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.

UPDATED: Associations Express Mixed Views Over Government Mandatory Repair Information Paper

(UPDATE 13 Feb: This article has been updated with the MTA NSW’s response.)
Three automotive industry associations have expressed mixed reaction to the release of the federal government’s consultation paper on the introduction of a mandatory scheme for the sharing of vehicle service and repair information between car companies and independent repairers.

The AAAA said it welcomed the document’s release but warned that some aspects of the paper are inconsistent with the ACCC’s findings. VACC gave it a “lukewarm” reception and labelled it “weak”, while the Motor Traders’ Association of NSW “strongly welcomed” the Government’s commitment to guarantee independent repairers access to car manufacturers’ data.

“We strongly encourage the government to take onboard the full ACCC findings and recommendations relating to the attributes of a mandatory scheme, as the overriding objective of this scheme is to provide fair and open competition to promote choice and affordability for all Australian car owners,” said AAAA Chief Executive Officer, Stuart Charity.

“We are concerned about the language used throughout the consultation paper that relate to “exclusions” and “restrictions” that may be included in a mandatory code.  Of course, there will need to be safeguards in place to protect the security and integrity of vehicle related data, however vehicle security should not be used as an excuse by car companies to withhold critical information required to complete a vehicle repair or service.

“These terms were not used in the ACCC Final Report and if they are included in the final code, we have no doubt that car companies will fully exploit this by linking all required information to either security, safety or emissions, and in reality, nothing will have changed for consumers,” said Charity.

“In order for Australian consumers to be treated fairly when it comes to the scheduled servicing, maintenance and repair of their vehicles, car companies should not be able to decide who receives information based on their own definitions relating to safety, security and emissions. The ACCC’s Final Report recommended that all required technical information ‘be shared with independent repairers on commercially fair and reasonable terms, subject to appropriate safeguards to enable the sharing of environmental, safety and security-related technical information,’ and we fully support this recommendation,” he added.

The association is also concerned by the potential for manufacturers to determine the appropriate level of investment by independent workshops in order to access service and repair data. The AAAA believes this will allow vehicle manufacturers to charge exorbitant fees for information, special tools, training and equipment and is unworkable in a market of more than 70 car brands.

“We believe that after two separate government inquiries on this matter and over eight years of consultation, it is now time for the government to build on the ACCC’s findings and recommendations and implement a mandatory code as a matter of urgency,” said Charity.

VACC expressed disappointment over the paper’s lack of penalties for manufacturers that fail to comply with the directive.

“Frankly, this document is not worth the paper it’s printed on,” said VACC Chief Executive Officer, Geoff Gwilym. “If a ‘mandated code’ has no penalties for non-compliance it will not work in the real world.”

VACC wants the government to revise its paper to include significant penalties in a bid to garner largescale compliance.

“VACC has been calling for a mandated code for a long time now. We will not be satisfied until it is a genuine mandated code – this means that there are explicit penalties if manufacturers fail in their obligations to share the information for which they are obliged.”

Gwilym said the time for consultation has long since expired and that all sides of government need to get on with the job of making a mandated code a reality.

“All stakeholders know what’s expected. But relying on goodwill has simply not worked in the past. The industry needs the next federal government to mandate a code of conduct where expectations are fully explained, along with the ramifications for those OEMs who will not play fair.”

VACC said the Labor Party is on record as supporting a mandated code for the sharing of motor vehicle service and repair information, something Gwilym believes will become an election issue.

“In the lead-up to the next federal election, Australian motorists – all 15 million of them – will consider this significant consumer issue as they enter polling booths and decide on this country’s next federal government,” said Gwilym.

MTA NSW said the release of a consultation paper was a step in the right direction, and welcomed the intended creation of an advisory group which will include the association working alongside the national body, the MTAA.

“As the only NSW employer association to represent dealers, independent service providers, repairers, dismantlers/recyclers and other automotive industries, MTA NSW has worked closely over the last 24 months with MTAA to advocate to ensure any regulatory solution takes into account the needs of all automotive businesses and consumers,” said MTA NSW CEO, Stavros Yallouridis.

“We have proactively participated with the MTAA member states and territories to develop a draft code of conduct as a potential solution which has involved extensive analysis of both European and US practical experiences to ensure a pragmatic approach is achieved.

“The code of conduct must not advantage or disadvantage any service provider over another and ensure consumer choice and a level playing field for all automotive sector industry participants. If done correctly then there should be benefits for dealers, independent mechanical repairers and other repair providers,” added Yallouridis.

Collision Repair Expo 2019 To Welcome Thousands Of Trade Visitors

The 2019 Collision Repair Expo (CRE 2019) will showcase the latest Australian and international innovations for local collision repairers, supported by practical exhibitor presentations, industry seminars and panel discussions.

