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40 I-CAR Update, Training and Events Alternatives to welding.
44 Product Showcase
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20 ACM Parts opens Hemmant facility
The massive task of shifting and enlarging a warehouse.
24 Is the industry future ready? Automotive workshops give their response.
28 State of the Nation
Capricorn Society’s annual insight into the state of the industry.
30 Collision Expo 2024
The repair industry’s biggest event under one roof.
33 Trusted Partnerships
Auto Parts Group details its new guarantee.
Regular Features 32 Future Leaders
Nick Batey reveals his diverse journey.
Women in collision share their stories.
42 Talking Shop
The SAPE Group opens its new state-ofthe-art facility.
49 Lifetime Achievement Awards
A not-to-be-missed event for the industry’s outstanding service awards.
50 OEM Snapshot
More developments from the world of automotive manufacturers.
The National Collision Repairer magazine is owned by Prime Creative Media and published by John Murphy. All material in National Collision Repairer magazine is copyright and no part may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any means (graphic, electronic or mechanical, including information and retrieval systems without written permission of the publisher. The editor welcomes contributions but reserves the right to accept or reject any material. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information, Prime Creative Media will not accept responsibility for errors or omissions, or for any consequences arising from reliance on information published. The opinions expressed in National Collision Repairer magazine are not necessarily the opinions of, or endorsed by, the publisher unless otherwise stated. © Copyright Prime Creative Media, 2023 Articles All articles submitted for publication become the property of the publisher. The editor reserves the right to adjust any article to conform with the magazine format. Head Office 379 Docklands Dr, Docklands VIC 3008 P: +61 3 9690 8766 firstname.lastname@example.org www.primecreative.com.au
43 Tech Talk
Have pneumatic tools had their day?
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Challenges and strengths It will not come as a surprise for many that the skills shortage has topped the list of issues facing the aftermarket automotive industry in the latest State of the Nation survey. Capricorn Society’s yearly survey gives a valuable snapshot of how the industry is affected by a range of issues and recruitment has come out as a clear priority. For the collision repair sector these factors are being felt even more acutely, with many responses in the survey 15 percentage points worse than other areas. The impacts of this can be broad and profound. They can range from delays to individual repair jobs, impeding people who need to become mobile as soon as possible, to the wider loss of productivity of an industry that contributes billions to the economy. Then there is the personal impact on business owners and staff who are placed under increasing pressure and stress to handle a greater workload. Most people understand this is not sustainable in the long term and has the double impact of burning out the experienced and valuable staff currently in the industry at a time when there is not an adequate skills pipeline for the future. Given the range and severity of some of these shortages, there is also a degree of urgency in these figures that demands prompt action. The Australian Collision Industry Alliance has taken some positive steps in this direction. It has made the skills gap a priority and is already working on how best to generate a clear and cohesive voice on the issue and identify specific solutions. It is additionally valuable to have an industry specific advocacy body with this focus when the number of industries clamouring for government attention is so diverse. The 2023 Annual Skills and Jobs Report has presented to the federal government the wider picture of these shortages. It found that the food trades and construction industries were facing even greater pressure from skills shortages. But
the automotive and engineering trades are close behind, with 80 per cent of occupations experiencing shortfalls in the skilled workers they need during 2023. These are also areas with a history of staff shortfalls, with a third of trades or 67 occupations suffering from persistent and recurrent shortages over the past three years. What this data points to is a broad and fundamental problem in the talent pipeline where trades are decreasingly popular career options for younger people. The federal government skills report also points potentially at some of the solutions. Occupations that have a strong gender imbalance were more likely to be in shortage. Half the occupations where males make up at least 80 per cent of the workforce were found to be in shortage. One solution therefore must lie in spreading the net wider and harnessing a bigger talent pool. In the collision industry’s case, this means a concerted effort to train and recruit more women. Solutions must also lie in the education system and making sure career options in the automotive industry are well informed and well publicised. As has already been pointed out, these options need to be made clear earlier in students’ lives. Waiting until late into students’ secondary years or at school leaving, may well be too late when competition for their attention and choices is so intense. But perhaps even more importantly, the broader perceptions of trades, and specifically careers in the automotive repair industry, need to be reshaped so that they are viable and attractive options for young people. The historic image of low-skilled manual labour is less and less relevant in an increasingly sophisticated industry, where repair specialists are genuine technicians dealing with complex machines. There are other qualities too worth promoting that could be instrumental in turning these numbers around; the joy in fixing things, the passion for cars and many other qualities that run deep in the people who make up an industry. Despite all the challenges it revealed, the State of the Nation survey also showed that it is the quality and value of the people in the industry that is one of its ongoing strengths.
Eugene Duffy Editor The National Collision Repairer
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Peak body wants franchise protections to cover repairers As the national franchising system undergoes a major review, the automotive peak body wants key protections to be extended to automotive repairers. The Motor Trades Association of Australia has lodged a submission responding to the federal government’s plans to overhaul the franchising code. The 2023 Franchising Code Review, announced in August by Minister for Small Business Julie Collins, will review the Competition and Consumer Regulation Code of 2014. Dr Michael Schaper, who recently completed a review into the MVIRI Code of Conduct, the key guideline governing the relationship between insurers and repairers, will lead the overhaul. The MTAA’s key requests are that the review extends the protections offered to dealers under the code to franchise automotive aftermarket repairers and that it mandates a service and parts agreement relating to the motor vehicle dealer agreements falling within code.
The MTAA also wants the code extended to cover motorcycle, farm machinery, industrial machinery and truck dealers. MTAA has joined forces with a group of peak bodies for the changes including the Victorian Automobile Dealers Association, Farm and Industrial Machinery Dealers Association, the Australian Automotive Dealers Association, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. MTAA CEO Geoff Gwilym said the submission was about working toward the best-case outcomes for retail automotive franchising. “The entire Australian franchising system is now under review. As a result, franchisees across the nation are nervous,” Gwilym says. “They require layers of protection. The MTAA calls for a fair go for all automotive industry franchisees. We hope the Code Review will deliver that for all.
“The Code Review will evaluate previous franchising reforms and bring several reviews under one umbrella, including statutory reviews of the Franchise Disclosure Register and specific new car dealership protections contained within Part 5 of the Code. “This is especially important for the farm and industrial machinery, motorcycle, truck and mechanical repair franchise sector,” said Mr Gwilym. “New car dealers often receive public attention with franchising but, behind the scenes, the vital agricultural, truck and motorcycle sectors have experienced unfair franchisor behaviour, which has cost livelihoods.” The MTAA is also advocating that the code should recognise the right of dealers to compensation for established goodwill and minimum five-year term for dealer agreements. These protections will be important for dealers after a decision by the Federal Court rejecting a compensation claim against Mercedes-Benz for replacing its traditional dealership model.
Training reinforces body shop’s BMW expertise A culture of ongoing training and staying up to date with the latest automotive technology, has helped an OEM-focused body shop achieve Gold Class recognition. Alexander Body Works, based in Garbutt, Queensland, is the latest repair workshop to be awarded the prestigious I-CAR Gold Class Collision status after years of dedicated work and training. AMA Group, North Queensland area manager Martin Dickinson says Alexanders, a BMW specialist, is a leading example of how a business can excel with role-specific training. “The group has worked closely with its suppliers and OEM partners to
ensure maximum usage out of any training available,” he says. “The team feels it is very valuable as new technology comes through at a rapid rate and completing these courses, the team stays engaged and up to date. “Alexander Body Works has been involved in the Road to Gold program for the past three years due to its accreditation with BMW and the commitment of AMA Group management to Gold Class accreditation,” he says. “The most rewarding thing is the training is personalised. It’s fortunate that we have people in our organisation who can map out specific training plans
for the team as well as create opportunities to bring apprentices up through the program, so they begin to understand the training process and it then becomes second nature for them.”
The team at the specialised BMW repairer, Alexander Body Works in Garbutt.
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Correction not technology the solution to speeding youngsters A new study indicates automated driver instructions may not be the best way to correct young driver errors including speeding, the biggest contributor to their crashes. The study conducted by the University of New south Wales found young people’s tendency to speed was not changed by on-board messaging about speeding as much as in-person correction. UNSW Science’s School of Aviation professor Brett Molesworth who has been working on safety for the past 13 years said his study found the most effective ways to make young people reduce speed is not through technology, but through old-fashioned, verbal feedback. “There’s adaptive technology in motor vehicles that provides you with an auditory alert when you exceed the speed limit,” Molesworth says. “But when we tested its effectiveness with young drivers, we were amazed to see it had the opposite effect with young drivers – ironically, they
exceeded the speed limit even more.” The study sought to deal with high risk factors among young drivers under 26, including inexperience, risk taking and delusions of invincibility. The study responders said they didn’t like being told by technology how to drive or what to do. In NSW in 2021, young drivers under 26 made up just 14 per cent of total drivers on NSW roads, but sadly represented almost a quarter of the state’s road fatalities, according to Transport for NSW. Molesworth, who has qualifications in aviation and psychology, says his research has shown that young drivers respond best to verbal feedback from a real person after completing a stint of driving, either in a simulator, or in the real world. Now Molesworth wants the findings to be considered in the training process for young drivers, including a verbal component, to bring about the best safety outcomes.
Molesworth says he and his fellow researchers have developed a quick and effective training method that gives young drivers verbal feedback about their driving behaviour including how much they exceeded the speed limit by, the safety implications associated with this the financial implications associated with being booked for speeding. “For example, we might say, ‘do you realise during this drive, the maximum speed that you travelled was 75 kilometres per hour in a 70 zone, and you’ve exceeded the speed limit by five kilometres an hour? Doing so will increase your distance required to stop, and it increases the likelihood of being involved in an accident. For that breach, you will be penalised $300 and lose two demerit points from your license.’ “That information provided verbally seems to be the most effective way to reduce young drivers’ tendency to speed. So, they exceed the speed limit far less, and that lasts for up to six months, according to the latest research.”
Slow-down should include repairers; RACV One of Victoria’s peak motoring bodies and insurers wants roadside repairers included in slow-down laws aimed at protecting people around accidents and breakdowns. RACV is calling on the Victorian Government to include ‘yellow lights’ in the current rules that drivers must slow to The RACV wants Victoria to come in line with other states on emergency slow downs.
40km/h as they pass emergency vehicles. The controversial laws introduced in 2017 stipulate that drivers must slow to 40km/h when police, firefighters, SES or other “red and blue” lighted vehicles operating at an incident on the state’s roads or face fines of $272. According to VicRoads a survey of 1600 emergency workers found almost one in five reported multiple near misses while eight per cent had had their vehicle struck by a passing vehicle. It also notes that 40km/h is the maximum speed at which pedestrians are likely to survive vehicle impact. The RACV now wants the wider laws in Victoria to include tow trucks and roadside assistance vehicles and to accord with the rules in five other states. RACV general manager automotive
services Jackie Pedersen, said emergency roadside assistance workers deserved the same protection In Victoria as in Queensland, Western Australia, New South Wales, Tasmania and the ACT. “Safety is the number one priority for all Victorians,” Pedersen says. “Every day, hundreds of RACV service providers put themselves at risk of injury and death from fast-moving vehicles while helping over 820,000 Victorians annually.” The rule would also protect customers who are waiting on the side of the road. “I am sure every driver who has needed the help of an emergency roadside assistance worker or tow truck driver would be disappointed to know that the Victorian Government is not protecting these essential responders.”
Women in collision unlock their secrets THE MTAA has revealed the line-up of its special lunchtime forum that will bring a wealth of female perspectives in the automotive industry together in one place. Hosted by well-known sports and TV journalist Erin Molan, the free online forum will share the stories and secrets of the five leaders in the industry from across Australia. The Motor Trades Association of Australia will host the special lunchtime forum in November and bring together pioneering women Melissa Rowe, Carly Ruggeri, Andrea McCarthy, Sarah Karavasilias and Alison Turnbull, each from different states, to share their unique viewpoints. The forum titled Passion to Panel, brings together leaders in the repair
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industry who have all made their mark in different ways. • Melissa Row is managing director of Esperance Smash Repairs in WA and a past winner of the Automotive Woman of the year. • Carly Ruggeri owns and runs stateof-the art business Euro Panels in Geelong, Victoria and is a strong advocate for industry development. • Andrea McCarthy is a director of McCarthy Panel Works in Queensland, with more than 25 years of industry experience and has a special passion for training. • Sarah Karavasilias holds multiple management roles at MPSR Group in Marrickville NSW and brings a decade of experience as a
lawyer to the family business. • A lison Turnbull from Al’s Panel Shop in the Northern Territory brings more than 30 years of experience in the automotive repair industry to the forum. The special qualities they each bring to leadership, the highs of their journeys and pressing issues like how to attract and keep good staff are all some of the subjects to be discussed. The free event also has the added advantage of being conducted online, so tapping into their wisdom is simply a matter of registering and logging on at a convenient time to lunch and learn. The Passion to Panel will be held at 12pm to 1pm on Thursday November 16. More information at www.mtaa.com.au
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Government training investment key to overcoming skills shortfall; MTAA Unless the federal government can refocus on skills training and investment, the labour shortage in the automotive industry will continue and repairs will take longer, the peak body has said. The Motor Trades Association of Australia was responding to the Australian government’s new White Paper on Jobs and Opportunities whose aim is full employment. MTAA is advocating for the need to raise resources and funding for training providers and urges government to ensure the private training providers, along with TAFE institutes, can access the same funding to deliver the same training, and access resource funding equitably, either in or outside of the TAFE institute. The MTAA has argued the greater participation in employment the paper aspires to will only be achieved with greater focus on foundation skills in schools and training programs to add to skills capability and improve workplace productivity.
The automotive industry needs 15,000 new apprentices to enter the industry every year and any reduction means vehicle service and repairs take longer, which is bad for the economy and productivity, it says. MTAA CEO Geoff Gwilym said the provision of quality training to meet this critical shortfall was even more pressing given the increasing complexity of automotive design and technology. “Mechanics today have to be mechanical and digital technicians at the same time,” Gwilym says. “Working on new vehicles requires electronic diagnosis and computer analytics, the same as someone working on a wind turbine or a complex computerised system. Care needs to be taken to ensure a scarce number of trade aspirants leaving school will not jump to higher-level apprenticeships at the expense of the traditional trades.” “MTAA supports a greater focus on matching incoming temporary and permanent migrants and, in particular, it
has been identified as the sixth most in demand occupation by Jobs and Skills Australia. In an industry with over 30,000 vacant jobs nationally, we need to ensure we tightly match migration with genuine jobs and employment in the economy,” Gwilym says. “Full employment is a key and admirable goal for the Australian economy. However, meeting this target means employers and employees need to exercise all available workplace flexibilities to achieve these aims,” he says. Industry registered training organisations, who form a key conduit between industry, training and employment, also need particular focus. MTAA and its state and territory members support linking VET qualifications with higher education pathways and encourage government to acknowledge many existing industries, like automotive, are in a steep transition curve, with whole sectors reskilling to meet the needs of the digital world.
