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Collision repairers find themselves the first to deal with new tech—again

BY ALLISON ROGERS

“I can see that the OEMs would want to have a network of shops that have access to their proprietary information so that they can protect their brand— Tesla, BMW and Mercedes do that now to some extent. The challenge is that it is usually the collision centres that are the first repairer that has to deal with this new technology.”
— Tom Bissonnette

Tom Bissonnette, director for Saskatchewan’s Association of Automotive Repairers says collision repairers are often the first to deal with new manufacturer technologies like this.

Automotive Industries Association president J.F. Champagne has been spearheading the organization’s efforts in the ‘Your Data. Your Choice’ campaign and recently appeared on CTV News.

Paul Prochilo, CCIF chair, also told Collision Repair he supports the campaign.

Tom Bissonnette, director for the Saskatchewan Association of Automotive Repairers, said automakers have every right to control their information—though collision centres are usually the first that have to deal with new technologies of this variety and adapt accordingly.

“I can see that the OEMs would want to have a network of shops that have access to their proprietary information so that they can protect their brand—Tesla, BMW and Mercedes do that now to some extent,” said Bissonnette. “The challenge is that it is usually the collision centres that are the first repairer that has to deal with this new technology.”

Regardless, Bissonnette says the independent repairer is long from being blocked by such measures from OEMs.

“I don’t think it will ever come to a point where they totally block out the independent repairer—there’s no way the dealer network could deal with all the vehicles that need to be repaired and recalibrated,” he said. The Automotive Industries Association was recently featured on CTV News as the aftermarket organization continues to advocate for vehicle data ownership and the consumer’s right to choose a repair facility. Through its ‘Your Data. Your Choice’ campaign, AIA Canada is calling on the federal government to acknowledge the importance of vehicle data ownership. The aftermarket organization says independent shops will be effectively shut out from repairing newer cars without proper data from OEMs.

By next year, approximately 80 percent of new vehicles sold will incorporate wireless technology to transmit data to OEMs in real time.

“If [independent repairers] don’t have that information, they cannot safely and properly fix your car,” J.F. Champagne, president of AIA Canada told CTV News. “We believe it’s going to negatively impact the capacity of consumers to choose where and how they get their car serviced.”

Paul Prochilo, Canadian Collision Industry Forum (CCIF) chair told Collision Repair he also supports the cause.

“The Right to Choose campaign supports the customer’s freedom of choice to have the repairs to their vehicle completed where the customer desires,” said Prochilo. “The aftermarket sector has the capacity to meet OE standards both in the collision and mechanical segments. Failure for the Federal government and OE manufacturers to recognize the negative impacts on the customers availability to utilize the aftermarket sectors capacity to repair vehicles, will only lead to increased repair costs and dissatisfied vehicle owners.”

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