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AUTOBODY CT / DE / ME / MD / MA / NH / NJ / NY / PA / RI / VT
AASP/NJ: Citing Section 64 Could Backfire on Insurers by Chasidy Rae Sisk
Non-DRP shops in New Jersey often receive requests to match DRP pricing from insurers, who cite NJ 17:33B36.1, commonly known as Section 64. AASP/NJ Executive Director Charles Bryant has voiced a plethora of concerns related to this statute and its impact on labor rates, but he recently pointed out the “terms and conditions” phrase within Section 64 could require insurers to rethink their position on using it to force “prevailing” labor rates. Section 64 begins: If an insurer has a financial arrangement with one or more auto body repair shops
or other repair facilities or a network of facilities for the purpose of repairing vehicles covered under physical damage, collision or comprehen-
AASP/NJ Executive Director Charles Bryant, pictured at the New Jersey State House, urges collision repair facilities to fight for their right to be paid fair and reasonable labor rates for the quality repairs they perform. Credit: Provided courtesy of AASP/NJ See Citing Section 64, Page 10
Registration for the 2020 MSO Symposium Now Open The Automotive Service Association (ASA) announced earlier this month the ninth installment of the MSO Symposium would take place as a five-day virtual event the week of Nov. 9, and that for the first time ever, the program is open to the entire industry and at no cost. Registration is now open. The 2020 MSO Symposium will run as a series of 90-minute, daily webinar sessions that provide insight and guidance on the most important issues in the automotive collision repair business. Similar to years past, the agenda, timing and content is driven and directed by
industry leading members who participate on the program’s advisory board. The program features speakers like Susanna Gotsch, industry analyst from CCC Information Services; Rex Green, global co-head automotive aftermarket investment banking with Jefferies LLC; OEM and insurance company representatives; and panel participants from a variety of multi-shop organizations, both large and small from across North America. Additional information on this year’s agenda and speakers can be found at www.msosymposium.com/ See MSO Symposium, Page 18
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AUTOBODYNEWS.COM Vol. 11 / Issue 8 / November 2020
The 2020 Election and Auto: Cars.com Compares Each Presidential Candidate’s Automotive Policies A team of experts at Cars.com, a leading digital automotive marketplace and solutions provider, explored the differences in each presidential can-
didate’s platforms and looked into major impacts the upcoming election will have on the automotive market
and American consumers. The full report can be found at Cars.com/news/election2020. “The first point people should understand about the auto industry is that vehicles are manufactured for years in essentially the same form based on an enormous upfront investment—vehicle platforms last 6.7 years on average,” said Joe Wiesenfelder, executive editor for Cars.com. “Contrast this with a four-year presidential term, and it’s hard to accept any claim that a president or nominee has changed, or could change, where See The 2020 Election, Page 24
Industry Trainer, Newsletter Editor Team Up to Offer Unique ‘State of the Industry’ Webinar One-of-a-kind perspectives and the findings of unique research are on the agenda of a fast-paced update on the “state of the industry” being offered online Oct. 29 by Mike Anderson of Collision Advice and John Yoswick of CRASH Network. “There’s no shortage of great information being offered for collision repairers online this year, but the research, surveys and deep involvement with multiple segments of the industry that John and I have provide us with some information and insights to share that we think you won’t find anywhere else,” Anderson said of the webinar. In just 30 to 45 minutes, the “Industry Update—October 2020” webinar will cover some key stats and trends related to such topics as: • Shop monthly revenue changes throughout the first three quarters of this year • The impact those changes have had on shops’ backlog of work • Some unique ways shops are locating or generating added revenues
• How “Who Pays for What?” surveys are tracking changes in shop billing practices “Attendees to Mike’s seminars over the years, just like CRASH Network’s subscribers, expect to come away with some information and ideas really relevant to their business, and that’s what we hope to share in a little different format with the webinar,” Yoswick said. The webinar will be held at 1 p.m. EDT/10 a.m. PDT Thursday, Oct. 29. To register, visit https:// attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/528752253505368847 Collision Advice (www.CollisionAdvice.com) is an independent training and consulting firm featuring some of the most respected and experienced experts in the collision repair industry. CRASH Network (www.CrashNetwork.com) is a subscription newsletter offering news and information not available from other industry sources. Source: Collision Advice, CRASH Network
10/20/2020 7:09:58 PM
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2 NOVEMBER 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
10/20/2020 7:10:02 PM
REGIONAL ‘Right-to-Repair’ Referendum in MA Different Than Issue in NH�����������������������������������������������20 AASP/NJ: Citing Section 64 Could Backfire on Insurers�����������������������������������������������������1 AASP/NJ’s Virtual Annual Meeting to Focus on Insurance Claim Settlement Issues�������������6 Deer Crashes in MA Highest in Bristol County�����8 Judge Orders an End to Spontaneous Breakage Lawsuit�����������������������������������������35 Maryland Auto Insurance Launches New Auto Insurance Fraud Initiative����������������������22 NJ Man Sentenced for Conspiracy to Commit Fraud�������������������������������������������������6 Secaucus, NJ, Hospital Owner Named in Lawsuit Alleging Insurance Fraud������������������12 Syracuse Tech Garden Startup Tonquin Emerges as ‘DoorDash of Auto Parts’������������18 Today’s Collision Opens 4th Location, ‘Today’s Collision Express’����������������������������16 VW Donates New Atlas to SCCC Auto Tech Program�����������������������������������������������14 Wildfires and Their Impacts on the Industry�������34 Worcester, MA, Auto Shop Owner Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud����������������������������������������20 COLUMNISTS Anderson - Pricing Change Reflects the Absolute Need for Separate Charges for Scanning, Diagnostics�����������������������������46 Attanasio - BAR Auto Shop Locator Educates and Empowers California Consumers������������62 Attanasio - Killer Tools Attacks Pandemic with Mr. Fogger���������������������������������������������60 Attanasio - Online and Just in Time: SEMA 2020 Becomes SEMA360�������������������48 Phillips - The Importance of Having a Broad Understanding of Vehicle Technology������������50 Yoswick - Two Shops Walk Away from Lawsuits Against Insurers�����������������������������58 NATIONAL AI Has Already Changed the Game for Auto Insurers������������������������������������������������26 Allstate to Cut 3,800 Jobs���������������������������������22 Automakers Report September and Q3 2020 Sales���������������������������������������������������68 Average New-Vehicle Prices Rise 2.5% YearOver-Year in September: Kelley Blue Book����74 Axalta Extends Free Online Curriculum Offering to All Vocational Schools������������������27 Beth Rutter Shares Sneak Peek of Pilot Program at I-CAR Virtual Meeting������������������66 Caliber Commits to ‘Restoring You’ by Gifting Restored Vehicles to Front Line Heroes���������79 California Governor’s Ban on New Gas Cars in 2035 May Wallop Drivers’ Wallets: Analyst����32 CCG Adds 100th New Affiliate���������������������������20 COVID Boosts Digital Age for Auto Claims����������71 COVID-19’s Effect on New Car Sales�����������������27 Enterprise Releases U.S. Length of Rental
Data for Q3���������������������������������������������������30 Fisker Inc. to Establish New Technology Center in San Francisco��������������������������������38 From the Auto Body Shop to the Beauty Shop���38 Hertz No. 1 in Customer Satisfaction�����������������55 Hertz Obtains $1.65B in Debtor-in-Possession Financing������������������������������������������������������32 Hummer EV Edition 1 Sells Out Within an Hour��34 I-CAR, CREF Holding Virtual Golf Fundraiser������35 Industry Trainer, Newsletter Editor Team Up to Offer Unique ‘State of the Industry’ Webinar����1 Martin Named DCR Dir. of Operations����������������76 Middle-Aged Drivers More Likely to Crash Than Those in Their 70s: Study���������������������76 Mitchell Delivers XR Hands-Free Solution for Collision Repair Facilities�������������������������64 More Shops Invoicing, Being Paid For Labor to Inspect Seat Belts, According to ‘Who Pays for What?’ Surveys�������������������������������79 NABC Recycled Ride® Program, Hertz, HighVelocity Autobody Donate Refurbished Vehicle to a Deserving Veteran����������������������19 NADA Issues Analysis of Third Quarter 2020 Auto Sales����������������������������������������������������72 Nationwide Introduces Express App������������������78 New Push for Autonomous Vehicles Bill�������������70 OEC Acquisition of NuGen IT Will Further Assist Collision Repairers to Meet Requirements of Insurers, OEMs & Customers���������������������52 OEC Appoints New President and CEO��������������30 PartsTrader to Hold Virtual Collision Repair Industry Update��������������������������������������������36 Registration for the 2020 MSO Symposium Now Open�������������������������������������������������������1 Registration Open for SCRS’ Education Series���32 SEMA Show and SEMA360: What’s the Same?��28 Spanesi Debuts Customer Experience���������������19 Study Details Ford’s Economic Impact in Chicago Region as Dealers Distribute Face Masks to Fight COVID-19����������������������36 Tesla Dominated Q2 U.S. Automotive Exports, Data Says�����������������������������������������������������76 Tesla Sues U.S. Government Over Trump’s China Tariffs��������������������������������������������������78 Tesla’s Cabin Camera Detecting Facial Features to Increase Vehicle Safety�����������������4 The 2020 Election and Auto: Cars.com Compares Each Presidential Candidate’s Automotive Policies�����������������������������������������1 Total Loss Settlement Process Simplified����������38 Update: Auto Glass Shops Continue Moving Forward During COVID����������������������������������16 Using Texts & Selfies for Insurance Claims����������4 UTI’s Blended Training Model Leads to Employment for Graduates���������������������������75 Volkswagen Orders Over 2,200 Robots for EV Production�����������������������������������������������63 Why Dealers Are Now ‘Exercising Caution’��������74 Your Online Presence Needs to be Refreshed in Pandemic Recovery����������������������������������42