Retirees could still be part of the skills shortage solution Utilising the wisdom and experience of retired or semi-retired repair technicians could be part of the automotive skills shortage solution according to the aftermarket’s peak body. The Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association wants retired mechanics and repairers to join them at the pub and let them know what role they could potentially play in helping existing businesses. AAAA director of government relations and advocacy Lesley Yates said the skills shortage remained high on the groups challenge list and thinking laterally for solutions was important as many workshops were busy buying time until vacancies could be filled. “Effectively lots of stop gap measures are being employed to make the workshop
run as smoothly as possible whilst waiting for the right person to apply for job ads that have been up for over eight weeks,” Yates says in her column. “We are asking the question: what circumstances would encourage master technicians to come back into the workshop on a part time, part-day basis to make a unique contribution to easing the labour force challenges and at the same time, adding the wisdom and experience that our industry values so highly. “Despite retirement, we clearly have dedicated auto professions that still love the trade and still have so much to offer.” Yates says it was not necessarily a call to go back ‘on the tools’ for the physically demanding work that in some cases had caused many to retire early or go into
consulting but rather engaging in the aspects of the business that can benefit from their skills and experience and freeing up the existing labour for service and repair. “What if we could match retired professionals with workshops that need mentoring, wisdom, service management or business management support and expertise?” she says. The project wants to know on what terms older mechanics might work, including wages, hours and type of work and how they could be used by the industry. Sessions will begin in Victoria and move to other states. For more detail, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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AMA Group launches new flagship centre The AMA Group has combined three former repair businesses to launch its new Gold Coast flagship repair centre. The state-of-the-art flagship site at Arundel on the Gold Coast spans 5,000 square metres and will have the capacity to repair up to 125 cars per week, improving turnaround. It will also host a range of new services including an undercover drivethrough valet service and customised, person to person repair consultation. The new centre aims to be the showcase of the AMA Groups new approach to the industry that is driven by the motto – “Repairs Driven by You.” AMA Collision executive general manager Jim Lynch says the centre will highlight the aim to place the customer at the heart of every repair. “At AMA Collision, we are dedicated to enhancing the quality of our
customer’s vehicle repair experience, and our new flagship site on the Gold Coast is a testament to that commitment. With enhanced features and amenities, our customers can expect a level of service and convenience like never before.” “This milestone marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for AMA Collision as the Group continues to elevate the standards or repair and service offered by the industry, and create a unique, customer-centric vehicle repair experience.” Lynch says this will be achieved through elements like the drive-through valet service which offers a smooth and efficient undercover drop-off and pickup experience and a key consultative service driven approach: “Our team of skilled professionals takes the time to understand each
customer’s unique needs and preferences,” he says. “We believe in transparent and open communication, ensuring that every aspect of our customer’s repair is tailored to their satisfaction.” “Our design studio allows our customers to customise additional repair work to meet their personal preferences and style, to restore or enhance their vehicle.” AMA Collision provides comprehensive repair solutions for all types of vehicle damage including drive and non-drive capabilities. The centre is also equipped with two new Electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, supporting the repair of emerging vehicles. “Our eco-friendly approach includes a washbay and water recycling system, minimising the environmental impact.”
Young apprentices match it with the best Colour matching is a repair industry fine art and testing the skills of the next generation in a competitive environment is a key to its future success. PPG has continued its partnership with TAFE NSW and Canberra Institute of Technology in the annual colour matching competitions that give repair industry apprentices an opportunity to hone this vital skill. TAFE institutions have played a crucial role in developing these skills and creating the opportunities for the apprentices to test themselves against their peers in competition and industry partners like PPG have helped the events happen. PPG NSW Training Manager Trevor Duke is one of the personnel behind the scenes, providing technical and organisational support. “Supporting these state-based TAFE colour matching competitions is
something PPG has done for many years so when the request came in to run the 2023 events, we were very happy to help,” Duke says. “Before each event we did a lot of preparation work, including choosing the colours – a solid Clear-Over-Base and a metallic – and creating the target spray-outs.” Duke then gives the students a rundown on the competition format, using SATA RPS cups, the best gun setup, application techniques and rules and regulations before they are left to show their talent. “It was great to see the young apprentices enthusiastically testing out their colour matching skills as they were given one hour to match the solid colour and, after a break, an hour to match the metallic colour.” CIT’s Georgia Freebody won for the ACT and Tanya Le from Ultimo won for
NSW. They were among the outstanding achievers and were awarded premium SATAjet X 5500 spray guns. Duke says the competitions highlights the terrific results from the apprentices and shows colour matching is a fundamental industry skill to master. “At PPG, we are passionate about colour and colour matching which is why we work closely with the TAFE organisations right throughout the year.”
ACT winner Georgia Freebody with PPG’s NSW training manager Trevor Duke.
The National Collision Repairer 13
EV ruling leaves budget hole A high court decision rejecting road-user charges for electric vehicles in Victoria has left the future of road maintenance revenue in limbo. The October decision that Victoria’s road user charge on EVs was an excise and therefore unconstitutional means the responsibility for any charges will now fall on the federal government. The fuel excise, levied by the federal government, is the main revenue source for road maintenance and the advent of increased EV uptake could leave a hole in government budgets. The ruling on the High Court challenge could also set a precedent for any other states pursuing plans to introduce road user charges on electric vehicles. The Victorian government introduced the tax in July 2021. Electric vehicle owners paid between 2.3 cents and 2.8 cents for every kilometre they drive in and outside Victoria.
The High Court decision has raised questions about future road revenue.
Senior Associate at Equity Generation Lawyers, David Hertzberg, representing the drivers at the High Court said they were pleased with the outcome. “Australia is lagging behind the rest of the world on electric vehicle uptake. Now is not the time to be taxing electric vehicles - it’s the time to be doing everything we can to encourage people to make the switch to cleaner cars. The Victorian government has been moving in the wrong direction - it went out alone in taxing electric vehicles, and recently it scrapped its electric vehicle subsidy. EVC chief executive Behyad Jafari said the High Court ruling would pave the way to a better national policy. “There is nothing inherently wrong with road user charges, but they should never be calibrated to discourage the take up of electric vehicles,” Mr Jafari said. “The electric vehicle industry warned the Victorian government this policy was muddleheaded years ago, and the offer has always been on the table to work with the state on a more sensible approach. “Any road user charge scheme should be national and we now look forward to working with the federal government on sensible road funding reform, without singling out drivers who are trying to do the right thing.
“Any scheme should apply to all vehicles and should take into consideration the economic cost of emissions. Australia’s priority should be on boosting the transition to EVs and decarbonising our transport system,” Jafari said. “There is no need for Australia to be dependent on imported oil today. Road funding is also an important consideration for government, but we should approach issues in the right order.” Motor Trade Association from South Australia CEO Darrell Jacobs said the decision shouldn’t be seen as a green light for free EV use of the roads as they don’t pay fuel excise. He wants the federal government to legislate to ensure electric vehicle drivers contribute to road user charges. “All road users must pay their way on our roads,” Darrell Jacobs said. “Every motorist benefits from this critical investment so it only makes sense that everybody contributes towards it. “Now is the time to take action or we otherwise risk further deterioration of our roads as electric vehicle sales grow. “Petrol and diesel drivers should likewise not have to subsidise infrastructure investments on behalf of EV owners.”
Wider trucks will mean faster electric adoption; council Widening the width limit on trucks will allow a greater access and uptake to larger electric vehicles, according to an EV advocacy body. The Electric Vehicle Council has welcomed the federal government’s move to increase the width limit of trucks and bring Australia in line with major overseas markets. The overall width limit of trucks will increase from 2.50 to 2.55 metres, which will align with standards used by major supplier economies. EVC chief executive Behyad Jafari said the electric vehicle industry has been
calling for the change for several years. “The EVC congratulates the government for working collaboratively with industry and other stakeholders to deliver this important change,” he says. “Increasing the width limit of trucks brings Australia in line with major overseas markets, like the EU, which is vital if we want to increase the supply of electric trucks on our roads,” Jafari says. “Being out of step with international regulation has restricted the supply of electric trucks into Australia. Aligning these standards will make it simpler and cheaper for Australian operators
to access electric trucks, while also improving productivity, freight efficiency and safety. “Australia is dependent on trucks to deliver goods across our massive nation, meaning they make up around one-fifth of the country’s transport emissions.” Jafari says Australia needs to catch up with the accelerating global adoption. “Having more electric trucks crossing the country will reduce transport emissions, improve air quality, cut the cost of freight and reduce operating costs for owners as we decrease our reliance on expensive, imported fuel.”
Vehicle running costs narrow Electric cars are getting cheaper to purchase and run but a considerable price gap still exists for those hoping to escape soaring petrol prices. RACV’s Annual Car Running Costs Survey, which looks at the total running costs of a car found there was a 50 per cent difference in cost between the cheapest electric car and cheapest light car, both MGs. MG ZS Excite Standard Range RWD Wagon topped the list of most affordable electric cars with a monthly running cost of $1172, compared to the $746 cost of running a MG3 Core light 1.5spd Auto Hatch. The gap narrows however as cars get larger, with the Mazda 3 Pure 2.0 6spd Auto Hatch costing $915.30 to run per month, while popular medium size cars like Honda CRV Vi 2.0 CVT FWD Wagon and Toyota Camry Ascent Hybrid
2.5 Hybrid CVT Sedan come in at around the same running cost: $1161.36 and $1120.98 respectively. The cheapest ute to run in the RACV data was the Isuzu D-Max SX Dual Cab 1.9T Diesel at 1364.67 while the cheapest of the big 4WD’s was the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport GLX 2.4T Diesel 4WD at $1564 per month. This price puts it as more expense than the top five fully electric cars and even in a similar bracket to the Tesla Model 3 Sedan which the RACV estimates would cost $1663 to run per month. The EV figures include charging costs that range from $85 per month for the Tesla to $101 per month for the MG Excite. This is good news for those considering moving to electric as petrol sits around $2 per litre and a single tank of fuel is likely to cost a lot more but the
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purchase price of electric vehicles remain a major obstacle for many. Last month the FCAI released data indicating in both the midsize and smaller sized SUV market the price difference by 2030 will still represent about an $11,000 higher purchase cost for EVs over traditional combustion vehicles. The SP Global data predicts 28.1 of new sales would be full EVs by then with only 13.6 per cent of new vehicles traditional combustion vehicles, with the remainder a mixture of hybrid and other technologies. The RACV’s EV affordability data captures the overall cost of ownership, including factors such as purchase price, loan repayments, insurance, charging costs, tyres, servicing, repairs and auto club membership – averaged out over five years.
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Records keep falling as car sales hit another monthly high New car sales keep climbing and records keep falling in the latest set of stats that point to a robust automotive market. September sales have set a new record, the fourth in five months, with sales climbing to 110,702 an increase of 18.3 per cent on the same month in 2022. SUVs and utes dominated the makeup of the sales with more than three quarters or 79.4 per cent of sales. However electric vehicles have increased by a third from last month up to 8.0 per cent of sales while combined with hybrid and plug-in hybrid they now make close to one in five or 18.3 per cent vehicles sold.
Toyota Hi-Lux still leads the sales of most popular vehicle ahead of the Ford Ranger but Tesla’s Model Y has now jumped into the top three. The Hi-lux sold 5,776 vehicles, the Ford Ranger 5,429 and the Tesla Model Y sold 3,811 vehicles. FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said almost 900,000 new sales had been achieved so far this year. “The record result shows that Australian car buyers value a broad choice of vehicles in a range of price brackets that suit the family or business budget,” Mr Weber said. “Consumers have a choice of vehicles
across 20 light vehicle segments – from small passenger cars through to larger utes – confirming Australia’s position as one of the most open and competitive new vehicle markets in the world. “Our advice is that the supply of vehicles into Australia, including electric vehicles, continues to improve so those consumers who want to buy a new vehicle should visit a dealer or manufacturer.” Toyota was the highest selling marque with 20,912 vehicles sold. This was followed by Mazda with 8,031 vehicles then Ford 8,015, Kia 7,303 vehicles and Hyundai with 6,217 vehicles.
Gold Class vision for the future West Ryde Smash Repairs has been recognised for its forward-looking dedication to training and new technology. The Sydney business, which is celebrating 50 years, is the latest collision repair shop to gain the prestigious I-CAR Gold Class Collision status. West Ryde Smash Repairs director Marshall Collier said Road to Gold training helped them transition into new technologies as well as improve the quality, safety and efficiency of their repairs for the benefit of their customers. “We entered the Road to Gold
program wishing to be aligned and educated with industry standards and procedures across our whole repair process from estimating to repairing,” Collier says. He says now they are ready to face future challenges with EV charging station installations underway and preparing their workshop with dedicated EV bays. “West Ryde Smash Repair is in its 50th year of operation and we have an incredible team of workers, who are all dedicated to safety and quality. “Our initial idea was to join I-CAR to upskill our team so that we can achieve
West Ryde Smash Repairs joins I-CAR’s Gold Class.
the utmost safety for our customers and employees. We soon realised the extra benefits of our new training culture and were excelling with increased workloads due to business growth. “Our working mindset was shifting towards having better processes and we knew that training with I-CAR was key. The business also benefitted from using I-CAR’s Industry Training Alliance Partner, PPG. “We were the first NSW repairer to install the Moonwalk system. With the help of Greg Tunks, we were able to complete Green Belt training. Adam Hogg assisted in the organisation of training our refinish technicians at their Eastern Creek facility. We have further vehicle mapping training scheduled in October,” Collier says. “We highly recommend this training. With today’s modern vehicles being EVs and with advancements in ADAS systems, it is critical for our Managers, Estimators and Technicians to be familiar and confident with the latest technologies and methods. The I-CAR training assists the repairer to be trained and capable of dealing with current model vehicles that are more complex than ever before.”
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Capricorn reports record member benefits Australasia’s largest automotive cooperative has reported some of the best returns yet to members over its fivedecade history. Capricorn, which boasts 26,000 plus members from the automotive industry in Australia and New Zealand has tallied up record amounts in both its rewards points systems and a seven per cent share dividend payment. Capricorn said this amounted to $82.8 million in value to members across the 2023 financial year, including $50.1 million in Capricorn Rewards Points and $17 million in trade rebates. The $3.4 billion in sales with Capricorn Preferred Suppliers for members represented an increase of 16 per cent over the previous year. Member shareholders also shared in Capricorn’s 2023 financial year profit by receiving a seven per cent dividend payment which was fully franked in Australia and partially franked in New Zealand. As a cooperative the principle of the organisation is to generate goods and services for its members, as distinct from
a publicly-listed company, and under state legislation all members have equal voting rights. Capricorn Society was formed as a cooperative in Western Australia in 1974 from a group of service stations and paid its first dividend to members in 1982. Contributing to the 2023 results were growth in the insurance products with Capricorn Mutual Limited writing $121.9 million in gross written protection, while Capricorn Insurance Services wrote $20.6 million in gross written protection. Capricorn Group CEO, David Fraser said the 2023 financial year had been an outstanding year of growth for Capricorn and its members. “We have managed to generate significant business growth both for our members and for our highly valued Preferred Suppliers,” Fraser says. “As an organisation that is committed to the long-term success of our members, we also continued to grow our business support, financial and risk protection offerings over the past 12 months.
“This is an ongoing process of constant development across all of our operations.” In August, Capricorn announced a joint venture with global automotive tech company Repairify that enabled Capricorn to provide remote automotive diagnostics and ADAS calibration capabilities to Australian and New Zealand automotive repairers, service centres and collision repairers. Capricorn was also eager to showcase the new diversity in its senior management team that includes chief technology officer, Mary Karborani, chief experience officer Jacky Mills, chief people and culture officer Kerryn Gavin and chief innovation officer Kim Radalj. The Capricorn Society will be reporting on these results to members at its annual Gala Dinner for 2023 and at tradeshow events leading up to the end of the year. To find out more about becoming a Capricorn member, visit; www.capricorn.coop/join
Bellarine Smash Repairs aims high Bellarine Smash Repairs, Victoria is the latest collision repair workshop to join the ranks of the prestigious I-CAR Gold Class Collision status. The Moolap business, on the outskirts of Geelong, also intends to continue the training drive by ensuring as many technicians as possible reach I-CAR’s Platinum Individual recognition, one of its highest levels of professional training. Bellarine Smash Repairs centre manager Andrew Steen said the advances of technology in the automotive industry meant the ongoing training was a necessity to keep up to date. “Our team has embraced the training needed and the different training delivery options work well. We are aiming to achieve current Platinum
status with as many technicians as possible,” Steen says. AMA Group technical training, prestige & OEM manager Scott Donnelly said once again, I-CAR’s flexibility and the options of face to face or online training made it easier for a busy business to reach the training status. “I-CAR Australia provides our industry with an avenue for body shops to give their employees the training that is required to ensure repairs are completed to the highest standards and safety – for both our customers and our team,” he said. Donnelly also recognised BASF and Car-O-Liner, I-CAR’s Industry Training Alliance Partners who had helped with support and technical training.
The team at the Moolap business is continuing with its training goals.
