End Of The Road For Car Museum

The largest collection of classic cars in the Southern Hemisphere is going up for Auction in April, with most cars completely unreserved.

The Gosford Classic Car Museum has closed its doors after a bitter dispute with the Australian Tax Office, based around whether the museum/dealership is entitled to the same taxation exemptions as other car dealerships.

More than A$30 million worth of luxury cars will go under the hammer after the owner of the classic car collection appointed Lloyds Classic Car Auctions as the exclusive worldwide auctioneer.

“Interest in this auction is already pouring in with strong bidding already commencing online and we’ve only published the auction on our website in the last few days,” said Lee Hames, Chief Operations Officer for Lloyds Auctions.

“This impressive collection of classics is highly important to motoring enthusiasts and collectors, and because there is such a wide range of cars from European, Australian and American classics, we are expecting thousands of people to show up even more than the Brock Collection Auction we ran in October last year.”

Cars within the collection include an extensive range of classic and vintage cars and motorcycles, including European, Australian and American classic cars. Ferraris, Aston Martins, Porsches, Fords and Holdens are all part of the auction.

The collection is now open for bidding online and will go up for auction in a simulcast live and online event on the weekend of 6-7 April at the Gosford Classic Car Museum. Further details can be found at www.lloydsauctions.com.au.

Fix Network World Announces Launch Of Fix Auto Masters Programme

Fix Network World has announced the launch of Fix Auto Masters, an all-new technical skills and knowledge competition programme aimed at “celebrating the skills of technicians” from across the global Fix Auto network. The first region to take part in the Fix Auto Masters programme is Fix Auto UK.

Fix Network World Operations Manager Nick Spiers says he believes a platform such as Fix Auto Masters is an important step in showcasing the talent of front-line technicians, while helping create a closer global community within the Fix Auto network.

“At Fix Network World, our people are the key to our success, and celebrating skills and performance is something we are most passionate about,” said Spiers. “Many of our technicians around the world have been instrumental in our growth and continue to have an important impact on our consistent performance. This is our way of recognising them and bringing together the best of the best.”

The programme is also supported by Thatcham Research in collaboration with 3M and AkzoNobel. Fix Network World says it is designed to measure performance in one of three categories: M.E.T., body repair and paint. Qualifying applicants will first undergo a written exam and those with the highest scores will move on to a practical assessment. The top performer in each category will be presented an award by Fix Network World at Fix Auto UK’s upcoming national conference, while automatically qualifying for the future global Fix Auto World Masters competition.

“It’s a great pleasure to support the Fix Auto Masters programme,” said Dean Lander, Head of Repair Sector Services at Thatcham Research. “We are delighted to be developing the tests and assessments to recognise the skills and dedication of body shop technicians.”

The programme is being rolled out nationally by Fix Auto UK, making the group the first region to launch a national search for top talent in its network.

“The Fix Auto Masters programme will provide us with the opportunity to show our colleagues from overseas who make up the global Fix Auto family just how skilled we are here in the UK,” said Fix Auto UK’s Ian Pugh.

More Fix Auto Masters regional launches will be announced in 2019. For more information on the Fix Auto Masters programme, visit fixauto.com.

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.

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.

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.

ASA Appoints Ray Fisher As Executive Director

Ray Fisher, Executive Director of ASA’s Michigan affiliate, has been selected to head the Automotive Service Association as its Executive Director and President, from the beginning of 2019.

Fisher replaces Dan Risley, who left to pursue an opportunity in his home state of Illinois in July. Beth Risch has served as ASA’s interim Chief Operating Officer while ASA’s Board of Directors conducted an extensive search.

“I appreciate the opportunity that the ASA Board of Directors has afforded me, and I look forward to serving the independent automotive repair industry,” Fisher said about his new role leading the 67-year-old organisation.

“We are at a critical time in our industry where involvement plays an important role. Education and training are no longer an elective but required. Trade schools were forgotten, technology can be overwhelming, and we have an aging workforce that is faced with some difficult decisions. ASA can help lead the industry in addressing those challenges.”

ASA Board Chairman Roy Schnepper said the board felt Fisher distinguished himself in several categories that led to his selection.

“The ASA National Board considered many variables in choosing our next executive director,” said Schnepper. “After reviewing approximately 80 resumes, the search committee of Bryan Kelly, Jim Keller, Robert Redding, Darrell Amberson and myself narrowed it down to three well-qualified candidates and presented this to the board of directors. Ray’s broad industry background and long association experience as Executive Director of the ASA-Michigan affiliate made him the best candidate. We welcome Ray to his new role and look forward to working with him to grow the association through his knowledge and dedication to serving our members.”

Fisher, who has served the industry in varied roles, has been President and Executive Director of ASA-Michigan since 2010. In addition, he served as a body shop manager for more than 20 years and an expert witness for a local law firm regarding collision repair and processes.

With formal education in business administration, Fisher is an Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) and an Accredited Master Automotive Manager (AMAM). He has extensive legislative experience, driving key issues for ASA-Michigan members on sales tax issues and shop licensing. His recognition and contributions to the organisations he served have resulted in numerous awards, including the ASA Affiliate of the Year Award in 2018, ASA Legislative Award in 2015 and 2016, as well as the I-CAR Founder’s Award.

“I’d also like to thank Beth Risch for her service as interim COO during our search process and look forward to continuing our relationship in her consulting capacity,” added Schnepper.

Robert Bryant Named Chief Executive Officer Of Axalta

Axalta has announced that its board of directors has named Robert Bryant Chief Executive Officer on a permanent basis, effective immediately. He had been serving as interim CEO since October 2018. Bryant was also appointed to serve on Axalta’s board of directors.

“Over the past two months, Robert has seamlessly stepped into the role of interim CEO and led the company in a challenging market environment,” said Charlie Shaver, Axalta’s Chairman of the Board. “Having worked closely with him over the past six years, I am extremely confident in his ability to lead Axalta effectively as our permanent CEO. The board and I look forward to seeing Axalta build on its success and continue to thrive under Robert’s leadership.”

“I appreciate the board’s confidence in me and am honoured to continue working alongside a talented management team and dedicated employees to build on Axalta’s well-deserved reputation for customer service and innovation,” Bryant said.

The company also announced that Sean Lannon has been named Chief Financial Officer on a permanent basis, effective immediately. He had been serving as Vice President and interim Chief Financial Officer since October 2018.

“Sean’s business and financial acumen, years of experience working in increasingly senior finance roles at Axalta, and extensive background in financial reporting make him a great fit to succeed me as Axalta’s CFO,” said Bryant. “I am very excited to continue working with Sean to grow Axalta and build shareholder value over the long term.”