to keep cycle times low and productivity high. While recent vehicle trends add to the list of collision repair challenges, technicians can take comfort knowing SUN® Collision Repair Information has their backs.
We put up-to-date OEM collision repair data at your fingertips so you can handle common repairs and the latest technology with confidence. And, because the data is constantly updated, your auto body shop business will be ready for these trends and the ones inevitably right around the corner.
1. AI and Collision Repair Procedures
Artificial Intelligence, or AI, (artificial intelligence) is already employed in many ADAS systems, such as blind-spot monitoring and emergency braking. The technology is also being used to collect and analyze data from vehicles for risk assessment and photo-based collision repair estimating. In an article published by Fender Bender, Fred Iantorno, VP of IoT (the Internet of Things) with VeriFacts Automotive, predicts the technology will increasingly impact the collision repair industry as AI becomes more mainstream.
2. ADAS Trends in the Auto Body Shop Business
Unfortunately, one of the most concerning auto body shop industry trends isn’t a technological advancement but a safety concern. According to Repairer Driven News, body shops are missing most of the required ADAS diagnostics and re calibrations required on vehicles. Consider that there are more than 73 million ADAS-equipped vehicles on the road already, it’s obvious this is one of the auto body shop industry trends that needs reversing.
The increase of ADAS-equipped vehicles will undoubtedly be a trend year after year, but the unsettling scenario above means body shops must do a better job with ADAS diagnostics and re-calibration procedures. Many body shops fail to address ADAS issues in collision repair because they simply lack the knowledge and expertise to handle the work confidently. For professional technicians, having access to up-to-date OEM information could make the difference for safe, accurate ADAS collision repairs.
3. Electrification in Your Auto Body Shop
Electric vehicles are gaining popularity, and a future full of electric and hybrid cars is inevitable. While collision repair procedures for electric vehicles will certainly require new knowledge, there’s still plenty of computers and electronics that need repair right now. Even the most minor accident can require multiple collision repairs because so many components in modern vehicles are integrated.
Wiring is a staple component of a vehicle’s operation that interconnects with ADAS, infotainment systems and other innovative technology. Because of that complex inter-connectivity, modern vehicle wiring is a critical component in many collision procedures. When your auto body shop business uses the latest OEM information, repairing electrification damage will be more manageable today and in the future.
4. Advanced Materials Require Advanced Collision Procedures
From bumper to bumper, the auto body shop industry trends around stronger, lighter, and more durable body and frame materials affect many common collision repairs. Modern lightweight, long-lasting vehicle materials are a win-win for the auto industry and drivers, but not always for collision repair technicians. From innovative steels to high-tech body panel composites, repairing new technology requires new information and skills.
High-strength steels are becoming more advanced and widely used for structural components. These thinner and stronger steel parts significantly improve crash protection and require precise and often unfamiliar collision procedures. To help body shops meet the challenges of working with the latest steel components, manufacturers provide a Recommended Steel Repair-ability Matrix.
Aluminum automotive components are lighter and more malleable than their steel counterparts and are commonly used in engine blocks. The chase for ever-lighter vehicle materials has made aluminum one of the go-to materials for wheels, transmissions, body parts and frames. The trade-off with aluminum is that the metal is more expensive than steel and more difficult to work with for collision repairs.
Carbon Fiber has become more common in vehicles over the last decade, but the technology of these composites continues to advance. While it started as a lightweight body panel alternative to traditional materials, carbon fiber is now being used in place of some steel and aluminum components. Composites like carbon fiber are complex materials and require the most up-to-date OEM information for accurate collision repair or replacement.
5. Collision Repair Information Technology
Considering the fast-paced world of vehicle evolution, you’ll be glad to know that one of the auto body shop industry trends is innovative collision repair technology to help you keep up. The intuitive design and comprehensive database of the latest OEM repair information make SUN Collision one of the essential tools in your body shop today and tomorrow. Here’s how we take the guesswork out of modern collision procedures.
Our proprietary search engine, 1Search Plus, makes finding answers for every type of repair as simple as clicking a button. The search engine mimics how a professional technician typically approaches collision repair to deliver the exact information they need when they need it. This on-demand delivery of up-to-date repair information means less time spent hunting down the latest information and more time spent on production.
Because the repair software is integrated, technicians can search using familiar terms like YMM, part number, code, and license plate number to find the relevant results. The Quick Links feature provides fast navigation to wiring diagrams, component tests, DTCs, TSBs, and more for the most complete repair procedures.
Professional technicians can access the collision repair database via their desktops or iOS and Android mobile devices right at the vehicle where they need it most. From the latest TSBs to the newest ADAS repair procedures, we’ve got you covered every step of the way. Here are some of the detailed databases you’ll find with SUN Collision:
Auto Body Shop Materials Handling
Whether you’re working on a traditional steel frame, a poly bumper or a composite body panel, having accurate and detailed repair information is critical. You’ll know from the start whether you’re heading for a repair or a replacement with the latest diagnostic information, and you’ll find complete OEM procedures for either scenario. From plastics to aluminum, you get a comprehensive repair guide that includes all relevant material data.
Body and Frame Work
Body and framework cover a lot of territory in collision repair, and that’s why we provide OEM information for everything from switches and structural adhesives to sectioning procedures and panel removal. You get detailed and big-picture views of diagnostic procedures, component locations and in-depth repair instructions — plus information on related systems and parts.
ADAS Repair and Re-calibration
Keeping up with advancements in ADAS isn’t easy, but knowing how to work on ADAS collision repairs is critical. We make diagnosing, repairing and re-calibrating ADAS easier with streamlined procedures that include related components and vehicle systems. With the click of the ADAS Quick Link button, technicians can pull up all the ADAS features, components and repair procedures with a single lookup.
Interactive Wiring Diagrams
Wiring schematics continue to be one of collision repair’s most essential tools, but modern, high-tech wiring calls for updated information and tools like our interactive wiring diagrams. The critical difference between traditional wiring diagrams and a digitized version is how efficiently technicians can navigate and interact with the information. Highlighted wiring traces, component locations, connector views, testing and OEM specs simplify diagnostics and repairs for greater productivity.
Get Ahead of the Curve Using SUN Collision
The future of collision repair is closely tied to the future of automotive technology, so body shops that invest in technology to work on technology will be ahead of the curve. Auto body shop industry trends like advancements in ADAS and electrification will continue to challenge collision repair facilities. But when professional technicians have access to the most comprehensive OEM repair database, they can confidently tackle even the most complex repairs.
Streamline your collision repair facility today and prepare for the future when you invest in the most advanced collision repair technology available — SUN Collision. Your body shop can keep up with auto innovations and use the latest OEM information to train the next generation of technicians and also help seasoned pros sharpen their skills. If you want your auto body shop business to run at peak performance, constantly updated OEM information is the right fuel.
There are two trends you can always count on in your auto body shop: advancements in vehicle technology and innovative collision repair from SUN Collision. If you’re ready to increase productivity, reduce repair costs, and perform safe, accurate repairs every time, get your no-obligation demo or learn more when you call 877-840-1973.
Chris Bonneau is the Business Manager for the SUN Collision product line. He has been in the automotive repair and collision industry since 2006. Chris has served in several roles at Snap-on, including Regional Sales Manager for the Southeast United States and Supervisor of the Mitchell 1 SocialCRM Marketing Services. Chris is also an alumni of San Diego State University.