August 2022 Midwest Edition

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Auto Crash Claim Results in Bad Faith Suit, Record Settlement State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company has settled a lawsuit filed against it alleging the company acted in bad faith against two of its own insureds. Bernadette and Charles Cook were injured in a car crash on June 21, 2015, when a drunk driver lost control of her car and caused a severe crash. That driver was killed and the Cooks were both seriously injured. The drunk driver was uninsured. Bloomington, IL-based State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company insured the Cooks.

G. Grant Dixon III, founder of Dixon Law Office, represented the Cooks.

See Bad Faith Suit, Page 14

A Deeper Look at Crash Champions’ Merger with Service King by David Roberts, managing director of Focus Advisors

After months of speculation about the future of Service King, a blockbuster merger with Crash Champi-

Don’s Auto Repair Commemorates 80 Years of Serving Blue Ash, OH Don’s Auto Repair is celebrating the 80th anniversary of its founding in 1942, with the official declaration of “Don’s Auto Repair Day” in Blue Ash, OH, by Mayor Marc Sirkin.

Credit: Shutterstock

“Uninsured motorist insurance covers you if the other driver in-

ons was announced to Service King managers on July 15. The two consolidators will merge and create a 550+ shop operation with upwards of $2 billion in annualized sales.

See Crash Champions to Merge, Page 47

Vol. 11 / Issue 11 / August 2022

Brothers Don Schnitzler III, left, and Chad Schnitzler, right, owners of Don’s Auto Repair, Inc

In celebration of this achievement, Don’s Auto Repair took a day of celebration to reflect on its loyal clients, amazing community, dedicated employees and future growth opportunities. The owners of Don’s Auto Repair, Chad Schnitzler and Don Schnitzler III, are proud to share this anniversary milestone with the community of customers and business owners their family has worked hard over the decades to serve with the highest level of commitment to keeping their automoSee Don’s Auto Repair, Page 14

The World Experienced a Pandemic—and Initial Vehicle Quality Got Sick In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, initial vehicle quality notably declined, according to the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Initial Quality Study, released June 28.

Buick was the highest-ranking brand in J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Initial Quality Study and the Buick Encore GX, shown here, ranked the highest in its segment.

The disruptions caused by the pandemic—supply chain issues, record-high vehicle prices and personnel dislocations---contributed to vehicle problems reaching a record high in the 36-year history of this benchmark study. Compared with 2021 results, the industry experienced an 11% increase in problems per 100 vehicles (PP100), which is 18 PP100 worse than last year, resulting in an industry average of 180 PP100. A lower score reflects higher vehicle quality.

General Motors bucked the trend with an improvement in initial quality that landed it in the highest rank position among automotive corporations. Among brands, Buick’s quality improved 17 PP100 year over year, vaulting it to ranking highest overall in 2022 from 12th place in 2021, while Genesis ranked highest among premium brands. Just nine of 33 ranked brands improved in vehicle quality year over year. “Given the many challenges automakers and their dealers had to face in the past year, it’s somewhat surprising that initial quality didn’t fall even more dramatically,” said David Amodeo, director of global automotive at J.D. Power. “In general, initial quality has shown steady improvement throughout the history of this study, so the decline this year is disappointing—yet understandable. Automakers continue to launch vehicles that are more and more technologically complex in an era in which there have been many shortages of critical components to support them.” See Initial Vehicle Quality, Page 16



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REGIONAL 11 Sentenced for Drug Trafficking Scheme Involving Indianapolis Auto Repair Shop ����� 10 4 Charged in Ohio for Stealing Vehicles, Mail and Robbing Postal Workers ����������������������� 24 Auto Crash Claim Results in Bad Faith Suit, Record Settlement ���������������������������������������� 1 Bloomington, IN, Firefighters Respond to Vehicle Fires Over Several Days ������������������ 12 CARSTAR Apple Valley Collision Center Opens in Apple Valley, MN �������������������������� 20 CARSTAR Chicagoland Presented with Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Chapter Rookie of the Year Award ������������������������������������������������� 25 CARSTAR MOKAN Business Group Raises $10,000 for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at Golf Tournament ������������������������������������������ 12 Don’s Auto Repair Commemorates 80 Years of Serving Blue Ash, OH �������������������������������� 1 Gas Station Association Prepared to Add ‘Truth’ to Illinois-Mandated Gas Tax Sticker ����������� 11 Hyundai Breaks Ground on New Safety Test and Investigation Laboratory in Michigan ����� 6 Illinois Group Says Auto Insurance Companies Made Windfall Profits at Expense of State’s Consumers During Pandemic ������������������������ 8 Kentucky Auto Body Shop Carries on With Repairs for Tornado-Damaged Cars ��������������� 8 Missouri Drivers Can Start Filing for Gas Tax Refunds via App ������������������������������������������ 20 Service King Now Providing Collision Repairs in Chicago ����������������������������������������������������� 6 St. Louis First Responders Learn New Rescue Skills Through NABC F.R.E.E. Program �������� 25

with Service King ������������������������������������������ 1 AkzoNobel Supplying Lincoln Tech ������������������ 48 ASE Education Foundation Establishes Network ������������������������������������������������������� 6 ASE Hosts 50th Anniversary Celebration �������� 50 CAA Says a New Kind of Insurer Steering is Impacting the Industry �������������������������������� 33 CIECAST Explores What’s Driving EV Adoption and How Collision Repairers Need to Prepare �������������������������������������������� 4 Classic Collision Announces Acquisitions

Anderson - Collision Repair Shops Play Vital Role in Helping Reduce Vehicle-Related Deaths �� 28 Yoswick - 3 Collision Repair Business Leaders Find Ways to Develop Positive Company Culture �������������������������������������������������������� 30 Yoswick - DataTouch Offering New Service to Help Collision Repair Shops Manage Access to its Data ��������������������������������������������������� 38 Yoswick - What Your Auto Body Shop Needs to Know to Be Ready to Repair Evs ������������� 42

Publisher & Editor: Jeremy Hayhurst General Manager: Barbara Davies Contributing Writers: John Yoswick, Janet Chaney, Toby Chess, Ed Attanasio, Stacey Phillips, Eric Murphy, Ron Liesch Advertising Sales: Joe Momber, Norman Morano, (800) 699-8251 Office Manager: Louise Tedesco Digital Marketing Manager: Bryan Malinski Art Director: Rodolfo Garcia Graphic Designer: Vicki Sitarz Senior Editor: Abby Andrews Accounting Manager: Heather Priddy Permissions Editor: 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. ©2022 Adamantine Media LLC. Autobody News P.O. Box 1516 Carlsbad, CA 92018 (800) 699-8251 (760) 603-3229 Fax

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in Texas, South Carolina ������������������������������ 48 Collision Repairers Actually Lament Lack of Insurance Adjusters in Shops ���������������������� 46 Cox Automotive Introduces Service Advisor ��� 12 Cox Automotive Lowers Full-Year New-Vehicle Sales Forecast as Supply Problems Persist � 50 Despite Increase in Demand, Gas Prices Keep Falling ������������������������������������������������� 17 Driven Brands Announces Board Member ������ 30 Elephant Insurance Implements CCC ��������������� 14 Ford Celebrates 75 Years of F-Series �������������� 24 Ford Reports Year-Over-Year Sales Increase of 31.5% in June ����������������������������������������� 43 GM Has 95,000 Incomplete Vehicles Just Sitting ��������������������������������������������������������� 48 Life Coach Uses Different Approaches to Help Auto Body Shop Techs, Owners, Managers ���������������������������������������������������� 39 Lordstown Motors Continues Executive Shakeup, Working Toward Endurance Production ��������������������������������������������������� 36 New-Vehicle Prices Set Record in June as Luxury Share Hits New High ����������������������� 49 Nissan Frontier and Titan Owners Warned




to Use Parking Brakes ��������������������������������� 36 Nissan Pathfinder Hood Latch Recall Follows Investigation ���������������������������������� 51 Non-Tesla Supercharger Pilot Launch Expected Late 2022: White House �������������� 51 Register for ASE Summer Certification �������������� 4 Repairify Acquires ATG ����������������������������������� 10 Teslas Get Updated Seat Belt Functions in New Update �������������������������������������������� 51 The World Experienced a Pandemic—and Initial Vehicle Quality Got Sick ����������������������� 1 Why Online Customer Reviews Are More

NATIONAL A Deeper Look at Crash Champions’ Merger

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CIECAST Explores What’s Driving EV Adoption and How Collision Repairers Need to Prepare by Abby Andrews

CIECA hosted its latest CIECAST webinar on June 23, “Charged for Success: Understanding EV Trends and Their Impact.” Ryan Mandell, director of claims performance for Mitchell International, spoke about the trends in electric vehicle adoption and what is driving them, how EVs should be handled differently in a repair facility than their gas-powered counterparts, and what needs to be done to facilitate better, safer repairs. “This is a critical topic for collision repair and the industry as a whole,” Mandell said. Mandell said the last couple of years have been tough on new vehicles sales overall, due to parts shortages and supply chain issues—except for EV sales, which have been a bright spot. Gross volumes of EV sales grew 5% at the same time total vehicle sales decreased 15%, Mandell said. Bloomberg recently projected worldwide EV sales to grow from 6.6 million in 2021 to 21 million in 2025. “People are very bullish on EVs,” he said. Mandell said charging infrastructure is growing but has a long way to go. DC Fast Chargers—which will be key to making long-distance traveling feasible, as they can charge a battery to 80% in about a half hour—increased in the U.S. by 24% in 2021. Batteries are also improving to increase range and decrease “range anxiety” among drivers, Mandell said. The battery is 35% to 50% of the total cost to build an EV, so as mining for components becomes more efficient, it will drive down what consumers have to pay for an EV. However, the recent increasing prices for many of the metals that go into batteries, including nickel, lithium and cobalt, will offset some of those mining efficiency gains, Mandell said. “I think it will be closer to the end of the decade before we see price parity between EVs and ICE

vehicles,” Mandell said. As more EVs are sold, EVs will constitute a greater share of repairable claims coming into shops. They still make up less than 1% of claims, Mandell said, but that will continue to grow at an increasing rate. Repairers need to be ready, he said.

termarket tool can scan them. EVs also use a lot more lightweight materials, like aluminum and carbon fiber, for major component sheet metal parts to offset the heavy batteries, Mandell said. Those materials will respond differently in an accident, which will create the need for a new process to decide what can be repaired or has

“An EV is not just an electrified variant of an ICE,” Mandell said. “It really is completely different, and needs to be treated as such.” EVs have nearly double the number of semiconductors of an ICE vehicle, and a greater reliance on high-voltage batteries, which add to the complexity of repairs. “There are extra components (on an EV) and the systems are more interconnected,” Mandell said. Based on model year 2015 vehicles and newer only, the average ICE vehicle has 8.7 fault codes per scan, while an EV averages 13.8. Estimate lines also increase— the average ICE vehicle’s estimate has 35.5 lines, while the average EV’s has 47.7. “It shows how interconnected the systems are,” Mandell said. “EVs rely on more semiconductors, more digital systems, more advanced electronics to do the same tasks as mechanical systems in ICE vehicles.” A front impact on an EV has a far greater likelihood of affecting other systems throughout the vehicle, he said. Mandell noted the scan data he presented excludes Teslas, as no af-

to be replaced, and will need new tools. EVs also have significantly longer cycle times, Mandell said— on average, keys-to-keys for a drivable claim takes 8.4 days, compared to 6.9 days for an ICE vehicle. Mandell said there are new precautions that must be taken to avoid damaging the battery and keep everyone safe during the repair. “There are precautions that need to take place even before a basic teardown,” he said. Also, the battery has to be removed before going to the paint booth, due to the heat involved, which adds two


hours to the process. Mandell said it will be important to set appropriate expectations for the vehicle owner from the start. “This is likely most owners’ first experience repairing an EV,” he said. “You will have to help them understand why the repair process is so different from an ICE. Have a very honest discussion at the beginning about additional steps that need to be taken to repair it safely. I think that really sets up the overall outcome to be a positive one.” Mandell said he thinks estimates for EVs need to evolve, rather than just using the same template as for an ICE vehicle. “We need to make sure it’s built in a way to facilitate a safe and proper repair, and is efficient as well,” Mandell said. He suggested adding EV-specific categories that address the completely different chassis, and adding “EV” as a separate vehicle type, as it’s not only important to note if the vehicle is a truck, van or car. He also suggested creating new EV specific templates and qualifiers, like battery capacity. “EVs overall are becoming more widespread,” Mandell said. “There are 84 EV models in the U.S. now; there were 14 just five years ago. We are going to see the tech improve as well. Rising fuel prices will also be a tailwind for EV adoption.” Watch the full CIECAST on cieca. com.

