I-CAR has issued a response to a recent letter from industry organizations that questioned its stance on OEM standards.
In a letter dated April 12, 2013, the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers (AASP), the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) and the Assured Performance Network (APN) asked I-CAR if the association recognizes OEM repair procedures as the industry’s standard of repair. If it does not, the organizations asked if I-CAR is "prepared to publicly assume the liability associated with the use and recognition of…non-OEM technical repair procedures."
Below is I-CAR’s response in its entirety:
In its recent response to the November 2011 request submitted jointly to I-CAR by ASA, AASP, SCRS and APN, I-CAR attempted to be clear and succinct. This brevity appears to have resulted in certain assumptions and conclusions that are not consistent with what I-CAR intended to communicate. I-CAR thanks SCRS, AASP and APN for your letter dated April 12th, and the opportunity it provided to further clarify I-CAR’s position and intentions.
I-CAR firmly believes that OEM collision repair procedures are the industry standard for complete and safe repairs. For the past 30 years, OEM collision repair procedures have been referred to by I-CAR in its training and advisory services to the industry, and I-CAR utilizes these procedures where they exist as the foundation for developing course curriculum. This remains I-CAR’s intent going forward.
As expressed in the original request received by I-CAR, I-CAR also recognizes there are opportunities to address gaps and enhance both OEM procedures and related collision repair best practices that work together to support complete and safe repairs.
The good news is that today, there exists more OEM collision repair information than ever before. Unfortunately, not all OEMs offer collision repair procedures in the U.S. market, nor do all OEMs offer consistent levels of collision repair information. When no collision repair procedures exist, collision repair professionals must use their available knowledge to make a complete, safe and minimally intrusive repair. I-CAR is committed to helping the industry close these gaps by working closely with the industry and the OEMs to research, develop and deliver collision repair procedures where none exist, and to work towards standardization of the information provided. Furthermore, except when contributing as a Subject Matter Expert under contract by an OEM, I-CAR will not develop vehicle-specific collision repair procedures.
There also exists a need for collision repair best practices that directly complement, support and supplement vehicle OEM repair procedures.
In many cases, OEM repair procedures provide recommendations for, say, spot weld locations or recommended attachment methods, as examples. But additional processes are required to complete the repair in accordance with the OEM recommendation that may not be adequately covered by the OEM procedure. As examples: What are the most efficient/effective ways to remove spot welds? When GMA (MIG) welding, which techniques should be used to best control heat, and how should welds be dressed following welding? I-CAR can contribute to this body of information and knowledge by working with OEMs on repair procedure enhancements and through documentation of collision repair best practices in a manner similar to the I-CAR UPCRs and certain I-CAR Advantage articles, and by incorporating this information into future I-CAR curriculum.
Additionally, across the industry, there exists varying perspectives on repair practices and an expressed need for balance amongst collision repairers, insurers, suppliers and OEMs. Ongoing work to improve collaboration and consensus in these areas must be performed from a perspective of neutrality with an uncompromising priority on complete and safe repairs for the consumer.
I-CAR is well placed and equipped to contribute to the breadth of this work. I-CAR’s inter-industry and neutral charter provides the unbiased perspective required. Additionally, I-CAR will contribute: 1) through its broad access to industry ‘Voice of the Customer’ feedback and data; 2) by coordinating topic-specific Inter-Industry advisory councils of Subject Matter Experts to assess, define and recommend repair best practices; 3) by increasing the work I-CAR already does as a technical liaison with OEMs, and 4)
by providing increased accessibility to the information the industry requires to perform complete and safe repairs.
All of this work was integral to I-CAR’s final proposed solution, and is work the I-CAR Board believes is valuable to the collision repair inter-industry.
We trust this clarifies I-CAR’s position and intentions.