Saskatoon Scrapbook: A recap of SAAR’s 2023 Fall Conference

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan — Another Fall Conference from the Saskatchewan Association of Automotive Repairers (SAAR) has come and gone–and this sure was one for the books.

More than 150 industry members hit the Dakota Dunes Golf Course on Thursday, closing the day with a delicious steak supper before a full day of programming on Friday.

This year’s event featured the largest-ever SAAR Conference trade show, which featured dozens of exhibitors and more than 200 attendees, plus a skills competition for Saskatchewan Polytechnic students to win some pretty incredible prizes and much more.

Collision Repair was honoured to be part of the event with our Saskatoon EV Repair Tour stop, which featured Kim Kos of Kavia Auto Body and Scott Kucharyshen of Saskatchewan Polytechnic.

Kos delivered valuable insights on what it’s like being Saskatoon’s only Tesla-certified shop. Some key takeaways from the presentations were the fact that Kavia has yet to write a single Tesla off in their four years of holding certs–the average repair order is $30,000 and Teslas take up about 10 percent of the shop’s total claims, said Kos–and that all of Kavia’s Tesla training has been via the OEM’s online portal.

Kucharyshen covered Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s approach to the electric future, which includes an emphasis on Tesla vehicles–he has an ongoing goal to become the first Tesla-certified technical college in North America–and plenty of inter-industry recruitment. Kucharyshen added that as soon as Kavia or any other local shop has a Tesla to write off, he’ll be over in a flash to collect it as a learning vehicle for his students.


Stay tuned for the full video recap of our Saskatoon stop.

Other presentations that garnered immense interest included updates from SGI, who gave a timeline for their incoming improvements and rate increases; Dave Luehr of Elite Bodyshop Solutions, who was as inspirational as ever on the main stage and Mitchell International’s Ryan Mandell gave a thorough presentation of EV claims insight.

During his analysis of Mitchell’s Plugged In: EV Insights Q2 report, Mandell said, that despite popular belief, he anticipates the Saskatchewan market will soon see approximately 100 EV claims per quarter. And remember–Kos said Kavia has never written one off, despite holding certification since 2019.

The trade show also featured breakout sessions from Mike Gilliland and Jenica Bennett of AutoHouse Technologies, who gave updates on SAAR member KPIs compared to other shops and metrics from across Western Canada; Kari Barton of Bodyshop Connect, who brought her warm, welcoming energy to the stage to discuss customer experience; Dave Luehr, who talked about making your business attractive to potential employees; Andy Boyd of 3M, who demoed the RepairStack automatic inventory tracking system and the SGI crew, who spent two hours further troubleshooting with shops about the incoming PDR matrix.

The event closed out with a karaoke night–and we got everything on video. Check out our photo album below.


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