Volkswagen do Brasil Develops Its First Vehicle For Overseas Markets

Volkswagen do Brasil will develop a vehicle completely in-house to be produced later in Europe and sold in other international markets.

Volkswagen hopes to strengthen the economic significance of Volkswagen do Brasil with the regionalisation of the South American market. Through 2020, Volkswagen is investing approximately R$7 billion in Brazil for the development of new products, digitalisation and technological innovations and began in 2016. This is based on a restructuring program introduced by Volkswagen to support business opportunities in the South American market.

“The internationalisation of Volkswagen began 60 years ago with construction of the plant in Anchieta, Brazil,” said Ralf Brandstaetter, Chief Operating Officer of Volkswagen Passenger Cars. “South America has been an important market for Volkswagen ever since. We are strengthening our regionalisation strategy with these investments.”

Under its regionalisation strategy, the company launched a product offensive with 20 new models for Brazil as the key market in the region.

“For the first time in our history, we will be offering our very own vehicle concept on the international market, and sharing design, technology and know-how from Brazil with the world,” said Pablo Di Si, President and CEO of Volkswagen Latin America.

The vehicle premiere is planned for spring 2020. Production will commence at the Anchieta plant in the same year and the vehicle will also be built in Europe from 2021.

Post-Repair Calibration To Vehicle Manufacturer Tolerances Is Essential: Thatcham

Thatcham Research says it has provided much needed clarity to the automotive, automotive repair and insurance industries on how to manage vehicle repairs involving ADAS, such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and adaptive cruise control.

According to Thatcham, more than 10 per cent of vehicles on the road today are fitted with AEB, equating to some four million cars. However, there is a dearth of information on how to approach the repair of these safety critical systems.

“As ADAS continues its ever-increasing penetration into the car parc, the lack of a clear approach to the repair of ADAS-equipped vehicles is having an effect across the whole repair industry,” said Richard Billyeald, Chief Technical Officer at Thatcham Research. “For their own peace of mind, insurers and repairers need proof that they have taken all reasonable steps to reinstate the safety functions of a vehicle before returning it to the road.”

The Thatcham Research position on the safe repair of ADAS is as follows:

If ADAS sensors, or parts that are in proximity to ADAS sensors, are included in a repair specification, calibration post-repair must be completed to confirm sensors are functioning to the vehicle manufacturers’ specified tolerances. In addition, to enable identification and safe repairs involving ADAS, vehicle repairers should:

  • Assess for the presence of ADAS sensors and record the outcome clearly
  • Research and seek guidance from relevant repair methods and calibration instructions
  • Ensure all calibration activities are completed by currently competent technicians
  • Complete system calibration in accordance with the relevant repair method / instruction
  • Be able to demonstrate that the calibration of all affected sensors has been completed and that the results of the calibration confirms functionality within the vehicle manufacturer’s specified tolerance – unless stated otherwise in the repair specification
  • Where no specific repair guidance exists, and functionality cannot be proven through systemised calibration, then advice should be sought from the vehicle manufacturer’s dealership network and appropriate action taken prior to vehicle release
  • If vehicle manufacturer information states dynamic calibration, this should be completed and confirmed prior to vehicle release

“ADAS supports the driver to prevent a crash in the first place,” said Billyeald. “This represents a huge step forwards for vehicle safety and the transition into more advanced assisted and automated driving will continue to raise the safety bar. However, whilst that benefit may be fully realised on a new car, maintaining it once a car has been repaired is vital.

“The whole industry needs to work together to make sure ADAS repairs are safe and vehicles are returned to the road quickly and efficiently. Equipment suppliers must ensure that verifiable evidence of a successful calibration is provided. Repairers must invest in training to ensure competent persons are reinstating ADAS safely, and vehicle manufacturers must provide ADAS fitment data and consistent advice around which repair scenarios will result in successful ADAS calibration.”

“Insurers are major supporters of systems which improve vehicle safety and reduce the frequency and severity of crashes,” said Laurenz Gerger, policy advisor for motor insurance at the Association of British Insurers. “With a number of assistance systems set to become mandatory from 2021, it will be even more important to have clear guidance on managing vehicle repairs involving them. Ensuring these high-tech systems are working effectively after a repair is an important part of putting a vehicle back onto the roads and we are committed to helping establish the standards and processes to make sure this happens.”

