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Keeping an Eye on the Future of Collision Repair

Read, watch and listen to what the experts have to say and you won’t be blindsided when the future comes roaring through your door.

Jason Stahl has 27 years of experience as an editor, and has been editor of BodyShop Business for the past 15 years. He currently is a gold pin member of the Collision Industry Conference. Jason, who hails from Cleveland, Ohio, earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from John Carroll University and started his career in journalism at a weekly newspaper, doing everything from delivering newspapers to selling advertising space to writing articles.

I’m really bad at predicting the future. I tend to worry about today and tomorrow, but that’s as far as I look out. Ever get that annoying question, “Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?” Then you understand my pain. Of course, I have to plan out an entire year of content in advance for BodyShop Business, but that is a job requirement.

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Because I’m so bad at foretelling future events, I really admire those who can prognosticate successfully. There are consultants and research companies out there whose sole job is to predict the future, and it seems like incredibly difficult work – until you understand how they’re doing it.

One of the things they do is look at current trends and evaluate if those trends have any staying power or will have any impact 15, 20 or 30 years down the road.

For example, a colleague of mine, Andrew Markel, who is the director of content for Underhood Service, Import Car and Brake & Front End at Babcox Media, recently wrote an article on what the automotive industry might look like in 2035. He said, “Some automakers and states have announced that only electric vehicles would be sold 14 years from now.” Some might laugh at that until you understand that many countries have committed to becoming carbon-neutral economies by 2050.

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It’s important for collision repair shops to keep their eye on the future and not just getting through next week. For example, if five or 10 years ago you predicted that more and more automakers would be coming out with electric vehicles (EVs), you might today be set up, trained and equipped to repair them. The good news is that an expert told me the other day that because EVs have been around for awhile and that shops have more familiarity with the repair procedures, your shop could be prepared in a very short time to handle all repairs.

If you’re like me, you’re not inherently good at knowing what’s coming next. But there are experts out there who are, so read, watch and listen to what they have to say and you won’t be blindsided when the future comes roaring through your door.

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