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Shifting and upsizing a warehouse with up to 35,000 lines of stock within a limited time could be considered the archetypical logistical nightmare. But that is what ACM Parts has completed with the opening of its new Hemmant facility. NCR talks to Adam O’Sullivan about how they made it happen and how it will benefit customers. The 12-month journey toward Hemmant began when ACM Parts executive general manager of supply Adam O’Sullivan was presented with multiple issues at one time. “The lease was coming up on the Gold Coast site where traditionally ACM Parts has been located and the old site was tight and it was too small,” he says. “Then there was the issue that four vans that showed up there every day arrived to be loaded and then head out into traffic up the road to Brisbane for the next hour.” But these location problems proved an opportunity and O’Sullivan says they did extensive research to find how they could best serve the maximum number of customers in the area before
settling on the Hemmant location. “It’s close to the port, right in the middle of Brisbane, right near Anzac bridge, on the Gateway Motorway. It had a lot of appeal for those reasons,” he says. “At the time, the Hemmant site was about to be vacated, so commercially, we did well out of it as well, compared to a greenfield site.” The benefits of the new location at Hemmant have already translated into efficiencies for customers. “For the Brisbane metro, we can do up to three runs a day, that’s three drops a day to a Brisbane customer when even two runs were really challenging out of the Gold Coast. “We have also put on a daily Sunshine
Coast run. If you look at the growth corridor for Queensland, it really is growing up towards the Sunshine Coast and around that region. To be able to put a daily run into that area, is a real win which we couldn’t do at Arundel – we were just too far away.” This boost to delivery times is significant given the volumes of parts ACM is working with and the turnaround times in the supply chain. “Being close to the port it helps to have the road infrastructure because it’s easy to get in and out of and service those facilities from Hemmant. “At the moment nationwide, we are landing about 35, 40” shipping containers a month of genuine parts, of which proportionately, you’d be seeing
eight to 10 containers go into Brisbane. These containers are landing on our doorstep, rather than having to be freighted an hour plus down the road to Arundel, so that itself is great. “From there we’re unloading probably one to two containers a week at that new site and we can turn that around really quickly. “Our order cycle for our parts, whether they are genuine or aftermarket parts, need to be ordered by us
Crew get to work building the first of the racking at Hemmant.
between six and 12 months in advance because all our parts are parallel imported from supply chains outside of Australia.” Careful planning at ACM Parts can then add to the transport efficiencies at making parts available as soon as possible for workshops. “If you’ve been waiting six months for some of this stuff, it does get lumpy as far as your crystal ball working and making sure that the right parts are where they need to be. The location, I think is great for us to be able to get those parts on the shelf really quickly.” O’Sullivan brought his experience in helping to set up ACM Parts Somerton facility to bear on the mammoth task of making Hemmant operational within 12 months. “The challenge with Hemmant compared to Somerton is Somerton was a fully racked facility, an ex-Mazda parts distribution warehouse. We were pretty fortunate to walk in there and have the thing really ready to go. Hemmant, however, was a 19,0000 square metre empty shed without a single rack.” At the height of activity, a team of about 40 people was working to transfer all the stock from Arundel to Hemmant at a rate of four 40” container
loads a day into this vast space. “It was full on,” he says. “Just to watch the trucks rolling in and see this semitrailer driving through the shed and the semi looks like a matchbox truck. “And you’ve got racking going up at the same time. We were pulling down racking out of Arundel, shipping it up to Hemmant then putting it back up so we could put the parts on the shelf.” He says this had to be done with minimal interruptions to business, so simultaneously keeping Arundel running, setting up Hemmant but also keep servicing the customers. “My hat’s off to the project team,” O’Sullivan says. “The team have really rolled their sleeves up.” The new Hemmant site also has room to grow, including a large undercover space for safe car storage, room for containers and an open yard large enough for safe traffic management of the delivery van fleet. “We can add value to the AMA Group by giving them options around the facility as well. Having space always gives you flexibility.” And apart from speed and efficiency, the new facility helps reconfirm ACM Parts purpose in giving repair
The vast 19,000 square-metre space at Hemmant before it was filled.
The National Collision Repairer 21
businesses and customers more options when it comes to automotive parts. O’Sullivan elaborates on the three levels ACM Parts has on offer and the advantages of each. “The Genuine Range is a genuine part in a genuine box from a genuine supplier. Just not sourced to a supply chain in Australia. An aftermarket part is a copy of that particular part.” Aftermarket parts come with a cost advantage but their value lies in ACM Parts being able to ensure the quality. “We guarantee their fitness for purpose. The quality of the part, the fitting of the part, and if there’s any concerns with that, there’s a return,” O’Sullivan says. “From a repairer’s perspective, they want confidence in that aftermarket part, that it’s not going to cost them any more time or effort to put that part on the car. “In our Somerton facility in Victoria we have 3D scanning equipment. We build a CAD model of our aftermarket parts, we build a CAD model of our OEM part, we overlay them and make sure the tolerances are within acceptable levels. If we’re not happy with that, we take it a step further and we go to vehicle fitment trials for those parts. That’s the process we’ve gone through to validate the supplies we’ve chosen for our aftermarket range.” He says the stringent level of testing is also reflected in their commitment to the Reclaimed Range or used parts. “Reclaimed components go through The new location is ideally close to the port and transport.
a quality control process at our dismantling sites, so they are checked and validated to a set standard. For a collision part, we’re looking at scratches, dents, the level of any prior damage potentially on that component. If there is rust or anything like that, then it wouldn’t end up as a part that we would use because we only put in what we classify as Class A parts on the shelf.” Mechanical components like engines and transmissions are also tested and if there is any faults or issues then the parts won’t make it through the validation process. “All our mechanical components including engines and transmissions come with a six-month warranty,” he says. “Our process is different to traditional wreckers. We pick a car we want and buy at an auction. We then take the 12 to 15 to 30 parts off that car. The rest of the car is then recycled through the scrapping process. All the components utilised then move to a warehouse and go on the shelf. Most of our reclaimed parts are packaged, which is unusual and very different to a normal wrecking process. As we move it through the dismantle process, and then the validation and the quality control process, if we’re not happy with it being a genuine component through that process, then it won’t end up on the shelf.” There are also broader benefits to add to the advantage of lower unit
costs for reclaimed parts, he says. “The other key thing that to note in that is that reclaimed component uses about 15 per cent of the energy to produce as a new component, and about 35 per cent of the carbon footprint of a new component to put on the shelf.” The diversity of options available from ACM Parts to repair shops also means businesses have choices in how they calculate their work and maximise their efficiency. “The biggest driver of reclaimed usage in the process is the insurance company’s acceptance of how it fits within the pricing and the quoting methodology of that repairer,” he says. While reclaimed parts can require more preparation than genuine or aftermarket parts this is a calculation the repairer can consider. “The repairer is always trying to say well, what’s the best bang for my buck in this process? Where’s my labour? Have I got enough labour that I can go spend another hour on this job because I’m going to use a reclaimed component. It’s a real commercial balance that drives the use of reclaimed parts.” In turn, this enables the repairers to offer more options to the client, and this becomes particularly important for older cars from six to seven years-old and even much older. “We still see demand for cars that are 16 to 17 years old for certain components. It is actually part of keeping cars on the road longer, which is ultimately a smaller carbon footprint, as then they don’t get scrapped and end up in landfill.” But O’Sullivan says the benefits of the three-tiered ACM Parts range comes down to customer. “It comes back to the customer. If they’ve got an insurance company customer that must specify genuine part, then we’ve got a genuine range. If you’ve got an insurance customer that says you can do genuine or aftermarket, depending on your quote, we also have that part. Or you can also use reclaimed parts if you want. “For example, if you’re dealing with the direct mum and dad customer that says ‘I just want this car fixed and back on the road as cheaply as I can’ then we’ve got a reclaimed option or an aftermarket option for you.”
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Seizing the opportunity The pace of change for the repair industry can appear daunting. Technology, including the shift to EVs, represent seismic changes to how business is done in the workshop, but many are taking proactive steps to meet the major challenges. NCR talks to businesses who are preparing to take advantage of what lies ahead. The Future Ready survey conducted by the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association and Fifth Quadrant painted a picture of an industry well on the path to change. Key findings include that half of workshops were ready for the future now or progressing towards it in the next 12 months, when it came to new electric vehicle technology. Most workshops also scored well in the business management and skills categories, investing in their internal systems and processes, and working to develop their technicians’ capabilities to align them with the demands of a changing aftermarket. The most advanced or ‘Future Ready’ businesses scored a distinction or 83 points out of 100. While 39 per cent of respondents to the survey were still primarily ICE focussed, only a small proportion or one in 10 are unchanged or not interested in adapting to some of the technological changes around the corner, including the uptake of electric vehicles. Electric vehicles sales still remain a small proportion of overall car sales, amounting to eight per cent of new car sales in September. However this figure had climbed by a third in a month, and with hybrids, now makes up almost one of five cars being sold. But change is not new to the automotive industry as one stand-out Sydney business can demonstrate. Automotive 313 owner Mike Carnemolla, whose third-generation family business can lay claim to more than a century of experience, says change is not a novelty but a constant in the industry. “Our family has gone through every change from horses and carts to where we are today,” He says this history includes the hard to imagine early days of motoring
right through to the latest technology. “Then you didn’t buy fuel (from a bowser) you went in and bought a can of fuel which is where my grandfather started. We’ve still got most of the old paraphernalia including old funnels that punch holes in the can, where they used to just shove the oil in.” Carnemolla thinks the big picture view of the industry is important in showing how it has dealt with big change all along. He believes dealing with constant waves of change also prepare it well for the future. “I think the industry is really lucky in 2023,” he says. “We’re really lucky to have had to deal with all these changes and we cope well with change. And that was evident in the way the industry reacted during COVID and how we were pretty quick to adapt.” Carnemolla says this flexibility has equipped most businesses with the ability to adapt even to some of the seemingly radical shifts in technology.
A century of change; Mike Carnemolla with his father Frank.
“But when you start to look at some of the different things, all of the changes that we’ve had to deal with, most of them have been about refining and improving the wheel. But concern about emissions has been a constant since 1990’s.” He points to early experiments in electric cars in the 1900’ and the adaptation and modernisation of direct injection which his father was working on in an early form in the 1950’s, at how change can work in cycles. He even points to the potential return of drum brakes to contain particulates and protect the brakes in EVs and other future cars. “It’s like the revolving door of engineering in life,” he says. “It is challenging, but in no way are we intimidated by what’s coming. I think this is the importance of groups like AAAA and having good relationships to keep you informed. Because what is scary is the unknown.”
He said the education of businesses and staff about new technology and new diagnostics was not only critical to their sustainability but the retention of staff because the satisfaction for many older staff came in knowing how to fix things, so they needed to be kept up to date. “You enjoy your job more when you learn how something works. And you’re confident in your ability to diagnose it because you’re confident in your understanding of how that component works.” He says continuous professional development, whether it is advanced technical skills working in repair or even new roles within a business whether that be in front of house, management or accounting, are all valuable learning paths. “In this industry you either embrace it, and you take it to that next level. You seek out that knowledge to make yourself not just any tech but to make yourself the best tech you can possibly be, and it makes your job easier.” Automotive 313 is a future ready
business but Carnemolla thinks the rate of adaptation by the wider repair industry particularly to EVs, is both alert and sensible. “I think that the state of the industry is pretty healthy in that sense. It’s evident with the number of people that we had for EV training for Bosch through The Garage Network, we were selling out.” He says the number of EVs arriving in his business was still small, but he was ready for them and is currently progressing toward being an OEM approved repairer to maximise the opportunities as their numbers increase. “Our aim was to be first to market. I wanted to be talking to my customers about it. How do we create a point of difference? We’ve gone down a sustainability pathway for the workshop and then we’ve won several sustainability awards and that’s where we are focused.” AAAA director of government relations and advocacy Lesley Yates, says the valuable research done in the Future Readiness survey showed half of businesses were ready or preparing
to get ready by investing heavily in future readiness, prioritising skills and equipment to create a safe and productive working environment. “In fact, many of these workshops are already successfully and safely servicing and repairing EV and hybrid vehicles and have been doing so for over a decade,” Yates says. “And importantly, the majority of those that aren’t actively investing right now (39 per cent) are not ‘EV rejectors,’ instead they are simply waiting until it makes more commercial sense in their specific local markets to make such investments, which is completely understandable given that current trend rates expect Australia’s national fleet will still be comprised of 90 per cent ICE vehicles in 2030, even if sales of EVs in 2030 reach as high as 50 per cent. Toowoomba’s Highfields Automotive owner Craig Baills is another repairer embracing the change. “Just be agile and flexible with what’s coming,” Baills advises. “I think that’s a pretty exciting way of doing business to be honest. It keeps
Adapting to change keeps staff agile and engaged at Automotive 313.
The National Collision Repairer 25
a workplace fresh; it keeps people engaged, that there’s so many benefits to that agility that a business doesn’t get stuck in a rut or become stale.” While Highfields Automotive is EV ready, his Toowoomba business has experienced the slower transition to battery electric vehicles caused by being in regional Australia, where the consciousness of range limitations is more acute. “I bought an EV back in June and essentially the decision to buy a Polestar was based on range. I can get to the Brisbane Airport and back to Toowoomba on a full charge. I don’t have to interrupt the journey by having to stop and charge anywhere. But any further than that and I would need to charge at some point, so that’s one of the let downs now but that will change as the technology gets better.” He thinks the progress of EVs into regional independents workshops will be slow as many new buyers are still very dealer orientated when they look to service and crash repairs. “And this is where the independent or the aftermarket needs to be a little bit more proactive, a little bit more switched on in how we go about it. “We’re trained up, we know what we’re doing, and we can take care of these cars for you and offer service solutions to these customers.” He says this offers a major opportunity for regional businesses to establish themselves as leading specialists in EV repair, saving travel time for owners but Utilising high-tech equipment is part of Highfields Automotive strategy for preparing for the future.
also potentially developing partnerships with larger EV dealers like Tesla who are mainly based in the capital cities. “It’s not a huge investment at the end of the day,” he says of the opportunity. “Your training is probably the biggest investment at the moment. Tooling is another investment you got to make, with insulated tools and correct work processes to work on EVs. Then having the workspace and the safety requirements to protect others around that car when they’re being worked on.” “You don’t have to go out and spend $50K today to get ready for EVs and it’s one of those things where you can actually start preparing for it. It might be a two-year journey for a workshop. You can go and start getting the training, start getting the systems and processes in place, start getting the signage and the tooling for when those vehicles start coming through your door.” Baills employs 18 people at his workshop and says keeping them engaged and open to change and new technology is crucial to a successful agile business even if the transition to EVs is quite gradual and gives them lead-in preparation time. “Our bread and butter are ICE vehicles at the moment,” he says. “But it’s going to sneak up on us. It’s going to be a transition and then we’ve seen that through history and the decades of change that come, and this is just another change coming along. And it’s another skill set that we’re going to need to have to repair cars.”
Baills says the training in new technology is an investment in the future, not only in EVs but other potential changes around the corner including hydrogen fuels. “It’s an investment in the future and anytime you’re investing in the future, there’s always a risk involved with that. What are the volumes going to look like? As time goes by, we may be surer. But we know they’re coming. And if you’re ready, you’re ready.” Mike Carnemolla from Automotive 313 agrees that EVs are just the first phase of technological change and the secret to readiness was in the training and the learning. “Training is the number one thing that you need to do but there are other things you can do to add to the information,” Carnemolla says. He said suppliers can be valuable sources of the information of what is to come, particularly if they have connections and insights into overseas markets, such as Europe and the US where visiting trainers and lectures can shine a light on what might be around the corner or five to ten years down the track for the repair industry. Again, the flexibility and adaptation shown during COVID of the industry has helped. Within The Garage Network, where he is a founding director, he has sensed the appetite of learning. “I didn’t even know what zoom was prior to COVID,” he laughs. “The IT has given us the ability to communicate with a lot of these great trainers overseas and to talk about what’s happening, it opens those doors, and it just makes the world a small place. The ability to be able to have a Zoom meeting or run a Zoom classroom, where you can get a guy in the States training 350 people in Australia and that’s what we have been able to achieve at The Garage Network.” Carnemolla has been a strong advocate for the information sessions held at The Garage Network and wants to see even more opportunities of this kind promoted to take the uncertainty out of rapid change and help business owners adjust to what was an industry constant. “There is a change coming through the door, doesn’t matter what it is, you’re going to see something new.”
