Capital S.M.A.R.T Launches Collision Repair Apprentice Programme

Recognising the need to train apprentices to ensure the Industry has skilled tradespeople in the future, Capital S.M.A.R.T launched its first dedicated apprentice training Site on Monday. S.M.A.R.T has created an accelerated programme in partnership with PPG and the Kangan Automotive Centre of Excellence which will enable its apprentices to develop their skills quickly by supporting theory with constant supervised practice.

“Gone are the days where apprentices spend a lot of their day sweeping up and washing cars. This programme is all about developing skills and knowledge by having our apprentices on the tools every day,” said Jim Vais, Group Operations Director. “We have dedicated trainers on site, following a structured training programme which sets out the content to be covered each day. Apprentice progress is assessed regularly throughout the programme and the trainers are able to fast track the training for those who learn quickly and slow down the pace for those that need more time.”

The apprentices work on practice panels and a practice car initially. Once assessed as competent then are given live jobs to work on under the supervision and care of their trainer. The new program is being piloted in the Australia state of Victoria initially, with plans to set up further dedicated training sites across Australia and New Zealand in the next two years.

Fix Auto Welshpool Joins Fix Auto Australia Network

Terry Feehan, Head of Business for Fix Auto Australia is pleased to announce the addition of Fix Auto Welshpool, owned and operated by Mark Zeyad Damer to the Fix Auto network, effective July 27th 2017.

Having begun his career as an apprentice panel beater in 1993, Mark is today an experienced collision repair professional with over 23 years of experience in the business. In 2003, after ten years of learning and refining his craft, and inspired by his father, Mark opened his own collision repair centre, Swan Smash Repairs. Over time, the business grew and prospered, and in 2007, the shop was moved to a larger location, to which an adjacent unit was added in 2011 to create capacity for increased business.

Having owned and operated his own collision repair facility for 14 years, Mark has witnessed many changes within the industry. He made the decision to join the Fix Auto network realising that consolidation is imminent and that the future would prove challenging for independent collision repairers who did not embrace change. Mark says he was impressed with Fix Auto’s global reach and entrepreneurial business model, which allows him the freedom to continue operating at a local level.

“The Fix Auto network is made of successful family-owned businesses like mine, which grow thanks to their owner’s passion for the industry. Plus, Fix Auto offers value through their supply chain, as well as world-class marketing support and access to industry-leading operational tools and procedures. Through Fix Auto, we benefit from a recognized brand, strong industry relations, and a collective commitment to excellence. These benefits coupled with corporate support and a comprehensive suite of reporting tools allows me to proactively monitor processes and increase productivity,” said Mark.

Mark added that his core values, especially his focus on customer service, are aligned with Fix Auto’s priorities. “Customer service and quality of repairs have always been our primary focus. The dedication to our customers and superior service that you have come to expect over the past 14 years will remain unchanged. In fact, Fix Auto is made up of forward-thinking shops that are dedicated to continuous improvement, just as we are. After an accident, customers can be upset, so we do our best to minimise the impact and build trust by explaining the repair process. We first provide them with a calm and clean office environment. We then make an effort to explain the step-by-step process, from sending a quote, to the authorisation and repairs. Customers are made aware of the repair process and feel that they are in good hands, which reduces their worries and makes for an improved experience,” added Mark.

Fix Auto Australia Head of Business Terry Feehan concludes: “As Fix Auto grows in Australia, we are looking for partners who share our values and our vision of the future, and we know Mark and his team are a great fit for our growing business. I want to congratulate Fix Auto Welshpool on the start of this new chapter and welcome them to the Fix Auto family.”

For more information on Fix Auto Australia, please visit

Akzo Nobel CEO Ton Buechner Resigns

Akzo Nobel CEO Ton Büchner, who only in May fought off a €27 billion takeover of the company, has suddenly resigned with immediate effect for health reasons. The Amsterdam-based group named Thierry Vanlancker its new CEO. Vanlancker recently led the company’s speciality chemicals division.

Vanlacker joined DuPont in 1988 and held a number of senior positions in Europe and the US. He joined Akzo Nobel in 2016. Ton Büchner, who joined Akzo in 2012, is credited for turning the group into a leaner and more profitable proposition over the course of five years. However, he came under serious pressure when US rival PPG Industries attempted a takeover of the company – first amicably and then almost in hostile fashion.

At the start of June, Büchner finally deflected the takeover attempt by PPG Industries, following a long three-month struggle that involved activist investor Elliott Advisors pushing at least for dialogue over the takeover. As part of the defence against PPG, Büchner promised to divest Akzo Nobel’s speciality chemicals unit, leaving the main business focused on paints and coatings. He also raised the company’s financial targets.

Akzo Nobel said Büchner was “responsible for significantly improving the performance of the company, increasing profitability and cash flow to record levels” during his time as CEO.

