Axalta Opens Regional Training Centre In Western Sydney

Axalta has opened its customer regional training centre (RTC) in Western Sydney, which was inaugurated by Sobers Sethi, President Emerging Markets at Axalta Coating Systems, on 14 November.

“The new training facility uses the latest coating technologies, industry-leading training techniques, and advanced digital equipment to enable repairers to deliver the highest quality refinish, enabling our customers to be more efficient, productive, and profitable,” said Sethi. “We help our customers drive these improvements while also being mindful of the environment with sustainable techniques and products.”

Local customers and partners were invited to see the latest products in action and view the training environment, which includes industry leading equipment.

“Simply put, the new training facility offers the best training available in the region,” said Steven Brett, Managing Director of Axalta Coating Systems in Australia. “Axalta is a world leader in refinish and is consistently making significant investments, like the RTC, to enhance our capabilities and facilities to help customers grow their businesses.”

The training centre is equipped with two of the latest USI Chronotech spray booths and three full down draft preparation areas, which can be divided by electric curtains and feature a rail track system for easy vehicle side loading. There’s also three paint mix rooms with a large cleaning room and a spray box-booth for test panels and colour card spray outs.

Attendees will also learn from Axalta trainers in a theory room with the latest audio-visual equipment that can seat up to 20 people. The new facility also includes a storeroom for all consumables and tools, along with an air-conditioned lunch and kitchen area with modern facilities.

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.

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 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.

Holden Financial Services Launches In Australia

GM Financial, the global automotive finance company of General Motors, has officially launched its Australian business, Holden Financial Services.

Holden Financial Services Managing Director, Richard Tatford, said GM Financial’s expansion into Australia is a compelling opportunity to partner with an established domestic automotive brand, a highly competitive vehicle portfolio and a committed dealer network.

“Holden Guaranteed Value – our first product offering – gives customers the choice and flexibility to trade in, keep or return their vehicle at the end of their selected finance term, with the peace of mind around the future value of their vehicle,” said Tatford.

“It is a promise to our customers that their vehicle should retain its value over time, because of the assurance of a guaranteed buyback at the end of their loan agreement. Customers can rest assured that the value of their vehicle is future proofed.”

“Our expansion into Australia is the latest example of how we are growing our business and providing mobility solutions that help us earn customers for life,” said Rick Livingood, Executive Vice President, Asia Pacific, GM Financial, who visited Melbourne for the Australian launch. “We are fully focused on creating added incremental value for Holden, the dealer network and our retail customers.”

Holden Chairman and Managing Director Dave Buttner said the launch of Holden Financial Services means the Holden dealer network can now utilise GM’s captive finance company to offer competitive and innovative finance options for customers.

“The launch of Holden Financial Services reflects General Motors’ confidence in the future of Holden,” said Buttner. “Many Holden dealers and customers have consistently told us that they would like the choice of a captive finance company as they consider finance options for a new vehicle purchase. We are delighted to now be able to offer Holden Financial Services, backed by the strength and global footprint of GM Financial.”

In addition to Australia, GM Financial has operations in the US, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China (through joint ventures), Colombia, Mexico and Peru, covering approximately 90 per cent of GM’s worldwide automotive sales footprint.

National Business Council Returns In 2019

The Axalta Services team will be showing body shops how to meet the challenges of achieving productivity and profitability, head on, through a National Business Council symposium held at the Novotel in St Kilda, Melbourne from 11 to 13 August 2019.

Axalta says Axalta Services works hard with body shops to successfully manage both productivity and profitability by creating networking and management training opportunities engineered specifically for body shops. The company says the National Business Council symposium creates such a platform to effectively demonstrate how, through innovative business solutions, body shops can restructure to create a more sustainable business model, helping to future proof their business.

“The 2019 National Business Council is all about providing valuable insights into some of the tools and techniques that are critical in increasing throughput and decreasing cycle times within the collision repair process,” said Robin Taylor, Axalta’s Services Manager.

According to Axalta, the symposium’s seminars will focus on issues that are currently impacting or will impact body shops, as well as “looking at effective business strategies, targeting customer relationship management and change management”.

Attendees will also hear from Collision Advice’s Mike Anderson, who brings extensive knowledge and experience from the US market. Anderson will discuss leading trends in the US and focus on his experience in a dynamic industry.

Happening every few years, Axalta says the National Business Council is a networking opportunity for people in the industry to come together and share their experiences. Not only do attendees leave with insights into how to make their body shop more productive and profitable, but they also leave with a greater understanding of where the refinish industry is heading and how rapidly it is evolving.

