August 2022 Northeast Edition

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Vol. 13 / Issue 5 / August 2022

Husband and Wife Sentenced for Fraudulent Tax Filings Conspiracy at Maryland Auto Body Repair Shop

Massachusetts Right to Repair Court Case Decision Delayed for 6th Time

On July 5, U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis sentenced Ercin Kalender, 61, and Lizette Kalender, 44, both of Alexandria, VA, to one year and one day in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiracy related to tax fraud within their corporate filings and business taxes.

U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock issued a notice July 1 informing of another delay to provide a decision on the Right to Repair court case in Massachusetts. Citing “the need to consider fully the implications of the long-anticipated decision” and “unforeseen and unforeseeable scheduling complications encountered in the past several weeks coming upon the extended holiday weekend,” Woodlock further delayed the conclusion of the case. Based on his statement, the delay is expected to be short.

Credit: Shutterstock

Xinis also ordered the Kalenders to pay restitution of $2,219,602. The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron and Special Agent in Charge Darrell J. Waldon of the IRS Criminal Investigation’s Washington, D.C., field office. “Ercin and Lizette Kalender committed tax fraud for many years by purposely hiding their company’s true income to avoid paying their fair share, and then brazenly shared their criminal activity with potential buyers when trying to sell their business,” See Fraudulent Tax Filings, Page 26

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

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

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

See Crash Champions to Merge, Page 22

The judge previously stated he would issue a final judgment no later than July 2.

Approved by Massachusetts voters Nov. 3, 2020, by an overwhelming 75% to 25% margin, the See Right to Repair, Page 8

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

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

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

General Motors bucked the trend with an improvement in initial quality that landed it in the highest rank position among automotive corporations. Among brands, Buick’s quality improved 17 PP100 year over year, vaulting it to ranking highest overall in 2022 from 12th place in 2021, while Genesis ranked highest among premium brands. Just nine of 33 ranked brands improved in vehicle quality year over year. “Given the many challenges automakers and their dealers had to face in the past year, it’s somewhat surprising that initial quality didn’t fall even more dramatically,” said David Amodeo, director of global automotive at J.D. Power. “In general, initial quality has shown steady improvement throughout the history of this study, so the decline this year is disappointing—yet understandable. Automakers continue to launch vehicles that are more and more technologically complex in an era in which there have been many shortages of critical components to support them.” See Initial Vehicle Quality, Page 20

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REGIONAL ‘Tsunami of Freight’ Came Back to New Jersey After Pandemic Lockdowns Ended ���������������� 6 AASP/NJ Members Get a Jump Start on Audi Materials and EV Technology ���������������� 8 Husband and Wife Sentenced for Fraudulent Tax Filings Conspiracy at Maryland Auto Body Repair Shop ����������������������������������������� 1

ASE Education Foundation Establishes Network ������������������������������������������������������ 10 CAA Says a New Kind of Insurer Steering is Impacting the Industry ���������������������������� 44 CIECAST Explores What’s Driving EV Adoption and How Collision Repairers

Auto Data Labels ���������������������������������������������� 5

Mercedes-Benz of Fort Washington ��������������� 35

Axalta Coating Systems ����������������������������������� 6

Mercedes-Benz of Paramus ��������������������������� 52

Biener Audi ���������������������������������������������������� 13

Mercedes-Benz of West Chester �������������������� 12

Biener Ford ���������������������������������������������������� 13

Mercedes-Benz of Wilmington ����������������������� 12

BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers ����������������� 46-47

Mercedes-Benz Wholesale Parts Dealers ������� 57

BRAM Auto Group ����������������������������������������� 15

MINI Wholesale Parts Dealers ����������������������� 44

Brown-Daub Kia ��������������������������������������������� 26

MOPAR Wholesale Parts Dealers �������������� 36-37

Cadillac of Mahwah ��������������������������������������� 42

New Holland Ford ������������������������������������������ 50

Central Avenue Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram ���� 17

New Holland Toyota ��������������������������������������� 56

Certified Automotive Parts Association ���������� 14

Nissan/Infiniti Wholesale Parts Dealers ���������� 60

Circle BMW ��������������������������������������������������� 51

Northstar Kia �������������������������������������������������� 48

Classifieds ������������������������������������������������������ 62

Nucar ������������������������������������������������������������� 39

Colonial Automotive Group ���������������������������� 41

Open Road Acura of East Brunswick �������������� 58

Courtesy Mitsubishi ��������������������������������������� 51

Open Road Chevrolet �������������������������������������� 18

DePaula Chevrolet-Ford ���������������������������������� 34

Ourisman Chevrolet ���������������������������������������� 28

Eastchester Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge ������������������ 28

Ourisman Chevrolet-VW-Mazda of Rockville �� 27

Empire Auto Parts ������������������������������������������ 29

Ourisman Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge ��������������������� 14

Equalizer Auto Glass Tools ����������������������������� 16

Packer Norris Parts ���������������������������������������� 45

Flemington Auto Group ���������������������������������� 25

Porsche Wholesale Parts Dealers ������������������� 61

Ford Wholesale Parts Dealers ������������������������ 55

PPG ������������������������������������������������������������������ 9

GM Wholesale Parts Dealers ������������������������� 49

Rafferty Subaru ���������������������������������������������� 56

Grieco Toyota ������������������������������������������������� 26

Rockland Nissan �������������������������������������������� 58

Hoffman Auto Group �������������������������������������� 43

SATA Dan-Am Company ���������������������������������� 2

Honda-Acura Wholesale Parts Dealers � 31, 32-33

Schultz Ford ��������������������������������������������������� 20

Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers ������������������ 61

Sheehy Lexus of Annapolis ���������������������������� 16

Register for ASE Summer Certification �������������� 4

Industrial Finishes and Systems ��������������������� 23

Sorbothane Soft-Blow Mallet ������������������������� 24

Repairify Acquires ATG ����������������������������������� 13

Infiniti of Norwood ����������������������������������������� 38

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

Jaguar Land Rover Cherry Hill ������������������������ 40

Subaru Wholesale Parts Dealers �������������������� 51

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

Toyota Wholesale Parts Dealers ��������������������� 61

Kia Motors Wholesale Parts Dealers �������������� 53

USI of North America ������������������������������������� 64

Kia of Attleboro ���������������������������������������������� 51

Volkswagen Wholesale Parts Dealers ������������ 63

Kia of Coatesville �������������������������������������������� 30

White Plains Volkswagen ������������������������������� 56

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

Wrenchers ����������������������������������������������������� 11

Lexus Wholesale Parts Dealers ���������������������� 60

Yonkers Kia ����������������������������������������������������� 54

Sitting ��������������������������������������������������������� 62 Life Coach Uses Different Approaches to Help Auto Body Shop Techs, Owners, Managers ���������������������������������������������������� 56 MSO Acquisitions Slowed Considerably in First Half of 2022 ������������������������������������� 14 New-Vehicle Prices Set Record in June as

