Collision Hub News Network CHNN – News For December 2018

Collision Hub News Network episodes provide in-depth coverage from leading industry experts on the news and information needed to stay current in claims and repairs. This episode of CHNN delves into issues currently facing the Collision Repair industry:
  • ABRA and Caliber Merge
  • CCC Files Suit Against Mitchell Partner Tractable
  • Ford Parts Ways With Assured Performance Network For Certified Repair
  • CAPA Certifies Back-Up Cameras

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.”

UNSW Sunswift Solar Car Sets Guinness World Record

The UNSW Sunswift solar car team last week set a new Guinness World Record for the lowest energy consumption driving across Australia with an electric car.

The student team completed the 4100km journey between Perth and Sydney two days ahead of schedule and averaged 3.25kWh per 100 kilometres, well under the 5.5kWh/100km needed to set the record.

The Sunswift team’s aim for the energy cost was to be less than that of a single tank of fuel. The total costs for the trip turned out to be A$50.

Traveling an average of 600 kilometres each day, the trip was without incident – but ‘Violet’ proved difficult to control.

“Violet is lively on the road a lot, it’s not a production car and you have to kind of handle it like a horse in order to manage it on public roads. But we did it,” said Sunswift team member Hayden Smith.

Violet is the sixth solar car designed and manufactured by the Sunswift team and its first four-seat, family-oriented vehicle. It is five metres long, 2.2 metres wide and stands 1.2 metres high. The vehicle weighs 360 kilograms, thanks in part to its lightweight chassis of carbon fibre monocoque with foam and an aramid honeycomb core.

The car’s solar array consists of 318 SunPower monocrystalline silicon cells with a conversion efficiency of 22 per cent. They charge a modular lithium-ion battery bank that can be sized between 10 and 20 kilowatt-hours, powering twin rear wheel in-hub, brushless DC synchronous motors. Violet has a top speed of 140 km/h.

The car also has front and rear boot space, a reversing camera, parking sensors, an interactive display screen with GPS as well as other creature comforts such as air-conditioning.

“These students have pushed the boundaries of modern engineering and proven that solar powered cars are likely to be a big part of Australia’s motoring future,” said UNSW Dean of Engineering Professor Mark Hoffman, who met the team at the finish line in Sydney.

The team will be busy in the new year preparing for the 2019 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, which covers 3000km from Darwin to Adelaide.

The Sunswift Solar Car project has been running at UNSW for 23 years.

Volkswagen Toolmaking Opens 3D Printing Centre

The Volkswagen brand’s Toolmaking unit says it is adding a “highly advanced” 3D printing centre to its facilities in Wolfsburg, bringing the “most highly advanced generation of 3D printers” to the Volkswagen Group to enable the production of complex vehicle parts in the future.

“The 3D printing centre takes Volkswagen’s additive manufacturing activities to a new level,” said Dr. Andreas Tostmann, board member for production of the Volkswagen brand. “In two to three years’ time, three-dimensional printing will also become interesting for the first production parts. In the future, we may be able to use 3D printers directly on the production line for vehicle production,” Tostmann added.

VW says the new generation of 3D printers developed in cooperation with US manufacturer HP is the most modern within the Volkswagen Group and is based on the binder jetting process, which supplements the previous selective laser melting (SLM) process. Binder jetting not only makes metallic 3D printing considerably easier but also faster, while in future, it will be possible to manufacture production parts in addition to prototypes, according to Volkswagen.

At the opening ceremony, Oliver Pohl, Head of Additive Manufacturing, underlined the performance of the team which was said to have recorded outstanding achievements for the future since the start of conversion work a year ago. “Here, we have created an innovative centre which will be of tremendous strategic importance for Volkswagen in the future.”

“The inauguration of the 3D printing centre underlines the importance of Innovation Fund II, which makes investments like this possible,” said Works Council member Susanne Preuk. “The Works Council welcomes the fact that the company is opening up to new technologies and shaping them in a future-oriented way in the interest of the employees.”

