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INDUSTRY NEWS – CRM 20#1

FEELING BLUE

BASF has released its 2020 Colour Report where the global paint and coatings giant showed off the most popular paint colours of the past year. The report covered trends reported from four distinct automotive markets: Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA); as well as North America, Asia Pacific and South America. According to the report, the EMEA market is showing an affinity for blue coatings as it was reported that about “11 percent of new vehicles were coated in blue, making it the most popular chromatic colour.” In North America, blue vehicles have shown to be trending highly, edging out red as the most popular chromatic colour in the market.

HEAD IN THE CLOUDS

Representatives for collision repair training programs are saying a hybrid of online and in-person training sessions could become standard post-pandemic. During the December 17 IBISTV Global Summit broadcast, Dave Flockhart of BETAG Innovation; Chris Humphries of WorldSkills; Mario Dimovski of TradieBot and Guillaume Grucy of PPG Europe discussed the implications of skilled training in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The three panellists all agreed that remote learning has a series of benefits, including more accessible, more flexible and results in lower student travel costs. However, when technical skills need brushing-up, the industry needs to get creative to keep users engaged. In the face of the pandemic, Flockhart said BETAG has taken a “holistic approach” to training with a mix of in-person and online initiatives.

ON USMCA

Some of Mexico’s automakers are asking for more to meet the stringent requirements set out in the new North American trade agreement. The United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) includes tougher rules on what contents automakers can use in manufacturing. USMCA requires 75 percent North American vehicle content compared with a 62.5 percent threshold under NAFTA, as well as 40-45 percent content from-called “high-wage” areas.

However, the new trade agreement includes a provision to give flexibility to carmakers to be able to comply with the deal according to their production and investment plans in North America. An independent labor panel on Dec. 15 submitted a report to the U.S. Congress, which states that while Mexico has made significant progress implementing a 2019 labor reform, “many of the changes promised …in terms of union democracy, freedom of association and collective bargaining, remain to be implemented.”

IN THEE WE TRUSTEE

The Collision Repair Education Foundation is welcoming a new group to the board as the foundation appoints six new members to its board of trustees. This latest round of appointments aimed to address the ongoing need for “properly trained, entry-level staff”, according to the press release.

The six new board of trustee members, who joined CREF in 2020, include: Tom Brown, 3M; Paul Folino, LKQ Corporation; Brenda Hogen, Parts Trader; Ken Hudson, Farmers Insurance; Scott Kohl, Liberty Mutual Insurance and Sandee Lindorfer, Allstate Insurance Company.

SELLING THE TRADES

Ontario’s minister of labour, training and skills development has a bold new strategy for re-energizing the province’s economy, and the first step is bringing skilled trades recruitment right into Ontario high schools. Barring potential COVID-19 disruptions, “I’m sending dozens of recruiters into high schools across Ontario to compete against universities to get kids to go into the trades,” said Minister Monte McNaughton. At the moment, one in three skilled tradespeople is over the age of 55.

“I want kids to know there are 144 different
trades to choose from, and you can make six
figures and earn a pension and get benefits,
and in many cases, you can be your own boss,”
said Ontario minister of labour, training and
skills development Monte McNaughton.

FEEL THE BURN

Automakers in North America are starting to feel the effects of a global shortage of semiconductors, which has caused a crunch for manufacturers worldwide, adding a wrinkle to the industry’s attempted comeback from the COVID-19 crisis. Ford Motor Co. idled its Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky in mid-January “due to a supplier part shortage connected to the semiconductor shortage,” said company spokeswoman Kelli Felker.

“We are working closely with suppliers to address potential production constraints tied to the global semiconductor shortage,” Felker said in a statement. Ford builds Escape and Lincoln Corsair SUVs in Louisville. The automaker said it has moved up a previously planned week of downtime to nest week due to the parts shortage. The production stoppage will affect 3,900 workers who will make approximately 75 percent of their gross pay during that time.

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST

Yet another in-person industry event cancelled due to the rising concerns of the pandemic, this time the North American International Auto Show, (NAIAS) normally held at the TCF Centre in downtown Detroit is the victim. Instead, the organizers have decided to shift gears to an outdoor event that will now take place at a nearby racetrack in Pontiac, Michigan.

The new exhibit, now called Motor Bella, will take place September 21 through 26 at the M1 Concourse that boasts 1.6 million square feet of display space. The now condensed convention would have taken over downtown Detroit from September 24 through October 6 with various luxury vehicle displays and new technology demonstrations. According to the Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) the new show will be “a bridge to the future” of auto shows.

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