July 2022 Northeast Edition

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CT / DE / ME / MD / MA / NH / NJ / NY / PA / RI / VT

Vol. 13 / Issue 4 / July 2022

Automakers’ Lawsuit Opposing Updates to Massachusetts’ Right to Repair Law Lingers On

New York Auto Regulation on the Ropes After Senate Vote

It has been over 18 months since Massachusetts voted to approve an update to the state’s ‘right to repair’ law, however, the changes have still not gone into effect. Why? Well, the automakers’ lawsuit that seeks to block the law is still making its way through the U.S. District Court. Alliance for Automotive Innovation v. Healy, Docket No. 1:20-cv-12090 D. Mass 2020). As we previously wrote, the ‘right to repair’ law allows consumers to take their car to any repair shop (not just the dealer) and have their mechanic plug a cord into the car’s onboard computer sys-

by Steve Bittenbender, The Center Square

tem to figure out what’s wrong with the car, or, alternatively, a consumer can buy a device and do this themselves. This has still not been implemented due to this pending lawsuit. However, now, in a recent brief filed by the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition, lawyers called for a “prompt decision” in this lawsuit and allege that automakers are using “delay tactics in order to avoid and prevent the implementation of ‘right to repair’ laws.” Specifically, the brief stated, “Undoubtedly, delays are an inevitaSee Automakers’ Lawsuit, Page 20

New-Vehicle Prices Flirt with Record High in May New-vehicle average transaction prices (ATPs) increased to $47,148 in May, according to new data released by Kelley Blue Book, a Cox Automotive company. Prices rose 1% ($472) month over month and remain elevated compared to one year ago, up 13.5% ($5,613) from May 2021. The average price paid for a new vehicle in the U.S. in May was the second-highest on record, behind only December 2021, when ATPs reached $47,202. New-vehicle inventory days’ supply stayed in the mid-30s in May—holding steady since

mid-January—while customer demand remained stable. These conditions enabled most dealers to continue selling inventory at or above the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). The average price paid for

a new vehicle has been “over sticker” throughout 2022. In May, new vehicles from Honda, Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz See New-Vehicle Prices, Page 16

The New York State Senate on June 1 passed a bill that aims to do away with a nearly 45-year-old auto insurance regulation. S.6028 would do away with the requirement for insurance policyholders to get their vehicles photographed in order to obtain comprehensive and collision coverage. Policyholders also face a timeframe requirement to get the pictures taken or else they risked having their policy terminated. The bill, sponsored by Senate

Insurance Committee Chairman Neil Breslin (D-Albany),was supported by more than 20 business groups and a petition backing the legislation garnered more than 1,700 signatures. Since its compainion bill passed the Assembly in March, the bill now will go to Gov. Kathy Hochul for her consideration. In a letter to members, Scott Hobson, the assistant vice president of government relations for Big I New York, the group representing independent insurance agents, said it took “persistent pressure from See Senate Vote, Page 6

Insurers Too Late for Subrogation in Auto Parts Price-Fixing Case, Court Rules by Jim Sams, Insurance Journal

Insurers waited too long to intervene in anti-trust litigation that brought settlements requiring dozens of auto parts manufacturers to pay a total of $1.2 billion to resolve price-fixing allegations, a panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeal ruled June 1. In a published decision, the appellate panel affirmed a U.S. District Court ruling that denied a motion to intervene filed by Financial Recovery Services on behalf of eight insurers that sought “equitable subrogation” for the payments it made to insureds for the total loss of their vehicles. FRS did not seek to intervene in the litigation until long after settlement negotiations were concluded and final-approval hearings were held in 41 coordinated cases. The 6th Circuit panel said in its opinion that allowing intervention would require the court to revisit issues that were settled while FRS “watched from the sidelines.” “Allowing FRS to claim subro-

gation rights after settlement would uproot earlier efforts to define classes, expend considerable resources to amend allocation plans and increase costs associated with the claims-administration process, thereby reducing the amount of settlement proceeds available,” the panel said in an opinion written by Justice Karen Nelson Moore. Attorneys representing consumers in 2012 filed anti-trust lawsuits against dozens of auto manufacturers. The Department of Justice launched an investigation into price-fixing allegations, resulting in guilty pleas by 26 manufacturers that paid millions in fines. The civil lawsuits were consolidated into a single case assigned to the U.S. District Court for Eastern Michigan in Detroit. The court approved four separate settlement agreements between the plaintiffs and 73 of the defendants from 2016 through November 2020. FRS, a third-party administrator for auto insurers, did not get See Price-Fixing Case, Page 20



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REGIONAL Augusta Tech Students Receive Toolships From Foundation ����������������������������������������� 26 Automakers’ Lawsuit Opposing Updates to Massachusetts’ Right to Repair Law Lingers On ����������������������������������������������������� 1 D&M Auto Body Wins Spanesi Welder at NORTHEAST 2022 ���������������������������������������� 6 Fire That Destroyed Auto Body Shop May Have Been Started By DUI Crash Into Pole ����������� 26 MA Right to Repair Coalition Urges Prompt Ruling on Ballot Question Passed by 75% in 2020 �������������������������������������������������������� 24 Manufacturing Company Expanding in Connecticut ��������������������������������������������������� 8 Massachusetts Auto Body Shops Fight for Better Reimbursement Rates ���������������������� 10 New Jersey AG & State Agency Penalize 3 Dealer Groups ������������������������������������������ 28 New York Auto Regulation on the Ropes After Senate Vote ������������������������������������������ 1 Old NYC Upper East Side Auto Shop, Site of Murder, to Be Demolished ����������������������� 24 Southeast Queens Residents Want Auto Body Shops Fined ������������������������������������������������ 14

Briones is Crash Champions’ Marketing Officer ��������������������������������������������������������� 32 Capture the Keys Uses Geofencing to Find Customers in the Right Place at the Right Time ��������������������������������������������������� 50 CIECAST Looks at Unintended Consequences of Data Sharing in Collision Repair �������������� 31 CIF to Hold Gala July 20 ���������������������������������� 62 Collision Repairers Actually Lament Lack of Insurance Adjusters in Shops ���������������������� 22 Cox Automotive Dealer Sentiment Index: Attention Turns from COVID-19 to Inflation, High Costs, Tight Inventory ��������������������������� 4 CREF Honors I-CAR Committees ��������������������� 18 Ford EVs Post New Sales Record in May �������� 60 Ford Recalls 2.9M Vehicles For Inability To Shift Into Gear, Risking Crash ���������������������� 21

Publisher & Editor: Jeremy Hayhurst General Manager: Barbara Davies Contributing Writers: John Yoswick, Janet Chaney, Toby Chess, Ed Attanasio, Stacey Phillips Advertising Sales: Joe Momber, Norman Morano, (800) 699-8251 Office Manager: Louise Tedesco Digital Marketing Manager: Bryan Malinski Art Director: Rodolfo Garcia Graphic Designer: Vicki Sitarz Online and Web Content Editor: Abby Andrews Accounting Manager: Heather Priddy Permissions Editor: Randi Scholtes Office Assistant: Dianne Pray

Serving New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Northern Virginia, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and adjacent metro areas. Autobody News is a monthly publication for the autobody industry. Permission to reproduce in any form the material published in Autobody News must be obtained in writing from the publisher. ©2022 Adamantine Media LLC.

Acme Nissan ��������������������������������������������������� 9

Kundert Volvo ������������������������������������������������� 21

Acura of Westchester ������������������������������������ 58

Lexus Wholesale Parts Dealers ���������������������� 63

American Icon Automotive Finishes ��������������� 40

Liberty Kia ������������������������������������������������������ 62

Audi Devon ���������������������������������������������������� 62

LKQ Corporation ��������������������������������������������� 19

Audi Wholesale Parts Dealers ������������������������ 61

Long Automotive Group �������������������������������� 26

Auto Data Labels �������������������������������������������� 17

Malco Products, SBC ��������������������������������������� 8

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

Mazda Wholesale Parts Dealers ��������������������� 63

Biener Audi ���������������������������������������������������� 14

Mercedes-Benz of Atlantic City ���������������������� 37

Biener Ford ���������������������������������������������������� 14

Mercedes-Benz of Fort Washington ��������������� 37

BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers ����������������� 48-49

Mercedes-Benz of Paramus ��������������������������� 31

BRAM Auto Group ����������������������������������������� 13

Mercedes-Benz of West Chester ���������������������� 6

Brown-Daub Kia ��������������������������������������������� 32

Mercedes-Benz of Wilmington ������������������������� 6

Autobody News P.O. Box 1516, Carlsbad, CA 92018 (800) 699-8251 / (760) 603-3229 Fax www.autobodynews.com editor@autobodynews.com

Cadillac of Mahwah ��������������������������������������� 44

Mercedes-Benz Wholesale Parts Dealers ������� 59

Ford, Dealers Training New Techs ������������������� 12

Car-O-Liner ����������������������������������������������������� 15

MINI Wholesale Parts Dealers ����������������������� 50

Gas Prices Jump in Leaps and Bounds,

Car-Part.com �������������������������������������������������� 24

MOPAR Wholesale Parts Dealers �������������� 38-39

Setting Another New Record ���������������������� 56

CARSTAR ������������������������������������������������������� 11

New Holland Ford ������������������������������������������ 54

Global Finishing Solutions, 1Collision Partner �� 60

Central Avenue Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram ���� 23

New Holland Toyota ��������������������������������������� 60

Insurers Too Late for Subrogation in Auto Parts

Certified Automotive Parts Association ���������� 16

Nissan/Infiniti Wholesale Parts Dealers ���������� 63

Circle BMW ��������������������������������������������������� 56

Northstar Kia �������������������������������������������������� 58

Classifieds ������������������������������������������������������ 66

Nucar ������������������������������������������������������������� 41

Colonial Automotive Group ���������������������������� 43

Open Road Acura of East Brunswick �������������� 52

Courtesy Mitsubishi ��������������������������������������� 56

Open Road Chevrolet �������������������������������������� 20

DePaula Chevrolet-Ford ���������������������������������� 36

Ourisman Chevrolet ���������������������������������������� 30

Eastchester Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge ������������������ 30

Ourisman Chevrolet-VW-Mazda of Rockville �� 29

Empire Auto Parts ������������������������������������������ 40

Packer Norris Parts ���������������������������������������� 47

Price-Fixing Case, Court Rules ���������������������� 1 May Auto Sales Expected to Fall to Slowest Pace in 2022 ����������������������������������������������� 56 Mercury Adds Digital Claims Processing �������� 54


NABC Announces Mitchell as Sponsor ����������� 46

Anderson - 3 Phrases I’ve Heard with Potential

New-Vehicle Prices Flirt with Record High

Power in the Collision Repair Industry ��������� 36



in May ����������������������������������������������������������� 1

Equalizer Auto Glass Tools ����������������������������� 22

Porsche Wholesale Parts Dealers ������������������� 67

Strandberg - How to Sell Your Automotive

Purty to Lead Global Workplace Safety ����������� 60

Ford Wholesale Parts Dealers ������������������������ 57

Rafferty Subaru ���������������������������������������������� 60

Distribution Business—An Insider’s

Tesla Insurance To Reach NJ And FL ���������������� 8

Franklin Sussex Automall ������������������������������� 16

Rockland Nissan �������������������������������������������� 64

Perspective ������������������������������������������������� 40

Total U.S. Automotive Aftermarket Sales

GM Wholesale Parts Dealers ������������������������� 51

SATA Dan-Am Company ���������������������������������� 5

Grieco Toyota ������������������������������������������������� 32

Schultz Ford ��������������������������������������������������� 28

Hoffman Auto Group �������������������������������������� 45

Sheehy Lexus of Annapolis ���������������������������� 22

Honda-Acura Wholesale Parts Dealers � 33, 34-35

Shoot Suit ������������������������������������������������������ 12

Yoswick - CIC Committees Tackle Ongoing Shortage of Collision Repair Technicians ����� 44 Yoswick - What Role Should a Current Backlog of Work Play in Auto Body Shops’ DRP Decisions? ��������������������������������������������������� 53

Forecasted to Increase 8.5% in 2022 ���������� 64 Toyota Auto Body California Donates Nearly 1,000 Quarter Panels to Collision Students Through CREF ��������������������������������������������� 66 UTI Opening Campuses to High School Juniors Interested in Automotive

NATIONAL ASE Agenda, Speakers Announced ����������������� 66

Technician Training �������������������������������������� 62 WIN Names 2022-23 Officers, New Board

Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers ������������������ 67

Spanesi Americas ������������������������������������������ 27

Industrial Finishes and Systems ����������������������� 7

Subaru Wholesale Parts Dealers �������������������� 63

Infiniti of Norwood ����������������������������������������� 46

Symach ���������������������������������������������������������� 18

Jaguar Land Rover Cherry Hill ������������������������ 53

Toyota Wholesale Parts Dealers ��������������������� 67

Kelly Jeep-Chrysler ���������������������������������������� 10

USI of North America ������������������������������������� 68

Kia Motors Wholesale Parts Dealers �������������� 55

Volkswagen Wholesale Parts Dealers ������������ 65

Autel U.S. Enters EV Charging Industry ������������� 4

Members ���������������������������������������������������� 58

Kia of Attleboro ���������������������������������������������� 56

White Plains Volkswagen ������������������������������� 60

Automakers Report May Sales ������������������������ 64

Wurth Software Part of CCC Marketplace ������� 16

Kia of Coatesville �������������������������������������������� 42

Wrenchers ����������������������������������������������������� 25

KSI Auto Parts ������������������������������������������������ 18

Yonkers Kia ����������������������������������������������������� 52

Average New-Vehicle Price Sets New Record �� 21

autobodynews.com / JULY 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 3

Cox Automotive Dealer Sentiment Index: Attention Turns from COVID-19 to Inflation, High Costs, Tight Inventory U.S. automobile dealer sentiment in the second quarter of 2022 softened as U.S. auto dealers’ attention turned to inflation, high costs and tight inventory, marking the fourth straight quarter-over-quarter decline in market sentiment. The current market index peaked at 67 in Q2 2021 and has been trending downward since. Still, at 54, the current market index remains above the positive threshold of 50 in the Cox Automotive Dealer Sentiment Index (CADSI). The key drivers of sentiment saw disparate shifts in Q2. The three-month, forward-looking market outlook index sharply dropped from the previous quarter and, at 53, is well below the 63 recorded a year ago in Q2 2021. The economy index increased slightly in Q2 to 50, up from 49 in the prior quarter. With the index now at 50, dealers are right at the positive threshold in judging the economy as strong. “U.S. auto dealers are certainly feeling the pressure of inflation and tight inventory,” said Cox Automotive Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke. “Franchised dealers continue to be very profitable, but the steep drop in the market outlook index indicates dealers are less enthused about the future. While all dealers are impacted by higher costs of doing business, the profit story is also different for independent dealers, as used vehicles have started depreciating again.” The Q2 2022 CADSI research was in market from April 25 to May 9, when COVID cases had retreated from omicron-driven records and activity was normalizing compared to the situation in January. Inventory Continues to Impact Sales One worrisome sign in the latest CADSI report is the small improvement in the new-vehicle inventory mix index for franchised dealers. The index increased only two points from Q1 and remains historically low at 25, an eight-point year-overyear decrease. “Today’s market continues to be framed by constrained new-vehicle inventory,” added Smoke. “Low

new-vehicle inventory and the associated low level of incentives and lack of discounting have priced many would-be buyers out of the market and into the used-vehicle market. Others may be delaying purchases, waiting for supply to improve, but supply has yet to see much change.” On the used-vehicle side, the inventory index dropped in Q2 2022 to 35, one point lower than the previous quarter but up fourteen points year over year. The used-vehicle inventory mix index improved among franchised dealers versus independent dealers, showing a 5-point increase year over year in Q2 to 55. All index scores associated with inventory, however, remain below the 50 threshold, indicating dealers are still facing significant inventory challenges for both new and used vehicles. Consistent with last quarter, limited inventory ranks as the No. 1 factor holding back dealer business in Q2. While new-vehicle inventory remains tight, the view of new-vehicle sales improved, increasing from 50 to 52, meaning dealers are now more optimistic about new-vehicle sales. One year ago, the index score was 65, meaning significantly more dealers saw the market as good. The new-vehicle incentives index dropped by two points quarter over quarter to 21, the lowest level since the question was added to the CADSI in Q3 2019. On the other hand, the used-vehicle sales index fell five index points to 47. For franchised dealers, the used-vehicle sales index increased by one point for Q2, breaking a downward streak but is still below year-ago levels. For independent dealers, the index fell six points from the previous quarter to 42 and is down 14 points from a year ago. Overall, most dealers view used-vehicle sales as weak. Dealers Worried About the Economy and Costs In Q2 2022, the cost index—specifically the cost of running a dealership—was at the highest level since the survey began in 2017. After reaching a record low in Q2 2020 of 51 at the height of the pandemic, the cost

4 JULY 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

index has been steadily increasing. Overall inflation in the U.S. economy is clearly contributing to this view. The economy is the second leading factor impacting dealer business at 46%, up from 37% in Q1, with market conditions, expenses and political climate following closely behind. Dealers are worried about inflation and the possibility of a recession along with lagging consumer confidence.

minor shifts in Q2, but three factors—economy, expenses and political climate—saw significant quarter-over-quarter increases. Limited inventory remains in the top spot. The economy rose to No. 2 ahead of market conditions. Expenses ranked fourth overall; political climate rounded out the top five factors. Notably, COVID-19 is no longer a top factor holding back business, falling to No. 7.

Profits Remain Strong for Franchised Dealers The overall profit index saw a small decline to 53, down from 54, but remains higher than at any point before the COVID-19 pandemic. The five highest profit index scores since 2017 have all been recorded in the past five quarters. The profit index also indicates franchised dealers believe profits are particularly strong, at 82, whereas more independent dealers now see profits as weak, with an index score of 44. Importantly, the cost index increased by 11 points in Q2 versus a year ago and reached a new record high of 76, suggesting the overall cost of running a dealership continues to grow. On the plus side, the price pressure index increased only slightly in Q2 to 41, up from 37 in Q1, but remains historically low, indicating fewer dealers feel pressure to lower their prices.

Cox Automotive Dealer Sentiment Index Methodology The Q2 2022 CADSI is based on 1,099 U.S. auto dealer respondents, comprising 568 franchised dealers and 531 independents. The survey was conducted from April 25 to May 9. Dealer responses were weighted by dealership type and sales volume to represent the national dealer population. For each aspect of the market surveyed, respondents are given an option related to strong/increasing, average/stable, or weak/decreasing, along with a “don’t know” opt-out. Indices are calculated by creating a mean score in which: Strong/increasing answers are assigned a value of 100. Average/stable answers are assigned a value of 50. Weak/declining selections are assigned a value of 0. Respondents who select “don’t know” at a particular question are removed from the related index calculation. The total metrics reported have a +/- 3.0% margin of error.

Business Impact of COVID-19 Drops from Top 5 The top five factors holding back the business across all dealers saw

Source: Cox Automotive

Autel U.S. Enters EV Charging Industry Autel U.S. announced its entry into the EV charging solutions provider industry with the release of its MaxiCharger Home and Commercial Level 2 AC chargers. These new chargers, available in 40 amp and 50 amp flexible charging configurations, are compatible with all plug-in electric vehicles and feature innovative software solutions that are the hallmark of all Autel products. MaxiCharger Home 40 amp

chargers are available as either an in-body holster or a separate holster, with either a NEMA 6-50 or a NEMA 14-50 plug. The MaxiCharger Home 50 amp is an in-body holster style and is ready for hard-wire installation. The MaxiCharger Commercial Level 2 AC charger offers 50 amp flexible charging. Visit www. autelenergy.us or contact an authorized Autel dealer for more information. Source: Autel

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autobodynews.com / JULY 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 5 SATA trueSun July.indd 1

5/23/22 11:40 AM

Continued from Cover

Senate Vote agents” and numerous meetings with lawmakers to get the bill passed. “This is a truly historic accomplishment; for over a decade this bill has never moved,” Hobson wrote. “Today, it is one stroke of a pen away from becoming law.” Supporters of the bill say the photo requirement no longer served a useful purpose for fighting insurance fraud. Insurance companies will still have the option to require the photos. “For too long, the car insurance photo inspection mandate has been a burden and an inconvenience for both insurance agents and our customers,” Big I NY Chair Nick Masterpole said in a statement. “Modern solutions for combatting fraud have made the regulation unnecessary and obsolete.” Even though the legislative session ended June 2, Hochul may not receive the bill until later in the year. Once she does, she has 10 days to sign it into law. If that happens, it will take effect Jan. 1.

D&M Auto Body Wins Spanesi Welder at NORTHEAST 2022 The NORTHEAST® 2022 Automotive Services Show boasted three days of excitement for collision and automotive repair professionals as they perused aisles filled with the industry’s latest and greatest tools and equipment. As the winner of a Q5.2 threetorch MIG/MAG welder from Prize Sponsor Spanesi Americas, Dave Rush of D&M Auto Body in Rockaway, NJ, will continue to reap the benefits of participating in the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey’s (AASP/NJ) flagship event for years to come. “I was really surprised—not only that I won but that Spanesi would give away such an expensive piece of equipment at the show!” said Rush. “Spanesi Americas was excited to give away our Q5.2 threetorch MIG/MAG welder during the 2022 NORTHEAST Trade Show,” said Timothy W. Morgan, COO of Spanesi Americas, Inc. “Spanesi is dedicated to giving back to the collision repair industry and supporting local trade associations across the United States and Canada. Along

with the educational portion of the event, this was another incredible opportunity to interact with the show attendees and local businesses.” Valued at $8,000, Spanesi’s Q5.2 is a multi-function welding machine with three torches: steel, silicon bronze and aluminum. Combined with full digital controls, the product provides premium welding quality on all materials in both MIG/ MAG and pulsed/dual-pulsed MIG welds. “When NORTHEAST event management approached us with this opportunity, we knew that it would make an impact…not only for the AASP/NJ trade association, but also for the event in a very positive way,” said Karl Kirschenman, director of corporate communication and technology for Spanesi Americas, Inc. “Spanesi understands the need for collision repair facilities to have the proper tools and equipment to perform OEM specified repairs. The Q5.2 is a ‘must-have’ welder in the shop with its ability to join silicon bronze, steel and aluminum substrates.” Although Rush invested in

an equivalent welder three months before NORTHEAST, he sees the Spanesi welder as a great way to increase throughput, and he looks forward to putting the new Q5.2 welder through its paces. “Having a second welder of this type will help our productivity by being able to have two techs welding at the same time, plus it will eliminate a tech waiting for the welder to free up,” he said. “With our shop being Tesla and Ford Aluminum certified, this welder will definitely get a workout!” Plans are underway for NORTHEAST 2023, scheduled for March 17-19, 2023, at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, NJ. Visit aaspnjnortheast.com for updates on next year’s event as they become available. For more information on AASP/NJ, visit aaspnj.org. Source: AASP/NJ


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Tesla Insurance To Reach NJ And FL by Maria Merano, Teslarati

Tesla Insurance seems ready to expand to New Jersey and Florida based on filings in both states. In New Jersey, Tesla has three companies filed under the state’s list of licensed insurance carriers. In its list, the NJ Department of Bank and Insurance (DOBI) includes Tesla General Insurance, Inc., Tesla Insurance Company, and Tesla Property & Casualty, Inc. The names of Tesla’s insurance service in New Jersey match those it filed for in Maryland. Tesla also filed for new auto insurance programs under Meritplan Insurance Company and Balboa Insurance Company with the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. The Maryland Administration told Teslarati that the Balboa Insurance Company changed its name to Tesla Insurance earlier this year. Maryland also had filings for a Tesla Property & Casualty, Inc.

Manufacturing Company Expanding in Connecticut by Brent Addleman, The Center Square

An advanced coatings manufacturer is undertaking an expansion project in Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont said. The governor announced Element 119, which currently employs 14 people, plans to add an additional 36 workers over the next two years at its production facilities in Thomaston and Cheshire. Element 119 produces specialized coatings that are used in the aerospace industry, working with Sikorsky, Bombardier and other companies, in addition to the automotive industry. “Advanced manufacturing is a major component of Connecticut’s economic future, and companies like Element 119 are leading the way in creating the innovative products that are in demand throughout the world,” Lamont said in the release. “I am excited that they are making these products here in Connecticut, and I look forward to seeing the continued growth of Element 119 in

our state for years to come.” The company, according to the release, was founded in 2010 by Andrew Zeppa, who serves as president and owner, and has grown to produce coatings that are used in aerospace, marine and automobile markets, using the moniker System X. Its products are sold in more than 40 countries. “Element 119 is growing fast and making new investments in our facilities,” Zeppa said in the release. “We are currently making leasehold improvements in our Cheshire location and adding a new bottling line and lab technology equipment at the Thomaston plant. The state has been very supportive of the company, and we look forward to continuing our growth in the great state of Connecticut for many years to come.”

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According to the release, the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development is working with Element 119 with grants in arrears totaling $242,000 for costs. The company, in order to receive the funding, must retain 36 new full-time jobs. “The manufacturing sector in Connecticut continues to innovate, thrive and grow because of the industry leaders like Element 119 who are investing in technology and their work force talent,” DECD Commissioner David Lehman and AdvanceCT President and CEO Peter Denious said in a joint statement. “Manufacturing employment has increased for eight consecutive months in Connecticut and the state’s strategic investments and programs to support this critical sector are clearly having a positive impact.”

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autobodynews.com / JULY 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 9

Massachusetts Auto Body Shops Fight for Better Reimbursement Rates by Ed Attanasio

Collision repair industry leaders, along with a row of tow trucks, paraded outside the Massachusetts State House on May 18 to demand action on two proposed bills before lawmakers that would raise the state’s lowest-in-the-nation reimbursement rates. House Bill 1111 and State Bill 709 are an “Act to establish a minimum reimbursement rate to insurance claimants” and are currently being argued in a joint committee. According to supporters, both bills would set the rate for repair at approximately $78 per hour for reimbursement. The current reimbursement rate is $40 per hour, which, according to the group, is the lowest in the nation and just $10 more than it was in 1988. Both bills have until June 30 to clear the committee, after which the legislature would have just a month before the end of the session to approve and send them to Gov. Char-

lie Baker’s desk. AASP-MA Executive Director Evangelos “Lucky” Papageorg is excited about the two proposed bills that might actually level the playing field. He offered a little history on House Bill 1111 and State Bill 709. “In 1988, insurance reform led to the reimbursement rate being at $30 an hour, which made Massachusetts have one of the highest-paid reimbursement rates in the country and best reimbursement rates,”

A vocal group of more than 60 people gathered outside the Massachusetts State House to demand action on two proposed bills currently before lawmakers. Credit: AASP-MA

Papageorg said. “But, once the Insurance Reform Act went through,

the reimbursement rates actually dropped from $30 to $28 per hour for about five years, based on contractual arrangements that shops had with the insurance companies. Today, they are at $40—35 years later. I wouldn’t call that a jump in rates, to say the least. “House Bill 1111 and State Bill 709 are essentially identical bills that take away the ability for insurance companies to stagnate the rates in the future, which is what they’ve effectively done,” Papageorg said. “It allows the insurance industry and body shops to be able to plan ahead as far as what they can anticipate for expenses and income, because the reimbursement rate will keep pace with the consumer pricing index here, with the language in these bills.” Papageorg has witnessed the results of not providing a livable wage to body technicians, causing many to exit the industry with prejudice, he said. “One of our members and a top body shop operator, Brian Bernard,

