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38 YEARS

MIDWEST EDITIO N

AUTOBODY IL / IN / IA / KS / KY / MI / MN / MO / NE / ND / OH / SD / WI

AUTOBODYNEWS.COM

Vol. 9 / Issue 5 / February 2020

Midwest Association Event Announcements: February 2020

Two GM Engineers Arrested After Recklessly Driving New Corvettes in KY

by Chasidy Rae Sisk

by Jay Traugott, CARBUZZ

ASA Ohio Launches Collision Performance Leaders Group In 2020, ASA Ohio will launch its all new Collision Performance Leaders

Group (CPL), moderated by Mike Anderson of Collision Advice. The CPL Group is designed as a focus

group for an advanced network of Ohio collision repair shops to share insights into the toughest challenges they face and to hold one another accountable to reaching their goals. ASA Ohio promises that each meeting will be concentrated on the Midwest market, and the self-governed group will determine the location and agenda topics for their three full-day meetings each year. The CPL Group will focus on fine-tuning processes in all facets of their collision businesses and find new ways to maximize profits through peer-toSee Event Announcements, Page 6

Prevalence of Vehicle Scanning – and Insurers’ Willingness to Pay for it – Have Risen The industry’s adoption of vehicle scanning as an indispensable part of the repair process can be seen in the results of the “Who Pays for What” surveys conducted for several years by Collision Advice and CRASH Network. In the survey conducted this past fall, 11% of shops said they might skip a post-repair scan because no dash lights are lit – not a legitimate reason – but in the same survey in 2016, nearly half of all shops (44%) said that was a reason they might skip the scan. Likewise, three years ago, about 1 in 5 shops said they did-

n’t perform scans because they don’t have the tools necessary to perform the scans. In the latest survey, 2% used that as an excuse. Payment practices have evolved as well. Back in 2016, a “Who Pays” survey found more than 30% of all shops said that one of the reasons they didn’t perform a post-repair vehicle scan was that insurers didn’t pay them for the procedure. Three years later, just 12% of shops say a lack of insurer payment is one of the reasons they might not perform a vehicle scan. More than 97% of shops See Vehicle Scanning, Page 18

There’s no doubt the all-new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is fast. Its official 0 to 60 mph time has been clocked at 2.9 seconds when equipped with the optional Z51 package. With-

out it, that time drops by a mere tenth of a second. That’s fantastic when drivers are on a closed track, but not on public roads. A pair of Corvette engineers have just learned that harsh lesson.

According to Automobile, two GM employees have been arrested and jailed for “racing” two new C8s in Bowling Green, KY, the home of Corvette production. The Kentucky State Police pulled over the engineers, identified as Alexander Thim and Mark Derkatz, for exceeding the 45 mph speed limit as well as for reckless driving and racing motor vehicles on a public road. Turns out Thim was clocked driving his Corvette at 120 mph while Derkatz at 100 mph. There was a third C8 Corvette at the scene but was “not participating in the racing.” Following the pairs’ arrest, their Corvettes were hauled away and impounded. GM representatives picked up the See Recklessly Driving, Page 6

What We Know About US Jobs and Other Details of Fiat Chrysler, PSA Merger by Breana Noble, The Detroit News

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and French automaker Groupe PSA said their boards unanimously supported a binding agreement to merge and create the world’s fourth-largest automaker. The deal is one step further than Fiat Chrysler got earlier this year with Renault SA, another French carmaker. The combination of PSA and FCA is expected to provide cost savings, create a hedge against cyclical downturns and have the scale to invest and compete in an electric and self-driving future. Although the companies are calling the deal a 50-50 merger, PSA would hold a board majority and appoint six of the 11 board members. That includes PSA CEO Carlos Tavares, who is expected to lead the

combined company. Here is what else to know about the deal: What comes next? With the binding agreement signed, the automakers can pursue obtaining antitrust and regulatory approval from the companies in which it operates. They also must receive approval from their shareholders. The process is expected to take 12 to 15 months. “We don’t feel we have any concerns with antitrust” laws, Tavares said. “We’ve reviewed this topic and are very comfortable we have no problem on antitrust” regulations. What is the name of the new company? The name of the new company has not yet been announced. Information See US Jobs, Page 30

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FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com


CONTENTS Photo Estimating. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

AASP-MO Collects 3,500 Toys for Tots in 2019 Drive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Automotive Instruction Speeds to the Forefront With Dyno . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Bert’s Auto Body & Glass Now at Two Locations in MN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Body Shop Owner Seeing More Wrecks, Leading to Costly Repairs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Car-Deer Accidents Up, Delaying Repairs . . . . 19 Ford to Invest Over $1.45 Billion in MI Plants . . 10 GM’s Christine Sitek Shares Insights and Wisdom at AWAF’s Holiday Affair . . . . . . . . . . 8 Indianhead Auto Body Association: A Small Association With Big Personality . . . . . . . . . 14 Midwest Association Event Announcements: February 2020 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Minnesota Resident Charged With Seven Felonies After Fire, Theft at Collision Repair Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 NPCC Prepares Automotive Student for Multiple Career Paths. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Service Center Owner Gives Back to Hoffman Estates High . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Two GM Engineers Arrested After Recklessly Driving New Corvettes in KY . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

NATIONAL 11th Circuit Court Dismisses Suit Alleging Conspiracy to Deflate Collision Repair Changes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 CARSTAR Celebrates Banner Year . . . . . . . . . . 35 Chevy Shake Class Action Says Driveshaft is the Problem. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

Alexandr Stricharskiy, 40, of Meridian, Idaho, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 63 months in prison for distributing fifty grams or more of pure methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney Bart M. Davis announced. Senior U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge also ordered Stricharskiy to pay a $2,500 fine and serve five years of supervised release following his prison sentence. Stricharskiy pleaded guilty to the charge on April 18, 2019. According to court records, Stricharskiy sold methamphetamine to an undercover law enforcement officer on three occasions. Stricharskiy was the owner

and operator of an auto body shop located at 2701 West Idaho Street, Boise, Idaho. As part of his plea agreement, he agreed that this property facilitated his drug trafficking and was subject to forfeiture. The sale of the property netted $100,000 to be forfeited to the United States as equivalent to unrecovered drug proceeds. This case was investigated by Federal Bureau of Investigation and Boise Police Department. This indictment is the result of a joint investigation by the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). Obtained via justice.gov.

Driver Assistance Systems May Cause Distracted Driving . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Gerber Collision & Glass Acquires Nine CA Locations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 GM Sells Over 1 Million Crossovers Again . . . . 30 GM, Tesla Head for New Year Without Electric Vehicle Tax Credits . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Idaho Body Shop Owner Sentenced to Prison . . 3 Industry Veteran Shares Insight About Future of Collision Repair Industry . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Prevalence of Vehicle Scanning – and Insurers’

INDEX OF ADVERTISERS

REGIONAL

Idaho Body Shop Owner Sentenced to Prison

Publisher & Editor: Jeremy Hayhurst General Manager: Barbara Davies Contributing Writers: John Yoswick, Janet Chaney, Toby Chess, Ed Attanasio, Chasidy Sisk, David Luehr, Stacey Phillips, Victoria Antonelli, Gary Ledoux Advertising Sales: Joe Momber, Bill Doyle, Norman Morano (800) 699-8251 Office Manager: Louise Tedesco Digital Marketing Manager: Bill Pierce Art Director: Rodolfo Garcia Graphic Designer: Vicki Sitarz Online and Web Content Editor: Alexis Wilson Accounting Manager: Heather Priddy Editorial/Sales Assistant: Randi Scholtes

Office Assistant: Dianne Pray Serving Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin and adjacent metro areas. Autobody News is a monthly publication for the autobody industry. Permission to reproduce in any form the material published in Autobody News must be obtained in writing from the publisher. ©2020 Adamantine Media LLC. Autobody News Box 1516, Carlsbad, CA 92018; (800) 699-8251 (760) 603-3229 Fax www.autobodynews.com editor@autobodynews.com

Audi Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . . . . . . . . . . 44

McGrath City Hyundai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

AutoNation Collision Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Midwest Parts Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16-17

Axalta Coating Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

MINI Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

MontiPower Americas, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Bob Hook Chevrolet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

MOPAR Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . . . . . 28-29

Car-Part.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

Morrison’s Auto Parts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

Certified Automotive Parts Association . . . . . . 12

Nissan/Infiniti Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . . . 42

Classic Chevrolet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

Patrick BMW MINI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

Classifieds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

Patrick Hyundai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

Courtesy Subaru . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

Richfield-Bloomington Honda. . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

ECS Automotive Concepts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

SATA Dan-Am Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9, 21

Equalizer Industries, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Sears Imported Autos, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Gandrud Parts Center. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Shaheen Chevrolet Parts Warehouse . . . . . . . 34

Willingness to Pay for it – Have Risen . . . . . . 1 Rosen Law Files Lawsuit Against Towing Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Subaru Recalls 498,000 Vehicles for Takata Airbag Inflators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Tesla Autopilot Under Fire Once More From US Senator Following Accident . . . . . . . . . . . 4

COLUMNISTS Anderson - Reflecting on My Journey in the Collision Repair Industry . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Attanasio - First Paint Suits Designed for Ladies Announced at SEMA. . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Sisk - ASA’s Webinar Wednesday Addresses What’s Happening With Data Access Policy . . 40 Yoswick - MSOs Hear Positive Outlook for 2020, Discuss Mixed Impact of

Tesla Becomes the Biggest U.S. Automaker

GM Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

Spanesi Americas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

in History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44

Honda-Acura Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . 24-25

Steck Manufacturing Company . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

That’s It! He’s Had It, Part 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . 40

Subaru Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . . . . . . . . 47

UNIBODY AutoTech Collision Center

Infiniti of Naperville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

Sunmight USA Corporation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

Innovative Tools & Technologies, Inc. . . . . . . . 15

The Porsche Exchange. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Kelly BMW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

The Sharpe Collection of Automobiles . . . . . . 33

Kia Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

VanDevere Chevrolet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

Laurel Auto Group of Westmont . . . . . . . . . . . 37

VanDevere Kia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

Luther Bloomington Acura-Subaru . . . . . . . . . 35

Zimmer Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram . . . . . . . . 48

Joins CIECA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 What We Know About US Jobs and Other Details of Fiat Chrysler, PSA Merger . . . . . . . 1 WIN Scholarship Program Opens Applications . 47

Matrix Automotive FInishes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

autobodynews.com / FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS

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Tesla Autopilot Under Fire Once More From US Senator Following Accident by Joey Klender, Teslarati.com

A United States Senator who has been vocal about his opposition to Tesla’s Autopilot software is doubling down after a driver utilizing the driver-assist feature in his Model 3

rear-ended a police cruiser in Connecticut on the evening of Dec. 7, 2019. Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts has been vocal regarding his discontent for the alleged “flawed system” Tesla Autopilot offers to drivers. After The Today Show reported the recent accident on its Twitter account, Sen. Markey responded with his thoughts. “Autopilot clearly can’t be allowed to replace drivers on our roads. This tech will continue causing harm until Tesla takes action to fix its flawed system and make sure drivers

are paying attention. That’s why I sent a letter demanding Tesla take action to protect the public,” Markey wrote on Twitter. According to police, the accident happened because the Model 3 driver was checking on his dog at the backseat. Thus, the Tesla driver was unable to use the driver-assist system in an appropriate manner. In late November, Sen. Markey called for Autopilot to be disabled because some drivers were falling asleep behind the wheel while the software was active. It should be noted that Tesla has never encouraged drivers to take their attention off the road when utilizing Autopilot. The company has taken numerous steps to decrease the possibility of this happening by adding safety features to the software. Tesla’s official website emphasizes this point, reminds owners that “while using Autopilot, it is your responsibility to stay alert, keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times, and maintain control of your car.” Tesla has added features to stop the vehicle from driving if it senses the person controlling the car is not paying attention to the road. If the

Driver Assistance Systems May Cause Distracted Driving by David A. Wood, CarComplaints.com

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) may cause drivers to engage in distracted driving, even when using basic systems such as lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. Researchers at the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found drivers with experience using driver assistance systems were nearly twice as likely to drive distracted compared to driving without the technology. Researchers at the AAA Foundation and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute looked at data from one group of drivers who owned vehicles equipped with advanced assist systems. Those drivers had more experience using the systems, but a second group of drivers were provided vehicles equipped with driver assistance systems. Those drivers normally didn’t have access to the systems, indicating they didn’t have as much real-world experience using the technology. During four weeks of testing, researchers found drivers who owned their vehicles were more familiar 4

with the systems and more likely to drive distracted. Drivers in this group were also more likely to play with the radios or use their phones for texting when the driver assistance systems were activated.

