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General Motors to certify auto body shops in 2018

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Announcements | Business Practices | Market Trends | Repair Operations

General Motors announced Tuesday it would “launch a comprehensive collision certification program in 2018,” adding what Statista calls the nation’s No. 1 automaker to the list of OEMs developing and recommending customers to auto body shop networks.

“Today’s certification programs have to evolve to keep up with the rapid-fire pace of technological innovation in the auto industry, especially in areas like safety systems,” GM customer care and aftersales collision manager John Eck said in a statement. “Our new program is being designed to measure critical behaviors and procedures that will help ensure every collision repair is done to the highest standards, whether the work is done at a dealership, an independent body shop or by a multi-shop operator.”

Eck has in the past said GM would want to verify repair quality should it develop a certification problem — not just whether the shop is on paper qualified in equipment and training to repair the vehicles. The program described Tuesday suggests the OEM would indeed check the shops’ work in some fashion.

“The new GM collision certification program will build on current training- and tools-focused programs, but it is much more comprehensive, adding standards for pre- and post-repair scanning, calibration, and overall repair,” GM wrote in a news release.

GM noted its 2016 position statement that all collision repairs to its vehicles require diagnostic scanning before and after the work. This aside makes us wonder if GM will take a note from rival FCA and verify the presence of pre- and post-scans on certified shop estimates.

GM already has a certified collision repair network in place for the Cadillac CT6, which has an advanced body-in-white made of steel and aluminum. The OEM partnered with VeriFacts and Axalta on that program, but said Tuesday it would work with Mitchell and Enterprise Holdings on its broader certification network.

Similar to other luxury OEM collision programs, Cadillac restricts parts and measurements for the CT6 to its certified shops. GM didn’t indicate whether it would do so with the broader certification program, nor did it say whether the CT6 shops would automatically be incorporated into the new certification network in 2018.

However, one element of the CT6 program might carry over to the larger network — the use of OnStar to detect a collision and recommend certified shops. GM has promised it would refer drivers to CT6 shops with OnStar, and it said Tuesday it was “looking at ways to incorporate technologies like OnStar into the process, such as providing drivers with information on qualified collision repair facilities based on vehicle location and crash severity.”

“With Automatic Crash Response, OnStar is typically the first to know an incident has occurred,” OnStar commercial experience director Brian Hoglund said in a statement. “Depending on the vehicle’s repair needs and driver’s well-being, OnStar has the ability to help streamline the repair process while making the experience more convenient for our customers.”

We’ll try and reach GM for more on the program. Continue to check Repairer Driven News for updates.

More information:

“GM to Launch Collision Certification Program in Early 2018”

General Motors, July 25, 2017

General Motors Cadillac Aluminum Repair Network webpage

OEM1Stop (Portals to GM and other OEMs’ brand repair information and position statements)

Featured image: General Motors announced Tuesday it would “launch a comprehensive collision certification program in 2018,” adding what Statista calls the nation’s No. 1 automaker to the list of OEMs developing and recommending customers to auto body shop networks. (Copyright General Motors)