GM to Almost Everybody, ‘No C8 Structural Components for You!’

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GM to Almost Everybody, 'No C8 Structural Components for You!'


A developing story that we have been following over on the Corvette Forum reveals some interesting news for anyone unfortunate enough to crash their eighth-generation Corvette. An inquisitive forum member named Phil1098 was clicking through gm-techlink.com when he uncovered something he had never seen before; a clause prohibiting dealerships from selling structural components to shops (or individuals) outside of the GM Collision Repair Network (CRN) or Cadillac Aluminum Repair Network (CARN) which can be seen in its entirety below.

From GM Techlink:

Structural repairs must be made by certified GM Collision Repair Network (CRN) or Cadillac Aluminum Repair Network (CARN) shops. Non-certified shops will not be permitted to receive the restricted structural part numbers from a GM dealership. The majority of the structural frame components for the C8 Corvette will be put on parts restriction. GM dealerships with body shops can enroll at www.genuinegmparts.com/for-professionals/general-motors-collision-repair-network.

We weren’t sure how to feel about this new regulation revelation; on the surface it makes sense but something about it also doesn’t quite sit right with us. After reading through all of the thread’s replies, we were left… even more torn on the topic. So, to help us and our readers make up our minds, we are going to put this prohibition of structural parts on trial. We combed through all of the responses to the original CorvetteForum.com post, sifted out any off-topic tangents, and selected the best arguments for and against GM’s new selective practices for C8 structural components.

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Opening Arguments

Since Phil1098 brought this whole thing out into the open, we will let him make the first point in favor of General Motors decision here. In post #16 of the thread, in response to member, MagicGlass’ question about what makes the C8’s frame any different than the C7’s to repair, Phil responds with “I think the answer is quite a bit… They are doing things on this car that no body shop has ever seen before, so while it looks like control, it’s probably the only way to assure a main structural piece will ever be back in place with the same strength and safety as the original.”

Compelling stuff but the word “control” is where those opposed to the rule really started to take issue. This camp’s leader arose from the fighting city of Philadelphia with a retort that would have made the founding fathers proud, ArmchairArchitect states, “The answer to all that is that ultimately, it’s the consumer’s choice and GM should have no business dictating where a repair occurs on a vehicle they don’t own. This is yet another example of manufacturer creep on property rights (with a profit motive), akin to what John Deere and Apple have been doing. Secondly, GM can (and should) make the frame repair manual available to any body/frame shop, for shops to follow and for consumers to ensure the proper methods are used for the repair.”

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Further Testimony and Cross Examination

Each side has some well-laid perspectives on the issue. Some other posts that we thought were worth sharing go as follows:

As a retort to Armchair’s stance, Phil states, “I think post #10 is where this will land. They aren’t dictating you have to use only a GM dealer, just that the shop has to meet a standard. It’s the shops decision whether or not they want to repair Corvettes,” piggybacking upon an earlier post (number 10) by Bob Paris, that said “You can still choose, it just has to be a GM certified shop. The point of the law is that the insurance company cannot dictate what shop you use. The law does not address the manufacturer having its own requirements,” which itself was in response to several mentions of state laws that allow consumers to choose where they wish to do business.

Ticat928 and Easy Rhino added that “GM is doing the right thing by taking control of C8 repair” and “Yup. Just because you can butter aluminum back together with a harbor freight welder doesn’t mean that you should. There are structural considerations including crushing strength as it relates to your survivability, and the insurance companies and GM know this.”

Multiple users also chimed in with experiences they’ve had with other manufacturers doing the same thing with their higher-end cars, with several drawing parallels between the C8 and Audi’s first go at a mid-engine car with the 2006 R8, a car that Audi installed similar rules to protect. EViL427 chimed in with an interesting sentiment, “Well, damn. My preferred collision repair place (15 years and counting) can’t service my wife’s Jaguar XE for the same reasons. I messaged him about this since they specialize in Corvettes. I’d be sad if they can’t work on my C8 (after I got over the heartbreak of wrecking it, of course).”

Others still smelled something fishy in regards GM’s intentions with this rule. We will let Armchair take it away again; “Getting “GM Certified” just means ponying up money to GM, another money grab. So, what now each body shop has to get certified by every auto manufacturer, and pony up money to each? There is already a universal I-CAR certification for body shops, and a specific ASE certification for collision.” Which was again answered by Phil and fellow pro-regulation poster, DSOMrulz who said “True, but in our litigious society, I’m not fully convinced GM has much of a choice” and “GM will still sell parts. But the shop has to be certified to show it knows how to repair aluminum structures. I think it’s a good thing that Joe’s Body Shop, who’s never touched a piece of aluminum in his life, isn’t going to be welding up wrecked C8 frames and reselling dangerous cars,” respectfully.

Similar back-and-forths came to define the thread and we urge any interested parties to head over and read the whole thing for themselves but we are still left with a conundrum.