Register for ASE Summer Certification The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) summer registration period is now open. More than 50 ASE certification tests covering nearly every aspect of the motor vehicle service and repair industry are available for ASE certification. Those automotive service professionals registering by Sept. 30 will have 90 days to schedule an appointment to take the selected ASE tests, whether registering on the first day of the registration period

or the last. ASE testing is available throughout the year and is conducted days, nights and weekends at nearly 450 secured, proctored test centers. To register, visit, click on register and sign in. Once logged in, users can next click on “orders” and then “store,” where they can find the tests they want to take, add those tests to the cart, check out and complete registration. Source: ASE

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ASE Education Foundation Establishes Network Serving as liaisons between students, schools and ASE Foundation industry partners, ASE field managers are integral to the success of the initiatives established by the ASE Education Foundation. ASE Education Foundation field managers assist and coach schools to achieve and maintain ASE accreditation, collaborate with local employers to engage with schools, help develop advisory committees and assist in the placement of students in entry-level positions in the transportation industry. In addition, the field managers foster local employer partner engagement by connecting employers directly with schools and students. They promote the benefits of professional and entry-level ASE certification, advise on instructor development opportunities, and enable and cultivate relationships among foundation supporters and accredited programs, administrators and instructors. Source: ASE Education Foundation

Hyundai Breaks Ground on New Safety Test and Investigation Laboratory in Michigan Hyundai Motor America and Hyundai America Technical Center, Inc. (HATCI) together celebrated the $51.6 million expansion project for a new Safety Test and Investigation Laboratory (STIL) at a recent groundbreaking ceremony in Superior Township, MI. The ceremony highlighted the benefits of the new safety laboratory and included remarks from José Muñoz, president and COO, Hyundai Motor Company and president and CEO, Hyundai and Genesis Motor North America and Hyundai Motor America. Brian Latouf, chief safety officer, Hyundai Motor North America; and John Robb, president, HATCI; as well as local and government officials including U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-MI, and Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II also participated in the event. The STIL is planned to be operational in the fall of 2023 and will be supported by 160 employees. “Safety is the top priority at Hyundai and is embedded throughout the entire organization,” said Muñoz. “We excel in third-party crash testing and ratings, and we strive to be a leader in equipping our vehicles with the lat-

est safety features. The new laboratory will enable us to even more effectively protect our customers and enhance our world-class safety organization.” The new facility will further augment Hyundai’s existing safety testing and analysis. It will feature a field crash investigation lab, high voltage battery lab, forensics lab, 500m track and a Vehicle Dynamics Area pad. IBI Group and BCCG have been selected for the architectural design and construction of the building expansion. The investment is focused on enhancing Hyundai’s safety commitment in identifying vehicle field issues, preventing crashes and keeping passengers safe. “This investment by Hyundai is critically important not only to Southeast Michigan, but to our entire country,” said Dingell. “Traffic fatalities are at an all-time high in our nation, and each of us from elected officials to auto makers have a role to play in addressing this urgent, preventable crisis. This new Safety Test and Investigation Laboratory will save lives, and I applaud Hyundai for their commitment to keeping passengers safe.” “Hyundai’s cutting-edge Safety

Test and Investigation Laboratory will create good-paying, high-skilled jobs right here in Michigan,” said Gilchrist. “Michigan put the world on wheels, and I am grateful for Hyundai’s partnership in building on that tradition with a $50 million investment in Superior Township. Since entering office, Gov. [Gretchen] Whitmer and I have added nearly 25,000 good-paying auto jobs, and we will continue working hard to maintain Michigan’s leadership in future mobility, grow our economy, upskill Michigan’s workforce and stand tall for Michigan.” Hyundai recognizes the value and importance of enhancing its handson safety evaluation processes. The STIL was developed in collaboration with the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) based on a 2020 consent order which required an investment in a safety facility of $25 million. Hyundai increased its required investment by more than $26 million. Hyundai also reminds drivers and passengers to always wear safety belts, use appropriate child seats and focus on the drive. Source: Hyundai Motor America

Service King Now Providing Collision Repairs in Chicago Service King Collision is now open and offering its streamlined, digital-first automotive collision repair services to the Chicago community at 2738 West Fulton St.

Located just east of Garfield Park, the 22,000-square foot auto body repair facility features modern finishes that highlight its stateof-the-art auto industry environment. The facility recently opened its doors at the end of June and created multiple jobs for the local

community. “We’re proud to introduce our industry-leading auto repair services to Chicago and its surrounding communities,” said Service King President Jeff McFadden. “We’re also excited to be able to provide employment opportunities to those devoted to helping Service King deliver best-in-class services to the area. Service King Chicago will be the new go-to place for topof-the-line customer service and an overall efficient, technologically advanced vehicle collision repair experience.” Chicago’s newest Service King marks the 35th facility in Illinois, with more than 300 locations systemwide. The West Fulton location is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Source: Service King

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Illinois Group Says Auto Insurance Companies Made Windfall Profits at Expense of State’s Consumers During Pandemic Auto insurance companies’ profits soared during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, as many Illinoisans were driving less and “sheltering in place.” The risks associated with driving plummeted, but insurers did not lower premiums or offer rebates in proportion to the reduction in risk, according to new data released by the Illinois Department of Insurance on June 30. According to preliminary analysis, the new data is in line with previous estimates that insurance companies could still owe Illinois car insurance customers $896 million in pandemic relief. For example, the top four auto insurance companies by Illinois market share—State Farm, GEICO, Progressive and Allstate—charged customers $280 million more than needed to maintain their 2019 profitability, even after accounting for the $220 million they refunded customers in 2020. After overcharging customers, Illinois’ major insurance companies rewarded top executives with generous bonuses.

“Moments of crisis are revealing. Auto insurers took the opportunity provided by the pandemic to charge their customers excessive rates and make windfall profits,” said Abe Scarr, director of Illinois PIRG Education Fund. “The General Assembly should give the De-

“I am appalled that these companies overcharged families sheltering at home and call on the insurers to issue additional refunds promptly,” — Jacqueline Collins partment of Insurance authority to review rate hikes and protect Illinois consumers.” While auto insurance companies were slow to reduce rates or provide rebates to customers because of the pandemic—and those reductions and rebates proved inadequate—they have been aggressively increasing rates in recent months, claiming that an uptick in crashes and inflationary pressure requires immediate price hikes. State Farm

Kentucky Auto Body Shop Carries on With Repairs for Tornado-Damaged Cars by Steve Mehling, WFIE News 14

Hawkins Auto Body in Madisonville, KY, has been in business for decades. General Manager Mark Kurtz said he’s never seen damage like he’s seen with the cars brought in after the Dec. 10 deadly storms. “We’ve seen a lot in the 35 years we’ve been here, and I’d say this last tornado tops the cake on damaged cars,” said Kurtz. More than six months have passed, and damaged cars continue to come in. Flashes of the first couple of days after the storm came to mind. “They’ve got one car that will crank and run, their livestock is either hurt, damaged or dead,” Kurtz said. “And they come here and they don’t know what to do first.” Shop employees are playing catch up, trying to do their part for their community. The search for parts, adds to the delay the shop is trying to avoid. “So you’re scrambling around trying to find those other small pieces just to finish it,” Kurtz said. Although the shop’s workload has grown, employees are

recently raised rates by 3%, only two weeks after a 5% increase. In January, Allstate hiked rates by 12%. Illinois regulators have no power to block or modify insurance rate hikes—or to mandate reductions or refunds—as regulators do in other states.

eager to do anything they can to help. “When we have something like this happen to our community, our guys check-up you know, and kind of put their personal lives aside, they get it in gear and just work as many hours as they can,” Kurtz said. The scarcity of parts put some repairs at a standstill. It could be as miniscule as one part needed to complete the job. “The simplest thing cripples the repair process,” said Kurtz. “You could need 70 parts to fix a car, but you can only get 69 of them in.” But the feeling of helping someone in need pushes them forward. “Even if we don’t know them, and there’s someone that really can’t afford to go buy a new car right now; with us being able to salvage that car, and put it back to pre-loss, and give it to them, it’s satisfying,” said Kurtz. Even if the shop can’t fix every vehicle marked by the tornado, they may be able to bring a bit of normalcy back to victims of the storm. “So if we can get your car fixed, that’s our part of the world,” said Kurtz. “We can’t fix your house, but we can fix your car.”


California regulators, for example, ordered insurance companies to “close the gap” after initial pandemic rebates fell short. In March 2021, State Farm announced it was sending its California customers an additional $400 million dollars in pandemic refunds “due to better than anticipated claims results” during the second half of 2020. Illinois state legislators said insurers need to do better. “I am appalled that these com-

panies overcharged families sheltering at home and call on the insurers to issue additional refunds promptly,” said Illinois State Sen. Jacqueline Collins. “This is particularly important in Black communities like those I represent, where auto insurers indiscriminately charge higher rates.” The new data is the result of a March Illinois Department of Insurance call for information documenting insurer profits, losses and refunds given to consumers between 2019 and 2021. The call for information came in response to a January letter from nine advocacy organizations and 16 state senators asking the department to take action. In May, the auto insurance industry challenged the department’s authority to collect and publish such information, but the vast majority of insurers, including all the major ones, complied. Illinois PIRG Education Fund will perform more detailed analysis of the new data over the summer. Source: Illinois PIRG Education Fund

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Repairify Acquires ATG

11 Sentenced for Drug Trafficking Scheme Involving Indianapolis Auto Repair Shop

Repairify , Inc., a portfolio company of Kinderhook Industries, LLC, on July 6 announced the acquisition of Automotive Training Group (ATG), a leading technical training company known for its unmatched curriculum and experienced instructors. With live and virtual classes offered in all 50 states and internationally, ATG is dedicated to automotive professionals by offering highly technical training backed by quality instructional materials and experienced educators. Founded in 2004, ATG has found success in the market by presenting its technical courses in an understandable and interesting manner that challenges even the most experienced technicians. Curriculum is developed with a diagnostic approach, combining OEM support information with real-world technician experience using actual case studies where possible. Source: Repairify, Inc.

Eleven defendants have been sentenced to federal prison after pleading guilty to federal crimes for their involvement in drug trafficking activities in the Indianapolis area. Beginning in the fall of 2019, federal agents began investigating several individuals for their suspected drug trafficking activities in the Indianapolis area. Investigators discovered methamphetamine was being transported from Muncie, IN, to Vans Auto Repair in Indianapolis to be distributed. At the conclusion of the investigation, 11 defendants were charged in three different indictments for various charges, including distribution of methamphetamine, fentanyl and/or heroin; possession of a firearm by a felon during a drug trafficking crime; and money laundering. On Aug. 3, 2020, 16 search warrants and federal arrest warrants were executed by federal agents and officers with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department in the Indianapolis area. As a result of those search warrants, 31 illegally possessed firearms, 4.5 pounds of methamphetamine, half a kilogram of cocaine, a kilogram of fentanyl and approximately $272,000 in cash drug trafficking proceeds were

seized and taken off city streets. Each of the defendants, all of Indianapolis, pleaded guilty and were sentenced to federal prison terms as follows: Travis Beechler, 27—30 years, five years supervised release Antonio Turner, 34—15 years, five years supervised release Stephen Cole, 45—more than 24 years, five years supervised release Christopher Shelton, 43—more than 21 years, five years supervised release Scott Nelson, 39—10 years, five years supervised release Joshua Douglas, 40—16 years, 10 years supervised release Marguerite Collins, 47—more than four years, three years supervised release Jarrad Cooney, 34—more than four years, three years supervised release Jason Corey, 49—six years, four years supervised release Halton Butler, 70—more than two years, two years supervised release Gary Hatcher Jr., 33—more than 20 years, five years supervised release “Traffickers of methamphetamine and fentanyl further the devastating cycle of substance abuse disorder to satisfy their own greed,” said U.S. Attorney




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Zachary A. Myers. “These prosecutions and sentences demonstrate that we will work tirelessly with our federal and local law enforcement partners to hold the traffickers of these dangerous and deadly drugs accountable for the pain they inflict on our communities.” “The laundering of illegal drug profits is as important and essential to drug traffickers as the very distribution of their illegal drugs. Without these ill-gotten gains, the traffickers could not finance their organizations,” said Justin Campbell, special agent in charge, Chicago Field Office, IRS Criminal Investigation. “Today’s sentencing shows that we are committed, now more than ever, to take the profit away from drug traffickers, to stop the flow of drugs into communities, and to put traffickers and money launderers in prison.” The FBI, the IRS Criminal Investigation and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department investigated the case. The DEA and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service provided invaluable assistance. Myers thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle P. Brady, who prosecuted the case. Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Indianapolis

Gas Station Association Prepared to Add ‘Truth’ to Illinois-Mandated Gas Tax Sticker by Greg Bishop, The Center Square

Part of the Illinois state budget that begins July 1 includes a delay in the annual motor fuel tax increase. An association is ready to add to a state-mandated sign announcing the delay to give it more context it says taxpayers need to know. In April, state lawmakers approved the state budget that begins in July. The budget includes various rebates for income taxes and property owners, as well as a 12-month reduction of the grocery tax from 1% to 0%. There’s also a six-month delay in the annual state motor fuel tax increase scheduled to go into effect July 1, estimated at about 2 cents a gallon. The law requires both grocery stores and gas stations to post certain signage announcing state lawmakers approved the tax changes. While there is no fine for grocery stores that don’t post signs, there is a fine for gas stations. “I think people that are pumping gas, and are looking at the price, their gaze will fix upon the pump and maybe they’ll read about the

good things that we did,” state Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside, said in April. But critics say the forced gas pump sign is a violation of First Amendment free speech rights.

The Illinois Fuel and Retail Association sued over the requirement, saying the sign requirement is forced political speech. The case has been moved from state court to federal court and is expected to be heard June 24. If Illinois gas stations are forced by the courts to put a sign on their pumps announcing a delay in the looming 2-cent a gallon state gas tax increase, IFRA said it is ready to set the record straight. “Several Illinois politicians

have sort of made the argument that delaying a tax increase is somehow tantamount to a tax cut and that’s just not the case,” IFRA CEO Josh Sharp told The Center Square. “The gasoline tax in the state of Illinois is staying exactly the same on July 1 as it was the year before and now they’re going to raise it twice in 2023. They’re just putting off that tax increase until after an election.” The state-required language for the gas pump sign says “As of July 1, 2022, the State of Illinois has suspended the inflation adjustment to the motor fuel tax through Dec. 31, 2022. The price on this pump should reflect the suspension of the tax increase.” Sharp said if the courts require gas stations to post that, the IFRA will follow the law and the required size, but will add “the truth about gas prices lawmakers hope drivers will forget.” “Politicians have raised gas taxes three times since 2019. They doubled the state’s motor fuel tax in 2019,” Sharp said, from 19 cents a gallon to 38 cents. “Illinois now has the second-highest gas tax in the

nation. We could move to No. 1 depending on how high gas prices go because Illinois charges a sales tax on gasoline.” The state sales tax is assessed on top of the state gas tax. The 6.25 cent sales tax also is assessed on every dollar purchased, not on the gallon. So when gasoline reaches $5 a gallon, for example, motorists pay an additional 31.25 cents on each gallon on top of the gas tax. In addition to setting the record straight with motorists, the IFRA’s additions to the sign will say the state is “forcing us to tell you about it with this sign, or pay a $500/day fine.” “We’re letting them know that we’re doing this because the state of Illinois has forced us into this position,” Sharp said. “And I believe there’s also a QR code on those signs which I would encourage motorists to use while they’re waiting at the gas pump to see how much they’re paying in Illinois gas taxes on that gallon of fuel.” When scanned by a smartphone, the QR code will go to the Illinois Policy Institute’s gas tax calculator.


