Canadian Body Shop Uses Symach In New Location

Symach has announced that CARSTAR Fredericton in New Brunswick, Canada has opened a new location utilising Symach’s complete body shop solution.

“When you make a deal with Symach, you’re not just buying body shop equipment,” said Steve Knox, General Manager of CARSTAR Fredericton. “You are buying an entirely different business model.”

“Symach equipment is designed to drastically reduce the cost of repairs and increase efficiency,” said Osvaldo Bergaglio, CEO of Symach. “We helped CARSTAR Fredericton set up a new body shop using the FixLine repair process, which will help the business increase throughput and reduce labour cost per repair.”

CARSTAR Fredericton operates two locations and is owned by Roy Kennedy. Since installing the Symach equipment at the new location in July, Knox said they’ve already experienced more efficiency at the repair facility.

“One of the biggest benefits is time,” said Knox. “A conventional shop might schedule two-and-a-half to three days to complete a 10- to 11-hour job. With Symach equipment, that same vehicle can now be repaired by lunchtime the day it’s dropped off.

“It’s not through harder work or more labour-intensive ways of doing things, but through the smart use of their equipment. It’s incredible.”

Knox said that cars built today are not the same as the ones built 20 or 30 years ago. Because they are so much more sophisticated, he said it’s important to set up a repair facility that can meet those needs, and Symach equipment has helped them do that.

The CARSTAR Fredericton team said that they are impressed with Symach’s SprayTron paint booth as it helps pull everything through the paint booth instead of having everything pushed toward the booth.

“The SprayTron is one of the industry’s newest generations of spray booths on the market,” said Bergaglio. “It is high-performing, automated and it is built with the best burner, the best fans and the best material available. It can work as a conventional spray booth using hot air from the burner or with radiant waves using a robot and will typically produce 8-10 paint cycles per day.”

“When you deal with Symach, they build a shop that is so visually beautiful that you want every customer to come in through the back door, rather than the front,” said Knox. “It’s gorgeous; it looks like a showroom of their equipment but at the same time, it’s our actually functioning shop!”

Every stall has its own hoist that is flush with the floor. When it is raised, the car is at chest-level, so technicians no longer have to kneel during a repair.

“Many of the older guys in this industry have problems with their knees and backs,” said Knox. “The Symach equipment allows technicians to work at a comfortable level so this is no longer an issue.”

Over the last month, the team has been in training mode and becoming more comfortable with the equipment and the business flow.

“I can see now why those shops we talked to have that outlook,” said Knox. “It’s true. Everything Symach’s marketing says it can do, it can.”

Tesla Launches Tesla Insurance In California

Tesla Insurance was launched in the USA and is designed to provide Tesla owners with between 20 to 30 per cent lower rates.

Tesla Insurance Services, which offers the product for the car company, says it offers comprehensive coverage and claims management to support its customers in California, and it will expand to additional US states in the future.

“We are creating a Tesla insurance product and we hope to launch that in about a month,” said Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, in April. “It will be much more compelling than anything else out there.”

Tesla says it is able to leverage the advanced technology, safety, and serviceability of its cars to provide insurance at a lower cost, as the company knows its own vehicles best. The insurance pricing reflects the benefits of Tesla’s active safety and advanced driver assistance features that come standard on all new Tesla vehicles.

Tesla owners in California can purchase a policy by visiting www.tesla.com/insurance.

Maxine Colligan Paints Her Way To A Bronze Medal At WorldSkills In Kazan

Maxine Colligan has won a Bronze Medal as a Skillaroo in Car Painting at the 45th WorldSkills International Championship in Kazan, Russia. She was also awarded ‘Best in Nation’ for receiving the highest total points out of all her teammates. Gold was awarded to Ting-Yu Yang from Chinese Taipei and Silver to Conor McKevitt from the United Kingdom. Australia, as a country, placed 8th in the world overall.

WorldSkills said the 2019 Global Skills Challenge (GSC) was the biggest international skills excellence event to be held in Australia in 2019, having 500 competitors from 15 different countries take part in 24 different skills competitions. It simulated international competition conditions and was held in several Victorian TAFEs. The event was the final training exercise for the WorldSkills Australian Skills Squad before the Skillaroo selection.

“Russia joined WorldSkills International in 2012, and seven years later it is already organising the WorldSkills Competition,” said David Hoey, WorldSkills International CEO. “This event contributes not only to our movement, but to the Russian market as well.”

