Axalta To Build New, State-Of-The-Art Facility In The Netherlands

Axalta signed an agreement to develop a new, state-of-the-art facility in the Netherlands for its Dutch refinish business.

Once construction is completed, Axalta’s global refinish brands in the Netherlands – Cromax, Spies Hecker, Standox, and Syrox – will relocate to the new facility on Business Park Medel, both in Tiel.

The facility will also house Metalak BV.

“There has been a period of growth and change following our acquisition of Metalak in 2015,” said Adrien Schrobiltgen, Axalta’s VP for Refinish Systems in Europe, Middle East and Africa. “We have outgrown our current location’s ability to support us in the way in which we need it.”

Axalta’s plot in Business Park Medel is 12,000 square metres and will house, once completed, a large facility comprised of office space over three floors, a warehouse, and a new Axalta training centre as well as separate mixing room, which is part of Axalta’s direct business point of distribution, servicing both high-volume customers as well as local colour development.

“We are always looking to improve our level of support to our customers, so today, with a view to the future, we commit to building a state-of-the-art facility,” said Bas van de Ven, Axalta’s managing director for Refinish in the Netherlands “The new training centre will be able to meet the future needs of the market, while the new offices and sophisticated automated warehouse will allow us to take our daily operations to the next level and to attract and to retain outstanding talent.”

Ground is due to be broken on the site in October 2019, with an anticipated completion date by summer 2020. The facility will be operational and ready to move into by September 2020.

Adrien Schrobiltgen, Axalta VP for Refinish Systems in EMEA.

Solera’s Autodata Acquires AutoMate Training

Autodata Publishing Group, a Solera Holdings group company, has confirmed the acquisition of AutoMate Training, a provider of online technical training and professional development platforms to the automotive industry.

Founded and based in Sydney, Australia, Solera says AutoMate has rapidly expanded from a fledgling start-up to become a globally competitive player, offering automotive eLearning to thousands of automotive professionals and workshops in more than 60 countries. The company says AutoMate’s online training programmes are developed by a highly-experienced team of automotive experts and specialists, with the programmes combining cutting-edge 3D visualisation with comprehensive real-vehicle analysis.

Solera says that AutoMate and Autodata are both trusted and valued information service providers to more than 85,000 automotive workshops across the world, as well as corporate clients in the automotive service, maintenance and repair (“SMR”) industry. The company says Autodata itself is recognised as the go-to automotive data solution for workshops with many countries seeing 80 per cent of workshops choosing Autodata to meet their service, maintenance and diagnostics needs.

“Joining the Solera family is a logical and exciting next step on our strategic journey as a company,” said Jonathan Sampson, Managing Director and founder of AutoMate. “This union will see AutoMate’s renowned training programmes made available in new global markets and will ensure increased business growth through further product development. AutoMate’s eLearning expertise, combined with Autodata’s highly advanced diagnostic and repair data, promises to deliver new and existing customers a compelling suite of products for the automotive mechanic.”

“AutoMate’s innovative solutions and strong management team provide immediate value with Solera,” said Rod Williams, Managing Director of Autodata. “Together we provide immense value to Solera’s 400,000+ SMR users, enabling us to further capitalise on the opportunity to support both our existing users and beyond with AutoMate’s solutions.”

BASF Named 2018 GM Supplier Of The Year

BASF was named a 2018 General Motors (GM) Supplier of the Year for the 14th time since 2002. The award is presented by GM to suppliers who distinguish themselves by meeting performance metrics for quality, execution, innovation, and total enterprise cost.

“We hold our suppliers to a high bar,” said Steve Kiefer, GM Senior Vice President, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain. “They went above and beyond to deliver the innovations and quality that will help us earn customers for life.”

GM says award winners represent companies who provide products and services to GM in the areas of vehicle components, supply chain and logistics, customer care and aftersales, and indirect services.

With its broad array of colour solutions, modern paint processes, engineering plastics advancements and polyurethane technologies, BASF says it helps GM improve productivity and environmental performance, with its Coatings division providing its time- and resource-saving Integrated Paint Process to GM, while supplying many GM plants with advanced coating technologies.

“This award is a result of strong customer focus from the whole organisation. Our business relationship with GM is centred around innovation, performance and continuously enhancing the customer experience,” said Dirk Bremm, President, BASF’s Coatings division.

ExxonMobil Appoints MotorActive To Distribute Mobil Lubricants In Australia

ExxonMobil Asia Pacific Pte Ltd announced the appointment of automotive retail specialist, MotorActive as a new authorised distributor for Mobil lubricants in Australia.

