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PartsTrader Costs “$800 in Unseen Business a Month” Says Michigan Parts Wholesaler by Melanie Anderson
Tom Kellogg—the wholesale director for the Zeigler Automotive Group’s 13 franchises in Grandville, MI—has been using PartsTrader the past several months as one of the first test markets in State Farm’s PartsTrader program. Kellogg has been with Zeigler since 2003 and in the industry since 1975. He says he wishes programs like PartsTrader would just go away. “We all know that PartsTrader isn’t the greatest thing out there,” said Kellogg. “I don’t know what I am
going to do to stop it, because from what I understand, it’s pretty much here to stay. We’ve got to figure out how to work around it. Not enough writing was done on it. It’s just going to be the pathway of all things in the future to come. It’s PartsTrader today, and tomorrow it’s going to parts for you, parts for them, and pretty soon there’s a plethora of third-party people involved in our business,” he said. “The ‘beautiful part’ is they are going to allow me to do business with the same people I’ve been doing business with for the past 10 years and See PartsTrader Costs, Page 33
California Department of Insurance Approves New Aftermarket Part Regulations, Onus on Insurers
released by CDI in June 2012, are to go into effect on January 30. Insurers will be required to comply on and after March 30, 2013. “The amendments build on existing protections by requiring insurers to settle automobile insurance claims using repair standards described by the Bureau of Automotive Repair, and not the insurer’s own standards of repair,” said Commissioner Jones. “This also places greater accountability on the insurer when they require use of an aftermarket replacement part so that damaged automobiles are repaired properly and safely.” See Calif. Aftermarket, Page 36
Change Service Requested
P.O. BOX 1516, CARLSBAD, CA 92018
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced that the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved amended regulations submitted by the California Department of Insurance (CDI) regarding the use of non-original equipment manufacturer (OEM) replacement crash parts, generally known as aftermarket parts. These regulations were sought by Commissioner Jones to further protect California consumers from physical and financial harm caused by defective or inferior aftermarket parts and to enhance insurer accountability in the claims process, said CDI. The new regulations, originally
VOL. 1 ISSUE 6 FEBRUARY 2013
IABA Hosts 3rd Bi-Annual Convention and Technology Showcase Feb. 22–23 On Feb. 22–23, the Indiana Auto Body Association hosts its 3rd Bi-Annual IABA Convention and Technology Showcase at the Lincoln College of Technology in Indianapolis, IN.
The convention sessions run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22 and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sat-
Rich Evans Custom carbuilder
Over 60 exhibitors will present their latest products and services, and the showcase includes numerous educational opportunities and live demonstrations as well.
Mike Anderson, Collision Advice
urday, Feb. 23, with the tradeshow floor opening at noon on Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday. Educational sessions begin on Thursday evening, Feb. 21, with the latest I-CAR Program, NEW13. World-renowned customization See IABA Hosts Showcase, Page 32
Greg Coccaro Settles with Progressive Insurance
After eight years of battling each other in court, Progressive Insurance and Greg Coccaro, owner of North State Custom in Bedford Hills, NY, have reached a settlement ahead of a Jan. 28 trial date. Coccaro said he could not discuss the specifics of the settlement agreement, but he did express relief that he could finally put this behind him now. “After eight years, it’s pretty weird not having to think about this anymore,” said Coccaro. “I basically can now have my life back and spend a little more time working on my business. You would have to go through the stress that I did to understand it. Once it was over, I still couldn’t stop thinking about it. It took me two to three weeks to get out of ‘legal mode.’ It never left me night or day for those eight years. It was very difficult for everyone involved, but we did what we did, stood up and didn’t cave. “I think a lot of good came out of the whole thing for the industry in a lot of ways. Anyone who has followed this can understand why. I’m
very glad it’s over, and so is my family. It was a little difficult to live through some of the more stressful times, but I’m back and trying to get back to myself and how I was before.” Asked what advice he has to other shops considering legal action against insurers, Coccaro said it depends on the circumstances. “One has to think long and hard before taking on a billion-dollar corporation,” he said. “In my case, I felt I had no choice. The problem is that it has to be something that’s pretty egregious for you to do it. I felt if I didn’t do it, I had a chance of losing my business, so that’s why I did it. I don’t think it’s Greg Coccaro something that a single shop wants to take on. Anything similar to what I did would have to be done on a class-action where there are multiple shops rather than laying it on the shoulders of one individual shop. Don’t take anything on alone unless you absolutely have to.”
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2 FEBRUARY 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
Contents 1Collision Network Adds 6 Locations
in 3 States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
AASP Elects New Leaders . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 ABRA Acquires 4 More Locations in
Two States. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
ASA MI Hosted Webinar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 CARSTAR Adds New Location Outside
Chicago. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
3M Assists 19 Collision School Programs
with $160,000 in Production Donations . 28
Alcoa Awards $40,000 Aluminum Training Grant to Collision Repair Education
Foundation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Audatex’s AutoWatch App Updates
Customers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Automaker, OEM and Recall News . . . . . . 22
CARSTAR Expands in Ohio. . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Automotive Ladies Lauded at Urban
Driver Crashes Car into Ohio
California Department of Insurance
CARSTAR Expands in WI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Auto Body Shop. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Fire Destroys IL Body Shop, Causes
Wheels Awards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Approves New Aftermarket Part
Regulations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Three Crashes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Centenarian Donates Rolls-Royce to
Hybrid in Ohio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Class A Shop Requirements May Change,
Technology Showcase Feb. 22-23 . . . . . 1
Collision Repair Education Foundation
Honda to Assemble 2014 Accord
IABA Hosts 3rd Bi-Annual Convention and
IABA Schedules Several January Meetings . 6 Illinois Proposes to Give Drivers Licenses
Museum after 78 Years of Use . . . . . . . 39 CIC Says . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Offers $300,000 in Scholarships
and Tool Grants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
to Illegal Immigrants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
DuPont Launches GM-Sponsored Parts
“It’s A Wonderful ASA Michigan” . . . . . 12
FHWA Estimates 2012 Fatalities . . . . . . . . 33
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder Creates New State Department for Finances,
Rebate Program. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Greg Coccaro Settles with Progressive
Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Judge to Rule Soon on Batmobile
in Indiana. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
NABC Gives Update on ‘Operation
Celebrate 40 Years. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
NABC Launches Newly Revised
Military Vehicles Go Up On Auction Block Nagy’s Collision Specialists in Ohio
New Drivers Banned from Cell . . . . . . . . . 12 Ohio Law Would Increase Auto Insurance
Requirement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Ohio Shop is Excellent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 PartsTrader Costs “$800 in Unseen
Business a Month” Says Michigan
Copyright Suit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Comfort’ Mission. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Corporate Website . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
New Insurance Laws Take Effect in 2013 . 26
NHTSA Wants Loud Electric, Hybrid Cars
for Safety. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Original Batmobile Sold for $4.6 Million
at Auction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Parts Wholesaler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
PartsTrader Releases Supplier
Vehicles Up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
PPG Awards $20,000 to Collision
Seat Belt Use in Michigan Commercial
Slippery Roads Mean Business . . . . . . . . . 4
Feedback Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Repair Foundation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Subaru to Expand Production in Indiana . . . 3
Think Outside the Truck Box: Spray Lining,
Thousands of Sandy Ruined Cars to
Attanasio: Why Should Body Shops
Have a Website? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Franklin: Aligning with Agents. . . . . . . . . . 24
Insider: Changes at I-CAR a Good
Foundation to Build Upon . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Yoswick: Action on Insurer ‘Most-Favored
Nation’ Clauses May be on the Horizon . 34
A Coating Profit Engine . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
be Crushed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Top Safety Picks for 2013 . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Vote: 2013 ASA Board Elections . . . . . . . 12 West VA Court Bars Insurer from Selling
Used and Aftermarket Parts . . . . . . . . . 37
Work-Related Vehicle Accidents, Claims
Down During Recession. . . . . . . . . . . . 37
new model to be made there, but it might likely be the Impreza, the Impreza-based XV entry-level car or the Forester crossover. Those vehicles are all imported from Japan now. The Impreza is the brand’s No. 2 selling vehicle in the United States, after the Outback wagon. Impreza sales roughly doubled to 81,799 units in 2012 after the introduction of redesigned version. The Forester ranked third, with sales of 76,347 last year, unchanged from 2011. The decision comes as Subaru seeks ways to boost North American output to meet booming demand for its cars there after a fourth year of record sales. Yoshinaga told Automotive News in November that his company could sell 400,000 units in the U.S. as early as 2016, up from a record 336,441 in 2012. Subaru's 2012 U.S. sales rose 26%, well above the industrywide gain of 13%. Yoshinaga did not give a target capacity for Indiana. But in November, he said Subaru would likely need a further expansion to between 250,000 and 300,000 units a year. Last May, Subaru said it would boost capacity at its Indiana plant to 200,000 by mid-2014.
Publisher & Editor: Jeremy Hayhurst General Manager: Barbara Davies Assistant Editor: Melanie Anderson Contributing Writers: Tom Franklin, John Yoswick, Janet Chaney, Toby Chess, David Brown, Rich Evans, Ed Attanasio, Chasidy Sisk Advertising Sales: Joe Momber, Sean Hartman, Jay Lukes (800) 699-8251 Sales Assistant: Louise Tedesco Art Director: Rodolfo Garcia
Lessons from “It’s a Wonderful Life” and
Subaru will expand production capacity at its existing assembly plant in Indiana, rather than build a new factory, and will start making a new model there in 2016. Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, president of Subaru-maker Fuji Heavy Industries Inc., said Subaru expects U.S. sales to climb 9% to 365,000 units in 2013. “We'll be selling 1,000 cars every day,” he said. Global sales will rise 6% to 750,000. Yoshinaga said he will release details of the capacity-expansion plan by March 31. The company is considering several ways to boost output at its Lafayette, IN, factory, its only overseas assembly plant. It could add a line to the two already there, extend the line that is currently dedicated to Subaru or possibly glean capacity from the second line, which makes Camry sedans for Toyota Motor Corp. “We are considering many options,” said Jun Kondo, Fuji Heavy’s deputy president and global manufacturing chief. “It was decided expanding the current plant was better than building a new one.” Subaru declined to identify the
Subaru to Expand Production in Indiana
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Autobody Supply Co., Inc . . . . . . . . 4 BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . 30 Brunswick Auto Mart . . . . . . . . . 14-15 BSFco . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Car-Part Pro. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 CCC Information Services . . . . . . . . 5 Classifieds. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 CSS USA, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Equalizer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Erhard BMW of Bloomfield Hills . . . 35 Erhard BMW of Farmington Hills . . 35 Ford Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . 28 Garmat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 GM Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . 38 Graham Auto Mall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Honda-Acura Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20-21 Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers . 33 Infiniti of Naperville . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Jack Phelan Dodge of Countryside. 19 K & M Northfield Dodge-Ram . . . . . . 7
K & M Suzuki. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Laurel Auto Group of Westmont . . . 27 Lexus Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . 37 Malco. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Mazda Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . 37 Milosch’s Palace Chrysler-JeepDodge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Mitsubishi Wholesale Parts Dealers. 26 MOPAR Wholesale Parts Dealers . . 40 Nissan/Infiniti Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 PPG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Rick Case Wholesale Parts Division. 31 Scion Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . 32 Spray-Lining and Coatings . . . . . 9, 17 Subaru Wholesale Parts Dealers . . 39 Toyota of Grand Rapids . . . . . . . . . 10 Toyota Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . 32 VIM Tools. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Volkswagen Wholesale Parts Dealers. 36 Wisconsin Parts Advantage . . . . . . 29
www.autobodynews.com | FEBRUARY 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS 3
ASA MI Hosted Webinar
Driver Crashes Car into Ohio Auto Body Shop
Slippery Roads Mean Business
Ohio Shop is Excellent
CARSTAR Expands in Ohio
CARSTAR Adds New Location Outside Chicago
ASA Michigan presented a webinar on financial benchmarking to its members on Jan. 16. The webinar, Financial Benchmarking: What are the trends showing? provided information on how attendees could measure themselves against other like businesses. In addition, it provided forecasting for collision vs. mechanical shops on what the road looks like ahead in the next few years, and discussed tools available from the Small Business Administration to increase profitability. Snow in Indiana helped give local auto body shops a boost in business. The slippery road conditions in late December caused a number of fender benders and slide offs. And now some of those cars are in the body shop. “We are totally packed, I mean we are two or three weeks in advance right now,” said Mike Nelund, president of LaSalle Auto Body. “The ice and snow really helps our business a lot. We just hope for a little more snow before the end of the year and that should take us all the way through spring time.”
CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts recently added a new collision repair center to its network in Cleveland, OH. CARSTAR now operates a total of 25 collision repair facilities in Ohio. CARSTAR’s new location, Coach & Collision CARSTAR, is independently owned by Jeremy and Theresa Orsky. As part of CARSTAR’s network, Coach & Collision CARSTAR will have access to the company’s management system and business tools, 19 corporately-managed direct repair programs (DRPs), and 45 corporately-managed purchasing programs. “We are excited to welcome and Jeremy and Theresa Orsky and Coach & Collision CARSTAR to the CARSTAR network,” said David Byers, CEO of CARSTAR. “We are thrilled to expand our presence in Cleveland with this new top-notch collision repair center,” Byers added. CARSTAR operates more than 400 collision repair locations throughout 31 U.S. states and 10 Canadian provinces.
A driver in Columbus, OH, was taken to an area hospital after her car crashed into an auto body shop on the city’s east side. According to police, a van and a car were involved in a crash in the intersection of East Main Street and Fairwood Avenue, which caused the driver of the car to crash into the front of an auto body shop. The driver of the car was transported to an area hospital. A worker who was inside of the shop was hit by debris but not treated.
Action CARSTAR Auto Body & Frame in Euclid, OH, recently received the Nationwide Insurance Midwest Claim Zone Showmanship of Excellence Award for 2012. Nationwide recognizes On Your Side Auto Repair Network facilities and employees for their efforts to provide the best possible repair experience for collision repair customers. Action CARSTAR Auto Body & Frame, owned by Tony Perrino, was one of four shops in the network considered as finalists. Perrino’s facility received a trophy.
CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts recently announced the opening of West-Hill CARSTAR in Hillside, IL, expanding CARSTAR’s presence throughout the Chicago market. Owned by Joseph, John and Mark Esposito, West-Hill CARSTAR has been family-owned and operated since John Esposito founded it in 1960 and is a member of the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Illinois. West-Hill CARSTAR will offer services and products for collision repair, including the latest in repair technology, rental vehicles, national warranties on repairs and turnkey service for customers. The new store will benefit from the CARSTAR Management System, which provides resources to improve key business metrics such as cycle time, participation in CARSTAR’s 19 corporately-managed DRP programs, and improved purchasing power from 45 corporately-managed purchasing programs. “We are thrilled to expand our presence in Chicago with this new top-notch collision repair center,” said David Byers, CEO of CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts.
4 FEBRUARY 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
1Collision Network Adds 6 Locations in 3 States
1Collision Network recently added six locations in Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa. The six new locations are: Nick & Ernies Autoworks1 in Skokie, IL; Link Collision Center1 in Rice Lake, WI; and the four BODYPROS locations in Des Moines, IA, that consist of Ace Body and Motor1, Altoona Auto Body1, Ankeny Auto Body1 and RJones Collision1. Nick & Ernies Autoworks1 owner Ernie Loggarakis said, “Our decision to affiliate with the 1Collision Network was based on their Midwest focus, diverse variety of services and support offered, and their emphasis on performance and marketing.” Daniel Clark, COO at Link Collision Center1, said, “Link Collision is very excited to be given the opportunity to join the 1Collision Network.” Bob Jones, president of BODYPROS, added, “The 1Collision Network provided an opportunity for BODYPROS to become a part of a regional group of shops, providing us with solutions for the many business challenges shops face in today’s competitive marketplace.”
AASP Elects New Leaders
The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers (AASP) has elected its Executive Committee for 2013-2014. The election was held at AASP’s board of directors meeting on October 31, 2012, in Las Vegas, NV. Pennsylvania shop owner, Jeff Walter, Zimmerman’s Auto Service, Mechanicsburg, PA, will serve as President. The following AASP board members will join Walter on the Executive Committee: A.C. Guarino, A.C. Automotive, WinstonSalem, NC; Bruce Tschida, Lake Marion Collision, Lakeville, MN; Ron Reiling, AASP-Missouri, St. Charles, MO; Mike Moehlenkamp, Gary’s Auto Service, Florissant, MO; Rick Starbard, Rick’s Auto Collision, Revere, MA. Walter recently completed two terms as president of AASP-PA. He stated, “It’s an honor to have been chosen as President of AASP National. My goal is to positively impact the ever-increasing challenges to both the collision and service repair industry on a national level.” The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers is a coalition of 12 state/regional associations representing over 9,000 automotive aftermarket businesses in 24 states.
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www.autobodynews.com | FEBRUARY 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS 5
Ohio Law Would Increase Auto Insurance Requirement A new law approved by Ohio lawmakers would raise the minimum amount of car insurance motorists are required to carry, the Claims Journal recently reported. Both the Mark Okey, Ohio House and Ohio State Senate passed Representative bills in mid December that would raise minimum coverages. For example, the state minimum for property damage coverage would jump from $7,500 to $25,000. State Rep. Mark Okey, one of the sponsors of the House bill, says current limits are so low that they leave a lot of drivers vulnerable. He noted that no changes have been made to the minimum requirements since 1969, while the cost of cars and car repair has skyrocketed. Okey acknowledges that it will lead to some people paying higher premiums, but he said the increased cost won’t be dramatic.
Fire Destroys IL Body Shop, Causes Three Crashes
A Franklin Park, IL, auto body shop had its roof cave in during an extraalarm fire in early January. The blaze brought firefighters from surrounding towns’ departments, including Chicago’s, and caused at least three minor accidents on a nearby overpass, authorities said. The fire at Intent Auto Body, 3305 N. Mannheim Road, started about 12:30 p.m. and was under control about an hour later. At one point, flames leapt several stories in the air from the onestory brick building, distracting several drivers on the nearby Mannheim Road overpass and causing at least three minor accidents, police on the scene said. Firefighters from at least 10 area departments helped Franklin Park firefighters battle the blaze, which caused the building’s roof to cave in, officials at the scene said. No one was injured in the fire and it was under control a little after 1:30 p.m.
IABA Schedules Several January Meetings
2013 was off to a busy start with several Indiana Auto Body Association meetings scheduled for January, according to IABA director Tony Passwater. January meetings included: Jan 15: bi-monthly dinner meeting in Fort Wayne Jan. 16: bi-monthly dinner luncheon meeting in New Albany; and bimonthly dinner meeting in Bloomington Jan. 17: bi-monthly luncheon meeting in Indiana NW; and bi-monthly dinner meeting in Indianapolis According to Passwater, additional chapter meetings will be added in the South Bend, Richmond Anderson/Kokomo, Terre Haute, and Evansville areas this year. “Our January meetings are our yearly events when we thank our sponsors for being so committed to our industry and support of our association,” Passwater said. Passwater also presented updates on the new consumer-focused program, ‘A Shop You Can Trust,’ and action being taken to curb ‘steering.’ In February, the IABA hosts its convention and technology showcase. Registration is now open.
“This event is designed for everyone in the collision repair industry. Owners, managers, estimators, and technicians will have a large selection of interesting topics, handson demonstrations and educational classes. Our exhibitors are bringing the best products and services available from North America,” said Passwater. The convention will also include two special AWS welding certification sessions that will provide I-CAR Welding Qualification equivalency at this event for a fraction of the cost compared to the I-CAR WQT, said Passwater. “Then, of course, you don’t want to miss Mike Anderson, Toyota with Predictive Estimating, IDEM, George Avery on PartsTrader, or Rich Evans (TV Star of Car Warriors) doing a live vehicle design transformation, along with the latest and advanced equipment and refinishing demonstrations,” Passwater added. This event will have non-stop action both days beginning with the latest I-CAR program, New Technologies 2013 on Feb. 21 at 6 pm. For more information, go to: IABAconvention.com and get registered early.
6 FEBRUARY 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
Nagy’s Collision Specialists in Ohio Celebrate 40 Years
2013 marks the 40th anniversary of Nagy’s Collision Specialists in Ohio. Dave Nagy founded the collision repair business at 12145 Whitman Rd. in Doylestown in 1973. His sons, Ron and Dan, bought the business from their father in 1995 and added multiple locations in Wooster, Wadsworth, Millersburg, Orrville, Akron and Ashland.
Dan Nagy, Dave Nagy and Ron Nagy
Nagy’s will celebrate their anniversary all year long by offering numerous prizes and giveaways to their customers via Facebook and their website. Nagy’s offers services such as Autowatch, where customers can view their vehicles being repaired online, and e-Estimates, where customers can receive estimates at their homes or offices.
CARSTAR Expands in WI
CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts is expanding in Wisconsin with the opening of a satellite facility for Utzig CARSTAR Collision Service in Milton, WI. Owned by Al Utzig, Utzig CARSTAR Collision Service—Milton, located at 635 Greenman St., will serve as a satellite facility to handle repairs for vehicle owners in that community. All repairs will be handled at the Utzig CARSTAR Collision Service facility in Janesville at Utzig CARSTAR Collision Service. Utzig also owns a satellite locationUtzig CARSTAR Collision Service in Evansville, WI. As part of CARSTAR’s commitment to customer service, Utzig CARSTAR Collision Services - Milton will take care of the entire process of repairing the vehicle, from getting the vehicle towed to the facility to coordinating with the insurance company to restoring it to pre-accident condition. “We congratulate Al Utzig on his expansion to a second satellite and his continued commitment to operational excellence,” said David Byers, CEO of CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts. “We are thrilled to expand our presence in Wisconsin.”
www.autobodynews.com | FEBRUARY 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS 7
Think Outside the Truck Box: Spray Lining, A Coating Profit Engine by Ed Attanasio
By guiding body shops, distributors and dealers in the right direction, Spray-Lining and Coatings can advise companies such as collision repairers, automotive restoration companies and car detailers to get into the industrial coatings field and succeed at a high level. Billy Simmons, owner of Bottom Line Coatings in Houston and Texas City, TX, an automotive detailing business added Spray-Lining to its capabilities several years ago. “At first, we were coating truck beds, which we still do. But, now we’re doing big jobs, mostly marine applications for boat builders and marine structures such as piles and piers,” Simmons said. “It’s been a great source of revenue for us, because the profit margins are high and the product is well-supported. You can apply high-spec coatings to pretty much anything.” Spray-Lining’s Dealership Support Director Jeff Powell is a seasoned veteran of the industrial coatings game, so he knows how to make it or break it in this business, he explained. Powell works closely with each of his distributors nationwide to show them where there’s money to be made by tapping into all of the applications that require industrial coatings.
Before: This truck bed looks hopeless!
“We provide the training for body shops that want to look for different sources of revenue. Collision repairers, detailers and customizers have gravitated toward this business model, because it all starts in the automotive niche, doing truck beds primarily. But then if they want to go for larger jobs, such as doing things like larger com-
mercial trucks, warehouses, garage Lining and Coatings on a daily basis. “We don’t just push inventory and floors, waterscapes, koi ponds and pools—it’s like a blood transfusion. then watch you sink or swim, like some of the other companies out There are more and more applications out there that need these products, and there,” he said. “The true value of with our body shop’s technical ex- working with us is our expertise. It’s pertise, coupled with decades of really that simple. Anyone can get the Spray-Lining experience, we’re able to guide body shops to new business they could not get otherwise.” By marketing their dealers via the Internet and through direct mail, trade shows, custom signage, broadcast and print advertising in protected regions, Spray-Lining and The applications for Spray-Lining and Coatings are countless Coatings sets up its right equipment and learn how to automotive partners for success, Powapply the coatings themselves. But, ell said. can they land big ticket jobs and keep “We’ve done the same thing for the ball rolling, while avoiding comhundreds of companies all over North mon mistakes the competition might America, so it’s proven. It’s even proven in British Columbia, where the make?” Michael Knab, owner of Shammy government controls the collision Shine in Antigo, WI, sells car wash claims process. We know how to chemicals and installs car wash equipmake money in the linings business ment. He is a Spray-Lining and Coatand can turn a small investment into ings dealer and has developed the serious income with equity rather quickly using promos, training, equip- endeavor into a lucrative side business, he explained. ment and technical savvy. We’re in“Your imagination is the limit terested in selling products, of course, with how you can use these coatings, because there are so many applications out there. Truck beds are definitely a good portion of the work we get, but we also do a lot of agricultural applications, trailers, boats, swimming pools, waterscapes, and bumpers on commercial vehicles, for example. I’ve even used them on steel-toed boots for a customer, believe or not. It’s a great product, because it is easy to apply once you get used to it. You can match colors or shoot it clear and it’s extremely versatile and adaptable.” As a new Spray-Lining and Coatings distributor or by using a DIY kit, As a new Spray-Lining and Coatings distributor or by using a DIY kit, body shops can get body shops can get involved in an ininvolved in an industry that’s exploding dustry that is currently flourishing and but we focus more on promoting our growing, Powell said. dealers locally versus the national “We will loan you the equipment brands, so that they can make a solid for free for the first year and steer you markup and build their businesses.” in the right direction for more jobs and Support is the key, because withnon-automotive applications. We asout it, body shops can’t easily create sist you with the big job pricing, bidan ancillary business like the one ding processes and by working with Powell does for companies via Spray- our support department, you’ll have
8 FEBRUARY 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
answers available to you 24/7. Truck beds will bring you some additional revenue to your collision customers and you’ll also get phone calls and emails asking for bids on a wide range of different projects. By providing a better alternative to Rhino or Line-X at a lower cost, income streams can propagate rapidly. For that reason, we’re looking for body shops that want to look outside the truck bed and consider other new sources of income relevant to their experience.” By leveraging its understanding of the industry, Spray-Lining and Coatings can take on the competition and prevail against any of the “national” names in the business, Powell said. “We started in agriculture doing slip-proofing on large trailers and livestock barns and anti-stick coatings on chutes, bins, hoppers and dump trucks, well before the term “bed liner” was coined.” “We’re an alternative for companies such as Rhino, Line-X, Scorpion Coatings and DuPont Paint Protection films because our products provide a lower-cost solution to bed liners. By providing a wide range of variable textures and high-tensile clear, we’re able to offer an affordable and proven system that can supersede the usual solutions,” Powell said.
