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40 YEARS

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Vol. 11 / Issue 3 / December 2021

MI Gov. Announces Savings for Drivers Under Auto Insurance Reform Law

OEConnection Acquires VeriFacts Automotive and Assured Performance Network

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Nov. 16 announced drivers should expect lower costs and more savings for their auto insurance policies over the previous year. Under the new auto insurance reform signed into law by the governor, drivers should see even greater savings on the PIP medical portion of their policies, on average between 25% and 62% depending on which coverage options they choose this year. Whitmer also reminded drivers who have let their auto insurance lapse that time is running short take

by Stacey Phillips

advantage of purchasing insurance penalty-free before the Jan. 1, 2022, deadline. “Michigan drivers called for relief from high auto insurance rates for decades, and I am pleased that this bipartisan legislation has resulted in savings, increased consumer protections and more consumer choices than ever before,” said Whitmer. “Drivers are able to choose the coverage level that best meets their families’ needs and budget, and even those who’d like to keep unlimited coverage, which provides the naSee Savings for Drivers, Page 20

Business is Booming as Small-Business Loans in Nebraska Shatter Records by Matt Olberding, Lincoln Journal Star

Craig Johnson got a small-business loan 21 years ago when he bought his business, Wayne’s Body Shop. But when it came time to expand one of his locations last year, he didn’t consider applying for another loan from the Small Business Administration. “I thought it was more for startup businesses,” Johnson said. His bank, Cornhusker Bank, however, thought such a loan would be perfect for him, so they referred him to the Nebraska Economic De-

velopment Corp., a Small Business Administration lender that specializes in what are known as 504 loans, which allow businesses to buy large equipment or build, buy or expand buildings. Johnson got a loan with a fixed interest rate for 20 years that allowed him to expand his College View location at 4731 Cooper Ave. He said getting the SBA loan was more complicated than getting a regular bank loan and required more paperwork, but getting the low fixed interest rate made it all worthwhile. See Business is Booming, Page 24

In November, OEConnection (OEC) confirmed it recently acquired VeriFacts Automotive and Assured Performance Network. Both companies are based in California and provide Certified Repair Network services to OEMs and collision repair shops with customer relationships in North America. “Over the last few years, we’ve

SEMA Coverage:

been working to expand OEC’s value proposition to collision industry

customers,” said OEC in a statement. “In late 2020, we entered the Certified Repair Network arena with See OEConnection Acquires, Page 16

2021 SEMA Largest Show Since Pandemic Began SEMA New Product Winners MSO Symposium on Insurance Claims, Consolidation

p.4 p. 32 p. 44

Ford, Purdue Patent Charging Station Cable That Could Lead to EV Recharges as Fast as Gas Station Fill-Ups Ford and Purdue University researchers have taken an important early step to make recharging EVs simple and time saving. Through a research alliance, researchers from both groups are working to develop a new, patent-pending charging station cable that could combine with in-development vehicle charging technology, making it even easier for people to transition to EVs with seamless re-charging. “Today, chargers are limited in how quickly they can charge

an EV’s battery due to the danger of overheating. Charging faster requires more current to travel through the charging cable,” said Michael Degner, senior technical leader, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. “The higher the current, the greater the amount of heat that has to be removed to keep the cable operational.” Purdue researchers are focusing on an alternative cooling method by designing a charging cable that can deliver an increased current. The cable uses liquid as an active cooling agent, which can help extract more heat from the cable by changing phase from liquid to vapor—the key difference between this and current liquid-cooled technology on the market. This innovation could one day deliver significantly more power than Ford researchers have successfully completed an today’s leading systems to early step with Purdue University inventing a new, re-charge electric vehicles, patent-pending method for charging stations that could one day deliver significantly more power compared to making the potential of today’s leading systems.

See Ford, Purdue Patent, Page 17

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REGIONAL

‘Who Pays for What?’ Survey: Continued Increase

19th Annual Race for Automotive Education

in Auto Body Shops Billing for Destructive

Raises More Than $13,000 �����������������������������8 AASP-MN Announces New Executive Director ���10 Business is Booming as Small-Business Loans in Nebraska Shatter Records ����������������1 CARA Founder Passes Away ������������������������������17 CARSTAR Chicagoland Business Group Helps Showcase Collision Repair Careers for Lincoln Tech Students �����������������������������������12 Catalytic Converter Thefts in Minneapolis and Saint Paul Approaching 2019 Nationwide Levels ������������������������������������������6 Gerber Collision Acquires Repair Center in Brighton, MI ����������������������������������������������12 Gerber Collision Acquires Repair Center in Sycamore, IL �����������������������������������������������8 INFICON Systems to Curb Battery Fires to Be Shown at Assembly Show ������������������������12 MI Gov. Announces Savings for Drivers Under Auto Insurance Reform Law ������������������1 MI Gov. Calls for Refund Checks to Every Michigander with Auto Insurance ��������������������6 Toyota Upgrading First U.S. Vehicle Plant in Kentucky ���������������������������������������������������10

Weld Testing �������������������������������������������������47 100-Plus Lawmakers Rally Support for EV Tax Credit Bill �������������������������������������������47 1Collision Continues Expansion �������������������������50 2021 SEMA Show Deemed ‘Largest North American Automotive Trade Show Since Pandemic’ ������������������������������������������������������4 ALLDATA Adds ADAS Quick Reference ���������������33 ASA Announces Regional Executive Director �����40

INDEX OF ADVERTISERS

CONTENTS

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 Online and Web Content 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. ©2021 Adamantine Media LLC. Autobody News P.O. Box 1516 Carlsbad, CA 92018 (800) 699-8251 (760) 603-3229 Fax www.autobodynews.com editor@autobodynews.com

Audi Wholesale Parts Dealers �������������������������� 47

Luther Bloomington Acura-Subaru ������������������ 31

Axalta Coating Systems ������������������������������������ 2

Luther Kia of Bloomington ������������������������������� 32

BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers ������������������������ 43

Malco ������������������������������������������������������������� 17

Byers Imports Volkswagen ������������������������������ 15

Markingpendepot.com �������������������������������������� 6

Byers Wholesale Parts Group �������������������������� 14

McGrath City Hyundai ������������������������������������� 32

Carworx ���������������������������������������������������������� 13

Mercedes-Benz of Louisville ��������������������������� 30

Certified Automotive Parts Association ������������ 24

Mercedes-Benz Wholesale Parts Dealers �������� 46

Classic BMW MINI ������������������������������������������� 33

Midwest Parts Group ���������������������������������18-19

Classic Chevrolet �������������������������������������������� 39

MINI Wholesale Parts Dealers �������������������������� 42

Classifieds ������������������������������������������������������ 50

MOPAR Wholesale Parts Dealers ����������������22-23

Columbia Hyundai ������������������������������������������� 36

Nissan/Infiniti Wholesale Parts Dealers ������������ 42

DeVilbiss Automotive Refinishing ���������������������� 8

Patrick Hyundai ���������������������������������������������� 38

Equalizer Industries, Inc. ��������������������������������� 10

PPG ���������������������������������������������������������������� 11

Ford Wholesale Parts Dealers �������������������������� 40

SATA Dan-Am Company ������������������������������������ 9

Gandrud Parts Center �������������������������������������� 21

Sears Imported Autos, Inc ������������������������������� 37

Ganley Westside Subaru ��������������������������������� 29

Shaheen Chevrolet Parts Warehouse ��������������� 28

GM Wholesale Parts Dealers ��������������������������� 45

Sorbothane Soft-Blow Mallet �������������������������� 20

Hawkinson Kia ������������������������������������������������ 34

Spanesi Americas ��������������������������������������������� 7

Honda-Acura Wholesale Parts Dealers �������26-27

Subaru Wholesale Parts Dealers ���������������������� 44

Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers �������������������� 51

Sweeney Chevrolet-Buick-GMC ���������������������� 33

JEN6 Equipment ��������������������������������������������� 12

The Sharpe Collection of Automobiles ������������� 35

Kelly BMW ������������������������������������������������������ 37

Valspar Refinish ������������������������������������������������ 5

Kia of Lansing ������������������������������������������������� 36

Varsity Ford ���������������������������������������������������� 32

Kia Wholesale Parts Dealers ���������������������������� 49

Volkswagen Wholesale Parts Dealers �������������� 46

Kwik Bench ���������������������������������������������������� 16

Wrenchers ������������������������������������������������������ 52

Autobody News attended Pro Spot’s Distributor Awards Event at Top Golf, Las Vegas on Wednesday, November 3rd ���������������������������46 Axalta Launches Training Course �����������������������20 Biden Administration Acts to Help Relieve Supply Chain Woes ���������������������������������������46 Black Book Used Vehicle Index Soars Another 10 Points Higher to Set New Record ��������������20 Cadillac Losing 30% of U.S. Dealerships by Going All-In on EVs �����������������������������������24 CIC Panel Discusses AI in Collision Repair Estimating ����������������������������������������������������51 Ford, Purdue Patent Charging Station Cable That Could Lead to EV Recharges as Fast as Gas Station Fill-Ups ������������������������������������1

COLUMNISTS Anderson - The Collision Repair Training Program We Need in Every Market ����������������28 Phillips - How to Grow Skilled Technicians & Improve Performance in Your Collision Repair Facility �����������������������������������������������30 Yoswick - Auto Body Shop, College Working in Tandem to Transform Collision Repair Program �������������������������������������������������������36 Yoswick - MSO Symposium Looks at What

Helping Others is Contagious, and You Don’t Need to Wear a Mask ���������������������������42 MSO Symposium Looks at Post-Pandemic Recovery of Collision Repair Industry ������������51 OEConnection Acquires VeriFacts Automotive and Assured Performance Network �����������������1 Price and Range Continue to Hold Back EV Market �����������������������������������������������������48 Repairify Names VP of Development �����������������29 Repairify™ Unites Company Brands,

Lies Ahead for Auto Insurance Claims,

Introduces asTech® Duo, Tru-Point

Consolidation ������������������������������������������������44

ADAS Calibration System ������������������������������38 Rivian Production Capacity Target: At Least

NATIONAL ‘Insurer Report Card’ Open for Collision Repairers to Grade Insurers ��������������������������50

1 Million a Year by 2030 ��������������������������������40 SEMA Announces Collision Repair & Refinish New Product Award Winners �������������������������32

Laurel Auto Group of Westmont ����������������������� 41 autobodynews.com / DECEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 3


2021 SEMA Show Deemed ‘Largest North American Automotive Trade Show Since Pandemic’ by Stacey Phillips

Automotive celebrities, vehicle debuts from major OEMs and the latest developments in equipment and tooling were all part of the live Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show this year in Las Vegas, NV. The four-day event took place Nov. 2-5 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Organizers said the show was “…the largest North American automotive trade show since the pandemic shut everything down in 2020.” It included approximately 1,000 vehicles and more than 100,000 attendees, exhibitors and media. “The industry was clearly excited to be back in-person at the SEMA Show, both to capture business opportunities and to network and celebrate the world’s greatest collection of innovation on wheels,” said Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO. “Our industry was waiting to reconnect, and the SEMA Show was a welcome homecoming after nearly two years apart.” SEMA, a trade-only industry event, was founded in 1963 and represents the $47.8 billion specialty automotive industry. Organizers said SEMA was 100% committed to delivering a great show in 2021 with COVID-19 protocols in place, including face masks required indoors. This year, exhibits were set up in four halls, including the newly constructed 1.4 million-square foot West Hall. The Collision Repair & Refinish exhibits, typically located in North Hall, were relocated to the South Upper Hall. This section showcased collision repair products, paint booths and equipment, tools, accessories and software and management programs. A new way to travel through the show this year was using the Vegas Loop at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The tunnel system, built by Elon Musk’s The Boring Project in Las Vegas, offered showgoers free transportation underground in a Tesla to the West, North, Central and South halls. It currently consists of two approximately 0.8-mile-long tunnels and is expected to eventually connect Las Vegas casinos along the

strip to McCarran International Airport, Allegiant Stadium, downtown Las Vegas and Los Angeles. During the week, SEMA attendees had the opportunity to view an estimated 1,000 modified project vehicles—customs, exotics, hot rods, lowriders, muscle cars and more— throughout the 4.6 million square feet of convention space and 2.2 million square feet of outdoor space.