“For me, representing my trade at the WorldSkills International Championships in Kazan means that I get to represent other females in trades and show them that women can do anything men can do,” said Colligan. “I aspire to convince young women out there to give it a go because they will always surprise themselves with their abilities.”

Colligan was mentored by Bradley Franklin, Deputy Chief Expert in Car Painting, from Sydney, and her journey was sponsored by Glasurit and Holden. She completed her trade training through TAFE NSW, Sydney West and currently works at RPM in Milperra.

MSO Symposium Early Bird Registration Ending Soon

The Automotive Service Association (ASA) has announced the eighth annual MSO Symposium will take place on 4 November in Las Vegas, Nevada, prior to SEMA Show.

Similar to past years, the event’s agenda, timing, and content is driven and directed by industry leading members who voluntarily serve on the programme’s advisory board.

Last year’s event represented more than 4000 collision repair facilities with a total annual revenue exceeding US$7 billion. The programme has evolved to now include insurers, OEMs and large independent repair facilities.

The ASA says that attendance is limited and registrants must qualify to attend – the event is open to insurers, OEMs, multi-shop operators and single-location repair facilities with revenue exceeding US$3 million in annual sales. Early bird rates are also available for a limited time.

“The MSO Symposium continues to bring together the multi-shop owners and operators, dealers, franchisees and repair networks from all across North America,” said Roy Schnepper, ASA Immediate Past Chairman. “This exclusive is event where only collision industry repairers, insurers, and OEMs can gather.”

To register for the MSO Symposium, click here.

RIP Ferdinand Piëch, Former Volkswagen Group Chairman,1937-2019

The former head of the Volkswagen Group has died suddenly at the age of 82, four years after resigning from the company he led to greatness, according to a statement by his wife, Ursula.

Ferdinand Karl Piëch was born on 17 April 1937, in Vienna. His father, Anton, was a lawyer, and his mother, Louise, was the daughter of Ferdinand Porsche. The third of four children, Ferdinand Piëch had two brothers and a sister.

As a young engineer, he made Porsche a brand in racing through legendary vehicles such as the 917 and the Le Mans victory. Since 1972, he brought Audi up to the next technological level with innovations such as quattro four wheel drive and the TDI turbo diesel engine, shaping Audi into a premium brand.

Heading the Volkswagen Group, Ferdinand Piëch advanced its pedigree by integrating Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti into the Group, while also leading the volume brands to international competitiveness through a consistent platform strategy. He also integrated the trucking businesses of Scania and MAN into the Group, laying the foundation for a globally competitive commercial vehicle supplier.

Technologically, he and his development teams have repeatedly gone beyond the limits of the feasible – from the first one-litre car in the world to the Bugatti Veyron with 1001 horsepower.

His biggest triumph was the acquisition of the Porsche brand in 2012. The takeover came with a personal twist – Piëch was able to turn the tables on his cousin, Wolfgang Porsche, who had pushed the sports-car producer to bid for VW four years earlier. Piëch sided with the state of Lower Saxony, which owns a blocking stake in VW, to rebuff Porsche’s offer just as the suitor’s debt was surging from the takeover effort.

Bob Lutz, former Vice-Chairman of GM and veteran of Chrysler, Ford and BMW, summed up Piëch in this way:

“While his stubborn sense of infallibility led to one or two colossal blunders, such as the beautiful but failed VW Phaeton, a $100,000 luxury car that was doomed by its VW badge, Piëch’s strong direction and insistence on excellence made the VW Group, including Audi, SEAT, Škoda, Lamborghini, Porsche, Bentley and others, into a global automotive powerhouse.”

Honda Announces New Passenger Front Airbag

Honda has announced the development of a new passenger front airbag designed to better protect occupants in several frontal collision scenarios. Honda plans to begin applying the airbag design to new products in the United States in 2020.

Honda and Autoliv, one of the company’s safety systems suppliers, partnered to develop and test the new airbag. The USA’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that in 2017, upwards of 37,000 people lost their lives on US roads as a result of motor vehicle crashes.

Honda’s next-generation airbag is designed to reduce potential injuries that can occur in a wider variety of frontal impacts. Honda believes that it’s particularly beneficial in angled frontal impacts, where lateral collision forces can cause an occupant’s head to rotate severely or slide off the airbag, increasing the chance of serious injury.