Money making applications include jobs such as the surfacing of playgrounds
Collision repairers are often careful about exploring anything not within a comfort zone, but Powell has found forward thinkers from Massachusetts to Arizona and everywhere in between, he said, that have chosen to work with Spray-Lining and Coatings. “Most shops can see the synergy between the collision business and what we’re doing,” Powell said. “Many of our body shop dealers are using this system and doing very well performing automotive-related jobs. But, others have embraced other uses for these products. 2013 may be the right time to look around for newest methods to profit, depending less on collision, insurance or low profit DRPs: Raising profit in the end.”
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Take on the Big Boys! www.autobodynews.com | FEBRUARY 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS 9
Illinois Proposes to Give Drivers Licenses to Illegal Immigrants
A proposal to issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants has received committee approval in the Illinois House, despite concerns by both Democrats and Republicans whether it goes far enough to prevent fraud, the Insurance Journal recently reported. The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights says there are 250,000 unlicensed illegal immigrants who drive in Illinois. Uninsured immigrant drivers cause $64 million in damage claims each year, according to the coalition’s calculation that’s based on federal and state figures. That’s an expense covered by ratepayers’ increased premiums. Better-trained and licensed drivers mean safer roads, advocates say. The plan, endorsed 6-3 by a transportation committee, requires those immigrants who wish to obtain a license have their photo taken and filed digitally in a state database. But state Rep. Dennis Reboletti, RElmhurst, said illegal immigrants should be fingerprinted as a better way to create an identifying record. Photos alone could lead to identity fraud, he said. Supporters of the legislation question whether fingerprinting would
deter potential licensees from applying for fear of being identified and deported. The measure got a Senate OK in December and is backed by Gov. Pat Quinn. If passed in the House and signed, Illinois would be the third— and most populous—state to issue such licenses. Washington and New Mexico currently issue them. The legislation would make immigrants who drive to work and school eligible for temporary licenses that are already issued to foreign-born visitors to the U.S. The licenses couldn’t be used to buy a firearm, register to vote or board a plane, and law enforcement officials wouldn’t be allowed to use them to target illegal immigrants for deportation. Opposition to the measure in Illinois has been scarce. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel issued a congratulatory statement, saying the measure would make the city and state “more welcoming to immigrants.” “The more we can do to help recent immigrants step out of the shadows, the more they can do to make active contributions to our communities and economy,” he said.
Military Vehicles Go Up On Auction Block in Indiana In an effort to pay off the mortgage on the National Military History Museum in Auburn, IN, battle-hardened historic military vehicles went on the auction block in December. About 80 vehicles were available to bidders from around the globe. Up on the auction block were half- and full-track vehicles, command cars,
This regular-production 1941 Fiat 1500 has a camouflage paint job and hooded headlamps, but otherwise it is a civilian model with 45horsepower 1.5-liter six. It sold for $11,000. (Jenny King / Special to The Detroit News)
landing craft, tractors and motorcycles, all camouflaged, soiled and wearing their national insignia. According to RM Auctions America, total sales were $2,976,605 (hammer prices) for the one-day event held Dec. 8. RM Auctions spokeswoman Amy Christie said a stand-
ing-room-only crowd was on hand for the sale. Phone and internet bidding helped drive up prices. A World War II Daimler-Benz DB10 12-ton Prime Mover, described as one of the “scarcest” of all German military vehicles, sold for $200,000. A 1940-41 Hanomag armored 3/4track brought $160,000 and a 1940 Horch 4X4 Cross-Country Personnel Car sold for $150,000. Robert Thomas, a veteran who works for the Dean V. Kruse Foundation and who served as a guide and host for the event, said the non-profit National Military History Center plans to expand the scope of the museum to include conflicts from the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror. “We want to rebuild and include dioramas,” Thomas said. “First we must get rid of our debt.” Thomas explained that many of the vehicles on display will remain on-site and were not for sale. Among those vehicles was a staff car—a 1942 Packard Clipper Model 2001 with 282-inch, 125-horsepower eight engine. The massive five-ton Studebaker US6 4X6 Cargo and a 1944 Studebaker T24 “weasel” with delicate wooden skis on top for use in northern Europe were others continuing in the museum collection.
10 FEBRUARY 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
ABRA Acquires 4 More Locations in Two States ABRA Auto Body & Glass, a Minnesota-based vehicle repair company, acquired four more repair centers in two states. In two separate transactions, ABRA acquired three Collision Plus Auto Body Repair Centers in southern Illinois just outside St. Louis, MO, and Ogden Auto Body in Utah. The deals boost ABRA’s repair center portfolio to 136 and expands its national footprint to 15 states. “This is our 16th acquired center of the year and our first step into Illinois and the St. Louis market,” said Duane Rouse, President and Chief Executive Officer of ABRA. “We have also added seven new franchises and developed four corporate centers this year for a total of 27 new centers added to our system in 2012,” Rouse added. ABRA’s new midwest repair centers are located just outside St. Louis, MO, in the southern Illinois cities of Swansea, Glen Carbon and O’Fallon. “Customer satisfaction has been our number one priority,” said Nick Gojmeric, founder and owner of Collision Plus Auto Body Repair Centers. “ABRA’s commitment to its customers while valuing a culture of
ethics, integrity and teamwork makes it the perfect company to acquire our business.” “For more than 70 years, our repair center has been a trusted part of the community,” said Tom Baur, owner of Ogden Auto Body. “We know ABRA will continue the commitment we’ve made to superior service over seven decades in business.” The new Ogden location will be ABRA’s fifth repair center in Utah. ABRA expects to continue expanding in the years ahead and is actively seeking new opportunities to acquire repair centers to its industry leading operating system as part of its aggressive national growth plans in major markets. Interested parties should contact Louis Berezovsky, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 763.585.6205.
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Lessons from “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “It’s A Wonderful ASA Michigan” by Ray Fisher
We all remember this epic holiday story of “It’s A Wonderful Life” available multiple times during the holiday season. The story, inspired by the book “The Greatest Gift,” is told reflecting the era surrounding World War II. As we all know, the main character, George Bailey, is depressed and suicidal after some key events occurred at his Ray Fisher business. Upon meeting his guardian angel, George is shown how things would be “if he had never been born”—reiterating the importance of what we do in life and the many things that are sometimes taken for granted yet so influential. It is a timeless, inspiring story that almost 66 years later is the number one movie shown around the holidays, reminding us to take the time to reflect on our life, not looking at it from the “me” perspective, but rather from “what I have done for others.” It’s A Wonderful “ASA Michigan” Every year, and especially during these challenging economic times,
Seat Belt Use in Michigan Commercial Vehicles Up
Commercial motor vehicle drivers are using their seats belts more, with seat belt use at 84.9%, a considerably rise from 73.6% in 2006. The survey was conducted by the Wayne State University Transportation Research Group (WSUTRG) and funded by the Michigan Truck Safety Commission (MTSC) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. A similar study conducted by WSU-TRG determined Michigan’s passenger vehicle belt use rate is 93.6%. The survey found that as age increases, the tendency for drivers and passengers to use seat belts increases from 83% for ages under 29 to 86.4% for drivers and passengers over age 60. “Seat belts are vital to ensure safety for all drivers, including those operating large trucks,” said Fred Bueter, MTSC chair. Drivers and passengers of single unit truck types represented about 43% of the total observations and exhibited a much lower seat belt usage rate (81%) than drivers and passengers of tractor-trailer type trucks (87.7%).
condoning the expenditure of your membership dues can become cumbersome, especially if the checkbook balance is a little bleak…but maybe we also take for granted, like George Bailey did, all of the things that occur that we sometimes forget about when that invoice comes in or when someone attempts to “sell a membership.” So let’s ask the question: what would it be like without ASA Michigan and ASA National? Just a few of many highlights • Repair facilities would not have been represented in the multiple facets that it has been since 1934. • Repair facilities might not have had the opportunity to network and achieve “best practices” together because meetings might never have been held. • Repair facilities would have to work directly with the State of Michigan on any violations, issues or other challenges that may occur without the chance of anonymity. (Liaison to the State). • Collision repair facilities would have to work directly with the insurance carriers and voice their opinions directly rather than as a group and without the chance of anonymity (Liaison to insurance carriers). • You would not have had access to
New Drivers Banned from Cell
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder recently signed legislation prohibiting novice drivers from using a cell phone while behind the wheel. The bill applies to holders of Level 1 licenses who must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or another driver at least 21 years old. It also covers Level 2 licenses, which allows driving alone with limits on hours and carrying of young passengers. Snyder signed the bill Jan. 8 in Lansing. Kelsey Raffaele was a 17year-old who was killed in a crash while chatting on her cell phone. Her mom pushed for “Kelsey’s Law.”
Vote: 2013 ASA Board Elections
Voting is open through the end of February to elect the 2013 Automotive Service Association (ASA) national board of directors. All regular members in good standing with ASA are eligible to vote for one position of general director. Casting a vote is done by calling a toll-free telephone number or visiting a secure voting site, which may be accessed from ASA’s website at www.ASAshop.org. The voting line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until voting closes at 5 p.m. Central Time on Feb. 28, 2013.
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original manufacturer data, like Alldata and Mitchell for the past decade or more. ASA National was the one who negotiated with the car manufacturers to get that information to be made available long before the “Right-to-Repair” began (which actually could hinder some of this opportunity if passed). • Mini-Tort in Michigan might still be at $500 for reimbursement to consumer, not the $1000 limit that it was recently raised to because of the efforts of ASA Michigan and their lobbying efforts. • Over 400 collision repair facilities in the State of Michigan may have had erroneous information or little information about the 6H or NESHAP rule, potentially missing the deadlines required by law. • Mechanical and collision repair facilities may have remained ignorant to the many laws governing their repair facilities environmentally, including their responsibilities as business owners because the Workbooks for each industry would never have been created. Now be honest with yourself, who would you call for help if YOU didn’t have a state and national association? Not a member? Begin 2013 with those that are doing something for your business. Call 517-484-2950 or email us at email@example.com.
Honda to Assemble 2014 Accord Hybrid in Ohio
Honda announced it will begin assembling a new 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid later this year in Marysville, OH, where workers first began assembling Accords in November 1982. The Marysville plant, which currently builds the Accord coupe and sedan as well as the Acura TL, has about 4,400 employees. Adding the hybrid will require hiring an additional 50 workers and a $23 million investment. Honda builds two other hybrid models in the United States. The Civic Hybrid and the Acura ILX Hybrid are assembled in Greensburg, IN. Honda began making Accords at the Marysville plant in 1982. At the time, there was some skepticism from consumers about whether American workers could produce the same quality vehicles as workers in Japan. Honda now has about 13,500 workers at four plants in Ohio that assemble vehicles and make engines and transmissions. The automaker says it has invested about $800 million in the state in the last three years.
www.autobodynews.com | FEBRUARY 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS 13
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Social Media for Shops
Why Should Body Shops Have a Website? with Ed Attanasio
I was at a collision-related event recently when a body shop owner asked me, “Why should I have a website? The only reason I have one now is because my main competitor next door has one,” he explained. My first response was “That’s a very good reason right there.” I am surprised when I find so many successful body shops that don’t have websites. So, I decided to poll some industry and Internet experts to assemble a list of convincing reasons. Ten years ago, having a website was something to consider and weigh the advantages, but in today’s world, it’s a no-brainer for many reasons. I recently received a direct mail piece by a company that has a new DIY site that can help body shops to create websites easily and affordably. It’s called Collision Websites and the owner is David Moore, a collision veteran who has helped countless shops to develop award-winning websites over the years. Now, he’s made the process of creating a site so easy that even shops that are dragging their feet can step up and have a website within hours, rather than weeks or even months. His letter started out with some tough love questions, but very timely ones for body shops that don’t currently have websites and/or don’t see any value in them. His opening line immediately got my attention. • Are you on the cutting-edge or about to get cut? • As this industry gets younger and smarter, are you falling behind? Working hard used to be the formula for success, but now technology has changed the game. Did you know that nearly 9 out of 10 people requiring collision work will search the Internet to find someone to repair their vehicle? Statistics show that 95% of all people in the United States expect a reputable business to have a website. Unless your customer base is made up of that non-tech 5%, you’re not impressing or even reaching most of your market. If you currently don’t have a website, you’re losing revenue while reading this. And even a lousy website could cost you even more. So, for those who are still doubters,
here are my main reasons for having a website:
1) Affordable Websites are less expensive and can produce quality leads when compared to other forms of media. The Internet is a proven leader when it comes to cost per response. If you’re using a content management system such as Word Press, you can keep your website fresh and up-to-date by adding new content all the time. Because you’re big on the Internet doesn’t mean you should abandon other forms of advertising altogether. Print, radio, TV and direct mail advertising are still very strong when integrated into a media mix, and can be used to entice people to access your site and find out more about your shop. Think of a big hand with each finger representing one form of media, working in conjunction to reach customers and get cars in your shop.