INDEX OF ADVERTISERS
Publisher & Editor: Jeremy Hayhurst General Manager: Barbara Davies Contributing Writers: John Yoswick, Janet Chaney, Toby Chess, Ed Attanasio, Chasidy Sisk, David Luehr, Stacey Phillips, Victoria Antonelli, Gary Ledoux Advertising Sales: Joe Momber, Bill Doyle, Norman Morano (800) 699-8251 Office Manager: Louise Tedesco Digital Marketing Manager: Bryan Malinski Art Director: Rodolfo Garcia Graphic Designer: Vicki Sitarz Online and Web Content Editor: Abby Andrews Accounting Manager: Heather Priddy Permissions Editor: Randi Scholtes Office Assistant: Dianne Pray
Serving New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Northern Virginia, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and adjacent metro areas. Autobody News is a monthly publication for the autobody industry. Permission to reproduce in any form the material published in Autobody News must be obtained in writing from the publisher. ©2020 Adamantine Media LLC. Autobody News P.O. Box 1516, Carlsbad, CA 92018 (800) 699-8251 / (760) 603-3229 Fax www.autobodynews.com firstname.lastname@example.org
3M Automotive Aftermarket Division��������������� 17
Mercedes-Benz of Fort Washington����������������� 54
Accudraft Paint Booths������������������������������������ 80
Mercedes-Benz of Paramus���������������������������� 48
Acura of Westchester�������������������������������������� 68
Mercedes-Benz of West Chester��������������������� 54
American Icon Automotive Finishes����������������� 36
Mercedes-Benz of Wilmington������������������������ 67
Audi Wholesale Parts Dealers�������������������������� 65
Mercedes-Benz Wholesale Parts Dealers�������� 73
AutoNation Collision Parts��������������������������������� 7
MINI Wholesale Parts Dealers�������������������������� 58
BASF Corporation������������������������������������������� 31
MOPAR Wholesale Parts Dealers����������������44-45
Bical Auto Mall������������������������������������������������ 63
New Holland Ford������������������������������������������� 62
BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers�������������������56-57
New Holland Toyota���������������������������������������� 46
Cadillac of Mahwah���������������������������������������� 43
Nissan/Infiniti Wholesale Parts Dealers������������ 72
Northstar Kia�������������������������������������������������� 52
Central Avenue Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram����� 15
Certified Automotive Parts Association������������ 24
Open Road Acura of East Brunswick����������������� 8
Packer Norris Parts����������������������������������������� 37
Colonial Automotive Group������������������������������ 53
Porsche Huntington���������������������������������������� 12
Courtesy Mitsubishi���������������������������������������� 50
Porsche Wholesale Parts Dealers�������������������� 71
Criswell Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram���������������� 26
PPG Refinish��������������������������������������������������� 13
DePaula Chevrolet-Ford���������������������������������� 35
Prima Welds, Inc��������������������������������������������� 29
Eagle Abrasives, Inc������������������������������������������ 9
Rafferty Subaru����������������������������������������������� 20
Eckler’s Automotive���������������������������������������� 27
Rapid Tac�������������������������������������������������������� 39
Empire Auto Parts������������������������������������������� 38
SATA Dan-Am Company������������������������������������ 5
Equalizer Industries, Inc���������������������������������� 14
Schultz Ford��������������������������������������������������� 49
FI. TIM SRL������������������������������������������������������� 6
Security Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep-Ram���������������� 34
Ford Wholesale Parts Dealers�������������������������� 70
Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes�������������� 2
GM Wholesale Parts Dealers��������������������������� 61
Shop-Pro Equipment��������������������������������������� 25
Honda-Acura Wholesale Parts Dealers�������40-41
Southern Polyurethanes, Inc���������������������������� 21
Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers�������������������� 58
Spanesi Americas������������������������������������������� 23
Infiniti of Norwood������������������������������������������ 42
Steck Manufacturing Company����������������������� 32
Innovative Tools & Technologies, Inc���������������� 47
Subaru Wholesale Parts Dealers���������������������� 75
Jaguar Land Rover Cherry Hill������������������������� 59
Sunmight USA Corporation������������������������������ 33
Jeff D’Ambrosio Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge������������ 10
Kia Motors Wholesale Parts Dealers���������������� 69
Toyota Wholesale Parts Dealers����������������������� 76
Kia of Attleboro����������������������������������������������� 50
Tsunami Compressed Air Solutions����������������� 28
Killer Tools & Equipment Corp.������������������������ 11
VIP Honda������������������������������������������������������� 66
Kundert Volvo�������������������������������������������������� 60
Volkswagen of Newtown Square��������������������� 20
Long Automotive Group���������������������������������� 55
Volkswagen Wholesale Parts Dealers�������������� 77
Wedge Clamp Systems����������������������������������� 19
Mazda Wholesale Parts Dealers���������������������� 74
White Plains Volkswagen�������������������������������� 46
McGovern Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram������������� 18
Yonkers Kia����������������������������������������������������� 64
Mercedes-Benz of Atlantic City����������������������� 54
autobodynews.com / NOVEMBER 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS 3
10/21/2020 4:46:43 PM
Using Texts & Selfies for Insurance Claims by Dhara Patel, PropertyCasualty360
Sometimes a simple, mature technology can reap big rewards. A case in point is property-casualty claims management, where insurers are using two established platforms in new ways: text messaging and selfies. Ubiquitous on social media and familiar to consumers, these digital tools are just now being adopted in
Insurance carriers are finding that texting conveys a sense of urgency and policyholders are more likely to respond to a text message. Credit: Courtney Keating, ALM Archives
the claims arena. And they are paying off in reduced claims times as well as lower claims costs. Since claims are a cost center and can eat into an insurer’s underwriting profit, claims managers are constantly looking for ways to process claims more efficiently. Insurers have harnessed technology to reduce paperwork, eliminate redundant data entry and expedite claims, but they have been slow to apply solutions that are outside their control and may
pose regulatory concerns. But as insurers become more confident of their data security protocols and feel they can meet regulatory requirements, text messaging and selfies are getting a second look. Text messaging can save time. Our company handles claims for Arrowhead and Brown & Brown national programs. In auto lines alone, we process 20,000 claims a year. So we know a thing or two about repeatable processes. Given that many claims, imagine how many times a claims adjuster picks up the phone in a year, and how many times no one answers. Reaching someone by phone these days can be hit-or-miss, and the back and forth of leaving messages is a real-time killer. Emails are not always answered, either. But texting has an immediacy that consumers like. Texting also conveys a sense of urgency. The rule of thumb is that the shorter the format, the higher the priority a message has in a consumer’s mind. So longer-format channels such as letters and emails may not get a high response, although they are often best for communicating formally. Text messages are opened almost immediately and are great for providing quick updates and asking policyholders to check their online accounts, where they can download important information or sign off
on a claim. We’ve found that policyholders like having the option of text messaging and are more likely to open texts than email. However, texting has its challenges when it comes to regulatory compliance. Many state regulations affect claims communications, which must be carefully structured and well documented. A claims manager can’t just text a customer from his or her cell phone. So we’ve integrated a texting solution into our claims process. It looks like a text message to our customers, but it’s generated through our claims system, and everything is documented in the customer’s file. There are several texting solutions for business available, but ensure they are insurance compliant. For example, California requires claims communications to be by “letter” or “voice,” so we’re still working through those restrictions. Selfies reduce cycle times and payment costs For personal and commercial auto claims, we’ve partnered with a vendor to give policyholders the option of taking photos and uploading them after an accident. It’s been surprisingly successful, resulting in payment cost savings, reduced cycle times— an average of 15 days to less than four—and an improved customer
experience. We used to send an adjuster out all the time for an auto claim. Now 60% of our customers are using the selfie service. It turns out they like being part of the process. We knew there would be a reduction in cycle times, but we didn’t expect the average payment per vehicle would drop too. By empowering the customer, we’ve lowered body shop costs. We send the policyholder an estimate and recommend body shops in their area. If a consumer knows from the get-go how much something should cost and gets several estimates, they generally go with the least expensive one. Texts and selfies allow customers to get more involved in the claims process, and they like that. Policyholders are providing a lot of the information needed to investigate claims and control costs. It’s a winwin for insurers and consumers. Dhara Patel is president of American Claims Management, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Arrowhead General Insurance Agency. Arrowhead is one of the largest national insurance program managers for commercial and personal products in the U.S., with $1.3 billion written premium in 2019. We thank PropertyCasualty360 for reprint permission.
