Axalta Examines The Potential Sale Of Its Business

Axalta Coating Systems today announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a comprehensive review of strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value. The Board has formed a Strategic Review Committee, which will be chaired by the Independent Presiding Director of Axalta’s Board, Mark Garrett, and will also include Axalta Chief Executive Officer Robert Bryant and Axalta Independent Director Samuel Smolik.

The company, which counts Berkshire Hathaway as its largest shareholder, is exploring options, which could include an outright sale of the business.

This would be the second time the former DuPont Performance Coatings (DPC) business is up for sale.

The Carlyle Group private equity firm acquired DPC in February 2013 and renamed Axalta. The company was taken public and Carlyle sporadically reduced its stake, ultimately selling the remainder of its shares in 2016.

“Axalta’s Board is committed to maximizing value for all shareholders and has initiated a comprehensive review of strategic alternatives, including a potential sale of the Company, changes in capital allocation, and ongoing execution of our strategic plan,” said Garrett.

This review comes after a few unproductive takeover discussions.

Axalta discussed a potential merger with Akzo Nobel in late 2017, but those discussions ended after Nippon Paint made a cash bid for Axalta.

However, no deal was concluded between Axalta and Nippon Paint with talks collapsing less than a month after the overture by the Japanese paint giant.

Axalta’s press release said no assurances can be given regarding the outcome or timing of the review process. Axalta does not intend to make any further public comment regarding the review until it has been completed or the Company determines that disclosure is required or beneficial.

The Board has engaged Evercore and Barclays as financial advisors and Morrison & Foerster LLP as legal advisor to assist in its review.

Automechanika Shanghai 2019 Embraces The Evolving Automotive Ecosystem

The upcoming 15th edition of Automechanika Shanghai is set to take place at the National Exhibition and Convention Center (NECC) on 3 to 6 December 2019 (Tuesday to Friday). The show expects to host over 6,270 exhibitors across the impressive 350,000 sqm of exhibition space, which will occupy the venue’s current exhibition area. A growing number of special sectors, zones and fringe programme events will amplify many of the latest advancements and rising trends throughout numerous areas of the industry.

Fiona Chiew, Deputy General Manager, Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd, said: “Over the past 14 editions, Automechanika Shanghai has continued to thrive alongside Asia’s automotive industry; China has now become the world’s largest auto market.  When the show first opened its doors back in 2004, it hosted just 235 exhibitors and 9,000 visitors. In 2018, a staggering 150,568 visitors filtered through every corner of the NECC. It has continued to embrace change and nurtured development by way of new themes and elements. Looking to the future, we plan to collaborate further with research institutes, universities, industry organisations, finance and insurance firms, and the wider automotive community, so that we can work together and advance the fair’s automotive ecosystem.”

Developing an automotive ecosystem

Automechanika Shanghai will echo the progressing concept of the automotive ecosystem. The developing term comes as a result of rapid advancements in the industry that are currently remapping the automotive value chain. It zooms in on the concept of connectivity; not just through emerging technology, but also the notion of networks and knowledge sharing. As a result, Automechanika Shanghai will place more focus on digitalisation, future technologies and services, as well as shaping more opportunities in the fringe programme, to work closer with research institutes and the wider auto community.

Digital trends spark new opportunities

The Tomorrow’s Service & Mobility sector will, once again, become a central area of the fair to demonstrate the show’s strengthened ability for emphasising digital trends and connectivity. As such, the sector shines a light on communication between the vehicle, infrastructure, pedestrians and networks. With this in mind, exhibitors will cover the latest innovations for electromobility, intelligent vehicle technology, car connectivity, mobility services, as well as lightweight materials and more.

The evolving supply chain and aftermarket

The automotive service sector continues to be one of the most important aspects of the fair, as many maturing automotive markets, like China, are becoming more established. The rise of China’s automotive aftermarket will bring forward new business opportunities to its underlying sectors and will rely on the continuous smart transformation of the supply chain. On account of this, the Supply Chain and Chain Store zone returns to address many of the changing needs in the transforming local auto market.

