General Motors has adopted a paint certification program for aftermarket technicians that should reduce costs and improve customer satisfaction.
As part of a joint effort with GM, leading paint suppliers will train technicians on the latest refinishing techniques. The paint manufacturers include BASF, PPG Industries, DuPont, Spies Hecker, Sherwin Williams, Sikkens, Martin Senour, Standox North America Inc. and ICI Autocolor.
The certification program was introduced last week at the National Autobody Congress Exposition in Atlanta. Its introduction comes three years after GM set paint blending and application standards for independent body shops.
'Many customers are leery about collision repair. They don't know the business,' said Gracemary Allen, a GM spokeswoman. 'This is a way (for GM) to stand behind the work.'
Ultimately, GM expects the program to improve shop productivity and reduce the number of repeat repairs.
Before they begin the GM certification process, technicians must have at least one year of professional experience and complete either GM's paint refinish curriculum or Automotive Service Excellence paint certification. Then a paint manufacturer admits the applicant into a refinishing certification course.
Expert instructors from the paint companies will evaluate the applicants' paint repair skills. Technicians must demonstrate competency in six areas: detailing, blending, tinting, application, safety and measuring paint thickness.
Technicians must renew their certification every two years.