I-CAR (Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair), a 40-year-old, not-for-profit dedicated to providing collision repair training and education that contributes to complete, safe and quality repairs for consumers, announced the launch of BodyShopology.com, an industry-neutral locator that connects motorists with trained and credentialed collision repair shops close to home, all by entering a ZIP Code.
“This online power tool is an important resource in unifying the industry for the ultimate benefit of the consumer,” said Stacey Wesselink, I-CAR, Director - Marketing and BodyShopology spokesperson. “While there’s no shortage of shop locators available, I-CAR’s neutrality sets BodyShopology.com apart from the rest, providing an objective and unbiased tool for consumers,” said Wesselink. All OEMs and Insurers with repair networks are invited to participate. “We’re trying to educate consumers that while cost and proximity to home are important considerations in selecting a body shop for vehicle repair following an accident, so, too, is a shop’s training chops and credentials amid a dizzying evolution of vehicle complexity,” said Wesselink.
The shop locator is easy to navigate; a simple ZIP Code input triggers a network of more than 8,100 trained and credentialed shops, filtered for close proximity to the user’s home. This includes highly trained I-CAR Gold Class® shops within Ford Motor Company’s and Farmers Insurance’s networks, two of the locator’s first collision repair Inter-Industry participants. The previous I-CAR Gold Class locator moved to BodyShopology, and all Gold Class shops are automatically added to BodyShopology.com when Gold Class is achieved. The timing couldn’t be better, with an estimated 276 million vehicles on the road and 6 million accidents per year. And the advent of summer signals more road activity, and subsequently, the propensity for more collisions. “Not all body shops are created equal,” explained Wesselink. “The reality is, approximately 65 percent of the nation’s body shops – or 2 out of 3 shops – are not training. That’s why we’re creating a new consumer conversation that also considers a shop’s training or credentials as additional factors in selecting a body shop, contributing to complete, safe and quality repairs. “Performing repairs properly and adhering to OEM repair procedures makes all of the difference in restoring a vehicle to its pre-loss condition,” she said. “BodyShopology.com puts consumers in the driver’s seat to identify those shops trained to fix your specific repair needs, close to home. “We’re in a new era of vehicle technology and complexity and the ramifications for a complete, safe and quality repair cannot be overstated,” added Wesselink. “It’s more important than ever before for repair shops to have the up-to-date, relevant training to repair a consumer’s specific vehicle. BodyShopology.com takes the guesswork out of finding a collision repair shop that has a commitment to training.” Greg Luther, Body Shop Director of Helfman Collision Center in Houston, Texas, and Chairman of the Houston Autobody Association Board of Directors, emphasizes the need for a shop locator like BodyShopology. “Both Helfman Collision and the Houston Autobody Association work tirelessly to make sure repairs are done properly,” he said. “It’s crucial that consumers understand the importance of choosing a shop with trained technicians.” John Lynch, Fixed Operations Manager of Gezon Motors in Grand Rapids, Michigan, echoes similar feelings. “BodyShopology is an invaluable tool, as it can help consumers understand there are other considerations – beyond price – when choosing who to trust your vehicle with,” he said. Wesselink said in addition to the locator, the Bodyshopology.com website offers fresh, relevant content, including tips and helpful questions to ask a trained body shop about the repair process. You can also download a free BodyShopology information card to keep in your wallet or car glove box. Follow BodyShopology on Facebook and Instagram.