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Skills search goes on In a stark picture of the ongoing recruitment crisis the collision industry is facing, Capricorn’s State of the Nation Special Report: The Skills Shortage investigates the industry-wide issue and some of its impacts, along with solutions for sourcing good staff. The collision repair industry has been one of the hardest hit by a skills shortage affecting almost all sectors of the automotive aftermarket industry according to Capricorn’s State of the Nation Special Report: The Skills Shortage. The comprehensive survey completed by more than 1800 Capricorn Members found that, according to many key metrics, the collision industry was at least 15 percentage points worse off than other sectors when it came to filling vacancies and finding trained staff. The survey found that when it came to resourcing talent, 61 per cent of paint and panel businesses were struggling to find skilled staff compared to a wider industry figure of 43 per cent, and only one in five collision businesses (22 per cent) were adequately staffed.
Collision was not alone in feeling this recruitment pain, but it was feeling it more acutely, and historical data shows that the situation has become worse. Skills and staffing issues now dominate the top responses across the industry finding good staff was the highestplaced challenge in running a business across the industry where it has leapt from 39 to 51 per cent over the last year. But for the paint and panel sector, this specific business challenge is a further 15 per cent higher at 66 per cent, making it, along with commercial trucking, the worst affected sectors in the industry. Lack of qualified staff has also eclipsed changing technology, the price and shortage of parts as the biggest challenges facing a business. Even more significantly, these recruitment issues are having flow-on
effects for business owners, with other highly ranked issues including workload, stress, difficulty taking adequate breaks and holidays and the risk of burn-out. When evaluating the impacts, four out of five respondents who indicated that they were understaffed said workloads had increased and it had increased pressure on staff. Almost as many said working hours had increased and they were struggling with a work-life balance. As a result of this pressure, business outcomes were also affected, with more than 60 per cent of understaffed businesses reporting jobs are taking longer, and they are turning away jobs. The potentially hidden impact of this pressure and one that can be far more costly, is highlighted in the report as the consequences on the personal lives of business owners and staff, with the
State of the nation How the collision industry is affected by the skills gap.
Resourcing Talent by business type: Paint and Panel Source: State of the Nation Special Report
stress affecting mental health, family and relationships. The industry’s struggle to find new people also poses the double risk of burning out the experienced people who currently work in the industry. Jentec Auto Services owner Simon Bonney is a typical automotive business owner who spoke to Capricorn about the pressure the skills shortage has placed on him and his staff. “Trying to both run the business and do the repair work too comes with a lot of extra pressure and stress,” Bonney says. “It’s forced me to do longer hours. I’ve done 14-to-16-hour days recently. If we could get the people we need, it would be less stress on myself and would give me a bit more time to spend at home with the family.” Part of the purpose of the survey is to give Capricorn and its more than 26,000 members an insight into industry problems, but it also serves as a crucial way to evaluate conditions and what steps need to be taken both by the industry and governments to remedy the loss of productivity. The positive note in the survey was that, despite the many challenges currently being faced, most members remained confident in the future of the industry and reported greater satisfaction and trust from customers. In fact, collision repair businesses remained the most confident for the future due to their staff and teams, 26 per cent, the highest across all automotive sectors. Capricorn Group Chief Executive Officer, David Fraser, described the skilled staff gap as an increasingly stressful burden on small businesses. “Finding good staff is the biggest challenge members face in running their businesses, and it’s causing operational, financial, mental and emotional stress,” Fraser says. “Overall, the stress about a lack of available skilled labour is up 12 per cent on last year’s survey, a concerning trend which is having a real impact on a sector contributing over $58 billion to Australia’s economy.” “Capricorn estimates that there are 13,600 vacant skilled positions across member workshops in Australia and New Zealand with these vacancies taking an average of up to eight months to fill. Members have always taken on
apprentices to help with a pipeline of skilled labour, and whilst the appetite to hire an apprentice is increasing, retaining them is a challenge. “We strongly encourage our industry partners and government to use this latest research to drive the change we need to see. By helping this sector with red tape and cost reduction, the handbrake will come off this industry and the country will be better for it.” The uptake in apprentices is one of the strong responses member businesses have taken in the face of skills shortages, with 83 per cent of paint and panel businesses indicating that they have employed one, the highest across all sectors and ten per cent above the national average. The overriding reason given was to “train the next generation” (71 per cent of responses) along with helping with workload, so members are conscious of the skills pipeline for the future. The shortcomings are that retention of apprentices is still an issue with more than half of members reporting losing an apprentice before they finished their qualifications. These retention rates are still higher than other industries even though the AAAA Automotive Technician Salary Benchmark Survey highlights automotive apprentice salaries are below those of plumbers, carpenters and electricians. In some cases, like Bonney’s business in Western Australia it is the competition being felt with other industries experiencing skills shortages. “We’ve had an experienced technician position advertised for roughly a year but it’s very hard to get skilled labour, especially in Western Australia where we’ve got to compete with mining,” Bonney said. “We took on an apprentice because we couldn’t get skilled labour. We’ve had two apprentices which unfortunately we have lost.” Bonney said he would possibly consider the use of skilled immigrant labour if the process was easier and more cost-effective. “There are a lot of overseas technicians who are quite skilled in what they do. It is hard to justify the cost to bring them over and do all the visa stuff and get everything organised.” The Capricorn State of the Nation Survey collated 1887 responses from Capricorn members in June
and July this year with 86 per cent of respondents from independent workshops and nine per cent part of groups, chains or franchises. More information at cap.coop/son-skills or scan the QR code below.
Feeling burnt out? Help is available
The State of the Nation also includes extensive resources for helping to deal with burnout. Capricorn recommends understanding these five key steps if you have identified burn-out as an issue: 1. Identify the sources of your burnout. 2. Get support if you need it. 3. Re-evaluate your priorities. 4. Step away from the business. 5. Look at your lifestyle. Capricorn’s philosophy as a cooperative is that we’re stronger when we work together, and this is certainly relevant to the issue of burnout and support. If you’re concerned about the way that this issue is impacting the people around you, you can: • Check on your friends in the industry if you know they’re struggling. • Open the burnout conversation with others and help them access support if they need it. • Talk to your staff. If you’re burnt out, they may well be, too. Ensure they have access to support. More information at: sotn.capricorn.coop/burnout/ Other resources also available online in the report include: • Five Ways to Deal with the Impact of Short-staffing. • How to Find and Keep Good Apprentices • Capricorn’s Expert Guide to Skilled Worker Migration
The National Collision Repairer 29
A window into tomorrow, today When it comes to preparing for the future, one of the best opportunities to learn so much under one roof is the 2024 Collision Repair Expo where a strong theme promises to give the industry new energy and ideas. The opportunity for the repair industry to take its knowledge, skills and innovation to the next level will take place across three exciting days next April at the unmissable 2024 Collision Repair Expo. The Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association officially launched the showcase industry event, co-located with the Australian Auto Aftermarket Expo, in October with a special theme; ‘The Future is Here’. The event features the nation’s most comprehensive exhibition of body finishing materials, collision repair equipment, plus unique training and business development opportunities, all under one roof at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre on 11 – 13 April 2024. And once again, the SAPE Group will return as a major sponsor of the biggest event in the repair industry’s calendar. AAAA CEO Stuart Charity says the combined expos are the nation’s only
comprehensive showcase of Australia’s $25B automotive repair and service industry and he was thrilled to have SAPE on board as a major sponsor. “We are excited to be preparing for another world-class expo – an event run by the industry, for the industry. With the rapid pace of change, new challenges and incredible technological advancements, our industry is more excited than ever to come together to celebrate, learn, conduct business and network,” “The automotive industry in Australia is undergoing unprecedented change driven by the complexity of the car parc, changes in vehicle technology and the changing capabilities and needs of our workforce and customers. Vehicles with advanced driver assistance systems, pass through technology, embedded telematics (‘connected car’), and hybrid and electric powertrains are on Australian roads today. These vehicles will need to The latest equipment, skills and innovations will be on display.
be safely repaired and maintained for their useful life, anywhere in Australia. He says Sydney Automotive Paints and Equipment Group’s sponsorship showcases the importance of Australia’s leading collision repair event, catering to an industry sector with combined annual revenue of $7.8 billion. “We are thrilled to have Sydney Automotive Paints and Equipment (SAPE) continue their support of the 2024 Collision Repair Expo as major corporate sponsor. SAPE are a large provider of refinish products and collision repair equipment and are well positioned to benefit from the passionate crowd of industry professionals during the show,” Charity says. SAPE is a leading Australian distributor for Glasurit and Baslac paints for BASF Australia and supply a vast array of collision repair equipment and consumables to vehicle repair facilities around Australia. SAPE managing director Paul McMartin says he was excited to renew their relationship with the expo. “Continuing our partnership with the 2024 Collision Repair Expo as Major Sponsor was important for SAPE. It’s a great opportunity to support an event that brings the industry together and really lifts us up. It’s also a valuable tool for SAPE to share how our innovative equipment, technology, products and services make a difference to repairers face to face with expo attendees,” McMartin says. SAPE will join the collision repair industry’s leading brands, industry experts and more yet to be announced features at an unmissable expo for the whole collision repair industry. Charity says the massive event will be an ideal opportunity for the whole industry to gear up for the future.
“The 2024 Collision Repair Expo will bring together experts from across the industry to provide the very latest information and practical tips on how and when businesses will need to adapt to these changes. The expo aims to help visitors prepare for the future, to embrace and capitalise on the evolution of the industry, and the trends and technology that are rapidly developing,” Charity says. The expo continues to evolve, and the
launch of exciting new initiatives will build further value for exhibitors and attendees visiting the show. This years’ event will feature education sessions from industry experts on topics that matter to collision repair professionals, plus zones dedicated to ADAS calibration and diagnostics, and EV repair techniques and latest tools and technology. Other exciting components of the 2024 Collision Repair Expo include a modified and classic vehicle display
area in the show concourse, interactive displays and competitions. “In 2022, 90 per cent of visitors to expo said they were likely to recommend expo to a colleague, and 92 per cent said they were likely to attend the expo in 2024. “We can’t wait for April to open the doors and bring the industry together. We know visitors will have a fantastic time and arm themselves with the knowledge to thrive, ready for the exciting future that awaits.” The combined expos will host over 400 of Australia’s leading brands across 21,000 square metres of floor space at the central Melbourne location, with free entry available to all members of the automotive trade. The expo is expected to see 9,000 visitors attend over the three-day event. For more information on the 2024 Collision Repair Expo and to register, go to www.collisionrepair.com.au
Thousands are expected through the doors for the three-day event.
To get involved as an exhibitor or sponsor please contact partnerships@ aftermarketexpo.com.au
Training and information seminars will again be a highlight of the expo.
The National Collision Repairer 31
Unexpected pathways Career paths in the automotive industry can take diverse and unexpected courses but Fix Auto Port Melbourne’s Nick Batey shows that with the right attitude there is always new potential and interest. Batey’s 10-year career in the automotive industry has taken him to different places but not always been the ones he might have envisaged. He began as a young man, doing three years of an apprenticeship and followed that with multiple jobs within the industry, including with Capital SMART, RPM Somerton and Repairhub. He even had a short stint outside the industry as a baker, but it was the love of cars and the satisfaction of working on the floor that brought him back to the repair industry. “School hadn’t been the thing for me, so I got out and I was doing trades and trying to get a head start in life,” he says. “Because when you’re young, you always do a bit of everything. Panel shops are normally good at this and show you around and give you a taste of what all the different jobs are, especially at Fix Auto. They want to give you a taste of everything to learn what you are good at.” This diversity of roles has led to the all-round knowledge he believes helps him in his work as an estimator, a role where you must learn quickly, on your feet and adapt to the specific workflows of a body shop. Fix Auto Port Melbourne works with multiple insurance companies so one of the challenges has been with a diversity of systems and programs. “All the boys are really good here, spending time with me. We’re going through all the different programmes, all the different coding techniques.” The constant in all these years for Batey has been a willingness to try new jobs and learn new skills.
“I’ve always had that drive to say, if I’ve got nothing to do, I’m not just going to sit here but say what’s next?” he says. “I say, let me help one of the other boys and showing the initiative opens doors for you and makes you more versatile. You can learn more because you’re opening your mind. For example, I help a spray painter rub this car down and I think, what I have learned from that? So, it’s not just helping other people out on their jobs, it’s helping you learn all these skills too.” He would not have guessed from his early apprenticeship days how his career has unfolded and led him to his current role as an estimator but says this is part of the satisfaction and variety of the career path. He is also optimistic about where it will lead him next. “I can always see myself just building on those skills and using them toward whatever’s next, whether that’s a production manager role or even manager role. Whatever doors open, I’m happy to do.” “I am always happy to learn. There’s always learning to do. It is exactly like that here (at Fix Auto). People here they have been in the trade 30-40 years and even they say they are still learning.” He says that key to this culture of learning is a strong culture of mutual support and sharing ideas and opinions. “We always double check with each other. It’s good because if someone misses something then someone else is looking over it, so there is always support.” Batey singles out Chris Kane and Rob Stephens as two industry professionals at Fix Auto Port Melbourne who have mentored him.
Fix Auto Port Melbourne’s Nick Batey between mentors Chris Kane (left) and Rob Stephens (right).
“They have taken me under their wing and both of them have always given me all the benefit of their expertise.” The industry has a shortage of uptake of junior talent and Batey thinks for some young people the years spent toiling at higher education may be costly and neither enjoyable nor productive. “There’s a lot of pressure in schools to go to uni, sometimes just for the sake of it and yet there might be a lot more satisfying careers out there in the automotive industry.” Given the career outcomes can be surprising and rewarding, Batey’s advice for young people is simple. “You’re better off out there giving something a go and seeing if you like it. Just give it a go; you don’t know unless you try it.”
IAG’s ongoing support and sponsorship of these awards is greatly appreciated, as is the support from I-CAR Australia, who donates two training courses valued at over $500 to each Future Leader of the Industry. 32 www.nationalcollisionrepairer.com.au
Keeping the customer for a lifetime
In the increasingly competitive world of automotive parts, one group wants to take the focus back to customer relationships. To do that it is willing to back up its products with a new lifetime warranty. Auto Parts Group has undergone a remarkable evolution in its journey through the Australian automotive collision parts industry. APG, formerly known as All Crash Parts, is the nation’s largest independent supplier of genuine, certified, and aftermarket parts and has already left a significant mark on the sector. The product portfolio spans over 45 vehicle manufacturer brands and has an extensive inventory exceeding 47,000 stock keeping units and APG has firmly established itself across five major Australian cities. APG’s ambition is to be the automotive parts industry’s most trusted and dependable partner, whether in metropolitan or regional areas and believes this is built on its commitment to competitive pricing and swift delivery. At the core of APG’s customer-centric approach lies a groundbreaking new initiative, its Lifetime Warranty, that
The perfect fit is what Auto Parts group is looking for with customers.
it wants to stand as a testament to its unwavering dedication to quality, reliability, and customer satisfaction. Auto Parts Group chief executive James Knox says the lifetime warranty guarantee will continue to reaffirm the groups focus on building the relationship with repair industry customers. “We are not just collision parts providers; we aspire to be trusted partners in the industry, seeking to provide our customers a real advantage,” Knox says. “This new initiative will support our push into not only our genuine range but also expand our certified aftermarket range.” “With an expansive product range and an unwavering dedication to quality, APG continues to redefine industry standards while delivering unparalleled peace of mind to its customers. “Whether you opt for Genuine, Certified,
Auto Parts Group CEO James Knox.
or Aftermarket parts, APG’s Lifetime Warranty ensures that you are making a secure and reliable choice for your vehicle needs.” This new Lifetime Warranty covers APG’s collision repair products program, which incorporates body and lighting parts regardless of whether they are genuine, certified or aftermarket. Under this initiative, APG pledges to provide a credit or refund for the price paid by its customers for purchased goods. One key aspect of the Lifetime Warranty is its no-fault basis, assuring customers that they are covered if the goods prove to have defects in material and workmanship. To make a warranty claim, customers must follow a straightforward process, providing proof of purchase, the reason for the claim, and any evidence of a breach of the express warranty. The National Collision Repairer 33
Stateside with John Yoswick
Women map out the road to success
The three latest inductees in the “Most Influential Women” award come from diverse industry backgrounds but have powerful lessons in common to share. The women recently honored by the Women’s Industry Network in the US have very different roles within the collision repair industry: a sales manager for a paint company, a dealership body shop manager, a technical trainer, a senior vice president for a large multishop organisation, etc. But what they all have in common is
that they were named 2023 WIN “Most Influential Women” award honorees, joining about 120 other women so designated since the program began back in 1999. The 2023 winners recently were asked to speak about how they approach their day-to-day work, how they manager their careers, and how all that interacts with their daily lives.
