Lyon To Host The 47th WorldSkills Competition In 2023

The city of Lyon in the southeast of France will host the 47th WorldSkills Competition in 2023. WorldSkills members voted two to one for the French city at its 2019 General Assembly in Kazan.

Lyon’s bid was backed by the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, who appeared in a recorded video to promise his full support for Lyon 2023.

“I want to say I … fully support Lyon for French candidacy for the WorldSkills Competition for 2023,” said President Macron. The president continued to say that the aims of WorldSkills were “fully in line” with France’s policy on vocational training and education.

“Thank you for trusting us,” said Michel Guisembert, Official Delegate and President of WorldSkills France. “I can assure you that you will not be disappointed.”

France will be hosting a WorldSkills Competition for the second time, with Lyon also having been the venue for the 33rd Competition in 1996.

“Congratulations to Lyon on their presentation,” said Simon Bartley, President of WorldSkills. “France is a strong member of WorldSkills. We wish them well with their work over the next few years and I know they will do a great job.”

The city is the second largest metropolitan area in France and is the capital of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. It is a major industrial centre and has a global reputation for gastronomy.

The competition, which is proposed for September 2023, will also coincide with the 70th anniversary of France first competing at a WorldSkills Competition in 1953.

Axalta Hosts 2019 National Business Council In Australia

The Axalta Services team, along with internationally recognised speaker Mike Anderson, demonstrated to body shops how to meet industry challenges head on through the National Business Council symposium held at the Pullman & Mercure Albert Park, Melbourne, from 11-13 August 2019.

“The National Business Council is all about helping body shops to future-proof their business,” said Robin Taylor, Axalta’s Services Manager. “At Axalta, we are very pleased to host this year’s symposium to provide valuable insights into some of the tools and techniques that are critical in aiding business success. It is also wonderful to have Mike Anderson attend this year’s symposium to present to the attendees.”

Mike is an Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) and has served on numerous industry advisory committees. He brought his knowledge and experience from the US market, where he works closely with repairers, OEMs and insurance companies.

Axalta says a key focus of the symposium was the advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and the impact they can have on the repair process. From understanding initialisation and calibration, through to repair precautions, Axalta believes this topic is crucial for body shops to understand as vehicle technology continues to evolve. Some of the other topics covered included how estimating is evolving thanks to artificial intelligence (AI), positioning a business in the industry, the impact of a business manager on the business and the importance of pre and post scanning.

Axalta says the National Business Council is an opportunity for people in the industry to come together and share their experiences, with the company holding the symposium every few years.

Axalta Introduces New Products To Audurra

Axalta has continued to design and develop user-friendly products for the professional body shop through its refinish non-paint consumable brand, Audurra. The recently expanded range of products now includes masking foil, mixing cups/lids, stirrers and wipes. In addition, there is a new premium abrasives range which includes discs, strips and soft rolls.

The company says these premium discs, strips and soft rolls are specifically developed to work effectively with Axalta paint systems and are designed for high efficiency sanding. They form part of a new sanding system that focuses on choosing the product that is right for the application, as opposed to choosing a grit size. Products are classified as A-B-C-D-E to make sanding easier, with only eight items to cover 90 per cent of applications. The system aids in avoiding application errors and results in re-coatability without scratch or swirl marks, while the multi-hole pattern makes them flexible for use on pads and blocks.

The product features four grits for paint preparation (A to D). The coarse grits focus on removal rate and time savings, while the fine grits have low scratch depths for perfect finish. In addition, there is one grit (E) for use in blending.

To find out more about the Audurra range, contact an Axalta distributor or go to www.axalta.com.au/audurra.

Daimler Facing More Than One Billion Euro Fine For Diesel Cheating

Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler is facing a fine of up to one billion euros for diesel emission-related violations according to German magazine Der Spiegel.

The German motor vehicle authority (KBA) had discovered software deemed to be illegal under existing European Union law fitted to Mercedes-Benz C-class and E-class vehicles and ordered the car company to recall 280,000 vehicles, according to the Der Spiegel article.

The software is claimed to allow diesel-powered C- and E-class models to achieve lower NOx and CO2 emissions in controlled climatic conditions at pre-set speeds on a rolling road during testing than in practice on public roads.

A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office said the investigation was ongoing and would not be concluded before year-end. Der Spiegel says a fine of up to 5000 Euros per vehicle is being considered by the Stuttgart public prosecutor.