These included the top trending cars of the year, which were announced on November 1. Here are the winners: • Car of the Year: Ford Mustang • Sport Compact of the Year: Toyota Supra • 4x4/SUV of the Year: Ford Bronco • Full-size Truck of the Year: Ford F-Series • Mid-Size Truck of the Year: Toyota Tacoma One of the new additions to the show this year was SEMA Member Central, where attendees could learn about the association and its membership. Several industry events also took place during the week, including the MSO Symposium on Nov. 1 at the Mandalay Hotel, and the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) on Nov. 2 at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. Prior to the official opening of the SEMA Show, at 9 a.m. Nov. 2, Jay Leno helped kick off the event as the featured guest of the New Products Breakfast, where the best new product award winners were announced. Awards are presented in 16 categories, including Collision Repair & Refinish, and were showcased in the New Products Showcase throughout the week. More than 70 free and 30 paid educational seminars took place Monday through Friday. The Society of Collision Repair (SCRS) held its Repairer Driven

4 DECEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

Education Series, which featured industry experts. The courses are designed to deliver relevant content covering industry trends and best business practices. Highlights included the OEM Collision Repair Technology Summit on Nov. 4 and the IDEAS Collide Showcase presentations on Nov. 5. Presentations were held this year by SCRS and I-CAR throughout the week at the SEMA Collision Repair and Refinish Stage in the South Upper Hall. Topics included an I-CAR Technical Update; information about accessing Ford repair information; safety inspections, following Honda/Acura OEM procedures to replace laser-brazed roofs; and a panel on admin time and research. All of the sessions were recorded and available online at www.i-car.com/RTS. Celebrity appearances also took place. Ant Anstead, host of “Celebrity IOU: Joyride,” showcased some of his favorite vehicle builds. These consist of a custom 1962 Buick converted into an electric car in collaboration with American actor James Marsden and a Radford Lotus Type 62/2 Gold Leaf car built in collaboration with Jenson Button, 2009 Formula One world champion and Super GT Series champion. Other vehicles were on display, such as the new 2023 Nissan Z and a 1953 Corvette-inspired carbon fiber concept car by Dave Kindig from the MotorTrend show “Bitchin Rides.” Car enthusiasts had the opportunity to see a collection of more than 20 vehicles built by Chip Foose in a special section of the SEMA Show in the North Hall. Some of the vehicles in the Chip Foose Experience Exhibit included a ’56 Ford F-100 “FD-100” built for Foose’s “Overhaulin’” television series and the “0032,” which won the Grand National Roadster Show’s “America’s Most Beautiful Roadster” award in 2000. There were also several Ridler Award-winning builds, such as “Impression,” “Imposter,” “Grand-

master” and “Stallion,” as well as Foose automotive design sketches on display. Another new feature in the North Hall this year was the SEMA Electrified section. The exhibit was intended to demonstrate the latest innovations and solutions for electric vehicle (EV) platforms. There were about a dozen EV projects and products on display. Some of the cars included a Solo by ElectraMeccanica; an electrified Trophy Truck built by new company Hypercraft to race in the SCORE Baja 1000 unlimited class, a 1966 Ford Bronco Roadster and Team Vesco 444 reVolt Systems’ “Little Giant” streamliner, which broke the national Electric E3 record twice at the Bonneville Salt Flats this past October. The SEMA Show Industry Awards Banquet, attended by approximately 2,500 automotive icons, professionals, supporters and celebrities, was an annual celebration of the specialty-equipment industry. During the event, awards were given out in the following categories: • 2021 SEMA Person of the Year: Sara Morosan, LGE-CTS Motorsports • 2021 SEMA Manufacturer of the Year: ORACLE Lighting Inc.; runners up: KW Automotive and CSF Racing & High-Performance • 2021 SEMA WD of the Year: Turn 14 Distribution; runners up: Meyer Distributing and Keystone Automotive • 2021 SEMA Gen-III Innovator of the Year: Matt Kossoff, Driven Lighting Group; runners up: Justin Hartenstein and Keith Ferry In addition, tributes were made to the 2021 Hall of Inductees: Jessi Combs, Rick Love, Bob Moore and Carl Schiefer. When the SEMA Show closed at 4 p.m. Nov. 5, vehicles from the event paraded toward the West Hall parking lot and the SEMA Ignited after-party as part of the SEMA Cruise. For more information about the 2022 SEMA Show, visit https:// www.semashow.com/.


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Catalytic Converter Thefts in Minneapolis and Saint Paul Approaching 2019 Nationwide Levels by Mary Stroka, The Center Square

Catalytic converter thefts have skyrocketed in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the Insurance Federation of Minnesota reported in a news release Nov. 12. Minneapolis and Saint Paul could see nearly 4,000 of these thefts this year, the organization said in its release. Hitting that count would be nearly 100 times the 40 thefts reported statewide in 2018. That number would also exceed the roughly 3,400 thefts the U.S. experienced in 2019, the organization reported. Insurance Federation of Minnesota Vice President of Public Affairs Mark Kulda told The Center Square in an emailed statement the estimated economic impact of these thefts is $25 million in insured losses, without including losses for people who don’t have that insurance or paid out of pocket to avoid a claim. The federation said in the release the uptick in thefts increases pressure on auto insurance premiums. Catalytic converters are not marked with vehicle identification numbers (VIN), Kulda said. Locally, scrap dealers must obtain photo iden-

tification of people who sell the parts and the parts themselves, but thefts have continued, he said. Requiring that on the federal level would be ideal, he said. Saint Paul Police Department Public Information Officer Steve Linders told The Center Square in an emailed statement the department has seen an increase in reported catalytic converter thefts. • January 2020 to Oct. 10, 2020: 834 • 2020 overall: 1,166 (reports for all of 2020) • January 2021 to Oct. 10, 2021: 1,495 Linders said officers actively patrol areas where they tend to see the thefts. The department has held several community events at which officers spray paint and etch catalytic converters for people at no cost. Kulda said spray painting may be a good solution—unless the paint used is not very durable. “[Catalytic converters] are notorious for being in a spot under the car that is subject to a great deal of road grime, corrosion and high heat which may potentially render markings useless,” he said. “We just don’t have a long enough real world exposure yet to see if this kind of marking works yet.”

MI Gov. Calls for Refund Checks to Every Michigander with Auto Insurance Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Nov. 1 continued her fight to lower costs for Michigan families, calling on the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) to deliver refund checks to every Michigander with auto insurance. This refund is possible in part because of the historic, bipartisan auto insurance reform signed into law by the governor in 2019, and would return money to every Michigander with auto insurance. “The over $5 billion surplus accumulated by the MCCA belongs to Michiganders and should be put in people’s pockets immediately with a refund check,” said Whitmer. “As we stay laser-focused on growing our economy and ushering in a new era of prosperity we need to use every resource we have to help people thrive. A refund check to working families will help us continue to put Michiganders first and drive down costs.” In May 2019, Whitmer signed Senate Bill 1 into law, instituting historic, bipartisan reforms to fix Michigan’s broken auto insurance system.

The bill saves drivers money by: Guaranteeing lower rates for drivers for eight years Giving people choice to pick their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) options with coinciding PIP rate reductions, offering unlimited coverage (at least 10% PIP reduction), $500K coverage (at least 20% PIP reduction), $250K coverage (at least 35% PIP reduction), $50K coverage for Medicaid eligible recipients (at least 45% PIP reduction), or a complete opt out for seniors or anyone with sufficient private insurance (100% PIP reduction) Increasing consumer protections by banning companies from using the following non-driving factors to set rates: ZIP code, credit score, gender, marital status, occupation, educational attainment and homeownership Setting fee schedules for hospitals and providers to prevent overcharging for auto-related injuries Source: The Office of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

6 DECEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

On Nov. 5, the Minneapolis City Council passed an ordinance that made it illegal for anyone except automobile repair garages or used auto parts dealers to sell used catalytic converters not attached to vehicles. The garages and dealers must be licensed to install, replace, maintain or remove catalytic converters. The ordinance also made it illegal to possess catalytic converters that do not belong to vehicles they own or they cannot verify they legally received. Kulda said the ordinance could improve the situation, especially if prosecutors enforce it well. “Under the law, the maximum punishment can include 90 days in jail and a hefty fine,” he said. “It would be helpful if this was duplicated in St. Paul or if the state imposed a similar more targeted punishment under a state law.” A survey of Insurance Federation of Minnesota members, 25 of whom sell auto insurance, indicated nearly half of all thefts are from the Toyota Prius, the Mitsubishi Outlander and the Mitsubishi Endeavor, Kulda said. Saint Paul Police Department

provided the following tips for deterring these thefts: • If possible, park in a garage. • If parking in a garage isn’t an option, try to park in a well-lit area. • Keep an eye out for suspicious be havior---watch out for yourself and your neighbors. • Consider having a lock-like device attached to your catalytic converter, which can make it more difficult for thieves to steal. • Consider spray painting or etching your catalytic converter, which may make it less desirable to thieves. The NICB issued the following additional recommendations: • Consider using motion sensor activated lights or cameras if your car cannot be garaged. • Park fleet vehicles in a well-lit, locked and alarmed enclosed space. • Install a catalytic converter anti-theft device. • Etch your VIN or license plate number onto the converter or use a high temperature brightly colored paint to mark it. • Call police and your insurer immediately if you become the victim of a theft.

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Gerber Collision Acquires Repair Center in Sycamore, IL The Boyd Group Inc. announced the acquisition of a collision repair center in Sycamore, IL. This repair center has operated as Hayes Body Shop for 36 years and is located just off Route 23, the main roadway between Sycamore and DeKalb, home of Northern Illinois University. “The acquisition of this location and well-established team strengthens our brand connecting the Chicago suburbs and Rockford regions,” said Kevin Burnett, COO of Gerber Collision & Glass. “Adding this repair center boosts our ability to provide outstanding service and high-quality repairs and further assists our customers and insurance partners in this area.” The Boyd Group is continuously looking to add new collision repair locations to its existing network in Canada and the U.S. Interested collision repair center owners are asked to contact Jason Hope, vice president of business development and strategic projects, at (530) 774-3887 or jason. hope@boydgroup.com. Source: The Boyd Group Inc.

19th Annual Race for Automotive Education Raises More Than $13,000 The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Minnesota (AASP-MN) held its 19th Annual Race for Automotive Education, Sept. 28-30 at ProKart Indoor Racing in Burnsville, MN.

The event raised more than $13,400 to support the alliance’s Automotive Education Fund and will fund scholarships for automotive students enrolled in ASE-accredited auto service and collision repair programs in Minnesota’s technical colleges. Over the three nights, 150 racers took to the track in gokarts reaching speeds of up to 40 mph.

Twenty teams of auto service and collision repair shops and industry suppliers were joined by 10 teams of automotive students from Dakota County Technical College, Dunwoody College of Technology, Hennepin Technical College (north and south campuses), St. Cloud Community & Technical College and South Central College. The student teams were sponsored by 1Collision Network. Many spectator fans were also on hand to cheer on their team. Trophies were awarded to the first place and runner-up teams each night. They were: Sept. 28 First place—Wenzel Auto Electric, Mankato Runner-up—Further Performance, Minneapolis Sept. 29 (Student Night) First place—Hennepin Technical College, Eden Prairie

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Runner-up—Hennepin Technical College, Brooklyn Park Sept. 30 First Place—LaMettry’s Collision, Minnetonka Runner-up—Heppner’s Auto Body, Team 1, Twin Cities In addition to the 30 race teams, the event was supported by the following sponsors: 1Collision Network, Auto Value Parts Stores/APH, Axalta Coating Systems, FinishMaster, LKQ–Minnesota, Lube Tech & Partners, Podium and PPG Automotive Finishes. The Automotive Education Fund was established in 2002 to provide financial resources to support automotive students, enhance automotive programs and raise awareness of career opportunities in the automotive service industry. Since its inception, nearly $290,000 has been invested in student scholarships, SkillsUSA and automotive education programs throughout the state. Source: AASP-MN


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Toyota Upgrading First U.S. Vehicle Plant in Kentucky Oct. 29, Toyota announced a series of changes and projects that will boost its Toyota Kentucky (TMMK) plant’s transformation to meet shifting customer demand, reduce its carbon footprint and advance future capabilities. A new investment of $461 million will support TMMK’s transformation plans, including three primary purposes: Facility enhancements and operational upgrades: Advanced manufacturing equipment and technologies, coupled with facility layout improvements, will increase the plant’s operational speed, flexibility and competitiveness. These improvements will expand TMMK’s ability to produce new products, including future electrification. Expansion of powertrain capabilities: TMMK’s powertrain operation will increase its product mix with a 2.4-liter turbo engine line. The new line will support an expanded range of vehicles produced in North America, further increasing the plant’s flexibility to quickly meet an evolving market. Direct hire program: The plant

is changing its employment structure to a direct hire process. Approximately 1,400 variable team members, currently employed through Kelly Services, will be offered a direct Toyota position, along with all new hires. TMMK is among other Toyota plants across the U.S. to implement the change to help improve recruiting efforts, retain top talent and provide a more inclusive work environment. “As Toyota’s most experienced assembly plant in the U.S. with a workforce of about 9,000, TMMK must transform physically and strategically to meet the changing needs of customers,” said Susan Elkington, president of TMMK. “I am confident in our highly skilled team members who drive us forward every day as we prepare for the future of advanced manufacturing, whatever the products might be.” TMMK will continue to build the best-selling Camry, Camry Hybrid and RAV4 Hybrid. To help create space for future products and to better align with U.S. market demand, production of the Lexus ES and Lexus ES Hybrid will shift from

AASP-MN Announces New Executive Director The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Minnesota (AASP-MN) is pleased to announce Linden Wicklund has been selected as the association’s executive director following the retirement of longtime leader Judell Anderson, CAE, at the end of the year. Wicklund will transition into the role working alongside Anderson starting Nov. 29. The association undertook a thorough and extensive search process led by a six-member search committee of current and former board members. After retaining a search firm, conducting initial interviews, assessments and final-round interviews, the committee identified Wicklund as a standout among the candidates. “I am very excited for the alliance to start its next chapter under the leadership of Linden,” said AASP-MN President Tom Archambault, BLVD Autoworks, St. Anthony, MN. “Her past leadership experience and enthusiasm for this new role will offer members a fresh and unique perspective as we con-

tinue to face the challenges of an ever-changing industry head on.” Wicklund comes to AASPMN after a dynamic and fulfilling decade working in various positions at an international trade association based in Roseville, MN. Wicklund said her approach as a leader is hands-on, collaborative and ever focused on overarching goals. “I am delighted at the opportunity to lead the members of AASP-MN as they collectively learn, advocate and build the future of the industry together,” Wicklund said. An open house is scheduled for Dec. 16 to celebrate Anderson’s many important contributions to the association and the industry during her nearly 26 years of service. “We are forever grateful for her leadership of the alliance and wish her all the best in retirement,” said Archambault. Contact the AASP-MN office at 612-623-1110 or aasp@aaspmn. org with any questions. Source: AASP-MN