Tesla’s Cabin Camera Detecting Facial Features to Increase Vehicle Safety by Joey Klender, Teslarati
When Tesla activated the cabin-facing camera within the Model 3 and Model Y in June with the 2020.24.5 Software Update, the company admitted it would help engineer develop safety features and enhancements for the future. However, new developments have been revealed by a notorious Tesla hacker, who has shown the coding for the cabin camera, and what facial features the function will look for to increase safety. Tesla hacker @greentheonly revealed the specific things the cabin camera is looking for after finding the software for the feature. A series of facial features and head positions are described within the software, and appear to be looking for ways to make drivers more aware and increase the safety of the vehicles.
Among the detected facial expressions are BLINDED, DARK, EYES_CLOSED, EYES_DOWN, EYES_NOMINAL, EYES_UP, HEAD_ DOWN, HEAD_TRUNC, LOOKING_LEFT, LOOKING_RIGHT, PHONE_USE, SUNGLASSES_ EYES_LIKELY_NOMINAL and SUNGLASSES_LIKELY_EYES_ DOWN. The interesting developments from the newly revealed coding show that the cabin camera will now be used by Tesla to increase safety and driver awareness. One of the most obvious indications of this is the PHONE_USE code, which will likely recognize and indicate when the driver’s eyes have left the road and have focused on a smartphone instead. Interestingly, just a few days ago, Tesla received a sixthplace ranking on the Assisted Driving Grading survey from the Euro NCAP
tests. The lower ratings were due to poor scores in the “driver engagement” metric, where the Model 3 scored only a 35 out of 100. The lack of a driver monitoring system on the Euro NCAP tests significantly affected the Model 3’s scoring on the test. It seems that Tesla is already preparing for the cabin camera to capture this data to increase vehicle safety. However, recognizing any movement or facial feature that could be a distraction to driving could be used with Tesla’s in-house insurance suite to determine a driver’s rates. For example, if the cabin camera detects PHONE_USE more often than the average driver, rates could be increased because the driver is not giving their undivided attention to the road. The likely scenario is to increase the driver monitoring system, which Tesla lacked according to the NCAP tests—expanding the driver’s aware-
ness of what is going on while driving is crucial, especially with Tesla’s self-driving and semi-autonomous functionalities. There is plenty of evidence that many people who use the FSD or Autopilot features do not use them correctly because they require the owner to continue to keep their hands on the wheel and remain aware of driving conditions. However, some owners have seen Tesla’s features as an opportunity to be less responsible on the road. The company has repeatedly stated the cars are not yet fully-autonomous. Drivers are required to continue monitoring their vehicle’s performance. The cabin camera’s monitoring system could be a pivotal way to eliminate the possibility of less-than-ideal awareness while driving a Tesla. We thank Teslarati for reprint permission.
4 NOVEMBER 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
10/20/2020 7:10:02 PM
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autobodynews.com / NOVEMBER 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS 5 SATA BIONIC.indd 1
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10/20/2020 7:10:04 PM
NJ Man Sentenced for Conspiracy to Commit Fraud By Daniel Israel, Hudson Reporter
A Hudson County, NJ, man, Luis G. Aguirre, 57, was sentenced Oct. 5 to 12 months and one day in prison for his role in an automobile accident scheme, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced. It’s not clear which Hudson County municipality Aguirre is from. As part of the scheme, health care practitioners fabricated and exaggerated accident victims’ injuries to support fraudulent insurance claims to Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance plans for medically unnecessary services. U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler also sentenced Aguirre to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution of $53,710. In March, Aguirre pleaded guilty in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Chesler imposed the sentence on Oct. 1 by videoconference. Sentencing was scheduled for July 14 but was postponed due to COVID-19. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Aguirre’s participation in the conspiracy caused an estimated loss to PIP insurance plans of more than
$250,000. The total loss caused by the conspiracy exceeded $3.5 million. Recruiting victims Aguirre helped to orchestrate an automobile accident scheme in Bergen County and Hudson County by acting as a “runner” who identified and recruited accident victims to the scheme. Aguirre subsequently introduced the victims to various chiropractors, medical imaging centers and others, who billed PIP insurance plans for medically unnecessary services. Aguirre and an employee from an auto body shop in West New York, Individual-1, identified and recruited individuals who had been in car accidents. According to the Carpenito, they found car accident victims through word of mouth in the community and through relationships with health care providers in northern New Jersey. Aguirre paid Individual-1 for each accident victim whom Individual-1 helped identify and recruit to the scheme. Individual-1, in turn, paid accident victims for participating in the scheme. As part of the scheme, Aguirre ensured that the victims had filed police reports to support subsequent insurance
AASP/NJ’s Virtual Annual Meeting to Focus on Insurance Claim Settlement Issues The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) will host a virtual 2020 Annual Meeting, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. EDT, Oct. 29, via Zoom. The focus of the meeting will be on the New Jersey Insurance Fair Conduct Act (A1659). Members of the association will be on hand to provide an overview of the legislation. In addition, Jay Feinman, Rutgers Law professor and author of “Delay, Deny, Defend: Why Insurance Companies Don’t Pay Claims and What You Can Do About It,” will describe the landscape of insurance regulation, explain what works and what doesn’t and suggest how AASP/NJ members can work to improve the insurance claims process. “If you are presently experiencing difficulties with insurers on claim settlement issues like the failure to negotiate, delayed inspections, refusal to pay for necessary procedures and
all around bad claim settlement practices, you won’t want to miss this meeting,” said AASP/ NJ Executive Director Charles Bryant. “Come and see the man that wrote the book that says it all: ‘Delay, Deny and Defend.’ If you want to learn about steps you can take to improve the insurance claim settlement process, this meeting is a no-brainer!” This meeting is free to AASP/NJ members who are in good standing. Pre-registration is required and can be done by visiting: lbit.ly/AASPNJ2020annualmeeting. Attendees will be sent a Zoom link prior to the meeting start. For more information on “Delay, Deny, Defend: Why Insurance Companies Don’t Pay Claims and What You Can Do About It” (paperback, Kindle and bulk orders available), visit delaydenydefend.com. Source: AASP/NJ
claims. Aguirre directed the accident victims to visit specific health care providers to obtain medically unnecessary medical exams and services, such as X-rays and MRIs, for fake or exaggerated injuries that they supposedly suffered during the automobile accidents. Quid pro quo Aguirre was paid approximately $500 in cash by the health care providers for each accident victim he delivered. Health care providers submitted insurance claims to PIP insurance plans on behalf of the accident victims. On Sept. 25, 2018, an individual from North Bergen, known as Individual-3, was involved in a vehicle accident in Elizabeth. Carpenito stated that based on a police report of the incident, the accident was minor. Individual-3 was rear-ended by another car when both were stopped at a red light. According to the police report, Individual-3 refused medical treatment at the scene, stating that Individual-3 would seek separate medical attention. At the time of the accident, Individual-3 had an automobile insurance policy through Auto Insurer-1, which
included PIP coverage. Aguirre learned from Individual-1, the WNY auto body shop employee, that Individual-3 was willing to participate in the scheme in exchange for cash payment. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Aguirre directed Individual-3 on Oct. 12, 2018, to visit the proprietor of an MRI center in Rochelle Park, known as Individual-2. Individual-3 agreed to the plan and visited the MRI center, where Individual-3 underwent a series of medically unnecessary X-rays. On Oct. 16, 2018, the MRI center billed Individual-3’s PIP insurance policy. Carpenito credited special agents of the Department of Labor-Office of Inspector General (DOLOIG) under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael C. Mikulka, and special agents of the FBI under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark with the investigation leading to the sentencing. The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason S. Gould of the Health Care Fraud Unit at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark. We thank the Hudson Reporter for reprint permission.
