I-CAR Australia Awards Gold Class To More Shops

I-CAR Australia Gold Class Coordinator Gary Wood announced that Sommerville Smash Repairs in Nerang, Queensland and Wayne Phipps Smash Repairs in Midland, Western Australia have been awarded the prestigious I-CAR Gold Class Collision status.

“Chris first approached us just over 12 months ago with an interest in becoming Gold Class accredited,” said Wood. “Following the training plan created for his shop, the staff have been regular participants in virtual training sessions and have been a pleasure to deal with. I look forward to continuing the relationship with Chris and the team at Sommerville Smash.”

“On behalf of the Sommerville Smash Repairs team, we are mighty proud of our latest achievement of I-CAR Gold status, we thank all the I-CAR team for their assistance throughout the journey, and a special thanks to Axalta,” said Chris Agnew.

“It has been a great month for everyone involved at Wayne Phipps Smash Repairs,” added Wood. “Along with achieving I-CAR Gold Class status they have also become part of the Holden Certified Repairer Network. Wayne Phipps Smash Repairs join an exclusive group of repairers who continue to set high standards in the industry.”

“Wayne Phipps is extremely proud to have achieved I-CAR Gold status,” said Wayne Phipps. “It has taken some time and energy but has been worth the ride. Staff at Wayne Phipps Smash Repairs have been enthusiastic and competitive during the journey.

“All of us at Wayne Phipps Smash Repairs look forward to working with I-CAR on our journey of continuous improvement.”

Wayne Phipps Smash Repair
Wayne Phipps Smash Repairs.

UPDATED: Associations Express Mixed Views Over Government Mandatory Repair Information Paper

(UPDATE 13 Feb: This article has been updated with the MTA NSW’s response.)
Three automotive industry associations have expressed mixed reaction to the release of the federal government’s consultation paper on the introduction of a mandatory scheme for the sharing of vehicle service and repair information between car companies and independent repairers.

The AAAA said it welcomed the document’s release but warned that some aspects of the paper are inconsistent with the ACCC’s findings. VACC gave it a “lukewarm” reception and labelled it “weak”, while the Motor Traders’ Association of NSW “strongly welcomed” the Government’s commitment to guarantee independent repairers access to car manufacturers’ data.

“We strongly encourage the government to take onboard the full ACCC findings and recommendations relating to the attributes of a mandatory scheme, as the overriding objective of this scheme is to provide fair and open competition to promote choice and affordability for all Australian car owners,” said AAAA Chief Executive Officer, Stuart Charity.

“We are concerned about the language used throughout the consultation paper that relate to “exclusions” and “restrictions” that may be included in a mandatory code.  Of course, there will need to be safeguards in place to protect the security and integrity of vehicle related data, however vehicle security should not be used as an excuse by car companies to withhold critical information required to complete a vehicle repair or service.

“These terms were not used in the ACCC Final Report and if they are included in the final code, we have no doubt that car companies will fully exploit this by linking all required information to either security, safety or emissions, and in reality, nothing will have changed for consumers,” said Charity.

“In order for Australian consumers to be treated fairly when it comes to the scheduled servicing, maintenance and repair of their vehicles, car companies should not be able to decide who receives information based on their own definitions relating to safety, security and emissions. The ACCC’s Final Report recommended that all required technical information ‘be shared with independent repairers on commercially fair and reasonable terms, subject to appropriate safeguards to enable the sharing of environmental, safety and security-related technical information,’ and we fully support this recommendation,” he added.

The association is also concerned by the potential for manufacturers to determine the appropriate level of investment by independent workshops in order to access service and repair data. The AAAA believes this will allow vehicle manufacturers to charge exorbitant fees for information, special tools, training and equipment and is unworkable in a market of more than 70 car brands.

“We believe that after two separate government inquiries on this matter and over eight years of consultation, it is now time for the government to build on the ACCC’s findings and recommendations and implement a mandatory code as a matter of urgency,” said Charity.

VACC expressed disappointment over the paper’s lack of penalties for manufacturers that fail to comply with the directive.

“Frankly, this document is not worth the paper it’s printed on,” said VACC Chief Executive Officer, Geoff Gwilym. “If a ‘mandated code’ has no penalties for non-compliance it will not work in the real world.”

VACC wants the government to revise its paper to include significant penalties in a bid to garner largescale compliance.

“VACC has been calling for a mandated code for a long time now. We will not be satisfied until it is a genuine mandated code – this means that there are explicit penalties if manufacturers fail in their obligations to share the information for which they are obliged.”

