BASF talks state of auto refinishing industry, repair challengesBy on
Associations | Market Trends
In a recent interview with Coatings World, BASF Vice President Joel Johnson discussed the state of the auto refinish coating market as well as challenges in repairs.
Miles driven saw a dip during 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic then rebounded by mid-2021, Johnson said, so most automotive refinish businesses are healthy by now. That’s because with more vehicles back on the road, the chance of collisions occurring rises. CCC Intelligent Solutions reported in August that, “historically, the most highly correlated variable to collision claim frequency has been congestion, or drivers per lane mile – high volumes of people on the same road at the same time.”
“An estimated 20 percent of full workdays in the U.S. are conducted remotely versus 5 percent pre-pandemic, so fewer people are commuting to work during the traditional a.m. and p.m. rush hours. Despite this shift and despite higher gas prices, auto claim frequency continues to recover towards pre-pandemic levels,” CCC Insights and Analytics Senior Director Susanna Gotsch wrote.
She also found that speeding and distracted driving remained, as of August, elevated above pre-pandemic levels.
Johnson noted that as vehicles become more high-tech and complex with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), the cost of repairs will go up, which “puts pressure on auto body shops to remain current with repair procedures and perform with a high level of efficiency to stay profitable.” More ADAS also means collisions will be less likely lowering the number of repairs needed, he said.
Gotsch commented as well on factors that contribute to the increase in repair costs, including replacement part costs and the shortage of collision repair technicians. Replacement part costs rose by 7.4% from 2020 to 2021 and another 6% from last year to June 2022. And the technician shortage causes increased labor rates, she said.
However, Johnson said at the same time, “the new car market is declining, though, so while the ADAS features decrease the likelihood of collisions, there will be fewer new cars on the road that use those features.”
The Collision Industry Conference (CIC)’s Emerging Technologies Committee said in July that they see the development of ADAS standards as possibly having a long road ahead similar to yearslong tailpipe emissions regulations, especially since 45% of ADAS systems have been deactivated by drivers, according to a study conducted by the Innovatrium at the University of Michigan on behalf of Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA).
Based on Johnson’s commentary to Coatings World, one of the top challenges facing auto refinish businesses isn’t any different than those facing the automotive industry as a whole — hiring and retaining “talented” workers. The answer is web-based training as well as business efficiency and management tools, Johnson said, which BASF offers through its Refinity suite.
The full interview can be accessed here.
The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) has recognized BASF as the longest-continuous supporter of the Repairer Driven Education (RDE) series at the SEMA Show. BASF returns this year at the highest level of support, “emphasizing the priority they place on collision industry education,” according to SCRS.
“We understand big changes are happening in the industry and how important it is for repair technicians to be able to prepare and meet those demands as they come,” said Jane Niemi, BASF North America marketing manager, in an SCRS news release. “Our support of these programs reflects our commitment to innovation and education, making sure the right tools and knowledge are available to each person that ensures their success for the long-term.”
The sponsorship from BASF helps SCRS make the daily RDE classroom sessions, the OEM Collision Repair Technology Summit, and the digital delivery of the RDE program after the conclusion of the show possible.
BASF leaders have also teamed up to participate in classroom sessions during the show, including:
Untap Your Potential by Understanding Your Performance!
Monday, Oct. 31, 3-5 p.m.
Featuring Braxton Ewing, Business Solutions / Performance Group Manager at BASF Automotive Refinish and John Shoemaker, Business Development Manager at BASF Automotive Refinish
Profitability Gains Through Labor Identification
Tuesday, Nov. 1, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Featuring Mark Livingston, Business Development Manager at BASF Automotive Refinish, Phill Knapp, Business Development Manager at BASF Automotive Refinish and John Shoemaker.
Embrace Digitalization in Your Paint Shop
Tuesday, Nov. 1, 12:30-2:30 p.m.
Featuring Andrew Boyd, Digital Solutions Commercialization Leader for the US and Canada at 3M, Chris Chesney, VP of Training and Organizational Development at Repairify Inc., Shipra Sharma, NA Business Solutions Manager at BASF Automotive Refinish, James Chargo, NA Color Solutions Lead at BASF Automotive Refinish, and the newly added Dan Black, Manager, Service Engineering Collision Repair at Rivian.
Are You Capturing Modern Paint Processes?
Wednesday, Nov. 2, 12:30-2:30 p.m.
Featuring James Chargo, John Shoemaker, Danny Gredinberg, Administrator at the Database Enhancement Gateway (DEG,) and Danyon Kirchner, Business Development Manager at Zimmerman Auto Body Supplies.
BASF will exhibit at the SEMA Show in the Racing & Performance section of Central Hall at booth #20365.
“Our team is leading some great events we have planned that show our support for collision repair innovation and education. We are excited about showcasing some of BASF’s new products and solutions such as Glasurit 100 Line and Refinity that enable our shops to thrive in an industry that is evolving very quickly,” said BASF Marketing Services Manager Tina Nelles, in the release.
“It’s hard to put into words the appreciation we have for companies that come back year after year and ask, ‘How can we do more to help the industry?’ But every year BASF has done just that,” said SCRS Board Chairman Bruce Halcro. “They’ve looked for ways to step up, to be there for the industry in meaningful ways, and to drive conversation and increased learning. Shows like these present opportunities for companies to shine, and show the industry what is really important to them, and I think BASF has really demonstrated since our first year of RDE, just how important a stronger, more knowledgeable industry is to their company culture.”
To explore the full Repairer Driven Education series, click here, or visit www.scrs.com/rde.
Featured image: BASF headquarters in Switzerland. (Credit: Kannan D/iStock)
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