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CorvetteBlogger’s Verdict

Our freedom-loving American hearts want to support individual’s rights and stick it to “the man” but we have been pouring over of the C8’s fine technical details for months and the chassis truly is the most advanced piece of the new car. Many of us are hopeful second and even third owners and we have to side with the General on this one because we need to know that the cars will be in just as good of shape when we become their caretakers as they were for their original owners and that means assuring that any shop that works on the mid-engine structure is as close to 100% sure about what they are doing as humanly possible. As usual, Corvette Nation, we are interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter in the comment section below.


Source:
gm-techlink.com and CorvetteForum.com

Related:
A Critical Parts Factory for the 2020 Corvette Stayed Open Despite the Coronavirus Shutdowns
[VIDEO] Wrecked 2020 Stingray Becomes Donor Car for a 4-Rotor C8 Corvette Project
[VIDEO] 2020 Corvette Stingray’s Oil Change Procedure is Different than Previous Generations

 



8 COMMENTS

  1. Hmmm — wonder if the Chevy dealership that had a customer’s new C8 fall off its lift (see Related Article story above) is “GM Certified”? If so, that doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. If not, then I guess they won’t be able to repair the C8 they broke (which I am assuming will have sustained frame damage).

  2. Wait a minute my 2019 pickup spent almost a month total back and forth in the dealers certified shop trying to figure out what was wrong with my parking brake. Finally found a crossed wire in the harness. Are we sure they will be any better in collision work🏎

  3. The C8 aluminum chassis is NOT simply welded together… It’s entirely GLUED together with a series of specialized draw-tight fasteners to maintain the proper part positioning while the adhesive cures. The required technology is NOT something that just any autobody technician can correctly accomplish without extensive training.

  4. Good one, Doug! 😂

    And Racerboy, just to play devil’s advocate, isn’t the “proprietary resin” something else that GM could just as easily sell to others along with free instructional videos?

    This is moot for a lot of secondhand shoppers anyway because hardly anyone wants a car, especially a ‘Vette, that has had structural damage.

  5. Alex, not true! Many people buy Corvettes that have sustained structural damage. It depends on the severity of the damage. Insurance companies deem cars with hardly any damage as severe or right it off as a total loss. I bought two Corvettes that way and both cars are fine after years of abuse from drag racing and autocrossing.

  6. I would imagine that eventually, there will be some entrepreneur that will get hold of a C8 and take the entire car apart, part by part, panel by panel. The will put engineers to work figuring out the bonding, gluing, welding. The will use lasers to measure every minute detail of the car. They will mock up by way of 3D Printers all the structures. The will do computerized stress analysis and they will develop blue-prints that mimic the Corvette. It won’t matter if laws governing such proprietary components are broken. These people will work behind closed doors in secrecy. They may change or even upgrade certain aspects of the vehicle and then they will attempt to build their own car and steal years of work from GM. But a whole process of checking to see what the damage is; and whether it is an approved accident vehicle to work on, according to the insurance company, as well as GM and GM’s lawyers, remains to be seen. I have mixed emotions on this one. Some of the great concours cars at places like Pebble Beach were rebuilds by people having nothing to do with the original production of a car. Down the road, who knows who will attempt to restore a car so that it looks and drives just like it came out of the factory at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant? At this same time, I can see GM’s point of view and can see just why they might not want to hand over proprietary parts with numbers on it that can be reproduced on a 3D printer and stored, until an entire collection of the physical/structural shell and parts are eventually collected by nefarious folks who are up to no good. Repair is becoming ever-more sophisticated. That said, it was only 6 years ago that my one of one 911 Emerald Green Metallic Porsche, 1974 was intentionally rammed by a Chrysler 300 driver and two complete restorations and years of work. The insurance company said it was totalled and offered me nothing for the car, maybe $6K. Undaunted because it had so many special features that were one off at the factory, I rebuilt and restored the supposed wreck back to as close to original condition as possible. There are just so many factors in this that I side with GM, at least for a period of years, after which I would gradually open up the parts been, certainly by the time the cars have reached ten years of age. In the interim, GM should be allowed to protect it products and its repairs in the world of the C8. AF

  7. What if somebody who wasn’t GM and wasn’t a customer, somebody with no profit or loss to make was the decider? Like, y’know, an independent regulator? Someone appointed by Corvette clubs and/or other car clubs in general, to decide which repair shops are sound and which repair shops are dangerous. Oh, that would be just like government !!! So if you want small government, you end up with ridiculous situations like this where GM can’t be sure their products will be treated safely and customers can’t be sure GM just wants free payments from repair shops. Sometimes government works, like when car clubs had teeth.

  8. I was a member of a team that managed a network of “Certified Shops”. I can attest to the fact that you want to choose a shop that is thoroughly knowledgeable on how the new C8 is assembled; how to disassemble it to facilitate damage analyses, and most importantly how to reassemble it to 100% pre-loss condition. As more repair facilities are certified more will gain access to the parts and the means to restore these vehicles. Just as they have with Mercedes and Vipers. Due to technological advances and the need to ensure their brand/image/product safety; manufacturers must be involved in setting the repair protocols. To do it any other way would be irresponsible and reckless.

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