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AASP/NJ Voices Opposition to Selection of State Farm’s George Avery as CIC Chair The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) issued a press release saying it was urging its members to contact the current Collision Industry Conference (CIC) chairman and administrator to voice their displeasure with the choice of State Farm’s George Avery as the next CIC chairman. The press release reads as follows: In response to a spirited call to action by AASP/NJ Executive Director Charles Bryant, a record number of association members have been stepping forward to voice their displeasure with the July 18 appointment of State Farm’s George Avery to the position of CIC chairman. The announcement of Avery’s appointment – which came mere hours after an ex-

plosive CIC Open Mic Session where multiple repairers blasted State Farm’s controversial PartsTrader program—has left many repairers throughout the industry with questions. “We feel the timing of this decision is unfortunate because of the perception it creates,” Bryant stated in his message to members. “Mr. Avery holding this position represents an obvious conflict of interest as CIC continues to address this emotionally charged and industry-changing parts program.” Bryant then urged members to contact current CIC Chairman Michael Quinn at mikeq@911collision.com and CIC Administrator Jeff Hendler at jeffhen@gmail.com to voice their displeasure with the deciSee Opposition to Avery, Page 9

SEMA-AAPEX is Oct. 30-Nov 2 in Las Vegas For SCRS’ Repairer Driven Education, see p. 30-32

Update on Lorraine Pilitz Fraud Acquittal

fourth-degree insurance fraud and falsifying business records. On June 22, a jury found Ms. Pilitz not guilty on all charges. The Nassau County District Attorney’s Office had accused and charged Pilitz and her towing company and body shop of trying to extract extra funds from GEICO. Pilitz maintained her innocence, testifying See Pilitz Acquittal, Page 62

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Additional details have emerged on the acquittal of Lorraine Pilitz, owner of Autotech Collision Inc. in Rockville Centre, NY. She was found not guilty of all charges stemming from a 2009 auto accident in which Pilitz’s vehicle was rear-ended by a GEICO insured. See Autobody News, August edition. Ms. Pilitz was charged in September 2010 with three counts of

VOL. 2 ISSUE 6 SEPTEMBER 2012

AASP/NJ Tells State Farm: “Don’t Insult Our Intelligence” Charles Bryant, AASP/NJ Executive Director, released the following open letter to the industry in regards to State Farm’s parts procurement program: There has been plenty written already on State Farm’s PartsTrader program. The fox (State Farm), via George Avery, is actually surprised that the chickens (collision repair industry members) are nervous and upset at their uninvited entrance into our coop to “fix” something that we contend isn’t broken, and at their offer that we can’t refuse—literally. They keep telling us that this is a ‘win-win’ proposition. In reality, ‘win-win’ is an overused phrase to describe an arrangement that’s almost always ‘win-lose.’ There are, however, some true ‘win-win’ scenarios in

our industry, and so it would not be fair to refute Avery’s claim without a closer look. Before we do that, though, let’s first agree on a couple of assumptions. First, I’m going to assume that, within the vast empire of State Farm, there are some fairly intelligent people who are capable of analyzing the business of auto insurance, the business of collision repair and the claims management process. They do this not because they have nothing better to do, but because they have been tasked with the pursuit of higher profits. Despite what [President Barack Obama] has been telling everyone, our capitalist system was built on the selfish pursuit of profit and wealth. State Farm shouldn’t apologize in its See Insult to Intelligence, Page 12

NACE-CARS (ASRW) is Oct. 10-13 in New Orleans Full Schedule of Courses, see p. 19-23

Ed Kizenberger of LIABRA re: PartsTrader

Ed Kizenberger, Executive Director of The Long Island Auto Body Repairmen’s Association (LIABRA), says “Here is where the line in the sand is drawn for our industry: big shop, small shop, DRP/non DRP, it does not matter, factor out some or all of your parts profit and tell me how that contributes to your being a healthy viable collision center. Any percentage of a smaller number results in a giveback of direct profit that comes off your bottom line and goes directly into the insurer’s pocket. This, with a reduction in frequency and severity, should pretty much freeze our industry in place impacting our ability to attract new workers and train existing ones, invest in new equipment, maintain our facilities, etc. Mind you, the insurer’s argument will be they need to control parts to contain costs. That will help keep consumer’s premium costs “reasonable.” If this issue does not polarize and move our industry to action

there will be little left to be concerned about.” In other LIABRA news: ◘ LIABRA Board Meetings are the 2nd Tuesday of each month. ◘ LIABRA General Meetings are the 3rd Tuesday of each month, except December, April, July and August. ◘ LIABRA’s next meeting will be Tuesday, September 18, at 8:00 PM and will include an educational seminar, location to be announced. The Hybrid Training Certificates are available for pick up at this general meeting. In addition, 250 club raffle tickets are on sale now. Call Ed at 631-941-9647 or Flo at 516-6659483. ◘ LIABRA’s Annual Golf Outing is Sept. 24, 2012 at the Port Jefferson Country Club. Call Paul O’Connell 516-524-2353 or Vito Tandoi 631884-3366. LIABRA is headquartered at 425 E. John St., Lindenhurst, NY 11757 See www.liabra.org for more information.

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COLUMNISTS Attanasio - Customer Appreciation Events Build Customer Base . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Evans - Some Cool Tips and Tricks to Save You Time and Money . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Franklin - Conversations That Sell Jobs, No Need to Mention Entropy . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Insider - Sale of Estimate Data Isn’t New and Shops Don’t Own That Data . . . . . . . . 16 Yoswick - Information Providers Assure They Have Privacy Issues Handled . . . . . . 24 NATIONAL 13 Paint Companies Exhibiting at NACE-CARS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 2012 ASRW/NACE/CARS Schedule At-a-Glance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 AASP Illinois’ Statement Officially Opposing PartsTrader. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 ABRA Opens Another in NC . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 AkzoNobel Awards FIT Award . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 An Accident is No Laughing Matter When it Comes to Lost Keys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Auto Industry Customer Satisfaction Hits 20-Year High . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Auto Parts Yard is the Scene of Murder by Security Guard. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 Automaker, OEM, and Recall News . . . . . . . . 34 CA Prop 33’s Price Setting Controversy: Lawsuit to Rewrite Summary Fails . . . . . . 63 California Department of Insurance Holds Hearing on “Workmanlike Repairs” . . . . . . 58 California Men Charged with 90 Felonies in Elaborate Insurance Fraud, Theft and Arson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Carlyle Group Closes Deal on Service King . . 13 Carlyle Group Makes DuPont Performance

Coatings Offer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 CARSTAR Annual Event Set for Sept. 22 in San Antonio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 Dick Cross to Keynote at NACE-CARS . . . . . 31 Florida Autobody Collision Alliance Reports Labor Rate Gaps . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 Florida Shop Increases Labor Rate 12.5%, Most Insurers Object Then Pay . . . . . . . . . 13 GAINSCO Selects Mitchell as New Claims Provider . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Hyundai Settles Airbag Lawsuit for Crossovers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 I-CAR Announces Training Schedule at ASRW. 55 I-CAR Launches Tech School Training Program. 26 Indiana Auto Body Association’s Parts Procurement, Insurer Interference Survey Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Insurance Auto Auctions Donates $10,000 to CREF . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Insurance Lobby Says Proposed Regs from CA DOI “Damage Ability to Control Costs” . 61 Insurers Move to End Antitrust Suit. . . . . . . . 56 LKQ Sweepstakes Grand Prize Winner Gets a Car . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Looking Forward to SEMA at Foose Design. . 46 Luxury Cars Stolen from Auto Body Shop in RI. 58 Man Accused in Connection with Counterfeit Auto Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 Mullin Museum Debuts 1939 Bugatti Coachbuild. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 National Autobody Parts Warehouse Earns NSF Cert . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Nebraska Auto Body Association Opposes State Farm’s PartsTrader . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 New Website for Labor Rate Survey . . . . . . . 60 PPG Teams with Auto Claim Solutions on Mgmt System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Prevost Introduces One-Push, Quick Release Coupler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Refinish Distributors Alliance: Collaborating to IMPACT Minds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Registration Up for Repairer Driven Education at SEMA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Research, Documentation is Ammunition in Battles with Insurers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Rhode Island Auto Body Owner Charged in Scheme . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Rich Evans Films Pilot Episode of World Wide Car Building in Canada . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 SCRS Director Learns from Geese and Declares PartsTrader Fowl . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 SCRS Director Schulenberg Travels to Australia to Discuss Global Collision Repair Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 SEMA Education Days Schedule. . . . . . . . . . 38 Shop Owner Wars with Boynton Beach . . . . . 48 Texas Body Shop Owner Creates Sculptures Out of Car Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Toyota to Sell Hybrid Avalon in the Fall . . . . . 53 VSG Invests in Manufacture Updates, Expansions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 WIN Awards Two Top Female SkillsUSA Winners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

WESTERN, www.autobodynews.com/news/regionalnews/western-news.html

Insurance Lobby Objects to Proposed California DOI Rules California Auto Body Assn Concerns About PartsTrader Mercury Insurance Files Suit on Ballot Wording

SOUTHEAST, www.autobodynews.com/news/regionalnews/southeast-news.html

Body Shop Owner Wars with City of Boynton Beach Insurers Pay Ray Gunder’s New Labor Rate Revived Mississippi Collision Repair Assn Discusses PartsTrader

SOUTHWEST, www.autobodynews.com/news/regionalnews/southwestern-news.html PARTS ACT Heard in US House of Representatives NWLCRA Discusses PartsTrader at August Meeting Service King to be Acquired by Management and Employees

GREAT LAKES, www.autobodynews.com/news/regionalnews/greatlakes-news.html

AASP Illinois Officially Opposes PartsTrader Michigan’s Three Collision Repair Associations Indiana Auto Body Associations Parts Procurement/Insurer Survey Publisher & Editor: Jeremy Hayhurst General Manager: Barbara Davies Assistant Editor: Melanie Anderson Contributing Writers: Tom Franklin, David Brown, John Yoswick, Lee Amaradio, Rich Evans, Janet Chaney, Toby Chess, Mike Causey, Tom McGee, Ed Attanasio, Chasidy Sisk Advertising Sales: Joe Momber, Sean Hartman, Jay Lukes (800) 699-8251 Sales Assistant: Kristy Navarro Art Director: Rodolfo Garcia

AJK Industries, LLC. . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Amato Agency. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Audi Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . 54 Audi of Turnersville . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 BASF . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . 57 Central Avenue Chrysler-JeepDodge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Chief Automotive. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Classifieds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 DCH Family of BMW Stores . . . . . 17 Empire Auto Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Equalizer Industries. . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Ford Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . 51 Fred Beans Parts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 Garmat. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Glanzmann Subaru . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Hackettstown Honda. . . . . . . . . . . 42 Haydell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Honda-Acura Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32-33 Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers. 53 Intertape Polymer Group. . . . . . . . . 7 Jaguar Wholesale Parts Dealers. . 36 Kia Motors Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Koeppel VW-Mazda. . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Lazare Kia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Lexus Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . 56

Serving New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and adjacent metro areas, Autobody News is a monthly publication for the autobody industry. Permission to reproduce in any form the material published in Autobody News must be obtained in writing from the publisher. ©2012 Adamantine Media LLC. Autobody News P.O. Box 1516, Carlsbad, CA 92018 (800) 699-8251 (760) 721-0253 Fax www.autobodynews.com Email: news@autobodynews.com

Northeast

REGIONAL AASP/NJ Tells State Farm: “Don’t Insult Our Intelligence”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 AASP/NJ Voices Opposition to Selection of State Farm’s George Avery as CIC Chair . . . 1 Chambersburg, PA, Shop Burglarized, Four Arrested . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Ed Kizenberger of LIABRA re: PartsTrader . . . . 1 Fiat Joins JMK in New Jersey . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Kenny Ross Acquires Hamilton Automotive. . . 6 Man Reclaims Car from Body Shop, Hits Employee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 New Jersey Wounded War Vet Receives Car . . 4 Newark Missionary Gets Free Car from Auto Body Shops in ‘Wheels to Prosper’ Program. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Shop Burglary Suspect Arrest. . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Standard Motor Parts Selects Audra Fordin for its TechSmart Campaign . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Staten Island Felon Steals SUV From Body Shop, Joyrides to Caesar’s . . . . . . . . 8 Suspect is a Scammer, Not an Auto Body Repairman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Update on Lorraine Pilitz Fraud Acquittal . . . . . 1 Wave of Burglaries Hit Homes and Shops in NJ . 4

As in Autobody News’ Other Regional Editions? Read them online at autobodynews.com

Indexof Advertisers

Contents

ARE YOU GETTING ALL THE NEWS?

Maxon Hyundai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Maxon Mazda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Mazda Wholesale Parts Dealers . . 44 Metric Subaru . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 MOPAR Wholesale Parts Dealers . 23 Nissan/Infiniti Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Nucar Mazda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 PCL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Plaza Auto Mall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Porsche Wholesale Parts Dealers. 52 PPG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 PreFab Ads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Rapid Air Drying System . . . . . . . . . 8 Reliable Automotive Equipment . . 19 Safety Regulations Strategies. . . . 40 SCA Appraisal Company . . . . . . . 48 Scion Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . 60 Security Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep . . . 31 Solution Finish. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Subaru Wholesale Parts Dealers DE, South NJ, PA . . . . . . . . . 14-15 Subaru Wholesale Parts Dealers North NJ, NY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Thompson Organization . . . . . . . . 41 Toyota Wholesale Parts Dealers . . 61 Volkswagen Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Volvo Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . 62

www.autobodynews.com | SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS 3


Wave of Burglaries Hit Homes and Shops in NJ

Three homes and two auto body shops in Montclair, NJ, were broken into during the month of July, and in one case, a resident woke up to find two teenagers in his home, Montclair Police reported. The sound of footsteps outside the bedroom woke up a man living on North Fullerton Avenue just before midnight. The man saw that two people were in his house with flashlights. Officers searched the area and, following a brief chase, found and arrested Tahje Glover, 18, of Newark, NJ as well as a 17-year-old juvenile, for burglary. In addition to the homes, two local auto body shops, Montclair Collision on Walnut Street and Alex and Leo Auto Body on North Willow Street, also were burglarized, Montclair Police reported. Montclair Collision didn’t report any items missing. At Alex and Leo’s, someone had gotten in through a window and had taken two laptop computers as well as two small motor bikes. Someone also had gotten inside several of the cars on the property, police said. Two other homes were also burglarized.

Chambersburg, PA, Shop Burglarized, Four Arrested

Police have arrested a man suspected of three business burglaries, including a body shop in Chambersburg, PA. Anthony Proctor, 23, of no fixed address, was arrested at a home in the 1000 block of Paper Mill Road night of Aug. 13. He faces charges of burglary, conspiracy and theft for a July 15 and a July 25 break-in at Jenning’s Auto Body, at 247 Grant Street, and a July 30 burglary at Jim’s Country Market, at 225 Grant Street, according to borough police. Police previously announced charges against three others suspected in the crimes. Cody Bowermaster, 25, of Chambersburg, was arrested July 30 and charged with burglary, conspiracy and theft in the burglary at Jim’s County Market and receiving stolen property for a vehicle theft from Jenning’s on July 25, police said. Juliemar Martinez, 18, of Chambersburg, was arrested with Proctor and charged with receiving stolen property for the burglary at Jenning’s and conspiracy and theft in the burglary of Jim’s Country Market, police said. Alexis Moore, 18, of Chambersburg, was charged with receiving stolen property in the July 25 burglary at Jenning’s, police said.

New Jersey Wounded War Vet Receives Car

A wounded war veteran and his wife were hoping to find their stolen car but instead found support from strangers across Long Island. Wounded war veteran Brian Martin of Coram, NY, woke up recently to find his new Jeep had been stolen from his driveway. The 25-year old, who injured his back in Afghanistan, bought the car two weeks prior with his $6,000 severance check. Coming to their aid, the Recycled Rides program, with the help of State Farm and Long Island Auto Body Repairmen’s Association (LIABRA) member Crestwood Auto Body, do-

nated a 2006 Chevy Impala to the Martin family. LIABRA gives a special thanks to Chris, Sr. and staff for getting this vehicle prepared so fast for the Martin family. The give-away was held August 8 at the VFW in Centereach. Many auto body shops and insurance companies on Long Island have been involved with this program, with more than 20 vehicles donated to veterans over the past four years. The Recycled Rides program was started by the National Auto Body Council.

4 SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

Rhode Island Auto Body Owner Charged in Scheme

After an investigation by the Pawtucket Police Department, Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin has announced that his office has charged Dino Coccia, 42, owner and operator of Americar Sales and Collision Center at 626 Main St., with 23 counts of obtaining money under false pretense of more than $500, 20 counts of unlawful appropriation of more than $1,000, six counts of uttering bad checks totaling $19,700, and one count of attempted larceny of more than $500. The state alleges that Coccia took deposits for motor vehicles he was not the lawful owner of and had no authority to sell. The state further alleges that when pressured by some of the individuals for the return of their deposits, Coccia wrote checks on a closed account. The alleged events took place on multiple dates on or between February of 2011 and April of 2012. The charges represent 25 unique victims. Coccia was originally arrested by the Pawtucket Police on May 21 and charged with four counts of obtaining money under false pretenses of more than $500. He was released on $5,000 surety bail.

Fiat Joins JMK in New Jersey

JMK BMW and JMK Used Cars welcome the new JMK FIAT store to the JMK auto group that has served customers for the past 46 years in the New Jersey area. The JMK FIAT store is now open to provide new FIAT car sales and expert service. JMK FIAT joins the JMK family of car sales and service in Springfield, NJ and offers the latest in FIAT models, including the FIAT 500 convertible Pop and sporty 500 Abarth. The on-site JMK FIAT Certified Collision Repair Center is an auto body repair shop specializing in FIAT repair.

Shop Burglary Suspect Arrest

A 23-year-old man is wanted in connection with burglaries that occurred July 15 and 25 at Jenning’s Auto Body and July 30 at Jim’s Country Market, both in Chambersburg, PA. Anthony Proctor is described as a 5-foot, 10-inch, 160-pound white male with brown hair and green eyes.He faces charges of burglary, criminal conspiracy and theft in the first burglary of Jenning’s Auto Body, 247 Grant St., and burglary, criminal conspiracy and theft of a motor vehicle in the second instance on July 25.


www.autobodynews.com | SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS 5


Newark Missionary Gets Free Car from Auto Body Shops in ‘Wheels to Prosper’ Program Mark Matthess, 45, a missionary living in Newark, was driving a man to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting when his car broke down; so he held the meeting on the side of the road. Matthess is the recipient of a 2002 Dodge Intrepid, awarded by Automotive Magic and Ken’s Auto Body, from the Wheels to Prosper program. The program benefits those in need who play active community roles. Shawn Gillifan, owner of Automotive Magic, said Matthess received a handful of essays detailing why he was the best choice. “The guy has dedicated his life to helping other people,” Gillifan said. ‘When we thought about who would have the most impact on the most amount of people, this was going to be the guy.” Gillifan said a committee of five employees sorted through the applications for the vehicle, which the company spent $2,700 fixing before handing over to the winner. Gillifan said he learned about the Wheels to Prosper program at an auto shop management conference in April 2011 and was hooked. And though there were several other nominees who would have ben-

efited from the vehicle, Gillifan said “most of the essays were where the person created their own rough situation as opposed to having a bad break and always pushing forward to help people.” Matthess, a Catholic, was nominated because of his charity work, which involves youth and homeless outreach with the Gratia Plena Evangelical Community. “Mark doesn’t have a lot of money,” said his sister, Kim Mydosh. “His ministry is how he works. He used to work in construction and get a little pay. But if a homeless guy walked up to Mark, he would go and buy him a meal with the last $5 he has.” Matthess, a recovering alcoholic, said he’s been volunteering in underprivileged neighborhoods since about 1984. He said he and his other missionaries often go door-to-door, asking Newark residents what they need most. On his street, two people have been shot and killed, including a 13year-old boy. “There’s just a lot of violence, a lot of hardness of heart around here,” Matthess said. “But there’s also a lot of really good people.”

Kenny Ross Automotive Group has acquired the four-dealership Hamilton Automotive of North Huntingdon, PA in a deal worth between $8 million and $10 million. The deal provides a second Buick franchise for Kenny Ross and adds the GMC truck, Subaru and Mazda brands to the company’s portfolio, the company said. Hamilton’s four dealerships are along Route 30, less than a mile from the Kenny Ross flagship Chevrolet store in Irwin. “When the Hamilton family decided to sell the business, we saw an opportunity to strengthen our company by adding new automobile brands and respected dealerships in this region,” said James Ross, president of Kenny Ross Automotive Group. “We expect the new franchises to generate about 15 percent growth immediately, and even more in the coming years.” Kenny Ross ranked 84th on Auto Remarketing’s listings of The Top 125 Used-Car Dealer Groups in the June 15–30 print edition. These rankings were based on 2011 retail used-vehicle sales. The dealer group sold 5,481 retail used units last year and moved 4,301 wholesale units. The numbers

and rankings of all dealer groups were compiled from the Automotive News Data Center. Prior to the acquisition of Hamilton Automotive, Kenny Ross had a dealership count of seven, reporting sales of 10,000 to 12,000 vehicles a year. The company employs almost 600 people, and officials said all of Hamilton’s 54 employees will be retained. For its part, Kenny Ross will upgrade and rebrand all the Hamilton locations “in the very near future,” said Ross. His company is upgrading its Chevrolet and Ford showrooms, plus relocating its Toyota/Scion dealership in Moon to a modern, energy-efficient, environmentally friendly facility nearby that should open Aug. 6.

Kenny Ross Acquires Hamilton Automotive

Standard Motor Parts Selects Audra Fordin, of Women Auto Know, for its TechSmart Campaign

Standard Motor Parts (SMP) has selected to feature Audra Fordin, fourth generation owner and operator of Great Bear Auto Repair and Auto Body Shop in Flushing, Queens, NY in their testimonial campaign for their TechSmart division. SMP approached Fordin based on her overwhelming exposure in the media and her profile as a topnotch honest shop that has been buying SMP products almost since their inception. Great Bear Auto Repair Audra Fordin and Auto Body Shop started a national franchise program in 1933, not as a franchisee but as a franchiser. Jay Eckstein, the director of marketing services for SMP, who is launching the TechSmart product line was quite impressed with Fordin not only as an owner/operator of an auto repair and body shop but as a citizen, who with her own funds, started a national not for profit, Women Auto Know, whose mission is to empower and educate women of all ages to be safe, confident and

knowledgeable drivers, passengers and consumers. Fordin’s not for profit has enlisted persons with disabilities and veterans to manufacture a full line of fashion and dog leads from used tires that would otherwise be in our landfills. “We were initially interested in Audra because of her many accomplishments, but we chose to feature her in the new TechSmart communications campaign because we recognized that her values align very closely with those of the TechSmart brand - commitment, quality, innovation and integrity,” said Eckstein. SMP immediately supported Fordin’s not for profit with a donation and consideration of an ongoing relationship. SMP not only creates top of the line auto parts, but does so with an environmentally conscientious mindset, finding ways to use green manufacturing processes. The TechSmart line is filled with products built to the SMP standard that allow technicians to easily diagnose car trouble and fix it. “As an owner of an auto repair shop I always turn to SMP products and I am thrilled to be the face of TechSmart products,” said Fordin.

