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Northeast Edition New York New Jersey Pennsylvania Delaware



SCRS Industry Achievement Awards: Winners Include NY’s Ed Kizenberger and Greg Coccaro On March 16, 2011 the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) held its Annual Awards Banquet at the Crowne Plaza Meadowlands in Secaucus, New Jersey. As always, the highlight of the event was the Eddie Kizenberger presentation of the receives the Regional Lifetime SCRS Industry Achievement Awards, through Award which the Society recognizes those that demonstrate outstanding service and achievement

within the collision repair industry. “Two Hawaiian words characterize these awards and their recipients,” explained Dale Matsumoto, chairman of the SCRS Awards Committee. “The first, Greg Coccaro ‘aloha,’ is familiar gets SCRS’ Special Recognition to us as a greeting and farewell; but it also can be used to mean the giving of one’s self-a lifestyle encompassing a life See SCRS Awards, Page 18

State Farm to Offer Electronic Parts Ordering to its Own Select Service Shops State Farm has announced that in the coming months it will develop a new electronic parts ordering system for its Select Service shops. The new parts ordering plan was rolled out to the DRP shops through an online video. In the video, claims consultant Gregg McDonald outlines State Farm’s plans, stating that the company will work with repairers, parts suppliers and technology vendors to develop a new electronic ordering solution. To view the video, go to b/eparts-ordering.asp. McDonald said the insurer will work with all segments of the industry

to develop a system to “reduce the amount of time and effort needed to search for, source and order all part types,” and “to give suppliers a better view of the process, and access to complete parts orders.” McDonald also said that the system will include a review tool to allow shops and vendors to provide feedback on the parts ordering experience, saying “Supplier choice and decisions regarding which parts are best suited for the individual repair will remain in your hands.” In 2009, State Farm ended an electronic parts ordering test it had rolled out in California and Indiana, See State Farm Parts, Page 27

VOL. 1 ISSUE 2 MAY 2011

‘2011 East Coast Resolution Forum’ Meets in NJ to Discuss Ongoing Efforts and Ideas by John Yoswick

Collision repair associations leaders from around the country met in Secaucus, New Jersey, in March to share ideas and discuss state legislative or regulatory successes and efforts. The “2011 East Coast Resolution Forum,” an event sponsored by the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) and the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers (AASP) of New Jersey, was held in conjunction with AASPNew Jersey’s NORTHEAST® 2011 trade show. Here’s a round-up of some of the news and discussion from the meeting:

Efforts to regulate mobile repairers Charles Bryant AASP-New Jersey said his group has been working for

some time to get the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission to regulate repair businesses that are performing work on a mobile basis in violation, AASP-New Jersey contends, with the state’s shop liCharles Bryant, censing law. That AASP/NJ Executive law requires that Director repairs be made inside a building zoned for autobody repairs and that all paint work be done inside a booth or a room with a filtration system. Mobile repair work, such as that done on a dealership lot, Bryant said, clearly falls outside these parameters. See East Coast Forum, Page 25

PAINT FOCUS ARTICLES in this issue...

PPG’s MVP Spring Conference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .p. 29

Painting with Waterborne at John Force Racing . . . . . . . . . . . . . .p. 30

New Jersey Shop Embraces PPG’s Envirobase® . . . . . . . . . . . . .p. 31

Revisiting Paint by Numbers: A Deep Dive into Refinish Data . .p. 34

REGIONAL STORIES in this issue...

SCRS Industry Achievement Awards: Winners Include NY’s

Ed Kizenberger and Greg Coccaro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .p. 1

New Jersey’s Green Automotive Repair Program . . . . . . . . . . . .p. 9

Rodi’s in Cherry Hill, NJ, Reminds the Customer of Rights . . . .p. 36

COLUMNS in this issue...

Franklin—Summertime Means Event Time For Body Shops . . . .p. 17

Danalevich—Is Your Parts Supplier Purchasing Policy a

Benefit or an Expense? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .p. 20

Gonzo’s Toolbox—On the Other Side of the Bookstore Counter .p. 22 Toby Chess—Getting OSHA-Compliant: Plans, Protection,

Painting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .p. 24

Yoswick—Effort to Develop Collision Repair Standards Takes

Another Step Forward . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .p. 27

Insurance Insider—Insurers Serve “Flavor of the Day” . . . . . . . .p. 38

Change Service Requested

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COLUMNISTS Attanasio, Chief - Indiana Shop Owner Favors Chief for Quality, Durability & Support . 15 Attanasio, PPG - 32-year-old N.J. Body Shop Embraces PPG’s Envirobase® HP Waterborne Basecoat. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Chaney - Three of Largest Auto Recycling Networks Merge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Chess - Getting OSHA-Compliant on Plans, Protection and Painting . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Danalevich - Is Your Parts Supplier Purchasing Policy a Benefit or an Expense?. . . . . . . 20 Franklin - Summertime Should Mean Event Time For Body Shops . . . . . . . . . 17 Gonzo - A Day to Reflect—On the Other Side of the Bookstore Counter . . . . . . . 22 Horn - Revisiting Paint by Numbers: A Deep

Dive into Refinish Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Insurance Insider - Insurers Will Continue to Serve “Flavor of the Day” to Shops . . . 38 PPG’s MVP Spring Conference—Excellent, Entertaining and Informative. . . . . . . . . 29 Sisk - Rodi’s in Cherry Hill, NJ, Reminds the Customer of their Right to Choose . 36 Stoll - Painting with Waterborne at John Force Racing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Yoswick - ‘2011 East Coast Resolution Forum’ Meets in NJ to Discuss Ongoing Efforts and Ideas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Yoswick - Effort to Develop Collision Repair Standards Takes Another Step Forward. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

Publisher & Editor: Jeremy Hayhurst General Manager: Barbara Davies Assistant Editor: Erica Schroeder Contributing Writers: Tom Franklin, John Yoswick, Lee Amaradio, Dan Espersen Janet Chaney, Toby Chess, Mike Causey, Tom McGee, David Brown, Rich Evans, Ed Attanasio, Chasidy Sisk Advertising Sales: Joe Momber, Sean Hartman (800) 699-8251 Sales Assistant: Kristy Mangum Art Director: Rodolfo Garcia


NATIONAL Airbiquity to Supply Air-Over-Voice Technology to Onstar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Feds Open Probes of Imprezas and Sorrentos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Ford Expands F-150/Lincoln Recall Due to Airbag Flaws . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Ford Surpasses GM in March Monthly Auto Sales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Ford’s CEO Mulally Says Suppliers Accomodating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Ford’s Electric Focus Will Not Lease Lithium-Ion Batteries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Full Deliveries From Japanese Suppliers Stalled Until July . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Gas Prices Not Significantly Driving Fuel-Efficient Sales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Gas Prices Take Toll on Miles Driven . . . . 19 Honda Extends Production Cuts in North America to May . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Honda Pushes Natural Gas Civic Alternative to E-Cars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Houston Auto Body Association, SCRS Association of the Year, Gathers at State Capitol in Austin to Support Senate Bill 1300 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Hybrids & Electrics Growth Outpaces General Vehicles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Hyundai, Kia Running U.S. Plants at Full Speed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Japan Supply Chain Will Rattle Earnings Worldwide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Microsoft and Toyota Join Forces in Telematics Venture. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 NHTSA to Review Claim Corolla Air Bag Failed. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Nissan’s Leaf Experiences A/C Sensor Problem. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Rutgers Engineer is Pioneer in Plastics Recycling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 SANYO Gets Two Ford World Excellence Awards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 State Farm to Offer Electronic Parts Ordering to its Own Select Service Shops. . . . . . . 1 The Curious Case of Hibbs vs Allstate—Does An Insurer Have the Right to Repair? . . 40 Toyota Warns Dealers that Inventory Could be Short . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Used Vehicle Pricing Expected to Rise in Quake Aftermath . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Verizon Unveils Hybrid and Alternative-energy Vehicles. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 When it Comes to Cars, Men Buy Looks, Women Seek Practicality . . . . . . . . . . . 32

Indexof Advertisers

REGIONAL AAA Urges Passage of Texting Ban, Graduated Licensing Program in PA . . . 4 AASP-NJ to Hold 7th Annual Lou Scoras Memorial Golf Outing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 AASP-Pennsylvania’s Big E Trade Show Coming in October. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Allstate to Open 50 Agencies in Florida. . . 40 Chrysler Trenton Plant Holds Recycling Drop-Off . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Crackdown on Distracted Drivers in Connecticut . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Florida Autobody Collision Alliance (FACA) Hosts 1st Annual First-Responder Extrication Training. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Foley to Become Mirenco Dealer in NJ . . . 12 GM to Invest in Rochester, NY, Auto Parts Plant. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Gunder’s Loses Appeal to State Farm— Court Rules ‘Even if False,’ Claims are Priviledged. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Insurance Fraud Claims on Rise in New York. 9 Japan Tragedy to Affect Vehicle Supply, N.J. Dealer Group Says. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Man Shot To Death At San Diego, CA, Auto Repair Shop. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 New Jersey Businesses Offered Free Electronics Recycling. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 New Jersey Green Automotive Repair Program Works with AASP/NJ at Northeast Trade Show . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 New Jersey Rated 2nd in Nation for Road Safety Laws. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 New York Merges Banking and Insurance Departments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 NY Drivers Contest Parking Tickets on City Website . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Penn. Insurance Broker Dismayed by Fraud Verdict . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Pennsylvania Drivers Could Be Taxed on Miles Traveled, Not Gas Usage. . . . . . . 16 Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Judge Facing State Discipline . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 PPG Announces its 2010 Platinum Distributor of the Year . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 SCRS Industry Achievement Awards: Winners Include NY’s Ed Kizenberger and Greg Coccaro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Subaru Shows Off Impreza in 3-D at New York Auto Show . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Toyota Wins New York Case over Unintended Acceleration . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Serving New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware 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. ©2011 Adamantine Media LLC.

Autobody News

Box 1516, Carlsbad, CA 92018; (800) 699-8251 (760) 721-0253 Fax Email:

AkzoNobel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Amato Agency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Autoland Scientech. . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . 35

Burdick Chevrolet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Chief Automotive. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

Maxon Mazda-Hyundai. . . . . . . . . . 29

Mazda Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . 42 Metric Subaru . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

MOPAR Wholesale Parts Dealers . . 21 Nissan/Infiniti Wholesale Parts

Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

Equalizer Industries . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

Porsche Wholesale Parts Dealers . 38

Fred Beans Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44

PreFab Ads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

Global PDR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

Quality Stainless Products . . . . . . . 14

Franklin Sussex Automall . . . . . . . . . 8

Fuccillo Kia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

GM Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . 32

Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers . 33

Jaguar Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . 34 Kia Motors Wholesale Parts

Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

Lazare Kia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Manhattan Automobile Company. 10-11

Mattei. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

PPG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Prince & Portnoi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Scion Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . 39 Scorpion Coatings . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

Stadel Volvo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

Subaru Wholesale Parts Dealers . . 28

Toyota Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . 37 VIM Tools. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

Volvo Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . 36 | MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS 3

AAA Urges Passage of Texting Ban, Graduated Licensing Program in PA

Citing statistics that show highway fatalities increased in Pennsylvania last year, AAA Mid-Atlantic has urged area lawmakers to support proposals that would strengthen teen driver and seatbelt laws and ban texting, according to Pennsylvania’s Montgomery News. “There is legislation in Harrisburg that we’ve been urging legislators to support,” Rick Remington, AAA’s Philadelphia manager of public and government affairs, said last this week. Specifically, AAA Mid-Atlantic urged Southeast Pennsylvania legislators to support House Bill 9, introduced earlier this year by state Rep. Kathy Watson, R-144. The bill would expand training requirements before a teenager could take a test for his or her license, increasing behind-the-wheel training from the current 50 hours to 65 hours. Ten of those hours would have to be at night and five of those would have to be during inclement weather, according to Watson’s proposal. House Bill 9 also would limit the number of teen passengers to one in a vehicle operated by the holder of a junior driver’s license, those ages 161/2 to 18, with exceptions for family members. Watson’s bill would make it a primary offense for any person to drive a vehicle with a passenger under 18 who is not wearing a seatbelt. “Across the nation, AAA has successfully urged states to take sensible steps to improve highway safety, steps that could have saved lives in Pennsylvania during 2010,” Remington said. “Pennsylvania motorists cannot afford to wait longer.” Deaths in crashes on Pennsylvania highways climbed to 1,324 in 2010, an increase of 68 from 2009, according to the latest Pennsylvania Department of Transportation statistics.

Fatalities in crashes that involved a 16- or 17-year-old driver increased from 40 in 2009 to 57 last year, according to PennDOT. Unbuckled fatalities increased to 524 last year, up from 451 in 2009. “Driving a vehicle is one of the most dangerous things a teen will do, because teens are more likely to take risks, not buckle their seatbelts and speed,” Remington said. “As a leader in teen driver safety for over 75 years, AAA knows that we need to be doing all that we can to make our most vulnerable drivers safer on the roads.” To date, Remington said, 31 states with the support of AAA have enacted “primary” seatbelt laws that enable police to cite drivers and passengers who are observed not wearing seatbelts. But Pennsylvania has a more lax “secondary” law, under which police can cite motorists for seatbelt violations only if they are stopped for some other offense. The neighboring states of New Jersey, New York, Maryland and Delaware all have enacted primary seat belt laws, according to Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, a national safe driving advocacy group. “We’d like to see Pennsylvania join it,” Remington said. According to statistics provided by Advocates, seatbelts saved the lives of about 12,713 people over the age of 4 in 2009. An additional 3,688 lives could have been saved if all passenger vehicle occupants over age 4 had worn seat belts. Remington said AAA also will urge Pennsylvania to join the more than two dozen other states that have banned text messaging behind the wheel. Watson’s proposal and Remington’s comments came just weeks after Advocates gave Pennsylvania a failing grade for driving safety legislation, ranking Pennsylvania as one of

The Association of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey will host their 7th annual AASP-NJ Lou Scoras Memorial Golf Outing on May 23 at the Colonia Country Club. Lunch will be served at 11:30 and tee-off time will start at 1:00. The event is dedicated to Lou

Scoras of Holmdel Auto Body and part of the proceeds from the outing will go to create a collision industry scholarship fund. The association is still looking for sponsors for this event, please visit for more information.

AASP-NJ to Hold 7th Annual Lou Scoras Memorial Golf Outing


the seven worst performing states when it comes to the adoption of 15 overall basic laws the group believes are essential to reducing deaths and injuries on the nation’s highways and reducing health care costs. The group determined that Pennsylvania, through 2010, enacted only 6-1/2 of 15 basic safe driving laws overall and only 3-1/2 of the seven laws it proposes for safe teen driving. Pennsylvania received an overall “Danger” rating, the group finding that the “state falls dangerously behind” in adoption of the basic lifesaving laws. Watson’s proposal primarily deals with updating the state’s graduated driver licensing law. Another proposal, House Bill 330, which deals primarily with distracted driver issues, was introduced in January by state Rep. Josh Shapiro, D-153. Under Shapiro’s distracted driving proposal, those drivers under 18 would not be permitted to use a handheld or hands-free cell phone and would be prohibited from text messaging. Adult drivers would be pro-

hibited from using hand-held devices and text messaging but could use a cell phone if a hands-free device was used. A violation of the proposed law would be considered a primary offense, meaning police could stop a person for that violation alone. State Sen. Andrew E. Dinniman, D-19, introduced a distracted driver proposal that is similar to Shapiro’s bill. Having similar proposals could make legislative passage easier, without compromises having to be worked out between the two chambers, Dinniman explained. Similar distracted and teen driving proposals failed last year when the Senate watered down stronger House proposals and the two chambers couldn’t agree on compromise language.


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Toyota Wins New York Case over Unintended Acceleration

A federal jury found that Toyota Motor Corp. isn’t responsible for a 2005 crash that the driver blamed on the floor mat or the electronic throttle, in the first case to go to trial since automaker recalled millions of its vehicles, according to reports made by Claims Journal. After 45 minutes of deliberation April 1, the jury found Toyota was not liable for product liability for the Scion’s floor mat or for the absence of a system that allows the brake to override the accelerator when both are pressed. The car’s driver, 59-year-old Long Island physician Amir Sitafalwala, contended that defects in the electronic throttle system or the floor mats caused him to suddenly accelerate and crash into a tree. U.S. Magistrate Judge E. Thomas Boyle ruled out evidence about the car’s electronics earlier this month. Sitafalwala’s 2008 lawsuit was the first to go to trial since Toyota recalled millions of vehicles beginning in 2009. In a written statement, Toyota called the verdict an “early indicator of the strength of the legal theories behind unintended acceleration claims” against it.

“We believe that this case sets an important benchmark for unintended acceleration litigation against Toyota across this country,” the statement said. Toyota has recalled more than 14 million vehicles globally to fix gas pedals and other safety problems, including more than 2 million that were recalled in February to address accelerator pedals that could become entrapped in floor mats or jammed in driver’s side carpeting. The company paid the U.S. government a record $48.8 million in fines for its handling of three recalls. U.S. regulators said earlier this month that electronic flaws were not to blame for reports of sudden, unintended acceleration. Hundreds of claims from around the U.S. related to the recalls have been consolidated under one judge in a U.S. District Court in California. In December, Toyota agreed to pay $10 million to the family of four people killed in a runaway Lexus crash in California that led to the recalls. Investigators determined that a wrong-size floor mat trapped the accelerator and caused the August 2009 crash.

NY Drivers Contest Parking Tickets on City Website New Yorkers who get undeserved parking tickets can now contest them online, according to NY1 News. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other city officials unveiled a new program today that allows New Yorkers to dispute tickets online. The site has a space to let a user make his or her case and upload pictures or other evidence. After completing the process, a judge should get back to the user within 10 days with a decision. City leaders said New Yorkers no longer have to choose between swallowing an unfair ticket and taking a day off from work to fight it. “We can’t stop giving out parking tickets. Because that is unfortunately one of the things that keeps people following the law. But we can make it easier to pay them, and we’re trying to make it easier to contest them if you think you were given one unfairly,” said Bloomberg. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said small business owners particularly pushed for the online option.

“At the end of the day, if you have to pay the ticket, and you feel like you were heard, you fully submitted evidence... if you’re a small business person but you didn’t also have to lose a day’s work, things are better in the total,” she said. The mayor said the city writes about 10 million parking tickets a year. Of those, 10 percent are currently challenged and about half of those challenges are dismissed. Some New Yorkers told NY1 they were more likely to challenge a ticket if they could do it from their computer. “I think it’s great that we’re catching up with technology, but I would think that you’re more likely to lose when it’s not so personal,” said one local. “I think it will save a lot of time for people, instead of taking time out of work to have to deal with it,” said another. The mayor said the website saves the city money on paper and mail and makes New York seem more user-friendly. To contest a parking ticket, visit


Crackdown on Distracted Drivers in Connecticut Police in Connecticut are bolstering patrols this month to look for distracted drivers as part of a federal pilot program, according to reports made by Insurance Journal. Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and police officials announced the fourth and final enforcement wave of the program at a Capitol news conference March 28. Police are looking for drivers talking and texting on cell phones and doing other distracting activities throughout the month, in a campaign called “Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other.” Police in the Hartford and Syracuse, N.Y., areas were chosen to participate in the initiative, which federal officials plan to use to create a national program. State police and officers in Hartford, West Hartford and East Hartford issued about 6,900 citations for talking on cell phones and 348 citations for texting during the first three waves that began last year.