2) Accessible The Internet enables body shops to break through geographical barriers and become accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. With sites like Google Maps and MapQuest, the days of getting lost while attempting to find your shop is greatly diminished, even for the directionally challenged. We always suggest that you should have a map showing your shop displayed prominently on your home page containing directions and landmarks. Since body shops are brick and mortar businesses obviously, finding you is essential and making it as easy to your potential advertisers is key. The evolution of websites has made the yellow pages and other phone directories fairly obsolete. In the old days, shops that had moved or added new locations were forced to wait until the phone books came out to tell the world where they are. Because a website is flexible, you can change the content as often as you like, which is ideal for shops that are moving or adding locations.
3) Convenient It is far more convenient for a person to research a product on the Internet than it is to get in a car, drive somewhere and look for or ask someone for information on a product. They don’t
16 FEBRUARY 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist based in San Francisco, California. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
have to call around or go to a library— it’s all there on their desk top, lap top or smart phone. The potential customer can visit your website whenever they want in their own privacy and comfort, without the stress and disruptions that exist in the real world. Your website is a self-service entity that can bring you customers while you sleep.
4) Valuable Your website can deliver real value by offering a ton of valuable information, such as useful tips, sage advice and general interest content that can entertain and inform your customers. This will also help them to remember your name when they get in an accident. You can use features on your website such as visitor polls, online surveys and other things and then access your website statistics to find out what your customers like and don’t like. Website statistics show you how much traffic your website receives, how the visitor
got to your website and where, geographically, the visitor is from.
5) Credible A website offers you a forum to tell prospective new customers why you’re a solid company and thereby warrant their respect and adulation. One of the best things about the Internet is that a little mom and pop shop can get as much exposure as a big chain with multiple locations. Solid shops doing exemplary work will always succeed—but by telling the world how good you are as often as you can, it surely does not hurt. If you’re not selling your brand 24/7, who will? By having a website that is full of content, simple to navigate through and easy to find, you’re instantly in the game and will be recognized as a player almost overnight. By having a presence online, you can take full advantage of all the advantages the Internet offers—and a good website is definitely the very first step.
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DuPont Launches GM-Sponsored Parts Rebate Program by Chasidy Rae Sisk
On Jan. 1, DuPont Performance Coatings (DPC) launched their newest program, a parts rebate program sponsored by General Motors. This program, available to DPC’s network of collision repair shops, rewards registered shops with a rebate whenever they choose 100% Genuine GM Parts for selected repairs through CollisionLink. DPC’s new GM Sponsored Parts Rebate program offers Independent Repair facilities the opportunity to receive a 5% cash rebate from GM when the program’s criteria is met. “There has been a tremendous response from the market since the program was formally announced at the beginning of this month. We are constantly striving to bring added value to our customers in the autoGary S. Scott, motive collision OEM Accounts repair industry and Manager, are confident this Collision Services program will be popular,” said Gary S. Scott, OEM Accounts Manager, Collision Services at DPC. DPC’s new rebate program is already popular with its current participants. Kim MacManus, owner of Glidden Auto Body in Bangor, ME, notes that registration was extremely easy since she was already registered with CollisionLink. Furthermore, the rebate “lowers our cost, allowing us to put that money back towards the cost of the part… it’s free money you’re getting back!” Scott Gudmunson, shop manager of Lehman Garage in MN, does not feel that there are any drawbacks to the program, but he finds getting money back to be a great benefit of participation. Don Murphy, owner of The Wreck Room in Villa Park, IL, points out “we’re buying the parts anyway; this is just a direct rebate so it’s like getting free money, plus it is all done automatically so there is no need for additional bookkeeping.” The 5% rebate, minus a 1.25% administrative fee which results in a 3.75% net rebate, will be electronically transferred to the shop’s designated account on a quarterly schedule. Unlike other programs, shops do not have to
apply for their automated rebate after registering for DPC’s rebate program. No additional forms or steps are required in order to obtain the rebate. In order to participate in this program, shops can sign up at www.performancegateway.com/partsrebate using their existing login for either the DuPont Performance Alliance or Per-
formance Claims websites. Following onscreen instructions, shops will complete their general and GM Parts Rebate Program profiles, and they will also complete an ACH form and W9 which will be faxed to 608-210-8040, authorizing their rebates to be electronically deposited in the indicated account. Shops may enroll at any time throughout 2013; however, shops may only participate in one GM sponsored rebate program annually, so shops already participating in another, similar program may only change their program administration during the month of January 2013. Beginning February 1, 2013, DPC’s rebate program is only available to shops who aren’t currently participating in a similar program through another vendor. Upon registration, it will be validated that shops are not actively engaged in another program, and shops will be notified if they are ineligible. Similarly, they will be informed when they become an active member of the GM Parts Rebate Program. After a shop has completed program registration, their estimate must meet GM requirements for GM replacement parts, and the shop will receive verification that their estimate meets the necessary criteria after transmitting the estimate through CollisionLink. Shops must transmit their parts order to their selected dealer through CollisionLink in order to receive the rebate. Estimates that qualify will be tracked, and shops will receive a monthly report. Qualified parts consist of parts ordered for vehicles with model years of two or more years, and rebates do not apply to part orders on current model year vehicles; parts must be new, genuine GM OE parts supplied by a licensed dealer in order to qualify for the rebate. A list of the parts eligible
18 FEBRUARY 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
for the program are defined by GM. Beyond the obvious monetary incentive, DPC’s rebate program offers additional benefits to participants. The automated rebate deposit allows shop to receive the rebate without increasing their workload. Also, the shop’s customers can receive a Certificate of Authenticity for their Genuine GM OEM replacement parts which aids shops’ credibility and increases the integrity of repairs. The program can also assist in reducing cycle time which will lead to higher customer satisfaction ratings. Since rebates are processed through Gates Business Solutions and paid directly from GM, there is no need for a shop to change their existing ordering dealership. Shops will begin receiving rebates automatically on a quarterly basis after registration. Shops are unable to add additional parts to a transaction order after the CollisionLink software has extracted the order for processing. If a transaction contains non-OE parts designated as exceptions by GM, the transaction can still be submitted and may qualify for a rebate if all other requirements are met. If a shop
feels that specific parts should be classified as an exception, they should identify the line item containing the part believed to be an exception and submit it through CollisionLink for review. The transaction will be held pending review of the possible exception; if approved, the transaction may proceed, but if it is rejected, the corresponding transaction will also be rejected. Approved exceptions are added to the database for automatic processing of future transactions containing the approved exceptions. For shops that also participate in GM-sponsored price-matching programs, the price-matched parts must be identified. These may or may not disqualify the transaction, depending on the manufacturer. Discounted parts do not qualify for rebates, but including parts that are eligible for price-matching will not disqualify a transaction if parts are purchased at the shop’s normal discount level. To register for DPC’s rebate program or to obtain more information about the program, please visit: www.performancegateway.com/partsrebate.
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www.autobodynews.com | FEBRUARY 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS 21
AUTOMAKER, AU A UTO OM MA M AK AK ER OEM OEM AUTOMAKER KE R,, OEM, M,, AND AND RECALL RE R E C AL CA ALL LL EC Autobody News
GM Recalls Nearly 119,000 Pickups for Missing Latches
General Motors Co. is recalling 145,000 pickups that may not have a secondary latch to prevent the hood from unexpectedly opening. The recall covers the 2010-2012 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon trucks that may not have a back-up hood latch, including 118,800 in the United States, along with 15,264 in Canada, 7,492 in Mexico and 4,069 around the world. If the primary latch isn’t engaged while the vehicle is in motion, the hood could strike the windshield potentially causing a crash, GM said in a report filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. An analysis of one hood showed the latch assembly had no evidence of welds for the secondary latch, suggesting the latch assembly missed the weld station at the latch plate supplier. GM said the production process did not have any error-proofing to prevent material from bypassing the end of line weld station. Dealers are to inspect for the presence of the secondary hood latch. If the latch is missing, dealers will replace the hood.
Audi Plans 2016 Start in Mexico
Audi is firming up plans for its plant in San Jose Chiapa, Mexico. Mattias Rust, project manager for staff in Mexico, said construction will begin in 2014 and production will start in May 2016 with about 3,800 employees. Audi plans annual output of about 150,000 units of its Q5 crossover. Training of Mexican employees is scheduled to start this year at Audi’s Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm plants in Germany. Some Audi employees from Germany will help with the launch in Mexico. The automaker is recruiting German workers for deployments ranging between four and 15 months, as well as for stays of up to five years.
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BMW Sales Surge in China
BMW Group said sales of its cars and SUVs in China rose 73% in December to 30,470 vehicles. Sales of BMW brand vehicles increased 72% to 28,184, while deliveries of Mini brand vehicles surged 96% to 2,286. In November, BMW Group reported a sales leap of 62.3% to 31,090, which the automaker said was due to strong demand for its X1 small SUV and series 3 long wheelbase models. Full-year group sales in China rose 40% to 326,444 vehicles, BMW said.
Dealer Lawsuit Against Tesla Dismissed by Judge
Dealers trying to block Tesla Motors Inc.’s retail stores in Massachusetts lost another round when a judge dismissed their lawsuit against the electric vehicle maker. In a recent ruling, Norfolk County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Fishman said the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association and other plaintiffs lacked standing to sue. It was the same reasoning the judge used in a November ruling denying a preliminary injunction against Tesla’s suburban Boston store. “We disagree with his decision,” Robert O’Koniewski, the association’s executive vice president, said. He contends the association has standing under changes made to the state’s franchise law in 2002. “If you read the statute, it’s pretty clear: a factory cannot own a store, and a dealer can sue for injunctive relief if they feel the public is being harmed.” Tesla, in a statement, said the ruling validated its retail strategy in Massachusetts and other states. “We are confident that other states will also come to this same conclusion and look forward to following through on our commitment to introduce consumers to electric vehicle technology in an open, friendly, no-pressure environment,” Elon Musk, Tesla co-founder and CEO, said. Tesla’s first Massachusetts showroom opened in September.
22 FEBRUARY 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
GM Could Face $918 Million Hit from Bankruptcy Lawuit
A U.S. bankruptcy judge could soon rule on whether the 2009 government-led restructuring of General Motors improperly favored hedge funds, and an adverse ruling could cost the automaker nearly $1 billion. Judge Robert Gerber must decide whether a ‘lock-up agreement’ in the restructuring sent $367 million to a group of hedge fund noteholders at the expense of other creditors. A trust representing unsecured creditors has sued to undo the lockup agreement, arguing that it was a last-minute deal secretly folded into GM’s bankruptcy to ensure the hedge funds’ support. After the automaker, or ‘Old GM,’ filed for bankruptcy in 2009, its best assets were sold to the new General Motors Co. The remainder of the company once known as General Motors Corp. then was liquidated for the benefit of creditors. While the hedge funds, which hold notes with about $1 billion in face value, received the $367 million under the lock-up agreement, unsecured creditors received just pennies on the dollar. The hedge funds and other investors in the notes also received a claim against ‘Old GM’ for $2.67 billion. In its lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, the creditors’ trust alleged that the lock-up agreement was unfair to ‘Old GM’ creditors. The trust said the deal took place after the bankruptcy filing.
GM Recalls Trucks, SUVs
General Motors is recalling almost 54,700 of its 2013 trucks and sport utility vehicles because of a roll-away danger, according to a report the automaker filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The action covers the Cadillac Escalade, Escalade ESV and Escalade EXT; Chevrolet Avalanche, Express, Silverado (1500 and heavy duty), Suburban and Tahoe; GMC Savana, Sierra (1500 and heavy duty) and the Yukon and Yukon XL. All are 2013 models.
Subaru Recalls 634,000 Cars
Subaru is recalling as many as 634,000 vehicles in the United States for potential lighting problems that could lead to smoke or fire, according to U.S. safety regulators. The recall potentially affects some Forester vehicles 2009-2012, all Legacy and Outback vehicles 2010-2012, and some Tribeca vehicles 2006-2012. The 633,842 vehicles potentially affected by the recall may be equipped with accessory puddle lights that when lit brighten the areas under the doors, according to NHTSA documents. A short circuit can develop when the light or connector are exposed to an electrolytic moisture source such as road spray that has road salt in it, the NHTSA said. That can cause heat that could melt the plastic, resulting in smoke or fire.