Credit: CarComplaints.com

But the drivers with less experience using the systems were more likely to pay attention to the job of driving. A lack of trust and knowledge of the systems likely cause drivers to not rely so much on the technology. But drivers who are comfortable with the systems rely too much on the technology and put too much trust in the systems.

FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

person operating the vehicle does not hold the steering wheel for an extended period of time, Autopilot will disable itself. Autosteer will also be

Credit: Facebook, Connecticut State Police

disabled for the remainder of the trip, forcing the driver to operate the vehicle normally. Autopilot is responsible for Tesla’s reputation for being involved in accidents over six and a half times less often than a traditional vehicle. Teslas that are utilizing Autopilot features were involved in an accident every 2,870,000 miles, according to the company’s Q1 report in 2019. This stands in contrast to the national average of one accident for every

Researchers determined these drivers are more likely to focus their eyes and attention on all kinds of things other than driving. AAA and Virginia Tech say the increase in distracted driving behaviors occurs because of an overreliance on the technology, or what can also be called automation complacency. Examples of this can be seen from multiple crashes involving semi-automated driving systems in Tesla vehicles. Even though Tesla’s owner’s manuals warn drivers to keep their focus and eyes on the roads and their hands on the steering wheels, the vehicles crash because drivers don’t pay attention. In December 2019, a Tesla driver allowed his vehicle to slam into a parked police car that had stopped to help a disabled vehicle. Although the investigation continues, the Tesla driver said the driver assistance technology known as Autopilot was engaged, so the driver felt comfortable enough to reach into the back seat to check on his dog. Other Tesla incidents include a

436,000 miles traveled by traditional vehicles without Tesla’s Autopilot software. Tesla has released updates and improvements to its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving software frequently. The company has been firm in the notion that it does not condone the practice of sleeping behind the wheel. Tesla also instructs drivers to always keep their full attention during driving to significantly reduce the possibility of an accident. Ultimately, Autopilot was not to blame in the case of the recent accident in Connecticut because the driver was admittedly checking on his pet in the back seat of the car. The police, for one, ticketed the Model 3 owner for Reckless Driving and Reckless Endangerment, according to the Connecticut State Police Facebook account. Now if only Sen. Markey could see the incident from this perspective. We thank Teslarati.com for reprint permission.

driver who was looking at her cell phone when the car crashed into a firetruck, and a crash of a Tesla SUV into a construction barrier after the vehicle traveled across the highway. Another Tesla SUV crash killed the driver when the vehicle crashed into a concrete barrier that could have been avoided, and then there is the case of another driver who was traveling 80 mph when the vehicle slammed into a disable car. The driver said he believed technology from Tesla would allow him to look at his cell phone while driving. In addition, a 40-year-old Tesla driver lost his life when his vehicle traveled under a truck trailer on a clear Florida day. We thank CarComplaints.com for reprint permission.

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Continued from Cover

Event Announcements

peer learning, though individual shop financials will not be discussed as the group will comply with antitrust guidelines. The group is limited to 12 shops, granted entrance on a first-come, first-served basis, and up to three shop members may attend each meeting. The cost to participate in the CPL Group will be $2,475 for the shop. The first CPL Group meeting will be held on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020 at Ohio Auto Kolor Training Center in Columbus from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. The group will also meet on June 4 and Sept. 24. For more information about the CPL, contact ASA Ohio Executive Director Matt Dougher at 513-659-5324 or via email at mdougher@asaohio.org. For more information on ASA-OH and its events, visit asaohio.org. Midwest Auto Body Trade Show Provides Educational Opportunities in Leaps and Bounds On Saturday, Feb. 29, the Iowa Col-

lision Repair Association (ICRA) will host its 2020 Midwest Auto Body Trade Show at the Holiday Inn in Des Moines, Iowa. For more information, visit iowacra.com. IABA February Meetings The Indiana Auto Body Association (IABA)”s Fort Wayne and Northwest Indiana Chapters will both host meetings in February. On Feb. 12, the Fort Wayne Chapter will meet at the Lucky Moose, and the Northwest Indiana Chapter will meet at Buddy and Pals in Crown Point on Feb. 13. For more information on IABA and its events, visit iaba1.clubexpress.com/. AASPI Annual Meeting to Feature Collision Hub”s Kristen Felder AASPI”s 2020 Annual Meeting is scheduled for Feb. 22 at the Diplomat West in Elmhurst, IL, and will feature Kristen Felder, CEO of Collision Hub. According to AASPI”s website, “Every day, her insights and experiences help her to ease the relationships between shops and insurers. Lessons are often best learned from our own experience but can hurt less when we learn from others.

AASP-MO Collects 3,500 Toys for Tots in 2019 Drive by Chasidy Rae Sisk

On Dec.11, AASP-MO’s Gateway Collision Chapter hosted its annual Toys for Tots Christmas Social and Christmas Party at Syberg’s Restaurant in St. Louis, MO. According to Ron Reiling, executive director for AASP-MO, “This is the time of year we show our communities that we do so much more than merely repair vehicles. Our event went fantastically with the most toys we have ever collected – 3,500, almost double from 2018! We had 75 collision repair professionals attend our Annual Christmas Party, and everyone had a great time celebrating a kickoff to the Christmas season.” AASP-MO’s donations will be distributed to needy families in the St. Louis area. In 2018, Toys for Tots was able to provide gifts for 43,000 children, thanks to the generosity of local communities. Reiling said, “This year’s Toys for Tots Drive exceeded our expectations. Thank you to our members that stepped up and sponsored the event. Food sponsors included Enterprise, Cooper Color, PPG and 6

Caliber Collision with Automotive Technology (ATI), ABRA Glass, CARSTAR, Chapman & Hogan Insurance, Chief Automotive Technologies, Cooper Color, Don’s Auto Body, Don’s Body Shop Mitchell and PPG sponsoring beverages. Thank you to all of the sponsors for helping to make this such a great evening.”

AASP-MO collected over 3,500 donations for Toys for Tots during its 2019 drive. Credit: AASP-MO

“I really like that this yearly event brings our members together with a great community-minded goal,” Reiling added. “It shows our communities that we do so much more than just fix cars.” For more information about AASP-MO, visit aasp-mo.org or Facebook.com/AASPMissouri/.

FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

With over 20 years of experience in repairs and insurance claims, Collision Hub will break down the lessons learned by others for documentation and negotiation skills. Learn what pitfalls to avoid in your daily handling of customers, vendors and adjusters. Review real case studies showing the steps for Negotiation preparation and how insurers choose their battlefields.” The meeting will also feature an OEM Repair Procedure Legislation Update. Several key legislators, including Kathleen Wills (D-77, Addison) and Elizabeth Hernandez (D-24, Cicero), will be in attendance to share their outlook for the upcoming session of the Illinois General Assembly, specifically as it pertains to passage of AASPI”s legislation seeking to mandate that all collision repair estimates be prepared based on OEM repair procedures. Sponsors for AASPI”s Annual Meeting include AkzoNobel, BASF, Enterprise, Bankcard Analytics, ErieLaSalle Body Shops, and Parkville Auto Body. For more information about AASPI and its events, visit aaspi.org.

Continued from Cover

Recklessly Driving

cars the following day. Fortunately, there were no injuries because no one crashed. GM has since stated that it is “aware of an incident involving our test vehicles and are currently investigating. Safety remains our overriding priority at General Motors. We have no further comment at this time.” Thim, 27, is a CAE (computer aided engineering) engineer assigned to induction and exhaust system development. Derkatz, 30, is an electrical engineer. Their employment status remains unknown. This is quite an embarrassing situation for GM, the Corvette brand, as well as the local community. Not only is the Corvette production plant located in Bowling Green, but so is the National Corvette Museum. So, let this serve as a lesson for everyone – not only Corvette owners – that street racing is extremely dangerous and will not be tolerated. We thank CARBUZZ for reprint permission.


autobodynews.com / FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS

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GM’s Christine Sitek Shares Insights and Wisdom at AWAF’s Holiday Affair by Chasidy Rae Sisk

On Dec. 5, the Automotive Women’s Alliance Foundation (AWAF) hosted its 2019 Holiday Affair at Art Leaders Gallery in West Bloomfield, MI. In addition to including AWAF’s First Annual Awards Ceremony, the evening featured special guest speaker Christine Sitek, executive director of global purchasing & supply chain at General Motors. According to AWAF Board Member Axel Cooley, “The event was well attended; in fact, it was sold out! Christine shared great insights and pearls of wisdom with the audience at AWAF’s Holiday Affair. First, she discussed the importance of balance in life and the importance of taking time to relax, and then she was asked to share some highlights on how she arrived at where she is today. She also offered advice for career advancement.”

GM’s Christine Sitek addresses AWAF members at the 2019 Holiday Affair. Credit: AWAF, Stonecrest Photography

Sitek has been at GM for the entirety of her 31-year career. She shared, “It has been an incredible ride. There is no real secret to success – it is simple: work hard and take on challenging assignments. This seems basic, but in big corporations where there are politics, it may be about who you know, but for me, it was always more about who knew me instead.” Developing a reputation as a hard worker, Sitek was frequently pulled into tough assignments, and if she could offer her younger self a suggestion, she would have told herself to take on even more challenging assignments. “This truly pays off,” she said. “It’s important to build your own brand.” When attendees asked for career advice, Sitek offered, “Women should and need to self-advocate more. In general, this tends to be a hard thing for women to do. Research says that women are bad at self-promotion. In fact, if men and women are given 8

the same self-assessment and asked to rate themselves from one to 100 on how well they did on the test, women rate themselves 46 on average, whereas men rate themselves 66. This highlights our inability to self-promote.” Sitek also advised, “Learn to say no. This is important. Some women feel like they have to say yes in order to be liked or to belong; however, with time, you will find that even if you say no, people will take notice that you make decisions super clear. They still see your ability to work hard, your ability to do things well, and they will still like you. Don’t let someone else tell your story or your narrative. Don’t let someone else speak for you. Make an effort to tell your own story, your way.” For those who don’t yet have a very long story, Sitek advised taking on challenging, uncomfortable projects and assignments. “Get comfortable with getting uncomfortable. Once you do this one time, you learn to repeat it … and you get comfortable with the unknown. You master the ability to project confidence. There is a science behind this, it is often referred to as ‘fake it until you make it.’ It works. I’m proof of that. It really works. Believe in yourself and go for it.” Discussing the significant changes occurring in the automotive energy, Sitek expressed excitement over autonomous vehicles and how they “are forcing us to be more competitive than ever and responsive in a different way. Today, it is wonderful to see companies take on a mission that is bigger than ourselves. It’s about the purpose, and this is extremely energizing. It is this energy, this purpose, that will give way to getting the employment and talent that we need.” “I can’t count how many different people have played a key role in the advancement of my career – people of all shapes and sizes. Most have been men, including my bosses … and my husband has been the lowestpaid mentor. He truly has been key,” Sitek said when asked about the importance of mentors. “I would advise women to seek out multiple feedbacks for different perspectives because everyone’s experience is different. Find mentorship in multiple people. Build relationships with

FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

people. Don’t just call them when you need something. Take time to map this out. Determine who you need to know and be very strategic about it.”

