By Jeff Sanford
Markham, Ontario — September 13, 2015 — The Global Automakers of Canada (GAC) recently convened its collision repair committee for a meeting. Dave Procunier, the owner of CSN-Heartland B&B Collision Centre, made a presentation to the committee about why OEs would benefit from certified collision repair programs.
Procunier is a well-known in the industry as a supporter and promoter of strong standards for collision repair shops. He was asked to present to the committee on OEM certification programs in his capacity as a BMW certified shop owner. Media are not normally permitted to attend these meetings, but Collision Repair magazine was invited to attend for part of the event to take in a presentation, which turned out to be a fascinating glimpse into one of this country’s most sophisticated collision repair shops.
Today, Procunier runs a large operation in Mississauga. The main shop is 18,000 feet square. He has long been a certified BMW shop. It was in this capacity that Procunier was asked to present to the committee. Many OEs today are considering similar certification programs. The collision repair committee of GAC wanted to hear from someone with the kind of deep experience that Procunier has in working under the oldest and longest running certification programs.
Procunier made his case supporting OE-certified shops. According to him, this issue is all about managing the reputation of the OEs and ensuring vehicles are repaired safely and correctly to maintain all warranties.
|OE representatives at the Collision Repair Committee meeting of the GAC.
According to Procunier, the average consumer knows little about collision repair. He says only when they get into an accident do they find themselves trying to figure out the peculiarities of the industry. If a client ends up having a repair that is done improperly or sees the vehicle no longer covered by an OE warranty for non-approved parts usage, the consumer becomes frustrated and upset. That negative feeling can then be associated with the brand of the OE.
“People don’t know about this industry until they get in an accident,” said Procunier. “If they have a bad experience, it can leave a negative impression about that brand.”
Procunier went on to point out that the increasing complexity and sophistication of cars makes these programs more important than ever. Today, the amount of electronics in a car has exploded. Now something as basic as replacing a door panel can involve the proper replacement of vapour seals around electronics. If the repairer is not getting information on that repair from the OE, small details are missed, and the owner of the car finds they have bigger problems months after the repair.
“There are so many things you need to know now to repair cars. If you are correctly trained and can access OEs procedures, you know you are bringing that car back to pre-accident condition,” said Procunier.
Another issue Procunier highlighted: Tow truck companies working on commission to deliver cars to certain shops have a negative impact. To compensate for the cost, poorly run and managed shops may end up cutting corners as a result and that generates ill will among consumers.
Procunier’s basic message to the committee was straightforward: Having proper certification programs and standards in place would go a long way to assuring that consumers come away from their experience with the collision repair industry with a positive state of mind. “Letting your customers be serviced by non-certified shops may leave the customer with a negative feeling about the brand,” he said.
In the past, The Legislative Assembly of Ontario met on The Collision Repairs Standards Act 2002, where Bill 186 was proposed to mandate accreditation among collision repair shops that would help consumer protection, and aid them in understanding what they’re getting into when their car is towed from the scene of an accident. This statute has never come into force and was repealed December 31, 2012. Since 2002, automotive repairs have become increasingly more complicated and manufacturer specific, whereas these issues may be dealt with through OE certification programs.