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VOL. 3 ISSUE 8 NOVEMBER 2013
NACE 2013 Proceeds As Expected, Eyes Turn to Revitalized Show in Detroit in 2014 To no one’s surprise, the 2013 NACE exhibition was a downsized event from previous years, but the Las Vegas-venue may have been the Mike Anderson most appropriate brought his tradelaunching pad for mark mix of humor, experience, consul- what is expected to tation, and evangel- be a revitalized ism to the NACE NACE event in Dekeynote address. troit next summer. Attendance has been down for the past three years, with a slight uptick
for the 2011 show in Orlando, FL. This year’s event saw another attendance dip, which ASA Executive Director Dan Risley says was expected. There were significant successes at the 2013 show such as a popular keynote by industry veteran Mike Anderson and the MSO Symposium which has been growing in attendance. Mike Anderson kicked off the 2013 NACE Expo with a keynote speech entitled “The Future Is Not Set in Stone” at the Opening General Session/Collision Industry Forum. Anderson’s familiar audience engagement techniques were on display
as he employed humor, moving personal annecdotes, and even his Tourette’s syndrome ticks, as models and metaphors for perseverance, unity
and action in the industry. “We get caught up in how much things cost, in Parts Trader, in cycle See NACE 2013, Page 14
Autobody News is Proud to Welcome Readers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maryland
This is our ASSOCIATIONS ISSUE covering local and national associations and regional events. See pp. 1, 10, 20, 32, 39, 46, 52, 58, 60, and 62.
Four-Legged Service Tech is on the Job at Penn College Aiding with PTSD, Jesse ‘Stays Calm’ and Keeps On
See Jesse and PTSD, Page 13
Change Service Requested
P.O. BOX 1516, CARLSBAD, CA 92018
Jesse James and Alfred M. Thomas, collision repair professor at Penn College
“Jesse” (his full name is Jesse James) is the service dog of Alfred M. Thomas II, associate professor of collision repair. Following a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder and certification through the Veterans Administration, Thomas obtained approval to have Jesse with him at work via the Americans with Disabilities Act. The young border collie arrived on the scene last year. In a place where the restoration of automobiles is the key concentration, other forms of restoration are occurring deeper, below the surface.
Auto Body Association of Connecticut and their Ten Year Battle with The Hartford Insurance Company by Chasidy Rae Sisk
For nearly ten years, the Auto Body Association of Connecticut (ABAC) has been engaged in a legal battle with the Hartford Fire Insurance Company (the Hartford) and—though a judge and jury awarded the victory to ABAC—the fight is not yet over as the Hartford has appealed the ruling to the state’s Supreme Court. Still, Tony Ferraiolo, President of ABAC, remains optimistic, noting “this is one of the biggest things happening in the industry right now, and it will rock the country if—no, when—we win next year.”
ABAC filed a class-action lawsuit against the Hartford in 2003, claiming the insurer was manipulating labor rates across the state and using steering practices to direct customers
to shops on their direct repair program (DRP). Besides getting a discounted rate from their network of DRPs, the insurer also had their David Slossberg appraisers use the same uniform labor rate in their estimates across the state, thus pressuring independent shops to lower their rates. David Slossberg, lead attorney for ABAC in this lawsuit, noted that, as a result of this conduct across the industry, profit margins for auto body shops have decreased from 6% to less than 2%, which disregards the shops’ expenses related to training, equipment and environmental regulations. In November 2009, a Superior Court jury in Stamford ruled in favor of ABAC, awarding $14.7 million in compensatory damages to the shops represented in the lawsuit. They found that the Hartford engaged in unfair trade pracSee ABAC v Hartford, Page 4
Presorted Standard US Postage PAID San Bernardino, CA Permit #2244
2 NOVEMBER 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
AASP/NJ Announces Early Exhibitors
for Northeast™ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
AASP/NJ Held State of the Industry
Meeting on Oct. 17 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
AASP-MA Plans a Busy Fall of Cookouts, Casino
Nights, and Legislative State Meetings . . . . . 20
Allstate Will Hire 350 in PA Including 150 in Philly . 6 Attanasio - Wagner Motors Supplies
Four-fold OE Parts to Community. . . . . . . . . 18
Auto Body Association of Connecticut and their Ten Year Battle with The Hartford
of Driver Focused Mobile Solutions . . . . . . . 66
Auto Action Hires Tom Richards . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Autobytel Acquires Assets of Advanced
Mobile LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
BASF Joins ASA as Newest Corporate Member . 59 BMW Asks California Court to Strike Class
Action in Leaking Sunroof Case . . . . . . . . . . 68
Bob Stevenson Joins Carbench . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Body Shop Employee Was Robbed
Helping Customer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Calif. Auto Body Association Talks Yelp,
Facebook and Troops . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
Insurance Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
California Shop Owner Gets 50-Years-to-Life
Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
CAPA Tops 60M Certified Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
DE Workers Comp Task Force Makes
Four-Legged Service Tech is on the Job at Penn College Aiding with PTSD, Jesse
For Murdering His Customer in 2011 . . . . . . 24
Choice Autobody Repair Association Advocates
for Both Consumers and Repairers . . . . . . . 52
‘Stays Calm’ and Keeps On . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Consumer Groups Go to Court to Force Obama
Hosts Successful Golf Outing . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Enterprise Makes Amusing Video
Long Island Auto Body Repairman’s Association
Ludlow, MA, Body Shop Fire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
MA Committee Hears Exhaust Noise Control Bill . 9 NJ Gov. Christie Expands Pay Equity Protections . 6
NJ Governor Vetoes Bill to Penalize
Administration’s Hand on Back-Up Cameras . 70 at My13days.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Faces of NACE 2013 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
I-CAR Tech - New Honda “Body Repair
News” Publication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Trucking Industry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Independent Garage Owners of
Accomodation’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Insurance Insider - Cycle Time is
Airbrush Painting from Ohio Instructor . . . . . 17
Lincoln Electric Announces New Welding
Most Expensive Auto Loans in the Country . 34
NACE 2013 Proceeds As Expected, Eyes Turn
in Parts Wholesale and Auto Body Associations. 32
NC Shop Won Short-Pay Arbitration in July, Have
Claims in Anti-Steering Case . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
NHTSA Recommends Back Up Cameras
NY CTE Students Get Hands-On Lesson in
Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey Have
Rhode Island’s Don Cushing Wears Multiple Hats Safelite Attorneys Dispute Connecticut Officials’ COLUMNISTS
Attanasio - Do Ad Specialties (“Swag”)
North Carolina Pushes Ahead . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Money for Everyone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Devices/Lifters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 to Revitalized Show in Detroit in 2014 . . . . . . 1
There Been Changes or Consequences? . . . 16 for New Cars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
Phoenix Body Shop Owner Accused of Staging
Accidents to Collect Insurance Benefits . . . . 34
Really Make an Impression? . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
Quintela Sues 21st Century A Second Time for
Battles for Shops in DC and Nationwide . . . . 10
SCRS Adds Consolidation Tracks to
& Consumer Issues. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
SEMA Supports Ban of E15. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
Sisk - Taking it to the Capitol—WMABA Fights
Sisk - Tennessee CRA Advances Professionalism Sisk - Virginia-Based Automotive Recycling Association Does More Than Green
the Industry. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
Yoswick - November Retrospective on
the Collision Repair Industry . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
19 Arrested in Arizona’s Tin Man Sting Operation . 47
A Profile of the Evolving Collision Repair
Marketplace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
AASPI Opposes State Farm Sand/Buff Policy . . 67
Allstate Says Usage-Based Insurance Increasing . 68
ASA-AZ Surveys Wholesale Parts Dealers
on PartsTrader Usage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Attanasio - I-CAR Instructor Looks Back
at 20 Years in the Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
AudaExplore™ Introduces GoTime Line
Short-Pays, Says it Makes ‘Cents out of Sense’ . 9 SEMA Repairer Driven Education . . . . . . . . . 69
Sheep Bolts Farm Truck, Seeks Refuge
in Detroit Body Shop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Sherwin-Williams Adds Full Feature Claims Portal. 51
Sumpter County, SC, Continental Tire Plant
Ready to Roll. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Todd Chizmar on I-CAR Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
Tru-Way’s New Website, Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Urethane Supply Company Offers New
Welding System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
US Auto SAAR to Hit 16.4M, Highest
Level Since 2006. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
Virginia Shop Owner Says Collision Repair
is Easy Compared to Politics . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
WIN Announces Opening of Most Influential Women Nominations for 2014, Gala to
Welcome We elcome to our Ass Associations socia i ti tions Issue Issu uee which h will run in the fa fall all and spring in future. In addition to covering national tradeshows like NACE and SEMA, Autobody News is dedicated to providing regular coverage of regional auto body and vendor associations. We hope you like the coverage here. Autobody News is pleased to announce that, beginning in November 2013, we have expanded our circulation into eight additional states. These states are North and South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia—in our Southeast Edition—and Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maryland—in our Northeast Edition. This expansion will enable us to reach out to thousands of “new” body shops and provide coverage of these states' regional auto body association activities and industry events. Our readers continue to tell us that our coverage of regional industry news keeps them informed about what’s going on locally and what other associations are doing nationwide. Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a regional article or event that you’d like the rest of the collision community to know about. Publisher & Editor: Jeremy Hayhurst General Manager: Barbara Davies Contributing Writers: Tom Franklin, David Brown, John Yoswick, Janet Chaney, Toby Chess, Ed Attanasio, Chasidy Sisk Advertising Sales: Joe Momber, Sean Hartman, Bill Doyle, David Dawson (800) 699-8251 Sales Assistant: Louise Tedesco Art Director: Rodolfo Garcia Serving New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and adjacent metro areas, Autobody News is a monthly
NJ Says ‘Indefinite Leave Not Reasonable
Is Expanding to New Readers
be Held in San Diego . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Amato Agency. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Audi Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . 67 Automotive Service Equipment . . 46 Axalta Coating Systems . . . . . . . . . 5 B & R Associates. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 BASF . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Baystate Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram. 14 BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . 55 Car Bench America . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Car-Part Pro. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Central Avenue Chrysler-JeepDodge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) . . . . . . . . . . 35 Chariot Rent-A-Car . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Chief Automotive. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Classifieds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 Colours, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Crashmax Equipment . . . . . . . . . . 12 Creative Metal Manufacturing . . . . 54 DCH Family of BMW Stores . . . . . 49 Ditschman/Flemington Auto Group. 45 DJS Fabrications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Downdraft Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Empire Auto Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Equalizer Industries. . . . . . . . . . . . 29 First Hyundai-Ford . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Fitzgerald’s Lakeforest HyundaiSubaru. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Ford Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . 63 Forklift Wrecker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Fred Beans Parts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 Future Cure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Gary Rome Hyundai-Kia . . . . . . . . 16 Generation Kia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 Glanzmann Subaru . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 GM Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . 62 Goyette’s Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Hackettstown Honda. . . . . . . . . . . 48 Honda-Acura Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36-37 Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers. 59 Intertape Polymer Group. . . . . . . . 38 Jaguar Wholesale Parts Dealers. . 68
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. ©2013 Adamantine Media LLC. Autobody News P.O. Box 1516, Carlsbad, CA 92018 (800) 699-8251 (760) 603-3229 Fax www.autobodynews.com Email: email@example.com
KBS Coatings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Kia Motors Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 Koeppel VW-Mazda. . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Lexus of Edison. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Lexus Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . 66 Malco. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Maxon Hyundai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Maxon Mazda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Mazda Wholesale Parts Dealers . . 65 Mercedes-Benz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 MINI Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . 54 Mitchell International . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 MOPAR Wholesale Parts Dealers . 41 Nissan/Infiniti Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Pennsylvania College of Technology. 26 Plaza Auto Mall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 Porsche Wholesale Parts Dealers. 69 PPG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Providence Lacquer & Supply Centre. 4 Rare Parts, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Ruge’s Parts Center . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Safety Regulation Strategies. . . . . 58 Sartorius . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17, 39 SATA Spray Equipment . . . . . . . . 18 Security Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep . . . . 7 Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32, 33 Spanesi Americas Inc . . . . . . . . . . 29 Subaru Wholesale Parts Dealers . 61 TDI Tire Distributors, Inc . . . . . . . . 15 TechZone Airbag Service . . . . . . . . 9 Thompson Organization . . . . . . . . 53 Toyota Wholesale Parts Dealers . . 69 Valspar Automotive . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Volkswagen Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Volvo Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . 64 Wagner Auto Group . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Walcom USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Yonkers Kia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 York Kia of Medford. . . . . . . . . . . . 26
www.autobodynews.com | NOVEMBER 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS 3
Continued from Cover
ABAC v Hartford
tices which resulted in a loss to CT body shops. Earlier this year, in May, Superior Court Judge Alfred J. Jennings granted injunctive relief which mandated that the Hartford “refrain from interfering with the independent judgment of motor vehicle physical damage appraisers in its employ in the performance of their duties… including the determination of the hourly rate to be applied in calculating the labor component of costs to repair.” The injunctive relief was granted after the jury found the Hartford to be engaging in unfair business practices through the use of in-house appraisers and their network of DRP shops to artificially suppress labor rates in CT. In addition to being prohibited from interfering in their appraisers’ judgments, the Hartford will also be required to submit a Quarterly Compliance Report to the court which must include: (i) the range and average of hourly rates used by each Hartford appraiser, (ii) hourly rate(s) charged by all shops under DRP contract with the Hartford, (iii) any changes the Hartford makes to estimates or appraisals as a result of reinspection or supervisory reviews, and (iv) a summary of any adverse or disciplinary action against any of the Hartford’s CT-licensed appraisers. Judge Jennings ruled in favor of ABAC and the shops they represent yet again in June 2013, awarding $20 million in punitive damages intended to punish the Hartford for manipulating the labor rate and to deter other insurance companies from engaging in the same unlawful conduct; the award is believed to be the largest unfair trade practices award ever issued in the state of CT. Jennings explained the award was meant to send a message to the Hartford and other insurers that any violations of fair trade rules will not be tolerated. After the Hartford appealed the court’s decision, a stay was placed on the injunctive relief, but Ferraiolo notes that during the two weeks it was in effect, it seems to have caused other insurers to begin negotiating higher labor rates and concessions. He emphasized that appraisers should be negotiating rates on a shop-by-shop basis, establishing labor rates based on the individual shop’s business model, the quality of their repairs and the model of the car being repaired. “What we have sought
to achieve in this lawsuit is simply for the Hartford and its appraisers to follow the law,” said Ferraiolo. “We already won the case, but now we’re dealing with the political and bureaucratic nonsense. Yet, there is merit in the fact that we’ve engaged in a ten-year battle, and the jury decided in our favor.” ABAC also acts as a “watchdog” on their members’ behalves, meeting with legislators to explain how the Hartford’s actions negatively impact their constituents. Ferraiolo says, “we’ve had a lot of success in showing the negative impact on consumers, but the insurers consistently try to muddy the waters. Still, this is industry-changing stuff! As long as it doesn’t become politically corrupt, we will win next year.” Like Ferraiolo, Slossberg is confident that after fighting this battle for more than a decade, the ABAC will ultimately prevail. “This case should give hope to all those individuals and small businesses who think they can’t push back against the big insurance companies. The ABAC and some 1000 small businesses in the State of Connecticut won a hard fought and well-earned jury verdict which was followed by carefully written and well-reasoned decisions by the trial judge regarding injunctive and punitive damages.” While Ferraiolo is definitely pleased with the court’s ruling, he is less confident that the Hartford will comply with the judge’s mandates, noting that the insurers just don’t seem to be getting the message, despite ABAC’s victories in court. Ferraiolo believes that DRP shops are part of the problem because they are doing the publicity for the insurers, claiming that it’s necessary to be on DRPs in order to stay in business. He notes, “they’ve helped build this big monster, but now they can’t destroy it.” A & R Body Specialty, Ferraiolo’s shop, is a medium-sized, independent shop which represents that market that’s in trouble as most mid-sized shops participate in DRPs in order to stay in operation; however, he insists that while solutions are few and far between, and shops like his are at a competitive disadvantage due to the unfair trade practices of the Hartford and other insurers, independent mid-sized shops are trying to compete in the market by providing education to both their employees and the consumer and by offering excellent customer service. Because the case is still in the appeals process, none of the shops have received any of the awarded funds yet. If
4 NOVEMBER 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
the Hartford’s appeal is rejected, each member of the class-action lawsuit will have to apply to receive their share of the money, and the trial court will establish a process to distribute the funds. The class originally began with 1000 CT body shops, but it has since grown to include an estimated 1500 shops affected by the Hartford’s practices. The sheer number of complainants “shows the breadth and extent of the damage caused by the defendant’s misconduct,” according to Judge Jennings. In establishing the amount of punitive damages, Jennings also considered the net worth of the Hartford, somewhere in the $12 to $13 billion range, in order to ensure the award would be a meaningful deterrent to the insurer. Jennings has not yet determined the amount that will be awarded to ABAC’s attorneys who have not received a cent of compensation from this ten-year long lawsuit. Ferraiolo praises the attorneys’ dedication to the cause; “our attorneys are aggressive and are working very hard to win this case. They have just as much, if not more, invested since they don’t get paid unless we win!” In fact, these attorneys have proven their support of local auto body
shops yet again by representing ABAC in a second, similar lawsuit which was filed four years ago against Progressive for steering and labor rate suppression. This case is being pursued in Federal
Court, and ABAC will be seeking class certification later this year. As Ferraiolo stated repeatedly, these lawsuits could change the collision repair industry if the association is victorious. Industry leaders from other states have already begun contacting ABAC to express interest and seek advice on how to pursue these types of battles. The Hartford was contacted for a response or comments, but none have been received at press time. Auto Body Association of Connecticut (ABAC) 104 Cheshire Rd Prospect, CT 06712 203-767-5731 www.abaconn.com firstname.lastname@example.org
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www.autobodynews.com | NOVEMBER 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS 5
Ludlow, MA, Body Shop Fire
An early morning fire at a Ludlow, MA, building that houses both a mechanical repair shop and a body shop closed of one of the town’s busiest streets during the morning commute.
Ludlow auto body/repair shop fire
Around 2:00 A.M., firefighters were called to 575 East Street which is home to the East Auto Service and East Auto Body. The fire burned right through the roof of the garage. Ludlow Fire Capt. Michael Crowely told local TV news that the Department of Environmental Protection was also called in, because there were a lot of chemicals inside both shops. The two business owners who rent the space are devastated by the fire. The body shop opened 7 years ago and business was just starting to “take off,” said the owner.
Allstate Will Hire 350 in PA Including 150 in Philly
The Allstate Insurance Co. is seeking more than 350 new insurance agents in Pennsylvania over the next year, including 150 in the Philadelphia area. The state’s relatively strong economy is fueling the company’s expansion plan, Allstate said. Applicants don’t have to have a background in insurance; training will be provided to those who are accepted. In Philadelphia, Allstate is looking for 35 new agency owners —mid-career, mid-level managers who want to operate their own businesses—and 115 licensed sales producers. Allstate is offering $5,000 to a person who refers a qualified agency owner candidate, payable upon the candidate’s appointment as an owner. Applicants who want to become an owner need at least $50,000 of liquid capital to invest in their agency. Sales producers need no capital to apply. Interested candidates can learn more at allstate.com or by calling 800-733-7010, ext. 3395.
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NJ Gov. Christie Expands Pay Equity Protections
On August 29, 2013, Governor Chris Christie signed a bill (A2648) into law barring employers from retaliating against employees who share information about their compensation with other employees in furtherance of a pay discrimination claim. The law, effective immediately, amends the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination to prohibit retaliation or discrimination against any employee who discloses to another employee, former employee, or their authorized representative information regarding the employee’s (1) job title, (2) occupational category, (3) rate of compensation or benefits, (4) gender, (5) race, (6) ethnicity, (7) military status, or (8) national origin, if it was reasonable for the employee to believe that the request or disclosure was made for the purpose of investigating the possibility of pay or compensation discrimination. The law likewise prohibits retaliation or discrimination against an employee who requests such information from another employee, former employee, or authorized representative, however, employees subjected to such a request are not required to disclose such information.
NJ Governor Vetoes Bill to Penalize Trucking Industry
On September 9, 2013, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie issued an absolute veto to a bill (A1578) that would have had a serious impact on trucking industry employers in New Jersey. The bill sought to impose severe criminal and financial penalties on drayage trucking or parcel delivery industry employers that misclassified their trucking services employees as independent contractors. It also sought to create a presumption of employeremployee relationship (rather than independent contractor relationship) in that industry, which could be overcome only if the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development was satisfied the employer met a demanding multi-part test. In his veto, Governor Christie noted that the bill would have made New Jersey unfriendly to the trucking industry, and caused overseas shippers to deliver to ports in other states, creating a chilling effect on New Jersey business at a time when New Jersey’s economic climate must continue to improve.
