Business

Kirmac Collision at forefront of innovative technology

Brian Steele, store manager at Kirmac Collision’s Langley City location, examines the battery of a hybrid vehicle. - Natasha Jones/Langley Times
Brian Steele, store manager at Kirmac Collision’s Langley City location, examines the battery of a hybrid vehicle.
— image credit: Natasha Jones/Langley Times

Airbags have long been a safety component in vehicles.

After that came back-up cameras.

Then manufacturers added another safety feature: sonar sensors that sound an alarm when a vehicle comes too close to another — a particularly useful element when changing lanes.

Back-up cameras and sonar sensors are also crucial, given the quietness of hybrid and electric vehicles.

Twin these advances with hybrid vehicles or the Nissan Leaf, the only totally electric car, and you’re entering the field of high-tech cars for which accident-avoidance and fuel efficiency are key.

However, there is a downside to energy efficiency and the newer safety features: the cost of repairs.

Kirmac Collision is at the forefront of innovative technology for repairing vehicles which today are significantly more sophisticated than they were only 10 or 15 years ago.

Leonard Lassak is the vice-president of operations for Kirmac’s U.S. shops. Speaking from Auburn Wash., Lassak explained that the cars of the future will be constructed from high-tech materials including ultra-high strength steel and carbon fibre.

General Motors is even working on ‘smart’ materials, used for example on panels, that reshape themselves after an accident, he said.

The leader in transportation models that use composite materials is Boeing, which has developed the Dreamliner, the company’s most fuel-efficient jet that consumes 20 per cent less fuel than the Boeing 767, a plane of similar size.

Consumer demand for fuel efficiency is being enhanced further by tighter budgets and unstable global economic conditions. As gas prices rise and the trend towards cleaner energy rises, demand for electric cars will grow.

And even though the safety features aim for the same thing: accident avoidance, collisions still occur. And that’s where the role Kirmac’s team of highly skilled professionals working with the latest tools comes in.

Hybrid and the Nissan Leaf carry complex on-board computers, and Kirmac Collision’s repair specialists need to know how to fix the increasingly high-tech components and sonar sensors.

Noting that the sonar sensor of a German import sedan is located behind the grill, Lassak pointed out that to repair or replace one could run as high as $5,000.

On the other hand, back-up cameras used to cost around $200. Now they run at a mere few dollars each.

“Our collision repair specialists pride themselves on keeping up-to-date with the latest vehicle trends. We need to be able to respond as experts when our customers need repairs,” Lassak said.

Visit www.kirmac.com for locations in Langley.

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