Subaru of America is launching a company-certified collision repair program that will include both its dealerships and select independent body shops.
The company developed its plan with Wadsworth International, a consultancy that already provides administrative support to Jaguar Land Rover’s collision certification program.Subaru launched a pilot collision repair program in March with 30 locations, including 10 dealerships. The plan is to expand the program into a national network this year, certifying 400 body shops by 2019, Automotive News reports.Car companies certify body shops that meet their repair standards, recommending the facilities to car owners. Some collision repair programs, such as Toyota’s, are open only to the company’s dealerships while others are administered by third parties and include both dealerships and independent shops.A neutral partnershipSubaru’s program defines the partnership between the company and a certified shop as a "neutral partnership". Wadsworth will act as an extension of Subaru rather than an intermediary, according to the company. Unlike other third-party administrators, Wadsworth will offer no services or equipment to certified shops but it will oversee certification and compliance.Although Subaru’s program will include independent body shops, the company’s retailers will have the first opportunity to get into the program when it goes official.Body shops wishing to join the certified Subaru network must pay a $3200 fee, with membership giving them access to the company’s technical online portal. Qualifying shops must have gold-class certification from the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair and meet prescribed equipment standards.