To date, the Volkswagen Group says it has mainly used the SLM process for 3D printing with metals. In this process, the material used, such as steel, is applied to a base plate in a thin layer. A laser beam then melts the powder at the points where the component is to be created. The molten powder hardens, forming a solid material layer. The new printers at the centre will now allow the use of other 3D printing processes such as binder jetting. In this additive process, components are manufactured using a metal powder and a binder applied in layers. The metal part which has been printed is then “baked” in a sintering process. Volkswagen say in future, the various processes, which each have specific applications, will supplement each other in an ideal way.

Volkswagen Joins All Auto Recalls To Recover Takata Airbags

Following on from its agreement with Subaru Australia, All Auto Recalls has added Volkswagen Group Australia to its list of partners for recovering Affected Takata Airbag Inflators (ATAIs) from salvage yards and automotive recyclers.

The mandatory recall notice issued by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) requires all manufacturers to replace all defective ATAIs that were used in their vehicles by 31 December 2020.

As vehicles get older, a combination of high temperatures and humidity can affect airbags installed inside. In the event of a collision, airbags can activate with too much explosive force, causing sharp metal fragments to shoot out and kill or seriously injure people in the vehicle.

Any salvage yard or automotive recycler wanting to determine whether any vehicle or parts in their possession are affected by the Takata mandatory safety recall can use the VIN check tool available on the Volkswagen website. This tool is accessible at au.volkswagen.com.au/airbag-safety-recall.

Alternatively, All Auto Recalls says it offers a bespoke validation tool and process using their systems, which will enable checking of every VIN held on record retrospectively. For more information, contact All Auto Recalls at [email protected], or Chris Daglis at [email protected] or 0411 743 560. Daglis says upon contact, he will discuss next steps and have his team facilitate the collection/return of frontal Takata airbags on behalf of Volkswagen Group Australia.

ANCAP Releases December 2018 Round Of Ratings

The Ford Focus, Hyundai Santa Fe, Genesis G70 and Jaguar I-Pace have all been awarded 5 stars.

“Brands have responded to a far more stringent test regime, further increasing the standard consumers expect when it comes to safety, with all 2018 ratings meeting five stars,” said ANCAP Chief Executive, James Goodwin.

The new Ford Focus scored well, with Child Occupant Protection standing out as its strongest area of performance.

“The Focus scored maximum points in destructive Child Occupant Protection testing and is equipped with both forward and reverse auto braking,” Goodwin said.

The electric-powered Jaguar I-Pace performed well, scoring five stars for all variants.

“The I-Pace is one of only a few models to offer an external airbag, which is designed to provide increased protection to pedestrians.”

An innovative new child occupant detection feature has been incorporated into the new generation Hyundai Santa Fe, alerting the driver when leaving the car if a rear seat occupant is detected to reduce the chance of a baby or young child being left in an unattended vehicle.

“It is encouraging to see vehicle brands incorporate innovative new safety features,” Goodwin said.

“Engineers identified two issues with the deployment of the curtain airbag in Santa Fe models fitted with a panoramic roof, with the airbag tearing and a portion of the airbag being caught on the upper belt anchorage. Penalties were applied to scoring of the side impact and oblique pole tests to reflect the increased head injury risk.”

“ANCAP notified the Australian vehicle standards regulator of the issue, resulting in a national recall to remedy models already in service. A production change has been implemented by Hyundai for new models.”

“The seven-seat SUV also lacks top tether anchorages for third row seating positions, leaving the third row unable to install child restraints and carry young children.”

The luxury medium car segment received a boost with a further five-star performer in the Genesis G70.

“The Genesis G70 is fitted with a well-performing lane support system, with Good performance recorded across testing, including some of the more critical emergency lane keeping test scenarios,” said Goodwin.

Five-star ANCAP safety ratings apply to all variants of Ford Focus (from December 2018), Hyundai Santa Fe (from July 2018), Genesis G70 (from 2018) and I-Pace (from December 2018).