It’s illegal in Connecticut to use cell phones without hands-free devices while driving. Fines are $100 for a first offense, $150 for a second violation and $200 for any subsequent violations. About 5,500 people die on U.S. roads in crashes reported to involve distracted driving each year, and another 450,000 are injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Police say the percentage of Hartford-area drivers seen holding phones to their ears dropped from 6.8 to 3.1 after the first two enforcements waves. Schools are also taking on antidistracted driving campaigns. “Distracted driving is against the law,” third-grader Nina Pezzello said. “So all you have to do is follow the rules and a lot of people won’t have to die.”

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New Jersey Green Automotive Repair Program Works with AASP/NJ at Northeast Trade Show

The New Jersey Green Automotive Repair Program (NJGARP) announced in September that the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) joined them as a new organizational partner. The NJGARP program, launched in April 2009, encourages the State’s automotive repair facilities—including dealerships, independent shops and, soon, auto body shops-—to implement environmentally-friendly business practices and become certified as “green” businesses. “AASP/NJ is very proud to join with the other organizations in NJGARP as a partner in promoting environmentally-sound business practices within the body repair industry,” said Charles Bryant, Executive Director of the AASP/NJ. “The group has done tremendous work in its first year and I know that our members will be committed to helping promote processes that are good for the environment, good for consumers and good for business.”

Since 2011 NJGARP has recognized the 27 auto repair and auto body facilities that have received “Green” certification. The facilities were honored at the organization’s Open House held at NJ CAR Headquarters in Trenton in February and began with Opening Remarks from representatives of each member organization. Wayne Staub, NJDEP Director of Economic Growth & Green Energy was the event’s Keynote Speaker. After recognizing the “Green” certified facilities, those in attendance took part in a brief, but productive roundtable discussion about how the NJGARP program has resulted in real, and sometimes, substantial, cost savings to their facilities and how the program can be further developed. “NJGARP and its member organizations are proud of the facilities that have gone beyond what the rules and regulations say and have taken their environmental stewardship seriously,” said Alex Yankaskas, Vice President of NJGARP. “The growing interest in


“Green” certification signifies the commitment auto repair and auto body facilities have to reducing their impact on the environment.” NJGARP committee members worked with the DEP to develop a checklist of “green” initiatives that automotive repair facilities can implement in an effort to become more environmentally responsible. Each “green” initiative a facility implements is assigned a point value. Repair shops must achieve a minimum number of points to qualify for – and maintain – New Jersey Green Automotive Repair Programcertification and “green” business recognition. Auto body repair facilities have some elements that are unique to the work they do, which is why they will be evaluated with an industry-specific checklist of “green” initiatives they can implement. The overall checklist includes: pollution prevention and resource conservation measures; waste fluids management; energy and water con-

servation efforts; waste water reduction; recycling practices; and protection of customers and workers at the facility. The auto body repair checklist will include such areas as: surface coatings, spray booth operations, onsite paint recycling/ equipment cleaning, paint stripping and sanding operations. Approved facilities must apply for recertification every two years, and NJGARP committee members will conduct on-site evaluations to determine if facilities continue to meet the specifications of the program and re-certify them. NJGARP provides certified shops with some opportunities to engage in a continuing education program. This program offers continued support and green education courses to certified shops. NJGARP also hopes to branch out into neighboring states to create similar programs in those regions within the next year. For more information please visit

PPG Announces its 2010 Platinum Distributor of the Year

PPG has named Miller Auto Parts & Supply Company, Inc., as its 2010 Platinum Distributor of the Year.

Miller Auto Parts’ Tyrone, PA location

The award was announced at PPG’s annual Platinum Distributor

Conference, Feb. 24-27 at Loews Royal Pacific Resort in Orlando, Fla. Charlie Lightner, president of the Huntingdon, Pa.-based distributor, accepted the award on behalf of the company. “I am extremely elated and very proud of our entire organization and thank PPG for this award,” said Lightner. “I attribute our success to our two general managers, Jamey Robertson and Jim McGonigle, and our 250 employees. They’re very knowledgeable and we get tremendous support from everyone at PPG. This is wonderful recognition for everyone’s efforts.” Bob Wenzinger, director of the PPG Platinum Distributor program, presented the award to Lightner. “This is a much deserved honor for Charlie Lightner and the hard-

working team at Miller Auto Parts & Supply,” said Wenzinger. “They do an exceptional job for their customers, who benefit from the company’s technical expertise and outstanding knowledge of our products. The phenomenal growth they’ve been able to achieve reflects their commitment to being the best at what they do.” Lightner joined MillerAuto Parts & Supply Company as a buyer in 1974. At the time, the company had four stores. Today, it has 29 locations in Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia. It became a PPG Platinum Distributor in 2006, shortly after electing to carry PPG paint and coating products exclusively. The company also provides parts and supplies for the mechanical side

National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). Questionable claims (QCs) are ones that NICB member insurance companies refer to NICB for closer review and investigation based on one or more indicators of possible fraud. A single claim

may contain up to seven referral reasons. The 2010 total represents about a 10 percent rise since 2007, when 6,378 QCs were recorded in the state. Of New York’s 7,026 questionable claims reported in 2010, NICB says 4,016 of them—57 percent—

Insurance Fraud Claims on Rise in New York

Suspicious insurance claims in New York were up about 4.5 percent in 2010, an industry report shows. In 2010, insurers reported a total of 7,026 questionable claims in the state, compared with 6,726 in 2009, according to the insurance industry’s

of the automotive aftermarket industry. Currently, it is heavily involved in assisting its PPG Refinish collision shop customers in the conversion to PPG waterborne products. The PPG Platinum Distributor program began in 1995 as a loyalty and support initiative for PPG singleline distributors with the ultimate goal of providing exceptional service and benefits for PPG Refinish customers. The program delivers competitive advantages to its participants by aligning the technology, training, and customer support of PPG with the entrepreneurship, customer awareness, local market knowledge and service capability of the independent distributor. For more information please visit

were from New York City alone. The rest were scattered around the state with the ext highest number—145— originating from Buffalo. NICB has had task force in New York since 2002 to help the industry and officials target insurance fraud activity. | MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS 9


Penn. Insurance Broker Dismayed by Fraud Verdict A jury recently found an Allentown, Pa.-based insurance broker liable for fraud after denying coverage to two Bristol Township, Pa., police officers injured on duty. USI MidAtlantic, a subsidiary of USI Holdings, and two of the firm’s employees, Claims Manager Robert Brown and Assistant Vice President Freda Batipps, were found liable for fraudulent conduct and intentional interference with contract by a 12-member jury, according to the Bristol Pilot. The defendants and USI Claims Analyst Linda Magovern, were found liable for breaching the duty of good faith and fair dealing owed by an insurance broker to an insured, the newspaper reported. “All of us at USI MidAtlantic are disappointed with the recent findings of a Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas jury as well as the subsequent misrepresentation of the verdict in a press release issued by the plaintiffs’ attorneys,” said USI MidAtlantic CEO Philip Remig.

Foley to Become Mirenco Dealer in NJ

Whayne Supply Company announced that Foley, Inc. has become the Mirenco Dealer for New Jersey. This provides Foley, Inc. with the exclusive distribution rights to provide Mirenco exhaust gas testing and fuel management services in their territory. Whayne Supply Company, the national distributor for Mirenco products & diesel combustion testing, is assisting Cat Dealers to provide Mirenco services in their respective territories. “It is an exciting time to have Foley, Inc. join Mirenco’s dealer network. Increased fuel costs and emission regulations have placed many operations in a tight spot. Foley, Inc. is now in a position to provide much needed assistance to its customers with Mirenco’s fuel and emissions services,” Dwayne Fosseen, CEO of Mirenco, Inc., stated. Mirenco’s evaluation products and services have proven to be valuable to those who operate diesel engines in mining, construction and on-road trucking.

Michael Egan and Mark Buzby, the policemen, were investigating an accident on Route 13 in Bristol Township Aug. 27, 2005, when they were hit by a drunken and uninsured driver. Egan had his leg amputated and Buzby suffered permanent injuries to his legs. The policemen alleged in the lawsuit that before the accident, the USI defendants failed to obtain a written statutory waiver of uninsured motorist coverage as required by law, which lead them to a year-long fraud scheme to obtain backdated waiver forms and use them as a basis to deny insurance coverage to the officers. When this conduct was discovered by Bristol Township’s insurer, more than a year after the policemen’s accident, the insurer quickly settled the police officers’ uninsured motorist claims, according to the Bristol Pilot. The jury awarded $250,000 to each policeman.

Ford’s CEO Mulally Says Suppliers Accomodating

Ford CEO Alan Mulally said April 13 that Ford is working with suppliers to minimize the North American production impact of Japanese parts shortages caused by last month’s earthquake and tsunami. The only impact on Ford in North America to date has been limiting vehicle orders in certain paint colors because of interruptions to Japan-supplied paint products. Mulally said Ford has shifted parts from slower-selling to hot-selling vehicles, used scheduled vacation downtime early and taken other actions to keep North American production from being disrupted. He counseled patience to Lincoln brand dealers, asking them to give increased product spending time to yield a broader vehicle lineup in the coming years. Some Lincoln dealers are upset that Ford is pushing them to improve their facilities and begin offering perks such as free car washes and loaner vehicles when the brand’s product lineup is limited.


New York Merges Banking and Insurance Departments The two state agencies will be merged into the new Department of Financial Services, streamlining that will save money and promote better investigations of financial fraud, according to Andrew Cuomo, a former attorney general in New York. The merger, which includes a requirement that separate insurance and banking divisions be formed, is part of the governor’s $132.5 billion budget approved by state lawmakers earlier this week and awaiting Cuomo’s signature. T h e Andrew Cuomo new entity will regulate any financial product being offered in New York, as well as any service or entity that is not regulated by another state agency. The state’s banking regulators now oversee all state-chartered banks and the state insurance department has jurisdiction over all insurance companies and products being sold in the state. Gary Henning, Northeast region vice president of the American

Insurance Association (AIA), representing the property-casualty industry, said the group is “pleased” with the merger. “AIA strongly advocated for insurers to remain regulated by a separate insurance division and this legislation accomplishes that goal by mandating separate banking and insurance divisions within the Department of Financial Services,” Henning said. He said the creation of a Modernization Working Group, consisting of policymakers and stakeholders, to study how to best make financial services regulation more effective and efficient is another benefit of the plan. “AIA looks forward to being an integral part of this important discussion on streamlining regulation and strengthening the property-casualty marketplace in New York,” Henning said in a statement. State officials have said they expect the new, combined office to open early October.

New Jersey Rated 2nd in Nation for Road Safety Laws A report issued in January 2011, rated New Jersey the second safest in the nation, based on the laws designed to promote highway safety. Only the District of Columbia ranked in front of New Jersey. Motor vehicle crashes impose a significant financial burden on society. According to the NHTSA, the total economic cost of motor vehicle crashes in 2000 was more than $230 billion. The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety issued its eighth annual roadmap to state highway safety laws. The report ranks the states on fifteen criteria that promote highway safety:

Adult Occupant Protection ● Primary Enforcement Seat Belt Law ● All-Rider Motorcycle Helmet Law Child Passenger Safety ● Booster Seat Law

Teen Driving ● Graduated Driver Licensing ● Learner’s Stage: Minimum Age 16 for Learner’s Permit ● Learner’s Stage: Six-Month Hold-

ing Period Provision ● Learner’s Stage: 30-50 Hours of Supervised Driving Provision ● Intermediate Stage: Nighttime Driving Restriction Provision ● Intermediate Stage: Passenger Restriction Provision ● Age 18 for Unrestricted License Impaired Driving ● Ignition Interlock Devices (IID) ● Child Endangerment ● Mandatory Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Testing for Killed and Surviving Drivers ● Open Container

Distracted Driving ● All-Driver Text Messaging Restriction Even with having laws that promote highway safety in place, New Jersey still pays a high price for the freedom and flexibility the automobile carries. In 2009, 593 people died in automobile crashes in New Jersey, at a cost of $9.34 billion. Put another way, it costs New Jersey $25,589,041 every day.

Nissan’s Leaf Experiences A/C Sensor Problem

Nissan Motor Co. said there have been a few reports of Leaf electric cars failing to restart after they have been turned off because of an air-conditioning sensor problem. “If this sensor is activated it will illuminate a warning light on the instrument panel and may cause the vehicle to not restart once it has been turned off. We are actively investigating to determine the root cause and what action is necessary to address the issue,” the company said in a statement. Nissan isn’t planning a recall because the problem isn’t a safety issue. The company says the cars won’t not stop running while being driven. Nissan says it is trying to “promptly address this issue.”

Ford’s Electric Focus Will Not Lease Lithium-Ion Batteries Ford’s new all electric Focus is ready to hit the market, however it will be sold without a leased-battery option. The lithium-ion battery pack will be included with the car and will not be leased separately. Awaiting customer reaction, Ford is convinced that leasing the batteries is not the right strategy. Leasing batteries would have brought the initial price down and many predicted that Ford ultimately would make the decision to lease batteries. The Focus has a 28kWh electric motor with a top speed of 84 mph. It will take around 4 hours to recharge the car, about half of what its main competitor, the Nissan Leaf, needs.

AASP-Pennsylvania’s Big E Trade Show Coming in October

The AASP-PA trade show in the East, known as the Big E, will return this fall October 14th through 15th at the Valley Forge Convention Center in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. The Big E features world renown speakers and trainers all the while bringing together aftermarket parts and product specialists with AASP-PA members. This show fills fast so visit to register. Booth space is available at a first come, first serve basis so AASP-PA urges all exhibitors to register as soon as possible. Not only does it guarantee your space at the show but it allows the AASP-PA to publicize the fact that your business will be in attendance. Visit to sign up now to attend.

Honda Pushes Natural Gas Civic Alternative to E-Cars

Honda is making a push to improve sales of its compressed natural gas powered Civic. Honda cautiously introduced the Civic GX first to government and business fleet owners and then retail customers in a handful of test markets. The nationwide retail launch set for this fall comes as President Obama pushes for wider adoption of fuel-efficient vehicles, including mandating that all federal cars will need to run on alternative, hybrid or electric power by 2015. Potential customers could also be lured by substantial cost savings as oil prices climb and natural gas prices fall in the wake of major newgas discoveries in the United States. The Civic GX enters a crowded field where new plug-in hybrid and fully electric cars such as the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf dominate the press and new compact cars offer competitive fuel economy. Honda’s goals are relatively modest—doubling sales to around 4,000 vehicles in the first year of national sales while Nissan is hoping to hit annual US sales of 20,000 Leafs—but it still thinks the GX can compete. “We’re asking the GX purchaser to make far fewer sacrifices than any other alternative fuel vehicle,” Eric Rosenberg,

GM to Invest in Rochester, NY, Auto Parts Plant

General Motors will invest $100 million and add 30 jobs at the company’s auto parts plant in Rochester.General Motors said that the investment will update four product lines produced at its Components Holdings Rochester operation. The company will update its integrated air module product line, a new high-pressure fuel rail, a new lifter oil manifold assembly and a new direct injection injector. “This investment in our manufacturing operations will enable us to produce a new generation of fuel-efficient small block car and truck engines,” General Motors Vice President of Labor Relations Cathy Clegg said. The parts made in Rochester will be shipped to GM Powertrain plants in Tonawanda, N.Y., Ontario, and Mexico. The 30 new jobs will be added to the existing work force of 826 hourly and salaried employees in Rochester. who heads Honda’s alternative fuel vehicle program in the United States. “When you compare it to the Volt or Leaf, it’s the most affordable, it has the best range and it has the quickest refill.” The GX can drive up to 250 miles (403 kilometers) on a single tank and only takes a few minutes to fill at public or home fueling station.





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New Jersey Businesses Offered Free Electronics Recycling New Jersey residents and small businesses now have more options to easily recycle their unwanted electronic devices. AERC Recycling Solutions and E-World Online, LLC have partnered to offer free electronics recycling services to residents and businesses with fifty or less employees in New Jersey. While AERC has been offering various solutions for individuals and small businesses throughout the United States, this partnership offers additional options for New Jersey residents and small businesses with the added benefit of recycling electronics at no cost. The partnership is a result of the recent New Jersey legislation banning electronics from landfills and requiring manufacturers to subsidize the recycling of electronics. E-World Online, LLC founded the Manufacturers Interstate Takeback System (MITS) to help manufactures comply with state legislations requiring manufactures to provide recycling options for electronics. AERC is very pleased to be offering free recycling options for the residents and consumers of New Jersey, said Lindsay Landmesser, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, AERC Recycling Solutions. Many consumers are unsure of the proper

way to dispose of electronics. They know they shouldn’t just throw items in the trash because of data security and environmental concerns but they dont know where to go.

Chrysler Trenton Plant Holds Recycling Drop-Off

In celebration of Earth Day, the Chrysler Trenton South Engine Plant is holding a household electronics recycling drop-off event. Great Lakes Electronics Corp. and MPS Group also are sponsoring the event. It will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 30 in the parking lot at the engine plant, 2000 Van Horn. It is open to the public, but not businesses, and the disposal of electronics is free. Household electronic items acceptable for recycling include computers, printers, monitors, cords, TVs, VCRs, cell phones and other small electric or electronic items. No large appliances will be accepted. Chrysler is encouraging the community to drop off household electronics for recycling, said Melanie Orcher, environmental specialist at the Chrysler Trenton Engine Complex.

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Gas Prices Not Significantly Driving Fuel-Efficient Sales

When gas prices first spiked a few years ago, car industry insiders say there was big demand for more fuelefficient cars. But things are slightly different this time around. New Car Dealers of Utah Executive Director Craig Bickmore says gas prices a few years ago jumped from around $1.50 per gallon to nearly $4. This time, the cost of a gallon of gas started close to $3 before moving up. So, demand for the highly fuel-efficient car isn’t as high in this state as it was previously. Hybrid sales went down from 2.9 percent of new vehicle sales in 2009 to 2.4 percent last year, according to USA Today. Sales of pickups, SUVs, crossovers and minivans went up to 51 percent from 48 percent in the same period. “I think they’re looking at their individual circumstances and making buying decisions based on that rather than on the fact that fuel is up,” Bickmore said. Bickmore says many consumers are sticking with the SUVs and minivans they’re used to. But he’s concerned about a potential ripple effect new efficiency standards may have on manufacturers’ product lines.

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Axion International , a leading producer of industrial building products and railroad ties made from 100% recycled plastic, has announced today that Dr. Tom Nosker, a professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Rutgers University and inventor of Axion’s Recycled Structural Composite (RSC), was recognized along with five of his peers as one of the nation’s top Mechanical Engineers. The designation appears in the April issue of Inventors Digest magazine. “This is a terrific recognition of Dr. Nosker’s tremendous contribution to the world of recycling, and the incredible legacy he’s created,” stated Axion President and Chief Executive Officer, Steve Silverman. “Tom’s contribution to the world of plastic recycling goes back to the mid 1980’s, when he helped develop PET resin recovery recycling technology, and continues to this day with his work in advances in thermoplastics composites, design of structures, and even flame retardant materials. Axion is extremely proud to be associated with him and we’re grateful for the contributions he’s made and continues to make to our society.”