AAAA To Work With Joint Select Committee On Road Safety

The Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) says it has welcomed the formation of the government’s new Joint Select Committee on Road Safety.

The committee will inquire and report on steps that can be taken to reduce Australia’s road accident rates, trauma and deaths on the country’s roads, aiming to present an interim report by 30 March 2020 and a final report by 31 July 2020. The AAAA says it wants to engage with the committee on the role that vehicle servicing plays in road safety.

While newer vehicle designs, construction and new safety technologies are major factors in reducing crash numbers, serious injury and death on our roads, the AAAA says it’s regular maintenance and servicing that ensures vehicles continue to operate safely on the roads for years to come. With the longer-term trend of lower new car sales and consumers holding on to their cars for longer, regular servicing is more important than ever.

According to AAAA research, 30 per cent of vehicles are not receiving regular or required services, increasing the risk of component failure or other issues that directly impact vehicle safety. The cost of servicing remains a key reason behind this statistic, so ensuring servicing remains affordable and that consumers have a choice is the best way to increase the number of vehicles that are regularly serviced.

“We are eager to provide the Joint Select Committee information around affordable measures that encourage owners to have their vehicles regularly serviced and maintained, including a mandatory data sharing scheme for independent workshops,” said Stuart Charity, CEO of AAAA. “The AAAA has long championed a mandatory data sharing scheme on behalf of independent service and repair professionals across the country. Denying consumers their choice of vehicle service provider is a threat to competition and safety.”

According to the AAAA, Australia lags behind other countries in relation to data sharing, with Europe and the USA having regulations in place to encourage regular vehicle servicing and consumer choice. However, the association says it’s confident that a mandatory scheme is forthcoming, continuing to work with the government on behalf of the automotive service industry to make sure the implementation of this scheme is achieved in a timely manner.

The AAAA says it will work proactively with the Joint Select Committee to highlight the importance the vehicle service and repair industry has on road safety outcomes, and outline how the association can assist the industry in playing their role in reducing the nation’s rising road death toll.

IIHS Researchers Find Little Benefit From Knee Airbags

While airbags are essential, lifesaving devices that have prevented tens of thousands of deaths, a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the United States has found that knee airbags have a negligible effect on injury risk and, in fact, may even increase it in some cases.

Knee airbags usually deploy from the lower dashboard and are intended to distribute impact forces to reduce leg injuries. They may also help reduce forces on an occupant’s chest and abdomen by controlling lower body movement.

To find out if knee airbags improve safety, IIHS researchers examined both crash test data and information from real-world crash reports.

For the first part, they looked at injury measures from more than 400 frontal crash tests conducted as part of the IIHS vehicle ratings programme to see if injuries were less likely when vehicles were equipped with knee airbags.

To look at real-world outcomes, they compiled crash reports from 14 states and compared injury risk in vehicles with knee airbags to risk in vehicles without them.

According to the IIHS, knee airbags had only a small effect on injury measures recorded by dummies in IIHS driver-side small overlap front and moderate overlap front crash tests. In the small overlap test, knee airbags were associated with increased injury risk for lower leg injuries and right femur injuries, though head injury risk was slightly reduced. The airbags had no effect on injury measures in the moderate overlap test.

In the analysis of real-world crashes, knee airbags reduced overall injury risk by half a percentage point, from 7.9 percent to 7.4 percent, but this result wasn’t statistically significant.

“There are many different design strategies for protecting against the kind of leg and foot injuries that knee airbags are meant to address,” said Becky Mueller, an IIHS senior research engineer and co-author of the paper. “Other options may be just as, if not more, effective.”

The IIHS says one reason some manufacturers have been installing knee airbags is to help vehicles pass USA federally mandated tests with unbelted dummies. It’s possible that knee airbags would help unbelted occupants in real-world crashes. The IIHS study didn’t look specifically at crashes in which people weren’t using seat belts, and dummies are always belted in IIHS vehicle ratings tests.

IAG Net Profit Boosted By Thailand Pull-Out

Australia’s Insurance Australia Group (IAG) announced that its net profit for the financial year ended 30 June 2019 jumped by nearly 17 per cent to A$1.08 billion, more than the A$1 billion predicted by local analysts.

