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

Fix Network World Celebrates “The Power Of One” At 2019 Global Conference

Fix Network World celebrated its 2019 global conference earlier this month at the Hard Rock Hotel Cancun, with approximately 350 people from 14 countries (Canada, USA, UK, France, Turkey, China, Australia, Germany, South Africa, New Zealand, Spain, Ireland, Mexico and the Czech Republic) attending.

The event, for which the theme was “The Power of One”, was the first of its kind in that it united delegates from across all three of Fix Network World’s aftermarket services brands: NOVUS Glass, Fix Auto and Speedy Auto Service. According to organisers, the theme was chosen specifically to recognise and celebrate not only the power and potential of each franchisee, but as a tribute to the strength of one network coming together.

The event kicked off with a welcome cocktail on 2 May, followed by a one and a half day business conference featuring corporate updates, franchisee and work provider panel discussions, and keynotes from special guest speakers Mitch Lowe, co-founding Executive of Netflix and CEO of MoviePass, as well as Ted Graham, Head of Open Innovation at GM Canada and author of The Uber of Everything. Bringing together both business and leisure, the conference also featured social activities and networking opportunities, such as the Fix Network World Beach Party and organised group excursions. The event concluded with a gala evening and awards ceremony acknowledging the work of franchisees from around the world.

Fix Network World President, Steve Leal, said uniting the networks and celebrating individual and collective accomplishments is important.

“Our global family of entrepreneurs is united by a passion for quality and success,” said Leal. “Their appetite to adapt to change is what drives us at Fix Network World, and it is the very reason we put this event together, as a celebration and opportunity for continued growth.”

Amongst guests were franchisees, staff, industry specialists and VIP guests, as well as representatives from Fix Network World’s four global supply partners: 3M, AkzoNobel, Mirka and SATA.

MSO Symposium Dates And Location Announced

The Automotive Service Association (ASA) has released the dates and location for the eighth instalment of the MSO Symposium – it will take place on Monday 4 November at The Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel, marking the event’s first return to Las Vegas since 2013.

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

Last year’s event featured representation from over 4000 collision repairer facilities, with total revenue exceeding US$7 billion annually.

The programme has continued to evolve since its inception. Several years ago, the advisory board unanimously voted to expand the list of companies and individuals that could attend. According to organisers, the inclusion of insurers and OEMs has proven to be “visionary”, a point being attributed to the “leaders” represented on the advisory board. Organisers added that the networking and collaboration amongst the three industry groups further enhances the value of the overall programme.

“The advisory board plays a critical role in the success of the MSO Symposium,” said Chairman, Bob Wills. “They provide direction and guidance as to the speakers and content most relevant to their respective businesses. We sincerely appreciate their time and commitment.”

Attendance at the MSO Symposium is limited to insurers, OEMs, multi-shop operators and single location repair facilities with revenue exceeding US$3 million in annual sales. For more information, visit msosymposium.com.

I-CAR Australia And Audi Australia Announce Training Programme

Audi Australia is pleased to announce a new training programme for Australian technicians, for local body repair.

This new programme provides an industry-leading development pathway for body technicians, as well as providing a local cost-effective training and certification programme for the Audi Approved Repairer network.

Audi Australia and AUDI AG, in partnership with I-CAR Australia and the SAPE Group, have co-developed a programme that not only includes international Audi recognition, but also, I-CAR international certification and accreditation. The programme utilises a local state-of-the-art training facility in Sydney, with Audi approved special tooling and equipment.

“This partnership not only provides body technicians with the best platform to improve their knowledge and skills, but it supports our Audi Approved Repairer network with a sophisticated programme that ensures our team is equipped with skills that lead the industry,” said Jerome Figuiere, Aftersales Director at Audi Australia.

“I-CAR Australia has a long-standing relationship with Audi and this recent announcement continues to show our mutual commitment to delivering up-to-date, relevant body technician training to all Audi Approved Repairers,” said Mark Czvitkovits, CEO of I-CAR Australia.

Upon completion of the programme, technicians receive joint certifications from Audi and I-CAR Platinum Individual, which supports Audi Approved Repairers to fulfil the requirement to become an I-CAR Gold Class repairer.

BASF Supports Young Auto Refinishers At The Global WorldSkills Competition

Known internationally as the world championship of non-academic occupations, the WorldSkills competition aims to motivate young people worldwide to take up a trade or technical profession.

By sponsoring this initiative, the Automotive Refinish business unit of BASF’s Coatings division supports young talents, inspires them, and makes them excited about the spray-painting profession in particular. Initiated in 1950, trainees and young skilled workers from all over the world compete with each other at the WorldSkills and measure their skills in numerous categories ever since.