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has lost several of his top techs to other shops or to the industry altogether,” Papageorg said. “He lost several technicians over the last few years to other industries in neighboring states because the surrounding states are paying a higher rate. “One vocational school teacher told us recently that students get into collision repair because it’s cool and they love it. It’s exciting. It’s constantly changing,” Papageorg continued. “But all those things don’t pay the bills. The collision repair students don’t stay with it, and those who do leave the vocational schools and get into a collision repair shop don’t last very long because they can’t make a decent living. “These bills have the potential to rectify a situation. I can’t find any other industry or vocation out there that can say they have only increased their skills by only $10 an hour over the last 35 years,” Papageorg said. “Insurance companies are reporting record-breaking profits, and yet they’re still applying for increases in their premiums, and some of their


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top managers have incredible salary packages. Cost containment has to begin at the top.” Bernard, co-owner of Total Care Accident Repair in Raynham, MA, sees the problem of underpaying technicians causing a whole set of additional issues. “This should have happened several decades ago, so these bills are much-needed and can provide us with a much-needed boost in many ways,” Bernard said. “The cost of living keeps going up every year, and the insurance companies can tell us with straight faces that these wages are acceptable? What can you say to a young person who is trying to get into this industry and willing to work for inferior pay? It all comes from the fact that the insurers don’t want to compensate us properly for repairs, so we are in this unfortunate situation.” Former State Sen. Guy Glodis said the insurance companies are going to do everything they can to prevent these bills from passing. Nearly a decade ago, the collision repair industry in Massachusetts approached Glodis to tell the insurance companies their wages were ridiculously low. “Everything [collision repairers] told me has happened exactly the way they described it to me in 2003,” he said. “They said workers would leave the state and that it would be difficult to get young people to join the industry. We couldn’t get any traction back then, but now we might be able to break through. It involves educating the legislature about the fact that the insurance industry has been successfully suppressing wages for more than 20 years.” Elias Akiki, owner of Akiki

Auto Body in Hyde Park, MA, appeared on several news stations in the Boston area, speaking about a topic he knows too well. “The bottom line is that the insurance companies have been taking advantage of the collision repairers and insured consumers since day one,” he said. “They will always try to get away with whatever they can. It ends up creating a bad situation because many shops can’t afford to do an OE repair, and the customer doesn’t know any better. So, they settle for sub-par repairs, and all we’re doing is trying to do the job right.” Akiki, 47, entered the collision repair industry at 19, working with his father. He has seen the path these bills have taken and is ready for change, he said. “Back in 1985, we were a completely different company than we are today because the industry has changed so dramatically since then,” Akiki said. “Our obligation now is to learn, educate, evolve and do repairs the right way. For us, it’s the only way, but it comes at a cost.” Spiraling costs have hamstrung many shops, Akiki said, which makes it so much more difficult to make a profit. “We have more than 10 OE certifications; do you know how much that costs us?” he said. “The training, the diagnostics, aluminum repair—it’s not cheap. We have to pay for all of it at a reimbursement rate of $40? It’s not fair.” There is always a silver lining in every cloud, Akiki said with a chuckle. “One good thing is that we don’t have any MSOs here competing with us. They are smart enough to know that they can’t make money in Massachusetts.”

Ford, Dealers Training New Techs Ford is getting a positive response to its SOS—a Sponsor Our Students program that works with dealers to offer opportunities for students interested in meaningful careers as automotive technicians. Ford and Lincoln dealers committed to sponsoring students will offer them a unique opportunity for work-based learning within their service department, including the support of a mentor. Dealers are encouraged to sponsor automotive students of all ages

to give even younger students the chance to see their academic lessons put into practice, and to get an early taste of what can be a very rewarding career. More than 1,000 Ford and Lincoln dealers have enrolled since the program’s start in April and have committed to sponsoring more than 3,600 students. Ford’s goal is to see no fewer than 5,000 students receive this valuable work-based experience before the end of the year. Source: Ford

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Southeast Queens Residents Want Auto Body Shops Fined by Naeisha Rose, Queens Chronicle

People throughout Southeast Queens, NY, are sick and tired of auto body shop owners parking vehicles they work on in bus lanes or double-parking, and a newly introduced bill by Councilman Bob Holden (D-Maspeth) might be what the doctor ordered. Holden’s bill, Intro. 0393-2022, would prohibit commercial establishments (auto body shops, mechanics, car renters and gas stations) from parking vehicles on city streets as part of their business or face fines between $250 and $400 per day. “We need to do everything possible to alleviate the shortage of parking spaces in our neighborhoods,” Kevin Ryan, Holden’s spokesman, said to the Queens Chronicle. “There have been widespread problems in our district and many other neighborhoods with commercial shops located near residential property, taking up parking spots with cars and trucks.” Holden represents all or parts of Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village,

Ridgewood, Woodhaven and Woodside. Southeast Queens residents— and businesses accused of parking where they shouldn’t—have plenty to say on the issue. Candace Prince-Modeste, a Springfield Gardens resident, hopes

Jeanne Majors, a Jamaica resident, is tired of auto body shop owners taking up parking near her senior residence. Credit: Jeanne Majors

the bill gets the support it needs in the city council. “As a car owner ... I am constantly zigzagging my way along major corridors to avoid double-parked cars near auto body shops,” Prince-Modeste told the

Chronicle via email. “The added annoyance of limited parking availability near these shops, coupled with the poor aesthetic that the proliferation of these damaged or abandoned cars create, makes running basic errands an exhausting undertaking.” Prince-Modeste understands the legislation would be cost-prohibitive to some small business owners; however, it would provide the necessary enforcement to alleviate the careless and disrespectful practice that has plagued Southeast Queens for far too long. When asked by the Chronicle if auto body shop owners should be required to have several floors to work from so that cars won’t flood the streets, Holden’s spokesman said a car dealership, mechanic or a body shop should have adequate space on its property to carry out its job, rather than dominate parking on residential streets. “While Councilman Holden has been very vocal on behalf of small businesses, including sensible leg-

islation to help them save money, a business needs to have adequate property for what they do,” said Ryan. Jeanne Majors, a Jamaica resident at the Allen Cathedral Senior Residence at 107-02 Merrick Blvd., said there are too many cars parked in the bus lane and taking up residential parking. “I sometimes watch as a home attendant or someone coming to service someone here gets in their car and pulls off,” Majors told the Chronicle. “Somebody across the street must sit there and watch all day long, because they bring all their unmarked cars, their cars that are not licensed or the cars that they are fixing and park them in front of this building. There is no place to park for the family of residents who are visiting. This is really sad.” Majors, a nine-year resident at Allen Cathedral, said the issue with parking has become a serious problem this past year, and has gotten worse with a new auto body shop. See Shops Fined, Page 18

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Wurth Software Part of CCC Marketplace Wurth USA announced the availability of its app in CCC’s Secure Share Marketplace. This integration will now allow an auto body shop to easily charge for all of fasteners and chemicals used during the repair process with an expedited and efficient procedure reducing the number of steps to add a receipt to the repair order. “We are always looking for innovative partners to help us continue delivering value to our customers in the collision repair industry,” said Christine Pearse, head of product management. “Through the hard work from David Laymon on the SIS Next side, we found a great opportunity with our CCC One integration partner to enhance profitability and improve shop efficiencies. I’m energized to witness how we onboard our partners onto the program and excited to see the results we can achieve together.” Source: Wurth USA

Continued from Cover

New-Vehicle Prices were transacting on average between 6.1% and 9.3% over MSRP. On the other side of the spectrum, Buick and Lincoln were selling at nearly 1% below MSRP. “Prices for both new and used vehicles are showing signs of stabilizing, and price growth will likely decline over the course of the summer as the anniversary of the ‘big squeeze’ in inventory passes,” said Rebecca Rydzewski, research manager of economic and industry insights for Cox Automotive. “However, no one should expect price drops, as tight supplies in the new market will hold prices at an elevated level into 2023.” The average price paid for a new non-luxury vehicle in May was $43,338, up $709 from April. Car shoppers in the non-luxury segment paid on average $1,030 above sticker price. Consumers have paid more than MSRP in each month of 2022, whereas one year ago, non-luxury vehicles were selling for more than

$400 under MSRP. In May, the average luxury buyer paid $65,379 for a new vehicle, down $511 month over month but still $1,071 above sticker price. For comparison, luxury vehicles were selling for nearly $1,300 under MSRP one year ago. Luxury vehicle share remains historically high, but decreased to 17.3% of total sales in May, down slightly from 17.4% in April. For comparison, luxury share in May 2021 was 15.9% and, pre-pandemic, luxury share in May 2019 was 13.1% of the total market. The average price paid for a new electric vehicle (EV) dropped again in May compared to April, as more lower-priced models enter the market and offset the many luxury EVs already available. The Chevrolet Bolt, with average transaction prices below $40,000, is available on dealer lots after an extensive recall, and the new Kia EV6 is selling well. Even Tesla had slightly lower ATPs month over month in May. Still, the average price for a new electric vehicle—over $64,000 according to Kelley Blue Book es-

timates—is well above the industry average and more aligned with luxury prices than mainstream prices. New-vehicle average transaction price changes month over month by segment saw all segments increasing except cars, mirroring April. With an ATP of $56,216, trucks saw the largest increase of $888. With an ATP of $48,671, vans saw an increase of $726 in May, while SUVs increased by $526 to an ATP of $46,073. Cars had an average transaction price of $41,902 in May, a $179 decrease month over month. Meanwhile, vans still had the lowest incentives (expressed as a percent of ATP) at 1.4%, and trucks had the highest at 2.9%. Incentives dropped to a record low level in May, averaging only 2.5% of the average transaction price. Source: Kelley Blue Book


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CREF Honors I-CAR Committees During I-CAR’s recent Zone Conferences, the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) recognized 21 volunteer I-CAR Committees for their 2021 dedication to the industry’s future by holding a fundraiser for their local collision school programs in 2021. Each committee received a unique bowling pin which was repaired, designed and painted by collision students around the country for use as recognition awards. I-CAR believes local engagement with schools and students is so important that many of their committee goals are related to these efforts. Committees are encouraged to get involved with school advisory boards, the Adopt-aSchool program, host or attend a local career fair and collaborate with CREF to hold a fundraising event to benefit a local school. Source: CREF

Continued from Page 14

Shops Fined “In some instances they are washing cars on the sidewalk or in front of the bus shelter,” said Majors. “People tell me they get wet.” While speaking to the Queens Chronicle on June 2, Majors saw a Q85 bus make two attempts trying to reach passengers by pulling up farther up the block because of a parked car at the bus shelter. “They don’t care,” said Majors. “I figure the only thing that would stop them are the excessive fines. Once they know they are going to get fined $50 or whatever it is, they will stop. Whenever there is alternate side of the street parking, what do they do with all of the cars in front of our building? They are all gone and as soon as that time frame is up, they bring all those cars right back. I know it’s them. I watch them.” Several auto-related businesses are located near the bus stop. The owner of Mastercraft Auto Body & Repair (IK Express), who

did not wish to share his name, first said his business, located at 108-45 Merrick Blvd., was nowhere near the senior residence. When asked about a second location at 107-17 Merrick Blvd. called IK Express Auto Repair, which had the same number listed as the other business, the owner said he does not wash cars near the bus stop or take up any of the parking spaces and it is probably another business doing so. A represenative of E&D Auto Tops & Seat Covers, a repair shop also located at 107-17 Merrick Blvd., said it had received a notice about parking near the bus lanes, but workers took care of that and it is not them taking up the parking or washing cars on the sidewalk. The E&D representative said it was probably Visionary Auto Collision. “Talk to him about that,” said the E&D representative. Kirk Treasure, the owner of Visionary Auto Collision, located at 107-17a Merrick Blvd., said he doesn’t have to park elsewhere because he has his own parking lot.

“We don’t park at the bus stops,” said Treasure. However, Treasure did say because of the addition of the dedicated bus lane on Merrick Boulevard, the bus stop was moved near the shop’s driveway. “The busway wasn’t here before. Our driveway is connected with the busway,” said Treasure. A photo provided by Majors shows Visionary’s driveway is directly behind the bus stop in front of his shop. Ron Henry, the manager of H&T Auto Repair, located at 10717b Merrick Blvd., said his store has enough space inside he doesn’t have to fix cars outside. “There is a body workshop next to me,” said Henry. “Visionary. They are closer to the bus stop. I’m a mechanic and we have enough space to work.” Treasure said he is not parking in residential parking spots and he wants to work with the community. Councilwoman Nantasha Williams (D-St. Albans), who represents all or parts of Springfield Gardens and Jamaica, expressed support for Holden’s bill.

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Continued from Cover

Price-Fixing Case involved until May 2018. It sent a letter to U.S. District Judge Marianne O. Battani giving notice that its eight insurer clients had a subrogation interest in the settlement payments because they made total-loss payments to policyholders. Court documents do not reveal the identities of FRS’ clients, except for a claim assignment agreement with Selective Insurance Co. that was included in the court’s electronic file. FRS said denying the insurers equitable subrogation would “undeniably result in a double payment to total loss insureds.” But by the time FRS gave notice of its claims, three settlement agreements had already been approved and a fourth agreement was pending a final hearing. The court had set a Dec. 31, 2019, deadline to file claims, but delayed the deadline twice at the request of the plaintiffs’ attorneys. FRS filed a formal motion to intervene on June 18, 2020, the

date of the final deadline. FRS did not provide supporting information about the claims it was attempting to subrogate. It said in pleadings that it “would not be practical to submit claims for many thousands of total loss vehicles before resolving the threshold legal question whether such claims would be permitted.” U.S. District Judge Sean F. Cox denied the motion to intervene. He said in his order that FRS had ample opportunity to intervene earlier but failed to act until after three settlement agreements had been approved. Allowing more claims to be litigated at that late stage would delay distribution of the settlement proceeds, Cox said. The 6th Circuit panel said Cox did not abuse his discretion. “If it were to allow intervention, the district court would have to decide whether FRS has a right to any of the settlement proceeds,” the opinion says. “This would require, for all practical purposes, revisiting the class definition and the plan of allocation, issues that have long been resolved.”

