CIECA Connex Conference Agenda Includes Crash Test At IIHS

The Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association (CIECA) has announced that its annual symposium this year will include viewing a crash test at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The CIECA’s 11th annual conference – CIECA Connex 2019 – will take place in Charlottesville, Virginia during 16-18 September. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear information about blockchain, cybersecurity, legislation regarding autonomous vehicles, calibration, technical sessions such as Swagger and GraphQL, and other topical industry issues.

Speakers include:

  • Darryl Amberson, LaMettry’s
  • Mark Allen, Audi
  • Greg Brown, NABC first responder programme
  • Jon Delgado, APU Solutions
  • Sheryl Driggers, Universal Collision
  • Dan Gluck, Enterprise Holdings
  • Sean Guthrie, Car Crafters Collision Centers
  • Kim Hazelbaker, IIHS
  • Bob Jacobs, Microsoft
  • Patrick McGuire
  • Michael Ortega & Chris Poulos, IAA
  • Bob Redding
  • John Shoemaker, BASF
  • Eric Shultz, ALLDATA

In addition, there will be a 25th anniversary celebration, a tour of the IIHS, networking opportunities among industry segments and a vehicle gifting by the National Auto Body Council (NABC) as part of its Recycled Rides programme. The full agenda can be found by visiting: https://www.cieca.com/editor_upload/File/2019%20CIECA%20Connex/2019-CIECA-Connex-Agenda-07-18.pdf.

“We encourage all industry stakeholders to attend CIECA Connex 2019,” said Steve Betley, chairman of CIECA. “This year, we are highlighting the technological changes ahead and how to best prepare. By having all stakeholders gather and work together, the goal is to help our industry be as efficient, profitable and successful as possible.”

Discounted room rates at the Omni Charlottesville Hotel will be available until 15 August and early-bird conference registration fees are being offered until 23 August.

All industry stakeholders (members, non-CIECA members, OEMs, shop owners, insurers, information providers, recyclers, property restoration providers, etc.) are invited.

During the event, attendees will:

  • Hear about current and future industry challenges and opportunities
  • Gain timely, relevant business and technical knowledge
  • Network with other members and industry colleagues
  • Take part in learning opportunities for all industry segments.

This year’s event sponsors include AkzoNobel, Allstate, Audatex-Solera, Axalta, Caliber Collision, Car-PartPro.com, CCC, comsearch, Enterprise, Hertz, IAA, LKQ, Mobile Tech RX, NuGen IT, Precision Body & Paint, SafeLite Solutions and URG.

For more information about sponsorship opportunities, visit www.CIECAConnex.com.

Register for the IIHS tour and CIECA CONNEX Conference, and book a room by visiting: https://www.cieca.com/info.php?pnum=95bd34b6c447f0

IAG Acquires Majority Stake In Digital Car Subscription Platform

Insurance Australia Group Limited (IAG) has acquired a majority stake in trading platform and digital car subscription Carbar.

Carbar was established in 2016 in Melbourne, expanded to Sydney in June 2019, and is Australia’s first car subscription platform. It caters to customers looking for alternative forms of vehicle ownership and now has plans to expand across Australia in 2020.

Carbar offers a car subscription starting at $109 per week which includes registration, insurance, roadside assistance and maintenance. IAG hopes to better understand the changing mobility trends while providing new sources of value to customers through Carbar.

Carbar plans to expand its vehicle subscription model while supporting the growth of its online car trading platform that removes the uncertainty often associated with buying a new or second-hand car.

“We are thrilled to partner with Carbar which will play a central role in our approach to the future of insurance and the changing mobility needs of our customers,” said James Orchard, IAG Executive General Manager of Innovation.

“Carbar has pioneered the car subscription model in Australia. We look forward to combining its world-class digital capabilities with IAG’s assets and scale to provide new mobility experiences for customers today and in the future.”

 “IAG’s support will be instrumental in growing and developing our business,” said Desmond Hang, Carbar CEO and co-founder. “We look forward to working closely with its team to further expand Carbar and grow our car subscription capabilities.”

