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Unique Texas Training Center Under Construction

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A look at an artist's rendering of Solera Holdings' new auto repair training center, located roughly 40 miles northwest of Dallas.

April 10, 2019—​In the shadows of Texas Motor Speedway, a unique auto repair training facility is roaring to life.

In Justin, Texas, construction is underway on Solera Holdings’ research and training facility, which is being designed with the intent to advance the industry.

“We’re excited,” said Chris Mullen, Solera’s vice president of research, in a recent conversation with FenderBender. “This is a service to the industry. Our mission is to utilize [a] network of independent research centers to improve the industry overall—the holistic approach to that entire workflow.

“There isn’t this type of independent center currently located in the U.S.”

At the 13,000-square foot facility 40 miles northwest of Dallas, trainees like technicians and insurers will brace for the future of the industry. The roughly $9 million facility is known as CESVI LIV, which essentially stands for “center for experimentation and road safety” and is a joint venture between Solera, a software company, and Spanish auto insurance company MAPFRE.

It’ll serve as Solera’s North American research and training center. And, the facility will provide insight into how consumer uses vehicles, while also allowing for research of new vehicle features. By doing exhaustive research, Solera officials feel the company can make the software it sells more valuable for both body shops and insurers.

“The unique approach that we’re taking,” Mullen explained, “is to focus a majority of the training on hands-on and realistic scenarios, so that students are leaving with a bankable skill [so] that they can apply that learning, and use that skill, in multiple scenarios.”

Once the facility opens its doors—likely in July—its instructors will teach courses on collision repair, electromechanics, and more. It’s classrooms will largely resemble a body shop, but feature movable walls.

While Mullen said Solera is currently finalizing the facility’s initial course portfolio, the center will feature bays dedicated to the following repair elements: paint and refinish, collision repair, welding, and heavy-duty trucks.

And, she said any independent body shop employee is welcome to train at the facility.

“There’s a declining volume in our workforce of the skilled technicians that are able to repair these vehicles,” noted Mullen, who previously worked for Toyota, Nissan, and State Farm. “At the same time … we have a massive increase in technology, through advanced driver-assistance technology. So, those two curves don’t support each other very well. So, in that way, we would look to train individual technicians from independent shops, and we would look to train shops that would look to improve their workforce. …”

To sign up for training at CESVI LIV, interested parties should keep an eye on cesviliv.com in the coming months.

Ultimately, the new training facility is being created to move the auto industry forward, Mullen said.

“We tried to build the facility for where the industry is going,” she added.

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