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Cox Automotive Introduces Service Advisor Kelley Blue Book, a Cox Automotive company, on June 29 announced Service Advisor, now available for car owners nationwide. Service Advisor is designed to help car owners identify local auto repair shops and find fair prices for services rendered. Referencing data stemming from millions of services performed, Service Advisor answers key ownership questions like what services are needed, when to have them performed and, most importantly, how much it should cost based on similar repairs in the area. With inflation on the rise and both new and used vehicle inventory still constrained, the cost of keeping their current rides on the road is a major concern for most motorists. Additionally, according to the Cox Automotive Monthly Repair Order Revenue Index, the cost of repairs is on the rise. Average revenue generated per repair order rose for the sixth consecutive month after levelling off in November 2021. Source: Cox Automotive Inc.

Bloomington, IN, Firefighters Respond to Vehicle Fires Over Several Days by Jeremy Hogan, The Bloomingtonian

Vehicles were damaged or destroyed in four separate fires over several days in Bloomington, IN, including one in the parking lot of a former auto body shop. On July 6, around 12:58 a.m., a green Kia Soul parked in the front parking lot of the now-closed Quality Collision on South Walnut Street, was damaged in a fire. The vehicle was “well-involved” when firefighters arrived, but the horn was sounding. The vehicle had been damaged in a collision and parked at the business for several months because of a dispute between the owner and an insurance company. “The fire started in the passenger compartment between the passenger seat and the center console. The window was broken out, the passenger seat was laid back and there were blankets and clothing in the backseat. It is suspected to be used by a homeless person to sleep,” according to a report from the Bloomington Fire Department. On July 2, a vehicle caught

CARSTAR MOKAN Business Group Raises $10,000 for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at Golf Tournament The CARSTAR MOKAN Business Group recently held its 29th Annual CARSTAR Golf Tournament at Adams Pointe Golf Club, in Blue Springs, MO, to raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Heart of America Chapter in Kansas City.

“Every year for nearly three decades, we’re honored to get together and collectively raise funds to help children in need by funding cystic fibrosis research, care and advocacy,” said Steve Hahn, owner of CARSTAR Metcalf and leader of the CARSTAR MOKAN Business Group. “Many thanks to our entire team across the Missouri and Kansas region who worked so hard to make this possible. Their collective efforts contributed to a tremendous event to benefit chil-

dren with cystic fibrosis.” The CARSTAR MOKAN Business Group is comprised of CARSTAR locations across Kansas City, where CARSTAR was founded in 1989, including: CARSTAR Metcalf, owner Steve Hahn CARSTAR Cunningham, owners Jenny and Allen Wolfe CARSTAR North Kansas City, owner Dan Greig CARSTAR Riverside, owner Mike Cupp CARSTAR Lee’s Summit, CARSTAR Lawrence, CARSTAR Leavenworth and CARSTAR Raytown, owners Ron and Ryan Glenn CARSTAR Carrenders, owners Aaron and Cristi Carrender CARSTAR Crystal 135th, CARSTAR Crystal Collision Lenexa and CARSTAR Roe Body Shop, owner MJ Alagha CARSTAR Blue Springs, owners Mike Hobick and Jennifer Rankin CARSTAR Wicklunds, owners Gerald and Billy Wicklund Source: CARSTAR

fire after a stray firework began smoldering in the engine compartment. Firefighters forced open the hood when a cable release wasn’t functioning and extinguished the fire.

in flames. Firefighters found a Ford Explorer on fire, the back of it full of burning garbage. A business owner provided access to video surveillance at the business to investigators from the Bloomington Police Department, and a man was seen throwing an accelerant on the vehicle and then running from the scene. “We were able to watch the video of a person unknown cross the street from south to north go between two cars and A burned Kia Soul sits in the parking lot of the former make their way to the Quality Collision on July 9 in Bloomington, IN. The Explorer. At that time it vehicle burned earlier that week. appeared that the person Then a 2016 Ford F-150 using some can of accelerant began caught fire around 11:31 p.m. July to dump it in the side window on 3, when the debris from used fire- the east side of the vehicle and then works were placed in the bed of the make their way around to the back truck. The fire spread from the ve- and poured something in the back hicle to a nearby garage, creating a window,” according to a Bloomstructure fire. ington Fire Department report. At 12:40 a.m. July 4, firefightInvestigators noted the person ers were dispatched to a used car starting the fire appeared to be inlot at 310 S. Muller Parkway after jured in an explosion as a result of a report of an SUV fully engulfed setting the blaze.




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Elephant Insurance Implements CCC CCC Intelligent Solutions announced Elephant Insurance will extend its use of CCC technology to include its AI-powered, digital claims solutions. Specifically, Elephant will leverage CCC’s technology to help digitize and further transform total loss resolution, advancing the insurer’s ability to deliver straight-through processing across the claims experience. Total losses have been increasing in recent years, driven by a confluence of factors including surging new and used vehicle prices, growing complexity of the cars themselves and supply chain disruptions driving up the cost of replacement parts. With CCC, insurers can proactively engage policyholders following a probable total loss and guide them in capturing important information. Leveraging photos of vehicle damage, AI and the CCC Cloud, insurers can more quickly make decisions and digitize connections and information sharing with participating auto lenders to achieve faster resolution. Source: CCC

Continued from Cover

Bad Faith Suit volved in the crash has no insurance,” he said. The Cooks made an uninsured motorist claim under their State Farm policy. The case went through arbitration and the Cooks won a significant award. “That should have been the end of the story, but it was not,” Grant said. Instead of paying the arbitration award, State Farm used a little-known Illinois statute that allowed it to refuse to pay large awards. State Farm then sued Bernadette Cook and asked a judge to set aside her arbitration award. “The Cooks felt that what State Farm did both during the arbitration and afterwards was wrong,” Grant said. “Our office filed suit against State Farm arguing their conduct was bad faith.” The Cooks alleged in their suit that State Farm’s counsel made improper, abusive and unsubstantiat-

Continued from Cover

Don’s Auto Repair biles, trucks and commercial fleets running well. “The last 80 years have given us the opportunity to serve generations of families in our community with excellence in auto repair,”

“My father started the business in 1942. I took over in 1958, then my son Don Jr. managed the business, and then my grandsons took over in 2010,” said Don Schnitzler Sr. “I’m proud of my grandsons for their continued success, hard work and growth through adding new locations and services.” “As mayor of the of the City

“Our success is a direct reflection of the trust our customers put in us to take care of their automobiles and business fleets every day.” — Don Schnitzler III said Don Schnitzler III, president of Don’s Auto Repair. “Our success is a direct reflection of the trust our customers put in us to take care of their automobiles and business fleets every day.” The guest of honor for their 80th anniversary was Don Schnitzler Sr., who was only 8 years old at the time his father, Marion Schnitzler, started the business, and remembers the family history well. ed arguments during the arbitration case. The suit also claimed State Farm wrongfully failed to pay on the award. “We strongly believed a jury would have sided with the Cooks and their bad faith claims against State Farm. We felt the evidence of bad faith was overwhelming,” Grant said. Instead of fighting the case out, State Farm chose to settle. “State Farm agreed to pay $650,000. That speaks volumes as to the conduct here,” Grant said. “It was bad enough that we were both seriously injured in the crash, but the way our own insurance company treated us, it just made it so much worse,” Bernadette Cook said. The settlement is believed to be the largest reported settlement for a bad faith claim against State Farm in Illinois. Source: Dixon Law Office



of Blue Ash, OH, I am both proud and honored to have Don’s Auto Repair as a thriving business in our community,” said Sirkin. “It is my honor to declare today, June 30, 2022, as ‘Don’s Auto Repair Day’ in our great city of Blue Ash. There are few businesses that have been in business for over 80 years, and it speaks volumes to both the support our community gives to local businesses, and the excellent level of service Don’s Auto Repair has

provided over the years.” Don’s Auto Repair has not only grown locally under its own brand and location, but has also expanded operations through opening an additional location to serve Cincinnati in the Columbia-Tusculum area, and through acquisition of additional shops, brands and business lines. “With the expansion of our services and operations in Blue Ash, we acquired and maintain other long-standing businesses serving North Cincinnati,” said Chad Schnitzler, vice president. “Bill’s Auto Service And Towing and Bill’s Towing have contributed to the ability to serve local residents well. Our mantra at Don’s Auto Repair is ‘Our family serving yours, since 1942,’ and we look forward to serving more generations of families with excellence in auto care.” Source: Don’s Auto Repair


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Continued from Cover

Initial Vehicle Quality The U.S. Initial Quality Study, now in its 36th year, is based this year on responses from 84,165 purchasers and lessees of new 2022 model-year vehicles who were surveyed early in the ownership period. The study is based on a 223-question battery organized into nine vehicle categories: infotainment; features, controls and displays; exterior; driving assistance; interior; powertrain; seats; driving experience; and climate. The study is designed to provide manufacturers with information to facilitate the identification of problems and to drive product improvement. The study was fielded from February through May. “Supply chain disruption, especially the shortage of microchips, has caused automakers to seek alternative solutions to get new vehicles into purchasers’ and lessees’ hands,” Amodeo said. “In some cases, new vehicles are being shipped without some features installed. Communication with them about the changes in feature availability, as well as when such features will be re-

instated, is critical to their satisfaction.” Following are key findings of the 2022 study: • Deterioration goes beyond launch vehicles: Both all-new and continuing models increase in problems this year, though all-new models worsen the most (23 PP100). The initial quality gap between all-new and continuing models widens this year to 25 PP100 from 20 PP100 in 2021. The 2022 study finds four times as many new models performing worse than their segment averages compared with those that perform better than their segment averages. • Mass market vehicles experience fewer problems than premium vehicles: Mass market brands average 175 PP100, which is 21 PP100 fewer than for premium brands (196 PP100). Premium brand buyers typically purchase more technology in their vehicles, and the added complexity of that tech increases the likelihood of problems. Given the challenging task of launching new vehicles in the current environment, mass market carryover vehicles are most likely to achieve high-ranking initial quality.

“Owners of premium-brand vehicles experience more problems than mass market vehicle owners, continuing a trend that started in 2016,” Amodeo said. “But some brands, notably Genesis and Lexus, have largely been able to avoid that issue.” • Infotainment systems remain the most problematic area: The infotainment category continues to be the most problematic, with an average of 45.0 PP100---which is 19.5 PP100 more problems than the next-highest category. Six of the top 10 problem areas in the study are infotainment-related, including: Android Auto/Apple CarPlay connectivity (5.8 PP100); built-in voice recognition (4.0 PP100); difficulties with touchscreens/display screens (3.5 PP100); built-in Bluetooth systems (3.4 PP100); not enough power plugs/ USB ports (2.9 PP100); and inconsistent audio volume (2.7 PP100). • Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) more problematic: Owners of BEVs and PHEVs cite more problems with their vehicles than do owners of vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE). ICE vehicles average 175

PP100, PHEVs average 239 PP100 and BEVs---excluding Tesla models---average 240 PP100. (Tesla models average 226 PP100 and are shown separate from the BEV average because the predominance of Tesla vehicles could obscure the performance of the legacy automakers that have recently introduced BEVs.) • Driving assistance issues grow: Problems with advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) declined in 2021 but have increased in 2022. The most problematic ADAS system is lane departure warning/lane-keeping assistance with 4.1 PP100. • Tesla Motors officially included for the first time: Tesla Motors is included in the industry calculation for the first time, with a score of 226 PP100. However, because Tesla Motors does not allow J.D. Power access to owner information in the states where that permission is required by law, Tesla vehicles remain ineligible for awards. Highest-Ranking Brands and Models Buick is the highest-ranking brand in overall initial quality with a score of 139 PP100. Dodge (143 PP100) ranks second and Chevrolet (147 PP100) ranks third.

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Among premium brands, Genesis (156 PP100) ranks highest, and ranks fourth overall. Lexus (157 PP100) ranks second and Cadillac (163 PP100) ranks third. The parent corporation receiving the most model-level awards is General Motors Company (nine awards), followed by BMW AG (five); Hyundai Motor Group (three); Ford Motor Company (two); and Toyota Motor Corporation (two). Among brands, Chevrolet received the most segment awards (six), followed by BMW (four). General Motors models that rank highest in their respective segments are Buick Encore GX, Cadillac Escalade, Cadillac XT6, Chevrolet Corvette, Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Silverado, Chevrolet Silverado HD and Chevrolet Tahoe. The Chevrolet Corvette is the highest-ranking model overall with 101 PP100. BMW AG models that rank highest in their respective segments are BMW 2 Series, BMW 7 Series, BMW X1 and BMW X3. Hyundai Motor Group models that rank highest in their respective segments are Genesis G80, Hyundai

Accent and Kia Forte. Toyota Motor Corporation models that rank highest in their respective segments are Lexus IS and Toyota 4Runner. Ford Motor Company models that rank highest in their respective segments are Ford Ranger and Lincoln Nautilus. Plant Quality Awards General Motors Company’s plant in San Luis-Potosi, Mexico, which produces the Chevrolet Equinox and the GMC Terrain, received the Platinum Plant Quality Award. Plant quality awards are based solely on defects and malfunctions and exclude design-related problems. Toyota Motor Corporation’s Takaoka 1 (Japan) plant, which produces the Toyota Corolla, and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.’s Tochigi 1 (Japan) plant, which produces the Infiniti Q50 and Q60, received the Gold Plant Quality Award for Asia/Pacific, in a tie. BMW AG’s Regensburg (Germany) plant, which produces the BMW X1 and X2, received the Gold Plant Quality Award for Europe and Africa. Source: J.D. Power

Despite Increase in Demand, Gas Prices Keep Falling by Ellen Edmonds, AAA

Pump prices declined again, falling another 12 cents since the previous week to $4.67 as of July 11. The dip in the national average for a gallon of gas occurred despite a slight rise in demand, likely due to robust July 4th holiday automobile travel. AAA forecasted 42 million people would hit the roads for the holiday weekend, a new record. “Usually, more people buying gas would lead to higher pump prices,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson. “But the price for oil, the main ingredient in gasoline, has fallen and is hovering around $100 a barrel. Less expensive oil usually means less expensive gas.” According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gas demand increased from 8.92 million b/d to 9.41 million b/d ahead of the 4th of July holiday, while total domestic gas stocks decreased by 2.5 million bbl. Typically, these supply/ demand trends would put upward pressure on pump prices; however,

falling oil prices have contributed to lower pump prices. The July 11 national average of $4.67 is 32 cents less than a month ago and $1.53 more than a year ago.