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Indiana Shop Owner Favors Chief for Quality, Durability & Support by Ed Attanasio

Jimmy Lefler owns and operates five extremely busy body, mechanical, and glass shops based in Evansville, Indiana, that are repairing more than 200 cars per week, juggling eight DRPs, employing 80 people and doing approximately $9 million in annual sales. So, when it comes to purchasing equipment to run his shops, CEO Lefler expects that his machines will perform day-after-day without breaking down or requiring extensive maintenance. That’s why he’s been buying his racks, computerized measuring systems and lifts from Chief Automotive Technologies, a leading manufacturer of pulling, measuring, anchoring and vehicle specification products. Lefler is a third-generation body shop owner whose grandfather, Leroy, founded Leroy’s Paint & Fender Repair as a dirt floor garage in 1952. Times have changed. For almost 60 years, Lefler has been a household name for fixing cars in the tri-state area on the borders of Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois. Leflers has been winning national awards for the family’s contributions to the collision industry, while expanding and succeeding in a very competitive market with more than 60 body shop/collision centers listed in the southern Indiana region. Jimmy started working in the family’s business in 1986 in the parts department. “I did it all in the beginning—fixed cars, washed vehicles, worked as an estimator and cleaned floors—anything and everything to learn the business. In 1996, I bought out my father and starting running the operation,” he said. The Lefler family has had a longterm mutually beneficial relationship with Chief, he said. “We bought our first rack from them in 1982, after we saw their demonstration. That was the key, because it was very informative and they showed us everything that the machines could do. We have one Chief machine right now that’s been here for 18 years and it’s still going strong. It’s paid for itself several times over, that’s for sure. Today, we own three Chief measuring systems, four racks and a drive-over lift/pulling system.” Chief Automotive Technologies started manufacturing its first pulling systems in 1972, and it rapidly became a leader in the industry. The company has stepped up over the years, driving technology changes, including the introduction of computerized measuring systems and comprehensive vehicle specifications.

SHOP & PRODUCT SHOWCASE Lefler Collision & Auto Glass Centers

Location: Evansville and Newburgh, IN

Telephone: 812-423-4044 Company At A Glance...

Type: Collision & Mechanical Repair Facility Employees: 80

In Business Since: 1952 DRP Programs: Eight

Number of Locations: Three collision body shops & two mechanical/glass shops Lefler Auto Body Tech Rodney Blandford works on a vehicle using the shop's Chief Impulse frame rack, one of the Chief machines that Lefler counts on to repair approximately 200 cars weekly

Lefler’s VP/Operations Manager Ed Dietz praised Chief’s exemplary customer service for keeping his techs informed and productive while they are working with the manufacturer’s machines. “Our techs can get a Chief technical person on the phone immediately, and that’s critical,” Dietz said. “It allows my technicians to resolve their issue and stay productive, which is so important to our cycle times. If they have to sit on hold or wait to get a call back, that’s time that’s been lost.” Roger Tutt, production manager for Lefler’s Evansville North shop, has consistently received fast and accurate information from the Chief customer service team whenever he has needed it. “They make it easy. The only time I ever need technical service from Chief is a computer-related issue, and the technical service hotline walks me right through it every time,” he said. “The ability for a Chief technical person to log in remotely to see what the tech is looking at on the Genesis computerized measuring system computer is a ‘game changer’ for service.” Lefler has all his techs trained by Chief, he said, to ensure that they know every detail involved in the operation of these machines. “We recently brought Ken Soupene, a Chief instructor, on-site for a week of training for all of our technicians. It was great, because all of our employees were able to go through the training in a real-world setting, without costing us a decline in production or cycle times”. A big part of what Chief brings to the equation for Lefler is its training,

which allows techs to get certified and earn I-CAR credits in the process, Lefler said. “They make the training very effective and comprehensive,” Lefler explained. “It’s topnotch all the way. Soupene is one of the best instructors we have ever encountered from any company, and he taught most of my techs how to work these machines.” Chief’s support starts with training and continues after the sale via the company’s equipment reps on the ground, Lefler said. “Mark Lee is our equipment rep and he has proven to be one of the best we have ever worked with,” Lefler said. “He’s very responsive and is always readily available to answer any questions after the sale. Customer service is a big deal, because we’re using these Chief racks on a daily basis, and we work them hard. So, we need to have a guy like Mark who knows these machines inside and out and is dedicated to servicing our needs. I know that if we need a part in a hurry, he’ll drive it over here, even though his company is in Indianapolis, a 3.5-hour ride from here. That’s the kind of customer support we’ve been getting from Chief and reps like Mark.” Lee, owner of Lee Equipment, has been selling Chief equipment to Lefler for the past five years, and has a long history with the manufacturer, he explained. “Chief doesn’t make cheap machines, but the quality is there and the products’ longevity and durability is the proof. I have customers who are still using the same Chief machines that they bought 35 years ago.”

Combined Production Space: 47,800 square feet (combined)

All of Lefler’s shops are busy day and night, doing $9 million in annual sales despite a rocky economy

Jimmy Lefler is a third-generation body shop owner who owns five locations in Southern Indiana

Chief Automotive Technologies Phone: (800) 445-9262 email: website: | MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS 15

Japan Tragedy to Affect Vehicle Supply, N.J. Dealer Group Says

New Jersey’s association of auto dealers is warning of possible repercussions as a result of last month’s earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan, according to reports made by Asbury Park Press. See numerous individual reports in this issue. “At this time, there are more questions that answers, but it is clear that vehicle supply will be affected by the tragedy in Japan,” said James Appleton, president of the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers, on April 5. “How much of an impact the interruption will have and which makes and models will be most affected are uncertain.” The earthquake and walls of water that followed put virtually all Japanese auto manufacturing on hold while the country assesses the damage, the association said. The manufacturing of parts for many makes and models, from paint pigments to computer chips, even for some vehicles assembled in the United States, has been interrupted as well, the group said. Few auto plants were seriously

damaged by the quake, but with supplies of water and electricity fleeting, no one can say when factories will crank up. Some auto analysts said it could be as late as this summer. Steve Kalafer, chairman of Flemington Car and Truck Family of Dealerships in Raritan Township, said customers are asking questions about how the crisis will affect availability. Among the company’s dealerships are Subaru, Mazda and Infiniti. The Kalafer family separately owns Clinton Honda. “We have been notified by the different manufacturers of different shortages, different schedule changes and they will be very severe over the next 60 days,” Kalafer said April 1. “These cars will be in very short supply, and we are very concerned for our customers being able to have all of their orders fulfilled in a timely basis that has been historic.” There are signs, though, that things might not be as bad as analysts are predicting. Nissan Motor Co., which has seen production stop in several areas,

said last week that it expects factories to be back in operation in weeks rather than months. March 31, Honda Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Corp. said they will resume limited production at several Japanese factories, but full production will depend on the availability of parts. Tom Stark, vice president at Joyce Honda in Denville, said the dealership has “plenty of inventory.” “Our pipeline of inventory is not affected going forward,” he said. On April 4, Toyota said some production interruptions in North America are likely, but the company could not predict location or duration. The majority of parts for its North American plants come from about 550 suppliers in North America, the company said. And Toyota continues to receive parts from Japan that were already in the pipeline. At Honda and Acura, more than 80 percent of the vehicles sold in the U.S. are produced in North America. The majority of its parts also come from the region, the company said.

Jim Schwartz, co-owner of Schwartz Mazda in Shrewsbury, said the dealership ordered more cars before the earthquake. “We have some extra cars to bolster our inventory as we see inventory may be a problem as we move through the spring and into the summer,” Schwartz said. “We should be OK.” Schwartz said he recently spoke with the president of Mazda who said there was no damage to the plants where cars are built. “It is just a matter of the supply line getting reopened and up and running.” For now, Appleton of the state auto dealer association said his group is watching the situation. Demand for new vehicles has increased as the economy has started to recover. The group said growing demand and a reduction in supply likely will result in higher prices for many new vehicles. “If the impact of the catastrophe in Japan has even a minor impact on supply, you will find that demand will significantly outstrip supply in the months ahead,” he said.

Taxing motorists on the miles they drive—rather than the gas they use— could provide a more stable source of funding for transportation, the chairman of the state House Transportation Committee said April 4, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Because many new vehicles use less gas, experts predict per-gallon gas-tax revenue will taper off or even drop. So state Rep. Rick Geist, R-Altoona, said a proposal to study a possible vehicle-mileage tax will be included in the transportation funding package for the next fiscal year. He characterized such a tax as a “user fee.” “In all honesty, the fairest revenue you have is at the pump, but un-

fortunately that is dwindling,” Geist said. “This (vehicle-mileage) fee is fair because the more miles you drive, the more you pay.” Similar studies have been conducted in Oregon, Washington and Georgia, though no states have implemented a program. In Pennsylvania, federal, state and local fuel taxes add almost 51 cents a gallon to prices at the pump; that’s one of the highest rates in the country, according to the American Petroleum Institute. But the increasing fuel efficiency of modern vehicles—and their increasing popularity as gas prices soar —raises concerns that revenue will decline. A report released last month by the Congressional Budget Office

highlighted the benefits—and complications—of such a tax. “A consensus view of many transportation experts and economists is that a system of taxes on vehiclemiles traveled should be viewed as the leading alternative to fuel taxes as a source of funding for highways,” the CBO report said. The report conceded it would require a lot of time and money to get metering equipment in all vehicles, and the equipment could fuel privacy concerns. Collecting vehicle-mile taxes would likely be more costly and complicated than fuel taxes, the report said. But revenue from vehicle-mile taxes could be less volatile than pergallon taxes as vehicle fuel effi-

ciency improves, the report said. Sales of fuel-efficient, advancedtechnology vehicles increased 37 percent in the first quarter compared to the first three months of 2010, according to automotive website “We’ve seen a surge in people looking for more fuel-efficient cars since prices got around $3.50 a gallon,” said Steve Werkman, general sales manager of Valley Honda in Monroeville. The region’s average gas price has been at least that for a month, during which time Werkman said sales of Honda Civics that get 40 miles per gallon jumped 75 percent. Sales also have been strong on hybrids such as Honda’s Insight and CR-Z.

perior Court Judge Michael Joyce could lose his pension if he’s found to have violated the state’s Code of Judicial Conduct. The Erie Times-News said the board alleges the judge has violated the code by his 2008 felony conviction

in U.S. District Court. Joyce’s attorney, John Quinn of Pittsburgh, would not comment on the pending litigation. Joyce was convicted of defrauding two insurance companies out of $440,000

Pennsylvania Drivers Could Be Taxed on Miles Traveled, Not Gas Usage

Judge Facing State Discipline for Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud

The Judicial Conduct Board has begun disciplinary proceedings against a former Pennsylvania Superior Court judge serving a 46-month federal prison sentence for insurance fraud. It was not immediately clear if ex-Su-


he collected after exaggerating injuries to his neck and back following a low-speed auto accident in August 2001. He was also required to forfeit some items he spent that money on, including his home.

On Creative Marketing with Thomas Franklin

Tom Franklin has been a sales and marketing consultant for fifty years. He has written numerous books and provides marketing solutions and services for many businesses. He can be reached at (323) 871-6862 or at See Tom’s columns at under Columnists > Franklin

Summertime Should Mean Event Time For Body Shops

Summer time is nearly here and shop owners who are interested in attracting insurance or other referral business may be considering putting on an event. These can vary widely in terms of size and cost. I assisted one dealership owner in creating quite a large event to build business for his body shop. In addition to insurance DRP coordinators. Since he did a lot of work for commercial contractors and also local law enforcement, he invited many company owners and managers and also sheriff’s department personnel. He put up large umbrellas over picnic tables all along the driveway in front of his body shop work bays. Naturally food and drink vendors were located along there. Each work bay was converted into a presentation space. By the prep and spray booths, his paint jobber set up demos of spray guns, a colormatching photospectrometer, and various paint supply items. His 3-M distributor used a bay to demonstrate special materials for everything from windshield repair to simple repairs on plastic and fiberglass auto parts. Another bay housed a paintless dent removal specialist, and some attendees were provided with small dent removals from their vehicles. An ongoing demonstration

of the estimating and management systems was provided in the body shop office. Tours of the entire dealership were given every fifteen minutes. The cost of the event was in excess of $10,000. Was it worth it? One small insurance company representative agreed to add the shop to their DRP list. The dealership got a few orders for new pick-up trucks, but very few new commercial company people came to the event and I didn’t hear of any new commercial contracts. Was the event a wise investment? I don’t think the dealership owner considered it a success, but the upgrades to the shop were needed and the P.R. value of the event was substantial. Could he have put on an event for less? The answer is a definite “Yes!” Looking back, I could see that a dealership principal would have difficulty resisting turning a body shop promotional event into somewhat of a vehicle sales event. That increased his cost greatly. In general I’ve seen more shops simply put on a barbecue along with a tour of the shop. Others have made their shop available for a small local trade show with suppliers and other vendors setting up their demonstrations and presentations on long tables. One disadvantage of this is having other shop owners coming through. The barbecue event can be focused

purely on insurance company representatives and/or other referral sources. An even more economical approach to an event is to participate in someone else’s event. One local school put on a safe driving event. The Auto Club and a local radio station sponsored it. A couple of collision shop owners and also driving school owners were invited to set up tables with safe driving information. In a sense this was more of an event looking to the future when the high school kids would become new drivers, but parents were also there and had an opportunity to learn more about the participating collision repair shops. A more direct event for the general public was put on by a shop that became a voting location on an election day. The owner played patriotic music and had patriotic banners all over the place. He even hired a model dressed up in an Uncle Sam costume to conduct tours of the shop for anyone interested. Since many voters are longterm local homeowners with more expensive high-end cars, the shop owner felt he would reach the kind of customer he wanted. While a shop event aimed at insurance or commercial account attendees has to direct their promotional mail, phone calls and faxes to a very specific

list of prospects, the shop focusing on the general public could use radio, TV and print publication ads to get the word out. Shops located in a desirable residential area could also distribute flyers directly to homes in the area. Collision shops have one major advantage over many other businesses when it comes to putting on events. Most shops occupy a fairly large space overall. Like the dealership I described, most have many parking spaces and open repair bays where demonstrations and presentations can be carried out easily. Few people are aware of the size and complexity of a typical body shop. The event can be an ideal opportunity to educate prospective customers on the advantage of choosing a shop with state-of-the-art spray booths, frame measuring and straightening equipment, top quality welding equipment and the many special tools needed to perform repairs on today’s ever-changing vehicles. Putting on an occasional event is a good promotional effort for a shop because it not only provides a reason to invite key potential referral sources to see the shop, but it also motivates shop owners and managers to clean up the place and make it presentable for the event. That alone is worth at least a small investment.

by Janet Chaney

joining forces. All groups have different strengths that we have brought to the table and it just makes sense for us to team up to ultimately better serve our customers and our industry.” The merger came about quickly after the first meeting between the recycler groups at which sharing delivery system resources was explored. Ultimately, they recognized the benefit of consolidation, leveraging a full integration of the three trading networks. Significant value will be offered in better service to PRP Midwest mechanical and collision customers through the integrated delivery systems, expanded inventory and access to better salvage procurement options. “The merger of these three quality driven membership groups of in-

dependent recyclers will no doubt positively impact the repair community in the regions covered,” states Chris Northup, an independent industry consultant who is currently retained by the TEAM PRP National Board of Directors, “Realistically, this could provide the template for a go forward footprint of independent recyclers to compete on the national scale.” Kent Rothwell, Weaver Auto Parts, Carnesville, Georgia, a Team PRP National Board Member is pleased with the expansion, “Team PRP encourages individualism as we use our combined philosophy to build the strength of our network.” Mel Hunke, the General Manager of PRP Midwest has been working closely with all entities and sees the

positive change ahead, “ I am very excited about the potential resulting from these three networks of auto recyclers, who have a long history of commitment to excellence and outstanding customer service, joining forces to form one superior source of auto parts for all categories of customers,” Hunke continues, “I am optimistic that PRP Midwest will offer even greater customer benefits than the three groups have provided separately in the past. PRP Midwest is ready to assume a leadership role in providing “alternate source” auto parts to our customers”. About TEAM PRP: Team PRP is a national network of independent auto recyclers, offering expanded inventory, regional transportation systems and knowledgeable support staff.

Three of Largest Auto Recycling Networks Merge

The merger of three of the largest independent auto recycling networks in the country was announced at the United Recyclers Group Annual Conference in Colorado. QRP Midwest, a network of 33 independent recyclers has joined TEAM PRP affiliates, Absolute and Heartland, to form PRP Midwest. This alliance unites 52 independent recyclers in the Central geographic region of the United States. Krystyn Roberts of County Line Auto Parts, Kansas City, Missouri is the Chair of QRP Midwest and feels the timing is right, “Both PRP and QRP Midwest are very excited for the future and the possibilities that will come from our three independent recycling groups | MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS 17

Continued from Page 1

SCRS Awards

of giving, sharing, caring and love.” “The second, ‘kina’ole,” means flawless-as in doing the right thing for the right reason with the right feeling. Most individuals can, and will, do the rights things; but it is the deep feelings in our heart that makes us to things, for the right reason. This year’s winners embody the meaning of both these words.” Below is a summary of this year’s awards, their recipients, and the achievement being recognized.

Regional Lifetime Achievement Award: Eddie Kizenberger For decades Ed Kizenberger has worked on behalf of the collision repair industry in his native New York. He founded the New York State Auto Collision Technicians Association and the Long Island Auto Body Repairers Association, and serves as executive director for both. In addition, the Northeast Leadership Meeting would not exist without his influential involvement. He has broken significant barriers regarding legislation at his state capital by showing lawmakers that the collision repair industry is not afraid to voice its opinion and stand up for itself. He has never hesitated to assist other states or associations when a helping hand is needed. “Ed is never shy to roll up his sleeves to display the leadership and creativity necessary to succeed,” said SCRS Immediate Past Chairman Barry Dorn. “He stands up for the rights of the consumer and repairer because it is the right thing to do; he doesn’t take ‘no,’ for an answer. I have learned a lot from him, as has our membership and the industry. He’s an invaluable resource.”

Special Recognition: Greg Coccaro There are years in which SCRS finds individuals deserving of recognition, yet are hard to fit into a specific category. In those cases, SCRS presents a “Special Recognition.” While we all strive to live honestly, lead by example, and like to think we would do the right thing in the face of adversity, Greg Coccaro has proven over the past year that he does. In the past year his character has been put to strenuous test, and he has come through-despite some significant struggles-placing his personal

and professional integrity at the forefront of his life’s decisions. Where the less steadfast would have faltered, Greg wasn’t afraid to put it all on the line. For his dedication and tenacity of spirit SCRS acknowledged him with this very special award. Collectively this year’s award recipients, through a variety of accomplishments, represent the best of the best that the collision repair industry has to offer. “It’s satisfying to be able to devote this night to those individuals who set a positive tone for our profession and serve as an inspiration for us as we move forward,” added SCRS Chairman Aaron Clark. “Their enthusiasm for the industry is infectious, and as a result they motivate us to give our best as well.”

Humanitarian Award: Toby Chess This award recognizes an individual or group within the industry whose efforts advance the industry through support of humanitarian activities in their community outside the industry. As one of the industry’s premiere instructors, Toby Chess has a long history of providing enlightening information in an entertaining, thoughtprovoking way. In all that time, he has never lost sight of the individual’s role in the community and the ability one person has to make a difference for those who need it most. Toby spent much of 2010 travelling the nation, educating first responders on the technological advancements in today’s vehicles and delivering the knowledge they need to respond to emergency situations quickly and efficiently, in order to keep themselves and vehicle occupants safe. Toby’s community service didn’t stop there. During the holidays he led a team of “Santa’s helpers” to donate toys and gifts to families of U.S. Marines. These presents included over 100 new bicycles, four SUVs, a 12passenger van, two cars and a giant box truck filled to the brim with toys. “Toby truly leads by example,” noted SCRS Past Chairman Gary Wano. “We thank him for his generous spirit and his dedication to helping those less fortunate.”