Through national and regional preliminary competitions only the best of their trade qualify for the finals of the biennial world championships. For BASF as the global industry partner of WorldSkills International with its Glasurit brand since 2017 and also the official sponsor in the “Car Painting” category, the competition is a great opportunity to support the next generation of automotive refinishers and also make the paint and coatings industry aware of young, well-trained talents.

At the WorldSkills competition, participants in the category “Car Painting” will exclusively use products from the comprehensive portfolio of BASF’s refinish brands Glasurit or R-M, depending on the country. Local trainers and online tutorials will help the young spray painters to learn more about efficient application processes and provide them with useful tricks for best results. During the finals, the jury will also pay close attention to a sustainable way of working. By selecting the right products, reducing waste and re-using materials, the participants will be in the position to combine ecological vision and economic success.

From August 22 to 27, young professionals under the age of 25 will meet for the finals in Kazan, Russia, to prove their craftsmanship in the international competition. WorldSkills organizers are expecting more than 100,000 visitors from all over the world as well as 1,600 participants from more than 60 countries who will measure their skills against each other in 56 performance competitions.

Win Free Weekend Passes to Meguiars MotorEx

Meguiar’s MotorEx is back, showcasing a gathering of custom, classic and performance cars on the weekend of 11 and 12 May at the Melbourne Showgrounds, Ascot Vale. BodyShop News has six weekend passes to give away.

Across 40,000 square metres, over 700 vehicles with a combined value of over $50 million dollars will fill the showgrounds for an action-packed schedule across the festival weekend. With 30,000 people expected to flood though the gates, organisers say it’s going to be massive.

Famed industry celebrities are booking their flights across the oceans to be part of MotorEx. West Coast Customs owner and star of “Pimp My Ride”, Ryan Friedlinghaus, is bringing a never-seen-before build, while South End Kustoms owner Keith ‘Kid’ Dean will be sharing his expertise, including a custom car chop master class.

Skid Factory is one of the largest Australian YouTube modification series, with stars Al and Woody organising a huge meet-up at MotorEx for fans and to show off three different Skid Factory builds.

The Meguiar’s Superstars are the undisputed kings of the Australian show car scene. The stand-alone exhibit will be a jaw-dropping spectacle, as will be the House of Kolor Unveils with the revealing of the most incredible never-seen-before builds, all in a custom House of Kolor spray.

The Street Machine Hall of Fame is back – bigger than ever – showcasing some of the most iconic old-school race cars including Dick Johnson’s Greens’ Tuf Falcon, John French’s iconic Bryan Byrt XY GTHO, Murray Carter’s legendary XY and more. For JDM fans, the GT-R 50th year anniversary celebration exhibit will host some of the best GT-Rs in the country.

MotorEx is giving attendees the rare chance to feast their eyes on the most iconic concept cars in Australian history. From the priceless 2008 Holden Coupe 60 to the outrageous Holden Hurricane, these creations proudly showcase Aussie talent and engineering know-how.

Real Street is another addition to MotorEx, with a special opportunity for car owners to be directly involved in the show. Hundreds of owners of beautiful street cars converge on MotorEx each day, adding a huge depth and variety of cars for attendees to walk around and admire.

MotorEx is also taking action to the next level. Due to “overwhelming demand”, Australia’s best drifters and their customised rockets will again be thrilling crowds with regular sideways demonstrations across the weekend. Ticket holders can also sign up to Drift Cadet, booking in for the wild drift ride of a lifetime. If you are craving more horsepower, the VCM/Mainline Dyno will be on-site testing engines to their limits, while burnout beast engine start-ups will rock the showgrounds.

The automotive aftermarket industry is a key feature of Meguiar’s MotorEx and a unique opportunity for businesses, headlined by a selection of automotive aftermarket companies direct from the world’s largest automotive trade show SEMA. Adding to this is the Performance Garage, where more than 100 aftermarket suppliers will showcase their latest products, technology and services to an engaged, targeted audience.

MotorEx is also hosting the VCM MotorEx Seminar Series, which brings together a variety of industry presenters and topics in 12 exclusive sessions over the weekend, free to all ticket holders, along with the Flying Spanners competition for TAFEs and other training institutes to encourage the next generation of automotive apprentices.

For more information on Meguiar’s MotorEx, visit www.motorex.com.au, and to win your free weekend pass, email [email protected] with the answer to the following question: What is the combined value of the vehicles expected at MotorEx? The first six entries with the correct answer will get a free Weekend Pass.