10 DECEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

the facility and consolidate production back to Japan prior to the next major model change. “Expanding TMMK’s powertrain capabilities and product mix supports our growing North America manufacturing footprint and commitment to build where we sell,” said David Rosier, head of TMMK Powertrain. “The 2.4T engine line will give us more flexibility to offer a full portfolio of products, meeting current and future customer demand.” In 2006, Toyota debuted its first U.S. manufactured hybrid electric vehicle at the Kentucky operation. The most recent electrification milestone announced TMMK’s powertrain plant as the site for assembling fuel cell modules for use in hydrogen-powered, heavy duty commercial trucks starting in 2023. “Kentucky’s automotive industry is growing at a record pace, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky is at the center of that growth,” said Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. “Toyota changed the landscape of manufacturing in our state when the Georgetown facility first opened

more than 30 years ago, and now the company is preparing for growth. I am thrilled that future will include Kentucky in a significant way.” TMMK’s transformation began in 2017 with a $1.3 billion investment in its operations—equipping the facility with the Toyota New Global Architecture manufacturing platform and a new paint operation. Once this project is complete by 2025, TMMK’s total investment will be over $8.5 billion. The Georgetown site is also home to Toyota’s Production Engineering Manufacturing Center (PEMC) and the Manufacturing Production Innovation Center (MPIC), which spearheads mobility transformation initiatives, technologies and advanced processing initiatives for the company’s 14 North American manufacturing facilities. Source: Toyota

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Gerber Collision Acquires Repair Center in Brighton, MI The Boyd Group Inc. announced the acquisition of a collision repair center in Brighton, MI. This repair center has operated as Campbell Collision since 1969. Brighton is approximately 45 miles northwest of Detroit and 50 miles southeast of Lansing. “We welcome this team and are excited to strengthen our brand in this region,” said Kevin Burnett, COO of Gerber Collision & Glass. “This acquisition enhances our ability to provide outstanding service and high-quality repairs and further assist our customers and insurance partners in this area.” The Boyd Group is continuously looking to add new collision repair locations to its existing network in Canada and the U.S. Interested collision repair center owners are asked to contact Jason Hope, vice president of business development and strategic projects, at (530) 774-3887 or jason. hope@boydgroup.com. Source: The Boyd Group, Inc.

INFICON Systems to Curb Battery Fires to Be Shown at Assembly Show Breakthrough technology to help eliminate dangerous electric-vehicle battery-cell leaks will be on display Oct. 26-28 at the Assembly Show at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in suburban Chicago. Faulty battery cells can cause fires, shorten battery life, increase warranty costs and damage product reputations. INFICON’s new ELT3000 leak-detection systems allow original-equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and their suppliers to reliably test critically important battery cells for the first time. Based on mass-spectrometer technology, INFICON’s recently introduced leak detectors can identify dangerous battery-cell leaks 1,000 times smaller than currently possible. An estimated 5% of the billions of lithium-ion battery cells currently produced annually may have undetected leaks. “ELT3000 is the single most important leak-detection development in the past decade,” said Dr. Daniel Wetzig, INFICON’s leak-detection research and development director based in Cologne,

CARSTAR Chicagoland Business Group Helps Showcase Collision Repair Careers for Lincoln Tech Students The CARSTAR Chicagoland Business Group is continuing its support for the future of the collision repair industry with its ongoing sponsorship of Lincoln Technical Vocational College over the past decade.

Recently, CARSTAR hosted a booth at the Lincoln Technical Vocational College Career Fair to showcase careers in collision repair. Some 150 students and 30 vendor sponsors attended the Fall Career Fair event at the Lincoln Tech campus. The CARSTAR Chicagoland Business Group hosted a booth where students played

“Guess the Estimate” to win prizes and talked with CARSTAR collision repair professionals about opportunities in the field. Each student received a CARSTAR gift bag with ever-popular cell phone pop-sockets, juice and other snacks. “The entire faculty sends their heartfelt appreciation to Chicagoland CARSTAR for their continued support,” said Nancy Journet, director of career services. The CARSTAR Chicagoland Business Group sponsors a classroom at Lincoln Tech, and many of the students who attended the career fair shared their thanks for the classroom support with the CARSTAR team. CARSTAR also provides scholarships for the school, and will be offering $2,000 worth of student scholarships again in 2022. Today, Lincoln Tech graduates are employed at several CARSTAR Chicagoland locations, demonstrating the career-path potential for these young students. Source: CARSTAR

12 DECEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

Germany. Wetzig pointed out ELT3000 technology can pave the way for the auto industry’s first reliable quality-control standards for electric-vehicle battery cells and also can be used to test battery cells for use in smart phones, computers and other consumer-electronics products. INFICON executives will be at the Assembly Show to speak on battery-cell leak detection and robotic leak testing. ELT3000 technology also will be on display at the company’s booth (#1114). Thomas Parker, INFICON’s North American automotive sales manager, will discuss the importance of EV leak detection at a workshop at 10 a.m. Oct. 26 hosted by Assembly magazine Senior Editor Austin Weber on “Electric Vehicle Assembly: Challenges and Opportunities.” Dan Hoffman, INFICON’s national leak-detection sales and service manager, will speak on the growing importance of robotic leak testing in the Assembly Show’s Learning Center at 3:15 p.m. Oct. 27.

“Leak tests have been one of the most critical quality-control checks performed by automakers and their suppliers for years,” Parker noted. “Today, it’s critically important to test EV battery cells because the highly flammable electrolytes they contain can spark dangerous fires.” Sponsored by Assembly magazine, The Assembly Show takes place Oct. 26-28 in Rosemont, IL. Hundreds of exhibitors are on hand to showcase the latest assembly equipment and technology. There also are dozens of webinars, workshops, presentations, guided tours and networking events. The show’s keynote speaker, Sudhanshu Gaur, will discuss “Smart Manufacturing: Today and Tomorrow” at 9 a.m. Oct. 27. Gaur is vice president of Hitachi America and chief architect of smart manufacturing for Hitachi Astemo. Source: INFICON

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Continued from Cover

OEConnection Acquires the acquisition of Summit Consulting, Inc. (SCI) to create a flexible and dynamic solution for the CRN space. “With VeriFacts and Assured Performance joining the OEC family, we will continue to enhance the value we bring to our collective customer base with the primary goal of

lision repair providers. OEC first launched in 2000 with the mission of helping OEMs sell more genuine parts. “As the industry evolves and increases in complexity, the best way we can continue to serve our customers is by connecting the aftersales industry through solutions that help deliver efficient repair lifecycles, OEM parts and procedures, and proper vehicle repairs,” said an OEC representative.

“NuGen IT brings high-quality collision market solutions and repair expertise that will help expand our value to the collision industry,” — Ike Herman driving safe and proper vehicle repairs.” VeriFacts, established in 2002, is an independent, third-party verification service that offers oversight, analysis, coaching, education and technology for collision repair facilities. Assured Performance Network, formed in 2003, provides independent third-party certification for col-

Based in Northeast Ohio, OEC is a leading technology provider for OEM distribution networks. The company equips many of the world’s largest automotive and heavy-duty original equipment manufacturers, their franchised dealers and distributors, and customers with online parts marketing, procurement and inventory management solutions that facilitate efficient and accurate

wholesale services. As a provider of SaaS-based solutions for OE parts, OEC focuses on data management, ecommerce, pricing, supply chain, cataloging, service and business intelligence (BI) solutions, across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. In November 2020, the company acquired SCI, a BI consulting and solutions provider for the automotive industry headquartered in Dallas, TX. Following the acquisition, SCI President Bob McDonald said, “This is a very exciting time for the SCI team. OEC has a tremendous track record of delivering value to its customers. OEC’s proven, high-quality solutions, combined with SCI’s domain expertise and BI platform, position us to deliver even more value to our customers.” Earlier that year, in July 2020, OEC acquired NuGen IT, an award-winning software firm based in Kansas City that develops management tools for the automotive repair industry. In a press release issued at that time, the company said NuGen IT

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Ford, Purdue Patent faster re-charging times possible if vehicle charging and other technology enhancements are made in parallel. Ultimately, this could eventually lead to re-charging EVs as quickly as conventional gas station fill-ups. The idea for this technology originated based on the Ford team’s understanding of the challenges faced going to faster charging rates, as well as Purdue researchers’ area of expertise. The teams collaborate regularly to review the latest results and give feedback on areas of focus as the technology is developed. “Electric vehicle charging time can vary widely, from 20 minutes at a station to hours on an at-home charging station, and that can be a source of anxiety for people who are considering buying an electric vehicle,” said Issam Mudawar, Betty Ruth and Milton B. Hollander Family professor of mechanical engineering, Purdue University. “My lab has come up with a solution for

situations where the amounts of heat that are produced are beyond the capabilities of today’s technologies.” Mudawar says his lab intends to begin testing a prototype charging cable in the next two years to determine more specific charge speeds for certain models of electric vehicles. “Ford is committed to making the transition to electrification easy,” said Degner. “We are glad to work closely with Purdue’s research team, which has the potential to make electric vehicle and commercial fleet ownership even more appealing and accessible.” The alliance with Ford and Purdue is part of hundreds of strategic alliances the company has with university professors around the world. Providing graduate students with opportunities to work on real world-challenges helps them develop their skills while introducing Ford to students who may choose to start their career at the company. “The research that we are conducting in a project such as this is really advanced, and we view it as a benefit for us, the future of

charging electric vehicles and as a pipeline to young talent—and we’ve seen success in doing this,” said Ted Miller, Ford’s manager of electrification subsystems and power supply research. “Students get engaged, they like the work they’re doing, and it’s a sustained investment in their laboratories, while helping us solve problems.” While the fast-charging cable won’t be on the market for some time as research continues, Mudawar has been developing ways to more efficiently cool electronics for the past 37 years by taking advantage of how liquid captures heat when boiled into a vapor. “Ford has been actively involved in battery research and electric vehicles dating back to the days of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison,” Miller said. “We’ve secured more than 2,500 U.S. patents in electrification technologies and we have more than 4,000 more pending. Working with Professor Mudawar and his students is the perfect fit to help us research the charging solutions of the future.” Source: Ford Motor Company

CARA Founder Passes Away Richard P. Finney, owner of Finney Automotive in Cadiz, OH, and founder and president of the Choice Autobody Repair Association (CARA), died Oct. 14. Finney, 62, of Cadiz, was also a previous member of the Ohio Board of Motor Vehicle Repair. Finney passed away at Wheeling Hospital. He was born Feb. 7, 1959, in Wheeling, a son of Richard E. and Carole (Lewis) Finney. He is survived by his children, Ajay Finney of Bridgeport and Kenzie Finney of Shadyside; his siblings, Daryl Finney of Medina, Sheryl (Marty) Biafora of Morgantown and Cathy Clark of St. Clairsville; and four grandchildren, Avri Finney and Liam, Lennox and Stella Thibodeaux. To leave the family condolences, visit www.wilsonfuneralhomes. com

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Axalta Launches Training Course Axalta Refinish North America introduced a new training option, the Prepper to Painter Application Course. This course, offered through online and in-person blended learning, teaches refinish fundamentals to individuals who have some auto body shop experience. Upon course completion, an existing shop prepper will be able to transition into a painting role to help busy collision centers get more cars through the booth each day. Courses are enrolling now and include three 1.5-hour webinars (prework) and five days in an Axalta Learning and Development Center, where most of the time will be spent in the shop practicing hands-on application and blending processes and techniques. In the classroom, students will also learn color retrieval and color theory basics. Cost is $1,000. Customers can visit www.axaltalearningcampus.com to enroll. Source: Axalta

Continued from Cover

Savings for Drivers tion’s most generous benefits, are still saving money.” The lower premiums will save drivers more money on top of the expected refund that will be distributed after the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) voted unanimously to grant the governor’s request to deliver refund checks to every Michiganders with auto insurance. “One of the most important consumer protections is the uninsured driver amnesty period, which helps drivers who have let their insurance lapse purchase insurance without paying a penalty or increased premium—but they must apply before Jan. 1, 2022,” said Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) Director Anita Fox. “Starting on Jan. 1, drivers can once again be charged a penalty or increased premium after a lapse in coverage, so we strongly encourage all uninsured drivers to contact an agent or insurer today to apply.”

Black Book Used Vehicle Index Soars Another 10 Points Higher to Set New Record by Auto Remarketing Staff

It probably should not be a surprise the Black Book Used Vehicle Retention Index for October hit a new record, since analysts said in early November wholesale prices have risen nine weeks in a row. Black Book shared its newest index reading Nov. 3, saying it jumped by 10.8 points, or 6.4%, to 180.2 in October. That’s up from the September mark of 169.5, which was the previous record. Black Book added the index currently stands 38.8% above where it was this same time last year. “With no short-term resolutions to new inventory problems, dealers are continuing to spend money on used inventory, pushing wholesale prices up to new records across all segments in October,” Black Book Chief Data Science Officer Alex Yurchenko said in a news release.