The new system utilises four major components – three inflated compartments, a centre chamber, and two outward-projecting side chambers that create a wide base across the dash. The fourth component is a sail panel, which stretches between the two side chambers at the outer edge, catching and slowing the occupant’s head while also engaging the side chambers. This pulls the head inward to cradle and protect it, mitigating the potential for injury.

Volkswagen Golf GTI To Be Auctioned For Charity

A unique Volkswagen Golf GTI is being auctioned on eBay from 8pm until 5 September, with proceeds to be donated to the Cancer Council.

The Golf GTI has been donated by Volkswagen to launch the brand’s partnership with the Cancer Council, Australia’s not-for-profit body for cancer research, prevention, advocacy and support.

The Golf was wrapped by street artist Jason Woodside, a graduate of New York’s School of Visual Arts.

“With one in two Australians diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, we value relationships, like this one, that provide new opportunities for our community to support our vital work,” said Professor Sanchia Aranda, CEO of Cancer Council. “We are grateful to Volkswagen for their generous support in helping drive our vision of a cancer free future.”

Volkswagen Australia Director of Customer Experience and Marketing, Jason Bradshaw, said that the company was proud and privileged to partner with the organisation that is the “leading light” in the fight against a disease that affects millions of Australians.

“Cancer Council is the only charity that covers every aspect of every cancer, from research to prevention and support services,” said Bradshaw. “It operates across Australia in the communities of each of our dealerships.

“Through a range of campaigns and events, our partnership will help Cancer Council continue their life-saving work, moving towards a vision of a cancer free future.”

On 5 October, Volkswagen dealers nationally will host Australia’s Biggest Car Wash, in which members of the public can have their vehicles cleaned and vacuumed for a $10 fee. All proceeds will go to the Cancer Council’s Transport to Treatment service.

The Golf GTI auction has a reserve price of $40,000. To bid, visit www.ebaystores.com.au/bidforgood/golf-gti.

Equip Auto 2019: Repairing Today, Preparing Tomorrow

Equip Auto, a premier international trade show for automotive aftersales and services for mobility, is expecting to receive 95,000 professional visitors and host 1200 exhibitors at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles from 15 to 19 October 2019.

“Since 2017, Equip Auto has established itself as the unifying meeting for the industry, bringing together all the reference professional organisations,” said Philippe Baudin, Chairman of Equip Auto. “I wish to maintain this commitment so that all visitors have a single event in France, located at the heart of all the major transformations, to meet, exchange, make discoveries and spend an enjoyable time with other professionals.”

Equip Auto organisers say the show has reasserted its ambition to establish itself as the imperative international trade show for aftersales and services for mobility for all vehicles. Positioning itself at the heart of industry issues, the show aims to enables professionals to gain optimal insight into the market by giving them the means to “repair today and prepare tomorrow” – the exhibition’s signature.

Owned by the French Federation of Vehicle Industries and Equipment (FIEV) and the French Bodywork Federation (FFC) while supported by trade body partners, the exhibition says it revolves around three values which make up its DNA: Business, Innovation, Hospitality.

“These three values take the form of numerous actions and new features to enable industry stakeholders to decode the sector’s challenges, find out about current solutions and adopt innovations which are already available to prepare for tomorrow,” organisers said.

For this show edition, organisers aim to balance out visitor flows by focusing on a clear and effective sector organisation to save time and increase contact opportunities on stands. This means each hall will have a specific focus:

  • Hall 1: Vehicle equipment, parts and components; Maintenance and distribution networks; Bodywork and painting; Univers VO (Car remarketing), Washing and service areas, lubricants, vehicle care products
  • Hall 2.2: Vehicle equipment, parts and components; Maintenance and distribution networks; Services for professionals
  • Hall 3: Repairs, maintenance, tools and diagnostics; Tyres, wheel rims and accessories

The organisers are also focusing on having more visible and frequent signage for easier wayfinding, wider aisles to connect the three halls efficiently together, improved entry through hall 3 with direct access from the exhibition centre’s main gate (gate A), and an even balance of leading brands between the three halls.

One of the events relevant to collision repair is Equip Auto’s Bodywork-Paint Village, which will play host to the results and the prize-giving ceremony of the fourth Bodywork-Paintwork Competition. This competition is open to French pilot training centres in the ANFA network in the bodywork and repairs branch, rewarding students who, through their technical and artistic skills, have proven the best in shaping and painting a piece of bodywork.