AWAF members.(Pictured left to right: Board Member Kellie Treppa, Board Member Kathy Smith, and 2019 Board Member Marion Wells). Credit: AWAF, Stonecrest Photography

When asked what she would do differently in her career if she could go back in time, Sitek shared, “My biggest regret is to not have lived outside of the USA. My career never took me overseas. I feel that if I would have had a chance to see the world earlier, this would have made a difference. There is something important that takes place when you get to see how other nations function. There is a sense of true appreciation that is born.”

AWAF also held its First Annual Awards Ceremony during the 2019 Holiday Affair. Maureen LaFontaine was posthumously honored for her contributions to the automotive industry with the Industry Achievement Award which honors a woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the industry for at least ten years while promoting and supporting her fellow women to achieve their automotive career aspirations. The Emerging Leader Award, which recognizes a woman who has been in her career for ten years or less and has demonstrated outstanding performance and leadership, was bestowed upon Sara Mohon. Dr. Craig J. Hoff, P.E. received the Change Champion Award which honors a man or company who has significantly contributed to the acceptance and advancement of women in the automotive industry. Art Leaders Gallery donated 10 percent of their proceeds from the evening to AWAF’s Scholarship Fund. For more information about AWAF, visit awafoundation.org.

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Ford to Invest Over $1.45 Billion in MI Plants

Ford Motor Company is investing more than $1.45 billion in two southeast Michigan manufacturing facilities and adding 3,000 new jobs to strengthen its leadership in trucks and SUVs and support the company’s expansion into electric and autonomous vehicles. Ford is investing approximately $750 million and adding 2,700 new direct jobs at its manufacturing facility in Wayne, MI, during the next three years. At Ford’s Dearborn manufacturing site, Ford will add 300 jobs and invest about $700 million to support production of new electrified variants of its F-150 truck, producing both a F-150 hybrid and fully electric F-150. “At Ford, we are investing aggressively in building on our strengths today – including trucks and SUVs – while at the same time expanding our leadership into electric and autonomous vehicles,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president, Automotive. “We are proud of our commitment to invest in manufacturing here in Michigan.”

10

Automotive Instruction Speeds to the Forefront With Dyno there and do an engine pull or quarter-mile drag race. It encourages camaraderie as well as competitiveness.” All fun aside, the dyno plays a serious role in the education of NPCC students. In addition to testing engine rebuilds, they can assess drivability, the smoothness and steadiness of acceleration, in a safe and controlled environment. Vehicles are driven onto an access platform in a shop where they are tied down and connected to a computer. They can then be revved to maximum speeds so students can measure peak power and monitor performance gains or losses (l to r) Automotive Technology students Christian resulting from any changes Folchert, of Sutherland, NE, Jacob Mockry, of to the vehicle. McCook, NE, and Joseph Eberle, of Gothenburg, “The dyno is capable of NE, examine vehicle drivability using a Mustang doing so many things, dynamometer at North Platte Community College. from checking for mis“It”s exciting for the students fires to diagnosing problems at cerbecause they can see what kind of tain speeds,” Herrick said. “We can power they produce in engine re- simulate issues in a group environbuild class,” said Bryan Herrick, ment without ever going down the automotive instructor at NPCC. highway. Always before, we had to “They can each put their cars up take each student for a test drive and Excitement is revving up over new equipment at North Platte Community College. Automotive technology students have been training on a Mustang dynamometer – an experience that has made learning both fun and retainable.

FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

hope the vehicle performed the same way all ten times. Now, everyone sees the same thing at the same time.”

Automotive Technology student Christian Folchert, of Sutherland, NE, conducts a drivability test with a Mustang dynamometer at North Platte Community College.

Not only is the dyno a safer and less time-consuming method of studying drivability, but it also makes NPCC”s automotive technology students more employable because it gives them a better understanding of drivability-related problems. More information about the automotive technology program at North Platte Community College can be found online at mpcc.edu.


Bert’s Auto Body & Glass Now at Two Locations in MN by Noelle Olson, County News Review

Bert Lener, the owner of Bert’s Auto Body & Glass, has been doing auto body work since 1992. He has a shop in Pine City, MN, and recently opened a new shop in Harris, MN.”I was originally doing sand blasting and painting equipment. I subleased to a technician some shop space and he did auto body work back in 1992,” Lener said. “I went under his wing and started doing it. It pays better, it’s easier, less stressful and cleaner.” Lener said they decided to locate in Harris because of the easy access from Interstate 35. The Harris location opened three months ago, and the Pine City location has been around for approximately 12 months.”I had a shop in Braham for about eight years and also one in Ham Lake,” Lener said. “Our location in Ham Lake was getting demolished for mining for the sand under it for the Ponds Project in Blaine.” Services Offered Bert’s specializes in insurance claims, collisions and general auto body repair. It’s also a state licensed dealer. They offer low-mile cars and

repairable vehicles. All vehicles are purchased with no airbag deployed and no frame damage. Only sheet metal is repaired.

(l to r) Manny Zavala, Meranda Lener, Chris Ratliff, Jason Deyo and Bert Lener at Bert’s Auto Body & Glass in Harris, MN. Credit: Noelle Olson, County News Review

“We’re constantly growing. We’re always raising the bar as far as equipment, location and cleanliness,” Lener said. “We also do late model repairable vehicles and we’re a licensed dealer.” According to Lener, the mission statement for Bert’s Auto Body & Glass is to solve the public’s problems with ontime collision repair, delivering epic levels of quality, excellence and extreme satisfaction in every repair. For more information, go to www.facebook.com/bertsautobody/. We thank County News Review for reprint permission.

Body Shop Owner Seeing More Wrecks, Leading to Costly Repairs Some area vehicle repair shops are starting to see an increase in crash damage, despite a slow start to winter weather. Mike Daly, manager of Waln Collision & Repair Center in Fairfax, Iowa, said his shop is starting to schedule out appointments weeks into the future and those repairs could start costing more money. Daly said the cost increase is caused by increased technology in new vehicles. He said it not only takes more time to repair sophisticated features, but also more money to fix the damage. “The reason you see the dollar amount go up is because of all the technology they put in, you know, adaptive cruise control, lane departure assist. You see a lot of that drive up the severity of accidents,” Daly said. Recent winter weather-related crashes are the cause of some of the damaged vehicles in the shop, Daly said. He also said deer and distracted driving crashes are the other top reasons for repairs. “Rear-ending, with distracted

driving and things like that, people don’t pay attention, they don’t give proper distance between vehicles and before they realize it, they’re trying to slam on their breaks and in not enough time,” Daly said. Daly said, in the past, it would typically cost his customers around $200 dollars to repair a normal headlamp in his shop. Due to advancements in technology and features in some parts, the cost has risen. Daly said now some single headlamps could cost between $1,800 and $2,000 dollars. Daly recommends drivers remember how to drive in winter weather and get rid of distractions in the car. He said the biggest key is to give more space in between vehicles in winter months, because the time it takes to come to a complete stop is longer on snow and ice. Daly also recommends keeping vehicles washed to avoid costly rust repairs on vehicles. We thank KCRG News for reprint permission.

autobodynews.com / FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS

11


NPCC Prepares Automotive Student for Multiple Career Paths Kyle Van Pelt wants to be prepared for anything. “Engine work, body work, diesel – you name it, my plan is to be able to fix it,” said Van Pelt, who is using North Platte Community College (NPCC) to move toward his goal. The McCook, NE, native is currently studying Auto Body Technology at NPCC. He has already earned diplomas in two of the college’s other programs, Automotive Technology and Diesel Technology.

his home, which allows him to go back on the weekends and work one of two part-time jobs that he has. Van Pelt was also already familiar with NPCC because a cousin of his had gone through the Diesel Technology program a few years before he did. “The main reason I came to NPCC, though, was because the instructors have years of experience in the fields they teach,” Van Pelt said. “I didn’t want someone who didn’t have any experience trying to teach me out of a book.” The classes at NPCC have allowed him to learn the way he does best – hands-on, and the small class sizes have given him the opportunity to bond with both his instructors and his classmates. “I met my best friend on the first day of class,” Van Pelt said. “He is from a Kyle Van Pelt, of McCook, NE, works on a pickup in the Auto Body Technology department at North Platte Comsmall town, too, and has the munity College. Van Pelt has already earned diplomas in same interests I do. We NPCC’s Automotive Technology and Diesel Technology clicked in the first five minprograms. Credit: NPCC utes of sitting next to each By the time he graduates, he will also have earned a certificate in classic car restoration. He then plans to take online classes through NPCC to obtain an Associate of General Studies degree and hasn’t ruled out throwing in some business classes as well. “Ultimately, I would like to open my own automotive/diesel shop where I could accept any kind of project that comes through the door,” Van Pelt said. “I really enjoy helping people. When someone calls me and says, ‘Hey, I have this problem with my vehicle. Could you come check it out?’ I absolutely love getting phone calls like that.” His passion for helping others, coupled with a desire to work with his hands, led him to his current career choice. “I knew if I was going to go to college, it was going to be for something I enjoyed and could make money at,” said Van Pelt. “There are cars everywhere, so there’s always going to be a demand for services related to them.” Because what he wanted to go into is so specialized, he only considered two colleges. NPCC is closer to

12

FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

to talk to people, and I didn’t really have any friends. I know I wouldn’t have survived a four-year college or university, and if those were my only options, I probably wouldn’t have gone to college at all. NPCC broke me out of my shell. It opened doors I didn’t know existed.” That includes participating in social elements of college life - some of which include public speaking. Van Kyle Van Pelt, of McCook, NE, works on a pickup in the Pelt is both a student ambasAuto Body Technology department at North Platte Comsador and resident assistant. munity College. Van Pelt has already earned diplomas in He is often called upon to NPCC’s Automotive Technology and Diesel Technology help with tours and to proprograms. Credit: NPCC mote NPCC to prospective Van Pelt graduated from South- students, which he is now more than west High School in Bartley, NE, in happy to do. “NPCC is like a home away 2016 with only about 20 classmates. He believes anything bigger than from home,” Van Pelt said. “The NPCC would have been intimidating. community here is fantastic. If I did“The thought of transitioning n’t have to go home on the weekends from high school to college was ac- for work, I would probably be here tually pretty scary,” Van Pelt said. hanging out with my friends. It’s the “In high school, I wasn’t the talka- best college I could ever imagine tive person I am today. I didn’t like going to.” other. That friendship helped me get my bearings, and it will be a lifelong friendship.”