“As in September, cars of all sizes and compact crossovers led the rally,” continued Yurchenko, among the experts set to appear during Used Car Week, which begins Nov. 15 in Las Vegas. “Average price of a used vehicle is 39% above 2020 levels and 56% above the preCOVID 2019 level. “Although we don’t expect this level of prices to be sustainable for the long-term, we expect the used-car market to remain strong for several years due to limited new inventory and reduced availability of used supply,” he said. The Black Book Used Vehicle Retention Index is calculated using the company’s published wholesale average value on 2- to 6-year-old used vehicles, as percent of original typically equipped MSRP. It is weighted based on registration volume and adjusted for seasonality, vehicle age, mileage and condition.

Michigan’s new auto insurance law has been in effect for more than a year, and the state continues to promote consumer protections, assist families with access to care concerns and review rates filed by auto insurers. Aggregated data from rate filings approved under the new law show that the average statewide Personal Injury Protection (PIP) medical reductions exceeded the statutory requirements in 2020, and that those savings have further increased in 2021, even when rates are adjusted for the increased mandatory Bodily Injury (BI) coverage level. In addition to the reductions listed above, Michigan has seen: • An estimated $1 billion in auto insurance savings back in the pockets of Michiganders • A 27% reduction in rates across the market, according to Insure.com, which means Michigan is no longer the most expensive state for auto insurance • Increased market competition, with 36 new companies or affiliates

entering the auto insurance market in Michigan to date • A 61% decrease in the annual Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association assessment, with assessment surplus refunds being prepared • More than 66,000 previously uninsured Michiganders have purchased auto insurance coverage without fee or penalty under the law’s amnesty period Consumers with questions or concerns about auto insurance can contact DIFS 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 833-ASK-DIFS (833-275-3437), visit Michigan. gov/AutoInsurance or by file a complaint online at Michigan.gov/DIFScomplaints. Source: The Office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer

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Business is Booming “That’s pretty big, so it’s worth the extra work to do it,” said Johnson, who now has a bigger, more modernized space to work on newer vehicles. Johnson’s loan was among dozens the Nebraska Economic Development Corp. made over the 2021 fiscal year, making it by far the most-active small-business lender in the state. The Lincoln-based organization made 77 loans totaling more than $50 million, more than twice as many as the next biggest lender. Scott Sailors, president of NEDCO, said loan volume was very strong in the past year, which is impressive considering the company did virtually no loans for hotels or restaurants, industries that have made up a large portion of its business in the past. “If we had hotels and restaurants in these deals, we could be up another 50%,” Sailors said. The pandemic led to some new trends, he said, with more loans being written for businesses such as

auto repair shops, used-car dealerships and car washes. The strength of loans processed by NEDCO and other lending organizations helped the Small Business Administration shatter the all-time record for the amount of loans guaranteed in Nebraska, with nearly $244 million in its 2021 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30. That was $90 million more than 2020 and nearly $80 million more than the record of $167.5 million set in 2011. Lincoln lending organizations played a big role in that success. In addition to NEDCO, the two other most-successful lenders in 2021 also were from Lincoln. Union Bank & Trust had the third-most SBA loans and the third-highest dollar amount. The 30 loans worth more than $13.6 million were both annual small-business lending records for the bank. “We originated more than double the amount of SBA loans that we do in a typical year,” said T.J. Casady, the bank’s vice president for commercial loans. Casady said he believes the bank’s success writing Paycheck

Protection Program loans—at one point last year it ranked second among all banks in the U.S. for the number of those loans—helped generate good publicity and boosted business for regular SBA loans. “We were in a great position after assisting so many clients with the unprecedented SBA PPP loan volume, and that brought good notoriety to UBT, which certainly helped carry over additional SBA business,” he said. Casady said changes the SBA made to the loan process also helped boost the numbers. The agency increased the government guarantee from 75% of loan amounts to 90%, and it also waived fees traditionally charged to both lenders and borrowers. Sailors said he believes low-interest rates that are fixed for up to 25 years are another reason businesses are now choosing to invest. As is a desire to own their own real estate. He said commercial real estate values have exploded over the past several years, with valuations climbing even faster than those for residential real estate, and he noted that

Nebraska is a good place for business owners to own their own land and buildings. The small-business loans, whether they are for starting a business or buying or expanding a building, help to boost the economy and create jobs. The SBA said its 2021 lending in Nebraska either created or saved nearly 5,900 jobs. The $244 million only represents traditional SBA-backed loans. The SBA also guaranteed more than $1.9 billion in Paycheck Protection Program loans in Nebraska in fiscal 2021 and more than $1.2 billion in Economic Injury Disaster Loans. Small-business lending is expected to stay strong into 2022. Casady said the SBA is again waiving fees for smaller loans, those for $350,000 or less, “which will continue to make SBA loans an attractive option for small-business owners,” he said. If NEDCO’s numbers are any indication, next year could be another big year. Sailors said the organization currently has more than 100 deals in its pipeline.

Cadillac Losing 30% of U.S. Dealerships by Going All-In on EVs by Dan Mihalascu, Inside EVs

More than one-third of Cadillac’s US dealerships are disappearing this year as the luxury brand is starting the transition to an all-electric vehicle portfolio. The carmaker will have 560 dealerships across the U.S. when 2022 begins, down from 875 at the beginning of this year. However, the remaining stores account for more than 90% of Cadillac’s sales, a top executive told Automotive News. That’s because the majority of dealers who took a buyout owned low-volume stores, said Vice President of Global Cadillac Rory Harvey. The exec added the decline was driven by buyout agreements the company started offering to dealers a year ago, with offers to walk away from the franchise for dealerships not interested in Cadillac’s all-electric future ranging from $200,000 to seven digits. Cadillac’s buyout strategy was designed to ensure the dealership network was committed to selling and servicing EVs, as the brand plans to offer a full-electric portfolio in North America by 2030.

“We never actually had a number that we were looking for [percentage of dealers leaving the franchise],” said Harvey. “We believe that this will give us the foundation to be able to accelerate going forward, and we believe that it does give us the ability to be very effectively represented.” Even after shrinking to 560 U.S. stores, Cadillac would still have a retail network 60% larger than BMW and more than double that of Lexus, according to the Automotive News Dealer Census. Dealers are preparing to upgrade their outlets for EV sales and service by the end of the first quarter 2022. That’s when Cadillac’s first full EV, the Lyriq, is expected to arrive in select showrooms. Harvey said most Cadillac dealerships will start getting the Lyriq in June, after the midsize crossovers are initially delivered to early reservation holders. In September, Cadillac announced all 2023 Lyriq Debut Edition reservations were filled in mere minutes, although the carmaker did not say how many vehicles were part of the limited series.

24 DECEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

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autobodynews.com / DECEMBER 2021 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.

The Collision Repair Training Program We Need in Every Market I know that easily one of the top challenges at many collision repair businesses around the country is finding skilled technicians, either entry-level or those with more experience. That’s why I was so encouraged and impressed by what I’ve seen at Ranken Technical College in St. Louis, MO. At this stage in my career, it can be hard to impress me, but I’ve been blown away by what I’ve seen at Ranken the half-dozen times I’ve visited there. So much so, I’ve chosen to bring all the auto body shops in a number of my 20 Groups to the school to check it out. Here’s what I think sets Ranken apart from many other collision repair training programs: First, the facility is phenomenal. It’s probably equally or even better equipped than most shops in

the auto body shops that will employ them. But here’s what I love most about the Ranken program. Every student in the Collision Engineering program is on an eight-week rotation. They attend classes and hands-on training at the school for an eightweek period, learning the basics like shop safety, vehicle disassembly and dent repair—an awesome part of the program is that researching OEM repair procedures is one of the first skills students learn. During eight-week rotations at Ranken Technical College, Then they spend the next students learn the entry-level skills they need for their next eight weeks actually workeight-week rotation working in an auto body shop ing in a shop, performing skills they will need by working on the skills they have learned—along that type of vehicle. But at Ranken, with being exposed to more of the students are working on exactly the type of work they will be doing as late-model vehicles they will find in technicians. If they’re not performthe U.S. Second, when I’ve visited other collision repair training programs, I often see students working on older cars or even restoration projects. Sure, students can learn some

ing a skill within the shop to the level they should be, the shop can contact the school’s instructors and have them work with that student further. This eight-week rotation between the school and the shop continues throughout the student’s time in the two-year Ranken program. Rather than going to school for a full year, being introduced to skills they may well forget before they have a chance to practice them, Ranken students are getting a real-world chance to use, improve and demonstrate those skills. At some point in the rotation, they need to choose whether they want to become a body technician or a painter, and from that point on, that’s what their training at the school and work in the shop will focus on. As with any collision repair training program out there, a stu-

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dent who completes the Ranken program is not going to immediately be a journeyman A-tech. But Ranken graduates will be really strong B-techs. At many programs, students learn just a little about a lot. At Ranken, they come away with the specific training and hands-on experience to be productive at the basic skills needed in a shop right away to continue to progress in their career. They also start that career with a basic set of tools, and a bunch of I-CAR training credits.

The facility for Ranken Technical College’s Collision Engineering program rivals that of the best shops in the industry

As I said, I’m not easy to impress. But the quality of the welds I saw students at Ranken doing was phenomenal. One of the times I visited, an instructor was working with students on a quarter panel replace-

ment. Everything was being done exactly how the OEM procedures— which the students had access to— call for it to be done. For more information about the Ranken program, contact Shelly Jones at sajones@ranken.edu. Now you might be thinking: That’s great, Mike, but my shop is nowhere near St. Louis. So here are a few more things you should know. I have been so impressed with the Ranken facility, I moved the hands-on ADAS training we do for Nissan/Infiniti from Florida to Ranken. So come take that training and see Ranken for yourself. The school has a dorm and cafeteria for students who don’t live in the area. I know a shop owner in Colorado who, like me, was so impressed with Ranken, he’s having his own son attend the program there. If I still had my shops and I found good prospective apprentices, I would definitely have them attend the Ranken program. I’d tell them they would need to line up the grants, scholarships or loans needed initially to pay for the program

themselves. But I’d also have an agreement with them that as long as they were working for my company and doing a good job, I would make their student loan payments. They’d have some skin in the game up front, but also a strong incentive to stay at my company. And here’s the really good news for the industry: I want to give a big shout-out to the Enterprise Rent-ACar Foundation, because they have gotten behind the Ranken program. What’s more, the foundation is helping fund a pilot project to bring the Ranken model, including that awesome eight-week rotation system, to other schools around the country, including Contra Costa College in San Pablo, CA; Texas State Technical College in Waco, TX; and College of Lake County in Grayslake, IL. As the pilot project continues, participating schools, shops and students are perfecting an awesome model for what entry-level collision repair training should look like. Get involved if you can. I truly believe it will be a key part of improving the development of the entry-level technicians this industry so badly needs.

Repairify Names VP of Development Repairify™, Inc., a portfolio company of Kinderhook Industries, LLC, announced Nov. 1 it has hired automotive training and development veteran Chris Chesney as its new vice president of training and organizational development. In this role, Chesney will establish a comprehensive training initiative for customers, industry partners, employees and the network of technicians throughout the global Repairify ecosystem. In a career spanning 50 years, Chesney has held nearly every primary role in the automotive service sector, including master technician, service advisor, shop owner and technical and management educator. He most recently spent nearly 22 years leading Advance Auto Parts’ Carquest Technical Institute (CTI), widely considered the industry’s most successful automotive technical training organization. Source: Repairify, Inc.

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Techs of the Future with Stacey Phillips

Stacey Phillips is an award-winning writer for the automotive industry based in Southern California. She has more than 25 years of experience as an editor and writer and has assisted a wide range of businesses and fields. In addition, Stacey has co-authored two books. She can be reached at stacey@radiantwriting.com.