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AASP/NJ Held State of the Industry Meeting on Oct. 17
The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) invited automotive repair professionals to come out and attend a “State of the Collision Industry” presentation at their 2013 Annual meeting. The meeting took place Thursday, October 17 at the Holiday Inn in Clark, NJ and featured Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) Executive Aaron Schulenberg. He provided an update on the most current industry issues affecting collision repairers with a national overview of emerging trends. Charles Bryant, executive director of AASP/NJ, lead a question and answer segment directed to New Jersey-specific issues. The second half of the program included an overview of the mechanical repair industry in the state, featuring New Jersey Gasoline- Convenience-Automotive Association (NJGCA) Executive Director Sal Risalvato.
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AASP/NJ Announces Early Exhibitors for Northeast™
The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) has announced a list of early registrants for its 37th annual Northeast Automotive Services Show taking place March 21–23 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, NJ. The list of early sign-ups include Accudraft Spray Booths, Aeromotive, American Honda, Auto Body Distributing Inc, BASF, CCC Information Services, LKQ Corporation, Maxon Mazda/Hyundai, Mitchell International, Model Electronics, Nissan, TEAM PRP, The Radiator Store, Valspar, Urethane Supply Company and many more. “Frankly, I can’t remember vendors signing up this early and I’ve been around for at least 30 shows,” said AASP/NJ president Jeff McDowell. “They seem anxious and excited about the show and we couldn’t be more thrilled.” For more information on the show, visit aaspnj.org.
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8 NOVEMBER 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
DE Workers Comp Task Force Makes Recommendations
The DE Workers’ Compensation Task Force was created in January 2013 by the Delaware General Assembly and the governor. The task force’s recommendations fall into four areas: Place tighter controls on workers’ comp medical costs. These recommendations include a two-year inflation freeze on the fee schedule for medical treatment of comp recipients, a permanent reduction in the inflation rate allowed for hospital treatment of workers’ comp recipients, and reductions in allowed reimbursements in a variety of medical categories. Ensure that insurance carriers’ requests for rate increases receive scrutiny. These recommendations include the retention of a part-time attorney to represent businesses during the workers’ comp rate-setting process, and a system to ensure that insurers are diligently enforcing the state’s medical cost controls. Make the state’s laws encouraging injured workers to return to work more effective; and Improve the state’s workplace safety program to both increase its usage and ensure that it accurately determines which workplaces are using appropriate safety practices.
NJ Says ‘Indefinite Leave Not Reasonable Accomodation’
In Bourhill v. Nextel of New York, Inc., 2013 WL 1680140 (D.N.J. Apr. 17, 2013), an employee with a back condition was granted several consecutive leaves of absences (spanning eight months of leave), followed by an open-ended request for “at least two months” of leave. He was discharged following the last request, and filed disability discrimination, failure to accommodate, and wrongful discharge claims under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD). Rejecting the plaintiff’s case at summary judgment, the New Jersey District Court held that by the time of the termination, the employer had already taken “significant actions to accommodate the plaintiff.” Moreover, as of the time of the plaintiff’s discharge, it was unclear when, or even if, the plaintiff would recover from his impairments and return to work, and the plaintiff and/or his physician incorrectly predicted an estimated return date on each prior occasion. In summary, “at a certain point, holding a job open for an extensive or indeterminate period of time becomes unreasonable.”
MA Committee Hears Exhaust Noise Control Bill
On Sept, 24, 2013, the Massachusetts Joint Transportation Committee heard testimony on a bill that would ban the “use and sale of any exhaust pipe that increases the sound emission of any vehicle, including motorcycles.” The legislation supplies law enforcement with a clear standard to enforce for motorcycles, but does not provide a test standard or decibel level for modified exhaust systems installed on any other motor vehicle, including passenger cars and trucks. While the bill remains eligible for an executive session by the committee, no vote has yet been taken.
Auto Action Hires Tom Richards
Auto Action, an East Coast dealership servicer, has hired Tom Richards, previous GM for Automotive Concepts, as the company’s operations director for the Pennsylvania area. Richards joined Automotive Concepts 20 years ago when it was a start up and helped build the company into what it is today, Auto Action said. “I helped to build the shops, create the infrastructure and evaluate and hire the staff,” Richards said. “It’s something I do well and a skill that I will bring to Auto Action.” Richards’ directive to continue to grow Auto Action.
Enterprise Makes Amusing Video at My13days.com
According to Enterprise Automated Rental Management System (ARMS®) data, vehicles are in the shop for an average of 13 days after an accident, leading vehicle owners to have to borrow family cars, hitch rides or pay out-of-pocket rental fees of up to $400. “Many people aren’t sure if they’re covered for a replacement rental while their vehicle is in the shop, and many don’t find out until it’s too late,” said Mary Mahoney, vice president at Enterprise Rent-ACar. “One year of rental reimbursement coverage can cost less than a one-day car rental. With that in mind, the video and website are fun, lighthearted ways to generate awareness and educate drivers.” Enterprise’s short YouTube video has already gained nearly one million views in just one week. The dedicated micro-site, my13days.com also takes a humorous approach to the vexing challenges drivers could face—like driving a teenager’s car for nearly two weeks—without this inexpensive insurance offered by auto insurance companies.
Quintela Sues 21st Century A Second Time for Short-Pays, Says it Makes ‘Cents out of Sense’ by Barrett Smith
Eddie Quintela, Owner and President of Collision Concepts of Delray Beach, FL has once again found it necessary to file a lawsuit against 21st Century Insurance on behalf of his customer who made a claim under their policy with the carrier. In 2012, on behalf of his company’s customers, Quintela filed three separate lawsuits against 21st Century of which the insurer agreed to settle before the trial dates. In addiEddie Quintela tion to the disputed amounts, the insurer paid all of Eddie’s legal fees and costs. In spite of recent claims whereas the insurer has provided full payments, as of late, 21st Century claims representatives have elected to once again deny payments for the repairer’s posted labor rates, processes and procedures as deemed to be reasonable and necessary to properly restore their customer’s vehicle. As Such, Quintela, on behalf of and with the full support of his customer, has found it nec-
essary to once again file a lawsuit against the insurer on his customer’s behalf for such denials. “As in the past with this company”, states Eddie, “they pay us only after we file suit but before they go before a judge and/or jury. Thereafter they pay in full for every needed material, process and rates for a while… then abruptly change back to their old ways. I’m puzzled; as I am confident their company share-holders would be as well, since the insurer has often paid 20 times the amounts in dispute, often paying upwards of $2,500.00 in legal fees and costs for a dispute that may be under $100.00!” “I don’t care” said Eddie Quintela; “it would be much easier for their policyholder if they just paid what they owe without the need for litigation, but when they don’t, I’ll be helping my customer to have their ‘day in court.’ As I see it, they [insurers] can either pay fairly now… or pay much more later! “It doesn’t make a lot of sense and even makes less ‘cents’ says Quintela. “It’s no wonder insurance rates continue to climb and it has absolutely nothing to do with the cost of proper repair as the insurers would have people believe!”
www.autobodynews.com | NOVEMBER 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS 9
Associations Assembling with Chasidy Rae Sisk
Chasidy Rae Sisk is a freelance technical writer from Wilmington, Delaware, who writes on a variety of fields and subjects, and grew up in a family of NASCAR fans. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
Taking it to the Capitol—WMABA Fights Battles for Shops in DC and Nationwide In existence since 1968, the Washington Metropolitan Auto Body Association (WMABA) has spent the past 45 years supporting member shops and acting as their members’ voice for business and legislative concerns. The organization was founded by DC-area shops who sought to work together to combat some of the common issues facing the collision repair industry. Since its inception, WMABA’s efforts have been focused on addressing shop issues and continuing education on a local and national level, including aspects regarding legislative issues. Because they emphasize the importance of addressing issues on a larger scale, many WMABA members have also played a key role in establishing larger national associations, including the Society of Collision Repair SpeJordan Hendler, cialists (SCRS) of file photo which the association is an affiliate. WMABA’s service area encompasses MD, VA & Washington DC, and as the association continued to grow, they absorbed the Virginia Auto Body Association. In 2007, Jordan Hendler became the Executive Director of WMABA. Through her previous work with SCRS, NABC and CIC, Hendler has gained insight into collision repair markets and trends across the United States, and in her current role, she participates in national industry forums, such as SCRS and CIC, to address issues and try to affect positive change for collision repairers. On a day-to-day basis, WMABA focuses on maintaining active involvement with current legislative initiatives in VA and MD, meeting with legislators and shop representatives, as well as participating in national groups. Additionally, WMABA conducts an annual labor rate survey for the region in order to report their findings to individual shop owners, local government and the industry at-large. Hendler also assists with addressing issues at a shop level, including documentation, OEM service providers and other problems that impact shops during their daily operations.
Hendler notes that the main challenge WMABA faces is keeping shops informed and involved with issues in the industry, including education, yet she notes, “I don’t feel that we’re alone in that; most associations deal with the same problem.” One way they strive to combat these types of issues is through the publication of their monthly magazine Hammer & Dolly, as well as their quarterly membership newsletter which serves to disseminate relevant information and generate shop involvement within WMABA’s service area. WMABA serves their members by offering representation in legislative matters, both locally and nationally, in addition to working with individual shops on their issues, such as in the instance of short-pay cases. The association also strives to keep their members educated and informed through their magazine and newsletter, as well as by holding educational meetings and seminars. They act as a resource for vendor and insurer contacts, but most importantly, WMABA is at their members’ disposal when they face any type of problem or have general questions. Still, despite the many services WMABA provides to their members, Hendler claims that the biggest benefit members get from involvement with the association is “our peer network which gives them the opportunity to compare the issues they face with what other shops are going through. It lets them see that others are experiencing the same problems, and we’re all in this together.” Regarding the challenges facing the industry as a whole, Hendler believes “shop awareness is the biggest hurdle. If all shops were aware of the proper repair techniques, tooling and education, these issues wouldn’t be as hard as they are, but many repairers don’t know how to gain access to proper information. Those who don’t know are affecting those who do. It’s not necessarily on purpose, but it is ignorance nonetheless.” Hendler also notes that the advancement of vehicle technology, tooling and regulations is another challenge as it raises shops’ costs at the same time that insurers are becoming stricter in their payment of operations and services, especially for independent shops that do not participate in their direct re-
10 NOVEMBER 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
pair programs. Thus, the cost of operation is steadily increasing while the ability to earn a profit decreases. Though PartsTrader has been a ever present news item for over a year now, WMABA has not taken a stance against their business model specifically but instead is against any insurermandated program that dictates which vendors can be used. “It is an interference in the collision repair business,” says Hendler. In fact, the association is currently working on legislation and an agenda to address the process of mandating parts or supplies. Why is WMABA’s legislative work so important? Hender explains, “it is one of the few options left to us to address these problems since the insurers are not willing to stop their pursuit.” Legislation also benefits the consumer because it “helps keep the free market free… if insurers become more involved in all aspects of collision repair, they reduce the shops’ ability to operate properly and
give the customer the widest capacity of options for a safe repair.” Hendler admits that there are challenges inherent in the legislative process, noting “it’s arduous at best.” In order to get new legislation to pass, WMABA must meet with legislators to convince them that the matter is in the best interest of their constituents, the consumers, and then, the legislators must vote. Hendler notes that the process is long; “we have to go through all of the committees and hearings to get the vote without the opposition tearing it down.” Luckily for WMABA members, Hendler is not easily discouraged and will continue to fight on their behalf to make the collision industry better for everyone involved. Washington Metropolitan Auto Body Association (WMABA) 804.789.9649 http://wmaba.com/ firstname.lastname@example.org
www.autobodynews.com | NOVEMBER 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS 11
A Profile of the Evolving Collision Repair Marketplace by Vincent J. Romans & Mary Jane Kurowski, The Romans Group
Part 1 of our annual series examines the largest shop groups in the industry, their growing market share, and an analysis of the numbers. This year’s report expands to include Canada. The impact of globalization is increasingly evident with the emergence and migration of new and hybrid auto physical damage models that exist in other countries throughout the world; some of which are finding their way to the United States. There has also been an increase in U.S. and foreign trans-border investments involving various segments within the collision repair, property and casualty auto insurance and the automotive aftermarket ecosystem. In light of this, we have expanded our annual analysis and profile of the U.S. collision repair marketplace to include Canada.
United States In 2012, U.S. merger and acquisi-
tion activity for multiple-location platform transactions took place in 10 states and involved 17 independent collision repair organizations with 128 locations as compared to 48 locations in 2011. These platform transactions shifted approximately $300 million in revenue during 2012 with average revenue transferred of $2.35 million per location.
Year to date through September 2013, we see slower M&A activity within the collision repair industry as reflected in the following chart. The 2013 YTD acquisition activity for multiple-location
Despite the slowdown in merger and acquisition activity thus far in 2013, multiple-location operators, and the collision repair industry in general, continue to move through what we have identified as Contraction, Consolidation and Convergence. We believe that Constructive Transformation, the inevitable and necessary heavy lifting associated with the integration of different organizations and their business platforms, is one of the main reasons consolidation momentum has tapered down. Other factors, such as higher valuations and more complex transactions requiring longer periods for due diligence, also contribute to this temporary respite. We continue to see three main active expansion strategies shaping the collision repair industry. One strategy is being driven by independent and dealership regional MLOs which are focusing their expansion within existing and/or contiguous markets. Another strategy of national independent consolidaSee Evolving Marketplace, Page 44
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platform transactions took place in 5 states and involved 9 independent collision repair organizations with 59 locations. These platform transactions have shifted approximately $158 million in revenue to date during 2013 with average revenue transferred of $2.2 million per location. See first chart. Through September 2013, ABRA entered two new markets, Washington and Indianapolis, while Caliber and Service King’s transactions were in existing markets. Boyd/Gerber entered the Michigan market with its Hansen Collision platform transaction. These MLOs also had a number of single-location acquisitions in 2012 and 2013 along with Brownfield and Greenfield locations which built out their respective markets. The following map indicates which states had the most independent multiple-location platform merger and acquisition activity from 2010 through 2013.
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Continued from Cover
Jesse and PTSD
Jesse offers his owner the simple joys of companionship, calm and contentment. The devoted dog appears to love his work. He also loves routine. Each morning, when the duo arrives at the College Avenue Labs, Jesse walks the hallway, greeting faculty members in nearby offices (and getting treats from some). He also stands in the hallway, receiving greetings from students passing by on their way to class. Ryan J. Levesque, a graduate of the business administration: small business and entrepreneurship concentration major and a current student in automotive restoration technology, said: “Jesse’s calm. You couldn’t have (other breeds of dogs) in here; they’d be jumping all over everything. We’re just used to him. He’s good at remembering faces. He’s used to us. If a new person is in the lab, he’s curious about them.” Indeed, the dog is vigilant in lab, surveying activities and sensing his owner’s needs. Jesse is typically right by Thomas’ side or, sometimes, lying across his feet, relieving any per-
ceived anxiety. “It’s very reassuring and calming; there’s a sense of ‘I’ve got your back,’” shared Thomas, noting studies that indicate PTSD service dogs lower their owners’ blood pressure and help them live longer. A Vietnam veteran, Thomas’ PTSD diagnosis was late in arriving, even though he is an Agent Orangeexposed veteran and annually visits a veterans clinic. His symptoms were initially spotted by his daughter, Susanna, a 2003 physician assistant graduate of Penn College. After graduation, she began working in federal clinics and soon recognized her father’s PTSD symptoms and encouraged him to pursue further testing. “I knew I was traumatized when I came back from Vietnam, but at the time, it wasn’t recognized,” said Thomas, who served two tours of duty from 1968 to 1970. “Back then, people weren’t socially accepting of a grown man with PTSD. The society was not open to it the way they are now.” Thomas says many sufferers of PTSD are highly successful in their jobs, “They just keep the symptoms down by being workaholics.” The college professor is cer-
tainly among that prolific group. A nationally recognized expert in the collision repair arena, Thomas is a contributing editor for Auto Body Repair News; the magazine has published 75 of his articles in the past seven years. He’s also a best-selling author, having co-authored a leading textbook used in secondary and postsecondary education: “Collision Repair and Refinishing: A Foundation Course for Technicians.” Published in 2009 by Delmar Cengage Learning, the popular publication has already been updated with a second edition this year. A master certified collision repair refinishing technician and an I-CAR platinum technician, Thomas says he has one of the largest collections of collision repair images and enjoys regularly sharing photos via social media. “I’ll post a photo and someone will ask, ‘What kind of paint gun did you use in that picture?’ so I’ll reply with the information,” he explained. “For a 65-year-old man, I’m one of few older guys who’ve embraced the technology of social media,” he said. “I like to keep in touch with my family and also with my students. I
like to know what things they’re doing, and I like to wish them Happy Birthday.” He noted he’s also accessible to his students via texting and email. It’s his connections with students that Thomas will miss most when he retires at the end of the 2013–2014 academic year. “When I retire, I can continue to paint cars, but what will be hard to leave is all those nice kids out there,” he said, sitting in his office while Jesse rested under the desk. Upon retirement, Thomas will return to his native Michigan, the state that stirred his interest in the automobile. “Growing up in Michigan certainly influenced my career,” he said, mentioning that he deeply appreciates the social and economic history of the automobile and its role in our country’s narrative. “Falling in love with the automobile came to me naturally,” Thomas said. “I understand how they work; I understand how to fix them. I had to have something I’m good at—and it turned out to be cars. Some careers you find; some careers find you. I think this one found me.” Thomas plans to continue working on vehicles, as well as working on See Jesse and PTSD, Page 26
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Parts Hours: Mon-Fri: 7:30-6:00; Sat: 8-4 email: Ifsparts@fitzmall.com 905 North Frederick Ave., Gaithersburg, MD 20879 www.autobodynews.com | NOVEMBER 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS 13
Continued from Cover
time, and we forget that what matters is how we fix the car,” Anderson said. “When the industry gets a black eye, it affects every single person [in it].” “With insurers, they try to come in our industry and do things to us and not with us,” he said, citing his experience living briefly in Hawaii where he was counseled about developing a more colobarative style while teaching. At the conclusion of his talk Anderson was honored with the 2013 Joe Jackson Industry Champion Award, presented by Axalta Coating Systems, which recognizes collision repairers exhibiting outstanding leadership, charity or humanitarian works.
MSO Symposium The largest Multi-Shop Operator (MSO) Symposium to date was held on Oct. 16 and provided a strong draw to the shops in attendance. It attracted a sold-out crowd of 275 MSOs. “We had the combined benefit of collision repairers and capital market leaders, as well as expert speakers on leadership and decision-making con-
tribute to our interactive event that focused on the current and future state of the U.S. collision repair industry,” said Vincent Romans, The Romans Group, producer of the MSO Symposium. (See p. 12 this issue for the Romans Group Profile of the Evolving Collision Repair Marketplace, Part 1.)
Mike Anderson (l) receives the Joe Jackson Industry Champion Award from Axalta’s Michael Bennett.
The MSO Symposium was full from start to finish. Several attendees commented it was the main reason they came to Las Vegas for the convention and a few described the event as a kind of speed-dating process in which some smaller MSOs vied for attention from the four big players in attendance. “All the major players were represented at this year’s MSO Symposium
14 NOVEMBER 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
and the room was a veritable ‘who’s who’ list,” says Ron Nagy, AAM, of Nagy’s Collision Specialists. “This event continues to deliver.” “The representation from both large and small MSOs at the symposium provided a good view of the changing landscape occurring within the industry on an almost daily basis,” says Frank LaViola, Assistant Vice President at Enterprise Rent-A-Car. “These changes will undoubtedly affect all the constituents within the industry and helps us all be better prepared to tackle these changes.” “The attendance at the MSO was strong and key MSOs were well-represented,” says Shelton Byrd, Sales Executive Western Region, Mitchell International. “The overlying message of the panel discussion was the importance of recruiting talented people and fostering their growth.”
Stone Fort Takes Over the Show Major changes will occur in the show management with Stone Fort Group taking over the NACE-CARS show from current show operator Hanley Wood Exhibitions, who has managed the show for the past 13 years. Stone
Fort Group offers an experienced team to provide conference management, sales and marketing for NACE and CARS 2014, and will work closely with the association in a similar capacity to Hanley Wood, who will now concentrate on the trade shows that they own. Stone Fort Group co-founders Sean Guerre and Brian Nessen have 20 years of trade show and conference experience, and reportedly have broader international marketing reach than Hanley Wood.