Affiliate Association Award: The Houston Autobody Association (HABA) The Affiliate Association Award recognizes an SCRS affiliate that exhibits exemplary actions on behalf of the collision repair professional. The recipient of this year’s award was selected based on the volume of


feedback from SCRS’ other affiliate associations as the Houston Auto Body Association mixed their vigor for advancing their market with some out-ofthe-box thinking to achieve greater transparency in their state’s claims settlement practices. Working with the Texas Insurance Department, and solicited participation from the entire market, they facilitated a documented survey of carrier practices and made them available to the public. The initiative’s success sparked interest from our other associations interested in creating greater transparency in their own areas toward the ultimate goal of improved understanding of the carriers’ processes in a non-legislativeway that brought benefit to all repairers.

Collision Industry Non-Individual Service Award: Collision Hub This award recognizes contributions to the collision repair industry that originate at a corporate or company level. Collision Hub has served as a catalyst for the explosion of inter-industry dialog upon the national scene. A premier professional networking site for the collision repair industry that deploys a suite of mod-

ern communications technologies, including live Web broadcasts of industry meetings, Collision Hub has been extremely effective at helping associations like SCRS expand their message to a greater audience. Collision Hub, and its founder Kristen Felder, are prime examples of service to the industry. In addition to the recognition of individual acheivments, SCRS was fortunate to also honor and thank those that make the association’s efforts throughout the year possible. As a token of appreciation, SCRS provided its long list of Corporate Members with a specific mention of gratitude and a commemorative display to recognize the ongoing support received by these corporations. About SCRS: Through its direct members and 39 affiliate associations, SCRS is comprised of 6,000 collision repair businesses and 58,500 specialized professionals who work with consumers and insurance companies to repair collision-damaged vehicles. Additional information at the SCRS Web site: E-mail SCRS at the following address:

Gas Prices Take Toll on Miles Driven

With gasoline costing more than $3.50 a gallon in all but one state, there are signs that Americans are cutting back on driving, reversing a steady increase in demand for fuel as the economy improves. For five consecutive weeks, Americans bought less gas than they did a year earlier, according to MasterCard Spending Pulse, which tracks the volume of gas sold at 140,000 service stations. For the week of April 1, drivers bought about 2.4 million gallons less than they did one year earlier, or 3.6 percent. That was the biggest decline since December, when people were staying home because of snowstorms. Before the decline, demand was increasing for two months. Some analysts had expected the trend to continue because the economic recovery is picking up, adding 216,000 jobs in March. “More people are going to work,” said John Gamel, director of gasoline research for MasterCard. “That means more people are driving, and they should be buying more gas.” Instead, about 70 percent of the nation’s major gas-station chains say sales have fallen, according to a March survey by the Oil Price Information Service. More than half reported a drop of 3

Subaru Shows Off Impreza in 3-D at New York Auto Show

Subaru of America, Inc. will debut the all-new Impreza at its New York International Auto Show news conference via 3-D video. In a show first, attendees will throw on some 3-D glasses so they can experience the lives of Subaru owners—from mud running, to yoga, to car driving—as its new model is revealed to the world. You can also catch the show in plain old 2D on The Impreza is being touted as the most fuel efficient all wheel drive vehicle in America. Marking its best sales in company history, Subaru’s April 20th news conference will take place on the floor of the Jacob Javits Convention Center. percent or more, the sharpest since the summer of 2008, when gas soared past $4 a gallon. This year, gas prices have shot up as unrest in North Africa and the Middle East has rattled energy markets and increased global demand for crude oil squeezed supplies. A gallon of unleaded regular costs $3.77 on average, and only Wyoming has an average lower than $3.50. Gas is already 41 cents more expensive than at this point in 2008, when it peaked at $4.11 in July.

Microsoft and Toyota Join Forces in Telematics Venture

Microsoft and Toyota Motor Corp. have forged a strategic partnership and plan to build a global platform for TMC’s next-generation telematics services using the Windows Azure platform. Telematics is the fusing of telecommunications and information technologies in vehicles; it can encompass GPS systems, energy management and other multimedia technologies. The two companies plan to participate in a $12 million investment in Toyota Media Service Co., a TMC subsidiary that offers digital information services to Toyota automotive customers. The two companies aim to help develop and deploy telematics applications on the Windows Azure platform, which includes Windows Azure and Microsoft SQL Azure, starting with TMC’s electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in 2012. TMC’s goal is to establish a complete global cloud platform by 2015 that will provide affordable and advanced telematics services to Toyota automotive customers around the world. As part of its smart-grid activities, aimed at achieving a low-carbon society through efficient energy use, TMC is conducting trials in Japan of its Toyota Smart Center pilot program, which plans to link people, automobiles and

homes for integrated control of energy consumption. TMC believes that, as electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles become more popular, such systems will rely more on telematics services for achieving efficient energy management. Microsoft has a long history of delivering platforms and services to the automotive market, including incar infotainment systems built on the Windows Embedded Automotive platform, in-car mapping services with Bing and the Microsoft Tellme voice application, and many other consumer solutions. “Our announcement of our partnership with TMC is a great example of how we continue to invest in the automotive industry and of our commitment to power the services that are important to consumers,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. “It further validates the power of the cloud, as the Windows Azure platform will provide the enterprise-grade, scalable platform that TMC needs to deliver telematics in its automobiles worldwide.” Said Akio Toyoda, president of TMC: “To achieve this, it is important to develop a new link between vehicles, people and smart center energy-management systems.”



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Shop Strategies for Savings

Walter Danalevich, AAM, has been the owner of Santa Barbara Auto Refinishing since 1979. Contact him at:

Is Your Parts Supplier Purchasing Policy a Benefit or an Expense? with Walter Danalevich

7) Warranty for Mechanical Parts 8) Warranty for Chrome parts 9) Warranty for New sheet metal rust through 10) Warranty for Non-CAPA aftermarket parts 11) Optional mechanical service warranty Agreement 12) Transferable warranty to a nonoriginal owner 13) Policy for compensation to shop for wrong parts received 14) Fee for shipping cost on special order parts 15) Restocking fee after 30 Days

This month let’s take a look at parts ordering considerations that will improve your bottom line. Think for a moment of all your part suppliers both OEM and aftermarket. Do you know what the return parts policy is from each supplier? You should if you want to maximize your business profits. What is their return policy on parts that do not fit? Will they reimburse you for full labor or just the part cost and leave you with a “catch you on the next one” policy? Not too long ago, it was no “big deal” to return parts for credit months later. Some of us may even remember credits issued with certain part suppliers for returns where we did not even produce evidence in the form of an invoice. Well, times have changed considerably when ordering auto body parts. Today we have the option of ordering parts by the traditional voice phone communication or a variety of electronic options which include fax, text, digital and e-mail. Before ordering parts, Do you know if there is a 1) Maximum part return date 2) Credit for returns for damaged parts 3) Credit for returns on electrical parts 4) Warranty for reconditioned wheels 5) Warranty for off road usage 6) Warranty for CAPA aftermarket parts (like kind & quality)

Having answers to the above parts ordering warranty concerns will assure you maintain and improve your parts department profit margins. For example, recently our auto body shop in Santa Barbara, California had a very positive parts warranty experience involving our aftermarket parts supplier. Our repair shop had customer approval to proceed with repairs to their 2010 Honda Civic. Their insurance company, to my complete surprise, stipulated in the repair estimate the use of an aftermarket fender and front bumper. I questioned the insurance company adjuster to make sure there was no mistake on their proposed estimate for such a new vehicle. The Insurance adjuster replied the insured’s policy stipulates using aftermarket

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has agreed to review a petition claiming the frontal air bag of a 2008 Toyota Corolla failed to deploy during a crash. The agency said in a statement on its website that it received a petition that “the frontal air bags in their MY 2008 Corolla failed to deploy during a 55-mph frontal impact with a large animal (a deer). During this crash, neither the driver nor front passenger was seriously injured in the incident.”

Federal regulators have opened two new auto safety investigations into Subaru Impreza and Kia Sorento vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it opened an investigation into 50,000 2011 Kia Sorento SUVs. NHTSA said it has received four complaints alleging a loss of power because of a sudden failure of a transmission intermediate driveshaft. Another five complaints allege a loss of power because of transmission failure that could be related to a driveshaft failure.

NHTSA to Review Claim Corolla Air Bag Failed

parts when available in exchange for a lower annual policy premium. Upon hearing this news I decided not to make a fuss and proceeded with repairs. All appeared well until the car bumper was installed. After the body tech installed the bumper it was quite obvious there was a “quality of fit” problem. The bumper end did not meet the attachment point of the aftermarket left fender. Additionally, there were noticeable one-inch gaps in front of both headlamps. How Sweet!!! I immediately addressed the issue with our aftermarket supplier who referred me to the district manager. The district parts manager asked me to take a few digital pictures of the misfit and send them to him to forward onto the manufacturer. Within 24 hours he authorized the aftermarket parts manufacturer to pay 100% of all the body & paint labor, including paint

supplies. We then reported the potential catastrophe to the insurance company who authorized us to install an OEM bumper. We proceeded with completing the repairs. A couple of weeks later we received payment in full for $653.93 from the aftermarket parts supplier. The insurance company even commented on how well we handled potential part warranty replacement crisis. This could have turned ugly if we choose to involve a less reputable aftermarket part supplier whose warranty did not conform to full reimbursement for parts and labor. By choosing carefully your suppliers part sales warranty, you will experience increased productivity and retained shop profits. May you all receive many “PERFECT FITTING PARTS” and added income to your bottom line!

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Hybrids & Electrics Growth Outpaces General Vehicles

The Detroit News is reporting that U.S. sales of hybrid and electric cars rose nearly twice as fast in the first three months of 2011 as the market, according to research firm Bolstered by rising gas prices, gaselectric hybrid and electric car sales increased 37 percent in the first quarter to 78,523 vehicles, Edmunds said. Toyota Motor Corp. accounted for more than two-thirds of the total, but the biggest sales gains were recorded by Honda Motor Co., Germany’s BMW AG and General Motors Co., which rolled out the Chevrolet Volt extendedrange electric car late last year. During the first quarter, sales of vehicles with conventional powertrains rose 20 percent. In the budding hybrid and electric vehicle market, Toyota led with 54,609 vehicle sales, up 37 percent. Sales of its flagship gas-electric Prius car rose more than 50 percent. Honda moved into second place after boosting sales 84 percent to 11,354 vehicles, followed by Ford, which recorded a 9 percent rise to 7,704 advanced technology vehicles. Not all hybrids are winners, though, Edmunds

Toyota Warns Dealers that Inventory Could be Short

Toyota is telling U.S. dealers that new vehicles could be in short supply this summer because of production slowdowns in Japan and North America. In a memo to dealers, Toyota’s U.S. general manager Bob Carter said Toyota is producing cars and trucks at reduced levels in April and hasn’t set its production schedule for May through July. Production has been hampered by parts shortages after suppliers were damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. cautioned. Sales of Toyota’s premium Lexus HS 250h car declined nearly 80 percent. Americans bought smaller cars and SUVs in March. The trends lifted U.S. sales of new vehicles by 17 percent from a year earlier to 1.25 million, a rate that shows the auto industry’s slow and steady recovery remains on track. The monthly sales pace, adjusted for seasonal differences and projected out for the year, came in at 13.1 million. That’s up from last year, but still far below years when car sales hit 16 million a year.

Ford Surpasses GM in March Monthly Auto Sales

For only the second time since 1998 (the other time was February 2010), Ford surpassed General Motors in total U.S. monthly auto sales. Despite gasoline costs being up 17% since the beginning of the year, truck sales continue to be strong, with Ford seeing truck sales up 24.3% during the month and up 21.7% year to date. For GM, the Silverado saw sales increase 8.9% during the month while sales are up 27.6% for the year. For Chrysler, the Dodge Ram saw sales increase 23% for the month and 39% for the year. Additionally, with respect to Chrysler, the recently re-released Durango should be an area for growth. Chrysler reported the best sales results in nearly three years, while Nissan reported numbers that nearly matched Chrysler’s as a result of heavy incentives. Some automakers (namely Nissan and Ford) had a small level of incentives during the first two months of the year, however, Nissan really ratcheted up the incentives which helped to fuel the monthly sales result. Ford’s incentives on the other hand were down 9.7% year over year according to; however, compared to the month of February, incentives were up 7.8%.

SANYO Gets Two Ford World Excellence Awards

SANYO announced that two of its product groups that supply Ford, the audio console and HEV hybrid car battery groups, have been awarded as top performing suppliers in 2010, receiving World Excellence Awards. They are Ford's highest recognition for suppliers around the globe in the 13th such annual awards event. Ford awarded 15 Gold and 26 Silver Awards this year, and SANYO received both a Gold (Audio) and Silver (HEV batteries). The awards are given out for excellence in quality, cost and delivery.

Incentives were a main culprit for GM’s less than stellar result during the quarter, with incentives being down 16.7% compared to February. Part of the problem with offering heavy incentives is that it pulls forward some future sales. GM estimated that the seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales for the month of March came in at 13 million vehicles, which is down from February’s 13.4 million figure, but still up year over year. This would mark the sixth month in a row the figure tops 12 million. | MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS 21

Service, Service, Diagnostic Di Diagnostic gnostic and an d Mechanical M e chanical ch aniccal al NEWS nd Mec echanical Mech ech ec hanical ca

Autobody News


Gonzo’s Toolbox

May 2011

This is a new story by Scott “Gonzo” Weaver as posted on his website, See his book “Hey Look! I Found The Loose Nut”, which provides a Good Laugh for Mechanics of Any Age. The book is available at Contact Gonzo at

A Day to Reflect—On the Other Side of the Bookstore Counter with Gonzo Weaver

Sometime ago I had my first book signing at a local book store. Steve’s Sundry—Books and Magazines. It’s a landmark bookstore in town. Everyone knows Steve’s place. It’s been in town for more than 60 years. It’s a great place for a large malt at the soda fountain, or to browse around the store to find a good book. I’m not a well known author; I’m a mechanic/technician who wrote a book. I really didn’t think there would be a crowd of potential buyers and admirers at the book signing; I’m not that naive to think I would be bringing in a flood of new customers to the book store. So, instead, I used the time to study the people that came in and out of the store. What a wonderful place, a book store. In the back of the store is an old counter with a bar and several bar stools. The counter, the soda fountains, and the bar stools are all original 50’s decor. With malt shakes and great sandwiches. You could take the whole day to browse for books while sipping on a shake or coffee. It’s a very pleasant place, nostalgic and modern at the same time. One regular customer sitting at the end of the bar was sipping away on his coffee while texting messages on his Blackberry. On the other end there was an old couple who appeared to be in their 70’s reading the paper and browsing a book or two. I could see this Norman Rockwell painting of them pictured there for probably the last 40 years doing the same thing. My place for the day was at a little table next to the register. A large stack of my books was neatly spread across the table. People would walk by, glance, and smile. The owner of the store would make short references to my book and try to get people in-

terested in talking to this so called “author” sitting there all solemn and quiet. The register was busy with small book purchases and a few patrons from the bar. Very home spun and relaxing, a lot of ‘hellos’ and “how’s the weather” comments throughout the afternoon. Some people would ask about the football game coming up and others would want to know where a certain book was. All this was going on while I sat there patiently waiting for the clock to roll around to my designated leaving time. Not that I wanted to leave, oh no, I was enjoying the atmosphere and the quiet nature of the daily workings of the store. That brings me to the thought that crossed my mind. Are these the same people that come to my shop with an attitude and misconceptions of the auto industry? Probably so. I have often wondered if it’s my attitude that brings out the worst in people, but, the whole time I was sitting there I was still the mechanic. I was still the guy they needed to fix their car. However these people didn’t know me as such. I was an unknown author signing books. When someone would ask about my book I would tell them that it was a book about people and the daily happenings at my repair shop. That it was funny, but informative, and you would definitely get something out of it. If you knew a person in the auto industry this would make a great gift


and they would get a great kick out of reading it too. Well, something like that anyway. Most of the time I would get a disagreeable hmmm in response. Others had that pondering look as if they were going back into their memory trying to find what was so funny about getting the oil changed on their car. And then walk away shaking their head. I didn’t find that in anyway offensive, or disrespectful. I found it to be a logical, and a very intelligent way for a person to state their opinion without saying much at all. I admire folks like this, the ones that can speak their minds without uttering a word. As each and every one of these patrons would checkout at the register they gladly paid for their things and gave a big thank you to the person behind the counter. I never heard one person ever ask “why does this cost so much”, “I think you shouldn’t charge so much for this sandwich,” “I know a place down the street that can do the same thing for half of what you’re charging.” Now that’s funny, that’s pretty much what I hear every day. What gives? Oh, now don’t get me wrong, it’s not every customer that complains about the prices. I have many, many customers that are eager to pay for my time and service, even a few that think I’m not charging enough for what I do. I even have some that feel the need to leave a tip. It’s those that want to complain and complain and complain that irks me. I have even had some tell me that I should give them the part for

what I paid for it. Does the book store give you the book for what they paid for it? Come on people. I wish I knew why it is the way it is, but for some reason perfectly sane people arrive at an auto repair shop and become tyrannical evil forces. Is it the smell of 90 weight oil in the air? Could it be the constant groan of pneumatic tools in the background? I wish I knew. Maybe after I retire I’ll take a job somewhere pleasant. Quiet, reserved, and ever so nostalgic. Yeah. Like a book store.

Japan Supply Chain Will Rattle Earnings Worldwide

Global makers of products from motorcycles to mobile phones are finding it harder to get the parts they need after Japan’s earthquake and tsunami wrecked supply chains, and investors worry that the worst is yet to come for earnings, Reuters reports detail. Motorcycle maker HarleyDavidson lowered the bottom end of its 2011 shipments forecast on Tuesday because of problems getting hold of radio components. Revenue from phone handset maker Sony Ericsson missed forecasts because of difficulties with displays, batteries and other parts. Apple Inc, which obtains many parts for its top-selling gadgets from Japan, expressed concern that margins are coming under pressure as makers of electronic gadgets around the world compete for crucial components. Toyota said it would cut U.S. vehicle production and might have to lower its full-year U.S. sales targets if parts shortages extend into the summer. “Electronics are used in so many areas,” said Bryan Keane, equity analyst. “It has the potential to be very wide-ranging. To some extent, it’s going to affect everyone. Even if your direct supplier isn’t impacted, your supplier could get their materials from someone in Japan.”

Ford Expands F-150/Lincoln Recall Due to Airbag Flaws

Ford Motor Co. is recalling almost 1.2 million F-150 pickups and some Lincoln Mark LTs due to faulty air bags. Federal regulators have received hundreds of instances of inadvertent air-bag deployment, many of which have resulted in bruises, cuts and even a chipped tooth. Two drivers said they were knocked unconscious. Ford, however, said it is not aware of any accidents related to the glitch. The recall affects Ford trucks from model years 2004 through 2006. “If the clockspring jumper wire comes in contact with the driver side frontal air bag lower horn plate, the wire insulation may become chafed, creating a potential short circuit,” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. Ford had resisted expanding the recall because the car maker didn’t see it as necessary, but it finally caved to pressure from regulators. “We understand the government’s desire to reach a broad group of potentially affected consumers and will recall the remaining population of trucks for our customers’ peace of mind,” a spokesman said.