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www.autobodynews.com | SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS 7


Staten Island Felon Steals SUV From Body Shop, Joyrides to Caesar’s, Claims Shop Loaned Him Vehicle

The Staten Island Advance has reported that a Tottenville felon with a history of robberies celebrated 2012 by stealing an SUV from a neighborhood body shop on New Year’s Eve and heading down to Atlantic City. But a valet at Caesar’s Casino Hotel refused to release the Chevrolet Equinox. Manzo, 49, took a cab back to Staten Island, where he remained on the loose until his arrest this week on grand larceny and other charges. According to court papers, the bizarre sequence of events unfolded late on Dec. 31: Manzo, who lives on the 7800 block of Amboy Road, allegedly stole the SUV from the rear of a Tottenville auto body shop. He drove to Atlantic City and parked the Equinox at Caesars. Manzo went to retrieve the vehicle on New Year’s Day, but a valet refused to release it when he couldn’t produce the claim ticket, according to the New York Post. The valet called the vehicle’s owner on Staten Island at about 10 p.m. The man said he didn’t know Manzo, and the suspect didn’t have permission to drive the car, said court papers. Stranded without wheels, Manzo

told authorities he took a cab back to the borough. Cops launched an investigation and tracked down Manzo on Aug. 14. When confronted by police, Manzo allegedly claimed someone at the body shop had loaned him the SUV. “I was never told that I’m taking the truck at my own risk,” court papers quote him as telling cops. Attempts to reach the SUV owner on Aug. 17 were unsuccessful. Manzo was arraigned in Stapleton Criminal Court on a felony count of fourth-degree grand larceny and misdemeanor counts of stolen-property possession and unauthorized vehicle use, said a spokesman for District Attorney Daniel Donovan. He pleaded not guilty and was released on $1,500 bail, online state court records show. He was ordered back to court. His lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment. Manzo has served four prison stints for attempted robbery dating to 1986, show online records of the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. He most recently served a term of one and a half to three years and was paroled on that case in April 2006, those documents state.

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Man Reclaims Car from Body Shop, Hits Employee

Police are investigating after a man allegedly reclaimed his car from a body shop towing company lot in Ewing, NJ, and drove off without paying the necessary fees, hitting an employee with the car as he fled. Police said the suspect went to Auto Body by FM on Hazel Avenue to attempt to retrieve a vehicle that had been legally towed there. The man was told by employees that the vehicle would not be released until payment was made for the tow and storage fees, Lt. Rocco Maruca said, and the suspect began to argue with employees. He eventually got into the car, started it using keys already in the vehicle, and began to drive it off the lot, police said. “While fleeing the lot, the vehicle struck one of the employees, knocking him to the ground,” said Maruca. Paramedics arrived and transported the victim to Capital Health Regional Medical Center for treatment, though Maruca said his injuries were not serious.

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Suspect is a Scammer, Not an Auto Body Repairman

Police in Montclair, NJ are hunting for a man who robbed a woman in a parking lot and, as the suspect was fleeing, his accomplice drove over the victim’s foot, sending her to the hospital, according to authorities. Several days prior, the suspect, who was masquerading as a car repairman, had been spotted by witnesses trolling the municipal parking lot. The suspect had been approaching drivers and offering to do auto body repairs to any cars that were damaged, police said. The day before the robbery, the scammer solicited the victim, offering to fix a front bumper and a light for a low cost, said Detective Lt. Angel Roman Jr. The victim and suspect agreed to meet in the parking area the following evening, and then the suspect told her he needed a deposit on the job so he could buy parts, Roman said. When the victim opened up her wallet, the suspect snatched $60. When the victim protested, the suspect shoved her and hopped in the car. As the suspects drove off, their vehicle rolled over the victim’s right foot, according to police. The robber was described as a skinny, tall white man with facial hair, wearing a green shirt.

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Continued from Cover

Opposition to Avery

sion to place “a [very partisan] insurance guy at the helm of CIC.” As he explains, the industry quickly and candidly made their opinions known. “Within minutes of sending out my initial press release, I received statements from several members speaking to their disappointment with this decision,” he says from AASP/NJ Headquarters in Neptune. “It is my hope that the industry continues to speak out against not only this questionable act by the CIC in nominating Mr. Avery, but also regarding the PartsTrader program itself.” AASP/NJ Legislative Committee Chairman and longtime Board member Brian Vesley was among the first to convey his concerns on the matter. “What I know about Mr. Avery from his public positions… is that for many years, he has been the spokesperson for the narrowest selfinterest of insurers and his employer,” Vesley wrote in a message sent on August 3. “Mr. Avery’s professional abilities are not in ques-

tion; rather, the issue is the inherent conflict between his history of public advocacy of controversial insurer programs and the less partisan responsibilities of the CIC Chair. Mr. Avery and his employer should decline the nomination if they value the integrity of the Collision Industry Conference.” “Find a suitable candidate who can best guide the membership toward [CIC’s] original mission and vision statement,” urged fellow AASP/NJ member Matt Casiano in a similar correspondence. “[Avery’s appointment] will be giving State Farm exactly what they want: Ushering in their new PartsTrader plan and once again inflicting serious damage on another attempt by our industry to unite in the face of a future that is daunting, at best.” Another longtime AASP/NJ member shop (who requested anonymity) echoed the sentiments of his association colleagues in the message he sent. “I strongly urge you to reconsider your nominee; put that power in the hands of someone who… has a true understanding of the struggles that shops like mine go through every day to keep customers safe and pay our bills.”

Nebraska Auto Body Association Opposes State Farm’s Pilot Parts Procurement Program The Nebraska Auto Body Association (NABA) announced its opposition to State Farm Insurance’s parts procurement system through PartsTrader. The announcement comes on the heels of other organizations that also recently denounced the program, including the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers (AASP) of Illinois and AASP of New Jersey. The NABA cautions collision repair shops to consider PartsTrader’s potential business impacts, such as additional administrative times and costs. Norbert Zaenglein, director of the NABA, said all U.S. states have ineffective regulations for market conduct, which gives insurers free rein over the collision industry. He said state regulation of insurers’ claims settlement practices is seriously compromised, and the catalyst for several foundational problems faced by repairers. “Lack of regulatory oversight allows insurers to take more and more control over the collision repair industry from influencing estimating databases, manipulating labor rates and controlling the repair process. Repairers who believe that this will

be the final encroachment into their business are seriously mistaken. The squeeze by insurers will be relentless, and claimants will pay the price in terms of repairs that do not restore the vehicle as promised under the policy of insurance,” Zaenglein said. “Without adequate regulation of the insurance industry, it is up to shops to stand up to intrusive mandates by the insurance industry and get actively involved in fixing a very broken insurance regulatory process.” State Farm launched its pilot program through PartsTrader earlier this year. The program requires shops affiliated with State Farm’s Select Service direct repair network to source parts from vendors through a Webbased process facilitated by PartsTrader. Repairers submit parts orders through the system and vendors bid for the sale. State Farm has said the process should improve part availability, process efficiency, order accuracy and create a better experience for customers.

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www.autobodynews.com | SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS 9


Social Media for Shops

Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist based in San Francisco, California. He can be reached at era39@aol.com.

Customer Appreciation Events Build Customer Base with Ed Attanasio

If we’re talking about social media and all it entails, what’s more social than a party? Yes—you’re going to be picking up the tab for this party, but in the end it will lead to new customers while you’ll also be strengthening the ties you have with your existing ones. Customer appreciation promotions and events have been taking place since the 1600s, when you bought six pigs, you got the seventh one free! Whether it’s a giveaway, a discount, or in this case, an event—showing your customers that you care matters and will benefit your body shop in many other ways down the road. When it comes to customer retention efforts, the whole theory is Image Perceived; Mission Achieved. If you’re going to the trouble of doing a customer appreciation day, do it right and make it special. Make it exclusive and really pull out of all the stops. Call it a VIP Customer Night and make it an invitation-only affair and limit the attendance. Step it up a notch and it will pay off in the long run. For example, nix the hot dogs and burgers and do a surf and turf thing. How about a clam bake? All-you-can-eat crab or ribs or chicken--what the heck, cook a whole cow! Food is the straight shot to peoples’ hearts and an all-you-can-eat setup is always a winner. Do giveaways galore—from baseball hats, pens, t-shirts to better items like jackets, polo shirts and maybe even executive-style gifts such as leather bound notebooks or fancy briefcases. I’ve been to so many SEMA and NACE shows I can’t even count them all, but I still get excited when I get some high-end merchandise with a company’s name on it. How about giving everyone a swag bag, with fun gifts people will remember long after the event? Sure it will cost you a few dollars, but in the end it will lead directly to new business and more referrals. Do a raffle at your customer event and give the money to a local charity. Ask your vendors to donate raffle items, such as tickets to sporting events, toys for the kids, household appliances and mini-vacations. Give everyone a small number of free raffle

tickets and put them in their swag bag, but if anyone wants to buy more, there’s a nominal charge. Get your entire crew onboard to make your customer appreciation day even more special. Train your employees to promote your event and leverage it whenever possible. “Wow, Mrs. Smith, this is a pretty serious fender bender. But the good news is— you qualify for our VIP Customer Party next month!” This method of keeping your old customers and getting new ones works for body shops all over the county, yet only a small number seem to embrace the approach. To prove my point, I contacted several body shops to see if their customer appreciation events are successful and to find out if they garnered repeat business or helped them to reap any new customers as a result. Ernie Fogarty, the owner of Bayview Collision Center in Jacksonville, FL has a five-year-old shop that has hosted several customer appreciation events and received a significant amount of new customers by doing them, he said. “The customer is #1 around here and always will be,” Fogarty said. “One happy customer can lead to 8-10 referrals, so we want to stay connected to our customers as much as we can and as long as we can. We invite everyone in the community to our customer appreciation day, including the insurance companies we work with and their families.” Fogarty also works with a wide range of charities to give back to the community. The one they’re raising money for currently is called the First Coast No More Homeless Pets organization, a cause he personally believes in. “We’re saving dogs and cats in this area so they won’t get put down. It offers us a great opportunity to show the community that we’re not just about the money. We plan on being here in Jacksonville for many years, so it just makes sense.” Rob Ellision, Marketing Manager at Chantilly Auto Body in Chantilly, VA, can identify positive feedback and new customers derived from a series of customer retention events, he explained. “We’re very aggressive about going after new business and we re-

10 SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

cently did our very first customer appreciation day and it was a huge success. It was a cloudy, cold day and we still got 300 people here and I know for a fact that we’ve gotten at least 10 new customers as a result. Most importantly, it created a buzz from the event, laying the foundation for other things we want to do in the near future.” Other events Ellision is planning include a car show, displaying vehicles on loan from several local car dealerships and collectors, he said, as well as Friday afternoon barbecues for customers. “Our appreciation event attracted families, so now we’re going to do a car show that will appeal more to men between the ages of 20 to 50. In addition, we’re going to host a free BBQ lunch for our customers when they come down and pick up their cars on Fridays. These are two new things we’re going to use to attract new customers and keep in touch with our existing ones.”

Kareem Abouzeiz, owner of Knockout Collision Center in Chico, CA does customer-centric events and definitely sees the value in doing them on a regular basis, he said. “The last one we held definitely resulted in more than a few new customers. When most people get their cars fixed at a shop, they never get to meet or interact with the owner. That’s why we open up our whole shop for the public at our customer appreciation day and make our entire staff available for our guests. We’re all about our people, so we want the public to meet them and get to know them. Building ongoing, long-term relationships is the key.”

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Continued from Cover

Insult to Intelligence

quest to maximize profits, but neither should the collision repair industry. Profit is both good and necessary. Second and just as important, I’m going to assume that the collision repair industry also contains many highly intelligent people—people who have built and currently operate successful businesses. People who are constantly innovating and looking for new ways to improve their processes. People who know how to crunch numbers. People who know what it takes to generate a profit, which allows them to invest in their businesses and to fairly compensate themselves and their employees. So, as the title of this article states, while [State Farm/Avery/PartsTrader] continue to tell us that this program is a good thing for the collision industry, I ask that they at least refrain from insulting our intelligence. The parts component within collision repair is a complicated one with a multitude of variables. So why does State Farm want to get into the parts business, especially when it involves

significant resources within State Farm to manage it and a fat check being cut to a third party (PartsTrader)? The simple answer is that they want to lower their average severity, which is an Orwellian way of saying they want to pay out less. Yes, they believe that this program will mean smaller settlement checks than would otherwise be written, and if I’m smarter than a fifth grader, that means more dead presidents in the pocket of State Farm. There, I said it, in simple language without using ambiguous and insulting phrases like “seeking greater efficiency.” State Farm simply wants more profit! There is no such thing as too much profit, and as Avery reminded us at the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) in July, State Farm is a mutual company which is obligated to maximize its profits [for its policyholders]. But repairers have the exact same desire to maximize their profits, and they’re similarly obligated to maximize their profits on behalf of their families and employees. So if they’re buying parts at a discount of 25 percent, their goal is to somehow find a way to get this number up to 27 or 30 percent.

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that while yes, you did kill and eat the chickens in NZ, you won’t do the same here in the U.S.? If the above assumptions are correct, then we can dispense with all the carefully worded statements that do nothing but insult our intelligence. Rob Cooper of PartsTrader assures us that it’s a good tool for repairers and that their “interests are in the right place,” while pushing a product in the U.S. that has no voluntary collision repair customers, only those who have been coerced into using it. State Farm “knows it is getting into our business”; it simply wants higher profit, and doesn’t seem to care if it’s at the repairer’s expense. The battlefield is set.

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That said, all that’s left to determine is whose pocket(s) that additional profit will come from. From a common sense “napkin” analysis, State Farm’s additional profit will either come from the parts vendors or the repairers, or both. If you carefully read all the statements that have been issued by PartsTrader and State Farm, nowhere will you hear from either party that this program is guaranteed to not negatively impact the profitability or the profit margins of the repairer. They haven’t made these statements because they know they can’t. The dollars State Farm desperately needs/wants will have to come from somewhere. The reports that came back from the PartsTrader program in New Zealand were alarming – the program almost eliminated gross part profit margins there. PartsTrader responded by stating that the U.S. program is different than the NZ program and thus shouldn’t be compared. Is this an admission that the PartsTrader program in NZ did indeed harm the collision repair industry? If this is true, what steps has PartsTrader taken in NZ to remedy the harm their program has done? Are you, the fox, telling us

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Carlyle Group Closes Deal on Service King

The Carlyle Group has closed its deal to acquire Service King Collision Repair Centers. Service King Collision Repair Centers, which operates nine locations in San Antonio, TX, was bought out by a consortium made up of The Carlyle Group and the company’s management. The Carlyle Group now holds majority ownership in Service King. Financial terms were not disclosed. Founder Eddie Lennox retains some ownership stake in Dallas-based Service King. Former CEO Cathy Bonner is now chairman of the board. Chris Abraham has been appointed as new CEO and Jeff McFadden is now president of the company. Service King currently operates 49 locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Austin metropolitan areas. In the last three years, the company’s revenues and location count have doubled. Part of the reason The Carlyle Group bought Service King is to help the company expand nationally.

Florida Shop Increases Labor Rate 12.5%, Most Insurers Object Then Pay Ray Gunder, founder of Gunder’s Auto Center, Inc., which has served Lakeland, FL, and its surrounding communities for over 44 years, determined the current labor rates which were being offered by insurers were insufficient to sustain profitability and continued growth. Upon determining the true cost of operations, in June, 2012, the decision was made by insurers to increase the standard door labor rate from their previously posted rate of $42.00 to $48.00 per labor hour, a12.5% increase. Ray Gunder stated, “It had been almost six years since rates had moved, driving our net profit into a danger zone. Our business and our techs struggling financially left me with no options. Every insurance employee I talked with certainly hadn’t missed their cost of living raises. If repairers sit around and wait for a handout - that’ll be what they will likely get - a hand-out. I felt that for my company and its team members to keep up with the rising costs of living and for us to keep abreast of ever-increasing operational costs, raising our labor rates was necessary. We needed to take actions and we did.” Gunder’s new rates were posted in their reception area and each claims

person and appraiser who Gunder’s dealt with were informed of the new rates. This increase, which Gunder considered minimum, was considered by many insurers to be substantial and was met with anticipated resistance, however, most know of Ray’s lack of hesitation to “pull the trigger” and to act on behalf of his customers in asserting their rights for “fair and acceptable” compensation for “reasonable and necessary” repair costs. Many insurance companies made their concerns and objections known but elected to pay the rate. Those insurers include: MetLife, Kemper Services, Westfield Comp., Auto Owners, Acceptance Casualty, Liberty Mutual, Amica Mutual, Horace Mann, The Hartford and Direct General. And others, not so agreeable, include: USAA, GEICO, State Farm, Allstate, Infinity and Travelers. Thus far, the above insurers have yet to pay Gunder’s customers’ labor rate willingly. As such, Gunder’s has had to take the appropriate action to enable their customers to receive their entitlements necessary to allow them to get a thorough and quality repair and has proceeded to file lawsuits on behalf of their customers.

“To date, two of these insurers have asked our attorney what his charges are to date, perhaps with the thought of conceding, paying our rates, and avoiding protracted litigation. With regard to the others, we have filed for discovery and scheduled depositions with their claims people and I am anxious to see what we find as it will no doubt lead to other issues to be used in future actions - if and when they should be required,” Ray said. “I am sure all insurers are concerned with having to pay other shops in the area if they pay Gunder’s, but I have to say that I am stunned at how far we have come in getting fair and reasonable compensation for things like PMC-Logic material invoicing, mark-up on sublet, parts return fees and many other reasonable and necessary charges and have consistently heard that other local repairers don’t request such compensation, even though they know Gunder’s is getting paid for them. I’ve had appraisers tell me…’Ray, I’d pay it if asked…but very few even ask!’ “As for me, I’m not looking to fix the world, I just want to fix my customer’s cars properly, pay my techs fairly for their efforts and provide for my family,” Gunder said.

www.autobodynews.com | SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS 13


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www.autobodynews.com | SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS 15


Inside Insurance

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

Sale of Estimate Data Isn’t New and Shops Don’t Own That Data with The Insurance Insider

Have you sold your soul to the devil? I’m here to tell you that if you have a computerized estimating system, and you electronically communicate with an insurance company, you have. You signed away your rights when you executed the contract to pay the information providers a monthly subscription fee. What does that mean to your business? Estimating data generated by your shop for a direct repair program and electronically sent to that insurance carrier is now useable by the information provider. Of course it’s an instant revenue stream for that company as well. Every day thousands of new estimates are added to their extensive data library. Think this is shocking? How could they do this? Is this legal? News flash: This has been going on for more than 20 years. The collision repair industry, now worrying about data mining and privacy, is just a little slow getting to the party. But welcome to the party. You are the guests of honor. Just sign on the dotted line. Former U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously stated, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” He wanted to spur optimism in the American public. So: What do you fear? I actually think Roosevelt was right and it’s fear itself. Most shops aren’t worried about the information providers selling confidential information such as their customer’s name, address or phone number. Most reputable vendors have contractual language stating that that’s protected information. Aside from that, in today’s litigious society, people are always seeking op-

portunities to sue and cash in. It’s just not worth taking the risk. So what is being sold? The estimating data itself. Why? It’s data that insurance companies rely upon to make decisions, identify trends, manage their business and in some instances, establish market guidelines.

This data is critical to managing the insurance business and has significant monetary value. So, you may ask, if the information providers are making money on estimate data from my shop, why isn’t someone paying me? It’s a reasonable question. Personally, I think if shops were paid for the use of the data, the persistent question of “Who owns the data?” would disappear. The fear would be reduced to squabbling over the table scraps the information providers left behind. Remember Cuba Gooding Jr. repeatedly shouting, “Show me the money” in the movie Jerry Maguire? So, to our esteemed information providers reading this article: Show the shops the money and you will quickly hear “Where do I sign?” Given that this practice has been

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going on for over two decades, why hasn’t it been established who owns the data? I’ve read many articles on the subject, none of which answers the question. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to provide an answer either. Until there is a precedent set with case law on this matter, it will be a subject to debate. I am, however, going to venture a guess and tell you that you don’t own the data, and to think otherwise is delusional. You wrote an estimate on behalf of the insurance company. Here’s what you do own on that estimate.At the top of the estimate is the name of your business. You legally own the rights to the name of your company. That’s it. Does the estimate data belong to the vehicle owner? Absolutely not. The vehicle owner owns the right to their confidential information on the estimate (insurance policy number, address and phone number). Shops should be protecting the customer’s data (and themselves) by having an agreement in place

with their vendors to ensure data is not shared without their written consent. Does the information provider own the estimating data? In a word, ‘no.’ They don’t own anything other than the rights to aggregate the data contained in the estimate specific to the actual repair of the vehicle. That’s data that you signed over to the devil when you signed your agreement with that company. Does the insurance company own it? In my not-so-humble view, ‘yes’ we do. Out of all the potential parties, the carrier is the most logical owner. By virtue of our direct repair program contracts, we have an agreement with a vendor (body shop) to produce an estimate to repair the vehicle. You agreed to participate in the direct repair program. You agreed to create an estimate and upload it. In return, you are referred to our policyholders as an option. We directly or indirectly paid for the service. In other words, we own it.

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Custom Corner

Rich Evans is the owner of Huntington Beach Bodyworks and an award winning painter and fabricator. He offers workshops in repair and customization at his facility to share his unique talents. For contacts and design samples visit www.huntingtonbeachbodyworks.com

Some Cool Tips and Tricks to Save You Time and Money with Rich Evans

In this month’s column, I want to share some new and cool tools that have saved me time. As I always say, time is money, especially in this industry. Many of you are fixing plastic bumpers and you’ve probably come across parts that are broken, made out of polyurethane or plastic, or sometimes you can’t get the parts you need, or the parts are too expensive for your customer.

I came across a company called Automotive Welding Solutions that has a product called the Mixplast Hot Stapler

(or Mixplast Magic Stapler) for plastic repair. It’s a plastic panel repair system, a 2 in 1 machine that staples and welds plastic. It saves on the cost of a ma-

chine. It’s battery operated, no cables are needed, it offers quick cooling time and fast repair time and has three positions for angled staples, which is cool for tight areas. It has three or four different types of staples for different usages. It also comes with a handy storage case. Since I’ve found this tool, I’ve found more uses for it every day in the field—like door panels where a tab is

18 SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

ripping. I used the stapler to repair the tab without having to use glue, bonding or waiting. It’s an instant repair. In one of my projects, I used the stapler on a front bumper filler that was missing a corner. The only place to buy this filler is in Europe and that would have cost the customer $250 with a sixweek wait because the part was on back

order. Instead, I used the staple gun to re-apply the piece, positioning the staples where I thought the strengthening needed to be. I put the staples in and

melted the staple so it became part of the part, and then I cut the staple prongs and ground them down, then used 3M panel bond #08115 to level it out. I let

it dry overnight, then came back and sanded it with 80-grit, then 150-grit, getting it shaped and ready to prime. I had a repaired part in less than 24 hours. It saved the customer time and made a great repair and it bonds like it was never broken. I wish I had this tool 15


years ago! My second tip is a very affordable tape we get for a few dollars from Home Depot. It is multi-purpose foil tape and it becomes a tool when you are

fabricating and modifying pieces on a project. I learned this technique from a good buddy of mine, Richard Wood, when we were up in Canada filming a new TV pilot called World Wide Car Building. We had nine guys under one roof, and you can imagine the creativity and the different ways people do things, so I walked out of there learning five or ten years worth of new ways to do things. The foil tape is a tool, a gig and a clamp all in one.

Here’s a good example of a project where I used the foil tape. We took a ‘54 panel truck and turned it into a pickup truck, dropping it on a 2006 SSR chassis. The chassis is wider and needed clearance for wheels, so we needed to weld the fenders to the hood and we welded the grill and front bumper all in one piece, mocked it up, and then had to cut the fenders and widen them 2-1/2 inches. We were able to put gussets underneath and get fender placement without removing the original position of the headlight, but I needed to make 20 different cuts into the fender and I had to try to roll that as a natural curve back into the headlights because there was a 2-1/2 in gap where I cut it. My buddy Rich came by and showed me a few tricks on how to use this foil tape. Normally, we’d have to hold everything together by spot welding pieces and re-spot welding them. Using the foil tape allowed me to shape the fender to get the look I was looking for, with the tape holding everything together from the outside with the natural contours so it doesn’t look awkward. I’ve got 20 different pieces so how is a

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clamp going to hold that? The tape was strong enough to hold everything in place so I was able to shape everything. From that point, after using the tape, I took the hood off and turned it upside down and was able to go to the inside and tack everything together while the tape was holding it, then flip the hood back over and remove the tape. This is just one way of using the taping method. The tape can be used: #1 as a tool, #2, to hold everything in place, and #3, to give you an actual visual of how everything is going to look. I’ve been really busy the past few months. I mentioned the 10-day shoot in Nova Scotia, Canada, with Curtis Customs, filming an episode for our documentary called World Wide Car Building. We will unveil the two vehicles we built there at the SEMA show. One of the builds is a 2004 H2 Hummer that we chopped five inches and made it into a two-door. I am also working on another show called Build it With Rich Evans. For

more information, see BuildItWithRichEvans.com. In this show, I am getting back to the nuts and bolts and helping DYI builders who are working on cars in their garages, where most professionals start. You can keep up with me on my fan page, Rich Evans Designs on Facebook, or visit me at RichEvansDesigns.com or HuntingtonBeachBody works.com.