CAPA Reaffirms Its Ongoing Commitment To The Collision Repair Industry

In response to NSF International’s withdrawal from certification in the collision repair industry, the Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) is reassuring the industry it will continue its mission to ensure that high-quality, certified aftermarket parts remain an option for insurers, repairers, and consumers.

“CAPA’s commitment to the aftermarket industry spans more than 30 years,” said Clark Plucinski, Chairman, CAPA Board of Directors. “We understand that the recent developments in the aftermarket parts certification industry have caused concern amongst stakeholders, but CAPA is fully committed to servicing the industry with the same diligence and passion we have since our founding.

“Over the past several years CAPA has maintained double digit growth year over year, in certified part applications available to the industry. CAPA intends to accelerate this trend over the coming years through the development of additional standards across a wider variety of replacement parts.”

To date, CAPA has certified over 105 million parts.

“CAPA will work individually with various stakeholders to minimise the impact of recent changes in the automotive parts certification business,” said Plucinski. “We will reach out to determine areas CAPA can develop solutions or programmes to support the industry, and we look forward to industry feedback.”

Charlie Shaver Resigns As Chairman Of Axalta

Axalta Coating Systems announced that Charlie Shaver has resigned as Chairman of its Board of Directors, effective 30 June 2019, to focus on other professional commitments. The Board of Directors has appointed current Independent Presiding Director Mark Garrett as its new Chairman. Garrett also serves as Chairman of Axalta’s Strategic Review Committee.

Axalta is looking into a potential sale, after it announced last week that it would conduct a “comprehensive review of strategic alternatives to maximise shareholder value”. Garrett is leading that review as head of the Strategic Review Committee.

“I am honoured to have served as Axalta’s Chairman over the past six years and proud of all the company has accomplished,” said Shaver. “Axalta’s tremendous progress in recent years has enabled the company to review a range of strategic alternatives from a position of strength, which I strongly believe is the best course of action for Axalta and its shareholders, customers and employees. With the review underway, now is the right time to make this important transition at the board level. I look forward to watching the next great chapter in Axalta’s journey under the exemplary leadership of Mark Garrett and Robert Bryant.”

“On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Charlie for the many contributions he has made to Axalta over the past six years, both in the boardroom and as CEO,” said Garrett. “Charlie has played an instrumental role in positioning Axalta for the future by solidifying its market leadership and building a strong foundation for growth. I am honoured by the opportunity to build on Axalta’s rich history and oversee a comprehensive review of strategic alternatives to maximise value for shareholders.”

“I have enjoyed working with Charlie and wish him all the best in the future,” said Robert W. Bryant, Axalta’s Chief Executive Officer. “I look forward to working closely with Mark and the rest of the Board through the strategic review process and beyond to maximise value for Axalta shareholders.”

Frank Kirmis Appointed Director Of Pro Spot Germany

Pro Spot International announced the appointment of Frank Kirmis as its new Director of Sales and OEM Relationships for Europe and Asia.

In his new role, Frank will help Pro Spot continue to build relationships with European vehicle manufacturers, develop its European sales strategy and build up distribution service networks. Kirmis will help oversee expanding locations in Europe and Asia including the company’s new location in Germany.

Pro Spot said Kirmis joins the company with 30 years of experience in the industry, giving him a great understanding of the market and those in it.

“The technology is here, the knowledge is here, the spirit is here; I am excited to continue to grow the brand globally,” Kirmis said.

In addition to offices in Sweden and Italy, Pro Spot said the new location in Germany will help to establish its brand presence with local support for sales, service and product training in a more meaningful way.

“I say this truthfully – I feel like we haven’t started yet and 33 years have gone by, but there are so many opportunities to do so much more,” said Ron Olsson, President of Pro Spot. “With our passion, our products, our engineering and technology, we will continue to keep inventing and developing new ideas to help this industry continue to thrive.”

