Business owners would love to be able to predict what’s around the corner. Which job applicant will be the best fit for your shop? How will consumers’ car-buying habits change in the next year? Is now the right time to expand? In the collision repair industry, shop owners do their best to look at the information they have available to them and make the right predictions about what’s coming. We definitely don’t have a crystal ball hidden around here, but there is one place to look for an indication of upcoming trends in car manufacturing: luxury vehicles.
High-end cars and trucks are ahead of the curve. They have the very latest technology and features behind them. A lot of those features won’t make the jump to mainstream (granite trim, for example), but some of them will. Here are two areas to keep an eye on:
Many luxury vehicle manufacturers aim for efficiency without sacrificing performance. One way they achieve that is by using specialized materials in the construction of the vehicles. From Teslas to Audis, a lot of high-end vehicles are made of aluminum to help reduce weight without compromising the strength of the frame and body.
While cost limitations may prevent an influx of all-aluminum mass-market cars in the near future, aluminum usage in car manufacturing will continue to rise. The impending 2025 fuel efficiency standards will apply to all cars—not just high-end ones—and aluminum is one way they’ll reach them. The Ford F-150 is currently leading the aluminum charge. Look for other mainstream vehicles to follow suite.
Not all luxury vehicles have sky-high safety ratings, but many rely on some advanced technology and features to add an extra layer (or two) of security. We’ve already seen safety elements—like lane-departure warnings and other collision-prevention features—make the move from high-end cars to the masses. In the future, look for more semi-autonomous technology to make the jump. A recent survey showed that 55 percent of respondents said they were likely or very likely to buy a “partially self-driving car” in the future. If the market is there (and it seems to be), manufacturers will take note.
How You Can Get Ready Now
So along with being aware of what’s to come, how can you actively prepare for the future of collision repairs? One option is to open up your shop to high-end repairs by gaining the proper certifications and making sure your techs are equipped to handle the job. When you invest in the tools to repair today’s luxury vehicles, you’ll be better prepared for tomorrow’s mainstream cars and trucks, too.
If you want more information about adding luxury repairs to your lineup, take a look at our free ebook: The High-End Collision Repair Guidebook.