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Indianhead Auto Body Association: A Small Association With Big Personality by Chasidy Rae Sisk

The Indianhead Auto Body Association has existed for 37 years, serving the northwest corner of Wisconsin. Indianhead is not a large association in size, but the SCRS affiliate has a lot to offer in terms of personality and perspective. Mike Sperry, who currently serves as a board member, said, “The biggest benefit in being an association member is the comradery and the ability to meet on a regular basis. Although we only have around 40 members, our typical meetings range from 40 to 60 attendees, and it’s always a great social evening, in addition to offering training and education at their doorstep. We have a good group that gets along with one another, and our meetings are well attended.” The association is also an affiliate of the Wisconsin Auto Collision Technicians Association Ltd (WACTAL). Although WACTAL has a large presence in Wisconsin, their core membership is located in the southeast corner of the large state, over 300 miles away from the Indianhead region. WACTAL’s lobbyist monitors legislative concerns in Wisconsin, and Indianhead is happy to collaborate on legislative issues and other industry-related initiatives, such as contributing to local vo-tech educational programs and scholarships. According to Sperry, “We support WACTAL’s efforts and try to work together as much as possible for the best interests of the industry in our state.” There’s a lot of longevity at Indianhead with two founding members serving on the current board. Association leadership attends national events, such as SEMA, to ensure that they are staying up-to-date on what is happening in the industry. Sperry noted, “Like all associations, we strive to bring fresh ideas to our members to keep things from getting stale. Most of our members drive 45 minutes or more to get to a meeting so there has to be a valid reason to make that effort. We want to mix things up so members recognize the value-added benefit of our training sessions.” “So much has happened in the past couple years that there’s really 14

no lack of topics to bring to our members,” Sperry continued. “The board comes up with ideas for meetings and we share information with our membership constantly, such as when someone is selling equipment that may be of interest to other members. The biggest challenge is finding the right trainer who can deliver a valuable presentation and hopefully do a demo; our members prefer

tomotive and collision repair professionals attend our event, and the feedback is always really positive.” Indianhead’s largest struggle as an association is in communications, and Sperry admitted, “Communications is our biggest weakness. We don’t have a website or a Facebook page. We email our members about each event we schedule, but those don’t always reach people, so we al-

“The biggest benefit in being an association member is the comradery and the ability to meet on a regular basis.” — Mike Sperry

hands-on topics so we can actually see, feel, hear, touch and use the tools/equipment being discussed to determine if it’s right for our individual shops.” Indianhead hosts meetings monthly from September through May, and in 2019, the association was proud to host CollisionAdvice’s Mike Anderson and Aaron Schulenburg of SCRS as guest speakers in May and September, respectively. The association also holds a roundtable once each year. “Our roundtables turn out well, and we’re able to discuss a lot of things. The ultimate goal is to help our members become better positioned by discussing the struggles we all face. The ability to exchange ideas and discuss the things we’re all challenged by is so vital for members,” Sperry stated. “Because many of our member shops are small independents, we are considering the purchase of a self-piercing rivet gun that members could rent since it’s not feasible for most of these shops to install an $8,000 piece of equipment they only use once per month. We can’t wait to present the idea at our next meeting and find out what our members think.” Every May, Indianhead hosts a trade show on a Tuesday night. “When we structured our annual trade show, we decided not to invite local jobbers because we want the manufacturing reps of key companies to be there,” Sperry explained. “We typically have 30 to 35 vendors, such as 3M, Axalta, PPG, Pro Spot and other key lines, and it’s a selling show so promotions and specials are always encouraged. Normally 125 to 150 au-

FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

ways follow up with a phone call to make sure they know what is happening and when. I strongly believe that personal call is key to our high attendance numbers.” For members of the Indianhead Auto Body Association, one of the most important benefits is found simply in being a part of something larger than their individual shops. “We are strong together,” Sperry stressed. “Wherever there’s a strong

association with well-attended meetings, we are going to get compensated at a higher level because we know that we aren’t the only ones and we know how to write an estimate to ensure we’re receiving proper compensation. We want our shops to be proud of what they do and know they’re entitled to ask for just compensation. When we have speakers like Aaron [Schulenburg] and Mike [Anderson] come out, they constantly drive that thought home with facts and figures. Helping our shops become more successful guarantees the success of our association!” In addition to President Dusty Schoenfuss, leadership for Indianhead Auto Body Association includes Treasurer Harvey Yeager and Board Members Brian Keeler, Keith Anderson, Sperry, Randy Davis, Duane Hodgson and Steve Moulette.

For more information about the Indianhead Auto Body Association, membership or its upcoming events, contact Sperry at 715-866-8934 or Schoenfuss at 715-764-2230.


autobodynews.com / FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS

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Service Center Owner Gives Back to Hoffman Estates High by Joan Murphy, The Daily Herald

Students of Hoffman Estates High School Auto Shop class listened intently as former student and current Collision Service Center of Schaumburg, IL, owner Ernie De Loera gave an inspirational presentation about how he turned his life around after enrolling in the automotive class. De Loera shared his personal challenges and obstacles that many teenagers can relate to today. Not only had he discovered a skill he did not know he had, but he also decided to change his attitude. After finding an environment that fostered his natural talents, he developed hope and direction. De Loera emphasized to the students that they too had choices in spite of their challenges, past mistakes or misfortunes. He wanted the students to realize they can create their own path in life. He spoke to them about how important it is to try new things and discover what their talent is and what they are passionate about. De Loera found his talent through the school”s automotive class, which was just a steppingstone. After a successful career in the auto body colli-

sion business, he and his wife, Aurora, decided to take a risk and buy a shop of their own – Collision Service Center of Schaumburg.

Continued from Cover

to help students discover they have choices in spite of their current circumstances, doubts, or past mistakes. Each student in the advanced automotive class was offered an opportunity to submit an essay on three thought-provoking questions: What motivates you? What adversity are you trying to overcome? What is your goal? On Nov. 11, De Loera generously donated $1,500 to the top essay. “It feels good to give Pictured, at the awards presentation, from left, are Dave back to where it all started Ligman, chairman of Hoffman Estates High School’s Applied for me and to inspire stuTechnology Department; Cassidy Howard; Jimmy Molina, essay winner; Ernie De Loera, owner, Collision Service Center dents on their path to a successful future,” De of Schaumburg; Humberto Jimenez; Carlos Borja; and Loera said. “The whole Josh Schumacher, principal, Hoffman Estates High School. experience of returning to Credit: Joan Murphy, The Daily Herald Hoffman Estates High Knowing how much the Hoff- School and working with Dave and man Estates High School class im- his students has been very rewardpacted his life, De Loera felt it ing.” De Loera and everyone at Colliimportant to return to his roots with a sincere desire to give back to those sion Service Center are grateful for this opportunity to support Hoffman that mentored him. Collision Service Center has Estates High School and look forjoined efforts with Hoffman Estates ward to a continued relationship. We thank The Daily Herald for High School”s Applied Technology Department Chairman Dave Ligman reprint permission.

Vehicle Scanning

now say they are at least negotiating to be paid for vehicle scans, and 88% say they are being paid regularly when they do. “There are very few shops not seeking to be paid, particularly for post-repair scanning.” said industry trainer and consultant Mike Anderson of Collision Advice. “This is different from some of the other ‘not-included’ procedures where a significant percentage of shops aren’t getting paid because they’re not seeking to be paid. But the industry also needs to keep in mind that an insurer refusing to pay for a scan does not remove a shop’s liability for not conducting one.” The first of the four 2019 “Who Pays for What?” surveys, which focuses on “not-included” refinish operations, is open now through the end of January at: www.surveymonkey .com/r/JHPCT8B. To find the results of previous survey, please visit crashnetwork .com/collisionadvice.

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Car-Deer Accidents Up, Delaying Repairs by Kellan Buddy, WILX News

The cost of fixing your car after hitting a deer might not be the worst part about it. There are long wait times to get the repairs done right now. A car shop in Mason, MI, is running almost two weeks behind schedule. “Sitting here doesn’t do us any good, we want to get it back to you not only so that we can get paid, but we can move on to the next one and keep that cycle going,” said Jeff Kreisler, president of Mason Auto Works. This time of the year Mason Auto Body takes anywhere from two to three weeks to repair cars. “Right now, we’re out to about four to five weeks,” said Kreisler. Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wrigglesworth says his deputies alone have responded to over 200 car-deer accidents since the beginning of October. “It’s about 2.5 a day, just in the out-county basically, and most of them are on the secondary roads,” he said. Because of these crashes, Mason Auto Body is taking in more cars than they can fix.

What’s more, Kreisler says they’re still feeling the effects from the General Motors (GM) strike. “We’ve had vehicles here for over a month waiting for some GM parts to get here,” he said. That’s delaying repairs even more – so much so that they’re running out of space in their lot. “If a tow truck needs to come and drop a car off, it can take two to three people to move all the cars needed to get access to a parking spot. It does pull from other areas that does tend to slow down and halts that rolling wheel for the repair side of things,” Kreisler said. While there is a lot of money lost for deer accident repairs, Wrigglesworth says it’s better than the alternative. “We’d much rather take a call about an accident where no one was injured than one where you miss the deer but now, you’re injured because you hit another car, another tree or rolled your car in a ditch. I can replace my car, but I can’t replace my life. Just hit the deer.” We thank WILX News for reprint permission.

Minnesota Resident Charged With Seven Felonies After Fire, Theft at Collision Repair Center

later noticed $62 was missing from the drawer. Officials tracked down the stolen A Minnesota man has been charged with seven felonies after a fire broke car and were able to arrest Demessie out and items were reported stolen without incident. The complaint says during the investigation, defrom a Barron County, MN, tectives reported the plastic collision center and laundoors and trays on most of dromat. Court documents the commercial washer and show 29-year-old Hienok dryers in the laundromat Demessie has been charged were melted. Inside the with arson of a building, stolen vehicle, law enforcetwo counts of burglary of a ment found 11 boxes of building or dwelling, theft of moveable property Credit: Barron County Tide dryer sheets, 13 boxes (>$10,000-$100,000), pos- Sheriff’s Department of Bounce dryer sheets, session of burglarious tools, felony mini pry bar, gloves, shirt, network secriminal damage to property and oper- curity camera, lighter, black lawn bags ating a motor vehicle without owner’s and two crescent wrenches that the vehicle owners confirmed was not consent. The Barron County criminal theirs. Officials also found a coin complaint says someone called dis- voucher for $376.60. The estimated patch for a report of a possible bur- value of the Toyota Fj Cruiser is more glary at Don Johnson Collision than $10,000 and initial estimates for Center on Dec. 17 around 3:08 a.m. the laundromat damage is $600,000 as The caller said when she got to the a result of the fire, according the comoffice, she noticed keys were missing plaint. Demessie is currently being held along with a bucket of quarters was on a $50,000 cash bond and is schedgone. She also told officials she uled to be back in court on Jan. 3. We thank WEAU News for could smell smoke coming from the neighboring laundromat. The caller reprint permission. by Annemarie Payson, WEAU News

autobodynews.com / FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS

19


GM, Tesla Head for New Year Without Electric Vehicle Tax Credits by Keith Laing, The Detroit News

General Motors Co. and Tesla are about to become the first automakers that will have to sell EVs without the benefit of a $7,500 federal tax credit. Congress failed to include legislation in a spending bill that would have tripled the 200,000 cap on the number of EVs per manufacturer that qualify for tax credits. The legislation would have allowed GM, Tesla and any other automaker hitting that ceiling to offer a slightly lower tax credit of $7,000 for another 400,000 plug-in cars. Now GM and Tesla, which pioneered the development of electric cars while other automakers sat on the sidelines, will enter 2020 at a disadvantage. Competitors such as Ford Motor Co., which has the batterypowered Mustang Mach-E SUV coming in late 2020, will effectively have a $7,500 discount over comparable GM and Tesla vehicles. “Seventy-five-hundred bucks less than your competitors is a good thing,” said Brett Smith, director of propulsion technologies and energy infrastructure for the Center for Automotive Research. “It’s a little bit unfair in that both of these companies went out and really developed and pushed this technology, and now they are not going to have any federal discounts to offer.” GM and Tesla might have to cut prices to make up the difference — but Tesla could be more insulated because of the high demand for its cars. “For GM, I think it’s a bigger deal than it is for Tesla,” Smith said. “The Volt is a very nice electric car, but it’s not really an aspirational car. It can be cross-shopped a little bit more than Tesla vehicles.” GM and Tesla both hit the lifetime ceiling of 200,000 electric vehicles per manufacturer that qualify for the tax break in 2018, triggering a phase-out process that saw the number of tax credits they could offer falling by half every six months until they hit zero on Jan. 1, 2020. Tesla, GM and Nissan accounted for 62% of the 1.18 million electric vehicles that were on the road as of March, according to the Edison Electric Institute, which represents U.S. investor-owned electric companies. 20

Carmakers sold 236,067 electric cars from January to September 2019, down from 361,307 in the same period of 2018, according to the Electric Drive Transportation Association, which lobbies for policies that promote electric-drive technologies.