Nissan Reprices Leaf
Nissan announced that U.S. pricing for the new 2013 Nissan LEAF will start at an MSRP of $28,800 for the newly-added S grade, making it the lowest priced five-passenger electric vehicle sold in the United States. Depending on location, some consumers may purchase the vehicle for as low as $18,800 with qualifying federal and state tax credits, putting the LEAF on par with gas-powered vehicles of its size. Nissan’s objective for the LEAF has always been to produce an affordable zero-emission vehicle for the mass market, and the 2013 LEAF is a prime example of that commitment with increased value at every trim level, making it more accessible for more people. “With nearly 50,000 LEAFs on the road globally, we are the leaders in zero emissions vehicles and our class-leading product just got better,” said Billy Hayes, Global vice president of LEAF sales for Nissan. ‘From the very outset, Nissan has continuously advanced and refined the affordable zero emissions vehicle ownership experience. Now customers won’t have to pay a premium for owning a green car that’s really fun to drive, and that’s exciting.”
Toyota Top in U.S. Recalls
Toyota Motor Corp. recalled more vehicles—5.3 million—than any other automaker in the U.S. in 2012. It was the third time in the last four years that Toyota led in U.S. recalls. A Detroit News review of recall data found that 16.2 million cars, trucks, motorcycles and RVs were recalled in 2012, a 4.5% increase over the 15.5 million vehicles recalled in 2011. Combined, the seven biggestselling automakers in the U.S. market recalled about 13.5 million vehicles last year, up from 12.5 million in 2011. The number of recall campaigns fell slightly in 2012 to 593, from 587 campaigns in 2011. Several big recall trends emerged: Fire issues, air bag problems, rust and rollaway vehicles accounted for most of the major recalls in 2012. And U.S. regulators fined three major automakers—Toyota, BMW AG and Volvo Cars—for failing to issue timely recalls. Toyota had the most difficult year on the safety front. Honda Motor Co., which led 2011 with 3.9 million recalls, called back 3.4 million vehicles in 2012, second among automakers. Third among automakers was General Motors Co.
Hyundai Recalls Velosters
Hyundai is recalling Veloster cars for sunroof and parking brake flaws for certain Veloster 2012 coupes. The first recall includes 13,500 cars built Nov. 1, 2011–April 17, 2012 and equipped with panoramic sunroofs. The sunroof assemblies in these cars may break while the car is being driven. In a separate action the car maker is recalling 4,490 Velosters built from July 2, 2011–Feb. 27, 2012 and equipped with manual transmissions. The cars’ parking brake mechanisms might bind after exposure to moisture and road grime.
GM Volt Sales Tripled in 2012
General Motors Co. said its 2012 sales of the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt tripled from 2011. U.S. sales of the Volt for 2012 topped 23,000 for the year, said Michelle Malcho, a spokeswoman for GM. GM had sold 20,828 extended-range electric Volt cars through November. In 2011, it sold 7,671 Volt cars, below its forecast of 10,000 for its first full year of sales. Volt sales got a boost when California granted solo drivers access to carpool lanes. GM spokesman Jim Cain says 1-in-3 Volts are now sold in the Golden State.
NHTSA Clears Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Freestar
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is ending its investigations into the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2004-05 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey without seeking recalls, saying the issues don’t pose a serious safety concern. The U.S. auto safety agency recently closed both investigations and posted a report disclosing the decisions. In July, NHTSA opened an investigation into 107,000 Chrysler SUVs of power steering hose blowoffs that could result in fires. Chrysler said the condition would typically occur early, with less than 8,000 miles. Chrysler modified the cooler assembly process to address factors that may contribute to hose blow-offs. Separately, NHTSA said it was closing an investigation into 205,000 2004-05 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans over complaints of faulty jacks to change tires. NHTSA said about half the consumers in complaints were using the jack for something other than tire changing. About half had also not properly chocked a wheel or set the parking brake.
Toyota to Fix Faulty Trunk Release Lever in Lexus
Toyota is expected to alert about 700,000 vehicle owners of 20072013 Lexus ES, 2006-2012 Lexus IS, and 2013 Lexus GS models due to a problem with the emergency trunk release found by Consumer Reports. Consumer Reports found that the emergency interior trunk escape lever on the 2013 Lexus ES and GS can easily snap off during use, potentially leaving a trapped occupant without any way to escape. When the lever is pulled straight or toward the passenger side of the vehicle, it worked fine, Consumer Reports said. However, when pulled toward the driver’s side, the plastic surround acts as a fulcrum and snaps the emergency release handle off easily, preventing the trunk from opening. Consumer Reports immediately notified both Toyota and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about its findings. Toyota was able to reproduce the problem, and it identified another model, the IS, that also was prone to the release breaking. Toyota is replacing the ABS plastic release with a more robust polypropylene unit, strengthened with supporting ridges.
www.autobodynews.com | FEBRUARY 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS 23
On Creative Marketing Aligning with Agents
with Thomas Franklin
As insurance companies set up 800 number claims lines or move away from agents altogether with direct sales and service on-line, agents have become less of a marketing target for many shops. Nevertheless, there are still numerous agents almost everywhere, and many of their customers still call them when they have an accident. Agents are still a good referral source for collision repair business, but today an agent might be more particular about who he or she refers business to. Getting and keeping an insurance customer has become more difficult for agents today. Competition from no-agent, direct online companies is very intense these days. There are continual advertisements on TV, radio and the Internet, and low-ball rates to hook customers are common. It’s not easy for an agent to get new customers. Some shops go to great lengths to get an agent’s referrals. I’ve heard of
some that invite them for hunting parties, fishing trips, barbecues, golf tournaments, and trips to exotic places. A while back, one shop had a threemonth promotion where anyone bringing his or her car in for repair would have a chance to win a paid vacation to Hawaii. But the shop went further than that: They notified the agents that whichever agent referred the winner would also win a trip to Hawaii! Another shop initiated the practice of filling every customer’s tank with gas, and noting that the fillup was “Courtesy of the Agent.” Some insurance companies forbid their agents from accepting any gift. But what an agent would value above all else is not a gift, but rather a new customer. But how can a shop help local agents in their search for new customers? Many shops now ask customers to fill out a “Customer Satisfaction Survey” when a job is completed, or have a CSI company call
Tom Franklin has been a sales and marketing consultant for fifty years. He has written numerous books and provides marketing solutions and services for many businesses. He can be reached at (323) 871-6862 or at email@example.com. See Tom’s columns at www.autobodynews.com under Columnists > Franklin
them. Those with a view to building a stronger relationship with the agents can include a question on the survey regarding the customer’s satisfaction with his or her agent. These are then passed along to the agent as a free service. Many agents seek to sell their expertise as a way to get new customers. Not everyone is happy with the impersonal nature of online insurance services. These days, insurance companies try to bundle home, health, life and auto insurance as a package. Covering all of these aspects of a customer’s life and family can raise many questions. Clever agents try to get speaking opportunities at networking groups, professional association meetings and chambers of commerce where they can demonstrate their wide range of knowledge and their value as an agent. These are groups that a good shop marketing person will also be trying to address, so there may be an
opportunity for a cooperative presentation. Most insurance agents probably assume that people who have been insured with a competing company for a long time will be harder to convert than someone who hasn’t yet purchased much insurance. This suggests reaching the kind of audience that is a natural for a collision repair facility: young and beginning drivers. Smart shop marketing people like to speak at high schools and colleges and driving schools. When one of these is scheduled, it would be an ideal time to invite a key agent to also speak. The more a shop can align itself with an agent’s purposes, the more likely it will be to become an exclusive referral point for that agent. One shop I work with frequently also hosts agent manager meetings regularly. This brings agents into the shop where they can see the modern equipSee Aligning with Agents, Page 39
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Top Safety Picks for 2013
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently awarded 13 vehicle models with its Top Safety Pick+ award for 2013. The vehicle models named as IIHS’ Top Safety Pick+ for 2013 include the Acura TL, Dodge Avenger, Chrysler 200, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord two-door, Honda Accord four-door, Kia Optima, Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy, Subaru Outback, Suzuki Kizashi, Volkswagen Passat and Volvo S60. To earn the Top Safety Pick+ accolade, all 13 vehicles received “good” or “acceptable” ratings in the IIHS’ new small overlap test, an evaluation that simulates safety performance when the front section of a vehicle hits another vehicle or permanent object, such as a tree or utility pole. The IIHS said small overlap crashes account for roughly 25% of frontal crashes that result in serious injuries or fatalities to occupants. The IIHS said midsize, luxury cars were the first group of vehicles evaluated through its small overlap test. Midsize, moderately priced cars will be evaluated next, and the organization will announce additional Top Safety Pick+ winners after tests are conducted. Safety results for small SUVs will be announced this spring.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder Creates New State Department for Finances, Insurance Gov. Rick Snyder is placing more focus on the regulation and support of Michigan’s insurance companies and banks with the creation of a new state department. Snyder established the Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) through an executive order that will take effect in March. He announced the move in his State of the State address Jan. 16. The department will take over the functions that have been covered by the Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR), which is part of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. “Insurance and financial service businesses are a vital part of the overall economic health of Michigan,” Snyder said in a statement. “By establishing a new department dedicated to industry sustainability, it further emphasizes the commitment to removing red tape from economic growth in Michigan. This order will also go a long way toward creating and enforcing appropriate regulations, so we have robust consumer protections in place.” The elevation from an office to a department means that DIFS Director Kevin Clinton, current OFIR commissioner, will be in a cabinet-level
position that reports to the governor, said Snyder spokesman Caleb Buhs. OFIR has a staff of more than 350 people who regulate banks, credit unions, insurance and mortgage companies in Michigan. The office is funded by revenue from fees it imposes. The budget for the new department may increase minimally for certain expenses, Buhs said. It’s unknown how the structure change will impact staffing levels. The move garnered support from several trade organizations. “We applaud and support moving OFIR essentially from its bureau status to a full departmental level. That elevates the stature of the industry oversight,” said Dennis Koons, president and CEO of the Michigan Bankers Association. Koons said he’s also pleased to hear Snyder talk about his goal of promoting job growth in finance and insurance companies. Lori Conarton, spokeswoman for the Insurance Institute of Michigan, said she hopes that DIFS can act like other departments, such as the Department of Agriculture, that not only regulate their industries but promote them as well. “The insurance industry is a stable industry here in Michigan,” she
said. “It’s a high-wage industry, and we think that we can grow it and encourage more companies to come here.” The insurance and financial service sectors employ more than 150,000 people in Michigan, generating more than $9 billion a year in wages and salaries. More than 300 banks and credit unions and nearly 150 insurance companies are based in Michigan. Another 1,500 out-of-state insurers do business here. Members of the Coalition Protecting Auto No-Fault hope that with the new department, the insurance commissioner will get more regulatory powers over insurance rates. “For years, CPAN has called on the Insurance Commission to be given stronger powers to approve auto insurance rates and issue refunds if necessary,” CPAN President John Cornack said. “The Public Service Commission does just that for utilities—another product that nearly everyone in Michigan must buy—and auto insurance should be no different.” Auto insurance companies must file their rates with OFIR and the commissioner has 60 days to deny them. But in order to deny a rate increase, he must prove that there’s no competition available.
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Original Batmobile Sold for $4.6 Million at Auction
Judge to Rule Soon on Batmobile Copyright Suit
at Barrett-Jackson, the Scottsdale, AZ, rare and classic auto auction house. There was a reserve price for the car, built and owned by famed car customizer George Barris. The one-of-a-kind 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car was originally created by a design team at Ford Motor Co.’s Lincoln styling department. The 19-foot-long, two-seat, bubble-topped grand touring car prototype was entirely hand-built in 1954 by Ghia Body Works in Turin, Italy, and unveiled in 1955 at the Chicago Auto
A Gotham Garage replica of the “1966 car,” the television Batmobile
The iconic Batmobile from the 1960s television show sold for $4.6 million at the Barrett-Jackson classic car auction held in Arizona the weekend of Jan. 19–20. The midnight-black and fluorescent-red-pinstriped car that Adam West’s Batman used to battle villains in Gotham was up for grabs Jan. 19
Show. In late 1965, 20th Century Fox Television and William Dozier’s Greenway Productions tapped Barris to come up with a car to foil Batman’s enemies. Barris said he bought the 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car from Ford for $1, then transformed the Lincoln in just 15 days for $15,000. The car features bulletproof plexiglass bubble windshields and the Bat Ray (dual 450-watt laser beams that blasted obstacles to bits). It also has a Bat-O-Meter, which identified the location of the bad guys, as well as oil squirters (fashioned from lawn sprinkler heads) to foil evil-doers. “I saw the script and it said, ‘Bang,’ ‘Pow,’ ‘Boom,’” Barris, now 87, said. “That’s exactly what I wanted the car to do. I wanted it to be as big a character as the actors.” Since the television show ended in 1968, the Batmobile has been on display at Barris Kustom Industries in North Hollywood, CA, in a gallery. “It’s difficult to part with,” Barris said. “Whoever the lucky buyer is, I hope they have as much fun with it as I did.” The buyer of the car is Phoenixarea logistics company executive Rick Champagne.