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On Creative Marketing

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

Conversations That Sell Jobs, No Need to Mention Entropy with Thomas Franklin

Remember when you last drove a brand new car? Think back and remember how wonderfully solid it felt. If you’ve ever driven an old car that rattled and squeaked and made all sorts of random noises, you could really appreciate that new car. It had not yet yielded to the relentless attack of the forces of entropy, one of the most powerful forces in the universe. No, entropy is not a new disease of the colon. Entropy is usually thought of as the natural tendency for things to be come disordered over time. Like your shop. Without work done to clean it up it tends to get messier on its own, right? Entropy is a concept that affects everything from loose parts to information. The formal scientific definition of entropy is first “a measure of a system’s capacity to undergo spontaneous change” and second, “a measure of the disorder or randomness in a system.” The second law of thermodynamics dictates that eventually every machine will wear out and quit working. As parts wear, the movement becomes more and more random and disorderly until the machine stops altogether. For our fellow craftsmen in the mechanical repair field, entropy is their best friend, providing them with a continuous flow of vehicles in need of repair. But how does this apply to people and sales? The forces of entropy bombard us everyday. We have upsets, disagreements, and sometimes, even fights. These entropic forces often bring disorder to our lives. And perhaps one of the most unsettling experiences a person can have is an automobile accident that interrupts his or her life and, at least temporarily, takes away the valued method of transportation they rely on every day. An estimator generally meets and talks to the vehicle owner or driver at

this very upsetting time. This could make a sales conversation very difficult or it could make getting the job very easy. A while back I did several weeks of sales training for estimators at a chain of collision centers. A couple of the estimators were already very competent, closing the majority of jobs they estimated. They instinctively used what something called dissipative conversation. The forces of entropy affect us all. We all experience friction and wear and tear, and in the long run, we also run down and stop working. But, in the short term, we have a powerful advantage over machines, and a more cheerful prospect thanks to the work of Nobel laureate Ilya Prigogine, a Russian-born Belgian theoretical chemist. Prigogine received his Nobel Prize in the 1970’s for proving that increased order in nature and evolutionary progress come about because of the entropy of chaos and disorder—not despite it. Prigogine said we have an advantage because the open systems of living creatures have an ability that inanimate machines lack. That is the ability to dissipate the pressures that cause entropy. He noted that this second law of thermodynamics applies only to closed thermodynamic systems, where no energy enters or exits the system. In an open system, like that of human beings—and the earth itself with its energy input from the sun—are able to dissipate or throw off the forces of entropy and thus adjust, shift, change and, in the case of a traumatic experience like an accident, feel much better. We can think of this as energy input to overcome disorder. Like the work you do to clean up your shop, for example. To take another example, we dissipate anger and frustration by venting it— “letting off steam” —kicking the wall, banging our shoe on the

table—or perhaps meditating. We dissipate frictions by conflict resolution discussions, negotiations, agreements, and occasionally smacking an opponent in the jaw. But if given an opportunity, we can release negative emotions through dissipative conversation. The estimators who closed the most jobs used dissipative conversation. Apparently, a major flaw in many sales people is a tendency to talk endlessly and listen very little. These estimators did exactly the opposite. They encouraged what we might call verbal “image streaming,” allowing their prospect to speak without interruption to a natural stopping point. In conversation, we are often eager to have our say, and will interject a comment or take the conversation in a different direction if we lose interest in what the other person is saying. This is detrimental to the dissipation process. Let ‘em talk. Their accident was a highly traumatic

Give us your opinion on matters affecting the industry.

write us! publisher@autobodynews.com

20 SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

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experience and may call for a lengthy conversation to dissipate the stress. A busy estimator may have several estimates to write and people to talk to. While there is a limit to how much time can be given to any one prospect, the estimators I talked to said they could listen to their prospect until a calm point was reached, without harming their own efficiency. The important point is the fact that these prospects being given the opportunity to release some emotional pressure usually did leave their car and their keys with the listening estimator. I’m sure that most managers and estimators reading this article have listened to more than their fair share of accident stories, but it’s not easy to resist the urge to cut the story short and to move on to getting the job sold. The question to ask oneself is, “If I had listened a bit more, would my closing ratio be better today?” It’s worth a try.


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Refinish Distributors Alliance: Collaborating to IMPACT Minds by Chasidy Rae Sisk

The Refinish Distributors Alliance (RDA) is a national group of refinish distributors dedicated to providing quality services and products to their customers. Founded in 2008 by seven members, they now consist of 15 members and are represented in 179

locations over 26 states. RDA’s marketing brand is IMPACT. They understand the importance of marketing their brand and use IMPACT when referring to the group and everything they do in the group. Representing a cross-section of all major refinish brands, IMPACT members do over $400 million in sales as a group, comprising around 15% of the refinish business nationwide. Their goal is “to leverage the

creative solutions to benefit the whole. Combined, IMPACT members have a better opportunity to compete with large national chains while maintaining their independence. IMPACT was formed as a forprofit company. Members are all equal shareholders and thus invested in the organization’s success. One way that RDA members enjoy the benefits of group strength, through combining business and marketing programs as well as combined purchasing power, is through the development of the Impact Brand. According to their brochure, IMPACT “provides our members an exclusive and powerful ‘Common Theme’ approach to marketing products and services to the collision industry. Members are fully engaged in working to develop and implement products and services that benefit each member of the group” by providing a variety of tools to aid members in effectively competing against both local and national distributors.

A recent RDA member’s meeting was well attended to represent the IMPACT brand. Inset: Bernie Blickenstaff (upper) is president of IMPACT. Robert McKenzie (lower) is Executive Director.

strength of individual members in an effort to become even stronger as one cohesive group.” Bernie Blickenstaff, president of IMPACT as well as CEO of Pro Finishes Plus, Inc. in Lanham, MD, notes that IMPACT was formed to allow members “to accomplish things as a group that we can’t do individually. We are stronger together and unified.” Executive Director Robert E. McKenzie, Jr. adds that “IMPACT’s members all have common interests and a common desire to grow their business.” By collaborating as a group, members are able to discuss problems in the industry and arrive at

Their approach to growing business includes lowering sales and distribution costs, increasing overall market share and profits, marketing new products and programs, training and education support. They have also created the IMPACT Collision Solutions web site, which provides members access to a variety of buying, marketing and training programs for their businesses and their customers. Only members of their group sell IMPACT Performance Products, their premium private brand of products, offered through manufacturers with a proven record of consistency and quality.

22 SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

IMPACT uses the funding created from the group’s purchases to increase the resources and programs offered to members and their customers. Examples of these programs include discounts on AAIA membership, credit card processing through First Data, discounts on business forms through RR Donnelley and partnership with I-CAR training. Members can offer their customers the IMPACT Elite Member program. This program is for the premier collision shops and will help them become stronger, more competitive and grow their business. IMPACT has put together business and marketing tools at discounted rates. As an IMPACT Elite member they will receive savings on uniforms, Phoenix Solutions Group’s marketing services, credit card processing, the Impact BizUnite market place and much more. Since IMPACT’s inception, Blickenstaff has seen positive effects to his business operations, including the creation of better buying opportunities from a margin perspective and a better gross profit margin. The networking and sharing of ideas with members has been beneficial for him

and his company. He notes that involvement with IMPACT “allows members to differentiate themselves by providing customers with something that no one else can.” Blickenstaff notes that it has become increasingly tougher to compete in the distribution business as the insurance, collision and distribution industries are all going through consolidations which make it difficult for the ‘little guy’ to compete against big national players. IMPACT members are better able to increase their footprint by “banding together from a resource perspective.” The RDA/IMPACT group is unique and the first PBE group where independent distributors who are all leaders in their markets have come together. IMPACT’s members have integrity and commitment to the success of their businesses as well as their customers’ businesses. Their goal is the group strength that allows members, collectively, to compete on a national level on which they have no chance individually. See Refinish Distributors, Page 49

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Industry Insight

John Yoswick is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon, who has a body shop in the family and 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.

Information Providers Assure They Have Privacy Issues Handled with John Yoswick

One by one this past spring, a panel of repairers at the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) voiced their concerns about the privacy of their shop’s estimating and other data, and expressed a desire to “opt out” of havAaron Schulenburg ing that data compiled and reported on by the Big Three information providers. But Audatex, CCC Information Service and Mitchell International have now responded to that concern by essentially saying it’s not something shops need to be concerned about. The formal responses came in a somewhat delayed fashion to a formal question posed to them in January by three national repairer groups. Aaron Schulenburg, executive director of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS), said back in April that CCC was the first to provide a formal response to the associations' request. “The response addressed that they have a mutual concern in protection of data, but didn't really address the questions that we'd asked relative to an opt-out policy or discontinuation of collecting the data," Schulenburg said. Mitchell’s response came in late April, Schulenburg reported at an SCRS board meeting held in July. “Their response basically indicated that Mitchell continues to believe that it’s in the best interest of the collision repair industry, insurers and the motoring public (for Mitchell to) continue to provide aggregated, anonymous data as a critical business tool for the industry,” Schulenburg said. He said Mitchell’s response indicated that it does not supply statistics or data in a form in which a single shop’s data could be identified, and does not provide profitability information or detailed data from shops to outside parties. “So their response was essentially that they believe their current process are good for the industry and that there is no threat,” Schulenburg said. “I

think there are a lot of repairers that we represent who feel otherwise in the way their data is presented and as it comes back to them in reports and things along those lines.” The response from Audatex, Schulenburg said, arrived in mid July. “The response essentially indicates that uploading the data to Audatex is a choice that the repairer makes,” Schulenburg said. “The Audatex master agreement makes provision for the use of data that is provided to Audatex by insurers, repairers and independent appraisers for the purposes specified in the agreement…(and that) Audatex is committed to protecting personal data and information, using aggregated data only that reflects estimate content after stripping out client information.” Schulenburg said SCRS will now discuss how to proceed with the other associations (the Automotive Service Association and the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers) that sent the request in January. “It’s a little confusing why it would take such a lengthy amount of time to receive those responses,” Schulenburg said, “But at least six months later we have answers to what we felt was a pretty simple question about their current practices.” Also at the SCRS board meeting in July, held in San Antonio, TX, Schulenburg said State Farm’s mandated use of an online parts ordering system is generating increased communication and involvement among collision repairers, which, he said, is actually leading to the formation of some new state and regional associations. “We’re seeing new groups pop up in Utah, Idaho, Alabama and even in Texas,” Schulenburg said, “I spoke with the folks in Idaho the other day, and this was the first time in 11 years that they’ve had an association meeting in the state, so it is wonderful to see.” He said the Idaho meeting attracted about 50 shops, which is especially significant given the fact that there are fewer than 300 shops in the state. Schulenburg said just as state associations help shops understand they

24 SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

are not alone, he said SCRS brings that message to those state associations as well. He said he thought of that when he was in Sydney, Australia, this June, as one of several SCRS representatives speaking at a repairer conference in that country. “It was fascinating to me to travel 10,000 miles and 20-plus hours and have the exact same discussions that we have here in a country half a world away,” Schulenburg said. “Shops there face the same pressures, the same level of friction, the same level of disrespect shown toward our trade.” He said the shop response there, however, tends to be more direct, including rallies and pickets against insurers viewed as making unacceptable demands. Even shops on an insurer’s direct repair program didn’t hold back in letting that insurer, if represented at the conference, know how they felt. “They were very upfront, very direct and very pointed with the ques-

tions and comments they had for the carriers,” Schulenburg said. “It was very different than I think some of the types of discussions that repairers in the U.S. attempt to have here, such as at CIC, where I think there’s an ongoing sensitivity that if we’re straightforward and direct and pointed with what we say, the insurers won’t come any more. There’s concern by some people in that room that you need a more sensitive or politically correct approach to the message to ensure that everyone continues to show up. While the rallies and pickets may not suit the U.S., I think the direct nature of the conversation certainly should. Conversation isn’t worth having unless it’s honest, genuine and direct. If people don’t want to hear what you have to say, there’s no sense in having them in the room anyway.” In one piece of SCRS association business, Schulenburg also announced See Privacy Issues, Page 26

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Carlyle Makes DuPont Performance Coatings Offer

The Carlyle Group has emerged as the top bidder in the race to acquire DuPont’s auto paint business, according to recent media reports. The purchase price is reported to be between $4.5 and $5 billion. According to the New York Post, the Carlyle bid values the business at about eight times earnings before interest, depreciation, taxes and amortization—slightly higher than DuPont had anticipated. The DuPont unit had sales of $4.3 billion last year, with revenue of $2.1 billion in the six months to June 30 as higher prices countered a slight decline in volume. DuPont’s auto paint business serves auto makers General Motors and Ford and its primary clients are Maaco and other auto-paint refinishers. DuPont last year launched a strategic review of its fourth-largest unit by revenue as opportunities to expand sales and margins have lagged behind its eight other operating businesses. Three-quarters of the coatings unit’s sales are outside the U.S., and the business operates 19 plants, including eight in Europe and five in Asia. Private-equity firms see a chance to improve the performance of a global business that has not seen

much investment from DuPont as the company shifts its attention away from so-called commodity chemicals and to science-focused product innovation, such as Kevlar body armor and genetically modified seeds. The Carlyle Group is acquiring in the automotive aftermarket, purchasing U.S. based Service King Collision Repair Centers and compressor manufacturer Sullair Corporation in the last few weeks. Competing bids were submitted by Apollo Management, Blackstone and KKR. For Carlyle, the deal would be its second multibillion-dollar acquisition this summer. Last month, the Washington, D.C., firm agreed to pay United Technologies Corp. about $3.5 billion for its Hamilton Sundstrand unit, which makes industrial pumps and compressors. Carlyle Group still has to finalize the proposed deal to acquire one of the largest suppliers of paints and finishes to the global auto industry, and there’s no guarantee a deal will be reached. But the firm topped offers from two other private equity suitors. Meanwhile, a sale would mark DuPont’s first large-scale divestiture since 2004, when it sold its fibers unit to for $4.2 billion.

I-CAR Launches Tech School Training Program

I-CAR has launched a comprehensive collision repair training program for schools that will be introduced for the 2012-2013 academic year. The program, called the I-CAR Professional Development ProgramEducation Edition, is a performance-focused training curriculum that provides a standardized learning system for students, I-CAR said. The curriculum aligns with the specific roles, education and knowledge needs defined within I-CAR’s Professional Development Program, which was introduced to the industry in 2010. I-CAR said the training program is structured into three successive levels, referred to as I-CAR ProLevels, which recognize students for completion of their role-based training. I-CAR said it will provide schools with guided course materials, instructor guides and student performance evaluations. Students who graduate from the program will be better equipped with the skills needed to begin working efficiently in a collision repair facility at the start of their careers, I-CAR said.

Painting

Continued from Page 24

Privacy Issues

that board member Stephen Regan had submitted a letter of resignation to the board. Regan, a political and communications consultant who has worked with the Massachusetts Auto Body Association (MABA) and who joined the SCRS board in 2008, said a change in his employment would limit his ability to attend future SCRS board meetings. Schulenburg said that SCRS Chairman Aaron Clark will appoint a replacement this fall for Regan, whose term was to expire in April of 2015. “We’ll certainly miss Steve Regans’ contributions,” Schulenburg said. “He’s been a great asset to the board for a great many years.”

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

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13 Paint Companies Exhibiting at NACE-CARS

Automotive Service & Repair Week (ASRW) has announced that 13 paint and coatings companies are supporting this year's event through exhibit space and interactive sponsorships. Confirmed paint companies that will exhibit at ASRW include • DuPont Performance Coatings • BASF - The Chemical Com-

pany • Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes Corporation • Valspar • Matrix System Automotive Finishes, LLC • Axis Performance Coatings/Vogel Automotive Coatings • Fashion Paint • Silver Sails Paints. Also exhibiting are • Beta Color • Chemicar • ChemSpec USA Inc. • Lusid Technologies Inc.• Roberlo, S.A.

Dick Cross to Keynote at NACE-CARS

Dick Cross, who served as CEO of CARSTAR from 2004 to 2011, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s NACE. Cross is the author of the recently-published “Just Run It,” which ASA’s Ron Pyle said offers a formula to help business owners understand “the bigger picture of how to achieve business success.” Pyle

said the message of Cross’ book and keynote address will be that small business owners can get so focused on the “next great theory” (like “lean”), that they overlook some basic principles for running a business successfully. “We’ve complicated it to the point that we need to now go back and say, ‘Just run it,’” Pyle said.

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Tur n e rs vil l e

Wex f ord

631-669-5800

877-659-2672 716-632-3800

800-883-0002 856-649-1584

724-940-2006

Dept. Hours: M-Thu 7:30-8; Fri 7:30-5; Sat 8-5:30 liaparts@liacars.com

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

Ray Laks Honda

Hudson Honda

Wes t S en ec a

We s t Ne w Yo r k

215-855-3587

716-824-7852

866-483-6917 201-868-9500

Dept. Hours: M-Thur 8-6; Fri 8-5; Sat 8-1 joseph.sciacca@jlfreed.com

Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 7:30-3:30 babylonparts@aol.com

Brewster Honda B re wst er

845-278-4177 Dept. Hours: M-F 8-5; Sat 8-4 kbennett@liacars.com

Dick Ide Honda R och es t er

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-8; Sat 7:30-5:30 ekuznicki@raylaks.com NE W J ERSE Y

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

Clinton Honda

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

908-735-0900

Lamacchia Honda Syra cu se

315-471-7278 Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-5:30; Sat 9-1 parts@lamacchiahonda.com

Lia Honda of Albany Alb an y

800-272-6741 518-482-2598 Dept. Hours: M,T,W,F 7:30-5:30; Thur 7:30-8; Sat 8-5 tmorris@liacars.com

Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 7:30-5; Sun 8-3 anthony.perrone@hudsonhonda.com

A n na n da le Dept. Hours: M,Tue, F 7-6; W, Thu 7-7; Sat 7-4 chrish@clintonhonda.com

Honda of Princeton

Dept. Hours: M-Sat 7:30-5:30 randallr@dcautos.com

Mike Piazza Honda

Vi ne l a nd

Dept. Hours: M-Thur 8-8; Fri 8-5; Sat 8-4 ebayparts@piazzahonda.com

Dept. Hours: M-F 6:30-5; Sat 7:30-3 dave@rossihonda.com

Shadyside Honda Pit ts b urgh

973-705-9100

866-522-4446 201-568-7000

Mon tg om er y ville

800-893-3030 856-692-4449

800-682-5941 609-683-5941

N o rt he r n N e w J e r se y

J.L. Freed Honda

Lan g hor ne

Route 22 Honda

Honda of Tenafly

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

215-702-2614 215-702-2615

Rossi Honda

P ri nc et o n

Dept. Hours: M-F 8-4:30 kphillips2@princetoncars.com

Baierl Honda

Hi ll si de Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7:30; Sat 8-5 rt22hondaparts@route22honda.com PEN NS YLVANIA

Apple Honda Yo r k

800-960-9041 717-848-2600 Dept. Hours: M-F 7-6; Sat 7-4; Sun 10-4 applehondaparts@appleauto1.com

800-468-2090 412-390-2908 Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-5 shadysidehondaparts@hotmail.com

Sussman Honda Ros ly n

800-682-2914 215-657-3301 Dept. Hours: M-F 8-5; Sat 8-1 rendrick@sussmanauto.com

AC U RA NE W YO R K

NE W YO RK

N EW JER SEY

P EN N SY LVA NI A

Acura of Westchester

Paragon Acura

Elite Acura

Wes tch es t er

Woo d si de

M ap le S ha de

Lan g hor ne

914-834-8887

718-507-3990

856-722-9600

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

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

Dept. Hours: M-F 8-5; Sat 8-4 bmartinsen@group1auto.com

866-50-ACURA 215-943-7000

Curry Acura

Smithtown Acura

Sc a r s da le

S t . J a m es

800-725-2877 914-472-7406

888-832-8220 631-366-4114

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

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

Northeast Acura L a th am

877-525-4029 518-785-4105 Dept. Hours: M-F 8-5 parts@northeastacura.com

Davis Acura Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 8-4 markh@davisacura.com

PEN NS YLVANIA

Apple Acura Yo r k

877-5APPLE5 717-849-6639

Lehigh Valley Acura E mm aus

877-860-3954 610-967-6500

Dept. Hours: M-F 7-5:30; Sat 7-3 parts@appleacura.com

Dept. Hours: M-F 7-5; Sat 8-5 mustafa@vinart.com

Acura of Turnersville

Baierl Acura

Sussman Acura

Tur ne r sv i ll e

Wexfo rd

888-883-2884 856-649-1884

800-246-7457 724-935-0800

Dept. Hours: M-F 8-5; Sat 8-4 egreger@penskeautomotive.com

Dept. Hours: M-F 8-5; Sat 8-1 johnsabella@baierl.com

NE W J ERSE Y

Jen kint own

800-826-4078 215-884-6285 Dept. Hours: M-F 8-5; Sat 8-1 rendrick@sussmanauto.com

www.autobodynews.com | SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS 33


AUTOMAKER, AU A UTO OM MA M AK AK ER OEM OEM AUTOMAKER KE R,, OEM, M,, AND AND RECALL RE R E C AL CA ALL LL EC Autobody News Toyota to Recall 778,00 RAV and Lexus for Suspension

Toyota will recall approximately 778,000 vehicles that are at risk for problems with their rear suspension. But the recall hasn’t started yet, because the company hasn’t figured out how to fix the problem. “The remedy is being finalized,” wrote Vinnie Venugopal, Toyota’s general manager of Engineering and Manufacturing in North America, in a recall acknowledgement letter sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Toyota will provide NHTSA with additional details at a later time.” Notifying NHTSA of the problem without a solution is an unusual step, perhaps especially so, considering Toyota says it has been monitoring the problem since 2008. The company said it would notify owners of affected RAV4 and Lexus HS 250h models by mail when they can schedule repairs. The problem centers on improper tightening of lock nuts in the rear-vehicle tie rods. Rust has developed on the tie rods, leading to corrosion, and possibly to separation of the arm from the vehicle. Unchecked, the problem could result in loss of vehicle control, according to the defect report. While the company says it is safe for motorists to drive the vehicles until a permanent solution is found, they should ensure the lock nuts are properly tightened. The problem could be responsible for at least one highway accident, in which a driver reported a loud noise that immediately precipitated a loss of control. An internal Toyota investigation could not discern whether the tie-road corrosion had caused the accident. RAV4 vehicles built in the 2006 through 2010 model years and account for 760,000 of the vehicles in the recall. Lexus 250h models number approximately 18,000 and are from the 2010 model year. Toyota did not respond to requests for comment.

NEW YORK • NEW JERSEY • PENNSYLVANIA • DELAWARE

www.autobodynews.com

September 2012

2012 Nissans Probed on Airbags

Mazda Recalls 217K Tributes

Infiniti JX Gets Brake Probe

GM to Recall 250K SUVs, May be Fire Hazard in Electricals

Chrysler’s Top Sellers Probed

Hyundai Settles Airbag Lawsuit

U.S. safety regulators are investigating reports that a damaged cable assembly in the 2012 Nissan Versa could prevent its airbag from deploying in a crash. NHTSA said its investigation covered an estimated 100,000 Versas sold in the United States. NHTSA said Nissan had notified it that the airbag cable assembly was found pinched within the steering column on some Versas. “Damage or a short to this cable may cause the airbag to not deploy, which poses a safety risk,” said NHTSA’s Office of Defect Investigation.

GM is recalling nearly 250,000 sport utility vehicles because of an electrical problem that might cause fires. The recall pertains to some 2006 and 2007 Chevrolet Trailblazers, GMC Envoys, Buick Raniers, the SAAB 9-7x, and Isuzu Ascenders, sold in a number of northern states, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In these vehicles, fluid may enter the driver’s door module, causing corrosion that can lead to a short-circuit. ‘A short may cause the power door lock and power window switches to function intermittently or become inoperative. The short may also cause overheating, which could melt components of the door module, producing odor, smoke, or a fire,’ the recall states. GM reported that at least 28 vehicle door fires were reported in connection with the problem. The recall includes a total of 249,260 vehicles that were sold in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. A solution to the problem is still being finalized, according to the recall. Owners will be notified if their vehicle is included in the recall by the respective car makers.

