Toyota Wins Le Mans 24h With Fernando Alonso

Toyota finally broke its long-standing Le Mans 24 Hours curse by claiming a dominant victory in the 86th running of the event with the #8 car shared by Fernando Alonso, Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi.

The two TS050 Hybrids were a class apart from their LMP1 rivals, with the battle for the win quickly boiling down to a two-way battle between the Toyotas.

It was a see saw battle between the #8 machine and the #7 of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez for the majority of the distance, with a rapid night stint by Alonso helping to ease the effects of a 60s stop-and-go penalty earned by Buemi for speeding in a slow zone.

Aussie driver Matt Campbell in just his second year of international competition with Porsche, was handed his Le Mans debut with a seat in the Dempsey-Proton 911 RSR alongside Christian Ried and Julien Andlauer. The trio dominated the GTE-Am class for the majority of the race, with their #77 Porsche beating the #53 Ferrari by a little under two minutes.

Martin Stone Receives AM In Queens Birthday Honours

Sheen Group Owner and Director, Martin Stone, has been made a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia. Stone received the honour for his service to the community through support of charitable organisations, and to the automotive industry.

Stone has made a significant contribution to several charities over many years, including Variety, Life Education Australia, and the Epilepsy Foundation of Victoria.

In addition to operating Sheen Group, Stone is also a long-time member of VACC and the Society of Automotive Engineers.

As well his AM, Stone is a three-time recipient of the Dick Smith Award for the highest fundraiser in Victoria (2013, 2015 and 2016), and was the second highest fundraiser for the same award in 2014.

Heartfelt congratulations from all of us at BodyShop News Australia.

Volkswagen Group Fined $1.55 Billion For Diesel Emissions Scandal

The Braunschweig public prosecutor in Germany has issued a fine of €1 billion ($1.55) in total against Volkswagen AG – consisting of the maximum penalty as legally provided for of €5 million and the “disgorgement of economic benefits” in the amount of €995 million.

According to the findings of the investigation carried out by the Braunschweig public prosecutor, there were 10.7 million vehicles in total with the diesel engines of the types EA 288, in the United States and Canada, and EA 189, world-wide, being advertised, sold to customers, and placed on the market with an impermissible software function in the period from mid-2007 until 2015.

Following thorough examination, Volkswagen AG accepted the fine and it will not lodge an appeal against it.

Volkswagen AG, by doing so, admits its responsibility for the diesel crisis and considers this as a further major step towards the latter being overcome.

As a result of the administrative order imposing the fine, the active regulatory offence proceedings conducted against Volkswagen will be finally terminated.

Volkswagen assumes that such termination of the proceedings will also have significant positive effects on further active administrative proceedings in Europe against the Volkswagen AG and its subsidiaries.

Car Manufacturer Use of the Word ‘Autonomous’ Dangerous: Thatcham Research

Thatcham Research and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) issued an urgent call to car manufacturers and legislators for greater clarity around the capability of vehicles sold with technology that does more and more driving on behalf of motorists. The call comes in the wake of growing reports of people crashing while over-relying on technology which is not yet designed to drive the car independently.

The risks to drivers have been outlined in the new ‘Assisted and Automated Driving Definition and Assessment’ paper, which has identified dangerous grey areas associated with some driver support technologies. These include misleading names, like Autopilot and ProPilot, given to systems by car manufacturers, how and when drivers should take back control of their vehicles and systems which are designed to work in specific situations only (e.g. on motorways) but can also function anywhere.

Matthew Avery, Head of Research at Thatcham Research said, “We are starting to see real-life examples of the hazardous situations that occur when motorists expect the car to drive and function on its own. Specifically, where the technology is taking ownership of more and more of the driving task, but the motorist may not be sufficiently aware that they are still required to take back control in problematic circumstances. Fully Automated vehicles that can own the driving task from A to B, with no need for driver involvement whatsoever, won’t be available for many years to come. Until then, drivers remain criminally liable for the safe use of their cars and as such, the capability of current road vehicle technologies must not be oversold.”

Avery continues, “It begins with how systems are named and described across car manufacturer marketing materials and the driver’s handbook. Names like Autopilot or ProPilot are deeply unhelpful, as they infer the car can do a lot more than it can. Absolute clarity is needed, to help drivers understand the when and how these technologies are designed to work and that they should always remain engaged in the driving task.”

