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I-CAR celebrates high interest in Gold Class, Ford F-150 course

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Education | Repair Operations
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2014 was a very good year for I-CAR.

The collision repair training company on Tuesday reflected on its attention-grabbing successes last year, singling out three programs in a news release:

The Ford F-150 course

A course on how to fix the aluminum-bodied 2015 Ford F-150 has been the most popular collision repair class of all time for I-CAR, which has been around since 1979.

The eight-hour course gives you six I-CAR credit hours and includes four modules on Ford and the F-150, aluminum itself and the truck, aluminum joining, body design, and frame repair. Here’s a more detailed outline.

I-CAR worked with Ford while it was designing the truck to develop repair procedures so technicians would be ready for it following its fall launch.

More than 12,000 students have taken the course, 64 percent from the collision repair industry and 32 percent from the insurance industry. Another thousand have signed up for future classes.

More than 3,100 other students also finished I-CAR’s aluminum welding certification, the organization said.

I-CAR RTS Portal

The I-CAR Repairability Technical Support Portal debuted and was lauded as a “best of 2014” innovation by other industry media like Collision Hub and Autobody News.

We’ll second it. You could get lost browsing through all the content available from original equipment manufacturers, I-CAR’s back articles and its databases of information.

The databases include details on how to do partial part replacement, replace and inspect restraints, disable a hybrid or electric vehicle or conduct a repair in a “best practices” manner using the Uniform Procedures For Collision Repair. They appear to have information for virtually every post-1989 vehicle model this side of the Batmobile.

“Our Repairability Technical Support Portal will purposefully expand its base of crucial OEM repair information,” I-CAR President and CEO John Van Alstyne said in a statement, “and I-CAR will continue to lead in promoting a ‘Learning Culture’ within collision repair businesses that enables them to thrive, not just survive.”

The EV/hybrid disabling guide is a new addition, announced Jan. 22.

“The RTS team has worked diligently to bring all of this information into a singular location because of the importance for all repair professionals to understand how to properly disable hybrid and electric vehicles to ensure their own safety,” I-CAR industry technical relations director Jason Bartanen said in a statement then. “In addition to technician safety, if the vehicles are not properly disabled they can cause damage to the vehicle.”

Gold Class

I-CAR said in a news release both the Gold Class and Road to Gold “continued to grow at a remarkable pace, exceeding its goals for the year.”

I-CAR estimates only 10 percent complete the kind of employee training needed to make the Gold Class cut. Staffers called “Role Reps” — at minimum, I-CAR requires an estimator and single refinishing, structural and nonstructural technicians be so designated — must do the coursework to become certified Platinum and then continue their education  after that. Everyone else at the shop also must undergo some sort of training every year.

Road to Gold, as the name indicates, indicates shops which have committed to going Gold within a year. They’re given access to more I-CAR resources and staff.

Right now, the number of businesses in either program is up to more than 6,000, up 14 percent from 2013. More than 3,200 shops are Gold Class, and more than 2,800 are working to get there, making up about 17 percent of the industry.

It’d be great for the industry and customers if I-CAR’s Gold population continued to grow, even if “It is estimated that 90 percent of repair shops currently meet the rigorous Gold Class standard” doesn’t have the same elite ring to it.

“The past year has been one of tremendous momentum for I-CAR,” Van Alstyne said in a statement. “We are pleased that the collision repair community has embraced the innovation and changes we have introduced in our programs, all of which were designed to help the industry achieve higher levels of training and capability, as well as higher levels of training participation across the industry.”

More information:

Featured image: Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair logo. (Provided by I-CAR)

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