Axalta And TAFE NSW Celebrate Inaugural Training Graduation In Australia

Axalta Coating celebrates the success of its partnership with educational institute TAFE New South Wales, with the graduation of its inaugural programmes’ first students. TAFE, or Technical and Further Education, is Australia’s leading provider for vocational education and training courses. The programme will help address Australia’s shortage of skilled technicians for body repair and refinish, with nearly 5000 technicians needed to maintain industry sustainability.

Axalta’s alliance with TAFE NSW began in 2016. After the closure of TAFE course facilities at Mount Druitt, Axalta welcomed students to its facility in nearby Riverstone, Western Sydney. Well-equipped with the latest in paint technology and repair equipment, Axalta’s training centre gives access to technical trainers who instruct the students in the latest application techniques, evolving digital technologies, and repair processes.

“At our Riverstone training centre, we provide the materials, the venue and a trainer to work alongside the TAFE trainer,” says Paul Polverino, Axalta’s National Training Manager. “Our aim is to show these talented young people that they can have a rewarding career in auto repair and refinish.”

In this regard, the partnership has been an incredible success. Around 90 per cent of students who take the course through TAFE NSW and train at Axalta’s Riverstone facility continue with their study, where typically, half of apprentices in Australia drop out before completion. “The average dropout rate for all apprentices is about 50 per cent,” says Carl Tinsley, the Autobody Repair and Surface Coatings teacher at TAFE NSW, Campbelltown. “But we found that with the Axalta course, we have a 90 per cent retention rate. They receive hands-on training on modern technology and repair techniques, and can see how all of that turns into a well-paying job.”

Under the training and support of the partnership, each student has now successfully completed their Certificate III Vehicle Painting Apprenticeship. The first apprentices were recognised in an awards presentation in late June, where I-CAR Australia’s OEM & Operations Co-ordinator, Jason Trewin, was there to present the six graduates with their I-CAR Platinum Certificate. “I-CAR congratulates the first group of apprentices to successfully complete their training. The initiative shown by the whole team at the Axalta training centre and the refinish staff at Campbelltown College should be commended for their efforts,” said Trewin.

With the successful graduation of the first students under this programme, Axalta is committed to continue its support of additional apprentices who seek a career in auto repair and refinishing as an integral element of Axalta’s passion for sustainability and strength in the industry’s future.

The first students to graduate with their mentors and trainers.

Toyota And Mazda Will Jointly Build A A$2 Billion US Plant

Toyota and Mazda announced plans on Friday to build a A$2 billion assembly plant in the United States and work together to develop electric cars and advanced safety technologies.

The plant is expected to produce up to 300,000 cars a year and create jobs for 4000 workers. It is expected to begin operations in 2021, but a location for the plant has not yet been decided.

Friday’s announcement builds on an existing partnership. Toyota, which makes the Prius hybrid, Camry sedan and Lexus luxury models, already provides hybrid technology to Mazda, which makes compact cars for Toyota at its Mexico plant.

Toyota will produce the Corolla model for the North American market at the new factory, while Mazda will make cross-over models there.

Toyota will acquire a five per cent stake in Mazda, valued at 50 billion yen (A$570 million). In turn, Mazda will acquire 50 billion yen worth of Toyota shares, the equivalent of a 0.25 per cent stake.

“The greatest fruit of our partnership with Mazda is that we have found a new partner who truly loves cars,” said Toyota President Akio Toyoda. “It has also sparked Toyota’s competitive spirit, increasing our sense of not wanting to be bested by Mazda. This is a partnership in which those who are passionate about cars will work together to make ever-better cars. It is also the realisation of our desire to never let cars become commodities.”

“Nothing would please me more than if, through this alliance, we can help to energise the auto industry and create more car fans by bringing together two competitive spirits to spur each other on, leading to innovations and fostering talent and leaders,” said Mazda President and CEO Masamichi Kogai.

The alliance grew out of a May 2015 agreement between Mazda and Toyota to “mutually benefit the companies in such forms as leveraging the resources of both companies and complementing each other’s products and technologies toward the goal of making more appealing cars,” Toyota said in a statement.

Volvo Will Drop The Internal Combustion Engine From 2019

Volvo Cars is making the shift away from the internal combustion engine. The car manufacturer has announced that from 2019 onwards all new cars launched will feature an electric motor.

Its a bold step and represents one of the most significant moves by any car manufacturer to embrace electrification. “This is about the customer,” says Håkan Samuelsson, President and CEO. “People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers’ current and future needs. You can now pick and choose whichever electrified Volvo you wish.”

The company explains that it will introduce a new portfolio of electrified cars across its model range, embracing fully electric cars, plug in hybrid cars and mild hybrid cars. The first part of the plan will see it launch five new fully electric cars between 2019 and 2021, three of which will be Volvo models and two of which will be high performance electrified cars from Polestar, Volvo Cars’ performance brand.

