I-CAR Declines Facilitation of OEM Repair Standards

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March 27, 2013—After announcing a multiple-step plan in July 2012 to facilitate and maintain a centralized database of published OEM technical repair procedures in support of an industry repair standards effort, I-CAR on Tuesday announced it will not move forward with the initiative.

Several prominent collision repair organizations made a declaration during the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) meeting in November 2011 recognizing published OEM-based repair procedures as the industry standard. Those groups—including the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS), Automotive Service Association (ASA), Alliance of Automotive Service Providers (AASP) and Assured Performance Network—requested for I-CAR to compile all published OEM technical repair procedures within one centralized location to give repairers easy and affordable access to the information.

During the I-CAR Industry Event in San Antonio in July 2012, I-CAR’s president and CEO John Van Alstyne said the organization agreed to spearhead the effort. He presented a five-step approach to create “a one-stop shop” for OEM repair information, which included development of a repairability council, knowledge portal, repairability forum, repairability summit, and for I-CAR to serve as an OEM link to the repair industry.

I-CAR expected to have the infrastructure prepared to launch the effort by July. But I-CAR’s board of directors unanimously approved a decision to cancel the plan during a board meeting March 7.

“Over the past 17 months, I-CAR has worked toward defining processes, capabilities and resources to enable the organization to support the request in a manner that aligns with the organization’s vision, mission and duty to represent the interests of the inter-industry with neutrality, and for the collective unbiased benefit of the inter-industry,” I-CAR said in a statement. “Despite the significant effort put forth by the I-CAR board and staff, given the organization’s duty to the inter-industry, and the reality that there are open disagreements on the related topic of standards across the inter-industry, the I-CAR board of directors decided that I-CAR will not proceed with implementation of a solution in response to this request as originally presented.”

I-CAR said three main factors ultimately lead to the board’s decision:

— The need for I-CAR to represent the best interests of the industry in an unbiased, neatral manner, and avoid perceptions that the organization may be catering to the interests of any particular industry segment to the possible disadvantage of others.

— Potential difficulties constructing and managing the requested “Council” that would meet the needs of both the requestors and I-CAR’s inter-industry charter.                 

— Although I-CAR points to OEM procedures as the industry’s baseline for repairs, there are opportunities to define recommended repair processes that would support or supplement OEM procedures given the span of possible repairs, consumer interests and insurer interests, while maintaining a commitment to complete safe repairs.

I-CAR said several elements of the proposed solution presented last July build on work that it already does to serve the industry, and are closely linked to its strategic initiatives for the future. I-CAR said its board and staff will work to reframe and evaluate certain elements of the proposed solution for consideration as independent projects moving forward.

Elements that I-CAR continues to consider include expansion of its technical processes, resources and support; maintaining relations with OEMs to expand technical processes and resources; development of technical OEM Industry Segment Advisory Councils; expanded repairability summits; and efforts to enhance the industry’s access to information.

“All related initiatives will be subject to further board review considering alignment with I-CAR’s charter, impact versus inter-industry defined needs, prioritization versus other I-CAR initiatives, and funding requirements,” I-CAR said. “I-CAR’s goal is to be of greater service to the inter-industry while being true to its inter-industry charter. The board and staff of I-CAR remains confident that these initiatives hold great promise as steps forward for both I-CAR and the inter-industry.”

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