State-of-the-art equipment, outstanding customer experience set this vehicle repair business apart

This paid piece is sponsored by Luxury Auto Mall.

If you want to get a look at the future of auto repair, stop by ABRA Auto Body & Glass, which has two newly opened Sioux Falls locations and can repair nearly any make or model.

“It’s almost like a surgical center in the body shop,” co-owner Ed Bloom said. “Vehicles are changing, and we’re set up to reflect that.”

ABRA North is next to Luxury Auto Mall at 201 S. Carolyn Ave. and opened last year. ABRA South, at 2601 S. Carolyn Ave., opened this spring.

The ABRA corporate office opened in 1983 and is based in the Twin Cities, with more than 360 collision centers nationwide.

“It’s important to note we have corporate support,” Bloom said. “We work on the people and processes and improvement together and it sets us apart.”

Here are some of the many ways a vehicle repair at ABRA will have you safely back on the road as soon as possible.

Aluminum work

Repairing vehicles today is demanding a more modern approach, because the material used in the vehicles themselves is changing.

Ford trucks, for instance, are now made entirely out of aluminum instead of steel. Chevrolet and Dodge also are switching to aluminum in their trucks. Other manufacturers are evolving in that direction, too, including Cadillac,  It’s lighter, which improves fuel efficiency, but it also requires expertise when needing repair.

“When working on these types of vehicles, we need to protect them with drapes in a sterile environment to prevent anything that might contaminate aluminum metal,” Bloom said.

Repairing a vehicle without the specialized setup found at the Sioux Falls ABRA stores will have consequences, said Marty Colman, who manages Abra North. If a technician tries welding steel to aluminum, for instance, it won’t hold correctly. If the aluminum becomes contaminated, the effectiveness of the repair also is compromised.

“The repair won’t be as strong,” Colman said. “You could end up with a vehicle that might not be as safe in the next collision, or you could have issues under the paint that might not show up for months. Paint might start to bubble or come off, because the repair underneath isn’t as strong.”

Easy estimation

ABRA’s owners acknowledge that most people would rather not have to walk through the door of an auto body repair shop.

So you don’t have to.

Because ABRA has strong relationships with major insurance companies, including 17 direct repair partners serving Sioux Falls, one call to your insurance can set the process in motion.

“The owner needs to call the insurance company and notify them and let them know they want us to call and we handle everything from there,” Colman said. “It’s a seamless process..”

ABRA will even come pick up the vehicle and bring it to the shop. Or, owners can stop in, hand over the keys and head off without waiting for an estimate.

“You can go on your way, and we’ll handle the estimate and call you,” Bloom said. “It allows us to honor the customer’s time and also look at the vehicle more thoroughly.”

ABRA then takes care of the paperwork and bills the insurance company.

Efficient design

The ARBA shops are designed with efficiency in mind.

A frame rack, “has been a game changer,” Bloom said. “If a car is involved in an accident, and we need to straighten the frame, this now takes the technician half the time. It’s probably fair to say 90 percent of collision centers within a 50-mile radius have old equipment, and that naturally extends your repair time.”

The shops also use the same approach to paint the factories use when a vehicle rolls off the assembly line.

“So it better matches the factory finish, and it’s more environmentally friendly and dry time is quicker,” Colman said.

Because there are two ABRA locations in Sioux Falls, vehicles can be transferred to take advantage of crew availability. That allows teams to work on up to 35 vehicles at once.

“It’s seamless behind the scenes to the customers, it’s the same equipment at both centers and you still pick it up where you dropped it off,” Bloom said.

Coordination, communication

Each day at ABRA starts with a staff huddle.

“We discuss every vehicle every day, where it’s at in the process, when it will go to the next stage, what potential roadblocks there are and what parts are coming, so everybody every day is informed on every car,” Colman said.

They recap each vehicle to end the day.

ABRA also has the capacity to bring in extra help within 24 hours to handle hail-related repairs including paintless dent repair.

“We have a company that can provide up to 50 people to reinforce a major hail storm,” Bloom said. “They were up here a couple weeks ago when we had some minor hail and we had all the necessary repairs done in a couple weeks.”

Customers receive text messages or email updates at each stage of the repair.

“As we move to different stages in the repair, we move the car in the computer and it will send a status update,” said Rylan Van Gen Deren, who manages Abra South.

“We want to keep the customer informed, happy and knowing what’s going on. We recognize they don’t necessarily want to be there, so we’re making the best of the situation.”

When the customer returns to pick up the vehicle, it will be completely detailed, and ABRA will spend about 20 minute going through the vehicle and explaining what was done.

“We don’t toss them the keys and send them out,” Colman said. “And soon after, you’ll receive a survey, because we want to understand how our teams are doing.”

To reach ABRA North, call 605-361-9618.

To reach ABRA South, call 605-362-8388.

Or visit www.abraauto.com.

Hours are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

State-of-the-art equipment, outstanding customer experience set this vehicle repair business apart

If you want to get a look at the future of auto repair, stop by ABRA Auto Body & Glass, which has two newly opened Sioux Falls locations and can repair nearly any make or model.

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