When a hybrid vehicle gets banged up in a crash, you can't fix it the same way you repair a conventional sedan. So exhibits at this year's International Autobody Congress and Exposition will address that new reality.
Seven automakers will display technology and training programs this week at the Las Vegas collision repair trade show.
Major exhibitors include General Motors Service and Parts Operations, Ford Customer Service Division, DaimlerChrysler Corp., Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., Kia Motors America Inc., Mercedes-Benz USA LLC and Volvo Cars of North America Inc.
More than 500 exhibitors will participate in the show, which is sponsored by the Automotive Service Association. Organizers say they expect more than 35,000 collision repair professionals to attend.
DaimlerChrysler and Ford exhibits will feature frame repair for trucks. The topic attracts large numbers of inquiries from body shops, the companies say.
"Before, we would recommend full-frame replacement," says Skip Olson, DaimlerChrysler's collision marketing manager. The high cost of such a repair job, Olson says, "causes insurance companies to total the vehicle."
"Now you can add a sleeve to the end of the arm of the frame," he says. "It saves a lot of vehicles instead of scrapping them."
Toyota will display its Highlander Hybrid and information about how to repair the SUV. The company also will promote new collision-repair training courses for Toyota and Lexus hybrid vehicles.
"Most of all, we'll focus on how you work on these cars safely," says Roger Larsen, Toyota's technical training supervisor. "You have a large amount of voltage in working with a hybrid, so you need to disable the hybrid system."
Larsen says hybrid repair sessions are among Toyota's best-attended courses for service technicians.
This week's congress also includes 75 educational sessions. Many of them are tailored to auto dealerships' body shops.
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