How to Grow Skilled Technicians & Improve Performance in Your Collision Repair Facility Auto body shop owners and managers across the U.S. are struggling to attract, motivate and retain skilled technicians in their facilities. Many say this has worsened since the COVID-19 pandemic. During an Elite Body Shop Academy webinar, Dave Flockhart, chief operating officer of BETAG Innovation, talked about ways to develop and shape the next generation of high-performance apprentices and journeyman technicians to address this challenge. “The reality is, and we can’t blame it all on COVID, we’ve been thrown a curveball,” said Flockhart. “We’re all contending with the fact that claim volumes are down and driving patterns have changed, perhaps irreversibly.”

form better.” This includes implementing new ideas, systems and processes in shops. As the current population of technicians continues to age, Flockhart said it is critical to find ways to attract new and younger people to the industry to learn the trade. The furlough that occurred during the pandemic and people leaving the industry for other sectors has contributed to the current shortage of skilled technicians. In addition, many say there is an inadequate apprentice pipeline to draw from. Flockhart said shops are feeling it more acutely now and trying to recharge as people begin spending again. With increasing pressure to find skilled workers, shops have been hiring technicians from competitors for higher labor rates and/or signing-on bonuses. “We’re seeing techs walk down the road to the competitor for a small raise or a signing-on bonus,” observed Flockhart. “In the short-term, that’s fine. But BETAG’s small damage repair course is part of its Outer Panel Repair Specialist (OPRS) program in the medium-term, I think it’s a zero-sum game.” However, he encouraged repairers to come to grips with the The Focus on High Performance situation and be open to embracing Flockhart said there is a strong corvirtual claims. relation between the skills shortage “Although COVID has led to and performance. He described a series of challenges, a lot of those high-performance workers as those were in play pre-COVID and the who have a combination of knowlpandemic has just accelerated some edge, skills and process. of them,” he said. Using the analogy of a pit crew, He shared one of his favorite he shared some of the things a crew quotes from Vivian Greene as a way does to enhance performance during of thinking about the current circum- a race. He pointed out how each stance: “Life isn’t about waiting for team member focuses on a very spethe storm to pass. It’s about learning cific skill. how to dance in the rain.” “When they come together col In times of challenge, Flockhart lectively, they can deliver the whole has often found there is also tremen- in an amazingly short period,” he said. “That comes down to the same dous opportunity. “We just have to go looking for three factors: knowledge, skills and it,” he said. “We need to find new process.” ways to think and act differently as By incorporating excellent techwell as identify ways we can per- nique, consistent application, good 30 DECEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

communication and teamwork, Flockhart said all of the team members know what each other is doing with absolute clarity. “I think trusting, empowering, recognizing and rewarding are critical,” he said. “As a result, the team begins to behave more cohesively and comes together around a shared objective.” Although the focus and attention are typically on the driver, Flockhart said the team is critical in order to experience success. The same is true in collision repair. “A high-performing pit crew can actually win a race for a team or lose a race for a team almost regardless of what the driver of the car has done on the track,” said Flockhart. “By working together, it provides everyone with a sense of purpose and clarity around what their role is and ultimately creates a competi-

tive advantage and improves performance.” Flockhart said that collision repairers are under constant pressure to deliver, whether that’s for their insurance partners against performance metrics and scorecards, or for customers. At the same time, they need to deal with increasing expectations, demand and knowledge of what it takes to repair a car properly. “We’re under this constant pressure to perform,” he said. “When we don’t have the right people in place to do the right jobs at the right times, we drive these operational inconsistencies, which start to negatively affect the very metrics that we are striving to achieve and create a vicious cycle.” Breaking the Cycle Besides thinking differently, FlockSee Grow Skilled Technicians, Page 34

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SEMA Announces Collision Repair & Refinish New Product Award Winners by Ed Attanasio

If you’re the inventor of a cutting-edge piece of equipment, tool or product that can help auto body shops to do a better job, the people at SEMA will give you an opportunity every year to honor your achievement and recognize it throughout the automotive industry worldwide. These are the Academy Awards for automotive product innovators, and you can almost guarantee success for an established or growing business by capturing one of these highly-respected awards. This year, more than 1,300 products were entered into 16 different showcase categories to be considered for the SEMA New Product Awards. Each category has one winner and two runners-up. Winners were judged on a wide range of criteria, including quality, marketability, innovation, technology and consumer appeal, among others. SEMA’s annual New Product Awards competition recognizes

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outstanding achievements in the development of products being introduced to the automotive specialty-equipment market at the SEMA Show. This year’s New Product Award Winners Collision within the Repair & Refinish Product category are:

clean and tidy.” The system’s ideal for technicians looking to simply rough out damage that will ultimately need

Winner: The Keco Collision Glue Pull Repair System made by Keco Body Repair Products Runner-up: The Eagle made by Celette, Inc. Runner-up: The Drain Cleaner SR250 made by Reliable Automotive Equipment, Inc. The winning Keco Collision Glue Pull Repair System includes all of the tools required to complete level 1 repairs requiring minimal body filler to finish. The company website claims “this kit handles medium to x-large damages with ease and precision. Tools are easily organized on the designated GPR cart. The tab organizer will ensure you limit lost tabs and keep your shop looking

Chris White, owner of Keco Body Repair Products, holds the trophy his company received when its Keco Collision Glue Pull Repair System was named a SEMA Best New Product Award winner in the Collision Repair and Refinish category

a filler for finishing, and features K-Beam® and Slide Hammers to provide the ability to make double-action pulls, and the K-Bar to

perform leverage pulls that move tons of metal fast. JVF Body Hammers and Slappies are great for knocking down crowns and releasing tension while repairing damage, and include medium-sized crease tabs as well as large and x-large Centipede and Supertabs in all the most popular shapes, sizes and materials. It also includes a designated glue pull cart and tab organizer to keep tools and tabs clean and organized in your auto body shop. One of the two runners-up awards goes to the Eagle 3D Electronic measuring system made by Celette, Inc., headquartered in Lombard, IL. It’s a high-definition laser system that shoots the target in milliseconds with the measuring results displayed in the software. It features a self-learning user interface that enables users achieve more accurately when compared to traditional technology. A 65-year-old company, Celette delivers highly productive and

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innovative auto body repair equipment to the collision repair industry. With everything they make, Celette designs products with the aim to offer solutions for repairing accident damages as well as to increase profitability of the body shop by reducing process time and the insurance man-hour time. The company is well-known for its worldwide Celette Technical Training Academy, and recently expanded its international footprint by establishing a new training facility in Chonburi, Thailand. Other features of the Eagle 3D Electronic measuring system features include online 3D software for vehicle database; and wireless connectivity between the laser gun, targets and software, with WiFi technology. Unlike traditional technology, the Eagle does not require reference points measurement. Leveling of the vehicle is not required and it provides an insurance diagnosis report after the measurement to create documentation using OE data. With Eagle, users can perform a complete vehicle body measurement in less

than 10 minutes with an accuracy of +/- 0.5 mm. Celette’s North American National Manager Bob Stevenson is thrilled to capture one of the two runner-up spots at SEMA because he knows the value of this coveted award. “We want to do a simple thankyou to the people of SEMA and recognizing us for being an innovative company and a leader in the collision repair industry,” Stevenson said. “We did a soft launch of the Eagle starting back in 2019 and the feedback we received from body shops all over the country has been very positive. Technicians appreciate its ease of use and body shop owners love the price, which is 75% less than the competition.” The other runners-up award went to The Drain Cleaner SR250 made by Reliable Automotive Equipment, Inc. (RAE). Founded in 1987, RAE designs and markets equipment solutions to the ever-changing automotive market in the U.S., Europe and Asia, as it produces repair training curriculum and certification programs for

use by collision repair facilities. In partnership with the OEMs and equipment manufacturers, RAE has both influenced and provided instructor-led training in OE repair procedures and their related tools and equipment. With RAE’s experience and its connection to those who engineer both the vehicle and its repair, the company has built a reputation for outstanding product performance, unsurpassed product quality and most of all, the human touch. Field Engineer at RAE Robert Gruskos made a statement immediately receiving the award. “We at Reliable Automotive Equipment and Wielander & Schill are honored to be selected as a runner-up for SEMA’s New Product Showcase,” Gruskos said. “We have developed a reputation for being problem solvers and our new Drain Cleaner SR250 definitely falls neatly into that category.” www.autobodynews.com

ALLDATA Adds ADAS Quick Reference ALLDATA’s latest update makes it easy for auto repairers to instantly access Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) information, direct from the OEMs. Now, clicking on ADAS Quick Reference takes users directly to vehicle-specific ADAS information in ALLDATA Repair® or ALLDATA Collision®, the industry’s leading repair information software products. The ADAS Quick Reference feature links directly to the ADAS system/component by name, provides the location of the component that may have been damaged in a collision, identifies component removal/replacement that could result in extra labor for calibration or sublet costs and includes basic calibration information, required tools and prerequisites for servicing ADAS components. Source: ALLDATA

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Continued from Page 30

Grow Skilled Technicians hart encourages repairers to act differently. “If we keep doing the same things, we are going to keep getting the same results,” he noted. “We know we have to find ways to attract new talent, but we also have to find ways to reduce staff turnover, which is in a business owner’s control.” Flockhart cautioned shop owners and managers to not lose sight of the significant cost attached to someone leaving an organization and having to find a replacement. “The cost is approximately one and a quarter times their salary and benefits package,” he said. Flockhart shared five ways to improve a team’s performance in a collision repair facility: 1) Identify the skill gaps 2) Attract people with potential even if they don’t have the skills today 3) Create a career path for them and invest in their development 4) Ensure they have a sense of purpose and recognize their efforts 5) Reward their performance, not necessarily financially Flockhart recommends moving away from the structure of A, B and C technicians and focus instead on apprentices, entry-level journeymen and master technicians. He also encouraged owners and managers to focus on the culture in their shop so it is considered a great place to work. Although it can be challenging at times, he said business owners shouldn’t lose sight of how much of a positive impact that can make. How Work Mix Impacts Performance The typical work mix in shops today, according to Flockhart, is 6065% outer panel repair, 15-20% structural repair and 20% total loss. “The percentage of outer panel repair is increasing as a portion of the total because ADAS features are reducing impact speeds and by extension, the heaviness of the hit,” explained Flockhart. “However, severity in terms of dollars is increasing because of the cost of repairing/ replacing the same ADAS technolo-

With OEMs incorporating more on the complex repairs that demand complex, lighter-weight materials in experience.” vehicles, such as aluminum, thinner To help find ways to attract, train steels and composites, repair meth- and develop the skills of apprentice ods have not kept up. and entry-level journeyman techs, “The challenge is that we have BETAG created a technicians’ trainthis ever-present pressure to focus ing and accreditation program for an on the repair,” he said. “I think this outer panel repair specialist (OPRS) has manifested itself and has be- to help businesses increase produccome disruptive in the shop. This is tivity and repair quality. Flockhart where the skill shortage comes in.” said the program aims to help equip By focusing on outer panel re- the technician of tomorrow with the pair work, Flockhart said shops have skills they need to have a direct iman enormous opportunity to become pact on business performance today. more proficient in this area For more information about and improve performance BETAG, email Dave Flockhart: metrics, increase touch time flockhart@betaginnovation.com. and reduce cycle time, and For more information about lead to higher gross margins Dave Luehr’s Elite Body Shop and more workflow. Academy and to watch this webinar, “If we can find a way visit: https://elitebodyshopsolutions. as repairers to become bet- com/academy. ter than we currently are in For more information about that section, the opportu- BETAG’s program to grow skilled nities are significant,” said technicians and perform better, visit: Flockhart. “It enables ap- https://betagnorthamerica.com/tech prentices and journeyman nicianAccreditation.php. Part of BETAG’s Outer Panel Repair Specialist (OPRS) technicians to become suprogram includes aluminum panel repair training per productive outer panel vehicles—one in five coming into repair specialists, allowing the maswww.autobodynews.com the shop—were deemed to be total ter technicians to focus their skills losses. Not only are these vehicles taking up space, but they also take up estimating time. Although shops must deal with the total loss side of the business, Flockhart said they are ultimately in the business of repairing vehicles. “With some very good reasons, the focus and investment tend to center on structural repairs,” said Flockhart. “If we are going to be in the business of repairing cars, there is no question as repairers we must be able to do that properly.” However, he pointed out that structural repairs represent the smallest part of the work mix but take up a disproportionate amount of investment dollars, time, training Trust Only Genuine Kia Parts for Your Repair and technicians. In light of this, Flockhart recommends shops put their focus 708.720.8972 and investment dollars toward outer panel repair to improve performance. Although it has typically Nations Largest Kia Wholesale Supplier M-Th 7am-6pm been an overlooked area over the 16 Trucks on the Road Daily Fri 7am-5pm years, Flockhart said it represents Sat 8am-4pm Dedicated Wholesale Staff the majority of work now and conPrice Match Aftermarket Parts tinues to grow. 708.720.0657 Fax Covering Two Full States 5501 Miller Circle Drive “Materials have evolved but reMatteson, IL 60443 www.hawkinsonnissan.com/ez-parts pair methods have not; performance is suffering as a result,” he said.

gy when there is a collision, even if it is at a slower speed.” During COVID, with less traffic on the road, the average impact speed trended upwards but this should be an anomaly when considered over a longer timeframe, he added. Approximately five years ago, total losses were about 13-14% of the work mix, according to statistics from CCC Intelligent Solutions shared by Flockhart. He pointed out for the first time, just over 20% of

34 DECEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

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Industry Insight

—John Yoswick is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon who has been writing about the automotive industry since 1988. He is the editor of the weekly CRASH Network (for a free 4-week trial subscription, visit www.CrashNetwork.com). Contact him by email at jyoswick@SpiritOne.com.

with John Yoswick

Auto Body Shop, College Working in Tandem to Transform Collision Repair Program

Shop Showcase

Collision repairers sometimes at the meeting she previously knew grouse about the body shop training nothing about the collision repair inprograms at schools in their area. dustry other than being “a frequent with Ed Attanasio But Justin Clubb didn’t just com- flier of Campbell’s Auto Body, beplain. He did something about it. cause I kept running into things.” Speaking as part of a panel discussion at the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) on Nov. 2 in Las Vegas, Clubb, general manager of Deery Collision in BurwithCenter Ed Attanasio lington, IA, said he’d served for some time on the advisory council for the collision program at nearby Southeastern Community College. He came to realize, however, the program seemed to be more about “restoration” and “working on stuff with Ed Attanasio Justin Clubb of Deery Collision in Iowa has that is not relevant to the collision been helping improve the collision repair trainindustry.” ing program at community college in his area When the school announced a new dean, Ashlee Spannagel, for But she had concerns of her its career and technical education own about the collision program programs, Clubbwith askedEd to meet with when in response to her own quesAttanasio her. Spannagel told CIC attendees tion at an advisory council meeting,

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she was told “OSHA didn’t apply to the industry.” “I knew nothing, but I did know enough that OSHA did apply,” Spannagel said. “That was the biggest thing I had to do as a leader and educator, to figure out how to not be so ignorant about this industry,” even while overseeing dozens of other degree and certificate programs at the school as well. Clubb spent a lot of time working with Spannagel, and helped connect her with contacts at I-CAR, Tradiebot, the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) and the ASE Education Foundation. Along with faculty and other volunteers, the two spent hours moving and sorting through dozens of totes of tools and supplies stored in the program’s shop, including 3,000 rolls of electrical tape, and more than 12 pallets of bulk tools.