COLUMNISTS Anderson - Collision Repair Shops Play Vital Role in Helping Reduce Vehicle-Related Deaths ��������������������������������������������������������� 34 Yoswick - 3 Collision Repair Business Leaders Find Ways to Develop Positive Company Culture ���������������������������������������� 40 Yoswick - DataTouch Offering New Service to Help Collision Repair Shops Manage Access to its Data ��������������������������������������� 52 Yoswick - What Your Auto Body Shop Needs to Know to Be Ready to Repair Evs ������������� 60

Luxury Share Hits New High ����������������������� 30 Nissan Frontier and Titan Owners Warned to Use Parking Brakes ��������������������������������� 54 Nissan Pathfinder Hood Latch Recall Follows Investigation ����������������������������������������������� 24 Non-Tesla Supercharger Pilot Launch Expected Late 2022: White House �������������� 21 Record Share of New-Car Shoppers Jumped Into a $1,000+ Monthly Payment in June �� 18

The World Experienced a Pandemic—and Initial Vehicle Quality Got Sick ����������������������� 1

NATIONAL A Deeper Look at Crash Champions’ Merger with Service King ������������������������������������������ 1

Long Automotive Group �������������������������������� 22

Mercedes-Benz of Atlantic City ���������������������� 35

GM Has 95,000 Incomplete Vehicles Just

July 7 ���������������������������������������������������������� 12

Acura of Westchester ������������������������������������ 48

Audi Wholesale Parts Dealers ������������������������ 59

Prices ���������������������������������������������������������� 10

Rhode Island’s EV Rebate Program to Start

Liberty Kia ������������������������������������������������������ 24

Mazda Wholesale Parts Dealers ��������������������� 60

Cox Automotive Introduces Service Advisor ��� 38

Ford Celebrates 75 Years of F-Series �������������� 56

Since Start of Pandemic ������������������������������ 13

Acme Nissan ������������������������������������������������� 19

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

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

to Taxpayers Amid Inflation, Rising Gas

New York Still Lagging in Job Recovery

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.

asTech/Driven by Repairify ����������������������������� 29

Elephant Insurance Implements CCC ��������������� 42

Decision Delayed for 6th Time ���������������������� 1

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 Senior Editor: Abby Andrews Accounting Manager: Heather Priddy Permissions Editor: Randi Scholtes Office Assistant: Dianne Pray

Audi Devon ���������������������������������������������������� 54

Need to Prepare �������������������������������������������� 4

MA Legislature Working to Provide Relief

Massachusetts Right to Repair Court Case

INDEX OF ADVERTISERS

CONTENTS

U.S. Economy Has 11.3 Million Unfilled Jobs �� 29 Why Online Customer Reviews Are More Important than Ever ������������������������������������ 28

autobodynews.com / AUGUST 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 3


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

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

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

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

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

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

4 AUGUST 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

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

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

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


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‘Tsunami of Freight’ Came Back to New Jersey After Pandemic Lockdowns Ended by Bob Pepalis, The Center Square

Americans buying 30% more goods from overseas has helped create a logistics crisis at ports caused by a labor shortage and practices of ocean carriers that exacerbate the problems. Since the start of the pandemic, a 30% increase in the volume of freight coming into the Port of New York-New Jersey has been seen, Lisa Yakomin, president of the Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers, told The Center Square. The organization represents the trucking industry and industry-related companies doing business at the port. “One would think, ‘Wow, that’s fantastic because it’s 30% more revenue and 30% more business coming into New Jersey,’” she said. “The problem is that it happened so quickly.” At the beginning of the pandemic, multiple vessel cancellations occurred because all of the manufacturing shut down overseas. “Not only did it come back, it was a tsunami of freight that came back after the lockdowns were over overseas,” Yakomin said.

But the port didn’t have 30% more longshoremen to offload the ships or truckers to haul the containers. And the equipment to move those containers had not increased by 30%, Yakomin said. The biggest obstacles to hiring truck drivers are the difficult conditions at the port, she said. Drivers used to be able to pick up a container, have it unloaded at the warehouse and drop it back off at the same place, which is called a double move. Drivers could do three double moves a day, which was lucrative. Now it takes four hours just to drop off a container and another two hours to pick up a new container. “It’s that much harder to recruit new drivers because of the challenging conditions,” Yakomin said. “And it’s difficult to retain the drivers we have because of the challenging conditions.” Trucking companies must pass along higher fuel costs to the businesses they service. But payment delays by those clients could put the trucking companies out of business as they lack the revenue to buy fuel and pay salaries, Gail Toth, execu-

tive director of the New Jersey Motor Truck Association, told New Jersey 101.5. Port drivers who work with the Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers must go through a Homeland Security background check, undergo periodic medical certifications and have their records checked to make sure they have no drug or alcohol-related arrests or charges, Yakomin said. A large percentage of the drivers who do port work are independent contractors and set their hours. Unlike long-haul truckers who may spend a week away from their families, port workers can go home for dinner. Employers are stressing the family-friendly aspect to recruit drivers, she said. Job fairs are held at local high schools in and around the port even though drivers must be 21 or older to do this interstate driving. But it lets them know it is a career option to put them on that track to enter the work force. “There’s never been a better time to pursue a career in trucking because the pay is higher, the incen-

tives have been increased, the signon bonuses have been increased, the retention bonuses have been increased,” Yakomin said. It’s less expensive for the ocean carriers to make new containers than to retrieve their empties, she said. But despite not accepting the containers, they still charge trucking companies fees for missing return deadlines. The Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022, which was signed into law by President Joe Biden on June 16, is a light at the end of the tunnel for the industry. It gives authority to the Federal Maritime Commission to deal with predatory fees, Yakomin said. The bill requires the commission to investigate complaints about late fees charged by ocean carriers, determine whether those charges are reasonable and order refunds for unreasonable charges. It also “prohibits common ocean carriers, marine terminal operators or ocean transportation intermediaries from unreasonably refusing cargo space when available, or resorting to other unfair or unjustly discriminatory methods,” the bill summary said.

