Industry News – CRM 20#2


An active voice in the debate surrounding vehicle data rights, the CAR Coalition, a U.S.-based lobbying group advocating for “Right to Repair” legislation for collision repairers, has released their organization’s Call-to-Action. The CAR Coalition released a video where they outlined their call on government to draft consumer-minded legislation that aligns with the organization’s four key principles of “safety first, empower consumer choices, foster industry competition and keep consumer costs low.” An excerpt from the video states that “When a vehicle needs to be serviced or is damaged, the repair process is personal for the owner. It can also be overwhelmingly expensive. This is why it is so important that consumers have options when it comes to vehicle maintenance and repair. The auto manufacturers should not dictate how, when, or where a vehicle is repaired – the vehicle owner should. In today’s advanced world, the how, when, and where comes in the form of data. What’s more, vehicle owners should be in control of any data their vehicle produces. This will ensure they have the ability to take their vehicle to the repair shop of their choice and not be limited to manufacturer-only repairs.”


A Change.org petition created in support of the Your Data. Your Choice campaign demanding consumer access to vehicle data has garnered more than 20,000 signatures. The Canadian campaign advocating for consumer control of vehicle data–which is currently ruled by OEMs–was first announced in November 2020 by the Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA Canada). The U.S. Your Data. Your Choice petition has nearly 30,000 signatures so far.


A new report calculates that millions of Toronto transit riders dropped their TTC habits in favour of ride-sharing platforms Uber and Lyft, resulting in a revenue loss of at least $74 million in 2019. According to the report, released by a group called RideFair Coalition, in 2019 an estimated 31.4 million TTC trips were lost to the two major ridesharing platforms. The shift to Uber and Lyft not only means a financial hit for the TTC, the report says, but also more private vehicles circulating on Toronto roads. The RideFair Coalition says it is a diverse group of individuals and organizations supporting “fair regulations” for ride-hailing. Its founding members include two Toronto taxi companies as well as the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113. While similar reports for other major Canadian cities are not currently available, some ridesharing apps—including Lyft in Vancouver—will present public transit alternatives like nearby TransLink and BC Ferries alongside ride-booking options, giving customers a full breadth of choice. Neither Uber nor Lyft in Toronto presents the same opportunity.


3M has invested in asTech, citing a “continued commitment to advance the digitization” of the aftermarket supplies giant. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. “The 3M Ventures strategic investment in Repairify [asTech’s parent company] enables us to accelerate our solutions and offerings across the entire automotive ecosystem,” stated Cris Hollingsworth, president of Repairify, regarding the investment. “We seek to make strategic investments that will advance our innovation and growth,” said Ben Wright, director, 3M Ventures. “We are moving rapidly to an even more digital-first world, and we see those shifts in the automotive aftermarket. This investment signifies our continued commitment to advance the digitization of 3M as well as of the customers we serve.” According to asTech’s press release, “terms and conditions of the investment…will be announced in a separate press release later.”


Oakville, Ontario-based company CrashBay is poised to play matchmaker with the launch of their new collision centre search engine. The automotive e-commerce company first launched CrashBay in 2019, and now with the updated ability to search through a database of thousands of certified repair shops, they are helping connect drivers and repairers across Canada and the U.S. and get them through what CrashBay founder, John Harvey, referred to as an often “confusing, fragmented and inconsistent process.” Users simply go to the company’s website and enter their city into the search bar. The search engine then identifies all nearby shops, from which you can then narrow down further into specific certifications and even book appointments straight from the website. Membership for shops to be a part of CrashBay’s online network is always open, and promises that “signing up includes several benefits for car repair businesses, including increasing brand visibility, accessing a wide variety of marketplace benefits, and the ability to book extra work,” according to the press release.


COVID-19 has sent the automotive claims process digital, with the majority of insurance carriers adopting virtual claims processes in the last year, says Mitchell International’s latest industry trends report. According to Mitchell’s report and data and analytics company LexisNexis Risk Solutions, 95 percent of auto insurance carriers are embracing virtual claims handling, with many now setting their sights on touchless estimates. For the North American auto insurance industry, automated or ‘touchless’ estimates remain the end goal⁠—but technological evolution needs to take place to strive closer to such an objective. The transformation from field appraisals to the “Holy Grail” of touchless claims is not done overnight or entirely by machine, says Mitchell. Appraisers are a key to developing and improving processes through introducing automation gradually through implementing virtual estimating and human-machine collaboration in guided estimating. The guided estimating process involves artificial intelligence (AI) that guides the appraiser through each decision point. The goal s to put more power in the appraiser’s hands while leveraging the AI for useful recommendations. Following this process comes the implementation of fully automated claims.


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