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6 NOVEMBER 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
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autobodynews.com / NOVEMBER 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS 7
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Deer Crashes in MA Highest in Bristol County by Curt Brown, The Standard Times
Love is in the air for deer and that’s bad news for motorists who travel the roads of southeastern Massachusetts. From now until early December is what is known as deer rutting season, a time of the year where deer mate and motorists are likely to see them on the highways and byways of Bristol County. “Historically, this is the time of year when we see the increase in deer strikes,” said Acushnet Police Chief Christopher Richmond. “They’re everywhere. ’Tis the season,” said Swansea Police Chief George Arruda, adding he has seen as many as a half dozen on the property behind the police station on G.A.R. Highway. “Where there is one, there’s always another one,” said Detective Kyle Costa, spokesman for the Dartmouth Police Department. “They’re more active during mating season so be cognizant of that also.” Since Jan. 1 of this year, there have been about 16 deer strikes in Acushnet and another eight to 10 calls where deer were found along the sides of road and the assumption is a vehicle hit the deer and left, according to Richmond. During the same time period, there have been 14 deer strikes in Swansea, Arruda said. AAA Northeast of Massachusetts released an advisory Oct. 13, reminding motorists this is the time of year when deer strikes are most likely to happen and that Bristol County had the most deer crashes of any county in Massachusetts last year. In 2019, there were 1,557 deer strikes in Massachusetts, an average of one every two hours, according to AAA. Bristol County had the most deer strikes of any county in Massachusetts, with 268 for the period of October through December, and 533 for the entire year. There were 838 such collisions in Rhode Island in 2019, with South Kingstown (61) leading the way, followed by Tiverton (58), Coventry (58), North Kingstown (54) and East Greenwich (45). Drivers should be especially
careful after dark, AAA says. From October to December of last year, 81% of the deer crashes in Bristol County occurred when it was dark. Crashes were most common from 5 to 7 p.m., during evening rush hour and when darkness had just set in. “Drivers should always be on the lookout for hazards on the road, but the danger of deer is particularly acute in the fall,” said Diana Gugliotta, AAA Northeast senior manager of public affairs. “Deer present dangers to themselves, vehicles and vehicle occupants, so it behooves everybody to be prepared.” Police say deer crashes, especially when high speeds are involved on highways, are dangerous to motorists and their passengers. Serious damage results when a vehicle traveling to 70 to 80 mph strikes a 150-lb. deer, they said. Often motorists swerve their vehicles to avoid hitting a deer and hit a pole or another vehicle. Police said their own cruisers also have been heavily damaged and sometimes totaled after striking a deer. Bristol County saw several high-profile and heartbreaking crashes in October and November of last year involving deer. A 16-year-old Taunton boy was killed when he was ejected from the rear hatchback door of his mother’s compact mini-van when she swerved to avoid hitting a deer. She lost control of the vehicle and the vehicle rolled over in November on Route 24 in Taunton. Five Dartmouth students and a school bus driver were injured in October of last year when a deer crashed into the front of the school bus on Chase Road. The crash began when a car first struck a deer and the animal was then thrown through the windshield of the school bus. The bus driver suffered injuries to his hand when the deer landed in his lap. The driver was commended for putting his own injuries aside and getting the 34 students safely off the bus. A good Samaritan was struck and killed by a vehicle in November of last year when he assisted a disabled motorist whose car struck a deer on Interstate 495 in Raynham.
Not only are these accidents potentially life-threatening and damaging to vehicles, they are also expensive to repair, according to local auto body shops.
Wayne Pereira, manager of Fall River Auto Body, said the extent of the damage is often determined by how fast the vehicle was going, the size of the deer and whether the deer was hit “full-on” with the front of the vehicle. He said he has seen deer strikes at daylight and late at night. “They’re running out space to be,” he said of the deer. Lech’s Garage and Auto Body in New Bedford has seen “quite
a few” vehicles damaged in deer strikes even though it is early in the season, said Christine Lech, owner. The damage is usually to the front and the front corner of the vehicle, but sometimes it is confined to the side of the vehicle because the deer ran into the car. “It can add up to quite a few thousand dollars in some cases,” she said. “People say that [the deer] came out of nowhere. They didn’t even see it,” she said. “A lot of time they didn’t have any time to react.” But deer aren’t the only wildlife drivers need to be aware of. Wild turkeys are another. Lech said they repaired a vehicle in May or June that was damaged when it hit a turkey on Interstate 195 in the Mattapoisett area, while traveling to New Jersey. “The turkey went through the windshield on the passenger side. The windshield was shattered,” she said. We thank the Taunton Gazette for reprint permission.
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Continued from Cover
Citing Section 64 sive coverages, the insurer shall not deny a person the right to select an auto body repair shop or other repair facility of his choice for repair of a covered vehicle, provided that such auto body repair shop or other repair facility elected by the person accepts the same terms and conditions from the insurer, including, but not limited to, price, as the shop, facility or network with which the insurer has the most generous arrangement. Bryant suggested independent collision facilities, when asked by insurers to match a DRP shop’s prices, have the right to request a copy of the DRP agreement in order to review the terms and conditions. Shops could also demand to join the DRP and, as a DRP shop, employ the ability to act as the appraiser. AASP/NJ offers a form to help member shops convey this message to insurance companies. Referencing an unpleasant encounter with an insurer that cited Section 64 to mandate rates, Bryant
recalled how the shop’s request for DRP benefits changed the insurer’s attitude from “very nasty and rude and obnoxious” to “the nicest people you want to see,” who were eager to resolve the shop’s problem. Bryant’s argument provides a great reminder that DRP prices are not standard door prices; the shop with a DRP relationship has agreed
are never going to offer non-DRP shops the same terms and conditions as their DRP shops. “The insurance industry uses approximately 15% of an area’s shops, which they allow to participate in their DRP programs, to control the other 85% of the shops in any given area. If insurers were to allow nonDRP shops the same terms and con-
“Insurers have held labor rates down for years to an amount less than bicycle shops get paid for their services,” — Charles Bryant to a reduced price in exchange for certain concessions, and an independent shop that likewise concedes to those price reductions are entitled to the same privileges in exchange for the pecuniary shortage. “Insurers typically refuse to provide a copy of the terms and conditions of their DRP agreements [because] they contain a strong non-disclosure proprietary and confidentiality statement; insurers do not want them to become public, and for good reason,” Bryant said. “Insurers
ditions as their DRP shops, it would defeat the purpose of the DRP programs.” The remaining verbiage in Section 64 raises additional concerns. It concludes: Prior to undertaking any repair, the auto body repair shop or other repair facility of the insured’s choice shall provide the insured with written notification, in a form to be established by the Commissioner of the Department of Banking and Insurance by regulation, that, by agreeing to have the auto body shop or other
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repair facility of the insured’s choice accept the same terms and conditions from the insurer as the shop, facility or network with which the insurer has the most generous arrangement, the insured may jeopardize any manufacturer or dealer warranty or lease agreement. Such notification form shall be signed by the insured prior to the undertaking of any repair. Although Section 64 was made a statute in 1998, the Department of Banking and Insurance has yet to develop a form for vehicle owners to sign indicating “letting the shop of your choice fix the car the way that the insurer would have it fixed is going to void your warranty,” Bryant explained, expressing doubt that any government agency would agree to create such a form. While Section 64 has been described as an anti-steering law since it specifies “the insurer shall not deny a person the right to select an auto body repair shop or other repair facility of his choice for repair of a covered vehicle,” Bryant compared Section 64 to “a bucket with a hole in the bottom of it.” When asked what type of re-
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course a shop might have if an insurer attempted to direct the vehicle owner to another shop due to rate disagreements, Bryant said the first thing a shop should do is have the customer sign a proper authorization or contract to repair the vehicle. “The next thing that an educated shop owner should do is make the insurer involved aware of this contract to repair the vehicle in writing,” he said. “Then, if the insurer fails to make all reasonable efforts to reach an agreed price to repair the vehicle and convinces the shop’s customer to breach his or her contract, the shop will have the basis for a lawsuit for tortious interference.” Mikhail and BMR v. NJM, a class-action lawsuit filed in June 2019, alleged Prestige Auto Body was forced to substantially reduce its labor and paint charges to meet NJM’s “take it or leave it” pricing model, due to NJM’s failure to negotiate in good faith. NJM responded two months later by filing a motion to dismiss in which the defendant’s lawyer, Michael J. Marone, interpreted Section 64 as a way to “ensure that New Jer-
sey insureds have access to a number of licensed body shops that will perform the requisite work within the established estimates of New Jersey insurance carriers,” while also “preserving an insurer’s ability to obtain competitive prices that benefit the insured, minimize unnecessary costs and prevent excessive inflation of insurance premiums in the state.” Marone also claimed the statute “empower[ed] New Jersey insurance carriers, like NJM, to maintain a list of automobile repair facilities that perform repairs within the carriers’ established estimates.” Commenting on the lawsuit, Bryant said, “The insurer is dictating what it will pay rather than making all reasonable efforts to negotiate an agreed price to repair an automobile as required by the regulations governing fair claim settlement practices, while the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance looks the other way.” “When a collision shop fails to surrender and take whatever the insurer wants to pay, the insurer engages in unlawful ‘steering’ activity by claiming that the shop is being unrea-