Gwilym said the time for consultation has long since expired and that all sides of government need to get on with the job of making a mandated code a reality.

“All stakeholders know what’s expected. But relying on goodwill has simply not worked in the past. The industry needs the next federal government to mandate a code of conduct where expectations are fully explained, along with the ramifications for those OEMs who will not play fair.”

VACC said the Labor Party is on record as supporting a mandated code for the sharing of motor vehicle service and repair information, something Gwilym believes will become an election issue.

“In the lead-up to the next federal election, Australian motorists – all 15 million of them – will consider this significant consumer issue as they enter polling booths and decide on this country’s next federal government,” said Gwilym.

MTA NSW said the release of a consultation paper was a step in the right direction, and welcomed the intended creation of an advisory group which will include the association working alongside the national body, the MTAA.

“As the only NSW employer association to represent dealers, independent service providers, repairers, dismantlers/recyclers and other automotive industries, MTA NSW has worked closely over the last 24 months with MTAA to advocate to ensure any regulatory solution takes into account the needs of all automotive businesses and consumers,” said MTA NSW CEO, Stavros Yallouridis.

“We have proactively participated with the MTAA member states and territories to develop a draft code of conduct as a potential solution which has involved extensive analysis of both European and US practical experiences to ensure a pragmatic approach is achieved.

“The code of conduct must not advantage or disadvantage any service provider over another and ensure consumer choice and a level playing field for all automotive sector industry participants. If done correctly then there should be benefits for dealers, independent mechanical repairers and other repair providers,” added Yallouridis.

Axalta Opens New ANZ Head Office In Sydney

Axalta today officially opened its new Australia and New Zealand regional head office.

The company said the 5300 square metre multi-functional facility will enable higher quality and faster service for customers throughout the region, greater access to the company’s broad selection of advanced coating technologies and products, and more efficient supply chain solutions for customers.

Axalta CEO, Robert Bryant, said the facility is a significant milestone for Axalta and its customers in the region.

“It demonstrates our confidence in the growing Australian and New Zealand markets and creates an important opportunity to be closer to our customers under one roof,” said Bryant. Customers will benefit because of the greater access to new products, faster customer service, and the unique training opportunities offered at our new facility. In addition, the expanded presence in ANZ enhances the capacity we need to meet our long-term growth plans in the region, which is an integral part of our continued global growth.”

Located in Marsden Park, Western Sydney, the facility will house regional corporate offices, a customer training facility, and a warehouse and distribution centre. Each of Axalta’s business segments – Refinish, Industrial, and Transportation – will be represented in the new building.

The state-of-the-art customer training centre will use Axalta’s latest coating technologies, training techniques and digital tools. The company said this will help customers achieve high quality results while increasing productivity and profitability.

Axalta said customers will also gain in-depth knowledge of the latest spraying application systems that use less energy and reduce waste, have fast-drying finish, and use superior colour matching technologies. The training centre is expected to be fully operational within the next four months.

“Axalta is the world leader in refinish and consistently invests in enhancing our capabilities, facilities, and training to help customers grow their businesses,” said Steven Brett, Managing Director, Australia and New Zealand, Axalta. “We provide our customers with access to the latest products and innovations in the industry and offer the best training available. We are excited about our new training capabilities in the region, and that we can now offer the most efficient warehousing and distribution methods all from this terrific new facility.”

From left: Vice President and President Emerging Markets, Sobers Sethi; CEO Robert Bryant; and Managing Director Australia and New Zealand, Steven Brett.
From left: Vice President and President Emerging Markets, Sobers Sethi; CEO Robert Bryant; and Managing Director Australia and New Zealand, Steven Brett, officially cut the ribbon to open Axalta’s new head office in Australia and New Zealand.

Capricorn Searches For The Next Rising Star

Capricorn has launched its 2019 Rising Stars Apprentice of the Year competition, which helps members recognise, reward and retain their high performing repairers.

With support from major sponsorship partner Castrol, Capricorn will identify outstanding apprentices from more than 20,000 general automotive, collision repair, commercial vehicle, auto-electrical, fabrication and other automotive member workshops across Australia and New Zealand.

Offering more than $20,000 in prizes, the competition runs from February to April, 2019.

The winning apprentice, their workshop boss and two friends will score an all-expenses paid trip to the Gold Coast 600 Supercars race meeting, along with 150,000 Bonus Capricorn Reward Points (valued at $1500) from Castrol. The winner will also receive training at the Workshop Whisperer’s Leadership Academy to help fast-track their career development.