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Continued from Cover

Right to Repair new Right to Repair law would require manufacturers to provide vehicle owners both access and control of the diagnostic and repair data generated by their vehicles. Subsequent to the vote, the car company trade group, Alliance for Automotive Innovation filed a lawsuit that same month asking the court to overturn the data access ballot question based on a host of allegations including cybersecurity concerns, insufficient time to comply with the new data access requirements and their contention that the ballot initiative is preempted by federal law. The Auto Care Association continues to fight for the consumers’ right to choose where they get their vehicle maintained and repaired through both state and federal legislation. Source: Auto Care Association

AASP/NJ Members Get a Jump Start on Audi Materials and EV Technology In an effort to help collision repairers get a jump start on up-and-coming vehicle technology, the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) hosted a training meeting featuring Mark Allen, manager of collision, equipment and EV after sales service at Audi of America, June 22 at the Holiday Inn in Clark, NJ. Allen painted a very real---and in some areas, frightening---picture of what repairers need to consider as materials and technology continue to advance in ways that will clearly alter the way a shop approaches repairs. He reminded the collision repair audience they should be looking at the procedures for every repair. “We’ve had a war, COVID and supply chain issues, and all of that may have led to OEMs having to change things in these vehicles which may have also required altering the repair instructions.” In addition to making sure the right procedures are being used, repairers have to also know what they are working with. “Knowing what you are getting

into is going to affect your business. Having the information to sell the job—and explain it—is worth every bit.” He referred to materials such as advanced and ultra-advanced high strength steel. “The structures are getting stronger and stronger and stronger to protect the occupants, but we have to know what we are working on before we go and look at the repair methodology and the attachments.” The introduction of electric vehicles (EVs) brings a whole other element to collision repair. Fixing these cars involves a lot more than batteries. “This is the point where I scare the crap out of you, and I should scare the crap out of you,” Allen seriously stated, stressing that electric shock has several severity ranges— none of which come without pain. Dealing with these vehicles involves more than just training. A shop will have to follow a specific floor plan to allow room for safely working around the vehicle. That is on top of the equipment, protective gear and advanced knowledge one

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has to achieve in order to enter the world of high voltage. If not readily equipped and prepared, EV repair is something best left to the professionals, he advised. As more and more EVs are expected to roll out and today’s repairers need to know what to expect, Allen reminded the audience “it may seem like I’m scaring you, but this is about making sure you know Audi is looking out for the safety of those who invest in fixing our cars.” Those who completed this training will receive a certificate which can be used toward their New Jersey Auto Body License Renewal this fall. For more information on AASP/NJ and its training events, visit aaspnj. org. Source: AASP/NJ

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autobodynews.com / AUGUST 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 9


MA Legislature Working to Provide Relief to Taxpayers Amid Inflation, Rising Gas Prices by Brent Addleman, The Center Square

Massachusetts taxpayers could see relief from rising gas and food prices later this year, lawmakers said. The Democratic-controlled Legislature said July 7 it is in the early stages of establishing a Taxpayer Energy and Economic Relief Fund that would send direct payments up to $500 to taxpayers later this year. Speaker of the House Ronald J. Mariano, D-Quincy; Senate President Karen E. Spilka, D-Second Middlesex; House Ways & Means Chairman Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, D-Boston; and Senate Ways & Means Chairman Sen. Michael J. Rodrigues, D-First Bristol, issued the joint statement regarding the potential payouts. “Whether it is the rising price of gas, groceries, or summer clothes for kids, the Massachusetts Legislature has heard loud and clear that increased costs due to inflation have cut into family budgets,” the legislators said in the joint statement. “That is why we are proud to announce

that the Massachusetts Legislature will act to establish the Taxpayer Energy and Economic Relief Fund, through which economic relief rebates for individuals and families will be issued.” However, Paul Diego Craney, spokesman for Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, told The Center Square in an exclusive interview the move by legislative leadership was a “gimmick” and the measure does not provide any relief for low-income residents. “This is a poorly thought-out gimmick being done right before the election simply to score points with voters, plain and simple,” Craney said. “Meaningful relief should be broad based and focused on lowering taxes on the people they most effect. Picking winners and losers through arbitrary brackets, as well as penalizing married couples more likely to have families depending on them, is a poor way for our out of touch legislature to show solidarity with the privations their ill-conceived economic policies are currently forcing Massachusetts families to contend

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with.” Craney said legislative leaders “need to go back to the drawing board,” but said if the plan was “the best they can come up with” then “it should be rejected.” According to the release, the bill would provide for one-time rebates of $250 for single filers and $500 for joint filers and would be paid by Sept. 30. Payments will be issued for those earning between $38,000 and $100,000 for single filers, and $100,000 to $150,000 for joint filers. The leaders said the rebates are a “commitment to delivering immediate financial relief” to the state’s residents “rather than to large oil companies,” according to the release. “As we recognize the need for structural change as well, we continue to work on potential changes to the tax code with the goal of providing additional relief to residents,” the leaders said in a statement.

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

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Rhode Island’s EV Rebate Program to Start July 7 by Melanie DaSilva, WPRI 12 News

There are new incentives coming for Rhode Islanders who want to switch to electric vehicles. Gov. Dan McKee announced the state’s new electric vehicle (EV) rebate program, “DRIVE EV,” will begin July 7. “Rhode Island is a national leader in clean energy innovation and we’re ready to build on our momentum to maintain that lead,” McKee said. “My administration is committed to making additional investments to improve the quality of our air and water and expand access to affordable and sustainable clean energy solutions.” DRIVE EV offers rebates of up to $2,500 for those who buy or lease battery or fuel-cell EVs, and up to $1,500 for new plug-in hybrid EVs. Rebates of up to $1,500 will be available for used EVs. For qualified small businesses, nonprofits and public sector entities, DRIVE EV FLEET will provide rebates of up to $2,500 for new EVs and $1,500 for used EVs. Fleets can also get an additional $1,000 rebate

based on the location. “These rebates will help reduce the cost of electric vehicles for consumers, with additional incentives available for those with lower incomes, making EV ownership more affordable to a greater number of Rhode Islanders,” McKee added. “Electric vehicles also help reduce carbon and other harmful emissions in our neighborhoods. Slashing greenhouse gasses is not just the right thing to do for the environment—it is also the right thing to do for our economy.” The program was first announced in mid-March when gas prices were starting to soar. After topping $5 per gallon earlier in June, the cost of gasoline in Rhode Island has fallen for the second straight week to an average of $4.90. “With the summer travel season in full swing and gas prices rising, access to affordable electric vehicles is critical for Rhode Islanders and small businesses,” Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos said. “Electric vehicle ownership will improve our quality of life by cutting carbon emissions and improving the air quality in our neigh-

borhoods.” According to the R.I. Department of Revenue, electric vehicle registrations have been on the rise in the state since 2017. A multi-agency report in 2021 showed there were 1,180 active electric vehicle registrations in 2017, compared to 4,540 in 2021. The latest available data shows there were 4,869 EV registrations as of February. A DOR spokesperson told 12 News this number includes battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles only. “There are currently 5,627 electric vehicles registered in Rhode Island, and we wish to see that number grow,” Chris Kerns, with the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) said June 28. The OER said transportation makes up more than a third of greenhouse gas emissions in the state. The new program will be supported by an initial $1.25 million commitment by the OER. The state’s previous EV program expired in 2017 due to a lack of funding. McKee also highlighted the FY23 budget, which directs $23 million in

federal funds to expand the state’s network of EV charging stations. As part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the R.I. Department of Transportation (RIDOT) plans to use $3.38 million this year to build out the state’s EV charging infrastructure. Drivers can apply for the rebate program online once the program formally launches. Qualified applicants will have 120 days from the date of purchase or lease to apply. To be eligible, the purchase or lease date for a new or used EV must be on or after July 7. McKee also plans on signing legislation June 29 that will require the state to substantially increase its renewable energy output by 2033.