NSF Discontinues Automotive Parts Certification Programmes

In a surprising announcement, global certifier NSF International will discontinue its Automotive Parts Certification programme and affiliated automotive certification and registration programmes at the end of September.

“NSF International continually evaluates its programmes and services and we considered many factors when making this decision,” said Lori Bestervelt, Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Officer of NSF International. “Ultimately, we are choosing to focus on programmes and services that are more directly aligned with our long-term, strategic vision for the organisation.”

NSF launched its aftermarket parts certification programme covering structural parts in 2010, expanding into programmes to certify the business processes of parts distributors, recyclers and ultimately collision repair shops.

NSF announced its collision repair facility certification programme in 2016 and expanded its parts certification programme to China. In 2017, NSF expanded into Australia for parts and recycler certification programmes.

The programmes will all be discontinued by 30 September 2019.

Axalta Examines The Potential Sale Of Its Business

Axalta Coating Systems today announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a comprehensive review of strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value. The Board has formed a Strategic Review Committee, which will be chaired by the Independent Presiding Director of Axalta’s Board, Mark Garrett, and will also include Axalta Chief Executive Officer Robert Bryant and Axalta Independent Director Samuel Smolik.

The company, which counts Berkshire Hathaway as its largest shareholder, is exploring options, which could include an outright sale of the business.

This would be the second time the former DuPont Performance Coatings (DPC) business is up for sale.

The Carlyle Group private equity firm acquired DPC in February 2013 and renamed Axalta. The company was taken public and Carlyle sporadically reduced its stake, ultimately selling the remainder of its shares in 2016.

“Axalta’s Board is committed to maximizing value for all shareholders and has initiated a comprehensive review of strategic alternatives, including a potential sale of the Company, changes in capital allocation, and ongoing execution of our strategic plan,” said Garrett.

This review comes after a few unproductive takeover discussions.

Axalta discussed a potential merger with Akzo Nobel in late 2017, but those discussions ended after Nippon Paint made a cash bid for Axalta.

However, no deal was concluded between Axalta and Nippon Paint with talks collapsing less than a month after the overture by the Japanese paint giant.

Axalta’s press release said no assurances can be given regarding the outcome or timing of the review process. Axalta does not intend to make any further public comment regarding the review until it has been completed or the Company determines that disclosure is required or beneficial.

The Board has engaged Evercore and Barclays as financial advisors and Morrison & Foerster LLP as legal advisor to assist in its review.

Registration For 8th MSO Symposium Now Open

The Automotive Service Association (ASA) has announced that registration for the 8th instalment of the MSO Symposium in now open.

The MSO Symposium will take place on the Monday before the SEMA/AAPEX show – 4 November, in Las Vegas. The ASA says that similar to years past, the event’s agenda, timing, and content is driven and directed by industry leading members who voluntarily participate on the programme’s advisory board.

The association says last year’s event represented over 4000 collision repair facilities with a total annual revenue exceeding US$7 billion. The programme has continued to evolve, including a move several years ago that expanded the list of companies and individuals that could attend – the inclusion of insurers, OEMs and expanding independent repair facilities was widely praised and proved “visionary” for the event and the industry.

“The MSO Symposium continues to bring together the multi-shop owners and operators, dealers, franchisees, and repair networks from all across North America,” said ASA Immediate Past Chairman, Roy Schnepper. “The exclusive event has evolved into the largest conference in the world, where only collision industry repairers, insurers, and OEMs can gather exclusively.”

The ASA is advising that attendance at the MSO Symposium is limited, and potential attendees need to qualify to visit – insurers, OEMs, multi-shop operators and single location repair facilities with revenue exceeding US$3 million in annual sales are eligible. More information can be found at msosymposium.com.

Registration with early bird rates is also available for a limited time. To begin the registration process, visit:
https://www.eiseverywhere.com/ereg/index.php?eventid=420493&

Solera Holdings Appoints Jeff Tarr as New CEO

Solera Holdings has announced that Jeff Tarr has joined the company as a director and its new CEO. Tarr, who replaces Tony Aquila as CEO, will lead the company in its next phase of growth.