“We are excited to join with MotorActive, which is highly respected within the automotive industry and enjoys close ties with the motor enthusiast community in the country,” said Evan Chng, Director of Market Development, Fully Distributor Served Markets & Thailand, ExxonMobil Asia Pacific Pte Ltd.

He added, “While Mobil commercial customers across Australia have access to more personalised and local service through our existing distributors in their respective territories, this new chapter reflects our endeavour to expand the availability of Mobil 1TM and other lubricants to car owners and motor enthusiasts through retail and online platforms. We are confident that it will give them an even more convenient and easier access to the ultimate in lubricant technology,”

Bruce Morrison, Managing Director, MotorActive said, “We are thrilled to be on board with ExxonMobil in the Australian market. We look forward to building on our relationships with leading automotive parts and accessory retailers in the country and to create new synergies in product distribution and customer engagement for Mobil lubricants through a mix of digital advertising, social media, and product promotions.”

“We pride ourselves on offering leading automotive brands to the motoring enthusiast community and we are delighted to bring Mobil 1TM, one of the most recognisable brand in the world, even closer to our customers.”

Parker Hannifin To Buy LORD Corporation

Parker Hannifin Corporation, a manufacturer of motion and control technologies, announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire LORD Corporation for approximately US$3.675 billion (A$5.22 billion) in cash. The transaction has been approved by the Board of Directors of both companies and is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of applicable regulatory approvals.

LORD, a privately-held company founded in 1924, makes products that are used in the aerospace, automotive and industrial markets, with annual sales of around US$1.1 billion (A$1.56 billion). LORD has 3100 employees at 17 manufacturing and 15 research and development operations worldwide.

“With complementary business segments, coming together with Parker enables LORD to carry out our grander vision,” said Ed Auslander, President and CEO of LORD. “Parker is already a large tier-one supplier in many areas, allowing our business lines immediate access to growth, additional markets, applications and new customers. In addition, the two companies are very much aligned when it comes to core values, great business acumen and cultural fit.”

Parker-Hannifin employs about 58,000 people globally. Its revenues last year topped $14.5 billion (A$20.56 billion).

Holden Financial Services Launches In Australia

GM Financial, the global automotive finance company of General Motors, has officially launched its Australian business, Holden Financial Services.

Holden Financial Services Managing Director, Richard Tatford, said GM Financial’s expansion into Australia is a compelling opportunity to partner with an established domestic automotive brand, a highly competitive vehicle portfolio and a committed dealer network.

“Holden Guaranteed Value – our first product offering – gives customers the choice and flexibility to trade in, keep or return their vehicle at the end of their selected finance term, with the peace of mind around the future value of their vehicle,” said Tatford.

“It is a promise to our customers that their vehicle should retain its value over time, because of the assurance of a guaranteed buyback at the end of their loan agreement. Customers can rest assured that the value of their vehicle is future proofed.”

“Our expansion into Australia is the latest example of how we are growing our business and providing mobility solutions that help us earn customers for life,” said Rick Livingood, Executive Vice President, Asia Pacific, GM Financial, who visited Melbourne for the Australian launch. “We are fully focused on creating added incremental value for Holden, the dealer network and our retail customers.”

Holden Chairman and Managing Director Dave Buttner said the launch of Holden Financial Services means the Holden dealer network can now utilise GM’s captive finance company to offer competitive and innovative finance options for customers.

“The launch of Holden Financial Services reflects General Motors’ confidence in the future of Holden,” said Buttner. “Many Holden dealers and customers have consistently told us that they would like the choice of a captive finance company as they consider finance options for a new vehicle purchase. We are delighted to now be able to offer Holden Financial Services, backed by the strength and global footprint of GM Financial.”

In addition to Australia, GM Financial has operations in the US, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China (through joint ventures), Colombia, Mexico and Peru, covering approximately 90 per cent of GM’s worldwide automotive sales footprint.

National Business Council Returns In 2019

The Axalta Services team will be showing body shops how to meet the challenges of achieving productivity and profitability, head on, through a National Business Council symposium held at the Novotel in St Kilda, Melbourne from 11 to 13 August 2019.

Axalta says Axalta Services works hard with body shops to successfully manage both productivity and profitability by creating networking and management training opportunities engineered specifically for body shops. The company says the National Business Council symposium creates such a platform to effectively demonstrate how, through innovative business solutions, body shops can restructure to create a more sustainable business model, helping to future proof their business.

“The 2019 National Business Council is all about providing valuable insights into some of the tools and techniques that are critical in increasing throughput and decreasing cycle times within the collision repair process,” said Robin Taylor, Axalta’s Services Manager.