The White House did not respond to ment 11 years ago. Conservatives a request for comment. Trump has have argued the federal government tried to kill the EV tax credit entirely should not be propping up electric vein the past, and he has expressed hicles at a time when buyers have skepticism about GM’s large bet on demonstrated a clear preference for gasoline-powered SUVs and pickups. plug-in cars. EV supporters say the tax credit “This is a missed opportunity to further advance electrifica- has helped spur the market for plugtion in the United States,” in vehicles. They argue that killing GM said in a statement. it would strip carmakers of a key in“The EV tax credit pro- centive to convince drivers to cut vides a proven pathway to dependence on gas pumps, and it establish the U.S. as a would be harder for car manufacturleader in electrification, ers to hit government fuel-economy helping make electric ve- requirements. “The electric vehicle tax credit hicles more accessible for has helped to put more than a million all customers.” Tesla did not respond to clean cars on the road, creating thouFrom 2010 through June 2019, GM sold 216,702 EVs; a request for comment. In sands of jobs along the way,” Sierra Tesla sold 436,548, according to EVAdoption.com, which its third-quarter filing with Club Legislative Director Melinda tracks electric-car tax-credit use. Credit: AFP Contributor, the Securities and Ex- Pierce said. AFP/Getty Images, File “We must extend these investchange Commission, the Electric vehicles have been el- Silicon Valley automaker said it was ments for flourishing technologies igible for federal tax credits under likely the impending phase-outs like EVs to continue growing our a program that was first estab- caused some buyers to purchase a economy and protecting the health of lished by the George W. Bush ad- Tesla sooner than they otherwise the planet.” ministration. The program was might have. later expanded by the Obama adThe EV tax credit has been a We thank The Detroit News for reprint ministration, raising the amount of point of contention since its establish- permission. the tax credit from $2,500 to $7,500 and instituting the current 200,000 EVs per manufacturer limit. The incentives were intended to encourage EV development by sweetening the deal on vehicles that are typically more expensive. From 2010 through June 2019, GM sold 216,702 EVs; Tesla sold 436,548, according to EVAdoption.com, which tracks electric-car tax-credit use by manufacturer. Nissan is expected to become the next automaker to hit the cap in 2022 or 2023, according to the website. U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, DORIGINAL BMW PARTS & ACCESSORIES. Lansing, who introduced the bipartiLarge Inventory san legislation that would have Competitive Pricing raised the ceiling on tax credits, Experienced Staff blamed President Donald Trump for blocking the measure from being Kelly BMW included in the government funding Phone: 614.471.2277 bill. Parts Direct: 614.337.3090 “President Trump promised to invest in Michigan workers, but just Parts Fax: 614.476.2488 recently, we saw the opposite,” www.kellybmw.com Stabenow said in a statement. “He Hours: M-F 8am-6pm; Sat 9am-2pm blocked the next generation of vehi4050 Morse Rd., Columbus, OH 43230 cles and technology by saying no to the electric vehicle consumer tax ©2019 BMW of North America, LLC. The BMW name, model names and logo are registered trademarks. credit. I want these clean energy jobs here in Michigan, not China.”

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From the Desk of Mike Anderson with Mike Anderson

Mike Anderson is the president and owner of Collision Advice, a consulting company for the auto body/collision repair industry. For nearly 25 years, he was the owner of Wagonwork Collision Center, an OEM-certified, full-service auto body repair facility in Alexandria, VA.

Reflecting on My Journey in the Collision Repair Industry I often talk about the need to look ahead, but in recent weeks, I found myself reflecting. My desire to reflect started forming during SEMA in Las Vegas. SEMA is a great opportunity to catch up with those in the industry who we may not have seen in some time. I turned 57 that week, and certainly most of us get reflective as we get older. There is a book that summarizes my journey well called, “The Canterbury Tales” by Geoffrey Chaucer. The narrator of the story is on a pilgrimage, and as he walks, he is joined by dozens of others – a knight, a squire, a weaver, a monk, a cook, a merchant – all of whom enrich and influence his journey. “The Canterbury Tales” resembles how I’ve been feeling as I reflect on how appreciative I am for those whom I have encountered on my journey in this industry. There’s

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been those who have led the way ahead of me, folks like Jeff Hendler, Hank Nunn, Sheila Loftus, Mark Claypool, Elainna Sachire and so many others. These leaders have encouraged me along the way, and sometimes called me out when I wasn’t doing the smartest thing or when I let my mouth override my brain. There are amazing young leaders in the industry who keep me motivated, such as: Will Latuff, Tiffany Driggers, Tracy Dombrowski, Danny Panduro, Josh Kuehn, Jake Rodenroth and Cody Rinaudo. I’m grateful for the people who have gone ahead of me, the people with me on my journey, and those who are traveling with me and who will be the future leaders of this great industry. As I’ve been reflecting, I was thinking about one of my mentors, Jerry Dalton. Dalton died 20 years

FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

ago, but he was one of the founders of Craftsman Auto Body in northern Virginia. I remember one time when I was young, I walked into a Washington Metropolitan Auto Body Association meeting feeling frustrated.

Credit: Mike Anderson

I had a bad day, and I was griping to Jerry about one of my employees. He started laughing, and I told him I didn’t really think it was funny. “I’m not laughing at you,” he assured me. “You’re just kind of where I used to be.” I asked him what he meant. He

said, “Mike, you need to realize if other people had the same passion and energy as you do, they wouldn’t be working for you. They’d own their own business.” That was an eye-opener for me. I realized we have a right to expect that people will show up for work on time and do a good job; but, not everyone has the same level of passion. There are many people I’ve been blessed to meet on that journey who are every bit as passionate about this industry as I am. They’ve enriched my life, and I’m so grateful. Is there someone who has stood by you in this industry, past or present, who you should reach out to and thank? Don’t delay. Do it today. I am thankful for you – for reading my articles, for showing up to my seminars, and most importantly, for doing the right thing every day to ensure safe and proper repairs.


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Industry Veteran Shares Insight About Future of Collision Repair Industry by Stacey Phillips

During a recent VeriFacts Guild 21 webinar, industry veteran James Spears talked about the future of the collision repair industry. Spears, an insurance and automotive consultant and founder of Spears Consultant Group, talked about the largest autonomous and connected car testing facility in the country, the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and the OEMs’ involvement in First Notice of Loss (FNOL) reporting. Throughout his 30-year career, Spears has assisted the top ten property and casualty providers across the country. His experience includes leading the USAA Auto Experience and the USAA Global Auto Physical Damage operations and strategy. Prior to that, he headed the Strategic Initiatives team at Farmers Insurance and worked for Nationwide Insurance. Currently, he assists the American Center for Mobility as well as a number of other clients and is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Collision Repair Education Founda-

tion (CREF). The following is a summary of Spears’ comments during the webinar, which was facilitated by professional speaker and consultant George Avery. Avery: As an advisor and consultant for the American Center for Mobil-

The American Center for Mobility (ACM) is the largest autonomous and connected car testing facility in the country. Credit: Guild 21

ity, can you tell us about the organization? Spears: The American Center for Mobility (ACM) was established about 18 months ago. It is the largest and most sophisticated autonomous

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Michigan, the University of Michigan, Michigan Department of Transportation, Subaru, Hyundai, Ford, Toyota, Intertek and Microsoft. The mission of the organization is to enable the rapid, safe development and deployment of future trans-

portation systems by offering leading programs in testing, standards, and education as a national technology innovation center. The facility focuses on testing vehicles with Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS). You might be surprised to hear that these technologies perform differently on models. They do not all stop the same or act the same. A lot of consumers believe ADAS technologies are all equal, but some far outshine others. We’re very fortunate to have the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) provide star safety ratings; however, there are no such ratings when it comes to ADAS platforms. The two organizations have different focuses. The American Center for Mobility is where manufacturers and tier one, two and three parts suppliers test their equipment during the development stage. In contrast, IIHS conducts testing once the equipment is already in vehicles. I think our industry needs to align with the American Center for

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and connected car testing facility in the country. Located near the Detroit airport, the center is built on more than 500 acres at the Willow Run site in Southeast Michigan. This is where bombers were built for WWII. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been put into building the tremendous facility. Supporters include the State of

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Mobility. We currently don’t have any collision repairers or insurance companies that are represented, and they can really have an impact on the vehicles before they go to market. I encourage collision repairers to reach out for more information: https://www.acmwillowrun.org/.

Avery: How is the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) impacting the collision repair industry?

Spears: We’re now seeing AI being used in a number of ways, such as the appraisal process. I hope we’ll continue to see a shift using AI technology in the blueprinting of appraisals. However, I’m concerned about how claims are adjusted and protecting the consumer. When breaking the vehicle down, we need to make sure we cover all the components that are important after an accident and ensure the customer’s car is repaired properly. We might also start using AI with the parts ordering process so shops can order major components quickly. I’m fortunate to work with a company that uses AI to generate prospects over social media. I rec-

ommend that shops take a closer look at using AI in their businesses and reach out to companies that specialize in this area to help find customers in an unconventional fashion. I don’t believe we’ll be 100 percent reliant on AI software in the future; however, AI can expedite the industry.

Avery: What are some of your predictions in terms of OEM involvement in First Notice of Loss (FNOL) reporting? Spears: There is an absolute battle in positioning going on right now in regard to the way that the models of vehicle ownership will change over time, particularly as the middle class abort their own cars or a 7-8-year loan becomes the norm. In cases such as these, people will never own their vehicles, because they are not paying them off but rolling them into the next loan. This lays the groundwork for manufacturers to keep connectivity to the automobile. When I first came into the industry, the average age of a car was 5-6 years old. Today, vehicles are an

average of 9-11 years old. It’s not uncommon for a loan to be stretched out that long. When you take a look at the new Car-Net mobile app Volkswagen recently debuted, the information needs to stay active as long as the person is paying for a subscription. If there is a collision and the airbags deploy, the Car-Net service will report if there is an accident. Certified shops that focus on having the right tooling, facility and training, are going to do much better than facilities that don’t. I believe we’ll see OEMs own FNOL in the future. They will be able to call a carrier to report an accident, let them know which store it was towed to and find out if the carrier wants to have someone look at the vehicle or if the OEM should do the appraisal. That’s going to give them time to break the car down and not just do a rudimentary digital evaluation. They will be able to have a much more processed, highly detailed blueprint-type of appraisal… and customers won’t know the difference. Companies such as Enterprise, with its Entegral program, are starting to get into post-accident process-

ing. Consumers could very well be a fan of that program, being able to have a replacement car readily available. By offering alternative transportation and being able to meet that immediate need, it will have higher payoffs for carriers.

Avery: Will it become more common for vehicle owners to allocate a repairer of choice?

Spears: An OEM could open up the possibility for customer choice and we may very well see owners being able to assign themselves to a repair shop, particularly through a manufacturers network, like Volkswagen’s Car-Net mobile app or GM’s OnStar system. However, customer choice might lie beyond the customer’s geography in some cases. For example, if a consumer has an Audi or a complicated Volkswagen to be repaired and there isn’t a certified shop nearby, the car will have to be towed to a certified shop outside of the area the carrier offers. For more information, email Spears at James.spears@gmail.com.

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Would Fiat Chrysler retain its headquarters in Auburn Hills? The current Italian American automaker is incorporated in the Netherlands, headquartered in London and retains major operations in Auburn Hills and Turin, Italy, the home of the Fiat brand. Likewise, the combination of FCA and PSA would be domiciled in the Netherlands and continue to have operational headquarters in Auburn Hills, Paris and Turin.

combination will benefit its members and it is looking forward to hearing more details. The labor contract that UAW members ratified a week ago with FCA continues to include job security provisions in the instances of a merger, a union spokesman previously said. FCA’s previously announced investments, including the construction of a new assembly plant in Detroit, will not be affected. As for salaried employees, 20% of the expected $4.1 billion in cost savings is expected from the combination will result from redundancies in marketing, information technology, logistics and other areas, the companies said. But Groupe PSA does not have a retail presence in North America. Most of the cuts are expected to occur in Europe where there is overlap.