34 SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

Mazda is recalling 217,500 Tribute SUVs due to a throttle problem that could make it difficult to slow down a vehicle after a driver presses down the accelerator. Ford has recalled 2001 to 2004 model Escape SUVs. Ford and Mazda jointly developed the affected Escape and Tribute models, assembled by Ford. The recall affects vehicles made for the 2001 to 2006 and 2008 model years that were equipped with the 3-liter, V-6 engine and speed control. Ford recalled 423,634 Escapes in the US and 484,600 worldwide for the problem. Chrysler’s two top-selling vehicles, the Ram pickup and the Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV, are under investigation by the NHTSA. The rear wheels can lock up in Rams from the 2009 and 2010 model years, potentially causing crashes, while power steering fluid hoses can leak in 2012 Grand Cherokees, possibly causing engine fires, according to documents posted Monday on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website. Up to 230,000 Ram pickups and nearly 107,000 Grand Cherokees. The pickup is Chrysler’s top-selling vehicle this year, while the Grand Cherokee is No. 2.

Some Big GM Vans Recalled

GM is recalling more than 10,000 full-size vans in the US and Canada because the fuel filler pipes can rust, leak and cause fires. The recall affects Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans from the 2003 and 2004 model years with left-side cargo doors. It covers vans sold in 20 states, Washington, D.C., and in Canada, where salt and chemicals are used to clear snow from roads. GM said salt and chemicals can get trapped in a conduit that covers the fuel filler pipe and cause corrosion. Gasoline may leak and cause a fire. The company said it doesn’t know of any fires or injuries from the problem. Owners with questions can call Chevrolet at (866) 6946546 and GMC at (866) 996-9463.

NHTSA has opened an investigation into the 2013 Infiniti JX over possible improper application of the e-brake. While the investigation of 8,000 new Infiniti crossovers is not a recall, it could eventually trigger one if the government agency doesn't like what it finds. Owners have reported that “the intelligent brake assist system inappropriately activated emergency braking autonomously bringing the vehicle to an immediate and complete stop.” Obviously there’s danger in a vehicle that stops unintentionally and without warning. Law firm Hagens Berman has reached a settlement with Hyundai in a lawsuit regarding faulty airbags in the auto manufacturer’s Sante Fe crossover vehicles. The lawsuit alleged that airbags in some 2007–2009 Hyundai Santa Fe crossover vehicles failed to deploy during certain types of collisions. The settlement allows owners of 2007–2009 Hyundai Sante Fe crossovers to return defective vehicles if the company cannot repair them through a software upgrade, Hagens Berman said. Hagens Berman said Hyundai has ordered a recall of roughly 200,000 vehicles in response to the lawsuit. The recall is the latest in a series of recalls by Hyundai, which have amounted to about 1.3 million vehicles since 2006. Hagens Berman said the settlement will be filed in court for approval by Aug. 17. The recall will occur even if the court does not approve the settlement. “We negotiated a settlement that is very favorable to consumers, giving Hyundai owners the ability to return their vehicle if the settlement’s software upgrade does not fully solve the problem,” said Rob Carey, attorney for Seattle-based Hagens Berman. “This is especially important when it comes to something as critical as an airbag, a safety feature mandated by federal law.”

www.autobodynews.com


GM Recalls Cruzes, Fire Risk

Engine fires are forcing General Motors to recall the Chevy Cruze, a popular model that has helped GM win back small-car buyers. The recall covers 475,000 vehicles made in the U.S. from September of 2010 through May of 2012. It’s the car’s fifth recall since it arrived in showrooms nearly two years ago, raising questions about the sedan’s reliability. The fires can break out when fluids drip onto a hot plastic shield below the engine. The problem occurs mainly when oil is spilled and not properly cleaned up during changes, General Motors said Friday. The company knows of 30 fires caused by the problem, but no injuries have been reported, spokesman Alan Adler said. Flames engulfed and destroyed cars in two cases reported to federal safety officials. GM will notify owners starting July 11 about when to bring cars to local dealers for repairs, which are free and should take about 30 minutes. Dealers will fix the problem by cutting the plastic shield to let the fluids drain to the pavement, GM said. Cruzes with worn-out manual transmissions also can leak fluid onto the shields in rare cases, GM said.

Chrysler Issues Bulletin on Welded Sheet Metal Repairs, Cautions on GMA Welds

Regardless of the cause of vehicular damage, the repairer’s moral obligation is to repair the vehicle to the original design intent relative to safety, NVH, comfort, durability, and corrosion protection by duplicating the original construction as closely as possible by following all manufacturers’ guidelines. With the increasing use of advanced high strength steels in body construction, and their susceptibility to degraded material properties from welding heat, the approved process for installation of replacement panels has changed. Chrysler has previously approved the use of “weld bonding,” where squeeze type resistance spot welding (STRSW) is combined with an approved structural adhesive, as one of the acceptable methods to install welded panels while maintaining the original appearance and corrosion protection. High quality and capable STRSW equipment, which was a rare shop tool in the collision repair industry, has now become the norm and with this, it is now important to state that weld bonding of replacement panels is the recommended installation method to utilize when repairing Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, or Ram vehicles. GAS METAL ARC WELDING (GMAW or

MIG) SHOULD ONLY BE USED IN THE FOLLOWING SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: • Proper weld access cannot be attained utilizing STRSW equipment with any of the available accessory arms. • Utilize 6-8 mm ring fillet welds for exterior panels and 8-10 mm for all others. • Adhesives need to be kept 25 mm from a ring fillet weld due to their flammability. • A Chrysler publication explicitly calls out fusion welding as the proper repair method. • The original attachment was GMAW. ALL OF THE FOLLOWING GUIDELINES MUST BE ADHERED TO: • DO NOT use heat to straighten sheet metal unless the panel will be replaced. • If weld-on pulling studs are used, their use must be minimal and the backside of the repaired panel must also be repaired to restore the original corrosion protection. CHARACTERISTIC OF ACCEPTABLE STRSW EQUIPMENT: NUMBER: 31-007-12 GROUP: Collision Bulletin

DATE: August 14, 2012 • Must utilize 220 volt (or greater), three-phase power supply. • Must utilize inverter technology • Must have the capability to provide a minimum of 10,000 amps of output. • Must have the capability to provide 600 pounds of tip force (267 daN) with the longest arms • Should utilize “smart” technology which helps eliminate errors in equipment set-up.

STRSW EQUIPMENT MEETING THE CRITERIA INCLUDES: • Car-O-Liner CTR12000 • Cebotech Tecna Smart-Plus 3664+ • Elektron Multispot® MI-100 Control • Pro Spot i5 • ONLY Lord Fusor #112B or 3M #08116 have been approved by Chrysler for weld bonding. These materials provide corrosion protection in the vulnerable weld zone. Joint sealers should be applied after welding is complete and appropriate primers have been applied (if needed). • Only remove e-coat from the new panel at the weld-bond mating location. • Minimize removal of galvanize/galvanneal coating. • Solvent wipe with suitable product See Chrysler Bulletin, Page 49

California Men Charged with 90 Felonies in Elaborate Insurance Fraud, Theft and Arson Two Fresno, CA, men will stand trial after allegedly operating a fraud ring that siphoned more than $600,000 from insurers. Detectives believe that Louis Houston, 48, and Cedric Berdell Jackson Jr, 28, served as perpetrators in the filing of a variety of bogus insurance claims dating back to 2000. Their extensive scheme involved filing loss claims for traffic collisions, stolen vehicles, vehicle vandalism, vehicle fires, residential fires, and even water damage. Over the course of a year-long investigation by the California Department of Insurance (CDI), authorities learned Houston and Jackson filed more than 50 claims since 2007, and more than 165 loss claims since 2000. On July 26, 2012, the CDI and Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office served multiple search and arrest warrants for insurance fraud, burglary, and conspiracy. In procuring evidence that led to felony charges and the suspects’ arrests, investigators received assistance from Geico, Allstate, Balboa, Homesite, Farmers, 21st Century, Travelers, RepWest, Nationwide, AAA Insur-

ance Exchange, Assurant, MetLife, and Safeco, along with the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). “Detectives from CDI along with investigators and the prosecutors from the District Attorney’s office worked arduously to bring these suspects to justice,” said California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. “Their tireless efforts have stopped these suspects from allegedly stealing from additional consumers and ripping off insurers, which often leads to higher premiums for Californians.” Investigators are now attempting to calculate the amount of loss to the insurance industry as a result of these alleged fraud schemes. The estimated loss, which contains both real and potential amounts, is believed to be between $400,000 and $600,000 and may even be higher. The Contra County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the case. The court has set bail for Houston at $1,865,000, and $620,000 for Jackson.

www.autobodynews.com CHECK IT OUT!

www.autobodynews.com | SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS 35


Rich Evans Films Pilot Episode of World Wide Car Building in Canada Famed car builder and Autobody News columnist Rich Evans returned to Curtis Custom Designs and Radical Garage in the Elmsdale business park in Nova Scotia in late July. Much like his trip in 2011, Evans built a custom vehicle in a short period of time. However, this time, he brought an all-star group of builders, and a camera crew with him to shoot the pilot for a new TV series. The car in question was a 2004 H2 Hummer, which they planned to lower the roof, turn it into a coupe, and change the front end. “We’ve got nine of the best craftsmen from the U.S. that I’ve selected personally,” said Evans. “We’re going to travel the world building cars out of our comfort zone. The first stop is Canada—we’re in an unknown area, unknown garage, coming out to Curtis Custom Designs. We’re challenging ourselves to build a vehicle in 10 days. We flew out here to build a 2004 H2 Hummer for Curtis—and what we’re going to do is chop it, make it from a four-door into a twodoor, build a front-end for it, and turn it into a roadster. It’s something that’s never been done before.” When Rich arrived with his group of builders, and they started sizing up the shop, and the Hummer, Rich began to think that maybe they had it too easy. “I looked at the job, and I said ‘we have too much talent,’ “ explained Evans. “This is too easy. So I was challenged by a local customer of Curtis to build a ‘54 Chevy in the same ten days. I didn’t hesitate—I made my mind up in about 30 seconds. I let my guys know, and they were all for it. So we now we’re building two cars in ten days—two totally different cars. “That’s what it’s all about,” continued Evans. “Getting the best of the best under one roof, and all of us learning off of each other—that way we’ll get better. Really it’s the journey of getting better at what we love to do, and the passion and the challenge of what we do. We all eat, breathe, and live customizing.” Evans feels as though this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for himself and his crew—to explore different shop cultures, and to step outside of their comfort zone to work on cars. It’s a challenge that he feels will help everyone involved expand their existing skill set, and add new skills.

“You always live for that best job,” said Evans. “What’s happening here is that we’re meeting up with a shop in Canada that has a staff, and it’s really U.S. meets Canada, where we all get together and build something cool. So Rich Evans we’re learning from you guys, you’re learning from us, and that makes for great TV.” Amongst Evans’ all-star team of car builders is amateur builder Denny Stewart. Stewart teaches high-school auto body in a town of 200 people in Missouri. Stewart worked with Evans on builds 20 years ago, so Evans brought him along to have the chance to be part of a team that will hopefully inspire his students in the future. The inspiration for the show came from the first trip Evans had taken to Elmsdale in 2011—wherein he built a Mustang in five days. “When I left here last year, after the media, the news, the car show, the people—the Canadian car enthusiasts, I got an idea,” said Evans. “I wrote down a treatment, met up with a production crew, and really tightened up what was written. What we’re doing here has never been done before— using top-of-the-line cameras on a reality show. What we have here is really a perfect marriage for something new and cool to bring to the industry.” Currently the show is called World Wide Car Building as a provisional title while it remains in production—chances are high that it could be changed before airing, however. “Curtis,” is what Evans answered when asked what the inspiration was to bring his show to Elmsdale over other places in Canada. “I met Curtis at SEMA—where we’ll eventually be taking these two cars. That was five years ago when I was a spokesperson for Chicago Pneumatics, and he invited me out to Nova Scotia last year. I came out to do a project with him, and to see what I can learn from Canada’s side of the fence—I had a blast, so here I am, back out one year later, and I’m back for another car show, and I brought some friends with me. “I dig it here,” continued Evans. “The greenery and the weather while we’ve been here—I’m running on about one-hour of sleep, but I still want to get out and see your guys’

36 SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

backyard. It’s phenomenal, we went out shark fishing not too far away and caught 15 sharks with the aid of a captain that was very good at what he did, and very knowledgeable. And the car enthusiasts here absolutely blow my mind.” “It’s very slim,” said Evans when asked about the equipment and product selection in rural Canada when compared to the United States. “You don’t have much of the same equipment or product, but the community is great about getting together—it makes the hospitality just phenomenal. Everybody’s not geared up like we are, we’re out of our comfort zone up here, yet we’re still able to pull off the impossible.” Though the tools and products and equipment may differ up north, Evans believes that it’s the team and local community coming together around them that’s making this as easy as it has been. “It’s a situation of ‘use what you have’,” explained Evans. “We want to show people that you can use just what you have. It’s a team, and it’s about using what you have together;

and we really want to show that to the audience. We really want to show people the nuts and bolts of our world— and what drives people to do this. So that when they see someone working on a car, they can understand it a little bit better. It’s fun, I like to say that every suit-and-tie-guy wants to do my job; and my job’s not even a job. I’ve never worked a day in my life.” “Absolutely I plan on coming back in the future,” continued Evans. “I love it here—it seems like it’s a once-a-year deal, so hopefully we can come back and do something biggerand-better next time. Every year it gets better. Last time I was here for five days and I built one car. This year I’m here for 10 days and I built two cars; so maybe next year I’ll come for ten days and build three. It’s all about keepin’ it cool, so I hope you guys invite me back next year, because I’ll certainly come back.” Indian, Evans’ manager, and producer on the TV show also took the time to speak with The Weekly Press about the challenges of bringing a Hollywood TV film crew to rural See Evans Films Pilot, Page 44

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SCRS REPAIRER DRIVEN EDUCATION (RDE) series will feature seminar offerings. Each of the courses has been individually selected or crafted by SCRS because the content specifically focuses on issues and information that are relevant to collision repair professionals operating in today’s marketplace, and appeals to the diverse array of marketplace perspectives that exist within the collision repair industry. PRICING RDE Headline Session: Innovation Forum = $75 each (advanced) | $85 each (after Oct 15/onsite) 1-2 RDE regular session tickets = $65 each (advanced) | $75 each (after Oct 15/onsite) 3-6 RDE regular session tickets = $50 each (advanced) | $65 each (after Oct 15/onsite) SCRS RDE Sky Villa After-party* = $75 each (advanced) | $85 each (after Oct 15/onsite) *All guests must have a ticket to enter; ticket is included with Full Series Pass

RDE Full Series Pass BEST VALUE! = $300 each (advanced) | $350 each (after Oct 15/onsite) Full series pass includes 7 RDE regular sessions (one in each available time slot) + Headline session + Ticket to After-party on Thursday night. With Full series purchase, sessions are as little as $28.12 each

Tuesday, Oct. 30 / 12:30PM – 2:30PM

RD1 – Hybrid Power & Platforms (David Gruskos, RAE Inc.) For a shop and technician to have an understanding of how the manufacturing of the new car bodies and hybrid power train are combined together. With the future of many new hybrid platforms, it is critical to know how to identify the metals and/or composites when developing a plan for repair or replace. This presentation will show the OEM’s plan on educating the repair facilities. Attendees will learn: ● Proper tooling for new repairs ● Where to find repair information ● How to identify repair methods ● How to develop a repair plan for working with hybrid power platforms

RD2 – Marketing: More Customers, Sales & Profits (Frank Terlep, Summit Software and Mobile Solutions) By attending this session collision repairers will learn how digital marketing, social media, customer retention and loyalty tools, technologies and techniques that will result in increased customer counts, improved customer referrals, loyalty, revenues and profits.

RD3 – Monetize Your Opportunity: The Benefits of Business Diversification (Tom Myroniak, SEMA) Industry events, such as the SEMA Show, demonstrate the greatest value to business owners when the value proposition translates into a tangible return on investment when you return to your business. As the collision repair market continues to be laden with small margins and undue pressure, many repair businesses are looking for opportunity to bring in added revenue streams while increasing the frequency of contact with their customer through expanded service offerings. This session will give the attendee an overview of: ● Where to find unique and complementary business opportunities on the show floor

● How to map out your strategy for finding the ideal opportunities for your business ● How value added services can be integrated into your business ● How to benefit from the marketing advantages of consumer oriented service offerings to bolster your collision business.

Tuesday, Oct. 30 / 3:00PM – 5:00PM

RD4 – Learn How to Make Sense of OEM Repair Information (Tom McGee, ALLDATA)

OEMs communicate their repair procedures in different ways. This session will help you interpret OEM procedures (symbols, supplies, equipment, etc…) and help in making a proper repair. Participants will: ● Increase their understanding of OEM repair procedures ● Aid in improving estimate accuracy ● Aid in completing repair to OEM recommendations

RD5 – Change the Way You Think at a CORE Level (Bill Park and Dr. Byron Bissell, MpowerU) The purpose of this presentation is to provide a clear understanding of what junk thinking is, show evidence of existence in the market, and provide a clear direction for attendees to depart from the junk thinking environment. We believe, and can show that junk thinking is responsible for 80% of the problems in one’s business, and throughout the presentation we will provide tangible insights that will allow the attendees to identify and remove those barriers in their business. The lack of quality thinking has led to enormous disasters and disappointments. And it’s not only thinking through the solutions to the gnarly problems...more often than not, it’s the painful reality that you’re working on the wrong problems. We hope to FREE their minds! Attendees will: ● Leave understanding the premise of JUNK THINKING ● Learn how to identify whether or not they are solving the wrong problems in their business ● Feel empowered and confident to sift their thinking in order to break away from the herd

RD6 – Numbers You Can Take to the Bank: Measuring and Improving Performance (Tom Hoerner, BASF) A look at the data required, both financial and nonfinancial, to effectively manage a collision repair business. Ratios, percentages and tracking trends are explained within the context of running a business. Participants will learn how to use a solid understanding of their numbers to increase their profitability and the success of the business. Course attendees will receive the following objectives during the session: ● Understand how to collect accurate and timely data from their business ● Develop a working knowledge of collision cen-

38 SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

ter performance indicators, and what affects them ● Understand how to use those KPIs to measure and improve their performance with the goal of increases net revenues.

Wednesday, Oct. 31/12:30PM– 2:30PM

RD7 – Paint Shop Throughput: A Quick Changeover Approach (Robb Power and Brett BiaLowas, PPG Automotive Refinish) Quick Changeover, sometimes referred to as Setup Reduction, is a systematic approach to eliminate or reduce non-value added activities and time in the setup and/or teardown of any processes within production, allowing companies to more quickly and efficiently change from one product to another. Quick Changeover is a critical component of Lean Manufacturing and is a foundation for gaining critical capacity to meet customer demand and grow operations. This seminar will focus on applying quick changeover techniques and principles to the refinish area within collision, more specifically, to optimize booth cycles for any shop faced with needing to gain capacity and throughput while being held back by the current cycle time of their booths. While this seminar will focus on the refinish area, these principles can also be applied to other areas within collision where better transition and utilization of equipment and assets is involved. Participants will: ● Understand the principles and techniques of quick changeover as applied to spray booth optimization ● Learn techniques for evaluating the effectiveness of their refinish operation as well as learning to see opportunities for booth cycle time reduction. ● Be introduced to the concept of flow and resource planning in relation to gaining throughput and capacity in the refinish operation of collision repair. ● Learn simple methods to standardize processes and enable continual improvement.

RD8 – Marketing to Consumers - Supporting Customer Pay Sales Efforts (Steve Trapp, DuPont Performance Coatings & Robert Rick, Gates Business Solutions) With 35-40% of customers asking repairers to write a customer paid estimates and a historical 50% closing ratio on these estimates, improving sales skills for these more price sensitive customers is key. This course will review and practice the advisory sales process and how it uniquely applies to this segment of prospective customers. We will then discuss sales support tools which would be useful to help reinforce your unique value proposition to close more sales. Finally, we will reinforce follow-up strategies to help optimize performance. At the end of the course we will create a personal improvement plan per attendee. After completion of this session, attendees will be able: ● To briefly review the customer pay segment its % of estimate traffic and closing ratio for this segment - Sell the why... ● To explain the advisory and sales process to lay

a foundation to a unique approach to these price sensitive prospects. ● To role play using this process with fellow classmates to ensure both parties are comfortable with the sales process model. ● To review various tools available to repairers to help offer proof that your repair center should be their choice. ● To review various follow-up strategies which have proven effective in this segment ● To gain alignment on the process tweaks in each person’s selling strategy they would like to make when they return.

RD9A - Understanding Design Based Repairs (Richard Perry, CHIEF Automotive) This course will help attendees understand necessary information about the new metals being used in the construction of today’s vehicles, and how they impact the repair process. We will discuss methods for metal identification and the proper repair methods by material. In addition, the course will focus on why automobile manufacturers have made such an aggressive transition to the use of the advanced steels in new vehicle construction. It doesn’t matter who is working on the vehicle, whether it is the person writing the estimate or the technician performing the repairs, it is pertinent to first find out what the vehicle’s structural content is before starting any structural repairs. Attendees will be able to: ● Make sure they are able to find the proper repair methods, and that they have the right equipment before commencing repairs ● Ensure that their technicians have the proper training and ability to perform the repairs correctly. ● Leave with an understanding of why you cannot use the same repair methods on today’s vehicles, as those that were being used just a few years earlier.

Wednesday, Oct. 31 / 3:00PM – 5:00PM

RD9B - Going Green Doesn’t Have to be Expensive (Steven Schilling, GRC-Pirk Management) Shops can save a lot of money by greening their practices, rather than spending a lot of money. Marketing tricks and television advertising do their best to convince us that in order to become more eco-friendly we have to buy more stuff – but that’s not true. If you replace a perfectly good item just to buy a new eco-friendly one, you aren’t really doing anything to benefit the environment! So with that in mind, this presentation will discuss 101 ways that shops can save money by practicing green. Attendees will find many simple things to implement in their shop to go green and attain recognition on the www.findgreengarage.com public service website! Attendees will leave the session understanding of: ● What it means to “go green” and to be a good environmental steward ● What is sustainability, energy conservation and pollution prevention


● That you can’t manage what you don’t measure: your carbon footprint = Greenhouse Gas

RD10 - Dedicated vs. Universal Fixtures: The Pros and Cons (Shawn Hart, Car-O-Liner Company) This presentation is designed to explore the pros and cons of the dedicated and universal fixture repair systems. We will look at a number of different areas that shops, technicians, and insurance companies have issue with or questions about regarding each of the repair systems. These areas include: time, cost, and flexibility, ease of use, OEM recommendations, and accuracy. After completing this session participants will be able to identify: ● The differences between dedicated and universal fixture repair systems. ● The pros and cons of each type of repair system. ● The difference between anchoring and fixturing.

RD11 - Lean Flow Concepts: Improve Your Hours Completed Per Day (Steve Trapp, DuPont Performance Coatings & John Sweigart, The Body Shop) Repairers have been asked to focus on improving the hours completed or repaired per day, and this seminar will help you refine your administrative and production processes to improve performance. Looking not only at the value of the steps in the process, but also the flow of the processes is key to improving this number to industry leading performance. We will give very specific best practice recommendations to enable reduction and improvement of customer service provided. We also will discuss how to sell the change to your staff once you return and make them own the improvement and be supportive of the enhanced best practices. Objectives of completing this workshop are to: ● Understand hours per day, standards for performance and what step change is possible ● Understand both the administrative and production processes impacting hours completed per day and review best practices to improve ● Understand how coordination of work flow enhances performance when you have large volume and need to keep flow moving ● To re-sell the value of improving the metric to the technicians and office staff, and get them to see the value in change ● To discuss how to prioritize the improvements and then to establish visual controls to keep them in place long term.

