While aluminum is masking inroads — pun intended — in the automotive industry, it’s easy to forget that this all flows downstream. If aluminum bodied cars are going to flood the market, then repair shops will have to know how to handle repairs. At least that’s what Carstar anticipated when it instituted an aluminum certification program for its employees — and now the company is reaping the benefits. From the Kansas City Star:
The road ahead for Carstar could be paved in aluminum.
The Leawood-based auto body repair company said it finished 2014 with record North American revenue of $712 million, up about 10 percent from the previous year.
And business this year is already getting a boost from aluminum repair work on vehicles in some of the company’s key markets, particularly those areas “with higher ownership of the Ford F-150 and more exotic cars like the Tesla,” said David Byers, chief executive officer at Carstar Auto Body Repair Experts.
The new F-150 pickup truck, for example, is being touted for its innovative aluminum body, which is lighter than steel and should improve fuel efficiency. The truck has been in dealer showrooms only a few months.
Tesla’s Model S is already becoming the go-to luxury sedan and the Ford F-150 had a strong first sales month, so aluminum-ready body shops will only see more and more business. The lesson here? Adapt to the times, especially if that means working with aluminum.