The nation’s top 10 largest weekly decreases: Texas (-18 cents), Ohio (-17 cents), Illinois (-17 cents), California (-16 cents), Wisconsin (-15 cents), Indiana (-15 cents), Kentucky (-15 cents), Alabama (-15 cents), Virginia (-14 cents) and Florida (-14 cents). The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets: South Carolina ($4.18), Georgia ($4.18), Mississippi ($4.18), Louisiana ($4.22), Texas ($4.22), Alabama ($4.25), Arkansas ($4.26), Tennessee ($4.28), North Carolina ($4.31) and Kentucky ($4.37). Source: AAA / AUGUST 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 17



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Missouri Drivers Can Start Filing for Gas Tax Refunds via App In 2021, Missouri increased the state gas tax by 2.5 cents per gallon per year for the next five years, to 15 cents per gallon total. The state anticipates it will collect over $500 million from this new tax alone.

Brothers Don Schnitzler III, left, and Chad Schnitzler, right, owners of Don’s Auto Repair, Inc

The good news for drivers, boat owners, farmers or any gas-purchasing consumer is this tax increase for automobiles and all gas taxes for non-highway vehicles are 100% refundable. NoMOGasTax is an easy-touse mobile app that will help capture images of gas receipts and assist Missourians in filing the

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gas receipts issued by a service station.

“That’s too cumbersome. People will need to keep their paperwork from the gas station but we’re going to trust people who report their receipts on the DOR form,” — Wayne Wallingford The state has set very specific and complex rules along with manual forms that must be filed in order to claim rebates and refunds for gas taxes paid. The NoMOGasTax app makes the whole process easy for people. The app will capture pictures or images of drivers’ gas tax receipts as they make gas or diesel purchases throughout the year. The app will then assist users to autofill the MO4923 rebate forms and guide them through the submission process so they can get their cash back. Department of Revenue Director Wayne Wallingford announced on May 4 his department does not want motorists to send in original

“That’s too cumbersome. People will need to keep their paperwork from the gas station but we’re going to trust people who report their receipts on the DOR form,” he said at the time. The NoMOGasTax app makes this data collection, retention and refund filing simple and easy. The state has a very tight window for when people can submit claims for this rebate. The window for filing is July through September. The gas tax rebate is open to non-Missouri residents. Vehicles do not need to be registered to the state of Missouri for gas purchases filed for a refund.

Boats—100% of gas tax is refundable Farm equipment—100% of gas tax is refundable Airplanes/aviation—100% of aviation fuel tax is refundable Automobiles—100% of the new SB262 tax increase is refundable for most NoMOGasTax app was built in response to Missouri Senate Bill 262 which increased the gas tax by 2.5 cents per gallon every year for the next five years. This tax is 100% refundable to most automobile drivers. After researching the laws, we quickly realized the state allows citizens to get a cash back rebate for 100% of the tax paid on non-highway vehicles, planes, boats and construction equipment, yet very few people know how to file the refund. For many households, the rebate checks could be over $1,000. Visit Source: NoMOGasTax

CARSTAR Apple Valley Collision Center Opens in Apple Valley, MN CARSTAR announced the opening of CARSTAR Apple Valley Collision Center, located at 6904 145th W., Apple Valley, MN 55124. Mike Bighley, owner of CARSTAR Apple Valley Collision Center, has been in the collision repair industry for more than 17 years. His grandfather started his original shop in 1957; his father took it over in the late ‘70s and ran it until 2005. From there, Bighley took over the family-run center, and then decided to join the CARSTAR family in 2019, with the hopes to grow. “This is now my third facility that has grown to reach the CARSTAR standard, a very exciting and rewarding process,” said Bighley. “The values that CARSTAR embody align perfectly with what I want my centers to be, making it a great fit. Additionally, the support from the CARSTAR team has been crucial in helping me enhance my facilities.” CARSTAR Apple Valley Collision Center’s facility is 15,000 square feet with a team of 13 dedicated, hard-working employees. The facility is equipped with the neces-

sary tools and resources to provide the best quality collision repair to all customers. In addition, CARSTAR Apple Valley Collision Center is I-CAR Gold certified. “CARSTAR is determined to provide all customers with excellent collision repair experiences,” said Dean Fisher, collision group president, Driven Brands. “We have dedicated teams to give our owners the best training, resources and support necessary to meet our high standard of repair quality. Mike has a great work ethic, always looking for ways to improve and we are proud to welcome his third facility to the CARSTAR family!” Please join us in welcoming CARSTAR Apple Valley Collision Center to our growing CARSTAR family. CARSTAR Apple Valley Collision Center 6904 145th W. Apple Valley, MN 55124 (952) 432-9511 Monday to Friday: 7 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information on CARSTAR, visit Source: CARSTAR





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Ford Celebrates 75 Years of F-Series

4 Charged in Ohio for Stealing Vehicles, Mail and Robbing Postal Workers A federal grand jury returned a nine-count indictment charging four Ohio men with organizing and engaging in a conspiracy to steal, sell and purchase high-end vehicles, rob U.S. Postal Service carriers and steal from the mail, First Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle M. Baeppler announced. Jaylen Harris, 19, of Beachwood, Lavelle Jones, 18, of Warrenville Heights, Devin Rice, 20, of Cleveland, and Hakim Benjamin, 20, of Cleveland Heights, are each charged with conspiracy to commit sale or receipt of stolen vehicles and sale or receipt of stolen vehicles. Rice, Jones and Harris are charged with additional counts of possession of stolen mail. Rice is also charged with aiding and abetting the robbery of a postal carrier and stealing keys adopted by the Post Office, and Harris is charged with an additional count of illegal possession of a machine gun. According to court documents, from December 2021 to February 2022, the defendants are accused of stealing and pur-

To celebrate 75 years of F-Series trucks, Ford is introducing the 2023 F-150 Heritage Edition—a modern take on the timeless 1970s and ’80s two-tone exterior paint offerings featuring the classic style combined with the outstanding durability, capability and technology today’s F-150 customers love. Available on XLT series F-150 trucks, the design represents a fresh interpretation of the classic A-B-A exterior paint pattern, with an A color encompassing roof and pillars, a B color for the midsection, then A repeating on bumpers, lower door and lower body. Interior offerings in slate gray and black complement the expressive exteriors. Distinct seat trim covers featuring unique inserts, plus embossing on the console lid further enhance the uniqueness of the Heritage design. A white “75 Years” logo appears in the upper center windshield and is included in the center screen startup animation and on the center console. Source: Ford

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chasing high-end vehicles from car dealerships in Michigan and transporting the vehicles to be sold in the Northern District of Ohio. The indictment said the defendants targeted specific vehicles to steal and purchase, including the Dodge Durango, Dodge Ram TRX, Dodge Hellcat, Audi R8 and others. In addition to the car theft conspiracy, Rice, Jones and Harris are charged with organizing and engaging in a conspiracy to rob Postal Service carriers, steal Postal Service mail keys and illegally obtain mail from Postal Service collection boxes. Court documents said the defendants sought to obtain Postal Service collection box keys from mail carriers in order to steal checks and other items of value from the mail. It is alleged the defendants would often rob mail carriers of their collection box keys while on duty and then pull checks and other items of value from the mail. On Jan. 31, Rice was arrested by law enforcement authorities after committing robbery and assault of a Postal Ser-

vice carrier. During the arrest, it is alleged Rice was found to be in possession of various pieces of stolen mail. On Feb. 10, a search warrant was executed at a hotel where Harris and Jones were residing. During the search, authorities obtained multiple pieces of stolen mail and a firearm belonging to Harris that was modified to fire as a machine gun. Court records said as a result of the various schemes, the defendants caused an estimated potential loss of $2.7 million. This case was investigated by the FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Ohio State Highway Patrol, Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Cuyahoga County Criminal Investigators, Beachwood Police Department and Shaker Heights Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by assistant U.S. attorneys Kathryn G. Andrachik and Jason W. White. Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Ohio


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CARSTAR Chicagoland Presented with Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Chapter Rookie of the Year Award The CARSTAR Chicagoland business group hosted its June meeting at sponsor Axalta’s facility. The team met to discuss how business has been to date across the various shops, and discuss strategies to continue through the second half of the year. In addition to the CARSTAR Chicagoland business group team members, the director of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s (CFF) Chicago Chapter, David Oshinski, was in attendance to award the team with its 2019 Rookie of the Year Plaque. The presentation of the plaque has been put on hold for two years due to the pandemic. “It was an honor to win this award and our team is so excited to receive the plaque,” said Tony Mistrata, owner, CARSTAR Mistrata’s, located in New Lenox, IL. “Getting involved with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has been extremely rewarding. Our teams have been eager to give back to the community and this has been the perfect fit.” CARSTAR Chicagoland has raised more than $9,000 so far in 2022 to support research, care and

advocacy for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. To add to this, the team will be sponsoring a dinner, along with being a hole sponsor, at its

annual golf outing taking place in August. Last year, this event raised close to $20,000 for cystic fibrosis. “Last year’s golf outing was a huge success, and we were able to raise a significant amount of money to aid the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation,” continued Mistrata. “We are looking forward to this year’s outing to see how we can top last year and make an even larger impact.” For more information on CARSTAR visit Source: CARSTAR

St. Louis First Responders Learn New Rescue Skills Through NABC F.R.E.E. Program More than 30 first responders from fire departments in St. Louis, MO, and surrounding areas gathered May 23 for a hands-on demonstration of the latest techniques in emergency vehicle extrication, preparing them to provide the best response for car accident victims.

The demonstration was thanks to the National Auto Body Council® (NABC) F.R.E.E.™ program, Miner’s Towing, Farmers Insurance and SENTINEL Emergency Solutions/ HURST Jaws of Life. When drivers in St. Louis have an accident, they rely on the community’s first responders to be there to help them to safety. And when they are driving a late-model vehicle with numerous airbags, advanced technology or electric/

hybrid engines, the rescue can be more challenging. To provide first responders with additional information on electric vehicles, Mike McConnell from Tesla provided technical information about Tesla vehicles via a remote broadcast to the classroom segment of the NABC F.R.E.E. program. The NABC® First Responder Emergency Extrication program (F.R.E.E.) helps first responders stay abreast of the rapid changes in vehicle design, including highstrength steel, airbags, advanced restraint systems and onboard technology. Alternative fuel systems found in electric and hybrid vehicles present new challenges for first responders on the accident scene. Farmers Insurance provided the vehicles, and SENTINEL Emergency Solutions/HURST Jaws of Life supplied the classroom education and extrication demonstration. Source: NABC

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Bloomington / AUGUST 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 27

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.

Collision Repair Shops Play Vital Role in Helping Reduce Vehicle-Related Deaths I read a sobering article in The Washington Post recently that I think offers some insights into where vehicle technology is likely headed. The article featured an interview with Jeffrey Michael, who spent three decades at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and is now at the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy. He’s a car guy. The article said when he’s home, he likes to tinker on the 1987 Porsche 911 he bought as a fixer-upper. While he was with NHTSA, he worked on issues related to seat belts, child restraints, drunken driving and emergency medical services. But the article also said this: “Michael saw the ability of federal programs to influence safety and cites a gradual reduction in road deaths over 50 years. But in an interview with The Washington

we have coming into shops. Michael also noted in the interview, “To improve things, we’re going to need to individually make concessions about convenience, about driving a little slower, about taking a little more care, about personal responsibility, of using our seat belts, of driving at or below the speed limit, of driving responsibly, certainly driving without impairment, without fatigue, without distraction.” The “using our seat belts” portion of that quote caught my eye. Our industry has a vital obligation to make sure those seat belts have been inspected after a vehicle has been in an accident. Every automaker has very specific requirements about this. Even when General Motors revamped its post-collision vehicle inspection requirements, for example, its stance on seat belts did not change. GM wants “every seat belt of every [GM] vehicle inspected every time” a vehicle is in for repairs,

A “Who Pays for What?” survey this spring found only about 37% of shops are paid regularly when billing for labor required to inspect seat belts as part of repairing a collision damaged vehicle

Post—days after new NHTSA figures showed fatalities hitting a 16year high—Michael pointed to the nation’s failure and potential fixes.” Make sure you read that again. Roadway fatalities have reached a 16-year high. You have to believe NHTSA and other regulators are going to place an even greater emphasis on vehicle and roadway safety. You have to believe the automakers are going to be pushing forward on getting more and better ADAS and telematics features into vehicles. That’s going to impact the vehicles

“regardless of the [crash] severity level or what’s being done” to the vehicle, said John Eck, collision manager for GM. We’ve been asking about seat belt inspections in our “Who Pays for What?” surveys dating back to 2016. On the surface, the news is good. Back in 2016, close to twothirds of shops said they’d never billed for the labor involved in inspecting seat belts, and among those who had, fewer than one in four said they were paid for that work by the eight largest national insurers “always” or “most of the time.”


