Collision repairers often ask Scott Wideman, collision program manager at Volkswagen-Audi Group, how to ensure a safe and reliable repair.
His response remains the same every time: always research and follow OEM repair procedures. Wideman recently shared his expertise during a Guild 21 podcast hosted by VeriFacts Automotive.
Although based in Canada, Wideman said structurally, Volkswagen and Audi vehicles in both countries are fairly identical.
During the Guild 21 podcast, he shared information on both brand’s body construction, repair procedures and the impact of new technology. He challenged attendees to think about how these might affect their businesses and day-to-day operations.
With more than 25 years of experience in the automotive industry, Wideman is responsible for the collision program development and rollout for Volkswagen and Audi vehicles. In his role, Wideman is focused on working with all stakeholders to improve the collision repair process. He said consumer safety is the top priority.
“Our main concern is to achieve a safe, reliable and repeatable repair in the industry,” he said.
Wideman discussed Volkswagen’s current Golf A7 platform, which was introduced in 2012 using a manufacturing process called MQB. This allows the car manufacturer to produce automobiles with different platforms on the same assembly line. When examining vehicle structure, Wideman said many car manufacturers are now using mixed materials during the building process. As a result, there are certain repair guidelines that need to be followed, to ensure the car is repaired correctly. One of his concerns as a manufacturer is if a vehicle will be able to withstand a second collision, if it has been previously hit and repaired.
“This is where we see too many compromises,” he said.
Using an example of new Jetta, Wideman said there are very specific considerations in regard to the repair, such as heat in any welding operation conducted.
“Therefore, it’s a requirement to follow the repair literature to make sure you have the right equipment, the right welding technology and that you are following the proper procedure,” he said.
He also talked about the new Audi Q7 that includes seven different substrates in its platform.