Customisation continues to soar

Customisation is another area that is seeing a steady progression. Sitting side-by-side, Customising will span across Hall 6.2 and 7.2, to cover an expansive total of 44,000 sqm of space. The sector is set to include the latest trends for exterior, interior and high-performance customisation. It will feature sport exhaust systems, sport air filters, and sport chassis, as well as engine tuning, audio modification, seats, recreational vehicles (RV) and off-road vehicle modification. Personalisation will also be a key element in the sector with interior design, body work elements, car wrapping, spray painting, and airbrush systems on display.

Additionally, the automotive lighting industry has undergone a new wave of transformation. Organic light-emitting diode (OLED), laser and intelligent lights have led to more creative and technological innovation throughout the sector.

In addition to the Tomorrow’s Service & Mobility and Customising sectors, the exhibition will host thousands of other exhibitors across five other product categories. Parts & Components, Electronics & Systems, Accessories, Repair & Maintenance and REIFEN (Tyres & Wheels) will offer comprehensive coverage of the entire supply chain.

The New Mahindra XUV500

Mahindra Automotive Australia Pty LTD (MAAPL), unveiled an updated XUV500 in Brisbane. The refreshed XUV500 features subtle changes in refinement and features while adding further improvements to its exterior. Viewed from the front, the new XUV500 features a brand-new grille, with a larger chrome surround, redesigned headlamps and lower bumper.

The new tailgate, new combination taillights and a larger roof-mounted rear spoiler present a completely new look.

The W6, and W10 models have alloy wheels, cruise control with a multi-functional steering wheel with reach adjustment, rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlights, as well as fully automatic temperature control (FATC). In addition, the W6-grade features premium cloth upholstery. The W10 model is also equipped with a 7” full colour infotainment system with voice commands.

The 2019 upgrade on the Stylish New XUV500 is more than just skin deep. Mahindra engineers have refined its mHawk 2.2 turbo petrol engine with its fifth-generation turbocharger. The mHawk-engine delivers 103 kW and 320 Nm of torque.

In addition, Mahindra has revised the suspension – which it designed in partnership with Lotus – to offer greater comfort and improved handling. The suspension upgrade and additional noise damping on the 2019 model has led to a dramatic drop in the noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) inside the cabin.

The W6 variant offers a raft of standard equipment and suitably affordable drive away price of just $26,990.

Axalta To Build New, State-Of-The-Art Facility In The Netherlands

Axalta signed an agreement to develop a new, state-of-the-art facility in the Netherlands for its Dutch refinish business.

Once construction is completed, Axalta’s global refinish brands in the Netherlands – Cromax, Spies Hecker, Standox, and Syrox – will relocate to the new facility on Business Park Medel, both in Tiel.

The facility will also house Metalak BV.

“There has been a period of growth and change following our acquisition of Metalak in 2015,” said Adrien Schrobiltgen, Axalta’s VP for Refinish Systems in Europe, Middle East and Africa. “We have outgrown our current location’s ability to support us in the way in which we need it.”

Axalta’s plot in Business Park Medel is 12,000 square metres and will house, once completed, a large facility comprised of office space over three floors, a warehouse, and a new Axalta training centre as well as separate mixing room, which is part of Axalta’s direct business point of distribution, servicing both high-volume customers as well as local colour development.

“We are always looking to improve our level of support to our customers, so today, with a view to the future, we commit to building a state-of-the-art facility,” said Bas van de Ven, Axalta’s managing director for Refinish in the Netherlands “The new training centre will be able to meet the future needs of the market, while the new offices and sophisticated automated warehouse will allow us to take our daily operations to the next level and to attract and to retain outstanding talent.”

Ground is due to be broken on the site in October 2019, with an anticipated completion date by summer 2020. The facility will be operational and ready to move into by September 2020.

Adrien Schrobiltgen, Axalta VP for Refinish Systems in EMEA.