Jaime Shewbridge, an I-CAR welding instructor, discussed how she handles the stressful aspects of working in the industry. She said that’s something she’s focused on this past year because of the impact she’s seen it have on her physical health. She said you first have to admit to having “a whole lot on your plate,” and “learn how to say no” at times.
No matter where they start in the industry, the right advice, support and mentors can see women excel.
Saying ‘no’ really lowers your stress level,” she says. “You would think it would be the other way around, but it’s not.” She said she uses “time blocking,” designating certain time for her family, for example, during which “they have 100 per cent of my attention,” and “it doesn’t matter if somebody needs help at work, or if there’s a class, whatever it is, that block is theirs and nothing changes that.” She also said the book “Extreme Ownership” by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin will “change your perspective on life and help you prioritise your tasks and then execute.” The biggest change she said she made, however, was giving up multitasking. “It’s an illusion, right? We all think that we’re good at multitasking. We all think we can do lots of things at one time,” she says. “But I read a study, and I might get the numbers wrong, but if you stop one task, it takes between 17 and 23 minutes to then refocus yourself back on that task. So, you lose quite a bit of time by trying to do that. And when I gave up multitasking and just focused on exactly what I was doing at that moment, I became way more productive. I got way more done in a certain timeframe than if I was literally trying to do three things at one time.”
Finding a mentor
Yohanna Peet, who leads the “Technician Apprenticeship Program”
(TAP) for Caliber Collision, the largest collision repair chain in the US with more than 1,700 shops, said that whatever your role in a collision repair business – from owner to apprentice or technician – finding a mentor can help you reach your goals.” Look for those, she suggested, who “maybe have gone through a circumstance like you’re going through” or who may also be mentoring someone else. “Sometimes it’s just asking, and what’s the worst they can say, ‘I’m flattered, but I don’t really have time right now,’” she says. “Or, the other side of it is, ‘Wow, I had no idea that you saw me from that perspective.’ And what does that do for that person’s self-efficacy, that now they realise you see them as a promoter, a mentor. “So, a lot of what I’m saying is speak up. And when you’re offered a seat at the table, take a seat at the table, take the opportunity to say, ‘That’s great. I want to learn more about this. Can you help me? How did you get there?’ Ask the questions because that’s where you’re really going to see all the reciprocity come with it.”
Being a mentor
April Lausch also discussed how her experience with mentoring shapes her current role as manager of Faulkner Collison Center of Lancaster, a dealership owned shop in Pennsylvania. Her first job in the industry at age 18 was as an office manager at a collision center.
“The manager at that time was, I would say, my mentor to a point,” she says. “They wanted me to be an estimator. So, they sent me to estimating school for two weeks. I got my estimating license. And when I came back to the shop, I still only knew the basics. So, the manager kind of took me under his wing. We wrote tow-ins together, and for a couple years, he taught me how to be a really good writer. So as a mentor in that aspect, he was really good.” She also viewed the shop’s technicians as mentors. “They helped me more, and still do, even to this day,” she says. “I will be in the shop, and they would just teach me a lot.” After five years, she said, she got an offer to work at a Chevrolet dealership as an estimator, a job that offered about $60,000 more than she was making. The manager at her existing employer, however, suddenly became very discouraging, “telling me that I couldn’t do it, there was no way that would ever happen, that that job opportunity wasn’t out there,” Lausch says. “After two weeks of that, I almost stayed, but I decided to go, and I ended up becoming assistant manager at the Chevrolet dealership. (She later joined the Faulkner dealership where she became manager within a year.)” “I had a great mentor until it was time to move on to the next space,” she says, saying that experience has stuck with her. “You know, I’ll never hold any of my employees back. I want them to grow. I want them to become better.”
Learning from others
Faulkner Collison Center of Lancaster manager April Lausch.
Yohanna Peet leads the “Technician Apprenticeship Program” for Caliber Colision.
Lakeitria Luter, the director of diversity for Crash Champions, another large collision repair organisation with more than 500 shops in the US, was asked what she wished she could tell her younger self. She says it would start with being receptive to feedback. “Surround yourself with positive people [who offer] constructive criticism,” Luter advises. “I think I would also tell my younger self that ambition is great, but make sure that you establish a work-life balance. Because in the end, work will always be there, but your kids eventually grow up,” she says, laughing. “That’s some of the knowledge that I’ve gained over time.” The National Collision Repairer 35
Could electronic citrus be the next car colour of choice? BASF’s is hoping a new approach to automotive colour will find adherents and provoke inspiration in the automotive design industry following the launch of its latest colour predictions. The latest investigation into future trends by BASF’s Coatings division has produced the On Volude collection where the designers looked at a range of inspirations including industry, fashion, consumer products, nature and technology. Artificial intelligence also took a strong part in the project that is aimed at influencing automotive designers and predicting the mass production use for the cars in about five years’ time. BASF has also declared that the classic automobile colour wheel has had its day, and the new emphasis was on non-classic automotive hues reflecting “a positive mood, with a focus on lighter shades and the exploration of new, expressive colour spaces.” For the Asia Pacific region designers explored variations on shades of white and grey, while also creating new colours like shimmering green pastel and fluorescent red aiming to capture the growing individuality of car buyers.
“The key colour for Asia Pacific is a light green hue that shows the region’s positive attitude and growth even during difficult times,” BASF notes in its release. “Electronic citrus reflects this atmosphere in a fluorescent colour in the light green space with an airy blue highlight. “As augmented reality devices become more familiar in our daily lives, we will see more layered views; one is real, and the other is projected by AR with luminous signals. Electronic citrus picks up on those signals and amplifies them.” In step with its global sustainability push, BASF in creating the colours has also put a new emphasis on sustainable materials, sustainable processes, and a diversity of sustainable concepts and effects. “This palette can create amazing colour harmonies that are futuristic, modern and playful interactions between colour and effect combinations,” BASF head of automotive colour design for the Asia Pacific region Chiharu Matsuhara says. “These sustainable concepts are reimagined in a more realistic way, boosting BASF’s leadership in sustainability.”
BASF will also back up the colour adoption with its Auroom tool, a digital platform providing digital colour aiming to make the design process faster and more efficient. The palette for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa puts a highlight on bright beige colours with the key colour released known as the Predictor. In the America’s, BASF says the colours that were developed for the project were all about optimism. “The Americas’ key colour Zenomenon is a next-gen novelty that will pull through with invigorated structure and recalibrated potential, bolstering a path to a brighter future,” the designers said.
Some of the futuristic palettes developed by BASF.
Columbia up to speed with female motoring writers The Women’s World Car of the Year has pursued its objective to be a truly international representation of women in the automotive industry by adding another country to its long list of jurors. Natalia Vergara from Columbia has joined its international jury, meaning the exclusively female panel of motoring journalists is now made up of 74 judges from 51 countries. Veraga help found Mujeres al Volante (Women at the Wheel) a reference website for thousands of consumers, both women and men, in Colombia. Its up-to-date information on motoring, as well as test drives,
podcasts and lifestyle information have made it an indispensable website for those who want to keep informed about the automotive world in Colombia. Mujeres al Volante began four years ago and initially it emerged as a test drive section within another portal, but the great interest in its contents soon led it to start its own independent venture. It began by featuring podcasts but later extended to all platforms and social networks, including the website. Mujeres Al Volante has highlighted motor racing drivers, influencers, brand
managers and major figures in the automotive sector in Colombia. Natalia Vergara’s connection to the automotive world goes back almost to her birth. Her father was professionally linked to motoring both in its sporting and professional aspects. He passed on to her his passion for the sector from which she has now made her profession. Among the different initiatives that Vergara has carried out is helping to organise motor racing, participating in radio as a motoring expert and her management of the marketing department of several car brands.
US skills shortage may hold lessons In a sign that the trades shortage has been a blow to the car industry worldwide, a US report identifies a shortage of up to three million workers including one million in the automotive industries. University of Tennessee economics professor Marianne Wannamaker speaking at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals’ Annual EDGE Conference said the US workforce has been thinned out by economic growth and the unemployment rate has reached a 22-year-low. “And there are more job openings than there are unemployed people, so the idea that we are going to solve our problem by just retraining the unemployed people doesn’t hold water in today’s economy,” Wannamaker told the media. “That’s not our current situation. Instead, we don’t have enough bodies.” An AAAA report into the skills shortage released last month identified a shortfall of as many as 40,000 workers in the Australian industry. Part of the widely distributed shortage in the US is caused by vacant positions left by techs that retire, circumstances familiar to Australian business owners. An upcoming presentation at the
November SEMA show in Las Vegas held by Society of Collision Repair Specialists and Repairer Driven Education may hold some lessons for Australia. The presentation will address the need for one million auto, diesel, and collision technicians by next year. The session is titled “Talent Shortage – Ensuring We Have Collision Technicians in 5 Years”. The focus of the session will discuss how US collision repair facilities can attract, develop, and retain talent through business culture, developing career paths, and leveraging available resources but may even hold lessons for local skills shortages. Collision Repair Education Foundation managing director Brandon Eckenrode told the media solutions were likely to be varied, complex and would solve the problem overnight. “The industry’s talent shortage is something that affects all segments of this industry, either directly or indirectly,” Eckenrode says. “The talent shortage topic is commonly listed as one of the top issues that this industry, like many other technical trades, is facing. This is not something that will be resolved overnight
and it will take the industry getting involved and invested into their local technical school programs.” He said doing so is necessary to ensure students are properly trained, and that local markets will have access to a pipeline of entry-level workers as those students graduate. “It’s imperative that you are preparing and adapting your business to meet the needs of collision repair technicians to ensure the future of your business,” Eckenrode said. “CREF is looking to connect with those industry members looking to support their local collision school programs.” I-CAR’s vice president of planning and industry talent programming, Dara Goroff, said the presentation will also aim to share data that can help the industry elevate the perception of collision repair careers. “Our goal is to share data that can help the industry elevate the perception of a career in collision repair to future talent,” Goroff says. “We’ll identify areas where they are immediate and meaningful rewards for becoming an entry-level technician and areas that, as an industry, we need to do better to attract and retain new talent.”
World-first ‘Stella Terra’ takes to the Sahara for testing Innovation and a drive toward sustainability have produced what could be the world’s first off-road solar car. The so called ‘Stella Terra’ vehicle is powered only by the energy of the sun making it independent of charging stations and paved roads.
The Stella Terra could be the first ever off-road solar car.
PPG has partnered with students from the Eindhoven University of Technology, in the Netherlands and provided a grant of 35,000 euros to Solar Team Eindhoven along with specialised products as part of its support for environmental sustainability and education. PPG customer sustainability business partner, automotive OEM coatings, Thierry Destruhaut says the project supports PPG’s goals of developing sustainably advantaged technologies. “Through this investment, we aim to support educational activities related to clean energy and the future of mobility and help prepare the next generation of leaders to understand the impacts of climate change.”
“The Stella Terra has been designed to withstand the harsh conditions of off-roading and in October 2023 the team will head to Morocco where it will undergo extensive testing, including in the Sahara Desert.” PPG is also supplying its PPG CoraChar fire protection coating to protect the vehicle’s lithium-ion battery pack as they expand in the presence of high heat or fire to provide an insulating layer to protect from thermal damage. The coatings leverage PPG’s experience with industrial and commercial fire protection. The result is improved light-weighting and increased battery performance, as well as supporting passenger and firstresponder safety in case of a fire. The National Collision Repairer 37
Longer lead in time likely for automated vehicles Horror stories about fully automated vehicles malfunctioning are unlikely to be an everyday reality in the near future for Australia. Australian vehicles currently only utilise basic level Advanced Driver Assistance Systems that require oversight by a driver, such as lane keeping or adaptive cruise control which are also currently not considered automated driving. More advanced levels of automated and semi-automated driving, ADAS systems level four and five, that require minimum driver intervention or no driver at all, are only currently being trialled in Australia, with federal government plans to introduce legislation on this level of automation in 2026. But driverless taxis have been launched in as number of US cities leading to mixed reactions. Earlier in October an automated Cruise taxi stopped over a pedestrian who had previously been struck by another car, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Emergency crews were forced to cut the victim free after bystanders were unable to move the robo-taxi. It was the latest in a series of news stories from the US where automated vehicles have malfunctioned and caused traffic jams and accidents. The Cruise company expanded its roll-out in San Francisco in August
The benefits of self-driving cars may be further off than first anticipated.
where, along with Phoenix in the US, and some Chinese cities, pilot programs for robo-taxis are underway. S&P Global Mobility’s latest report indicates the technology even in the US may not be as advanced or accepted as was initially anticipated and that widespread adoption remains at least a decade away. “For the next decade, autonomous tech will be limited to two specific areas: geofenced robotaxis operated by fleets in specific areas, and hands-off systems with various safeguards in personal vehicles that will still require some form of driver engagement,” the report notes. S&P Global Mobility associate director for the autonomy practice Jeremy Carlson says level five autonomy is years away. “A vehicle that can go anywhere and do everything a human driver can, will not be publicly available before 2035, and probably for some time after that,” Carlson says. “But the outlook for more targeted implementations of the same fundamental technologies, especially in level two+ and level three but also for some forms of level four, is more positive and will certainly happen on a much shorter timeline.” The report’s outlook is a stark contrast to the optimism of just five years ago when the world was swept up in the promise and excitement of a
future of self-driving vehicles in levels four and five and the report now takes what it describes as a more realistic outlook. Automated — rather than driving continues to be autonomous — the focus of industry development. “Today’s broad deployments of level two+ and level three systems by many automakers in multiple regions will reach at least 31 per cent of new vehicle sales globally by 2035, according to the forecast. Level two + and level three allow the driver to be hands-off while supervising, or to disengage entirely in specific driving scenarios, such as in Super Cruise by General Motors and Drive Pilot by Mercedes-Benz, respectively.” “There is immense opportunity for automated driving systems in level two+ and level three, and they are benefiting from the standardisation of basic safety features which provide a foundation of in-vehicle architecture, sensing, and compute,” Carlson says. “Their functionality also complements driving today rather than fully replacing the driver, making consumer adoption less of a challenge. The next several years of wider deployment across brands and vehicle platforms will be a boon for automakers selling these optional features as well as suppliers who continue to build scale and a strong foundation for the future.” The S&P Global Mobility forecast predicts fewer than 6 per cent of light vehicles sold in 2035 will have any Level Four functionality. “There are positive examples of autonomous vehicles performing as well as humans in today’s pilot programs but these same vehicles can still be confounded by complex traffic scenarios the next minute or the next day, giving regulators and consumers alike reason to be cautious.” While the US captured an early lead in both development and deployment of level four systems, China is expected to contribute the greatest volumes of production long-term, followed by the US and Europe in that order, according to S&P Global Mobility.
