Tesla Earns Top Safety Award From IIHS For Model 3

Tesla has earned the Top Safety Pick+ award for its 2019 Model 3 from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It’s the highest award that the IIHS awards vehicles and was obtained by receiving ‘good’ and above ratings across the board in all test categories. The Model 3 joins one other all-electric plug-in vehicle, the Audi e-tron, with the highest safety award.

“Vehicles with alternative powertrains have come into their own,” said IIHS Chief Research Officer, David Zuby. “There’s no need to trade away safety for a lower carbon footprint when choosing a vehicle.”

The Model 3 earned good ratings across the board for crashworthiness. Its standard front crash prevention system earned a superior rating, avoiding collisions in both the 19 km/h and 40 km/h IIHS track tests, while its headlights earned a good rating. The car generally held up well in the driver-side small overlap front test, but the lower door-hinge pillar moved in eight inches, while the door sill buckled.

The Model 3 is the second plug-in vehicle without a petrol engine to earn the Top Safety Pick+ award after the Audi e-tron. Meanwhile, the Hyundai Nexo became the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle to earn an award from the IIHS. Like the Model 3 and the e-tron, the Nexo, a midsize luxury SUV, qualifies for Top Safety Pick+ based on standard equipment.

The Nexo is one of three fuel cell vehicles that are commercially available in California, which has promoted the technology and is the only US state with a network of retail hydrogen fuelling stations.

PPG May Bid For Axalta, Faces Competition

According to Reuters, PPG Industries has partnered with private equity investor Clayton, Dubilier & Rice to consider acquiring Axalta Coating Systems.

Citing people with knowledge of the matter, Reuters said joining forces with the buyout firm would enable PPG to get around any regulatory concerns which could be raised by an acquisition. The sources said the parties are considering establishing a consortium which could also include the likes of Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC, along with US investment management firm BlackRock, to carry out the deal. However, should the parties go ahead with the planned approach, they could have some competition from Platinum Equity and Koch Industries, with the sources telling Reuters the pair have held talks about partnering on a bid.

A sale of Axalta was first reported back in June, when the company began a review of strategic alternatives in an attempt to “generate value for shareholders”. However, the sources cautioned that there is no guarantee of a sale of Axalta taking place. Axalta rebuffed acquisition approaches in 2017 from Akzo Nobel and Nippon Paint Holdings.

Axalta, which describes itself as a leading global coatings provider active in the development, manufacturing, delivery and service of liquid and power coatings, employs around 14,000 people and has a customer base numbering in excess of 100,000 and spanning 130 countries.

None of the parties involved have commented on the report.

New Glasurit Clear Coat Boosts Efficiency

Glasurit says its new 923-610 HS clear fast drying VOC offers improved body shop efficiency thanks to an array of application options, shorter process times and lower energy costs.

According to Glasurit, 923-610 HS is suited for quickly repairing cosmetic damage and individual panels, as well as for refinishing entire vehicle sides. The new clear coat needs no flash-off time and provides an excellent finish after only a short drying time in the oven at 60°C panel temperature. 923-610 HS also boasts outstanding drying properties at 40°C and room temperature.

Glasurit says the clear coat has excellent polishing characteristics and can be applied to both vertical and horizontal panels, and used flexibly during a single application. It adds that a perfect paint result can be produced with 1.5-2 spray coats, regardless of whether HVLP or RP spray guns are used.

Volkswagen Settles Australian ‘Dieselgate’ Class Actions

Volkswagen Group says it has reached a comprehensive, in-principle settlement with plaintiffs of five class action lawsuits, subject to approval by the Federal Court of Australia. Volkswagen views the in-principle settlements as a significant step towards fully resolving the diesel lawsuits in Australia, as well as a further step towards overcoming the issue itself.

The class action lawsuits filed on behalf of Australian customers relate to approximately 100,000 Australian vehicles equipped with EA189 diesel engines. If all affected vehicles participate, each customer can expect a payment per vehicle of approximately $1400 on average.

The settlement – on a no-admissions basis – concerns five class-action lawsuits launched by law firms Maurice Blackburn and Bannister Law covering all affected vehicles in Australia. The settlement has to be confirmed by the Federal Court of Australia and a timetable has been set by the court for the necessary steps to occur. Volkswagen expects the proceedings will be concluded in 2020.

In the meantime, Volkswagen says discussions regarding an in-principle settlement of the civil suit against the company by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) are close to finalisation, with a resolution between the parties expected shortly. The details are currently confidential.