NABC Presented Three Vehicles The “First Responder Emergency Extrication” presentation was delivered by the Clark County Fire Department from Henderson, NV, who conducted live emergency extrication techniques on late model vehicles. The NABC’s Recycled Rides presentations featured three vehicles donated to local community organizations targeting those in need. The first was a specially equipped, handicap-accessible van that has been repaired by Gerber Collision and donated by State Farm Insurance. The van was donated to the Foundation for Positively Kids and will be used to transport medicallySee NACE 2013, Page 66
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NC Shop Won Short-Pay Arbitration in July, Have There Been Changes or Consequences? by Chasidy Rae Sisk
In July 2013, Michael Bradshaw, VP of Operations at K&M Collision in Hickory, NC, was victorious in a court-ordered arbitration against Nationwide for a short-pay lawsuit filed on behalf of a body shop customer. We wanted to know what’s happened since. The underpayments were determined to be reasonable and necessary repair costs, but the problem continues as Bradshaw reports that this issue is an ongoing and common with several specific insurers, including Nationwide and GEICO. Currently, Bradshaw is pursuing six short-pay cases against Nationwide, three against GEICO, and one against Allstate. Still, his pursuit of full payment has not yet impacted these insurers’ practices. Bradshaw notes, “they come out and refuse to pay for the same things they just lost. Their attitude is ‘sue us again,’ and I do.” On a positive note, Bradshaw says that some other insurers who are aware of his short-pay cases have “chosen to do the right thing and pay
the full repair bill because they know they’ll get tied up in the same litigation if they don’t.” In Bradshaw’s July victory against Nationwide, the insurer’s short-pays included: labor rates ($48 Body & Refinish, $80 Mechanical and $65 Frame), procedures (i.e. sand and buff, final detail, road test, color tint and collision access time), invoiced paint & materials, sublet markup, fixture usage and a $250 Damage Analysis fee which included a comprehensive part by part inspection of all components including: exterior panels, inner structure, mechanical components and SRS and seat belt systems. The award also included storage charges at a rate of $50 per day for the total amount of $2,506.98 plus accrued interest until the insurer’s full payment is made. “I’m glad the courts recognized whom the repair experts were.” says Bradshaw. “From the beginning I was very confident we would succeed through our legal system in proving all our charges to be both reasonable and necessary. For any insurer to expect all shops to operate by the same rates, procedures and charges regard-
less of training, manufacturer certifications, equipment and facilities is ludicrous. The fact is we have made a commitment to repairing vehicles properly, adhering strictly to all manufacturer repair methods and guidelines and what we’re consistently finding with some insurers is they care very little about manufacturer certifications and proper repairs and only about bottom line cost and the cheapest repairs possible. My Father (CEO) and I decided if we were going to stay in business and continue to repair vehicles properly we could no longer accept insurer dictated repair costs. We found that short-pay litigation was necessary to stop insurer underpayments and provide our customers with the factory certified repairs their policy affords them.” Bradshaw credited assistance and advice from Erica Eversman, Ray Gunder, Barrett Smith and many other industry experts as well as his legal team of Jason A. Orndoff and William E. Morgan for his legal victory. Bradshaw admits that there are challenges to pursuing short-pay
cases, such as the difficulty of waiting to receive the money rightfully owed to him. He also notes that there has been a great deal of pushback from certain insurers who go out of their way to steer customers to other shops. “I hope our actions and results encourage other quality-minded repairers to seek similar actions against the less than ethical insurers. We learned a great deal in this initial case and I have had to embark on two more cases against Nationwide for shortpays in the amounts of $5,663.24 and $10,135.52. I’m confident we will prevail as I know we are in the right. I know such actions are necessary to stop such behavior and to best serve our community members, our employees and our company,” Bradshaw said. “We’ll continue to share our efforts with others so they may know that they no longer have to accept insurer dictation of repairs, rates, materials and charges.” Bradshaw hopes that his victories in pursuing short-pay cases “will make it easier for other shops to pursue them. Maybe we’ll even get to the point where the insurance companies
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just do the right thing instead of forcing shops to pursue litigation in order to get paid what they are rightfully owed.” For shop owners interested in pursuing a short-pay case, Bradshaw advises you to start by finding a knowledgeable attorney who is willing to learn about the collision repair industry and to consult with other attorneys across the country. It is also imperative that you are “meticulous in your documentation, especially the repair contract.” Bradshaw believes that the solution to preventing such lawsuits from being necessary is multi-faceted. First, it must begin by “educating shop owners and their personnel as it relates to what is necessary for proper
repairs and how to bill accordingly. Because many shops don’t do this, the ones who do look like the bad guy to the insurers.” Next, more legislation is needed to dictate what the insurance companies are required to do when paying for a claim. Finally, consumer education is key; “we need to teach consumers to purchase proper insurance coverage from a carrier who will reimburse them fairly in the event of a loss.” One of Bradshaw’s suits against Nationwide involves a vehicle which was declared a total loss midway through the repair, and Bradshaw is in the midst of a battle to receive payment for the work completed thus far.
Sumpter County, SC, Continental Tire Plant Ready to Roll Nearly a year and a half after breaking ground, the new Continental Tire the Americas plant in Sumter County, SC, is nearly ready to start production. The 1 million-square-foot facility is slated to begin production by January 2014, but could start even before then. “We hope to begin in January 2014, but we’re striving to do better
than that,” Tom Tompkins, a plant engineer, told local media. “Most of the machines are functional. They’re just in the testing phase. We’ve already produced test tires as a finished product.” When production begins, the plant will produce an estimated 4.5 million tires a year, with capacity expected to increase to 8 million by 2021.
NY CTE Students Get Hands-On Lesson in Airbrush Painting from Ohio Instructor
Students in the Collision Repair Technology program at the CattaraugusAllegany BOCES Career and Technical Education Center (CTE) at Ellicottville, NY, recently received a hands-on airbrush lesson from Tom Banks of the Ohio Technical College Custom Paint and Graphics Training Program. The students used the latest and safest water-based paints as they worked their way through a two-hour series of exercises using a two-stage airbrush. The exercises helped the young painters begin to develop the technique and fine motor control needed for effective painting using an airbrush. “Tom Banks came in and taught the kids using best teaching style: hands-on learning,” said BOCES Instructor Ed Arnold. “Mr. Banks also stated airbrush painting can be a great source of additional income for those with the talent and skill to pursue it.” The Custom Paint and Graphics Training Program at Ohio Technical College is a 12-week,
300-hour, all-inclusive program developed to train body shop technicians in the highly rewarding field of custom painting and refinishing. Students explore the artistic side of painting, special effects and graphic design. Banks said the program blends frame and body refinishing skills with art as stu-
dents learn airbrushing, 3-D paint effects, exotic paint, chameleon colors, flames and more. Students also learn to do pinstriping and apply vinyl graphics, all of which he said can greatly enhance their earning potential and make them more valuable employees.
www.autobodynews.com | NOVEMBER 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS 17
with Ed Attanasio
Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist based in San Francisco, California. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Wagner Motors Supplies Four-fold OE Parts to Community Wagner Motors’ KIA Parts Manager Rich Gauthier, 38 has been working in the collision industry since he was old enough to vote, so he knows what body shops in Massachusetts want and need when it comes to wholesale parts and everything that goes with it. “They want top service, follow-through, and fast deliveries and most importantly-they want to know that we’re experts about the parts we’re selling them,” Gauthier said. “Body shops work on a lot of different cars every day, so we need to be knowledgeable about all the parts we sell.” With an enormous combined inventory of original parts for the aforementioned KIA, as well as Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and several motorcycle manufacturers, Wagner Motors in Shrewsbury, MA aggressively pursues the wholesale market for all of its four automotive nameplates. Founded in 1964, Wagner Mo-
tors opened its own collision center in 1987. In 2008, Wagner Motors acquired a KIA dealership to add to its other three brands and today they sell more than $12 million total in wholesale parts to approximately 2,700 body shop customers in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Gauthier runs into many situations where shops try the aftermarket first on a particular part, but then eventually return to the O.E., for a wide range of reasons. “All the time, body shops will call and inquire about an O.E. part and then I guess they decide for whatever reason that they want to go with the aftermarket part,” Gauthier explained. “Then, maybe a week later, they call back and order the factory part from us. They tried to save money, but in the end they discovered that the O.E. part was the only way to go.” By using match-pricing programs when available, Wagner Motors is able to help body shops to incorporate
18 NOVEMBER 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
more original parts in more of their repairs, Gauthier said. By working closely with KIA’s Parts Konquest program, Gauthier’s department has
When it comes to doing wholesale parts right, Gauthier knows what’s important. “First, they want the right part delivered on-time,” he said. “Comebacks and lost time can kill their cycle times which are important for many reasons. And just as importantly, they want quality. Of course, they want a good price, but in the end it comes down to quality. Any body shop out there wants to use O.E. Wagner Motors in Shrewsbury, MA sells KIA, Audi, parts, so we try to make it an BMW and Mercedes-Benz parts to body shops in three states easy and seamless process.” To keep its body shop customers had great success and partially credits informed and happy, Wagner Motors it for his 200% spike in sales within works with Advantage Marketing, a the last two years. company that constantly visits body “Our conversion rate with this shops to answer questions, deal with program is excellent,” Gauthier said. potential issues and let them know “90-95% of the time we can get the they care. “Having a team out there sale or at least a significant portion of the order. Konquest has approximately representing us is a big deal and we rely on them to bring us the news out 1,800 KIA part numbers in the proin the industry, so we can do a better gram, so it is working well for us and job and serve their needs better.” our body shop customers like it too.”
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Northeast Associations with Chasidy Rae Sisk
Chasidy Rae Sisk is a freelance technical writer from Wilmington, Delaware, who writes on a variety of fields and subjects, and grew up in a family of NASCAR fans. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AASP-MA Plans a Busy Fall of Cookouts, Casino Nights, and Legislative State Meetings
AASP-MA always has many projects in the work, and fall 2013 is no different! In addition to hosting a barbeque, clambake and casino night for members, they will also hold a statewide meeting where they will discuss new technologies and some of their legislative activities. Executive Director Jillian Zywien took time away from her hectic schedule to discuss some of these events and initiatives. On September 16, AASP-MA’s midstate chapter bid adieu to summer with their annual family-friendly barbeque in Hudson, MA. The event featured great catering by Firefly’s and plenty of fun activities for over 150 attendees. They also offered many exciting pleasures for children with a magician making balloon animals, a visit from the Worcester Sharks’ mascot, Fin, and a raffle just for kids. Children’s meals were provided at no cost, thanks to sponsor Imperial Parts. The grand prize raffle was sponsored by over a dozen companies and
included a barbeque grill, flat screen television, handcrafted boat sandbox, pool and spa package, paintball for eight, and a Samsung Galaxy tablet. Grand prize sponsors included Imperial Parts, Marshall’s Carstar, Balise, Bernardi Auto Group, Marlboro Nissan, Kelly Nissan and Linders, Inc. General raffle prizes varied from electronics and shop equipment to housewares, gift cards and cash; sponsors for these prizes included cPrax, Fuller’s of Auburn, Enterprise, Ollie’s Used Parts, Long Automotive, TASCA, LKQ, Best Chevrolet, Finish Master, J&R, Relco Products Company, Melendez Dent Repair, BASF, and Bald Hill Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep and KIA. Zywien and AASP-MA are grateful to their sponsors for their continued support and participation. Over $6000 was raised at the barbeque and will be applied toward the continuation of the AASP-MA Tool Award Scholarship which provides tools to qualified students who are
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pursuing a career as an automotive technician. AASP-MA also hosted their annual clambake on Friday, October 11, at the Polish American Club in Feeding Hills, MA.
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On Saturday, November 9, AASP-MA’s 6th annual Private Casino Night will be held at J. Anthony’s Italian Grill in North Oxford, MA. In addition to the night of fun and games, AASP-MA will also be honoring two long-time shop owners who recently retired: Walter Thomas of Thomas Auto Body who is a past
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president of CMARA and an original ADALB member, as well as Mike Beal of Mike’s Frame & Collision who is a past president of MABA and a huge supporter of AASP-MA’s western chapter. Zywien looks forward to the success of this event. “This night promises non-stop gaming action and has been consistently sold out each year! We hope our members join us in an exciting evening of fun and winning big. Remember, AASP-MA is committed to winning for you and your business every day!” Why does AASP-MA put so much emphasis on these type of events? Zywien explains, “AASPMA’s educational and social events are important because they act as a forum for members to share ideas and concerns, to build new relationships with peers and become more profitable in their businesses. By hosting a variety of events, the association See AASP-MA, Page 28
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Virginia Shop Owner Says Collision Repair is Easy Compared to Politics
by Ed Attanasio
Throughout the years, body shops owners all over the country have run for political office and instituted changes at the local and national level. People have said that the skills accumulated while running a body shop can easily transfer into politics. By negotiating on a daily basis with insurance companies, coordinating literally thousands of details monthly and working with a crew consisting of a wide range of distinct personalities, collision professionals are well-suited for public office, according to Doug Conner, the owner of Conner Bros. Collision Centers in Richmond, VA., an MSO consisting of four locations. Conner, 69, started painting cars when he was 17 and worked for local car dealerships for roughly 15 years. He started his very own shop in 1976 with the help of his wife Jean and his brother Donnie, another painter. “I worked for another shop to learn the business and then got the nerve to start my own,” Conner chuckled. “We signed a three-year lease and were just hoping to get some
cars in here at the beginning. During the first six months, we didn’t know if we were coming or going, to be honest. Our original location MSO owner Doug was 3,000 square Conner served two terms as a councilfeet. It was a long man in Richmond, building, so if we VA, and is proud of parked them sidethe things he did by-side, we could for the city, even maybe get a total though he ran into complacency and a of six cars in the lot of red tape shop at one time. But, eventually, we saved about $10,000 and purchased some land close to our original shop. After our lease expired, we built our first shop. We never needed to borrow any money, which was very fortunate.” Today Conner is semi-retired with his two sons Kevin and Alan running his shops, after serving two terms as a councilman of the ninth district in Richmond, VA. He decided to run for the first time in 2004, when he began to see an alarming trend in local
22 NOVEMBER 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
Richmond politics, he explained. “There was a period of time in Richmond here when we had a lot of council people ending up in jail for a wide range of reasons. For bribery, outright theft and other things—we were really in horrible shape here in Richmond for a few years. I was always under the impression that in order to be a public official, you need to have this degree or that degree, so I never really considered it. But eventually I realized that these politicians might have degrees, but they don’t have common sense. Their job was being a council member and that was it. They were professional politicians, essentially. So that’s when I decided to get interested and involved. I served for six years, completing two terms from 2006 to 2012 and I never bribed anybody or stole anything from anyone.” During his first campaign in 2004, Conner lost in a three-person race, but it was a learning experience, he explained. “So, I ran the next time in 2006 and beat the incumbent in a close race where I won by only 250 votes. It was great, because I knew I
was going to make changes and I was excited about the opportunity to play a role in helping the city. It turned out to be an interesting new experience, with surprises every day—just like running a body shop.” Conner immediately saw that he could apply his skills in the collision repair field to use in the political arena. Said Conner, “All I can say is that body shop owners are more than capable of holding any of these political positions and handling the responsibilities associated with them. A person running a body shop has tons of experience, both professionally and personally that can be easily transferred to being a council person, a congressman or even a senator or a governor, in my opinion. Education helps, but I believe real-world experience is the most important thing required for any job. Serving in public office parallels the collision repair business in many ways, because body shop professionals have to develop skills to make it, such as negotiation (DRPs), networking (community outreach), managing people (employees) and delivering results.”
mothers and people who need new careers for whatever reason. We’re training people for jobs where there is demand in Richmond, like laboratory technicians, pharmacy technicians for medical coding professions, for example. In one year, we can train someone to be a lab tech and we know Conner Brothers Collision Repair has four locations, but is that companies will hire them, looking to open its fifth soon. Here the shop is sponsoring because we’re also working a local community car wash. with the employers.” Conner achieved a lot of really Another significant accomplishgood things while being a councilman ment that Conner is proud of involves for Richmond and is proud of it. “We his outsourcing of the city’s fleet. had drainage issues and problems with “We went to Baltimore and the infrastructure, so those were essenchecked out a fleet service and detertial things that needed to be fixed right mined that we could save $200,000 a away,” Conner said. “We did some month by outsourcing our city’s fleet. band-aid work, but we never really With roughly 1,000 vehicles and their completely fixed it, and if I had won a equipment, it was a huge undertaking. third term, I am confident we could The thinking behind outsourcing is have gotten that done. I ran out of time. just like a shop running on salary vs. We had some huge projects that were commission. The people who were taken care of and that is very gratifying. running the fleet were on salary. Now, I started a career and education comsure they weren’t making a lot, but mission, which got labor people tothey also weren’t doing much either. gether working with our schools. It led By using an outside company, total to the establishment of a career training accountability became a part of it and facility, which is being built right now, there was a huge difference right off to provide nursing training for welfare the bat. If you have someone working
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for commission or flat rate, they’re obviously going to be more motivated. By outsourcing our fleet, we saved several million dollars every year, because it’s 100% based on performance, so we’re not paying for people or cars sitting around doing nothing.” After a year in office, Conner began to see the bad side of politics and it’s called inactivity. “When it comes to government, nobody wants to stick their necks out, because they’re afraid to lose their jobs,” Conner said. “So nothing happens except for a lot of talking and posturing. They’re real good at coming up with reasons not to do something. It’s very tough and if you want to achieve anything, you have to stay on it and work at it. It takes a long time and that’s why we have so many problems in this country—the inactivity can kill you. “In planning, for instance, it’s all about what you can’t do,” Conner said. “For example, some of the sign ordinances in this city are ridiculous. They would block new businesses from getting new signs, for example, with these lame restrictions, but I told them, ‘How do you expect new busi-
nesses to come here when we won’t even let them have a sign?’ We need new businesses to become successful, so that we can build up our tax base and offer services to our folks, but you’re going to wrestle with this small business owner about the size of his sign? It’s in a commercial area, I told them, but you would think we’re in Hollywood, the way they were reacting. In every situation, I was advocating small businesses and their rights, because that’s where I came from. But, red tape will slow you down and discourage you, because there is so much of it. It took a lot of time and effort, and I did get some things done, but it was tough.” Accountability was something else that Conner eventually realized was non-existent in local politics, at least in the city of Richmond. “The average politician talks a lot and makes a bunch of promises. They’re hoping that people eventually forget about what they said. If you do what you say you’re going to do, people will remember that, you know? I feel like I was different because I followed through and cared and that’s the most important thing I can say about that.”
California Shop Owner Gets 50-Years-to-Life For Murdering His Customer in 2011
An auto body shop owner who shot and killed a dissatisfied customer whose car never got fixed was sentenced to 50-years-to-life in prison for first-degree murder. Anthony Michael Vigil, now 49, first had to duck a tissue box thrown at him in the courtroom by the wife of the victim, Michael Paul Gonzales Jr., 26. “This man is going to suffer for the rest of his life, his pathetic life, and then for all of eternity, and that’s the only thing that brings me satisfaction,” Jami Bryan said before Sacramento Superior Court Judge Kevin J. McCormick sentenced Vigil. Vigil ran a business called Anthony’s Body Shop on Amalgam Way, just off Sunrise Boulevard in an industrial neighborhood near Gold River, CA. According to Vigil’s probation report, Gonzales brought his car into the shop several months before he was killed the night of Oct. 6, 2011. “The defendant stated the work would be completed in approximately one week,” the probation report said.
When it still wasn’t done a week after that, Gonzales “called, texted, and emailed the defendant numerous times, but never received a call or text back,” according to the Anthony Michael probation report. Vigil The repair itself was a simple fender bender. Vigil later told Gonzales, “there were issues with his insurance company paying for the repairs,” the report said. Two weeks before the shooting, Gonzales met another customer who said he was having trouble with Vigil. Gonzales agreed to accompany the other man to Vigil’s shop to serve him with a small claims suit, the probation report said. Gonzales and the other man arrived at the shop around 10 p.m. the night of the shooting. When Vigil arrived later, the report said, he retrieved a shotgun from inside his shop, called See 50-to-Life, Page 67
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ASA-AZ Surveys Wholesale Parts Dealers on PartsTrader Usage Over 130 people attended an Automotive Service Association of Arizona (ASA-AZ) meeting on the evening of August 13th that featured Dale Sailer from Parts Trader and George Avery, national spokesperson from State Farm Insurance. Mike Anderson of Collision Advice facilitated the meeting in which questions were answered following presentations by Mr. Sailer and Mr Avery. Among those in attendance were two state legislators curious about the program and the impact on constituents. (See John Yoswick’s article on this event in the September Autobody News.) The meeting coincided with the national rollout of Parts Trader in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. Arizona was the first state in which Select Service shops were required to locate and purchase all parts using the relatively new and controversial program without benefit of the “fax only” option. Select Service shops are now only allowed to purchase parts from vendors that agreed to sign a Parts Trader Agreement. As a follow up to this meeting,
ASA-AZ sent out surveys to new car dealerships parts departments. “The overwhelming majority of our collision repair members are opposed to the mandated use of parts procurement programs” stated Luz Rubio, Executive Director for ASA-AZ. “We sent out the surveys to find out how Parts Trader was actually working for vendors and whether they felt it added value to their business.” Thirty OEM vendors replied to the survey with results that were overwhelmingly negative in regards to how parts departments felt the program was working for them. “The results of our survey do not seem to support Mr. Sailer’s claims that Parts Trader has been well received by many of the vendors using it” said Ms. Rubio. One of the respondents commented on the overall program, “We have not seen a value in the program. We pride ourselves on relationships built with repairers throughout the years and find Parts Trader to be an unnecessary part of our business. There are a lot of unanswered questions as to who will pay for the Parts Trader program and how that will af-
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fect established relationships and pricing models.” ASA-AZ released a position statement opposing Parts Trader on July 27, 2012. “Feedback from OEM parts vendors as well as repairers has given us no reason to change our position regarding the use of Parts Trader” commented Ms. Rubio. “Not one collision trade association has come out in support of the State Farm mandate and now, it is clear, that OEM parts departments are also opposed to its use. It is time for State Farm to consider an alternative instead of forcing repair shops and parts vendors to use a program that is both unpopular and ineffective.” The ASA AZ continues to reinforce its position that insurance companies should stay in the business of insurance and leave all aspects of the collision repair process including parts ordering to the collision repair professionals. For additional information about ASA of Arizona visit www.asaaz.org. Survey results can be downloaded at Autobodynews.com.