New Insurance Laws Take Effect in 2013 New insurance-related laws will take effect in 2013 in a number of states.
California The California workers’ comp benefit delivery system will undergo changes in 2013 as part of SB 863, the Workers’ Compensation Reform Package, which passed in the 2012 legislative session. SB 863 is intended to reduce system costs as a set-off for increased worker indemnity benefits. SB 863 is designed to contain costs in several ways, while increasing permanent disability (PD) benefits for workers. Two goals of the bill were to change the way in which the system deals with PD, and how medical liens and billing disputes are handled.
Florida The Sunshine State’s HB 119 Motor Vehicle Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance was signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott last May. The bill, which has been described as the most significant auto insurance law in years, seeks to clamp down on alleged abuse and fraud, and improve the state’s no-fault PIP system. The medical benefits provisions of the law took effect on Jan. 1, 2013. They include the requirement that accident victims report an auto-related injury and seek
treatment within 14 days. Policyholders could receive up to $10,000 in benefits for emergency medical care, and $2,500 for less serious injuries.
New Jersey The Garden State planned to implement new rules regarding motor vehicle PIP insurance on Jan. 4, 2013. Proposed changes included adding more procedures to the physicians’ fee schedule to slow rising auto insurance costs. Critics say the new fee schedule limits the types of procedures that could be reimbursed at ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), and sets hospital outpatient surgical facility fees higher than ASC fees for certain services. The N.J. Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers is seeking a stay from the court on the implementation of the new rules.
Illinois Beginning in January, SB 0275 will allow state agencies that issue occupational or professional licenses to provide expedited temporary licenses to service members and their spouses who meet certain requirements. This could make it easier for military veterans to enter the insurance profession. Visit InsuranceJournal.com for more information.
26 FEBRUARY 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
A copyright case involving DC Comics, custom-car builders and the Batmobile from the 1960s Batman television series could reach a conclusion later this month, the Wall Street Journal’s Driver Seat recently reported. In 2011, DC, a unit of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., sued car builder Mark Towle, who runs Gotham Garage, a Santa Ana, CA, shop whose business
includes selling hand-built Batmobile replicas. Both sides filed recently for summary judgment and a hearing with a judge is scheduled for Jan. 30. The judge could find in favor of either party or decide the case has to go to trial. The company said the replicas violate copyrights associated with vehicles Batman has used dating to the character’s early comic-book days. Towle and his Los Angeles lawyer, Larry Zerner, counter that
cars are not subject to copyright protection and the Batmobile from the television show—known to fans as “the 1966 car”—has virtually no design connection with earlier comicbook versions. The television car that people of a certain age recall fondly began life in the mid-1950s as a Lincoln Futura concept vehicle for display in auto shows. Legendary car customizer George Barris built the car and, Zerner said, many car builders including his client have made and sold replicas since then. Indeed, another custom car shop called Fiberglass Freaks could play a part in deciding the case. The Logansport, IN, company has been building Batmobile replicas for about nine years and has done so under a license from DC Comics since 2010. Shop owner Mark Racop said the problem started when Gotham Garage began offering its cars through online auctions. Descriptions of the cars included statements suggesting the Batmobile design isn’t protected under copyright and licensing laws, Racop said. The case happens to be unfolding as the original 1966 Batmobile was recently purchased for $4.6 million at auction. See adjacent story.
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3M Assists 19 Collision School Programs with $160,000 in Production Donations via Foundation 3M has come to the aid of 19 secondary and post-secondary collision programs across the country by donating their Hookit II sets through the Collision Repair Education Foundation. This product donation, valued at $160,000, will ease collision department budgets by providing students with the opportunity to work with upto-date supplies. 3M Marketing Manager Dale Ross said, “3M is honored and pleased to continue our support of the Collision Repair Education Foundation and the many career and technical schools around the country. We are keenly aware that providing stateof-the-art products to these students during their education is vital to ensuring their future and the future of our industry.” Collision Repair Education Foundation Director of Development Brandon Eckenrode said, “According to the surveys and information we receive back from instructors, secondary and post-secondary collision school programs on average have a budget of $6,000 to run their program each year. Through our industry supporters, such as 3M, we are able to as-
sist instructors with this minimal budgetary amount to instruct proper collision repair training to the future professionals of the industry. 3M has lead the way in providing product donations to collision school programs the past several years and their commitment to the industry.” Inter-industry organizations and individuals who are interested in supporting the Education Foundation and increasing the amount of assistance provided to collision schools and students should contact Education Foundation Director of Development Brandon Eckenrode at Brandon.Eckenrode@edfoundation.org or 847463-5244. The Collision Repair Education Foundation, founded in 1991, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to securing donations that support philanthropic and collision repair education activities that promote and enhance career opportunities in the industry. For information on how to donate to programs supported by the Education Foundation, visit us on the Internet at: www.CollisionEducationFoundation.org
Alcoa Awards $40,000 Aluminum Training Grant to Collision Repair Education Foundation Alcoa Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Alcoa, the world’s leading aluminum company, recently awarded the Collision Repair Education Foundation a $40,000 grant that will provide educational and aluminum repair training to post-secondary collision instructors and students. Collision instructors and students will have the opportunity to apply for the aluminum repair training grant as part of the Collision Repair Education Foundation’s spring 2013 student scholarship/tool grant opportunities. Seventeen collision instructor/student pairs will be selected to attend aluminum repair technical training at the I-CAR Tech Centre in Appleton, WI, during the summer of 2013. “The work of the Collision Repair Education Foundation is spot on with our desire to educate and train people for important STEM-related trades including automotive repair,” said Randall Scheps, Director of Marketing for Alcoa Automotive. “As the mix of materials in this market continues to change as consumers seek more fuel-efficient vehicles, this work is even more important. Though it will also make it evident
Collision Repair Education Foundation Offers $300,000 in Scholarships and Tool Grants This Spring
The Collision Repair Education Foundation is offering more than $300,000 in scholarships and tool grants to collision students this spring. Secondary and post-secondary collision students attending career and technical schools and colleges have the opportunity to apply for $300,000+ in available scholarships and tool grants available through the Collision Repair Education Foundation and the organization’s industry supporters. The spring 2013 opportunities include: • 3M Hire Our Heroes Veteran Scholarships & Tool Grants • Alliance of Automotive Service Providers Massachusetts (AASP-MA) Tool Grants • ABRA Auto Body & Glass Tool Grants • Alcoa Foundation Aluminum Training Grants • CCC Michael Salvatore Memorial Student Repair Technician Scholarships • Chicago Pneumatic Student Tool Grants • Collision Repair Education Foundation Board of Trustees Scholarships • Collision Repair Education Foundation Scholarships
• GEICO Scholarship and Tool Grants • I-CAR Northwest Region Scholarships • The Lon Baudoux Legacy Scholarships • PPG Automotive Refinish Scholarships • Service King Tool Chest Grants • Sherwin-Williams Primer Pack Grants • Sterling Autobody Centers Scholarship & Tool Grants Students may apply for scholarships online at CollisionEductionFoundation.org by February 15. All students who apply will receive a free safety kit which includes a complimentary technician shirt/uniform, safety glasses, mechanic gloves and a disposable dust respirator.
that working with and repairing aluminum is actually no more difficult that any other material—it’s just different,” Scheps said. Collision Repair Education Foundation Executive Director Clark Plucinski noted, “As more and more of today’s and future vehicles are being constructed with aluminum, it is crucial that repair professionals complete aluminum repair technical training in order to repair consumer’s collision damage properly. Through this Alcoa grant, not only will instructors gain technical training that they can bring back to their classroom for additional students, but the students will have completed industry recognized, I-CAR aluminum repair training making them more employable to the industry. I thank Alcoa for their support and we look forward to working together with them and ICAR on training the future repair professionals of the collision industry.” Collision Repair Education Foundation spring 2013 scholarship and tool grant applications are available online at www.CollisionEducationFoundation.org. Questions? Call 847.463.5244 or email Brandon.Eckenrode@ed-foundation.org.
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The Insider is a corporate-level executive with a Top 10 auto insurer in the U.S.. Got a comment or question you’d like to see him address in a future column? Email him at Auto.Insurance.Insider@gmail.com
Changes at I-CAR a Good Foundation to Build Upon with The Insurance Insider
Training…What is it good for? Ab- anyone with a toolbox on wheels is a solutely nothing. Say it again. professional body technician. Hopefully, you were able to sing I-CAR still has a lot of other with Chasidy Rae changes Sisk to make, but this is a solid along to the modified lyrics to the song “War,” a hit performed by foundation to build upon. I wish they Edwin Starr. If you aren’t familiar would have made these changes with it, it is a famous song protesting sooner but it is indicative of the entire war. And that probably also means that you were born in a different generation where war andChasidy protests areRae Sisk with things you’ve only read about. Speaking of protests, there was an informal one staged by collision repairers a few years ago. Leaders in the industry were dissatisfied with I- industry. Repairers and insurers are CAR’s direction and the level of serv- notoriously slow to adopt and impleice I-CAR provided. The training ment change. Why should a supplier I-CAR offered was deemed outdated to the industry like I-CAR be any difand to some degree was becoming ferent? more irrelevant by the day. I realize that there are some chalI-CAR listened and took action, lenges with the new I-CAR Gold making significant change to its train- Class system and cost is at the top of ing curriculum, structure and delivery the list. Small independent shops to methods. This led to additional, much large consolidators have publicly exneeded changes in the requirements to pressed their concerns with the cost of attain I-CAR Gold and Platinum sta- the training. But aside from the cost, tus. there is no denying the need for ongoIn my humble but wise opinion, ing education specific to your job and I-CAR finally did something right. responsibilities, especially when you They listened to their customers. They consider the alarming rate of change asked the entire industry for input – in the way vehicles are being manuand then delivered. factured. You will not be equipped to There are pundits out there who properly repair many vehicles without question I-CAR’s motives. “They did training. it for the money,” stated one uninI realize that there is still a lot to formed repairer. “They did it because be desired relative to I-CAR training, insurance companies made them do but at the present time there isn’t a it,” cited another uninvolved repairer. better alternative. I believe that the If improving the level of training cost to train technicians would be a and competency of technicians is an moot point if there was a financial inulterior motive, then I-CAR guilty is centive. Most shops don’t believe that as charged. While you may not like there is a return on investment. In the new requirements or costs, the de- some ways, I agree with the premise cisions were not made in a vacuum. that there is no direct return, even Many of the brightest minds in the in- though there are least a few insurance dustry participated this cataclysmic companies that require Gold Class stashift within I-CAR. And yes, if you tus. Insurance companies should pay were wondering, the brightest minds a higher labor rate to those shops that in the industry aren’t solely insurance have made significant investments in company representatives. training as well as tooling and equipHas I-CAR’s implementation of ment. Pro Level training requirements been “If you truly believed that, you beneficial? From an insurer’s perwould change it,” you might be thinkspective, it was a significant win for ing. My answer is that it isn’t that simthe entire industry. The days of a ple. The complexities of labor rates painter taking a class on steering to at- and the impact it can have on the prictain I-CAR Platinum are now as out- ing of our insurance products could dated as the misconception that make a carrier non-competitive and
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lose market share almost overnight. That is one example of the differences between repairers and insurers. Repairers can make a decision for their business, take accountability and understand the short- and long-term impact. Insurers do not have that luxury or the latitude to take immediate action. A decision made in one department could adversely impact several others, unknowingly to those taking the action. Policyholder retention and growth are the primary drivers of most decisions made by carriers in today’s extremely competitive marketplace. That is why there is such a focus on cost and customer service. For now, a shop’s return on investment in training can be found in a safe and proper repair, professional technicians and reduced cycle time. Although I would never say that I-CAR Platinum or Gold Class designations guarantee a proper repair, I believe that they increase the probability
30 FEBRUARY 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
of one. Ongoing training through the Pro Levels 2 and 3 ensure that a technician’s knowledge improves and that he or she grows professionally. I-CAR still has a lot of work to do but the longest journey starts with the first step. Hopefully, 2013 will bring about the next level of change that is needed, including more testing. This has always been a sore subject amongst those who have ever paid for or taken an I-CAR class. The reality is that unless more insurers require I-CAR Gold Class or Gold Class shops are compensated at a higher rate, the altered lyrics in Starr’s song will continue to resonate with many in the industry. “The Insider” is an auto insurance company executive who wishes to remain anonymous. This column reflects solely the opinion of The Insider as it offers an unvarnished look at various issues impacting the collision industry. Original BMW Parts
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Continued from Cover
IABA Hosts Showcase
expert Rich Evans will present a live hands-on custom design on a vehicle on Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. Other Saturday sessions include welding certification tests.
Erick Bickett, Fix Auto
George Avery, PartsTrader
Nick Notte, Sterling Autobody
Rick Leos, Toyota
Greg Coccaro, North State Custom
Jim Keller, 1Collision
Ray Gunder, Gunder’s Auto Ctr.