James Dalton, Director of General Insurance Policy at the ABI, said, “Insurers are major supporters of efforts to get assisted and autonomous vehicles onto the UK’s roads. Given the part human error plays in the overwhelming majority of accidents, these technologies have the potential to dramatically improve road safety. However, we are a long way from fully autonomous cars which will be able to look after all parts of a journey and in the meantime, it remains crucial that all drivers are alert and ready to take back full control at a moment’s notice. Manufacturers must be responsible in how they describe and name what their vehicles can do, and the insurance industry is ready to hold them to account on this.”

Axalta Celebrates the Winners of the 2018 WorldSkills National Championship for Vehicle Painting

Axalta Coating Systems congratulates the seven men and women who showed exemplary drive and determination at Australia’s largest vocational education competition, the 2018 WorldSkills National Championship for Vehicle Painting. The competition was held at Skills Show Australia 2018, from 2 – 4 June at Ultimo TAFE in Sydney, with Kaine Corpuz from Queensland being crowned the best vehicle painter in Australia.

As Gold Partner and long term supporter of WorldSkills Australia, Axalta has been fully focused on supporting each competitor’s journey to become the best vehicle refinisher in Australia.

In June competitors Aidan Hasler, Lional Stapleton, Maxine Colligan, Kaine Corpuz, Luke Alexander, Amber Gabelich and Kyle Little took on the greatest challenge of their lives at the WorldSkills National Championship. They all demonstrated extreme calm under very challenging conditions. And, despite the strict marking criteria for each module, the competitors were all able to complete each stage successfully, showcasing their mastery in refinishing, from spot repairs right through to the intricate panel design work, including colour matching accuracy.

“For more than 10 years Axalta has strived to mentor and nurture all up and coming talent with product training, providing exposure to the latest work practices and techniques, problem solving, development of teamwork and leadership skills,” said Paul Polverino, National Training Manager for Axalta. “To see these extraordinary young men and women excel under such challenging circumstances, whilst producing outstanding levels of craftsmanship, was an absolute delight to watch.

“Axalta’s passion for our industry and desire to secure its future through young professionals is what drives us at Axalta” said Polverino. “We are very proud to support these exceptional young Australians and provide them with new opportunities for growth. We especially would like to wish Kaine Corpuz, whose goal is to represent Australia in 2019 at the 45th WorldSkills International Competition in Kazan, Russia, the best of luck!”

Daimler To Recall 238,000 Diesel Vehicle Over Use Of Defeat Devices

The German government has ordered car manufacturer Daimler to recall 238,000 vehicles in Germany after they were found to be fitted with illegal software that masks diesel emissions.

Across Europe a total of 774,000 diesel vehicles could contain ‘defeat devices’ and Daimler said it would recall them all.

In an official statement, the Federal Motor Transport Authority (Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt–(KBA) said it had ordered Mercedes to immediately recall selected Vito, C-Class and GLC models in Germany:

Among the models said to be affected are the Vito 119 CDI, C220d and GLC 220d.

The KBA has not indicated the age of the cars involved, although officials suggest they include latest-generation models with Euro 6 emissions certification.

Mitsubishi Motors Thailand Marks Five Million Units Production Milestone

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) announced that Mitsubishi Motors (Thailand) Co., Ltd. (MMTh), its exclusive producer and distributor in Thailand, has marked five million vehicles produced at the facility in Laem Chabang. The landmark vehicle was a Mitsubishi Pajero Sport.

The event was graced by Somkid Jatusripitak, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand; His Excellency Shiro Sadoshima, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan; Osamu Masuko, CEO of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation and BOI’s Honorary Investment Advisor. Other VIP guests, business partners and employees were also in attendance.

During his address, Somkid Jatusripitak congratulated Mitsubishi Motors for the successful collaboration between the automaker and the Thai government.

He said, “Mitsubishi Motors Thailand’s milestone today underlines the role of the automotive industry as one of Thailand’s growth engines. The company’s commitment to Thailand, and its leadership in sustainable practices is initiative that will help us achieve our national economic goals.”

Also speaking at the ceremony was Osamu Masuko, CEO of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation. He expressed his gratitude for the support and cooperation from the Thai government, and explained: “We have always had the confidence in Thailand’s potential for domestic market growth. Its long-term policies to grow the automotive industry also a positive sign for our business.”

MMTh’s facilities at Laem Chabang are the biggest outside Japan, capable of producing 424,000 vehicles a year with exports going to more than 120 countries. The output supports the company’s growth in the ASEAN region as well as internationally.

