SOURCE: Mitchell International

Mitchell International

August 03, 2009 09:00 ET

Mitchell Releases Latest Edition of Industry Trends Report

Feature Article Analyzes Europe's Experience With Advanced Vehicle Technology to Predict the Impact on U.S. Collision Industry Estimates and Repairs

SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwire - August 3, 2009) - Mitchell International, Inc., a leading provider of information, workflow and performance management solutions to the Property & Casualty claims and Collision Repair industries, today released the third quarter 2009 edition of its Industry Trends Report (ITR) -- the company's quarterly publication that highlights industry-related trends, news items and statistics.

This edition's Quarterly Feature, "Looking at Europe to Predict the Future of U.S. Collision Repair," by Mitchell's Vice President of Industry Relations, Greg Horn, compellingly argues that Europe's experience with advanced vehicle technology clearly predicts the future changes in the U.S. collision repair industry. European manufacturers are tackling increased fuel efficiency and mileage targets and mandated side impact standards that will soon reach the U.S. market, which insurance companies must be prepared to estimate and shops expertly trained to repair.

Repairers and estimators in the U.S. cannot risk being caught off guard when high-tech vehicles demand highly specialized and very costly repairs -- there will be no room for on the job training when safety is at stake in an era of rising prices for parts and labor. Europe's experience with both high-end and more commonly repaired vehicles, such as Jaguar's new XJ and Volkswagen's new Rabbit, is instructive. Both types of vehicles will soon come to U.S. shops for repair and present challenges to those unfamiliar with their advanced materials and construction. For example, the estimating and repair of new VW Rabbits requires knowledge of Ultra High Strength Steel alloys and the proper techniques to safely repair them.

In the case of the Jaguar XJ, its unique new door frame construction is complex enough that the manufacturer will sponsor a door exchange program where the damaged door must be exchanged through the dealer for a rebuilt unit rather than risking a faulty repair.

"This is a remarkable time in the collision repair industry. The technological advances taking place are transforming today's vehicles into increasingly complex pieces of machinery," said Horn. "Just as it did in the 1970s, the high-tech vehicle revolution occurring today in Europe offers a clear and compelling view of the challenges ahead in the U.S. collision repair industry. In the competitive U.S. market, we cannot afford the risk of being left behind. We have to seize the opportunity and prepare to meet our customers' high expectations for performing advanced repair techniques."

Other valuable points of interest in the current issue of Mitchell's ITR include:

--  The average initial appraisal value calculated by combining data from
    all first and third-party repairable vehicle appraisals uploaded through
    Mitchell systems in Q2-2009 was $2,391 -- a 3% percent decrease from the
    previous year's Q2-2008 appraisal average of $2,472. Applying the
    prescribed development factor to these data points produces an anticipated
    average appraisal value of $2,452 on a slightly older vehicle.
--  At $11,995, the average Actual Cash Value (ACV) of vehicles appraised
    for Collision losses during Q2-2009 reflects the aging vehicle fleet and
    lower actual cash value that the current economic conditions have caused.
    

Complete content is available in the latest Industry Trends Report, which may be downloaded in PDF format by visiting www.mitchell.com. First published in April 2001, Mitchell's Trends Report has grown in both content and circulation, now reaching more than 23,000 collision and casualty industry professionals.

About Mitchell International, Inc.

Mitchell International, Inc. (www.mitchell.com) is a leading and trusted provider of world-class information, process-enhancing workflow solutions, and advanced software and specialized services to the Property & Casualty Insurance Claims, Automotive Collision Repair, and Workers' Compensation Industries. The company's robust and expansive portfolio streamlines the entire claims and repair process using shared workspaces, decision-driven software, and intuitive tools. Serving carriers, body shops, and other commercial participants in the physical damage, auto-related medical and workers' compensation claims processes, Mitchell facilitates millions of electronic transactions between more than 30,000 business partners each month to enhance their productivity, profitability, and customer satisfaction.

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