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BMW joins I-CAR’s Sustaining Partner Program

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BMW North America has been announced as the latest member of I-CAR’s Sustaining Partner Program, which exists to help fund collision repair education and support initiatives that are reducing training redundancies.

In announcing the addition of BMW to its roster of participants, I-CAR said its program is “designed for partners to demonstrate advocacy and provide funding for I-CAR’s work executed throughout the industry”.

“I-CAR and BMW continue an already strong relationship through this Sustaining Partner collaboration,” Jacki Nardiello, an I-CAR senior marketing manager, told Repairer Driven News. “BMW currently requires its network shops to complete a series of I-CAR courses for new technicians leveraging I-CAR so they can focus on BMW-specific material. The addition of the Sustaining Partner and Alliance programs allow I-CAR and BMW to remain aligned in the goal of complete, safe, and quality repairs.”

She said benefits of the Sustaining Partner Program include:

    • Bringing the “inter-industry together to provide collision repair education and programming in support of complete, safe and quality repairs;”
    • Supporting programs that benefit the industry such as the All Industry Training Alliance;
    • Offering a funding program that helps offset the cost of training for educational institutes and those new to the industry; and
    • Collaboration among “like-minded organizations to address the most critical industry issues.”

By funding the Training Alliance, the Sustaining Partner Program is helping reduce training redundancies for both shops and businesses, I-CAR said. Through that initiative, technicians can receive annual training credit from I-CAR for taking courses by its partner organizations that offer those courses through the alliance.

“As an example, Convertible Top Technology and ColorSystem New Generation are BMW courses that technicians can complete and receive I-CAR credit,” Nardiello said. “I-CAR is working with BMW to identify more courses that can be offered through the Training Alliance partnership.”

She added that as a sustaining partner, BMW will participate in Training Alliance curriculum review and development and said student registration fees will be waived for BMW-developed Training Alliance curriculum.

Nardiello said the Sustaining Partner Program could also help alleviate the shortage of collision repair technicians.

“Technological advances, including an increasing number of EVs and vehicles with ADAS, are intensifying complexity, requiring additional training to properly and completely repair a vehicle safely,” she said. “I-CAR’s goal through partnerships with OEMs is to help create repair best practices and stay ahead of evolving vehicle technology, in ultimate support of our mission.”

I-CAR said in a press release announcing the Sustaining Partner Program that it benefits OEM partners through “talent engagement and cost mitigation for collision repair facilities adhering to network training requirements.”

Andrew Batenhorst, body shop manager at Pacific BMW Collision Center in Glendale, California, said as the OEM’s certified collision repair centers grows, utilizing I-CAR for introductory training for entry-level technicians is the right move.

He said that with new parts restrictions coming as the network grows, shops need to be prepared.

“They will likely need to expand their in-person training capabilities as the network continues to grow,” Batenhorst told RDN. “With new parts restrictions coming as the network grows, the ability to make sure that the shops are prepared is paramount. BMW’s Group University is a great program but I know that, like the rest of the industry, it’s hard to find qualified instructors right now.”

Ford, Jaguar, and Land Rover are also supporters of the program.

“I-CAR’s role as an educational programming provider for the collision repair industry with support from partners in the OEM segment is critical for addressing the Technical Tsunami with comprehensive training programs that focus on the latest advancements in automotive technology, repair techniques, and safety standards,” I-CAR said.

It added: “Sustaining Partners essentially power I-CAR’s industry-founding vision that every person in the collision repair industry has the information, knowledge and skills required to perform complete, safe and quality repairs for the ultimate benefit of the consumer.”

Funding from the Sustaining Partners Program, which helps cover I-CAR curriculum in career and technical schools, has exceeded $3 million since 2018.

Joyce Pagtaconan, I-CAR’s director of OEM and international segment sales, said she is looking forward to working with BMW on the initiative.

She said: “BMW’s addition to I-CAR’s Sustaining Partner Program underscores its commitment to funding programs that contribute to the sustainability of collision repair facilities.”


Featured image: I-CAR logo provided by I-CAR

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