Judgement falls in favour of ‘right to repair’ A European glass maker is claiming a court ruling is a victory for the “right to repair” following a protracted battle with a major OEM. Vehicle glass repair specialists Carglass, a subsidiary of Belron and ATU, Germany’s largest chain of auto repair shops, originally raised the issue with the regional court of Cologne in a case against Fiat Chrysler Italy. The problem arose when some aftermarket services offered by the repair industry, including recalibration of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) following windscreen replacement or solving problems indicated by a warning lamp, required access to a car data stream. “Some vehicle manufacturers are increasingly obstructing access, creating technical hurdles and requiring payment of licence fees,” Belron said in a statement. “This adds unnecessary cost and affects free competition in the aftermarket and consumers’ freedom of choice and
can lead to higher prices for consumers.” The case involved the interpretation of EU Regulation and the Cologne court decided to refer the case to the ECJ. “The European Court of Justice (ECJ) removes the anti-competitive obstacles imposed by vehicle manufacturers and will allow all independent repair shops access to essential car data,” Belron says. “This reinforces the importance of a fair and level playing field in the automotive aftermarket and the benefits this brings to consumers.” “This decision by the ECJ gives legal certainty throughout the EU. It will be binding for all vehicle manufacturers and independent market players, including Carglass and ATU. This ruling is also expected to be applied within the UK.” Belron CEO Carlos Brito said he was delighted with the judgement. “This decision reinforces a fair and level playing field in the automotive aftermarket and the benefits this brings to consumers,” Brito says. “We believe this ruling will be influential
around the world as legislators address right to repair issues created by the rapidly increasing level of connected car technology in vehicles. “We are committed to working constructively with all vehicle manufacturers to ensure that this ruling is implemented effectively, so that consumers are able to continue to benefit from the competition provided by the independent aftermarket.” Carglass Germany managing director Jean-Pierre Filippini says the replacement of a windscreen is becoming more technically complex in modern vehicles with about 30 per cent of all vehicles need recalibration of their ADAS when the windscreen has been replaced. “Many tasks carried out in a vehicle repair shop require that the mechanic has access to the car data stream via the so-called onboard diagnostics (OBD) port. ATU, like all independent repair shops, gets this access using common multibrand diagnostic devices connected to the OBD port of the vehicle.”
PPG offers workshop suite to save energy and emissions The race is on to bolster the green products and credentials on offer to repair workshops, with PPG being the latest global company to launch a suite of products aimed at saving energy and emissions in workshops. PPG last month launched its PPG Sustainability CO₂NCEPT system, a suite of products, processes, digital tools and consulting services designed to help body shops reduce energy, waste and greenhouse gas emissions in the automotive repair process. PPG vice president, automotive refinish, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Jerome Zamblera said the suite was offering more options for individual workshops to reduce their carbon footprint. “Like many industries, there is immense pressure for body shops to reduce their
environmental footprint and decrease energy use given the recent dramatic increase in energy costs,” Zamblera says. “Through the launch of the PPG Sustainability CO₂NCEPT system, PPG recognises an opportunity to better partner with customers and support the demand for sustainable solutions that improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.” The PPG concept will include consulting and training services, which can help body shops identify the activities that consume the greatest energy and generate the most significant amount of carbon emissions. The PPG team will look specifically at spray booth efficiency, repair process improvements and product selection to deliver lower emissions and generate potential cost savings for the shop.
PPG has air-drying primers and clearcoats for instance that it hopes can reduce energy consumption by up to 65 per cent. It is also promoting primers applied via rollers and air dried, which offer energy savings of up to 95 per cent by replacing a spray gun within a spray booth. Ultraviolet cured primers for small repairs that can provide energy savings of up to 85 per cent and shorter processing times. Other elements in the energy saving package include wellknown PPG products such as the PPG Linq, an end-to-end digital ecosystem, which can help body shops achieve a 15 per cent productivity improvement and the PPG Moonwalk automated paint mixing system, which can reduce the carbon footprint from basecoat emissions by up to nine per cent. The National Collision Repairer 39
Industry Training and Events
When riveted bonding is the better alternative
Why is riveted bonding an alternative to aluminium welding and high strength steel welding? I-CAR Australia looks at the reasoning behind alternative workshop techniques in dealing with the increasing use of these automotive materials. There are several reasons various OEMs have made the transition from conventional welding and STRSW (squeeze-type resistance spot welding) to bonding and rivet bonding. Heat and welding aluminium are a big problem with thinner sections of aluminium such as doors and panels as high temperatures can pose issues such as warping, distortion and burnthrough due to aluminium’s relatively low melting point. Heat transfers and dissipates away from the weld area much faster and further than steel welding, so it is harder to control heat during the welding process. Another reason for rivet bonding is the increased corrosion resistance of the repair joints. Corrosion protection is through the adhesive bond which is ideal when joining dissimilar materials as the adhesive provides a barrier between the two
Following OEM specified materials and correct repair method will help avoid issues.
metals avoiding galvanic corrosion. Riveted bonding also has better overall mechanical properties than with riveting alone with less noise, vibration and dampening. Other benefits include: • Continuous, leak-tight joints • Higher-strength joints • Increased joint stiffness • Improved peel and impact resistance, improving crash characteristics Riveted bonding is not just great for aluminium, it is used for hybrid materials and carbon-fibre riveted bonding. It an ideal repair solution when dealing with a range of hybrid materials without heating the damaged area, this providing an ideal cold bonding solution. There are many OEM’s that require rivet bonding for repairs, including: Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Maserati, Mercedes Benz,
Tesla and Volvo. Always follow the OEM approved repair methods this includes adhesives, rivet guns and even rivets being used. Now there are two takes to OEM repair methods – approved and recommended. Let’s try and clear up what these two terms mean regarding OEM procedures. Regarding adhesives there are multiple variations of adhesives and various ways they can be applied, from using single component, dual component glues, cold curing, heat curing and even UV curing. These adhesives go through a range of testing methods to suit a given repair method, this includes things like corrosion, humidity, bond strength and UV light testing. The testing method provides data for engineers to develop specific approved standards based on testing outcomes, this is the bases for approved material and procedures. As the testing outcomes complies with the structural needs, longevity and material compatibility to meet the OEM specified standards. The term recommended is labelled based on engineering equivalence. This is generally used for products or applications that are non-critical such as sealers, whereas approved products are generally specified in critical application such as structural adhesives which are used in areas like rails or pillars. Now rivets are also OEM specified but this process is much simpler. Although some rivets may look the same, they can have different coatings and materials such as tin/zinc plated rivets which are designed to provide corrosion protection for aluminium. Other types of coatings or plating include electrophoretic coating (e-coat),
cadmium plating, polyester coating and electroplating with zinc. So just follow the OEM specified materials and correct repair method and this will save you from any issues in the future.
Things to avoid:
There are two major things to avoid with self-piercing riveted bonding applications. The first is inadequate or incorrect bonding applications can cause galvanic corrosion as stated, this is when two dissimilar conductive materials are joined or touching due to incorrect application or procedure. Moisture and water form an electrolytic cell in the material. It creates an electronegative potential in one material acting as an anode while
the other a cathode which causes electrochemical corrosion of the materials. This can cause sheet thinning where the rivet is applied and can cause failure of the join in as little as seven weeks. The other is defective joins or joint failure during application. Sheets can be damaged in various ways during the riveting process, if the rivet penetrates through the lower sheet. There are multiple issues which can arise once this happens. One is corrosion starts to occur and the other is that the lower sheet can be fracture where it was pierced or even separate from the other sheet. This is why is it so important to understand how to set and apply rivets correctly and follow the correct
procedures to provide safe repairs for your customers. Adhesives alone cause peeling and long-term vibration and movement of the metals which cause the adhesive to lose its mechanical properties, whereas adhesive bonding and riveting provides the best of both worlds providing long term rigidity and strength. I-CAR Australia has online courses and hands-on skills development training for riveted bonding applications. I-CAR Australia recommends all structural technicians working with newer vehicles should start off with I-CAR’s online training course for riveted bonding. Some of the key online learning outcomes for the online course are: removal and installation of selfpiercing rivets and blind rivets, identify methods for removing rivet-bonding parts, surface preparation of parts for rivet bonding and properly setting aluminium and steel solid rivets.
INTRODUCTION TO RIVET BONDING Overview
Specific tools will make working with aluminium easier.
Technician can list the types of rivets, rivet replacement considerations, surface preparation, rivet removal, to perform rivet bonding following vehicle maker recommendations. ST001E01 is a recommended prerequisite for RVT01 Topics consist of the following: • Discuss removal and installation of self-piercing rivets (SPRs) and blind rivets. • Identify methods for removing rivet-bonding parts. • Discuss surface preparation of parts for rivet bonding. • Explain how to properly set aluminium and steel solid rivets. • Identify steps for installing solid, blind, and SPR rivets.
Not all rivets are the same in shape or application.
Course Code: ST001E01 Course Format: Online training with post-test Points: 0.25 Estimated Duration: 1 hour Structural Technician
The National Collision Repairer 41
Expanding the reach
Greater convenience for customers, a wider range of products and faster delivery times are just a few of the selling points of a modern new facility for SAPE at Burpengary. The SAPE Group has unveiled its latest expansion with the opening of a cuttingedge warehouse facility in Burpengary, Queensland. This strategic move highlights the company’s dedication to enhancing its customer service, support and experience, whilst accelerating its growth across Australia. The newly established warehouse in Burpengary is a testament to SAPE’s commitment to offering the latest and highest-quality paint, equipment, and consumables to industry customers. SAPE is showcasing the state-of-theart facility, equipped with ample storage capacity to ensure that customers have access to an extensive inventory of products from the industry’s premier manufacturers in real-time, eliminating the frustration of extensive lead times. The SAPE Group director Paul McMartin says the expansion reflects the SAPE Group’s unwavering commitment to meeting the evolving needs of the industry and ensuring that
customers have access to the latest innovations and solutions. “We are excited to unveil our new warehouse facility in Burpengary, which represents a significant milestone in our journey to expand and provide exceptional service to our customers,” McMartin says. “This means that when you choose the SAPE Group, we can offer a broader selection of products and faster delivery times, ultimately enhancing the overall experience for our customers.” The SAPE Group’s expansion into Burpengary is a strategic step to provide better support to its existing clientele and reach new customers in the region. This move is part of the company’s broader growth strategy, aimed at solidifying its position as a leading distributor of paint equipment and consumables throughout the collision repair industry in Australia. As the company continues to grow its footprint across Australia, it remains
The large-scale new centre at Burpengary is aimed at improving service to SAPE’s customers.
dedicated to delivering exceptional products and services to support its clients in achieving their goals. In a move aimed at improving operational efficiency and customer convenience, Signature Refinish Supplies branches previously located at Brendale and Kunda Park, will now be consolidated into SAPE’s new Burpengary facility. SAPE was formed in New South Wales in 1976 as a distributor of automotive refinishing products to the collision repair industry and is a leading distributor for Glasurit and Baslac paints for BASF Australia. SAPE also supplies a vast array of collision repair equipment and consumables to vehicle repair facilities all around Australia. The new facility in Queensland is located at 26 Axis Ct, Burpengary or call (07) 3889 6868. For more information about The SAPE Group and its range of paint equipment and consumables at sapegroup.com.au.
Taking the heat out of the sanding debate An investment in the latest electric workshop tools can yield not only the reward of increased productivity, it can also help deal with changing vehicle construction and unwanted heat. The product for any sanding operations should be an investment in productivity, quality and profitability. In other words, rather than focus on price, products should be selected based on their ability to deliver a return on investment. Global surface finishing specialist, MIRKA, aims to make it easy by offering a technology driven, holistic approach. Market-leading abrasive technologies are backed up with high efficiency vacuum systems and sanding trolleys but the biggest news is the rise of the company’s innovative electric power tools range which was developed in house by a specialist MIRKA team. The latest MIRKA electric tool technologies provide plenty of surprises for those who are not yet initiated with their compact, lightweight, ergonomic designs that feature torquey and powerful brushless electric motors. PPG product specialist – allied products ANZ, Lauren Radnell says the new technology has sounded the death knell for pneumatic tools. “Today, MIRKA offers advanced electric tools that fit perfectly into mainstream operations. For example, the 150mm DEROS (Direct Electric Random Orbital Sander) is available in either 8mm
A slower spinning speeds means the jobs can be done faster.
orbit for panel work or 5mm orbit for paint prep and there is also a compact 77mm version. “When it comes to blocking, the 70mm X 198mm DEOS (Direct Electric Orbital Sander), with a 3mm orbit, is a game changer – the electric motor does the physical work for you so it can be completed in as little as half the time. MIRKA has also taken compact, cordless convenience to the max with the battery driven 32mm spot repair sanders – the AOS-B with a 3mm orbit. And if you deal with jobs that are large or high, then the LEROS (Long Electric Random Orbital Sander) is the high productivity answer. It features an ergonomic, long reach handle and a 225mm head that more than doubles the sanding surface area, compared to a 150mm orbital sander, making it possible to cut sanding labour time by 50 per cent or even more.”
A cool solution for a hot topic
Up until recently, pneumatic sanders have been the default choice but a growing trend in OEM vehicle construction is revealing a significant pitfall in their performance. With modern vehicles designed around an immensely strong crash structure that protects occupants in an accident, many exterior panels are now largely cosmetic so OEMs are using thinner gauge steel panels in an effort to minimise weight. The downside is that these panels don’t deal well with the heat generated by a pneumatic sander, says Radnell. “Pneumatic sanders tend to spin at high rpm and that can cause vibrations through these thinner panels which then generates heat. Unfortunately, our technical team is now seeing regular instances where the heat stress and vibration actually warps the panel, making the repair ever bigger or, in some
circumstances, making it unrepairable. Let’s face it, with their noise, vibration and the cold feel of the compressed air, no one is going to miss the pneumatic sander when you make the switch to a modern MIRKA electric tool. Because the electric motor generates high torque from almost zero rpm, the sanding process is so much more controllable. This lets the operator more accurately determine the sanding speed and, as a result, how much heat is generated in the panel. Not only that, because the torque allows MIRKA electric tools to spin slower, it actually gives the abrasive the opportunity to cut better, with the result that it gets the job done faster and more effectively. Another advantage of not driving the abrasives at high rpm is that they also last longer.”
Price versus value
“There is no arguing that a MIRKA electric tool is going to be more expensive than a pneumatic equivalent but it’s important to look at the overall value equation. You can expect a MIRKA electric tool to outlast three or even four pneumatic tools and still be going strong. Importantly, it’s more operator friendly to use, it requires minimal maintenance and it gets the job done faster, without the risk of overheating panels. In fact, we have seen productivity driven operators, including large MSOs, switch entirely to electric sanding tools because they understand what it can do for their processes and cycle-time. “It’s an investment in MIRKA sanding superiority.” A range of MIRKA power tools are available from authorised MIRKA distributors across Australia and New Zealand. The National Collision Repairer 43
A wipe away from perfection Dust, lint and dirt are a paint technician’s worst enemy. The answer to keeping these tiny aberrations at bay and prevent them from spoiling the perfect paint finish may lie with the humble cloth. Reducing sources of lint or loose fibres can minimise the risk of paint defects and helps deliver that perfect finish. Sontara provides a range of cloths that can give the technician the perfect finish and get the job done right the first time. Sontara cloths deliver absorbency, excellent strength and durability and extremely low lint. The Sontara range offers a wipe for every stage of the refinish process from cleaning, degreasing, picking up dirt and reducing static charge. The unique hydroentangling technology from Sontara uses thousands of high-pressure, needle-like jets of water to entangle the fibres into a fabric that’s soft, strong and low-linting. The advantages of the Sontara Surface Preparation System include: • No binders or chemical residue • Minimise the potential for product and paint defects • I mprove productivity and profitability • Enhance the quality of your work and paint finish
Primary tack cloth.
Solvent wash and dry cloth.