Continued from Page 13
Jesse and PTSD
his family’s farm. Roaming at the farm are Jesse’s three siblings, who are also being trained as service dogs. Thomas says the dogs will most likely go to Gulf War veterans, adding there’s always a waiting list for service dogs. “It’s an emerging therapy,” Thomas said of PTSD service dogs, adding: “The people get trained more than the dogs. The dogs pick up things instinctually.” To learn more about collision repair at Penn College, visit: www.pct.edu/collision.
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Continued from Page 20
creates a networking opportunity for members to build a strong, industrywide professional community. The association staff, together with AASP-MA leadership, continues to develop programs and encourage members to provide input on topics of interest you would like presented. Please contact the association with any and all ideas. We are here to serve you.” AASP-MA will also be hosting their fourth quarter Statewide Meeting on Tuesday, October 15, at the Doubletree Hotel in Westborough, MA. Three speakers were scheduled to attend the meeting to provide presentations on several key issues impacting MA body shops. Zywien detailed the key elements of each presentation: “Anne Lynch, President of Lynch Associates, Inc., serving as AASP-MA lobbyist, will be presenting on our ongoing advocacy with the DOI, the Department of Consumer Affairs, and other state elected leaders. It is vital that members are informed on the ongoing efforts of the
association, in order to be involved with the process. “Rick Starbard, past President of AASP and collision repair shop owner, will present on the Database Enhancement Gateway (DEG). The DEG can be a significant asset to body shops guarding against estimate errors in the databases of the CCC, Mitchell and Audatex. While this new this process can be frustrating and cumbersome, Rick will educate members how to maximize the program benefits. This seminar will provide a guide on the use of the site and how it offers members an opportunity for relief. “Matthew Moore, Highway Loss Data Institute, will highlight advanced technologies that are designed to stop crashes from occurring. The IIHS and HLDI have evaluated some of these technologies by performing tests and by looking at insurance claim data. Moore will provide a detailed discussion of the results.” Thanks to recent enhancements to AASP-MA’s website, members and non-members alike were able sign up for this important education and informational event online at: aaspma.org/events/statewide-meeting. The association’s website was
completely redesigned to include features like online program registration for all meetings run by the association, the ability to join AASP-MA and receive immediate access to memberonly information, and a broadening of
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all forms of payment to AASP. The site’s member-only content section allows members to view the entire public portion of each meeting. Zywien encourages feedback: “WE LISTEN to members and want to hear from YOU. Please do not hesitate to contact us on our new local number: 617-574-0741. We stand ready to assist,” she says. AASP-MA has also made changes to the way they communicate and interact with members. Their monthly publication, the Damage Report, is being distributed directly to
members via email. The newsletter features articles on AASP-MA’s upcoming news and events, as well as other local, regional and national news and legislative initiatives pertaining to the collision repair industry. Their newest feature, Ask the Expert, allows questions to be researched and the findings published for the benefit of all members. AASP-MA solicits these questions at their meetings, or questions can be sent to Colleen Kane at email@example.com. Zywien is “really looking forward to this segment and hopes our members find it beneficial to their businesses.” The Executive Director describes additional changes to AASP-MA’s member information delivery systems: “Recently, we have increased our contact with members regarding upcoming events, to insure that everyone is well informed and able to participate in AASP programs. We instituted an added feature that electronic notices can be sent to as many members of your staff that you would like to receive information. Simply provide the email addresses within your shop that could benefit from this content, and we will add them immediately.”
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AASP-MA continues to set legislative initiatives for the MA collision industry. “As the number one priority, AASP-MA continues to work with Legislators on our auto labor rate bill. Massachusetts’ labor rate has consistently been the lowest in the country and it remains critical to our member shops that we pass this legislation. Additionally, we have pursued meetings with leaders in surrounding states to learn about legal and legislative initiatives they have successfully advanced on behalf of the industry. Our staff and leadership will continue to research avenues of relief to right the wrong insurers have forced upon the repair profession,” according to Zywien. AASP-MA also recently met with representatives from the Division of Insurance (DOI) to discuss their labor rate bill, compliance and enforcement issues of the current regulations governing insurance companies, and their future working goals with the DOI, beginning by securing a direct contact within the Division, Director Mancini. The reason that AASP-MA’s work with the DOI is so important, Zywien explains, is “Since many of our issues have an impact on rate set-
ting activities, we look forward to forging a continued working relationship with the leadership of the Division of Insurance. We were able to discuss in detail the labor rate legislative initiative; the compliance with current regulations; consumer and industry education about the rights granted under the policy; proposals we have offered to contain costs such as the expedited appraisal process which has not been implemented by the insurers; additional interaction with CAR and ADALB, and better communication in general with the agency on industry status.” AASP-MA also has meetings scheduled with the Office of Consumer Affairs Undersecretary, Barbara Anthony, who is the cabinet member overseeing the DOI, and a follow-up meeting with CAR regarding conflicts between the standards for insurers and the adoption of a competitive market.
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www.autobodynews.com | NOVEMBER 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS 29
WIN Announces Opening of Most Influential Women Nominations for 2014, Gala to be Held in San Diego The Women’s Industry Network announced that nominations for the Most Influential Women (MIW) Awards will open on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013 and will be accepted through Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. The winners will be recognized at a gala held during the 2014 WIN Educational Conference, May 5-7, 2014, at Paradise Point in San Diego, CA. The MIW award recognizes women who have enriched the collision repair industry with their leadership, vision and commitment to excellence. “Being recognized as one of AkzoNobel’s Most Influential Women in the collision repair industry was simultaneously humbling and empowering,” said Linda Sommerhauser, owner of Autobody Color Co. in Kansas City, MO. “I was humbled because I knew that there were so many within the industry who could have just as easily been recognized for their many contributions. However, I also felt empowered because I was now part of a recognized community of leaders who were committed to making the path a little easier for others to follow.”
In addition to the MIW awards gala, where honorees are presented with a Tiffany’s crystal award and custom commemorative pin, WIN has added a new element to the program this year. Recipients will have the opportunity to invest in the future of collision repair by mentoring a WIN scholarship winner as they continue their education toward a career in the industry. “We felt this was an important way for seasoned professionals to embrace the future of our industry,” said Margaret Knell, chair of the MIW Planning Committee. Honorees have held positions in every facet of the collision repair industry, as shop owners, body and paint technicians, managers, wholesalers, lobbyists, suppliers, insurance adjusters, consultants, educators, editors and writers, and industry association directors. “Being honored as a Most Influential Women in 2011 was an amazing experience,” said Barbara Davies, coowner/general manager of Autobody News. “I was thrilled to be a part of such an impressive group of women
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from so many different parts of the industry. Having the opportunity to get to know this group of smart, inspiring and creative women has been the highlight of my career in the collision repair industry.” The MIW program’s charter aligns with WIN’s mission to “enhance the role of women in the industry” and has recognized more than 75 women for their professional accomplishments and for going beyond requirements of their positions to give back to their communities. Although WIN membership is not a requirement for nomination, more than 30 percent of MIW recipients are currently, or have previously been, members of WIN.
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Body Shop Employee Was Robbed Helping Customer
An employee of Alameda Collision Repair in Alameda, CA, was robbed and injured as he was giving a courtesy ride home to a man who brought a car to the auto body shop for an estimate Saturday morning, Sept. 28, Alameda police said. The employee was treated at a local hospital for injuries to his jaw, which are not considered life-threatening. An Oakland man suspected of beating and robbing the auto body shop employee was arrested after he returned to Alameda Collision Repair to collect his damaged car. The suspect was captured on surveillance video and shop employees alerted police to his return. Meanwhile the robbery victim remains hospitalized. Friends of the young man told local media that he is undergoing surgery for a fractured jaw. The suspect had asked for a ride from the shop at 1911 Park St. to his home in Oakland, Police Lt. Jill Ottaviano said. After they reached Oakland, the suspect attacked the driver and stole money from him, she said. The incident is considered a strong-arm robbery and reportedly no weapon was used, she said.
www.autobodynews.com | NOVEMBER 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS 31
Northeast Associations with Chasidy Rae Sisk
Chasidy Rae Sisk is a freelance technical writer from Wilmington, Delaware, who writes on a variety of fields and subjects, and grew up in a family of NASCAR fans. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rhode Island’s Don Cushing Wears Multiple Hats in Parts Wholesale and Auto Body Associations World wide, collision repair is a complex industry with many factors weighing heavily on its practice and progress, and the environment in New England is no different. There are constant legal battles, training issues and new technology to contend with, making it difficult for many people to keep up with and stay ahead of all these changes. The easiest way for many to keep up with current trends and information is supporting industry associations with your involvement on a local and national level. Don Cushing of Rhode Island is the Wholesale Manager at Bald Hill Dodge Chrysler and Jeep. With nearly 40 years of experience in and around the collision repair industry, Cushing is a valuable resource for information and trends locally and nationwide. Cushing exemplifies this involvement with several important associations: the Mopar Masters Guild (MMG), the Auto Body Association of Connecticut
(ABAC), and the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Massachusetts (AASP/MA). “I take my career with Bald Hill DCJ and my involvement with the Mopar Masters Guild, ABAC News and AASP/MA very seriously, and I’m determined to make a difference! I use all of these avenues to network with customers and build relationships because without our customers we are nothing.” After graduating ITT Technical Institute in 1974, Cushing began his career as a parts counterperson at a small dealership in Providence RI, and after a few months, he was recruited by a large dealership, under the direction of Ernie Wennerstrom, his current Parts Director at Bald Hill. After a few years working for various smaller dealerships during which he “yearned to get back to the wholesale side of the business,” Cushing was hired as the Wholesale Representative at a Chrysler dealership
where he was employed for 16 years. A change came in 1997 when Wennerstrom hired Cushing as Bald Hill’s Wholesale Manager and made him responsible for supplying over 1100 customers for their mechanical and collision departments. Cushing notes, “I have several parts representatives that work alongside me in my endeavors to gain customer base and formulate new and exciting ideas to increase the company revenue.” Cushing became involved with MMG in 1998 when Wennerstrom introduced him to the Executive Board who were interested in having Cushing create their newsletter. Cushing’s contributions yielded success. He says, “What started out as a simple updated pamphlet to members has now turned into a multi-page magazine featuring members’ stories, vendor profiles, vendor ads and industry news! The plus side of working for the Mopar Masters Guild is that I get to
listen and hear what the ‘Best of the Best’ have to offer at guild events.” The same year, Cushing began expanding Bald Hill’s customer territory into CT, and as Bald Hill acquired more customers in their neighboring state, Cushing met many collision repair shop owners who belonged to ABAC. Over time, he told them about his success with MMG’s newsletter, and in 2001, he helped them launch ABAC News, the official newsletter for ABAC. The newsletter, combined with the financial support of its advertisers, allowed ABAC to continue growing their educational and legislative programs. Through his roles with Bald Hill, MMG and ABAC, Cushing also became involved with AASP-MA, and in November 2012, he was appointed as their Statewide Association Division Director. His duties are to serve the Board of Directors by using his experience as a vendor to contribute
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input on the many concerns and issues facing the industry. Currently, ABAC’s most important topic is the Hartford Lawsuit. In regards to this endeavor, Cushing notes, “This class action lawsuit will certainly be a game changer in the way that insurance companies conduct themselves in the future, both on the local (Connecticut) level, northeast and nationwide. Increasing membership, the education of ABAC members and shop owners and legislation are some of the ongoing issues that the ABAC is focusing on. These endeavors will prove extremely valuable as they move forward.” He also explains that a few of the ways that ABAC works toward achieving their goals is through semi-
nars, OEM presentations, guest speakers at events and advertising. Another important concern in CT right now is their Anti-Steering Bill, and Cushing has “always supported the fact that everyone has a right to choose the repairer of their choice. There should be no influence from the insurance company on where a customer brings their vehicle.” One of MMG’s biggest events is their annual meeting at NADA, and their next meeting is scheduled for January 2014 in New Orleans, LA. According to Cushing, “This annual meeting draws the best Mopar parts managers (and the top 100) in the country. The motto for the MMG is ‘the exchange of information by likesize dealers in a non-competitive en-
vironment.’ This meeting combined with several Performance Group meetings throughout the year keeps members apprised of new and innovative ideas that are brought forth from these gatherings.” Recently, Cushing was elected as President of the Southern New England Mopar Service and Parts Master’s Guild. The group meets once a month, and their variety of guest speakers tends to draw a decent crowd. Cushing hopes that this role will also allow him to aid with necessary industry improvements; “I plan on using this position to help to further educate attendees in their daily operations and hopefully share some ideas and best practices (as we do with the Mopar Masters Guild) with each other.”
In regards to issues impacting the collision repair industry as a whole, Cushing notes, “As we move forward in the automotive industry, there are challenges that we all face. The Right to Repair Act is one. Working for a dealership and with our large customer base, we have always shared and assisted with information that our customers (collision and mechanical shops) need. I don’t believe that we should just sell parts to our accounts and not help them when they are in need. This is also one of the main reasons why I don’t support the Parts Act. We as a dealer of OEM parts have the resources to give our wholesale customers information on repairing their vehicles in the best and safest way possible according to our manufacturer specifications.” Though PartsTrader has not yet impacted the New England area, Cushing believes that these type of insurermandated parts programs are the biggest challenge facing the industry, and he fears that it will soon spread to impact his company’s market area. “I can see alienation of customers, delayed deliveries, reduced profits and most of all, dissatisfied consumers. The only winners in this game are State Farm and PartsTrader.” What can be done about PartsTrader, insurer steering, and other issues plaguing the industry? Cushing advises, “I hope that all parties involved (mainly collision shop owners) work towards getting educated and ‘doing their homework’ before embracing this product. Let your thoughts be known. Be vocal. Get involved!”
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Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey Have Most Expensive Auto Loans in the Country
A new study finds that Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey have the highest auto loan rates in the country while Michigan, Oregon, and Alaska have the lowest. GoBankingRates.com disclosed the states with the highest auto loan rates in America. The study investigated the best and worst rates nationwide, with the North East containing the most states with the highest rates, while the West Coast boasted lower auto loan rates overall. Although the average interest rate for a new vehicle is 3.65% APR nationwide, state averages varied from a high of 5.11% in Rhode Island to a low of 3.03% in Michigan. “Cars are depreciating assets,
which means it’s never smart to overpay in interest when purchasing one,” said Casey Bond, GoBankingRates .com managing editor. “Anyone paying upwards of 5% or higher on a car loan is getting a bad deal.” The states with the highest average auto loan rates ranked as follows: Rhode Island: 5.11% Connecticut: 4.82% New Jersey: 4.47% Massachusetts: 4.21% Louisiana: 4.20% West Virginia: 4.16% Delaware: 4.14% Washington, D.C.: 3.95% Mississippi: 3.91% Pennsylvania: 3.84%
The states with the best average auto loan rates were Michigan, Oregon, Alaska, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Vermont, Oklahoma, Utah, Washington and North Carolina. The lowest auto loan rates in the country come from California-based Burbank City Federal Credit Union and Oregon-based First Community Credit Union, which offer a 0.99% APR base rate for 36-month terms. The highest new auto loan base rate in the country is 12.5% APY for a 48-month term. The study lists the best auto rates for 36-, 48- and 60-month terms for each of the top and bottom 10 states. The data from this study was com-
piled using the GoBankingRates.com interest rate database, which is powered by Informa Research Services and aggregates rates from more than 4,000 U.S. financial institutions. This study examined base rates* offered by banks and credit unions on new car loan products, using a statewide average of rates to determine ranking. Auto loan rates are current as of July 24 and are subject to change.
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Phoenix Body Shop Owner Accused of Staging Accidents to Collect Insurance Benefits
Twin investigations led to the arrest of a Phoenix body shop owner on suspicion of identity theft and staging hitand-run accidents to collect insurance benefits. Hugo Alejandro Mejia-Regalado was charged on Sept. 16 with several felonies involving fraud schemes, insurance fraud, forgeries, theft and
aggravated identity theft. Agents with the Arizona Department of Insurance, assisted by the Phoenix Police Department and agents with the National Insurance Crime Bureau, executed search warrants on X Auto Body Shop at 1540 West Broadway Rd. in Phoenix and his home in northwest Phoenix.
Investigators said they discovered auto policies had been taken out on different vehicles in fraudulent names using of fake Mexico driver’s licenses. Within a couple weeks, the vehicles were involved in hit-and-run accidents, which investigators believe were staged. The false names were also used to
obtain Arizona motor vehicle titles just prior to the policies being taken out, said the Arizona Department of Insurance. Numerous other claims are still under investigation. Mejia-Regalado was booked into the Maricopa County Jail. He is also incarcerated on a federal immigration hold.
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www.autobodynews.com | NOVEMBER 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS 37
Faces of NACE 2013
38 NOVEMBER 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
Tennessee CRA Advances Professionalism & Consumer Issues with Chasidy Rae Sisk
Getting local shops involved tends to pose the biggest challenge for most collision repair associations, and this is currently the focus for the Tennessee Collision Repairers Association (TCRA). As TCRA strives to increase their membership, Executive Director Tony Nethery shared some insight into the association and their objectives. TCRA was established in 2006 when three collision repair shop owners met for lunch and the conversation turned to “the struggles of going it alone in the collision industry,” according to Nethery. This casual conversation sparked an idea and a goal, leading to the first TCRA meeting about a month later which was held at a restaurant in Jackson, TN. One of the founders volunteered to serve as chair until a board could be formed and an official charter completed. Though 50 people attended
TCRA’s first meeting, “the crowd dwindled to about half of that when it was made clear that TCRA was being formed to increase knowledge and work together, not to do battle with insurers,” Nethery explains. Still, enough interest was generated to allow TCRA to form a second chapter in Nashville the following year. Currently, the Jackson Tony Nethery chapter of TCRA focuses on the western part of the state, while their Nashville chapter services central TN; however, since TN is over 400 miles long, they hope to establish an eastern chapter in the near future. Currently, TCRA consists of around 20 member shops, but they are actively seeking new members and sponsors across the state. As
such, they are also restructuring their board and meeting locations and times. While TCRA’s current membership is lower than it has been in the past, Nethery believes “our members are committed to seeing it grow again.” Previously, each TCRA chapter had their own Board of Directors and officers and would meet monthly on their own, but Nethery notes that this “basically resulted in two associations with sometimes completely different agendas.” As TCRA tries to increase their membership, they are also restructuring the organization to promote unity. According to Nethery, “In order to try and boost attendance, we are now meeting every other month as a large group and moving the meetings to different areas to make travel equal for everyone. At the first of the year, we hope to elect one set of officers for the state and include board members from the entire
group. This allows us to bring in better speakers because of the larger group and keeps us all working on the same issues. We are also hiring a part time staff member to keep up our website, send out reminders and solicit new members.” Anyone in the state is invited to join TCRA, and there are definitive benefits to membership, according to Nethery. “Membership in TCRA provides an opportunity to have a stronger voice in the industry. Many young shop owners have had the benefit of being mentored by their peers.” TCRA is a member of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS), and they subscribe to SCRS’s mission, purpose and objectives which include promoting education and communication within the collision repair industry. In May 2012, TCRA also entered into an alliance with the Congress of Automo-
www.autobodynews.com | NOVEMBER 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS 39
tive Repair and Service (CARS) in order to provide several new industry and business-related benefits to members, including a discount on the cost of TCRA’s membership. The top purpose of TCRA is education and communication between collision repairers. They promote a professional atmosphere, as seen in their policy which is detailed on their website: that all officers, sponsors and members of TCRA conduct themselves and their transactions in a legal and ethical manner; and in addition, follow all guidelines and regulations set forth by the association during meetings and events, and exhibit great care regarding the reputation of this organization. TCRA’s objective is “to develop a forum for interaction and exchange of ideas between body shops in TN, promote ethical and best practices, and to communicate with and educate members in all matters relevant to these objectives.” Nethery clarifies, “our mission is to educate the consumer and ourselves on how to correctly repair a vehicle and to promote ethical business practices.” Regarding the emphasis on education, Nethery notes, “education is
important for the same reason in this industry that it is in any other. An educated consumer is a customer that will make good choices in repair and not be easily steered by the insurer. In the state of TN, there is no license required to do collision repair, other than a business license that anyone can buy. A hairdresser has to have a license to cut hair, but anyone can call themselves a collision tech and cut your car in half. The fact that is even sadder is that an insurer will pay them (anyone who says they are a body shop) the same rate that they pay the shop who is trained and has invested millions in equipment. This will not change until our industry begins to work together and develop some sort of license or standards.” One of the ways that TCRA is promoting education to members is through participation in the annual Southeastern Conference which includes TN, AL, GA, MS and FL. They have been involved with the conference since 2012 and hope to see an increase over the 250 attendees from last year when they meet again in April 2014 in Biloxi, MS. TCRA also believes that com-
munication is vital in this industry, and Nethery explains, “we believe the biggest problem in the industry is the division of the shop owners. Even fierce competitors need to stick together on key issues that will hinder the freedom to do business in the future. That is the value of being part of an association.” TCRA’s most relevant shortterm goal revolves around PartsTrader, and they are currently trying to exert influence to dissuade PartsTrader from spreading in their state. TCRA does not believe that PartsTrader will improve cycle time, but it will allow insurers to exert control on parts profitability in the future, just like they control labor rates today. “All of the group hopes that somewhere along the way that Parts Trader will be stopped but also believe that it is not likely that it will. We are encouraging all the OEM parts venders to not sign up on
Parts Trader. The only thing that will stop Parts Trader will be if enough venders do not sign up for it to work,” Nethery explains. The topic of Right to Repair yields mixed views amongst TCRA members since the association consists of dealership shops and independent shops, but Nethery notes that it is not really a big issue in TN at present. Though TCRA is not currently involved in any legislative matters, Nethery explains that when they’ve pursued legislative reform in the past, the challenges they’ve faced are acquiring the revenue to combat insurers’ lobbyists and, once the law is passed, making sure that it is enforced. TCRA PO Box 66 Jackson, TN 38302 731-394-5628 www.mytcra.com
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This article first appeared in the I-CAR Advantage Online, which is published and distributed free of charge. I-CAR, the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair, is a not-for-profit international training organization that researches and develops quality technical education programs related to collision repair. To learn more about I-CAR, and to subscribe to the free publication, visit http://www.i-car.com.
