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I-CAR Responds to AASP, SCRS, APN Letter

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April 19, 2013—I-CAR on Friday issued a response to recent letter signed by several industry associations that expressed confusion over I-CAR’s position in the industry after the organization declined to facilitate and maintain a repair standards effort last month.

After announcing a multiple-step plan in July 2012 to facilitate a centralized database of published OEM technical repair procedures, I-CAR announced in March it would not move forward with the initiative, citing the need to represent the best interests of the industry in a neutral manner and the potential difficulties in constructing and managing the requested “Council."

In a letter sent to I-CAR last week, the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers (AASP), Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) and Assured Performance Network (APN) said several statements made by I-CAR were confusing and have raised questions for their members. The organizations said this suggests that I-CAR believes not all industry segments support using OEM repair procedures as a standard of repair. The AASP, SCRS and APN asked I-CAR to clarify its position regarding industry standards of repair, including what other types of repair procedures are utilized in the development of the industry’s training curriculum.

The following is I-CAR’s letter of response in its entirety:

“In its recent response to the November 2011 request submitted jointly to I-CAR by ASA, AASP, SCRS and APN, I-CAR attempted to be clear and succinct. This brevity appears
to have resulted in certain assumptions and conclusions that are not consistent with what I-CAR intended to communicate. I-CAR thanks SCRS, AASP and APN for your letter dated April 12, and the opportunity it provided to further clarify I-CAR’s position and intentions.

I-CAR firmly believes that OEM collision repair procedures are the industry standard
for complete and safe repairs. For the past 30 years, OEM collision repair procedures have been referred to by I-CAR in its training and advisory services to the industry, and I-CAR utilizes these procedures where they exist as the foundation for developing course curriculum. This remains I-CAR’s intent going forward.
As expressed in the original request received by I-CAR, I-CAR also recognizes there are opportunities to address gaps and enhance both OEM procedures and related collision repair best practices that work together to support complete and safe repairs.

The good news is that today, there exists more OEM collision repair information than ever before. Unfortunately, not all OEMs offer collision repair procedures in the U.S. market, nor do all OEMs offer consistent levels of collision repair information. When no collision repair procedures exist, collision repair professionals must use their available knowledge to make a complete, safe and minimally intrusive repair. I-CAR is committed to helping the industry close these gaps by working closely with the industry and the OEMs to research, develop, and deliver collision repair procedures where none exist, and to work towards standardization of the information provided. Furthermore, except when contributing as a Subject Matter Expert under contract by an OEM, I-CAR will not develop vehicle-specific collision repair procedures.

There also exists a need for collision repair best practices that directly complement, support and supplement vehicle OEM repair procedures.

In many cases, OEM repair procedures provide recommendations for say spot weld locations or recommended attachment methods, as examples. But additional processes are required to complete the repair in accordance with the OEM recommendation that may not be adequately covered by the OEM procedure. As examples: What are the most efficient/effective ways to remove spot welds? When GMA (MIG) welding, which techniques should be used to best control heat and how should welds be dressed following welding? I-CAR can contribute to this body of information and knowledge, by working with OEMs on repair procedure enhancements, and through documentation of collision repair best practices in a manner similar to the I-CAR UPCRs and certain I-CAR Advantage articles, and by incorporating this information into future I-CAR curriculum.

Additionally, across the industry, there exists varying perspectives on repair practices and an expressed need for balance amongst collision repairers, insurers, suppliers and OEMs. Ongoing work to improve collaboration and consensus in these areas must be performed from a perspective of neutrality with an uncompromising priority on complete and safe repairs for the consumer.

I-CAR is well placed and equipped to contribute to the breadth of this work. I-CAR’s inter-industry and neutral charter provides the unbiased perspective required. Additionally, I-CAR will contribute: 1) Through its broad access to industry “Voice of the Customer” feedback and data; 2) By coordinating topic-specific Inter-Industry advisory councils of Subject Matter Expert’s to assess, define and recommend repair best practices; 3) By increasing the work I-CAR already does as a technical liaison with OEMs, and 4) By providing increased accessibility to the information the industry requires to perform complete and safe repairs.

All of this work was integral to I-CAR’s final proposed solution, and is work the I-CAR Board believes is valuable to the collision repair Inter-Industry.

We trust this clarifies I-CAR’s position and intentions.”

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