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“If you need 800 10-millimieter wrenches, I am your girl. I know where they are,” Spannagel said, soliciting laughter from CIC attendees. About 18 months later, she said, their combined efforts have “completely transformed” the school’s collision repair program. “We now have invested over $500,000 into a state of the art facility,” Spannagel said. “We now have a relationship with the industry. The industry before was specifically telling us that our students were not what they needed, but in some cases, we simply weren’t listening. We are listening now. We are acting now. We are changing as a result of that. We are undergoing a curriculum revision right now. As a result, we will have better qualified students, more well-equipped students, and more students in the future.” Clubb and Spannagel agreed

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such a turnaround requires the buyin—and “hundreds of hours” of work—by faculty and the industry, but Clubb especially credited Spannagel’s outlook and commitment.

Aaron Schulenburg, who chairs the CIC Parts and Materials Committee, said CIC attendees have become more interested in the committee addressing the topic of parts supply chain disruptions

“Teach me what I need to know, so that we can move forward and serve our local communities the way community colleges were designed to do,” Spannagel said, drawing applause at CIC. Lidar coming to a car near you soon Another panel discussion at CIC

focused on how lidar works as part of a vehicle’s advanced driver assistance systems, and what collision repairers will need to know about the technology. General Motors, Lucid and Volvo have announced some new vehicles in 2022 and 2023 will include lidar. “Most of the major manufacturers have a desire to put lidar on their vehicles by 2024 or 2025,” said Cibby Pulikkaseril, chief technology officer and co-founder of Baraja, an Australian company developing lidar systems. “It will be a major trend in automotive.” Whether positioned at the front roof line, behind the windshield or within the grill or headlamps, lidar needs a surface in front of it that is clean and free of abrasions. “Definitely paint is something you’d never put over the lidar,” Pulikkaseril said. Typical laminated windshields are designed to block the type of infrared lasers used in lidar systems, so any replacement windshield installed in a vehicle with windshield-mounted lidar will need to

meet the proper specifications, including related to tinting. “The windshields have to be designed for lidar transmissivity, so you would not be able to just replace it with any other windshield,” he said. “You’d need to get the specified one.” Abrasions from road debris or other sources to the windshield or other glass in front of lidar will also obscure the system’s “view” of the road ahead. “I think what you’ll see is that many of the lidars mounted to the vehicle will have ‘obscure detection,’ so it will self-report that the windshield, or whatever the lidar is going through, has stopped transmitting,” Pulikkaseril said. Upcoming CIC meetings Citing the stricter COVID-related restrictions in place in Palm Springs, CA, CIC organizers announced in November the January CIC will instead be held in Phoenix, AZ. Details are available at www.CIClink. com. One topic that may be on the agenda: the disruptions in the global

parts supply chain. Aaron Schulenburg ended the Parts and Materials Committee session in Las Vegas by polling meeting attendees about whether they currently see parts delays as an issue—90% said yes—and whether they wanted “supply chain disruptions” to be a topic the committee explores at future meetings. When the committee asked that same question last April, fewer than half—44%—of CIC attendees said yes. But in Las Vegas in November, nearly twice that percentage—83%—answered affirmatively, clearly an indication of changed business conditions in recent months. “I don’t think it was a big enough issue when we asked the first time, but I think it is now, and that’s obviously reflected in the response,” Schulenburg said.

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Repairify™ Unites Company Brands, Introduces asTech® Duo, Tru-Point ADAS Calibration System by Stacey Phillips

As new vehicles are manufactured with complex electronic systems that require extreme precision to function safely, Repairify’s Chief Technology Officer Maurice Tuff said the company will continue to focus on providing solutions to ensure the electronic vehicle systems are returned to OEM specifications post-collision repair. Repairify, a portfolio company of Kinderhook Industries, recently made several announcements as part of its strategic initiative to support the collision repair industry. These include a rebranding of its company, the introduction of a new product, asTech Duo, and a process for validating if an aftermarket tool can or cannot be used in place of an OEM tool on specific vehicles within the car parc. “By growing our organization through the acquisitions of like-minded industry innovators, we have established a powerhouse of brands that are all playing critical roles in transforming the way today’s increasingly complex vehicles are repaired, serviced and maintained,” said Cris Hollingsworth, president of Repairify. “Repairify continuously provides innovative solutions to meet the evolving demands of the industry,” said Tuff. “We are now a full solution provider; once a vehicle is scanned, we identify the ADAS calibrations required and then provide tools necessary to perform the calibrations on-site, ensuring the vehicle is returned to OEM specifications.” Uniting Under the Repairify Brand Lesley Sparkes, Repairify’s vice president of global marketing, explained Repairify was traditionally the holding name for the business, which operated as asTech and owned FleetGenix. Over the last year, the company has made four acquisitions: adasThink, BlueDriver, Mobile Tech RX and RED (EU). “All our companies were strategically acquired in order to deliver an end-to-end solution and uniting them under the Repairify name gives our customers a single trusted

source they can rely on for the full repair process,” said Sparkes.

Maurice Tuff, left, and Lesley Sparkes, right, stand near the Tru-Point ADAS Calibration System

The strategic initiative brings together the company’s six brands: • asTech provides remote diagnostic and calibration services to collision repair shops. • adasThink is a platform that integrates with a shop’s estimating system to identify required ADAS calibrations based on the estimate lines and provides the documentation needed for the repair. • BlueDriver provides consumer aftermarket diagnostic scan tools and services. • FleetGenix offers mobile/remote technicians for key replacement, pre- and post-vehicle scans, calibration and personal identifiable information removal services. • Mobile Tech RX delivers an app for auto repair technicians to estimate, invoice, manage teams and capture data. • RED (EU), based in the UK, is a distributor of advanced aftermarket diagnostic tools. Tuff said the goal is to build out an ecosystem where Repairify can provide shops with a beginning-to-end solution. “This will give shops the ability to fully understand that the vehicle has been properly serviced, calibrated and is safe to go back on the road,” said Tuff. “As a result, it makes it easier on a shop to not have

38 DECEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

to use multiple vendors, providers and tools, throughout the different parts of the process.” Tru-Point ADAS Calibration System With the support of asTech’s 400plus ASE and I-CAR certified master technicians, the company has been offering remote scanning to customers by connecting a device to the vehicle to obtain access to the OEM tools at the data center. “Our solutions, combined with our trained technicians, keep up with the ever-changing vehicle technology so the shop can focus on the repair,” said Tuff. To help shops perform static calibrations in-house, he said asTech teamed up with Snap-On to deliver the easy-to-use all-in-one Tru-Point ADAS Calibration System. The product, which combines camera technology, targets and advanced software, is currently being used by shops across the country and was on display in November at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. “With cars becoming more so-

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phisticated, more calibrations are necessary. Traditionally, shops have to send those out to the dealership and the car may be gone for days,” said Tuff. “We’re enabling our customers to do more calibrations in-house,” added Sparkes. “This greatly enhances efficiency resulting in a more profitable shop.” asTech Duo Prior to the SEMA Show, asTech introduced asTech Duo, a solution that provides local and remote scanning, diagnostics and calibrations for collision and mechanical repair as well as dealerships. “Our customers expressed the need for an integrated solution with access to both local and remote scanning options in one device,” said Tuff. “With Duo, we are pleased to deliver this choice to our customers, giving them the flexibility and convenience to safely and accurately complete repairs.” Tuff said they were finding shops were buying aftermarket tools,

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unaware if they were accurate on a particular vehicle. As a result, the company began validating when an aftermarket tool is compatible with the OEM tool and when it is not. “We made a significant and ongoing investment in validating when a local aftermarket scan can be performed versus when a remote OEM

“Customers always have the choice to use our OEM tools. Our focus remains on the safest and most accurate way to repair the vehicle. If a user would like to perform an aftermarket scan, with Duo, they know if it has been validated as OEM compatible for that vehicle before performing the scan.”

“Our solutions, combined with our trained technicians, keep up with the ever-changing vehicle technology so the shop can focus on the repair,” — Maurice Tuff scan is required,” said Tuff. “In all cases, we always leave the choice to the user which type of scan they perform regardless of our recommendation. The choice is always with the customer.” Moving forward, shops will have access to both a remote OEM scan supported by ASE and I-CAR certified technicians or a local OEM-compatible scan. Tuff said there was some concern in the market that the company was shifting away from OEM tools. “That isn’t true,” he clarified.

Currently, the company uses more than 1,000 OEM tools, and Sparkes said that number is growing every day. In October, the company began offering the OEM scan report, in addition to the comprehensive diagnostic scan report that has always been provided. “This gives shops extra peace of mind,” said Sparkes. “The delivery of the original OEM scan report will provide our customers with an additional layer of confidence and transparency so

they can remain focused on properly repairing today’s complex vehicles,” said Hollingsworth. The reports are also available in asTech Connect, which includes a mobile application for both iOS and Android. Connect allows customers to view the status of their devices, talk with master technicians in multiple languages and access invoices, reports and more. In November, Chris Chesney was hired as vice president of training and organizational development. In this role, he will establish a comprehensive training initiative for customers, industry partners, employees and the network of technicians throughout the global Repairify ecosystem. “As we look toward continued expansion of our global footprint, we are proud of the Repairify brand and the technology and expertise we’re bringing to the market,” said Tuff. www.autobodynews.com

UPDATED DAILY

ASA Announces Regional Executive Director The Automotive Service Association (ASA) has named Julie Massaro, the current executive director of ASA Colorado, as the new regional executive director of the Mountain region of ASA. In September, ASA, the oldest and largest association representing the independent automotive repair industry, announced it is transitioning to a new and innovative association model leveraging its expansive history to create a single, unified industry voice. Under the new model, existing state affiliate agreements will be dissolved, and a 50-state regional structure will take its place. The Mountain Region covers the territory of Colorado, Montana, North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Utah, Kansas and Missouri. Massaro will continue to be based in Colorado and will report to Blair Calvo, the newly promoted vice president of regional services. Source: ASA

Rivian Production Capacity Target: At Least 1 Million a Year by 2030 by Mark Kane, Inside EVs

Rivian successfully launched its IPO and now has almost $12 billion, on top of $10.5 billion raised previously, to expand its EV business. According to Rivian CEO R.J. Scaringe, via US News, the company has to grow quickly and reach a volume of at least 1 million electric vehicles per year by 2030. That’s a level of today’s Tesla. “We better be growing at least that quick; certainly before the end of the decade is how we think about it,” Scaringe said in an interview ahead of Rivian’s market debut on the Nasdaq on Nov. 10. Today, the company produces its EVs at its only manufacturing site in Normal, IL, acquired several years ago from Mitsubishi and upgraded. This site is technically equipped for 150,000 vehicles annually, but after an upcoming upgrade it should be ready for

200,000 per year. All three types of EVs announced so far—the Rivian R1T and Rivian R1S, as well as the Rivian EDV vans—will be produced in Normal. The R1T has been ramping up since September, while the other two will follow in December. The long-term plan for Rivian is to have a total of four assembly plants around the world, including one additional factory in the U.S. and probably one in Europe and one in China. The second factory in the U.S. is expected to also produce in-house developed battery cells, potentially in-house developed. All those things sound ambitious, but let’s not forget this company is the first to launch a modern all-electric pickup truck with a 300-plus mile EPA range, not imaginable a decade ago when the first generation Nissan LEAF with a 24 kWh battery struggled with a 100-mile range—it was rated at 73 miles EPA.

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Helping Others is Contagious, and You Don’t Need to Wear a Mask by Ed Attanasio

When I got my first writing assignment from Autobody News in 2006, I was excited. I was also a little anxious because I knew very little about the collision repair industry at the time. I also don’t know anything about cars, and can’t even change my own oil. So, I’ve been basically faking it for the past 15 years! At my very first SEMA Show, I met some of my fellow automotive journalists and picked their brains about hot topics to write about and other tips they were willing to share. One veteran reporter painted a rather unpleasant picture of the state of the industry and all of its issues. He described insurance companies coercing auto body shops into bad— and unprofitable—“partnerships,” and midnight shops sneaking around and doing unsafe and poor-quality repairs performed by shady types not afraid to break local regulations while cutting corners on every repair.

