OE collision shop certification has been top-of-mind for the industry for the last 10 years or more.
The emergence and fast advance of ADAS systems has only heightened the need for more and easy access to OE repair information, and added credence to these programs.
Some shops find value in the certification programs, stating that it gives their shop more credibility with customers as opposed to those not certified. Leveraging their certification with the proper promotion, some shops claim their business has increased.
Other shops decry certifications, saying they don’t have “any teeth” and are a “rubber stamp” program---just a “money grab” for the OEs.
As we enter a new decade and the emergence of new automotive technology, it’s time to sit back and reflect on where OE certification programs have been and where they may be going.
To do that, we have enlisted several OE certified shops and two industry consultants: Mark Olson of Vehicle Collision Experts LLC (VECO) of Seattle, WA, and Ron Kuehn of Collision Business Solutions of Henderson, NV. Here’s what they had to say.
Is your shop certified by any OEs? Which OE certification programs are you a part of?
“Early on, we joined the Assured Performance network of certifications,” said Chad Eldridge of Majestic Auto Body in Idaho Falls, ID. “The process was quick and easy and the rebates were a good perk. Since then we have picked up Ford and working on two others."
Both Artistic Auto Body of Portland, OR, and Fuller Auto Body of Auburn, MA, went with the stable of OEs represented by Assured Performance. Fuller also added Honda, Subaru and Ford. Artistic went high-end with Jaguar, Land Rover, Audi, Tesla, Maserati, Alfa Romeo and Infinity, as well as mainlines Ford, Subaru and Honda.
In the early days, selling a shop on the concept of certification could be difficult. As the concept caught traction, some shops wanted to be certified for every make.