BASF Named 2018 GM Supplier Of The Year

BASF was named a 2018 General Motors (GM) Supplier of the Year for the 14th time since 2002. The award is presented by GM to suppliers who distinguish themselves by meeting performance metrics for quality, execution, innovation, and total enterprise cost.

“We hold our suppliers to a high bar,” said Steve Kiefer, GM Senior Vice President, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain. “They went above and beyond to deliver the innovations and quality that will help us earn customers for life.”

GM says award winners represent companies who provide products and services to GM in the areas of vehicle components, supply chain and logistics, customer care and aftersales, and indirect services.

With its broad array of colour solutions, modern paint processes, engineering plastics advancements and polyurethane technologies, BASF says it helps GM improve productivity and environmental performance, with its Coatings division providing its time- and resource-saving Integrated Paint Process to GM, while supplying many GM plants with advanced coating technologies.

“This award is a result of strong customer focus from the whole organisation. Our business relationship with GM is centred around innovation, performance and continuously enhancing the customer experience,” said Dirk Bremm, President, BASF’s Coatings division.

Solera Holdings Appoints Jeff Tarr as New CEO

Solera Holdings has announced that Jeff Tarr has joined the company as a director and its new CEO. Tarr, who replaces Tony Aquila as CEO, will lead the company in its next phase of growth.

Tarr has two decades of experience leading data and technology-enabled services companies spanning multiple sectors. Most recently, Tarr served as CEO and President of DigitalGlobe, where he led the launch of products that leveraged AI and other new technologies, entered new markets and nearly tripled the company’s revenue. Before DigitalGlobe, Tarr was President and COO of IHS (now IHS Markit) where he helped transform the business into a high-growth, high-margin provider of information and insight.

“I am honoured to be joining Solera, and I look forward to working with the team to continue to grow the company, invest in our products and deliver an industry-leading experience to Solera’s customers and partners,” said Tarr. “For over 50 years, Solera has been leveraging data and software to serve the automotive and insurance industries. With more than 300 million transactions annually across the Solera ecosystem today, no company is better positioned to apply data and technology to protecting the assets people depend upon in their daily lives.”

Tarr serves on numerous corporate and philanthropic boards, including as Chairman of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Management Board, Co-Chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Council on the Future of Space Technologies, Member of the Board of the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Automechanika Launches Body & Paint World Championships

Automechanika is holding the first international Body & Paint competition in the exhibition’s history, in association with DeBeer Refinish, Octotal and SATA. Body shop professionals will be competing against one another at six Automechanika shows worldwide, from England to China, with the national event winners to travel to Automechanika Frankfurt for the grand finale from 8 to 12 September 2020.

Automechanika Frankfurt will be the first Automechanika event to feature Body & Paint as an independent product category in 2020, and organisers are celebrating the occasion by launching an international competition, with events taking place in six countries.

Body & Paint professionals will go head to head and compete with other national body shops by designing the bonnet of a car, using the country in which the local Automechanika fair is being held as their inspiration. The event series will be launched for the first time at Automechanika Birmingham from 4 to 6 June 2019, and will be followed by competitions in Johannesburg, Shanghai, Dubai and Mexico City. In each location, a panel of experts will pick a national winner, who will then get to go to Frankfurt for the finals. In addition, trade visitors will be able to help select the people’s choice winner by voting for their personal favourites at the event and online.

The competition criteria include design uniqueness, the link between the design and the country in which the local Automechanika event is taking place, the use of various techniques (effects, matt/glossy finish, etc.), a harmonious colour palette and the type of spray guns used, and workshop safety considerations and the use of environmentally friendly products. Work that relies solely on transfers or airbrushing is not the focal point of this contest.

Kick-off in Birmingham

The first stage of the contest will take place at Automechanika Birmingham from 4 to 6 June 2019. With the support of Debeer Refinish and Octoral as headline sponsor, as well as SATA and the UK’s NBRA (National Body and Repair Association), various workshop teams will be presenting their designs at the event while offering visitors insight into the creation of their artwork with photos and videos.