Sherwin-Williams ‘Spray To Win 2019’ Ends Sunday

Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes ‘Spray to Win’ competition ends this Sunday, 22 September, so don’t miss your chance to enter.

The company says Spray to Win showcases some of the amazing work completed by painters. Entrants are required to submit a picture of their completed spray job using either DeBeer Refinish, Valspar Refinish or Valspar Industrial Mix products. For your chance to win, submit your picture and fill in the entry form at www.swautopromo.com.

Entries will be judged on creativity and originality, with no limitations to how many times customers can enter with different jobs. The top three submissions will win an adventure themed prize, including:

  • 1st Prize: 1 x Adventure Kings Inflatable Stand-Up Paddleboard, including pump, paddle and carry case, as well as a $200 BCF gift card
  • 2nd Prize: 1 x Weber Baby Q portable barbeque
  • 3rd Prize: 1 x Shimano Quickfire Mk2 Spinning Combo fishing rod and Jarvis Walker 500 Piece Tackle Box.

The competition is open to residents of Australia and New Zealand who are employed in the collision repair industry. The competition closes 11:59pm on 22 September. For full terms & conditions, visit www.swautopromo.com.

Axalta Sells 60,000 Spectrophotometers

Axalta Coating Systems has announced the sale of its 60,000th spectrophotometer, with 10,000 sold globally in the past 15 months alone. The digital tools are used to accurately and quickly colour match, boosting the efficiency of body shops.

“Adopting a digital approach to colour matching and retrieval is a global trend that started 25 years ago when Axalta was one of the first coatings companies to offer a digital device and software to refinish customers,” said Dr Martin Wulf, Axalta’s Colour and Technical Manager for Refinish Systems in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “Today, we encourage all of our users to future-proof themselves and optimise their efficiency by moving to digital colour measurement.”

Axalta says that refinishers take the colour readings from a vehicle’s paintwork using the spectrophotometer, which then wirelessly sends the readings to Axalta’s online global colour database. The colour matching software searches over 200,000 constantly-updated formulas and where necessary, automatically adjusts the closest formula to provide refinishers with the closest match. It can then be selected on a smartphone or tablet and sent via Wi-Fi to an IP scale for mixing the colour formula.

“The future is now,” said Wulf. “The spectrophotometer is clearly a valuable part of modern refinish work. We expect to see continued and significant growth globally as body shops adopt a completely digital way of working. For customers who are looking at going digital, we will support and help them make a seamless transition to a fully digital colour management process.”

Automechanika Body & Paint World Championships: Round 2 In South Africa

The Automechanika Body & Paint World Championships will be held in South Africa for round two, following the debut in Great Britain. The next winner for the final round in Frankfurt in 2020 will be determined at Automechanika Johannesburg, which is taking place from 18 to 21 September 2019.

The second round of the competition will require painters to design the hood of a car using a variety of techniques. Each hood design is meant to be inspired by the country in which the Automechanika event is taking place. In the first round of the competition at Automechanika Birmingham, participants used a wide range of motifs, including Union Jack flags, poppies and Brexit.

The national winners from Great Britain and South Africa will be joined by four other contestants for the final round. One of the remaining participants will be chosen later this year at Automechanika Shanghai, with two more being chosen next year at Automechanika Dubai and Automechanika Mexico City. The German finalist will be determined on the first two days of Automechanika Frankfurt, after which an international grand prize winner will be selected.

Automechanika Johannesburg has been taking place every two years since 2009, with the most recent event welcoming around 600 exhibitors and over 12,000 visitors.

“I am planning to integrate the colours of the South African flag into my entry,” said Etienne DuToit, one of the entrants in the Johannesburg event. “My artwork will show our hero Madiba (Nelson Mandela), as well as our ‘big five’: the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and cape buffalo. I will be spraying the rhino red to raise awareness of the danger the species is in due to poaching. This competition gives me the opportunity to showcase my skills using different techniques and shows how proud I am to be a South African citizen.”

The participants’ car hood creations can be viewed in Hall 6, Stand 6E017 throughout the event, and the national winner will be announced on 21 September. The competition is being supported by various international and regional firms in the field of body and paintwork, including SATA GmbH & Co. KG, Kansai Plascon, Kapatal Brands and Launch Technologies SA.