Meanwhile, Morikazu Chokki, President and CEO of Mitsubishi Motors (Thailand) Co., Ltd. said during the ceremony, “We will continue to pioneer new segments and technology. We will innovate and enhance hard and soft technology into human-centric packages, and deliver versatility, driving confidence and functionality. This forms the basis of our global tagline ‘Drive your Ambition’ and is our commitment to our drivers.”

Mitsubishi Motors started its operations in Thailand in 1961 and achieved its first million-unit production in 2003. The second million followed in 2010 and after just three years, MMTh hit the third million in 2013. As demand increased, the four-million mark was reached in 2015.

Out of the five million vehicles, 3.7 million were for export markets in more than 120 countries worldwide. In 2016, Mitsubishi Motors Thailand celebrated its third-million export vehicle.

Mitsubishi Motors Thailand Officially Opens Training Facility in Pathum Thani

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) announced that Mitsubishi Motors (Thailand) Co., Ltd. (MMTh), its exclusive producer and distributor in Thailand, has officially opened a new training facility, the Education Academy, in Pathum Thani.

The official opening ceremony was held with Don Samitakasettrin, Lamlukka District Chief Officer and other related parties along with Osamu Masuko, CEO of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.

Osamu Masuko said “Mitsubishi Motors has always been focusing on Thailand. The Education Academy reflects our commitment here in Thailand at the same time as the country is shifting towards the economy.”

“The Education Academy will play a vital role in providing our people with knowledge and skills enablement to prepare them for the new values we want to deliver to our drivers.” Masuko added.

The Education Academy project started in September 2017. Today the two-story building with around 8700 square metres function area stands tall on more than 17,700 square metres Mitsubishi Motors Thailand premise in Lamlukka, Phathum Thani.

Morikazu Chokki, President and CEO, Mitsubishi Motors (Thailand) Co., Ltd. said during the opening ceremony: “Education Academy will contribute significantly in our ‘software’ development with the focus on sales and aftersales services enhancement.”

Currently, Education Academy serves 100 – 150 people daily including Service Advisors, Technicians, Part Staff, Sales Consultants, Customer Relations Officers, and Mitsubishi Motors Thailand staff.

“What the staff will be taught and be trained here is not just about technical proficiency. They will be valued as a staff with ambition to explore. So that they can empower our drivers to explore new things and progress in life.” Chokki concluded.

Transport Ministers Agree To Drafting New Laws For Automated Vehicles

A new approach to driving laws in Australia will see the development of purpose-built legislation to allow an automated driving system (ADS) to drive more automated motor vehicles in place of a human.

National Transport Commission (NTC) Chief Executive Paul Retter said a new national law, due to be in place by 2020, would bring certainty to manufacturers and operators looking to bring more automated vehicle technology to Australia.

“With automated vehicles, there will be times when an ‘automated driving system’, rather than a human, will be in control of the vehicle. We need a nationally consistent law to know who is in control of a motor vehicle at any point in time,” Retter said.

“Without a change to existing laws or new law, there would be no-one to hold responsible for compliance with our road rules when an automated driving system is in control of a vehicle.”

Retter said the NTC believed a uniform national approach will help automated vehicle manufacturers and the public understand the legal framework they are operating in and accelerate the introduction of automated vehicles in Australia.

Last month (May), transport ministers agreed to a uniform approach across all states and territories to ensure there is always a legal entity in charge of driving when an automated driving system is engaged. This is set out in the NTC Policy Paper Changing driving laws to support automated vehicles. The new legislation would be in place by 2020 in time for the anticipated commercial rollout of automated vehicles in Australia.

The NTC proposed the introduction of a uniform law to:

  • allow an automated driving system (rather than a human) to perform the dynamic driving task when it is engaged
  • ensure that there is always a legal entity responsible for driving
  • set out any obligations on relevant entities, including the ADS entity, and users of automated vehicles
  • provide flexible compliance and enforcement options.

The NTC consulted widely with government and industry in 2017/18 with a discussion paper on changing driving laws to support automated vehicles.

Following on from the ministers’ approval, the NTC will work closely with road agencies and transport departments to develop the detailed policy recommendations and legislative analysis necessary to establish the new purpose-built national law by 2020.

“This is a considerable change to national road transport laws, to support the significant changes we see coming in transport technology,” Retter said.

Paintless Dent Repair (PDR) For Collision Repair University

As the USA settles into the middle of hail season, collision repairers around the country are being approached by Paintless Dent Repair companies and insurance teams.

How does a shop choose the right company? What are the OE requirements for hail repair?

Shawn Mueller, from Hail Strategies joins the Repair University team to discuss the ins and outs of PDR, scanning and diagnostic requirements and use of OEM procedures.