The Automotive Management Institute, better known simply as AMi, began in 1989 as the Automotive Service Association Management Institute.
Perhaps because it was so closely tied to the Automotive Service Association (ASA), which focuses heavily on the mechanical, rather than the collision side of the business, and/or perhaps because AMi did not have a high-profile person to represent the organization to the collision repair industry, AMi stood mostly in the shadows and was for years virtually invisible to the collision repair world. But this did not belie the fact that AMi provided and continues to provide a great service for both the mechanical and collision sides of the business. Eventually, the organization became known simply as AMi.
As described on its website, AMi is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to providing industry-recognized professional management designations, certificates and career paths to the service and collision repair segments of the automotive industry. As a nonprofit, AMi collaborates with training providers across the industry, reviewing, recognizing and awarding credit hours for quality management and leadership education.
In other words, and contrary to what one may think, AMi does not actually create training content, but rather vets and approves content created by other entities within the industry that fits into a pre-determined curriculum as designated by AMi. When the student completes the assigned curriculum, they earn a professional management designation such as AAM (Accredited Automotive Manager) or AMAM (Accredited Master Automotive Manager). The curriculum focuses not on the technical side of the automotive business, but on what might be called “soft skills.” To earn the AAM designation, a student must complete courses on such areas as time management, effective communications, customer relations, phone skills and more. To best describe what AMi does, think of it as “I-CAR for the collision shop’s front office, customer service representatives, estimators, shop managers or owners”--- anyone who has direct contact with the customer.
With that said, there are places where AMi works hand-in-hand with other industry training and support entities. For example, AMi has two estimator professional designations: ACE and AMCE. They require verifiable achievement from AMi, I-CAR, ASE and estimating systems. It is the most comprehensive recognition in the industry for estimators.