My first impression was wow— this is going to be a lot of fun. That reporter’s account of the industry turned out to be a gross exaggeration. Yes, there are positives and negatives as in any industry, but in the end, the good things outweigh the bad. I have never seen a mid-

Ed Attanasio is now the publicist at Oscar’s Place, a donkey sanctuary in Hopland, CA

night shop—because I don’t stay up that late—and most shops must perform quality work to keep the doors open. Plus, unless you’re an investi-

gative journalist, you normally end up writing about the more successful shops and collision-related companies out there. One thing I noticed right away is many body shops—from large MSOs all the way to mom-andpops—aren’t afraid to help local nonprofits and people in need in each of their respective communities. Giving cars to deserving people is a perfect charity model for body shops because it involves the shops, their employees, local vendors and the insurance companies that normally provide the vehicles to be given away. The National Auto Body Council (NABC) Recycled Rides program has turned into a huge nationwide effort, with collision repairers all over the country getting involved. Since its inception in 2007, they have given away more than 2,500 vehicles valued at $36 million, and more than 300-plus auto body shops have been involved. Many shop owners covet the opportunity to be involved in the

program, while others do not. One shop manager told me, “We are in the business of fixing cars, not giving them away!” But then he attended an NABC Recycled Rides event at a SEMA Show one year and was so moved he changed his mind, and now the shop gives away two or three vehicles every year. When people see others helping those in need, it creates a ripple effect, and pretty soon it takes on a life of its own. Helping people is infectious and there’s no vaccine for it. Once it gets in your blood, you’re hooked. I don’t often remember famous quotes, but for some reason this one from Muhammad Ali stuck with me: “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” When I began witnessing these Random Acts of Kindness (RAKs) with body shops stepping up to help others, it made a strong impression on me. My first thought was how can I give back? I’m not rich, so donating money is not an option. So, I began looking around for things that

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I could do as a writer and an artist. I have been to countless car giveaways over the years and every time I cry. I am a crier, what can I say? One of the first ones I attended took place in 2007 in Northern California’s East Bay, when Mike’s Auto Body gave five cars to deserving families during the holidays. Eventually, they asked me to be their Santa Claus at their annual presentations, and of course, I was happy to oblige. This month, Mike’s Auto Body will be giving away its 100th vehicle as part of its 21-year Benevolence Program. Over the years, I’ve interviewed a lot of people in the collision repair industry who are well-known for their charitable efforts. Jimmy Lefler, the owner of Lefler Collision and Glass, embarked more than a decade ago on an amazing journey to help people in Myanmar, formerly Burma. Lefler, his family and some of his crew work closely with an organization, Uncharted International, that has 12 orphanages with more than 600 orphans in Myanmar. He established a home for elderly wid-

ows, a human trafficking recovery center and The Loom House, which provides jobs for the children who grow up in the orphanages and for the women who, without a job, would end up in horrible situations. Another article I wrote recently was about Kendrick Paint & Body, a third-generation MSO with eight lo-

Attanasio started the Pandemic Pet Project, using his art to raise more than approximately $100,000 for 200-plus pet rescues all over the world

cations in Georgia. This shop sponsors more than 40 to 50 charitable events every year, giving lunches to first responders and raising monies for organizations such as SafeHomes Domestic Violence Center, American Red Cross and the City of Augusta, just to name a few.

In another story I wrote, Tim Morgan, COO at Spanesi Americas, founded Second Chance Ranch, a nonprofit pet rescue organization, in 2018 when he witnessed pit prejudice and felt it was just a bunch of bull. So, he purchased a 3-acre farm and converted his barn into a kennel that can accommodate a pack of pit bulls. Morgan’s total dedication to helping animals really resonated with me, so I began looking around to play a role myself in some capacity. For many years, I volunteered at the Humane Society—walking dogs and doing laundry and for a time, I went to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco to catch feral cats. One day, an angry feline scratched me so bad people thought I was in a fight. So, I decided to stick with helping dogs to avoid cat scratch fever. A lot of other people in the collision repair industry have influenced me to become a chronic giver. I started Amazing Groceries a few years back, buying groceries for needy folks during the holidays. During the pandemic, I started the Pandemic Pet Project, using my art to raise money for pet rescues all over the world.

Then, it led me to the donkeys. Randomly and wonderfully, the people at Oscar’s Place in Hopland, CA, found me and asked me to be their publicist. Most people aren’t aware of the fact thousands of donkeys are being destroyed every month to be used as medicine in other countries. At Oscar’s Place, they go to donkey auctions in Texas and California to outbid representatives from Canada and Mexico, thereby saving them from certain deaths. I tell people I have been working for donkeys for many years, and now I am working for them! If you’ve been thinking about giving a vehicle to a deserving family, organization or individual, NABC Recycled Rides is always looking for auto body shops to get involved. If you want to help your community, just look around or even better—create your own benevolence program and pick the causes and charities close to your heart. Make 2022 the year you step up and make a difference in your community and make it part of your DNA. Good things happen to good people and if you can do it, why not?

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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 www.CrashNetwork.com). Contact him by email at jyoswick@SpiritOne.com.

MSO Symposium Looks at What Lies Ahead for Auto Insurance Claims, Consolidation

Shop Showcase

Vince Romans of The Romans more in annual sales control about Group consulting firm has been 43 percent of the total market. monitoring the growth of multi-shop Romans predicts that will rise to with Ed Attanasio operations (MSO) in the collision re- nearly 49 percent by 2025; he also pair industry for more than 15 years, shared a more aggressive forecast and at the “MSO Symposium” held showing their market share potenin Las Vegas in early November, he tially exceeding 61 percent by that said even the pandemic didn’t halt year, though he acknowledged “that consolidation within the industry. could or may not happen.” In fact, he said,with the recent growth Another mainstay speaker at the Ed Attanasio of MSOs has been “as aggressive MSO Symposium, Susanna Gotsch as almost any year that we’ve been of CCC Intelligent Solutions, oftracking this.” fered her annual look at where In 2020, Romans said, there were things stand in terms of auto insur26 MSOs (each with two or more lo- ance claims, and what may lie ahead as the nation continues to move with Ed Attanasio through the pandemic. Gotsch said that through the first three quarters of this year, overall claims counts are up about 9 percent – but still remain down a significant 15 percent compared to 2019. with Ed Attanasio The rebound varies widely by state. Non-comprehensive claims are up 13.4 percent through the third quarter of 2021 in Illinois, 15.2 percent in Ohio, 15.5 percent in Nebraska and 16.4 percent in Iowa – yet only 1.1 percent in North Dakota, 3.6 perSusanna Gotsch of CCC Intelligent Solutions cent in Minnesota, and 4 percent in Stacey Phillips said with 30 percent with to 40 percent of workers likely to continue working at home at least Colorado. one day a week, congestion – and resulting Gotsch noted a variety of changaccidents – during traditional commute times es in driving patterns have taken will not fully rebound next year place during the pandemic. Overall cations) that were acquired by other miles driven are up so far this year – chains; those acquired MSOs had a not surprisingly after the pandemic with Stacey Phillips total of 311 locations and $801 mil- shut-downs of 2020 – and in some lion in combined sales. This year is months are approaching 2019 levon pace to potentially match that, els. But recovery in urban road sysRomans said. Through the first 10 tems is substantially slower than in months of the year, 38 MSOs with rural road systems, and even inter254 locations and $698 million in state miles show substantially larger with Stacey Phillips growth in truck miles versus passencombined sales have been acquired. Romans said there are currently ger miles. 14 private equity firms with investMost critically, Gotsch said, is the ments in collision repair businesses. continued significant drop in traffic Of those he noted, not one was in- congestion during the morning and volved in the industry when the first afternoon traditional commute times MSO Symposium was Stacey held a decade that disproportionately contribute to with Phillips ago. Today, those MSOs have com- claims counts. Looking ahead, she bined annual sales of $9.1 billion, a said, a key factor will be the degree market share of about 26 percent of to which the 30 percent to 40 percent the entire collision repair market. of workers still working remotely Looking at the industry more return to offices. She foresees many broadly, all the collision repair busi- businesses offering more flexibility, nesses that each have $10 million or with employees across many indus-

Social Media for Shops

tries allowed to continue to work from home at least one day a week. On the other hand, she doesn’t foresee a sudden drop in the increased distracted driving and speeding that has taken root during the pandemic. “People do not unlearn bad driv-

SEMA Show Goes On

Media and Publicity for Shops

Vincent Romans of The Romans Group consulting firm said multi-shop operators (MSOs) have been “just as aggressive” about acquisitions during the pandemic as before

ing habits quickly,” Gotsch said. “They learn them quickly, but they do not unlearn them quickly.” Overall, she said, she thinks it’s likely that claim counts in 2022 will remain down from what they were in 2019. “But we expect we will continue to see steady growth, month over month, so by 2023, we will likely be more on par with where we were in 2019,” she said. She said overall cost of repairs has increased “way above anything I have seen historically.” One reason: the cost of parts. CCC data shows that the average cost per part – across all part types – has been fairly stable over the past couple of decades, typically rising 1 percent or 2 percent a year. That’s changed in 2021, however, with the average cost per part being around $130, up 7 percent so far this year, the largest

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increase CCC has seen going back to 1997. “With parts manufacturers paying significantly more for things like raw materials and shipping, the average cost per part has increased across the board,” CCC reports. But Gotsch projects that the rise in parts cost will not be the only factor raising overall cost of repairs. “We haven’t seen the same inflation in labor [rates] yet, but I think we’re going to,” Gotsch said. “Repairers, just like everybody else, are having significant wage pressures: signing bonuses, paying people with the [increasingly complex] skill sets required. It’s not just body work. It’s mechanical work, the knowledge of electronics, understanding how telematics and the systems of the car work, how to read the manuals from the OEMs. All of that requires a higher set of training and tooling. That cost will have to be passed on. So I think we’re going to see more inflation on labor. I think that’s going to start to find its way into appraisals as well. It just has to.” CCC has also seen a change in one of its metrics related to cy-

cle time for DRP claims. In the first three months of this year, fewer days elapsed between completion of an estimate and when the vehicle was brought in for repairs when compared to the same months in 2020 and 2019. Starting in April and continuing through July, however, the length of time between completion of an estimate and the vehicle being brought into the shop was longer this year than in the last two years. This was true for estimates for both drivable and non-drivable vehicles. Gotsch said parts delays caused by supply chain disruption could be one factor slowing how quickly shops are getting those vehicles in for repairs. She also pointed to findings by CRASH Network showing that shops’ backlog of work rose sharply in the third quarter of this year, with the national average scheduling backlog reaching an average of 2.6 weeks, a full week longer than shops reported just 90 days earlier. www.autobodynews.com

UPDATED DAILY

Autobody News attended Pro Spot’s Distributor Awards Event at Top Golf, Las Vegas on Wednesday, November 3rd Pro Spot International again hosted its annual Distributor Awards Fun evening at the 2021 SEMA Show at TopGolf Las Vegas. “We were so pleased to be able to have our Annual Distributor Appreciation Night this year,” said Ron Olsson, Pro Spot president. “Our distributors work so hard for us and we really like to show our apprecia-

tion with a fun night and present our Annual Distributor Awards. “With the cancellation of SEMA 2020 because of COVID, we really wanted to have a very special evening this year,” Olsson continued. “With such great successes during 2021, we are really looking forward to what 2022 will bring.”

Biden Administration Acts to Help Relieve Supply Chain Woes By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

President Joe Biden announced the Port of Los Angeles will begin operating around the clock as part of an effort to help speed up shipping delays arising from global supply-chain backlogs. Issues up and down the supply chain, from ships waiting days longer than usual to come to port, to goods waiting at the dock to be picked up and truckers being unable to unload at warehouses, have created massive delays and concerns about inflation and the coming rush of Christmas shopping. The Port of Long Beach, which along with the Port of Los Angeles handles 40% of shipping containers entering the U.S., began 24/7 operations in September. However, shortages of available truckers and warehouse operators stalled much of the progress expected from the extended hours. Biden created a Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force in June to identify transporta-

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tion bottlenecks across the nation and identify solutions. The Task Force has been meeting with business and union leaders to help coordinate actions by the many private firms that control the country’s transportation and logistics supply chain. To help address the problem, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union announced its members are willing to work the extra shifts created by the extended hours of operations at the Ports of LA and Long Beach. Large shippers and retailers such as UPS, FedEx, Walmart and Target have made commitments to use the extended hours of operation to unload cargo, which will allow ships to dock quicker. Additional measures across the country will be pursued in the coming weeks to address transportation congestion and delays. For more information, contact Caroline Fletcher at carolinef@sema.org. Source: SEMA

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‘Who Pays for What?’ Survey: Continued Increase in Auto Body Shops Billing for Destructive Weld Testing With six years of data now available from “Who Pays for What?” surveys, Mike Anderson of Collision Advice can point to some changes within the industry the survey results reflect. “This summer, nearly three of 10 shops—29%—reporting being paid to set-up and perform destructive weld testing ‘always’ or ‘most of the time’ by the eight largest national insurers,” said Anderson, who conducts the surveys with CRASH Network. “That’s more than twice the percentage—just 12%—who found that to be true back in 2015 when we started the surveys.” In 2015, Anderson said, about 81% of shops said they’d never sought to be paid for performing test welds. That’s fallen to about half that today, just 43%. “Whether through the surveys or other training, shops are increasingly understanding the requirement to perform destructive tests on welds before welding on a vehicle, and can choose whether to bill for it when appropriate,” Anderson

said. He said the final of the four 2021 “Who Pays for What?” surveys, which focuses on scanning, calibrations, shop supplies and aluminum repair, is scheduled to close at the end of October at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ XC67NPT Survey participants receive a free report with complete survey findings along with analysis and resources to help shops better understand and use the information presented. Anderson said the survey, which will take about 15-20 minutes, can be completed by anyone in a shop familiar with the shop’s billing practices and the payment practices of at least some of the largest national insurers. Each shop’s individual responses are held in the strictest confidence; only aggregated data is released. The results of previous surveys are also available online (https://www.crashnetwork.com/ collisionadvice). Source: CRASH Network