Are Fiat Chrysler employees’ jobs in jeopardy? Executives repeated statements from October that there would be no plant closures or loss of manufacturing jobs as a result of the transaction. United Auto Workers Vice President Cindy Estrada said the union hopes the

What does this mean for Fiat Chrysler buyers? The combined company is expected to maintain all 13 brands that Fiat Chrysler and PSA currently operate. The companies, however, plan to shrink the number of vehicle platforms they operate. Two platforms

Continued from Cover

GM Sells Over 1 Million Crossovers Again

General Motors Co. (GM) announced that it delivered 2,887,046 vehicles in 2019 in the United States. The total included more than 1 million crossovers for the second year in a row, an increase of 12.7 percent compared to 2018, and more than 1 million full-size pickup trucks and SUVs. “We’ve focused our resources on what our customers want – crossovers and trucks – and that has paid off,” said Kurt McNeil, vice president, U.S. Sales Operations. “In addition to our industry leading crossover sales, our full-size truck franchise is unmatched.” Fourth quarter North American wholesales declined an estimated 25 percent year over year, due to the 40-day United Auto Workers work stoppage. “Our fourth-quarter stocks were leaner than we wanted, but as we get ready to launch our all-new full-size SUVs, we look forward to another solid year in 2020,” McNeil added.

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provided to investors refers to the entity colloquially as “DutchCo,” but Fiat Chrysler representatives assured that is not the official title.

are expected to be the basis twothirds of the combined entity’s run for small and compact/mid-size vehicles. The convergence of these platforms could been seen starting in 20 months following the deal’s closure, the executives said. U.S. consumers could see the implementation of PSA’s technology and electrification platform in Fiat Chrysler vehicles, Manley said. The combination perhaps could speed the introduction of brands like Peugeot, Citroën, Opel and Vauxhall into North America. In 2016, PSA had established a ten-year goal to reenter the U.S. retail market. “We see the strength of FCA in North America,” Tavares said. “We have 12 months ahead of us to think what we would do after closing. So far it is premature. This is something that we will have to consider.” We thank The Detroit News for reprint permission.

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That’s It! He’s Had It, Part 1 by Gary Ledoux

Social media has changed the way we interact with each other, with our peers, and with the world. The originators of Facebook thought it’d be fun to share a good experience you had at your favorite restaurant or share a picture of your little leaguer hitting the winning run, but it’s gone beyond that. Monitoring the various collisionrelated Facebook pages, hardly a week goes by when some shop owner doesn’t create a post, lamenting their seemingly hopeless situation, dealing with insurance companies, dealing with customers that want everything “thrown-in,” including the deductible, and trying to find and keep good help. The post usually ends with “That’s it. I’ve had it!” Then, the conversation usually goes like this: “I could close my shop, but then what would I do … work as a line tech for another shop? I’m still in my 40’s but the challenges of body work have wrecked my back and standing on concrete all day has wrecked my legs. This is the only job I’ve known since I was 16. What do I do now?” The answer is – there’s plenty to do. Being a shop owner, you have experience and knowledge that is transferable to other corners of the collision repair industry. Stop and think of all the companies that produce products and services that support your efforts as a collision repair shop, and all the managers, representatives, and other workers they employ. Your experience as a shop owner (or technician, or painter) is invaluable to them. Here are a few to consider:

HD Truck Repair: Consider the heavy truck and specialty vehicle industry if you enjoy working with your hands and seeing the physical results of your efforts. This includes repairing tractor-trailer rigs or specialty vehicles like fire trucks or ambulances. The work is no less strenuous than working on automobiles, but insurance adjusters rarely question an estimate. The labor rate runs $100 to $150 per hour, and with a guesstimated 2,000 heavy truck shops in the country, there is less competition as 32

opposed to the 35,000 auto collision shops. Insurance Adjuster: Yes, it almost feels blasphemous to work in a corner of the industry you have cursed since day one. How many times have you said, “I wish these guys knew something so I didn’t have to train them!” Now, you can be that rare adjuster that truly knows the business and can relate to the shops.

MSO Field Manager: Depending on the MSO, it might be necessary to manage anywhere from six to eight shop locations to hundreds of locations. This requires coordination, manpower, and an intricate knowledge of the industry. A former shop owner or manager could be invaluable in any number of positions in an organization as such.

Equipment Manufacturer / Distributor: Tim Morgan, a former body shop owner, and former training manager for another equipment maker, and trainer for a technical college, is now the chief operating officer for Spanesi Equipment for North America. Asked about the role a former shop owner could play in his organization, Morgan noted, “We, and our independent distributors, need people to sell, install, demonstrate and train people on the use of Spanesi equipment. We sell everything needed to outfit a shop including pulling and measuring equipment, welding equipment, spray booths and so forth. Former shop owners, managers and techs make excellent candidates for this kind of work. I have hired several since 2012 … and wish I could find a few more.”

Estimating Company: What better person to conduct training or serve as a field rep for an estimating system than someone who has worked, probably with all the different systems, and different generations of systems, than a former shop owner or manager?

Paint Manufacturer: John Bosin, now retired but formerly a representative with AkzoNobel and DuPont paint companies noted, “Initially DuPont wanted people with a bach-

FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

(PBE) jobber companies in the country with a total of 4,000 locations. This is not counting the many auto parts jobbers who also carry PBE products. According to Bargnes’ estimation, “This provides former shop owners, painters and technicians with the most opportunity of any shop employment alternative in the industry.”

elor’s degree in business. Eventually what they, and other paint companies realized was, they needed people who were versed in the business and the products they represented. Today, former shop owners not only make great account representatives, but paint companies also need people to serve in training and consulting roles to manage their body shop programs such as Akzo’s A-Coat program.”

Consumer Advocate: Consumer advocate is an all-encompassing way of describing a professional who will conduct post-repair inspections and assist in diminished-value claims. Many consultants do this, but some, like Collision Safety Consultants based in North Carolina and Wreck Check Car Scan (owned by a former shop owner) based in Las Vegas specialize in it. With cars becoming more sophisticated and people becoming more litigious, post repair inspection, and looking after the rights of the consumer is a growing business. Given the John Eagle case of two years ago, the stakes could not be higher.

PBE Jobber Rep: Gay Bargnes, one of the principals for Painter’s Supply, a paint and body supply jobber with 52 stores in eight states is well known in the industry and is the immediate past chair for the Collision Industry Conference. He said there are many positions on this side of the industry that can be and are filled with former shop owners, techs and painters. Bargnes added, “Being a rep or a trainer for a paint jobber is a quasi-technical position. It requires a combination of technical skill, sales skills, and people skills.” Bargnes “guesstimates” that there are about 1,500 Paint Body and Equipment

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Product Innovation

Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist based in San Francisco, California. He can be reached at era39@aol.com.

with Ed Attanasio

First Paint Suits Designed for Ladies Announced at SEMA Fear not, ladies—the Behind the Gun paint suit is made just for you and is finally here! If you’re a female refinisher or technician, this is great news and much needed, according to its creator Connie Manjavinos. Several years ago, Manjavinos, a head painter at Kiddy’s Classics in Jensen Beach, FL, and the person behind Girls Behind the Gun began approaching SATA about producing a paint suit designed specifically for women. As more and more ladies move to the forefront of this industry and gain respect for being top-performing technicians, Manjavinos is driven to play a meaningful role. With a mission of connecting to other females in the collision industry, Manjavinos created an outlet on social media: Girls Behind the Gun. It’s a place of appreciation for all women in the refinishing and collision repair industry. Manjavinos is

now connected with thousands of other female refinishers and technicians. The movement started four

At SEMA 2019, Connie Manjavinos unveiled her Behind the Gun paint suit, designed specifically for women. Credit: Ed Attanasio

years ago and has already reached an impressive 20,000 followers on Facebook and Instagram. Hilary Ann (@autobodybarbie) came to me with an idea to start “an exclusive Facebook page called Auto Body Gals and I responded with go for it! We have almost 1,100 women from all over the world who use it and share tips, tricks, and techniques while ultimately networking and celebrating each other. It’s going to take an army to make a difference for women in this industry.” Manjavinos has received national acclaim for her work and has participated in many events including 3M’S PPS World Cup. She also received second place in last year’s SATA Gun Design Competition for SEMA, and also participated in two all-female builds featured at SEMA. It’s still a male-dominated industry, but things are getting better,

Manjavinos said. “Yes, there are still a few guys out there who have issues with women, but they aren’t going to stop me from what I am doing. In a way, it’s inspiring and most of the men I encounter are so supportive, to be honest. That’s why networking with other female painters and techs is so needed, because there’s power in numbers.” When Tony Lartimer at DanAm Company and CHOKO Designs, a clothing manufacturer, gave her paint suit concept two thumbs up, it was go time, Manjavinos said. “In November 2018, the people at Choko approached me and after a while all three parties came together to do this. It was fate and pretty amazing. I was excited and we began the design process right away. We started with a rough draft and then it changed and evolved during the development stage.”

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Most paint suits are made for men and this one acknowledges women,” she said. “Before this suit existed, we had to use a log of tape to get a good seal around the ankles and wrists—it’s a hassle. We got a lot of valuable feedback from female painters and we determined that it takes 15 minutes to tape up. In

straps replace tape and the Girls Behind the Gun logo is emblazoned on the back of the suit. The goal was to create a suit that will help us to be more efficient without completely sacrificing style.” Over the years, several companies came out with paint suits that were allegedly designed for women,

“The goal was to create a suit that will help us to be more efficient without completely sacrificing style.” — Connie Manjavinos addition, men’s suits are normally way too big for us, and we don’t want all that extra material that can touch the paint when we lean in, for example.” Other modifications make the suit ideal for women, Manjavinos said. “With our suit, we insisted on knee pads that might eventually be removable in future designs. We also got rid of the pocket on the chest, so we could use the princess cut design to achieve that feminine look. We also learned that most ladies don’t use their pocket anyway. Velcro

Manjavinos said. “There was no other women’s paint suit out there on the market. Other brands came out with pink suits as a special edition, but it would still be a men’s suit. When I first began thinking about the Girls Behind the Gun paint suits, I Googled it and when I saw that there was nothing out there, it inspired me even more.” Available in every size from extra small to triple extra large, the Girls Behind the Gun paint suit features a breathable full poly-cotton back; built-in padded knees; hook

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and loop cuff closures; ergonomically shaped sleeves, easy to slip on wide paint legs adjustable hook & loop leg closures and underarm twoway zippers. Unveiling the suit at SEMA 2019 was an incredible experience for Manjavinos. “Every woman who saw it at the SATA booth loved it and every single one didn’t hesitate to try it on. This suit represents opportunity and I really believe that this is only the beginning, as more and more doors start opening up for us. The new Girls Behind the Gun is part of this revolution and proud to be part of it.” “I just want to help the women be able to walk in that paint booth with confidence,” she added. “I want to eliminate the stress or anxiety in the back of their heads to make sure that their paint suit isn’t in the way. That way, we can truly focus on our work and achieving a fantastic paint job. This is for all women with all backgrounds behind the gun who needs a protected paint suit!”

www.autobodynews.com

CARSTAR Celebrates Banner Year

CARSTAR owners experienced an average of 20 percent sales growth across North America, which translates into over $1 billion in profitability. “Consistently putting customer experience and repair quality first, while giving back to the communities we serve are the founding values from 1989, that got us to this position we are in today,” says Dean Fisher, president, CARSTAR. The brand celebrated its 30th anniversary by doing something unique each month to thank its customers, franchise family and colleagues for their continued support throughout its history. “We are grateful for our customers and franchise family, so it was such a joy to take a moment each month to celebrate our valued relationships,” continues Fisher. “We are excited to close out the year on such a high note and motivated to raise the bar for excellence even higher 2020.”