Tarr has two decades of experience leading data and technology-enabled services companies spanning multiple sectors. Most recently, Tarr served as CEO and President of DigitalGlobe, where he led the launch of products that leveraged AI and other new technologies, entered new markets and nearly tripled the company’s revenue. Before DigitalGlobe, Tarr was President and COO of IHS (now IHS Markit) where he helped transform the business into a high-growth, high-margin provider of information and insight.

“I am honoured to be joining Solera, and I look forward to working with the team to continue to grow the company, invest in our products and deliver an industry-leading experience to Solera’s customers and partners,” said Tarr. “For over 50 years, Solera has been leveraging data and software to serve the automotive and insurance industries. With more than 300 million transactions annually across the Solera ecosystem today, no company is better positioned to apply data and technology to protecting the assets people depend upon in their daily lives.”

Tarr serves on numerous corporate and philanthropic boards, including as Chairman of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Management Board, Co-Chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Council on the Future of Space Technologies, Member of the Board of the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Automechanika Launches Body & Paint World Championships

Automechanika is holding the first international Body & Paint competition in the exhibition’s history, in association with DeBeer Refinish, Octotal and SATA. Body shop professionals will be competing against one another at six Automechanika shows worldwide, from England to China, with the national event winners to travel to Automechanika Frankfurt for the grand finale from 8 to 12 September 2020.

Automechanika Frankfurt will be the first Automechanika event to feature Body & Paint as an independent product category in 2020, and organisers are celebrating the occasion by launching an international competition, with events taking place in six countries.

Body & Paint professionals will go head to head and compete with other national body shops by designing the bonnet of a car, using the country in which the local Automechanika fair is being held as their inspiration. The event series will be launched for the first time at Automechanika Birmingham from 4 to 6 June 2019, and will be followed by competitions in Johannesburg, Shanghai, Dubai and Mexico City. In each location, a panel of experts will pick a national winner, who will then get to go to Frankfurt for the finals. In addition, trade visitors will be able to help select the people’s choice winner by voting for their personal favourites at the event and online.

The competition criteria include design uniqueness, the link between the design and the country in which the local Automechanika event is taking place, the use of various techniques (effects, matt/glossy finish, etc.), a harmonious colour palette and the type of spray guns used, and workshop safety considerations and the use of environmentally friendly products. Work that relies solely on transfers or airbrushing is not the focal point of this contest.

Kick-off in Birmingham

The first stage of the contest will take place at Automechanika Birmingham from 4 to 6 June 2019. With the support of Debeer Refinish and Octoral as headline sponsor, as well as SATA and the UK’s NBRA (National Body and Repair Association), various workshop teams will be presenting their designs at the event while offering visitors insight into the creation of their artwork with photos and videos.

“It is great to be able to see the creativity and artistry with which the painters approach their task,” said Wineth Malvar, Global Marketing Director – Brand, Channel & Segment, Automotive Finishes Division for Sherwin-Williams. “We are proud to be a part of this industry and are looking forward to seeing what the first round of the competition has to offer at Automechanika Birmingham.”

You can take part: Design or vote

Does your team belong on the ‘Mount Olympus’ for paintwork? Then submit your application now at www.automechanika.com/competition for the event venue of your choice. Sponsors will select the participants and – with a bit of skill and creativity (because luck has nothing to do with it) – you can earn an invitation to the finals in Frankfurt.

All Automechanika visitors are welcome to visit the special event showcase on location and help select the people’s choice winner – or you can vote online at www.automechanika.com/competition. Voting opens on the first day of the respective trade fair and continues for 14 days.

Competition locations and dates:

Automechanika Birmingham                                 4-6 June 2019
Automechanika Johannesburg                              18-21 September 2019
Automechanika Shanghai                                      3-6 December 2019
Automechanika Dubai                                            7-9 June 2020
INA PAACE Automechanika Mexico City            22-24 July 2020
Automechanika Frankfurt                                       8-12 September 2020