Hybrid Design Drives Up Repair Costs - BodyShop Business

Hybrid Design Drives Up Repair Costs

Design changes by manufacturers of hybrid vehicles have driven up repair costs, according to the Winter 2009 edition of Audatex Directions, the industry trends publication released by Audatex North America Inc.
Audatex vehicle and repair data shows that, on average in 2008, the Toyota Prius cost 8.4 percent more to repair than gasoline-powered economy imports, while hybrid vehicles that have gasoline counterparts averaged 3.8 percent more to repair than their counterparts.

Design changes made by manufacturers in efforts to reduce hybrid vehicle weight or better accommodate the hybrid system can lead to cost increases in excess of $100 per part, according to Audatex data. These design differences can result in higher part prices, repair costs and limited alternative-part availability. Such modifications include dual-scroll air-conditioning compressors and radiators to support the hybrid system, as well as the incorporation of aluminum hoods and fenders, aluminum bumper rails, modified airbag control modules, and redesigned grills and head lamp/tail lamp assemblies.

The Winter 2009 Audatex Directions also explores economy’s impact on new vehicle sales and actual cash values. From September to November 2008, actual cash values declined by 7.3 percent to a level that was down 5.9 percent compared to November 2007, Audatex reported. Luxury supreme vehicles, full-size pickup trucks and large SUVs suffered the greatest declines in value.

Audatex is also introducing a series of articles on Lean Six Sigma for collision repair in this edition, outlining how lean methodologies can improve shop productivity, customer satisfaction and business-growth potential.

Other articles explore:

• How electric vehicles may affect the market in the future.

• The impact license-plate scanners are having on theft recovery rates.

• Audatex’s revamped online training center.

• Total loss regulation updates in Oregon and Washington, as well as a new flex-rating program in New York.

To download the report, click HERE. The report will be delivered electronically to Audatex’s North American customers, and a limited number of printed copies are available.

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