New Honda “Body Repair News” Publication
A new free publication from Honda features body repair information on their new models. The first two editions of
Body Repair News are now available on Honda’s Service Express website. The premier publication in the series fo-
Figure 1 - This colored illustration shows the materials and strengths of steel used on the 2014 Acura MDX. (Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co, Inc.)
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1), to new structure applications, to structural foam locations, and repair guidelines. Body Repair News summarizes new body and vehicle technology that may affect collision and other body repairs. It is not intended to replace the detailed information contained in the body repair and service manuals. Rather, it simply helps collision repair industry personnel understand why using the vehicle maker service information is so important to complete and safe repairs. The new Acura MDX has a front door ring reinforcement made of 1,500 MPa steel. During replacement, where spot welding does not reach, Honda specifies MIG brazing and no GMA (MIG) plug welds. In the publication, the reFigure 2 - This photo shows tensile strength test results strictions for welding on the of welding 1,500 MPa steel to 590 MPa steel. The 1,500 1,500 MPa steel are not only MPa steel fractured first, because the welding heat respelled out in detail, there duced its strength far below 590 MPa. (Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co, Inc.) are photos of what can go
cuses on new model body repair information for the 2014 Acura MDX and the second edition covers the 2013 Honda Accord. Subsequent Body Repair News editions will be created, or updated, for each new model and any minor model change where significant body design changes are made. Body Repair News is more than just a token few pages of new model highlights. The premier issue is 10 pages of technical information collision repair professionals need to know, everything from colored diagrams showing strengths of steel (see Figure
www.koeppelvw.com 42 NOVEMBER 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
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wrong if welds are done on this steel (see Figure 2). Several other welding precautions and guidelines are included. Also included are details on the passive restraint system on the vehicle, and electrical repair information, which shows how Honda wants repairs done on wiring pigtails and connectors. Body Repair News is available on the opening page of the Service Express website. Click on “Industry Position Statements & Body Repair News”, and then scroll down to Body Repair News. It is provided free of charge, along with the company’s position statements and emergency response guides. Repair techniques on the 2013 Honda Accord are included in the ICAR Live Vehicle Technology and Trends 2013 (NEW13), the Online Collision Repair for Honda and Acura Vehicles (HON01e), and the upcoming Live Replacement of Unitized Structural Vehicles (SPS10) courses. Repair features on the 2014 Acura MDX are included in the upcoming Live Vehicle Technology and Trends 2014 (NEW14) course. For comments or suggestions on the Advantage Online, please contact I-CAR at email@example.com.
Safelite Attorneys Dispute Connecticut Officials’ Claims in Anti-Steering Case by Jenna Reed
“The omissions and errors in the state’s response to Safelite’s motion for a preliminary injunction are glaring and dispositive,” Safelite’s attorneys claim in court documents filed in the U.S. District Court of Connecticut. The company’s attorneys filed the memorandum disputing Connecticut officials’ opposition to a preliminary injunction in the anti-steering case. “The state starts by incorrectly labeling Public Act 13-67 ‘presumptively constitutional,’ even though the state bears the burden of establishing its constitutionality. And the state does not even come close to demonstrating that the law satisfied the U.S. Supreme Court’s Central Hudson test for regulating commercial speech,” Safelite’s attorneys claim. “… The state cites no evidence establishing that an interest in ‘consumer’ choice motivated the adoption of PA 13-67,” Safelite’s attorneys go on to claim. “Instead, the state argues that such a goal either was ‘implicit in Connecticut’s enactment of PA 13-67’
or can be inferred from various proposed bills that the legislature considered but did not adopt. But the uncontroverted evidence in Safelite’s opening brief demonstrated that, throughout the legislative hearings related to PA 13-67, legislators repeatedly explained that the purpose of the act was to advantage local businesses in competition with larger interstate businesses—specifically Safelite.” Safelite’s attorneys claim the defendants have not shown evidence that there was any harm to customer choice that would be helped by PA 1367. “… So PA 13-67 did not address any harm to consumers from alleged ‘steering’ or from understanding their legal rights,” Safelite’s attorneys claim. “Rather the only ‘harm’ the state identifies as being addressed by PA 13-67 is that customers are choosing Safelite shops too often. This is simply not a ‘harm’ that the state is entitled to address by restricting protected commercial speech.” Safelite’s attorneys also claim the public act only addresses third-party administrators who own an affiliated
auto glass service. They question why other third-party administrators are left out even though they “may have a financial incentive to refer business to particular shops.” “… For the foregoing reasons, Safelite is likely to prevail on its claim that PA 13-67 violates its rights under the First Amendment. … Accordingly, this court should issue a preliminary injunction preventing the defendants from enforcing PA 13-67 pending the resolution of this action,” Safelite’s attorneys claim. Oral arguments are next on the schedule for this case. They will be held December 2, 2013 at 3 p.m. in Courtroom Two of the U.S. District Court of Connecticut. PA 13-67, which the governor approved in early June, “requires initial communications between a glass claims representative or a third-party claims administrator of an insurance company doing business in Connecticut and the company’s insured about automotive glass works or products to inform the insured about his or her right to choose where to have the work done.”
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tors, such as Boyd/Gerber, ABRA and Caliber, is the continued focus of activity primarily within existing markets through clustering and leap-frogging into new regions and markets using platform acquisitions to gain entry.
Unlike these larger, multi-region MLO companies, there have been few regional MLO consolidators venturing into new platform markets. The northeast markets continue to be absent of any significant MSO market entry. The third strategy is aggressive expansion by franchise con-
solidator MLOs such as CARSTAR and ABRA. ABRA is onboarding both dealer and independent franchisees in second- and third-tier markets. CARSTAR is targeting growth with independent repairers in specific targeted markets with some market penetration in the northeast. Fix continues its twopronged strategy of building out its franchise model in target markets while maintaining and growing its banner network across a broader U.S. marketplace. These acquisitions, Brownfield and Greenfield, and franchise conversions strategies will continue to influence the direction of consolidation and right-sizing within the collision repair industry and will result in increased MLO market share in the U.S. The $20+ million U.S. collision repair segment continues to grow their market share and brand relatively faster than other segments of the collision repair industry. This growth is being driven by an increasing number of variables.
● Private equity’s continued interest in the collision repair industry ► U.S. MSO organizations with private equity financing and support include the following (see chart):
● MLO access to various private and strategic partner capital for business, market growth, expansion and infrastructure development increasing consolidation through single- and multiple-location acquisitions ● The segment’s local and multimarket footprint which offers greater consumer and insurance company choice ● Multi-level selling and marketing for insurer choice brand preference with access to insurance company direct repair claims ● Ongoing operational improvement, resulting in increased vehicle repair
quality, higher daily touch time, increased throughput, lower cycle time, and shorter length of rental ● Business service differentiation, market segmentation and brand recognition/reputation ● MLO market leadership through sustainable, toptier, competitive performance results ● Expanded business hours of operation including multiple daily shifts, weekends and hybrid work shifts ● Insurance DRP focus that drives single point of contact, operational conformity, predictable and sustained repair quality, and competitively ranked repairer performance outcomes ● An integrated, multi-level sales and marketing approach to capturing consumer, insurance, rental, and fleet ● Expansion of new and hybrid network platforms involving MLOs
United States $20+ Million MLO and the $10 to $20 Million Segments In the past, we have reviewed and profiled the $20+ million MLO segSee Evolving Marketplace, Page 48
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Northeast Associations with Chasidy Rae Sisk
Long Island Auto Body Repairman’s Association Hosts Successful Golf Outing by Chasidy Rae Sisk
On September 23, the Long Island Auto Body Repairmen’s Association (LIABRA) held their 12th annual golf outing at the Port Jefferson Country Club in Port Jefferson, NY. Executive Director Ed Kizenberger believes the event went very well with over 100 members participating. “Starting out with the spectacular weather we had and the phenomenal job our staff, especially co-Chair Paul O’Connell, did in organizing the outing, I would say that the success of the event was evident by the smiles on the faces of our participants. This year, we had a great group of ladies and gentlemen who, by all reports, had a wonderful time, enjoying the good food, wonderful golf course and networking with fellow members at dinner. The overall support from the industry makes this a very exciting event for our association.”
Citing the comradery that develops outside the shop environment as a major benefit of associations hosting
Executive Director Ed Kizenberger and his son, Ed Jr.
events like LIABRA’s golf tournament, Kizenberger stresses “we enjoy the fact that we can get together as an association and network with our members in a fun environment. The importance of having a social aspect to a business trade group cannot be overstated; it places faces with names and makes the whole group stronger through shared good time memories.”
On the day of the event, registration began at 11am and was conducted by LIABRA’s Flo Pratt and Vito Tandoi along with Jackie and Dominique of Competition Infiniti. After registration, participants enjoyed a barbecue lunch on the lawn before warming up at the driving range and on the practice green. At 1pm, a shotgun-style start announced the beginning of this year’s round, a full scramble in which players select the best of each shot, drop their ball at that point and play until the ball is holed. This style of play helped keep a good pace to allow all of the golfers to get through the round before moving to the clubhouse for an hour of cocktails and appetizers, followed by a buffet-style dinner which was served at 6pm. Before dinner concluded, Kizenberger announced the recipients of LIABRA’s golfing skills awards for lowest net score, closest to the pin,
Ed Kizenberger JR calls raffle numbers
longest drive, most accurate drive and most honest golfer. After dinner, over 300 prizes were raffled off. The first Grand Prize, a mountain bike donated by Advantage Nissan, was received by Eric of Competition Toyota. Donaldson’s Subaru donated the SUPER Grand Prize, a four-day golf experience in Myrtle Beach for four people; LIABRA member Lou Giordiano of Giordiano’s Collision in Medford received this fabulous prize. Additionally, Competition Toyota and Competition Infiniti each donated a car as hole-in-one prizes.
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LIABRA is grateful to their sponsors who made this event so successful, as well as to the Golf Committee
L-R Paul Oconnell , Raffle winner Lou Giordiano, Ed Kizenberger (r)
and its Chairman, Paul O’Connell, whose hard work has led to LIABRA’s golf tournament being deemed one of the finest on Long Island. In regards to the success of this year’s event, Kizenberger notes, “every year, our event grows, and this
Volunteers’ Flo Pratt ,Vito Tandoi, Debora Parenti
year was no exception!” LIABRA has already begun planning for next year’s tournament. LIABRA is also very excited about their upcoming legislative program, specifically NY bill A7234/S5786 which is a proposed act that will prohibit insurers from requiring shops to use specific vendors or processes for repair parts and materials. The legislative issues surrounding NY bill A7234/S5786 were a major topic of discussion at LIABRA’s most recent meeting which was held on Tuesday, October 15 at 8pm at Nassau Boces/Barry Tech in Westbury, NY. The association disseminated some information on the event, and members discussed the bill’s impact on their businesses. Also, Larry Montanez of P & L Consultants presented a short seminar entitled “Become a Better Estimator” wherein he used three real-world examples to discuss the difficulties of handling claims, as well as the solutions. According to Kizenberger, the meeting went very well, and over 50 shop owners attended. LIABRA’S next meeting is scheduled for November 19 to discuss new vehicle technologies.
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Tru-Way’s New Website, Data
Tru-Way Company has launched a new, data-driven website offering point-to-point vehicle measuring data for cars, trucks and SUVs from the 1950s to now. The website’s database contains more than 10,000 vehicles that can be searched by vehicle year and model, or by classification—domestic, imports or classics. Said Loretta Clos, manager at Tru-Way. “Tru-Way is unique in [its] offering of valuable historical data for older vehicle platforms that may be difficult to find... with the ability to purchase measuring data in a choice of format appropriate for them.”
State and local authorities served search warrants at several locations in Phoenix, Coolidge and Tucson as part of a 15-month investigation into an alleged auto theft ring. According to authorities, car thieves took stolen vehicles to the “Hendrix & Co.” salvage yard where the cars would be reduced to scrap, no questions asked. “They provided opportunities for people that steal cars to dispose of those vehicles,” said DPS Capt. Bruce Campbell. “Word gets out... if you’ve got stolen silverware, people know where the crooked pawn shops are. Same thing with recyclables and salvage yards.” 15 search warrants related to the Hendrix company were served at businesses and homes. Investigators raided three scrap yards in Phoenix, one in Coolidge, and one in Tucson. Authorities say the business served as a front for the illegal sale of metal, scrapped from stolen cars. Several members of the criminal organization were also involved in the sale of drugs. The charges range from participating in a criminal syndicate, trafficking in stolen property, warrants, and drug charges.
Sheep Bolts Farm Truck, Seeks Refuge in Detroit Body Shop
A sheep escaped from a truck and was seen running down Eight Mile Road before she darted into Nortown Collision & Glass on the city's east side. The frantic creature ran around the shop, knocking things over, and tried to escape through a window made of safety glass. Employees eventually corralled the sheep, tied her up and gave her food and water.
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ment. The 2012 U.S. profile has been expanded to include our work on the $10 to $20 million multiple-location operator segment. This profile of the $20+ million and the $10 to $20 million multiple-location collision repair operators includes: ● Independent and dealership MLO collision repair operators processing $20+ million or more in revenue annually within the U.S. market ● Independent and dealership MLO collision repair operators processing $10 to $20 million in revenue annually within the U.S. market ● Professionally-managed operators providing performance-based, brand-recognized and competitively-differentiated collision repair services ● Companies focused on achieving top-tier, self-managed, and customer-required performance results, high customer satisfaction, and consistent and sustainable quality repairs ● Businesses that tend to pursue
multiple customer segments for collision repair revenue including property and casualty insurance DRP, automotive dealer, accident management, rental car, and direct-pay consumers ● Organizations typically incorporating strategic planning as part of their proactive approach to their business, market development and growth ● Operators practicing business process improvement and operations excellence; managing the organization by incorporating and integrating all functional areas such as finance, personnel, operations, sales/marketing, and technology as a minimum foundation for their business platform Both the $20M+ MLO and the $10 to $20M MLO collision repair profile used for this analysis excludes repair facilities that focus exclusively or primarily on expedited paint and cosmollision, paintless dent removal, glass repair, and mechanical only; and collision repair related primarily to auction vehicles. We do recognize that within these segments some companies continue to be in various
stages of strategic growth, transformation and transition to business models approaching that of an insurance company DRP or diversified customer collision repair segment platform. Portions of this report contain a specific segment of multiple-location networks (MLNs) that include collision repair conversion and multi-segment customer-focused franchisor Maaco along with franchise consolidator networks CARSTAR and ABRA. Fix Auto, currently a hybrid model which includes both franchise members and non-franchise repairers participating in Fix’s franchise brand and its banner network model, are also included. These organizations represent a significant market segment of the collision repair industry that warrants continued tracking and monitoring. There are various types of multiple-location networks that are not currently included here such as integrated and outsourced auto physical damage and glass networks, Safelite and LYNX APD, accident management firms such as The CEI Group, cooperative
marketing, consumer advocacy and management networks like Assured Performance, and peer performance groups including The Everest Partners, PPG’s Par Kaizen and the Coyote Group. Nevertheless, we do understand the value and growing importance these organizations have among their customers and constituents in providing solutions and supporting their needs.
Key Findings for the 2012 U.S. $20+M MLO Market Segment ● The 68 $20+M MLO organizations: ►Processed 14.7 percent of the $30.7 billion in collision repair revenue nationally ►Represent $4,504 billion in revenue, up 65 percent from 2006 ►Represent 3.9 percent of the 35,200 collision repair locations ● When combining the $20+M MLO organizations and the four franchise branded consolidator MLN networks: ►They represent $5.8 billion or 19.1 percent of the $30.7 billion collision repair market See Evolving Marketplace, Page 67
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Cycle Time is Money for Everyone with The Insurance Insider
How often have you heard the expression Time is Money? It’s a phrase that applies to many businesses but—as it pertains to body shops, insurance companies and vehicles owners—it is only half of the equation. In this industry, time equals money and customer service. It’s much more expensive to find a new customer than to retain an existing one. As insurers we are aware that the time it takes to repair an insured vehicle is directly tied to the insured’s CSI score and retention rates. Low cycle time equals high CSI, so we need to focus on reducing cycle time. Here’s what I mean. Although customer service can’t be defined by an algebraic equation, it’s safe to assume that cycle time is less than or equal to customer service. (I promise I won’t reference algebraic equations for the remainder of the article.) The important idea is that the less time it
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
takes to repair a vehicle, the greater the customer service is. That’s because, even when the vehicle owner rates customer service poorly in terms of the repair itself—or the handling of the
For the collision repairer, reduced cycle time equals increased sales equals more money. Increased CSI increases customer-driven repeat and referral business. Therefore, reducing
claim, the overall score is going to be better when the repair is done quickly. Also, if you can get repairs through your facility faster, you can move more repairs through the same facility and you make more money.
cycle time translates to increased collision repairer profitability, CSI, and customer referrals and repeat business. I am not suggesting that shops should sacrifice quality just so you can get the customer’s car back
50 NOVEMBER 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
sooner. But I am pointing out the importance of managing cycle time. The importance of cycle time goes far beyond the dollars saved in rental car expense. It also goes beyond the fact that if you repair the car quicker, you can get another car in the shop. For insurance companies, there’s another factor: open claim liability. The longer a claim is open, the more likely the claim will increase, for a lot of reasons. Paying and closing claims quickly reduces open claim liability, and that’s additional motivation on the insurer’s part to push for reduced cycle time. Body shops tend to think that this is just part of the game for insurance companies, that we are just imposing our will on hapless shops to save a few dollars on a rental car. But if you remove yourself from that “usagainst-them” posturing and think about something other than arguing with insurance companies, you will realize that this just makes sense.