David Byers, CARSTAR
Dale Sailer, PartsTrader
Aaron Schulenburg, SCRS
Other presenters include Mike Anderson with Collision Advice, Erick Bickett with Fix Auto, George
Avery with State Farm, Nick Notte with Sterling Autobody Centers, Rick Leos with Toyota, Greg Coccaro
with North State Custom, Jim Keller with 1Collision Network, Ray Gunder with Gunder’s Auto Center, David Byers with CARSTAR, Dale Sailer with PartsTrader and Aaron Schulenburg with SCRS. On Saturday at 8 a.m., Mike Anderson, Collision Advice, presents “Outsell, Upsell and Close!” to share his techniques for maintaining a 90% closing ratio, achieving outstanding profitability and creating consistently satisfied customers. Live equipment demonstrations and advanced training sessions will be offered by a variety of companies, including Car-O-Liner, Chief Automotive Technologies, Matrix Wand, Urethane Supply Company, Sun-Spot, ALLDATA, Audatex as well as refinishing demonstrations from four live booths with BASF, Martin Senour, and Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes. To register, go to IABAconvention.com . For questions, contact Tony Passwater at (317) 290-0611 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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NHTSA Wants Loud Electric, Hybrid Cars for Safety
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed a minimum sound standard for electric and hybrid vehicles to help reduce pedestrian fatalities. Electric and hybrid vehicles are very different than their gas-only counterparts in that they are virtually silent at low speeds, but such quiet operation makes it difficult for pedestrians (and those who are visually impaired) to detect an approaching vehicle. The proposal would require these ‘quiet’ vehicles meet a minimum sound requirement when they travel under 18 miles per hour. Above that speed, there is sufficient noise. Automakers can determine the sounds they want, but the characteristics would need to meet the new regulation. Also, vehicles of the same make and model must emit the same sound. NHTSA estimates this proposal could prevent thousands of injuries per year. Give us your opinion on ma Currently, a number of models already have these artificial sounds, including the Fisker Karma with a Jetson’s-like whir and the Nissan Leaf has a high-pitched whine. publisher@auto
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there’s a fee. I don’t know how that’s better for me. So far, I can’t get anything out of PartsTrader or CollisionLink/OE Connection because they are under a non-disclosure agreement,” Kellogg added. Kellogg is unhappy with how PartsTrader has affected his business. “It’s absolutely terrible. It gets me very small visibility. We are a multiprogram dealer. I deal with wholesale parts. It’s imperative I see the entire estimate. I can’t see the entire estimate the way PartsTrader works, and so far they haven’t been too keen on my suggestions on how to become more visible. We just want to be 100% visible. We want every opportunity to sell our parts.” Kellogg continued, “In our business, or in any business, you want full visibility. But they (PartsTrader) narrow what can be seen in their program. If you send over the estimate through CollisionLink, I get to see everything, all the things you are looking for a quote on—aftermarket pricing, everything you can possible do—
and we get to submit a quote on that. When it comes through as a PartsTrader order, all I get is ‘quoted new’ or ‘quoted aftermarket.’ Well, the rules of the Mopar Conquest Program are that I have to have an estimate. Do I quote it as an aftermarket part, a competitive part, or a new part? If they are not asking for an aftermarket part, all I can do is quote it as new. Once I made the bid and they come back and say “Hey, I had to go aftermarket” and I could say “Hey, I wish you’d give me a shot,” they aren’t going to retype all that information in again. They’re gonna say they already got the part ordered.” Kellogg said he loses about 50 or 60 claims a month now and estimates his loss of gross income at $800 a month because of PartsTrader. He’s hoping that in the future, PartsTrader will bought out by OE Connection as they have a current non-disclosure agreement between the two of them, and it’s his opinion that a sale between the two is a possibility. The current system through OE Connection has full visibility. While Kellogg’s main complaint is not having complete visibility for an estimate on PartsTrader, he also says, it’s
“duplicating something over and over again, and having a bunch of ankle biters, not in the wholesale business, turning the business into a pricing war because they are not sitting on large inventory” trying to undercut him. He bases his business on larger shops and MSOs because they already understand that discounting isn’t everything. While PartsTrader is a thorn in his side, Kellogg admits it hasn’t been the biggest game-changer in the business over the past several years. “It’s just another hurdle. It’s a puddle. It hasn’t become a giant pothole yet.” But, he said, if wishes could come true, he’d wish it away. He’s worried about other insurance companies following suit. “I am worried about what’s coming down the line. Who’s next?” He added, “The fear I have with PartsTrader, and if you understand how State Farm works—State Farm does a $3.6 billion [annually in parts] business—they have to pay sales tax on what it is they do at retail level. So if they get a bunch of idiots who don’t understand this business, who are selling parts to everyone, and they get them to lower the manufactured suggested retail price, then they may only
have to pay taxes on $2.6 billion off retail, which would decrease their taxable liability by a billion dollars. And it would also ruin our business. I don’t want to see that happen. But I think this is one reason why they are doing it. That’s my opinion.” Kellogg said he sees how the ‘PartsTrader effect’ is trickling down to affect other businesses. “I just don’t know how to make it go away, but I wish that it would. Anytime when you start decreasing our revenue, we have to let something go, like advertising or people. There is always a ramification for everything,” Kellogg said.
FHWA Estimates 2012 Fatalities
A statistical projection of traffic fatalities for the first half of 2012 shows that an estimated 16,290 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. This represents an increase of about 9% as compared to the estimated 14,950 fatalities that occurred in the first half of 2011. Preliminary data reported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) shows that vehicle miles traveled in the first six months of 2012 increased by about 15.6 billion miles, or about a 1.1% increase.
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Industry Insight with John Yoswick
—John Yoswick is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon, who has a body shop in the family and has been writing about the automotive industry since 1988. He is the editor of the weekly CRASH Network (for a free 4-week trial subscription, visit www.CrashNetwork.com). Contact him by email at jyoswick@SpiritOne.com.
Action on Insurer ‘Most-Favored Nation’ Clauses May be on the Horizon A key element of some direct repair collision repair industry in 2006 when program (DRP) contracts is indirectly State Farm announced some significoming under increasing scrutiny by cant changes to its Select Service with Ed Attanasio federal regulators—leading some to agreements. One of the changes was predict insurer pricing demands on an MFN requirement. George Avery, a claims consultshops soon may be forced to change. The contract clause in question is ant with State Farm, defended the new often referred to as the “most-favored requirement at the time by saying that nation” clause in that it requires a sup- because State Farm writes more than plier—such as a body shop—to pro- twice as many estimates as its nearest vide the buyer with with which it has a competitor, it felt it should be getting Ed Attanasio contract such as an insurer—with the any discounts that shops offer to other same pricing it offers its “best” or insurers or customers. “If you choose to give no discounts “most-favored” customer. Most-favored nation (MFN) whatsoever, that’s perfectly fine with clauses have been the subject of law- us,” Avery said in a 2006 interview. “I suits and regulatory scrutiny in the don’t have a problem with that. But if health care industry in recent years, your business model includes some disand the Automotive Service Associa- counts, then we want to be part of it.” He said he recognizes that shops tion (ASA) is among the groups hoping to turn that attention to similar may offer one insurer a discount on parts but not labor, and another insurer clauses in DRP contracts. a discount on labor but not parts. Under the new agreement, Avery said, State Farm initiates MFNs first gained prominence in the the shop must provide State Farm with
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all the best discounts it offers in any category. “If anyone or everyone gets a 10% discount except State Farm, for example, if you’re interested in our program and I select you, I would like that 10%,” Avery said. “That’s when repair facilities need to make a decision. Please understand I’m saying this with the most respect I can muster: If your business practice is that you give discounts but you can’t afford to give me the discount, then perhaps this program is not for you.” State Farm said it could check on how a shop bills other insurers when subrogating claims paid by the other carrier for which State Farm is ultimately responsible. “Am I going to scour that stuff? I’m not going to look at your business. I’m going to trust you,” Avery said. “But if it comes to my attention, I’m going to take appropriate action and I’m going to take it now.”
Shops, regulators, courts respond Collision repair shops took a variety of paths in dealing with the new MFN policy, which has since been emulated by a number of other insurers. Those that had previously offered other insurers little in the way of discounts were not widely impacted. Some that had offered discounts didn’t see it as a good business option to extend those discounts to the largest auto insurer—and raised their charges to the other insurers or dropped those programs. Still others just began giving State Farm the MFN status the insurer was seeking. Some, too, parted ways with the State Farm program—of their own choice or that of the insurer. State Farm reduced the number of shops participating in “Select Service” by about 40% in 2006 and 2007 as it rolled out the new agreement. But by 2010, MFNs that insurers had implemented in the health care in-
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dustry were beginning to creep in the news: • In March 2010, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal challenged the MFN clause of a health insurer-provider contract. Blumenthal notified the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary of his ongoing investigation into what he termed the “anti-competitive clause” that Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Connecticut has in its contracts with hospitals and doctors. Blumenthal said such clauses “may drive up health care costs and drown out competition.” • In late 2010, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan filed a motion in U.S. District Court in Detroit seeking dismissal of a federal antitrust lawsuit that alleges that the “most favored nation” clauses of the insurer’s contract with hospitals is anti-competitive. The U.S. Department of Justice and Michigan’s Attorney General had brought the lawsuit against the health insurer, saying MFN clauses raise hospital prices, discourage discounting and prevent other insurers from entering the marketplace. It said that some Blue Cross clauses required Michigan hospitals to charge the insurer’s competitors up to 40% more for services. Blue
Cross was unsuccessful in arguing the suit should be dismissed because as a state-created entity, the company is protected from federal antitrust lawsuits, and because the government failed to show specific economic harm caused by its behavior. “This cannot be allowed in Michigan, and let me be clear: We will challenge similar anti-competitive behavior anywhere else in the United States,” Christine Varney, the U.S. Assistant Attorney General’s Office antitrust chief at the time, said. • Most recently, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) held a joint workshop this past fall that many saw an indication that anti-trust regulators have “a reinvigorated focus on mostfavored-nation (MFN) clauses.” “Although at times employed for benign purposes, MFNs can, under certain circumstances, present competitive concerns,” the two agencies noted prior to the workshop. “This is because they may, especially when used by a dominant buyer, raise other buyers’ costs or (prevent) would-be competitors from accessing the market. Additionally, MFNs can facilitate collusion and stabilize coordinated
pricing among sellers.” ASA’s Bob Redding participated in the workshop and said, “What was evident from the workshop is that public policy regarding MFN clauses is still evolving. There are a number of outstanding questions such as whether these clauses - a common practice in many business sectors have a net benefit for consumers. The FTC and the DOJ have a difficult task in determining how to regulate MFN clauses in order to protect consumers and small businesses.” Following the workshop, ASA wrote a letter to the Department of Justice asking for a full review of the clauses as used in direct repair agreements. “The anti-competitive nature of these clauses ensures both our members and consumers are at a disadvantage,” Redding said in the letter. Redding seems hopeful the issue will remain within the focus of regulators. “This is an area that has not worked in our favor as collision repairers in the past,” Redding said. “But we’re going to see more interest in this area by the FTC and the Department of Justice.”
PartsTrader Releases Supplier Feedback Results
PartsTrader contracted with CSi Complete, an independent research organization, to survey participating parts suppliers within its first four pilot markets. PartsTrader says 67% of parts suppliers gave high marks to the functionality of the PartsTrader product. Over half (53%) of the suppliers indicated a score of 7 or above regarding their overall satisfaction with PartsTrader—on a scale of 0 (Poor) and 10 (Excellent). When asked specifically about their overall opinion of PartsTrader as a procurement tool, 67% responded with a score of 7 or higher. PartsTrader said a 93% satisfaction score was given to the efforts of PartsTrader employees. During early internal surveys of repairers and suppliers, the performance of PartsTrader staff had been identified as an area needing improvement. The survey also identified some areas where improvements should be addressed. PartsTrader will continue to work with industry stakeholders both within and outside of their Advisory Council to make service and product improvements as needed.
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www.autobodynews.com | FEBRUARY 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS 35
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After investigating complaints from consumers and automobile repair shops and evaluating the law, CDI drew the conclusion that defective or otherwise non-compliant aftermarket parts continued to infiltrate the repair process due to insurers’ failure to perform the necessary steps to ensure public safety. CDI had been made aware of defective aftermarket bumper reinforcements, hood latches, and other safety related parts being required by insurers that otherwise were not compliant with current repair standards. CDI had also been made aware of substantial costs borne by automobile repair shops and their customers associated with installing defective or poorly fitting parts required by insurers. Performing repairs that do not comply with current repair standards or placing an inferior aftermarket part in a vehicle may cause the vehicle’s value to depreciate. Defective parts may cause injury or even death if they malfunction. Prior to beginning the formal rulemaking, CDI listened to stakeholders
representing consumers, insurers, automobile repair shops, distributors, and automobile manufacturers. CDI also held a pre-rulemaking workshop in November 2011, which included strong representation of many stakeholders involved in the process. Specifically, this rulemaking will strengthen and enhance current law by: • Requiring an insurer to pay for the costs associated with returning a defective part and the cost to remove and replace the defective part with a compliant non-OEM part or an OEM part; • Requiring the current insurer’s warranty be expressly stated in the estimate of repair generated by the insurer; • Requiring an insurer to cease use of a part known to be non-compliant, and to notify the part distributer within thirty (30) days; • Requiring an insurer to pay for an amount to repair the damaged vehicle to its pre-loss condition in a good and workmanlike manner, based upon the repair standards required by auto body repair shops licensed by the Bureau of Automotive Repair. See www.autobodynews.com for more reaction from insurers and aftermarket pars suppliers.
