Ris­ing ve­hi­cle col­li­sions caus­ing panel beater short­age

Motor Equipment News - - NEWS -

A grow­ing num­ber of ve­hi­cle col­li­sions re­sult­ing from in­creased con­ges­tion on our roads has led to a short­age of panel beat­ers, ac­cord­ing to an in­dus­try body.

New sta­tis­tics from the In­sur­ance Coun­cil of NZ show the num­ber of pri­vate ve­hi­cle re­lated claims in New Zealand has in­creased by more than five per­cent, to 422,429 an­nu­ally, since 2013.

Col­li­sion Re­pair As­so­ci­a­tion (CRA) gen­eral man­ager Neil Pritchard says that de­spite an in­crease in cars with col­li­sion preven­tion technology, the sheer num­ber of ve­hi­cles on the road is in­creas­ing the risk of ac­ci­dents for all driv­ers.

“New Zealand has the fourth high­est level of car own­er­ship in the world but also one of the old­est fleets, which means the av­er­age ve­hi­cle has safety technology more than 14 years old,” he says.

He says in the past two years, new ve­hi­cle reg­is­tra­tions have reached record lev­els driven by high net mi­gra­tion and lower fuel prices.

“This year alone New Zealan­ders reg­is­tered around 140,000 new cars – which is its high­est ever. The in­creased num­ber of cars on the roads is lead­ing to more col­li­sions,” he says.

Pritchard says that as the num­ber of in­sur­ance claims and de­mand for ve­hi­cle re­pair ser­vices has in­creased, it has put fur­ther pres­sure on the in­dus­try, which is cur­rently fore­cast­ing a short­age of new panel beat­ers over the next three years.

“Right now we need 600 new panel beater ap­pren­tices to en­ter the in­dus­try over the next three years to an­swer the de­mand – we are get­ting about half that num­ber cur­rently,” he says.

Pritchard says the rate of devel­op­ment in the ve­hi­cle in­dus­try has ad­vanced quickly and it is also chang­ing the role of panel beat­ers.

He says the level of technology in new ve­hi­cles is sig­nif­i­cantly dif­fer­ent to older cars in the na­tion’s fleet.

“Mod­ern cars are made from more ad­vanced ma­te­ri­als in­clud­ing high den­sity steel and even alu­minium. Their in­te­grated safety sys­tems mean that what used to be a straight­for­ward task such as chang­ing out a wind­screen is now far more com­plex as an ar­ray of sen­sors and cam­eras must also be reat­tached.

“This means the tech­ni­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties re­quired of the panel beater are far higher, in­volv­ing more so­phis­ti­cated di­ag­nos­tic tools and knowl­edge of new weld­ing tech­niques and mod­ern ad­he­sives,” he says.

Pritchard says compounding the short­age is the po­ten­tial im­pact of many baby boomer panel beat­ers reach­ing re­tire­ment age at the same age and ex­it­ing the in­dus­try.

He says the in­dus­try has launched a mar­ket­ing cam­paign and schol­ar­ship pro­gramme to help re­cruit hun­dreds of new ap­pren­tices into the in­dus­try.

More de­tails www.col­li­sion­re­pair.co.nz

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