“It is great to be able to see the creativity and artistry with which the painters approach their task,” said Wineth Malvar, Global Marketing Director – Brand, Channel & Segment, Automotive Finishes Division for Sherwin-Williams. “We are proud to be a part of this industry and are looking forward to seeing what the first round of the competition has to offer at Automechanika Birmingham.”

You can take part: Design or vote

Does your team belong on the ‘Mount Olympus’ for paintwork? Then submit your application now at www.automechanika.com/competition for the event venue of your choice. Sponsors will select the participants and – with a bit of skill and creativity (because luck has nothing to do with it) – you can earn an invitation to the finals in Frankfurt.

All Automechanika visitors are welcome to visit the special event showcase on location and help select the people’s choice winner – or you can vote online at www.automechanika.com/competition. Voting opens on the first day of the respective trade fair and continues for 14 days.

Competition locations and dates:

Automechanika Birmingham                                 4-6 June 2019
Automechanika Johannesburg                              18-21 September 2019
Automechanika Shanghai                                      3-6 December 2019
Automechanika Dubai                                            7-9 June 2020
INA PAACE Automechanika Mexico City            22-24 July 2020
Automechanika Frankfurt                                       8-12 September 2020

Post-Repair Calibration To Vehicle Manufacturer Tolerances Is Essential: Thatcham

Thatcham Research says it has provided much needed clarity to the automotive, automotive repair and insurance industries on how to manage vehicle repairs involving ADAS, such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and adaptive cruise control.

According to Thatcham, more than 10 per cent of vehicles on the road today are fitted with AEB, equating to some four million cars. However, there is a dearth of information on how to approach the repair of these safety critical systems.

“As ADAS continues its ever-increasing penetration into the car parc, the lack of a clear approach to the repair of ADAS-equipped vehicles is having an effect across the whole repair industry,” said Richard Billyeald, Chief Technical Officer at Thatcham Research. “For their own peace of mind, insurers and repairers need proof that they have taken all reasonable steps to reinstate the safety functions of a vehicle before returning it to the road.”

The Thatcham Research position on the safe repair of ADAS is as follows:

If ADAS sensors, or parts that are in proximity to ADAS sensors, are included in a repair specification, calibration post-repair must be completed to confirm sensors are functioning to the vehicle manufacturers’ specified tolerances. In addition, to enable identification and safe repairs involving ADAS, vehicle repairers should:

  • Assess for the presence of ADAS sensors and record the outcome clearly
  • Research and seek guidance from relevant repair methods and calibration instructions
  • Ensure all calibration activities are completed by currently competent technicians
  • Complete system calibration in accordance with the relevant repair method / instruction
  • Be able to demonstrate that the calibration of all affected sensors has been completed and that the results of the calibration confirms functionality within the vehicle manufacturer’s specified tolerance – unless stated otherwise in the repair specification
  • Where no specific repair guidance exists, and functionality cannot be proven through systemised calibration, then advice should be sought from the vehicle manufacturer’s dealership network and appropriate action taken prior to vehicle release
  • If vehicle manufacturer information states dynamic calibration, this should be completed and confirmed prior to vehicle release

“ADAS supports the driver to prevent a crash in the first place,” said Billyeald. “This represents a huge step forwards for vehicle safety and the transition into more advanced assisted and automated driving will continue to raise the safety bar. However, whilst that benefit may be fully realised on a new car, maintaining it once a car has been repaired is vital.

“The whole industry needs to work together to make sure ADAS repairs are safe and vehicles are returned to the road quickly and efficiently. Equipment suppliers must ensure that verifiable evidence of a successful calibration is provided. Repairers must invest in training to ensure competent persons are reinstating ADAS safely, and vehicle manufacturers must provide ADAS fitment data and consistent advice around which repair scenarios will result in successful ADAS calibration.”