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Thousands of Sandy Ruined Cars to be Crushed
The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) says progress is being made in identifying and removing thousands of vehicles damaged beyond repair by Sandy. The estimate of 230,000 insurance claims for vehicle damage in the areas affected by Sandy remains unchanged at this time. Many of those vehicles were flooded and are being towed to holding areas where they will be loaded on car haulers and taken to facilities to be crushed.
On Dec. 5th, NICB officials visited holding areas in Brooklyn where more than 7,000 new vehicles awaiting delivery to dealerships had been parked when Sandy flooded the area with more than three feet of water. All but 800 cars had been removed. The vehicles suffered extensive damage as the wind and water shoved them into each other and flooded their electronic systems, damaging them beyond repair.
PPG Awards $20,000 to Collision Repair Foundation
The PPG Industries Foundation has awarded the Collision Repair Education Foundation a $20,000 grant that will provide named post-secondary collision student scholarships. The scholarships will be part of the Education Foundation’s spring 2013 offerings, valued at more than $300,000, and will greatly assist collision students facing financial barriers. “PPG is privileged to take an active role in supporting the industry’s future professionals through these scholarships,” said Domenic Brusco, PPG Automotive Refinish senior manager, industry relations, and Collision Repair Education Foundation Board of Trustees member. “By providing collision repair students with support for the best technical education possible, we are giving collision repair businesses a chance to hire well-trained students who can be productive, efficient and capable employees from day one of the job.” “PPG is happy to offer these opportunities and continue its strong relationship with the Collision Repair Education Foundation,” Brusco said.
West VA Court Bars Insurer from Selling Used and Aftermarket Parts
West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw recently announced that the Circuit Court of Kanawha County has issued a permanent injunction against Liberty Mutual Insurance Company from using salvaged or aftermarket crash parts to repair motor vehicles that are less than three years old. The court’s order upholds current state law that requires insurance companies and body shops to obtain a consumer’s written authorization before salvaged parts are used for the repair of new vehicles. “This is a victory for West Virginia consumers,” said McGraw. “Every consumer has the right to know the type and quality of crash parts used to repair their damaged vehicles.” Liberty Mutual admitted in court documents that it had repaired nearly 200 vehicles using junkyard and aftermarket parts in violation of the Aftermarket Crash Parts Act, and defended its use of these parts which McGraw believed jeopardized consumers’ safety and diminished the value of consumers’ vehicles.
Automotive Ladies Lauded at Urban Wheels Awards
It was ladies’ night during the 17th Annual Urban Wheel Awards Jan. 13 at the Sound Board, MotorCity Casino Hotel. The official multicultural event of the North American International Auto Show honored diversity-centered automotive initiatives and funds scholarships. This year’s event lauded the hard work of women in the automotive industry and those companies committed to the advancement of women, said Randi Payton, president and CEO of Decisive Media, which puts on the event. The lavish affair included performances by entertainers such as Grammy-nominated gospel singer Vicki Winans. Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and 2013 NAIAS Chairman Jim Seavitt made opening remarks. The event was co-hosted by actors Niecy Nash (“Clean House” and “The Soul Man”) and Edward James Olmos (“Battlestar Galactica” and Oscar-nominated for “Stand and Deliver”). Some awards included the Cadillac ATS, Urban Car of the Year; and the Ram 1500 Urban Truck of the Year; and the Urban Green Vehicle of the Year is the Tesla Model S.
Class A Shop Requirements May Change, CIC Says
Changes to the existing “Class A Shop Requirements” are being proposed by the Collision Industry Conference’s (CIC) Definitions Committee. During its November 2012 meeting in Las Vegas, the CIC said several repairers voiced concerns about the “Class A Shop Requirements” and requested revisions. In response, the CIC changed the title of the document to “Minimum Shop Requirements,” and has proposed a new set of minimum equipment, capabilities, training and certifications that repairers should meet. The CIC’s Definitions Committee is still working on the revision of the document, and is seeking input from professionals in all segments of the repair industry. Anyone interested in providing input, suggestions or feedback can contact Chris Evans at email@example.com, or Ron Guilliams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Work-Related Vehicle Accidents, Claims Down During Recession
Work-related vehicle accidents declined during the recent recession, and likely helped reduce the number of workers compensation claims, the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) recently reported. In a report, Boca Raton, FLbased NCCI said that frequency for large truck accidents declined 16% from 2007 to 2010, while passenger vehicle accidents declined 8% during that period. The report said the recession left fewer drivers on the road due to unemployment, and resulted in fewer truck shipments as the recession limited consumer spending. NCCI said the trend likely had a positive impact on workers comp claim trends. The share of lost-time comp claims resulting from non-fatal vehicle accidents fell from 3.5% of all traffic accidents in 2005 to 3.1% in 2010, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Vehicle accidents tend to creGive us your opinion on ate costlier comp claims than the average workplace accident, NCCI said.
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NABC Launches Newly Revised Corporate Website The National Auto Body Council (NABC) recently launched an updated version of its corporate website—www.autobodycouncil.org— that includes a timely and comprehensive approach to presenting information on the organization and the programs and services it provides. In addition, the website contains details—some of it being published for the first time—regarding the NABC’s most recent events and initiatives, including Distracted Driving, InLanguage and Operation Comfort. New material is also being made available on long-standing, established projects like Recycled Rides and First Responders Emergency Extraction (FREE). An expanded history on the National Auto Body Council and why it came into being is another noteworthy addition. The website’s layout and organization has been re-designed to be more inviting to visitors, making it easier to find and access the desired information. Online forms make it vastly simpler to submit registration information to the National Auto Body Council, including that for NABC membership and sign-ups and sponsorships for the annual golf fundraiser. Descriptive overviews of the recently introduced
Award of Distinction and Bodyshop Image Award are also available, complete with printable PDF forms for those wishing to nominate individuals for the awards. “Though the website has always contained useful information for our members and those interested in the work of the National Auto Body Council, we thought we could do a better job of delivering it,” said Liz Stein, NABC marketing co-chair. “And since we were going to streamline the website, what better time to bring the information it contains up-to-date to reflect the variety of new programs and services we have begun to deliver. We think visitors will be pleasantly surprised by the changes they’ll see when they land on our site.” Please note that the transition to the redesigned website is in process and that some sections may still under construction. Completion is slated for the upcoming weeks. The National Auto Body Council extends an open invitation to its members and the industry to let us know what they think. Please contact Liz Stein at (888667-7433) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to provide feedback.
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NABC Gives Update on ‘Operation Comfort’ Mission
The National Auto Body Council (NABC) recently announced an update to its formal plan to raise $1.5 million to provide I-CAR curriculum and training to wounded veterans in a partnership with Operation Comfort. Along with NABC website updates, a weekly update of the committees progress, activities and plans will be communicated to the industry atlarge via press releases or “Mission Status” updates. Chuck Sulkala, executive director of the NABC, said “This project has been given highest priority by the NABC board and we will give ongoing updates and total transparency to the entire industry of our efforts.” The plan includes raising $1.5 million to purchase, completely renovate, and equip a 30,000-square-foot training facility in San Antonio, TX, on behalf of Operation Comfort’s Automotivation program. The NABC has raised over $200,000 to date towards this goal. “There is no other program in our industry that connects wounded veterans with entry-level job opportunities in auto body repair. Participants will receive training in collision re-
pair, estimating, vehicle refinishing and other related topics toward the goal of preparing them for full-time employment in our industry. We have an obligation to help those who have given so much for the freedoms we treasure,” said Sulkala. Founded in 2004, Operation Comfort is a 501 C-3 nonprofit organization that complements the rehabilitation efforts carried out by the U.S. Army at the Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC). As a form of occupational therapy, the organization runs the AutoMotivation program through which disabled veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan—in many cases those that have lost one or more limbs—are helped with rehabilitation through automotive-related repair activities. Visit www.operationcomfort.org/ automotivation/ for more information. All collision repair-related associations, businesses, body shops and individual collision repairers are strongly encouraged to make donations for this project. For any further information, contact Chuck Sulkala at email@example.com or call (888) 667-7433.
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Audatex’s AutoWatch App Updates Customers
Audatex North America, Inc. recently launched a new iPhone app for AutoWatch, its web-powered repair tracking solution. The new app follows the July introduction of an AutoWatch Android app and is available as a free download to all AutoWatch customers via iTunes and the iPhone App Store. AutoWatch gives collision repair facilities a proven way to enhance customer service and improve customer communication by allowing vehicle owners to view the progress of their repairs online. Repairers use the solution daily to upload and post digital photos and the latest vehicle repair status information to an interactive website, keeping customers up to date through completion of the job. Now, repair facilities can upload this same repair status information quickly and conveniently via their iPhones—whether they’re away from the office or working on the shop floor. At the same time, vehicle owners can choose to receive AutoWatch vehicle status updates on the web, via email or text message, and can even share updates with friends via Facebook.
“With both Android and iPhone apps now available for AutoWatch, we’re covering every corner of the smart phone market in order to give shops all the options they need to connect more effectively with vehicle owners,” said Gordon Henderson, Vice President, Collision Repair Services, Audatex North America. “Better communication not only leads to an improved claim experience, but also translates into more referral business as well as stronger DRP relationships.” Hundreds of AutoWatch users are now taking advantage of the mobile apps to issue instant repair updates from their smart phones, according to Henderson. “I really like the ease and convenience of the AutoWatch iPhone App,” said Greg James, Manager of Rick Warner Body Shop in Salt Lake City, UT. “Having AutoWatch in my pocket on my phone has certainly helped me keep my customers better informed of their repair status.” Henderson added, “The mobile apps are taking off as AutoWatch has been proven to reduce incoming customer phone calls, compress cycle times and, ultimately, increase customer satisfaction.”
Centenarian Donates Rolls-Royce to Museum after 78 Years of Use, Noting U.S. Manufacturing Allen Swift died in 2005 at the age of 102 and had owned a Rolls-Royce automobile longer than anyone else in the world. He had the forethought and funds to ensure its future preservation after his death.
The young man was passionate about his green-over-green soft-top convertible, not only driving it on a regular basis, but maintaining it meticulously over the decades (the two door-received a complete bodyoff restoration and engine rebuild in 1988). Rolls-Royce acknowledged Mr. Swift in 1994, awarding him a crystal Spirit of Ecstasy award for his length of ownership. By 2005, Swift had logged more than 170,000 miles on its analog odometer and he was recognized as the oldest living person to have owned a car from new. He passed away that year. Swift left the Lyman & MerAllen Swift drove his Rolls-Royce for 78 years rie Wood Museum of Springfield before donating it to a museum to ensure its History a $1 million gift to crepreservation ate a new exhibition to care for In 1928, while living in Spring- his roadster and tell the story of field, MA, Swift’s father gave him a Rolls-Royce manufacturing in the 1928 Rolls-Royce Piccadilly P1 Massachusetts town. Roadster as a graduation present. Today, Mr. Swift’s beautiful PicSpringfield and Rolls-Royce cadilly P1 Roadster is prominently dishave a history—from 1920 to 1931, played in the museum’s Transportation the British automaker built 2,944 ve- Collection. hicles in the city as part of its attempt to establish a U.S. plant.
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ment and highly-trained technicians at work. An agent will be reluctant to refer a customer to a shop that will reTo advertise flect badly on the agent.Sales Hostingat: meetcall Advertising ings allows the shop to showcase 800-699-8251 its best features and to plan a shop tour for the visitinge-mail: agents and managers. firstname.lastname@example.org Several shops have also done well www.autobodynews.com with what I would call a “goodwill ambassador.” To make this work, it’s necessary to have a person who can make the rounds of the agents every month without fail, with pens, notepads or See the N other promotional specialties, and who will be in it for the long haul. When the same person stops by every month for several years running, the agent’s people get to know thiswww.autobodyn person well and trust becomes established. An older, semi-retired person is ideal for this job. Agents are still a good referral source for collision repair shops. Many of their customers still call them when they have an accident, and Togladly advertise an agent will refer the business call Sean Hartman to a shop that he or she knowsat: is competent,800-699-8251 trustworthy and attractive so it will reflect positively on the agent.
www.autobodynews.com | FEBRUARY 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS 39