Continued from Cover

Automakers’ Lawsuit ble part of litigation [. . .] But delay has also been an integral part of auto manufacturers’ strategy in frustrating the ongoing efforts of consumers and independent repair shops to obtain fair and equitable access to diagnostic data needed to maintain and repair vehicles.” In April 2022, Judge Douglas Woodlock announced he needed additional time to release his ruling following a June 2021 bench trial, due to his “demanding” criminal trial schedule, the recommencement of non-trial proceedings, and other responsibilities. Judge Woodlock informed the parties to the suit that he would complete his finding and ruling by July 1, 2022. The lawsuit claims that the updates to the right to repair law creates “an impossible task” for automakers to equip new vehicles (beginning with model year 2022) with “an inter-operable, standardized, and open access platform.” However, counsel for the Right to Repair Coalition

wrote in its recent brief that this delay in implementing the law is detrimental to the repair and aftermarket industry (including the 40,000 or so workers who are employed in those industries), as well as consumers. The brief cites a 2020 study of repair costs in Massachusetts that shows that dealers are 36.2% more expensive than independent repair shops. Further, the brief states, “Owners are being turned away by repair shops that simply cannot fix their cars [. . . ] The result is that the viability of the independent repair market is already being significantly harmed, and this harm will only be exacerbated by the passage of time.” The July 1st ruling promised by Judge Woodlock is quickly approaching. We will keep you updated.



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Ford Recalls 2.9M Vehicles For Inability To Shift Into Gear, Risking Crash by Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press

Ford Motor Co. is recalling 2.9 million vehicles that may shift into different gears than intended or roll away while parked, the third major recall for the automaker this month. The latest recall affects certain 2013-2019 Escape, 2013-2018 C-Max, 2013-2016 Fusion, 20132021 Transit Connect and 2015-2018 Edge vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). “A damaged or missing bushing may prevent the vehicle from shifting into the intended gear, and cause the vehicle to move in an unexpected direction. Additionally, the vehicle may roll after the driver selects the ‘Park’ position,” the government website says. Each vehicle model affected is listed separately on the regulatory site, totaling 2,925,968 vehicles. The agency acknowledged the automaker’s June 10 report to safety regulators in a letter dated Tuesday. Ford said in its filing that the company is aware of six reports alleging property damage and four reports alleging injury, related to this concern.

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“The transmission may not be in the park position, even though the shifter position indicates that the vehicle was shifted to park. The driver does not receive a warning message or audible chime,” Ford wrote in its recall letter to federal regulators. “Root cause is unknown,” the automaker said in the letter. “Based on Ford’s root cause investigation, heat and humidity have the potential to contribute to the hydrological breakdown of the bushing material.” A Ford spokesman declined to provide additional comment Wednesday. In the filing, Ford said its dealers will replace the under-hood shift bushing and add a protective cap over the shift cable bushing, free of charge. Ford said it plans to mail letters June 27 to approximately: • 1,726,763 Escape owners • 143,220 C-Max owners • 439,483, Fusion owners • 107,102 Transit Connect owners • 509,400 Edge owners Mustang Mach-E, Expedition woes Also this week, Ford confirmed recalling 48,924 model year 2021-22 electric Mustang Mach-E vehicles

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because they could lose power while driving. The 2021 Ford Bronco has also been recalled for “catastrophic” engine failure. Ford recalled 350,000 SUVs, including about 39,000 for engine fire risk in May. Customers who own a 2021 Ford Expedition and 2021 Lincoln Navigator revealed last week they’re suing for the fire risk that potentially affects 39,013 vehicles and currently has no identifiable fix. In February 2020, prior to becoming CEO eight months later, Jim Farley said in a public speech that the company had to get control of warranty costs that were taking a huge bite out of profits. “We know what we need to do,” he said. “We need to lower our warranty spending.” John Lawler, Ford chief financial officer, said late Wednesday morning during the Deutsche Bank Global Auto Industry Conference 2022 livestream that Ford must reduce warranty costs as part of its overall financial strategy. He was not asked specifically about the recent recalls, nor did he offer comment on them specifically.

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Average New-Vehicle Price Sets New Record New-vehicle prices continue to set records, with the average transaction price expected to reach a May record of $44,832— a 15.7% increase from a year ago and the third-highest level on record despite rising interest rates, according to J.D. Power. Average interest rates for new vehicle loans have risen. The average interest rate for loans in May is expected to increase 62 basis points from a year ago to 4.92%. However, elevated used-vehicle values continue to help affordability for new-vehicle buyers who have a vehicle to trade in. The average trade-in equity for May is trending towards a record of $9,922, a 59.4% increase from a year ago. Due to the lack of inventory, discounts from manufacturers continue to be sparse. For May, the average incentive spend per vehicle is $965, a decrease of 64.6% from a year ago. Source: J.D. Power


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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MA Right to Repair Coalition Urges Prompt Ruling on Ballot Question Passed by 75% in 2020

Old NYC Upper East Side Auto Shop, Site of Murder, to Be Demolished

The Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition has filed an amicus curiae brief with the federal court in reaction to an April 15 procedural order again delaying a ruling, until at least July 1, on a lawsuit filed by automakers challenging the law. As of July 1, it will have been more than 1.5 years since voters approved the Right to Repair ballot question by a 75-25 margin, and almost a year from when a verdict was expected in this expedited proceeding. In its filing, the coalition, which represents independent repair shops, consumers and other businesses in the auto repair space, urged a prompt decision and no further delays, specifically making the following points. “During this delay, the automobile manufacturers are unfairly benefiting, winning new customers for their franchised dealerships, and consumers are losing,” the letter said. “A prompt ruling upholding the Act is necessary to remedy this situation, which is contrary to the will of the voters. “…delay has also been an inte-

by Nick Garber, Patch

gral part of auto manufacturers’ strategy in frustrating the ongoing efforts of consumers and independent repair shops to obtain fair and equitable access to vehicle diagnostic data needed to maintain and repair vehicles,” the letter continued. “Thus, the Committee submits this brief to request a prompt decision on this matter. “Contrary to the clearly-expressed desires of the Massachusetts electorate, manufacturers are successfully controlling access to vehicle data, excluding independent repair shops and vehicle owners and limiting this crucial data to their own franchised dealers.” The Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition represents more than 4,000 members statewide, including independent repair shops, Massachusetts auto parts stores, the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Massachusetts, the New England Tire and Service Association, Automotive Recyclers of Massachusetts and the Automotive Oil Change Association. Source: Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition

24 JULY 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

An old auto shop building in New York City’s Upper East Side, known for being the site of a 2021 murder, is set to be demolished to make way for a new development, according to newly filed plans. Developers Taconic Partners filed plans June 3 to tear down the building at 324 E. 95th St.—a one-story brick structure between First and Second avenues. It was home until recently to NYC Auto Repair, which closed sometime after Taconic purchased the site for $70 million in December. Months earlier, the building had been thrust into the spotlight for very different reasons: in August, the shop’s 33-year-old manager was shot and killed, and another man shot and wounded, by a gunman who fled in a blue SUV. The victim, Mario Gonzalez, was described by relatives as a “giant teddy bear,” as the Daily News reported at the time.

Police later arrested Zachery Bryant, a 37-year-old Georgia man, and charged him with murder and attempted murder. Authorities initially attributed the killing to a disgruntled ex-employee, but it was unclear whether that label applied to Bryant. Bryant is next due in court July 18, records show. Taconic purchased the building last year along with 309 E. 94th St., an adjacent building on the south side of the same block. No demolition plans have been filed yet for that large, five-story structure, a former factory that now includes loft-style offices and a garage. The company did not immediately respond June 6 to questions about its plans for the site, but said last year it could accommodate a project as big as 205,000 square feet.


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Fire That Destroyed Auto Body Shop May Have Been Started By DUI Crash Into Pole

Augusta Tech Students Receive Toolships From Foundation

Fifty-eight years of business now turned to ash. “A lot of memory loss,” said Troy McFarland, co-owner of McFarland & Sons Garage Inc. “It was my livelihood for 30-plus years.” Troy and Kyle McFarland own the body shop at 396 W. Lizard Creek Road in East Penn Township, Carbon County, where an early-morning fire on Sunday destroyed the building of a company that’s been passed down for generations. “Words can’t describe,” said co-owner Kyle McFarland. “It’s sad to see it.” It all happened at around 3 a.m. Sunday when a car struck a telephone pole off West Lizard Creek Road. Pennsylvania State Police report that the driver who hit the pole is a 27-year-old man from Whitehall who is suspected of driving under the influence. The crash ultimately set McFarland & Sons Garage on fire. “When I first pulled in, I see flames coming out of the garage door, and just like that, the whole building went up in flames,” Troy McFarland said. “The firetrucks got here and tried to do the best they could, but it was just too much,” said Kyle McFarland. One neighbor lives right

Steve Masse, Town Fair Tire regional manager for Maine, recently presented four Town Fair Tire Foundation Toolships to students at Capital Area Technical Center. Each one of the $500 toolships went to graduating seniors entering the workforce to allow them to purchase tools and equipment necessary to begin their careers, according to a news release from the Augusta-based technical center. Jacob Molnar of Richmond, a student from Richmond High School, is enrolled for the second year in the auto body program. He is participating in an internship at Lee Toyota and after graduation plans to work in the automotive collision field. He plans to use the toolship to purchase tools he will need for his career. Jayda Oyster of Augusta, a student from Cony High School, is enrolled in the plumbing and

where the utility pole went down — a shocking sight to see at 3 a.m. “I didn’t know what was going on,” said David Heintzelman, who lives nearby. “I had seen the pole was down and saw the car was over there by the pine tree. I don’t have no power.” PPL was on site, trying to restore electricity to homes on that street. Despite all that happened, the business has no plans to close while the owners try to get back on their feet. “We’re still going to be continuing work across the street at our other location (McFarland Auto Sales) to try to keep our customers’ cars serviced and stuff,” Kyle McFarland said. The McFarland family is determined to keep their customers happy. They are asking anyone who has an appointment scheduled this week to call the auto sales office at 610-379-4799 to reschedule as needed. “Hopefully we can rebuild, come back and still be able to serve the people in the area,” said Troy McFarland. In addition to the loss of the auto body shop, a family who lived in an apartment connected to the shop lost all their belongings.


heating program. She is employed by Glenridge Nursing Home. She will use the toolship to begin her training as a Certified Nursing Assistant. Connor Whitley of West Gardiner, a student at Gardiner Area High School, is enrolled in the plumbing and heating program for the second year. He will start as a plumber apprentice and use the toolship to purchase tools to begin his career. Andrea McDonald of Monmouth, a student from Monmouth Academy, is enrolled for the second year in the plumbing and heating program. Through the class, she learned she likes HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) work the best. She plans to attend UA Local 716 training program and plans to use the toolship for training costs and tools. Source: Central Maine


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New Jersey AG & State Agency Penalize 3 Dealer Groups by SubPrime Auto Finance News Staff

A trio of dealership operations in the Garden State are set to pay hefty penalties for alleged violations of advertising, warranties and other financing and retailing matters. New Jersey acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin and the state’s Division of Consumer Affairs announced separate settlements totaling nearly $400,000 with the dealerships for alleged consumer protection violations. According to a news release, the alleged violations involving Open Road Auto Group, Glen Motors and Lynnes Dealerships included: • Failing to disclose prior accident history • Deceptive advertising • Failing to honor vehicle warranties • Failing to list vehicle prices on sales documents • Charging consumers for certain fees twice • Failing to itemize aftermarket products or dealer-installed options • Failing to obtain consumer sig-

natures on all sales documents • Accepting incomplete credit applications from prospective buyers In addition to paying civil monetary penalties, state officials said the dealerships agreed to refrain from engaging in any unfair or deceptive acts or practices, comply with all applicable state and federal laws and resolve consumer complaints. “Dodging illegal practices should be the last thing New Jerseyans have to worry about as they search for a vehicle in this challenging market,” Platkin said in the news release. “These settlements demonstrate our commitment to protect consumers and ensure transparency in the state’s auto market.” Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs Cari Fais added, “The Division has a duty to protect New Jersey consumers by ensuring dealerships live up to their promises. In addition to providing relief to affected consumers, these settlements make clear that we will not tolerate car dealerships that disregard our laws and regulations.”

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Settlement involving Open Road Officials said Open Road Auto Group, which operates 15 locations in New Jersey, agreed to a $300,000 settlement to resolve an investigation into allegations that included failingto disclose prior accident history, using deceptive advertising and failing to honor vehicle warranties. Under the terms of the assurance of voluntary compliance entered with the division, Open Road Auto Group, among other things, agreed to: • Disclose the total cost, the down payment, trade-in or rebate, if any, plus the total scheduled periodic payments in the advertisement of installment sales of vehicles • Include a statement that “prices include all costs to be paid by consumer, except for licensing costs, registration fees and taxes,” in the advertisement of new or used vehicles • Disclose in the advertisement that a vehicle had been previously damaged and that substantial repair or body work has been performed on it when such prior repair or body work is known or should have been known

• Refrain from charging customers for work done or parts supplied in excess of any estimate, without oral or written consent from the customer • Accurately disclose the purchase price of any dealer-installed options • Refrain from misrepresenting to consumers that aftermarket merchandise such as service contracts and window etch are mandatory • Itemize all aftermarket merchandise on leases, sales documents and contracts • Refrain from charging consumers separately for a “destination charge” on any advertised vehicle when the cost is already included in the advertised price • Provide consumers with an opportunity to review all lease documents prior to signing Officials said Open Road Auto Group also agreed to provide a $100 service credit coupon toward service, maintenance or repair for all consumers who purchased a vehicle in 2017 and were charged a wash and detail fee. Additionally, officials said the company will enter binding arbitra-

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tion through the division’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Unit to resolve all pending complaints from affected consumers and any additional consumer complaints received by the division for a period of three years. Settlement with Glen Motors Officials said Glen Motors Inc., located in Fair Lawn, agreed to a $90,000 settlement—which includes $66,088.98 in civil penalties—to resolve allegations that included failing to list the price of vehicles on its sales documents, failing to itemize aftermarket products or dealer-installed options and failing to obtain consumer signatures on all sales documents. Under the terms of the assurance of voluntary compliance entered with the division, Glen Motors Inc., among other things, agreed to: • Itemize all aftermarket products on the leases, sales documents and aftermarket contracts • Provide consumers an aftermarket contract containing a clear statement of the full total price for such aftermarket products, including an itemization of the aftermarket products • Refrain from charging consumers

for aftermarket products that are not reflected in the leases, sales documents or aftermarket contracts • Provide consumers with a full and accurate copy of all leases, sales documents and aftermarket contracts signed by the consumer • Not misrepresent to consumers that dealer-installed options or aftermarket products are mandatory when such is not the case • Itemize all pre-delivery services in writing on the sales document • Refrain from adding or charging for aftermarket products or dealer-installed options without the consumers’ written authorization • Honor all advertised vehicle prices, terms and conditions • Obtain the consumers’ signatures on all aftermarket contracts, leases, retail buyer’s orders, sales documents and any other document that requires the consumers’ signatures Officials added Glen Motors also agreed to enter binding arbitration through the division’s ADR Unit to resolve all pending complaints from affected consumers and any additional consumer complaints received by the division for a period of two years.