In the seven years since, the percentage of shops not billing for the work has fallen, and the percentage being paid regularly has grown. But looking at the numbers still keeps me awake at night. As of this year’s survey, there were still 28% of

shops—more than one in four—that acknowledged never having billed for seat belt inspections. I have to believe many of those shops aren’t doing this critical work, perhaps because they’re not researching and following the OEM procedures. And in the seven years we’ve asked, never have more than two in five shops billing for this work

said the insurers regularly pay for it. How can the insurance industry deny payment for this needed step? And though shops are morally—if not otherwise—obligated to do it even if they’re not paid for it, are insurer payment practices contributing to it not being done on every single vehicle? Ladies and gentlemen, it often doesn’t require any more than looking at the vehicle owner’s manual to document the seat belt inspection requirement. In the resources section of the “Who Pays” body labor report, we point to an excellent list of links to vehicle owner’s manuals, put together by the Database Enhancement Gateway (DEG). You can take the current “Who Pays for What” survey during July at r/3X7FDBP See Vehicle-Related Deaths, Page 32

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Parts Direct 952-887-0600 24 Hr. FAX 952-881-1787 7801 Lyndale Ave. South l Bloomington, MN 55420 / AUGUST 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 29

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 Contact him by email at

3 Collision Repair Business Leaders Find Ways to Develop Positive Company Culture

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Three auto body shop owners spoke thing,” Halcro said. “Everyone was during the recent Society of Col- doing their own thing and saying, lision Repair Specialists’ Repairer ‘That’s not my job.’ So we switched with Ed Attanasio Roundtable about their efforts to everybody to hourly, working out a build a positive culture within their pay plan that got them as close as we could to the flat rate that they had.” companies. Halcro said he tries to get out Bruce Halcro of Capital Collision Center in Helena, MT, said a to each technician’s work area every change in pay plans was one step he day to talk with them briefly. took a few yearswith ago. Ed Attanasio “Sometimes it’s about the car “We were paying flat rate, and it they’re working on, but most of the created more divisiveness than any- time it’s about family,” he said. “I think that’s an important connection to have with employees. I think how you treat employees, showing them that you value them, really builds a with Ed Attanasio culture.” One thing Halcro said has surprised him was the impact on his company’s culture he’s seen from its sponsorship this past year of a youth hockey team. Montana shop owner Bruce Halcro said “So we had our own section, with Attanasio sponsorship of a youth hockeyEd team has been a ‘Capital Collision section,’ at the good for team-building within his shop

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games,” he said. “We actually hired a couple of the players to come in a couple hours a day, twice a week, to clean the shop, empty garbage. By the end of the year, almost our whole crew was going to these hockey games. By Wednesday, they all would be talking about who was going to the hockey game that Friday night. Honestly, that was one of the best team-building things that we’ve done, that’s been impactful for our youngest employees to some of our older ones.” Ron Reichen, owner of Precision Body & Paint, which is opening its fifth location in Oregon this year, said part of developing his company’s culture involves having second-year students from a local community college collision industry training program spend their threemonth co-op at one of his shops. “We try to have them touch

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Driven Brandswith Holdings on July Stacey Phillips 11 announced the election of Jose Tomás to its Board of Directors, effective that day. Tomás currently serves as the chief administrative officer for TelevisaUnivision, the world’s leading Spanish language conwith Stacey Phillips tent and media company, where he oversees strategic support ar609 East Jefferson Blvd. eas, including human resources; Mishawaka, IN 46545 corporate communications; enterprise technology services; fa574-259-1981 cilities/real estate; social impact; 833-394-0276 diversity, equity and inclusion; Phillips and corporate with safety, Stacey health and security. Previously, he was a principal and managing partner M-F 7:30am-5:30pm at BrandSparc, a global commuSat 7am-12pm nications, employment branding and human resources consulting firm. He also led human resources and other strategic functions for with Stacey Phillips General Motors, Anthem, Inc., and Burger King Corporation. n Wide Delivery Area With Tomás’ election, the n Competitive Pricing board now consists of nine members, with the majority being independent. Source: Driven Brands

each one of the different disciplines within that 90 days,” Reichen said. “So they get to see where their appetite might be. During that 90 days, they’re learning the culture. They’re learning to come to work on time, to keep their work area clean, to read the OEM repair procedures, to read

Oregon shop owner Ron Reichen said having students work in multiple departments during their first 90 days helps them learn the company culture

and follow the repair plan. They understand they’re part of a team.”


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Other entry-level hires often start off in a shop’s parts department, with opportunities for a career path laid out up front. “You’re not going to be stuck on the wash rack or with a broom the rest of your life,” Reichen said. “If they demonstrate a good work ethic, then our master technicians will say they are interested in taking on this person, being a mentor, to grow them, whether their interest is on the refinish or body side or mechanical.” He said getting on a collision repair training program’s advisory committee is one of the best ways both to find entry-level employees and help with the industry’s overall technician shortage. “We also look at the high schools with the SkillsUSA program,” Reichen said. “We find that even though a high school may not have an auto body or refinishing program, they may have a mechanical program. And with our industry changing, with more and more calibrations and ADAS and things like that, there’s opportunity there. You have to get creative.” He said his company also works

with those being released from a state penitentiary. “That involves a certain amount of calculated risk,” Reichen acknowledged. “It’s a lot of work, but we’ve had a pretty good success rate with doing that.” Andy Tylka of the Tag Auto Group in Indiana acknowledged it has been a challenge maintaining his company’s culture while growing the business from six shops to 15 over two and a half years. “But those people decided to sell to me because our culture was very similar to theirs,” Tylka said at the SCRS event. “A single-family-owned culture. Knowing everyone’s name, having those conversations, knowing something about everybody’s life, them knowing your life.” He said rewarding loyalty is extremely important. “There might be a shop that needs a technician and they’ll just load [the new hire] full of benefits and pay, while disregarding the loyal employees who have been there all along,” Tylka said. “I need to do a better job of that as well.” Growing your own new employees is a great way to instill your

culture, he said. He spoke at several Indiana Auto Body Association chapter meetings last year to share details about his company’s apprenticeship program, including how it’s structured, the check-off lists of what apprentices need to learn and how to find apprentices, not just through auto body job boards but those for construction and plumbing, etc. “Because there are people in those trades who are having a bad day or are looking for another industry,” Tylka said. “What shocked me was through all the chapter meetings, there were only two shops that had a structured apprenticeship program. All the others were deterred from getting apprentices because they just didn’t know what to do with them. “I think that’s what the industry needs is at least some kind of guideline to give a mom-and-pop shop some direction as to apprentices other than just putting a kid with a technician and hoping they learn something,” Tylka said. “I’m hoping as our apprenticeship develops to share that within Indiana, and that will start to have a snowball effect.”

Continued from Page 28

Vehicle-Related Deaths In some cases, in addition to a visual inspection, the OEM procedure may require the use of a diagnostic scan tool to check the pre-tensioners. On some Honda and Acura vehicles, for example, a deployed pre-tensioner does not trigger a diagnostic trouble code, so other “live data” from the scan must be checked. In these cases, it’s important to know I’ve read of instances where shops have found their aftermarket scan tool didn’t catch blown pre-tensioners an OEM scan did. I encourage you to check the NHTSA website,, for some sobering statistics about highway deaths, and some tools you can use to help educate your customers. But we also all need to make sure we’re not contributing to the problem, by repairing every vehicle fully and correctly, including the seat belt and other OEM safety inspections.

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CAA Says a New Kind of Insurer Steering is Impacting the Industry by Ed Attanasio

The California Autobody Association (CAA) recently held a one-hour Zoom meeting with the California Department of Insurance (CA-DOI), covering a handful of topics of interest to the entire membership. One particular subject that has been a pebble in CAA’s shoe for several years was brought up again during the meeting. You might be thinking that pebble was illegal steering, but you’d only be half right. When we talk about steering in this industry, it’s usually about insurers trying to persuade consumers to take their vehicles to DRP shops, because those shops offer the insurer more attractive labor rates, and in many cases, a promise to use the lowest priced parts available. Instead, this is about “parts steering.” Parts steering is where insurance companies search a multitude of different online vendors scattered across the country to find each part at the lowest price, and then cap

payment on their estimate based on that price. Sound reasonable? Monte Etherton, chairman of the CAA State Legislation Committee and state board member of CAA’s San Diego chapter, has been monitoring this situation for years and doesn’t think it’s reasonable at all. “Here’s an analogy,” he said. “Your 8-year-old car needs some work, so you take it to the dealer and they give you an estimate for $3,500. You tell them you’ll get back to them. Their estimate lists five parts that total $2,000 of the $3,500. Since you want to save some money, you start scouring the internet for those parts. “You find the cheapest parts from five different online stores, and all offer free shipping. Buying those parts instead of the parts from the dealer will save you almost $500. You make a neat list of all the store’s phone numbers and the prices and take it back to the dealer and ask them to buy the parts they need from those places so you can save some

money. What do you think they would do?” Etherton cites “parts steering” as a major problem in the industry. “Some insurance companies will only pay us based on the price of the cheapest parts, so they are literally forcing us to buy certain parts from their vendors or lose money,” he said. “I did one job on a Volkswagen where the insurance company’s estimate had an aftermarket headlight from an out-of-town vendor, because it was cheaper than my local aftermarket supplier,” Etherton said. “I emailed them that they can’t require me to buy a part from a specific supplier, and they replied with this fallacy: ‘We can’t tell you where to purchase your parts, but we don’t owe more because you select a different vendor.’” In 2018, CAA received a written legal opinion from the CA-DOI in response to questions regarding several industry problems, including parts steering. Two paragraphs from the opinion explain how parts steer-

ing is related to customer steering, which is illegal in California: “No insurer may require that an automobile be repaired at a specific automobile repair shop. (Cal. Ins. Code §758.5(a)). If the claimant elects to have the vehicle repaired at the shop of his or her choice, the insurer may not limit or discount the reasonable repair costs based on charges that would have been incurred had the vehicle been repaired by the insurer’s preferred shop. (Cal. Ins. Code §758.5(d)). As a result, by refusing to pay any reasonable price for a replacement part that is higher than the price quoted by the insurer’s preferred parts vendors, the insurer is limiting or discounting the reasonable repair costs based on the charges that would have been incurred had the vehicle been repaired by the insurer’s chosen repair shop thereby preventing customers from using the repair shop of their choice and preventing the policyholder from using any shop other than those shops that purchase their replacement crash parts from the pre-

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ferred parts vendors of the insurer. “Limiting or discounting the reasonable repair costs based on the charges that would have been incurred had the vehicle been repaired by the insurer’s chosen repair shop is a violation of Insurance Code section §758.5(b) (3) and would constitute a violation of the Unfair Insurance Practices Act. Cal. Ins. Code §758.5(f). That is, if an insurer limits or discounts the reasonable repair costs based upon the replacement part prices available from a certain parts vendor, the insurer would effectively prevent a customer from using the automobile repair shop of his or her choice in violation of Insurance Code section 758.5(b) (3). An insurer would, however, be permitted to reasonably adjust a collision repair shop’s written parts price estimate for any part, including new OEM crash parts, if the insurer demonstrates that the price charged by the repair shop for the replacement part is “unreasonable.” 10 CCR §2695.8(f).” This opinion was also a topic of the Zoom meeting. Both the DOI’s deputy commissioner and the Claims Services Bureau chief urged shops experiencing this problem to send a copy of the DOI letter to the insurer with their supplement. Miscategorized Parts There is another facet to this problem. In California, the law requires shops only list parts on their estimate as new, used, reconditioned, rebuilt, an OEM crash part or a nonOEM aftermarket crash part. Insurers are also supposed to follow these regulations when writing estimates, but some do not. “A few months back, we had a 2021 Mercedes in the shop,” Etherton said. “It only had 1,000 miles on it and was hit pretty hard in the right suspension. The customer’s insurer specified 13 used, non-OEM or reconditioned parts from six different vendors located in California, Texas, Michigan and Oregon. The parts’ prices ranged from about $10 to $1,000. “Some of the part descriptions were really questionable, like a reconditioned upper control arm and a reconditioned engine cradle, and a used wheel that was also refurbished. By law, we have to be crystal

clear about parts with our customer, but how can I do that if I don’t even know what they are?” Etherton continued. “And none of these parts had a manufacturer’s warranty, something we would get if we bought them from the dealer. We ended up losing that job because we believed new genuine factory parts belonged on that car, and the customer didn’t want to pay the difference. She did tell me she was changing insurance companies though.” The Difference Between Opt-OEM Parts and Genuine OEM Parts Many parts on insurers’ estimates have been miscategorized with such terms as “alt-OEM”, “opt-OEM” and “surplus-OEM.” In reality, these parts may be over-production, blemished or damaged OEM parts. One thing they all have in common is none of them carry the original car manufacturer’s warranty. Every part sold by every vehicle manufacturer has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), which is the price a shop charges for the part. In contrast, opt-OEM parts do not have an MSRP, only a cost. When a part does not have an MSRP, insurers will allow a “markup,” usually 20%. Etherton thinks he knows how opt-OEM came into existence. “Let’s say a shop buys a bumper from a Chevy dealer that has an MSRP of $200, and the shop gets it for $140 wholesale. The shop will make a $60 profit,” he said. “Let’s also say an opt-OEM vendor—maybe a wrecking yard— has bought 50 of those bumpers on the gray market for $120 each. They offer the bumper to insurers for $150. The insurer marks the part up $30—20%—for the shop. The insurer now gets the $200 bumper for $180, but the shop loses half their profit, the shop’s Chevy dealer loses a sale and the customer loses the Chevy factory warranty because the shop didn’t purchase the part from the dealer. Who wins here?” Another issue is some vendors are mislabeling their parts to gain an advantage with insurers. “Something else we see is when the vendor lists a bumper cover as a used part when it’s actually a new ‘surplus part,” Etherton said. “Many new factory bumpers are raw plas-


tic, which requires a special prep to make the paint stick. That prep costs about $100. Since a used bumper is already painted and wouldn’t need that treatment, the insurer won’t put the treatment on their estimate. The problem is, the bumper isn’t a used part, and the work still has to be done.” How Shops Choose Which Vendors from Which to Purchase Parts Just like any business, body shops must choose their vendors carefully. Shops need to know a vendor will be in business next month or next year if there’s a problem. They need to deal with experts that will send the correct parts the first time, quickly and at no charge, whether that part is a $2.50 fastener or a $700 aluminum hood. Another problem Etherton brought up is the logistics of adding unnecessary vendors to his shop’s bookkeeping system and staff. “Most online vendors limit what they sell to big-ticket high-volume parts, so they can’t fill a complete order,” he said. “If you buy from one, you either have to pay COD or

have an open account, right? Any body shop worth its salt has charge accounts with their vendors because you can’t afford to write a check for each invoice and have $100,000 tied up before you get paid. “Not being able to use our regular vendors means we have to pay upfront for the parts, either by check or credit card,” he said. “And when I call these vendors to see if they really have the part, I usually spend at least five minutes on hold waiting for people to answer the phone. Probably half the time they either don’t have the part, it’s not what they said it was, or they won’t deliver to our area. “And if you do buy the part and it’s wrong, they already have your money,” Etherton said. “Hopefully they’ll give it back, but you need to pay return shipping and wait. “The other option is to open an account with each of these vendors. Now if you know anything about bookkeeping, we already have like 50 various parts vendors on our list. If we had to add a new vendor to our database for every time an insurance company found a cheaper part, we’d


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probably have 200 more vendors, and who’s going to keep track of that? Two hundred credit applications? Two hundred more monthly statements to reconcile? It’s ridiculous.” Doing the Insurance Adjuster’s Job Another subject discussed during the CAA CA-DOI meeting was how insurers are requiring more and more documentation from shops before they will pay the claim. The documentation is in the form of damage photos, work in process photos, purchase invoice copies and more. “What happens is that we have a customer who wants us to fix their car, so we write an estimate and send it to their insurance company,” Etherton said. “Now some insurance companies review our estimate and pay it to the penny, while others cut the estimate no matter what you send them. And it’s not uncommon for an insurer to start off low at $2,000 and end up paying an actual cost of $8,000. “I think the insurers that cut estimates are just trying to make our job so difficult that we will give up

and accept their lowball offers,” he said. “They want pictures and copies of everything, and as I said before, whatever the lowest part prices they can find on the internet is the most they will pay us for the parts we need to fix the car.” Etherton’s main point is this--other than allowing the insurer to inspect the car at his shop, he has no obligation to them to document anything. The obligation he does have is to the vehicle owner. “The law says if I fix your car, we will have a contract between us, which is my estimate,” he said. “I give you the estimate, and then you authorize the estimate so it becomes a work order. So, I repair your car based on that work order. If I don’t follow that work order while repairing your car, then I have committed fraud and could lose my license. “Even though these insurance companies have the right to inspect the damaged car, they choose not to. It’s easier to deny the claim from a distance than it is in person.”