Airbiquity to Supply Air-OverVoice Technology to Onstar Airbiquity, a provider of wireless connected vehicle services, announced at CTIA Wireless in Orlando, the company’s selection to provide data-over-voice technology to OnStar’s retail product, OnStar FMV. OnStar’s mirror-mounted retail device will bring connected vehicle services to virtually any vehicle. “We’re exceptionally proud of Airbiquity’s eight-year relationship with OnStar, the leading brand in connected vehicles,” said David Jumpa, senior vice-president of global business development, Airbiquity. Currently available on more than 40 MY 2011 GM models, OnStar soon will be available for installation on most other vehicles already on the road through local electronics retailers, including Best Buy. “With our underlying technology, OnStar continues to offer an innovative and cost-effective range of services to drivers,” Jumpa said. “Adding OnStar to a car is now as quick and easy as installing a new rear-view mirror.” According to Airbiquity, OnStar FMV will be available for purchase from North American consumer electronics retailers in 2011.

Verizon Unveils Hybrid and Alternative-energy Vehicles

Verizon showcased some of the newest energy-efficient additions to its motor vehicle fleet at an event attended by President Obama on April 1. Verizon, which has the third-largest corporate vehicle fleet in the nation, was among five companies recognized by the president for adding substantive numbers of green vehicles. Verizon displayed three of its latest energy-efficient vehicles at the event, which featured alternative-energy trucks and cars operated by some of the nation’s largest corporations. “We’re bringing environmentally friendly innovation and advanced technologies to our motor fleet operations,” said Jim Gowen, chief sustainability officer for Verizon. “By seizing the opportunity to help improve the environment, our vehicles are saving energy, reducing emissions and improving our greenhouse gas profile.” At the event, held in Landover, Maryland, Verizon displayed a hybrid Chevrolet pick-up, an all-electric Chevrolet Volt and a first-of-its-kind hybrid aerial-splicing vehicle. Over the past few years, the company has added hundreds of hybrid Toyota Priuses, as well as more than 500

compressed natural gas vans and 700 hybrid pickups. Verizon is the first communications company to engineer and deploy a hybrid fiber splicing unit. Because of their weight, these vehicles (commonly known as “bucket trucks”) usually consume significant amounts of fuel. To reduce fuel consumption, the company incorporated a hybrid engine and innovative, onboard batteries that assist in the vehicles’ acceleration, and power the bucket lift and lighting units. “We’re replacing less-efficient vehicles with transformational, energyefficient cars and trucks—a move that will have a long-term impact on reducing and improving fuel consumption and reducing pollutants,” said William Roberts, president of Verizon Maryland. “This event is a clear example of what happens when companies are allowed to innovate and deploy different technologies to meet their needs while achieving our shared environmentally positive goals.” Verizon was also the first company in the nation to deploy hybrid pickup trucks on a large scale, in a commercial setting. Last year, Verizon deployed more than 700 of these vehicles and plans 300 more units in 2011. | MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS 23

Hey Toby!

Toby Chess is an I-CAR program instructor, Welding specialist, and former salvage yard operator. Toby is universally known in the collision industry for his charitable works, worthy causes, and magic tricks. He can be reached at

Getting OSHA-Compliant on Plans, Protection and Painting with Toby Chess

As I promised in last month’s article, I have put together a checklist to help you get ready for an OSHA inspection. This a not a complete checklist and you will probably need some outside help to help you achieve total compliance, but it will help you have a better understanding of what is needed to get your facility ready for an inspection. You can also call your state agency and they will come out a give you a courtesy inspection. All violations will need to be corrected, but there is no fine/ticket issued at the time of inspection. You should know that they will return to check if the violations have been corrected and you will be on their radar screen. I will need another article to complete this checklist, so stay tuned next month. To see the OSHA standards, go to and type in 29CFR 1910. 38. This is the official OSHA web site. First off, do you have 10 or more employees? If ‘yes,’ you will need a written Emergency Contingency Plan. I took this description from the OSHA Manual: 1910.38(b) Written and oral emergency plans. An emergency action plan must be in writing, kept in the workplace, and available to employees for review. However, employer with 10 or fewer employees may communicate the plan orally to employees.

An example of an Emergency Exit Plan

program elements as well as management of hazard specific to your shop. A written plan which describes training, labeling, Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) management and other requirements of “Right-toKnow” must be in place. A good start for you and your employees is ICAR’s 4-hour WKR 01 (Hazardous Materials, Personal Safety, and Refinish Safety) class. The class deals with MSDS sheets, personal protection equipment and a number of hazards that are common in the body shop. A couple of other items that you may want to incorporate into your plan. ● A written procedure for handling inhouse employee complaints regarding safety and health. ● An incentive program for reducing work place injuries ● A formal disciplinary policy relating to safety. I know one shop that will write up techs who do not wear their safety glasses. Second time is a one day suspension, third write up is 3-day suspension, and the fourth write up is termination. Do you have all your current and past MSDS sheets? Are they in a conspicuous location? Did you know that you must retain all MSDS sheets for 30 years after product is no longer being used? After the evacuation plan, this is a big ticket item with OSHA inspectors. You can obtain them from your jobber, manufacturer’s reps and on-line.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Let’s talk about Personal Protective equipment. Look at the picture below and tell yourself what is wrong.

and paint suit. He is being exposed to isocyanates and doesn’t know it. Who is responsible for the Personal Protective Equipment (I will refer to it a PPE) and its use? Well, the employer is responsible for providing the equipment and the training in using it and the employee is responsible for actually using it.

Respirators: ● A respirator fit test is requires yearly (29 CFR 1910.134).

● Respirators must be placed a sealed container when not in use (29 CFR 1910.134) ● A program in place for training and proper use of respirators. ● The type of respirator used for specific products will be found in the Preventative Measures of the MSDS sheets. ● Respirator cartridges need to be replaced on a regular basis. 3M P100 cartridges need to be replacing after 40 hours of use or 30 days, whichever comes first. Here are some common questions that are asked about PPE: ● Are approved safety glasses required to be worn at all times in areas where there is a risk of eye injury? ● Are protective goggles provided and worn where there is any danger of flying particles and harmful vapors See Hey Toby!, Page 26

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Continued from Page 1

East Coast Forum

The Commission, however, had proposed bringing mobile repairers in under the shop licensing program. AASP-New Jersey opposed this action, showing the Commission published ads by mobile repairers indicating they were doing far more than minor cosmetic repairs and paint work. Bryant said the Commission most recently has taken the proposal to license the mobile repairers off the table, placing the issue “on hold indefinitely.”

Assignment of proceeds discussed Mike Parker of Parker’s Classic Auto Works in Rutland, Vt., said he recently received nearly $12,000 from Nationwide Insurance after successfully suing the insurer in small claims court for unpaid amounts owed to 31 Nationwide insureds who had their vehicles repaired at Parker’s shop. Parker used the “assignment of proceeds” process in order to sue the insurer on behalf of the vehicle-own-

ers for labor and materials on Parker’s final invoices that was not paid by Nationwide. He said Nationwide’s attorney at the 2-day trial last summer argued unsuccessfully that the case should be moved to Superior Court, in part because many in the jury pool had also had their vehicles fixed at the shop or had heard the shop’s radio ads. The jury decided in the shop’s favor Mike Parker after 45 minutes of deliberation, and Nationwide’s initial appeal was denied. The insurer then appealed to the state Supreme Court, and also offered to settle with Parker for the amount owed (about $11,000) less only the interest on that amount the court had also ordered paid. Parker declined the settlement, and Nationwide subsequently dropped its appeal. Despite Parker’s success, another attendee at the event urged caution when using the “assignment of proceeds.” “It’s a very powerful document, but if it’s misused, it will come back

and cost you a ton of money,” said Tony Lombardozzi of the Coalition For Collision Repair Excellence. Lombardozzi said anyone considering using the process should work with an attorney that is wellversed in how it works and who also understands the collision repair business.

Massachusetts Labor rate bill returns Peter Abdelmaseh, executive director of AASP of Massachusetts, said that group hopes the third time will be the charm, as it tries again to get a labor rate bill passed in that state. Abdelmaseh said shop labor rates in Massachusetts are the lowest in the country, an average of $5 less than those in the 49th state. Under the proposed legislation, a newly-established commission would determine the average labor rate nationally. The established rate in Massachusetts would be based on that rate but adjusted up or down based on how average technician wages there (as reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, compare to other states. The commission would also define three levels of shops based on

verifiable requirements for such things as equipment and training. “A level” shops would receive not less than the rate established by the commission; “B level” shops would receive not less than 90 percent of that rate. Shops that did not apply or meet the A- or B-level requirements would not have an established minimum rate. Abdelmaseh said the association has estimated that under the legislation, A-level shops would receive an hourly labor rate above $50 rather the current mid-$30s. Insurers have said this would add $100 million to their annual costs, but Abdelmaseh said those estimates are based on all shops receiving the A-level rate. “We have said out of the 1,800 shops (in the state), we think that only 200 shops will be getting that A-level rate, and maybe 300 more getting the B-level rate,” Abdelmaseh said. “Those shops will be doing about 60 percent of the jobs, because they tend to be higher-capacity shops.” The association has estimated the rise in costs for insurers to the bill to be about $28 million per year, or about $6 per policyholder in the state. He See East Coast Forum, Page 42 | MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS 25

Continued from Page 24

Hey Toby!

(isocyanates for example)? ● Are protective gloves issued for various toxic exposures? (Again, you can look in the Preventative Measures of the MSDS sheets for specific type of gloves that are necessary for a particular product). ● Do you have an eye-wash station and it is properly maintained? ● Is protective clothing supplied for painting (paint suit for protection

against overspray and isocyanates) and welding (jackets and gloves)? ● Is proper hearing protection equipment furnished? Here is an example of an ear muff.

if used instead of the full fresh air system. (Did you know that the fastest route for hazardous materials to get into the blood stream is through the eyes?) You will also need a CO monitor if you use shop-supplied air. There are systems that use electric pumps that produce no carbon monoxide, oil vapors, or oil mist. The only drawback is that the painter will need a separate air hose (The SATA unit pictured utilizes one hose. You plug your air line into a unit on a supplied belt and a small hose comes off the unit to the CO monitor and then delivers fresh air to the helmet.) I ask the same questions every time I conduct I-CAR’s WKR 01 class to refinish technicians and helpers. Do you mix paint? Do you clean the guns? When they answer ‘yes,’ I ask them if they wear goggles, respirators, paint suits, and gloves when they perform both task. The majority answer that comes back is they ‘only wear gloves.’ Isocycantes are present in all three operations: mixing, painting, and cleaning. The appropriate PPE must be worn at all times. You need to enforce this rule or you are setting yourself up for a lawsuit. Be forewarned. Here are some other areas in the paint department that need your attention. ● All containers need to have a workplace label. If you mix paint for the day, it is not necessary, but if the paint is not used that day, it will need a label. A piece of masking

tape with the paint code is not sufficient. This is a disaster in the making. ● All metal flammable containers must be grounded ● A fire extinguisher must be within 10 feet of any inside storage area of flammable liquids (More on fire extinguishers in the next article). ● All solvent wastes and flammable liquids must be kept in fire-resistant, covered containers when not in use.

● All hazardous liquids must have a spill containment system ● No smoking signs must be posted in areas of flammable liquid storage

● Paint mixing rooms/areas must have explosion proof lights.

There are many companies that have these materials (Grainger is an example). Craig Oliveira of Kent Automotive gave me his parent company’s (Lawson Products) Safety Catalogue and I found it to be extremely helpful in getting all the information and products necessary to be in OSHA compliance. It is free— check with your local Kent Automotive Representative or other reputable source. Next month’s article will focus on the rest of the shop. Stay safe.

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What Gets Most Scrutiny from OSHA? The area that receives the most attention during an OSHA inspection is the paint department. Let’s look at some of the problem areas that need your attention. The painter is first on my list. All painters should be wearing a paint suit, glove and utilize a fresh-air system. I think that the fresh air system incorporates goggles and respirator into one system. Your painter can wear a half-mask fresh air system or a respirator, but must also wear goggles

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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 He can be contacted by email at

Effort to Develop Collision Repair Standards Takes Another Step Forward A Collision Industry Conference (CIC) committee hopes by April to have hired a consultant to help build a business case for a new organization that would oversee the development and implementation of formalized collision repair standards in the United States. Russ Thrall, co-chairman of the Repair Standards Advisory Committee, said at the CIC held in Secaucus, NJ in mid-March that several proposals from consultants are now being reviewed, and a decision is expected in April. If funding for the position can be raised, the consultant will be asked to issue a draft of the business case by the end of September. For a number of years, an allvolunteer CIC committee has discussed and crafted some portions of a possible standard, which would address training, equipment and even repair procedures. A draft of the still in-process 100-page document can be viewed online ( Thrall has said the consultant is needed to work with the volunteer committee to conduct the interviews and research necessary to propose a structure and funding mechanism for the organization that would use a formal process to create and implement the standards. The consultant’s report would also outline the value such standards would offer various segments of the industry, and how the performance of the standards could be measured. The committee is planning a forum to be held in conjunction with CIC’s November meeting in Las Vegas that would present the consultant’s findings and recommendations. Continued from Page 1

State Farm Parts

saying it had no plans to implement such a program nationally, but that it had found that electronic parts ordering “has value”. The Select Service agreement that participating shops must sign gives the insurer the right to require electronic parts ordering.

Thrall said the committee hopes to include presentations and discussion at that forum with representatives from shops and insurers in the United Kingdom where a formalized set of industry standards has been in place for several years. As happens during many of the discussions of proposed industry standards, a number of participants at CIC in Secaucus expressed questions or concerns about the process or outcome. Aaron Schulenburg of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists, for example, asked whether the fund-raising that was planned was just to cover the expense of the consultant’s research, or if would be establishing funding for a standards organization even before the need for and interest in such an effort was established. He said his group had recently held a conference call with about 18 of its affiliated state repairer associations. “The perspective was pretty consistent from association to association,” Schulenburg said. “To be honest, there was a lot of skepticism over the value, the benefit, and the overall impact (of formalized industry standards) on the repair facilities that these association represent.” Thrall and others on the committee stressed that funding was only being sought to determine whether there is an interest in and business case for the development of a standard-setting and –implementing organization.

said that while the Gold Class Professionals designation is currently based on “points,” it will convert to be based on “hours” of training next year. Stage said there are currently about 4,000 Gold Class facilities in the United States, up by about 1,800 since last July. That growth, he said, came in part because of Allstate’s push to ensure all shops in its direct repair program are Gold Class. “There’s another insurance company that is pretty close to going down that path as well,” Stage said. “And two OEMs at this time are close to announcing a Gold Class initiative for their dealership shops.” Starting in July, I-CAR will begin to allow experienced technicians to “test-out” of some of the more “basic” courses required for “Platinum Individual” status. He said I-CAR will announce three new online classes in April, as well as about one new online class about each month after that. He said that while four hours of online training currently is more expensive than one 4-hour live I-CAR class, a new pricing structure expected to roll out in January will have “a lot more rationality” in the pricing for the two types of training.

I-CAR offers update Also at the meeting, Bill Stage of ICAR provided an update on the training organization’s efforts to revamp its offerings and recognition program. He

Other discussion at the meeting In other news and discussion at CIC in Secaucus: ● Industry trainer Toby Chess presented information on the need to recalibrate the steering angle sensor that is part of the electronic stability control system on an increasing number of new vehicles. Such systems are standard equipment on 85 percent of 2010 new vehicles, and will be re-

quired on all new vehicles as of model year 2012. The recalibration is an additional procedure that must be done after the vehicle alignment. “It’s an added step, and there’s also no more 2-wheel alignments with these systems. That won’t work,” Chess said. He said even though no “trouble light” will be lit on the dash and the vehicle may handle properly under normal driving conditions even if the system is not calibrated, the electronic stability control function may not work properly in a subsequent “emergency maneuver.” ● Deborah Craig, a compliance officer with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said that even though the deadline has passed for shops to comply with new federal refinish and paint stripping regulations, any business that has not complied should not avoid doing so. “Some folks think if they hang back and don’t submit the paperwork that somehow EPA isn’t going to know about them,” Craig said. “They don’t want to shine a light on themselves by submitting something late. Our recommendation is that you just move forward as quickly as possibly to come into compliance. Give the regional EPA folks a call. Ask for help in filling out the forms. Talk to folks in your trade group for assistance. Talk to your paint suppliers. A lot of the paint suppliers have really been offering such excellent customer service by helping you comply.” ● An informal collection of cash donations from the approximately 150 people at the meeting raised more than $1,600 for the Japanese Red Cross to support efforts to help that country following the earthquakes and March 11 tsunami.

As of yet there is no firm start date for the test. According to George Avery, State Farm claims consultant, the company has yet to work out details about which Select Service shops will participate or what kind of technology will be used. “We don’t have a timeline and we don’t know where we’re going to test it,” Avery said. “Our intent is to give the repairer the choice of the type of

parts they want to use. We’ll thoroughly test this solution before we roll it out to our shops, like we do all of our projects.” The goal is to improve the efficiency and accuracy of the parts ordering process to minimize returns and potentially increase the speed of repairs. State Farm could potentially benefit through reductions in rental costs and overall repair costs

by eliminating supplements and returns. The first electronic parts program, which was designed based on an OE discounting program, ran from 2007 to 2009. “This is just the next step in the process,” Avery said. “We’re taking what we learned and applying that to improve efficiency, get the right parts and possibly fix the car quicker.” | MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS 27

Used Vehicle Pricing Expected to Rise in Quake Aftermath

Automotive News Reporter Arlena Sawyers writes that since the earthquake in Japan, used-vehicle prices have become so volatile that price experts are scrambling to keep up. And dealers, anticipating new-car shortages, are going beyond usual channels to stock usedcar lots, often paying more for those vehicles and then worrying about having shelled out too much. Prices already were high. The recession led to a shortage of used vehicles, and when demand rose as credit eased for used-car customers, prices soared. Then the quake struck. Reduced production by Japanese automakers, such as Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., and the threat of production cuts by virtually all automakers means a reduced new-vehicle supply. Dealers who are short of new vehicles look to the used-car lot to meet demand. And prices could go even higher. If new-vehicle incentives dry up, as many predict, prices of used vehicles will rise as new-car transaction prices go up.

Full Deliveries From Japanese Suppliers Stalled Until July

Automotive News Editor Jason Stein reports that as inventories of Japanese products continue to dry up, Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. have warned U.S. dealers: Full deliveries from Japan likely won’t arrive until July at the earliest, and perhaps as late as September. Parts shortages have forced Toyota and Nissan to prepare several scenarios in which full production in Japan wouldn’t begin until at least 30 to 90 days after the country’s upcoming holiday break, said people who have been briefed on the situation. In the best-case scenario, both automakers will begin full production a month after Japan’s Golden Week holiday that ends May 9. In an internal document sent to dealers Friday, April 15, Toyota said it will keep building cars in Japan at half of the original plans until June 3, which will cost the automaker another 120,000 vehicles in lost production. A decision on Toyota production at Japanese plants after June 6 “will be made at a later date after assessing the situation of its suppliers and other related companies,” the document says.