A portion of the settlement amount will be suspended and automatically vacated provided the company complies with the terms of the agreement over a two-year period, according to the news release. Settlement with Lynnes Finally, the division also announced a settlement with several Lynnes dealerships: Lynnes Nissan City, Lynnes Nissan East, Lynnes Hyundai and Lynnes Subaru, all located in Bloomfield. Officials said Lynnes agreed to a $46,381 settlement—which includes $33,500 in civil penalties—to resolve allegations that included charging consumers for certain fees twice, accepting incomplete credit applications from prospective buyers and failing to list vehicle prices on sales documents. Under the terms of the consent order with the division, Lynnes, among other things, agreed to: • Comply with all applicable state and/or federal laws, rules and regulations, including the Consumer Fraud • Act, the Motor Vehicle Advertising Regulations and the Automotive Sales Practices Regulations • Itemize all aftermarket mer-

chandise and dealer-installed options in the sales documents and aftermarket contract • Include the trade-in value of a vehicle on all sales documents • Not engage in a “bait and switch” by refusing to show, display, sell or lease vehicles at the advertised price, as required by the Consumer Fraud Act and the Motor Vehicle Advertising Regulations • Accurately disclose the sale price of vehicle on the sales documents • Refrain from signing any aftermarket contract, lease, sales document or other document on behalf of a consumer or affixing a consumer’s signature to any document Officials went on to mention Lynnes also agreed to enter binding arbitration through the division’s ADR Unit to resolve all pending complaints from affected consumers and to arbitrate, if necessary, any additional consumer complaints received by the division for a period of three years. A portion of the settlement amount will be suspended and automatically vacated provided the company complies with the terms of the agreement, according to officials.

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5/4/21 4:37 PM

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CIECAST Looks at Unintended Consequences of Data Sharing in Collision Repair by Abby Andrews

CIECA on May 24 hosted its latest CIECAST webinar, “Data Sharing in the Collision Industry and Its Unintended Consequences.” The roughly 40-minute broadcast, featuring Pete Tagliapietra, managing director of DataTouch, LLC, can be viewed at any time at https://www. youtube.com/watch?v=x6M14qGIo5c Tagliapietra, who also founded NuGen IT before it was acquired by OEConnection, discussed the lack of security and control around the now-ubiquitous Estimate Management Standard (EMS) export, and the importance of giving collision repair facilities and customers the ability to control personal information sharing in the future. CIECA first released the EMS Standard in April 1994, designed to allow shops to import estimate data into their management system of choice— CCC, Mitchell or Audatex. “It was designed for internal shop use only,” Tagliapietra said. “It was never intended to be secure or used ex-

ternally for ecommerce purposes.” But since then, several companies have recognized its value as an “excellent external ecommerce tool,” Tagliapietra said, including those of-

trols and data pumps have become prolific on shops’ computer systems—which seamlessly grab EMS export data and share it wherever the data pump directs it.

fering claims processing, data mining and reporting and integration with any collision repair industry stakeholders. “Pandora’s box was opened and the EMS Standard is entrenched in the industry,” he said. “That data today is widely used for many different purposes.” Tagliapietra said ActiveX con-

“Once a data pump is installed, it will copy all estimates indefinitely until it is uninstalled,” Tagliapietra said. “That means if a shop switches and no longer uses that partner, but doesn’t uninstall the data pump, it will keep sending [data.] “We see that as a very key issue as to what’s going on now,” he said.

Tagliapietra said repair data is the “newfound gold” in the industry. “That data is being used way beyond what most people recognize,” he said. “It goes way beyond vehicle reporting.” As an example, Tagliapietra said, startup electric vehicle manufacturers are looking at repair orders of competitors’ EVs, to learn what is being repaired and when, as well as demographic information on who is buying those EVs. It’s a common misconception among shops that third party providers can successfully manage personal ID info and repair data, Tagliapietra said. “There’s no surefire way to manage it successfully unless it happens right where the shop writes an estimate,” he said. He showed a flow chart, illustrating how customers’ personal information and vehicle repair data can get from a shop to a completely unaffiliated third party. A shop creates an estimate, then uploads the data to its estimating system provider, which attaches the EMS report

autobodynews.com / JULY 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 31

via an ActiveX control or data pump. To help facilitate the repair, the EMS data goes to parts search databases, parts providers, third party claims processors and business management systems—and it can also end up in vehicle history reports and information on parts pricing, vehicle repairability and vehicle owner demographics. This has led to a complete lack of control of the vehicle owner’s personal info, Tagliapietra said. “It started happening in the mid to late ‘90s, so it’s nothing new, but it now has grown to the point it’s been identified by states,” he said. California now has strict regulations on personal information security, and other states, like Virginia and Ohio, are looking into it. Tagliapietra said many more states will follow. “Businesses can no longer ignore the potential liabilities by not protecting personal information,” he said. “It needs to be dealt with. And it will be dealt with, but it’s just going to take time to do that.” Paul Barry, executive director of CIECA, talked about the difference between data security and information privacy.

Briones is Crash Champions’ Marketing Officer Crash Champions, LLC, announced June 7 it has named Daniel Briones as chief marketing officer. Briones, previously vice president of marketing and brand for the company, will oversee go-to-market and brand strategies as a key member of Crash Champions’ executive leadership team. Briones has 25 years in the automotive space, 15 of which have been as an experienced, tenured marketing leader. Briones joined the Crash Champions team as a marketing consultant in July 2021, and then transitioned into the role of vice president of marketing and brand later that year. In that time, Briones led Crash’s marketing and brand strategy, playing a critical role in building-out the company’s national platform by driving measurable business growth and successfully positioning the brand for continued expansion. Source: Crash Champions

“Data security—think of it like home security,” Barry said. “It’s really about keeping the bad guys out.” Businesses need to manage their own data security to prevent unwanted access, he said, using routers, firewalls, VPNs, passwords and anti-virus software. Information privacy is a business’s policies and procedures aimed at protecting that data. “Each business should develop a program of controls to ensure info is protected and shared appropriately,” Barry said, including password, system access and information sharing policies, and training. “Larger companies usually have this, but it doesn’t scale down well,” Barry said. “It’s something every business needs to be aware of.” When CIECA realized EMS data was being shared broadly, Barry said, it started focusing on data segmentation—sharing only the data necessary for a particular job—which gave rise to the newer BMS standards and is figuring into developing CAPIS standards. “If we don’t need to share a customer’s personally identifiable

information, then we shouldn’t,” Barry said. “For example, a parts provider doesn’t need a customer’s home address.” Tagliapietra said the industry as a whole is addressing the problem, but there’s a lot of work to be done. “When you’re standing on the basement floor, there’s nowhere to go but up,” he said. “That’s where the collision repair industry is in protecting personal identification information.” Tagliapietra said a solution needs to be offered to shops that addresses data segmentation and deletes customers’ personal information before sharing data with “practically everybody,” controlling what is shared based on what the partner—be it a parts provider, salvage yard, rental car company, etc—actually needs. He said he believes a solution to control data flow will be available to collision repairers by the end of 2022. “Like any other problem the industry has faced, I’m confident, Paul’s confident, it will be dealt with,” Tagliapietra said. “We need to move away from EMS, to a more sophisticated stan-

dard, that’s easier to manage so we don’t give away data simply to anyone who wants to take it,” he said. Tagliapietra said currently, shops don’t have a way of finding out which data pumps are running in their systems, but that technology is coming. “Shops should be able to identify data pumps running on their system, validate them and determine which data should be shared,” he said. “Auditing software will be available before the end of the year to detect and advise a shop on how many [pumps are running] and who’s operating them.” Barry said there is no silver bullet that will eliminate the problem; it will require collision repairers choosing to work only with partners that will protect personal information. “It will take shops demanding it,” Barry said. “Millions of transactions are done every year through EMS. Shops will have to say, ‘I won’t do business with you unless you’re doing it through BMS.’” Barry said CIECA’s developing CAPIS Standards will use more current technology, but he thinks it’s going to take a while.

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Please contact these dealers for your Honda or Acura Genuine parts needs. HONDA CONNECTICUT




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Clinton Honda

800-640-6685 207-774-6685


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IRA Honda Saco 207-391-7910 207-282-0900



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Dept. Hours: M-F 8-5; Sat 8-2 abdulc@clintonhonda.com

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Dept. Hours: M-Thu 7-7; Fri 7-6; Sat 7-5; Sun 8-4 jay.madisonhonda@gmail.com

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Ide Honda Rochester

800-462-0056 (N.Y.) 585-586-4919


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Lia Honda of Albany Albany

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Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-5; Sat 8-4 cpaulson@liacars.com

Lia Honda of Williamsville Williamsville/Buffalo

877-659-2672 716-632-3800

Dept. Hours: M & W 7:30-7; Tu & Thur 7:30-6 Fri 7:30-5; Sat 8-5:30 mmiller@liacars.com

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Dept. Hours: M, Tu, Th 8-8; W, F 8-6; Sat 8-5 jmaybee@raylaks.com

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Dept. Hours: M-Sat 7:30-6 bmartinsen@eliteacura.com

Dept. Hours: M-Thur 8-7; F 8-6; Sat 8-4 manny.aliagra@bernardiauto.com

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-5; Sat 7:30-4:30 sbaptist@penskeautomotive.com

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Autosport Acura

Open Road Acura of East Brunswick


732-238-0777 732-238-5466


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Bill Vince’s Bridgewater Acura

Open Road Acura of Wayne




Dept. Hours: M-F 8-7; Sat 8-4 mattn@bridgewateracura.com 34 JULY 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

East Brunswick


Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-4 jonathan.tangen@openroad.com


Dept. Hours: M-F 8-6; Sat 8-3 ron@parkaveacura.com NEW YORK

Acura of Westchester Westchester


Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-8; Sat 8-4; Sun 9-4 acura.parts@yahoo.com



Apple Honda

802 Honda

800-960-9041 717-848-2600



Dept. Hours: M-F 7-6; Sat 7-4; Sun 10-4 applehondaparts@appleauto1.com


Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-5; Sat 8-Noon hondaparts@802cars.com

Baierl Honda Wexford


Dept. Hours: M-F 8-5; Sat 8-4 markludwig@baierl.com

Shenango Honda Hermitage

800-858-0849 724-981-7106

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-5:30; Sat 8-4 parts@shenangoauto.com

Sussman Honda Roslyn

800-682-2914 215-657-3301

Dept. Hours: M-F 8-5; Sat 8-1 rendrick@sussmanauto.com



Curry Acura

Baierl Acura

800-725-2877 914-472-7406

800-246-7457 724-935-0800



Dept. Hours: M-F 8-6; Sat 8-5 parts@curryacura.com

Dept. Hours: M-F 8-5; Sat 8-4 cameronegerter@baierl.com

Paragon Acura

Davis Acura


267-296-1000 215-943-7000


Dept. Hours: M-F 8-6; Sat 8-5; Sun 9-4 parts@paragonacura.com

Smithtown Acura


Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 8-4 frankp@davisacura.com

St. James

Sussman Acura

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-5:30; Sat 8-4 parts@smithtownacura.com

800-826-4078 215-884-6285



Dept. Hours: M-F 8-5; Sat 8-1 rendrick@sussmanauto.com autobodynews.com / JULY 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 35

From the Desk of Mike Anderson with Mike Anderson

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

3 Phrases I’ve Heard with Potential Power in the Collision Repair Industry I’ve recently heard three people I respect in the collision repair industry each quote a different phrase that really resonated with me. I found myself continuing to think about how what they said is very applicable to our industry. So I thought I would pass those things along here. First, I was recently at a conference where Dan Risley of CCC Intelligent Solutions used the term “post-collision emotional support.” That brought to mind a couple of experiences I’d heard just recently from owners of General Motors vehicles. In the first, a Texas collision repairer told me his daughter had been in an accident in his vehicle. Not only did OnStar notify him of the accident, but they stayed in contact with him the whole time he was getting to the hospital where his daugh-

ter was taken. In another instance l heard from a GM owner, OnStar not only contacted him at the time of the accident to make sure he was OK, but followed up with him the next day just to confirm. I think that’s pretty amazing. It reminded me that about a year ago, after I’d had a medical procedure, both my doctor and the anesthesiologist called me the next day just to follow up, to make sure I was OK and wasn’t having any side effects. It meant a lot to me that they took the time to do that. I think the automakers are recognizing the opportunity that telematics offer them to provide that “post-collision emotional support” Dan was talking about. I think the GM stories are examples of that, and it’s going to help the OEMs leverage their brand and create raving fans

out of customers who are in an accident in a GM vehicle. So is there a way for us as shops to similarly provide post-collision emotional support? I think there is. How about a follow-up call to the customer the day after they pick up their vehicle, just to ask if everything is good with their vehicle? I know shops struggle with all the demands they have on their time, but couldn’t this be a great way to cement customer loyalty? A second quote that really jumped out at me recently was shared by a Collision Advice teammate, Sheryl Driggers, who I have so much respect for. We were having a team meeting, and she said something like, “Where there is no communication, negativity fills the void.” It made so much sense in the context of our discussion that I

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asked her about it. She said she was paraphrasing Jon Gordon, author of “The Energy Bus,” “The Power of Positive Leadership” and other best-selling books. The actual quote from Jon: “Where there is a void in communication, negativity will fill it. Fill the voids so negativity can’t breed and grow.” To me, this really brought to mind all the supply chain issues we’re struggling with. If there are delays with the repair of a vehicle because of back-ordered parts or insurer-caused delays, are you keeping those customers actively informed about what’s happening? If there’s a void in your communication, they may be filling that void with negativity: “Man, that shop has really dropped the ball and isn’t getting my car fixed.”

