ADAS causing skills shortage
The industry does not have the skills to deal with the rising number of ADAS enabled vehicles, with more than a third of bodyshops citing a lack of skills the greatest threat to their business.
This is according to Autoglass and Autoglass BodyRepair, the mobile bodyshop repair specialist, which conducted a review of existing industry data on the bodyshop market and standards of ADAS calibrations.
The review found data which showed that 35.3% of UK repair businesses felt that a lack of skilled labour was the greatest threat to their business.
The review also revealed that fixed site body repair businesses have struggled to keep up with the rate that new technologies, such as ADAS, have been introduced to UK vehicles. One survey showed that 28.7% of body repair businesses had turned down jobs due to the technology and repair techniques required.[
Commenting on the data, Neil Atherton, sales and marketing director at Autoglass said, 'This industry data shows us that the automotive world is changing rapidly, and every business involved in the sector needs to adapt to keep up. There is a lot of talk about driverless technologies but it is important to consider the knock on impact their introduction will have on some businesses, especially smaller ones, who may not have the resources to be able to invest in the skills required to provide these essential services.
'As a result, bodyshops are being forced to send the work to dealerships to be completed. This increases the bodyshop key-to-key time and the amount of time a driver is without their car, furthering the inconvenience and increasing the cost for both the motorist and bodyshop.'
ADAS technologies on vehicles need to be calibrated after relevant body work or a windscreen replacement to ensure the cameras and sensors are operating correctly and the driver is not relying on a faulty system. This industry data highlights a concerning gap between the development of technology in UK cars and the ability of the country's bodyshops to keep up with it.
This analysis of the sector is part of the ongoing work by Autoglass to raise calibration standards across the industry and highlight the need for bodyshops to be supported in this area. Last year Autoglass helped to launch the first industry wide ADAS accreditation with The Institute of the Motor Industry (The IMI) and in January 2019 Andy MacGregor, from Autoglass, became the first UK technician to achieve this new accreditation.
Neil continued, 'Bodyshops in the UK are facing numerous operational challenges, including an increase in technology and rising costs, and as such it is difficult for them to plan for the long-term. A thriving and successful bodyshop market is crucial to the health of the after-market and so here at Autoglass we are constantly looking for ways to support businesses in this area.
'It is up to us as an industry to ensure cars on UK roads are using technologies which are calibrated correctly and which the driver can trust. If this skills gap continues to widen then there could be negative consequences for thousands of small businesses across the country, but most importantly the safety of drivers on the road.'