Lordstown Motors Continues Executive Shakeup, Working Toward Endurance Production by Joey Klender, Teslarati

Lordstown Motors announced July 12 it promoted several of its executives, continuing to mix up its front office in preparation for the production of the Endurance all-electric pickup. Daniel Ninivaggi, who assumed the role of CEO after Steve Burns was relieved of his duties, was elected to serve as Lordstown’s executive chairman of the board. This will put Ninivaggi’s new focuses on corporate strategy, strategic partnerships and capital raising as Lordstown continues to battle with the somewhat typical challenges of an electric vehicle startup. Edward T. Hightower, who previously served as Lordstown’s president, was elected to the “additional role” of CEO, effective immediately. Hightower will remain the CEO of MIH EV Design LLC, Lordstown’s joint venture with Foxconn, the company that bought the automaker’s Ohio factory earlier this year. Lordstown also announced the arrival of Dr. Donna Bell, who will assume the role of executive vice president of product creation, engineering and supply chain. Bell has

nearly 30 years of automotive experience with Ford, where she dealt with numerous tasks related to automotive product development and technology innovation leadership experience. Along with Bell, Andrew Reyntjes joined the company and will become the senior vice president of commercial sales, service and marketing. He has more than 15 years of service in various roles throughout the fleet industry, including with GM. Jill Coniglio-Kirk recently joined Lordstown as vice president of people and culture. Jane Ritson-Parsons is also transitioning away from the chief commercial officer role she assumed a year ago when she joined Lordstown. She will become an advisor for the company. “Jane’s leadership in several of our functions was instrumental to the progress we have made over the past year,” Ninivaggi said. “I thank her for her many contributions to the company and look forward to her support as an advisor.” Lordstown plans to begin production of the Endurance pickup truck in Q3, with initial commercial deliveries slated to begin in Q4.

Nissan Frontier and Titan Owners Warned to Use Parking Brakes by David A. Wood,

More than 180,000 Nissan Frontier and Titan trucks are recalled because they could roll away even when the trucks are shifted into PARK. Nissan is warning 2020-2022 Frontier and Titan owners to engage the parking brakes every time they park their trucks. Nissan received a report in June 2021 alleging a 2020 Frontier began to move after the driver shifted into PARK, but the dealer was unable to replicate the problem. Nissan took the transmission and sent it to the supplier, JATCO, but the company found no problems. The automaker thought it was just a random incident until Frontier and Titan warranty claims began arriving. Nissan collected the components but engineers couldn't duplicate the issues, and neither could JATCO. JATCO finally duplicated the problem that was caused by the parking pawls. "Due to dimensional varia-

tion during the manufacturing process, reduced clearance may cause contact between the edge of the parking pawl and the boss on the transmission case, which may result in non-engagement of the parking pawl," Nissan said. Nissan is aware of four allegations of minor injuries.

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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 Contact him by email at

DataTouch Offering New Service to Help Collision Repair Shops Manage Access to its Data

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Pete Tagliapietra is sympathetic to buying parts from, and at what price. collision repairers whose customers It also shows what kind of cars the have found accident information shop repairs, and what cars the cuswith Ed Attanasio about their car on a vehicle history tomers in that geographic area buy report. and drive.” But Tagliapietra said that’s only All that, Tagliapietra said, is a small subset of what he sees as a even aside from the customer’s much larger concern of shop esti- personal identification information mate data being obtained, used and on the estimate, which a growing sold by unauthorized withthird Ed parties. Attanasio number of states have mandated “It’s my belief that most shops businesses take adequate steps to are oblivious to how much estimate protect. information is being scraped off their “If I owned a body shop, I computers, giving third parties a wouldn’t want third parties to know wealth of knowledge about how that all of this—how I run my business shop does business,” said Tagliapi- and with whom—and to be able to etra, founder of the newly-launched use it or sell it without my authoriwith Ed Attanasio DataTouch, LLC. “Even just a small zation, and clearly even in ways that set of a shop’s estimates tells some- are not in my best interest,” he said. one whether or not the shop has Tagliapietra said it’s his belief DRPs, and if so, which ones. It tells “the CARFAX issue”—estimates them the labor rates the shop has resulting in entries on a vehicle’s negotiated withwith different Ed insurance Attanasio history report—and all the other companies. It shows who the shop is third-party use of shop information

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are the result of thousands of “data pumps” running on shop computer systems across the industry. “Data pumps have become prolific,” Tagliapietra said earlier this year. “It’s gotten out of hand, from my point of view, because the data has become so valuable. Most shops probably have an unauthorized data pump, or more likely multiple data pumps, that are sucking the repair line information and personally identifiable information off of every estimate they write.” A shop may have authorized the installation of some or all of the data pumps running on its computer system, because they can help automate some shop processes, such as sourcing alternative parts, subletting repairs or materials. In other cases, the shop may not be aware of a third-party vendor installing a data pump, or that a data pump installed

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by a company the shop is no longer doing business with continues to scrape estimate data from the shop’s computers. “But the data pumps themselves are only the first part of the problem,” Tagliapietra said. “The real issue is that shops can’t control what portions of an estimate get scraped by those data pumps. A parts vendor doesn’t need your labor rate information or the customer or insurer name nor even the entire VIN, yet they get all that. A CSI provider doesn’t need anything other than the basic customer contact information, yet they get all the estimate line items and subtotals. A remote scanning company doesn’t need anything other than the complete VIN to identify the specific vehicle and the ADAS functions on that vehicle. See DataTouch Offering, Page 40

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Life Coach Uses Different Approaches to Help Auto Body Shop Techs, Owners, Managers by Ed Attanasio

Claudia Morgillo has multiple titles, including certified professional leadership coach and trainer. She and her husband own six Fix Auto locations in the Ontario, Canada, area, two Novus glass companies and a centralized head office.


As a woman and a leader, what communication and other skills you’ve developed over the years to be a manager in a male-dominated industry?


I have developed a lot of processing modalities, including learning how to communicate, train and motivate the people that I work with while being a female in this industry. I think as a woman, knowing how to communicate with different people in general is a real plus. My dad has been in the industry for almost 50 years and he introduced it to me; I followed him around at a young age and later

worked alongside him in his jobber business. At this point, I’ve been in collision repair for more than 25 years. Thirteen years ago, my husband, Claudio Chiodo, and I purchased our first body shop, and have grown from that point on.

challenges our industry was facing. In the end, it comes down to attaining the right skills to motivate people in general. For instance, how do you create buy-in, build comfort and trust, and all those things? So, I went back to learn how to build and use the tools needed for these essential skills and, most notably, the neuHow do you motivate your roscience behind them. people? Do you take I became a professiondifferent approaches with al coach and a leadership each person? trainer to motivate all these people individually. Every Four main groups person requires a different are impacting our approach, so if you try to industry—Generation Z, treat everyone the same, it ages 7-22 (born between Claudia Morgillo will likely fail. I have de1997 and 2021); Millen- helps body shop pro- veloped tools that are tried, succeed nials, ages 23-38 (born infessionals tested and true. But in the an ever-changing between 1981 and 1996); end, it comes down to peoindustry Generation X, ages 39-54 ples’ motivations and how (born between 1965 and 1980); and they feel appreciated. How do they our Boomers, ages 55-73 (born be- understand caring, because everytween 1946 and 1964). body understands caring differently? I went back to school and Everybody’s going to respond earned a lot of different training and to buy-in in their own way, so how coaching certifications to help and do I create that for them? That’s my support my teams through the real approach—it’s individualized and

that’s why I went back to school to find out about how I can achieve that for all these people. I’ve been doing that for more than five years now full-time within my organization and for external clients as well. I have also been working closely with David Luehr at Elite Body Shop Solutions, as well as different industry leaders, and owners of other shops to help them identify and build their skills and grow into being an MSO or whatever they’d like to do.



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What are your three main concerns about the collision repair industry?


Everyone is talking about supply chain issues, hiring and retaining good people, and how to fix today’s sophisticated vehicles. My perspective on this is that it will always come back to people. Years ago, someone shared an equation with me that said, “Process plus people equals profits.” I thought, what does that really mean?

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So, the process part is self-explanatory, right? We’re always constantly looking at process building and tweaking processes, but what are people doing about that? You never get to check the box because it’s all about training, retraining and retaining people in this industry. Where are their mindsets for them? Do they want to be retrained and stay in our industry? So, my concerns will always come back to what we need to do to find, hire and train all of these people and keep them motivated. Because as much as we want to continue moving forward and pursue all of these new advancements being thrown at us, we can’t just tell people they need to move forward. It’s about how do we support these people to do these things? That’s always my main concern— the people part of it. How do we keep them engaged and interested in training that’s changing with the times and still be motivated without getting exhausted? That is my concern for this industry because everything else seems to fall into place if we can do that.


Continued from Page 38

third party. A recycler, for example, may only receive a parts list and the year, make and model of the vehicle, and the first 11 digits of the VIN. “That’s enough information to run it through a parts exchange and supply the part,” Tagliapietra said. “When a shop picks up a phone and says, ‘I need a left front fender for a 2004 Chevy Tahoe,’ the recycler doesn’t say, ‘Give me the VIN.’ So why when ordering electronically does the shop send them the entire estimate and all of that information?” DataTouch also will assist a shop in deleting data pumps that are obsolete or not approved by the shop. Tagliapietra said he believes DataTouch will put collision repairers back into better control of their estimate and business information, and better able to protect their customers’ privacy as well. “We can help shop eliminate the possibility of trading partners sharing repair information to unauthorized entities, such as vehicle history reporting companies and so much more,” he said.

DataTouch Offering “Too much of a shop’s information is going to too many third parties—often without the shop’s knowledge or consent—and that information has significant value to those companies that can get it.” Tagliapietra founded NuGen IT and sold that company to OEConnection in 2020. He is launching DataTouch this summer as a potential solution for a shop that wants to get a better handle on who has access to its data. For a one-time fee, DataTouch can audit a shop’s computer system to identify what data pumps are operating on it. “They’re often hidden well enough that unless someone knows what they’re looking for, they’re not going to find them,” Tagliapietra said. The shop then has the option to subscribe to the DataTouch monthly service, which enables the shop to administer by trading partner which portions of estimate data go to each

How can you help shop owners and managers to retain their workers with poaching rampant in some areas of the country?


I tell people it all starts with leadership, including self-leadership. So, we are ideally going out into the world and showing other people what we’d like them to see and know about us, which of course, takes a lot of self awareness to be developed. If we can’t lead ourselves, we can’t effectively lead others. So that’s why I help and support shop owners and managers by showing them how to lead themselves appropriately. People want to work for empowered leaders and learn from them. If you’re leading by example, your people will follow you through good times and bad times. The main causes of stress are often due to a lack of skills in those areas. For instance, weak time management skills are often a result of poor self-regulation and awareness. In my opinion, productivity is most often affected by gaps in someone’s communication skills.


Those things get in people’s way, sometimes regarding attitude and knowing how you show up in the world. How do you turn someone’s perspective around when things are getting hard? Because we all get there eventually, but how we choose to go forward can make or break an entire day for some shops. So, it’s about creating that self-awareness and giving them tools they can put in their toolbox so that when they do get in the thick of it, they will be OK to get through successfully.

Q: A:

Why do some shops excel and others struggle?

I think it pretty much goes into that same sentiment, that some shops struggle because of culture and a lack of self-awareness. I feel it always comes back to culture. You can have all the OEM certifications and DRP relationships you like within your business, but if your team doesn’t know your organization’s “why,” they will sometimes struggle to understand “why” they are doing what they are doing

every day, week, month and year alongside you. That’s trouble if they don’t know why they’re there and the culture isn’t being solidified. They know what they’re there to do and nothing more; that is where you run into gaps. I can see that some shops struggle because they don’t have the shop’s culture on their radar and don’t know what they don’t know. So, they don’t even know what is not working because they don’t even know what to look for. Ideally, we need to ask some basic questions. How do we communicate with each other? How do we want to communicate with each other going forward? Why do “we” choose to repair cars as a career? Do we feel like a team? What does our ideal team look and feel like? These are just some of the possible empowering questions we ask our teams to help support and build better cultures within our organizations.




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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 Contact him by email at

What Your Auto Body Shop Needs to Know to Be Ready to Repair EVs

Shop Showcase

The Alliance for Automotive In- battery pack need to be removed. “When you consider the width novation reported in June almost 200,000 electric vehicles were sold of the battery you are going to take with Ed Attanasio in the first quarter of this year—a out, at least for the Audi brand, the 4.2% increase over the previous batteries are the size of a queen-size quarter—representing 5.9% of over- mattress and weigh close to 2,000 all light-duty vehicle sales. Is your pounds,” said Mark Allen of Audi of America. “So you’re going to shop gearing up to repair them? Repairers, trainers, automakers need a lift that has at least 67 inchand others participated a recent es between the posts. Not the arms, with Edin Attanasio panel discussion at the Collision In- the posts. And then a flat floor undustry Conference (CIC) about what derneath so you can get a lift table EVs will mean for auto body shops. underneath.” Here are some of the highlights from that discussion. Expect to Need a Power Upgrade Many shops in the past have had Consider Your Lifts with Ed Attanasio to upgrade the electrical service to “The normal two-post lift is not go- their building in order to accommoing to be the future, in my opinion,” date the power needs of some weldsaid Virginia shop owner Barry ing equipment. Putting in one or Dorn, whose company is certified to more EV charger stations will likely repair a number of automaker’s EVs. require yet another upgrade. “The answer they are mostly His reasoning: Shops a lift withwill Ed need Attanasio that can be used when an EV’s main getting [when shops inquire about

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any necessary electrical upgrades] is: You only have just enough power coming into the building to run the things you have there right now,” said Bob Augustine, co-chair of CIC’s Emerging Technology Committee hosting the panel discussion. Other Possible Changes to Processes and Facility “It’s a lot of Go-Jaks,” Dorn said of the dollies needed to move EVs around the shop once they have been powered down for repairs. “We had to reconfigure the drains in the floor because they get caught up on that. We had to reconfigure our paint booth because you’re pushing a dead vehicle. There are literally times we have to have a tow truck pull an EV into the booth.” Shops also need to know what EV repairs require powering down the vehicle. Even something as

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Trying to Save Money Could Cost You Jason Norman of Enterprise RentA-Car said he’s seen instances of people thinking they can reduce the cost of charging cables or adapters by getting one available online at a quarter of the cost of the OEM part. “It’s very tempting, and it turns out they look very similar,” Norman said. “But the reality is this is one of those times when the OEM equipment and procedures are critically important. A lot of those [cheaper] adapters and cables don’t have the



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seemingly minor as paintless dent repair (PDR) may require de-energizing the vehicle, Dorn said. “Depending on the vehicle, there are some areas that are literally right beside a fender or right under the hood that are very close to areas you don’t want to be,” Dorn said of PDR.