Thursday, Nov. 1 / 12:30PM – 2:30PM

RD12 - Maximize Your Web Presence (Mark Claypool, Optima Automotive) Having a website has one purpose, and only one purpose; bringing potential customers to your door. If your business is going to have an online presence, it is NOT enough to just have a website. To be truly effective, your site needs to bring you prospects, needs to be searchable by people looking online for the products/service you provide and, most importantly, it needs to convert website visitors to customers. After going through this session, you will learn: ● Website essentials, such as what needs to be taken into consideration when building and having a website online ● About Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Just having a website doesn’t mean people will come

to it. It must be optimized, and SEO is a science unto itself that few website developers get right. In this session you will learn what to look for. ● Be prepared, participants will engage in live reviews of attendee websites and social media efforts.

RD13 - Make More Money WITHOUT Spending an Arm and a Leg! (Toby Chess) Cultivating positive change in your business can come across like a daunting task fraught with challenge and expense that many businesses just aren’t able to justify in the current economy. What if you knew that there were simple straightforward areas throughout your business that could streamline your operation, and increase your profit by reducing your waste and expenses? For collision repair businesses there is a ton of opportunity to improve your business with very little investment if you know where to look. This session is going to offer a number of proven ideas that will decrease cycle time, reduce comebacks and increase quality; and the investment costs will be under $500.00! Forget about learning fancy buzzwords associated with process improvement, this session is going to give time-tested examples of ways to improve your business and make more money for very little, if any, up front expense.

RD19 - Bidding Wars: A Global View on the Possible Economic Impact of Insurer Involvement in Parts Procurement (David NewtonRoss, Collision Repair Specialists of Australia (CRSA)) Online bidding requirements for parts procurement has just entered into the U.S. market recently, but there are other countries, such as New Zealand, where the parts tendering practice was constructed by the country’s largest carrier for its own use in 2003, and has since become a mandatory practice for all carriers. This session will provide attendees with a global perspective on: 1. The economic impact the online bidding program has had on repair facility margins in NZ 2. The procedural impact the program has had on cycle times and the estimating process 3. The changes the program has had on the repair facilities relationship with parts vendors 4. How the program has impacted part type selections 5. Why the program succeeded in NZ while failing to grab hold in neighboring countries such as Australia. 6. What the potential impact is that this type of parts procurement could have on the United States.

Thursday, Nov. 1 / 3:00PM – 5:00PM

RD14B - Importance of Repair Standards in Completing a Safe and Seamless Repair (John Spoto & Shawn Collins, 3M) We audit many repair facilities and see common repair practices that lead to improper and unsafe repairs. This session will expose the audience to some of the most common repair processes that result in improper repairs, and we’ll review solutions around the man, machine, materials and methods to create seamless, safe repairs. Finally, we will introduce the audience to Job Instructional Training methods to sustain these repair standards. Our attendees will leave the room with: ● An understanding of how to avoid common repair process mistakes that lead to improper repairs ● An understanding of many repair standards

● A roadmap to sustain adherence to these standards through Job Instructional Training ● A benchmark of critical success factors in order to sustain proper repair standards

RD15 - Waterborne Refinish Coatings: What Are You Waiting For? (Jeff Griffin & John Parran, PPG Automotive Refinish) You are here at SEMA to learn about the latest and greatest technology. Do not let this session pass you by. This is your chance to learn about the latest technology that is having an impact in the collision repair and custom markets. You will learn about the capabilities and the unique advantages of water technology in today’s demanding markets. Most important come and hear about what the masters in car building, such as Charley Hutton, have learned while making the move to waterborne finishes. Attendees will receive: ● A brief history of water based refinish coatings which demonstrates the technology is over 10 years old and is in its third generation. ● The advantages of water based coatings compared to current technology ● The status of North American legislation ● Answers to general questions fielded on water technology, on topics such as training, needed equipment, color match capability and more. ● Color range for the custom market and where we see this going ● A Question & Answer session with the presenters, accompanied by industry expert Charley Hutton, Painter & Owner of Charley Hutton’s Color Studio.

RD16 - Bulletproof Your Company: Effective Human Resources, Policies and Procedures (Cory J. King, Fine, Boggs & Perkins LLP) Lawsuits by current and former employees are skyrocketing. The financial impact of such suits on a company can be devastating. While an employer cannot stop a desperate employee from filing a lawsuit, they certainly can put themselves in a position to deter and ultimately win lawsuits before they ever get filed. It all starts with effective HR policies and procedures. Bulletproofing your company against employment claims is much easier than you think! Participants in this seminar will receive practical, real world instruction on what policies and procedures are essential to lawsuit avoidance, how to implement those policies and procedures, and what makes an effective policy and procedure in comparison to what gets employers into trouble. Participants are encouraged to bring their current employee handbook or policy manual for hands-on analysis and review for compliance. If you have employees, this seminar should not be missed!

Friday, Nov. 2 /10:00AM – 12:00PM (HEADLINE PRESENTATION)

RD2012 - RDE Headline Session: Game Changers - Innovation Forum Emerging ideas serve as the lifeblood for businesses and industries alike, offering the competitive edge necessary to enhance business growth and profit. Businesses that have the foresight to harness those advantages through rethinking products, services, processes, and business models are able to materialize the greatest level of differentiation between the remainder of the market in the eyes of your customer. So how does innovation prosper in the collision repair industry, and how can you foster innovation as a core value that

shapes the framework of your business? Join leaders in the collision repair industry for the RDE Game Changers - Innovation Forum headline presentation of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists’ 2012 Repairer Driven Education series at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. At this highly interactive event, you’ll learn: ● What innovation can look like in the collision repair business — including technology, product, service, and business model innovation — and how it is becoming core to business strategy. ● How leading companies manage for innovation, including the internal and external partners needed for success, overcoming barriers, and utilizing tools and technologies to accelerate implementation. ● Key success factors for making your company a leader in your market through embracing ongoing innovation as a core function of your business. ● Forum Moderators, Panelists and Participants will be announced at a future date.

Friday, November 2 / 12:30PM – 2:30PM

RD17 - Vehicle Knowledge for Triage, Blueprinting and Estimating (Larry Montanez III, P&L Consulting) Participants will learn how to identify and understand the advanced material substrates in today’s vehicles, how to diagnose the sustained damage by pre-measuring the vehicle to ascertain the amount of sustained damage, if any. Participants will learn the process and procedures of Triage and Blueprinting to ensure all sustained damage is accounted for and all associated repair procedures and materials are covered to ensure an accurate damage report is written, that not only ensures a correct safe repair, but ensures there will be no delays or missed items to increase the facility’s profitability. Attendees of this session will leave with the understanding of how to: ● Eliminate the need for supplements by writing complete damage reports the first time ● Pre-measure the vehicle efficiently to increase profitability ● Properly blueprint a vehicle to ensure no repair delays ● Diagnose damage with a better understanding of applied collision forces ● Apply logic from the estimating system procedural pages and use OEM repair information

RD18 - Achieving Service Excellence by Applying LEAN Thinking (Steven Feltovich, Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes) This course is exclusively designed for SCRS/SEMA participants, and the workshop will provide participants the knowledge needed in order to achieve customer service excellence through lean thinking principles. Attendees will learn to use lean management techniques to transform or continue to improve your customer service delivery, and discover the extreme competitive edge in achieving service excellence the lean way! Understand the process driven approach to delivering the “ultimate customer experience.” Attendees will benefit from the following workshop objectives: ● Explain the driving factors behind the experiential service economy, and how to become more profitable with a customer focused strategy. ● Establish a proven method for providing the value actually desired by each customer. ● Learn how to build a strong brand based on customer service excellence. See SEMA Show, Page 40

www.autobodynews.com | SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS 39


Prevost Introduces One-Push, Quick Release Coupler

Prevost is pleased to announce their “New Generation PS1” coupler in the HVLP (High Flow) profile. This is a completely new and innovative quick release coupling for compressed air. The new patented one-push, quick release coupler combines safety, performance and ease of use. Unsecured (non-safety) couplers present a significant risk of hosewhip during disconnection. Employers are responsible for a safe working environment. Prevost safety-couplings comply with ISO 4414 and ISO 6150 standards, and these couplings are regarded among the best in the market. To comply with the norms, a coupling should purge the compressed air on the supply side before releasing the plug. This is done using a double locking device. The user has to operate a safety coupling twice to disconnect: A first time to purge the compressed air, a second time to release the plug. This two-step operation is mostly done by any combination of rotating the sleeve from left to right and/or viceversa or to push the sleeve back and pull it forward again, north, south east Continued from Page 39

SEMA Show

● Apply a simple process that improves the efficiency and effectiveness of your customer facing staff. ● Find out how to identify service excellence professionals inside and outside your organization. ● Attendees will leave this class with a self-assessment tool in order to evaluate their own organization’s level of service excellence.

RD14A - He Who Controls the Data, Controls the Truth (Michael Anderson, Collision Advice) Have you ever wondered where insurance companies get the data which they use to manage Key Performance Indicators they request from your shop? Have you ever been told your severity is too high in comparison to the market, or that your posted labor rate is excessive? In this riveting session, Mike Anderson will outline the process in which your estimating and management system information can be harvested, aggregated, depersonalized and then reported on in the form of trending reports and data analytics. Using his background as a multiple location collision repair business owner, as a consultant, and as a participant on advisory councils for Information Providers and Insurance Carriers, Mike is going to illustrate how repair facility information is used to re-apply pressure on your business, and prepare you with the necessary resources and knowledge to counter that pressure. In fact, this course will help you outline an action plan to utilize your own internal data as a resource, and how you can establish processes in your busi-

or west. The new ESI coupling of Prevost uses the compressed air on the supply side of the coupling to sustain the first locking phase. Only when the compressed air is purged will it automatically click to the second phase and release the plug. The user has to perform just one action: push the button. Depending on the volume of compressed air, the purge and release time will be a few seconds for a 10-meter 3/8” hose and practically nothing for an air tool. This new generation of couplings will give users a long, safe and leak-free lifetime. Prevost, with offices in Greenville SC, was established in France in 1978. They first introduced the world's only push-button quick disconnect coupler. Later they developed the innovative push-button quick disconnect safety coupler, the first coupler to pass the ISO 4414 safety standard. Today, Prevost offers the most complete range of innovative compressed air products in the industry. For details on Prevost ALR Aluminum Air Piping Systems, call 800845-7220 or visit www.prevostusa.com. ness that produce more consistent and accurate estimate information. Whether you have multiple estimators working out of one facility, or multiple facilities, having consistency in your estimating practices is critical to your success. By setting defined estimating practices, procedures and policies for your estimators, and following through with management practices which reinforce that those standards are followed, you will be able to better control the accuracy of your data output; producing data that accurately represents the charges and tasks performed in your business. We will look at websites, tools, forms and technology applications that will allow your estimators to become more efficient and ACCURATE in their duties of writing a thorough damage analysis. Tools such as the SCRS Guide to Complete Repair Planning, blend within a panel refinish break down, Structural Repair Calculator and a variety of other documents and tools will be showcased. This course will provide Collision Repair Facility owners the resources to consistently train their estimating staff how to reflect your standard of repair in the estimating process, while generating the most comprehensive and profitable repair plan necessary to return the vehicle to Pre-Accident Condition. “Writing it right” has an impact on the growth of your bottom line, but it also has an impact on the industry through the estimate data it produces. The information in your estimate can play a significant role in how the reports from the information providers reflect market practices, which is one of many reasons that having all the necessary and performed operations listed is critical to your success. This course is ideal for Owners and Managers.

40 SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

National Autobody Parts Warehouse Earns NSF Cert

National Autobody Parts Warehouse Inc. is now certified by NSF International’s Automotive Collision Parts Distributor Certification Program. NSF International is an independent testing and certification organization with more than 20 years of automotive experience. The automotive collision parts distributor is one of the first companies to earn this certification. The NSF Automotive Collision Parts Distributor Certification Program helps close the gap in the supply chain between parts manufacturers and body shops and was developed to respond to the needs of collision repair shops, insurers and ultimately consumers. The distributor program complements the NSF Automotive Collision Replacement Parts Certification Program, which certifies automotive collision replacement parts, including steel bumpers, step bumpers, brackets, rebars, sheet metal, plastic, lighting and absorbers. The latter program certifies that parts meet rigid quality, safety and performance standards in terms of form, fit and function. “An extension of NSF International’s Automotive Collision Replacement Parts Certification Program, the NSF Automotive Distributor Certification Program certi-

fies the ability of distributors, such as National Autobody Parts Warehouse, to meet stringent performance and quality standards including having an effective system to track orders and parts,” said Bob Frayer, director of NSF International’s Automotive Parts Certification Programs. To earn certification, National Autobody Parts Warehouse demonstrated that it has effective records and inventory systems to track orders and parts through the supply chain. National Autobody Parts Warehouse also met the following criteria required by the NSF Automotive Collision Parts Distributor Certification Program: An ISO 9001-certified quality management system; a parts traceability and inventory tracking system; a defective parts procedure including a customer parts complaint process; the ability to administer a manufacturer’s recall; a formal corrective action to complaints and an immediate recall plan. Having met all of the certification requirements, National Autobody Parts Warehouse is authorized to use the NSF Certified Distributor mark on its website and promotional materials indicating it is an NSF automotive parts certified distributor.


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SCRS Director Learns from Geese and Declares PartsTrader Fowl by Ed Attanasio

More than 100 body shop owners, personnel, vendors and friends were on hand at PPG’s San Francisco Business Development Center in Concord, CA on July 24 to enjoy a barbecue dinner and listen to a presentation by Aaron Schulenburg, the Executive Director of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS).

Aaron Schulenburg, Executive Director of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS), entertained and informed more than 100 collision repair professionals at the July meeting for the East Bay Chapter of the California Autobody Association.

member of our group, due to injury or illness? Do we step up and help them, like the geese do? “Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to fly alone, and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the “lifting power” of the bird immediately in front. Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose, we will align ourselves with people who are headed in the same direction—where we want to go.” “When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies at the point position,” Schulenburg said. “Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership—with people, as with geese, interdependent with one other.” Have you ever noticed that the same people all seem to hold all the leadership roles in any volunteer-based organization? We could learn a lot from geese. Thinking about how even geese know the way to get it done should be a call to action to engage body shop owners to share leadership roles in organizations such as CAA and SCRS. After his inspirational opening and some background information about the scope of SCRS, Schulenburg discussed a variety of current industry events such as OEM repair procedures and industry standards of repair; the usefulness of the SCRS

Schulenburg kicked off his speech by discussing his take on the classic metaphor “Lessons from the Geese” from a book written in 1972 by Dr. Robert McLeish, which identifies migration habits of geese and applies the concepts to human behavior and teamwork. Schulenburg drew an analogy between geese acting cooperatively and how professional organizations like CAA and SCRS need members that will support and work together as a team to make the industry stronger as a whole. Instead of being for the birds, Schulenburg’s remarks served to separate the fowl from the foul. “As each goose flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the bird following,” Schulenburg explained. “By flying in a From left, Melissa Perez, District Sales Manager for “V” formation, the whole FinishMaster; Trish Pickens, District Manager for Audatex and Gigi Walker from Walker’s Auto Body network at the flock adds 71% more flying East Bay CAA chapter July meeting, held at PPG’s San range than if each bird flew Francisco Business Development Center in Concord, CA alone. Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense Guide to Complete Repair Planning of community can get where they are (www.scrs.com); an overview of the going faster and easier because they very helpful Database Enhancement are coasting on the thrust of one an- Gateway (www.degweb.org), and led a rousing conversation on the topic other.” Still flying along with the geese that every body shop owner in the analogy, Schulenburg asked the audi- country is discussing—State Farm’s ence, what happens when we lose a PartsTrader program which is being

42 SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

piloted in four U.S. cities. PartsTrader is the online parts bidding system that was created for State Farm as they seek a refined so-

awaiting their feedback, but the buzz from the industry so far has not been positive, Schulenburg said. “This system has yet to demonstrate any real advantages or benefits for repair facilities or parts vendors, and has demonstrated the potential to lead to inefficiencies, greater costs to manage, and smaller profit margins based on the feedback we have heard from participants both in the U.S. and other markets,” Schulenburg said. From left, Jamie Maltbie, General Manager at Jim’s “Mandating the systems California Auto Body in Concord; Jeff Rogers, Manager that are used and the at Jim’s California Auto Body; Jim Boyle, Owner of Regal Collision Repair in Vallejo; Sam Snodgrass, Sales Rep for processes in which they will 3M and Mark Juell, Zone Director for PPG, contemplatbe used, it certainly opens ing geese formations after the meeting. the door for insurers to exercise much greater control over the relution for the parts locating and orpair business and their purchasing dering process. In short, PartsTrader decisions.” enables a shop to upload an estimate, PartsTrader is scary to many in the giving both new and used parts venindustry for a wide range of reasons, dors an opportunity to see all the many of which stem from the conparts on the estimate and offer a cerns relative to how important parts “bid” on the pricing they can offer for profit is to the health of most colliany part of the estimate. State Farm sion repair businesses, Schulenburg is sampling the system currently in See SCRS Director, Page 45 100+ shops within select cities, and

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Continued from Page 36

Evans Films Pilot

Canada, and the changes in car culture and product availability. “It’s very intense,” said Indian. “You’re up against deadlines; finding product; finding out which place is open, which place is closed; working on the weekend when nothing is open—like Sunday we were working, and nothing was open. We needed materials, so people were coming out to open their shops for us. So it’s pretty cool—but it’s definitely a challenge.” They plan on showcasing the local community and various facets of the local culture during each episode of the show. This is to pay homage to the areas that host them, alongside hopefully inspiring the build. “People dig Rich up here,” said Indian. “The thing that I thought was pretty cool in this area is the amount of cool custom and classic cars. It’s really a big car culture here—I was impressed to be quite honest. It’s something that’s expected in Southern California, yet to come up here I was really surprised to see them just on the

road—because each time you’re out, chances are you’ll see one.” During their tenure in Nova Scotia, Evans’ crew participated in a car parade to downtown Halifax, a car show, and multiple meet-andgreet/autograph sessions, all while continuing work on both cars. “Curtis has got a really good shop here, and a really good group of guys,” said Indian. “People have been really, really nice, and really accommodating. It’s definitely a place worth coming to. I’ve never been to this side of Canada, so I didn’t know it was this much of a beautiful place.” “I think it’s a great way to showcase Nova Scotia,” continued Indian. “That’s why we want to incorporate the cultural end of things. The local beauty, and the local cultural is something that we really want to incorporate into the show. It’s almost like ‘No Reservation’ meets ‘Orange County Choppers,’ but for cars. We just hope to keep building off of it—it should be cool.” Nova Scotia is where the pilot for the TV show is being filmed, and despite pressure from other Canadian shops to go film at their location, they plan to make Nova Scotia the only Canadian stop for the show. RX-8 2012

“We want to spread it around,” said Indian. “We want people to experience a lot of different places. It might happen (where they will shoot another episode in Canada), nothing’s out of the realm of possibility—I just think it’s more of trying to keep it different. What we did in Nova Scotia would be a lot different than what we could do in, say, Jamaica. “It’s early in the game,” continued Indian. “We’re working with producers that are very busy. We have to time it in a way that makes sense, otherwise it’s not worth doing; but this stop was a no-brainer. Rich had been here before and had a great feeling about the place, so he wanted to do it here first.” They hope to air the show sometime in 2013. Should it become successful, Evans plans to hopefully return once again in the future, with more cars, less time, and more talent. For more information on the progress of the show, stay tuned to Evans’ Facebook page (Rich Evans Designs) and keep an eye on the listing for the Speed channel. “The biggest thing is to do what you love to do,” said Evans. “Do something new every day, and try to better yourself. Really live life to its fullest— that’s what we’re trying to do here.”

GAINSCO Selects Mitchell as New Claims Provider

Mitchell, a leading provider of technology, connectivity and information solutions to the Property & Casualty Claims and Collision Repair industries, announced that GAINSCO Auto Insurance®, a provider of specialized personal auto coverage, has selected Mitchell as its new long term provider of auto physical damage claims processing solutions. Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, GAINSCO will implement Mitchell WorkCenter™ Total Loss, developed in conjunction with customer satisfaction and vehicle pricing expert J.D. Power and Associates, as well as Mitchell’s assignment, repairable estimating and reporting solutions. Greg Castleman, Sr. Vice President and Chief Claims Officer, for GAINSCO Auto Insurance, said, “We selected Mitchell as our auto physical damage solutions provider of choice because we were extremely impressed with the functionality of its product suite and the service-oriented approach of the Mitchell team. They went above and beyond to provide a solution that fits our needs and integrates seamlessly with GAINSCO’s claims management system.”

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SCRS Director

said. The rest of the discussion primarily consisted of a recap of industry reactions to the program from the discussions the week before at the Collision Industry Conference in San Antonio, TX. He highlighted some direct quotes and comments attributed to State Farm and PartsTrader representatives throughout the process. In addition, he presented introductory documents provided by both companies that demonstrate the lack of choice for both repairers and vendors in test markets. All of the information was presented in a manner that provided attendees with things to consider, but without ever directly soliciting them to agree one way or the other. During the discussion part of the

evening, Toby Chess, a collision veteran, Autobody News columnist and I-CAR trainer, made an interesting observation: “If the insurance companies can dictate where or how you buy your parts, wouldn’t the logical next thing be paint?” This got the attention of some of the top PPG managers in attendance. At the end of the meeting while several CAA members were standing in the rear parking lot and making small talk, Schulenburg’s geese analogy became a little more concrete. As if on cue, a formation of geese appeared in the sky and flew directly above the PPG Business Development Center. Several CAA members as well as Schulenburg saw them, honking and flying in their famous ‘V’-formation. “They wanted a curtain call and there it was!” Jim Boyle, Owner of Regal Collision Repair in Vallejo, exclaimed.

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SCRS Director Schulenberg Travels to Australia to Discuss Global Collision Repair Issues, Finds them Similar

Aaron Schulenburg was one of a number of representatives of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) to speak at a collision repair conference in Australia this summer. ‘It was fascinating to me to travel 10,000 miles and 20-plus hours and have the exact same discussions that we have here in a country half a world away,’ Schulenburg said. ‘Shops there face the same pressures, the same level of friction, the same level of disrespect shown toward our trade.’ He said the shop response there, however, tends to be more direct, including rallies and pickets against insurers viewed as making unacceptable demands. Even shops on an insurer’s direct repair program didn’t hold back in letting that insurer, if represented at the conference, know how they felt. ‘They were very upfront, very direct and very pointed with the questions and comments they had for the carriers,’ Schulenburg said. ‘It was very different than some of the discussions that repairers in the U.S. attempt to have here, such as at CIC (the Collision Industry Confer-

ence), where I think there’s an ongoing sensitivity that if we’re straight-forward and direct and pointed with what we say, the insurers won’t come any more. There’s concern by some people in that room that you need a more sensitive or politically correct approach to the message to ensure that everyone continues to show up. While the rallies and pickets may not suit the U.S., I think the direct nature of the conversation certainly should. Conversation isn’t worth having unless it’s honest, genuine and direct. If people don’t want to hear what you have to say, there’s no sense in having them in the room anyway.’

ABRA Opens Another in NC

ABRA Auto Body and Glass has announced the opening of a new shop location at Asheville Ford in West Central North Carolina. The location brings the company’s total franchise repair centers to 43. “We are absolutely thrilled with the progression of our national growth plan,” said Duane Rouse, president and CEO of ABRA Auto Body and Glass.

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Looking Forward to SEMA at Foose Design by Chip Foose

It’s hard to believe, but as I write this, SEMA (Specialty Equipment Marketing Association) Show in Las Vegas, the biggest automotive show of the year, is only a few short weeks away. The Aftermarket, OEM’s and Suppliers take over three exhibit halls with displays and exhibits of their latest products and vehicles. SEMA is a very important event for all of us at Foose Design, and we never miss it. This year at SEMA, we will feature three purpose-built Foose vehicles. We also have a special build that will return to the SEMA Show—more on that later. The builds we are completing will feature the design and fabrication efforts of everyone at Foose Design and here are some details.

