Harnessing the power of OEM branding in your local marketplace.
Today, less than five percent of all collision repair facilities in Canada are properly tooled, equipped and trained to be able to properly repair the latest, advanced material vehicles according to OEM specifications. This represents a crisis for consumers, insurers, and everyone related to the collision repair industry. Things are changing, however. A new day has dawned in Canada, with full-scale OEM Certification now able to identify and promote repair facilities that can meet or exceed minimum business qualifications and standards.
Available for all
Up to this point in time, not every repairer that had the desire and willingness to gain recognition by OEMs through their certification programs was able to do so. Today the game has changed. Every qualified collision repair facility in Canada now has the opportunity to be officially OEM Certified. Largescale OEM Certification is now available in Canada, with companies such as Ford, Fiat Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota, Honda, VW and others developing networks of certified repairers made of up independent repairers and dealer-owned facilities, to ensure that mass-produced, mainstream vehicles are repaired properly. The only thing holding a repairer back from achieving OEM Certification is a willingness or ability to make the investments in tools, equipment, training and facility modifications needed to repair vehicles safely, and to OEM specifications.
Leveraging global brands in local markets
OEMs have spent billions of dollars to capture the hearts and minds of consumers. Customers identify with their car brands on an emotional level, and now OEM Certified repairers have the opportunity to leverage these powerful consumer brands in their local market. Since consumers are three times more likely to pick a Certified choice over any other, effectively promoting OEM certified credentials in marketing and sales efforts pays off.
Garland Autobody in St. John’s, Nfld. was the first shop to achieve Fiat Chrysler and Ford National Bodyshop Network OEM Certification in the province. When these opportunities were made available in Canada, Garland Autobody owner Derrick Ryan was an early adopter. Being in the top five percent of repairers in Canada, and having already made the investments needed, he quickly achieved OEM Certification. “I never thought the opportunity to be certified by a vehicle manufacturer would be made available while I was still in the industry. I jumped at the chance to join their joint-effort OEM Certified network,” he says. “OEM Certification moves our credibility and standards up a notch; this is something our customers deserve.”
Early adopters are taking advantage of the opportunity to own OEM Certification at a local level. Utilizing OEM Certified credentials in marketing efforts, community outreach and relationship building with dealers can have a big impact. “If you ask if there is a value to OEM certification, yes—there is the opportunity for new revenue,” says Ryan. “But I see it like the start of a relationship. It takes time to develop, to create trust and build for the future. Provided you put in the effort, business starts to roll in.”
Ready to invest?
With massive consumer awareness and education planned, shops that are willing to invest will reap the rewards and have a true means to separate their best-inclass businesses from shops that are unable or unwilling to keep up. Aligning with OEM brands will impact the future of collision repair facilities across Canada. Staying focused on doing the right things for the right reasons is essential to continue improving the industry’s technical capabilities, while at the same time protecting consumers and ensuring they are receiving safe repairs.