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Friday, 19 August 2011 16:01

Chief Opens New Research Center in Irvine, CA

Chief Automotive Technologies recently opened its doors to the press to show off its new Chief Research and Specification Center in Irvine, CA.

Brent Johnson, Chief Global Specifications Manager, explained that the new 3,500 sq. ft. facility is used to measure every new passenger vehicle sold in the U.S. It is the newest of Chief’s four specification centers around the world. The others are in the Netherlands, Malaysia and China. This global commitment ensures that Chief can efficiently measure every vehicle produced in Europe, China and the Pacific Rim. Chief’s U.S. specification center was previously located in Omaha, NE. Prior to that, it was in Torrance, CA.

According to Johnson, Chief started measuring every new vehicle in 1993, but the company provides data on some models going back as far as the 1970s. Chief uses OEM measurement data as often as possible, but they still verify that data by measuring every car independently.

Johnson explained that it takes approximately 12-14 hours, or two days, to fully measure each new vehicle. Chief measures between 130 -140 new vehicles in its U.S. Specification Center every year. Another 300 vehicles are measured by the other three Chief spec centers around the world.

 

All of the vehicle measurements are inputted into the Chief Velocity Computerized Frame-Measuring System. Shops with Velocity systems subscribe to receive updated vehicle frame data regularly so they have all the information they need in order to accurately measure a collision-damaged car and return it to pre-accident condition. Johnson pointed out that the technicians in the Chief Specification Center use the same Velocity system to measure the new cars that technicians use in the shop, so the techs are getting real-world data. The information available through Velocity includes descriptions of measuring points as well as photos, to make it as efficient as possible for technicians to quickly and accurately measure a vehicle. If a technician runs into trouble during the measuring or repair process, Chief’s technical support staff are available to troubleshoot, and can even access the technician’s Velocity system if it’s connected to the Internet.

Ken Boylan, Chief Training and Specifications Manager, wrapped up the tour by explaining the benefit to shops of measuring the entire car during the estimating process. “You can’t see a 3 mm alignment problem but it can play a huge role in the repair if it isn’t identified during the estimating process,” he said. “Also, customers appreciate the extra effort a shop takes when it does a thorough evaluation. Customers have more confidence that the repair will be done right when they see a thorough evaluation, including measurements, done on the front end. By using Velocity to measure a vehicle, the shop can provide a customer with a printout showing exactly what is wrong with the frame. That is a powerful sales tool and confidence builder. At the conclusion of the repair, Velocity enables the shop to printout a final report showing that the work was performed and the vehicle was returned to pre-accident condition. The customer confidence that buys for the shop is priceless.”

For more information about Chief’s new Research and Specification Center or the Chief Velocity Computerized Measuring System, contact Chief at (800) 445-9262.

 

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