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I-CAR honors Ariz. 30-year Gold Class shop, announces ‘Get to Gold’ program for newcomers

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I-CAR earlier this month honored Tuscan, Ariz.-based Eric Auto Center CARSTAR, calling the repairer the “world’s first” body shop to register 30 consecutive years as a Gold Class facility.

“There were plenty of years I wondered if I should continue, but I honestly don’t see how you cannot be [committed to training],” owner Eric Grossman said in a statement Dec. 3. “If you want to do collision repair, you have to be trained.  You just have to.”

The Gold Class designation is also 30 years old, having launched in 1990. Grossman, who estimated his staff had taken “thousands” of classes, said the Gold Class program has improved over that time.

“You inspire the inter-industry to raise the bar, not only for each collision repair business striving for complete, safe and quality repairs on behalf of the consumer, but to every technician that enters this industry,” I-CAR marketing and segment development Associate Vice President Stacey Moellering said in a statement. “I’ve been fortunate to watch your progression when you achieved 25 consecutive years and am thrilled to continue awarding you with this first-ever, continuous 30-year Gold Class distinction.  As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of I-CAR’s Gold Class program, we celebrate Eric’s Auto Center CARSTAR in its unwavering dedication to this extraordinary commitment.”

Today, more than 8,600 shops are Gold Class.

Grossman said the Gold Class recognition “helped put our credibility at the door, not only with customers, but with the industry.”

He also likened training and education to a “KPI.”

“While many things change in business, there’s a certain KPI that comes from having consistency in what you do, what you focus on, invest in, and believe in over time,” he said in a statement. “Training and education are that for us. Today, you have to consistently train and expand your knowledge base to fix these new cars.”

And speaking of KPIs, I-CAR has published research indicating Enterprise data finds Gold Class shops averaging cycle times more than a day less than the industry average. It also has reported data showing Gold Class shops average nearly 150 more points in a CynCast Shop Performance Value score.

New ‘Get to Gold Class’

I-CAR last month announced it would make following in Grossman’s footsteps more attractive with a new all-inclusive “Get to Gold Class” program.

The educational organization Nov. 11 said the new program would offer pricing adjusted “to reflect the size of a shop’s technician base and their training history.” Repairers can pay in a lump sum or in monthly installments.

The program would also carry “turnover protection” — which could eliminate one illogical but understandable objection to training heard in the industry: “What if I train them and they leave?” (The counterargument: “What if you don’t and they stay?”)

But if you train a technician only to watch them bail on your Get to Gold Class shop, I-CAR will at no cost provide all the training needed to bring a replacement to that level.

“We continue to lean on all segments of the industry to identify real-time solutions and opportunities to bring critical collision repair education to shops,” I-CAR sales and marketing Senior Vice President Nick Notte said in a statement. “In particular, we thank I-CAR’s new Member Council participants for ideas and insights in making ‘Get to Gold Class’ a reality.

More information:


I-CAR, Dec. 3, 2020


I-CAR, Nov. 11, 2020

I-CAR “Get to Gold Class” webpage

I-CAR Gold Class webpage for collision repairers

Featured images: Eric Grossman owns the 30-year Gold Class auto body shop Eric Auto Center CARSTAR. The facility is located in Tuscon, Ariz. (Provided by I-CAR)

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