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Check out MoparRepairConnection.com for resources, promotions and technical information. ©2022 FCA US LLC. All Rights Reserved. Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Wagoneer, Mopar and SRT are registered trademarks of FCA US LLC. FIAT is a registered trademark of FCA Group Marketing S.p.A., used under license by FCA US LLC.

autobodynews.com / JULY 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 39 4/19/22 10:05 AM

Guest Columnist with Cole Strandberg

Cole Strandberg is a principal with FOCUS Investment Banking, specializing in automotive aftermarket mergers and acquisitions. Cole works closely with automotive equipment providers, paint jobbers and collision centers. For more information, contact him at cole.strandberg@focusbankers.com or (561) 400-1015

How to Sell Your Automotive Distribution Business—An Insider’s Perspective I left my first stint in investment banking for the less glamorous world of automotive equipment distribution. Going from suits and boardrooms to jeans and paint booth pits was quite a transition, but it helped me realize what more and more people are finding out: the path to wealth is often found in owning a blue collar, service-oriented business, and then eventually selling that business. But if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you already know that. In my case, the catalyst to leave investment banking was to join my family’s 30-year-old automotive equipment company following a strategic buyer’s interest in purchasing the business. I loved the idea of working with my family, and it was a truly great experience. At the time, I felt my banking experience would be helpful in the

sales process and I would like to experience it firsthand, which is also how I got back into banking. But until that initial acquisition interest, my family had not fully realized how valuable our company would appear to outside buyers. In fact, it was such a niche business that selling had never become a serious discussion. After all, who would buy a business in an industry that 99% of the country has never thought about? Spoiler alert: There was a ton of interest from all sorts of potential buyers. Distribution is sometimes overlooked as the key cog it is in the automotive aftermarket ecosystem. Whether you sell coatings and parts, paint booths and frame machines, or alignment equipment and compressors, you’re vital to the success of your customers. They rely on you to help them make money,

plain and simple. Now, with massive levels of consolidation among your customers—be they collision repair centers, tire stores or car dealerships—you’re at a bit of a crossroads yourself. As your customers get bigger and more sophisticated, they expect you to do the same—or exit the industry. This “grow or go” conundrum is leading to significant M&A activity among the distribution companies that service those customers. Consolidation is underway, and valuations are high. In short, despite all the challenges you face in the business world right now, it’s a good time to be an owner—and potential seller— of a distribution company in the automotive space. So, if you’re open to selling your distribution business but not sure where to start, here are some

things to think about from someone who’s been involved as both a seller and a banker. The first order of business is to make sure your organization is ready for a transaction. Here are some steps to do just that: Consult an investment bank or M&A advisor: Find the right team to market your business and have your back throughout the M&A process. Your investment bank is an extension of you and your company in the marketplace, so make sure you are well represented. Look for investment banks that specialize in your space and market. It certainly helps when they’re familiar with your industry, its valuation trends and its buyers. Some key things my family and I considered when selecting our investment bank included industry experience and expertise, a high-quality team, FIN-


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RA licensing and a good cultural fit. The right investment bank will help you focus on the right metrics to get you where you want to go, even if you’re not there yet. They will also help guide you through some of the less obvious potential pitfalls that come with selling a distribution business, such as informing your suppliers beforehand and working with them to ensure a smooth transition. That’s what my family did, and it ended up opening a whole new world of potential buyers, allowing us to maximize the business’s value and find the right partners for longterm growth and success. Get your finances in order: One of the biggest factors hampering transactions from taking place is less-than-stellar financial records. If that sounds familiar, don’t fret! When we sold our family business, we recognized our financials were lacking in sophistication and brought in an ace CPA firm to help. It made a significant impact and changed the entire selling process for the better. In our case, we were introduced to our accounting firm

by our investment bank. If you don’t have an accountant, ask your investment banker to refer you to one. Stay focused on growth: When a sale is looming, it is easy for owners to focus on that sale as much or more than the daily operations of the business itself. This is a major trap. Keep pushing the growth! Doing this will ensure you get the best valuation possible and avoid any cold feet from buyers at the finish line. Stability within the business throughout the M&A process is key. Rely on your investment bank to handle the sales process while you concentrate on running your business. Map out the future: Some owners want to be done with their business entirely and ride off into the sunset that is retirement. And that’s perfectly OK. Others don’t want to get out entirely, but they’d like to take some money off the table and find the right partners to fuel growth within the business. Both cases attract two entirely different types of buyers. Based on what you want your business to look like after the sale, your investment bank or M&A advisor will help you

find the right partner. In our case, we wanted to keep some skin in the game and play a major role in the company’s future growth. Selling your distribution business is an exciting proposition, but there are many moving parts and roadblocks that can make the process daunting. You’ve dedicated blood, sweat, tears and—perhaps most importantly—a lot of time to your business. Nailing the transaction to ensure all that hard work is rewarded properly is paramount. After all, you don’t want to fumble at the goal line following a beautiful 99-yard return, right? Selling your business can often be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so when that opportunity comes, make sure it’s executed properly. Find yourself the right partners and maximize your valuation. You’ve worked hard to get here, now finish strong!

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Continued from Page 36

3 Phrases I’ve Heard The fact Sheryl brought this concept to my attention hit home again just a few days later when I heard Ray Chew of CCC talk about what he termed a “no-update update.” Ray was talking about reaching out to customers just to let them know there’s nothing new you can tell them—there’s still no timeline from the supplier for the arrival of the part we need, for example—but you wanted to at least give them that update. The “no-update update” will help fill those communication voices to prevent negativity from creeping in. I’d love to hear how you’re offering “post-collision emotional support” or “no-update updates” to help avoid “voids in communication” at your business. Or if there’s a phrase or quote you’ve recently heard that’s resonated with you, drop me a line at mike@collisionadvice.com. www.autobodynews.com

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Industry Insight with John Yoswick

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

CIC Committees Tackle Ongoing Shortage of Collision Repair Technicians

Shop Showcase

It’s not uncommon during discus- appreciated. They leave because of sions within the collision repair in- management, period.” She said she has seen technical dustry about the technician shortage with Ed Attanasio for body shop representatives to education teachers “work hard every point to what they see as the inad- day to instill the passion they have equate entry-level skills of students for this industry into those students, completing auto body training pro- and then when they get out into the grams. Educators and others speaking at this spring’swith Collision Industry Ed Attanasio Conference (CIC), however, offered their own perspectives on the issue. “We do not have a recruiting problem. We have a retention problem,” Virginia Oden, a trade and industrial education program specialist with Oklahoma Career Tech, said at with Ed Attanasio Virginia Oden of Oklahoma Career Tech said the meeting held in Oklahoma City. how entry-level technicians are treated when “How we treat our employees is key. they enter the industry impacts whether they If you don’t provide them with opstay in the industry portunity, they will look elsewhere. They will tell you it’s because of industry, they are treated terribly. the dollar. But people do not leave They may leave your shop and go with Ed Attanasio a job they love and where they feel down the street to the next shop.

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But if they’re treated terribly at that shop, they will leave the industry. “They can get better work and better hours, with less hard labor, working at Amazon,” Oden said. “So it’s important once we get them recruited and passionate about what we do, we’ve got to treat them with respect. It’s not about ‘kids today.’ It’s every single person who’s breathing. We all want to be treated with respect.” Speaking from the floor at CIC, Dane Rounkles of American Honda said he once went to a collision shop in the Southeast to visit a student interning there while completing the Honda Professional Automotive Career Training program at a local school. “He wasn’t there, and I asked, ‘Did he not show up?’” Rounkles said. “No, he was mowing the shop owner’s yard. When I spoke to the

Media and Publicity for Shops

owner of the body shop about this, he said, ‘I had to pay my dues. They’ve got to pay theirs. As long as the school keeps sending people, I never have to mow my yard.’ My point: Do not assume these kids need to do what you and I did.” Bud Center, chairman of the CIC Talent Pool and Education Committee, said too often he hears shops and schools pointing to the other as the cause of the technician shortage. “There needs to be more conversation. People need to get on the same page,” Center said. To that end, the discussion at CIC included panelists sharing ideas about ways to improve the technician shortage. Oden said collision repair and other technical training programs in her state hold summer camps that give fifth and sixth grade students some exposure to the differ-

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ent programs. During eighth grade, students tour technical training programs in their area. “It’s all about planting seeds. It’s making students and parents and counselors aware of the opportunities that are out there,” Oden said. “At the same time, having done this for a while, the industry tends to want the fruit off the tree. They don’t want to help plant the seed to grow the tree. So they’re not involved in those summer camps and eighth grade visits and sophomore showcases. It’s like anything: If that student has seen your face, they become comfortable with you. You’re building that relationship. You’re starting that investment.” Amber Alley, manager of Barsotti’s Body & Fender in San Rafael, CA, has spoken at a number of past industry events about the success her shop has seen from its involvement with a local college taking part in a pilot project funded by the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation. The students in the two-year program rotate spending eight weeks at school, then eight weeks working in a shop.

At CIC, Alley said she sees strong evidence of student interest in the trade. “I’ve done job fairs and that type of thing, and it’s not that people aren’t attracted to the industry,” Alley said. “It’s the presentation of the industry that they get once they come in.” Too often, she said, shops aren’t willing “to invest in people, and to offer them fair wages and a career path, because they’re scared that someone down the street is going to give them a dollar more. But not everyone is going to make it at your shop. We all have to be willing to take the calculated risk of investing in someone. We can’t have the attitude that they need to prove themselves to us. We need to prove ourselves to them.” Oden agreed that offering a career path is essential to keep young people in the industry. “They want to know what those steps are: This is where you are going to start. This is the compensation package, and here’s how you grow that,” Oden said. “I can tell you: Every single student in our career tech programs wants to see that.”

But at the same time, Alley said, the industry needs to have “a serious conversation” about what it will take for shops to pay competitive wages that attract and retain technicians in the industry. “None of this is going to matter if we can’t keep our doors open, if we can’t charge what the work costs, if you can’t pay the people what they need to earn to stay in the industry,” she said. “That needs to be a priority, having that conversation. We need to be big boys and girls about it, and be really serious…None of this is going to get solved unless we can pay people what their value is.” Center said when he asks shop owners what they are personally doing to help address the technician shortage and if they are involved with local schools, they often say they don’t have the time. “If you don’t have time as the owner or manager of a business in this industry to help solve this problem, who is going to do it? If you don’t have time, designate someone on your team to take that responsibility, and get this stuff done,” Center said. “Somebody has to take the lead.”


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Capture the Keys Uses Geofencing to Find Customers in the Right Place at the Right Time by Ed Attanasio

Thomas Zoebelein, owner of Stratosphere Studio in Bel Air, MD, creates marketing concepts for body shops well-known for pushing the envelope. His latest product is Capture the Keys, a software product that can target and pinpoint potential customers who have physically visited competing shops. It’s totally legal and ethical, and has been highly effective in gathering viable leads for Zoebelein’s shop customers since he unveiled it in 2020. Stratosphere Studio has evolved with the collision repair industry since it opened its doors in 2011. “Back then, we were doing primarily digital marketing for body shops—websites, blog content, email marketing and some consumer advertising, and it worked very well for a while,” Zoebelein said. “We found out about geofencing back when it was new, and thought, wow, this is the perfect thing for body shops because you can actual-

ly target people that are walking into a facility. I realized that geofencing was the solution, as long as it’s used strategically employed the right way.” The biggest question is how to find that customer immediately after they get into an accident. “Collision repair marketing is like trying to catch lightning in a bottle,” Zoebelein said. “You have to know when the lightning is going to strike in order to be able to put your lid on the jar, right? So, with geofencing we know if somebody’s walking into a competitor’s location and they’re not a vendor or an employee, they’re in the market.” I could write 5,000 words to describe how geofencing works, but Zoebelein can do it in less than 60. “In short, geofencing enables a user to capture any device’s ID’s and Mobile Ad ID’s (MAIDs) for any device that enters a fenced zone,” he said. “Then we can serve ads into the app’s websites and social media feeds of that device. You can also track that back to the activity that the

device does after it has been served an ad, such as counting it as a walkin.” Once Zoebelein saw the potential benefits for using geofencing, he began telling his shop customers about it in 2019—but without luck, at least initially. “It fell on deaf ears at first,” he said. “Nobody was really ready to jump in on the technology at that time. So then when COVID happened, people were starting to hear a little bit about geofencing for shops. One of my shop customers called me and said that he scrubbed down his frame machine for the second time, and his paint booth was spotless. He said I need to get some cars in here, so let’s give that geofencing thing a shot; what’s the harm? It generated a few walk-ins that clearly came from a competitor’s location. And so, I thought, wow, we might be onto something here.” Further testing led to the collection of solid leads, and soon Stratosphere decided to offer Capture the Keys to its clients, primarily inde-

pendent shops. “We went to another shop with two locations in Pennsylvania and asked them if we could test it with them and they said sure,” Zoebelein said. “So, we ran a second test and had similar positive results. So that’s when we decided to launch geofencing as a service, and then eventually we turned it into a product. “It includes Facebook ads, Instagram ads, as well as Instagram and Facebook content, with geofencing and an in-depth reporting feature,” he continued. “It enables us to show our customers every two weeks how many leads we’ve collected. We send them a video walk-through of all the numbers and it shows how many phone calls they receive, how many walk-ins they get, how many lead submissions they collect and how many clicks they receive from the ads.” Capture the Keys helps shops with their search engine optimization (SEO) as well. “They see an immediate 3035% increase in traffic to their Goo-