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35


Industry Insight with John Yoswick

—John Yoswick is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon who 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.

MSOs Hear Positive Outlook for 2020, Discuss Mixed Impact of Photo Estimating A positive forecast for the collision repair industry in 2020 was among the presentations at the eighth annual “MSO Symposium” held in Las Vegas during SEMA. Susanna Gotsch, director of industry analysis for CCC Information Services, said with new-car sales in 2019 again at $17 million for the fifth year in a row (a first), and scrappage rates at historic lows, a growing vehicle population on the roads should mean “we will see the overall number of vehicles in accidents grow.”

Susanna Gotsch of CCC Information Services sees other factors offsetting some of the downward impact ADAS has on accident frequency in the short term, and collision repair costs rising healthily this year. Credit: John Yoswick

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) will likely continue to have a modest impact on that, she acknowledged. About 56 percent of 2019 model year vehicles include frontal crash warning with emergency braking (up from 29 percent for model year 2017), meaning an estimated 60 million vehicles on U.S. roads have that technology. That’s only about 20 percent of the total vehicle population, but a much higher percentage of vehicles that are 3years-old or newer, which have previously accounted for a third of the estimates CCC processes. Gotsch calculates if emergency braking cuts those vehicles’ likelihood of a front-to-rear collision by 50 percent, that technology is reducing overall frequency between 2 percent and 5 percent. There’s some potential offset; however, vehicles with emergency braking have a 20 36

percent higher frequency of being rear-ended by another vehicle when the emergency braking kicks in. That’s the upside for collision repairers during this period when there are still plenty of vehicles without much in the way of ADAS. In the short run, she said, the industry can expect to see slightly fewer but more complex and expensive repairs. “We expect repair costs to accelerate about 5 percent [in 2020] on average, versus about 3 percent growth two or three years ago,” she said. As more driver assistance systems are introduced and work better in more situations, there should be more of an impact on frequency and severity, she said. “Even if the vehicle doesn’t avoid the accident, [emergency braking] may at least minimally reduce the damage incurred if the speed of the vehicle is mitigated before impact,” she added. But Gotsch also echoed those who have said autonomous vehicles aren’t going to put collision repairers’ livelihoods at stake any time soon. She cited Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, now age 69, who said last fall that fully self-driving vehicles likely won’t be ready for the real world “in my lifetime.” In the meantime, Gotsch said, automakers are looking for new ways to generate revenue from vehicles such as in-console ads or announcements promoting (while potentially distracting drivers) easily-accessible gas stations or doughnut shops the driver and vehicle are approaching. “So despite all the talk about vehicle autonomy changing our landscape and eliminating the need for personal auto insurance and vehicle repairs in the future, I think most of us, as I look around the room, are probably pretty safe with a career in this industry, at least until we retire,” Gotsch said.

Virtual Claims Handling Will “Normalize” Repair Costs In another presentation during the

FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

MSO Symposium, Allstate’s Clint Marlow said he believes “virtual inspections” will continue to become more common. “It costs an awful lot of money to have staff that gets in a car in the morning and travels from repair facility to repair facility,” Marlow said. “From the studies we did, they spent half that time driving, sitting in traffic, etc.” He said cutting back on staffing costs is part of what’s driving the push for virtual inspections, but he also said more and more consumers are finding it an easier and faster process, and shops are seeing faster supplement approvals using Allstate’s “Virtual Assist” rather than waiting for in-shop reinspections by an adjuster. However, Marlow did acknowledge that some challenges with virtual inspections still exist. With just

photos, he said, you “can’t get under the car or lift the hood.” “And the consumer may come in [to the shop] thinking this is a minor loss, and all of a sudden at tear-down it’s like, ‘Wait a minute. Why is the repair this much? Who is trying to get one over on me? Is it the insurer or is it the repairer?’ When really, it’s just additional damage,” Marlow said. But increased use of “big data” will help resolve more of those issues, he predicted. “What are the parts that you’re not seeing [in a virtual inspection] that you think may be damaged,” Marlow said. “You can start to [use historical claims data] to put a confidence weight on that. No one likes [parts] returns. But if I said [based on data] there’s a 90 percent chance of you needing this part, how many people would not order that part in their initial parts order? And you might

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37


even do it at 80 percent. Lower than that, people may start to get squeamish. So, you’ll start to see these types of predictions on the damage you don’t see to augment the virtual estimate.” Marlow predicted that one outcome of the shift toward photo estimating and remote or “virtual” handling of supplements will be that

Allstate’s Clint Marlow predicted “big data” increasingly will help offset current limitations of photo estimating. Credit: John Yoswick

“repair costs are going to normalize across the industry.” He said when companies such as his had local claims offices throughout most markets, “different market practices evolved over time” in each of those markets. “Judgement times,” for exContinued from Page 32

That’s It!

Executive Director of an Auto Body Association: In 1982, John Loftus owned a body shop in Hawthorne, CA, and was already active in his state’s auto body association. He knew something more was needed – something on a national scale. Long story short, he, and a few other shop owners were responsible for founding what is known today as the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS). Loftus became a paid “employee” of the organization serving as executive director for 19 years. Is there a body shop association or similar organization in your area that needs an executive director?

ample, evolved differently, particularly in areas like California where labor rates vary from market to market. “They all still kind of get paid the same money to fix the car [despite the differences in labor rates] because the judgment times have evolved a little bit differently,” Marlow said. “That probably isn’t going to be a good model going forward when California claims are handled [remotely] by someone in Atlanta or somebody in New York. That’s my hypothesis on why you’re going to see things normalize across the industry, because you’re losing local market knowledge.” Mixed Views of Photo Estimating MSOs themselves offered a little less enthusiasm for photo estimating during a panel discussion at the event. Vince Claudio of the Gerber Collision chain did say his company has run almost 10,000 photo estimates last year, but he sees it mostly as a customer convenience or a way for the company to potentially handle a “catastrophic event where you have resources strained” and could “work Industry-Related Technology Company: Curt Nixon is a former collision shop owner who saw several needs within the customer-experience initiatives for body shops, mechanical shops and dealership service departments, and is working hard to fill those needs. He operates a company called Update Promise, providing a suite of products to help shops build business and profits and enhance the customer experience. Among these are verified third-party shop reviews, integrated payment systems, data analytics, and customer contact. Be sure to check Autobody News next month for part two of this two-part series with a few more ideas on related alternatives to shop management, and the conclusion of this article.

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with a central review team to complete some estimates.” Mark Sanders, president and chief operating officer for the Caliber Collision chain, said his company also offers photo estimates as a customer service, but only “for very small claims, where we can write an estimate, have the customer accept repairs, and we pre-order the parts,” enabling the customer to make only one trip to the shop before repairs begin. “But I do think you’re seeing [photo estimating] getting abused, where it’s being used as a cash-out tool for a lot of customers, some with pretty significant hits,” Sanders said. “To me there’s a risk there of writing an estimate for a customer with what appears to be minor bumper damage, but without notifying that customer that the vehicle could be unsafe to drive because the [sensors or ADAS] systems are knocked out of calibration.” Claudio concurred. “It feels like it makes it easier for them to interact and do business [with you], but by the same token you could be creating significant risk,” he said.

Rosen Law Files Lawsuit Against Towing Company

A complaint was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York against a towing company which the complaint claims has overcharged consumers who required towing services from a towing company that is the exclusive towing company authorized by the New York City Police Department to tow vehicles on seven highways. According to the Complaint, instead of charging New York’s consumers and businesses $125 to have their cars towed up to 10 miles off of the seven New York highways, Runway Towing Corp was charging up to $400 for the tow that they are only permitted to charge $125 for. It is alleged in the complaint that the New York City Police Department and the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs knew that Runway Towing Corp. was overcharging consumers and businesses, but Runway Towing Corp. was permitted to continue their scheme to overcharge. Obtained via PR Newswire.

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National Associations with Chasidy Rae Sisk

Chasidy Rae Sisk is a freelance technical writer from Wilmington, Delaware, who writes on a variety of fields and subjects, and grew up in a family of NASCAR fans. She can be contacted at crsisk@chasidyraesisk.com.

ASA’s Webinar Wednesday Addresses What’s Happening With Data Access Policy On Dec. 18, ASA’s monthly Webinar Wednesday featured a discussion on “What’s Happening With Data Access Policy” with Robert L. Redding Jr., ASA Washington, D. C. representative and Greg Scott from the U. S. Vehicle Data Access Coalition. The webinar began with ASA Vice President of Industry Relations Tony Molla welcoming attendees and introducing Redding and Scott. Redding began with a review of service information and vehicle data access which started with the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments which required independent repairers to have access to the same information as dealers. Subsequent EPA regulations, what Redding called “attempts at getting it right,” proceeded to the ASA and Automaker Service Information Agreement which facilitated the creation of OEM websites and landed the industry where it currently

is today. “The Massachusetts Right to Repair led to a memorandum of understanding with aftermarket and automaker associations. Finally, in the 115th Congress passed Autonomous Vehicle Legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, but AV legislation containing Vehicle Data Access stakeholder language failed to reach the U.S. Senator floor,” Redding explained. Moving on to data access, Redding asked Scott when the U. S. Vehicle Data Access Coalition was formed, and Scott said, “In 2017, as Congress began looking at autonomous vehicle legislation, European automakers threatened to shut down data access due to autonomous vehicles. The Coalition was founded and is comprised of members of the automotive industry, the aftermarket repair industry, consumer groups, insurance industry groups and others who believe

the owner of the vehicle should control the data generated by that vehicle and be able to grant permission to repairers to access that information.” “At the time, there was a belief that the data belonged to the OEMs who could then grant access to the vehicle owner,” Scott continued. “The Coalition was formed as a necessary political animal because our voices are stronger together and allows us to offset the power of motor vehicle manufacturers.” Explaining that the Coalition is now examining a broader set of data, Scott discussed how data impacts consumers and insurers. “Consumers need to be able to know where their vehicles are, and insurers are involved in this topic as they reconstruct accidents or try to write policies. There is all sorts of data that different parties need access to. Telematics companies pull data that’s important to fleet man-

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having discussions with OEMs to thinking that’s insufficient and deciding that we’re going to need to do affirmative legislation.” Redding noted that the collision repair industry has relied on thirdparty providers and OEM websites for years, and he pondered what path should be taken to move forward, identifying this as a critical concern for the second session of the 116th Congress. “We need a path for vehicle data access because there’s too much at stake,” Redding stressed. “We want to keep our small businesses viable and allow them to plan for the future. It’s important for their strategic planning that we figure this out.” Referencing the California Privacy Act, Redding questioned why shops in other states should be concerned. Scott explained, “We need to start by dividing access to data with usage of data. How can you use sensitive, personal data? California has adopted this law that goes into effect on Jan. 1, but the use of data is irrelevant to an ASA member, fleet operator or consumer if they don’t have access to that data. We need to begin by regulating data access, and then

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it’s appropriate to regulate use of that information.” Scott also hypothesized about which pieces of legislation could include data access issues, besides legislation pertaining to autonomous vehicles. Addressing NHTSA’s role in data access, Scott noted, “The NHTSA’s concern is safety. Data access is related to privacy and competition. If data is restricted, competition disappears, and prices increase for consumers. Congress hasn’t given NHTSA the authority to regulate data access; as of 2019, the Federal Trade Commission regulates data access.” Anticipating that 2020 will see the introduction of data access legislation that the Coalition will be supporting, Scott predicted, “We’re going to shake up the OEMs on this topic. At the end of the day, as ASA members well know, negotiation will always include a bit of a confrontation, but if we can reach an agreement between the OEMs and vehicle owners to ensure data access for everyone who needs it, that would be the preferred outcome. The Coalition wants everyone to know we are out here beating the drum on this.”