sonable and overcharging; they then pressure insureds to have their vehicles repaired at specific ‘preferred’ repair shops that can afford to fix the vehicles at lower rates because of the high volume of work being steered to them,” he continued. “This type of suit has to happen because of the unwillingness of greedy insurers to work these issues out and pay fair and reasonable rates for the procedures now required to safely and properly repair vehicles on the roads today.” Insurers have also cited Section 64 to justify their refusal to pay for storage, since DRP shops wouldn’t charge them storage fees; however, according to Bryant, the statute only applies to repair, not storage. Though Section 64 hasn’t been enforced since it was initially decided, Bryant reported hearing about it now and predicted, “That is going to become an issue.” “Insurers have held labor rates down for years to an amount less than bicycle shops get paid for their services,” Bryant said. “With today’s vehicles, those days are over. There are specific repair procedures that
must be followed and have to be performed in order to put the vehicle back to a safe operating condition after it’s damaged in a collision. In a comparison he commonly makes between the insurance industry’s attempts to suppress labor rates and the game “Let’s Make a Deal,” Bryant said, “The collision industry needs to make it clear that it will no longer participate in such an activity. Insurers should stop playing games in order to hold down labor rates to an amount that does not reflect a fair and reasonable amount for the services collision shops provide or the investment they made in the training and equipment required to properly repair these cars. “[The collision repair industry] must insist on being paid a fair and reasonable labor rate for the work being performed and consider the training and equipment that is required to safely and properly repair these advanced automobiles,” Bryant added. “These issues are not going to get resolved by a divided industry.” www.autobodynews.com
autobodynews.com / NOVEMBER 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS 11
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Secaucus, NJ, Hospital Owner Named in Lawsuit Alleging Insurance Fraud by Carly Baldwin, Patch
A New York doctor connected to Yan Moshe, the owner of Hudson Regional Hospital in Secaucus, NJ, has been sued by GEICO, alleging insurance fraud. The doctor is Conrad F. Cean, MD, who owns New York Pain Management Associates and 5 Borough Anesthesia, both based in New York state. Lawyers for GEICO filed the lawsuit Sept. 14 in New York federal court, alleging Cean and his pain management clinics owe GEICO $598,000. GEICO lawyers say Cean billed the insurance company for a myriad of medically unnecessary services, “including bogus examinations, urine drug screens, injections, pain management procedures and anesthesia.” All of this happened when patients came to see Cean after they were involved in car accidents; his practice submitted claims for insurance coverage under GEICO New York’s no-fault insurance policies. Moshe was not named as a defendant in the lawsuit. However, the lawsuit also alleges that between 2018 and 2020, Moshe, Hudson Regional Hospital and two other clinics he owns in North Jersey paid kickbacks to Cean in exchange for patient referrals. The two clinics are Healthplus Surgery in Saddle Brook and Dynamic Surgery in Hackensack; Moshe owns both in addition to the Secaucus hospital, which he took over ownership of in 2018. Healthplus Surgery is the same facility that was shut down by the state in 2018, after a New Jersey Department of Health investigation revealed lapses in sterilizing and cleaning needles may have exposed a massive number of patients to bloodborne pathogens such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and even HIV. Moshe’s two surgery centers are now the subject of 19 lawsuits, including federal class-actions, as a result. A media spokeswoman for Moshe told Patch at the time that sterilization techniques were never questioned at Hudson Regional. “Hudson Regional Hospital is
a completely separate entity from HealthPlus, and sterilization standards at Hudson Regional Hospital have not been an issue,” said Marjorie Kaplan, a spokeswoman for the hospital, in 2018. As the Secaucus Patch has also reported, Moshe is currently in the midst of an ambitious attempt to take over ownership of Bayonne Medical Center and the Hoboken hospital from CarePoint Health System, which filed for bankruptcy last year. CarePoint has been resisting the sale, even asking the state of New Jersey to step in and prevent Moshe from buying the land on which the hospitals sit. BMC Hospital LLC seized on this latest black eye for Moshe, releasing a statement Sept. 17 that read: “The alleged kickback scheme unveiled this week in federal court is disturbing and supports all those who believe that Yan Moshe and Hudson Regional Healthcare cannot be trusted to responsibly operate a critical community institution like Bayonne Medical Center.” “Unfortunately, this is not the first time Moshe has been accused of improper behavior, as both he and Hudson Regional Hospital continue to be subject to a federal court injunction issued in June, and are facing an $89 million RICO lawsuit from GEICO for alleged fraud,” said Wayne Hatami, the president of BMC Hospital LLC. This latest lawsuit comes on top of this lawsuit filed against Moshe last year, in which Moshe and his North Jersey surgery centers are accused of billing another auto insurer, American Transit, millions in fraudulent no-fault insurance claims. A spokesman for Moshe countered that several principals at Bayonne Medical Center, LLC have similarly been sued by GEICO for filing bogus insurance claims. The GEICO lawsuit says Moshe paid Cean out of Hudson Regional’s bank accounts, in exchange for referrals to his two surgery centers. Lawyers for GEICO cited these examples of payments they say were kickbacks:
• From Sept. 4 to Dec. 24, 2018, Hudson Regional Hospital (HRH) cut five checks to Cean, totaling $48,284. During the same period, Cean referred at least 55 GEICO insureds to Healthplus Surgery Center, and 50 to Dynamic Surgery Center. • From Jan. 3 to March 12, 2019, HRH cut three checks to Cean, totaling $38,592. During the same period, Cean referred at least 33 GEICO insureds to Healthplus Surgery Center, and 26 to Dynamic Surgery Center. • From May 24 to Aug. 16, 2019, HRH cut three checks to Cean, totaling $38,592. During the same period, Cean referred at least 33 GEICO insureds to Healthplus Surgery Center, and 26 to Dynamic Surgery Center. • From Sept. 23 to Dec. 13, 2019, HRH cut three checks to Cean, totaling $55,008. During the same period, Cean referred at least 27 GEICO insureds to Healthplus Surgery Center. • Between Jan. 8 and Feb. 10,
2020, HRH cut two checks to Cean, totaling $27,648. During the same period, Cean referred at least 22 GEICO insureds to Healthplus Surgery Center.
Moshe has since changed the corporate name of Healthplus Surgery to Integrated Specialty, and changed the corporate name of Dynamic Surgery to Hackensack Specialty. New York’s “no-fault” insurance laws are designed to ensure that injured victims of car accidents can receive the healthcare they need. No-fault benefits include up to $50,000 per person for health care costs after an accident. GEICO said it seeks to recover the substantial damages it suffered from Cean, and also says it is on the hook to pay approximately $3 million in claims it says was fraudulently submitted by Cean. GEICO would like a federal judge to absolve them of that $3 million. We thank Patch for reprint permission.
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autobodynews.com / NOVEMBER 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS 13
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VW Donates New Atlas to SCCC Auto Tech Program Suffolk County Community College on Sept. 16 accepted the donation of a 2020 Volkswagen Atlas to its automotive technology program as part of Volkswagen’s Drive Bigger initiative. Volkswagen and local dealers are donating vehicles to universities, colleges and technical and trade schools to develop future Volkswagen-trained automotive technicians. New York State Assemblyman Douglas Smith, whose district includes Suffolk’s Ammerman Campus, presented certificates of recognition to the assembled Volkswagen dealer and corporate representatives as a thank you for the generous donation. Suffolk County Community College Interim President Louis Petrizzo thanked the Volkswagen executives for this donation to Suffolk’s program and explained that the College “… is very much aware of industry needs for automotive workers. We are proud of the technicians we produce. They are professionals that are not only going to be skilled auto technicians, but also have the ability and talent to move
into supervisory and management positions,” Petrizzo said. “Our students, importantly, are also taught communication and soft skills that we know are important to the industry.” “We are extremely fortunate to have strong support from our local area dealerships and manufacturer partners. The support they provide allows us to provide quality automotive education for our students resulting in a prepared workforce for their businesses,” said Automotive Technology Academic Chair David Macholz. “These vehicles will be essential in assisting the next generation of Volkswagen technicians to interact with and learn the latest technology that is part of our exciting model lineup” said John Peterson, director of fixed operations. “At Volkswagen we strongly believe in investing in the next generation and with our growing model lineup, it’s critical we give young technicians the opportunity to be hands on with our vehicles to help ensure we continue to deliver a high level of customer satisfaction in the future.”
Suffolk County Community College’s Automotive Technology program is an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Education Foundation certified course of study that is designed to prepare students for employment as automobile technicians and is intended for those seeking careers as employees of automotive service facilities. All programs have academic as well as automotive classes that fulfill requirements to obtain an A.A.S. degree. The programs offered are: Honda PACT Toyota T-TEN General Motors ASEP program Maintenance and Light Repair and General Automotive programs Subaru University automotive manufacturer’s training program Nissan Technician Training Academy Fiat-Chrysler training certification Ford Automotive Career Exploration (ACE) Suffolk’s program is also the only at a northeast college to offer the state-of-the-art Tesla START technician training program.