We are all in business to deliver a service to the customer. You just happen to repair cars; we simply provide coverage in the event of a loss. But the bottom line is that delivering customer service is a more important business proposition than anything else the shop or insurance company does. In the highly competitive insurance and collision repair markets, retaining policyholders and getting repeat business will make the difference between survival and prospering. The challenge for insurance companies is that we are beholden to the time that body shops take to make the repairs. With few exceptions, the time it takes for you to repair a vehicle is solely dependent upon your shop’s management and operational efficiency. Although you may think it’s an insurance company goal to manage your shop, it isn’t. We don’t have enough manpower or systems to manage your business for you. Instead we need shops to be conscientious about cycle time. Better cycle time equals high customer service scores which equals greater policyholder retention. It is frustrating as an insurance executive to realize that we lose policyholders because the customer was
dissatisfied with the length of time it took to repair their vehicle. I realize that insurance companies can adversely impact cycle time with outdated processes or lack of trust (though I’m sure many of you will email me to point this out). But the fact remains that there are tens of thousands of body shops in the industry. A small percentage of you understand what I am saying. And an even smaller percentage actually take action to ensure that cycle time and operational efficiency are dominant in all phases of your facility. The greater percentage of body shops repair cars at their own pace because, after all, they don’t owe anything to the insurance company. They proclaim that they are repairing the car the right way and you just can’t rush such things. If you are one of those short-sighted people, please don’t repair any of my customers vehicles. But for those that want to survive what is going to be a continual reduction of shops in the United States, please keep reading. The moment you are notified that there is a claim, we are starting the clock. Why? Because we are doing that internally with our own staff. We are
monitoring and assessing every step of the claim process. The stopwatch starts the moment you are notified of the claim, and only stops when the customer is handed back their keys. The days of measuring cycle time by the number of days is gone. Insurance companies are measuring cycle time by the minute. We can no longer tolerate working with shops that aren’t driven to improve their efficiency and cycle time – especially when your competition down the street understands the rules of engagement and how to win. I know that all shops aren’t created equal. Fortunately, we are getting better at identifying the “haves” from the “have-nots.” If you aren’t keenly aware of the cycle time in all phases of your operation, your fate will be sealed because your customers won’t tolerate it. Time is money. Customer satisfaction and retention is driven by how long it takes you to repair the car.
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.
Sherwin-Williams Adds Full Feature Claims Portal
Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes A-Plus Network, in affiliation with VehicleOwnersGuide.com, has released a new dispatching system aimed at increasing car count for APlus shops and making claims management simpler for insurers. A-Plus shops will now have access to the provider’s Open Claims Gateway, a full feature claims portal that includes claims workflow, dispatching, estimate review, vendor e-Coupons, consumer translations and analytics. The new dispatching system is populated with the A-Plus Network’s leading collision repair facilities and will provide a turnkey repair network for insurance companies throughout the U.S. and Canada. The Open Claims Gateway portal will also dispatch cars to A-Plus shops, and then these facilities and insurance companies can use the system to manage the claims. “Open Claims Gateway will be provided free of charge to A-Plus Network facilities, and there is no contract to sign,” said Troy Neuerburg, director of sales excellence at SherwinWilliams. “This system offers numerous benefits.” It also includes the ability to generate a consumer estimate and an e-Coupon program.
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Chasidy Rae Sisk is a freelance technical writer from Wilmington, Delaware, Great Lakes Associations who writes on a variety of fields and subjects, and grew up in a family of NASCAR fans. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
Choice Autobody Repair Association Advocates for Both Consumers and Repairers with Chasidy Rae Sisk
Consumers play a vital role in the collision repair industry—and educated consumers are the best customers. Choice Autobody Repair Association (CARA) recognizes the importance of educated consumers as customers and believes that trade associations help repairers perform better for their customers. In fact, President Rick Finney explains CARA’s mission as “to educate the consumers of the collision industry, educate the consumers on their rights, so that if they are ever involved in an automobile accident, they (the consumer) can make an educated decision on who they want repairing their automobile. Give back the Rick Finney choice to the customer about who repairs their vehicle. Make the consumers the decision maker!” CARA is a non-profit association dedicated to educating consumers, and they believe “it is their choice who repairs their vehicle. We’re not anti-DRP or anti-insurance—we’re simply pro-consumer. We want to empower the motoring public with the confidence that it’s their opportunity, right and power to make you their choice.” CARA was established in late 2005 when Finney and several other shop owners in the Ohio Valley decided to form their own, consumerbased organization. “We felt that it was very important the consumers were aware of their rights after being involved in an automobile accident. We have had a very good response from our consumer awareness campaign.” Though CARA is based in OH, they are actually a national association with members throughout the US. They recently started a Southwestern Michigan chapter in Battle Creek, MI, plus they are planning to add many more chapters throughout the country in the near future. Currently, CARA has around 50 members, and they offer both associate and corporate memberships, each of which features various benefits, such
as discounts on BASF management training, Collision Billing Services and a plethora of other purchasing discounts. CARA also makes docu-
mentation available to members, and they distribute informational fliers to consumers. One of CARA’S most important goals right now is to strengthen the association by attracting new members. Finney notes, “Whenever I talk to a shop owner, managers, etc., I hear the same issues, no matter where the person that I talk to is from. Ohio, Michigan, Florida or California, the same issues. We need to attract new membership so that we can better address the issues that we are business owners face on a daily basis.” Other goals include continuing to address industry issues by working with other associations to share information and ideas, in addition to improving matters for their members and their customers. Finney “would like to show our membership that we need to regain control of our business as well as our customer base.” With so many lofty aspirations, it is no surprise that one of the biggest challenges CARA faces, like many other associations, is dealing with the cost of maintaining operations. Finney elaborates, “we have many issues that we need to address, and like anything else, it takes time and money. In my opinion, we as an industry need to start meeting more often with various agencies on a consistent basis and bring to their attention what some of the issues are that our membership faces in their daily business practices. I would personally like to meet with the automobile manufacturers, paint manufacturers and departments of insurance.” In addition to growing their association with new members, CARA is also in the process of scheduling meetings to address some of the issues plaguing the industry, such as the issues related to purchasing paint materials. Addressing the ongoing con-
52 NOVEMBER 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
troversy of PartsTrader, Finney asks, “what is the benefit for shop owners and their customers? PartsTrader is just another way for an outside entity to control your business. In my opinion, this is bad for our industry, period!” Finney believes that Right to Repair is a consumer issue, and “every consumer has the right to have their vehicle repaired wherever they choose. Having said that, as shop owners, we believe we should have access to the information so that we may be able to properly repair our consumer’s vehicle as well.” When asked about CARA’s stance on the PARTS Act, Finney notes, “I have read in a consumer reports issue that consumer groups estimate the cost of collision repairs would raise by 1 billion a year, nationally, and consumers would foot that bill through their insurance premiums. It is my understanding that
when the insurance industry calculates the cost to the consumer, they are calculated with the repairs installing new OEM parts. As far as the aftermarket parts issue, we keep hearing they are guaranteed to fit and have a lifetime warranty. I believe we would all like to hear how they must be crash tested and be subjected to the same testing as the OEM parts are subjected to.” Overall, CARA’s viewpoint on many industry issues reverts back to their mission statement and their belief that is should be the consumer’s choice as to who repairs their vehicle, as is inherent in the very name of the association. CARA PO Box 392 Cadiz, OH 43907 740-942-3107 www.c-a-r-a.org
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Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist based in San Francisco, California. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do Ad Specialties (“Swag”) Really Make an Impression? with Ed Attanasio
As I start to pack for my annual pilgrimage to SEMA, I’m thinking about all those overloaded shopping bags carried through the exhibit halls bulging with what we know in the business as the advertising specialty. Anything emblazoned with your company’s name: pens, scratch pads, key chains, calendars, baseball caps, mugs, bags, foam footballs, clocks, and bottle openers—is called an ad specialty. Although some simply know them as “swag” or “chotchke,” other people call them “things that sit around my office.” I’m guilty of enabling my hoarding tendencies this way. We’re so used to seeing them that it may be a surprise to learn that the automotive industry is by far the largest user of these promotional items. Some people (including me) delight in collecting pens and baseball caps while others argue that most ad specialties end up in the roundfile and
then the landfill. What will future civilzations think about us when in the year of 2220, archeologists dig up tons of coffee mugs and refrigerator magnets that say “Bill’s Body Shop” or “Tom’s Auto Collision”? Will they laugh and point out ad specialties as a token of our society’s eventual demise?
they a good use of my advertising money?’ Have you ever encountered a customer who actually said, “I saw your name on a desk pad and that’s why I brought my car here.” The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) is the largest media, marketing and education organization serving the $19.4 billion promotional
“Nationwide the automotive industry buys more promotional items than all other consumer product companies combined” — Advertising Specialty Institute
Many companies use them as an effective form of branding and advertising, particulaly for businesses that have infrequent contact with their customers, like body shops. If you’re a body shop and spending a significant amount of money on ad specialties, you should always ask yourself ‘are
products industry, with a network of over 25,000 distributors and suppliers throughout North America. ASI’s CEO is Tim Andrews and I had a chance to talk to him recently about the power of the ad specialty and how automotive repair businesses can benefit from using them.
“For impressions, ad specialties are by far the most cost-effective form of advertising out there,” Andrews explained. “Every time someone sees your name on a pen or a key chain, that’s called an impression. During lean economic times, ad specialties are an ideal solution for smaller companies that need to get their names out there, but they can’t afford other forms of conventional advertising. Ad specialties are remembered and kept and many of them are used by people for many years, based on our research.” Getting a high-quality ad specialty and personalizing it for your current customers is also a great way to further strengthen your position with your customer base, Andrews says. “For your return customers or top influencers in your community, personalization is a unique way to really connect even more with your mostprized contacts. If someone has a t-
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shirt or a pen with their own name on it, they will logically keep it for a much longer period of time. It creates additional value and the impressions derived from a personalized ad specialty can be ten times higher, in some cases.” Also, instead of buying 2,000 cheap plastic pens, for example, maybe purchase a smaller number of higherquality pens, in order to keep them in the hands of your customers longer. “The more they use that pen, your brand name and logo will remain further in the top of their minds, which means your efforts will grow exponentially,” Andrews said. “An inexpensive pen or key chain might get discarded after limited use, but if the end-user values it and sees it as being special, it will remain on their desk and in their possession for a much longer period of time. It just makes sense.” The products that leave the most positive impressions and those that recipients keep longer are: outerwear, shirts, recognition items (awards, plaques), caps/headwear, flash drives, health and safety products, desk/office accessories, and bags, according to Andrews.
ASI provided several statistics that are worth noting when making decisions on promotional products. ● Nearly nine in ten (87%) recipients of promotional merchandise can identify the advertiser on the item. ● Over one-half (52%) of the time, ad specialties leave a more favorable impression of the advertiser. ● Promotional products deliver the same or a better ROI than other forms of media. ● 81% of product recipients indicated that an item’s usefulness is the primary reason to keep it. ● There are nearly 8,000 different automotive-related promotional products currently in ASI’s database. ● The automotive industry buys more promotional items than all of other consumer product companies combined nationwide. ● Study results show that most people own approximately 10 ad specialty items on an on-going basis and hold on to them for an average of six months, a far longer time period than any other traditional form of advertising. What’s your ultimate goal in giving a pen, hat or key chain away? Who’s your target audience? Are you
trying to reach out to prospective customers? Or, are you staying in touch with your VIP clients, those who seem to get into more accidents or have higher-end vehicles? Are you doing a campaign targeting your vendors, insurance agents, local community leaders or organizations? It all comes down to finding your target market and continually branding. Many automotive-related businesses use ad specialties as one of their main forms of marketing. For example, glass replacement companies often distribute scratch pads, desk calendars, and other items to auto body shops. Since most body shops frequently work with several glass replacement companies, it’s a good idea for them to keep their name and phone number in front of them. Car dealers often provide license plate brackets to their customers with the dealer’s name and logo—nine times out of ten the customer never thinks about it again, but the dealership is being advertised to everyone who sees that new car and thinks about buying that model for themselves. So, as I run around at SEMA, loading up on pens, hats, key chains, scratch pads and any else I can get my
hands on, I will be thinking about the power of the ad specialty. Ad specialties are a useful form of branding and that’s why they’ll continue to be an integral part of the marketing and advertising efforts of almost every body shop in this country today. Recently, for example, a company that manufactures and sells these items sent me a nice little key chain flashlight with my name and company printed on it. It’s something I might actually use, if I can find room on my already overloaded key chain.
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—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.
November Retrospective on the Collision Repair Industry with John Yoswick
20 years ago in the collision repair industry (November 1993) “My time away from the industry this year made me more aware than ever that many of the people who keep telling us how we can improve the claims process, improve parts ordering, improve productivity, improve turn-around time and cut car rental costs don’t know the first thing about how our shops operate or half the steps required to properly repair a damaged vehicle. Computers and software programs are great, but computers don’t take the nuts and bolts out of a fender, and they can’t comprehend the fact that a left door can’t be replaced with a right door, even if the part numbner on the invoice is the correct part number. “It seems that many insurance companies—and some shops—have bought into the promise that one or another computer system will solve many or all of their problems. There is always one direct repair program or another telling shop owners that something will greatly expedite the claims handling process…All these promises sound great on paper or in panel discussions, but they don’t do the repair work.” ► from a column by Bobby Johnson, at that time the owner of B&J Collision in Jefferson, Texas
15 years ago in the collision repair industry (November 1998) PPG has done a comprehensive study of over 2,000 collision repair facilities. Here is a snapshot of some of the statistics: The average labor rate: $34 an hour. Average gross profit per hour per technician: $45.63 (top 25 percent), $32.57 (middle 50 percent), $19.69 (bottom 25 percent). Labor efficiency (hours sold versus available hours): 154 percent (top 25 percent), 118 (middle 50 percent), 82 percent (bottom 25 percent) PPG’s Rich Altieri said it is likely that repair opportunities will continue to decrease. His prediction: By 2006, 40 percent of today’s shops will cease to exist. If the collision industry is a $24 billion business, 24,000 shops doing $1 million a year in sales would take care of the market. ► As reported in Hammer & Dolly. Indeed in 2006, there were about 36,000 shops, 40 percent fewer than the 60,000
Altieri said there were in 1998. (Last year there were about 34,500.) The average labor rate nationally last year was $45.43, up 33 percent since 1998, but below 41 percent cumulative rate of inflation during that period; to keep up with inflation, the national average last year would have had to have been $47.89.
10 years ago in the collision repair industry (November 2003) Collision repairers who are part of State Farm’s “Select Service” or “Service First” direct repair programs have been lauding the insurer for the way it administers its claims management process for vehicle repair. It’s a process that technicians and shop owners are saying puts trust in collision repair professionals. Repairers have often been frustrated with how insurers handle the claims management process. For years they have argued that many insurers are overly involved in the process and don’t let repairers do their job without telling them how it should be done. But State Farm is taking a different approach. “To put it simply, State Farm is letting the experts—collision repair professionals—do what they do best,” says Don Keenan, owner of Keenan Auto Body in Clifton Heights, Penn. Keenan said State farm respects its Select Service collision repair shops’ experience and expertise and “as a result, we’re freed up to do the best possible job.” The Society of Collision Repair Specialists earlier this year issued a press release praising State Farm for what the organization is calling a “professional approach to claims management.” “I have received countless calls from members commenting on the positive relationship with State Farm, SCRS Executive Director Dan Risley said. ► As reported in Auto Body Repair News (ABRN). The most recent national survey allowing shops to rate insurers with regard to reimbursement policies and claims handling efficiency still found State Farm at the top, but with a score of 64.8 (out of 100), down from 93.4 in 2003. In 2003 it had a nearly 30point edge over its closest competitor. Now two other insurers are within 4.2 points of knocking State Farm out of the top spot. SCRS this past year has been among the most vocal critics of State
56 NOVEMBER 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
Farm’s implementation PartsTrader, and Risley, now with the Automotive Service Association, wrote to State Farm in September saying the insurer’s mandated use of a vendor “that solely financially benefits State Farm is more dictatorship than partnership.”
5 years ago in the collision repair industry (November 2008) Minnesota shop owner and NACE chairman Darrell Amberson said (at the event’s opening sessions) that the collision industry should also be paying close attention to increased efforts by automakers to gain design patents on crash parts, which could limit competition from non-OEM parts manufacturers. He said that while design protection is a “fundamental right” for any industry, it could also drive up parts costs, also leading to more total loss vehicles. He called on the estimating system providers to bring more automation, sophistication and automaker information
to the systems to help them evolve from being “just a guide to a tool that could be used to blueprint jobs.” The systems, he said, currently are too incomplete and subject to interpretation. “Can you imagine a world where we didn’t have to spend so much effort negotiating, debating (and) looking for non-included operations? I think whether an insurer or repairer, we could probably increase our life expectancy if we didn’t have to deal with this,” Amberson said, drawing laughter and applause from the crowd. Overall, Amberson, despite the struggling economy and the specific challenges the collision repair industry faces, is optimistic about the opportunities for those shop owners who embrace new technology and processes, diversify their business, and think of themselves as business people, not repairers. ► from Autobody News coverage of the 2008 International Autobody Congress and Exposition (NACE)
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Independent Garage Owners of North Carolina Pushes Ahead with Chasidy Rae Sisk
The Independent Garage Owners of North Carolina (IGONC) recently held their annual Automotive Service & Technology Expo the weekend of September 27–29, 2013 at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Convention Center in Cary, NC. According to Executive Director Bob Pulverenti, the event went well with around 200–250 attendees, but most were from the mechanical side of the association as IGONC has had a more difficult time getting collision shops and their vendors involved. IGONC does their best to put together useful seminars, and this year’s event featured 14 seminars on management and business related topics. Pulverenti believes these types of industry events are important. They present a good networking opportuBob Pulverenti nity for shop owners to meet and work together, plus they provide a casual setting for interacting with vendors and suppliers. Pulverenti would like to see more collision repairers involved with the exposition but, he says, “it’s like pulling teeth to get the shop owners and technicians to come.” He notes that even the monthly seminars put on at the I-CAR training facility in IGONC’s office are not well attended by local collision shops. In fact, generating interest and participation is one of the biggest challenges his association faces. Because people can research online and obtain a good portion of their information that way, many no longer see the value of associations, according to Pulverenti, “but we still have a purpose and fulfill a need.” Despite these challenges, IGONC has been able to maintain their membership, though they haven’t seen much growth since the recession began. While they had planned to expand into SC and VA in 2008, economic difficulties inhibited those plans, but they still hope to expand into those neighboring states once the economy improves. IGONC is North Carolina’s largest member-sponsored, non-profit association servicing the automotive
repair, service and collision industry. It was established in 1959 by a group of garage owners with the goal of helping members deal with the challenges fac-
Thomas Richard at the Regional Auto Center, Greensboro, NC
ing their industry. Originally named the Independent Garage Owners of America which eventually became ASA affiliated, but over time, they ended their affiliation with ASA and have since become associated with SCRS and AASP. Pulverenti notes, “everything changes over time, and we have to reinvent ourselves constantly, but I still feel like we’re a relatively strong group compared to other associations.” According to their mission statement, IGONC exists “to help make NC’s independent garage owners the absolute best in the country.” They undertake the distribution of the most upto-date information on automotive repair and business practices, protecting members from unfavorable legislative initiatives, and by building productive relations between members, vendors and consumers. Though IGONC membership peaked in the mid-1980s with around 1000 members, they have managed to maintain around 550 members throughout the economic crisis of the past decade. Pulverenti believes this is due to creating a positive perception of what the association does, such as providing vendor benefits, education, information and training. IGONC also plays a role in legislative matters on behalf of their members, such as when they participated in a rally for Right to Repair several years ago in the nation’s capital. Short-term, IGONC’s goals are to continue providing information to members and to seek benefits to help put money back in garage owners’ pockets. They also constantly monitor
58 NOVEMBER 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
legislation, mostly locally but also on try, whether in a positive or negative a national scale when necessary. Going way.” He finds it frustrating because, forward, they plan to focus more on edeven if IGONC compiles documentaucational initiatives and to look at intion, they are lucky to get an audience dustry trends to determine how they with legislators who do not have the can best serve their members and the time or interest to get involved, and he automotive repair industry as a whole. believes the only solution is for people Since IGONC recently wrapped up their annual expo, they do not have much on the docket right now. According to Pulverenti, IGONC has a repair shop licensing bill they’d like to introduce when they sense the timing is more favorable. Pulverenti notes that instituting legislation is one of the largest challenges facing the Clint Rogers of Triangle Collision in Morrisville, NC industry today. “Sometimes, legislators will introduce a bill, thinkfrom this industry to become legislaing they’re doing good for one or two tors so they understand the challenges constituents who complained, but they collision repairers face. don’t really understand what they’re inRegarding other issues facing the troducing or how it impacts the indusindustry, Pulverenti notes that mechan-
ical shops are dealing with pressure from mass merchandisers and car dealerships, while collision repairers face insurers’ pressure in terms of labor rates and steering. Labor rates for collision repair are set unrealistically when looking at the cost of operations and labor, but trying to convince insurers to increase the labor rate seems futile at times. Similarly, PartsTrader also negatively impacts collision repairers. Pulverenti explains, “it’s a bad thing because obviously bidding on parts reduces the list price and profit margins, just like labor rates that are being controlled by insurers reduces their profit margins.” Unlike ASA, IGONC favors Right to Repair in some form as they believe the information needed to safely repair a vehicle should be guaranteed accessible to repairers; however, he is convinced that as various states get these bill passed, it will become a non-issue. NC has a bill regarding Right to Repair in mind, but it has not yet been introduced as they are watching for developmens for similar bills in other states.
