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On June 20, BASF’s Coatings Division opened a new International Refinish Competence Center (RCC) in Clermont, France for R-M®, the company’s premium automotive refinish brand. The facility is now one of the most modern training facilities in Europe. With an investment of approx. € 2.5 million, the extended and modernized center is equipped with the latest technical standards and multimedia training tools, offering customers significant flexibility to meet their refinish training needs. Annually, more than 800 trainees and business partners can be accommodated in the new R-M Brand Center. A new brand space is especially dedicated to the latest color trends, exhibiting concept cars as well as design objects. 

Today, the automotive refinish market requires ever more skills and techniques from its technicians. “With the new R-M Refinish Competence Center totally dedicated to the needs of our R-M customers, we can ensure both locally and internationally, the highest standards in training while providing innovative solutions and increasing the efficiency level and profitability of their business,” said Harald Pflanzl, Senior Vice-President Automotive Refinish Coatings Solutions Europe at BASF Group, at the opening in Clermont.

Jacques Delmoitiez, President of BASF Europe, added,  “I am extremely pleased with the opening of the modernized R-M Refinish Competence Center of BASF’s Coatings Division in Clermont, France. The automotive industry is important for BASF and with this state-of-the-art training center, we underline, once again, that we invest in the best team, as well as in top-notch infrastructure ensuring that we meet our customers’ needs with a training facility of excellence.” 

The modernized Refinish Competence Center serves as a training facility and marketing platform for R-M and its business partners and has been planned according to the standards of the BASF RCC policy. One of the highlights of the facility is the R-M Cube, which is entirely dedicated to the R-M premium brand image and visualizes the brand and its value for the customers. It provides a unique opportunity to exhibit the latest color trends, design themes and concept cars such as, on this occasion, the Peugeot RCZ-R concept car finished in matt O NYX HD, or future new car models. Inline with the R-M spirit of being actively involved in the development of future trends and the next generation of talent, the specially designed cubes and elements have been arranged in cooperation with students of the Product, Design and Innovation section of the University of Technology in Compiègne, France.

The new center includes new training rooms equipped with interactive smartboards that promote convivial and effective training. In the reception area, the activities of trainees in the paint booth or color room can be observed through numerous bay windows. This color space is ideal for all the colorimetry programs. Equipped with the latest technological standards, the booths at the training facility have infrared drying equipment as well as a Multi-Working-Place (MWP), through which fast repair processes can be optimized. The equipment and tools are always close at hand, which minimizes movement of vehicles that are to be refinished. Closest to the paint booths is the mixing island where the colors are prepared in order to optimize the workflow. 

The company is responding to the need for training development for youth with its Master’Art initiative and signed its first partnership agreement in the new training facility with the Oise Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Mastert’Art concept was developed to promote careers in automotive refinish and repair.

Thomas Gmür, R-M Brand Manager, states, “The new R-M Brand Center offers great opportunities for our customers from all over the world to meet and experience the R-M brand spirit and our high quality of training in a new way.”  The 11th R-M Best Painter Contest will take place in the new training facility in October 2013. It will showcase the best young talents from 18 countries, including Japan, Russia and South Africa.

Spanning the globe from Australia, China and the United States to France and Germany, BASF offers training for its customers at the RCCs. The training network comprises more than 50 training centers, where painters practice and perfect the use of automotive paints.

BASF markets a comprehensive range of automotive refinishing paint systems under the R-M brand, focusing on eco-efficient waterborne basecoats and high-solids paints. By using these systems all legal solvent-reduction requirements can be complied with anywhere in the world. The products meet the same appearance and resistance quality standards as solvent-borne paints.