“Insurers are major supporters of systems which improve vehicle safety and reduce the frequency and severity of crashes,” said Laurenz Gerger, policy advisor for motor insurance at the Association of British Insurers. “With a number of assistance systems set to become mandatory from 2021, it will be even more important to have clear guidance on managing vehicle repairs involving them. Ensuring these high-tech systems are working effectively after a repair is an important part of putting a vehicle back onto the roads and we are committed to helping establish the standards and processes to make sure this happens.”

In addition to the information issued, Thatcham Research said it has created a guide for repairers on ADAS system calibration requirements and identifying component locations and functions. The organisation said it is also working with the industry to develop a code of practice and has commenced a round of consultation with vehicle manufacturers, insurers, windscreen repair and replacement companies, equipment providers and repairers. The full code of practice will then be released later this year.

Fix Network World Celebrates “The Power Of One” At 2019 Global Conference

Fix Network World celebrated its 2019 global conference earlier this month at the Hard Rock Hotel Cancun, with approximately 350 people from 14 countries (Canada, USA, UK, France, Turkey, China, Australia, Germany, South Africa, New Zealand, Spain, Ireland, Mexico and the Czech Republic) attending.

The event, for which the theme was “The Power of One”, was the first of its kind in that it united delegates from across all three of Fix Network World’s aftermarket services brands: NOVUS Glass, Fix Auto and Speedy Auto Service. According to organisers, the theme was chosen specifically to recognise and celebrate not only the power and potential of each franchisee, but as a tribute to the strength of one network coming together.

The event kicked off with a welcome cocktail on 2 May, followed by a one and a half day business conference featuring corporate updates, franchisee and work provider panel discussions, and keynotes from special guest speakers Mitch Lowe, co-founding Executive of Netflix and CEO of MoviePass, as well as Ted Graham, Head of Open Innovation at GM Canada and author of The Uber of Everything. Bringing together both business and leisure, the conference also featured social activities and networking opportunities, such as the Fix Network World Beach Party and organised group excursions. The event concluded with a gala evening and awards ceremony acknowledging the work of franchisees from around the world.

Fix Network World President, Steve Leal, said uniting the networks and celebrating individual and collective accomplishments is important.

“Our global family of entrepreneurs is united by a passion for quality and success,” said Leal. “Their appetite to adapt to change is what drives us at Fix Network World, and it is the very reason we put this event together, as a celebration and opportunity for continued growth.”

Amongst guests were franchisees, staff, industry specialists and VIP guests, as well as representatives from Fix Network World’s four global supply partners: 3M, AkzoNobel, Mirka and SATA.

MSO Symposium Dates And Location Announced

The Automotive Service Association (ASA) has released the dates and location for the eighth instalment of the MSO Symposium – it will take place on Monday 4 November at The Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel, marking the event’s first return to Las Vegas since 2013.

“The MSO Symposium continues to bring together the multi-shop owners and operators, dealers, franchisees, and networks from North America,” said ASA Immediate Past Chairman, Roy Schnepper. “This exclusive event has evolved into the largest conference in the world where only repairers, insurers and OEMs gather.”

Last year’s event featured representation from over 4000 collision repairer facilities, with total revenue exceeding US$7 billion annually.

The programme has continued to evolve since its inception. Several years ago, the advisory board unanimously voted to expand the list of companies and individuals that could attend. According to organisers, the inclusion of insurers and OEMs has proven to be “visionary”, a point being attributed to the “leaders” represented on the advisory board. Organisers added that the networking and collaboration amongst the three industry groups further enhances the value of the overall programme.

“The advisory board plays a critical role in the success of the MSO Symposium,” said Chairman, Bob Wills. “They provide direction and guidance as to the speakers and content most relevant to their respective businesses. We sincerely appreciate their time and commitment.”

Attendance at the MSO Symposium is limited to insurers, OEMs, multi-shop operators and single location repair facilities with revenue exceeding US$3 million in annual sales. For more information, visit msosymposium.com.