100-Plus Lawmakers Rally Support for EV Tax Credit Bill More than 100 U.S. House lawmakers on Oct. 12 urged Speaker Nancy Pelosi to keep a $4,500 tax credit incentive for union-built electric vehicles in a massive spending bill. In a letter seen by Reuters, 107 Democrats urged Pelosi to retain the credit supported by the United Auto Workers union, the AFL-CIO and U.S. automakers. The $4,500 credit would provide a significant boost to Detroit’s three automakers—General Motors, Ford and Chrysler-parent Stellantis. “We strongly support leveling the playing field between nonunion and unionized workforces by including the added $4,500 incentive to support union-made EVs,” the letter said. The push was led by Rep. Thomas Suozzi, D-NY, who said the incentives “help guarantee that working men and women are an integral part of that success story.” Pelosi’s office declined to comment. Foreign automakers do not have unions representing assembly workers in the U.S. and many have fought efforts to organize U.S. plants. Twelve major foreign automakers in September urged Democrats to reject the proposed $4,500 tax incentive

and have been lobbying lawmakers to reject the union incentive. A House panel last month approved legislation to boost EV credits to up to $12,500 per vehicle, including $4,500 for union-made vehicles and $500 for U.S.-made batteries. The foreign automakers said the proposal “would unfairly disadvantage American workers who have chosen not to join a union and produce more than half of all vehicles in the United States and the vast majority of American-made EVs.” The tax credits, which are part of a proposed $3.5 trillion spending bill, would cost $15.6 billion over 10 years.The EV proposal also does away with phasing out tax credits after automakers hit 200,000 electric vehicles sold, which would make GM eligible again for the $4,500 credit. Tesla vehicles would not get the credit. Tesla CEO Elon Musk suggested on Twitter the EV proposal was “written by Ford/UAW lobbyists...Not obvious how this serves American taxpayers.” Source: Chicago Automobile Trade Association

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Price and Range Continue to Hold Back EV Market Sales of battery-powered electric vehicles (EVs) in the U.S. are on track to set an all-time record in 2021, with sales up more than 88% through the end of September. With new players entering the field and consumer choice expanding rapidly, the EV market is on course to grow to 400,000 vehicles this year, and Cox Automotive is forecasting EV sales to double in the next 24 months. Still, despite the rapid growth, EVs will account for only 3% of the new-vehicle market this year and, according to new research released by Cox Automotive, many barriers to EV adoption remain. The 2021 Cox Automotive Path to EV Adoption Study provides a look at the major consumer barriers that continue to slow EV adoption. It also uncovers market perceptions and customer experiences with the EV shopping and buying process. The research was conducted in June and July and included a survey of nearly 5,000 in-market consumers who owned, considered or rejected a pure battery-electric vehicle in that timeframe. Additional Cox Automotive studies were considered in the analysis. The study had three objectives: to understand the nuances of EV adoption and the key barriers to overcome, explore how the shopping experience for EV and traditional gas-powered vehicles differ, and uncover market perceptions and consumer experiences with EVs. Overall, the 2021 Cox Automotive Path to EV Adoption Study illustrates, while barriers remain, consumers in the U.S—particularly younger Millennial and Gen Z buyers—are becoming more open to the idea of an electric vehicle future. Availability of charging stations, vehicle range and battery concerns have become less of a barrier for potential buyers. Vehicle price, however, continues to be a major obstacle for many. “This latest round of EV research opened our eyes to a number of shifts in the market,” said Vanessa Ton, senior industry intelligence manager, Cox Automotive. “As the traditional barriers come down, attributes like styling and affordability

move to the front, much like traditional gas-powered vehicles. That’s an indication that consumers are looking at EVs more like automobiles, less like science projects.” During the research phase of the study over the summer, consumers had nearly 300 different models to choose from, but less than 20 pure electric models, with most being higher-end, luxury offerings. The average price paid for a new EV was close to $60,000 before rebates, and well above gasoline-equivalent vehicles. And while the number of EV models continues to grow, with new models being added every quarter, the Cox Automotive study shows the path to EV adoption remains difficult at best. The Industry Must Build Higher Consideration Among Shoppers Among consumers in-market for a new vehicle, general consideration for a pure electric model is relatively high, at 38% of all shoppers. New research from Cox Automotive, however, indicates consideration drops off notably to 21% of in-market shoppers saying they are more than 50% confident their next vehicle will be an EV. Further still, only 3% of shoppers in the study indicate that their next will, for certain, be an EV. Vehicle range and price remain the top barriers, according to this research. The study also shows that automakers and dealers would benefit from focusing on those issues as they market their new EVs. Range Anxiety Shows Signs of Waning In good news for EV sellers, the study shows some select barriers to EV adoption are shrinking. For example, two years ago, 47% of in-market consumers noted low vehicle range was a concern. In 2021, that number dropped to 37%. Notably, younger shoppers— Gen Z and Millennials—are far less concerned about vehicle range, with only 20% and 29%, respectively, indicating range was holding them back from buying an EV. Also noteworthy: In the most recent study, 57% of consumers point to a lack of charging stations in their area as

48 DECEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

a top barrier, but that percentage is down from 64% in 2019. Range expectations among consumers considering EVs continue to increase, but vehicle performance is increasing rapidly as well, which is one reason range anxiety is slowly dissipating among in-market shoppers. In 2019, the minimum expectation for range on a full charge was 184 miles, and, at the time, the average EV delivered 195 miles per charge, approximately 6% above the minimum acceptable level. In 2021, range expectations jumped to a minimum of 217 miles. Among EVs offered today, the average range is approximately 257 miles, 18% more than the minimal accepted range. “As EV battery performance improves and the charging infrastructure is slowly built up, traditional EV concerns will fade,” said Lea Malloy, head of electric-vehicle battery solutions at Cox Automotive Mobility. “Consumers are experiencing the typical learning curve with new technology. And we believe range will be even less of an issue as new generations of battery technology are launched. It is astounding how quickly improvements are being realized.” Reaching Price Parity Will Help Clear the Pathway to Adoption While range and charging station availability is becoming less of a concern for EV considerers, price remains a significant issue with half of all EV intenders. The new study shows 51% of shoppers said EVs were too expensive to seriously consider, a similar number to the results in 2019. EVs are in fact on average more expensive to purchase than their gasoline-powered counterparts. In October, when average transaction prices for a new vehicle topped

$46,000, the average EV was above $56,000, a premium of more than 20%. The research demonstrates that price parity would greatly improve serious EV consideration. Indeed, nearly 60% of vehicle intenders would consider an EV if there was no price premium, up from the 38% currently considering an EV. Further, that number jumps to 71% in a case where EVs are priced $5,000 below an equivalent gas vehicle. Dealers, Automakers Struggle to Effectively Reach Consumers Another key finding in the 2021 Path to EV Adoption Study suggests auto dealers need more help to prepare for an EV future. The study shows dealers play a crucial, influential role in the process, with nearly 80% of EV owners noting the dealer influenced their purchase decision. At the same time, in a survey of dealers reviewed for the study, 71% indicated they were “only somewhat” or “not at all” prepared to sell more EVs in the future. Many automakers continue to struggle with consumer awareness of their EV product offering, certainly a first step in consideration. While 83% of EV considerers are aware Tesla sells electric vehicles, only 44% of EV considerers are aware Ford has a competitive EV model, the all-new Mustang Mach-E, launched in the spring of 2021. Worse still, even though Nissan has been selling the all-electric Leaf model in the U.S. for more than a decade, only 37% of respondents in the survey were aware of Nissan’s EV offering. Chevrolet has similar issues. The all-electric Bolt was launched in late 2016, and yet 69% of current EV shoppers are unsure if Chevrolet even makes an EV. Source: Cox Automotive

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1Collision Continues Expansion 1Collision announced the addition of Center Collision in Tacoma, WA, and Sudden Impact Collision Center’s two locations in Glen Burnie, MD. “A good friend recommended 1Collision to me after he had a great experience in the network and after looking into it myself, I can see the benefits of being part of a much bigger organization with the support to overcome many of the common struggles in this industry,” said Kevin House, owner of Center Collision. “After extensive research, 1Collision was appealing to because of the rebate deals in place, and a great support team of people committed to helping me grow, while allowing me to stay as independent as possible,” said Dennis Marsch, owner of Sudden Impact. 1Collision and partner CSN Collision Centres, a Canada-based network, have a combined presence of more than 240 locations in North America. Source: 1Collision

‘Insurer Report Card’ Open for Collision Repairers to Grade Insurers More than 1,000 collision repair professionals each year grade the performance of the auto insurers in their state through CRASH Network’s “Insurer Report Card”—and the insurance companies and consumers are paying attention. “No one sees on a daily basis which insurers really stand behind their promise to deliver top-quality repairs and customer service after an accident better than those providing that collision repair work,” said John Yoswick, editor of CRASH Network. “The ‘Insurer Report Card’ helps the repair industry get that unique perspective out to vehicle owners, and gives the highest-graded insurance companies another way to communicate what sets them apart from the companies that receive lower grades from shops.” Yoswick said Forbes Advisor, which offers independent information to consumers about financial decisions, now incorporates the “Insurer Report Card” grades into its auto insurance rankings. Insurers like Chubb and Acuity that have consistently received top grades

tout that in their marketing and social media. The latest “Insurer Report Card” is now open to shops at www. CrashNetwork.com/gradebook It asks collision repairers to grade each company based on how well the insurers’ claims practices help ensure quality repairs and customer service. By assigning insurers a grade from A+ to an F, shops can let consumers know which insurers push for quality repairs and provide great customer service when consumers have a claim— and which may have some room for improvement. “Because each state has a different mix of insurers, the ‘Insurer Report Card’ allows repairers to grade insurers specific to their state,” Yoswick said. “As in the past, we’re asking about more than 160 different auto insurance companies across the country, making it far more extensive than any similar surveys, which generally focus on just the 10 largest national insurers.

The results of the ‘Insurer Report Card’ can help consumers know, for example, if some smaller or regional insurers they may not be as familiar with are really great at taking care of customers.” The “Insurer Report Card,” open only to collision repairers, can be completed in less than three minutes—though shops are encouraged to spend time to explain why they gave each insurer the grade they did—and all individual shop grades and identification information will remain confidential. Shops that complete the “Insurer Report Card” and provide an e-mail address will be sent the results to share with their customers, at no charge, once they are compiled. Shops can go to www.CrashNetwork.com/gradebook to grade the insurers. For more information about the weekly CRASH Network newsletter, visit www.CrashNetwork. com. Source: CRASH Network

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CIC Panel Discusses AI in Collision Repair Estimating by John Yoswick

A panel discussion at the Collision Industry Conference on Nov. 2 in Las Vegas focused on the current state of artificial intelligence within estimating in the industry, acknowledging current shortcomings and challenges, but also offering a glimpse into the coming growth in the use of the technology.

Among the panelists at the Nov. 2 CIC were, left to right, Bud Center of the CIC Talent Pool and Education Committee; Amber Alley of Barsotti’s Body and Fender; Ashlee Spannagel, dean of CTE at Southeastern Community College; and Justin Clubb of Deery Collision Center.

Jason Verlen of CCC Intelligent Solutions, for example, said AI alone doesn’t currently ad-

dress all estimating scenarios, but it already can significantly speed many initial claims processes for consumers. Also during the meeting, Bud Center of the CIC Talent Pool and Education Committee held a panel discussion with shop managers discussing successful efforts they have made in working with schools trying to improve collision repair training in their market. Amber Alley, of Barsotti’s Body and Fender in San Rafael, CA, said she’s working with a school with a two-year program that cycles students from eight weeks at the school to eight weeks working in a shop. Justin Clubb, of Deery Collision Center in Iowa, said he brought concerns about a local community college’s collision repair program to a dean at the school, Ashlee Spannagel; she recently worked with him and others in the industry to overhaul the program’s facility and curriculum. A full write-up will be posted to the website soon

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seen during the pandemic is likely to continue, leading claims counts to continue to rise next year as they have in 2021, getting closer to a full rebound to 2019 levels by late 2022. Vincent Romans of The Romans Group consulting firm also offered his annual assessment of the consolidation trend in the collision

by John Yoswick

After being held virtually in 2020, the MSO Symposium returned to an in-person format Nov. 1 in Las Vegas, with opening speaker Susanna Gotsch of CCC Intelligent Solutions asked to tackle the question: “2022: Will the pandemic finally be in the rear view mirror?” Vincent Romans, left, of The Romans Group, and Susanna Gotsch, right, of CCC Intelligent Solutions, spoke during the MSO Symposium, held Nov. 1 in Las Vegas. Credit: John Yoswick Gotsch said with 30% to 40% of repair industry, calling MSOs “just workers likely to continue work- as aggressive” about acquisitions ing at home at least one day a during the pandemic as before. week, congestion—and result- A full write-up of the MSO ing accidents—during traditional Symposium will be posted to the commute times will not fully re- website soon, and will be printed bound next year. But the increased in the December issue of Autodistracted driving and speeding body News.

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FOR YOUR COLLISION JOB. autobodynews.com / DECEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 51


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