18 Jul 18

ADAS blamed for jump in accident cost

It's ironic, to say the least: Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS) are designed to prevent accidents. But in the Netherlands, the technology is also being blamed for a big jump in the average cost of accident repairs: up almost 12% in just 3 years. 

Collision repair professionals have long pointed that increasingly sophisticated cars – partly due to ADAS technology – have a strong, negative impact on the cost of repairs.

Rear-view mirror
Replacing a door mirror used to cost, say, €200. But if that mirror is infused with advanced driving assistance technology, its replacement could come with a price tag up to €2,000.

Some in the collision repair industry call it the Nespresso model, analogous to the coffee brand's strategy: lure in customers with relatively cheap hardware, which then forces them to continuously purchase expensive supplies. 

Figures recently released by Audatex (part of the Solera holding), the largest insurance claims and collision repair service provider in the Netherlands, provide some ammunition for that claim. In 2015, the average claim per accidented car was €1,178. For the year to date, that figure stands at €1,318 – an increase of 11.9%. 

Too early
“The largest factor in this rise are the replacement parts: this post has risen by 24.6%, much more than the other factors, i.e. wages and paint repair”, says Thomas Hermans, Business Development Director at Solera Netherlands. 

Mr Hermans thinks it's too early to point to ADAS as the deciding factor for the jump in average accident cost. “More analysis of the figures is required. But the anecdotal evidence reaching us from repairers certainly points in that direction as potentially being one of the drivers”. 

The increase in average accident cost is the first one in recent years. “Before 2015, the cost was relatively stable”. 

But perhaps ADAS is compensating for its presumed role in the rising average cost of accidents by reducing the overall number of accidents? “We have not done analysis on the number of accidents, I can only say that we can't yet notice a decline in the total amount of claims, at least not yet. And with around 1 million such cases treated by us each year, I would say we have a fairly accurate picture of the Dutch market”.

Authored by: Frank Jacobs