Is now the time to get out of the panelbeating industry?

Is now the time to get out of the panelbeating industry?

Today it’s raining. Hard. Panelbeaters throughout Auckland (along with tow truck drivers) are rubbing their hands in glee at the thought of the automotive carnage that will eventuate on the city’s roads today. Insurance companies are worried.

Although, for the insurance companies there’s a glowing halo of light in the distance; for the panelbeaters it’s a large fiery meteor about to hit them. It comes in the shape of crash avoidance systems which have started to appear on certain models (Volvos, for example). This has the potential to eliminate billions of dollars of minor panel damage repair work that happens every year due to minor lapses of attention by drivers overwhelmed at how easy and comfortable their cars are to drive. In fact, driving some cars (like the Mercedes C220 CDI or the Nissan Murano) is so relaxing that perhaps insomniacs should give it a try.

So are we looking at the peak of the panelbeating years? Should panelbeaters be getting out of the business? Absolutely not, and here’s the reason why: I think that these safety systems are probably going to cause accidents as well while there’s an imbalance in the vehicle fleet. Let’s say you’re following a particularly dozy driver who has come to rely on his emergency crash avoidance system so he doesn’t wear out the soles of his shoes on the nasty abrasive brake pedal. His car performs a nice little emergency stop right in front of you, usually extremely efficiently because it’ll be newer than yours, and you run into the back of it. Now, this isn’t going to happen all the time, but it will happen until a critical mass of the vehicle fleet has crash avoidance systems.

So, while panelbeaters can rejoice in the downpour today, in a couple of decades large numbers of them may be looking for something else to do.

Today it’s raining. Hard. Panelbeaters throughout Auckland (along with tow truck drivers) are rubbing their hands in glee at the thought of the automotive carnage that will eventuate on the city’s roads today. Insurance companies are worried.

Although, for the insurance companies there’s a glowing halo of light in the distance; for the panelbeaters it’s a large fiery meteor about to hit them. It comes in the shape of crash avoidance systems which have started to appear on certain models (Volvos, for example). This has the potential to eliminate billions of dollars of minor panel damage repair work that happens every year due to minor lapses of attention by drivers overwhelmed at how easy and comfortable their cars are to drive. In fact, driving some cars (like the Mercedes C220 CDI or the Nissan Murano) is so relaxing that perhaps insomniacs should give it a try.

So are we looking at the peak of the panelbeating years? Should panelbeaters be getting out of the business? Absolutely not, and here’s the reason why: I think that these safety systems are probably going to cause accidents as well while there’s an imbalance in the vehicle fleet. Let’s say you’re following a particularly dozy driver who has come to rely on his emergency crash avoidance system so he doesn’t wear out the soles of his shoes on the nasty abrasive brake pedal. His car performs a nice little emergency stop right in front of you, usually extremely efficiently because it’ll be newer than yours, and you run into the back of it. Now, this isn’t going to happen all the time, but it will happen until a critical mass of the vehicle fleet has crash avoidance systems.

So, while panelbeaters can rejoice in the downpour today, in a couple of decades large numbers of them may be looking for something else to do.

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