AutoCare 2018, hosted by AAAA, took place in Sydney last Friday and Saturday (4-5 May). The proposed idea was a seminar-based event, although in the end a large number of industry suppliers had stands at the National Exhibition Centre in Darling harbour.

The event was launched with a keynot speech by the Hon. Michael Sukkar, assistant minister to the Treasurer, saying that politicians planned to support legislation to mandate the offering of service and repair information by vehicle manufacturers for a reasonable price and that it was a government priority.

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims addressed theAutocare summit declaring voluntary commitments by car manufacturers to share technical information with independent repairers have failed.

“Our recent new car retailing industry market study found consumers benefit from competitive aftermarkets and by having a choice of providers to repair and service their cars, and a mandatory scheme to share technical information is the only way to achieve this,” Sims said.

There was a full program of seminars, training sessions and panels. Potentially the most controversial was the Choice of Repairer panel with representatives from Suncorp and IAG on Friday - and a solo Troy Johns from IAG on Saturday, along with Rob Mildenhall from Capricorn, Geoff Gwilym, VACC, Stavros Yallouridis of MTA NSW and Greg Preston from AAPRA. While this was reportedly quite a lively session on Friday, Saturday was more subdued and the conclusion seemed to be that educating consumers and your own customers on choice of insurer was the issue to tackle.

Sydney Automotive Paints and Equipment had plenty of equipment on its stand and was a gold sponsor of the event. The I-CAR crew were out in force as diamond sponsors and providers of many of the training seminars. AkzoNobel, Axalta, DeBeer and Nippon were among the paint companies present as well as newcomer Onwings a chinese refinish system. Workshop management systems were well represented with 1Q1, iBodyshop, Planning Plus and Quotimation manning their stands.

Car-o-Liner, Finixa, Maks Equipment, Truflow Booths and a host of other equipment suppliers displayed their wares. Thatcham Escribe were there, as were Car Craft who distributes Ezi Methods.

Naturally Lowbake was in the spotlight for the whole show with it's mobile demonstration booth used by the paint companies to demonstrate product and application methods that was live streamed throughout AutoCare. The Lowbake team were also out in force on the company's stand.

The show was busy on Friday morning but became quieter after this. The seminars and panels were excellent and received great feedback from those who attended but it would have been good to see more autobody repairers there.

The National Collision Repairer held its lifetime achievement awards breakfast at the show. 2018 inductees were Michael Wilkinson of Peter Wilkinson Autobody in Perth,  Garry Clear of TAFE NSW and  Cec Simpson of Parramatta Smash Repairs. Congratulations from all of us at Paint & Panel.

Unfortunately young Cameron our new staff writer has even poorer video skills than me but at least it will give you an idea of the event. Unlike me he's likely to improve quickly.




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