By Mike Davey
Oakville, Ontario -- August 24, 2017 -- CSN Automacs Collision has achieved a first in Canada. The facility, owned and operated by the Ingoglia family, is the first collision repair centre in the country to achieve certification under the new Audi Hybrid program.
The new certification adds to an already impressive list of achievements for CSN Automacs Collision, including Acura/Honda ProFirst recognition, Volvo certification, Hyundai certification, Mitsubishi, I-CAR Gold Class, as well as the existing certification from Volkswagen/Audi for the company’s steel structural program.
Santo Sarta of CSN-Automacs Collision walked us through the new program and some of its requirements during a recent visit to CSN Automacs Collision. Audi is rolling out the new program to ensure repairs to the new 2017 Q7 are carried out properly. The Q7 is of mixed-material construction, thus the “Hybrid” part of the name.
“There’s a big investment in equipment and training,” says Sarta. “Our staff is making regular trips to Virginia staying abreast with the latest factory recommended repair procedure. This is a very specific repair process. Audi is a very elite luxury brand, and they seem to be a step ahead as far as repair procedures are concerned.”
Sarta isn’t exaggerating when he mentions the equipment investment. Most OEM certifications require certain types of equipment that performs to certain specifications, but the Audi Hybrid program goes a step further and requires specific brands of equipment.
“We have had to buy a new set of dedicated hand tools, a new aluminum welder, a particular vacuum sanding system and we have been given a choice of two benches,” he says.
The Audi Hybrid program permits the use of either a Car-O-Liner frame rack or Celette’s jig system. CSN Automacs Collision chose the Car-O-Liner option, equipped with the Vision X3 measuring system and EVO 1, 2 and 3. The EVO system is a bit different from standard jigs. Instead of dedicated jigs for a particular vehicle, the system shows the technician how to build the correct jig from the available tools.
The equipment is very advanced, but the fact of the matter is that CSN Automacs Collision has always been a technologically advanced facility. The investment is already starting to pay its way. There were two Audi Q7s in the facility when we came to visit. As noted, it’s the only vehicle that’s part of the program at this time, but it represents significant sales volume for Audi in Canada. More vehicles built on that platform are certainly on the way. That is why CSN Automacs recommends that all Audi and VW owners do their homework before trusting anyone with their collision repair needs.
Scott Wideman is the Collision Program Manager at Volkswagen Group Canada. He describes the new Audi Hybrid program as being similar to the current Audi Structural Aluminum program, but with some key differences due to vehicle construction.
“To put it in perspective, the Audi TT released in 2016, for example, uses the Audi space frame design and was the first vehicle to incorporate the hybrid construction principles. It’s a completely integrated structure, where even the vertical panels are structural items,” he says. “The Q7’s body structure is designed differently. With the Q7, we’ve moved to more of a rivet bonding process, so the requirements are different. However, you still need a dedicated aluminum area, the approved welder, riveting tool, vacuum system and aluminum tool set. It’s definitely an achievement for CSN Automacs to be the first Canadian facility to be named to the program.”
What’s next for CSN Automacs Collision? According to owner Steve Ingoglia, the facility is going to continue along the upward path it has been following all along.
“We’re always pursuing certification for all brands,” says Ingoglia. “You can’t rest when you’re in collision repair. You have to keep moving forward.”
For more information, please visit csninc.ca/automacs-oakville.