Alfa Romeo Spider Wins ‘Best In Show’ At Motorclassica 2018

A 1932 Alfa Romeo 6C GS Spider was named Best in Show at the 2018 Australian International Concours d’Elegance at Motorclassica.

Owned by Lawrence Southward, the car was judged best amongst the many class winners in the hotly-contested competition, which was held last weekend at Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building,

“Lawrence Southward’s Alfa Romeo 6C Spider is truly a world-class car and a very worthy winner of the ‘best of the best’ award,” said Motorclassica Event Director, Paul Mathers.

“Every year the standard of our Concours entrants keeps getting higher and making the judging that much more difficult, the panel is literally having to make judgements on the most minute of detail.

“It’s fantastic to see this evolution and to share the passion of the owners with our Motorclassica audience.”

Originally owned by English jazz musician and racer, Bubby Featherstonehaugh, the Alfa Romeo resided in the UK for many years before making the trip to New Zealand. It then began a lengthy restoration that was started by Lawrence’s father and sister 16 years ago, both of whom passed away during the process. The vehicle was finished earlier this year after it was entrusted to the team at Bristol Motors in New Zealand.

With aluminium bodywork by legendary Italian designer Zagato, the car is powered by a supercharged 1762cc in-line six-cylinder engine.

While the car was judged winner of the Concours, the highest accolade by the independent judging panel, the 24,000 visitors to Motorclassica 2018 chose the 1969 Holden Monaro GTS owned by Sam Santoro as the People’s Choice award winner.

Restoration of the Year was won by the 1969 Maserati Ghibli Spyder of Barry Edge, which was restored by Re-creation Automotive.

The 10th Motorclassica will be staged at the Royal Exhibition Building on 11-13 October 2019.

Matrix Electronic Measuring Appoints Travis Young As President

Matrix Electronic Measuring Inc, inventors of the Matrix Wand 3D Measuring System, announced the promotion of Travis Young to President. Previously, Young served as the company’s Vice President of Business Development.

“Travis has a proven track record of leadership and business success throughout his career,” said Jan Srack, CEO and co-founder of the company. “During his tenure as Vice President, he injected a new and exciting energy into the company and it has delivered great results for our customers and employees.”

Prior to Matrix, Young was based in the United Kingdom and served as vice president of global business development for an industrial equipment manufacturer.

Valspar Announces Competition Winner of Ultimate Las Vegas Experience

Alex Townsend, of Coastal Collision Repair in Maroochydore, has won Valspar Automotive’s Ultimate Las Vegas Experience competition.

Townsend won a prize pack that included return flights for two people to Las Vegas, seven nights’ accommodation, two tickets to an automotive show and $1000 spending money. In total, the prize pack is valued at more than $6000.

The competition called for entrants to answer questions showcasing the Valspar Automotive line of products. Entrants were provided with many opportunities to enter with new questions being released weekly. Valspar said the promotion had a strong response with numerous entries submitted each week.

Insurers Reject Royal Commission Claims Of Misconduct

Some of Australia’s leading general insurers have rejected allegations of misconduct following examination of their behaviour during the Hayne royal commission’s sixth round of hearings.

Suncorp-owned AAI, which offers insurance under several brands including AAMI, denied the suggestion it had sold misleading policies, while Allianz rejected the commission’s findings of poor culture affecting compliance.

Insurance Australia Group accepted it engaged in conduct that fell below community standards but rejected counsel assisting’s findings that its behaviour constituted misconduct.

Youi also rejected claims made against it, saying counsel assisting Rowena Orr QC failed to prove the case studies were attributable to its particular cultural and governance practices. The company said council assisting sought to portray Youi in the worst possible light and urged the commissioner to reject the findings.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission, under fire for failing to take appropriate action against insurers over issues raised during the hearings, said politicians are to blame.

“The insurance sector has been exempted from a range of laws which have seen ASIC’s ability to review the sector severely limited,” ASIC senior executive and former long-time head of the regulator’s insurance team, Greg Kirk, told the Australian Financial Review.”

Federal Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, said he would look to introduce remediation power to help improve compensation outcomes for affected customers.

Office of Future Transport Technologies Revealed

The Australian Federal Government is establishing the Office of Future Transport Technologies to help prepare for the “pending arrival of automated vehicles and other transport innovations”.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said the initiative was made possible through $9.7 million investment by the government.