Honda Extends Production Cuts in North America to May

Automotive News is reporting that Honda will extend reductions of vehicle output at its U.S. and Canadian plants through May 6. The automaker had previously said it would reduce vehicle output through April 22. Decisions have been made on a plant-by-plant basis on how much to cut back production in order to conserve parts. Affected plants include East Liberty, Ohio, which makes the Honda Accord Crosstour and CR-V; Greensburg, Ind., which builds the Honda Civic and Civic GX; Lincoln, Ala., which makes the Honda Odyssey, Pilot and Ridgeline; Marysville, Ohio, which produces the Accord and the Acura TL and RDX; and Alliston, Ontario, which builds the Civic and the Acura CSX, MDX and ZDX. Honda has been altering production schedules at those plants since March 30 in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The automaker said it anticipates that additional production adjustments will continue after May 6. Honda has already restricted dealer orders for June, so that allocated colors and trim levels for U.S.-built vehicles cannot be altered. It also has suspended U.S. dealer orders for Japan-built models that are sold here.


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Hyundai, Kia Running U.S. Plants at Full Speed

Hyundai and Kia, South Korea’s biggest carmakers, are running full shifts at their U.S. plants with overtime, unaffected by parts shortages that are curbing output for Japanbased competitors. Hyundai’s plant in Montgomery, Ala., aims to squeeze out 10 percent more Sonata and Elantra sedans than its 300,000-unit capacity this year, said Robert Burns, a spokesman for the factory. About 80 miles east, Kia’s plant in West Point, Ga., has run extended weekday shifts and Saturday work since last year and expects that to continue for the foreseeable future, said Corinne Hodges, a spokeswoman for Kia. Expanded U.S. output at Hyundai and Kia contrasts with assembly reductions at the North American plants of Toyota, Honda and Nissan implemented after Japan’s earthquake on March11. U.S.based General Motors and Ford also cut some assembly, and Chrysler Group canceled overtime shifts to conserve supplies of parts that might grow scarcer. Globally, 1.5 million units of auto production might be lost temporarily because of damaged operations at Japan-based parts and materials suppliers.


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Publisher’s Page with Jeremy Hayhurst

Jeremy Hayhurst is a former geologist, university science publisher, and now newsmagazine owner who started working in a body shop in high school. Contact him with your ideas and suggestions at

PPG’s MVP Spring Conference—Excellent, Entertaining and Informative PPG hosted its invitation-only Spring 2011 MVP Conference in Palm Springs at the spectacular Rancho Las Palmas Resort March 27 through 29. The theme of the conference was ‘Journey to Excellence’ and excel-

Imagine a collision repair training event that combines a golfing retreat at a top-notch Southern California resort, high-end illusionists and magic tricks, nationally known

Take note, industry, this is the way to hold a collision and refinish conference that leaves the attendees wondering what can possibily be done next year to top it. But it wasn’t just

The conference kicked-off with a Golf Tournament. The winning 4-some shot a 63 (l to r) Ed Carwile, Chuck Anderson, Benjamin Mahoney and Walter Hughes

Jim Berkey, Director of Business Solutions for PPG Refinish, introduced the keynote speakers

lence on many levels was provided for more than 350 fortunate PPG customers and special guests in attendance.

• If it doesn’t say MAXON on your wholesale parts invoice, you paid too much! • Se Habla Español

motivational speakers, excellent and abundant food, and of course, serious and substantial shop management training. Add in a spectacular location, beautiful weather, and an intimate cocktail party—with live music—to introduce a continuous two-day trade show, and it’s hard to imagine a collision shop owner who wouldn’t want to be part of it.

fun and games. In fact a good deal of the fun and games were designed with a serious purpose in mind, either to illustrate good and bad thought habits impacting business, or to invite introspection about running a collision business in an era of change and uncertainty. Clearly a lot of planning, refinement, and foresight went into designing the curriculum that drives the MVP Business Development Series from PPG.

Michael McMillan, Author of “The Pink Bat” was one of the motivational speakers at the event. His key message was that “Imagination is more important than knowledge”

areas where they might be underperforming, and the full import of the program comes together to benefit the shop, its employees, and its customers. Jim Berkey, Director of Business Solutions for PPG Refinish,and Norm Angrove, Senior Manager of PPG Value-added Programs, explained over lunch that, when introduced more than a decade ago, MVP Business Solutions was the first pro-

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From top left clockwise: The beautiful Rancho Las Palmas Resort; l to r: Shop Owner Tom Bissonnette (Parr Auto Body), Norm Angrove (PPG) and Jim Berkey (PPG); Bottom photos: Over 30 vendors participated in the Vendor Fair which was well attended by the participants.

The MVP program is a series of business development training courses covering every aspect of running a successful and profitable collision center. Add to that, the opportunity to attend MVP round table forums where participants brainstorm with their peers on ways to reduce cycle time, increase productivity and improve in

gram of its kind in the collision repair industry. Since then, thousands of collision center owners and managers have taken advantage of MVP’s innovative programs to improve the way they run their businesses. Said Berkey, “In anticipation of industry consolidation five years ago, we started reSee PPG’s MVP Conference, Page 35 | MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS 29

Painting with Waterborne at John Force Racing by Paul Stoll, PPG Trainer

Robert won NHRA’s 2011 Winternationals. Proving PPG Envirobase High Performance is not only Fast in the paint shop but also Fast on the track

John Force Racing drivers have won the last five National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) events, dating back into late 2010. You don’t do that with-

out some body damage to your Ford Mustang Fuel Funny Cars. John Force Racing has been using PPG’s Envirobase® High Per-

formance waterborne basecoat on their cars for two years now. Envirobase® HP is very easy to use and repair, something that the paint team has the opportunity to do on more than one occasion—when things go bad on the racetrack. PPG waterborne basecoat dries to a thinner film than conventional solvent basecoats, helping the team keep the Ford Mustang bodies light. And PPG’s Envirobase® HP waterborne paint has helped John Force Racing go green. I had the opportunity to go to the team’s Brownsburg, Indiana shop earlier this winter and spend four days helping paint the Ford Mustang bodies for 2011. I worked with Dean Antonelli, one of John Force’s crew chiefs and general manager of the Brownsburg facility. Paint shop manager and graphic designer Brandon Baker, painter Dave Gregory and Jesse Knox were all part of the team.

Creating Robert Hight’s 2011 Ford Mustang Body Last year’s carbon fiber bodies are stripped of the PPG clearcoat and

White covered up with transfer tape

works better than the caustic type paint removers traditionally used. Envirobase® HP is a latex resin basecoat that is very flexible and resists solvents and chemicals. The paint that is not removed, as well as the exposed carbon fiber, are then sanded with 400 grit dry sandpaper. See Painting with Waterborne, Page 33

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32-year-old N.J. Body Shop Embraces PPG’s Envirobase® HP Waterborne Basecoat by Ed Attanasio

The conversion to waterborne paint in states like New Jersey is a reality for body shops throughout the Northeast, because by 2012 regulations will likely mandate the use of the new paint. While some collision businesses are not enamored with the idea of changing the way they’ve been painting cars for decades, many are happy to say ‘goodbye’ to solvent and ‘hello’ to waterborne. Proactive shops that see the value in making the changeover before they’re forced to do so by law are jumping on the waterborne bandwagon right now. One of these proactive shops is Andrews Auto Body in Brick, New Jersey; a shop that has embraced PPG Envirobase® High Performance waterborne paint in a big way. If you live in or around Brick, you know the name Andrews. This second-generation body shop has been around since 1979, when Rich Andrews, Sr. started his small body shop and built a substantial customer base, many, many years before waterborne paint was even something to consider. But growth dictates new procedures. In August of 2009, Rich, Sr., and his whole family moved to a new, 6,000 square-foot facility. I say they all “moved” there because the entire family works for the business. Mom (Linda) is the front office manager, her oldest son Keith, 36, is the shop’s manager; Rich Jr., 31, is the shop’s lead painter and their sister, Jennifer, is the shop’s assistant office manager. And dad is still there, watching his sons as they take their shop to a new level—which includes waterborne. Since the move, Andrews has purchased a towing company and does a lot of work for the town of Brick, Keith Andrews said, which has provided a new source of revenue for the shop. Simultaneously, Andrews Auto Body made the changeover to PPG Envirobase® HP basecoat in their new, larger facility. The moves have paid off in a big way, because the shop is hitting better numbers than ever. “We’ve tripled our revenue since moving here and now we’re repairing 50–60 vehicles per month,” Keith said. “Switching to the PPG waterborne paint has played a big part of it. This year, we’re on track to do $1.4 million, which is very encouraging news, especially since we’re still in a recession and all the snow this winter didn’t help us either. We switched

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It’s a family affair at Andrews Auto Body in Brick, New Jersey. From left, Rich, Jr. is the shop’s lead painter; his sister Jennifer is the assistant office manager; Rich, Sr. started the shop 32 years ago; his wife Linda runs the front office; and Keith Andrews manages the shop

over to waterborne to stay ahead of the game. We know we don’t have to do it until 2012, but we decided— since we’re moving—why not use the opportunity to do it now? The PPG rep convinced me that their Envirobase® HP waterborne would be a better way of doing things, so we made the move and we haven’t looked back. PPG Envirobase® HP is a great product and we’re happy with it for several reasons.” As lead painter it was particularly important that Rich Andrews, Jr. was 100% onboard with the switchover to PPG waterborne, because he is the shop’s only painter and runs the company’s paint department from the mixing station all the way to the paint booth. The whole changeover started with the training provided by PPG, both on-site and through their training center in Maryland. Rich, Jr. explained, “They trained me on the waterborne system in shop and then they sent me to Maryland for further training. Scott Pearson, from PPG was great and he made the transition painless. Our paint jobber, Albert Kemperle Paint and Body Equipment Inc., played a big role too. The PPG people were here several times and they stayed with us until we were totally comfortable with the paint and procedures. They walked us through the process until the result was perfect. We’d been using solvent since 1979, so this was a significant change, obviously. “It was a huge change, so I admit I was a little reluctant at first,” Rich, Jr. said. “But I didn’t have to re-

do one single car, to be completely honest. The color matches are spoton and the finished product is better than solvent. There was a very small learning curve, but once I got into the groove on how to spray it and dry it, it was a pretty smooth transition. Keith Andrews knows that PPG has been instrumental in improving his production system and he continues to be pleased by the company’s top-notch customer service. “PPG has done a great job in helping us be more productive in general,” said Keith. “Everyone with PPG has been excellent in every aspect of what they do for us. If I ask them or Albert Kemperle, my PPG jobber, I get it. They respond to me almost immediately in every case, which is great. That’s all you can ask from a paint company. PPG has played a very integral part in getting us to where we are now, so it’s been a great relationship.” Now that he’s been using the waterborne basecoat for almost 18 months on a daily basis, what does Rich, Jr. think of waterborne in general? “It may slow you down for a few minutes, but in the end you won’t be re-doing jobs, because the color matches are perfect. With Envirobase® HP, the finished product is better, with zero comebacks or complaints. They make the simple matches so simple and it has pretty much eliminated spray outs. I’m now doing 3–4 cars a day, and I don’t have to do even one single spray out. I’ve reached a point where I can just trust it.”

Lead Painter Rich Andrews, Jr. doesn’t have to re-do jobs by using PPG Envirobase® HP waterborne paint, he said, because the color matches are on the money 100% of the time

It may take a few more minutes to paint a car with waterborne vs. the old solvent days, Rich Andrews, Jr., said, but the finished product is superior in every way.

PPG Automotive Refinish Company Contact: Cindy Piazza Phone: 440-572-2800 email: website: | MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS 31

When it Comes to Cars, Men Buy Looks, Women Seek Practicality has released a refreshed demographic study based on car-buying behavior in 2010, examining gender differences in auto buying.’s study was based on over eight million retail purchases in 2010. “The study shows that women car buyers are more cost-conscious and purchased fuel-efficient vehicles while male buyers were completely the opposite, purchasing vehicles that were either big and brawny, like a large truck, or chose a high-priced, high-performance vehicle,” said Jesse Toprak, Vice President of Industry Trends and Insights at

Some of the key findings of the study include: ● The brand with the highest percentage of retail sales to females in 2010 was MINI (47.9 percent), followed by Kia (46.8 percent), and Honda (46.0 percent) compared to 2009 when Saturn and Kia tied at 45.2 percent and MINI came in third at 45.0 percent. There were fifteen brands with a female ratio over 40 percent in both 2009 and 2010. ● The highest percentage of male buyers primarily purchased exotic brands. There were five brands in 2010 at 10 percent or less for retail sales to

women, including Ferrari (6.4 percent), Lotus (7.2 percent), Lamborghini (7.4 percent), Maybach (8.0 percent), and Rolls Royce (9.3 percent) compared to 2009 when there were six brands; including Bugatti (0 percent), Maybach (3.7 percent), Ferrari (5.1 percent), Lamborghini (5.5 percent), Rolls Royce (8.0 percent), and Aston Martin (9.0 percent). ● The top ten models that had greater than 50 percent retail sales to females and at least 1,000 annual retail sales in 2010 were: Volkswagen New Beetle, Kia Spectra, Nissan Rogue, Volkswagen Eos, Hyundai Entourage,

Volvo S40, Jeep Compass, Honda CR-V, Nissan Sentra, and Hyundai Tucson. – The top ten models that had greater than 50 percent retail sales to males and at least 1,000 annual retail sales in 2010 were: Porsche 911, GMC Sierra, Chevrolet Corvette, Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-Series, BMW M3, Ford Ranger, Toyota Tundra, Dodge Ram and Audi S5. also examined the most current market prices and listed discounts for all of the brands and specific models that were tracked with over 1,000 vehicle sales annually.

The Houston Auto Body Association asked that members of the collision repair industry in Texas contact their Senators in support of SB 1300, which was up for committee hearing on April 12. The Texas Senate Business and Commerce committee voted unani-

mously to pass SB 1300 on that date, which will require more disclosure from insurers about their Direct repair Program policies and requirements. James Brown, HABA’s President, and many others with the HABA met in Austin April 12 at 7am to show

support for this bill. The Texas Department of Insurance is in full support of this bill as well, according to Brown. The Committee Substitute version of the bill was passed out of committee, it now heads to the Local & Consent calendar and then it will

go to the House Insurance Committee. “I would also like to extend a special thanks to all those who made phone calls and those who came to Austin in show of support for this Bill. I especially want to thank Larry Cer-

Houston Auto Body Association, SCRS Association of the Year, Gathers at State Capitol in Austin to Support Senate Bill 1300

See HABA SB1300, Page 37


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Painting with Waterborne

Sanding carbon fiber will expose the fibers, so sanding is kept to a minimum. Areas that require a body filler and any fuzzy carbon fiber exposed from over sanding are sprayed with PPG’s ECP A-Chromatic Surfacer. After drying, we sanded with 400 grit dry sandpaper, and finished with 600 grit. Envirobase® HP basecoats should be sprayed over a 600 grit (or finer) scratch because of the thinner film build. A sealer could be used to fill sand scratches, but on these cars, sealer is left off to help keep the weight to a minimum. The Mustang body is now blown off and cleaned with PPG’s OneChoice® H2O-So-Clean waterborne cleaner. This evaporates quicker and pulls the sanding dust from the sanding scratches much better then solvent cleaner, leaving a nice surface that is ready to paint. Since we are working on a carbon fiber body, we do not get any static when wiping the body. The first color to go down will be

1st coat of PPG EHP Blue water base coat

Body unmasked, tacked, ready for Clear Coat

2 coats of PPG EHP Blue. White unmasked

1 Double coat of PPG ECS 700 Clear

a metallic silver. I spray three coats just in the area where we will mask off the silver with ½-inch tape for Brandon’s design. I use an Iwata LPH400 gun with a gold air cap. I let the metallic silver dry between coats, which takes only five minutes thanks to the


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TurboAir Drying System® installed in JFR’s booth. Air movement is what makes waterborne paint dry fast, and the TurboAir unit is a turbine blower that does the job quickly—speed is required at John Force Racing. After a 30-minute dry time in the booth, masking begins. We use a plastic/vinyl masking tape like FBS. Brandon also uses his computer skills to cut out a paint mask to aid in speeding up the process and, more importantly, to keep all the designs the same on all the John Force Racing Mustangs. The area of the car that will be blue is covered with plastic, so as to not add excess paint and weight to the car. The white stripes are sprayed next. Two coats of Envirobase® HP T400 white toner are sprayed, with five minutes dry time between coats and a 30-minute dry time before we’re ready for the blue. The white basecoat covers twice as fast as solvent, so this step goes quickly and weighs less due to fewer coats of paint. This also helps keep edges between colors much smoother. We mask off the white with a transfer paper that Brandon uses to transfer the vinyl decals he puts on the car. Again, this is faster than tape and paper. I am back in the booth, and I spray two coats of ‘AAA of Southern California’ blue. The Envirobase® HP formula covers quickly, and with the TurboAir blowing, I am ready for the second coat as soon as I can reload the paint gun. In just half an hour, I am

PPG EHP finished cars getting sponsors logos

ready to clean up and we are unmasking. We had a couple of small blow throughs on the first car—easily fixed. A quick mask of the blue and re-spray a little silver. The second car was perfect, no blow throughs. I blew the body off and tacked it with a PPG tack rag. Dave then stepped in and sprayed a double coat of PPG EC700 Production Clearcoat. While custom, multiple-color paint jobs are not considered to be very productive, with the tools at John Force Racing and the speed of the Envirobase® HP basecoats, we where able to spray a body a day while I was visiting. The last part of the job was applying sponsors’ logos on the cars, which I left in the experienced hands of Brandon. Paul Stoll is a PPG Trainer, who, among his many duties, teaches custom painting classes at PPG training centers across the country. Classes include training using Envirobase® High Performance basecoats in custom paint jobs. When not traveling, Stoll can be found at the PPG training center in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., (909) 987-0924.


Autobody News on Facebook | MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS 33

Revisiting Paint by Numbers: A Deep Dive into Refinish Data 1.46

by Greg Horn, VP Mitchell

Recently, I published an article on refinish times broken down by vehicle type, age and origin in the Q1 Mitchell Industry Trends Report (ITR). I wanted to see if all vehicles received the same treatment in the refinish process regardless of these factors. “Paint by Numbers: A Deep Dive Into Refinish Data,” drilled down into the refinish data for a year’s worth of appraisals and compared these elements to determine if there were significant differences in the refinish process. At the outset, I want to state clearly that this article examines the data only and is not intended to be construed as advocating or refuting any OEM refinish procedure or recommendation. I firmly believe that every damaged vehicle is unique and the proper repair procedure must be done on an individual basis. This determination should include the vehicle’s design, age, condition, finish, location and extent of damage, automaker and paint company recommended procedures, and last but certainly not least, the customer’s expectations. Our data immediately pointed out that there are in fact differences in the refinish process appearing on the appraisals. According to the data domestic made vehicles, including trucks/SUVs and older vehicles, received slightly fewer additional paint operations. Trucks and SUVs have slightly fewer hours added for blending into adjacent panels, averaging 1.35 hours of blend vs. 1.4 on average for passenger cars on estimates where a blend was specified. Surprising? That’s one way to put it. The original ITR article spurred a great deal of discussion in the collision repair industry. Many expressed that the data didn’t represent what was truly indicative of the operations required; rather they felt it was representative of what insurers paid for. In fact, the data does reflect what was written and accepted for the repair because the estimates were “aged,” meaning at least 90 days had elapsed before we queried the data. Note, I said accepted because these repairs reflect that an appraisal was written, a claim was made and presumably the repairs were done in accordance with the appraisal.