Increasingly, automobiles are equipped with complex computer and electronic systems that require highly trained and skilled professionals who are competent in math, science and computer technology. Communication and management skills are equally important for success in the field. Participating Dealers West Islip VW Donaldson’s VW Legend VW Bayside VW Riverhead Bay Smithtown VW VW of Huntington Platinum VW VW Corporate: John Peterson, NER director of fixed operation Dan Anderson, fixed operations manager Michael Rueckert, sales operations manager We thank CCC News for reprint permission.
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Update: Auto Glass Shops Continue Moving Forward During COVID by Emmariah Holcomb, glassBYTEs.com
Auto glass businesses, like many other companies were impacted by the onset of COVID-19. glassBYTES reached out to a few auto glass businesses to see how they’ve fared with safety changes, stay-at-home orders and more. “We actually got shut down for about four weeks, we let everyone go and we closed the office and took the trucks off of the road during the peak of the virus,” said Peter Brown, president of Tiny and Sons Auto Glass Co., in Pembroke, MA. “I slowly began to bring everyone back and it was almost as if someone flipped the lights back on. Brown explained that it took a few weeks before he was able to put his mobile auto glass trucks back on the road to service his customers because he upgraded each vehicle to include a wash station. Safety Changes As more information was learned about keeping employees and customers safe, industry businesses began implementing new health and
safety procedures. Dan Knowlton, CEO and president of K&K Glass in Florida, said his company began taking the temperature of its staff almost immediately after the onset of COVID-19. The company also incorporated hundreds of UVC sanitation lamps to clean vehicles and office spaces as well as installing hand sanitizer stations in its offices. According to Knowlton, many of his customers appreciated its contact-free options. “We created social distancing measures for employees and customers throughout our locations,” said Knowlton. “We require all staff that are not able to social distance themselves and are in front of our customers to wear gloves and masks.” Brown reopened after he and his staff had to learn ways to keep themselves and their customers safe. “We had to educate everyone on social distancing and to clean the vehicles before and after a job,” said Brown. “We had to change the way we do businesses in the office
as well by closing our waiting room and everything went to appointment only.” Workﬂow When government officials began implementing stay-at-home orders auto glass businesses saw a sharp decline in the amount of available work. However, after states began to reopen and lift certain restrictions, vehicles went back to the roads which caused a spike in the amount of repairs and replacements to be completed. “After being down from our normal monthly sales figures the last couple of months have fallen back in line to where we normally would be,” said Kevin Zeiss of Mesko Glass in Scranton, PA. “That being said, there is still a feeling of inconsistency and an unknown future that keeps a sense of urgency to get what we can when we can.” “As we got up to speed we had to shorten our hours because a lot of our employees have children and we had to work around their schedules,” Brown explained. “But as we get into July and August we really
started to ramp up.” Brown said he had to bring another person in to help with the front phones and the business hired another technician. The company also brought in two students through the vocational program at their schools to work in his auto glass business. “Our business has been back to normal since June,” said Knowlton. “We did not have any layoffs during the shutdown, were able to remain open as an essential business, and we were prepared for the uptick.” Going Forward “Yes, [the safety changes we’ve implemented] will [stay] for the most part until the virus is no longer a threat, we will continue to do our part to minimize risk,” said Knowlton. “We have to stay vigilant with washing our hands more often and continuing to wear masks especially because we are still a few months out before we can start thinking about a vaccine,” said Brown. We thank glassBYTEs.com for reprint permission.
Today’s Collision Opens 4th Location, ‘Today’s Collision Express’ Today’s Collision Repair Centers recently added its fourth location, Today’s Collision Express in Danvers, MA. With three full-service auto body shops, north of Boston—in Malden, Chelsea and Stoneham— the MSO recognized a need to service customers in the niche market of light collision repair. With an influx in vehicles needing repairs to fenders, bumpers, scratches and dents, Today’s Collision noticed a few bottlenecks throughout the repair process where customers with these smaller repair jobs had to wait in line behind major repairs, extending the turnaround time. The company renovated a former dealership building to create a customized a repair shop where the minor repair process has been extracted from a typical body shop, optimizing workflow for smaller jobs. Being in close proximity to many of Today’s Collision’s dealership partners, this express center is rapidly becoming a convenient service for those with minor jobs that require a quick turnaround.
The geographic location also lends itself to helping the company’s customers located in New Hampshire and Maine, including Tesla owners who don’t have repair options in those states. This is Today’s Collision’s second location in the Tesla Approved Body Shop Program. “We’re excited to take on this new challenge and test out a shop designed exclusively for light collision repair,” said Bobby Cobb, owner, Today’s Collision. “We know it will be tricky communicating the differences in light repair and major repair to the end customer, but by using a combination of in-person pre-screening appointments, a mobile estimating tool, and virtual tours, we can facilitate the explanations and accurately advise the customer.” Today’s Collision Express will also operate as a drop-off center for customers who have major repairs, but find it easier to reach the new Danvers location. For more information, visit www.TodaysCollisionExpress.com. Source: Today’s Collision
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Syracuse Tech Garden Startup Tonquin Emerges as ‘DoorDash of Auto Parts’ Tonquin, a startup at the Tech Garden in Syracuse, NY, is disrupting the automotive parts delivery industry as it’s existed for years. The company says its solution helps repair shops get parts quicker and takes a tremendous burden off auto parts suppliers. Tonquin was founded about three years ago by Jeff Lyman, owner of Jeﬀrey’s Auto Body in North Syracuse, and his son Jeffrey. With Jeffrey set to join the family business out of college, he noticed the inefficiencies with this part of his father’s business. “He started spending some time there, looking at the whole operation in a different light than I probably do,” Jeff Lyman told NewsChannel 9. Jeffrey’s Auto Body gets about five to 10 deliveries from different auto parts companies every day, much the same as other repair shops. Jeffrey Lyman told NewsChannel 9, “Getting a part to your customer in under a certain time became the norm and they had to do it, so we’re coming in as finally a solution to that, kind of removes
some of those headaches and day to day logistics of these companies.” His father added, “It’s saving the company money in gas, insurance, employment taxes, payroll, you name it. Any costs there is to deliver that part is taken on by Tonquin’s platform.” They said much the same way a company like DoorDash picks up food and delivers it to people, Tonquin performs this service with auto parts. “With Tonquin there can be seven or eight of our drivers in that local area ready to pick it up in minutes,” Jeff Lyman said. Jeffrey Lyman added, “If there’s a part at this one store we need a driver there ready to get it all times of the day.” He worked hard with a tech company to develop a platform easy to use on both ends. “Ease of use is one of our biggest selling points and we decided that because, from our experience. We know the people working at the counters at these auto parts stores, at the dealerships, they’re busy people so this has to be less than a
minute process to get that shipment out, to get someone there,” Jeffrey Lyman told NewsChannel 9. They said the quicker repair shops can get parts, the faster they can get vehicles back to their customers. Now, with Tonquin growing they need more drivers. Jeffrey Lyman said, “That’s the beauty of these apps is they’re not constricting you to work for just one app. You are your own boss, you can work as many apps as you want, you can take the orders you want and you can drive up your own revenue the way you want. You kind of have to have a few apps running at the same time to run a profit as a driver, so it’s a very typical thing in the driver world.” Tonquin is already operating in Syracuse and Rochester and has plans to add another major metro area in the fourth quarter. We thank WSYR-TV for reprint permission.
agenda Registration to the virtual 2020 event is complimentary thanks to the event’s industry supporters and sponsors. To read more information about these companies and the equipment and services they provide, visit www.msosymposium. com/sponsors To attend the 2020 MSO Symposium, registration is required. To begin the registration process, visit http://events.r20.constantcontact. com/register/event?oeidk=a07ehcob3dzaf8081d4&llr=rzo6p8n6&showPage=true Companies and organizations interested in taking part in our limited sponsorship opportunities, visit the MSO Symposium website or contact us. Any additional questions can be directed to Jennie Lenk at JennieL@msosymposium.com. Source: ASA
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Spanesi Debuts Customer Experience
NABC Recycled Ride® Program, Hertz, High-Velocity Autobody Donate Refurbished Vehicle to a Deserving Veteran
Spanesi Americas, Inc. announced the debut release of its new 360° Virtual Tour of its North American Headquarters. Designed to feature the entire Spanesi 360° Concept, visitors are able to easily move around the facility to explore Spanesi’s equipment, products and service offerings. Spanesi developed this groundbreaking approach to better serve its customers as industry trade shows continue to be postponed, rescheduled and canceled. The 360° Virtual Tour is available through the Spanesi Americas website, www.spanesi -americas.com. Visitors are also given exclusive access to Spanesi’s ofﬁces, training classroom, Training Center, welder training area and warehouses, and will also have access to Spanesi’s live chat and technical support features, during normal business hours. Source: Spanesi
On Oct. 8, a deserving U.S. Marine Corps veteran experienced a life-changing event—the presentation of a vehicle to provide him reliable transportation to carry out his important mission of serving veterans and frontline workers in need. The vehicle presentation is being made possible thanks to High-Velocity Autobody and car donor Hertz, along with the National Auto Body Council Recycled Rides® program. The presentation was held at High-Velocity Autobody in Inwood, NY. “So much is happening in our world today and so much uncertainty. Like so many people across the world, Andrei’s life was aﬀected by COVID19,” said Kristle Bollans, director, replacement accounts for the Hertz Corporation. “I, along with Hertz are so grateful to be able to provide safe and reliable transportation to Andrei as he serves so many in need. He truly is an inspiration.” High-Velocity Autobody and Hertz presented a 2019 Toyota Corolla to Andrei Popow, a veter-
an who served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Popow, a New York native, was working as a graphic artist prior to 9/11, then enlisted to serve his country after the tragedy. He had tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, and received numerous medals and commendations for his service.