In an address to a Roads Australia event held in Sydney, McCormack said Australian governments and industry needed to collaborate effectively in order to develop the right policy, regulation and infrastructure, to adapt to future technology use.

“Getting Australians home sooner and safer is a core focus of our government and the emergence of automated vehicles represents a significant opportunity to realise safety and productivity benefits while supporting Australian industry and innovation,” he said.

“While representing an emerging business opportunity for the national economy, these technologies also have great potential to reduce the $27 billion cost of road crashes in Australia each year. These advances can also help to reduce the significant social impacts that road deaths and injuries have on families and the wider community.”

McCormack said he wanted to ensure these new technologies are deployed in a manner which improves safety, productivity, accessibility and liveability for Australians in both urban and regional areas.

“The establishment of [the] Office of Future Transport Technologies within my department will enable the Australian Government to work with industry, and state and territory governments to ensure Australia is ready for the challenges and opportunities ahead,” he said.

“I expect the Office to collaborate across governments to ensure automated vehicles are safe, to consider future infrastructure needs, to make sure cyber security safeguards are in place, and to support Australian businesses in taking advantage of new commercial opportunities.

“This new Australian Government $9.7 million investment will ensure the regulatory settings are workable and nationally consistent, that they fit with emerging United Nations regulatory developments and are consistent with related Commonwealth policies and laws, including those relating to privacy and data use.

“While some of this work has already started, we will see the Office of Future Transport Technologies ramping up over the next few months to coordinate Australia’s responses to the challenges ahead.”

Hayne Royal Commission Interim Report Says Financial Institutions Driven By Greed

The Hayne royal commission has handed down its Interim Report, saying that publicly-condemned behaviour of some companies within the financial services sector was driven by greed and the pursuit of profit.

Commissioner Kenneth Hayne said the commission had to address the question of why companies engaged in such behaviour.

“Too often, the answer seems to be greed – the pursuit of short-term profit at the expense of basic standards of honesty,” he wrote. “How else is charging continuing advice fees to the dead to be explained?”

He added that the commission also had to prevent the behaviour from happening again.

However, rather than recommending new laws, the 1000-page, three volume report says the sector needs better enforcement of the existing laws as well as simplification of those laws.

“Much more often than not, the conduct now condemned was contrary to law. Passing some new law to say, again, ‘Do not do that’, would add an extra layer of legal complexity to an already complex regulatory regime. What would that gain?” the report says.

The report comes after general insurers came under fire during the Hayne Royal Commission, which finished its examinations last month.

While submissions were made in relation to car insurance, insurers did not face questions regarding the body repair industry, though many repairers say alleged misconduct, connected to home and life insurance, also applied to car insurance.

The commission heard of breaches of the law, misconduct, and insurers failing to live up to community expectations. There is also a lack of regulation in the insurance sector compared to other types of financial services.

Multiple insurers are likely to have engaged in misconduct over claims handling, along with breaching their duty to act in utmost good faith, while the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) was criticised for failing to act against members that breached the insurance code of practice.

Commissioner Kenneth Hayne has been asked to consider charges against South African-owned insurer Youi, and Suncorp-owned insurer AAI, which issues 37 home and contents insurance products through 13 different brands, including AAMI.

The commission heard Youi could be open to findings of misconduct over its handling of two customers after their homes were damaged by natural disasters, while Suncorp’s claims and dispute handling processes were considered “so bad they amounted to systemic problems”.

The commissioner asked Suncorp Group’s Insurance Chief Executive, Gary Dransfield, how much money Suncorp saves on building costs because of discounts from builders who are awarded lots of work from the company. Dransfield replied that it is likely a builder’s margin of 14-15 per cent is charged to Suncorp, rather than a builder’s margin of 20 per cent that might apply to retail customers.

Counsel assisting said AAI’s internal culture seemed more concerned with growing its business rather than compliance with the industry code of practice.

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) said it had raised repeated concerns with AAI about claims handling and the information provided to customers about their dispute resolution rights.

The FOS expressed concern that these were systemic problems and if not rectified, could amount to serious misconduct under FOS’s terms of reference. Concern was also expressed that AAI might not have adequate processes to implement FOS determinations in a timely way, while the FOS also identified two other areas with systemic problems at Suncorp.