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42

Gerber Collision & Glass Acquires Nine CA Locations The Boyd Group Inc. announced that it has entered the state of California via two acquisitions representing nine locations in the suburban Los Angeles area. Six of the shops are in Corona, Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Moreno Valley, Murrieta and Palm Desert and previously operated as International Auto Crafters. The locations in Newhall, Santa Clarita and Valencia operated as Centre Pointe Collision. All of these shops are located east of Los Angeles in Riverside County, the fourth-most populous county in California and 11th in the U.S. “We are excited to enter a new state and expand our footprint on the West Coast, reinforcing our brand and providing the high-quality service customers in this region have come to expect,” said Kevin Burnett, COO of Gerber Collision & Glass. “With these acquisitions and our new locations, we also look forward to better serving our insurance partners with their West Coast needs.”

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“If you’re not at the table, you tend to be on the menu,” Scott continued. “We have to push our way into this debate and line up our champions. Legislators need to hear from their constituents to know they care about this issue. We need to make as much noise as we can so that OEMs and legislators have to pay attention. If we don’t speak up together, we won’t get the attention we need; it’s up to us to affirmatively pass legislation to prevent OEMs from shutting it down … As vehicles advance, there will be more data, and repairers will need more access. We are trying to cover current and future vehicles as we strive to address the data access issues facing the industry.” ASA’s next Webinar Wednesday will occur on Jan. 15 at 1 p.m. EST and will feature Becky Witt, AMAM for George Witt Service, as she presents “Would You Take a Job for $200 an Hour?” Witt will apply accounting principles to demonstrate how pricing should be determined, thereby providing attendees with the tools necessary to increase profits. For more information or to register, visit asashop.org/webinars/.

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FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

©2020 MINI USA, a division of BMW of North America, LLC. The MINI name, model names and logo are registered trademarks.


UNIBODY AutoTech Collision Center Joins CIECA

UNIBODY AutoTech Collision Center joined CIECA as a corporate member. Established in 2008 by Michael Chong, the company offers auto repair and maintenance in Honolulu, Hawaii. Chong said that he is continually looking to expand his knowledge of the industry so he can bring information back to Hawaii and his team at UNIBODY AutoTech Collision Center. “Today’s vehicles are like smartphones on wheels,” said Chong. “CIECA seems to be ahead of the game when it comes to technology and I look forward to gaining knowledge and meeting great people at CIECA.” Chong said that with technology and safety systems growing every day, he and his employees recognize the importance of refocusing on how vehicles are repaired today while consumers are demanding instant satisfaction. “CIECA standards are important,” said Chong. “As technology continues to evolve and collision repair businesses adapt, standards help us better communicate and evolve in our changing industry.”

Chevy Shake Class Action Says Driveshaft is the Problem by David A. Wood, CarComplaints.com

A so-called “Chevy Shake” classaction lawsuit alleges GM vehicles suffer severe vibrations because the automaker uses aluminum driveshafts. The GM class action includes all consumers in the U.S., except Florida, who purchased or leased any of these GM vehicles. • 2015-2020 Cadillac Escalade • 2014-2019 Chevrolet Silverado • 2015-2020 Chevrolet Suburban • 2015-2020 Chevrolet Tahoe • 2014-2019 GMC Sierra • 2015-2020 GMC Yukon/Yukon XL Florida consumers are not included because a separate Chevy Shake lawsuit (Weiss v. General Motors) was denied nationwide class action certification, but the judge said the lawsuit could proceed for GM customers in Florida. According to the two plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit, the aluminum driveshafts cause severe vibrations that cause drivers to lose control of the vehicles. The plaintiffs claim the problem occurs while driving high-

way speeds, and over time the driveshaft can deteriorate and finally drop to the ground. GM allegedly sells and leases the vehicles while knowing the aluminum driveshafts will cause violent and dangerous vibrations that can send the vehicles off the roads. Instead of warning customers about the dangers, the class action alleges General Motors conceals information about the Chevy Shake to continue selling and leasing the vehicles. The automaker also has allegedly refused to recall the vehicles to replace the driveshafts and hasn’t offered to reimburse customers who spent their money for repairs. One of the plaintiffs purchased a 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and claims the truck experienced the so-called Chevy Shake when about 25,000 was on the odometer. According to the plaintiff, the “center console aggressively shakes left to right such that if a cup were placed in the console without a lid, it would spill.” The plaintiff also says she has paid more than $1,400 in an effort to fix the truck but the vibrations and shaking continue. The dealer-

ship allegedly finally said the vibration was normal and no repairs were needed. The class action says owners have replaced the aluminum driveshafts with custom-made steel driveshafts which completely fixed the problem. The lawsuit says it’s clear GM knows about the so-called Chevy Shake because dealerships have been issued technical service bulletins (TSBs) related to the driveshafts. GM issued TSB PI1354A in 2014 and TSB PI1354C in 2015 which said, “There have been many cases of dented propeller [drive] shafts.” GM told each dealer to inspect the driveshaft and replace it if damage was discovered. However, the lawsuit alleges the aluminum driveshafts were replaced with equally defective aluminum driveshafts. The automaker also sent dealerships TSB PI1354I in 2019 entitled, “Information on Vibration Analysis and Diagnostic,” something the class action alleges is proof GM is still having problems with the driveshafts. We thank CarComplaints.com for reprint permission.

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Tesla Becomes the Biggest U.S. Automaker in History

Subaru Recalls 498,000 Vehicles for Takata Airbag Inflators by David A. Wood, CarComplaints.com

A Subaru Takata airbag inflator recall has been issued for nearly 498,000 of these vehicles to replace the passenger frontal airbag inflators.

• • • •

2009-2013 Subaru Forester 2003-2006 Subaru Baja 2004-2011 Subaru Impreza 2004-2014 Subaru WRX (including STI) • 2003-2014 Subaru Legacy • 2003-2014 Subaru Outback • 2006 Saab 9-2X The action is part of a recall of 10 million Takata airbag infla-

AUTOBODY

by Loukia Papadopoulos, Interesting Engineering

tors in vehicles manufactured by at least 14 automakers. The vehicles had their passenger airbag inflators replaced during previous recalls. It may be the final Subaru recall to replace Takata inflators after multiple automakers were forced to replace the inflators after deaths and injuries caused by exploding inflators. Takata airbags contain metal inflators which can explode into shrapnel when the airbags deploy. The Subaru recall is expected to begin in January 2020. Subaru owners may contact Subaru at 844373-6614, and Saab owners may call 800-955-9007.

Tesla just became the biggest automaker in history. Its market capitalization on Monday, Jan. 6 was valued at $81.4 billion, beating Ford’s peak market value of $80.8 billion. Beating the Competition It was already bigger than General Motors but now also surpassed Ford’s. “They caught their competition in the U.S. just dead flatfooted,” Paul Holland, a general partner at Foundation Capital, said Tuesday, Jan. 7, regarding Tesla on CNBC’s “Squawk Alley.” “I don’t think it’s quite going to be the same in China … but nonetheless, a terrific day for Tesla and well-deserved because they’ve innovated with a product that many of us love.” Tesla shares have had a very promising beginning of 2020. They increased by almost 10% in the first week of the year as the first Model 3 sedans rolled off the assembly line at the firm’s China factory. The firm also boasted a record number of deliveries in the fourth quarter. Tesla delivered an impressive number of 112,000 vehicles during the

Subaru’s recall numbers are TKC-20, TKB-20 and TKA-20. We thank CarComplaints.com for reprint permission.

www.autobodynews.com

UPDATED DAILY

final three months of 2019. Tesla CEO Elon Musk spent the New Year working at the Fremont, CA, factory to deliver the last few cars of the year. A Good Year This year also saw the introduction of the Cybertruck. The car received 146K orders just two days after its unveiling. The firm also delivered China’s Model 3s early on Jan. 7. “China is by far the largest market for mid-sized premium sedans. With Model 3 priced on par with gasolinepowered mid-sized sedans (even before gas savings and other benefits), we believe China could become the biggest market for Model 3,” said Tesla in its third-quarter earnings report. Although Tesla’s toppling of these two American auto giants may come as a surprise to some, it was already predicted a Bloomberg article of 2014. Entitled “Tesla Can Topple the Car-Dealer Monopoly,” the article attributed the firm’s success to Musk’s desire to “build a retail network free from the franchise-dealer monopoly.” We thank Interesting Engineering for reprint permission.

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FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com


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WIN Scholarship Program Opens Applications Women’s Industry Network (WIN) is committed to supporting females who demonstrate their desire to excel in the field of collision repair through the WIN Scholarship Program. Applications for the 2020 program will be accepted now through Jan. 31, 2020. The program for 2020 will offer the College Student Tuition and Conference Scholarship Award. This scholarship is presented to students enrolled in a post-secondary collision repair technology program. Each recipient will receive a $1,000 scholarship to continue their post-secondary education and a one-year WIN membership. “WIN understands that the cost of education, or continued education, has the potential to be a hurdle for students,” says Debbie Menz, 2020 co-chair of the Sponsorship Committee. “But with the support of our sponsors and members, WIN is able to offer scholarships to multiple female students each year to help them advance in the collision repair industry.

11th Circuit Court Dismisses Suit Alleging Conspiracy to Deflate Collision Repair Changes by Jim Sams, Insurance Journal

A federal appellate court affirmed a decision to throw out a racketeering lawsuit brought by a group of 126 auto body collision repair shops against seven of the largest U.S. insurers. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta agreed with the district court that the repair shops failed to state a valid claim that the insurers had conspired to commit a fraud by demanding that they accept lower rates for their work in order to participate in their repair networks. The 11th Circuit noted that the 9th Circuit had rejected a similar pleading brought by small business owners against Yelp for allegedly manipulating user reviews to “extort” advertising revenue. “The Ninth Circuit’s reasoning fits the facts here well, and we conclude that, at most, these defendants drove a hard bargain,” the 11th Circuit panel said in an opinion written by Judge William Pryor. The case is titled Crawford’s Auto Center v. State Farm Mutual Insurance Co. Allstate, Geico, Progressive, Farmers Insurance, Liberty

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Mutual, and Nationwide were also named as defendants. The repair shops first filed the lawsuit alleging an insurer conspiracy in a Chicago federal district court in 2014. The case was assigned as multi-district litigation to U.S. District Judge Gregory A. Presnell in Orlando, FL. The body shops alleged that the insurers used third-party information providers — ADP Claims Services Group, CCC One and Mitchell — to establish “prevailing rates” for auto body repair work. The carriers referred policyholders to repair shops that agreed to accept the prevailing rates. The lawsuit alleges the insurers conspired to suppress the rates charged by their industry be creating deflated prevailing rates, a violation of the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. What’s more, the carriers violated antitrust laws by working together to lower their costs. In its analysis, the 11th Circuit noted that a group of auto body shops has filed a similar lawsuit that was also rejected. In Quality Auto Paining Center of Roselle v. State

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Farm, the appellate court dismissed a suit that alleged that insurance carriers were violating anti-trust laws by colluding to improperly pressure body shops to accept lower repair prices. The court said in order to pursue a claim under the RICO act, the repair shops would have to show that they there were the victim of a fraud or extortion. The fraud alleged in the complaint, however, consisted of nothing more than “vague allusions” to misrepresentations made by the insurers. There was also no allegation of extortion, which means to use force, violence or fear to obtain property. “Plaintiffs could have refused to perform the requested repairs at the rates set by defendants, but they did not,” the panel said. “They went ahead and performed those repairs. This is not extortion.” The panel also rejected plaintiffs’ arguments that the district judge erred by not entering several exhibits into evidence and by refusing them an opportunity to amend their complaint a third time. We thank Insurance Journal for reprint permission.

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autobodynews.com / FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS

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FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

Profile for Autobody News

February 2020 Midwest Edition  

Auto body information for industry in Great Lakes area of United States.

February 2020 Midwest Edition  

Auto body information for industry in Great Lakes area of United States.