This content was produced in partnership with DRS Group


The automotive repair industry has been stagnant for some time, and more competition is needed to drive innovation, cut customer costs and improve services. World Record Holder in hail damage repair, DRS Group, wants to change that. 

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DRS Group, through its joint venture with Dent Master, has the capability to take on anything from a one-car repair to a 40,000-vehicle project

Hail and other damages can grind operations in automotive manufacturing and logistics to a halt, costing time and money for OEMs and suppliers. But in North America, the market for repairing hail, production and transport damage for vehicle manufacturers and insurance companies has been stagnant in recent years, with not enough competitors providing innovative solutions across the region. This lack of competition, and therefore lack of options for the customer, is causing the quality of solutions to take a dip, while capacity for service is reducing and costs are skyrocketing. Not to mention, innovative solutions are not being developed and rolled out as quickly as they could be.

DRS Group, a German repair firm founded in 2007, entered the US market in 2012 when several thousand vehicles were hit by hailstorms in Tennessee, and has been active in North America ever since, serving production plants, logistics companies, insurance providers and car dealerships with hail damage repair, rework and metal finishing services, as well as containment action management at ports and rail hubs. In 2024, the group entered a joint venture with Dent Master, a leader in paintless dent repair in the US, to help address the stagnation in the industry.

What is the problem with a stagnant market?

If one company dominates the market, they have full control of price setting and services supplied, and no incentive to drive development and growth in the industry. But the DRS and Dent Master joint venture is aiming to change this.

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Yanni Arvis, managing director, DRS Group and Dent Master joint venture

“We will take care of the vehicles for the customer all along the supply chain, no matter whether they have incurred damage in the factory, or as they’re being transported to the final destination, or anywhere in between, in a rail yard or holding facility,” says Yanni Arvis, managing director of the joint venture.

Arvis says that the DRS-Dent Master JV has local presence across 22 different markets within the USA, in addition to its catastrophe response (CAT) teams which can be deployed within 24 hours anywhere in the US, Canada or Mexico.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s a small project with just 20 cars, or a 40,000-vehicle project with massive challenges,” he says. “We have the capabilities in our joint venture to service any of those cases, and our customers know that. We’re not only there when it’s easy or when it’s a big project, but we will service our customers even on the smallest jobs. Why do we do this? Because if we don’t, someone else will, and that pushes us to be better.”

Arvis adds that they recently convinced an OEM, who previously always used the same repair provider, to make use of their services. The OEM gave them around 10% of the repair work it needed done, but they ended up repairing 60%. “The OEM only then realised the provider they had was not up to the job,” he says. “They just thought they were good because they never had anybody else to compare them to. There was no competition.”

Setting a World Record in Hail Damage Repair: DRS Group’s Logistical Masterpiece in Mexico


DRS Group’s Mexico team repaired 40,000 vehicles after a hailstorm in just 89 days

DRS Group set a world record in hail damage repair, demonstrating efficiency and strengthening its position as a leader in automotive repair services. In just 89 days, the group successfully repaired 40,000 hail-damaged vehicles, achieving an impressive daily production rate of 800 to 1,000 cars and showcasing the company’s capacity and expertise.

The scale of the operation required extraordinary measures: DRS Group chartered two Boeing 747 Aircrafts and rented 35 buses to transport a team of 1,264 members – including project managers, drivers, PDR technicians, R&I technicians, and quality assurance staff – to the site. The logistical arrangements also included fully booking eight hotels, turning this project into a logistical masterpiece.

DRS goes above and beyond by utilising advanced data analysis to pre-order parts, ensuring that logistics routes and timelines are meticulously maintained, with a variance between planned and actual parts needed being within ±1%. This precision in planning and execution underlines the efficiency of DRS Group’s approach and was realised by using the DRS-self-developed repair and logistics software SKY. (The DRS SKY software was recently awarded with the renowned Innovation Champions Award 2024 by Focus Business in Germany.)

