National News

PPG MVP Business Solutions Group has announced the video release of the “Tip of the Technology Iceberg” OEM panel session from the 2017 spring conference.

  • Repair storm brewing around increasing costs and complexity
  • Vehicle manufacturers urged to engage with repair industry, to bring costs under control as average repair bills spiral by 32% over the last three years
  • Advanced Driver Assistance Systems are impacting windscreen replacement, potentially increasing costs by 123% for certain new models—and affecting no-claims bonuses
  • Bodyshop of the Future program to bring insurers, repairers and carmakers together to address challenges

Thatcham Research in the U.K. is the motor insurers’ automotive research center a kind of analog to the IIHS in the US. Established by the insurance industry in 1969, the center’s main aim is to contain or reduce the cost of motor insurance claims whilst maintaining safety standards.

    Thatcham Research still occupies its unique position as the UK’s only ‘not for profit’ insurer funded research center. Whilst the original aims remain intact, the center is at the forefront of the latest vehicle technology research, spanning safety, security and repair.

    Thatcham Research is calling for action for vehicle manufacturers to urgently engage with the repair industry to halt spiralling costs. With the average repair bill rising by nearly 32% in the last three years, concerns are mounting around core repair challenges encompassing ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems), new materials and a lack of skills.

Coping with ADAS calibration

Peter Shaw, Thatcham Research CEO, addressed automotive industry leaders at the Thatcham Research Repair Focus event on June 6, highlighting the issue of escalating repair costs as ADAS technologies become more prevalent.
    According to Shaw, “The average repair bill has risen by 32% over the last three years. This has been driven by the reparability of parts such as headlights, increasing complexity of vehicle materials and technology and the rising cost of spare parts, influenced to some extent by currency fluctuations. Vehicle manufacturers must bring these costs under control.

    “The cost for windscreen mounted ADAS calibration spans from 0 to $900  U.S. across car manufacturers and often across similar sensors and technology. This is unacceptable. Unless urgently addressed, these costs will challenge the current model of a no-claims bonus being unaffected by a windscreen repair or replacement.”

    The average cost to replace a windscreen increases significantly with the fitment of ADAS technologies such as Autonomous Emergency Braking. For example, a windscreen replacement for a Ford Focus with ADAS can increase by 123%, when estimated calibration costs are factored in. Costs for a VW Golf can increase by 78%. Thatcham Research estimates that there are over two million cars on the roads today with standard-fit AEB systems (equating to 5% of the cars in use in the UK), and with the systems set to be more prevalent over coming years, this issue will only continue to grow.

Lifting the hood on intrusive repairs

The increase in different material specification in new cars was another Repair Focus hot topic. Thomas Hudd, Operations Manager at the Thatcham Research Repair Technology Centre said, “The rising use of a mix of new materials in modern cars is leading to more intrusive repairs. This means that where we were once able to partially replace a panel, we now need to replace it in its entirety. This is especially true of aluminium panels, which are challenging the repair industry as it is stiffer and harder to reshape than steel.”

The Top 5 Repair Challenges

  1.  ADAS systems: maintenance, repair, costs, time and resource required for calibration
  2. Complexity: new skills for Vehicle Damage Assessors and engineer assessors, as multiple material types, as well as ADAS and hybrid powertrains, become a regular feature of volume production vehicle construction
  3. Paint and panels: new technologies such as textured paint, or crystal finishes, and refinish on multiple materials. Panel repair is increasing in cost and complexity too – as a result of pricing anomalies, missing repair data, intrusive repair methods and lack of correct stock
  4. Headlights: LED and LED Matrix, Laser and soon OLED lighting continue to gain prominence, but often cost considerably more than a bulb headlamp and some may be impossible to repair rather than replace
  5. Electrified PowerTrains: diagnosis of electrified powertrains and electrical architecture. The diverse range of technologies and tools required are not acceptable investments to expect of a bodyshop

Bodyshop of the Future

All of this complexity creates a further challenge for UK bodyshops today—attracting high caliber individuals, with the right skillsets, who see the repair industry as a career destination.

    “There is still much to be done to ensure that the right people choose a career in this industry,” comments Dean Lander, head of repair sector services at Thatcham Research. “Repairers need a new set of skills to meet the demands of the Bodyshop of the Future. Technical expertise in diagnostics and calibration has become as vital as expertise in repairing and refinishing the physical hardware of a car. We must portray a fresh image to recruit the right people and help them to develop these new skills for bodyshops, as well as developing leadership skills to aid long term retention. This is a key focus of Thatcham’s new Leadership and management foundation programme, delivered in partnership with BSG, which is launching today at Repair Focus.”