Avg Blend Hrs Only Ests w/Blend 1.44








1.28 Asia

Domestic Asia


I also received many questions about the difference in allotted hours for blend into adjacent panel time vs. full refinish operations and believe it is important to clearly state the differences between the two in the Mitchell Procedure Pages. In order to explain the differences we need to clarify our refinish labor time premises. The steps for refinishing a new undamaged E-Coated panel include:

* Solvent wash * Scuff panel and clean * Mask adjacent panels * Prime or seal as required * Final Sanding and clean * Mix materials * Adjust spray equipment * Apply color * Clean equipment

Mitchell refinish labor times also allow for flash times between coats. When blending a panel the reduction in labor time is due to not having to perform the following steps:

* Prime or seal as required * Final Sanding and clean * Mix materials * Adjust spray equipment * Clean equipment

See Paint by Numbers, Page 37


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PPG’s MVP Conference

building our programs. It was clear to us that the industry was going to demand stronger performance around quality cost and speed. Feeling good about the training received and feeling good about their paint supplier was not going to be enough.” “Our mission was to address cycle time reduction, the hardest metric to improve, by improving understanding about what really impacts cycle time.” Both Berkey and Angrove eloborated on what success means to PPG and a great deal of their motivation stems from helping shops survive and thrive due to improved performance. Yes, it means keeping a customer who uses PPG product, but success really means helping that shop maintain its DRPs by helping them improve continuously. Berkey said that most shops (say 90%) know what’s wrong with their operations, roughly half of those know how to change (say 45%), but only half of those again (say 20%) can actually

accomplish the change. When asked about trends in DRPs during one of the sessions, Berkey responded, “Look at State Farm. State Farm has decreased its DRPs from around 20,000 to somewhere around 11,000. It’s just getting more competitive. Shops must work on performance if they want to be one

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Results. Smith’s talk stressed that success increasingly depends on keeping your organization heading in the right direction and accelerating performance across the board. To truly succeed you need a high-energy workplace that boosts performance, generates more profits, increases sales and provides outstanding cus-

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tomer service. You must develop a of those shops in competitive proplan that will generate measurable, grams.” Original BMW Parts BMW bottom-line performance improveThe Keynote speakers at theNorth County event, introduced by Berkey, set the ment results immediately. This will allow you to adapt to changing trends tone with an energetic talk by Greg and manage shifts in markets, comSmith titled Fired Up, Leading Your(800) 564-8222 Organization To Achieve Exceptional petition and customer preferences in a changing work environment. Another motivational speaker Original BMW Parts North County BMW was Michael McMillan, Author of Pink Bat: Turning Problems Into Solutions who spoke engagingly on the (800) 564-8222 nature of problems, and the fear of a “problem pandemic.” Using events Original BMW Parts North County BMW from his childhood, McMillan directed the audience to see how many perceived problems are actually (800) 564-8222 seen solutions. You either live each day in a world filled with “problems,” or invert your thinking to perceive a world of unseen solutions. The keynotes helped pave the way for the larger message that MVP Original Thought #78 Services is all about continuous process improvement. The success of any collision center, now and in the future, is critically dependent on its ability to compete for business and reOriginal BMW Parts pair vehicles more quickly without sacrificing quality or increasing costs. It requires new thinking, new New Jersey processes, and a work culture devoted to continuous process improvement. BMW of Mt. Laurel Most critical are the leadership skills of managers, supervisors and team Mt. Laurel leaders, and their ability to implement (856) 840-1486 and sustain continuous improvement (856) 222-0506 Fax throughout the organization. MVP Leadership training sessions provide a systematic approach for giving attendees the skills required to

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ment change in their collision centers. The MVP Business Solutions program is designed to provide collision centres with an ongoing, realworld assessment of their performance as it compares to topperforming shops of similar size. Once this benchmarking analysis and bodyshop assessment is in hand, an owner or manager can identify any critical areas of their business that need to improve in order for the shop to reach its full potential. The first day of breakout sessions were devoted to a variety of shop performance topics such as: 360 Degree Marketing, Load Leveling, Value Stream Mapping, and The Lean Journey in Collision. The second day consisted of follow-up workshops that were more interactive in nature and gave attendees an opportunity to see what type of material would be covered in the full PPG MVP classes, which are offered throughout the year in various US and Canadian locations. PPG has worked with customers on implementing Lean for years, and has identified critical and necessary steps to go through to work successfully with customers. One of the breakout sessions, The Lean Journey in Collision—A Road Map to Implementation, presented by Jim Berkey and Randy Dewing, pointed out some unvarnished facts about Lean—that the failure rate while implementing Lean is far too high. This can be very discouraging. On the other hand, those successful in implementing changes to their shop culture and process performance can rest assured they will enjoy a competitive edge that others will envy. Thinking Lean and actually implementing are two different things. There is no one specific path that everyone must follow to implement Lean and develop processes with less waste. Another session, Value Stream Mapping, was designed to see and align your organization around the greatest waste elimination opportunity. Collision center owners and managers know changes to their shop processes must be made to obtain improvement; however, change can be difficult. It is important that collision centers develop a way of routinely evaluating where their real next opportunity lies in eliminating waste from the collision center process. The workshop included exercises with parSee PPG’s MVP Conference, Page 39 | MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS 35

Shop Showcase

Chasidy Rae Sisk is a freelance technical writer from Wilmington, Delaware, who works in a variety of fields and subjects, but grew up in a family of NASCAR fans. She can be contacted at

Rodi’s in Cherry Hill, NJ, Reminds the Customer of their Right to Choose with Chasidy Rae Sisk

Walking into Rodi’s Auto Body in Cherry Hill, NJ on a Saturday morning, the first thing I noticed were customers praising the convenience of Rodi’s being open on Saturdays for estimates, unlike other shops in the

Joseph Rodi, in the lobby of his Cherry Hill shop

area. The second thing that caught my eye was the prominent lettering on the rug spread across the floor: “The insurance company CANNOT tell you where to take your car for repairs.” Joseph Rodi, President of Rodi’s Auto Body, reinforces the message repeatedly that auto body work belongs to the auto body shop and the customer, not the insurance company.

High School in Camden during the night, Joseph Rodi was able to purchase a lot and open Rodi’s Auto Body in 1965. He received his Doctorate degree in Business Administration from Somerset University in 2006. As his website proudly states, “the pride he takes in his work has made the difference for thousands in his lifetime and has helped shape his success in achieving the American Dream.” Rodi’s Auto Body employs eleven individuals in addition to Joseph and his son, Anthony Rodi, who is the Vice President and Operations Manager of Rodi’s. Although all of Rodi’s employees have been trained in body, mechanic and/or welding school, Joseph Rodi believes the trade is in the shop and focuses his attention on training his employees accordingly. Their shop encompasses 10,000 square feet and utilizes all of the most recent equipment, including two downdraft spray booths, frame racks and two Car-O-liner alignment machines which enable them to tend to every end of the business, from “scratches to smashes,” as their motto states. Additionally, Rodi’s uses wateborne paints because they are better for the environment. According to Joseph Rodi, his success results from his insistence on

What struck me in talking with Joseph Rodi was his genuine passion for the business. He has dedicated his life to serving people in need and in trouble because he is filled with a real desire to give back to his fellow man,

parts used in the repair, thus allowing the customer to control the resell value of their automobile. He compares choosing an auto body shop to choosing a doctor; people go to the doctor they trust and are comfortable with

Joseph Rodi likes to display his shop’s numerous media stories

and he is clearly driven by the need to educate his customers. According to his website, he fights “for [his] customers because most of them don’t know what their insurance rights are.” Rodi refuses DRP agreements with the insurance companies because he believes it is the customer’s right to choose an auto body shop and the

rather than letting their insurance company tell them which doctor to visit, and Joseph Rodi believes that treating your auto body needs should be handled in the same manner. Direct repair programs, Joseph Rodi says, are not the American-way because America was not founded on the principles of enriching some, the in-

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integrity, hard work and honesty which he delivers to his customers through his repairs. Customers choose Rodi’s Auto Body because they guarantee fast service, low prices and honesty, plus they reinforce with the customer that all of their work is under warranty as long as they own the vehicle.


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surance companies, while impoverishing the general public. These insurance companies frequently send New Jersey auto body work to Philadelphia shops. Joseph Rodi refuses to allow insurance companies to mandate which materials he uses in his shop, and he has thrown insurance representatives out of his shop in the past for their demands. He insists that he will repair cars to the customers’ expectations, not the insurance companies’ liking, and he wonders what happened to honesty, integrity, hard work, fairness and perseverance. Joseph Rodi has served on the Camden County planning board for sixteen years and believes it is time for the public to talk to their legislators because Continued from Page 34

Paint by Numbers

The largest portion of not included time is for flash time between coats. The blend formula is to be used in conjunction with refinishing an additional panel on the vehicle and therefore would not allow for the already in-

these politicians have obligations to the public. Most shop owners serve the insurance companies instead of the customer because they are afraid to speak up, but Joseph Rodi professes “Well, I’m not scared; when you’re an honest man, you have no reason to be scared.” In fact, Joseph Rodi is working on plans for a car care warranty to replace many insurance policies, and he has begun an auto body guild to collaborate with other like-minded individuals.

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he spends in Austin on behalf of the HABA and the Collision Industry as a whole,” said Brown. To view the full text of this bill search ‘SB 1300’ at

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cluded flash times on the original panel. Were vehicle owners charged for the additional operations that were not approved for reimbursement by insurers? While this occasionally does happen, and is not a great customer experience for the vehicle owner, it is safe to assume that this practice does not occur on every estimate where additional paint operations are performed but not reflected in the


Continued from Page 32


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uploaded estimate. Again, the fact that clude that in today’s collision repair calling for a blend on a truck or SUV environment, older vehicles, domestic is less frequent than on smaller pasvehicles and trucks and SUVs receive senger cars points to the fact that with fewer blend hours in part because the the larger panel areas found on trucks panel is being blended within the and SUVs there is more of an opporpanel and in part because of the geogtunity to blend within the damaged raphy of where the vehicle is located. panel. Some may object to this conThe focus on refinish operations clusion and say cost shifting was inis particularly important as we see dravolved, meaning that the additional matic increases in the cost of a barrel costs were spread into other areas of of oil. As Mideast turmoil adversely the appraisal so that a shop could be impacts the cost of oil, Americans are compensated for what was truly re- shifting towards smaller vehicles. Inquired. Unfortunately, that may be the creases in paint costs because of riscase and there is no way in the data to ing oil costs will soon follow. While isolate instances where cost shifting is refinish operations have been an area occurring. It is important to note that of contention between some collision when we looked at blending within shops and insurers, when the price of the panel, we did not evaluate how oil rises, so does the frequency of conmany refinish hours were specified on tention and the volume of questions the appraisal for a specific panel vs. our editorial department receives refull refinish time. It is very likely that lated to refinishing. Looking towards the full base and clear coat were specthe future, as we start the shift away ified in the damaged panel, however, from large SUVs, the increasing numthat data is nearly impossible to sepaber of smaller vehicles on the road rate in a data pool of several million will increase the necessity of blending estimates. We focused on the blend into adjacent panels. operation as called out on in the ap- affecting the industry. Give us your opinion matters praisal. Statements and opinions expressed in In looking at the results of the this article are solely those of the auoriginal refinish study, I did not fully thor. They are not offered as and do explore the question of geography in not constitute legal advice or opinion the initial finding. Does the area of the of Mitchell International, Inc. country affect how many hours of blend time are reported? Herein lies the key; areas in the Midwest and South had fewer hours of blend time, and they also have the largest populaTo advertise source forastimely tionThe of trucks/SUVs well as more call Joe Momber at: domestic vehicles than foreign. information that every 800-699-8251 When broken by West Coast, body shopoutneeds! Midwest, Southern and Eastern states, e-mail: the blend time is lower in states where CALL 800-699-8251 there are higher volumes of trucks and Start FREE SUVs beingYour repaired. We can con-

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Inside Insurance

The Insider is a corporate-level executive with a Top 10 auto insurer in the U.S.. Got a comment or question you’d like to see him address in a future column? Email him at

Insurers Will Continue to Serve “Flavor of the Day” to Shops with The Insurance Insider

you guess what the exception is? The Insider offers an unvarnished look at various issues impacting the Okay, it’s actually not just one thing. It collision industry from an insurers’ can be summarized in four words: flawith Chasidy Rae vor Sisk of the day. perspective. Similar to the ice cream shop in In past columns I have explored many your neighborhood, insurance compadifferent perspectives on the value of nies regularly serve shops a flavor of direct repair programs. I believe most the day (or week or month). Insurance DRPs provide value to the vehicle companies have a set of guidelines that owner as well as the shop, although shop must agree to in order to particwith Chasidy Rae aSisk based upon the responses I’ve received ipate in their program. These guidefrom readers, there are a lot of people lines are in writing and allow a shop who disagree with my position. owner to decide whether or not the pro-

Northeast News Shop Showcase

And unfortunately, sometimes these unwritten rules are weighted more heavily by the insurer than the written ones. Shops are routinely eliminated from a DRP for not adhering to everything that they never agreed to adhere to in writing. Sound fair? Not really. What can a shop do? You can say noand jeopardize your relationship with that carrier. Fair? Not at all. This is what we refer to in the U.S. as the 500-pound gorilla or the bully on the playground. How do these flavors of the day occur? Are they handed down from the insurer’s corporate headquarters? In most instances, no. It’s something that is usually a result of a local or regional claim office. Management in these offices have the autonomy to do whatever is necessary to meet their budgets. Thus the “flavor of the day.” Local or regional management analyzes data and identifies trends while

trying to figure out what number can be manipulated to give them the result they desire. That’s why the flavor is always different and ever-changing. Shops need to find a way to work within the system because you aren’t going to beat it. I’m not encouraging anyone to give into whatever the insurance company wants. Nor am I encouraging fraud. I am encouraging you to play the game. Continue to write complete, consistent estimates. Perform the work you write on the estimate. Document everything. As you know, the flavor of the day changes routinely. If you can hold out for a day or a week, something else will be a priority and today’s flavor can quickly become yesterday’s old ice cream. You can’t change the flavor but you can change what you do and how you react.

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But from my perspective, most vehicle owners reap tremendous value from DRPs. DRPs have raised the bar for body shops; it forces them to provide exemplary customer service and high quality repairs. They also need to continually train their staff and invest in equipment otherwise risk being left behind as technology evolves. As a result, insurance companies don’t want to do business with every shop in the countryand they shouldn’t. They should want the best-in-class repairing their policyholders’ vehicles. But there is one reason why the current DRP models sucks, regardless of insurance carrier. This exception provides absolutely no value to the shopalthough it does provide a lot of value to the insurance company. Can

gram is of value to them. I cautiously use the word guidelines because the literal translation is “concessions.” While I don’t agree with concessions, at least they are in writing. It allows the shop owner to make a business decision as to whether or not the concessions are worth the potential additional work. Unlike the guidelines, however, the “flavor of the day” isn’t in writing. Unlike in the ice cream shop, it isn’t posted or advertised. And it sure the heck doesn’t taste good. What I’m talking about is parts usage, paint labor hours, cycle time, repair times, rental car days and the like…whatever it is that the insurer decides that today is most important to them. There are enough flavors of the day to make Baskin Robbins jealous.


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Continued from Page 35

PPG’s MVP Conference

ticipants using their own shop data to develop a value stream map to illustrate their performance. A comprehensive implementation plan can be used as a starting point for those who have not yet started a Lean journey or as a benchmark for those who are somewhere on the implementation journey. Another breakout session, a ‘360-Degree Marketing’ Workshop—Developing Your Plan, provided guidance on building a personalized marketing plan for your business. Led by the marketing experts of the MVP Business Solutions team, Norm Angrove and John Martin, the two-hour workshop addressed the practical tools collision center owners and managers can use in their business. Starting with a marketing template, each participant focused on a target audiences and marketing techniques to attract and retain customers, covering strategies and needs of connecting with the four

generations in the marketplace, social media engagement, elevating the customer experience and new insurer communication opportunities. This session focused on the different generations that comprise a body shops’s customers, and the different ways they need to be communciated with. The Boomer generation (those born 1946–1964) grew up with newspapers, the nightly news, and phone calls. The X, Y and Z generations grew up with computers and Internet and prefer text-based communications. As the session pointed out, the “Unshakeable Issues” for body shop owners are that they must learn to communciate with customers the way the customers want to be communciated with, and learning to use social media is critical to any businesses success. As the presenters pointed out, “It took newspapers 100 years to reach 50% penetration in US households, and social media has reached 50% househould penetration in only 4 years!”

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Brett Bialowas and David Knapp, was an interactive workshop to help level the volume of work in the shop by understanding simple models like the law of the funnel (Little’s law, see sidebar). Most if not all collision centers are faced with high levels of variation in the incoming work to the shop. There is the classic dilemma of pressure to take too many sets of keys based upon current levels of work in the shop versus the real fear of losing those keys to the competition. As cycle time became a critical measure we have learned more about the relationship between work in process inventory at the shop, and the cycle time at the shop. As we know, as car count increases, so does cycle time. Thus it is more important now than ever before to influence incoming work flow to any degree possible. The workshop looked at the impact that variation in work volume and mix has on the process and explored practical work load leveling systems that have been successfully used within collision center businesses. Perhaps the most entertaining speaker of all was magician and comedian, Kevin King, who billed himself as a practitioner of Verbal Perception Manipulation (VPM) and a “Master of Information” as well as “master of doubletalk.” King used verbal bafflegab in his talk purporting to describe “federal securities and accounting practices” but which soon devolved into a rapid fire non-sensical speech delivered deadpan until the audience could not help but burst into laughter. He proceded to amaze with prodigious feats of memorization, identifying hidden items while blindfolded, and some interesting variations on standard card tricks. Along the way he offered a few tips on how to use verbal perception manipulation (double-talk) to fend off those you’d rather not communicate with. Of course, King’s real message was that clear and real communication is the core ‘secret’ of business success. When you end this two-day extravaganza with a gourmet sit-down dinner catered on the fairway adjoining the last green on the golf course, you begin to understand why a chipping contest over a water hazard would be the appropriate prelude to dinner. A rat pack of tribute singers provided a fifties-era Vegas-style dinner show underneath a brilliant moon. It’s hard to imagine a better ending—or is it just a

A Funnel as a Metaphor for Your Cycle Time

Little’s Law dictates what drives cycle time in any process. Think about a funnel which you want to put marbles through. What affects the amount of time—or cycle time—that it takes to get each marble from the top of the funnel out of the bottom? First is the size of the funnel opening, which controls how fast things come out. This is the output rate. The second thing is the number of marbles already in the funnel. If the funnel is full it takes more time to get the next one out. If the funnel is empty, the next one in comes out more quickly. This represents the “work-in-process” inventory. A collision center works the same way. The output rate—or cars per day—is dependent on the resources the shop has to get work done. A collision center process also has work-in-process inventory. And the more inventory the shop has, the longer it takes to get the next car through. In the past it was thought a good thing to have the “security” of a large backlog of work at the shop. It’s a natural feeling. Imagine a shop with 50 cars sitting on the premises and seven technicians. How many cars can one technician touch at once? One! So 43 cars are sitting untouched while you are touching maybe seven. The more cars we have in process, relative to the number of cars we can touch or finish in a day, drives up cycle time. So at some point the very cars that have been making us feel secure can make us less competitive. We are not saying ‘complete fewer cars.’ We expect to complete as many or more as before. We want to get better at working on fewer cars at one time and having fewer idle cars in the system not being worked on. Anyone who has been successful doing something a certain way for a long time runs the risk of hanging onto traditional ways too long when the model or the paradigm changes. Today, those who are most responsive to change will survive, and those are the ones who maintain quality, cost, and speed.

