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Associations Question I-CAR’s Decision on OEM Standards

SCRS, AASP and others request clarification from I-CAR on its position relative to industry standards of repair.

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The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS), the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers (AASP) and the Assured Performance Network have sent a joint letter to I-CAR questioning some statements it made when it declined their request to coordinate a collaborative council to address repair standards.

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The letter was endorsed by 33 state associations and dated April 12, 2013. It read:

We, the undersigned, appreciate the thorough deliberation made by the I-CAR Board of Directors in regard to the request made by our organizations in November of 2011. We accept that the current I-CAR Board of Directors believes that the coordination of a collaborative council to address procedural standards of repair could conflict with I-CAR’s interests in neutrality to various industry segments, and because of this, acknowledge that the facilitation of the council may be best left to collision repair organizations.  

The council aside, there were several statements made in the I-CAR press release (March 26, 2013) we found confusing, which raises questions for our organizations and members. The statements implied that acceptance of our joint request could create the ‘possible perception that I-CAR may be catering to the interests of particular sub-segments, to the possible disadvantage of others.’

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This appears to suggest a belief within I-CAR that not all industry segments support using OEM repair procedures as a standard of repair. If this is the case, we respectfully request that I-CAR further expand upon what other types of repair procedures are utilized in the development of our industry’s training curriculum, if OEM procedures create the potential for disadvantage to certain market segments. We would like to request that I-CAR further clarify its position relative to industry standards of repair.

In a 2005 Executive Summary, I-CAR stated, ‘The repair procedures that have been developed by I-CAR or car manufacturers are considered to be the standards for the collision repair industry. If your technicians learn them, and apply them properly, the weight and stature of those standards will serve as a strong piece of evidence in your defense against a lawsuit. On the other hand, a shop owner whose technicians perform a safety-related repair which does not meet these standards may end up having the standards used against him. The plaintiff’s lawyer would almost certainly introduce these standards into evidence to show that the work was performed in a manner inferior to the current state-of-the-art in the industry.’

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The position, stated in 2005, is fundamental to the collision repairers performing these repair procedures on a daily basis and is a critical foundation of the support I-CAR enjoys from various entities and stakeholders across the industry.

We ask the I-CAR Board of Directors if it still recognizes that OEM published repair procedures are the industry’s standard of repair, as it did in 2005. Furthermore, if I-CAR intends to pursue opportunities to supplement OEM procedures, as suggested in the March 2013 release, is I-CAR prepared to publicly assume the liability associated with the use and recognition of these non-OEM technical repair procedures? 

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