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Repairify Acquires ATG

New York Still Lagging in Job Recovery Since Start of Pandemic by Steve Bittenbender, The Center Square

A recent study by The Empire Center showed New York still lags behind most of the nation in terms of recovering jobs lost at the start of the pandemic. The nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank reviewed the most recent state and federal seasonal-

ly adjusted employment data. It found the U.S. would have completed its job recovery from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic by now if not for New York. The information through June showed the U.S. had recovered 99.8% of the total number of jobs

the country had in February 2020, the last month before the COVID public emergency started. That’s roughly 234,000 jobs below the total from 27 months prior. New York accounted for the gap and then some as the state in June was still down nearly 400,000 jobs compared to February 2020. “New York’s private job base currently is growing at a rate that won’t achieve a full jobs recovery for another year, in June 2023,” wrote E.J. McMahon, the Empire Center’s founding senior fellow, in a blog post on the institute’s website. The data also showed only four were worse than New York in terms of higher percentages of job losses in May from the start of the pandemic. The percentage difference in New York was 4.5%. Of its neighboring states, only Vermont’s 4.9% was worse. New Jersey was within 0.2% of reaching its February 2020 job total, and Massachusetts was down 1.7%. Both Connecticut and Pennsylvania were still down 2.5%. Nationally, Utah was the lead-

er, having seen the number of jobs there grow 6.7% beyond what it had in February 2020. Even Texas and Florida, two of the three states larger than New York in terms of population, reported job growth of 3.7% and 3.2%, respectively. McMahon noted those two states did not follow New York’s course in setting restrictions that either forced businesses to close or severely restricted their operations. Another troubling economic factor for New York is its work force participation rate, which evaluates the number of people who are either employed or actively seeking work. In May, New York’s participation rate was just 59.8%, well below the national average of 62.3%

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

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MSO Acquisitions Slowed Considerably in First Half of 2022 by David Roberts and Madeleine Roberts, Focus Advisors

The first six months of 2022 have been an unusually slow period for acquisitions by most of the consolidators. Aside from catching their collective breaths after a frenetic wave of closings at the end of last year, there isn’t a single explanation for the slow down but general industry conditions experienced by every operator have put more of a focus on current production rather than future growth. Extreme parts shortages resulting in significantly longer cycle times, an even more severe shortage of qualified technicians to do the work, and the increasing imbalance between insurance reimbursement rates and operator costs, have left every organization scrambling, improvising and struggling to meet current demand. Consolidators COVID has not slowed Caliber down. With more than 130 acquisi-

tions and 72 brownfield and greenfield openings in the same period, Caliber grew more than 200 locations in the first six months of 2022. The company continues to shift its expansion focus to greenfield and brownfield openings. Of their total expansion efforts during 2022, we expect more than half will be acquisitions. Gerber (Boyd Services Group) slowed its pace fairly dramatically in the first half, with fewer than 14 new locations, compared with a whopping 48 in the first half of 2021. Combined with disappointing financial performance that impacted the share price of Boyd Services Group, Gerber has moved more cautiously in 2022. Service King—The recap by Clearlake Capital Service King opened two greenfield locations—one in the Chicago area and the other in San Antonio—but otherwise made no new acquisitions. The continuing saga of Service King’s financial problems has finally been brought to an end—or at least an intermediate conclusion. Under

the terms of a deal announced in June, Service King will receive $200 million in new capital and reduce its debt by over $500 million while extending its remaining existing funded debt maturities until June 2027. When the deal is completed, the full equity and debt positions of the parties will be more visible, but the new control entity is clearly Clearlake. Hold the presses—Crash Champions is merging with Service King. The deal is scheduled to close at the beginning of August with Clearlake Capital Group as the investor. Service King’s 336 locations will combine with 225 Crash Champions locations. Their combined footprint of shops will establish strong market shares in Texas, the Pacific Northwest, Florida, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Chicago, forming the third largest U.S. consolidator. We will publish a separate and extensive report with more details and analysis of the transaction. Biggest transactions Crash Champions has continued its

breakneck pace of acquisitions with the recently announced acquisition of Mike’s Auto Body, one of the largest remaining independent MSOs in the U.S. With 17 locations in SF Bay Area, Mike’s Auto Body is a key platform for Crash’s continuing penetration of the California market. This acquisition followed more than 30 transactions by Crash in the first six months of the year. As of June 30, Crash appeared to be operating more than 203 shops. In another notable transaction early in 2022, Mahnke Auto Body with its eight locations in Colorado joined Kaizen Collision, which now operates 15 locations in that state. CEO Sam Mahnke has been announced as the regional operating executive. Kaizen continues its rapid expansion with a technician-centric approach to operations. Its total shop count at June’s end was 51 shops. Classic Collision Classic continued its steady growth with an additional 16 shops in the first half including Pro Quality

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Collision in Florida and Crystal Lake Automotive, each with two shops. CollisionRight In late 2020, the Dallas-based private equity group CenterOak formed CollisionRight. Since its founding under the leadership of CEO Rich Harrison, the company has been on an acquisition tear. In the first half of 2022, they acquired Select Collision Group, which operates four shops in Pennsylvania. CollisionRight now operates at least 62 shops in states in the Northeast and the Midwest. New Players VIVE Collision, formed by former H&V Collision CEO Vartan Jerian and former private equity investors Scott Leffler and Phil Taub, has been acquiring in the Northeast U.S. with two significant transactions in 2021: Crown Collision, a three-shop MSO in Rhode Island, and POC Collision Repair Centers, a four-shop MSO in Maine. So far, VIVE has acquired four shops in 2022 and expects to end the year with north of 20 total shops. California growth vehicles

Having beefed up its executive team and examined multiple targets, Chilton Carstar now operates 15 total locations in the San Francisco Bay Area, along with one in the Los Angeles Basin. G&C Auto Body, the largest independent MSO based in Northern California, acquired four new locations in the first half of 2022 and now operates a total of 26 locations with announced plans for three additional openings over the third quarter. Under the Radar Three new private equity-backed groups are in the process of acquiring their first platforms. They will be disclosed after closing their acquisitions. We expect more new entrants to come into the industry during the remainder of the year as the appetite for resilient, cash-flowing businesses increases. Why are Private Equity firms so interested in the collision repair industry? While there are multiple reasons why large pools of institutional capital are attracted to the collision repair industry, the overriding reason is sus-

