Friday, 19 January 2018 15:52

I-CAR’s 2017 Results Show Continued Growth, Effort to Align Industry

2017 proved to be another strong year for I-CAR®, continuing to build on the progress made since 2010 when the current Professional Development Program™ was announced.


Over the past seven years, the organization has achieved significant growth as a result of its greatly expanded product and services portfolio, plus increasing industry responsiveness to pursue required knowledge and skills levels in the face of the Technical Tsunami™.


2017 results confirm significant growth in technician and shop training engagement versus the year prior:


I-CAR reports an increase of 2,000 shops engaged in I-CAR training, meaning approximately one-third of total shops are now training with I-CAR, up from about 25 percent prior. Additionally, a 27 percent increase in the total number of Gold Class® shops was achieved. I-CAR’s Gold Class count now stands at 5,570 shops across the United States, plus 1,300 shops now on the Road to Gold®. Gold Class shops in Canada, Australia and New Zealand would increase these numbers.


From a student perspective in 2017, I-CAR training was completed by 83,693 students. In total, these students completed 178,955 unique courses. Welding Training & Certification™ also set new records, with 17,639 students who attended 9,758 events, up dramatically versus prior years. I-CAR’s annual welding program student participation level is now up 700 percent since 2010, with the number of welding training and certification events up 1,300 percent, respectively.


OEMs and insurers who specify I-CAR training as a repair network qualifier saw increases as well. As of January 2018, 25 organizations acknowledge Gold Class for their networks, including 11 OEMs and 11 insurers. Additionally, 22 organizations now require I-CAR Welding Training & Certification, including 17 OEMs and five insurers. Additions to this roster in 2017 include Volvo, Audi, Hyundai, Maserati (welding), State Farm (welding), and one additional OEM that I-CAR is unable to disclose also now requires I-CAR aluminum welding.


I-CAR’s Repairability Technical Support® (RTS) Portal usage also increased 6 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to the “Who Pays for What?” survey conducted by CRASH Network and Collision Advice. In the 2017 survey, 46.6 percent of those polled reported use of RTS, making RTS the industry’s No. 2 source for repair information for the third year in a row.


Last year, I-CAR worked closely with partners in the technical school and supplier segments to identify qualified neutral fixed-site locations for training called I-CAR Official Training Sites. Official training sites were formed as a means to ensure consistent and effective live course delivery, providing a better learning environment and training regimen for students. I-CAR reports more than 260 training sites have been established as of January 2018.


Currently, 62 percent of secondary and post-secondary schools now utilize I-CAR’s Professional Development Program – Education Edition, all achieved since the program was first introduced to schools in 2012.


Additionally, with the launch of In-Shop Knowledge Assessment™ in 2017, I-CAR’s education, information and services portfolio now includes 14 distinct product and service offerings, up from four in 2010.


“2017 showed considerable increases in the collision repair industry’s commitment to training,” said I-CAR CEO & President John Van Alstyne. “From OEMs and insurers acknowledging I-CAR programs, to technical schools and suppliers working in concert to help secure sites for better learning environments, to more and more shops now understanding the critical need to train and the value it creates for them, I commend the progress our industry is making towards performing complete, safe and quality repairs.”


The growth statistics quoted demonstrate the gains we have made as an industry. As further evidence of this progress, over the past five years, I-CAR’s Welding Training & Certification participation has increased, and thus those “not I-CAR trained” (a reasonable statistic, as I-CAR is the principal industry provider of welding training and certification) has improved as follows:


• Steel: 69 percent (2013); now 53 percent (2017)
• Steel Sectioning: 98 percent (2013); now 81 percent (2017)
• Aluminum: 94 percent (2013); now 84 percent (2017)


“So we are far from done,” continued Van Alstyne. “It is our obligation as a neutral, not-for-profit organization to ensure every technician is provided with the knowledge and skills required to perform proper repairs. While we have accomplished a lot as an industry, especially in 2017, we still estimate that 58 percent of technicians are likely not training, and not to the level required. We need to do better, and we will do better.”


Responsive to this growth, and to position for 2018 and beyond, the education, knowledge and solutions organization made the following organization enhancements to its leadership team in late 2017, which included: Nick Notte to senior vice president – sales & marketing; Ann Gonzalez to vice president – strategy; Elise Quadrozzi to vice president – education & technical services; and the addition of Andy Johnson as vice president – IT & digital innovation. Prior to joining I-CAR, Johnson spent 27 years with Tower International, a top 100 global Tier 1 automotive chassis systems supplier, where he was most recently Vice President, IT Americas. Additional management team enhancements include Stacey Wesselink to director, marketing; Lori Barrington to an expanded role as director, business enablement & optimization; Bill Stage to director, delivery; Terry Ticel to manager, national business development; and Armin Price to manager business development, supplier segment.