IGONC PO Box 90426 Raleigh, NC 27675-8117 800-243-1560, www.igonc.com
BASF Joins ASA as Newest Corporate Member
US Auto SAAR to Hit 16.4M, Highest Level Since 2006
Lincoln Electric Announces New Welding Devices/Lifters
CAPA Tops 60M Certified Parts
Bob Stevenson Joins Carbench
Todd Chizmar on I-CAR Board
BASF is the newest corporate member of ASA. “BASF is excited about the changes at ASA. They’re off to a fresh start with a new leadership team and are strengthening relationships within the collision repair industry. A good example is the combined NACE/I-CAR/CIC conference in Detroit next year. We believe collaborations like this can help the collision industry thrive,” said Joe Skurka, manager, OEM and Industry Relations. Visit www.ASAshop.org or call (800) 272-7467, ext. 361.
The Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) announced that its parts volume has reached nearly 62 million CAPA certified parts. In the past five years, CAPA has increased its number of part applications by and average of 16% each year and added 17 new manufacturers to the program, bringing the total to 43 manufacturers. The number of CAPA parts sold in the market has also increased by 13% in that time frame. While metal parts have been the backbone of the CAPA program, plastic parts and lights are now the fastest growing part categories.
The U.S. auto industry’s new-vehicle sales in 2014 will hit their highest level since 2006 as consumers continue to replace aging cars and trucks. Edmunds.com forecast that sales next year will hit 16.4 million vehicles. That would be up from an estimated 15.5 million the firm expects in 2013 and the highest total since 16.5 million were sold in 2006. However, the projected 6% growth rate would be the industry’s smallest increase since sales bottomed out at 10.4 million vehicles in 2009.
Car Bench America welcomes Bob Stevenson to the position of National Sales and Training. Stevenson will be responsible for sales and training of; Car Bench®, Inverter Spot Welders, Computerized Measuring, AluminumSteel-and MIG Brazing Machines, Self-Piercing Riveting (SPR), Aluminum Repair Tools and most all other equipment needed to rebuild today’s and forthcoming automotive body and chassis construction. Stevenson brings 20 + years of professional collision knowledge and experience in both paint and equipment.
Lincoln Electric announced Sept. 19 that it has added a line of magnetic angle fixturing devices and hand lifters to its Radius tool Welding Gear product group. The tools are designed to position steel for tack welding or other pre- or post-weld operations. They also are ideally suited for cutting and grinding applications. The magnetic fixtures are available in three different models intended for various material thickness or applications. The design makes them ideal for tight spaces.
I-CAR announced the appointment of Todd Chizmar of Chrysler Group LLC to its international board of directors. The senior manager of technical training for Chrysler, Chizmar has been part of the automotive industry for nearly 20 years, the last 14 in technical and management roles at Chrysler. Said I-CAR chair William Brower, “His insights will be particularly helpful as I-CAR begins to significantly increase its repair-related technical support of the industry through its new Repairability Technical Support and Knowledge initiative.”
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Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist based in San Francisco, California. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Calif. Auto Body Association Talks Yelp, Facebook and Troops with Ed Attanasio
Approximately 70 people attended the why you disagree or how you can recEast Bay Chapter of the California Autify it. Respond to every review on tobody Association’s (EB-CAA) meetYelp, whether they’re negative or posing on September 17 at PPG’s northern itive.” California Training Center in Concord, The next hot topic that body CA, to enjoy a BBQ dinner and a presshops are most interested in involves entation by Michelle Nelson, the social media and Facebook is leading owner of b2b Automotive, a 25 year- the way. So, Nelson discussed Faceold company based in St,. Louis, MO book next. “One mistake body shops that helps collision and mechanical remake with Facebook is they don’t crepair shops with their marketing, social ate a business page. With a standard media and advertising efforts. page, you’re tapped out at 5,000 folNelson’s highly entertaining preslowers, but by creating a business entation was packed with information page for your shop, you can accumubody shops can use, as she moved late as many followers as you want.” quickly from topic to topic. Nelson Nelson also provided several addigrew up in the body shop business and tional tips on how to use Facebook for comes from what she calls a “collision best results. “Avoid selling on Facefamily” and has been doing marketing book,” she said. “Posting fun and inforin varied capacities mational things on Facebook involving since 1991. She videos and photos will always get the landed her very most hits. Also, post something new on first client when your page every day, to keep the intershe dropped one of action high. It all works together to imher business cards prove your Search Engine Optimization in a free lunch pro(SEO) while strengthening your brand.” motion jar at a After Nelson’s presentation, Michelle Nelson, sandwich shop. A Dennis O’Keefe and Doug Rogers the president of b2b automotive local body shop from 3M’s Automotive Aftermarket was the main owner fished her Division discussed their company’s speaker at the card out of the jar Hire our Heroes program. 3M recogEB-CAA meeting, and gave her a call. nizes the need for qualified technidiscussing social Today, b2b autocians in the collision repair industry media, marketing and advertising motive is a highly and is creating an opportunity through for body shops successful comthis program for returning veterans to pany that represents 90% collision refind rewarding careers with the right pair businesses, with the remaining education and support. 3M Automo10% dedicated to mechanical shops. tive Aftermarket Division’s Hire Our To kick off her speech, Nelson Heroes campaign provides training addressed one web site many body and support for our nation’s returning shops have on their minds, and that’s Yelp. “More than half of all the consumers out there go online to look at reviews about shops before they will consider them,” Nelson said. “That’s why you have to constantly monitor your Yelp page on a The PPG Nor Cal team was in the house and in full force at the EB-CAA Sept. meeting. From left, Dave Miller, Instrucweekly or even a daily basis. tor, PPG Business Development Center, Ken Mattos, TerriIf you don’t address bad re- tory Manager, PPG Bay Area, Donna Mathison, Admin views promptly, it can defi- Assist, PPG Business Development Center Tom Wolf, PPG nitely become a serious Regional Manager and Territory Managers, Sherman Lou, issue. When you see a nega- Adrian Gomez, Ben Shell and Rob Hengemihle tive review, find out who wrote it and veterans and their families. if it’s not from a customer, contact O’Keefe briefly outlined the proYelp. If it’s a legitimate review, post a gram, whose main goal is to provide rebuttal explaining your position and funding for education of our nation’s
60 NOVEMBER 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
returning veterans and their families through the Collision Repair Education Foundation. “If body shops make a qualifying purchase of 3M products, the company will make a donation to
Dennis O’Keefe a sales rep for 3M’s San Francisco Bay Automotive Aftermarket Division (left) and Doug Rogers, also a rep for 3M, stand beside two car hoods as part of their Hire our Heroes program
the Hire our Heroes Foundation and the shop will receive one of two attractive car hoods, one designed by Chip Foose and the other by the legendary painter Mickey Harris,” he ex-
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plained. “In addition, 3M is funding rehabilitation for our wounded veterans through Operation Comfort as part of a unique automotive skill-based rehabilitation program and to support the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in raising awareness for hiring America’s heroes and help drive employment in the collision repair industry for these deserving veterans and their families.” “Hire Our Heroes will contribute a target amount of $250,000 to the Collision Repair Education Foundation and Operation Comfort, based on sales of select popular 3M products,” O’Keefe explained. “In addition to finding jobs for returning vets, we’re also honoring veterans already serving in the collision repair industry. Shop owners and managers can nominate a veteran working in collision repair for a chance to win a trip for themselves and their vet to a NASCAR® race where 3M will recognize their service.”
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Virginia-Based Automotive Recycling Association Does More Than Green the Industry with Chasidy Rae Sisk
Environmental concerns have become a major priority in the collision repair industry and removal and reutilization of recyclable material. The Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) is playing an increasing role in this movement. Since it was established in 1943, ARA has been the only trade association representing the automotive recycling industry. It is dedicated to efficiently removing and reutilizing automotive parts as well as seeing to the safe disposal of inoperable motor vehicles. ARA has expanded to repreMichael Wilson sent approximately 1250 companies through direct membership, plus over 3000 additional companies worldwide through their affiliated chapters in 43 states and 14 other countries.
CEO Michael Wilson explains their mission: ARA aims to further services and programs to increase public awareness of conserving the future through automotive recycling and to promote the industry’s value to the automotive consumer. ARA encourages aggressive environmental management programs to assist member facilities in maintaining proper management techniques for fluid and solid waste materials generated from the disposal of motor vehicles. ARA offers many benefits to their members, such as networking opportunities, legislative representation, marketing tools and even discounts on liability insurance and training through their own university, ARAU. Their website features resources for members, and ARA publishes weekly electronic newsletters as well as a bimonthly magazine, Automotive Recycling, to provide members with needed information on the latest in-
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dustry trends, training and technological updates. According to Wilson, ARA serves members by offering a broad spectrum of programs and benefits for all sizes of automotive recy-
cling operations: “business models for professional automotive recyclers include both full and self-service platforms, and our clients range from do-it-your-selfers to independent repair shops to large insurance based collision repair facilities.” ARA also maintains two foundations for the benefit of their members and the industry at-large. Their Educational Foundation hosts a library of
industry-specific training courses which are available through the ARA University. ARA’s Scholarship Foundation promotes continuing education by awarding over $30,000 in scholarship grants to the children of their members and their members’ employees. Discussing the challenges ARA faces to maintain operations, Wilson lists branding, consolidation within the industry, the exportation of salvage vehicles out of the country, the unlevel playing field at salvage auctions and with unlicensed or illegally operating entities, and advancements in technology. He says the industry needs to overcome the competition and barriers erected by auto manufacturers seeking to protect their market share. ARA also deals with the common problems of adapting to the changes inherent as new generations come of age, such as how to get them involved with the association and its leadership.
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Wilson explains their current focus: “the professional automotive recycling industry is not immune to the effects of the type of seismic events that have transformed the American automotive sector over the past few years. Our members must be equipped to adapt to the effects of this change in order to meet emerging markets in new and creative ways. We are also focused on providing our members with the skills and knowledge to meet the challenges that new, more complex motor vehicles bring to our facilities. A recent Polk report detailed that the number of vehicles older than 12 years has increased by more than 20 percent, and that percentage is expected to continue to rise for at least the next five years. These numbers predict a significant wave of inoperable motor vehicles that will be arriving soon at automotive recycling facilities throughout the United States. As an industry, we must seize the opportunities these increasing inventories create for the proper and efficient removal and reuse of ‘green’ automotive parts.” ARA leadership held a strategic planning retreat earlier this year the purpose of which was “to articulate a
future that realizes the full potential of members’ businesses. ARA is working continually to engage industry partners that want to help advance the automotive recycling profession and, at the same time, try to bridge gaps between us and those entities that have minimal interest in supporting policies
that promote the utilization of OE recycled parts.” Currently, ARA is planning for their upcoming 70th annual convention which will be held November 6 –9 at the Sheraton Convention Center in Phoenix, AZ. They are planning a robust program of educational and training opportunities for their members, such as the Certified Automotive Recyclers (CAR) program. ARA is currently working on the new CAR
program in order to emphasize the industry’s environmental stewardship. ARA also looks forward to hosting automotive recyclers from around the globe for the International Roundtable on Automotive Recycling which will take place immediately after their convention. Recently, ARA partnered with CIECA in order “to leverage expertise and implementation tools of both parties, develop standards and advance new business platforms. CIECA develops technology electronic communication standards that allow better connectivity within the industry. This partnership is increasing parts sales and reducing risk.” Other pending projects include ARA9001, a quality control system specifically tailored to the automotive recycling industry that is based on elements of the association’s current Gold Seal program and continued recognition and utilization of the Green Recycled Parts trademark. The association also recently released ARA Direct, an online auction platform where members can purchase vehicles
from various insurance companies, wholesalers, fleets, franchise dealers and others in a manner that significantly changes the means by which members’ vehicle acquisition demands are met and increases their inventory. Though these matters are more than enough to keep ARA occupied, they work in the regulatory and legislative sphere as well. In addition to working with the EPA to make storm water permitting appropriate and effective for professional automotive facilities plus regularly educating members on OSHA standards, ARA has been working with the DOJ to increase compliance and enforcement of the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS). Their work with DOT to combat the use of counterfeit airbags has led to ARA’s involvement in legislation on this topic as educate consumers about recycled OEM airbags. Wilson believes this legislation also “benefits body shop owners because they will be able to better identify counterfeit airbags and also understand the cost-effective option of using non-deployed recycled OEM airbags in repairs.” ARA also supports evaluations on See ARA’s Industry Role, Page 65
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Old School Know How
I-CAR Instructor Looks Back at 20 Years in the Business with Ed Attanasio
When body shop professionals in Northern California yell “Show me the Money!” they’re probably not quoting from Jerry Maguire, the 1996 film starring Tom Cruise. No, it’s more likely that they’re referencing Kurt Money, a body technician who is renowned for being an especially skilled instructor for the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR). Virtually all repairers know I-CAR is a not-for-profit training organization focused on education, knowledge and solutions for the Collision Repair Inter-Industry and developing and delivering technical training programs to professionals in all areas of the Collision Repair InterIndustry. Money is celebrating 20 years as an I-CAR instructor this year, but he’s surely not resting on his laurels. As a full-time body man working at Larkfield Body and Paint in Santa Rosa, CA, and teaching a wide range of ICAR courses, Money’s schedule is jam-packed. If he’s not mentoring body techs and fixing cars, he’s enjoying his Harley motorcycle. Money is all about teaching people, helping them and making a better industry; by volunteering his time when possible and showing that he cares. Money, 56, came to northern California from Spanish Fork, UT—just outside of Provo—in 1979. After graduating from Utah Valley Technical College, Money decided to start his own shop and later hired two of his classmates to work for him. It was called Money’s Body & Paint and before long the shop was doing well. But Kurt was not ready to own and operate his own business at that point in his life. “The business was fine, but I was more into having a good time, playing a lot of golf, bowling and not paying attention to the shop. I was playing when I should have been working and pretty soon I ran it into the ground. It was a useful lesson and what I learned was, I don’t want to own my own shop!” After working briefly for a Chevy dealership’s collision center in Provo, UT and supervising a crew of nine, Money decided to go west. “I loaded my tools in my van and
headed to California,” Money said. “I was actually going to San Diego, but my voltage regulator failed and caused my vehicle to break down in Santa Rosa. I took it to a dealership and they told me that the van made it all the way from Utah on the charge that was left in the battery, which was very surprising.” After working for a decade as a body tech at a Cadillac dealership in Santa Rosa, Money got a job at Larkfield Body and Paint in 1990, where he still works today. “It’s a third-generation shop and they treat all of us like family,” he explained. “Dave Hartman is the owner and he’s an exceptional individual. He’s the best boss I’ve ever had, because he cares about us and doesn’t treat us like employees.” In 1985, Money started taking ICAR classes, to learn as much as he could about his profession and improve his skills, he said. “When I first found out about I-CAR, some of the older guys told me that I didn’t need to take those classes. But, I found out that I-CAR was offering information I couldn’t find anywhere else. Back then, they had approximately 16 classes and I took them all. My instructor was a guy named Bob Puckett and he’s retired now. When I saw him in action, I thought to myself, I can do this.” His I-CAR teaching career started over a gentleman’s bet, Money said. “I told one of my fellow techs that I was thinking of becoming an instructor for I-CAR. But he said, ‘You can’t talk in front of two people, how are you going to get up there and talk to a group?’ So, we made a bet and it actually provided me with additional motivation. I jumped in there and started teaching and I’ve been doing it now for 20 years.” To see what he could do, I-CAR sent Money to Orange County to meet with Lead Instructor Ronnie Swaggert. “I admit, it was a little intimidating,” Money said. “I had to make a presentation in front of him and it wasn’t easy. I learned a lot from that and now I integrate it into my teaching. I use humor and I try to present the information in a way that
64 NOVEMBER 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
the students can absorb easily. I’m hands-on and I like to teach visually. My approach is I teach the way I would want to be taught. I come up with scenarios that the techs can relate to and that way they get involved and retain the information.” By using his proven techniques, a wide range of people Kurt Money has been teaching techs within the collithrough I-CAR for sion industry have two decades grown to know and respect Money for his uncanny ability to connect with his students. One of these is Dan Welsh, the owner of Crockett’s Premier Auto Body in Pinole, CA and a former I-CAR instructor who currently sits on the organization’s board. “All I can say is Kurt Money is a special individual,” Welsh said. “I keep waiting to run
into his twin, because the man gets so much done there must be two of them. He’s very methodical and exceedingly fair and in everything he does, he puts other people first. He never takes credit and makes himself accessible to all his students, by giving them his cell phone number and even his home phone number.” Peter Lock, the head instructor at Contra Costa College’s auto tech department has been working with Kurt Money since day one. Money periodically teaches Lock’s students welding classes and uses the Contra Costa College’s classroom to teach ICAR classes on Saturdays, he said. “When I first met Kurt, I was expecting someone completely different. He pulled up on his Harley with the long hair and he had a Harley T-shirt on (he owns 86 HD T-shirts). I thought, what is going on with this guy? But after spending a day with him, I realized he’s pretty amazing. He’s a spe-
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cial person and he lives to teach. Kurt gives his time freely and has helped us in so many ways.” Jim Boyle, the owner of Regal Collision in Vallejo, CA, also goes way back with Money and like everyone else, has nothing but good things to say about the man. “He is a unique individual and the one thing I can say is that his passion for teaching and helping people really stands out,” Boyle said. “When he gets up there in front of a class, you want to listen to him. I most appreciate his sense of humor and his attention for detail. He inspires people to be better, and that’s what teaching is all about.” Gene Lopez, a regional manager for I-CAR is yet another Money fan, for several reasons. “Kurt is a tech, so he can deliver the information in a way that other techs can relate to,” Lopez said. “With 20 years of teaching experience at I-CAR, he is an integral part of the Santa Rosa market. He is a selfstarter and works wells with other people, including Maria Reynaga, our chairman in that region. For him, it’s his life, not just a profession and that’s why we value him so greatly at ICAR.”
Continued from Page 63
ARA’s Industry Role
the need for and cost of new regulations while keeping an eye on how these changes impact jobs which benefits collision repair shops. The current motor vehicle safety recall legislation under consideration in the Senate applies to rental fleets, “but ARA is taking the opportunity to educate policymakers on the need to include recall data into third party inventory management systems so recyclers can identify through their electronic inventory searches whether a particular part has been recalled; this benefits body shop owners because this would guarantee that the recycler wouldn’t unknowingly sell a recalled part to a repairer,” says Wilson. Additionally, ARA has taken an interest in metal anti-theft legislation to prevent duplicative mandates on professional automotive recyclers. Though recyclers are already regulated by sales and reporting requirements, anti-theft legislation proposed in Congress protects city and municipality infrastructures as well as body shops and consumer assets. Wilson
admits there are always challenges when trying to get legislation signed into law, beginning with misrepresentations about recycled parts. In order to educate legislators about the industry, ARA must combat those opposed to the proposed legislation, presenting a challenge since these competitors often have significantly more resources. Wilson believes that OEMs need to embrace parts reutilization at the design stage. He says, “technological advances are eliminating past barriers to foster robust international commerce. Access to parts data that only automotive manufacturers can provide is crucial to enable the auto body industry as well as automotive recyclers to compete in emerging technologies and business platforms; this is a need both our industries share. Only with this important data can the automotive recycling profession efficiently and accurately identify OE recycled part matches for repairs and total loss determination calculations.” Another challenge is the expansion of parts technology as electronic parts are all being added to the mix of collision and mechanical parts inventory, necessitating even more specific
data to appropriately describe for reuse. Though ARA has not taken a formal position on PartsTrader, Wilson notes, “we continue to monitor and evaluate the program’s rollout. Several ARA recyclers are members on the PartsTrader Advisory Board, and ARA invited PartsTrader representatives to provide a presentation on the program at our upcoming convention.” ARA is also monitoring initiatives related to Right to Repair, and Wilson explains, “ARA has long argued that car owners and independent repair shops need full access to the information, parts and tools necessary to accurately diagnose, repair and re-program vehicles. ARA staff has been actively coordinating with our affiliated state chapters in New England to monitor R2R initiative on the state legislative level as well as continued to dialogue with stakeholders involved in the national Right to Repair conversations.” ARA 9113 Church St Manassas, VA 20110 888-385-1005 www.a-r-a.org
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Autobytel Acquires Assets of Advanced Mobile LLC
Autobytel has purchased Advanced Mobile LLC, a provider of mobile communications services for the automotive industry. Autobytel said it will offer OEMs and dealers the ability to connect with consumers using a preferred method of text communication, via a secure platform that protects consumers’ privacy. Autobytel will also offer dealers a comprehensive suite of mobile products including apps, websites, Send2Phone capabilities and text message marketing. Advanced Mobile, founded in 2006 and based in King of Prussia, PA, markets a full range of advanced mobile technologies that facilitate communication between dealers and car buyers on smart phones and tablets. This platform will be the core of an array of mobile services Autobytel will offer to its dealer and manufacturer customers, and will also be available to consumers through Autobytel’s websites. “Last year, more than 326 million U.S. wireless subscribers sent more than 2 trillion text messages,” said Jeffrey Coats, president and CEO. “This acquisition enables us to offer the industry the mobile resources it requires to successfully communicate with car buyers in a preferred manner,” Coats said. Continued from Page 14
challenged children so that they can receive the medical care they need. NABC also hosted the presentation of two vehicles donated by Allstate Insurance and repaired independently by Caliber Collision and the Van Tuyl Group. The vehicles were donated to the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youths.
