AirPro Diagnostics: Tips for Running a Family Collision Business
By Joel Gausten
This four-letter combination ranks among the most taboo words in the industry, although there’s no shame in needing assistance in this ever-evolving field. With everything from supply chain issues to simply paying utilities weighing on the minds of anyone who turns the key to a shop’s door each morning, being a collision repair facility owner in 2022 means juggling multiple responsibilities. Many could use a little support, yet few actually request it.
At best, many owners and technicians are too overwhelmed by the demands of the day to ask for assistance; at worst, some facilities don’t even realize that they need help with performing OEM-level repairs. This dilemma gets even worse when ADAS – a trend that is not going away – is thrown into the mix. Very often, facilities that perform ADAS calibrations find themselves in desperate need of a simpler way to make required calibrations in their bays. This demand becomes increasingly urgent for any facility working on vehicles that require static calibrations for forward-facing cameras. Fortunately, AirPro Diagnostics is proud to share a revolutionary new approach to calibrations that is already drastically reshaping – and simplifying – how these procedures are performed in the field.
Specifically engineered to deliver accurate and repeatable precision calibrations in any environment, AUGGIE by AirPro Diagnostics is a wireless device that allows users to perform calibrations without the considerable space demands of traditional methods. AUGGIE makes this possible by rendering a scaled down, digital version of the required static ADAS target and presenting it to the forward-facing camera at the precise scale and perspective defined by the vehicle manufacturer. Perhaps best of all, this exciting new process dramatically reduces the physical space requirements, giving technicians more room to work and owners the peace of mind that they don’t need to expand their square footage to successfully compete in the ADAS market.
Additionally, AUGGIE provides a breath of fresh air to collision facilities that typically sublet calibrations. Now, these shops are better positioned to perform safe and proper procedures ─ without being forced to remove the vehicle from their businesses. This is a massive leap forward for shops that would usually send a vehicle to an outside vendor after installing glass.
“Without the AUGGIE, they are going to need either a full set of targets or at a minimum the targets specific to that vehicle – and of course, there is a cost for that,” explains Ron Gatto, AirPro Diagnostics’ senior director of technical service operations. “Number two, they’d have to invest in the software, which is pricey, requires updates and can have a steep learning curve to master. Number three, most often, that car has to be transported to a dealership on a hook or a flatbed. That could take a day, then the dealer could sit on it for x number of days. After the dealer performs the service, the vehicle has to go back to the shop. Before you know it, it has taken days – or even weeks ─ to complete the repair.”
As an industry professional who worked on the dealership side of the business before joining AirPro Diagnostics as a Nissan brand specialist, Brian NeSmith sees the benefits of AUGGIE as an on-location tool for independent shops.
“When a vehicle came to the dealership, we’d back-burner it a lot of the time because other stuff was going on. AUGGIE eliminates that, helping to expedite the process.”
AUGGIE made its official industry debut last September at the Texas Auto Body Trade Show. Naturally, AUGGIE has already gained considerable attention among automotive repair businesses – particularly mobile glass operations – that can now avoid the burdens of dealing with space with a level floor, vehicle fuel level and payload, lighting and other environmental factors that largely influence the success of more traditional calibration methods. Thanks to AUGGIE, the days of needing at least 250 square feet of wide-open space to complete a successful calibration on a vehicle with a forward-facing camera are over.
Scott Schaefer, Schaefer Auto Group St. Louis, MO
Auggie has helped to significantly increase my business by being able to service customers at their location. This has created efficiencies and improvements to not only my CSI but my overall gross profit within the business.
According to Martin Obradovich, AirPro’s group manager for Asian manufacturers, “The AUGGIE device was created to avoid having to set up a full-size target, thereby making it quick, easy and efficient for the shop to calibrate the forward-facing cameras.”
AirPro Diagnostics Audi/Volkswagen/Porsche Brand Supervisor Curt Normandy considers accuracy and ease of use to be AUGGIE’s greatest strengths.
“Audi/Volkswagen can be challenging when it comes to getting those calibrations performed. It can kick you out of calibrating one of those cameras just for having an incorrect value. With the AUGGIE system, users don’t experience that.”
As with other tools from AirPro Diagnostics, AUGGIE users are placed in direct contact with dealer-trained brand specialists who possess the expertise to help the shop determine if a particular vehicle needs a calibration – and what that calibration is – while also eliminating unnecessary footwork in the bay.
Mike Howell, Best Glass, Phoenix, AZ
AirPro offers a truly mobile ADAS calibration system. With their tablet for dynamic and new AUGGIE for static, if you can drive a car you can do a camera recalibration. We now do the windshield install and calibration at the same time. Our customers love it and we are taking business from our competition every day. I have been doing business with AirPro since October 2019 and in my 40 years in the auto glass industry I have never worked with a better company. Their customer service and tech support is far superior to the other systems.
“One of the most common phone calls I get is, ‘Does this car need a calibration?’” Normandy observes. “We have really done our best to narrow that down. Whether that be a phone call or a scan submission, we get AirPro users the answers they need as soon as possible.”
“AUGGIE went through several different iterations and engineering designs, a lot of research and testing and thousands of vehicle measurements to make sure the process went correctly and we had a database that works,” Gatto adds. “When the AUGGIE calibrations come in, they’re not going to someone who’s been working on cars for three days; they’re going to people who are brand experts and have performed calibrations every single day for years. That said, our people are very accustomed to change within the industry and within the models. Doctors only get to see two models, and they never change. In automotive, we have 20 or 30 models, and they sometimes change twice a year.”
Not surprisingly, AUGGIE has quickly caught on among those facilities looking for a reliable, efficient way to perform calibrations without losing critical shop space – or their patience.
“The end-users have been extremely excited and happy about the AUGGIE,” comments AirPro Diagnostics Regional Operations & Field Services Manager Joseph O’Leary. “It saves time and simplifies set-up, and shops don’t have to send vehicles to calibration centers or dealers or to make consumers sign waivers that their vehicles are not safe when the glass shop leaves their home. AUGGIE is a game changer for shops, a great success!
For more information on AUGGIE, please visit www.airprodiagnostics.com/auggie.
Joel Gausten has been covering the national collision repair/automotive service industry since 2000. He can be reached at [email protected]