WD-40 Company Projects Once again we are teaming up with WD-40 for two vehicle builds in support of SEMA Cares Charities (Childhelp®, The Victory Junction Gang® Camps, SEMA Scholarship Program). WD-40/SEMA Cares Foose ‘53 Ford F100 It’s the 60th Anniversary of WD-40® Multi-Use Product. To celebrate this milestone, Foose Design is customiz-

ing a 1953 Ford F-100 Pickup, designed and built to maintain the look and feel of that truck used to deliver the first case of the product approximately 60 years ago. We will keep the original look, but update the drive train, suspension, wheels and tires and paint. I created a tribute, period correct, Rocket Chemical Company logo for the doors. We have many suppliers that are helping us build, including LMC

Truck Parts. The final design will be a tribute to the WD-40 Company and its history. The vehicle will be displayed in the Grand Lobby near the Central Hall, showcased at key West Coast auto shows and events in December 2012, and then auctioned at the 2013 Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, AZ, with proceeds benefiting Childhelp and The Victory Junction Gang Camps.

WD-40 Multi-Use Product, created by Rocket Chemical Company in San Diego, was developed as a water displacement material and was first used on the Atlas Missile Program as a rust inhibitor. The final formula was the 40th formula tried, hence the name WD-40.

WD-40 Specialist/SEMA Cares Foose Ford F-350 This project celebrates the new WD40 Specialist™ line of products and will serve as the companion truck to the ‘53 Ford F-100. The build will have us working in a much larger scale to create a true work truck that has appeal for automotive as well as construction and skilled trades audiences. Following SEMA, the Ford F-350 will be used for a 16month promotional period and then auctioned with proceeds funding scholarships through SEMA Cares. Starting with a stock 2013 Ford F350, I am developing a set of custom body kit parts including new front and rear wheel flares, side rockers and front chin spoiler. We will have custom axles made for the correct tire placement and will include numerous upgrades to the already stout stock suspension. I plan on making a set of very cool, one-off Foose wheels for

46 SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

this project. The custom paint will be completed at Foose and should turn a few heads.

ELDOROD A significant part of my design history is Eldorod, the first car I designed as a full-time employee at Boyd’s Hot Rods. Ironically, it is the last car to be delivered out of the Boyd Shop before it closed in 1998.

Based on a 1949 Cadillac, it is sometimes referred as the sister car to the Larry Erickson designed Billy Gibbons owned Cadzilla. My original design had a lot of details that we removed or abbreviated in the interest of delivering the car. When current owner Chris Andrews purchased the car, he contacted me to ask if I would be interested in redoing the vehicle based on my original sketches. I jumped at the chance. Many subtle design features based on the original design that previously lived only on paper are being fabricated for this re-fresh. The hood line has been changed, the front windshield reshaped to a more gentle curve, the dash has been reshaped to match the hoodline, the wheel openings have been reshaped, front and rear bumpers are restyled including bumperettes from a ‘56 Nomad, and a grille opening from a mid 50’s Olds. New chrome side trim has been custom made and the top has been reshaped, surrounded by a thin chrome trim border and re-skinned in Mercedes canvas. The original maroon color has been repainted in a deep BASF blended blue, based on the color found in my original illustration. A completely new leather inte-

rior has been designed, stitched and installed. I am excited to unveil this re-creation in the booth of my sponsor, BASF Paints.

SEMA SPECIAL BUILD Now for some exciting news I mentioned earlier. Overhaulin’ is back! After nearly a five-year break, I am back with my talented crew changing people’s lives by completely rebuilding their neglected vehicles. The show will air on Velocity and Discovery Channel. Stay tuned for details about new episodes airing in the fall. We are well into the filming on our first episodes, but here’s the good part about the special build—we are going to do a live build of Overhaulin’ at SEMA! We are planning on securing a new vehicle from one of the OEM’s and then we will walk through SEMA like you would in a supermarket, picking out all the parts and components on the display floor to be included on this build. We will do all the disassembly, fabrication, customization, paint, interior and rebuild in front of a live audience. We even have some special plans on how this vehicle

may be given away to one lucky SEMA attendee. Stay tuned to my website www.chipfoose.com as I will be providing more details as we get closer. For those of you attending SEMA this year, make sure to check out my schedule for autographs and appearances. It will be published on my website about two to three weeks before SEMA. If you are not attending SEMA, maybe you should reconsider, there’s going to be a lot of great innovative products to see, and one lucky attendee might drive off with a new Foose vehicle! I hope to see you in Las Vegas!


Research, Documentation is Ammunition in Battles with Insurers by John Yoswick

John Borek didn’t just acquiesce to putting reconditioned wheels—which he had serious concerns about—on his customers’ cars when that’s what insurers insisted on. Instead he found a way to determine and demonstrate whether those wheels were fit to be used. That’s a pattern that Borek, owner of Autocraft Bodywerks in Austin, TX, has demonstrated over and over again: Gathering the information he needs to successfully prove his argument.

Holy Custom Car!

determine if it was bent. “You can balance a wheel that’s crooked, but just because it’s balanced doesn’t mean it’s going to be true,” Borek said. “This machine helps us avoid using reconditioned wheels that are out of round.” Borek acknowledges that payback on the equipment is not necessarily quick. “But even if we never get our money back, it helps us do the right thing,” he said. Another way Borek has fought

If there’s any one vehicle that catches your eye inside Autocraft Bodywerks, it’s the C4 Corvette converted into one of the best-known vehicles of all-time—The Batmobile, complete with “real-sounding” front-mounted machine guns.

Shop owner John Borek said the project is something he will use to help raise awareness and funds for “Superhero Kids,” a non-profit to assist children (and their families) battling cancer and blood disorders at the Children’s Blood and Cancer Center of Central Texas. Borek was one of about 40 members of his Corvette club that this summer gave kids battling cancer a chance

“I never imagined when I started in this business that I would have to be more of a lawyer and use my brain rather than use my hands,” Borek said. “But if you don’t, you can’t fix the car correctly and get paid for doing so.” When it came to the reconditioned wheels, for example, Borek’s shop invested in a Hunter Engineering Road Force GSP-9700 machine. More than just a tire balancer, the equipment measures the wheel inside and out, identifying high and low spots. When an insurer insisted on a reconditioned wheel and a customer signed off on it, Borek said, they tested the wheel to

the welding of the new quarter panel make painting of the underside necessary as well. “You can get another hour or two to paint the backside, and it’s got to be painted,” Borek said. That concept came to his mind shortly thereafter when his shop was installing a floor in a 2009 Honda Accord, and the insurance appraiser refused to pay for painting both the top and bottom of the floor pan. “There’s paint on both sides, and you have to put the vehicle on a lift to

to ride in a Viper, Lexus LFA or other high-end vehicle on a 30-mile police-escorted cruise in Central Texas. “There must’ve been 20 motorcycle cops from three different agencies, all volunteering, that shut down I-35 and then Congress Avenue through Austin for us,” Borek said. “We got to blow through every red light.” Borek said he’d actually rather have people focus on such projects than his success using tools to prove that his collision repair charges are reasonable. “I would like people to know there’s people in the industry who do good things and help people,” he said. The Batmobile isn’t the first imaginative vehicle Borek has created at his shop. Last year, he constructed a flying saucer to install in his front yard on Halloween. The flying saucer looked like it had just crashed into lawn, surrounded by yellow caution tape and smoke, thanks to an interior fog machine. “You gotta have some fun,” Borek said. “If you just work all the time, you’ll just go crazy and have a heart attack.” (The original TV Batmobile was designed and built by George Barris based on a Lincoln Futura.)

successfully for what he knows is right hasn’t cost him a dime. He’s frequently turned for free help offered through the Database Enhancement Gateway (DEG). Funded largely by three national repairer associations, the DEG offers a simple way to submit an inquiry to any of the Big Three estimating database providers. Several years ago, for example, Borek took a class taught by consultant Mike Anderson of CollisionAdvice in which Anderson pointed out that labor times to paint a quarter panel are only for painting the outside the panel. Grinding of pinchwelds and

paint the underside,” Borek said. “And not only that, it was a different color, a green e-coat.” He submitted DEG Inquiry No. 1787, and received confirmation from Audatex that its paint labor allowance is for only the interior surface of the floor pan. “I basically said to the adjuster, ‘Which side of the floor do you want me to paint because you’re only paying me to do one side,’” Borek said. The documentation supplied through the DEG was enough to convince the insurer to pay for the additional paint labor, two-tone materials

and the needed replacement sounddeadener. “So that’s an example of something we got paid for by using the DEG,” Borek said. Borek said he’s used the Audatex system long enough that he usually knows the answer to the question he submits to the DEG, but the process provides the authoritative documentation he needs to prove his point. More recently, for example, Borek received a document that American National Property and Casualty Company (ANPAC) that the claims services company said was from Audatex and indicating that color sand and buff is included in Audatex refinish times. Borek knew this wasn’t the case and submitted it to the DEG. Within 24 hours, not only had Audatex responded that its labor times did not include color sand and buff, but also that it had searched its reference manual back to 1993 and could not find the document that ANPAC was using to defend its position. “Color sand and buff has been a pet-peeve of mine since 1998, and I know it’s not included in any paint time,” Borek said. “But how many shops are being sent incorrect information about things like this and not knowing any better?” ANPAC later told the Texas Department of Insurance that the appraiser used “an outdated document.” Borek still contends the document was “fraudulent” given that Audatex concluded that the document is “most certainly not from ADP/Audatex.” “But in any case, those are just two examples where the DEG helped us. And very quickly, I might add,” Borek said. “I think the reason some people don’t use it is they think it might only help on the next one, and when am I going to have that exact same vehicle and procedure in my shop? But it can help you right now if you just send it in. It doesn’t cost anything, and you can sometimes have a response in 24 hours. And once you’ve done the research, you always have it. We still get paid for painting both sides of those floors.” John Yoswick, a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon, who has been writing about the automotive industry since 1988, is also the editor of the weekly CRASH Network (for a free 4-week trial subscription, visit www.CrashNetwork.com). He can be contacted by email at jyoswick@SpiritOne.com.

www.autobodynews.com | SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS 47


Shop Owner Wars with Boynton Beach by Melanie Anderson

Over the past two years, David Floering—who has owned Eastern Auto Body and Glass, Inc. (dba as Eastern Towing and Recovery) in Boynton Beach, FL, for 24 years—has become something of an expert in fighting city government. It all started in 2010 when he lost his towing contract with the city. Since then, Floering spends about a third of his work week sorting through piles of papers, investigating, filing complaints and pursuing his one-man fight against the city of Boynton Beach. Floering, 51, takes full advantage of chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes, which requires the government to disclose most records to anyone upon request. He’s filed 41 public records requests since 2010, asking to see all types of documents: police reports, emails and personnel files for top city officials. His research led to the fall of the town’s mayor. In June, a judge ruled in Floering’s favor and awarded him attorney fees for being denied a public records request which involved city officials illegally withholding a video related to a domestic dispute between Mayor Jose Rodriguez and his wife. The actual allegations were in regards to his alleged abuse of his young stepdaughter. Rodriguez was not charged with domestic crimes and the case closed within a month. However, three months later, because of Floering’s request for the video, the matter got the attention of a Boynton Beach police sergeant in the department’s Special Victim’s Unit, who reopened the case. In the ensuing follow-up investigation, Rodriguez was arrested for interfering with the investigation and abusing his power as mayor. The Broward/Palm Beach New Times reported that Rodriguez denied that he tried to stop the investigation, but the state attorney’s office still found probable cause to arrest him in January on three charges—unlawful compensation or reward for official behavior (a felony), as well as misdemeanor counts of solicitation to commit unlawful disclosure of confidential criminal information and obstructing a law enforcement officer (resisting arrest without violence). During the course of the investigation, the police chief

and the city manager said the mayor pressured them to stop the follow-up investigation into claims made by his estranged wife, who according to the initial police report, said she feared for the safety of herself and her daughter. The initial investigation closed because the wife was uncooperative. The

which he hasn’t seen a dime and his attorney is being ignored. Additionally, Floering claims the Boynton Beach Police Department owes him $52,374.24 for unpaid towing bills from 2005–2010. Floering says his actions against the mayor started in 2010 when his towing contract with the city expired and he was nudged out of a new one. The two towing companies that won the bid pay franchise fees—$100,000 a year each for the rights to move vehicles. Floering says the city changed the rules during the 2010 competition for a towing contract in a way that made it impossible for Eastern Auto Body shop owner David Floering’s public records research led to Boynton Beach’s mayor’s arrest on him to bid. He says complaints of obstruction which led to his suspension by the governor. the new contract inday after the mayor’s January 26 arto do research to get him. He was an cluded requirements which prerest, Gov. Rick Scott suspended him idiot.” cluded him from bidding on the from office without pay. The former Floering says the city owes him contract, such as having a certain mayor faces 15 years in prison if con- about $22,000 in attorney fees of See War With City, Page 50 victed of these charges. A trial date has been set for October. In June, local news outlets reported that prosecutors brought a fourth corruption charge against Rodriguez, accusing him of misusing his official position to attempt to benefit himself, which made Rodriguez the first person ever charged under Palm TRADE IN YOUR BODYSHOP Beach County’s new code of ethics HEADACHES FOR A NEW CARRER AS AN statute. In July, the former mayor was charged in a separate case with three If you’re an experienced Auto Body Estimator or Insurance felony charges which allege he deClaims Estimator and want to be in business for yourself, frauded a bank in a short sale. but not by yourself, then an SCA Appraisal Franchise just Previous to all this, Floering’s might be right for you. With 30 years experience in the earlier run-ins with the mayor inIndependent Auto, Truck, Motorcycle, Marine, RV and cluded accusing him last year of using Heavy Equipment Appraisal business, SCA has painstakJon Gironda, Vice President his position to lessen his property ingly perfected its franchise model in order to provide our SCA Franchising, Inc. taxes, but the ethics commission disfranchisees with a blueprint for proven results. missed Floering’s complaint. A few With a Franchise Licensing Fee of only $10,000.00, *plus applicable business setup months later, the mayor filed a and working capital costs, you can be running your own SCA Appraisal Franchise defamation lawsuit against Floering within a matter of *6-10 weeks. accusing him of lying to area mer(*Franchise signing and training sessions occur every 60 days at our Los Angeles, CA headquarters) chants and asking that they post signs (*Business Setup and Working Capital costs can range from $3,850.00 to $28,200.00). in their stores critical of Rodriguez. • Cutting Edge Web-Based Dispatch Management System. • Centralized Business Model. According to local news reports, Flo• 130+ Corporate Support Employees. • Weekly Direct Deposits. ering put up a billboard on a Federal • 2 National Service Centers (Los Angeles & New York). • Established Territories Available Throughout Highway lot and posted a sign on a • National Marketing Division. the U.S. & Puerto Rico. trailer. Both accused the mayor of tax fraud and “pay to play.” However, the > For more information please visit our website at www.sca-appraisal.com defamation suit was officially disor e-mail: jgironda@sca-appraisal.com missed in early August.

48 SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

“The mayor of Boynton Beach sued me for slander because I said he would be arrested for some of the stuff he was doing, his business dealings, and lo and behold, he was arrested,” Floering says. “He withdrew [the lawsuit] because I was using his whole lawsuit against him

SCA APPRAISAL FRANCHISE OWNER!


Continued from Page 22

Refinish Distributors

The IMPACT board has monthly conference calls and holds four meetings a year. They also hold two membership meetings per year. The membership meetings offer networking opportunities as well as seminars on topics, such as Increasing Customers Business, Removing Cost from Distribution, Business Building, Time Management, Marketing and Sales. Their next member meeting will be held October 29-30 in Las Vegas just before SEMA. IMPACT is selective about who is permitted to join the organization as Continued from Page 35

Chrysler Bulletin

before application of adhesive. • Initial application of adhesive should be spread from the bare metal onto the e-coat to provide a continuous corrosion barrier.

THE REPLACEMENT STRSW WELDS SHOULD DUPLICATE THE ORIGINAL WELDS IN: • Size

Michael Coran, CEO of J & R Auto Body Supply in Framingham, MA, has been a member of RDA since July 2009. He became involved because he sees RDA as a “unique idea for wholesale distribution in the collision industry, made up of an interesting, innovative group of distributors I wanted to align myself with.” He stresses that the networking compo-

they allow no competition within the group, a concept that lends to members’ willingness to collaborate on solving problems they face in the in• Quantity • Location NOTE: replacement welds should be within ¼-inch of the original location while trying to avoid placing new welds over old welds. Where replacing only the exterior panel in a 3T situation, the new weld should be placed about 3/8-inch away to avoid shunting and reestablish a 3T weld. • Never use “weld-thru” primer. • Completing all welded panel replacements requires applying a coating of creeping rust inhibitive material

nent is a major benefit as “the people make the group”, and he enjoys the information and the ideas that members share with one another. Additionally, his business has been able to form vendor relationships that he believes will serve them well long-term, and he looks forward to RDA growing their distribution to present a stronger national footprint.

dustry. Those interested in joining RDA/IMPACT should contact Executive Director Robert E. McKenzie, Jr. directly at 731-217-9081 or via email in all areas where any welds were made, even where weld-bonded. • Replacement panels must be installed as provided, and utilizing the methods described in this bulletin, unless additional guidelines are made in another Chrysler Collision Repair Bulletin, Chrysler Body Repair Manual, or other Chrysler approved publication. Failure to follow these repair guidelines will result in a vehicle which may not duplicate the original design intent in terms of function, safety, and durability.

at robertemckenzie@me.com. IMPACT continues to seek new members that share a common desire to improve their business and work collaboratively within the group to address national industry issues. McKenzie expects to see additional growth within the group during the last quarter of 2012 and into 2013 because “we have some exciting things happening to assist members with growing their business.” Besides the addition of new marketing programs, IMPACT is currently in the process of creating a more effective website which they hope to have published in September or October 2012. The URL address is www.impactcollisionsolutions.com.

AkzoNobel Awards FIT Award

AkzoNobel Automotive & Aerospace Coatings Americas recognized three companies engaged in and advancing sustainability practices. AkzoNobel gave the 2012 FIT Sustainability Award to two repairers and a car rental company during a special program held in July at the San Antonio Convention Center in Texas. The businesses recognized are Oka’s Auto Body in Waipahu, Hawaii; Keenan Auto Body in Clifton Heights, PA; and Enterprise-Rent-A-Car in St. Louis, MO.

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Continued from Page 48

War With City

number of trucks, other equipment requirements, and in addition, he couldn’t bid because he also owns a body shop. Not only that, to be on the towing rotation, a tow company has to pony up the $100,000 franchise fee. Floering says he didn’t feel the contract was legitimate. The city’s towing franchise with Beck’s Towing & Recovery and Zuccala’s Wrecker Service is administered by the Boynton Beach Police Department. “The cars are being towed by the police because the tow companies have a contract with the police department where they pay a franchise fee,” says Floering. “And in the city of Boynton Beach, it’s less than 1,000 cars a year. Two tow companies pay $100,000 each a year to tow these cars. Do the math and it works out to more than $200 a car that the city is getting as a franchise fee—which, to me, is a roundabout kickback. The city is happy because they are getting the money. These tow companies have exclusive tow contracts with the police and so the police call them and they either call the crash chasers or the crash chasers listen to the radio.” Floering’s company had been on the towing rotation with six other companies for 15 years. “I had seen how this tow franchise thing had shaped up in the city of Delray and I could see the corruption involved in it,” he says. “The guys came by here and told me if I didn’t pay up, they’d put me out of business.” He says the guys were “ambulance chasers who went around to body shops and said they were pretty much taking over and if [body shops] wanted any kind of work, they needed to pay a fee, usually $500 per car or 10% of the estimate. I wasn’t going to agree to anything like that. The whole idea was if you didn’t get on board and do what they wanted, they would discourage customers from coming to your shop,” Floering says. The loss of income from losing the towing contract cut Floering’s business in half. He was forced to lay off two employees and is left with himself, his wife, one full-time and one part-time employee. “I’m starving. I’m on the fringe

of bankruptcy,” he said. “I don’t know if this time next year I’ll still be here.” Even though the mortgage on his building is paid off and he owns his tow trucks, he still feels like he could be out of business in a year. “There are too many weeks I don’t get a paycheck. It doesn’t make sense to stay in business if you’re not making any money.” Floering blames the mayor, saying he worked with a company through lobbyist David Katz to get the towing rotation changed to a franchise fee. Katz is a former city commissioner who twice came under local or federal criminal investigation for lobbying activities. In 2008, Katz was accused of taking money from two towing firms competing for city business. The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office anti-money laundering task force filed a complaint. “The lobbyist was David Katz and I found out that he’d received a $13,000 check from Westway Towing to get the towing rotation program dismantled and get the franchise fee implemented. Once I found out about that, I went to the FBI and there was a big investigation over potential bribery issues of city officials. The investigation didn’t prove anything, but it stalled the franchise fee program for about six months,” Floering says. Furthermore, Floering accuses Rodriguez of making threats against him. “When Jose Rodriguez decided to run for mayor (he was city commissioner at the time), he came to me and said I had to support his campaign for mayor and support the franchise fee or he would make sure I didn’t have any business in Florida. Once he started attacking not just me, but my business and the support of my family, I had to react. The mayor told me I would never tow another car in Boynton again,” Floering says. In a December 2, 2010 email memo to police staff, Det. Scott Harris, who serves as the liaison between the police department and the city’s two tow vendors, Harris wrote: “Please allow this wrecker operator to do his job; he will make your job a whole lot easier.” The email describes a black pick-up truck with a driver wearing the uniform of one of the two tow companies. Floering believes this memo outlines the “accident management” sys-

50 SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

tem which allows the “crash chasers” to do their job. “They are allowed to do whatever they want to organize these PIP fraud stuff. The memo goes into detail, very damaging to the PD, I can’t believe they actually put it [in words],” Floering says. “The whole crash chaser process is condoned and authorized and encouraged by the Boynton Police Department because they are getting their $200,000 franchise fee,” says Floering. “I’ve actually given documents to the FBI because the police department is in cahoots with it.” In his fight against so-called crash crashers, Floering, 18 months ago filed a formal written complaint with Palm Beach County Division of Consumer Affairs under an ordinance that regulates the towing industry. His complaints allege “an organized scheme to defraud the motoring public by the two tow companies (Beck’s Towing Recovery and Zuccala’s Wrecker Service) and the city of Boynton Beach.” Floering said an initial investigation was done before it was referred to the City of Boynton Beach and Floering says the city attorney “never responded to it any way, shape or form.” He also filed a

similar complaint with the county General Inspector, who he describes as an “anti-corruption” person. Floering cites an example of one of his customers, an 84-year-woman who uses a walker, who had been in an accident and told the police that she wanted Floering’s company to tow her car. According to Floering, the police refused her request and she was told by the police that she had to walk over to Wal-mart, a 1/4 mile away, to use a phone to call the towing company herself. Floering initiated an internal affairs investigation into the incident and both the customer and he made statements but the report, he says, reflected “the exact opposite of what our statements were.” His next move was to forward the complaint to the State Attorney’s Office. Last month, Floering said the city adopted an amendment to the contract that clarifies that the police are allowed to call whatever towing company they want so accident victims can’t make requests for tow companies, even if they have an auto club membership. These days, Floering is taking his fight against “crash chasers”—people

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who listen to radio traffic reports, use scanners or even use smartphone apps and show up at accident scenes pretending to be an insurance adjuster or an auto body shop or legitimate tow truck company to trick accident victims into signing a work order for a specific body shop or directing them to a certain body shop. By the time the insurance company gets involved, there’s a very large towing and storage bill to release the car and some insurance companies are refusing to pay it, leaving the owner on the hook, because it’s not part of claim, but fraudulent activity. The crash chasers are also involved in committing PIP fraud. State law in Florida’s no-fault car insurance system forces drivers to buy personal injury protection coverage. The coverage pays for injuries and lost wages up to $10,000 regardless of who is at fault in a crash. Criminals then stage fake accidents and submit fraudulent

injury claims, many times with the aid of doctors and other treatment providers. In May, Vincenzo Gurrera, owner of Collision World in Boynton Beach, was charged with impersonating an insurance adjuster at accident scenes to generate more business for his auto body shop by giving specific directions to people to take their cars to his shop for repairs. Those involved in the crashes told investigators they signed Gurrera’s release forms because they thought he was a legitimate insurance representative. In July, Gurrera was arrested again with new charges of insurance fraud. Floering says he had actually turned in this guy in one of his complaints to Internal Affairs. Floering says he participated in the investigation with the insurance companies. Autobody News will continue to invite comment from those named in the story.