According to Axalta, the symposium’s seminars will focus on issues that are currently impacting or will impact body shops, as well as “looking at effective business strategies, targeting customer relationship management and change management”.

Attendees will also hear from Collision Advice’s Mike Anderson, who brings extensive knowledge and experience from the US market. Anderson will discuss leading trends in the US and focus on his experience in a dynamic industry.

Happening every few years, Axalta says the National Business Council is a networking opportunity for people in the industry to come together and share their experiences. Not only do attendees leave with insights into how to make their body shop more productive and profitable, but they also leave with a greater understanding of where the refinish industry is heading and how rapidly it is evolving.

“After attending the National Business Council, it made me realise just how many changes are happening in our industry today,” said Bert Rowsell, Managing Director of Rowsell Collision Repairs, about the 2016 conference. “I gained valuable insights that I can now take back to my businesses and more importantly, I have great networking contacts with whom I can share ideas. I found the two-day seminar very informative, with quality guest speakers and lively group discussions. I eagerly await the next conference.”

To learn more about the National Business Council or to register your interest, please visit www.axalta.com.au/axaltaservices.

I-CAR Awards Insurer Gold Class To Auto & General Insurance

I-CAR Australia’s Gold Class Coordinator, Gary Wood, announced that Auto & General Insurance has been awarded the prestigious I-CAR Gold Class Insurer status.

“Auto & General is very pleased to be awarded Gold Class Insurer status by I-CAR Australia,” said Anthony Matthews, General Manager Assessing. At Auto & General we realise that our biggest asset is our people, and partnering with I-CAR we are committed to ensuring our assessors are best in class, highly skilled and equipped to manage the ongoing developments in the smash repair industry.

“Auto & General is proud to partner with I-CAR to ensure that our assessors understand our customers’ needs, make the process easy the first time and every time, and with our partner repairers, ensure every car is returned to customers with the required repair specifications.”

“To achieve Insurer Gold Class, a minimum of 75 per cent of an insurance company’s assessing staff must have been awarded the Platinum Individual designation,” said I-CAR’s Gary Wood.

“Auto & General Insurance has shown a great commitment to I-CAR’s Professional Development Program to meet those requirements and as a result have achieved I-CAR Gold Class Insurer status. This will ensure that all assessing staff have the skills and knowledge to provide safe repairs for their members. Congratulations to everyone at Auto & General Insurance on a fantastic achievement.”

EC Fines Car Safety Equipment Suppliers € 368 Million In Cartel Settlement

The European Commission has fined Autoliv and TRW more than € 368 million for breaching EU antitrust rules. Takata was not fined as it revealed the cartels to the Commission.

According to the EC, the companies took part in two cartels for the supply of car seatbelts, airbags and steering wheels to European car producers. All three suppliers acknowledged their involvement in the cartels and agreed to settle the case.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy said: “This is the second time we fine car safety equipment suppliers for participating in a cartel. Components such as seatbelts and airbags are essential for the safety of the millions of people that use their car to drive to work or take their children to school every day. The three suppliers colluded to increase their profits from the sale of these life-saving components. These cartels ultimately hurt European consumers and adversely impacted the competitiveness of the European automotive sector, which employs around 13 million people in the EU.”

The three car equipment suppliers addressed in this decision exchanged commercially sensitive information and coordinated their market behaviour for the supply of seatbelts, airbags and steering wheels to the Volkswagen Group and the BMW Group. The coordination to form and run the cartel took place mainly through meetings at the suppliers’ business premises but also in restaurants and hotels, as well as through phone calls and e-mail exchanges.

Solera Breaks Ground On North America Research And Training Centre

Solera Holdings hosted a “ground-breaking” for its research and training centre, CESVI LIV Centre of North America (CESVI LIV NA), last week.

The ground-breaking ceremony, which took place in Justin, Texas, was performed by Chris Mullen, Executive Director of CESVI LIV NA, and Tony Aquila, founder, Chairman and CEO of Solera.

Solera says the facility will focus on providing “factual, credible and documented research” which will be disseminated throughout training and expert consultancy on advanced technology trends.

Research will span the automotive insurance, collision repair, vehicle manufacturer and vehicle owner industries. CESVI LIV NA will provide insight and deliver tools to reduce repair costs within the North American claims environment, and will also integrate OEM repair procedures into consultation and training that “promotes best practices in vehicle service, maintenance and repair”.

“This centre will add value to the automotive insurance industry,” said Chris Mullen, Executive Director of CESVI LIV NA.” “Our research, consultation, technology and training will provide data and insights into the most efficient and effective repair processes, which will then support better residual values and create more cost-efficient automotive repairs, ensuring safe vehicles get back on the road.”