The logistical challenges were immense. As several thousand cars were also shipped damaged to other ports in the USA and Europe, DRS Group’s deployment of local teams ensured seamless care and management of these vehicles without any hiccups.

This world record not only highlights DRS Group’s commitment to excellence but also showcases its capability to handle large-scale challenges in the automotive repair industry, reaffirming why they are the go-to experts in times of need.

From global to local and local to global

The Hamburg-headquartered group established itself quickly in Europe, particularly with the German OEMs, and has been active across not only Europe but North and South America, the Middle East and Australia ever since. Under the leadership of Christian Botnariu, who took charge of DRS Group USA in 2018, the company has strengthened its operations in North America. Botnariu’s background includes consulting for Audi and Volkswagen on containment actions, reworks and quality management, experiences that have enriched DRS’ services and its partnership with Dent Master. 

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Christian Botnariu, managing director, North America, DRS Group

Through the JV in North America, Botnariu says the global aspect of the company gives it more resources, capability, flexible infrastructure and trust, while the local aspect comes into play through being actively involved in local communities. Dent Master, founded in 1987 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has strong local presence across multiple regions in the US. In fact, it still retains the original location the company was first founded.

Compared to the other few providers in the market in the US, Botnariu says this global to local scale sets DRS apart. “Our people are all operating as one unit, from a local level all the way up to an international level,” he says. “We will be involved to make sure there’s no stoppage to your supply chain.”

What sets DRS Group apart?

“We have the drive behind us,” Arvis says. “We want to provide a good service and we want to be competitive because we care about our reputation and want to be known as the people who provide solutions. Our mentality has always been that if a customer needs something done, we find a way to make it happen. By our push to grow our business we can provide services that others cannot.”

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DRS Group’s main body and paint shop and technical headquarters

Part of DRS Group’s operational success can be traced back to the company developing and fully owning a modular software platform that plays a crucial role in managing the repair of thousands of vehicles worldwide. This system provides real-time updates on the progress of repairs, significantly supporting logistics planning for customers and job-site organisation. By digitising the complete workflow and providing full transparency about the repair progress, DRS Group minimises dead freight and associated costs.

Additionally, the software allows for meticulous tracking of each step in the repair process for every vehicle, creating a transparent and detailed record of all actions taken. This includes a comprehensive digital file for each vehicle, detailing replaced parts, repaired panels, and any pre-existing damage. By strategically integrating these digital tools into their operations, DRS Group not only enhances the efficiency and transparency of their services but also sets a high standard in automotive repair management on a global scale.

Why is competition in the market important now?

With an uptick in extreme weather events, including hailstorms, it’s important to ensure a competitive market exists to capably serve all customers when demand is growing more than ever.

In fact, weather events are the top logistics disruptor for supply chains, and this is only expected to worsen as the ‘Era of Extremes’ persists, according to data analytics firm Everstream Analytics. Billion-dollar weather events, which the US experienced every four months in the 1980s, are now occurring every three weeks, and winter storms are expected to worsen and affect the automotive logistics industry further this year. With global ocean temperatures at record highs and a rising trend in disruptive winter weather and hailstorms, there is a greater risk of more impactful storms.

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Danny Ralf Stepputis, founder and CEO, DRS Group

Danny Ralf Stepputis, Founder and CEO of DRS Group International says that the growing trend of extreme weather events helped DRS realise the gap in the market. “Since 2017, we’ve seen a surge in hail events, driving up the demand for paintless dent repair services,” he says. “This spike highlighted a gap in the market; there weren’t enough large-scale providers equipped to serve OEMs, logistics companies and large fleets. Realising that our long-term-partner Dent Master shares our values and culture made it clear that launching a joint venture was the right move, so now we can make available our full range of services to all customers across the US, Mexico and Canada.”


To learn more about DRS Group International and its solutions, visit the DRS website here.