“After attending the National Business Council, it made me realise just how many changes are happening in our industry today,” said Bert Rowsell, Managing Director of Rowsell Collision Repairs, about the 2016 conference. “I gained valuable insights that I can now take back to my businesses and more importantly, I have great networking contacts with whom I can share ideas. I found the two-day seminar very informative, with quality guest speakers and lively group discussions. I eagerly await the next conference.”

To learn more about the National Business Council or to register your interest, please visit www.axalta.com.au/axaltaservices.

I-CAR Awards Insurer Gold Class To Auto & General Insurance

I-CAR Australia’s Gold Class Coordinator, Gary Wood, announced that Auto & General Insurance has been awarded the prestigious I-CAR Gold Class Insurer status.

“Auto & General is very pleased to be awarded Gold Class Insurer status by I-CAR Australia,” said Anthony Matthews, General Manager Assessing. At Auto & General we realise that our biggest asset is our people, and partnering with I-CAR we are committed to ensuring our assessors are best in class, highly skilled and equipped to manage the ongoing developments in the smash repair industry.

“Auto & General is proud to partner with I-CAR to ensure that our assessors understand our customers’ needs, make the process easy the first time and every time, and with our partner repairers, ensure every car is returned to customers with the required repair specifications.”

“To achieve Insurer Gold Class, a minimum of 75 per cent of an insurance company’s assessing staff must have been awarded the Platinum Individual designation,” said I-CAR’s Gary Wood.

“Auto & General Insurance has shown a great commitment to I-CAR’s Professional Development Program to meet those requirements and as a result have achieved I-CAR Gold Class Insurer status. This will ensure that all assessing staff have the skills and knowledge to provide safe repairs for their members. Congratulations to everyone at Auto & General Insurance on a fantastic achievement.”

Killen’s Smash Repairs Strikes Gold With I-CAR

I-CAR Australia Gold Class Coordinator Gary Wood announced that Killen’s Smash Repairs in Armidale, New South Wales has been awarded the prestigious I-CAR Gold Class Collision status.

“I am extremely pleased to award Killen’s Smash Repairs I-CAR Gold Class status,” said Wood. “Michael and the team have been regular participants in I-CAR training for a number of years. They made the decision to join the Road to Gold 12 months ago and have now successfully met all the requirements for I-CAR Gold Class status.

Through a combination of virtual classroom sessions, ITA training in conjunction with PPG and participation in the I-CAR welding certification, they fully deserve the recognition. Well done to everyone at Killen’s Smash Repairs.”

“Killen’s Smash Repairs are very proud to have achieved I-CAR Gold Class,” said Michael Killen. “We have valued I-CAR training since it began in Australia and believe that it provides direct benefits to our business, in helping us to ensure that our repairs are completed to the highest possible standard and our clients can be confident that we are delivering the safest possible repair.

“We are also very proud of the fact that as part of our Road to Gold training, all of our panel technicians have achieved structural weld certification. We look forward to continuing our training commitment with I-CAR into the future.”

Axalta Services Offers Course To Help Redefine Body Shop Processes

Axalta is offering an I-CAR-approved Lean Foundations Course designed for body shop owners, managers and team leaders to improve processes and reduce waste in their body shop.

With ongoing time and cost pressures from insurance companies and work providers, collision repairers are constantly looking for ways to “do more with less”. Axalta says Lean Foundations is a highly interactive one-day course that allows participants to walk away with an in-depth understanding of tools and techniques to drive efficiency and profitability in their shop. It will also present easy-to-understand concepts and tools that help participants challenge and refine their processes using the knowledge and skills of their own employees.

The company says the principles and tools discussed in the course provide an ideal foundation for removing waste and improving processes within a body shop. While short-term gains or improvements are often made, process improvement either stalls or regresses. That’s where the company says its Axalta Services team excels in its presentation of the course, giving tips on where process improvements become derailed and how to get things back on track.

Axalta’s training alliance with I-CAR means that upon completion of the Lean Foundations course, an attendee will be awarded credit hours that can be applied towards the I-CAR Gold Class Professionals and Platinum Individual designations, or be used to meet role relevant annual training requirements.

The training dates for Lean Foundations in 2019 are:

  • Adelaide 13 March
  • Brisbane 20 March
  • Sydney 27 March
  • Melbourne 8 May
  • Perth 15 May

Full details on Axalta Services and the latest courses available can be found at www.axalta.com.au/AxaltaServices.