Upon returning home, he found many of his fellow soldiers suﬀering from pain and depression, and struggling with substance abuse and suicide. He used his GI Bill to enroll at NYU and study nonproﬁt organizational development, then
founded Veterans Rebuilding Life to help veterans in need. After losing his job to COVID-19 layoﬀs, he continued his worked delivering PPE to essential workers, even though he didn’t have a vehicle and had to pay for a rental car. The gift of reliable transportation will allow him to expand his service to those in need and continue helping veterans rebuild their lives. NABC Recycled Rides® is a unique program in which businesses representing all facets of the collision repair industry team up to repair and donate vehicles to individuals and families in need of reliable transportation. Since the inception of the NABC Recycled Rides® program in 2007, members of the National Auto Body Council have donated more than 2,500 vehicles valued at more than $36 million. Additional partners in the presentation include Smithtown Toyota, Kemperle, R&J’s Auto Glass, Dent Shield and 1.800 Charity Cars. Source: NABC
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autobodynews.com / NOVEMBER 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS 19
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‘Right-to-Repair’ Referendum in MA Different Than Issue in NH by David Brooks, Concord Monitor
Boston-area TV channels have been awash in commercials about a “right to repair” referendum in Massachusetts, but New Hampshire viewers should know it’s very different than a “right to repair” bill being studied in this state. However, it does reflect the same over-arching argument: How much control should manufacturers have over their product after it is bought? The issue in Massachusetts concerns data from a vehicle’s computer system that is necessary to do repairs. In 2012, voters passed a referendum allowing independent shops to plug into a car to help diagnose problems so that they could make fixes, a decision often cited as the most sweeping right-to-repair success the country has seen. The new referendum, if passed, would expand this to cover wirelessly transmitted mechanical car data, known as telematics. Those systems monitor and send real-time readings on the vehicle back to the manufacturer and they are increas-
ingly necessary for diagnosing and repairing cars; independent repair shops say they should have access to it. Car makers and dealers oppose the referendum, saying this data contains valuable information that could be used for nefarious purposes, including location data that could be used in domestic violence situations, as a particularly disturbing commercial suggests. Proponents, including national auto-parts chains, say this is baloney and the only reason to keep telematics secret is to force people to use manufacturers’ expensive repair service. This is a subset of the whole right-to-repair argument, which says people who buy something should be able to do anything they want with it, including repair it or alter it, and manufacturers shouldn’t be allowed to block those efforts by withholding manuals or using software blocks. A group called Repair.org got versions of laws proposed in about 20 states, including New Hampshire.
In New Hampshire, right-torepair came before the Legislature last year in a “digital electronic product repair” bill that was sent to a study committee. It would require makers of electronic products to provide independent repair facilities with diagnostic and repair information. Since almost everything these days has electronics in it, the result could be quite sweeping. At hearings in Concord, NH, last year, a number of industry people warned amateurs would use the information to override safety equipment on appliances or turn off pollution controls on lawn tractors—a possibility that led the Department of Environmental Services to urge the bill be killed. Concerns were also raised about being first in the nation, something we usually embrace. Several lawmakers were worried if a small state like New Hampshire unilaterally passed the bill, some manufacturers might refuse to sell their products here. We thank the Concord Monitor for reprint permission.
The owner of Worcester and Everett, MA, auto body shops pleaded guilty Sept. 21 to a payroll tax scheme resulting in a tax loss to the IRS of more than $290,000. Adam Haddad, 43, of Shrewsbury, MA, pleaded guilty to three counts of aiding the preparation of false tax returns before U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman, who scheduled sentencing for Jan. 13. Haddad was charged in August. For tax quarters ending in
March 2015 through June 2017, Haddad paid a significant portion of the wages to employees of his company, S, under the table, federal prosecutors alleged. In doing so, Haddad caused Accurate Collision to file returns with the IRS which under-reported the actual wages he had paid his employees as well as the employment taxes due to the IRS. In total, Haddad caused a loss to the IRS of at least $292,231, the IRS said. We thank the Telegram & Gazette for reprint permission.
Certified Collision Group™ has added its 100th new independent affiliate location for the year 2020, continuing its five-year run of consistent and exponential growth. “This year has challenged all of us, yet we remain confident in our founding principles of leveling the playing field on behalf of the top independent collision repairers,” said Marty Evans, COO. “We are devoted to doing all we can to support our independent owner-operators who are performing best-inclass repairs and providing the industry’s finest customer service. “We continue to grow our internal team and provide exceptional products, and we do so only through the remarkable support of our current affiliates, terrific vendor and insurance partners and our founders.” Source: CCG
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Worcester, MA, Auto Shop Owner Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud by Brian Lee, Telegram & Gazette
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Maryland Auto Insurance Launches New Auto Insurance Fraud Initiative Maryland Auto Insurance has launched an initiative aimed at combatting auto insurance fraud in Maryland. This comes as the FBI projects insurance fraud accounts for more than $40 billion in costs annually, according to a Maryland Auto Insurance press release. “Maryland Auto has a talented fraud investigative team, and it’s something that we take very seriously,” said Maryland Auto Insurance Executive Director Al Redmer Jr. in the release. “We are going to devote even more time and attention in an eﬀort to make sure we are engaging in best practices to reduce our exposure even more.” Prior to joining Maryland Auto Insurance as executive director, Redmer served as Maryland’s longest tenured insurance commissioner. “As commissioner, I saw the ﬁnancial costs that all of us pay due to the signiﬁcant amount of insurance fraud that occurs every day,” he said in the release. Claims Manager William Buck, who oversees Maryland Auto’s Special Investigations Unit, is leading the new fraud initiative. The
unit will focus its eﬀorts on identifying the most common factors found in fraudulent policy applications and claims. The initiative will also include a focus on internal and external education. Additional training will be provided for adjusters and educational material for consumers will also be developed. “Through our collective eﬀorts, we will be able
residents of the state, with either a Maryland driver’s license or a vehicle registered in Maryland, the release explained. “We have people buying Maryland Auto policies who can’t locate Maryland on a map,” Redmer added in the release. “We are going to have a laser focus on preventing non-residents from fraudulently purchasing coverage through Maryland Auto.”
“We have people buying Maryland Auto policies who can’t locate Maryland on a map” — Al Redmer to put a wall up against fraudulent actors whose actions have led to increased premium costs for the public and make it diﬃcult for us to meet our overall goal and mission of reducing the uninsured population in our state,” Buck said in the release. Redmer indicated in the release that a point of emphasis for Maryland Auto’s fraud prevention team is to deter non-Maryland residents from obtaining Maryland Auto policies. Maryland statute requires all Maryland Auto policyholders to be
Maryland Auto Insurance is a mission-driven company dedicated to reducing the number of uninsured drivers on Maryland roadways by providing accessible, aﬀordable insurance to drivers who currently are unable to obtain coverage from standard carriers. Maryland Auto was established in 1972 by the state to protect its citizens from the risks and costs associated with uninsured driving. We thank Insurance Journal for reprint permission.