• Proactively protect your environment from contamination
The Automotive range
The solvent wash & dry cloth is a premium waterborne and solvent pre-clean wipe that is large, superabsorbent, virtually lint-free with no added binders or glue. It is used and trusted throughout Axalta’s Training Centres with all waterborne and solvent cleaning. Available in a box of 100 wipes. The degreasing cloth is ideal for cleaning panels during prep and prior to the application of primers and paint in use with waterborne and solvent degreasers. Available in a box of 300 wipes. The primary tack cloth is used with waterborne and solvent paints as a medium ‘tackifier’ to
effectively pick up dirt and dust prior to basecoat application. It minimises the potential for tack transfer and is flexible enough to access hard to reach corners. Available in a box of 12 cloths. The static control wipe is a presaturated isopropyl alcohol wipe used to reduce the static charge of the surface and minimise the attraction of dirt. This reduces the risk of paint defects and is ideal for preparation of all new plastic parts such as bumper bars. Available in a box of 45 individually packaged wipes to retain their moisture. A complete range of Sontara wipes are imported by Axalta Coating Systems and available through the network of Axalta distributors. Contact Axalta on 1800 292 582 for more information or visit: axalta.au/sontara
Static control wipe.
Playing the long game Car-O-Liner’s reputation around the automotive repair industry for reliable and efficient work benches is well-known. Their selling point has long been that they are an investment in efficiency with the ease of use and speed of mounting vehicles adding to the overall efficiency of a workshop. This potential for faster completed jobs and higher turnover can also lead to increased profitability for a repair business. Car-O-Liner extends these qualities
to its larger dimension benches offering workshops even more flexibility and the ability to handle longer vehicles including the light commercial and the increasingly popular large SUVs or ‘super-utes’ that are coming out of the US. The BenchRack system combines drive-on convenience with a hydraulic lift and removable ramps. Add to this the tilt feature, which makes loading easier when approach space is limited, and you have the most
versatile repair bench on the market and will be able to repair each collision damaged vehicle that enters your shop, from slight cosmetic work to full-frame repairs. With three lengths to choose from the BenchRack systems are designed for any type of unibody or full frame vehicle, from small cars to light trucks, vans and SUVs. For the ultimate in accommodating these larger vehicles it is hard to surpass the BenchRack 6.3 Master System that offers a 6.3 metre length version easily accommodating today’s longer vehicles, SUVs, vans and light trucks. Extra wide drive-on ramps, and clamping accessories for most vehicles on the road today, are included for safe, secure vehicle mounting. The BenchRack system is available in both Car-O-Liner blue and grey versions to meet your workshop specifications. For more information and full specifications go Car-O-Liner.com
The BenchRack 6.3 Master System.
When the stars align SATA’s latest, eye-catching, spray-gun model, the special edition ‘Universe’ features a unique portal that transports you into an exclusive world of SATA. Using a premium SATA spray gun is an excellent way to help you star in the spray booth but with the new SATAjet X 5500 Universe you get even more. Its durable, high-quality graphics feature a striking QR Code design, with black accents, and it’s not just for decoration. It’s a key to an online experience that is only open to owners of a SATAjet X 5500 Universe. Simply scan the exclusive QR code which forms part of the graphics on this latest special edition model to be granted access to the ‘Universe’ portal where you can also enter the SAL (SATA Authentication Label) of your SATAjet X 5500 Universe. Once you are part of the SATA Universe you will have access to exclusive content, benefits and promotions, along
with competitions, sneak previews, newsletters and much more. Best of all, the ‘Universe’ is a fully functional SATAjet X 5500 spray gun complete with all the features of this premium model, including the revolutionary X-Nozzle System that takes atomisation to a whole new level and has fan size that remains consistent across the nozzle range. Available only in the highly popular DIGITAL® format – with a digital air pressure gauge built right into the gun handle – there is a selection of nozzle sizes, along with the choice of HVLP and RP technology. This makes the SATA Universe perfect for everyday use in the spray booth or, alternatively, it can make an excellent addition to your gun collection display cabinet. Either way, it’s only available while stocks last. Given the sell-out popularity of previous SATA special edition models, it’s recommended that
you place an order ASAP at your SATA distributor to avoid disappointment. A comprehensive range of high-tech SATA spray equipment is available from your SATA distributor.
SATAjet X 5500. The National Collision Repairer 45
Off to the best start Projecta has extended its leading expertise in battery chargers with additions to its jump starter range that ensure maximum efficiency in restarting machinery of all kinds. The new heavy-duty IS3000 & IS5000 complete the range that utilises its innovative Intelli-Start technology efficiently restarting engines and eliminating the need for anyone working on machinery to cart around large batteries or trollies. Earlier this year Projecta broadened its market-leading Intelli-Start Jump Starter range with the launch of its IS1400 and IS2000 models – now the line-up is complete with the addition of two powerful new variants. The power-packed IS3000 and IS5000 jump starters are ideal for use on large industrial and commercial equipment including heavy-duty trucks, tractors, and agricultural equipment. The industrial units feature easy portability and light weights; 10.6kg and 13.5kg respectively and the patented Rapid Recharge Technology used in the range adds convenience and efficiency. The IS Jump Starter range also reduces the risk of being caught out without charge when going to jump start a vehicle, as recharging the trolley rigs can often be forgotten.
By leaving the Intelli-Start jump starters connected to a vehicle’s battery once started, RRT can fully replenish the energy that was discharged during the starting process in just 40 seconds. This feature means they will then be ready to use in the next emergency without needing regular recharging – technology that is unique to the Projecta Intelli-Start. The IS3000 is suitable for both 12V and 24V electrical systems and provides 1000A clamp power for 12V systems and 850A for 24V electrical set-ups, along with 3000 peak amps – it’s enough to start petrol and diesel engines up to 12L displacement in 12V machines and all 24V engines. The larger IS5000 has even greater clamp power, an impressive 1500A in 12V electrical systems and 1000A for 24V systems – in both cases peak amps are 5000. This output is sufficient to breathe life into petrol and diesel engines up to 16L capacity in equipment with 12V systems, and unlimited capacity in the case of vehicles with 24V electrics. The two jump starters also offer ‘no battery’ operation and can jump start vehicles without a starter battery. Both the IS3000 and IS5000 Jump Starters feature a strong exterior casing that uses a steel chassis and rubber over-
The Projecta Intelli-Start Jump Starter range.
moulded construction with integrated handle and concealed cable storage. Also ensuring reliability and safety are ‘no solder’, high current connections and solid 3mm clamp teeth, while an advanced all-in-one protection system prevents surges, short circuits and overheating in these units. For greater convenience, both models also boast auto sensing clamp connection, while operating this equipment is also simple via the intuitive LCD display with real time updates. A further benefit of the new models is their ability to jump start vehicles and machines that use a variety of battery types including Lithium, Wet, AGM, Gel and Calcium. When it is finally time to recharge the IS3000 and IS5000, this is done using the included docking station, which provides hassle-free benchtop charging. Owners can also rest easy knowing that the INTELLI-START range is equipped with premium LiFePO4 batteries, the safest lithium technology available. Additionally, the units feature an advanced, ‘all-in-one’ protection system that prevents surges, short circuits, and overheating. The IS3000 and IS5000 also deliver excellent longevity for users because they’re designed to deliver up to 2000 battery cycles, around four times more than competitor Lithium Cobalt based jump starters. The Projecta Intelli-Start range includes the IS920, IS1220, IS1400, IS1500 and IS2000, providing innovative solutions for the whole range of applications in the automotive industry whether it is motor vehicles, trucks, boats, 4WD and recreational vehicles. All Intelli-Start variants are Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS)compliant, and Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) certified. All units are covered by a 2-year product replacement or refund warranty. The Intelli-Start jump starter range are available from leading automotive and transportation outlets. More information www.projecta.com.au or phone Brown & Watson International Pty Ltd, (03) 9730 6000, National Toll Free: 1800 113 443
Next generation filler Carbon fibre has come a long way since its early days as a futuristic material. Now renowned for its strength and lightness, it has become a staple in the automotive industry. As such, it is important for workshops to have access to reliable and high-quality repair options in order to meet the growing demand for carbon fibre repairs. U-pol SMC Carbon Fibre Reinforced Filler is a versatile and durable product for
carbon fibre filler
U-pol’s SMC Carbon Fibre Reinforced Filler.
repairing carbon fibre and other materials. If you are looking for a body filler that can withstand extreme conditions and handle various applications, check out U-pol’s SMC Carbon Fibre Reinforced Filler. This product was originally developed for Mercedes and BMW to repair their carbon fibre vehicles, but it can also be used for repairs to a wide range of substrates metal, fibreglass, and other composites. Carbon fibre is a lightweight and strong material that is increasingly used in the automotive industry, as well as in sports and marine equipment. However, repairing carbon fibre parts can be tricky, as they require a special filler that matches their properties. Using a standard fibreglass filler can result in delamination and failure. U-pol’s SMC Carbon Fibre Reinforced Filler is a unique product that consists of resin reinforced with short carbon fibre
strands. It is specially formulated to bond with carbon fibre parts, such as panels, door mirrors, and mouldings. It can also be used for non-automotive repairs, such as surfboards, boats, kayaks, and other sporting equipment. U-pol’s SMC filler is easy to apply and work with. It cures to form a tough and rigid repair that can be drilled, tapped, sawn, or sanded without cracking or splintering. It has high adhesion and structural strength, making it ideal for large holes and moulded corners that are prone to future impacts. It also provides a smooth and even surface for priming and painting. U-pol’s SMC filler is available in both black and white from leading automotive refinish product distributors. For more information, contact the U-pol technical support team on (02) 4731 2655 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Challenging bold new realms with style It isn’t often the tools of the trade can inspire excitement and daring but this is what Sagola is hoping with its new 4600 Overland Adventure Spray Gun. A combination of technology and style is aiming to make it the gun of choice and “take your passion to new territories.” Presented by Axalta Coating Systems, the official Australian importer for
Sagola’s 4600 Overland Adventure.
Sagola, this special edition spray gun redefines style and performance and invites you “to experience the excitement of an epic adventure with every spray”. The Sagola 4600 Overland Adventure, adorned in sleek black with striking red accents, is more than just a tool: it’s a statement. Designed to inspire your inner adventurer, this spray gun offers a blend of innovation and aesthetics that’s second-to-none. At the forefront of spray gun technology, the Sagola 4600 Overland Adventure inherits the exceptional qualities of the highly acclaimed 4600 Xtreme. With excellent atomisation, precise control, and minimal noise, it’s a testament to Sagola’s commitment to excellence. Moreover, thanks to Sagola’s unique metal-to-metal technology, this spray gun is remarkably easy to clean and maintain, featuring no plastic seals. From October, you can choose from
a range of five nozzle sizes (1.20, 1.20 XL, 1.30, 1.30 XL, 1.4), complemented by the latest Titania Pro aircap, ensuring compatibility with cutting-edge fastdrying clearcoats. The Sagola 4600 Overland Adventure stands ready to meet the demands of professional painters, delivering results every time. One advantage of Sagola spray guns is their exceptional value. Not only are these guns competitively priced, but the spare parts also offer excellent value. Unlike some competitors’ products that require you to replace multiple components when one is damaged, Sagola offers the flexibility to purchase replacement needles and nozzles as a set or individual air caps. These options translate to significant cost savings, a testament to Sagola’s dedication to providing value to its customers. Visit axalta.au/sagola or call 1800 292 582 The National Collision Repairer 47
HELD ANNUALLY, THE RECIPIENTS OF NCR’S LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS ARE INDUCTED AND HONOURED FOR THEIR OUTSTANDING SERVICE TO THE COLLISION REPAIR INDUSTRY.
Held annually, the recipients of The National Collision Repairer’s Lifetime Achievement Awards are inducted and honoured for their outstanding service to the collision repair industry. In an exciting development in 2024, the awards evening will see two further awards presented on the night: The Future Leader of the Year Award; and The Woman in Automotive Award. The special event will be held next year in partnership with the Collision Repair Expo making it an unmissable event and nominations are now open.
The National Collision Repairer Lifetime Achievement Awards began in 2007 and was created to acknowledge the dedication and commitment of the men and women who have contributed to the collision repair industry over and above their “day job”. The criteria for induction are a minimum of 20 years in the collision repair industry, contributions to the industry beyond the scope of their local area, contributions to the industry beyond the scope of their direct employment and
nomination from within the industry. We extend our congratulations to the recipients of the Life Achievement Awards, acknowledging their invaluable contributions and recognising that their lifetime dedication to the industry has played a significant role in shaping it into the vibrant and cutting-edge field it is today. The gathering each year represents a who’s who of the repair industry, including sponsors, collision repairers, suppliers, insurers, and previous inductees who gather to celebrate the people that make the industry strong, innovative and supportive. The Roll also includes five international recipients from New Zealand, the US, and Sweden, who have not only contributed to the development of the industry in their own countries but also left an indelible mark on the Australian collision repair landscape. This award recognises the recipients’ perseverance, contributions, and experience, which amounts to a staggering total of over 1,900 years. So, once again, we take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the individuals and their organisations who support this initiative that truly does “honour the past” and now, recognises the industry’s bright future. Don’t miss this chance to honour the outstanding talent in the collision repair industry. Nominations for the 2024 Awards are now open. Visit; ncrlifetimeawards.com.au
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2007 Richard Nathan
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Morry Corvasce The National Collision Repairer 49
Recharging an old favourite Toyota has pushed ahead with modernising Australia’s most popular vehicle by building and evaluating a new HiLux battery prototype. The development of the vehicle in conjunction with Toyota’s manufacturers in Thailand is part of Toyota Australia’s push towards zero tailpipe emissions where it has joined the race with other vehicle manufacturers to satiate Australia’s love affair with utes utilising 21st century electric technology. Local engineers and selected industry partners were given the opportunity to evaluate the company’s first fully electric battery-powered HiLux prototype1 while Toyota’s evaluation team and several large-volume HiLux customers were also asked to put the
vehicle through its paces. Toyota Thailand built the HiLux EV as part of the company’s global plans to electrify Toyota’s commercial vehicles. The compressed Australian confirmation program has been completed and the vehicle returned to Thailand where the Toyota distributor will assemble a demonstration fleet of HiLux-based electric share taxis for their domestic market. Toyota Australia vice-president sales, marketing & franchise operations Sean Hanley said the HiLux prototype confirmed that Toyota was far more advanced in developing battery-electric vehicles than most people appreciated. “Our evaluation engineers and industry partners have confirmed that this city-focused HiLux BEV – while The prototype electric HiLux.
very much a concept vehicle – looks, feels and drives like a production model,” Hanley says. “I’ve also had the opportunity to drive it – and it’s clear the concept vehicle’s all-electric powertrain delivers the impressive torque you’d normally expect from a diesel engine. “It is further evidence of the broad scope of Toyota’s multi-path strategy for achieving carbon-free mobility, applying different powertrain solutions to suit different user needs and operating environments worldwide.” He said Toyota Australia was optimistic about the prospects for the type of city-focused HiLux BEV envisaged by the concept vehicle and would be keen to bring any such a vehicle to Australia. “Under the skin, this vehicle is powered by Toyota’s EV-related technologies developed over more than a quarter of a century, including batteries, motors, inverters and powercontrol units. “It’s a strong indicator of Toyota’s determination to overcome the challenges of electrifying our commercial vehicles, ensuring there are multiple options that can meet the expectations of end users.” The HiLux Revo BEV Concept program is the latest chapter in Toyota’s Thai-Australian relationship that was also instrumental in the development of the recently launched HiLux GR Sport. HiLux has been Australia’s bestselling vehicle for the past seven years with more than 64,000 sales last year.
Chery hits new sales record Chinese automotive manufacturers increased their pace in global sales with the Chery Group the latest car builder to record a new record in sales. The Chery Group sold 190,080 vehicles globally in September, a yearon-year increase of 30.7 per cent, and the first time its monthly sales have exceeded 190,000 units. From January to September, Chery
Group accumulated sales of 1,253,237 vehicles, a year-on-year increase of 40.2 per cent. This marks the third sales jump in a row for Chery Group in the third quarter, with monthly sales having continuously set new records of over 150,000, 170,000 and 190,000 vehicles. The cumulative sales for the first
three quarters have already exceeded last year’s annual total, creating a new sales record for the group. Chery also ranked first among selfowned brands in the latest 2023 China IQS released by JD Power, reinforcing high quality and innovation. The Chery Tiggo 7 Pro will be released in Australia in November, starting from $39,990.
