AAA: Australia Needs Smart Policies To Revive Road Safety

Twenty-three national and state organisations have come together to develop the new Reviving Road Safety policy priorities document. The document, released by the Australian Automobile Association (AAA), calls on the federal government to link infrastructure funding to road safety outcomes to help alleviate deaths on Australian roads.

The Reviving Road Safety document also seeks a commitment that the new Office of Road Safety be charged with data collection and coordination. The AAA says that Australia still doesn’t know how many serious injuries are caused by road crashes each year or how many crashes occur in which speed may be a factor.

The AAA’s Managing Director, Michael Bradley, said 1203 people died on Australian roads in the last year – higher than the equivalent period five years ago.

“This is a national crisis – we need a new approach to road safety from the federal government,” said Bradley. “Eight years after all levels of government agreed to set 33 individual safety performance indicators – half of these KPIs are not on track, while a further quarter, including the number of serious injuries, are still not being measured.”

Bradley said the AAA and its seven member clubs – the NRMA, RACV, RACQ, RAA, RAC, RACT and the AANT – received input from another 15 organisations to develop key steps to revive road safety action in Australia. Additionally, the AAA sought the input of the government appointed co-chairs of the inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy – Associate Professor Jeremy Wooley and Dr. John Crozier.

“Reviving Road Safety is not a detailed blueprint on everything the government must be doing to help reduce road trauma,” said Bradley. “Instead, it advocates the priority steps that the government can take at the beginning of its new term. Critically for government, this platform is not asking for great sums of additional dollars. Instead, we have focused on better and largely cost-neutral policies aimed at optimising existing investment to maximise better road safety outcomes and save lives.”

The document advocates several policy measures, which include developing a national road safety data hub within the Office of Road Safety, linking infrastructure funding to road safety outcomes, encouraging the uptake of safer vehicles, and ensuring the new Office of Road Safety has genuine authority to oversee development and progress of the next National Road Safety Strategy.

The AAA says it also launched its programme, which offers funding of up to $1 million per research project into road safety, to help ensure the government has access to the best road safety research.

“Our new programme recognises that road safety is a shared responsibility,” said Bradley. “Projects that examine fatigued driving will be considered for the inaugural round of funding.”

The document follows last month’s release of the federal government’s own Review of National Road Safety Governance Arrangements, which found that “the Australian government had not provided sufficiently strong leadership, coordination or advocacy on road safety to drive national trauma reductions”.

“We congratulate the government for recognising the depth of Australia’s road safety problem and for having the courage to commission a full and frank analysis of failings and actions,” said Bradley.

“That review’s findings prompted the AAA and our seven member clubs to reach out to 15 other organisations for input into Reviving Road Safety to put together key policies for government to prioritise.”

Axalta Supports Agoria Solar Team At World Solar Challenge

In early September, the Agoria Solar Team from the University of Leuven in Belgium arrived in Australia, ready to continue preparing for the 2019 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge from 13 to 20 October.

Axalta said it donated its Cromax refinish coatings for a final touch up for the University of Leuven’s competing car, BluePoint. The team is on its way toward ensuring the car is looking its best and is ready to tackle the challenge beginning in mid-October.

The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge attracts entries from around the world. This year will mark the eighth consecutive year that the University of Leuven has had a team participate in the event and Axalta has worked with the students since 2015, giving them access to Axalta’s Cromax coatings.

The car was painted at the Cromax Training Centre (CTC) in Mechelen, Belgium, featuring solid white and two shades of blue that were specially developed by Cromax to match the corporate colours of its main sponsor, Agoria.

The racing team will prepare their car for the road race over the next few weeks, which covers 3021 kilometres through the Australian Outback from Darwin to Adelaide.

For more information on the relationship between Cromax and the Agoria Solar Team, click here. Keep up to date with the Agoria Solar Team’s journey via www.facebook.com/solarteam.be or visit www.solarteam.be.

UPDATED: Volkswagen Settles Australian ‘Dieselgate’ Class Actions, ACCC Civil Suit

UPDATE (23 September 2019): Volkswagen issued a press release saying that it has now resolved, “in-principle”, the civil suit by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) against the company. Volkswagen says the terms of settlement must receive judicial confirmation at a hearing to be held in the near future, with the company not issuing any further details until that hearing. The German marque expects the proceedings to be concluded by the end of 2019.
ORIGINAL STORY (16 September 2019): 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.

AFR: Suncorp Collecting Capital SMART, ACM Bids

According to a story in the Australian Financial Review’s Street Talk column, banking and insurance company Suncorp was expected to today collect bids for Capital SMART and ACM Parts.

The AFR says that neither sale is likely to be material to Suncorp’s balance sheet or profit & loss statement, but is important as part of its simplification strategy.

At Capital SMART, Suncorp has several private equity funds and offshore trade types seeking to buy the business, which is being offered with a long-term supply arrangement with Suncorp’s insurance arm, while ACM Parts is tied to Capital SMART. The newspaper says ACM Parts is considered to be one of the largest alternative parts suppliers in Australia and the largest recycler of collision and mechanical parts, with its customers including Capital SMART and the Gemini/AMA Group.

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.

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