June Collision Corner

Jun 2, 2023 | Dateline

June 2023 collision Report – By Micah Strom

CTE 2023 – NWACA hosted their first ever CTE (Collision Training Expo). An all-day training event designed for collision shops, by collision shops. The classes consisted of training for management/owners, estimators and technicians. With trainers from some of the leading industry names like CCC, Wesco, ATI, Elitek 3M & LDC Equipment. Several of the classes held were hands-on, which is unique for a training event like this. All of the classes that were held were well-received by the attendees. This first CTE was a huge success and is the foundation which we will build on for next year’s CTE 2024. The feedback given by the attendees was incredible and concreted the vision of CTE and the need for a training event like this.  If you are interested in participating in next year’s CTE as an attendee, a trainer or a sponsor, contact Brenda or JoAnna at (253)-653-2334 or by email at brenda@nwautocare.org or joanna@nwautocare.org

PROGRESSIVE BECOMES SECOND-LARGEST U.S. AUTO INSURER: Progressive has for the first time, become the second-largest insurer in the U.S. private passenger auto insurance market, according to the newest annual report released by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). State Farm remains the largest auto insurer in the country, but as of the end of 2022 is less than three percentage points ahead of Progressive, which edged out Geico by a fraction of a percentage point to take the No. 2 position.  

The Oregon Senate voted 25-4 to pass a bill (SB 256) that would prohibit the importing, distributing, sale or installation of counterfeit automobile supplemental restraint system components or nonfunctional airbags. The bill now moves to the Oregon Senate.  

World’s first roll-formed bumper launches with fossil-free steel

The steel is based on the HYBRIT technology, which replaces coal with hydrogen in the reduction process, powered by fossil-free electricity —Shape Corp., a global tier-1 supplier, has announced the world’s first roll-formed, production-intent martensitic steel bumper made with SSAB’s fossil-free steel material utilizing HYBRIT technology. Shape is the first automotive company to collaborate with SSAB in using sustainable material in the development of this type of automotive component. SSAB´s fossil-free steel is based on the HYBRIT technology, which replaces coal with hydrogen in the reduction process, powered by fossil-free electricity. The resulting product is virtually fossil-free. SSAB aims to produce the steel at a commercial scale in 2026. Shape has conducted rigorous testing, including bendability, fracture characterization, material toughness, delayed fracture testing, and welding evaluations that have shown the fossil-free steel does not compromise material properties or performance.

Shop owners from both U.S. coasts say they are addressing the technician shortage by training people themselves. Gigi Walker of Walker’s Auto Body in Concord, California, said her business has an unusual mix of work. “We don’t just repair cars. We also do transit buses and box trucks,” Walker said. “So it’s really difficult to find any technicians who can take these buses apart and put them back together. We have a young man here now that we’re training. We started him out in the paint shop. He’s only been with me for three months, and we have him priming. He just informed me he’s color blind, so we’re thinking we’ll move him over to the body shop. We’re loading him up with I-CAR classes that he can do from home.”

 In Massachusetts, Tom Ricci, owner of Body & Paint Center, has built a track record of recruiting students completing a training program at a nearby regional technical school. “Prior to about four years ago, we struggled, struggled, struggled,” Ricci said. “Could we still use a tech? Yeah. But what we have done is create a mentoring program where a student comes in and works with one tech who is a real good teacher. He really loves teaching the kids stuff. For four years in a row, we’ve brought in a student from the school where I’m the program advisory chairperson. All four are still here. The mentoring program has worked very well.”

He said the school has adopted the I-CAR curriculum, so the new technicians start work with some I-CAR credits. Ricci said he also feels fortunate that about a year ago he was standing outside the shop and a man asked him if he was looking to hire anyone. The man’s son couldn’t speak English, but Ricci paired him up with another Spanish speaking employee. 

“After two weeks, that tech told me, ‘Give me a year, and I’ll make him a body man,’” Ricci said. “He’s been here a little over a year now, and he’s made him into a very good B-level body tech.”