A rat pack of 50s-era tribute singers finished off the event under a picture perfect desert full moon See PPG’s MVP Conference, Page 43 | MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS 39

The Curious Case of Hibbs vs Allstate—Does An Insurer Have the Right to Repair? Let’s say your car is damaged in an accident and you’re properly insured. Most policies say that an insurer can either pay for the repair or fix the vehicle. You feel that the vehicle is too badly damaged and you want the money so you expect your insurer to total the vehicle and give you a check. But instead the insurer says it will pay a shop to fix the vehicle. No other compensation is offered or given. In fact, the vehicle is ultimately fixed against your will even though you refuse to explicitly authorize it or pick it up. It’s eventually sold at auction—to the body shop owner holding the deductible lien on the repair. The California Court of Appeal, ruling in this situation, explained that there’s an 1867 case from New York that says this is OK—that the insurer can do whatever it wants. However, it also noted that “modern cases,” including cases in the last century from Missouri and Colorado, hold that the insured has a right to get the money if she prefers, notwithstanding the policy language. The insured should be able to get the money rather than have insurance funds spent on a repair she doesn’t want, right?

Enter the real life situation of Calwas taken to a repair shop where Jessica Hibbs signed an authorization to ifornia’s Hibbs vs Allstate. In February this year, the California Court of Aprepair the van. The repair shop later espeal for the Second Appellate District timated the cost to repair the van was issued a decision reversing the trial $6,500. Jessica Hibbs contacted Allcourt’s summary judgment ruling in state and advised that she believed the favor of the insurer and holding that van was a total loss and refused to auwhen an automobile insurance policy thorize the repairs. provides the insurer with the option to On April 22, 2004, Allstate was pay for damages to or repair an insured advised by the repair shop that Jessica vehicle, the insurer satisfies its conHibbs had authorized the repairs, and tractual obligation by electing to repair that the repairs were substantially damages even though the insured recomplete. On May 3, 2004, after the fused to authorize repairs. van had been repaired it was driven However, the Court of Appeal into another car by a repair man and also held that the insurer can be liable again suffered front end damage. The in bad faith if it pays for repairs not auHibbs refused to authorize repairs and thorized by the insured and then rerefused to pick up the van. Allstate covers from the tortfeasor (civil paid the repair shop the cost to repair wrongdoer) in subrogation because the the van less the Hibbs’ deductible. Allsubrogation action may be prejudicial to the insured’s direct action “The parties cite no California case against the wrongdoer. on point, and we have found none. Harry and Jessica There will be one now.” Hibbs’ van was insured —Justice P.J. Gilbert by Allstate Insurance Company. On April 13, 2004, the van was struck by a vehicle state eventually recovered the cost to driven by Jerome Brooks and the front repair plus the Hibbs’ deductible from Brooks’ insurer in a subrogation action was substantially damaged. The van and sent the deductible to Hibbs, which they never cashed. Allstate to Open 50 Agencies in Florida The Hibbs filed a complaint Allstate Insurance says it wants to In Florida, Allstate operates as against Allstate alleging, among other open nearly 50 new agency offices in Castle Key Insurance Co.and Castle things, breach of contract and breach Florida. Key Indemnity Co. of the implied covenant of good faith About half of those openings Allstate changed the names of and fair dealing. The trial court will be in north Florida, the company its Florida subsidiaries to Castle Key said, according to reports made by Inin July 2009. granted Allstate’s motion for summary surance Journal. The insurer said the name adjudication as to the breach of con“North Florida has shown inchanges were made in order to “bettract and breach of the covenant of credible growth for our agencies,” ter reflect the fact that these property good faith and fair dealing claims and says Bob Jackson, regional sales companies are separately capitalized denied Allstate’s motion for costs. leader for Allstate’s Florida region from Allstate Insurance Co.” The Both sides timely appealed. based in St. Petersburg. “In order to company has about 1,000 agents in meet the demands of our current and the state. The Court of Appeals first affuture customers, we’ve made a deciAllstate agents operate as indefirmed the trial court’s determination sion to expand.” pendent contractors selling Allstate that a triable issue of fact existed as to Allstate estimates that each new policies. They can own their own whether or not the Hibbs authorized office will mean multiple job opporfranchise while drawing on support the repair of their van. The Court of tunities for licensed staff, perhaps as and resources from the parent comAppeals cited to Business & Profesmany as 130 new jobs statewide. pany. sions Code section 9984.9 which reThe agencies will sell auto, The company said there is no home and life insurance, according to franchise fee associated with quires, among other things, that an a spokesman. owning an Allstate agency, alautomotive repair dealer give the cusAllstate began scaling back on though candidates need to have tomer a “written estimated price for its property insurance writings in $50,000 to $75,000 in liquid caplabor and parts necessary for a specific Florida in 2005, after the severe hurital. job... before authorization to proceed ricane season but it has shown reThe company says that money is obtained from the customer.” The newed interest in Florida business does not go to Allstate; rather it lately. shows the new agency can pay for Court of Appeal found that the authorLast spring, it launched an effort the normal operation costs associization to repair the van signed by Jesto write about 50,000 new multiline ated with opening and running an sica Hibbs was void under section policies and began looking into takagency. 9984.9 because the repair shop failed ing out policies from state-backed Visit www.insuranceagent.florito provide Jessica Hibbs with a written Citizens Insurance Corp. for more information. estimate prior to obtaining her written


or verbal approval for the repairs. The Court of Appeal next addressed an issue of first impression in California—whether an insurer that has elected to repair a vehicle under an automobile insurance policy that provides it with an option to repair or pay the costs of repair, is relieved of its obligation under the policy by its insured’s refusal to authorize repairs. After considering decisions from other jurisdictions, the Court of Appeal held that where the policy clearly and unequivocally provides the insurer with the option to repair and the insurer chooses that option, the insured’s prevention of the insurer’s performance by refusing to authorize the repair, excuses the insurer’s obligation under the policy. The Court of Appeal also rejected the Hibbs’ contention that Allstate’s adjuster chose to settle the claim. Finally, the Court of Appeal addressed the Hibbs’ contention that Allstate breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The Court of Appeal held that Allstate did not act in bad faith when it authorized the repairs to the van finding that there was no authority indicating such authorization constituted bad faith and that any repair authorized by Allstate would still be subject to further authorization by Hibbs’ under Section 9884.9. The Court of Appeal also found that Allstate did not breach the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing by ignoring the Hibbs’ request for a mechanical and safety inspection to ensure the van was safe or for failing to respond to the Hibbs’ settlement demand for full market value, because Allstate was not obligated under the policy to provide such expert inspections or to pay full market value for the vehicle. However, the Court of Appeal found that a triable issue of fact existed as to whether Allstate breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing by prosecuting its subrogation claim against Brooks. The Court of Appeal found that because Hibbs did not consent to the repairs, the repair shop was not due any compensation. As a result, Allstate had no right to subrogation against Brooks. In addition, the Hibbs were prejudiced by Allstate’s subrogation action since Brooks would have a right to an offset against any cause of action the Hibbs might be able to sucSee Hibbs vs Allstate, Page 42

Florida Autobody Collision Alliance (FACA) Hosts 1st Annual First-Responder Extrication Training including Fire Department personnel from the areas of Lakeland, Auburndale and Winter Haven on April 13. I-Car certified instructor; Steve Laszlo, was on hand to assist in the training and provided information on current vehicle construction technology and related materials. Training forcused on avoiding areas on newer vehicles where airbags or electrical components could pose a potential risk. Newer hybrid and allTraining Instructor Steve Laszlo electric vehicles can be dangerous for The Mid-State Chapter of the emergency personnel unfamiliar with Florida Autobody Collision Alliance the cars mechanics. (FACA) provided hands-on training to Activities took place at 6:30 pm at Central Florida area First-Responders All Pro Used Auto Parts, 1425 Old Dixie Highway Auburndale, FL 33823-9505. All Pro Used Auto Parts provided the example vehicles for the training. Food and beverage served to participants was also provided by Gunder’s Auto Center and Subs and Such of Certified first responders and firemen learn electrical and airbag Lakeland. ‘hot spots’ to avoid on newer vehicles

The Florida Autobody Collision Alliance is a State-wide association of collision repairers and is committed to the future of the collision repair industry. FACA’s mission is to provide the leadership needed to raise the professional image of the industry and to develop new industry leaders. FACA’s goal is to educate, inform and represent the collision repair professional in all aspects of the industry. For more information on FACA please visit: or contact Ms. Cathy Mills, Executive Director via email at: or by phone at (904) 994-6516.

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Gunder’s Loses Appeal to State Farm—Court Rules ‘Even if False,’ Claims are Priviledged On April 7th, 2011 the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld a lower court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of State Farm Insurance in Gunder’s Auto Center’s claim against the nation’s largest personal auto insurer for slander and tortious interference with a business relationship. (See for background.) To recover for slander in Florida, the claimant must show (1) publication of a false statement; (2) about the plaintiff; (3) to a third party; and (4) damage resulting to plaintiff from the publication. To state a claim for tortious interference in Florida, the claimant must show (1) the existence of a business relationship; (2) knowledge of the relationship on the part of the defendant; (3) an intentional and unjustified interference by the defendant; and (4) damage from the breach of the relationship. The court found that, “although denied by State Farm, we assume the statements allegedly made by State Farm disparaging Gunter’s were made and are untrue. Nonetheless, we

agree with the district court that State Farm’s statements were privileged: Under Florida law a privileged statement is one in which “A communication made in good faith on any subject matter by one having an interest therein, or in reference to which he has a duty, is privileged if made to a person having a corresponding interest or duty, even though it contains matter which would otherwise be actionable. The court continued: “Because all statements were made to State Farm insureds in the context of a claim under a State Farm insurance policy, and because all statements concerned a matter of mutual interest to the insureds andState Farm—the quality, timeliness and costs of vehicles repairs—the statements were privileged. The privilege raises a presumption of good faith on the part of the speaker, but the privilege is not absolute. The privilege is forfeited if the statements are made with express malice: [w]here a person speaks upon a privileged occasion, but the speaker is motivated more by a desire to harm

the person defamed than by a purpose to protect the personal or social interest giving rise to the privilege, then it can be said that there was express malice and the privilege is destroyed. Gunder’s failed to proffer sufficient evidence of express malice to raise a material issue of fact for a jury. The statements of which Gunter’s complains—even assuming their falsity—supports no inference of malice, and Gunter’s failed to proffer extrinsic evidence of express malice. Summary judgment was due on Gunder’s slander claim. On the tortious interference claim by Gunder, the court ruled “Gunder’s makes no allegation that State Farm interfered with customers or prospective customers of Gunder’s who were not State Farm insureds. As a matter of law, “[t]here can be no claim [for tortious interference with a business relationship] where the action complained of is undertaken to safeguard or promote one’s financial or economic interest.” The court continued, “”[u]nder Florida law, a defendant is not a stranger to a business relationship, and

thus cannot be held liable for tortious interference, when it has a supervisory interest in how the relationship is conducted or a potential financial interest in how a contract is performed.” Gunder had argued in court that State Farm had lost the priviledge because it used improper means, but was unable to prevail because the testimony detailing the improper means had earlier been stricken from the court’s records. The court continued, “ On appeal, Gunder’s cites—for the first time— [a paragraph in the] amended complaint to claim it pleaded improper means. Even if Gunder’s has preserved this argument, the only arguably improper means Gunder’s alleged are the statements Gunder’s claims State Farm made to its insureds about the costs, quality, and timeliness of Gunder’s repairs. These statements are the same statements upon which Gunder’s grounds its slander claims. Even assuming the falsity of those statements, as earlier discussed, those statements were privileged; they fail to show the improper means needed to defeat See Gunder State Farm, Page 43 | MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS 41

Continued from Page 40

Hibbs vs Allstate

cessfully assert against him. As a result, the Court of Appeal reversed and remanded for trial on the issue of bad faith and awarded costs on appeal to Hibbs. So what does this mean for a body shop and its customer? It has been pointed out in legal commentary and blogs on the case that the ruling upholding the 1867 New York case basically lets the insurer do what it wants, regardless of the interests of the insured. That is the letter of the policy but Colorado and Missouri found otherwise. It is poor public policy when what the insurer wants frustrates the legitimate desires of the insured. The only thing beyond the letter of the policy that the Judge cites is that an insurer might want to repair a vehicle rather than giving an “unsafe” (unrepaired) vehicle to the insured. But the vehicle couldn’t be driven anyway. And even if they did, no way the insurance company would be liable. Good public policy suggests we should allow such recovery (instead of repair) as consumer friendly. Did the Hibb’s feel that the repairs wouldn’t be safe and so wouldn’t drive the vehicle even if repaired? Maybe someone in a similar situation thinks the insurer has

incorrectly valued the vehicle and—rather than file a lawsuit (with resulting transaction costs) —thinks more can be gained if she takes the repair money and sells the unrepaired car for scrap. That might be better than accepting a repaired car and selling it to someone else. Perhaps the insured can find someone to repair the vehicle himself for less than the original shop, and wants to pocket the difference. None of these things hurt the insurer, but they all help the insured. They should be allowed. So this is one of those rare instances where California law, rather than leading the pack, radically lags behind it. Following an outdated, anti-consumer opinion from 1867 in New York rather than the weight of modern, pro-consumer, authority. For stakeholders, the takeaway message is this: A. The body shop must give the customer a written estimate for price, labor and parts before authorization to proceed with repairs. An authorization for teardown and a verbal approval authorization over the phone does not satisfy Section 9884.9 B. Where an insurance policy has language similar to Allstate’s: “Allstate will pay for the loss in money, or may repair or replace the damaged … property at our option”—the language provides the insurer the option to repair.

Man Shot To Death At San Diego, CA, Auto Repair Shop

A man found shot at a Point Lomaarea auto repair shop was declared

dead at the scene the morning of April 19, according to reports made by San Diego’s 10 News.

A customer dropping off her car found the man at Joe’s Auto Repair in the 1900 block of Rosecrans Street in San Diego around 7:30 a.m. Witnesses reported hearing gunshots at the location at around 7:15 a.m. The owner of Point Loma Smog, which is located next door, told 10News that owner of Joe’s Auto Repair is the person who was shot. Police are looking for an oldermodel, green sedan that might be connected to the incident. More information about the investigations as it progresses can be found at

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Continued from Page 25

East Coast Forum

said the association has proposed or worked with insurers on other changes to regulations that would help offset much of this higher cost.

Insurer free speech discussed Those at the meeting in Secaucus also discussed recent events in Rhode Island where the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) is suing two Rhode Island officials in an effort to halt the enforcement of that state’s law that prohibits an insurer from recommending repair shops once a claimant has indicated that he or she has made a shop choice. The suit names as defendants Rhode Island Director of Business Regulation Paul McGreevy and the state’s Attorney General Peter Kilmartin. The PCI is asking a court to declare that the law is an unconstitutional interference with free speech, much as courts in several other states have when anti-steering laws have been challenged.

Taxing issue Janet Chaney of the Iowa Collision Repair Association said that group is making a second effort at pushing for a state law that would in essence allow Iowa shops to transfer the expense of sales tax on paint materials they purchase to insurers or customers. Chaney said currently shops pay the sales tax on such purchases but a decades-old state law prevents them from seeking reimbursed for it by insurers. An Iowa House committee last year had approved a similar bill, but it failed to make further legislative progress. Chaney said another recent bill in Iowa, which would have established a commission to study the effects of direct repair programs on shops, insurers and consumers, was introduced on behalf of a shop in that state, not the association, and is not expected to pass. John Yoswick, a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon, has been writing about the automotive industry since 1988. He can be contacted by email at

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Gunder, State Farm

State Farm’s privilege against a tortious-interference claim.” Ray Gunder, the founder of Polk County’s Gunder’s Auto Center, a 43 year-old auto collision repair and mechanical shop, made the following statement after the judgment was delivered: “Last night, after getting the court’s decision, I re-read it and just sat in disbelief just staring at it for hours. Is it really possible in this country for a huge conglomerate like State Farm to attack my small business with what are known to be outrageous lies and be considered legally privileged? “As I understand it, the legal rule is that the so-called ‘privilege’ is forfeited if derogatory and defamatory comments re made with ‘Express Malice.’ Continued from Page 39

PPG’s MVP Conference

temporary conclusion—to an event

“To be considered ‘Express Malice’ one would need to reach the level of calling me and/or my family murderers and rapists. “State Farm came after us in 2004 in an attempt to silence my voice by attacking our company’s reputation in our community and their attempt to financially destroy our business by steering customers away with totally untrue and outrageous lies… and that, according to the court, at least in my case… is legal!? This ruling is justice? “It’s important to understand that if this ruling stays; every honest and ethical shop owner in the industry is in jeopardy of similar efforts against them if they don’t fall in line and do as they’re told by this megalith insurer and other insurers who may chose to follow suit! Continued Gunder, “This ruling is scary for all of us. Although this is but one ‘leg’ of my legal journey to

correct the harmful and predatory practices of some insurers, it’s a very bitter pill to swallow! “Know this; I’ve been knocked down but I’m not knocked out. I’m going to continue to “pound that rock” and find the justice that I believe exists in our legal system! While I’m not a poker player, the term ‘I’m all in’ is indeed applicable as I’m too far invested in time and finances to quit now and I’ve never been one to see a wrong and not try to make it right and with the best legal representation one could hope for, we will continue to move on. “What one doesn’t find in this decision is one of the most important parts; State Farm speaking improperly and slandering Gunder’s “once” is privileged in the courts opinion, but speaking lies “over” and “over” again knowing they are lies is indeed “Express Malice”! “We will prove that State Farm has continuously committed Slander

with Express Malice and have done so regularly with an evil intent. “I believe with right there’s might and Gunder’s will press on and we will begin by giving serious consideration to submitting a request for a review and appeal with the United State’s Supreme Court.” A copy of the court’s ruling may be found at: In another lawsuit the shop has pending against the insurer in Polk County Court, a judge has granted the shop’s request to compel State Farm to make documents and a number of witnesses available to the shop’s attorney as part of the discovery process. Among those that shop attorney A. Brent Geohagan seeks to depose in the case are representatives of at least eight repair shops that serve State Farm insureds in Polk County.

that, at its heart, wants to be better and better over time.

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MVP Job Instruction Good training sessions with proper instruction are critical to the success of stabilizing performance and sustaining change. This course teaches a strctured, proven way of training that can be employed in the workplace to ensure learning is retained and consistently applied in support of established process procedures. Particular emphasis is placed on the “Learn by Doing” principle, an effective method for ensuring that the employee retains the knowledge and skills required to do the job.

MVP Job Methods Finding opportunities for improvement you can’t readily see is essential to ensuring continuous improvement. This course teaches how to make the best use of people, equipment and materials by focusing on how to break down a job and question its every detail. Participants are taught skills for combining, rearranging or eliminating steps within the job to create a new, more productive standard operating procedure. Learn more about the MVP series by calling 866-237-8178 or emailing | MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS 43

Autobody News May 2011 Northeast Edition  

Autobody News May 2011 Northeast Edition

Autobody News May 2011 Northeast Edition  

Autobody News May 2011 Northeast Edition