Our in-depth look at collision repair in the June issue of Fixed Ops Journal covered the problems dealers face as they contemplate entering or staying in the body shop business.
But another topic needs to be considered: the unnecessarily high cost of tools. It's time for automakers to stop requiring dealerships to buy different brands of tools that perform the same functions in the same ways.
Say a rivet gun can insert a self-piercing rivet at a depth of 40 millimeters at 4,400 pounds of force and meets an automaker's repair requirements. A dealership should not have to buy another rivet gun of a different brand — at a typical cost of $8,000 to $12,000, depending on manufacturer and capability — to meet another manufacturer's certification standards.
Yet that often happens. It's the same with scan tools.
Look at the approved tool repair catalogs of Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Jaguar Land Rover. Each luxury automaker requires different brands of the same basic tools. Welders, scanners, glue guns — they all do the same essential jobs.
But if a dealership doesn't buy factory-approved tools, the manufacturer likely won't certify it for collision work. Without that certification, the body shop might not have access to some repair parts. Collision customers who seek factory-approved repairs would have to go elsewhere.