2021, What Lies Ahead?

In 1975 when I got out of university I decided I needed to buy a car. Not just any car. A muscle car! I purchased a 1971 Torino Cobra Jet with a 351 Cleveland engine and a 4 speed transmission. I was in heaven! It was Red with a Black hood and black rear window louvres.

Within a few months I was sitting in my car listening to the radio report of how the world is running out of fossil fuels. The prediction was that by the year 2000 there would be no gasoline left and to make matters worse we were entering into an ice age! 

I was totally demoralized. Gasoline went from around $.50 cents a gallon to a buck a gallon pretty much overnight. I watched images on TV of people lined up for gasoline because they were rationing it in the USA. This was the start of Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards (CAFE). The push was on to make cars more fuel efficient and find alternative sources of energy. 

I sold that Torino for about $3000 because I didn’t think I could afford to drive it. To buy it today, restored, you would need over $100,000!

Fast forward to today. There are more known oil reserves in 2020 than there were in 1975. The ice age never happened. Instead, we got global warming which has now morphed into climate change. So much for what the experts had to say about the future!

One year ago who could have predicted that the world would be gripped in a pandemic that would literally cripple the global economy? Any plans we had for 2020 were pretty much out the window by the end of March. 

With all this in mind who can seriously make a prediction on what lies ahead of us? As the saying goes the only things you can count on are death and taxes! 

Having said that I would like to take a shot at what you “might” expect for the collision industry in 2021, keep in mind most predictions are simply a wag.  (wild ass guess)

  • The pace of change will continue to increase. I have witnessed more change in vehicle technology in the last 5 years than I did in the previous 30 years. We are on the cusp of electric vehicles, more than likely hybrid vehicles where we live. Are you prepared to see these vehicles in your shops? Acura introduced a paint process for the next-generation Acura NSX called the Andaro treatment that goes beyond three-stage and adds an additional step to the process in the form of a tinted clearcoat. The full process on a new vehicle takes approximately five days to complete and results in a coating thickness that averages between 16mm and 18mm. While previously reserved for the NSX supercar, the Andaro treatment will be available as an option on a limited basis for more common production vehicles like the TLX and MDX beginning in 2020. Original equipment manufacturers (OEM)s are also looking for other methods of protecting the finish of their vehicles outside of improving the actual paints. Land Rover is introducing a full vehicle plastic wrap, known as “Satin Protective Film” on the new 2020 Land Rover Defender 3 This multilayer polyurethane wrap is applied at the factory over the standard paint coating to provide a satin finish to the entire vehicle as well as additional protection against nicks and scratches.
  • Consolidation will continue. Everywhere you look you see collision repair networks except – for the most part – in Saskatchewan. The entry cost of starting a new body shop is practically out of reach for most individuals much less for a large network. The easiest way to increase your footprint is to buy out another shop but with the demands of the insurance companies who want to do that? I think you will see more shops sell to a consolidator in the next short while.
  • Shops that stay in the game will have to continually improve their operating efficiency. Knowing your numbers by utilizing a shop management system should be an investment you make sooner rather than later. SGI is introducing KPI’s that will weed out shops that can’t get their act together hence the appeal of a consolidator (see above).
  • What is the average age of a technician at your shop? Do you have a plan to replenish employees that may retire or transition to another career? See the article from Scott Kucharyshen from Sask Polytechnic for answers to that one. What about employees that want to learn new skill sets like vehicle diagnostics and hybrid vehicles? The good news is that Millennials (24-39 years old) are generally more adept at dealing with change than Gen x or Boomers.

The good news is that body shop owners are a resilient bunch and always seem to find a way to figure things out. One way to do just that is to stay plugged into SAAR and know that collectively we can help each other manage the changes that are yet to come. Look for your 2020 SAAR membership renewal early in the new year.

By the way, when I said I got out of university I did not mean that I finished it. I took one year of Arts & Sciences and decided that it wasn’t for me. Did it make me sound smarter that I “got out of university?”

Are vehicle calibrations a pain in your ADAS? Test Drive Co-Pilot has set Joe Cardiff up with a test account and he is willing to demonstrate the effectiveness of the software by doing test drives in the Regina area. SAAR is looking to gather data on test drives so that that we can demonstrate to SGI that vehicle test drives should be done on all crash damaged vehicles, particularly those with ADAS features. If you can help out contact Joe at joe.cardiff@hotmail.com

Scott Kucharyshen has a number of international students that are looking for full time employment and they are specifically looking at shops in rural areas. The international students have a Level 2 apprenticeship training without equivalent hours (Pre-Employment). Skills taught include: Light collision, rust repair, vehicle assembly and dismantling, Plastic repair, Glass replacement, Prepping, Painting, and Welding.

Right now, they are ready for full time ongoing employment. After working for a period of 12-18 months and they receive their Permanent Residency they can be indentured into the Apprenticeship system. Because they currently do not have the trade time, as they work, their hours still count towards apprenticeship and can be applied when they indenture. Also, because they need to accumulate the trade time, to advance through the levels of apprenticeship no chronological time is actually lost while they are getting their Permanent Residency vs. total time to get their Red Seal Journeystatus ticket!

As students they would be I-CAR Gold class exempt and as students of the newly PLAR’d (Prior Learning Recognition) I-CAR vs. Red Seal agreement, they would receive 80 I-CAR points vs. the current 67 upon successful completion of the Red Seal.

In other words, here is an opportunity for the rural shops to gain much needed staff now, and Red Seal techs in four short years while rejuvenating and growing their communities! 

If you would like more information you can contact Scott at kucharyshen@saskpolytech.ca.

8 Overlooked Ways to Increase Touch TimeTouch time is the single most important key performance indicator that any body shop should monitor and improve. If the average job is around $4000 can you imagine what your business would look like with one more job each week? What could you do with an extra $200,000 in yearly sales?

Read this article then make a plan to implement these strategies in your shop in 2021!

One of our new sponsors for 2021 is Michielle Noble LO., LCLP.

Business Development Manager | FO Safety Eyewear

200-1916 Dewdney Ave  Regina SK | m 306.230.5655

mnoble@fosafetyeyewear.ca | www.fosafetyeyewear.ca

Saskatchewan Association of Automotive Repairers Members are eligible for significant discounts on prescription safety eyewear through the FO Safety Eyewear program. Supported by 21 years of leadership in optical retail, a network of retail store, and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, F.O. Safety Eyewear represents a company dedicated solely to the manufacturing and supply of prescription safety eyewear. Backed by the infrastructure and resources of a large company, but with the flexibility and responsiveness of a small one, it has established ourselves as a market share leader in the provision of prescription safety glasses in Western Canada with clients ranging from massive publicly traded entities, down to start-up manufacturing companies.  Its focus is a simple one, bring the best CSA and ANSI-compliant prescription safety product to market at the most competitive prices, with the most efficient and seamless delivery, and employ whatever degree of customization is required, to cater to the individual needs of their clients.

Optiks International 

Factory Optical