I-CAR celebrates a year of growth and collision-repair industry acclaim

Feb. 5, 2015
A series of programs it initiated and expanded by the company during 2014 attracted record-level attention and success from the collision repair industry.

I-CAR, the Inter-industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair, reported a series of programs it initiated and expanded during 2014 attracted record-level attention and success from the collision repair industry.

The not-for-profit organization, which delivers education and solutions to the collision repair inter-industry, received acclaim especially for three of its programs that exhibited particular success over the past year:

  • The Gold Class recognition program and Road to Gold enrollment for collision repair shops continued to grow at a remarkable pace, exceeding its goals for the year.
  • The I-CAR training program for the new aluminum-intensive 2015 Ford F-150 has become the most popular course I-CAR has ever offered for collision repair professionals.
  • The debut of I-CAR’s Repairability Technical Support (RTS) Portal at http://rts.i-car.com earned recognition as one of 2014’s top innovations.

“The past year has been one of tremendous momentum for I-CAR,” said I-CAR CEO & President John Van Alstyne. “We are pleased that the collision repair community has embraced the innovation and changes we have introduced in our programs, all of which were designed to help the industry achieve higher levels of training and capability, as well as higher levels of training participation across the industry.”

More repair businesses reach for the gold

Gold Class is the highest role-relevant training achievement recognized by the collision repair industry. The number of businesses pursuing the extensive development of knowledge and skills required for Gold Class recognition grew in 2014 by 14 percent over the previous year, from 5,264 locations in 2013 to just more than 6,000 in 2014. These figures include 3,213 Gold Class businesses, and another 2,836 in the Road to Gold program, which is the on-ramp to Gold Class. Collectively this now represents approximately 17 percent of the industry, up 2 percent from 2013.

“The growth in Gold Class and Road to Gold shops means a larger proportion of the industry is realizing the benefits of complete, safe and quality repairs, as well as the related business performance benefits that come with robust knowledge while insurers and OEMs expand their own repair-shop programs to increasingly include Gold Class and Road to Gold,” Van Alstyne said.

Training thousands for a new-generation vehicle

I-CAR collision repair training experts worked alongside Ford Motor Company engineers during the aluminum-intensive Ford F-150 design and development process, leveraging I-CAR’s expertise to create a training solution for collision repair professionals. Traditionally, repair solutions are not developed until after a vehicle is publicly launched, leaving a gap in repair readiness.

During 2014, more than 12,000 students completed the 2015 Ford F-150 Structural Repair Training Course (FOR06). Of that group, 64 percent were collision repair technicians and 32 percent were auto physical damage adjusters from the insurance industry. At least one student from each of more than 3,500 organizations completed the course, and 1,000 more are registered for upcoming scheduled classes. Additionally, 3,150 students completed the I-CAR Welding Training & Certification in aluminum welding for Ford and other vehicles. The success of the program indicates the value of I-CAR’s relationships with OEMs in anticipating, collaborating and launching innovative, relevant and critical programs for technicians nationwide.

All of the I-CAR courses are designed to holistically educate collision repair technicians to the special requirements and techniques of welding, body assembly and other repairs for the new generation of vehicles built with combinations of aluminum and steel materials.

Praise for industry access to technical information

Another highly popular I-CAR innovation in 2014 was the debut of its Repairability Technical Support (RTS) Portal at http://rts.i-car.com, which is a centralized information hub containing vehicle technical and repair data from OEMs and other resources.

Industry media have lauded this new resource, which has application across the industry.

“Our Repairability Technical Support Portal will purposefully expand its base of crucial OEM repair information,” Van Alstyne said. “And I-CAR will continue to lead in promoting a ‘Learning Culture’ within collision repair businesses that enables them to thrive, not just survive.”

Van Alstyne noted that in 2015 I-CAR intends to build on its priorities of expanding its industry relevance and course offerings, improving services and solutions, and enhancing delivery options as it continues its vision.

“That every person in the collision repair industry has the information, knowledge and skills required to perform complete, safe and quality repairs for the ultimate benefit of the consumer,” he said.

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