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gle My Business page,” Zoebelein said. “We officially launched Capture the Keys at Kristen Felder’s first World’s Fair & Expo in 2020 and that’s when it really took off for us. Shops can send postcards to people all day long. TV and radio does a good job to build awareness, but it’s a really inefficient way of getting in front of people who are buying right now. “The best way to get in front of buyers is to be able to identify them in real time, and we can do it with geofencing.” Stratosphere is working with a company that tracks devices back to where the phone spends the night, and from there they can tell the physical address and name of the head of household. In some cases, it can pull email addresses in as well. “I can even tell you the year make and model of their vehicle, and even get their birthday in a lot of the cases,” Zoebelein said. “We draw these fences around our customer’s competing locations—whether they’re another body shop or a dealership—including their parking lots. “One of the reasons why

geofencing works so well is due to the fact that it doesn’t care what you look at online,” he said. “It’ll start serving ads because it’s tracking the device, not the user. Many of our clients are getting a considerable amount of walk-ins with people sending in photos of the damage, and filling out submission forms immediately after getting into accidents, and it all happens because of geofencing.” So, what happens when somebody starts getting a banner ad on their device via geofencing? “First, they’ll Google the shop by name,” he said. “So, this is different than doing an auto body repair search. The idea is that you’re going to find your body shop by searching for it online even if that was the only thing available to you. It’s a guaranteed branded search, so we actually don’t care where they click once they’re there. “If they want to go to the website, Yelp or Facebook, it doesn’t matter,” Zoebelein said. “Accessing the shop’s Google My Business page is the last mile in any buying decision for auto repair and it just

makes it the very next step. Everything they need to know about the shop is right here. They can read reviews on the shop, see photos of the shop, they can book an appointment right from there or just click to call. They can click to get directions or even save it to their phone to access later. “The third thing the user can do is then click on the ad, which takes them to a landing page that explains why they should consider getting a second opinion outlining all of their services, certifications and capabilities.” Zoebelein explained Stratosphere is in the mind-changing business, and Capture the Keys can also help the fight against steering. “Capture The Keys was designed to help collision repair facilities combat insurance steering through a proprietary blend of geofencing and paid media strategies,” he said. “It is designed to find prospects and get a ‘second opinion quote’ from our body shop customers. Leads are handled through our own custom-built CRM for collision repairers and remove the friction in

the transition from prospect lead to paying customer.” The blogs Stratosphere creates for its customers are built to inform and promote the industry as a whole. “We’ve rewritten just about every single OEM position statement out there in layman’s terms,” Zoebelein said. “I like to say we reinvented the blog. It’s not strictly for SEO, but more for customer education and to solidify the fact that each one of our body shop customers is the No. 1 industry expert in their particular region. The whole point in advertising in simple terms is to find, identify and connect the buyer with the seller of a service or product, and we can achieve it all with geofencing.” Fifty shops are currently using Capture the Keys and Zoebelein is looking to work with 50 more. Each shop’s region is protected and spots are limited. So, if you’re on the fence about geofencing, maybe this article will prompt you to consider this technology and its benefits for your business. Learn more at capturethekeys.com.

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Industry Insight

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

with John Yoswick

What Role Should a Current Backlog of Work Play in Auto Body Shops’ DRP Decisions?

Shop Showcase

A national survey in April found repair everything you have. If that’s auto body shops on average have a a business decision you have been work backlog topping four weeks, toying with, now would be a good with Ed Attanasio and during the Society of Collision time to do that.” Other association leaders with Repair Specialists’ (SCRS) Repairer Roundtable this spring, a panel was longer tenures offered some cauasked whether that “unique scenar- tions to consider. “In order to do that, they have io” in the industry should play into a collision repair business’ decisions to have alternative plans,” Jordan related to participation in direct re- Hendler of the Washington Metwith Ed Attanasio pair programs. ropolitan Auto Body Association Three association leaders and (WMABA) said of shops choosing two shop owners responded. to exit DRPs. “I don’t think you can Jill Tuggle, who has been ex- just sever those relationships. I think ecutive director of the Auto Body you have to have a solid plan for eiAssociation of Texas (ABAT) for ther marketing or getting into OEM five years, thinks it should play into certifications. In our association, with Ed Attanasio a shop’s decision. the most successful members are “If there ever was a time that specialized and OEM-certified in at you could test the waters on operat- least five or six brands, minimum. ing independently of those contracts, You need to know how you are goit would be now,” Tuggle said. “Be- ing to create your own customer cause you’re going to get work. stream and own your portion of the with Ed the Attanasio The work is there. You already can’t market in a smart way.”

Some collision repairers have chosen locations with little street visibility, Hendler said, lowering their overhead because they knew direct repair referrals would bring work to the door.

Social Media for Shops

SEMA Show Goes On

Jordan Hendler said shops can end direct repair agreements, but first need to have a solid plan about how they can address the changes that will entail

“If you just shut those [DRPs] Media and Publicity for Shops off, you now have no customer vis-

ibility,” Hendler said. “There’s a lot of pressure just to get rid of all your

DRPs [without a plan] and think you’ll be fine. I think that’s a dangerous trap for shops. We’ve seen that happen.” Aaron Schulenburg of SCRS agreed each business has to evaluate its own situation. “I don’t think any one model is right or wrong,” he said. “There’s a lot of successful businesses up here [on this panel] and in the audience and in our membership base that have found success in every type of model.” He said the current situation does provide collision repairers with an opportunity to “prioritize where their profitability lies,” noting even large multi-shop operations (MSOs) that focus on DRP work are saying they are evaluating which of those programs offer the best fit. Ron Reichen of Precision Body & Paint, which is opening its fifth

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location in Oregon this year, said he sees too many shops operate based on fear. “Fear is an emotion, and good business decisions aren’t based on emotion,” Reichen said. “We’ve al-

Oregon shop owner Ron Reichen said he sees too many shops making business decisions based on fear

ways believed that calculated risk is important. But the first part of that is ‘calculated.’ Do your research. Do your homework. Is it a good fit for you? “I think the insurance carriers have leveraged fear: ‘We’re going to shut you off and you’re not going to have any of our work.’ That’s a fallacy,” Reichen said. “Even if you’re a DRP model, you’re building relationships with that client base. Those

clients are still going to come back to you. They may change insurance carriers two or three or four times in their driving history. So [the insurer] doesn’t own that customer, but you do. Even if you are a DRP model, work at owning that customer. Then you can wean yourself off of [DRPs] and not make decisions out of fear. “Would you [be happy with] 20% less work if you made 20% more on the remaining 80%? Of course. That’s a calculated risk,” he added. Andy Tylka was operating a six-location MSO in Indiana until recently, when two MSOs in other markets chose to sell their businesses to Tylka rather than to a national MSO. That expanded his company to 15 shops in 2.5 years. He acknowledged his choice to stay with a DRP model is, as it is for many shops, based to a degree on fear. “Because, obviously, growth results in loans,” Tylka said. “So if I’m not having customers come into my shops, I’m not paying these loans, and I’m responsible for 185 families.” He said collision repairers

should recognize the current backlog the industry enjoys “won’t last forever.” All that said, he acknowledged he’s using this time to make some changes. “Those with the DRP model should be re-evaluating what relationships they do want to keep and which ones they don’t, even if they stay with a DRP model,” Tylka said. “That’s pretty much what we did.” Schulenburg said SCRS works to highlight collision repairers, like some of those on the panel, who have the confidence to operate in a model of their choosing, such as without DRPs. “I think there are a lot of businesses that I speak to that don’t realize there are businesses that operate that way,” Schulenberg said. “It’s not a matter of saying one model over another. But there are businesses that operate successfully in ways that may feel foreign, but it’s their degree of confidence that drives the success.”

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Mercury Adds Digital Claims Processing Mercury Insurance announced a new web-based application to help policyholders file a claim digitally immediately following an accident with ease and security. Through a series of recognizable prompts, the software allows drivers to submit their claim with the help of maps and emoji-driven questions. Policyholders will be able to step through every part of the accident with a series of easily understood questions without being asked for repetitive information. Drivers can indicate precisely where their vehicle was damaged by dropping a pin on a map highlighting their location and even the weather at the time of the incident, along with photos submitted from their smartphones. While filing a claim, policyholders will be given access to connect either through the app, web portal, an integrated URL link or by telephone that will match their information. Source: Mercury Insurance

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Gas Prices Jump in Leaps and Bounds, Setting Another New Record by Casey Harper, The Center Square

Gas prices spiked 10 cents in just two days the first week of June, setting new records almost daily. The national average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline jumped five cents to $4.72 June 2, a record high according to AAA. That increase comes after AAA reported a nickel increase in prices the day before, which was its own record. The price of $4.62 on Memorial Day was an all-time high just a few days ago. California is the only state topping $6 per gallon, though several states are averaging more than $5 per gallon. All 50 states have an average price well over $4 per gallon. Diesel gasoline prices are also elevated with a national average price of $5.56, just below the record high of $5.58 set in May. As prices rise, Americans are increasingly feeling the pain at the pump. Surveys show that soaring inflation and gas prices

have already pushed many Americans to cancel or change their vacation plans. A recent poll from Echelon Insights found “75% of parents say they are concerned about the rising cost of everyday purchases like food or gas.” The poll also found 51% of families said they “changed or canceled plans for a family trip” due to inflation while 41% said they have “changed or canceled activities for my children like camp or extracurricular activities.” The recently released BMO Real Financial Progress Index, a quarterly survey from BMO and Ipsos, found 31% of surveyed American adults are “driving less to offset the soaring cost of gas.” “Prices across the board— from cars and gasoline to groceries and other everyday essentials—are rising at the fastest pace since the 1980s,” said Paul Dilda, head of consumer strategy for BMO Harris Bank.

May Auto Sales Expected to Fall to Slowest Pace in 2022 With no relief from elevated prices and tight new-vehicle inventory, U.S. auto sales in May are expected to drop to their lowest level of the year. According to the Cox Automotive forecast released May 25, the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of new-vehicle sales in May is expected to hit 13.1 million, a step backward from April’s 14.3 million level and far below the 16.9 million level posted in May 2021. May sales volume is forecast to finish near 1.14 million units, down 9% from last month and nearly 28% from one year ago. Last year, in May 2021, new-vehicle sales reached 1.59 million, the second-best month of 2021 by volume, behind only March. While high prices and tight inventory are negatively impacting new-vehicle sales this month, the low sales volume can also be attributed to the calendar. There are 24 selling days this month, three fewer than last month and two fewer than May 2021. Tight inventory isn’t the only

headwind facing the market. Other issues may be having a growing impact. Rising interest rates and higher prices, and the resulting increase in monthly payments, are likely hurting demand as well. Vehicle affordability in the U.S. continues to worsen, according to the Cox Automotive/ Moody’s Analytics Vehicle Affordability Index. In addition, lower consumer optimism in the wake of high inflation, surging gas prices and a volatile stock market may be keeping some potential buyers from entering the market. “Historically, the daily sales pace is higher in May than in most other months, with spring optimism in the air, thoughts of summer road trips on the horizon, and the buzz of Memorial Day sales,” said Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist at Cox Automotive. “But many of the industry’s normal patterns have been overturned by tight inventory and the lingering effect of the global pandemic.” Source: Cox Automotive

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autobodynews.com / JULY 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 57

WIN Names 2022-23 Officers, New Board Members The Women’s Industry Network (WIN) has named its 2022-23 Leadership Officers and Board of Directors. The WIN Board of Directors consists of representatives from numerous industry segments including collision repair organizations, distributors, suppliers, consultants, paint manufacturers, insurance companies and others. By making policy decisions that execute on the WIN vision and mission, the Board of Directors works to ensure the growth and viability of the organization by setting overall strategic direction and executing its signature programs and key initiatives. “The diverse experience, skill and talent brought by these industry professionals will keep WIN thriving, focused and on track with our mission,” said Tanya Sweetland, WIN 2022-23 chair. “I am looking forward to serving the WIN organization with this dynamic team of leaders as we head into our next strategic planning session.” Meet the 2022-23 WIN Officers and Executive Committee: Chair Tanya Sweetland, OEC

Vice Chair Susie Frausto, Boyd Group/Gerber Collision & Glass Immediate Past Chair Jenny Anderson, Entegral powered by Enterprise Treasurer Kathy Coffey, AkzoNobel Coatings Admin Vice Chair Liz Stein, OEC Secretary Laura Kottschade, Jerry’s ABRA Auto Body & Glass New Board Members for 2022-23: Hannah Whitesides, Maaco (Driven Brands) Holly Whitley, Gerber Collision & Glass Blair Womble, Caliber Collision Continuing their service on the Board in 2022-2023: Janette Andrade, Consolidated Dealers Co-Operative, Inc. Kristle Bollans, Hertz Jeanne Esquivel, Entegral powered by Enterprise Trista Anger, BASF Kimberly Frasher, Axiom Accident & Hail Repair Kathy Mello, TGIF Body Shop, Inc. WINConnect Program Expands In Second Year

Designed to increase networking and career building opportunities among its members, the WINConnect program is one of the key initiatives for WIN in the 2022-23 year. WINConnect is available exclusively to WIN members interested in expanding their professional capabilities and knowledge. Participants of the WINConnect program will gather virtually in monthly cohort sessions where they will be able to network and learn throughout the year. Sessions will include a mix of small group check-ins along with professional and career development sessions led by coaching experts. “This initiative will enable WIN members to connect regularly, share experiences and further develop industry talent,” said Frausto. “Working with professional business coaches is important for women who are looking to excel in the collision repair industry.” The second chapter of the WINConnect program will run from July 2022 to May 2023 with its carefully selected cohorts meeting every other month. WIN is making a strategic in-

vestment to fund much of program’s facilitation expenses, though there is a small financial commitment ($100) in addition to the WIN membership fee. Accommodations are available for WIN members in need of additional financial assistance. In brief, the WINConnect initiative will further service WIN members by: • Making consistent and meaningful connections among women in the industry • Sharing experiences and learning from others in an authentic, confidential environment • Building key business skills and acumen applicable across industry segment and experience level • Developing and strengthening a professional support network All current WIN members are eligible and encouraged to participate. To sign up for WINConnect today, visit: https://thewomensindustrynetwork.site-ym.com/page/connect Not a WIN Member yet? Sign up here: https://thewomensindustrynetwork.site-ym.com/page/Membership Source: WIN

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autobodynews.com / JULY 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 59

Ford EVs Post New Sales Record in May Ford sold 154,461 vehicles in May, a 4.5% decrease from its May 2021 sales figures, but a 3.5% increase in the company’s market share over this time a year ago—to 13.5%—despite the continued global industry semiconductor chip shortage.