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Mullin Museum Debuts 1939 Bugatti Coachbuild The long-awaited debut of Jean Bugatti’s final masterpiece, completed after 73 years, was finally unveiled at a motorsports gathering on August 17.

build, this event marked the first time in history Jean Bugatti’s final chassis will wear a streamlined, handcrafted body, a vision left unfulfilled for 73 years. Created in collaboration with the Mullin Automotive Museum, Stewart Reed Design and Automobile Metal Shaping Company, the new body pays homage to Jean Bugatti’s original concept. The handformed body, crafted using many of the same coachbuilding techniques employed in 1939, features numerous original styling cues including iconic papillion doors and an intriThe Mullin Automotive Mu- cate riveted body structure. seum, a Southern California institu“We’ve dedicated much of our tion devoted to the preservation of efforts at the museum to honor the French art and automobiles from the Bugatti family and the marque, but Art Deco era, announced the unveil- never have we done something of this ing of the virtually completed coach- scale,” said Peter Mullin, Chairman build of Jean Bugatti’s famed 1939 of the Mullin Automotive Museum. “I Bugatti Type 64 Coupe Chassis cannot imagine a greater token of re#64002 at The Quail, a motorsports spect to the Bugatti family than to gathering held on August 17 in Mon- help finish Jean Bugatti’s beloved terey, CA. final masterpiece.” First designed in 1939 by revered Visitors may view this remarkdesigner and engineer Jean Bugatti able piece of automotive history at Want to Contribute to this Southwest Edition? (1909-1939), Chassis #64002 was the Mullin Automotive Museum in never finished due to Bugatti’s tragic Oxnard, CA this fall. The auto is death during the road test of a Bugatti among the museum’s magnificent Type 57. After years of extensive re- collection of prewar coachbuilt autosearch, planning publisher@autobodynews.com and coachwork mobiles.

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Texas Body Shop Owner Creates Sculptures Out of Car Parts by Melanie Anderson

What with running his shop and being the town mayor, Johnny Anders, 62, owner of Anders Paint and Body Shop, at 701 N. Swenson in Stamford, TX, doesn’t have much free time on his hands. But when he does have free time, he puts it to good use, creating larger-than-life metal sculptures out of car parts.

Cindy and Johnny Anders

With no art background, Anders starting creating his whimsical sculptures from car parts back in the late 70s. He first created “Dino”—a 30foot long, 8-foot tall Brontosaurus, inspired by the large automobiles of the day—the Pontiacs and Buicks that were called dinosaurs because of their size and fuel consumption. The sculpture is mostly made out of control arms, rocker arms, leaf springs and a piece pipe for the spine.

The Dino sculpture is located in the city park with two other of his projects, a millipede made out of car wheels and a 40-foot-long praying mantis. Two of his sculptures are located alongside the highway, beckoning passersby to stop awhile and visit Anders’ small town, population 3,400, located in northern Jones County in West Texas.

His favorite and “most fun” piece, he says, is his ‘97 Chevrolet pickup. Street legal, the vehicle has two front ends. Anders enjoys driving it around town and it’s been dubbed with a couple of names: “Coming And Going” and “Push Me Pull Me.” Anders’ largest metal sculpture is his calling card—a 25-foot tall T-Rex that guards the front of his shop and makes his business easy to spot. It took Anders two years to build it during his spare time. The T-Rex is made out of leaf springs, oil pans, rocker arms and control arms out of various pickups and cars. Over the years, Anders has created six metal sculptures, including a giant spider, 60 feet across and 25 feet high, that sits alongside U.S. 277, looking spooky at night with glowing red LED lights for eyes. A 1957 or 1958 Isetta car serves as spider body and the legs are drill pipe. His latest piece of artwork is called “Bedlam” and is his version of Stonehenge. Made out of damaged and discarded pick up truck beds, he and his friends lined up 12 truck beds in a circle, trying to make it look like face of a clock. The truck beds were buried upright 18 inches into the ground and poured in concrete. The sculpture has become a place for the kids to graffiti, which is OK with him because it allows young people to come out and spray paint without harming anything. A tall cross made of chrome wheels stands in the middle of the pickup beds. For his next project, Anders is planning to create a huge Texas black beetle, also known as the stink bug. He will use an older Volkswagen and build legs from drive shafts and feet from brake shoes. As mayor of his town and a business owner, Anders doesn’t have much free time. “Operating a business and taking care of stuff, you don’t have a whole lot of time for it. I just do it in my spare time,” he says. “My dad was a city council member here for 12 years and he passed away in 1994. In

52 SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

1996, I got talked into running for a spot on the council and I’ve been the major for the last eight years.” As mayor, part of Anders’ job has been to clean up and beautify the city. Anders has lived in Stamford his whole life. In fact, he lives 100 yards from where he was born. “I wouldn’t live anywhere else. You know everyone by first name and they know you. It’s a good feeling.” Anders’ paternal grandfather, Fay Anders, arrived in Stamford in a cov-

ered wagon in 1923 and opened his first business, called “Limp In, Leap Out,” making minor repairs and fixing

flat tires. From the late 1930s to the mid 1950s, Fay’s Wrecking was one

of the largest wrecking yards in the entire Southwest. His granddad’s shop burned in the 1950s and his father opened another one down the street. His granddad had six boys, all who were in the body shop business, two now retired and the others have passed on. When Johnny Anders graduated from high school, his father tried to get him to go to college, but Anders just wanted to work on cars. Anders took over the business after the death of his father in 1994, and now he’s the only one left keeping the family business alive. Anders has a son and two daughters, all who have followed different career paths.

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Insurance Auto Auctions Donates $10,000 to CREF

Insurance Auto Auctions has contributed $10,000 to the Collision Repair Education Foundation. The contribution will support the Education Foundation’s Collision Repair Education Campaign fund, which allows the Foundation to provide its annual student scholarships, school grants and the yearly Ultimate Collision Education Makeover $50,000 grant. “IAA is proud to provide financial support that will help remove financial barriers to education and attract and inspire students to pursue career options in the collision industry,” said Donald J. Hermanek, chief client officer at Insurance Auto Auctions. “IAA values the important work the Collision Repair Education Foundation does in building awareness of the industry and rewarding those students who bring passion for their trade.” “Insurance Auto Auctions’s donation significantly helps our efforts in supporting secondary and postsecondary collision students and their school’s collision programs,” said Clark Plucinski, Collision Repair Education Foundation executive director.

LKQ Sweepstakes Grand Prize Winner Gets a Car

LKQ Corporation’s GetGreen Sweepstakes Grand Prize winner of a Chevy Cruze is Don K., parts manager at Fender Mender, Charleston, SC. Fender Mender is a regional collision repair shop serving the Charleston area, and is a customer of LKQ Savannah and Keystone Charleston. Fender Mender repairs over 2,700 cars a year and is one of the largest professional collision repair shop in the state of South Carolina. “We strive to provide our customers with timely, affordable and effective service in a friendly professional environment,” said Don K., who has over 35 years experience in the industry. As collision repair specialists, Fender Mender has been providing top quality auto body, paint and refinishing services for over 200,000 vehicles since 1987. Fender Mender is also recognized as a “Green Repair Shop.” The company has instituted a recycling program for hazardous wastes and excess materials from repairs. These materials are sent to processing centers and more than 75% of waste materials are recycled.

Toyota to Sell Hybrid Avalon in the Fall

Toyota will offer a gas-electric hybrid version of its all-new Avalon big sedan when the car comes out in the fall. Toyota says the new Avalon hybrid, with ample room for five people, will get 40 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving, and 39 mpg on the freeway. The standard Avalon will come with a 268 horsepower, 3.5-Liter V-6 engine that gets 25 miles per gallon in combined city-highway driving, and 31 on the freeway. The hybrid system has 200 horsepower and has two electric motor-generators and a gasoline engine. It runs mainly on a combination of gas and electricity, but can be all-electric for up to a mile at speeds under 25 mph. The hybrid could help boost sales of the Avalon, which is competing in a shrinking market for fullsize cars. Gas mileage is one reason that people have been downsizing from larger cars to midsize ones. Toyota said the Avalon, designed mainly in the U.S., will ride and handle better than the current version, and it's also quieter. No prices have been released for either Avalon model. The current Avalon starts at $33,195.

VSG Invests in Manufacture Updates, Expansions

Vehicle Service Group (VSG), parent company of leading vehicle service equipment manufacturers Rotary Lift®, Chief™ Automotive Technologies, Forward® Lift, Direct Lift®, Revolution® Lift, Hanmecson®, Nogra® and Blitz®, is making substantial investments in its global manufacturing facilities. The company is investing more than $1 million in its North American manufacturing facility this year, and recently broke ground for a 54,000-square-foot expansion of its Asian manufacturing facility. VSG is installing a new laser manufacturing system and two additional CNC machining centers in its North American facility. The investments are designed to improve responsiveness to customer orders, reduce manufacturing costs, increase the facility’s productivity, and provide capacity for future market growth. Expanding the Asian facility is expected to increase manufacturing capacity by more than 80 percent. Construction is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2012, with production ramping up next spring.

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www.autobodynews.com | SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS 53


Indiana Auto Body Association’s Parts Procurement and Insurer Interference Survey Results In mid-July the IABA conducted a member survey they called a Parts Procurement and Insurer Interference Survey which was responded to by hundreds of shops. Tony Passwater, Executive Director of IABA, wrote in summary: “There is no doubt the Parts Trader is attempting to transform our part procurement process into an ebay type environment, so the “cut-throating” can continue. This will only take away another piece of revenue/profit our businesses have relied upon for a sustainable future. Even though we have “ignorantly” agreed to so many concessions over the years, thinking we would get more work in our doors, isn’t it time to just say “No” ? Survey questions and results are tabulated herein (bars are not to scale):

1) Do you believe the PartsTrader program is designed to improve your efficiency?

Yes

1.4%

No

98.6%

2) Do you feel the PartsTrader program has benefits for collision repairers? Yes

3.5%

No

96.5%

3) Do you believe any third party has the right to mandate the usage of a parts ordering program? Yes

2.1%

No

97.9%

4) Do you believe the vehicle owner will benefit from using the PartsTrader program? Yes

0%

No

100%

5) Do you believe the PartsTrader program will improve the OEM parts distribution process? Yes

0.7%

No

99.3%

6) Would you use the PartsTrader program if you had a choice to do so? Efficiency 0%

Their Profits

100%

7) Do you believe State Farm is attempting to require the usage of this program because of efficiency or just their profits? Yes

2.1%

No

97.9%

81.9% of the shops responding to the survey had been in business for 15 or more years. There are extensive comments on the survey available at the IABA website: www.iaba.info. To contact IABA: President Mike Hartman, Hartman Auto Body, (260) 837-2802 1st Vice President John Idzik See IABA Survey, Page 56

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WIN Awards Two Top Female SkillsUSA Winners

For the sixth year in a row, the Women’s Industry Network (WIN) has awarded scholarships to the two top scoring female winners at SkillsUSA to attend NACE. This year’s recipients are Jessica Crowley, who placed third in the automotive refinishing technology category, and Kristina Shaver, who is the high scorer in the collision repair technology category. The WIN scholarship includes airfare, lodging and associated expenses, as well as a full access NACE Expo Pass provided by the Automotive Management Institute (AMI) and ASA. Additionally, Crowley and Shaver will be honored at the ASA sponsored industry awards ceremony on October. They will also receive a 2012 WIN membership. Crowley is a native of Boise, ID and entered the collision industry by enrolling in the College of Western Idaho’s auto body and collision program. Following her 2012 graduation, she began working as a lead commercial painter for Wrecker Sales in Mountain Home. “It’s the people I have met along the way that have made this neverending journey rewarding,” said Crowley. “I wake up every morning with the question of what I can do for someone else, and

this attitude is what has propelled this troublemaker to turn it all around and have a fulfilling career in the automotive industry.” She is currently completing her associate’s degree in applied science at College of Western Idaho. Shaver is a second year collision repair student at Baker College in Flint, MI. “I have loved cars and working on them my whole life,” she said. “As much as auto body repair is about returning vehicles to given specifications, it’s also an art form.” A native of Birch Run, MI, Shaver is currently employed at Golden Elm Dairy. “The WIN NACE scholarship goes to the heart of WIN’s mission to support and encourage women who are entering the industry, particularly those in the technical ranks. Surrounded by our amazing WIN members, this scholarship has consistently been a wonderful way to introduce young women to the collision industry,” said Teresa Bolton, Win’s scholarship co-chair and treasurer.

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Registration Up for Repairer Driven Education at SEMA

The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) has announced that registration for the Repairer Driven Education (RDE) series at the 2012 SEMA Show is up nearly 300 percent year-to-date over last year. “The first two years of the RDE program brought a lot of very positive response from the attendees, and we believe that the numbers clearly indicate that our program at the SEMA Show is delivering exactly what the industry is looking for right now,” said SCRS Chairman Aaron Clark. “We've worked hard to put together a program that specifically addresses solutions to existing business conditions.” SCRS also reports an uptick in the number of MSOs and international automotive businesses participating in RDE. International repairers currently signed up for the 2012 RDE represent more than a dozen different countries. SCRS believes that the growth in both of these types of participants reflects the universal relevance of the issues addressed in the RDE sessions and Give us your opinion on the benefit the information holds for collision businesses regardless of location, business model or size.

Automotive Service & Repair Week (ASRW) announced that I-CAR has released its training schedule for this year’s event and will provide 11 training classes Oct. 10-12 at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, LA. Each instructor-led (live) class will be four hours in duration. I-CAR returns to the event this year with some of its newest training, such as the premiere of its Blueprinting Process and Damage Discovery (BLU01) course. During this “livedemo” course, students will learn how blueprinting can lead to more accurate damage assessments and gain insights into applying the blueprinting process in their own shop environments. The live-demo will include the disassembly of a vehicle and steps to discover hidden damage. The blueprinting course will take place Thursday, Oct. 11, and Friday, Oct. 12, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on the ASRW show floor and will have a maximum of 15 students per session. “Offering I-CAR training courses at ASRW is a huge valueadd to attendees, and we’re pleased matters affecting the industry. to once again partner with them in this capacity,” said Ron Pyle, ASA president.

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www.autobodynews.com | SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS 55


Auto Industry Customer Satisfaction Hits 20-Year High

Customer satisfaction with major automakers has hit a high point in the nearly 20 years since such data has been tracked by the American Customer Satisfaction Index. The survey compiles data from approximately 70,000 customer interviews and measures customer satisfaction with more than 225 companies in 47 industries. The auto industry achieved an overall ranking of 84 out of 100, tying 2009 for its best-ever mark. But this year’s performance is the industry’s most impressive, because customer satisfaction was artificially high in 2009, said David VanAmburg, managing director of ACSI, based near Ann Arbor, MI. In 2009, customers were happy because vehicle prices hit rock bottom when the U.S. government launched the cash-for-clunkers incentives in the summer of 2009. Prices have since rebounded— but consumers still are satisfied. ACSI measures three-year satisfaction among new vehicle buyers. “The automakers are paying more attention to improving the quality of the vehicles themselves. This might be a little more real, a little more sustainable,” VanAmburg said. Six of the nine domestic auto Continued from Page 54

IABA Survey

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brands improved from 2011 to 2012: The Jeep brand rose from a score of 79 to 83, while Dodge edged up from 79 to 81. The Chrysler brand went from 76 to 78—though still ranked at the bottom of the industry. “Obviously there are lots of indicators that Chrysler has been improving,” VanAmburg said. “Its financials have been showing that; its sales are up. They had such a gap with Ford and GM. They’ve closed that gap, but there’s still some ground to make up.” Ford’s Lincoln brand, which is in the early stages of a makeover, had the best score, at 90. But VanAmburg cautioned that its declining sales in recent years helped its score. Despite improvement among the domestic brands, foreign companies still lead. Toyota’s Lexus luxury brand was second-best at 89, up 2 points. Subaru (87), BMW (86), Hyundai (85), Mercedes-Benz (85), Toyota (85) and Volkswagen (85) all beat the industry average. GM’s Buick posted the third-best score at 87, up 2 points. Chevrolet rose 2 points to 84, while Cadillac slipped a point to 86. Ford brand fell a point behind Chevrolet to 83. Nissan (83), Kia (82) and Mazda (82) all trailed the industry average.

Diamond Collision, (317) 272-6820 Secretary/Treasurer Lora Hackleman-Ehrenberg, Hackleman Auto (317) 272-2225 Executive Director Tony Passwater AEII, (317) 290-0611

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PPG Teams with Auto Claim Solutions on Mgmt System

Insurers Move to End Antitrust Suit Against Them

Allstate, GEICO, State Farm and Liberty Mutual have moved to end an antitrust case against them for conspiring to use inferior crash parts, arguing that the plaintiffs’ expert witness testimony is so unreliable it nullifies the individual claims, just as occurred this month in the now-defunct class action. The insurers have asked a federal court in California to toss out all claims in the individual plaintiffs’ suit. The court earlier refused to certify the suit as a class action because the judge found that the plaintiff’s expert witness, former California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) investigator Allen Wood, failed to provide an admissible methodology for establishing which categories of non-OEM parts are generally inferior to OEM. The lawsuit claims the insurers substitute low-cost and inferior parts (including some certified by the Certified Automotive Parts Association, also named as a defendant in the suit), unfairly competing against insurers that are using higher-quality parts and thus conspiring to short-change consumers who pay for “high-quality coverage.”

PPG Industries automotive refinish business has recently teamedup with Auto Claim Solutions, a Texas-based vehicle repair information company, to create a joint partnership designed to provide collision centers with an advanced integrated repair management system. The goal of the partnership is to allow collision repairers to leverage and integrate the PAINTMANAGER(TM) program from PPG with the REPAIR TRACKER INTERACTIVE(TM) body shop management system provided by Auto Claim Solutions. Combined, these two powerful tools can significantly increase repair productivity and operational efficiency. PPG’s PaintManager program combines the accuracy and efficiency of computerized color mixing with several comprehensive reporting and tracking features. When used in conjunction with PPG’s paint shop interface tool, ROCO, the two systems combine to share critical information between the front office and the paint production team, thus streamlining the workflow.

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Man Accused in Connection with Counterfeit Auto Parts

A man who works as a mechanic in a Charlotte, NC, body shop is accused of running a multi-state counterfeit auto parts ring, and federal agents are investigating if customers are driving around with fake airbags in their vehicles. Homeland Security agents said Igor Borodin, who lives in a new house in a quiet subdivision, played a critical role in distributing fake auto parts throughout the southeastern United States. Federal agents stacked dozens of boxes on Borodin’s driveway, each one believed to contain counterfeit auto parts. The operation involved Homeland Security agents from North and South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. Agents collected evidence from the house for eight hours. The owner of Krugger Auto in North Charlotte said Borodin works as a mechanic in his body shop. He said federal agents told him they believed Borodin was dealing in fake airbags, and asked for receipts and other documentation. The owner, who did not want to be named, said he’s cooperating fully with investigators and will do whatever they ask of him.

Auto Parts Yard is the Scene of Murder by Security Guard

A security guard with a criminal record has been charged with murder in the death of a 26-year-old man whose body was found in an auto parts yard in Fulton County in Atlanta, GA. Fulton County police arrested Marvin Copeland, 46, of College Park, in the deadly shooting of Daniel Exum, spokesman Sgt. Scott McBride said. He was charged with murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, Sgt. McBride said. Though it was unclear what the convicted felon was doing with a weapon, it was also unclear what prompted the deadly shooting. And police have yet to determine what the victim was doing at the location, which is owned by the suspect’s brother. “Mr. Copeland is the brother of the business owner and was working security on the property overnight,” Sgt. McBride said. Still, he did not know the details of what transpired before the shooting. Around 8:30 a.m., a passerby spotted the man’s body just inside All Start Automotive and called police, Sgt. McBride said.

Hyundai Settles Airbag Lawsuit for Crossovers

Consumer rights law firm Hagens Berman recently reached a settlement with Hyundai for a lawsuit regarding faulty airbags in the auto manufacturer’s Sante Fe crossover vehicles. The lawsuit alleged that airbags in some 2007-2009 Hyundai Santa Fe crossover vehicles failed to deploy during certain types of collisions. The settlement allows owners to return defective vehicles if the company cannot repair them through a software upgrade, Hagens Berman said. Hagens Berman said Hyundai has ordered a recall of roughly 200,000 vehicles in response to the lawsuit. The recall is the latest in a series of recalls by Hyundai, which have amounted to about 1.3 million vehicles since 2006. The recall will occur even if the court does not approve the settlement. “We negotiated a settlement that is very favorable to consumers, giving Hyundai owners the ability to return their vehicle if the settlement’s software upgrade does not fully solve the problem,” said Rob Carey, attorney for Hagens Berman.

CARSTAR Annual Event Set for Sept. 22 in San Antonio

CARSTAR will hold its annual conference in San Antonio, TX, September 22-25 at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa. The Conference will include a vendor expo featuring manufacturers and service providers in the industry, a keynote address by nationally recognized Afterburner, a team of real fighter pilots who deliver powerful leadership seminars, and a general session address by five industry experts: Greg Horn, Mitchell VP of Industry Relations; Robb Knott, Nationwide Insurance Claims Director; Jeff Peevy, I-CAR Director of Field Operations; Vincent Romans, CEO of the The Romans Group LLC; Matthew Ohrnstein, Managing Director of Symphony Advisors LLC. More than 350 store owners and employees will join the CARSTAR corporate leadership team to plan for the growth of CARSTAR in the years ahead, celebrate the successes of the CARSTAR store owners, participate in training programs and share time together as North America’s largest MSO network. CARSTAR also is expecting claim executives from a majority of the top 20 personal auto insurers to be in attendance.

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www.autobodynews.com | SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS 57


California Department of Insurance Holds Hearing on “Workmanlike Repairs” and Aftermarket Parts, Insurers Object to Shop Benefits The California Department of Insurance (CDI) held a hearing Aug. 9 in Sacramento to review newly proposed regulations to clarify “workmanlike auto body repairs” and the use of aftermarket crash parts. The Department says the proposed regulations, under Article 6.5 of the Insurance Code, Unfair Practices, are meant to provide increased protection for the public from “financial and physical harms caused by inferior repairs or defective aftermarket parts and to maintain insurer accountability in the process.” The Department of Insurance expects that the proposed regulations will create only insignificant cost impacts on insurers, but insurers dispute this. The proposed changes are meant to clarify what it means to prepare an estimate in an amount sufficient to have repairs completed in a “workmanlike manner.” The existing problem, according to the department, is that when a manufacturer or estimating provider outlines a procedure to complete a particular repair, “the insurer may refuse to include the time or parts necessary to complete the repair in a way that is compliant with the repair standard in the estimate. This causes the estimate prepared by the insurer to be insufficient to comply with the statutory requirement.” The regulations clarify that insurer-written estimates must be prepared in an amount that will allow for repairs to be made “in accordance with accepted trade standards for good and workmanlike automotive repairs

by an auto body repair shop,” and that “No insurer shall willfully depart from or disregard [accepted trade standards] in the preparation of claim settlement offers” and “An insurer shall not prepare an estimate that is less favorable to the claimant than the standards, costs, and guidelines provided by the [estimating system]. Another change of particular interest would require the shop estimate to function as the starting point for any insurer adjustments. This effectively allows the insurer only to “red line” a shop estimate, striking out what it proposes not to pay for, rather than writing an entirely new estimate for the adjusted amount. The insurer would then be required to provide its customer with the edited copy of the estimate written by the shop of their choice. The department says this amendment “is reasonably necessary to allow both the consumer and the auto body repair shop to identify specifically where those adjustments have been made...” The balance of the proposed changes deal more specifically with aftermarket parts. Those changes would mandate: • that insurers disclose in writing, on any insurer-prepared estimate that specifies aftermarket parts, that they warrant those parts as “like kind, quality, safety, fit, and performance” as OEM parts. • that should an insurer have “implied, actual, or constructive knowledge” that a specified aftermarket

Luxury Cars Stolen from Auto Body Shop in RI

At least five luxury vehicles were recently stolen from a Providence, RI, auto body shop. The owner of Rego’s Auto Body on Chalkstone Avenue says he noticed high-priced models like Mercedes, Lexus and BMW missing when he arrived at work Monday, August 20. He also noticed the back side of his fenced-in lot had been busted open. Neighbors, like Raymond Moulton, says he can remember a time when stolen cars would be dumped in the neighborhood, but says cars were never stolen from there. “Over the last three, four years, there’s never been anything stolen,”

Moulton said, “There’s no more stolen cars here. It’s actually a nice neighborhood now.” The owner says he has been at this location for 24 years, but has never had anything like this happen before. That same day police had recovered at least one of the vehicles, but they were still looking for suspects.