Competition Name
Date
Automechanika Johannesburg18-21 September 2019
Automechanika Shanghai3-6 December 2019
Automechanika Dubai7-9 June 2020
INA PAACE Automechanika Mexico City22-24 July 2020
Automechanika Frankfurt
(Germany’s national winner along with the finals)
8-12 September 2020

Fix Network And Spanesi In Global Partnership

Fix Network has announced the addition of collision repair equipment leader Spanesi as one of its official global supply partners this month.

Fix Network says it believes that strong supplier partnerships are a critical component to the successful expansion of its network worldwide, and as it grows its operations, working with Spanesi will bring tremendous value through their expertise and advanced collision repair equipment.

Spanesi will supply a mix of its collision repair equipment, custom-made furnishings and accessories all aimed at delivering great performance. Fix Network says Spanesi’s quality and productivity aligns well with its goal of making the best in collision repair equipment technology available to each of its locations.

“The Fix Network team works tirelessly to deliver a consistent, high quality supply chain offering to its network members,” said Steve Leal, President & CEO of Fix Network. “The addition of the Spanesi suite of equipment will support us in our ongoing objective to provide an attractive, clean and efficient environment to our locations which will help to elevate the overall customer experience.”

“We have a 50-year long tradition in delivering tools and experience to help repairers succeed in an increasingly competitive collision repair marketplace,” said Cristina Spanesi, Export and Marketing Manager of Spanesi. “We are pleased to align with the Fix Network family of brands and are looking forward to a fruitful partnership.”

Fix Network’s supply chain portfolio of industry experts now includes 3M, AkzoNobel, Mirka, SATA and Spanesi – each a leader in the global automotive aftermarket space.

AAAA: Mitsubishi Pajero Recall Compromises Safety

Mitsubishi Motors Australia has issued an urgent recall on its NX-series Pajero via the Australian Competition Consumer Commission, affecting 6384 Pajero models built between 2017 and 2018.

According to Mitsubishi, “inadequate” welding strength increases the likelihood of the front driver’s side suspension lower control arm failing. If the control arm fails, the steering may not operate, increasing the chance of an accident.

Mitsubishi has advised that it will contact owners via postal mail to bring their Pajero into a Mitsubishi dealership to be repaired free of charge. However, the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) believes this recall serves as an example of how safety is being compromised for vehicle owners.

“It’s interesting to note how Mitsubishi, which is one of the least cooperative manufacturers in sharing important vehicle servicing data to independent workshops, is handling this significant and potentially dangerous vehicle manufacturing fault,” said Stuart Charity, CEO of the AAAA. “We have a situation where an ACCC notice and a letter in the mailbox are the only methods undertaken by the manufacturer to ensure affected vehicles are brought in for repair quickly.

“With a mandatory data sharing scheme in place, the Mitsubishi Pajero recall would allow independent workshops servicing these vehicles to have immediate access to the VIN numbers of Pajeros affected, so owners can be informed to take their vehicle back to Mitsubishi.”

The AAAA says another example of how a mandatory data scheme would increase road user safety and benefit manufacturers is the ongoing Takata airbag recall.

“A mandatory data sharing scheme would enable all safety and recall campaigns to quickly reach a much higher percentage of affected vehicles [and] models that are being serviced by independent workshops across the country, which would enable potentially dangerous faults to be fixed sooner.”

According to the AAAA, the benefit for manufacturers comes from the ability to rectify dangerous faults in a reduced timeframe, saving dealerships and the manufacturers significant costs. For road users, less vehicles with faults results in increased safety for everyone.

“We are working closely with Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar on a mandatory data sharing scheme and we are confident a positive outcome can be achieved,” said Charity.

The AAAA has provided a list of the recalled Pajero VIN numbers here.

Suncorp Makes Acting CEO Permanent

Suncorp has appointed acting CEO Steve Johnston as the new permanent head of the company.

Chairman Christine McLoughlin says Suncorp weighed the merits of global and local candidates before confirming Johnston as CEO and Managing Director.

Johnston was Chief Financial Officer until May, when he switched roles following previous CEO Michael Cameron’s sudden exit.

Announcing an 83.5 per cent fall in full-year profit last month, Johnston admitted his predecessor’s so-called ‘marketplace strategy’ had confused customers and halted its rollout to refocus on banking and insurance.

Deputy Chief Financial Officer Jeremy Robson, who has been acting CFO since May, will continue in the role while Suncorp considers internal and external candidates.