According to the organiser, the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA), the importance of the collision repair sector was reflected in the significantly high number of trade members who registered specifically for this expo in 2017. This sector of the aftermarket industry attracted almost 30 per cent of the total trade visitors to the concurrently held 2017 Australian Auto Aftermarket Expo and occupied approximately one quarter of the total exhibitor space.

Industry leading paint and equipment distributor, Sydney Automotive Paints and Equipment (SAPE), has returned as the major sponsor of the CRE 2019. The seminar programme will be strongly supported by I-CAR, who will assist in presenting an extensive line-up of industry experts and specialists who will conduct seminars. These seminars will be focused on assisting collision repair business owners to maximise their operating efficiencies and repair techniques.

Along with I-CAR, several leading collision repair industry and media organisations will also be co-locating their activities at the CRE 2019, making this three-day event an integral part of this industry sector’s growth and development.

The importance of practical displays in relation to panel repair work on exotic new metals and composite materials will be highlighted by the number of CRE 2019 exhibitors who will be performing live practical demonstrations at their stands, along with utilising the expo’s unique demonstration spray booth.

This fully functional spray booth enables every kind of surface coating product to be practically displayed, making this a popular attraction with members of the trade who are keen to witness their industry’s latest products in action. It is also a popular promotional platform for exhibitors to showcase their latest surface coating products.

“The 2019 Collision Repair Expo will enable businesses within this major industry sector to stay ahead of the latest developments, products and technical training,” said AAAA Executive Director, Stuart Charity. “This is a sector of the Australian automotive aftermarket industry that must be fully across the rapid technological advancements in products, tooling and repair processes to future proof their businesses. With practical demonstrations, a detailed industry seminar programme and a who’s who of the industry as exhibitors, the Collision Repair Expo has everything that is needed and more all under one roof.”

The speaker and seminar line up for the CRE 2019 is being finalised and will be released shortly.

For more information and free registration, details can be found at www.collisionrepair.com.au.

Industry Support Results In Autocare Show Sell-Out

In what can only be described as an overwhelming vote of confidence by the industry, the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) is delighted to advise that the inaugural Autocare 2018 Convention has sold out all sponsorships and trade show spaces.

The Autocare Show welcomes all members of the automotive and collision repair trade to attend this important two-day event absolutely free of charge, to see the latest products and technologies from 100 of Australia’s leading automotive aftermarket companies, take part in live training sessions delivered by local and international experts and benefit from the vast networking opportunities that only an industry event of this size can provide. Members of the automotive trade and their staff can register to attend Autocare 2018 at no charge by visiting www.autocare.org.au

This extraordinary industry interest and involvement has been achieved with just over three weeks remaining before the Autocare Show takes place at the International Convention Centre located at Sydney’s Darling Harbour on May 4 and 5.

An education led event designed specifically for automotive service and repair professionals, parts manufacturers, suppliers and their collision repair industry colleagues, Autocare 2018 has also seen an outstanding number of trade show registrations for this information packed two-day industry event.

According to Stuart Charity, Executive Director of the AAAA, these results are extremely encouraging given that this is the first major automotive aftermarket industry event to be held in Sydney for five years.

“We are more than delighted to see so many leading companies of the Australian automotive aftermarket industry supporting this new and important educational event,” Charity stated.

“The fact that all of our corporate sponsorships and show areas are now sold out reflects the clear intention of these companies to assist their customers, the automotive service and repairers of Australia, as the industry makes the transition to a technology led future. Never before has our industry seen such disruption, innovation and rejuvenation, which is also the theme of this inaugural convention.” He added.

Presented by Platinum sponsor Repco and Diamond Sponsor I-CAR, the inaugural Autocare Show is proudly supported by a host of the industry’s most successful companies including Brown and Watson International, Ryco Group, ASV Euro Car Parts, Burson Auto Parts, Hella, Pedders Suspension, SAPE Group, Lowbake, DNS Technology and CESA Products, together with over 80 Silver and Bronze Autocare 2018 partners.

Autocare 2018 Free Training Programme Released

Visitors to this year’s Australian automotive industry event, Autocare 2018, can look forward to a series of free informative training sessions focusing on the latest collision repair technological advances in equipment, systems and processes, according to the event organiser, the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA).

These training sessions will be conducted on the I-CAR Training Stage across the two days of the inaugural industry convention, which takes place at the International Convention Centre in Sydney on 4 and 5 May.

Along with the free Autocare 2018 training sessions, over 100 of Australia’s leading automotive aftermarket suppliers and service providers will also be out in force at this convention (including BodyShop News), offering customer assistance, advice and training. In addition, the free Lowbake Spray Booth will see major refinish companies demonstrating their technology live and interactively during sessions throughout the two-day event on the outdoor deck.