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tainable cash flow. In good times and bad times, businesses with historically positive cash flows are attractive to large pools of capital whose primary objective is more predictable returns and lower risk. The Ubers, Airbnbs and other tech darlings whose shares have plummeted over the last three months don’t generate cash; they burn cash— billions of dollars of cash. Investors in these kinds of companies are not seeking stability. They are seeking hypergrowth and for much of the last decade the focus on top line revenue growth and market share gains among the tech darlings has propelled these stocks to extraordinary values. In markets where the wind is at one’s back, these kinds of investments do extraordinarily well. But when the wind shifts as it has over the last three months and the economy slows, there is more focus on companies with more stable cashflows. Whether or not we are currently in a recession, expectations for dramatic high growth opportunities in technology or crypto finance or other

sexy investment opportunities have diminished. This puts relatively more focus on cash-generating and defensive industries like collision repair. Institutions with large pools of uninvested cash continually search for the right balance between risk and reward. How much risk should I take for how much reward? During the past five years, with T-bills at very low rates, many value investors have been willing to accept relatively modest returns from more stable cash flow generating businesses. Collision repairers have decades of stable cash flow, albeit with gradually increasing investment requirements and declining numbers of participants. So with such strong demand from consolidators old and new, now is a good time for collision repairers to find sponsors to help capitalize their future growth or consider exiting while the demand for acquisitions continues to be robust. Source: Focus Advisors

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Record Share of New-Car Shoppers Jumped Into a $1,000+ Monthly Payment in June Financing a new vehicle purchase is growing more expensive for consumers, according to the car shopping experts at Edmunds.

New data from Edmunds reveals: • The average annual percentage rate (APR) on new financed vehicles in Q2 2022 climbed to 5% for the first time since Q1 2020. • 12.7% of consumers who financed a new vehicle purchase in June committed to a monthly payment of $1,000 or more—the highest level that Edmunds has on record— compared to 7.3% in June 2021, 4.6% in June 2019 and 2.1% in June 2010. • The average amount financed for new vehicles hit a near-record level in the second quarter of 2022, climbing to $40,602—compared to $39,726 in Q1 2022 and $36,215 in Q2 2021. Edmunds analysts note that the first and only other time that the average amount financed for new vehicles surpassed $40,000 was Q4 2021, when

the average APR was just 4.1%. • An influx of luxury shoppers are turning their backs on leasing and choosing to purchase their new vehicles. Edmunds data reveals new-vehicle lease penetration fell to 18.5% in June, down from 30.5% in June 2019.

sumers the new car market is growing increasingly out of reach.” To help guide car shoppers, Edmunds analysts calculated how much additional interest consumers can expect to pay over the course of a $40,000, 72-month car loan.

“A single percentage point increase might not seem like much at first blush, but that adds up to hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars over the course of a 72-month (or longer) loan—a significant cost considering consumers are financing as much as ever,” — Ivan Drury “Low interest rates used to be one of few reprieves for car shoppers amid elevated prices and supply shortages. But the Fed rate hikes this year are making finance incentives far costlier for automakers, and consumers are starting to feel the pinch,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ executive director of insights. “Although there appears to be a steady stream of affluent consumers willing to commit to car payments that look more like mortgage payments, for most con-

They note that jumping to a 5% APR from a 4% APR would cost consumers $1,324 more in interest over the course of the loan. Jumping to a 6% APR from a 4% APR would cost $2,672 more. “A single percentage point increase might not seem like much at first blush, but that adds up to hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars over the course of a 72-month (or longer) loan—a significant cost considering consumers are financing as much as

ever,” said Ivan Drury, Edmunds’ senior manager of insights. “Seeking out finance incentives was less necessary during recent years in which finance rates had been low, but shopping around for lower APR offers from dealers or third parties could make a difference in today’s market.” Edmunds analysts also note consumers are opting for loans with longer terms to make monthly payments more palatable. Edmunds data reveals 36.1% of consumers who financed a new car purchase in June opted for a loan term of between 73 and 84 months, compared to 32.8% in June 2021. “Consumers are exploring every possible avenue to make their next vehicle purchase affordable, and longer loan terms are a good example of that, even if that choice poses risks considering vehicle wear and tear and greater negative equity (the amount by which their loan balance exceeds their vehicles’ value) as their vehicle ages,” said Drury. “The best moves shoppers can make are staying as informed as possible and not relying on car financing strategies of old—because buying a car in 2022 is a whole different ball game.” Source: Edmunds

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Continued from Cover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Continued from Cover

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

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

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

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

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

by David A. Wood, CarComplaints.com

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

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

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

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

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Continued from Cover

Fraudulent Tax Filings said Waldon. “Our IRS-CI special agents will continue to seek out those who illegally benefit from unreported income and create unfair business advantages for themselves in the community.” According to their guilty pleas, Ercin Kalender owned and operated Butch’s, a very successful Capital Heights, MD, auto body shop. Lizette Kalender worked at the shop as a manager and bookkeeper. In that capacity, she handled tax reporting matters and regularly worked with an outside tax preparation and accounting agency, which prepared the taxes for Butch’s and the personal tax returns for the Kalendars. For the fiscal tax years of 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, the Kalenders conspired with each other to include materially false information on their Form 1120s filed with the IRS on behalf of Butch’s, including a significantly lower report of gross income and taxable income. The Kalenders jointly worked to divert revenue from Butch’s and avoid significant revenues being deposited into Butch’s corporate bank accounts and reported to the IRS. As part of the conspiracy, the Kalenders kept two sets of financial records for Butch’s, one that reported the actual revenues and profits of the business and a second set that reported lower figures which were used for tax purposes. The Kalenders’ conspiracy to submit false tax returns also involved cashing checks, received at Butch’s at a Prince George’s County check cashing facility, “Business A.” The checks cashed at Business A were not reported on Butch’s tax returns and resulted in the underreporting of Butch’s annual income for fiscal years 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 by more than $6.6 million. The corresponding tax loss to the IRS for the four years was $2,219,602. As stated in their plea agreements, in August 2018, the Kalendars

sought to sell Butch’s. As part of the investigation, an undercover federal agent posed as a potential buyer and had contact with the Kalenders. During their conversations, Ercin and Lizette Kalendar explained the profitability of Butch’s and revealed their practices of the underreporting of revenues and income from Butch’s. During one conversation, while Lizette was present, Ercin informed the uncover agent he had a regular practice of taking checks intended to pay for auto body repair work and cashing them at Business A. Some of the checks were made payable to Butch’s, while other customer checks were written to Butch’s customers, or jointly payable to Butch’s and the customers. Further, Ercin explained, while Butch’s filed tax returns showed $2.2 million in gross receipts, the actual gross receipts were closer to $3.1 million, $4.2 million and $3.9 million for the fiscal years for 2015, 2016 and 2017, respectively. He also said his father had done this for years before he had taken over Butch’s operations and his father used Business A to cash checks for 30 to 35 years.