    To learn more about the Thatcham Research Bodyshop of the Future program, visit:

    Thatcham Research is the independent voice of automotive safety & repair, advising motorists, insurers and vehicle manufacturers to help reduce accident frequency, severity and costs and to realise the vision of ‘Safer cars, fewer crashes’.
    As well as its world-leading crash and track research, Thatcham Research tests and accredits crash repair parts, vehicle repair technicians, and a number of other products and services within the collision repair industry for insurers, motor manufacturers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers.

    A founder member of the international Research Council for Automobile Repairs (RCAR), Thatcham Research has also been a member of the European New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP) since 2004.

As part of the Collision Repair Education Foundation’s (CREF) ongoing efforts to aid and support students pursuing a future career in the automotive industry, the organization is again partnering with ASE to host the 3rd Annual Cars, Careers and Celebrities Expo at 11AM-5PM on Friday, September 15. The event will be held in Joliet, IL at the Chicagoland Speedway hospitality village area next to the racetrack during Chicago’s NASCAR weekend, and students, instructors and administrators who participate in the career fair will also receive complimentary tickets to Friday evening’s races.


    Brandon Eckenrode, Director of Development for CREF, explains, “CREF and ASE are collaborating to bring together high school and college collision repair and auto service students from around the greater Midwest and beyond for this trade show and career fair, exclusively for them. We anticipate over 30 companies to participate who are looking to either meet students for employment consideration or showcase their products to the future professionals of the collision and auto service industries. Many would argue that the average age of repair technicians is over 40 years old, and one of the largest concerns within the collision and other technical industries is finding entry-level staff.”

    Eckenrode continues, “Through this event, our goal is to help introduce industry employers and students. We have heard that, through these events where students interact with industry members, they find motivation to stay within their programs. Instructors may sit in front of their classrooms and ‘talk’ about the industry that is out there for them, but at this event, students get to meet the actual companies and experience the demand for their skills firsthand.”

    CREF anticipates that around 1000 students will be in attendance due to the addition of automotive service students, and while the majority of these students are located in the Midwest region, CREF has already received interest from schools located in NC, PA and KS.

    During the Cars, Careers and Celebrities event, students will get to meet with national and local repair facilities, insurance companies and dealerships, as well as tool, equipment and paint companies. Eckenrode hopes to see more independent repair facilities get involved, noting “Companies who are (or will be) in need of entry-level staff should attend this event in order to meet prospective future employees. There are sponsorship levels to meet every budget, and we would encourage all companies to join us to help welcome students during this event.”

    Students will be required to RSVP for the event, allowing CREF and ASE to collect their resumes and contact information to share with event sponsors and potential employers. In an effort to create more value for students, Eckenrode says that this year “SkillsUSA will be administering a mock-interview tent so that students can practice their skills, and we are also working in interactive and hands-on activities for students to participate in.”

    Companies interested in participating in CREF and ASE’s 3rd Annual Cars, Careers and Celebrities Expo should contact Eckenrode at 847-463-5244 or Brandon.Eckenrode Companies must express interest by August 5th to be included on event signage.

Coil Replacement Mini Ductor 3


While mechanics and body shop owners love their Mini-Ductor® Venom® and Mini-Ductor II, the effectiveness of these portable induction heaters – and safety – are contingent on the state of the coils used with them. Many don’t realize that these coils need to be replaced over time, but how do you know when to do so and where can you go to buy them?

The Automotive Service Association (ASA) and its official publication, AutoInc. magazine, are inviting all current ASA members to enter the magazine’s annual Top 10 Websites Contest.

The Automotive Management Institute (AMi) is accepting applications for the 2016 Emil Stanley Merit Award.

Service King Collision Repair Centers® continues to add to its quickly growing Apprentice Development Program as the organization today welcomed 34 technicians at seven elaborate signing day events held across the country.

Chief Vulcan ADU 2017


Ford, Mitsubishi and Nissan approved the Chief Vulcan Adhesive Debonding Unit (ADU) for use in the structural repair of their vehicles.

Mitchell is collaborating with Bosch Automotive Service Solutions in North America to deliver the Mitchell Diagnostics™ system, the first comprehensive diagnostic system designed specifically for the collision repair and automotive claims markets.

MAACO Transformers last knight partnership


In celebration of the new movie, “Transformers: The Last Knight,” directed by Michael Bay and releasing in theaters June 21, Maaco, North America’s Bodyshop, has launched a national integrated campaign with television, print, digital and social media, bringing the action and excitement of the Transformers movies to more than 500 shops with special offers for consumers.

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