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embedded technology to do things like measure heat and current. So you end up with significant problems.” The panel shared a photo of the charred remains of electrical connectors inside a charging system installed some years ago by a California shop. The heat involved in EV charging also can lead to expansion and contraction, which can loosen connections over time. “There is a certain amount of maintenance you’re looking at on these chargers,” said Oregon shop owner Ron Reichen. “You have to go in and retighten things from time to time.” Darrell Amberson said his multi-shop collision repair company in Minnesota repairs a lot of EVs, and it’s not something shops should avoid. “It’s no big deal. We’re still fixing cars,” Amberson said. “But on the other hand, it does require a difference from the start to the finish of the process. And every person in the organization has to have some different understanding, especially in terms of safety.”

Ford Reports Year-Over-Year Sales Increase of 31.5% in June Ford’s total U.S. market share in June expanded to 12.9% as its sales outperformed the industry. While overall industry sales were down 11%, Ford sold 152,262 vehicles in June, a 31.5% improvement over June 2021, despite ongoing industry semiconductor chip and supply constraints. The market share gains came from the F-Series, Explorer and Expedition, along with continued strong expansion of battery-electric vehicles. “Amid industry-wide supply constraints, Ford outperformed the industry, driven by strong F-Series, Explorer and new Expedition and Navigator SUV sales,” said Andrew Frick, vice president of sales, distribution and trucks, Ford Blue. “Combined, these vehicles represented just over 56% of our sales in June—up about eight percentage points from May. F-150 Lightning was America’s best-selling electric truck in June in its first full month of sales, while our overall electric vehicle sales were up 77% over last year.” Demand for new vehicles re-

mains strong. The number of retail sales coming from previously placed orders continued at its record pace of about 50% in June.

F-Series sales were up 26.3% over a year ago, representing 37.9% of Ford’s overall sales mix—up from 32% in May. F-Series has been expanding its truck leadership through the first half of the year, outselling its second-place competitor by about 40,000 trucks. Almost 60% of F-Series retail sales came from previously placed orders, as it continues to turn at record rates. Ford total pickup sales, including F-Series, Ranger and Maverick, were up 26.3% over a year ago, with total pickups sales of 66,663. Ford’s total pickup share gained approxi-



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mately seven percentage points over last year—at 29% in June. This is the highest share of any brand in the total pickup segment. Sales of Ford electric vehicles jumped 76.6% from a year ago, totaling 4,353 for the month. Going into July, both F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach-E dealer stock is higher than last month, positioning both for a stronger July sales month. Ford brand SUV sales totaled 60,894, which were up 35.3% over last year. Bronco continued to add to Ford’s total sales, selling 8,681 SUVs, while Explorer more than doubled sales. On an improved mix of F-Series, Expedition, Explorer and Navigator, Ford’s average transaction pricing expanded approximately $1,900 per vehicle in June relative to May. This compares favorably to an industry increase of about $150. These vehicles represented just over 56% of the mix in June and was up about eight percentage points over May and three percentage points from a year ago. Source: Ford





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Why Online Customer Reviews Are More Important than Ever by Ed Attanasio

Every transaction has a value in terms of both human resources and money, and online reviews from customers play a significant role in both for any business. Many auto body shop owners and managers use review sites to connect with customers and get feedback. But many are still skeptical about the authenticity of the reviews posted. Before the online consumer review industry gained momentum roughly 18 years ago when Yelp was founded, people had to rely on recommendations from friends, neighbors and associates. Word-of-mouth worked pretty well, but now we can access hundreds of reviews within minutes, rather than polling the mailman or the checker at your grocery store for the best restaurants, movie theaters or body shops. As a body shop owner or manager, ultimately, all you want is to acquire new customers, retain existing ones and increase revenue. But like many, you’re probably a little overwhelmed by the speed at which technology evolves and how to respond to it. Recently, I saw this powerful quote from the Harvard Business Review: “Many companies need to dramatically shift their marketing strategies to account for the rising power exerted on future customers by the opinions of existing customers.” I had a friend who used to say opinions are like a certain orifice we all possess. It still applies, but now everyone’s opinions seem to count more than ever, especially online. For companies that do an exemplary job and garner high CSI ratings as a result, online review sites are a wonderful thing. On the other hand, what happens if you’re a good company, but you’re not getting a significant number of accolades from the public—or, worse, negative bogus reviews from competitors and disgruntled former employees? Megan Fulkerson, managing partner and strategist at 3P Marketing in Evansville, IN, works with body shops and other small businesses on their online reviews and

how to set them up for success. “While managing reviews can seem daunting, taking care of your customers and providing safe and proper repairs is what we try to do every day,” she said. “Taking things one step further and by having CSRs or estimators ask the customer to

Megan Fulkerson of 3P Marketing said shops that have negative reviews and do not acknowledge them appear to not care. She suggests responding to every review, positive or negative

provide a review is a great way to have current responses added to your list of online reviews.” Online reviews are crucial in the collision industry because people want to be comfortable before they trust a body shop with their vehicles, Fulkerson said. “The collision repair industry is especially important because vehicles are most commonly the second largest asset one possesses in their lifetime. For most, it is critical to the success of their day—ensuring the kids are at school and they make it to work on time,” Fulkerson said. “Because of this heightened importance and cost endured when getting collision repair, many are extra hesitant to entrust their vehicle at a shop that does not have recent and good reviews.” Fulkerson said shops always need to respond to reviews, both positive and negative. “Another important aspect of getting reviews is responding to them,” she said. “The only opportunity we have as a business owner to dispute a review is to leave a response. By remaining cool and calm but potentially shedding some light onto the negative experience mentioned, you can show that you stand by your work and will always make it right. “Businesses that have negative reviews and do not acknowledge


them appear that they do not care,” she said. “While many aspects of marketing and advertising are evolving, the need for good reviews remained unchanged.” Those shops that embrace online reviews and pursue new marketing techniques such as geofencing, SEO strategies and digital advertising are excelling, Fulkerson said. Here are some more interesting numbers and analysis from ReviewTrackers: Google remains the No. 1 review site of choice. Nearly 64% of consumers say they are likely to check Google reviews, through Google Maps and Search, before visiting a business location—more than any other review site. Yelp ranks second at 45.18%, followed by TripAdvisor and Facebook. Google’s review growth is driven by the volume of zero-click searches, which rose to 65% in 2020. By showing review snippets and star ratings in organic search results without having to send users to a third-party website, Google

has effectively cut in line ahead of other websites in the online reviews space. Eighty-eight percent of all reviews come from only four review sites—Google (73%), Yelp (6%), Facebook (3%) and TripAdvisor (3%). Approximately 75% of new business is influenced by only a handful of business review sites and directories: Google, Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Apple Maps and Bing Maps. Review interaction is up by 50% from pre-pandemic levels. It’s one of the many signs demonstrating consumers’ heightened sensitivities about where to go or what to purchase in the wake of the pandemic. If your shop is missing the boat when it comes to sites like these, I would suggest to not try to do it yourself. Hire a knowledgeable company that specializes in leveraging these review sites to deliver solid leads and increase your car count.



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Collision Repairers Actually Lament Lack of Insurance Adjusters in Shops by John Yoswick

Aaron Schulenburg of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) said he was surprised by one of the findings of the association’s survey earlier this year asking shops about what changes could have a positive impact on their business.

Kyle Bradshaw of K&M Collision in Hickory, NC, said repeated in-shop interactions with insurance adjusters gave his company an opportunity to “educate” them.

“I never in a million years thought the response from a collision repair facility would be: Have more adjusters come back out to my shop,” Schulenburg said, noting multiple respondents shared such statements. During a Repairer Roundtable

panel discussion of the survey findings this spring, Kyle Bradshaw, director of operations for K&M Collision in Hickory, NC, said he understands the sentiment.

ington Metropolitan Auto Body Association (WMABA) said when the law in Virginia was being changed in 2016 to allow for photo estimates, the association fought hard to make

“I never in a million years thought the response from a collision repair facility would be: Have more adjusters come back out to my shop,” — Aaron Schulenburg “We spend a lot of time trying to educate insurance appraisers,” Bradshaw said. “So if it’s somebody who comes to our shop frequently, I don’t have to explain the same operations on every single job. However, [with remote claims handling] it’s basically like playing roulette; you don’t know who you’re going to get. It’s burdensome. It takes a long time. Fortunately, in our state, physical inspections are required. Our members have started to lean back on the administrative code: ‘Listen, you need to physically inspect the vehicle.’” Jordan Hendler of the Wash-

sure a caveat was included in the legislation that “if there is any disagreement with the repairer, then a physical inspection is required.” “That’s something we pushed for, and I’m glad that we did because that’s become really important in the last couple of years,” Hendler said. But later in the discussion, when panelists were asked what they think will not return post-pandemic, Andy Tylka of the Tag Auto Group, which operates 15 shops in Indiana, kept his response brief. “Simple answer: Adjusters being in the shops,” Tylka said.

Schulenburg said he agreed photo-based estimating isn’t going away, but insurers need to recognize they

Andy Tylka of the Tag Auto Group in Indiana said he doesn’t foresee a widescale return on in-shop inspections by insurers.

may not “reap the gains and expect the process to work well” if they also do away with their knowledgeable staff. “That’s one of the things we hear quite a bit from our membership, about the length of approvals, because the process ends up going back into a human’s hands, and the technical acuity of the human who is handling it just isn’t the same as it once was,” Schulenburg said. “So it’s just leading to longer cycle times, longer interactions, that negatively affect the consumer experience.”

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Continued from Cover

Crash Champions to Merge While still smaller than Gerber and far behind Caliber, this new entity will be competing coast to coast with its two larger national competitors, as well as six smaller super-regional MSOs. For much of the last six months, Crash’s investment bank was circulating an extensive investment memorandum, seeking a new private equity sponsor. During the same period, the investors in Service King were looking for a resolution to its deteriorating financial performance. Clearlake Capital acquired a control position in the Service King bonds. This position allowed them to negotiate a debt conversion to new equity and an extension of other debt obligations. In addition, Clearlake injected a reported $200 million in cash. Crash was looking for capital to continue its rapid growth. Clearlake was looking for a partner to help manage a billion dollar investment in collision repair. The resulting

merger is a combination of a deep pocketed capital sponsor, extensive management team, geographic penetration and scale that now rivals its two biggest competitors. Crash Champions has gained a major influx of assets and probably some cash as well. We don’t know exactly what the combined balance sheet will look like, but total debt to capital will be much more reasonable for the combined companies. We would expect Crash’s acquisition program would be more subdued for a period as it integrates the Service King shops. However, given the success of their program in the last three years, there is probably a substantial pipeline of commitments that will be completed. And the deep pockets of Clearlake will likely allow Crash to contemplate many, as well as larger, transactions. Among the benefits of the merger are a huge increase in revenues and scale, complementary footprints, improved negotiating power with insurance companies, improved purchasing and spreading overhead.

The challenges will be integration, technician retention and merging management teams. Crash Champions has been building out across the country in multiple attractive markets---Southern and Northern California, Florida, Colorado, Chicago, Wisconsin, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. Service King had an enviable footprint across the West, Southwest, Texas and Chicago. The two firms overlapped in some markets where neither was dominant. The combined numbers in these markets are considerably more scalable and efficient. In other markets, each had considerable scale without duplicating the other’s positions. With the merger, Crash enters 12 new states and several of the fastest growing metropolitan areas around the country. Texas is the grand prize, with 96 locations in a state where Caliber dominates and Gerber is a weak third player. The original Service King locations owned by Eddie Lennox are the core operations in the best performing region for Ser-

vice King. Crash already has a very strong position in Northern California with the acquisition of Mike’s Auto Body. With the addition of Service King’s South Bay and Sacramento shops, it is a strong No. 2 to Caliber. The combination of Crash’s 30 shops in Southern California with 25 of Service King gives them a stronger footprint in the nation’s largest market. However, even the combination of these two still leaves them a very distant second to Caliber. While 37 total shops is modest, the coverage across the Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia region is highly credible. Combined operations in Florida with 47 shops improves their penetration in that market. Source: Focus Advisors


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GM Has 95,000 Incomplete Vehicles Just Sitting by Steven Symes, Motorious

A wise man once said it’s best to face the awful truth of your situation than to lie to yourself that everything is just fine. Well, the automotive industry is in a bad place and has been since the pandemic shutdowns. One of the most shocking indicators of where we’re at now is the revelation General Motors is holding onto about 95,000 unfinished vehicles at the end of Q2. Many news outlets are blaming the glut of unfinished cars, trucks and SUVs squarely on the microchip shortage, but they’re missing the big picture. Many raw materials and hence a whole array of components have been in short supply in the automotive industry since early last year. Try ordering enough car parts and you’ll find that fact out real quick. Per a press release from GM, most of the unfinished vehicles it’s sitting on were assembled in June. Consider this: according to a report from The Wall Street Journal, new vehicle sales in the U.S. fell

about 17% for the first six months of 2022. However, demand for cars remains high, so the problem obviously is a constrained supply. With prices soaring in the new and used markets, that’s what we’d expect to result.