The International Grands Prix for Automotive Innovation, revolving around seven categories with a gold trophy winner in each of them, is awarded by a judging panel of 48 journalists from 10 countries. Helping boost brand awareness and trigger new business, organisers says the International Grands Prix for Automotive Innovation pay tribute to emerging technologies in aftersales and are acknowledged as a prestigious accolade in many countries, reflecting an international dynamic around the know-how, skills and innovations of firms.

The competition is open to all exhibitors across all sectors represented at the show. The categories are as follows:

  • Bodywork equipment and paint
  • Lubricants, vehicle care products, washing, roadside services
  • Original equipment
  • Parts, equipment and components (replacement)
  • Tyres – Wheel accessories and services
  • Repairs, maintenance, garage equipment
  • Services for professionals (IT, software publishers, DMS, management solutions, etc.), services for connected mobility.

Equip Auto will host a gala evening to be held at Collège des Bernardins in the centre of Paris, which will bring together nearly 300 guests for a friendly and festive celebration. The awards for the International Grands Prix for Automotive Innovation will be presented at this evening.

Nissan Releases 370Z 50th Anniversary Edition

Nissan is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Nissan 370Z with a special variant.

The limited edition 370Z is powered by a 3.7 litre V6 engine, which outputs 245kW of power and 363Nm of torque. There is also the choice of a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifters and adaptive shift control.

This special model has the following exterior updates:

  • 50th anniversary badging on the rear of the car and the surrounds of the indicators on the front quarter panels;
  • White body with red bonnet, a-pillars that connect through to the boot, side mirrors and two signature stripes on the side of the car, or
  • Silver body with black bonnet, a-pillars that connect through to the boot, side mirrors and two signature stripes on the side of the car;
  • Along the side of the car, a thin line runs from the headlight to the rear glass, culminating in a small triangle inspired by the C-pillar of the Datsun 240Z;
  • Updated 19-inch wheels incorporating red rings

The interior has also received changes including red highlights that add to the premium feel of the cabin. It includes:

  • Red leather mesh on the seats with 50th anniversary wreath around the Z logo
  • Red stitching on the doors, knee pad, C-cluster and steering wheel, with the steering wheel also adding the red centre mark
  • Red highlights on the shift knob and shifter boot, plus 50th anniversary logo
  • A 50th anniversary logo on the tachometer
  • Dark chrome Z logo on the kick plates, along with a black finisher

“The Nissan 370Z is an iconic car with a strong following in Australia,” said Stephen Lester, Nissan Australia Managing Director. “Since its arrival here we’ve sold almost 22,000 Zs, and this 50th anniversary commemorative edition is sure to attract passionate Z fans and buyers.”

The 50th Anniversary Edition comes with satellite navigation, a seven-inch touch screen infotainment system and steering wheel-mounted controls. It also includes keyless entry, push button start, Bluetooth handsfree phone and cruise control as standard.

The Nissan 370Z 50th Anniversary Edition is on sale now, priced at $53,490 for the manual variant, and $55,990 for the automatic alternative. Both variants are before on-road costs.

I-CAR Announces Gold Class For Maddington Smash Repairs

I-CAR Australia has announced that Maddington Smash Repairs in Western Australia has been awarded I-CAR Gold Class Collision status.

“With I-CAR’s guidance, the team at Maddington Smash Repairs have proven that by planning and managing the training themselves, their objective of becoming an I-CAR Gold Class Repairer has been achieved,” said Gary Wood, Gold Class Coordinator.

“Their effective management skills and dedication to performing complete, safe and quality repairs are essential to the success of this accreditation. I-CAR have been impressed with Maddington’s motivation and ability to complete the required training and we believe that the company fully deserves this recognition. Maddington Smash Repairs have now joined the impressive number of Car Craft businesses to achieve the I-CAR Gold Class accreditation.”

“We are so excited and proud to have achieved I-CAR Gold Class accreditation,” said Darren Templeton, owner of Maddington Smash Repairs. “Our staff have embraced their training and shown enthusiasm for gaining knowledge within their specialised areas. The training provided by I-CAR ensures that we are up to date with the latest technology and safety.”

Being a part of the Car Craft group has meant that we have always strived for perfection in providing the best quality repairs to our customers and now we can prove it.”