Automechanika Shanghai Closes, Reports 15 Per Cent Increase In Visitors

The 14th Automechanika Shanghai, which took place from 28 November to 1 December 2018, has recorded a substantial rise in attendees compared to the previous show.

Serving as a platform for both local and international players from the automotive parts, accessories, equipment and service sectors, final figures suggest visitors at the show rose by 15 per cent since 2017, reaching a total of 150,568. As Asia’s largest automotive trade fair, organisers said they also received overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants alike during the four-day period. The overall final figures for this year’s show reflect the continual growth across each aspect of the show:

  • Visitors: 150,568 (2017: 130,928)
  • Exhibitors: 6269 (2017: 6051)

The news comes after the fair expanded many of its themed zones and areas – the brand-new Tomorrow’s Service & Mobility area was able to shed light on the most interesting current and future developments of the industry, from digitalisation and alternative drivetrains to autonomous driving and new mobility services. Other areas that organisers said proved immensely popular amongst participants were the collection of dedicated zones scattered across the halls, including the debuting Chain Stores Zone and the Remanufacturing Zone, as well as the returning REIFEN (tyres) sector for the latest tyre, wheel and rim products.

This year, a total of 57 fringe programme events ran concurrently with the main show. Throughout the fairground, organisers said each event continued to receive high praise from industry experts who took part and presented their ideas and visions for the future of the industry. Many fringe events also debuted for the first time this year, such as the Tomorrow’s Service & Mobility Summit 2018 and the Automotive Aftermarket Summit 2018, both of which reflected the themes and trends across the showground.

Organisers have also marked an increase in international participation across the board. With 43 exhibiting countries and regions around the fairground, newcomers from Luxembourg joined the list of returning countries, along with the likes of the Czech Republic, Lebanon and Slovenia along with the other established overseas participants.

Overseas visitors also saw an increase of 22 per cent. Participants were particularly keen to express that this not only helped create new channels of communication for international buyers trading with Chinese firms, but also allowed for more business exchanges across other international exhibitors and buyers.

Caliber And Abra Merge To Create The Largest Collision Repair Network

Caliber Collision and Abra Auto Body Repair of America have announced a definitive merger agreement, with the combined collision repair facility operator to have more than 1000 locations.

“This combination will allow us to offer even greater satisfaction for our valued customers and insurance clients while creating new opportunities for the talented teammates of both companies,” said Steve Grimshaw, Caliber Chief Executive Officer. “With more than 1000 stores in 37 states and the District of Columbia, we look forward to providing customers and insurance clients with the flexibility and convenience that come with the broadest geographic coverage in the United States and a full suite of services. We’re confident the technological and operational investments will create unparalleled customer service, enhanced repair quality and industry-leading metrics, all of which advance our purpose of restoring the rhythm of our customers’ lives.

“We plan to maintain all existing centres from both companies as we develop and execute a plan to work smarter, generate growth, offer expanded services, drive operational excellence and reward talent across the organisation. Recognising the critical importance of top talent to our success, we will be retaining all teammates in the field at both Caliber and Abra centres, and we look forward to creating a culture that supports our teammates as they expand their careers across a larger organisation, accelerated by industry-leading development programmes,” said Grimshaw.

“Our industry becomes more complex every year,” said Abra CEO Ann Fandozzi. “The combined company will invest in the equipment, training and technologies that will allow our teammates to build their careers while continuing to meet and exceed our customers’ needs for years to come. Abra’s leadership team is excited by the opportunities this combination with Caliber creates for customers, insurance clients and teammates. We look forward to seeing our traditions of stellar customer service, unparalleled operational excellence and team development taken to the next level across the United States.”

The transaction is expected to close in early 2019 with Caliber CEO Steve Grimshaw to lead the combined company.

Ann-Fandozzi-ABRA
Abra CEO Ann Fandozzi.
Caliber CEO Steve Grimshaw.