Other automakers have suffered all kinds of supply chain problems, ranging from shortages in microchips to constrained availability of glass and aluminum. Toyota, which in December returned to full production capacity, has since seen many manufacturing setbacks, resulting in a 19% drop in sales for Q1 and Q2 of 2022. Worse, Nissan saw a 34%

Classic Collision Announces Acquisitions in Texas, South Carolina Classic Collision, LLC, a leading national multi-site collision repair operator based in Atlanta, announced two new closings June 24—the acquisition of Jones Auto Wrecking Company in Florence, SC, and Gabe’s Collision Center in San Antonio, TX. Jones Auto Wrecking has been in business for more than a century. “We’re proud to be the oldest, most-trusted auto wrecking company in Florence, SC. Our company is rooted in family values and customer satisfaction, and we look forward to serving the community under the Classic name,” said Stewart Jones, former owner of Jones Auto Wrecking. Gabe’s Collision Center’s friendly staff and expert technicians have been serving the San Antonito area for almost a decade.

“We are committed to making the customer experience as smooth as possible and our certifications by manufacturers hold us to a higher standard of vehicle repairs. We are excited to be part of Classic’s growth in Texas and will continue providing high-quality repairs in our community,” said Rodrigo Valencia, former owner of Gabe’s Collision Center. “We are excited to welcome the Jones Auto Wrecking and Gabe’s Collision Center teams to the Classic family,” said Toan Nguyen, CEO of Classic Collision. “We believe their expertise in the collision repair industry will greatly contribute toward expanding our service offerings. With a steady pace, we will continue to advance our presence and growth across the country.”

drop while Hyundai Motor Co. said sales decreased 16%. Everyone is suffering. Another problem is creeping up, one that threatens to make this industry tailspin even worse: rising interest rates. The Wall Street Journal report claims automaker executives believe despite this, sales should level out through at least the end of 2022. Beyond then, well things could get ugly, although automakers seem to think they don’t have that far to fall if a deep recession does strike. Where things could get even more complicated is the projection by Intel’s CEO and others that the chip shortage will last well into 2024. Even once the supply of chips returns to pre-pandemic levels, it will take some time to produce enough new cars to even out the auto market. Plus, shortages of other raw materials or manufactured components could still put the squeeze on production.



Lincoln Educational Services Corporation has entered into an agreement with AkzoNobel Coatings, Inc. Lincoln Tech’s collision repair and refinishing technology programs across the country will use paints and refinish coatings solely from AkzoNobel, as the two organizations strengthen their partnership following the opening of the Kindig Academy at Lincoln Tech in Denver, CO. AkzoNobel also partners with Dave Kindig of Kindig-It Design to produce the custom Modern Classikk paint line, derived from AkzoNobel’s Sikkens refinish brand, the brand that will be used at the Kindig Academy. Lincoln Tech campuses offering collision repair career training will have the opportunity to receive products from either Sikkens or Lesonal, another premium AkzoNobel brand. AkzoNobel’s proprietary color-matching software MIXITTM will also be available to Lincoln Tech students. Source: AkzoNobel

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New-Vehicle Prices Set Record in June as Luxury Share Hits New High The average price paid for a new vehicle in the U.S. in June was the highest on record and marked the first time the average transaction price (ATP) surpassed the $48,000 mark, according to new data released by Kelley Blue Book, a Cox Automotive company. The new-vehicle ATP increased to $48,043 in June, according to Kelley Blue Book, beating the previous high of $47,202 set in December 2021. June prices rose 1.9% ($895) from May and were up 12.7% ($5,410) from June 2021. New-vehicle inventory days’ supply inched up to the high 30s in June after being in the mid-30s since mid-January. Customer demand remains strong given continued supply issues. These conditions enabled most dealers to continue selling inventory at or above the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). The average price paid for a new vehicle has been “over sticker” throughout 2022. In June, new vehicles from Honda, Kia and Mercedes-Benz were transacting on average between 6.5% and 8.7% over MSRP. On the other side

of the spectrum, Buick, Lincoln and Ram were selling at nearly 1% below MSRP. The average price paid for a new non-luxury vehicle in June was $43,942, up $615 from May, the highest price for a non-luxury vehicle on record. Car shoppers in the non-luxury segment paid on average $1,017 above sticker price. Consumers have paid roughly $1,000 more than MSRP in each month of 2022 versus only $158 over MSRP in June 2021. “While prices for the industry are, on average, higher than MSRP, there are some non-luxury segments that are more affordable, such as compact cars and compact SUVs/ crossovers,” said Rebecca Rydzewski, research manager of economic and industry insights for Cox Automotive. “These segments are selling for more than 30% less than the industry average transaction price.” In June, the average luxury buyer paid $66,476 for a new vehicle, up $1,097 month over month, the highest price for a luxury vehicle ever. For comparison, luxury vehicles were selling for nearly $825 under MSRP one year ago.

Luxury vehicle share remains historically high and increased to 18% of total sales in June, up from 17.3% in May.

The average price paid for a new electric vehicle (EV) increased in June by 3.8% compared to May and 13.7% versus a year ago. The average price for a new electric vehicle—more than $66,000, according to Kelley Blue Book estimates—is well above the industry average and more aligned with luxury prices versus mainstream prices. Hybrid/alternative energy vehicles are selling at just over $39,000 in June, a $3,593 increase over May, and an $8,453 increase versus a year ago. High gas prices are driving consumers to consider electric vehicles, hybrids and smaller, more fuel-effi-


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cient gas-powered models. New-vehicle average transaction price changes month over month by segment saw prices mixed in terms of increases and decreases. With an ATP of $39,040, hybrid/alternative energy cars saw the largest increase of $3,593. Hybrids have been in the lowest supply lately of any segment. With an ATP of $66,997, electric vehicles saw an increase of $2,444 in June, while vans increased by $658 to an ATP of $50,126. The different car segments showed nominal increases in average transaction price in June versus May. Also in extremely short supply, compact cars were up only $146 or 0.6%, while mid-size cars were up 1%, or $325 for the month. Luxury cars showed a 6.4% decrease in ATP and full-size cars showed a 0.2% decrease. Meanwhile, electric vehicles had the lowest incentives (as a percentage of ATP) of 0.4%, and entry-level luxury cars had the highest of 3.4%. Incentives dropped to a record low level in June, averaging only 2.3% of the average transaction price. Source: Kelly Blue Book


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ASE Hosts 50th Anniversary Celebration

Cox Automotive Lowers Full-Year New-Vehicle Sales Forecast as Supply Problems Persist

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) hosted its Board of Governors meeting in Herndon, VA. The event had extra special meaning as many past ASE chairmen, dating back to 1988, were in attendance as special guests to celebrate the 50th anniversary of ASE. During the Board of Governors meeting, the attendees discussed pertinent topics and future plans, including the new ADAS and hybrid/electric vehicle safety ASE tests, the ASE Education Foundation’s AdoptA-School program, ASE Training Managers Council (ATMC) activities, as well as recently conducted research findings and communications activities conducted to build awareness, inform stakeholders and further the ASE mission. The meeting ended with a special reception and dinner commemorating the historic 50 years of ASE. Source: ASE

June U.S. new-vehicle sales are expected to show a market still constrained by a lack of supply and one that is virtually unchanged since January. According to the Cox Automotive June sales forecast released June 28, the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of new-vehicle sales this month is expected to hit 13.8 million, up from last month’s 12.7 million pace but well below last year’s 15.5 million level. The sales volume in June is expected to finish near 1.2 million units, down 7.5% from last year’s volume of 1.3 million sales. However, this is an increase of 7.5% from May’s volume of nearly 1.1 million units. There is one more selling day this June than last year and the same number as last month. Tight inventory continues to negatively impact new-vehicle sales. Since June 2021, monthly sales volume has been stuck in a tight window, with little deviation, averaging 1.1 million units a month and peaking only at 1.3 million in June 2021.

said Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist, Cox Automotive. “That sentiment remains, as there has been no significant shift in the conditions on the ground since last fall. Even though economic conditions have worsened in the past months, the lack of supply is still the greatest headwind facing the auto industry today.”

With no clear timeline for any notable recovery in new-vehicle inventory levels, Cox Automotive is lowering its full-year 2022 U.S. auto sales forecast to 14.4 million

June 2022 Sales Forecast Highlights Second-quarter 2022 sales are forecast to fall 19.3% compared to Q2 2021 First-half sales are forecast to be down 17.3% from the same period in 2021. General Motors is forecast to outsell Toyota in Q2, jumping back into the top-seller position. Tesla is the only major brand to increase sales year over year in the first half. Honda, Nissan and VW all see first-half sales drops in excess of 30% year over year.

Credit: Shutterstock

units, down from its current forecast of 15.3 million. The current forecast now is for new-vehicle sales volumes to fall below the 14.6 million sold in 2020 when the market was initially ravaged by the global COVID pandemic. “Last June, I wrote that the concern about the supply situation could not be overstated, as we were in untested territory for the market,”

Source: Cox Automotive

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Nissan Pathfinder Hood Latch Recall Follows Investigation by David A. Wood,

A Nissan Pathfinder hood latch recall follows a federal investigation into why the hoods suddenly fly open while driving. The 2013-2016 Nissan Pathfinder hood latch recall involves nearly 360,000 SUVs in the U.S. and Canada. The government opened an investigation into Pathfinder hood latches in December 2021 after receiving 14 reports which said the hoods opened when the latches failed. According to Nissan, the hood can open while driving if the primary hood latch is inadvertently released or the hood is not closed properly with the bell crank lever in the open position. Trying to drive a Pathfinder with the hood blocking the driver's view may be a challenge. “On certain Pathfinder vehicles, dust and dirt contamination may accumulate on and around the bell crank lever pivot joint,” Nissan said. “Over time, the build-up of contamination combined with a

lack of proper inspection and maintenance of the bell crank assembly (as described in the Owner’s Manual) can create mechanical binding that could cause the lever to remain in the open position after it has been disengaged.”

Nissan also said the contamination can scratch the bell crank protective anti-corrosion coating, which allows corrosion of the metal in the pivot joint. Even though the investigation continued for months and Nissan has ordered this recall, the automaker is still trying to figure out how dealerships will repair the

Non-Tesla Supercharger Pilot Launch Expected Late 2022: White House by Maria Merano, Teslarati

The Biden-Harris Administration released a fact sheet suggesting the non-Tesla Supercharger Pilot program will be available in the U.S. later this year.

The White House fact sheet briefly mentioned Tesla’s contributions to expanding EV charging stations in the U.S. It acknowledged Tesla’s investments in Giga New York, which produces Supercharger stalls and Solar Roofs. “Tesla is expanding production capacity of power electronics components that convert alternating current to direct current,

charging cabinets, posts and cables. Later this year, Tesla will begin production of new Supercharger equipment that will enable non-Tesla EV drivers in North America to use Tesla Superchargers,” the fact sheet said. The pilot program would open the Supercharger Network, with more than 35,000 Superchargers worldwide, to non-Tesla vehicles in the U.S. As of this writing, the non-Tesla Supercharger Pilot is available in most of Europe. The Supercharger rates for non-Tesla drivers vary by site but can decrease with the company’s charging membership. Prices for the Supercharger Pilot program are listed in the Tesla app. Tesla also charges idle fees to vehicles, ensuring Supercharger stalls are always immediately available once customers finish charging. Charging fees vary by country. In the U.S., Tesla charges 50 cents per minute when the Supercharger station is 50% full and $1 per minute if the station is 100% occupied.

Pathfinders. Nissan mailed interim recall letters to a selected sample of 40,000 Pathfinder owners beginning June 30. This hood latch recall letter will invite the owner to bring their Pathfinder to a dealer to have technicians inspect the bell crank and hood lock assembly and replace them if needed. But the replacement parts will be the same hood latches and components as originally installed in the Pathfinders. The collected components will be used by Nissan to create a recall remedy. Nissan will then mail interim Pathfinder hood latch recall letters to all other affected owners by Aug. 3. The recall letters will show owners how to properly inspect the bell crank assemblies and hood lock levers for proper operation. If the lever moves freely, the Pathfinder owner can clean the

lever based on the Nissan Pathfinder owner’s manual. The owner can also bring the Pathfinder to a dealer for the cleaning and maintenance. However, if the levers don't move freely, Nissan Pathfinder owners should take their vehicles to dealers to have the bell crank assemblies and hood lock levers inspected. The dealers will clean and lubricate the parts if the levers are working properly. The components will be replaced with new like-for-like hood latch components if the levers and locks aren't working. “When the final remedy plan is available, Nissan will mail final remedy notification letters and include a statement concerning reimbursement for the cost of obtaining a pre-notification remedy for a subject vehicle that was no longer under warranty at the time of a repair,” Nissan said. Owners of 2013-2016 Nissan Pathfinders can call 800-867-7669 and ask about hood latch recall numbers R22A2 and R22A3.

Teslas Get Updated Seat Belt Functions in New Update by William Johnson, Teslarati

As part of a recent over-the-air (OTA) software update, Tesla improved its vehicles’ safety and comfort by introducing improved seat belt and suspension enhancements. The seat belt enhancement is an update that uses the vehicle’s onboard cameras to detect when a crash is imminent to automatically tighten seat belts in the cabin. This feature already existed in a limited capacity, as Tesla’s seat belts would tighten as airbags were deployed. However, this update now allows vehicles to act more proactively to protect their occupants. Tesla already benefits from a low center of gravity, making it hard to tip over; myriad safety features; and, despite what some news outlets would argue, an increased level of safety due to a reduced number of combustible parts. These updates prove there is more that can be done to prevent automotive deaths, and Tesla is implementing changes to address these risks. While the seat belt enhancement applies to all vehicles, the suspension

enhancement only applies to the Model S and Model X with adjustable air suspension. These vehicles will now, also through the use of the onboard cameras, be able to detect rough roads and potholes. Similar to the vehicle’s ability to detect debris on the road, this system uses the suspension to raise the vehicle proactively to protect the body panels and occupants from being jarred when going over rough terrain. Also included in this update is the green light chime and the return of the range at destination feature. The green light chime alerts the driver when the traffic light they are waiting at has turned green, or when the vehicle in front has started to advance. The range at destination feature, while previously available on vehicles, returns to allow drivers to see how much battery they will have left when they reach their destination. These updates mark the first 2022.20 series of updates Tesla is releasing to vehicles and follow a long stream of 2022.16 updates that included everything from autopilot max speed increases to driver profiles to updated visualizations. / AUGUST 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 51

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