Gains came from battery electric vehicles, F-Series and Ford SUVs. Nearly 50% of retail sales were comprised of previously placed orders, compared to approximately 9% at this time last year. “While the global semiconductor chip shortage remains an issue for the industry, our inventory continues to turn at record rates with nearly 50% of our retail sales com-

ing from previously placed orders,” said Andrew Frick, vice president of sales, distribution and trucks, Ford Blue. “Our newest models, including Bronco, Bronco Sport and Maverick, continue to enhance our sales volume. Our electric vehicle sales, with the addition of F-150 Lightning this month, increased 222%—growing at almost four times the rate of the industry.” Ford battery electric vehicle sales totaled 6,254 for the month, up 222% over last year, while growing almost four times faster than the overall U.S. electric vehicle segment in May. The Mustang Mach-E posted a new monthly sales record—sales up 166% over last year. E-Transit sales had its best monthly sales since its launch earlier this year with 874 vans sold, while F-150 Lightning recorded its first customer sales at the end of May. F-Series was the only full-size pickup nameplate to post a gain in May over a year ago, with sales up 6.9%. F-Series was able to improve

Source: Ford

General Motors on May 27 announced Marcos Purty will be appointed vice president of global workplace safety, effective June 1. Purty will replace Jim Glynn, who will retire after more than 40 years of dedicated service, effective Sept. 1. Purty returns to GM from Amazon, where for the past 18 months he was vice president of North America fulfilment, Amazon Robotics Sortable Operations. Purty spent the first 25 years of his professional career with GM, beginning in 1994 at GM’s former Pontiac Assembly. Purty will report to GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra and report indirectly to Gerald Johnson, executive vice president of global manufacturing and sustainability. Purty built a strong leadership foundation in both operations and engineering. His extensive global experience began in 2002 with an international assignment at Oshawa Assembly in Canada. Source: GM


Global Finishing Solutions, 1Collision Partner Global Finishing Solutions (GFS) is excited to announce a new partnership program with 1Collision. GFS is dedicated to providing high-quality finishing equipment and production-boosting technologies to help automotive body shops and collision repair centers grow their business. 1Collision is an organization of independent and dealer-owned collision repair businesses, offering corporate-level support in all aspects of collision repair center operations. Under the partnership program, GFS will provide 1Collision affiliates with lifelong support and service of industry-leading finishing equipment and technologies that improve paint finish quality, increase throughput and exceed performance requirements. 1Collision affiliates can also take advantage of GFS’s expansive distribution network, which provides support on a local level.

on its sales lead, outselling its second-place competitor by 24,300 pickups through May. F-Series continued to turn at record rates, while 59% of its retail sales in May came from previously placed orders. Maverick added an additional 6,089 truck sales in May, while turning on dealer lots in just five days. 97% of Maverick retail sales in May came from previously placed orders. Bronco family, Maverick and Mustang Mach-E continued to be a hit with customers new to Ford, with nearly 70% of sales coming from competitive conquests. Ford’s newest SUVs, Bronco and Bronco Sport, totaled 18,985 vehicles, while improved inventory flows gave both Explorer and Edge a sales gain of 18.7 and 81.2% respectively. Customers are equipping new vehicles with Ford’s BlueCruise hands-free driving technology. More than 38,000 customers have activated the BlueCruise feature, driving a combined 4.5 million miles using the technology.

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autobodynews.com / JULY 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 61

CIF to Hold Gala July 20 As the industry gathers for industry week in Pittsburgh, PA, the Collision Industry Foundation (CIF) is thrilled to announce its 11th Gala event will be held on July 20 at Howl at the Moon, in close proximity to the Omni William Penn Hotel. Starting at 6:30 p.m. ET, directly following the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) special session, you can expect a great time, with great food, open bar, entertainment, dueling pianos, silent auction and a live raffle with lots of prizes. Through the generous support of many industry donors, continuing the vital mission of CIF is possible. Thanks to these donors, hundreds of individuals have received disaster relief assistance over the years, including survivors of hurricanes, wildfires, flooding or other significant losses. Register at www.cifgala.org. Source: CIF

UTI Opening Campuses to High School Juniors Interested in Automotive Technician Training As part of its ongoing effort to address workforce need for skilled transportation technicians, Universal Technical Institute is bringing its three-week Ignite program back to full capacity at its UTI campuses nationwide this summer. The program, which is free to high school juniors, offers students an introduction to the training they’ll need to prepare to enter the workforce as a technician in the transportation industry. Ignite participants are given an introductory sample of the technician training programs completed by fulltime UTI students. Students explore career opportunities in the transportation field and receive hands-on training on current technologies in UTI’s state-of-the-industry classrooms and labs.“It’s important to educate high school students about the demand for skilled technicians, and the extensive opportunities that exist in transportation and the skilled trades,” said UTI CEO Jerome Grant. “Our summer Ignite program gives students invaluable real-world training and can help open doors to lifelong careers they may have not considered. We’re ex-

cited to bring the program back to our campuses at full capacity this year, with the goal of hopefully providing our employer partners with more talented technicians in the future.” Industry demand remains strong for trained automotive and diesel technicians. The U.S. Department of

so many motivated, goal-driven young people willing to spend part of their summer taking our classes and getting a jumpstart on training for a career.” UTI launched Ignite nationwide in summer 2018 following a successful pilot program at campuses in Avondale, AZ.; Houston, TX; and Orlando,

“It’s important to educate high school students about the demand for skilled technicians, and the extensive opportunities that exist in transportation and the skilled trades,”” — Amber Ritter Labor projects a combined annual average of 111,000 job openings nationwide in the automotive, diesel and collision repair industries. “It’s been encouraging to see growth in the Ignite program. We look forward to welcoming new students to our campuses this summer and opening their eyes to the educational opportunities available to them after high school,” said Sherrell Smith, executive VP of campus operations and services at UTI. “These students are the future of the trade, and it’s promising to see

FL. Participation steadily increased in 2019, before the program went on hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the end of the three-week program, students have the opportunity to earn UTI credit that can be applied when they enroll.The Ignite program is now accepting applications across UTI’s campuses in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Texas. For more information or to enroll, visit www.uti.edu/ignite. Source: UTI

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Total U.S. Automotive Aftermarket Sales Forecasted to Increase 8.5% in 2022 The automotive aftermarket continues to demonstrate its market strength with higher-than-expected sales in 2021 in the wake of a slow economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. Total U.S. light duty automotive aftermarket sales are forecasted to increase 8.5% in 2022, totaling $356.5 billion, according to the “2022 Joint Channel Forecast Model” produced jointly by the Auto Care Association and the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA). This data will be examined in a joint, member-exclusive webinar led by Shane Norton of S&P Global Mobility at 1 p.m. EDT June 9. An additional 5% growth is expected for 2023 and growth will average more than 3% in 2024, bringing the light-duty aftermarket to $401.5 billion by 2025. The compound average annual growth rate from 2019 to 2022 will be 5.7%, more than making up for losses seen in 2020 due to the pandemic. “Year after year, the auto care industry continues to show its strength and reliability,” said Bill

Hanvey, president and CEO, Auto Care Association. “In the midst of the highest gas prices on record and an inflation rate at a 40-year high, coupled with persistent supply chain disruptions and war in Eastern Europe, vehicle miles driven, vehicles in operation and consumer spending all increased in 2021 and are projected to increase into the coming years as well.”

landmark market size of $400 billion in 2025. But as the industry advances to that landmark number, look for a new challenge to emerge as we may shift from a market supported by high demand and availability to

“The automotive aftermarket once again shows its resiliency with a stronger than expected recovery from the pandemic,” — Paul McCarthy a battle for market share. With that, we’ll see one more strength of the aftermarket emerge, collaboration with the right partners to ensure the same pace of success in this next phase of industry dynamics.”

“The automotive aftermarket once again shows its resiliency with a stronger than expected recovery from the pandemic,” said Paul McCarthy, president and CEO, AASA. “In fact, the automotive aftermarket rose nearly 25% in the past two years despite ongoing headwinds, and we are excited to see the

channel And more The market sizing and forecast are conducted on behalf of the Auto Care Association and AASA by S&P Global Mobility (formerly the auto-

Key data in the joint channel forecast model include: • Market trends influencing the aftermarket • A 2021-2025 review of industry growth and forecasts • Industry sales by channel including history and forecasts • Industry sales by distribution

motive team at IHS Markit), a leading business intelligence firm. The forecast is based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s Economic Census; IMR Inc.; and proprietary data, economic analysis and forecasting models from S&P Global Mobility. The Joint Channel Forecast Model is available in the Auto Care Association’s 2023 Auto Care Factbook at digital.autocare.org/ 2023factbook and in AASA’s Aftermarket Size & Forecast Report available at https://www.aftermarketsuppliers.org/resource. Source: Auto Care Association

Automakers Report May Sales Automakers on June 1 began releasing May sales results. Mazda Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) reported total May sales of 15,312 vehicles, a decrease of 63.7% compared to May 2021. Year-to-date sales totaled 127,673 vehicles; a decrease of 18.5% compared to the same time last year. With 24 selling days in May, compared to 26 the year prior, the company posted a decrease of 60.7% on a Daily Selling Rate (DSR) basis. CPO sales totaled 5,077 vehicles in May, a decrease of 26% compared to May 2021. Hyundai Hyundai Motor America reported May retail sales of 59,432 units, a 30% decrease compared with May 2021. May was an all-time record month for Santa Cruz retail sales. Hyundai had no fleet sales in May 2022. Kia Kia America announced May sales

of 57,941 units with the Niro family of hybrid, PHEV and EV models posting best-ever May sales, up more than 28% over the previous record set in 2021. In addition, the first full month of deliveries of the all-new Sportage HEV charged ahead in May, with 2,417 units sold. Sales of Kia’s electrified models were up 132% over the previous May record set in 2021, and up 5% over the all-time monthly sales record for the vehicle category set in March. Subaru Subaru of America, Inc. (SOA) reported 42,526 vehicle sales for May 2022, a 24.8% decrease compared with May 2021 (56,558). The automaker also reported year-to-date sales of 220,620, a 20.8% decrease compared with the same period in 2021. Subaru continues to face inventory challenges as the result of microchip and supply chain issues affecting automakers across the globe. Source: Mazda, Hyundai, Kia, Subaru

64 JULY 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

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autobodynews.com / JULY 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 65

ASE Agenda, Speakers Announced

Toyota Auto Body California Donates Nearly 1,000 Quarter Panels to Collision Students Through CREF

The ASE Education Foundation has announced the agenda and keynote speakers for the upcoming ASE Instructor Training Conference. Scheduled for July 12-15 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Frisco, TX, the conference will feature several informative panels plus a timely keynote panel discussion. Hosted by the ASE Education Foundation, the training conference is open to high school and college instructors from auto, truck and collision repair programs nationwide. The keynote session will be a panel discussion moderated by Catherine “Cat” Treanor, UK business development manager for Electude. The discussion will cover women in auto repair and will focus on what changes need to be made to training programs and workplaces to make them more welcoming to everyone, as well as identifying barriers and ways to overcome them by people who have lived it. Source: ASE Education Foundation

Toyota Motor North America, Inc. believes in taking charge of the future—and that’s exactly why it connected the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) to Toyota Auto Body California, Inc., for a donation of 944 quarter panels, valued at $632,480, which will benefit collision repair educational programs around the country. Quarter panels will be distributed to more than 100 schools, immediately impacting more than 3,000 students by allowing them to practice the skills needed to success in this field; however, the long-term impact will be much higher as instructors often reuse these panels in multiple semesters with many more students. “Technician shortage concerns come up every time I talk to our certified collision centers, field offices and the industry,” Toyota Motor North America Collision Repair & Refinish Manager Kazuyo Jones said in explaining why it’s important to connect the industry with schools. “When Toyota comes across those part or vehicle dona-

tion opportunities, our organization wants to utilize those opportunities for people who need them. We need to energize the industry by doing what we can to support its future workforce.”

across the U.S.,” said CREF Director of Marketing and Project Management Amber Ritter. “This is truly an example of a donation that allows students to learn, practice and hone the important skills that lead to

“This type of in-kind donation is mentioned as one of the most needed items by collision programs across the U.S.” — Amber Ritter Collision education programs are frequently underfunded, limiting instructors’ ability to purchase vehicle parts to use while training students. By partnering with CREF, Toyota is helping ensure that the next generation of collision repair professionals receive the hands-on experience necessary to graduate with the skills they need to successfully join the industry as entry-level technicians. “This type of in-kind donation is mentioned as one of the most needed items by collision programs

rewarding careers. Repetitions are an important part of the learning process, and Toyota’s donation is helping to make that possible.” Industry members interested in getting involved and supporting CREF’s efforts to assist secondary and post-secondary collision repair training programs should contact Brandon Eckenrode, managing director, at 312-231-0258 or Brandon.Eckenrode@ed-foundation. org. Monetary donations can be made online. Source: CREF

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68 JULY 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com