In addition to the information issued, Thatcham Research said it has created a guide for repairers on ADAS system calibration requirements and identifying component locations and functions. The organisation said it is also working with the industry to develop a code of practice and has commenced a round of consultation with vehicle manufacturers, insurers, windscreen repair and replacement companies, equipment providers and repairers. The full code of practice will then be released later this year.

Leading UK Body Repair Expert To Present At 2019 Collision Repair Expo

UK-based co-founder of Auto Industry Consulting Limited, Andrew Marsh, will share his expert body repair knowledge during the 2019 Collision Repair Expo (CRE) seminar series.

During his keynote presentation, Marsh will focus on ADAS and the new static, dynamic and self-calibration demands that such systems bring to collision repairers, while also discussing the challenge of repair complexity and the need to enhance collision repairer software skills. Vehicle manufacturer and motor insurer perspectives will be covered, including the rapidly-expanding number of vehicle models, the reducing number of key architectures, and the impact of unique body shape parts.

Marsh will give his presentation at 11:30am on Saturday 6 April.

The 2019 CRE, held concurrently with the 2019 Australian Automotive Aftermarket Expo, will run from 4-6 April at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Entry is free to all members of the trade, including all seminars and keynote presentations throughout the three-day event.

Axalta Celebrates the Winners of the 2018 WorldSkills National Championship for Vehicle Painting

Axalta Coating Systems congratulates the seven men and women who showed exemplary drive and determination at Australia’s largest vocational education competition, the 2018 WorldSkills National Championship for Vehicle Painting. The competition was held at Skills Show Australia 2018, from 2 – 4 June at Ultimo TAFE in Sydney, with Kaine Corpuz from Queensland being crowned the best vehicle painter in Australia.

As Gold Partner and long term supporter of WorldSkills Australia, Axalta has been fully focused on supporting each competitor’s journey to become the best vehicle refinisher in Australia.

In June competitors Aidan Hasler, Lional Stapleton, Maxine Colligan, Kaine Corpuz, Luke Alexander, Amber Gabelich and Kyle Little took on the greatest challenge of their lives at the WorldSkills National Championship. They all demonstrated extreme calm under very challenging conditions. And, despite the strict marking criteria for each module, the competitors were all able to complete each stage successfully, showcasing their mastery in refinishing, from spot repairs right through to the intricate panel design work, including colour matching accuracy.

“For more than 10 years Axalta has strived to mentor and nurture all up and coming talent with product training, providing exposure to the latest work practices and techniques, problem solving, development of teamwork and leadership skills,” said Paul Polverino, National Training Manager for Axalta. “To see these extraordinary young men and women excel under such challenging circumstances, whilst producing outstanding levels of craftsmanship, was an absolute delight to watch.

“Axalta’s passion for our industry and desire to secure its future through young professionals is what drives us at Axalta” said Polverino. “We are very proud to support these exceptional young Australians and provide them with new opportunities for growth. We especially would like to wish Kaine Corpuz, whose goal is to represent Australia in 2019 at the 45th WorldSkills International Competition in Kazan, Russia, the best of luck!”

The True Cost Of Motor Vehicle Body Repair Is About To Get Real

The Motor Trades Association of Australia (MTAA) Limited and its affiliated organisation, the Australian Motor Body Repairers Association (AMBRA), launched a new cost calculator tool that will assist motor body repair businesses transparently identify their costs and a charge out hourly rate for their business.

The tool, which has been independently analysed by national business advisory and accountancy firm BDO, and examined by the Australian Tax Office (ATO), enables all motor body repair business owners / management to capture all of the costs associated in running their businesses. The tool also includes helpful worksheets for Profit and Loss, Tradespersons costs, and has the added potential of highlighting areas of business operations where further efficiencies can be made and / or improvements to productivity.

AMBRA Chairman, Jeff Williams, said the cost calculator would help motor body repair businesses not only identify their actual costs of doing business, but assist in determining a fair, reasonable and transparent ‘shop’ or business charge out hourly rate that was verifiable, defendable and in accordance with sound business and accounting practice.