Ercin told the undercover agent he regularly cashed $50,000 to $60,000 at a time in off-the-books checks at Business A, but estimated he had reduced the amounts in recent years to approximately $30,000 to $35,000 cashed per visit to Business A. Ercin also told the agent Lizette also reported sizeable W-2 income, which helped them evade scrutiny by the IRS. While working with the outside tax preparation and accounting agency, Lizette deliberately hid the money flowing through Business A. Lizette sent bank statements for the corporate accounts, check stubs, credit card statements, payroll records and other business records, but withheld the revenue received through the checks cashed at Business A, thus underreporting taxable income to the tax preparation and accounting agency. During conversations with the undercover agent, Lizette showed records to the undercover agent displaying total sales of $4.3 million and $3.9 million for the fiscal years 2017 and 2018. Lizette also talked about pulling out invoices for additional customers from business records to cause busi-

ness records to match their bank records. As detailed in their plea agreements, the Kalenders knowingly caused a portion of the employees’ wages to be paid in cash and falsely reported the wages of Butch’s employees on Forms 941 filed with IRS. In a conversation with the undercover agent, Ercin said he paid all his employees’ extra compensation in cash to avoid tax obligations, except for one secretary who was not paid under the table. This system of paying employees in cash deprived the State of Maryland of tax revenue and subverted the taxation systems of the IRS and Maryland. In 2019, after the Kalenders became aware of the IRS’s investigation, Butch’s reported gross receipts of more than $4.5 million, an increase of more than $2.2 million over the fiscal year 2018. Barron commended the IRS-CI for their work in the investigation, and thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Harry M. Gruber, who prosecuted the case. Source: The U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Maryland

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Ourisman VW of Rockville Toll Free: 855.417.4511 Direct: 301.340.7668 Fax: 240.499.2488

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15301 Frederick Road l Rockville, MD 20855 autobodynews.com / AUGUST 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 27


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

Every transaction has a value in terms of both human resources and money, and online reviews from customers play a significant role in both for any business. Many auto body shop owners and managers use review sites to connect with customers and get feedback. But many are still skeptical about the authenticity of the reviews posted. Before the online consumer review industry gained momentum roughly 18 years ago when Yelp was founded, people had to rely on recommendations from friends, neighbors and associates. Word-of-mouth worked pretty well, but now we can access hundreds of reviews within minutes, rather than polling the mailman or the checker at your grocery store for the best restaurants, movie theaters or body shops. As a body shop owner or manager, ultimately, all you want is to acquire new customers, retain existing ones and increase revenue. But

like many, you’re probably a little overwhelmed by the speed at which technology evolves and how to respond to it. Recently, I saw this powerful quote from the Harvard Business Review: “Many companies need to dramatically shift their marketing

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

strategies to account for the rising power exerted on future customers by the opinions of existing customers.” I had a friend who used to say opinions are like a certain orifice we

all possess. It still applies, but now everyone’s opinions seem to count more than ever, especially online. For companies that do an exemplary job and garner high CSI ratings as a result, online review sites are a wonderful thing. On the other hand, what happens if you’re a good company, but you’re not getting a significant number of accolades from the public—or, worse, negative bogus reviews from competitors and disgruntled former employees? Megan Fulkerson, managing partner and strategist at 3P Marketing in Evansville, IN, works with body shops and other small businesses on their online reviews and how to set them up for success. “While managing reviews can seem daunting, taking care of your customers and providing safe and proper repairs is what we try to do every day,” she said. “Taking things one step further and by having CSRs or estimators ask the customer to provide a review is a great way to have current responses added to your list of online reviews.”

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

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onto the negative experience mentioned, you can show that you stand by your work and will always make it right. “Businesses that have negative reviews and do not acknowledge them appear that they do not care,” she said. “While many aspects of marketing and advertising are evolving, the need for good reviews remained unchanged.” Those shops that embrace online reviews and pursue new marketing techniques such as geofencing, SEO strategies and digital advertising are excelling, Fulkerson said. Here are some more interesting numbers and analysis from ReviewTrackers: Google remains the No. 1 review site of choice. Nearly 64% of consumers say they are likely to check Google reviews, through Google Maps and Search, before visiting a business location—more than any other review site. Yelp ranks second at 45.18%, followed by TripAdvisor and Facebook. Google’s review growth is driven by the volume of zero-click searches, which rose to 65% in

2020. By showing review snippets and star ratings in organic search results without having to send users to a third-party website, Google has effectively cut in line ahead of other websites in the online reviews space. Eighty-eight percent of all reviews come from only four review sites—Google (73%), Yelp (6%), Facebook (3%) and TripAdvisor (3%). Approximately 75% of new business is influenced by only a handful of business review sites and directories: Google, Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Apple Maps and Bing Maps. Review interaction is up by 50% from pre-pandemic levels. It’s one of the many signs demonstrating consumers’ heightened sensitivities about where to go or what to purchase in the wake of the pandemic. If your shop is missing the boat when it comes to sites like these, I would suggest to not try to do it yourself. Hire a knowledgeable company that specializes in leveraging these review sites to deliver solid leads and increase your car count.

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There are 11.3 million open jobs in the U.S., nearly two jobs for every American seeking work, according to newly released federal data.

That rate is nearly the highest on record as the number of available jobs per worker has sharply risen in recent months. The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the federal jobs data, which showed a decrease of nearly half a million available jobs in May. “On the last business day of May, the number and rate of job openings decreased to 11.3 million (-427,000) and 6.9%, respectively,”

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BLS said. “Hires and total separations were little changed at 6.5 million and 6.0 million, respectively. Within separations, quits (4.3 million) and layoffs and discharges (1.4 million) were little changed. This release includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires and separations for the total nonfarm sector, by industry and by establishment size class.” The job openings vary largely by industry and the size of the business. “The largest decreases in job openings were in professional and business services (-325,000), durable goods manufacturing (-138,000) and nondurable goods manufacturing (-70,000),” BLS said. “In May, the job openings rate decreased in establishments with 250 to 999 employees. The quits rate decreased in establishments with 250 to 999 employees and in establishments with 5,000 or more employees.”

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

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

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

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

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


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

MASSACHUSETTS

NEW JERSEY

NEW YORK

Curtiss-Ryan Honda

Boch Honda

Madison Honda

Lamacchia Honda

800-523-4190 203-929-0635

833-319-6270 781-619-6791

800-648-0293 973-822-1710

315-471-7278

Shelton

Norwood

Dept. Hours: M-F 7-5; Sat 7-4 callen@curtissryan.com

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-5 bh-wholesale@boch.com

Lia Honda of Enfield

LIA Honda Northampton

Enfield

800-221-3131 860-741-3401

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

Northampton

800-369-7889 413-587-2900

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-5; Sat 8-3 dstanisewski@liacars.com NEW JERSEY

Berlin City Honda

Clinton Honda

800-640-6685 207-774-6685

877-657-2787

South Portland

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-5:30 mmmparts@berlincity.com

IRA Honda Saco

Annandale

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Th. 7:30-7; Sat 7:30-4 klavalle@driveprime.com

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

Rossi Honda Vineland

800-893-3030 856-692-4449

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-5 (W until 7); Sat 7:30-3 dlyons@rossihonda.com