Dransfield also accepted the potential for insurance company-appointed engineers to be biased in favour of the insurer because they are often reliant on those companies for ongoing work.

Swann Insurance came under fire when Counsel Assisting Mark Costello suggested the commission could find the company engaged in misconduct by giving incentives to authorised representatives to sell as many add-on policies as possible with no regard to the suitability of those products. Costello also told the commission that parent company IAG failed to properly oversee Swann. The company no longer sells add-on insurance products.

It is estimated that Swann would have to remediate around 64,000 customers $37.1 million for mis-sold add-on insurance.

Costello suggested it is open to the commissioner to find that Swann undertook no meaningful review of its products. Despite ASIC concerns, Swann failed to see if its products offered any value to customers. It continued to pay car dealers large commissions to sell products without monitoring the sales practices of its representatives, possibly breaching s912 of the Corporations Act.

Counsel Assisting Rowena Orr said the commission is open to find insurance company Allianz engaged in misconduct via misleading statements published on its website. The failure to report misleading and deceptive conduct to ASIC, and to have a compliance system in place, could also amount to misconduct.

Orr said Allianz’s behaviour, which included seeking to manipulate independent reports, fell below community standards, adding that monitoring and supervision remains an issue for the company. According to Orr, Allianz’s culture fails to consider risk and compliance a priority, while the company responds defensively when challenged.

Another insurer, ClearView, admitted to 303,000 criminal breaches of the law through its use of an aggressive cold-call sales force.

Other insurers were also under pressure when Orr suggested CommInsure’s outdated medical definitions may have fallen short of community standards, as did AMP, which continued to charge insurance premiums to people who had died.

Regarding the ICA, Orr told the commission that the council had not applied any sanctions, despite the code governance committee determining there were 33 breaches and around 31,000 incidents of self-reporting since July 2014.

In response, ICA CEO Rob Whelan said the council only applied sanctions when breaches are not remedied, resolved or corrected.

While acknowledging its limitations, Whelan told the commission the ICA believes in self-regulation and that the code should not form part of consumer contracts.

Cromax Appoints Kevin Torfs New EMEA Brand Manager

Axalta has appointed Kevin Torfs as the Cromax Brand Manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). The announcement coincides with the brand celebrating its fifth year in its incarnation as Cromax.

“At Cromax, we advocate productivity in everything we do,” said Torfs. “We have an esteemed history that dates back nearly 100 years. And, over the last five years, Cromax has gone from strength to strength thanks to the hard work and determination of everyone across the region. I look forward to continuing this momentum, ensuring that Cromax is a brand that drives productivity for its end users at all stages of the paint repair. Our next chapter will be nothing but exciting.”

Torfs has held various roles in Cromax for over 13 years, most recently including Digital Marketing Specialist. He is also a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt for Axalta, the company behind the global refinish brand and a leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings.

The brand says it is focused on continuing to bring innovative products and services to its body shops, especially energy saving processes which help body shops with their overall energy costs.

“Our attention is also squarely on everything digital,” Torfs explains. “From the most advanced tools and processes to value-adding services, our body shops can achieve improved productivity and optimised workflows.”

Training is another area Torfs is passionate about.

“Continuous professional development is vital, because it doesn’t matter at what stage in their career a refinisher is, our industry is always evolving, so staying on top of new techniques and new products will ensure the best work in the body shop,” he says.

Torfs takes over from Dries Van den Bergh, who moves to a full-time role as Customer Relationship Management Leader for Axalta.

Insurers Under Fire At Hayne Royal Commission

General insurers have come under fire during the Hayne Royal Commission, which finished its examinations last Friday.

The commission heard insurers Allianz and IAG may have engaged in misconduct, while the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) was criticised for failing to act against members that breached the insurance code of practice.

In relation to Allianz, Counsel Assisting Rowena Orr said the commission is open to find the company engaged in misconduct via misleading statements published on its website. The failure to report that misleading and deceptive conduct to ASIC and to have a compliance system in place could also amount to misconduct.

Orr said Allianz’s behaviour, which included seeking to manipulate independent reports, fell below community standards, adding that monitoring and supervision remains an issue for the company. According to Orr, Allianz’s culture fails to consider risk and compliance a priority, while the company responds defensively when challenged.

