OEM certification is issued to auto body shops by auto manufacturers after the shop has undergone an certain authentication process. But what does that process entail, and why is it significant?
In the auto industry, pressure to meet higher standards of quality and safety has increased dramatically over the last few decades. As these obligations have been placed on auto manufacturers, similar pressures have been placed on auto body shops to be able to uphold these standards when repairing vehicles. That’s where OEM certification comes in.
What is OEM Certification?
OEM certification can mean a few things, depending on which manufacturer is issuing the certification. In general, it certifies that the body shop in question has undergone training to understand the specific complexities of the manufacturer’s vehicles and that only OEM parts are used in the repair of those vehicles. Most certification programs have a representative from the manufacturer train the shop’s technicians on the make’s specific series and models. In addition to these basic elements, manufacturers can also require that the shop meet certain additional service, safety, equipment and/or education standards.
Why is OEM Certification Becoming More Popular?
According to vehicle manufacturer records, there were fewer than 350 body shops in North America with some kind of OEM certification in 2012. Now, there are more than ten times as many certified shops.
A key reason that demand for OEM certification has grown is that cars are becoming more technologically advanced and require more specific training to repair. Now, something as simple as a fender bender could require repair of a bumper in addition to bumper sensors or a camera connected to a computer system, and technicians need to be prepared for these more complex repairs.
Despite growing in popularity and necessity, many auto body shops don’t pursue certification because it’s expensive, not considering that it could be costing them more in terms of lost business or unsatisfied customers. In addition to a large upfront cost for shops, certifications can be costly to maintain, as they often need to be renewed every year or so to make sure certified shops are up to date on new models and features from manufacturers, and they often require additional costs in terms of special equipment, additional certifications and more.
Why is OEM Certification Important?
The auto manufacturing and repair landscape has changed. In the past, an auto body shop could rely on its customer service and reputation to drive sales and retain customers. Now, savvy customers know to look for these additional certifications.
While still important, providing premier customer service and managing your shop’s reputation for honesty and professionalism can only go so far. These factors are important to customers, but they also want to know their car is in the best possible hands. OEM certification lets customers know that the technicians handling their vehicle are the most qualified. OEM certification also encourages a better-quality repair, which keeps customers happy and helps a shop maintain their good reputation. Certification is an indication that a shop is committed to continuing education and to providing their customers with the highest quality repairs.
What OEM Certification Means to Schaefer Autobody
At Schaefer Autobody, we’re committed to providing you with the best collision repair experience. We believe OEM certification is an investment a shop makes in itself, in its employees and in its repairs for customers. Schaefer Autobody currently has OEM factory accreditation from BMW, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Honda, Acura, Infiniti, Nissan and Tesla.
Being OEM certified is something that not only adds value to our customers’ repairs, but also helps us attract and retain the most qualified technicians. The best technicians are those that share our commitment to quality repairs and continuing education. With OEM certification, Schaefer Autobody is equipped to provide customers with repairs that meet not only their standards, but the standards of our shops and the auto industry as a whole.