The top five finalists, including the overall winner, will receive a $1000 tool kit and Autopedia subscription from Repco, two tickets to attend Repco Masterclass Clinics, additional online training from AutoMate and tickets to the Capricorn Gala Dinner and Tradeshow in their closest city, along with additional prizes.

Capricorn CEO Automotive and Rising Stars judge, David Fraser, described the Capricorn Rising Stars Apprentice of the Year competition as an important initiative to assist in addressing the shortage of qualified mechanics and other repairers.

“We’ve listened to our members when they’ve told us that one of their biggest concerns for the future is the lack of qualified mechanics and technicians. As a co-operative that exists purely to make it easier for our members to run and grow their business, Capricorn is very pleased to be running this top performing apprentice-based initiative,” said Fraser.

“It’s not just about who wins. Through Capricorn Rising Stars we hope to encourage more of the best young people working in the industry, letting them know that they have a bright future ahead of them,” he added.

The Capricorn Rising Stars judging panel includes some of the most experienced automotive aftermarket industry professionals in the country. The panel includes AAAA Chief Executive Officer Stuart Charity, Castrol General Manager (Australia & New Zealand) Tanya Ghosn, TaT Biz Director Jeff Smit, The Workshop Whisperer Managing Director Rachael Scheldrick, and Gavin Cribb from the Kangan Institute’s Automotive Centre of Excellence.

To enter, Capricorn Members must nominate apprentices at www.capricornrisingstars.com. Nominees have until 30 April 2019 to complete their applications.

Ghosn Resigns, Renault And Nissan Pledge To Continue Alliance

Carlos Ghosn, the architect of the Renault-Nissan alliance, resigned from Renault as he remains incarcerated in Japan where he is accused of financial misconduct at Nissan. Ghosn was sacked by Nissan shortly after his arrest on 19 November.

Renault announced the appointment of Michelin’s Jean-Dominique Senard as its new chairman, while interim CEO Thierry Bolloré will now take on the role on a permanent basis. Ghosn originally retained both roles at Renault after his arrest in Japan, despite other alliance members Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors swiftly removing him from the roles he held at those companies.

Renault and Nissan have pledged to continue their alliance, with Nissan’s chief executive Hiroto Saikawa welcoming Renault’s management shake-up.

“In the big picture, this is a big milestone that we are reaching. We are starting a new chapter. So, I welcome this new leadership of Renault,” Saikawa said.

Ghosn faces three charges of financial misconduct in Japan, including understating his income and aggravated breach of trust. He denies any wrongdoing and could remain in custody for months after his second application for bail was denied.

US Trade Associations Call for Adherence To OEM Procedures

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM) and Association of Global Automakers (AGA) have declared that all “post-collision vehicle repairs” must follow OEM repair procedures.

The statement said that OEM repair procedures follow service and structural engineering practices that have been tested by the manufacturers through crash simulation, actual crash testing and real-world validation of repair methodology. The statement also noted that following such procedures is as important as ever, given evolving vehicle technology.

“There was a time when a basic understanding of autobody repair would allow a repairer to fix nine out of 10 vehicles that come into a shop. That time has passed,” said Wayne Weikel, AAM Senior Director. “If a collision shop is going to fix the cars of today, they cannot use the repair procedures of yesterday. The only way to repair today’s vehicle is by following the OEM recommended repair procedures on every repair.”

“An automaker’s top priority is its customers’ safety, as is safeguarding the overall health of the motor vehicle fleet utilising our nation’s shared roadways every day,” the joint statement declared.

Bosch To Conduct Victoria’s First On-Road Automated Vehicle Trials

The Victorian state government has announced that Bosch will begin the first on-road trial of automated vehicle technology approved under the Automated Driving System (ADS).

Acting Premier Jacinta Allan said Bosch has been awarded $2.3 million from the Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV) trial grants programme and issued with Victoria’s first ADS permit for on-road testing of highly automated driving systems.

Bosch will begin testing on high-speed country roads in 2019, exposing the technology to various conditions including traffic, infrastructure and weather. The trials will help Victoria understand the infrastructure required to allow these vehicles to operate on the state’s roads

Bosch Australia President, Gavin Smith, said the company is keen to demonstrate how this type of technology can reduce trauma on country roads.

The CAV programme provides funding to companies, industry bodies and other transport technology organisations that can develop appropriate technology. Other successful applicants for funding are expected to be announced shortly.

Allan said Victoria is leading the nation in the future of on-road technology and described the trial as an exciting step towards driverless vehicles hitting the road.