I-CAR Presentations I-CAR offered three technical presentations of its “Repairability Technical Support” initiative, designed to help bridge the information gap between the repair industry and vehicle manufacturers. I-CAR hopes to improve industry access to technical repair knowledge, address gaps in repair procedures, and enhance industry technical communication with OEMs. “Vehicle Maker Repair Information and I-CAR Technical Support,” stressed the importance of OEM repair procedures, how to access information online and various resources available when accessing them. “Today’s Advanced Vehicle Construction Materials & Safety Systems,” focused on the advanced materials used
AudaExplore™ Introduces GoTime Line of Driver Focused Mobile Solutions AudaExplore™ has announced the launch of GoTime, a new line of driver-focused mobile solutions that streamline and accelerate a range of partial and total loss claims and repair processes while driving an improved and optimized vehicle owner experience. “There’s a perfect storm of change hitting the market—from a new generation of vehicle owners to the pervasiveness of mobile devices to newly available self-service offerings that enable new ways of engaging vehicle owners never before possible until now,” said Neal Lowell, AudaExplore’s vice president of product management and innovation. “Our GoTime line of mobile solutions empowers insurers and repair facilities to address these market dynamics head on, with features that take business efficiencies and the vehicle owner experience to the next level.” The GoTime family of mobile solutions is powered by AudaNet, AudaExplore’s global, intelligent, nextgeneration claims and collision repair platform. GoTime product highlights include: ● GoTime Autosource. Drives immediate accuracy and quicker per-
by car makers and how those materials affect the repair process now and in the future. “Advanced Joining Methods– Understanding OEM Procedures and Repair Processes” covered important repair information on advanced joining technologies, which ones to use in different situations, and how to replace parts following OEM recommendations. All presentations were led by
Fred Schultz, CEO of Positively Kids, accepts Handicap-Accessible Van donation
Jason Bartanen, I-CAR director of industry technical relations, and Jamie Boettcher, instructional designer and trainer. NACE and CARS 2014 will take place July 29–Aug. 2 at the Cobo Center in Detroit, MI, and will be colocated with I-CAR and CIC. To learn more about NACE, visit www.ASAshop.org or call (800) 2727467, ext. 361.
66 NOVEMBER 2013 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
formance for insurance staff and independent appraisers. According to AudaExplore, it is the only smart phone app with advanced vehicle identification, one-thumb conditioning, and the market-driven valuations of Autosource, AudaExplore’s valuation service. AudaExplore says the intuitive design of GoTime Autosource empowers appraisers to easily complete comprehensive vehicle-side inspections. ● GoTime Repair. Designed to enable peak performance for collision repair facilities through better repair tracking and shop management. By combining AudaExplore’s AutoFocus body shop management system (BMS) with AudaExplore’s AutoWatch collision repair tracking software on smart mobile devices, the company states that users can quickly and easily optimize operations, reduce cycle times and maximize customer communications. ● GoTime Appraiser. AudaExplore calls this feature an all-in-one mobile solution that enables appraisers to efficiently and effectively manage appraisal appointments and vehicle repairs while providing vehicle owners with an optimized customer experience. Going beyond just photos,
GoTime Appraiser features drag-anddrop schedule updates, integrated turn-by-turn directions, single-click customer communications, AudaExplore’s patent-pending vehicle photo guides, and location-specific repair statuses and alarms. “With the mobile technology age comes new ways of increasing the efficiency and productivity of appraisers and collision repair experts in the field, as well as delivering immediate and optimal communications to vehicle owners,” added Lowell. “We are fanatical about providing our customers’ customers with the best experience possible and are proud to bring the first three GoTime solutions to market, building upon our commitment to delivering continuous innovation and integrated intelligence for the automobile claims market.” In other news, the company announced Oct. 8 it will expand its global automotive data footprint with the addition of Chrysler vehicle manufacturing build data, for vehicles in the US., Canada and Mexico. The expansion brings Chrysler vehicle build data accuracy to every country where Chrysler vehicles are sold through AudaExplore’s AudaVIN™ vehicle identification technology.
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● When the $20+M MLO organizations are combined with the MLN networks and the $10m to $20M MLO segment: ►These combined three segments represent $7.2 billion or 23.5% of the $30.7 billion collision repair market ● Within the top ten $20+M MLOs, five are independent and five are dealer groups ►These top ten organizations account for 55.9 percent of all $20+M MLO production locations ►They represent 54.1 percent of all $20+M MLO revenue ►On average, the $20+M MLOs process $3.2 million per production location, over four times more than the average annual revenue for <$20M MLO repairers of $775,718. ● Revenue for the top ten independent and dealership MLOs was $2.4 billion, an increase of $1.1 billion over 2006’s revenue of $1.3 billion Key Findings for the 2012 U.S. $10 to
$20M MLO Market Segment As indicated earlier, this group of MLOs represents the next level segment being tracked as part of the broader U.S. market. These MLOs compete not only on a local market basis, but also with the regional and larger multi-platform MLOs. They each bring an entrepreneurial and customized approached to how they succeed and compete. They continue to grow their businesses organically and through new locations in order to remain competitive or position themselves as merger or acquisition candidates. ● The 107 $10 to $20M MLO organizations: ►Represent $1.4 billion in revenue ►Processed 4.5 percent of the $30.7 billion in collision repair revenue nationally ►Represent 530 or 1.5 percent of the 35,200 collision repair locations ● The top 25 processed $409M revenue and have 140 locations while the top 50 represent $745M, over 50% of this segments revenue, with 272 locations.
Continued from Page 24
911 and told the dispatcher, “Hold on, I’m going to shoot these m———— ——s.” A California Highway Patrol dispatcher heard one gunshot before the line went dead. Paramedics pronounced Gonzales dead at the scene. Vigil waited for sheriff’s deputies to arrest him. He claimed the shooting was in self defense. Deputies arrived at Amalgam Way and Gold River Road shortly after 10 p.m. and found a man in the driveway of an industrial business complex. The man had been shot at least once in the upper body. He was pronounced dead at the scene. They also Vigil, standing outside the business holding a shotgun. Homicide detectives later arrested Vigil. Vigil has a past felony conviction for filing a false insurance report in 1997 that put him in jail for 10 days and on probation for five years, according to the probation report. The record also shows that he was convicted of a misdemeanor in 2004 for driving without a license. At the sentencing, Gonzales’ family described him as a devoted father of a son who was 3-years-old at the time of the fatal shooting.
Citizens have a right to protect themselves if they feel their life is in danger, but trespassing doesn’t justify shooting someone and the victim in this case was not armed, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Ramos said.
AASPI Opposes State Farm Sand/Buff Policy
The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Illinois (AASPI) released a statement Monday declaring its opposition to State Farm Insurance’s new “verbally imposed” policy regarding reimbursement of “wet sand and buff” procedures. State Farm, according to the AASPI release, has informed a number of shops that it will not pay for “wet sand and buff” on original estimates. The insurer has not put out a formal, written notice regarding the issue. AASPI regards the process as a standard in the repair industry to duplicate the original sheen by eliminating orange peel and remove any normal imperfections occurring during the refinish process. AASPI is encouraging all collision repair businesses in Illinois to request that State Farm document items they are declining to cover under the policy in writing and forward received documents to AASPI. These correspondences can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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BMW Asks California Court to Strike Class Action in Leaking Sunroof Case
BMW has asked the U.S. Northern California District Court to strike the proposed state class action status of a lawsuit filed against the company by two BMW owners who claim that drainage tubes installed to pull water away from vehicles’ sunroofs do not properly work, leading to water damage. Plaintiffs’ attorneys claim the class should include California residents who have “owned or leased any BMW X5 series vehicles, X3 series vehicles and 5 series vehicles.” In response, BMW’s attorneys claim in court documents, “First, the purported class is not ascertainable because it includes many persons who have no claims against BMW North America. Those putative class members whose cars have never manifested the alleged defect, those whose sunroofs leaked for reasons other than the alleged defect and those whose cars are covered under warranty—and thus eligible for repair at no cost to them— cannot claim they suffered any cognizable injury and therefore lack standing.” The attorneys also claim, “The class includes many vehicles purchased more than ten years ago, meaning that the transactions at issue are well outside
Allstate Says Usage-Based Insurance Increasing
Allstate reports that drivers that are signed up for its usage-based insurance program, Drivewise, will register more than one billion miles driven this month. Allstate said that Drivewise is launching in Kentucky and Montana this month, making the usage-based insurance product available in 22 states including New York and New Jersey. Allstate’s usagebased auto insurance (UBI) product measures mileage, hard braking, excessive speed, and the time of day when a customer drives. Using that data, Allstate calculates insurance premium savings for each customer using its telematics technology. Customers can receive savings equal to 10 percent of premium. After the first six months of use, savings are based on driving performance calculated from the data collected. The company said that seven of every 10 Drivewise customers save money through the program and no one receives an increase. Of the drivers earning a discount, the average savings is 14 percent per vehicle. Allstate reports that roughly, a third of all new customers enroll in the Drivewise program, where it is available.
the statutes of limitation of, for example, plaintiffs’ CLRA (three year), UCL (four year) and breach of express warranty (four year). At a minimum, persons whose claims are outside the statutes of limitation should be excluded from any proposed class.” BMW’s attorneys also point out that it is difficult to identify owners who have “experienced water damage because of the alleged defect, rather than other reasons—including lack of maintenance, accident damage or even leaving the sunroof or trunk open before a rain storm.” Citing the certified pre-owned BMW warranty, attorneys claim that the automaker “cannot be held liable for ‘failing to company with the warranty’ or ‘refusing to repair’ if putative class members did not comply with their own obligations under the warranty or if the warranty does not provide coverage for the damage claimed. Determining whether such compliance exists will require individualized inquiries precluding class certification as a matter of law.” BMW’s attorneys conclude by claiming, “Plaintiffs cannot represent the putative class specified in their complaint because the class is simply too board and faces overwhelming in-
Urethane Supply Company Offers New Welding System
The Urethane Supply Company recently released the 6057-C Nitro Fuzer Welding System, a new nitrogen welding technology that combines hot air and nitrogen welding. The Nitro Fuzer includes fine-flow control regulators on both the air and nitrogen sides. Those are combined with output pressure gauges and a flow gauge to give users control over the amount of gas that is used during the welding process. The system includes a pressure safety circuit to help prevent burn out in heating elements, an electrically actuated air-nitrogen switch, and a melt-proof silicone and fiberglass braided hot air welder hose. The Nitro Fuzer also features an integrated airless welding system to allow for smoothing out the nitrogen weld and for repairing thermoset polyurethane. “It’s a fraction of the cost and time of two-part epoxies,” said Kurt Lammon, president of the Urethane Supply Company. “An average six-inch repair costs about $2 for the plastic welding rod; with epoxy, it could cost over $30.” The Nitro Fuzer is shipped fully assembled and includes a variety of accessories and an instructional DVD.
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dividualized inquiries and because plaintiffs cannot satisfy basic typicality requirements. These deficiencies are plain, even at the pleading stage. For the foregoing reasons, the class allegations therein should be stricken.” Attorneys for plaintiffs’ Monita Sharma and Erica Anderson claim “BMW designed, manufactured, distributed, sold and leased various makes and models of BMW vehicles that contain a serious design defect that significantly impacts both the safety and value of its vehicles. Specifically, numerous models of BMW vehicles manufactured during the class period were designed so that certain vital electrical components known as SDARS, RDC, and PDC modules, are located in the lowest part of the vehicles’ trunk. … Because BMW decided to place these vital electrical components in what is essentially the lowest part of the vehicle (the spare tire well under the trunk), they are especially prone to water damage that can be caused through the normal and ordinary use of the vehicle. “When this water damage occurs, the vehicles become inoperable and pose a serious safety risk to those who experience this problem. Although these components are highly suscepti-
ble to water damage, BMW provides no warnings or advisories to BMW owners about the location of this vital equipment or the importance of keeping the vehicle’s trunk compartment free of liquids,” they continue. The attorneys point out that drainage tubes are installed to pull water away from the sunroof. “Unfortunately, these sunroof drains were designed in such a way that they are prone to become clogged with dirt, debris, leaves, and other naturally-occurring materials. When these tubes become clogged, they come loose or leak into the trunks of the vehicles. These leaks, which eventually flood the trunks of the vehicles, cause the vital electronic components contained at the bottom of the vehicles’ trunks to short-shutting off certain components of the automobile necessary for driving and creating a potential safety risk,” the attorneys allege. BMW had asked the court earlier to dismiss the lawsuit by Sharma and Anderson. The court had not issued any decision at press time.
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SCRS Adds Consolidation Tracks to SEMA Repairer Driven Education SCRS has included several tracks in its Repairer Driven Education (RDE) series at the SEMA Show that will address the consolidation trend in the industry. “SCRS is continually looking at ways that we can help collision repair business owners succeed in the marketplace, and we realize that what defines success varies for the wide array of repairers operating in today’s shifting landscape,” said SCRS Chairman Ron Reichen. “We suspect that the private equity entering our industry is going to continue to fund acquisitions, and that means independent collision businesses are likely to be interested in one of two models for success: they will either position themselves to compete against consolidation or position the business to sell for the highest value.” SCRS has put together several sessions, including a panel of well-known industry veterans who made headlines of their own during the sale of their previous businesses. The panel, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now – Lessons Learned Selling My Body Shop,” will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7. Panelists will discuss things they learned in the process that can help attendees interested in proceeding down a simi-
lar path best prepare themselves. Subject matter experts include: • Aaron Clark, former owner of Collision Solutions, sold to ABRA Auto Body & Glass • Pat O’Neill, former owner of 911 Collision Centers, sold to Caliber Collision Centers • Dan Bailey, former owner of A&B CARSTAR, sold to CARSTAR Franchise Systems • Mike Anderson, former owner of Wagonwork Collision Centers, sold to Pohanka Collision Centers “There is a great deal of combined knowledge among these experts, who will be offering first-hand insight into how to navigate the process of valuing and selling your business,” said SCRS Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg. “That said, it is very important to point out that we have a great deal of optimism that independent collision repair owners can thrive in today’s marketplace as well, and have also defined specific programs that address solutions for them.” Perhaps none of the programs address these solutions more specifically than Wednesday afternoon’s session entitled, “Competing in a Consolidated Marketplace.” This session will be led by Tim Ronak of AkzoNobel and will take place from 3 to 5 p.m.
Ronak will discuss the most current consolidation information available as of November 2013 and suggest the path consolidation may take and the impact it might have on the industry at large. He will compare collision consolidation to other industries to identify strategies that were successful within those industries when consolidation reshaped their business model. Participants will have better understanding on how to navigate in this environment and insight into survival strategies for their business. On Friday from 12:30–2:30 p.m., Scott Biggs of the Assured Performance Network will host a session entitled, Creating a Parallel Universe: Reinventing the Collision Repair Industry, focusing on profit, prosperity and business survival in the decades ahead. Attendees will see alternative versions of the future based upon the plans and agendas of insurers, MSOs and OEMs. The 2013 RDE series is sponsored by industry organizations such as SEMA, PPG Automotive Refinish, GM Genuine Parts, BASF Refinish, Ford Motor Company, AkzoNobel, Hertz, Axalta Coating Systems, Goliath Carts, PBES (a division of AAIA), LKQ Corp., SATA, Spanesi Americas, Sherwin-Williams and AASP.
SEMA Supports Ban of E15
SEMA is supporting legislation (S. 344) introduced in the U.S. Senate to ban the sale of gasoline containing 15% ethanol. The bill would overturn actions taken by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) two years ago to permit ethanol levels to rise from 10% (E10) to 15% (E15). The agency is only requiring a gas pump warning label to alert motorists that E15 could potentially cause equipment failure for vehicles older than model-year 2001. “This legislation is necessary to protect auto enthusiasts by preventing damage to older vehicles and high-performance specialty components,” said SEMA Vice President of Government Affairs Steve McDonald. “SEMA applauds Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and David Vitter (RLA) for their efforts to correct by statute a flawed decision by the EPA. Unless enacted into law, E15 may soon appear at a gas station near you.” Ethanol increases water formation that can then create formic acid and corrode metals, plastics and rubber. Older cars and certain highperformance specialty parts are not constructed with corrosion-resistant materials or able to tolerate the higher temperatures at which E15 may burn.
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Consumer Groups Go to Court to Force Obama Administration’s Hand on Back-Up Cameras Consumer groups are taking the Obama administration to federal court over its about-face on backup cameras. In a lawsuit filed today in federal court in New York, two individuals and four organizations—including Consumers Union, the advocacy wing of Consumer Reports magazine— asked a judge to order the U.S. Department of Transportation to set rear visibility standards for light vehicles, as required by a 2008 law. DOT proposed rules in 2010 that would have required backup cameras in all new cars and light trucks. Final rules were delayed multiple times after automakers and White House officials raised concerns over costs. Before leaving office this year, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood set a new goal of completing the standards by 2015. With the lawsuit, the consumer groups hope to force the administration’s hand and make backup cameras a standard feature on new light vehicles several years sooner. “When Congress ordered this rule issued in three years, they meant three years, not seven,” said Scott Michelman, an attorney for Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group. Neither the DOT nor the U.S. Department of Justice would comment on
the lawsuit. DOT has added the safety device to the list of recommended features under the federal New Car Assessment Program. The move does not impose any requirement on automakers but it “will encourage both automakers and consumers to consider more vehicles that offer this important technology,” LaHood’s successor, Anthony Foxx, said in a statement. “While adding this technology to our list of safety features is important, I remain committed to implementing the rear visibility rule as well,” Foxx added.
Opposition and support The rules still face resistance from some car companies, though some suppliers stand to gain from a mandate. Trade groups representing automakers challenged the rules in meetings with the White House in 2011, saying that backup cameras would be less cost effective than other features required in cars, such as electronic stability control. DOT said rearview cameras would replace electronic stability control systems, which are now required by law, as a recommended advanced
NHTSA Recommends Back Up Cameras for New Cars
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has included a recommendation in its New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) that encourages manufacturers to equip new vehicles with a rearview video system. NCAP includes a fivestar rating system for raising consumer awareness about crashworthiness and rollover safety information. The NCAP update is separate from NHTSA’s proposed rule to update Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 111 (Rear View Mirrors) to require all new passenger cars be equipped with a rearview camera system. The equipment is intended to prevent accidents by alerting drivers when pedestrians are behind the vehicles. Under a law passed in 2008, the NHTSA had until 2011 to issue the rule to be phased-in by 2014. While the law permitted sensors, mirrors or other devices to provide drivers with rearward information, the NHTSA determined that a camera and dashboard display screen system was the best solution. The automakers have generally objected to not being provided more flexibility in determining cost-effective ways to achieve the goal.
technology feature in the NCAP program. According to NHTSA estimates, an average of 292 fatalities and 18,000 injuries occur each year as a result of back-over crashes involving all vehicles, the agency said in a December 2010 report. NHTSA said 228 fatalities of those fatalities involve light vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less. “Two particularly vulnerable populations—children and the elderly —are affected most,” the report said. “Approximately 44 percent of fatalities involving light vehicles are children under five—an unusually high percentage for any particular type of crash. In addition, 33 percent of fatalities involving light vehicles are elderly people 70 years of age or older.”
Cost per life Also in 2010, NHTSA estimated that adding a backup camera to a car would cost $58 to $203, depending on whether the car already has a display screen, and would save 95 to 112 lives per year—and up to $18 million per life. Even without a mandate, backup cameras have become more common in recent years. They were standard or optional in 77 percent of 2013 model-
year vehicles, according to Edmunds.com, up from 32 percent of 2008 models. Trucks, minivans and crossovers, which tend to have more limited rear visibility than cars, have often been the first vehicles equipped with the cameras. But some automakers have decided to put them into smaller cars, as well. When the redesigned 2015 Honda Fit subcompact arrives in showrooms next year, Honda’s entire lineup will have backup cameras as a standard feature. Ami Gadhia, senior policy counsel at Consumers Union, said all types of cars could use better visibility. Even if backup cameras gain widespread acceptance across the market, that is no substitute for a government mandate, she said. “We don’t see a need for a compromise on safety,” Gadhia said in an interview. “We think it should be offered across the board.”
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