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Tuesday, 23 April 2019 16:42

In Reverse: The Birth of I-CAR

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Bob Mecherle realized that the discussions were not about “cheap” but how to perform a proper repair and address the changing technology.

 

Murray was a key party to the affair because he had recently returned from a two-year stint working for General Motors in Germany, where the collision repair business had advanced considerably further than the U.S.In Germany and all over Europe, unibody construction had been used for several years, so equipment manufacturers and technicians had advanced considerably. The Europeans had also found a better, more complete way of estimating by dis-assembling the vehicle and finding all the hidden damage at the outset, rather than submitting multiple supplements or having the vehicle go out improperly repaired.

 

In November of 1979, a meeting of 40 invited industry leaders was held in Des Plaines, IL, where after much discussion and planning, more than 30 shop owners and associations, along with State Farm, provided enough seed money to start a nonprofit company that would train collision technicians on how to properly repair collision damage. The entity they founded was the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair, then known as IICACR and now known simply as I-CAR. Then-chairman of the newly formed training organization was Arthur C. Mertz.

 

Murray was a key figure in providing some the earliest training curriculum for the newly formed I-CAR and left General Motors in 1986 to start his own consulting company.

 

The formation of I-CAR and the almost-overnight change from body-on-frame technology to unibody technology marked the beginning of a new era in the collision industry.

 

For over 30 years, since GIs returned from the European and Pacific theaters of operation in 1946 up to the late ‘70s, little changed in the industry. Eventually, more dramatic changes would come, and at a quicker pace. The industry would never be the same. But I-CAR would be there to help shops through the technology of the future.


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