“The tragic fact is that you’re five times as likely to be killed on a rural road than in the city. That’s why we’re rolling out a record roads investment in rural Victoria – and this is another way we can improve safety and save lives,” said Allan.

Regulations to support the ADS permit scheme, which authorises the use of automated vehicles for testing and development on Australian roads, were completed in 2018.

AkzoNobel Increases Support For The HD Repair Forum

AkzoNobel Coatings has increased its support of the HD Repair Forum by joining Navistar as one of the two exclusive Elite Sponsors for the 2019 event, to be held on 2-3 April in Fort Worth, Texas.

The company was a premier sponsor at the inaugural conference in 2018 and hosted its spring 20-Group meeting alongside the heavy-duty collision conference.

“The company’s involvement and enthusiasm for the heavy-duty industry was obvious. Attendees knew their products and were proud to discuss the benefits they received from being involved with AkzoNobel,” said Brian Nessen, President and Co-Founder of the HD Repair Forum.

Jimmy Harris, co-facilitator to AkzoNobel’s 20-Group, said members find great value in attending the HD Repair Forum.

“At our autumn meeting in 2018, members voted unanimously to once again host the spring meeting upon completion of this conference,” he said.

Nessen said having the group for 2019 confirmed the importance of bringing the industry together.

“We are pleased to hear of their enthusiasm and take pride in being able to further assist this already strong segment of the industry. Their decision supports the ongoing plan for industry collaboration and fits with the direction of the HD Repair Forum, to bring the heavy-duty repair industry together for education and networking.”

The HD Repair Forum is a dedicated resource of heavy-duty collision repair information for shop owners, managers, estimators, appraisers, insurance personnel, manufacturers, educators, and consultants.

At this year’s event, heavy-duty collision repair professionals from across North America will gather to obtain information on the latest trends and industry issues, and discuss the latest technology, solution-based services, and training opportunities.

Heavy-Duty Collision Repair Event Schedule:

Tuesday 2 April
7:00am: Registration
8:00am – 5:00pm: Conference
5:00pm – 6:30pm: Networking Reception

Wednesday 3 April
8:00am – 5:00pm: Conference

Thursday 4 April
AkzoNobel’s 20-Group Meeting

Early-bird registration is available until 9 February. To register visit hdrepairforum.com/hd-repair-forum-2019/register. For more information about the conference, visit www.hdrepairforum.com.

Chuck Olsen Will Host 12 February CIECAst Webinar

Chuck Olsen, Executive Director of Operations for AirPro Diagnostics, will host the next CIECAst webinar on Tuesday, 12 February at 11am CST (5pm UTC): “Interpreting and Documenting Scan Data, Trouble Codes, Calibration.”

During his one-hour live broadcast, Olsen will discuss the proper application of live scan data, DTCs and service information during the scan process for diagnostic and calibration decisions, as well as the tools and equipment needed.

Olsen has 40 years of experience in the automotive repair and technologies industry. His current focus includes operations and continued development of remote diagnostics, calibrations, programming procedures with data analysis for improved diagnostic results, and documentation of confirmed electronic repairs and procedures.

To register for the CIECAst, visit: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/8353101282448106755

Dave Luehr’s Elite Body Shop Academy Launches ‘Operations Monthly Live’

Elite Body Shop Solutions founder Dave Luehr has announced the release of the Elite Body Shop Academy’s latest training course, Operations Monthly Live. The academy says the new course is specifically designed to help collision repairers receive interactive monthly training and support to reach their operational goals.

“My observations lately indicate that body shop leadership and their teams work way too hard for the results they are getting,” said Luehr. “Shops that will thrive in the future desperately need a better approach. My purpose in launching ‘Operations Monthly Live’ is to share these much‐needed operational secrets with our industry.”

Luehr is offering the first live cast for free on 8 January, 2019, at 10:00am US Central Standard Time.

The academy says that during this one-hour training session, Luehr will share a simple system of operational goal setting and execution that will help body shop executives proactively regain control and find operational success like never before.

To attend, visit and signup for Operations Monthly Live. The academy says visitors who subscribe to future monthly live casts will be given an opportunity to interact live with Luehr while learning world‐class operational techniques and leadership fundamentals, with the blend of educational content allowing participants to successfully implement and sustain the operational techniques learned each month.

Dave Luehr’s Elite Body Shop Academy was created in 2018, with the goal of providing “collision shop personnel modern operational, leadership, and general body shop education in an easy-to-access online video format”. Visitors can sign up for free at the academy to access their own private content accounts.

To learn more, visit elitebodyshopsolutions.com/academy.