Kia expands range ‘for all’ Kia is pushing ahead with what it refers to as the ‘democratisation’ of electric vehicles adding new options to its range in an effort to win family vehicle sales. Kia Corporation unveiled three new small- to medium-sized electric models at the brand’s annual Kia EV Day in Korea in October. Kia’s EV line-up is currently priced from $30,000 to $80,000 for existing models such as the EV6 and EV9 but has plans for future offerings tailored for the popular B- and C-segments. The brand aims to introduce smaller EVs like the EV5, EV4, and EV3, with prices ranging from $35,000 to $50,000, to accelerate the widespread adoption of EVs. Kia’s vision titled ‘EVs for all’ has a strategy to expand its EV model line-up significantly and rapidly, having launched the EV6 and EV9, it is now broadening its model line-up further with three new small- to medium-sized electric models. The company launched the EV5, a compact electric SUV for millennial families, as well as the introduction of two concept models; the Kia Concept EV3 a compact SUV and the Kia Concept EV4 electric sedan. Kia president and CEO Ho Sung Song says Kia’s EV strategy was aimed
at improving customer convenience, reliability, and addressing common concerns, including charging infrastructure. “Kia is keenly focused on providing solutions to the concerns that continue to cause hesitation when it comes to making an EV purchase,” he says. “We will meet customer expectations by offering a full line-up of EVs at various price points and improve charging infrastructure availability,” “As a sustainable mobility solutions provider, Kia’s transition to electric vehicles is a must, not an option. By developing advanced EV technology, bold design, and intuitive services, and applying them to our entire EV line-up, our ultimate aim is to provide Kia’s unique value to as many people as possible. The acceleration towards electrification begins now.” The brand has also unveiled plans for other customer services including streamlining different functions into a user-friendly smartphone application, introducing new services at their physical locations, and providing customers with in-vehicle artificial intelligence services. Kia head of brand and customer experience division Charles Ryu says providing sustainable mobility solutions
was all about eliminating perceived difficulties of customers. “We want to make the entire customer journey, from digital to offline to in-vehicle interactions, as effortless and enjoyable as possible. This includes the stages of pre-purchase, purchase and postpurchase,” Ryu says. “We will continue to fulfill the needs of our customers through new digital platforms and technologies so that we can keep finding better ways to move forward. Because at the core of Kia’s DNA lies our promise to offer more advanced sustainable mobility solutions that improve people’s lives.” The brand’s goal is to achieve an annual sales target of one million electric vehicles by 2026 and increase it to 1.6 million units per year by 2030. Kia EV5 has been confirmed for Australia and will arrive during 2024. Kia has expanded its EV range as part of its ‘EVs for all’ strategy.
Hyper-activities the target market Nissan has moved into the extreme with its latest concept SUV vehicle aimed at people passionate about outdoor adventures and an eco-friendly lifestyle. The Nissan Hyper Adventure concept and its V2X, vehicle-to-everything technology are planned to provide a power source at “anyplace and anywhere” while still being respectful of the environment. “Whether it’s a weekend jaunt to the local mountains or a months-long journey to a remote locale, the Nissan Hyper Adventure’s primary objective is to accommodate the diverse needs of those who love the outdoors,” Nissan said in a statement. Its large-capacity battery doubles as an energy source, allowing users to power
up their gadgets, light up campsites, or even recharge their electric jet skis. Its V2X capability can also provide power to homes (V2H) or a local community by contributing surplus power to the grid (V2G). Nissan also promoted its versatility when traveling over a snowy mountain pass or the muddy trail of a lush rainforest as examples where Nissan’s advanced e-4ORCE all-wheel-control system would ensure that travellers reach their destinations smoothly and safely. The exterior features dynamic body panels with a distinctive diagonal line on the side of the vehicle that accentuates the spacious cabin within. By redirecting the air flowing through
the front spoiler, the car can achieve high aerodynamic performance. The aerodynamics are further enhanced by glass that integrates the roof and side windows and the flush surface of the rear end. The wheels and front and rear bumpers are outfitted with crampons, or snow traction gears, to allow the car to drive through snowy areas with power and ease. The interior’s unique features and cabin space are designed to make driving in all situations easy and comfortable. The interior also boasts cargo space for outdoor equipment such as tents, skis, or even a kayak. The Nissan Hyper Adventure was launched at the Japan Mobility Show.
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Futuristic luxury in demand BMW Group Australia has reported sales growth in the first nine months of 2023 including almost doubling in sales of its fully electric vehicles as it prepares to widen the range further. During the period from January to September this year, registrations of BMW battery electric vehicles totalled 1,869, which nearly doubled those of the same period last year, 938 vehicles. BMW’s technology flagship the iX which is available in three variants including the 455kW M60 increased by 115 per cent, 661 sales versus 308. The BMW iX3 continues to perform in the market nearly two years after its launch, with a 38 per cent increase in registrations. Buyers have also shown keen interest in the first-ever BMW iX1, with the fully electric compact premium crossover already notching up 391 registrations despite only going on sale earlier this year. In early 2024, the iX1 xDrive30 will be joined by the iX1 eDrive20, which will become BMW Australia’s new entry point to its fully electric vehicle range at a price of $78,900. This is a key component of BMW Australia’s new electromobility strategy to offer an even wider selection of fully electric BMWs to customers.
By early next year, there will be four BMW fully electric variants priced below $89,332, exempting them from both Luxury Car Tax for fuel efficient vehicles and Fringe Benefits Tax for fleet operators. This includes the two iX1 variants, the i4 eDrive35 and iX3 M Sport. The robust BEV sales growth contributed to a strong overall result for BMW between. Total BMW registrations were up 4.7 per cent January and September 2023, with individual model highlights including double digit increases for 1 Series, 2 Series and a seven per cent uplift for the renowned 3 Series. At the upper luxury level, the 7 Series and 8 Series saw 40 and 23 per cent increases. The Mini brand continued its stellar sales momentum in 2023 with 3,306 registrations, representing an increase of more than 26 per cent compared with last year. BMW Australia will also expand its model portfolio next year with launch of the all-new BMW X2. The new X2 line-up, due in Australia in the first quarter of the year, will include the first X2 to feature fully electric power in the form of the iX2 xDrive30.
Addition of this new offering will grow the company’s fully electric line-up to 13 variants and highlight BMW Australia’s offering of what it claims is the widest selection of fully electric vehicles of any manufacturer in the country. The launch portfolio will also include the X2 xDrive20i, which features a fourcylinder petrol engine to deliver new levels of response and efficiency. The top of the line-up will be the X2 M35i xDrive, which features a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that produces 233kw of power. Both the X2 petrol models and fully electric iX2 will be produced flexibly on a single assembly line at BMW Plant Regensburg in Germany. The high-voltage batteries for the iX2 electric range are also made at the Regensburg site. The BMW iXM60 pictured in Melbourne Docklands.
Rising star in the north Swedish electric performance car brand Polestar has reported its global deliveries for the third quarter of 2023 were up 50 per cent on the previous year. Polestar delivered approximately 13,900 vehicles in the third quarter with sales of the higher-priced, upgraded Polestar 2 contributing to a strong margin improvement. About 41,700 vehicles were delivered in the first nine months, a growth of 37 per cent year-on-year. Polestar 4 deliveries commence in China during the fourth quarter, and Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath expects the company to deliver 60,000-70,000 vehicles in 2023.
“We have delivered a strong quarter and expect higher margins for the rest of the year, as we continue to prioritize value over volume in our business.” Ingenlath says. “We will soon have a compelling range of three distinctive cars, including two luxury SUVs, each addressing an exclusive luxury EV segment. With this, Polestar enters an exciting new period.” Polestar has also selected Evnex as its preferred home-charging hardware provider in Australia. With a shared focus on technology and transparency the two companies drive sustainable mobility in a perfect partnership. Evnex is a New Zealand-based manufacturer of charging equipment,
with the nine-year-old company founded on a platform of reducing the carbon footprint of electric-vehicle fleets. The company uses smart-charging technology to allow customers to prioritise solar or grid energy, account for the unique tariffs and different energy mixes of each state and territory, and balance loading on the grid, charge time, and charging costs. The 7.4kW Evnex E2 charger, which is manufactured in Christchurch and launched Australia-wide in July 2023, is also the first to offer carbon-monitoring tools, is housed in an enclosure built from 80 per cent bio-circular plastic, and can deliver 40km of driving range per hour.
More options ahead for quiet truck transition More electric options are joining the light truck and commercial fleet possibilities in Australia as the sector tackles its emissions and urban disturbance. The road freight sector makes up 38 per cent of the current transport sector emissions, and while they make up only four per cent of the road vehicles, they perform twice that in road vehicle kilometres and consume almost a quarter of all fuel consumed nationally. The Electric Vehicle Council maintains up to forty per cent of this traffic takes place in urban or short haul scenarios and could be replaced by suitable electric trucks. It maintains 70 per cent of trucking businesses have only one truck and these small businesses could benefit from cost savings on diesel fuel, up to 20 per cent of their overheads for short haul freight, as well as potential exemption on urban truck curfews as the new vehicles are low noise. The EVC is also celebrating a change to width of trucks allowable on Australian roads to 2.55 metres which
will make a wider range of vehicles available from overseas manufacturers. Hyundai is the latest global automotive manufacturer to promote its presence in the space, last month releasing pricing for its Hyundai Mighty Electric light-duty truck. The Korean manufacturer will join the likes of Volvo, Fuso, Australian producer SEA and others hoping to take advantage of the push by logistics companies to lower emissions and reduce running costs. The Hyundai truck is priced from $150,000 for the cab chassis plus government charges and on-road costs, with an alloy tray 4,200mm long and 2,353mm wide as and added business solution. The company also has plans for additions in the future including a Pantech box body. The Hyundai Mighty comes with a 114.5kWh capacity lithium-ion battery pack for a cab chassis, providing up to 200km of range when loaded to the maximum GVM of 7300kg. The model also boasts a 71-minute
Hyundai hopes electric trucks will appeal in urban areas.
recharge with 100kW of 800V DC fastcharging power using a CCS 2 combo charging port to be fully recharged or a 20-minute fast charge that can add around 100km of range. Hyundai Motor Company Australia chief operating officer John Kett says the truck makes for the ideal last mile or back-to-base light-duty commercial truck, for businesses wanting to reduce their driving emissions. “The Mighty Electric is best suited to urban environments, with its zero driving emissions, a quiet electric motor and high energy efficiency at lower speeds. The smoothness and quietness of operation will help reduce driver fatigue and enhance road safety,” Kett says.
The last growling for Jaguar After 75 years at the forefront of luxury sport cars, Jaguar is saying farewell to petrol driven cars with one last hurrah. The company commemorating the end of its internal combustion sports car lineage in 2024 with a limited-edition F-Type inspired by its 1960s racing E-types. Making only 150 cars of the new F-Type ZP Edition, it will be the last internal combustion-engine sports cars designed by Jaguar bringing to an end its love affair with V8s with these supercharged 423kW models. The models will feature specially curated interior and exterior details by SV Bespoke. Jaguar managing director Rawdon Glover says Jaguar was embarking on
the boldest transformation in its history, to become a modern luxury all-electric brand from 2025 and this was a celebration of Jaguar past. “F-Type has captivated sports car drivers for more than a decade, just as the E-type did five decades before it,” he says. “The ZP Edition is the ultimate celebration of that lineage, joining an illustrious roster of heritage-inspired collector’s editions including the 2015 Project 7 and 2020 Heritage 60 Edition.” The two colours available recall the first race-winning ‘Project ZP’ E-types after the model’s launch in 1961: Oulton Blue Gloss paint with Mars Red and Ebony duotone leather interior, or Crystal Grey Gloss
paint with Navy Blue and Ebony duotone leather interior. Both feature Porcelain White Gloss hand-painted racing-style roundels on the doors and Porcelain White Gloss grille surrounds. Jaguar’s promotion for the F-Type is that it is the benchmark for truly involving, engaging, driver-focused sports cars, with a distinctive V8 soundtrack. The exhaust note is so iconic it is archived in the British Library. The F-Type ZP Edition is available in Australia in Coupé body style. With 423kW, 700Nm of torque and an all-wheel drive system with Intelligent Driveline Dynamics technology. Top speed is an electronically limited 300 km/h.
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Upping the stakes in global-first EV crash test In an effort to overcome consumer fear and misapprehension of the safety features in EVs, one European OEM is increasing the collision speed and impact as well as including female crash dummies. Mercedes-Benz says it is going above crash ratings and legal requirements for the world’s first public crash test involving two fully electric vehicles. Euro NCAP stipulates a frontal impact test using a 1,400 kg trolley with an aluminium honeycomb barrier. This replicates the front of another vehicle where the test vehicle and the trolley collide at a speed of 50 km/h. But Mercedes-Benz has raised the speed to 56km/h and used two real vehicles, both heavier at around 2.2 and 3 tonnes. The German OEM, that has built a reputation around safety engineering said the crash result, that appeared alarming from this speed and mass, showed the cars and their safety features behaved as they should. Mercedes-Benz engineers said the vehicles were able to effectively absorb the energy of the collision by deforming and the passenger safety cell of both electric models remained intact and the doors could still be opened. Mercedes said the safety features meant occupants could have left the vehicle on their own or for first responders to reach them. It was also noted the high-voltage systems in the EQA and the EQS SUVs switched off automatically during the collision. The crash test scenario, held at the Group’s Technology Centre for Vehicle Safety in Sindelfingen corresponds to a Despite the severity of the collision, the dummies did not sustain signs of severe injuries.
type of accident common on rural roads, for example during a failed overtaking manoeuvre. The speed selected for the test considered that, in a real-life accident, the drivers would still try to brake before the worst case of a collision, Mercedes says. Mercedes-Benz Group AG, chief technology officer and member of the board of management Markus Schäfer says the test were part of the company’s real-life safety philosophy to make cars that hold up not only in defined crash test scenarios, but also in real-life accidents. “Safety is part of Mercedes-Benz’s DNA and one of our core commitments to all road users. And to us, protecting human lives is not a question of the drive system,” Schafer says. “The recent crash test involving two fully electric vehicles demonstrates this. It proves that all our vehicles have an equally high level of safety, no matter what technology drives them. “We are working hard to achieve our vision of accident-free driving, which goes beyond the “Vision Zero” objectives set by the WHO and the United Nations Regional Commissions. We don’t just want zero traffic fatalities by 2050 and a halving in the number of traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030 compared to 2020. Our goal by 2050 is zero accidents involving a Mercedes-Benz vehicle.” The EQA and the EQS SUV each carried two adult dummies – a total of three females and one male during the test with up to 150 measuring points per dummy. The results analysis indicates a low risk of serious to fatal injury. Mercedes-Benz head of vehicle safety Professor Paul Dick says this meant the defined crumple zones and advanced restraint systems in both vehicles offer very good protection potential for the
occupants in a crash of this severity. All safety equipment, such as airbags and belt tensioners with belt force limiters, worked as intended. The crash test thus confirmed the results that the engineers had previously calculated in numerous computer simulations. “Real-life vehicle testing always also serves as a final comparison with the simulations. Furthermore, the crash test clearly shows that compatibility (i.e., the interaction of the deformation structures of different vehicles involved in an accident) is part of the safety requirements for Mercedes-Benz cars,” Dick says. “This crash test involving two electric vehicles, which we have shared publicly for the first time in this way, underlines our commitment to building the world’s safest vehicles. “The four female and male dummies complied with the biomechanical limits in this extremely severe crash. This demonstrates our expertise in electric vehicle safety.” The test also placed the Hybrid III 5th Percentile Female in the driver’s seat of both vehicles. The dummy type corresponds to a woman of approximately 1.5 metres tall and weighing around 49 kilograms which according to the underlying statistics, only five per cent of women worldwide are smaller or lighter. Mercedes-Benz AG head of dummy technology Dr. Hanna Paul says Mercedes-Benz uses the fifth percentile female dummies to design its protection systems for the widest possible range of customers. Ratings by consumer protection associations as well as various legal requirements worldwide now include specifications for testing with fifth percentile female dummies.
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