After that it will unveil a range of petrol and diesel plug in hybrid and mild hybrid (48 volt) derivatives in all model ranges, representing one of the broadest electrified car offerings of any car manufacturer.

Pure ICE cars will therefore gradually be phased out and replaced by ICE cars that are enhanced with electrified drivetrains. “This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” continues Samuelsson. “Volvo Cars has stated that it plans to have sold a total of one million electrified cars by 2025. When we said it, we meant it. This is how we are going to do it.”

Body Repairers Guide To Workplace Safety

It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that their workers return home the same way they left it, without injury. There are many potential hazards within the Body Repair industry that must be addressed, and necessary steps to be taken to ensure workers are safeguarded from risks. Pro-Visual Publishing, in partnership with the Institute of Automotive Mechanical Engineers (IAME) and the Australian Association of Progressive Repairers (AAPR), has released the 2017/18 edition of the Body Repairers Guide to Workplace Safety.

This year’s safety guide provides information on the following key areas:

• Spray painting in spray booths.
• Common spray painting and powder coating hazards.
• Planning and establishing a Safety Management System (SMS).
• Safety signs in the workplace.
• 10 commandments of workplace safety.

Additionally, the Augmented Reality (AR) content creates a space for interaction and a window for more information and resources relevant for body repairers, which is accessible via the free Pro-Vis AR App.

“I would like to thank all of the sponsors of the Body Repairers Guide to Workplace Safety 2017/18. Their support has made it possible for the Guide to be distributed free of charge” – John Hutchings, CEO, Pro-Visual Publishing.

Pro-Visual Publishing is a group of dedicated professionals providing wall-mounted health, wellbeing and safety guides to over 40 different industries. For more than 20 years, we have been the leading specialists in this market. We aim to continually engage and educate via up-to-date information and interactive resources, with the overall motivation being to ensure greater health and safety outcomes.

For further information, or to obtain additional copies of the Guide, please call (02) 8272 2611, email or visit

Get Your Ezi Methods From Car Craft

Ezi Methods parent company, Auto Industry Consulting Ltd (AIC) has signed an agreement with the Car Craft Group to exclusively distribute Ezi Methods to the auto body repair industry in Australia and New Zealand.

Ezi-Methods provides OEM based smash repair methods and information via a user friendly and cost effective on-line solution.

Based on a “three clicks to method” operation, the Ezi-Methods system ensures that vital technical information required to undertake safe and cost-effective repairs is readily available to Estimators, Assessors, and Technicians. Ezi-Methods is also available via mobile applications to eradicate additional print costs and down time. Ezi-Methods is also supported by an additional methods request service, a 24-hour service providing additional data where required.

Car Craft Group General Manager, Peter McMahon, said: “The opportunity to distribute the Ezi Methods system to the industry is an exciting move for the group. The relationship is an excellent fit with the groups philosophy on repair quality and correct method. The Ezi Methods program also has the added benefit of assisting repairers meet the AMBRA National Shop Grading requirements and complying with the MVIRI Code of Conduct.”

McMahon went on to say: “The need to confirm the method before you write a quote is a no-brainer for me. Access to a quality repair information platform is critical to the efficiency of a repairs and key to key times”.

AIC Commercial Director Ben Cardy said: “Teaming up with a major industry player like Car Craft will further enhance Ezi-Methods in Australia and New Zealand, this is a great opportunity for all repairers in the Australian market to get the benefits of accessing methods of repair which, in today’s environment, is vital in ensuring the vehicles are returned to pre-accident condition”.

Call (08) 6253 7207 or email

Peter McMahon

Subaru Recommends Pre- And Post-Repair Scanning For Damaged Vehicles

Subaru of America is the latest vehicle manufacturer to provide guidance on diagnostic scanning in collision repair.

The company said its models incorporate sensors, cameras and other high-tech components that are critical to the vehicles’ operation and safety. If damaged in an accident, these components might trigger diagnostic trouble codes (DTC) that aren’t displayed on the vehicle’s instrument cluster.

Pre-scanning will reveal DTCs for items that are not functioning properly in the vehicle. It allows a shop to identify any issues early in the estimate process, allowing a more complete estimate and encompassing repair process.

Post scanning is critical in ensuring the malfunctioning items have been repaired and there are no remaining DTCs, according to Subaru. This may also assist in assuring the appropriate calibrations and reinitialisations have been performed.

Upon contacting Subaru Australia, the local arm provided the following statement:

“Subaru-approved repairers in Australia are required to apply rigorous testing and calibration in line with factory settings for all models. In addition, in more recent years since the introduction of our EyeSight Driver Assist system, any repairs related to this technology additionally undergo very strict testing to ensure system accuracy.”