Swann Insurance also came under fire when Counsel Assisting Mark Costello suggested the commission could find the company engaged in misconduct by giving incentives to authorised representatives (ARs) to sell as many add-on policies as possible with no regard to the suitability of those products. Costello also told the commission that parent company IAG failed to properly oversee Swann.

Regarding the ICA, Orr told the commission the council had not applied any sanctions despite the code governance committee determining there were 33 breaches and around 31,000 incidents of self-reporting since July 2014.

In response, ICA CEO Rob Whelan said the council only applied sanctions when breaches are not remedied, resolved or corrected.

While acknowledging its limitations, Whelan told the commission the ICA believes in self-regulation and that the code should not form part of consumer contracts.

A report containing questions arising will be published on Friday 28 September, with the parties involved able to respond by October 1.

Axalta’s Acquire Quantum EFX Selected As Finalist For 2018 R&D 100 Awards

Axalta announced its Color Retrieval System featuring Acquire Quantum EFX was named a finalist for R&D Magazine’s 2018 R&D 100 Awards, which features the top 100 revolutionary technologies of the past year.

 The Axalta Color Retrieval System is the company’s proprietary online process designed to help customers obtain any colour information needed, quickly and more efficiently than ever before.

“The Axalta Color Retrieval System and the Acquire Quantum EFX are helping to digitize the body shop industry and reduce its reliance on matching colours by their visual appearance,” said Barry Snyder, Senior Vice President, Chief Technology Officer. “The System packs innovative colour technology into a lighter and faster unit to help customers create more accurate and faster colour matches, allowing for more vehicle throughput.

“Axalta is an innovation company and we invest four per cent of sales each year to developing new technologies. The Axalta Color Retrieval System and the Acquire Quantum EFX are new innovations paving the future for a more efficient body shop industry. We’re thrilled and honoured to be named a finalist in the R&D 100 Awards.”

The R&D 100 Awards is an annual awards programme which will be held in mid-November. The programme identifies and celebrates the top 100 revolutionary technologies of the past year. These awards recognise 100 of the top innovations across five categories: Analytical/Test, IT/Electrical, Mechanical Devices/Materials, Process/Prototyping, and Software/Services. The R&D 100 Awards Finalists were selected by an independent panel of more than 50 judges representing R&D leaders in a variety of fields.

Axalta’s Acquire Quantum EFX.

Ezi-Methods Achieves One Million Method Downloads

Auto Industry Consulting has announced that it recently achieved the milestone of one million repair methods downloaded by customers of its Ezi-Methods service.

Ezi-Methods gives repairers the ability to download the repair methods they need to ensure safe and efficient repairs are undertaken and to remain compliant with industry standards.

Over the last four years the number of subscribers has increased rapidly, with customers particularly appreciating the ease of use, reliability and value for money provided. The service is fully MVIRI compliant, and users can access their individual download history to demonstrate compliance at audit time.  The system can be accessed from a desktop, tablet or mobile phone, and as it takes just three clicks to download the correct method, no special training is required.

“We launched Ezi-Methods as a result of there being a significant demand for a repair methods system that is simple, reliable and reasonably priced, said Ben Cardy, Commercial Director of Ezi-Methods owner, Auto Industry Consulting Ltd.

“Providing over one million repair methods to customers since the launch is an incredible achievement for us and is testament to how hard we’ve worked to get here. However, it’s only the first step as we expect to do the second million far quicker than the first!”

Andrew Marsh, Engineering Director, added: “We continue to offer a collision repair centric service covering not only body panel but SRS, seats / seat belts, interior trim, ADAS, four-wheel alignment, steering / suspension / brakes as well as front end cooling pack. It is this that sets us apart and gives our clients the edge in the repair process. We thank all of our clients who have been with us so far, and look forward to serving the industry for many years to come.”

The lucky customer who downloaded the one millionth method was Paul Wood, Vehicle Damage Assessor at The ARC Group in Chippenham, UK. Presented with a bottle of champagne and an Ezi-Methods shirt customised with his name and the words “Millionth Method Man”, he commented: “Thanks loads to Ezi-Methods – not only for this excellent bottle, but for making our lives easier in the office here. It really is a great system to use, quick and simple, with everything you need instantly accessible. The guys on the helpdesk are super responsive and will get you anything you need ASAP.”

For more information on Ezi-Methods, visit www.ezimethods.com.au.