The AAAA said collision repair business owners, panel repairers, technicians and apprentices are invited to join industry colleagues at Autocare 2018 to learn about the latest industry trends and technological advances that are shaping the future of business success.

Autocare 2018’s series of free training sessions start at 9:00am on Friday 4th May and will be repeated on Saturday 5th May on the I-CAR Training Stage. They include the following presentations:

  • UV Paint Curling – GPI Automotive Products
  • Collision Energy Management and New Technology Impact – I-CAR Australia
  • How To Turn Body Repair Into Smart Repair – Henkel Australia
  • Reduce Costs, Not Quality with Akemi – CESA
  • Ford Ranger and Ford Raptor Overview – I-CAR Australia
  • Big Dent Attack – Adhesive Collision Repair Techniques – Smart PDR Tools
  • Gold Class – Everything Explained – I-CAR Australia

To view the full program of presenters and session times, visit https://www.autocare.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Collision-Repair-Training-Stage.pdf.

“We are calling all members of the collision repair sector of our industry to take advantage of the detailed training being offered free of charge at Autocare 2018 on May 4 and 5 in Sydney. Never before has the industry faced such an important need to stay up to date with technology as the Australian car fleet continues to grow in size and complexity,” said AAAA Executive Director Stuart Charity.

“We are fortunate to have so many companies who are Australian and international leaders in their field taking part in these free training sessions and trade displays, demonstrating their commitment to ensuring that the industry is kept up to date on the rapid developments that are currently disrupting the collision repair sector at an unprecedented pace,” Mr Charity added.

Autocare 2018 is presented by Platinum Sponsor Repco and Diamond Sponsor I-CAR. The convention is also supported by several industry companies including SAPE Group, Lowbake, DNS Technology and CESA Products, together with over 80 Silver and Bronze Autocare 2018 partners. The event also includes a gala dinner sponsored by Pedders Suspension and a special outdoor feature car display at the newly constructed International Convention Centre located at Sydney’s Darling Harbour.

The AAAA anticipates that over 3000 automotive professionals will attend the two-day free entry trade display and onsite training activities, with many also electing to attend the Autocare 2018 convention education programme. More information about the convention key note addresses and panel discussions can be found at www.autocare.org.au. Free registration can also be performed via the preceding website link.

A Successful Future With Help From The Experts At Autocare 2018

The major Australian automotive aftermarket industry event of the year, Autocare 2018, welcomes members of the automotive trade from Sydney, regional New South Wales and across the country to take part and learn more about the bright future ahead for their businesses.

Presented by Platinum sponsor Repco and Diamond Sponsor I-CAR, Autocare 2018 will be held at the Sydney International Convention Centre on May 4 and 5.

Autocare 2018 offers mechanical repairers, collision repairers and their automotive parts supply chain colleagues the opportunity to gain the latest information, advice and education to help guide their businesses towards a highly successful and profitable future.

Members of the automotive trade are welcome to register to attend both days of Autocare 2018 free of charge.

More than 100 of Australia’s top automotive aftermarket parts manufacturers and industry service providers will provide Autocare 2018 visitors with their products and services on display along with providing practical demonstrations of modern repair technology and processes designed to make your businesses more efficient, productive and sustainable.

Autocare 2018 will feature the AutoMate Training Stage that will provide regular and detailed technical presentations throughout this two-day education-led industry event. These presentations will reveal and discuss the latest innovations in mechanical and collision repair technology.

Automotive trade visitors to Autocare 2018 will also enjoy a feature car display and experience the latest in refinishing technology courtesy of the Lowbake Australia portable spray booth, which will be located at the spacious outdoor deck of the new Sydney International Convention Centre.

The importance of this Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) organised event cannot be understated.

“Education has never played a more important role in the future of Australia’s independent repairers and service providers,” Stated AAAA Executive Director Stuart Charity.

“The disruption caused by rapid developments in repair and servicing diagnostics, procedures and component technologies, now places enormous importance on the need to be accurately and regularly informed to ensure your business sustainability and long-term growth. This is what Autocare 2018 is all about,” Charity added.

While attendance at the information stream specialised Autocare 2018 convention presentations has a cost component, it is also important to note that members of the trade who wish to visit Autocare 2018, meet with the companies on display and learn from the interactive training displays and take part in the event’s networking opportunities, can do so free of charge throughout this first major automotive aftermarket industry event to be held in Sydney in five years.

You can register to attend Autocare 2018 quickly and easily online at www.autocare.org.au or visit the website to find out more about this premier automotive repair, service and parts supply chain industry event.