‘Too many motor body repair businesses, who have heavily invested in training, equipment, tooling, and in meeting the demands of a rapidly changing automotive industry, are being forced to accept rates and charges demanded by work providers that simply do not reflect the costs of their business and placing them at a significant disadvantage or even jeopardizing their future’ Williams said.

‘Most work providers to the motor body repair industry have their own calculators or processes that are required to be applied in order to secure work. These tools or processes rarely capture the complete picture and contain elements or parameters designed to produce a pre-determined hourly charge rate outcome. This leads to different motor body repair businesses, with different capabilities or services, differing levels of staff and costs, and even different locations being subjected to a rate for their services which are not reflective of their actual costs – even though they may have already made significant improvements, generated efficiencies and productivity enhancements to be competitive,’ Williams said.

MTAA CEO, Richard Dudley, said the development and provision of the cost calculator tool was an essential element in providing transparent competition in the motor body repair sector and had involved all MTAA State and Territory Member Associations and their body repair membership as well as trusted partners and business associates.

Dudley also highlighted the importance of Federal Government initiatives, particular the ATO and ACCC programs, designed to improve the business acumen of particularly small business.

‘The development of this tool highlights the value of relationships and collaboration by the MTAA and Members with these Departments and Agencies to improve the sustainability and profitability of its business constituents. In particular, the MTAA is grateful for the work of the small business team in the ATO for providing essential feedback and suggestions for improvements to the tool,’ Dudley said.

MTAA also notes the ATO acknowledged ‘The challenge faced by the Smash Repair Industry to influence and control profit margins in a competitive economic environment largely controlled by insurance companies is clear. Accurate calculation of direct and indirect costs places smash repair businesses in a more powerful and informed position to negotiate contracts, prepare quotes and ultimately operate successful businesses.’

The calculator will be distributed and be available to MTAA Member motor body repair businesses from 2 February 2018.

PPG Partners With Uni Of Michigan’s Mcity For Autonomous Vehicle Research

PPG announced its partnership with the University of Michigan’s (U-M’s) Mcity, a public-private partnership that brings together industry, government and academia to improve transportation safety, sustainability and accessibility for the benefit of the society. Mcity’s work includes operating the Mcity Test Facility, which is the world’s first purpose-built proving ground for testing autonomous vehicles, connected-vehicle systems and related technologies. PPG is the first paints and coatings manufacturer to join the Mcity partnership.

PPG is developing a broad portfolio of coatings to improve functionality and enable broad deployment of autonomous vehicles. These developments include exterior coatings that enhance vehicle visibility to radar and light detection and ranging (LIDAR) systems, as well as easy-to-clean coatings that help prevent obstruction of autonomous vehicle sensors. PPG highlighted these technologies at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) at Cobo Center in Detroit.

The Mcity Test Facility, which opened in 2015, was developed by U-M with support from the Michigan Department of Transportation. The facility aims to re-create a range of operating challenges faced by vehicles on the road with simulated urban and suburban environments. Sitting on a 128,000-square metre site on U-M’s North Campus, the facility offers more than 64,000-square metres of roads and traffic infrastructure, including approximately eight lane-kilometres of roads with intersections, traffic signals, street lighting, sidewalks, fire hydrants, simulated buildings and obstacles like construction barriers and pedestrian crash dummies. In addition to operating the test facility, Mcity also funds academic research and works with its partners to deploy connected and automated vehicles in Ann Arbor and Southeast Michigan.

“Autonomous vehicle technology offers numerous real-world advantages, and the ability to test such technologies safely and thoroughly is essential for proving the viability of advanced mobility solutions,” said Huei Peng, director, Mcity. “Our state-of-the-art facility offers a controlled environment for manufacturers like PPG to develop and hone the capabilities of autonomous vehicles and related technologies, while also providing them access to a variety of valuable tools and resources. We’re excited to have PPG be part of this journey.”

Added Gary Danowski, PPG vice president, Automotive OEM Coatings, “Specialized coatings will play an integral role in the development of safe and reliable driverless vehicles. We are enthusiastic about this partnership and are always actively seeking additional R&D partners as we continue to explore new possibilities in emerging vehicle technologies.”

The agreement provides PPG with access to resources such as Mcity lab and project data; research and deployment assets; an independent forum of suppliers, manufacturers and end users; university expertise related to legal, regulatory and social issues; and Mcity research review meetings and the annual Mcity Congress.