Route 22 Honda Hillside

973-705-9100

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

Dept. Hours: M-Sat 8-5 rt22hondaparts@route22honda.com

Honda of Turnersville

Sussex Honda

800-883-0002 856-516-6262

800-842-0557 973-579-3500

Turnersville

Saco

207-391-7910 207-282-0900

Madison

Dept. Hours: M-F 8-6; Sat 8-4 mbivario@penskeautomotive.com

Hudson Honda West New York

866-483-6917 201-868-9500

MARYLAND

Criswell Honda

Dept. Hours: M-Sat 8-5 mdasilva@hudsonhonda.com

Germantown

240-864-0880

Dept. Hours: M-Fri 7-7:30; Sat 7-6 hondaparts@criswellauto.com

Newton

Dept. Hours: M-F 8-5 realhondaparts@sussexhonda.com NEW YORK

Ide Honda Rochester

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

Syracuse

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-5:30 parts@lamacchiahonda.com

Lia Honda of Albany Albany

800-272-6741 518-482-2598

Dept. Hours: M, T, W, F 7:30-5:30; Thur 7:30-8; Sat 8-5 mjerard@liacars.com

Lia Honda of Brewster Brewster

845-278-4177

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

Ray Laks Honda Orchard Park

716-824-7852

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

Dept. Hours: M-Thur 8-8; Fri 8-5:30; Sat 8-5 parts@idehonda.com

ACURA MASSACHUSETTS

NEW JERSEY

NEW JERSEY

NEW JERSEY

Acura of Boston

Acura Turnersville

Elite Acura

Park Ave Acura

800-254-1169 617-254-5400

888-883-2884 856-516-6060

856-722-9600

888-690-7621 201-587-0028

Brighton

Turnersville

Maple Shade

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

Acura of Peabody

Autosport Acura

Open Road Acura of East Brunswick

973-361-3117

732-238-0777 732-238-5466

Peabody

800-878-3600 978-532-9110

Dept. Hours: M-Sat 8-5 dbritt@acurapeabody.com

Denville

East Brunswick

Dept. Hours: M-F 7-6; Sat 8-4 erin@theautosportgroup.com

Dept. Hours: M-F 8-5; Sat 8-4 robert.talbot@openroad.com

Bill Vince’s Bridgewater Acura

Open Road Acura of Wayne

908-704-0307

973-696-5151

Bridgewater

Dept. Hours: M-F 8-7; Sat 8-4 mattn@bridgewateracura.com 32 AUGUST 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

Wayne

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

Maywood

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

Acura of Westchester Westchester

914-834-8887

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


PENNSYLVANIA

VERMONT

Apple Honda

802 Honda

800-960-9041 717-848-2600

802-223-9700

York

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

Berlin

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

Baierl Honda Wexford

818-332-7351

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

NEW YORK

PENNSYLVANIA

Curry Acura

Baierl Acura

800-725-2877 914-472-7406

800-246-7457 724-935-0800

Scarsdale

Wexford

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

718-507-3990

267-296-1000 215-943-7000

Woodside

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

Smithtown Acura

Langhorne

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

631-366-4114

Jenkintown

Dept. Hours: M-F 8-5; Sat 8-1 rendrick@sussmanauto.com autobodynews.com / AUGUST 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 33


From the Desk of Mike Anderson with Mike Anderson

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

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

and cites a gradual reduction in road deaths over 50 years. But in an interview with The Washington Post—days after new NHTSA figures showed fatalities hitting a 16year high—Michael pointed to the nation’s failure and potential fixes.” Make sure you read that again. Roadway fatalities have reached a 16-year high. You have to believe NHTSA and other regulators are going to place an even greater emphasis on vehicle and roadway safety. You have to believe the automakers are going to be pushing forward on getting more and better ADAS and telematics features into vehicles. That’s going to impact the vehicles we have coming into shops. Michael also noted in the interview, “To improve things, we’re going to need to individually make concessions about convenience, about

driving a little slower, about taking a little more care, about personal responsibility, of using our seat belts, of driving at or below the speed limit, of driving responsibly, certainly driving without impairment, without fatigue, without distraction.”

The “using our seat belts” portion of that quote caught my eye. Our industry has a vital obligation to make sure those seat belts have been inspected after a vehicle has been in an accident. Every automaker has very specific requirements about this. Even when General Motors revamped its post-collision vehicle

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inspection requirements, for example, its stance on seat belts did not change. GM wants “every seat belt of every [GM] vehicle inspected every time” a vehicle is in for repairs, “regardless of the [crash] severity level or what’s being done” to the vehicle, said John Eck, collision manager for GM. We’ve been asking about seat belt inspections in our “Who Pays for What?” surveys dating back to 2016. On the surface, the news is good. Back in 2016, close to twothirds of shops said they’d never billed for the labor involved in inspecting seat belts, and among those who had, fewer than one in four said they were paid for that work by the eight largest national insurers “always” or “most of the time.” In the seven years since, the percentage of shops not billing for the work has fallen, and the percent-

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age being paid regularly has grown. But looking at the numbers still keeps me awake at night. As of this year’s survey, there were still 28% of shops—more than one in four— that acknowledged never having billed for seat belt inspections. I have to believe many of those shops aren’t doing this critical work, perhaps because they’re not researching

not otherwise—obligated to do it even if they’re not paid for it, are insurer payment practices contributing to it not being done on every single vehicle? Ladies and gentlemen, it often doesn’t require any more than looking at the vehicle owner’s manual to document the seat belt inspection requirement. In the resources sec-

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

and following the OEM procedures. And in the seven years we’ve asked, never have more than two in five shops billing for this work said the insurers regularly pay for it. How can the insurance industry deny payment for this needed step? And though shops are morally—if

tion of the “Who Pays” body labor report, we point to an excellent list of links to vehicle owner’s manuals, put together by the Database Enhancement Gateway (DEG). You can take the current “Who Pays for What” survey during July at www.surveymonkey.com/

r/3X7FDBP In some cases, in addition to a visual inspection, the OEM procedure may require the use of a diagnostic scan tool to check the pre-tensioners. On some Honda and Acura vehicles, for example, a deployed pre-tensioner does not trigger a diagnostic trouble code, so other “live data” from the scan must be checked. In these cases, it’s important to know I’ve read of instances where shops have found their aftermarket scan tool didn’t catch blown pre-tensioners an OEM scan did. I encourage you to check the NHTSA website, www.nhtsa.gov, for some sobering statistics about highway deaths, and some tools you can use to help educate your customers. But we also all need to make sure we’re not contributing to the problem, by repairing every vehicle fully and correctly, including the seat belt and other OEM safety inspections.