The main factors in IAG’s profit jump are the sale of its Thai operations, strong performance by its Australian Personal Insurance division and strong growth in New Zealand.

Profit in the insurance division dropped by 13 per cent due to large natural disaster claims, but the sale of the Thailand operations brought in profit of more than A$200 million.

Hyundai Appoints John Kett As Chief Operating Officer

Hyundai Australia has announced the appointment of John Kett to the position of Chief Operating Officer.

Kett has a 30-year international career in the automotive industry, holding senior positions at General Motors, Shanghai Auto Industry Corp, Ssangyong Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. He has been based in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, South Korea and China.

“It is a great honour to join Australia’s third-largest car company as Chief Operating Officer,” said Kett. “Hyundai’s ambition, both in Australia and globally, is unrivalled – not only for its pace in product development, but for its determined movement into autonomy, hydrogen, electric vehicles, mobility services and connectivity. I’m sure we will see even more success in the years to come, and I look forward to being part of that success.”

“John has an impressive track record in the automotive industry and has achieved great results throughout his long career,” said JW Lee, Hyundai Australia CEO. “I am sure he will be a highly successful and inspirational Chief Operating Officer.”

Axalta Promotes Troy Weaver To Vice President, Global Refinish

Axalta Coating Systems announced that Troy Weaver has been promoted to Vice President, Global Refinish, effective immediately. Weaver will report directly to CEO, Robert Bryant.

“We are thrilled to promote Troy to head up our Global Refinish business and add him to Axalta’s leadership team,” said Bryant. “Troy’s experience, in virtually every aspect of our Refinish business during the past 27 years, positions him extraordinarily well to be the next leader of this cornerstone business. His deep institutional knowledge of our Refinish business and the industry, his long-standing relationships with customers ranging from multi-shop operators to independent body shop owners, and his strong business acumen and sales and marketing expertise, make him a perfect fit for this leadership role.”

“Our Refinish business will continue to be an industry innovation leader,” continued Bryant. “We are committed to consistently delivering the exceptional products and services that our customers want. Troy has played a critical role in developing the plan that has driven our strong track record of growth and success.  We are confident that his vision for the future will help us grow our Refinish business and industry-leading position.”

“We are proud to have another internal promotion on our leadership team,” concluded Bryant. “We believe the expertise, understanding, and continuity that our next generation of leaders, like Troy, brings new thinking and enhances our culture. Troy will be a great addition to our leadership team, and we expect that he will continue to differentiate our Refinish business through innovation, while he and his team deliver value to customers every day.”

Prior to his promotion, Weaver was Axalta’s Vice President, North America Refinish where he was responsible for Axalta’s Refinish business in the USA and Canada.  He began his career at DuPont Performance Coatings in 1992, and has held various sales and marketing leadership roles. He is also a two-time recipient of DuPont’s Prestigious Marketing Excellence Award, first in 2007 and again in 2010. Weaver is active in the industry and has served as Chairman of the Board of the CIECA (Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association).

Hyundai Launches Solar Roof Charging System

Hyundai is launching its first car with a solar roof charging system. The company says the technology will provide vehicles with additional electrical power, as well as increasing fuel efficiency and driving range.

The solar roof charging system will first feature in the latest generation Sonata Hybrid to support the vehicle’s electric power source, improving fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions. In the coming years, Hyundai says it will roll out the technology to other vehicles across its range.

“Solar roof technology is a good example of how Hyundai Motor is moving towards becoming a clean mobility provider,” said Heui Won Yang, Senior Vice President and head of the Body Tech Unit of Hyundai Motor Group. “The technology allows our customers to actively tackle emissions issues. We are striving to further expand the application of the technology beyond eco-friendly vehicle line up to vehicles with internal combustion engine.”

Hyundai says the solar roof can charge 30 to 60 per cent of the battery per day with 6 hours of daily charging, and is capable of functioning while the car is in motion. Hyundai expects the roof to increase drivers’ travel distance by an extra 1300km annually.

The system is composed of a solar panel and a controller. Electricity is produced when solar energy – photons of light from the sun – activates the panel’s surface. The electron-hole pairs in silicon cells are then created, and the photons are converted into electricity. The electricity is then converted to the right voltage by the controller, and then stored in the battery.

The new Sonata is now on sale in Korea and will soon be sold in North America. Hyundai says it currently has no plans to expand sales to the European market.