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part is not equal to the OEM in terms of quality, safety, fit, and performance, the insurer shall immediately cease specifying the use of that part and shall notify the estimating software provider and request this part be removed from the estimating software. The insurer would also be required to notify the distributor, manufacturer, and, if applicable, any certifying entity. In addition, the insurer specifying a part later found to be defective would be responsible for any costs associated with removing and replacing the part with either a compliant non-OEM part or an OEM part. The Department says, “Performing repairs in a manner that is not compliant with current repair standards or placing an inferior aftermarket part in a vehicle may result the vehicle’s value to depreciate. Also, a part that is not of like kind, quality, safety, fit, and performance may cause injury or even death if it malfunctions.” The department explains, “After several years of evaluating this law

and investigating complaints from the consumers and auto repair shops, The Department of Insurance has concluded that disputes regarding the true cost of repairs of damaged vehicles and the applicable repair standard required to comply with the current regulation continue to negatively effect the claims handling process. Additionally, aftermarket parts that are not compliant with the current regulations continue to infiltrate the repair process threatening public safety. The Department is also aware of substantial costs borne by auto repair shops and their customers associated with installing defective or poorly fitting parts required by insurers.” The proposed amendments are intended to address these and related issues, the Department said. “...the added disclosures and reporting safeguards provided by the proposed amendments increase the overall transparency in the insurance claims transaction and maintain insurers’ accountability in the process.”


An Accident is No Laughing Matter When it Comes to Lost Keys by Melanie Anderson

The day of my memorable accident was nearly foretold—it began with startling news and ended with lost keys. And, yes, there was a bang in there too. First thing that morning, my teenage daughter hit me with the surprising news: she no longer wanted my beloved 2004 Kia Sorento. I had offered to give her my mid-sized SUV when she got her driver’s license. Instead, she was opting for her grandparents’ Dodge Intrepid that was nearly as old as she was but still had low miles as her 90-year-old paternal grandparents didn’t drive it anymore. I was heartbroken at this news. I thought she loved my car as much as I did. Our Sorento had safely transported us up and down the state of California on many long drives. We lived in the foothills of the gold country, and since Lake Tahoe was practically in our back yard, we often drove further into the Sierra mountains for day trips. That car routinely carried teenagers, football, volleyball and softball gear, teammates, friends. That

car was a testament to the story of our lives. I even drove it in the snow, and being a native southern California girl, I didn’t enjoy it one bit. In response to her shocking news, I made a declaration: “Fine! I will keep that car until its dying breath!” Maybe I shouldn’t have said that. A few hours later, I got caught in heavy, stop-and-go traffic near

2004 Kia Sorento after the fateful car fire

midtown Sacramento on Business I80 and rear-ended a vehicle as I attempted to pass. I swear, we were going slow, so it wasn’t that big of a Genuine Nissan and Infiniti OEM Wholesale Parts are superbly crafted to strict quality standards. The following dealers proudly stock genuine parts. Call your local distributor today!

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bump. Instead of pulling over, the guy gets out of his car while we’re still in the slow lane! Who gets out of a car in the middle of traffic? Annoyed, I waved him over. I remained calm as I followed him to the side of the road. I remained calm as I bent down to retrieve the insurance information out of the glove box underneath the passenger seat. I must have noticed the smoke just then, because I got out of the car without the paperwork, but I am not sure, because in all my calmness, I may have actually been going into shock. We stood next to my car—me, the guy I hit, and his wife. I watched the flames shooting out beneath the bent hood, and I was mesmerized, like watching a campfire. The other woman started freaking out, jumping up and down and screaming at her husband to move their car away from my burning vehicle. I calmly watched the flames, until I heard my inner voice yell, “THE CAR IS ON FIRE!” I jumped into action then, reaching back into the car for my phone and purse. I walked away, a little worried the car might explode, because that’s what happens in the movies. But I really had nowhere to go. Behind me, the roadside disappeared into a freeway bridge and that wasn’t safe either. I stopped short of the bridge, putting a little distance between me and the car fire, to start making phone calls. First, I called 911 to report the fire. Of course, the operator wanted to know where I was. I knew exactly where I was. I had driven this stretch of road hundreds of times. I had done this commute for years. But I struggled to tell her the location. My brain had shut down. First, I told her the wrong freeway, then I told her the wrong direction. Finally, I managed to blurt out that the Sutter Cancer Center was behind me. Then I called a friend to come pick me up. Meanwhile, a semi truck pulled over and the driver ran to my baby with a fire extinguisher, but it did nothing to dampen the flames. The

next vehicle to pull over was a fire truck! A waterless fire truck, it turns out. The firefighters jumped into action anyway, opening all the doors to my vehicle and throwing things onto the side of the road. They grabbed my case of CDs and I wondered why they would risk their lives for old CDs. I still thought the car might explode. But, while they were at it, I called out “Get my portfolio! Get my briefcase!” Then the police and another fire truck arrived. I missed the excitement of watching them put out the fire because I was talking to the police and the other driver. Soon, everyone was gone, except for me and one police officer. I was feeling a bit shaky by then. Someone had called a tow truck and the driver came to ask me for my keys. Meanwhile, my friend was trying to find me and was on the wrong side of the freeway. The cop didn’t want him pulling over at the scene and made arrangements for the tow truck driver to drop me off at a nearby exit where my friend would be waiting. It was sad to see my lovely car up on the racks of the tow truck and I averted my eyes from the damage, the ash, the blackened engine and hood. As I heaved myself and all my belongings up into the tow truck, I realized then how sore I was from the accident. And then I started to cry. (It’s what girls do.) I knew I was making the tow truck driver uncomfortable, but I couldn’t stop sobbing. By then, the shock had worn off. He kept looking at me anxiously, evidently nervous about having a crying woman in his cab. To make matters worse, he was getting radio calls from all the other truck drivers in the area. Apparently, my car fire had caused quite a stir among the other tow truck drivers. Embarrassed by all the radio chatter, he denied rumors of having my car while glancing worriedly at me. I felt sorry for him. I’m sure he wasn’t expecting me riding shotgun that day. Although I was still crying, my inner funny bone was taking it all in and somewhere inside I was laughing hysterically. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized the tow truck driver hadn’t returned my keys. It seemed like a long story to explain how I lost my keys. “Just say you lost your keys, mom,” my daughter advised. “No one is going to believe this story.”

www.autobodynews.com | SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS 59


Florida Autobody Collision Alliance Reports Labor Rate Gaps The Florida Autobody Collision Alliance (FACA) recently commissioned a collision repair labor rate survey and the association reports that insurance company labor rates lag behind collision center costs. The labor rates that insurance companies pay body shops to repair damaged vehicles aren’t high enough to cover the cost of repairs, according to a survey of nearly 300 collision-repair facilities across the state. The 2012 Florida Labor Rate Survey, released in late July, shows that while materials, labor and equipment costs continue to rise steadily, insurance company labor rates are not keeping pace and, in many areas, have not increased in nearly seven years. “FACA is grateful for the participation of so many shops and we’re pleased to be able to provide this information to the collision-repair industry,” said Cathy Mills, FACA’s executive director. “But to most of us, this is not news—we’ve seen costs rise and margins shrink year after year with no movement on labor rates.” Every year, the cost of doing business continues to rise for body shop owners. Paint and material costs, for example, increase each year, sometimes twice in a year. Paint costs rose for body shops by at least 3.9 percent over the prior year, with some shops seeing up to a 7.8 percent increase.

Without reasonable and regular increases in the amount insurance companies pay to repair vehicles, body shops are finding it harder to recover repair costs. Shrinking margins make it much more difficult to attract and retain skilled technicians or to keep pace with the advanced equipment and training needed to work on today’s newer vehicles. The 2012 Florida Labor Rate Survey was conducted by CSi Complete to ensure unbiased data collection and reporting. Launched in March, the survey asked hundreds of repair shops the following questions: 1. Is your shop an independent or dealership shop? 2. What is your retail hourly body labor rate? 3. What is your retail hourly frame/structural labor rate? 4. What is your retail hourly paint/refinish labor rate? 5. What is your retail hourly paint material rate? 6. Do you use a Paint & Material Calculator such as PMC Logic, Mitchell RMC or Paint Logic? 7. What is your retail hourly mechanical labor rate? 8. Do you have a certified aluminum structural repair area? 9. What is your daily storage rate? 10. What is the total number of technicians employed (body, paint and mechanical)?

New Website for Labor Rate Survey

Collision repair professionals have a new tool when it comes to assessing labor rates. International Research Incorporated has launched a website that allows repairers to fill out surveys on labor rates. The service is not associated with or funded by any insurance company. Repairers may fill out surveys for free. There is a small annual fee to view the results of the surveys. See bodyshopratesurvey.com. The survey site does insist on shop identification, but only to ensure that each shop only fills out one

survey and that the submitted rates are included in the correct geographic area. Names of shops or individuals are never published. Each month, the site allows shops from a small number of states to participate. A full year covers the entire U.S. Some may worry that the purpose of such a site is to aid collusion. However, the site itself warns participants not to discuss certain topics with other survey participants, as doing so is a violation of certain U.S. antitrust laws.

11. How many total square feet in your shop? 12. What is the gross annual sales for your shop? 13. What percent is DRP? 14. How many work stalls?

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Insurance Lobby Says Proposed Regulations from California Department of Insurance “Damage Ability to Control Costs” Industry trade groups went to the California capital to protest the state Department of Insurance’s (CDI) proposed regulations governing autobody repairs and the use of aftermarket replacement car parts. Officials issued a notice in June (see autobodynews.com) that it was seeking to change state standards of repair and use of aftermarket parts by clarifying insurers’ obligations during the repair process. Officials called it an effort to address “disputes regarding the true cost of repairs of damaged vehicles and the applicable repair standard” that “continue to negatively affect the claims-handling process.” The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America issued the following news release in response to CDI’s proposed regulations: “New regulations proposed by the California Department of Insurance could severely damage automobile insurers’ ability to contain auto body repair costs by removing checks and balances from the system. Consumers will pay the price for these bi-

ased regulations that favor body shops and original equipment manufacturers through more expensive auto repair costs that could eventually increase premiums, said the Association of California Insurance Companies (ACIC). ACIC testified in opposition to the regulations REG-2011-00024 during a hearing at the California Department of Insurance in Sacramento. “These regulations essentially allow the auto body repair shops to “name their own price,” charging whatever they want for auto repairs and insurers will be required by these regulations to pay,” said Armand Feliciano, ACIC vice president. “Insurers pay for approximately 90 percent of the auto body repairs in the nation. The current free market system provides checks and balances by allowing the parties to work together to determine prices for auto repairs and parts—these regulations will undermine insurers’ ability to manage costs and basically provide auto body shops a blank check. These regulations completely ignore the fact that auto body

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shops are vendors with a financial stake in the system, not consumers. It is not the role of the insurance commissioner to interfere in the free market system and propose regulations that will financially benefit one party (auto body shops) at the expense of policyholders.” A 2011 study by Vincent J. Romans of The Romans Group used 2010 data and reported there are 20,000,000 auto accidents annually. 73 percent of accidents are covered by insurance. The total paid by insurers for auto accidents was $50.8 billion. The total paid by consumers was $2.7 billion. The total paid for auto repair was $31 billion. Insurers paid 90 percent of those repair costs. Of equal concern are the provisions concerning aftermarket parts, “”Commissioner Jones is effectively preventing the use of after-market parts which provide an affordable alternative to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. These regulations erroneously require insurers to perform duties that should be handled by the manufacturers or distributors of aftermarket parts,” said Feliciano. “The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) estimates that OEM parts are 60 percent more expensive than aftermarket parts and if these regulations take effect and aftermarket parts are not used in California the cost of auto repair could increase by $379.9 million per year. If original auto parts are allowed to dominate the market, each Californian with auto insurance could see their premiums rise by $26.00. Given the fragile economy why mandate certain parts that will increase costs to consumers? It is a fact that aftermarket parts provide competition to original auto parts, which helps keep the cost of repairs reasonable. Aftermarket parts serve the same function as generic drugs; they give consumers an alternative to the high cost of brand name drugs.” Among many new ‘vague and burdensome’ provisions, these proposed regulations will: ● Mandate that insurer estimates for repair must be in the amount in “accordance with accepted trade standards.” The auto body shops will establish these standards. ● Insurers will be disallowed from preparing an estimate that is less favorable to the claimant than the standards,

costs and guidelines provided by thirdparty repair estimating software. ● Require insurers to pay the cost of any “inspections and tests” of nonoriginal equipment manufacturer (nonOEM) replacement crash parts. ● Require insurers to stop using non-OEM parts if they have knowledge that such parts are not equal to OEM parts and require insurers to notify the estimating software provider and request this part be removed from their list. Insurers must also notify the certifying entity and the distributor if the insurer thinks the part is defective. ● Insurers will be required to pay the costs of returning a non-OEM part and pay the costs of removing and replacing the part if the part is thought to be not equal to OEM parts. “These regulations are a blatant attempt to create new law via the regulatory process. Commissioner Jones and the Department of Insurance do not have the authority to regulate standards for repairs and use of aftermarket parts,” said Feliciano. “ACIC’s regulatory comments document how the legal foundation of these regulations fails to meet the necessity, authority, clarity, consistency and reference standards under the California Administrative Procedures Act.” “These regulations remove consumer choice by squarely placing the auto body shops in total control of the auto repair process disregarding the legitimate interests of policyholders, insurers, parts manufacturers and parts distributors,” said Feliciano. “Currently consumers have a choice to use original or aftermarket parts. The Department is proposing regulations that will stick California drivers with higher repair costs and fewer choices just to benefit auto body shops. It is seriously irresponsible to propose a law that allows one party to control the process and a law that the Department cannot enforce.”

Competitive Crash Parts - At a Glance ● PCI estimates that the availability of quality competitive replacement parts saved consumers more than $2.3 billion dollars in insurance costs per year nationwide. ● Alternative collision repair parts are anywhere from 26 to 50 percent less expensive than parts issued by automobile See Lobby Says, Page 63

www.autobodynews.com | SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS 61


AASP Illinois’ Statement Officially Opposing PartsTrader AASPI released the following statement on July 23: After several weeks’ consideration, the AASPI Board of Directors has determined that it will stand with AASP National, SCRS, and many other state and regional collision repair associations who now openly oppose the intrusion of yet another insurer-engineered system into the business of collision repair. PartsTrader has been touted as a mechanism that improves process efficiency while not much has been said by its promoters about profitability. State Farm’s George Avery and PartsTrader make claims of “Win–Win– Win” scenarios for repairers, parts vendors and insurers. Yet, parts vendors and repairers who have been inContinued from Cover

Pilitz Acquittal

at trial that she was only trying to obtain what she was entitled to under the law. A key witness was Robert Hochberg, a GEICO claims supervisor, who testified that in two separate phone calls, Ms. Pilitz stated she had paid applicable New York sales tax when she registered her car from her company’s name to her name and that she was seeking reimbursement from GEICO for that cost, around $990.

Hochberg further testified that he then checked with the DMV and found that no such tax had been paid, and reported that to the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office. At trial, however, Ms. Pilitz and her lawyer, Oscar Michelen of Cuomo, LLC in Mineola, NY, produced a tape recording of both conversations with Hochberg that showed Ms. Pilitz had never made any such attempt and that, in fact, Ms. Pilitz stated that she had not yet registered the vehicle in her name so that the sales tax would not apply. “In talking to the jury afterward, they felt the tape was certainly pow-

volved, point out the added labor to operate within the cumbersome system and the time lost waiting for the bidding process to work—actually costs them both time and money. Additionally, in a report recently generated by SCRS, of repairers who have dealt with this system since 2003—“There was not a single shop that didn’t regret accepting the new process in their business… nor a single shop that did not feel it opened the door to further insurer influence over their business.” Despite abject failures in all pilot areas and despite industry-wide resistance to this program by repairers, associations and parts vendors—State Farm fully intends to implement it. George Avery indicated as much with

erful evidence,” said Michelen. “But overall, even without the tape, they felt there was no evidence that Ms. Pilitz was trying to do anything wrong. There was so little evidence of any wrongdoing in this case that I don’t know how it got out of the grand jury, never mind all the way to trial.” According to Michelen, about 10 jury members chatted with Pilitz for more than an hour after the verdict was rendered. “I’ve tried a lot of cases, but have never seen a jury be this supportive of an accused person after the trial. They mostly just want to get home,” Michelen said. “This jury, however, wanted to let Ms. Pilitz know that they understood that she should never have been arrested or prosecuted at all.” The DA’s office also charged Ms. Pilitz with possession of a forged instrument when it found a DMV form in her shop bearing her father’s signature, which they claimed was forged. The judge presiding over the case, the Honorable George Peck, dismissed that charge for lack of evidence before jury deliberations began. “It’s a total vindication for me and my company,” said Ms. Pilitz. “I have had to fight GEICO and other insurers and several incorporated villages for years just to let me run my business. “I was paid monetary damages as well as given tow agreements. I had the highest sealed bid to tow in Rockville Centre, but they took it away from me and gave the bid to an all-male towing company. All the towers who presided at the opening of the

62 SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com

a most revealing comment at a July Collision Industry Conference forum. “There is going to come a time, my guess is, that when these things are fixed and there’s going to come a time when I will say to you as a businessman, ‘Yes, this is the program,’ Avery said. “Then you, as a businessperson that’s on Select Service, will have to decide if Select Service is right for you.” At that same meeting, one pilot repairer [Dan Hunsaker, from Tucson, AZ] said, “I feel like the donkey that got dumped into the Kentucky Derby,” and that he “has to have a parts employee at the computer about six hours a day to manage the program… That represents about $50,000 a year out of my pocket to administer

bids could not believe what [had] just [taken] place. ‘This time, though, they nearly put me out of business with these charges, which should have never been brought in the first place. I’m so thankful that this jury understood what was going on and threw the whole case out.”

the program.” Repairers work hard for every dime they get. Over the last two decades profit margins have become thinner as repairers have become more burdened with administrative tasks. Repairers have been taught to do more work for less compensation. With that bit of brainwashing done—PartsTrader and State Farm now expect they can cajole repairers to willingly do even more work for even less money. State Farm and PartsTrader are giving repairers manacles (handcuffs) and asking that they be worn proudly as though they are jewelry. AASPI encourages its members to wisely consider whether this insurance “partnership” has instead turned out to be a “slave ship.”

Burglary at PA Body Shop

Police are investigating a burglary at Kelley Auto Body, 2238 Riverside Drive, Steel City, PA. The Lower Saucon Township business was the scene of a forced entry burglary during the overnight hours of Aug. 15, township police said. Police identified the victim of the burglary as John Kelley, of the same address.

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California’s Proposition 33’s Price Setting Controversy, Lawsuit to Rewrite Proposition 33 Fails, Joseph of Mercury Insurance Spends $8.3M A proposition on the November ballot in California is getting a lot of attention from people on both sides of the insurance pricing issue. However, a lawsuit filed by supporters of Proposition 33 in late July over the official wording of the measure has been thrown out by a California Superior Court judge. Proposition 33 is an initiative aimed at maintaining discount auto insurance for people that switch car insurance companies but still keep continuous coverage. And it happens to be backed by the chairman of Mercury General Corp to the tune of $8.3 million. Basically, for each year you are with your insurance company and are continuously insured, you get a loyalty discount, but if you switch companies, you don’t. So, say you are with Allstate and you switch to Nationwide; even if you have been continuously insured since you were 16, you will not get a discount for continuous coverage. This proposition would change that. However, opponents point out that it would do something that would

radically change the industry—insurance companies could surcharge people who didn’t have insurance in the past. This has lead to claims of unfairness, with opponents saying the bill would disproportionately affect lowincome and new drivers. And this new ability for the insurance companies to determine prices based on previous coverage would alter the current law on guidelines for calculating rates. “The [failure of the lawsuit] was the campaign’s second failure in two days to convince a court to hide facts about Prop 33 from the Official Ballot Pamphlet sent to all California voters,” according to Consumer Watchdog, which has vehemently opposed the proposition, as well as the similar Prop. 17 on the 2010 ballot. Prop. 33’s proponents appealed a decision by a Superior Court judge denying the campaign’s effort to edit the language of the Attorney General’s ballot label and title and summary, which read: “Changes current law to allow insurance companies to set prices based

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on whether the driver previously carried auto insurance with any insurance company.” Prop. 33 backers opposed the language because according to them it conveys the idea that the measure would allow insurers to set prices, something that is prohibited by California law.

ary driver characteristics. But Prop. 33 would add another factor to the 24-year-old set of guidelines governing how rates are calculated, and this is fueling the controversy. The fact that Prop. 33 will give insurance companies new power to increase premiums for good drivers led the California Democratic Party to vote to oppose Prop. 33 at its recent Executive Board meeting. Proposition 33 is funded 99% by George Joseph, whose company Mercury Insurance has a “deserved reputation for abusing its customers and intentionally violating the law with arrogance and indifference,” according to the California Department of Insurance. The initiative’s official proponent, Michael D’Arelli, is an executive in a Sacramento insurance lobbying group funded by Joseph. “George Joseph and Mercury Insurance refuse to accept even the nonpartisan analysis of Prop. 33 and are using his virtually unlimited resources to try and maintain the deceptive marketing of this insurance deregulation initiative,” said consumer advocate Doug Heller with Consumer Watchdog Campaign, which is part of the coalition opposing Prop 33. “Prop 33 is just another insurance industry trick aimed at helping insurance companies at the expense of Californians, and now Joseph is trying to enlist the courts in another of his frequent battles to overcharge consumers.” Mercury brought a similar, unsuccessful legal challenge to silence the Attorney General and consumer groups opposed to Proposition 17, a nearly identical measure sponsored by Mercury Insurance on the June 2010 ballot. That initiative was defeated by the voters in an upset after the company spent $16 million.

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repair parts as a viable option for consumers could result in higher repair costs that could increase insurance premiums. ● The alternative collision repair parts industry provides tens of thousands of U.S. jobs across the country and has operations in all 50 states. ● Quality alternative collision repair parts are available to consumers at more than 40,000 body shops nationwide.

D’Arelli v. Bowen and Price Setting The lawsuit filed by Mercury Insurance Company billionaire George Joseph claimed that the title and summary that would be read by voters contains “inaccurate language that is highly likely to prejudice voters against the measure.” Included in the suit were the state attorney general and the California secretary of state. As it stands now, Proposition 103, passed in 1988, sets uniform guidelines for how California auto insurance companies are allowed to calculate rates. Using three sets of mandatory criteria—a driver’s record, the number of years he or she has driven, and the number of miles driven per year—insurance companies determine a person’s premium. In addition, there are 16 optional rating factors. According to a legislative analysis of California’s law, they are the following: 1) Vehicle type, 2) Type of use (pleasure, business, commuting, etc.), 3) Percent use of the vehicle by the rated driver, 4) Number of vehicles, 5) Academic standing, 6) Training courses completed, 7) Vehicle add-ons, 8) Vehicle performance capabilities, 9) Driver’s gender, 10) Marital status, 11) Policy persistency (within the same company), 12) Smoker status, 13) Number of policies, 14) Claim frequency in surrounding area, 15) Claim sizes in surrounding area, 16) Second-

Lobby Says

companies and also often have longer warranties. ● The availability of quality alternative collision parts means fewer delays in repairs, which gets consumers and business vehicles back on the road faster. ● The elimination of quality collision

www.autobodynews.com | SEPTEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS 63


September 2012 Northeast Edition  

Auto body information for industry in northeast United States.