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

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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

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

Shop Showcase

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ferred parts vendors of the insurer. “Limiting or discounting the reasonable repair costs based on the charges that would have been incurred had the vehicle been repaired by the insurer’s chosen repair shop is a violation of Insurance Code section §758.5(b) (3) and would constitute a violation of the Unfair Insurance Practices Act. Cal. Ins. Code §758.5(f). That is, if an insurer limits or discounts the reasonable repair costs based upon the replacement part prices available from a certain parts vendor, the insurer would effectively prevent a customer from using the automobile repair shop of his or her choice in violation of Insurance Code section 758.5(b) (3). An insurer would, however, be permitted to reasonably adjust a collision repair shop’s written parts price estimate for any part, including new OEM crash parts, if the insurer demonstrates that the price charged by the repair shop for the replacement part is “unreasonable.” 10 CCR §2695.8(f).” This opinion was also a topic of the Zoom meeting. Both the DOI’s deputy commissioner and the

Claims Services Bureau chief urged shops experiencing this problem to send a copy of the DOI letter to the insurer with their supplement. Miscategorized Parts There is another facet to this problem. In California, the law requires shops only list parts on their estimate as new, used, reconditioned, rebuilt, an OEM crash part or a nonOEM aftermarket crash part. Insurers are also supposed to follow these regulations when writing estimates, but some do not. “A few months back, we had a 2021 Mercedes in the shop,” Etherton said. “It only had 1,000 miles on it and was hit pretty hard in the right suspension. The customer’s insurer specified 13 used, non-OEM or reconditioned parts from six different vendors located in California, Texas, Michigan and Oregon. The parts’ prices ranged from about $10 to $1,000. “Some of the part descriptions were really questionable, like a reconditioned upper control arm and a reconditioned engine cradle, and a used wheel that was also refur-

bished. By law, we have to be crystal clear about parts with our customer, but how can I do that if I don’t even know what they are?” Etherton continued. “And none of these parts had a manufacturer’s warranty, something we would get if we bought them from the dealer. We ended up losing that job because we believed new genuine factory parts belonged on that car, and the customer didn’t want to pay the difference. She did tell me she was changing insurance companies though.” The Difference Between Opt-OEM Parts and Genuine OEM Parts Many parts on insurers’ estimates have been miscategorized with such terms as “alt-OEM”, “opt-OEM” and “surplus-OEM.” In reality, these parts may be over-production, blemished or damaged OEM parts. One thing they all have in common is none of them carry the original car manufacturer’s warranty. Every part sold by every vehicle manufacturer has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), which is the price a shop charges for the part. In contrast, opt-OEM

parts do not have an MSRP, only a cost. When a part does not have an MSRP, insurers will allow a “markup,” usually 20%. Etherton thinks he knows how opt-OEM came into existence. “Let’s say a shop buys a bumper from a Chevy dealer that has an MSRP of $200, and the shop gets it for $140 wholesale. The shop will make a $60 profit,” he said. “Let’s also say an opt-OEM vendor—maybe a wrecking yard— has bought 50 of those bumpers on the gray market for $120 each. They offer the bumper to insurers for $150. The insurer marks the part up $30—20%—for the shop. The insurer now gets the $200 bumper for $180, but the shop loses half their profit, the shop’s Chevy dealer loses a sale and the customer loses the Chevy factory warranty because the shop didn’t purchase the part from the dealer. Who wins here?” Another issue is some vendors are mislabeling their parts to gain an advantage with insurers. “Something else we see is when the vendor lists a bumper cover as a used part when it’s actually a new

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

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

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

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

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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.

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

Shop Showcase

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

Social Media for Shops

SEMA Show Goes On

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

Media and Publicity for Shops Shop Strategies with Stacey Phillips

Body Shops Giving Back with Stacey Phillips

Tips for Busy Body Shops with Stacey Phillips

My SEMA with Stacey Phillips

Shop Strategies with Victoria Antonelli

52 AUGUST 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

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


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mation is going to too many third parties---often without the shop’s knowledge or consent---and that information has significant value to those companies that can get it.” Tagliapietra founded NuGen IT and sold that company to OEConnection in 2020. He is launching DataTouch this summer as a potential solution for a shop that wants to get a better handle on who has access to its data. For a one-time fee, DataTouch can audit a shop’s computer system to identify what data pumps are operating on it. “They’re often hidden well enough that unless someone knows what they’re looking for, they’re not going to find them,” Tagliapietra said. The shop then has the option to subscribe to the DataTouch monthly service, which enables the shop to administer by trading partner which portions of estimate data go to each third party. A recycler, for example, may only receive a parts list and the year, make and model of the vehicle, and the first 11 digits of the VIN. “That’s enough information to run it through a parts exchange and

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

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

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

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

Nissan is trying to determine how it will repair the Frontier and Titan trucks. Interim Nissan recall letters are expected to be mailed July 20, and second letters will be mailed once dealers are ready to repair the trucks. Nissan Frontier and Titan truck owners may contact Nissan at 800867-7669. Nissan's recall numbers are R22A2 and R22A3.

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autobodynews.com / AUGUST 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 55


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

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

Q:

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

A:

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

challenges our industry was facing. In the end, it comes down to attaining the right skills to motivate people in general. For instance, how do you create buy-in, build comfort and trust, and all those things? So, I went back to learn how to build and use the tools needed for these essential skills and, most notably, the neuHow do you motivate your roscience behind them. people? Do you take I became a professiondifferent approaches with al coach and a leadership each person? trainer to motivate all these people individually. Every person requires a different Four main groups approach, so if you try to are impacting our treat everyone the same, it industry—Generation Z, ages 7-22 (born between Claudia Morgillo will likely fail. I have de1997 and 2021); Millen- helps body shop pro- veloped tools that are tried, succeed nials, ages 23-38 (born infessionals tested and true. But in the an ever-changing between 1981 and 1996); end, it comes down to peoindustry Generation X, ages 39-54 ples’ motivations and how (born between 1965 and 1980); and they feel appreciated. How do they our Boomers, ages 55-73 (born be- understand caring, because everytween 1946 and 1964). body understands caring differently? I went back to school and Everybody’s going to respond earned a lot of different training and to buy-in in their own way, so how coaching certifications to help and do I create that for them? That’s my support my teams through the real approach—it’s individualized and worked alongside him in his jobber business. At this point, I’ve been in collision repair for more than 25 years. Thirteen years ago, my husband, Claudio Chiodo, and I purchased our first body shop, and have grown from that point on.

Q:

A:

Q:

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

A:

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

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

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

Q:

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

A:

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

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

Q: A:

Why do some shops excel and others struggle?

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

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

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Industry Insight with John Yoswick

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

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

Shop Showcase

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

Social Media for Shops

SEMA Show Goes On

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

Media and Publicity for Shops

seemingly minor as paintless dent repair (PDR) may require de-energizing the vehicle, Dorn said. “Depending on the vehicle, there are some areas that are literally right beside a fender or right under the hood that are very close to areas you don’t want to be,” Dorn said of PDR. Trying to Save Money Could Cost You Jason Norman of Enterprise RentA-Car said he’s seen instances of people thinking they can reduce the cost of charging cables or adapters by getting one available online at a quarter of the cost of the OEM part. “It’s very tempting, and it turns out they look very similar,” Norman said. “But the reality is this is one of those times when the OEM equipment and procedures are critically important. A lot of those [cheaper] adapters and cables don’t have the

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

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

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

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

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

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

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