Phantom Repairs

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What happens when you are OEM Certified for a car that is no longer in production?

Imagine you are the shop in Vancouver, who told us that they had paid some $45,000 for specialized collision equipment and training so that they could become one of those shops that can now repair Cadillac CT6 sedans. They are now waiting to pay the $4,500 annual fee to be on the program.

You know the Cadillac CT6: it was 64 percent aluminum, and its parts were largely replace-only. Joining methods were said to include items like adhesive, flow-drill screws, rivets and barely any welding. It was the first car to have the hands-free, partially autonomous Super Cruise system.


On November 26, General Motors announced (along with the closing of the assembly plant in Oshawa) that it would be de-allocating the CT6 from plants in 2019.

Any shop on the CT6 Certification program would have had less than three years to gain benefits, identified as restricting parts, measurements and referring customers to them through OnStar.

Shops should understand that some OEM programs may be fleeting and that there may not be enough time after the shop purchases training and equipment to afford the shop a reasonable cost recapture.

Shops should also be aware that not all OEM programs are the same, even within the brand. For instance, one OEM collision certification program for their dealers includes certain requirements, and those requirements are missing in the same manufacturer’s program for the same car with the same repair needed in their collision repair certification program for non-dealer shops.

Sometimes, tools and equipment are only available to dealer-certified collision shops and not the certified non-dealer repair shop. If the CASIS folks find this out, they can correct that issue as the CASIS agreement mandates that whatever the OEM authorized repair dealership has, the aftermarket shop can get the same equipment.

Minimum standard

The long-term answer is that any collision repair shop should meet a minimum standard for compliance, equipment and repair competence, with insurers only paying shops that meet that standard. Shops can easily exceed that standard should they wish, using OEM additional requirements or other program requirements. Training can be from wherever the shop decided within each program as long as the shop meets the provincial trades training requirements.

OEMs are restricting shops with certain brand lines to “exclusivize” their offerings. Even Volvo in the U.S. has announced some new parts restrictions unless you meet their certification standards.

Regrettably, these strong efforts to restrict repair to only their own certified shops become futile when shops know they are not protected when the manufacturer decides to no longer make the car that the shop is certified to fix. It does not give the shop any enthusiasm to trust future programs.

Ask yourself this question.

Since General Motors has announced it soon will no longer make Cadillac CT6 vehicles, how motivated are you to pay for the equipment and tool costs and do the training to now become Cadillac CT6 collision certified?

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