Allstate to Cut 3,800 Jobs The Allstate Corporation on Oct. 1 provided detail on the impacts of its multi-year Transformative Growth Plan and record low interest rates on third quarter earnings. The goal of the Transformative Growth Plan is to increase personal property-liability market share by expanding customer access, improving customer value and investing in marketing and technology. Customer access has been expanded by merging the Esurance and Allstate brand direct operations. Improving customer value includes improving the competitive price position of auto insurance, which requires cost reductions to maintain margins. To lower costs, a restructuring plan is being implemented which will impact approximately 3,800 employees primarily in claims, sales, service and support functions. The expectation that interest rates will remain low will also impact third quarter earnings. Source: Allstate
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Continued from Cover
The 2020 Election automakers conduct final assembly in short order, even though this is where the current candidates are making most of their campaign claims and pledges.” Cars.com discussed potential outcomes covering three main focus areas for the candidates in the upcoming 2020 presidential election. Three Words Our Country Loves: Made in America The candidates do not differ much on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement under President Donald Trump. However, it will take years to see the final impact on where automakers build their vehicles. To date, there are few signs that the USMCA is bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. from abroad. Ford went from importing the Ranger mid-size pickup truck to assembling it in the U.S. However, it also opted to cancel the redesigned Focus sedan/hatchback due to tariffs. “Regardless of campaign pledges, once production begins in a plant, country or hemisphere, relocating that platform is more expensive than most tariffs, penalties or trade restrictions the manufacturer might encounter,” said Wiesenfelder. “American parts manufacturing timeframes aren’t as long as vehicle platforms, however; if either candidate focuses on lower-tier manufacturing, it is possible we’ll see more auto parts plants move to the U.S., as Vice President [Joe] Biden has suggested, referring to domestic auto supply chains.” The Future of Electric Vehicles “The clear difference and potential for swift change between President Donald Trump and Vice President Joe Biden is their environmental stances and EVs,” added Wiesenfelder. Biden’s focus on EVs and environmental policies could also be fueled further as Democratic governors apply more energy behind these efforts on a local level; one example is California Gov. Gavin Newsom and his recent announcement to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered
vehicles by 2035. Consistently low gas prices and tepid government support are two reasons Cars.com predicted last year that EVs would struggle to become mainstream in the U.S. even by 2030. Government support is a necessity for zero-emissions vehicles
for, more environmentally friendly vehicles and programs. The Trump Administration’s rollback of environmental programs and regulations is among the most substantial since President Richard Nixon founded the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970. Trump
“EVs need to be less expensive to compete. As they exist today, they will never make a meaningful dent in the marketplace without subsidies,” — Joe Wiesenfelder to achieve mainstream sales. When federal electric car tax credits were set to expire for GM and were gone for Tesla in March, the Trump Administration reportedly blocked attempts to extend them. It currently offers no other information for EV support in the future. Biden’s campaign plans involve restoring the full EV tax credit, with a target toward middle-class Americans, and increasing the EV infrastructure by building 500,000 new public charging outlets by 2030. Additionally, Biden will offer dedicated grants and funding to help manufacturers retool and build new factories “to help ensure U.S. global leadership in EV manufacturing, including EV components and batteries.” For consumers to adopt EVs, incentives will help, as will the availability of public charging stations. However, it’s worth noting that most EV buyers do the overwhelming majority of their charging at home, and well-intentioned interventions can go wrong, such as when federal tax credits of $7,500 went to buyers of $100,000 EVs, offending allies as much as opponents. “EVs need to be less expensive to compete. As they exist today, they will never make a meaningful dent in the marketplace without subsidies,” said Wiesenfelder. “Government support is necessary, and we predict a clear difference in the marketplace if Vice President Biden takes office. If President Trump is reelected, EVs could once again falter or even retreat as they did under other Republican administrations.” Gas Is Cheap, Which Means More SUVs, Fewer Environmental Programs Fuel prices remain consistently low, decreasing the interest in, and demand
exited international climate treaties and reversed President Barack Obama-era policies and regulations. Biden’s plan demands a worldwide ban on fossil fuel subsidies and targets a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions no later than 2050. In addition, his campaign looks to update the Cash for Clunkers program to provide consumers rebates to swap old, less efficient vehicles for new vehicles built from materials and parts sourced in the U.S. Biden’s camp also states it will commit to purchasing clean vehicles for federal, state, tribal, postal and
local fleets. Under the Trump Administration, Corporate Average Fuel Economy, a standard that regulates how far automakers’ vehicles must travel on a gallon of fuel, was decreased. Biden’s campaign points to a new fuel economy standard even higher than that under Obama. Any changes are likely to get held up in the courts for years as automakers and states push back; even without the barriers, CAFE changes take years to show results for consumers. Regardless of who enters the White House in January, impact from COVID-19 on the automotive industry is likely to continue and may require additional attention from policymakers in the future. For more information and to read the full report, visit Cars.com/news/ election2020. Source: Cars.com
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AI Has Already Changed the Game for Auto Insurers by Christoph Plenio, CCC Information Services Inc.
AI is changing how insurers do business. Accelerating decisions. Improving outcomes. Constantly adapting to customized rules and permutations. This isn’t a vision, but the reality for more than 50 insurance carriers working with CCC across AI use cases. In conversations and media, AI is often discussed as a concept. That’s yesterday’s news. Today, AI is a proven factor in improving experiences and processes for countless policyholders. For example: AI applied to a single photo can predict repairable versus total loss claims, resulting in real-time decisions that don’t leave policyholders waiting days or weeks to know the fate of their vehicle. AI applied to auto damage estimates ﬂag outliers based on carrier-speciﬁc rules and guidelines, identifying line-level items that appear out of the norm, and
resulting in greater estimate accuracy. AI-powered estimating automatically predicts which parts are damaged, whether they can be repaired or need to be replaced, and approximate labor hours, boosting appraiser productivity. AI-powered 3rd-party injury evaluations ensure accurate assessments of impact severity, availability of complete injury causation analytics, and that medical bill review is accomplished in the most eﬃcient and eﬀective manner for the third-party adjuster. These are just a few examples of the near touchless claims experience that exists today with people engaging where necessary to conﬁrm AI-led claims ﬂow from accident detection, to ﬁrst notice of loss, to predictive method of inspection and beyond. This is a small snapshot of AI today. Tomorrow’s AI will
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empower even more business decisions earlier in the process and with even greater precision. AI run on edge devices, such as mobile phones, will detect contextual information from the accident scene while augmented reality technologies deployed on these same mobile phones will more fully engage consumers. And AI-powered accident reconstruction will create the most detailed view of an accident yet, including the vehicle(s) involved, the scene and related damage. All, delighting the consumer in ways hardly imaginable today. The future of AI has multiple extensions across the insurance
enterprise to inform more decisions, experiences, and performance. We are already starting to deliver on this future by processing and learning from more than a trillion dollars of historical data from multiple sources—telematics, driving data, vehicle history and more—connecting it in real time to provide a view of what happened and what is to come. The future is exciting, but it is important when looking ahead to not overlook the impact AI is already delivering today. And, for CCC and its customers, there’s nothing artiﬁcial about that. Source: CCC
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Axalta Extends Free Online Curriculum Offering to All Vocational Schools Axalta, a leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings, on Oct. 8 announced its online Reﬁnish curriculum is available to all vocational schools at no charge. This oﬀering, which originally began as a pilot program with just a few vocational schools, is being
extended to support all vocational schools in North America and their students, speciﬁcally at a time when distance learning is so critical to education. Axalta’s online curriculum, available to both vocational high schools and secondary schools, will help educate students who may otherwise be learning through in-person instruction. The multi-week curriculum cov-
ers all facets of a collision repair shop, including customer service, detailing, body repair, measuring techniques and painting. The way it works is simple: Axalta provides interested schools with the online content and a syllabus guide, and then the schools deliver the program to their students. All content is available in English and several courses are also oﬀered in French. The courses are available via Axalta’s online training hub, the Axalta Learning Campus. Each school has a designated area in the Axalta Learning Campus where students can view the courses and track their progress. Additionally, participating school administrators have access to detailed reports that feature each student’s scores and development in the Axalta Learning Campus. “Over the last few months, we’ve received countless requests for online course oﬀerings,” said Patricia Morschel, marketing and commercial operations director for North America Reﬁnish at Axalta. “The pilot program was hugely successful, and we couldn’t be happier to extend
our online curriculum to all vocational schools. During a time when distance learning is making such a big impact on the collision repair industry, we are proud to be able to support vocational schools and help prepare tech students for their future in the industry.” In addition to providing this free online Reﬁnish curriculum to vocational schools, Axalta oﬀers more than 300 eLearning modules through the Learning Campus that cover various products and processes, making it a great tool for technical students to use throughout their career. Vocational schools interested in Axalta’s free online Reﬁnish curriculum should contact their Axalta representative or send an email to NAreﬁnishtraining@axalta.com. Source: Axalta
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COVID-19’s Effect on New Car Sales Many Americans continue struggling to get by following the highest unemployment rates since the Depression. Any kind of largescale purchase might seem completely out of the question to most, especially a brand new car. According to Pretected, new car ownership has plummeted 26% from this time last year and continues to drop. Extended restrictions across the nation underscore that there is no guarantee of the market’s recovery anytime soon. However, new car sales may already be primed to rebound in areas that have relied heavily on public transportation in the past. Cities that normally show some of the highest use of public transport in the country have seen ridership almost vanish through the pandemic. Many of those who are able to commute prefer not to be stuck in an enclosed bus, train or even ride-share with strangers for any length of time. Source: Pretected.com
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SEMA Show and SEMA360: What’s the Same? by Jason Catullo, SEMA
Day-to-day business production has changed drastically during the past seven months, and specialty-equipment companies have discovered creative ways to keep operations running and adapted to an inconsistent marketplace. In the interest of serving those companies and supporting the association’s mission to help member businesses succeed and prosper, SEMA360 was created. “Each year SEMA Week creates a community exchange of innovation, education and networking that sets the course of business for the following year,” said Tom Gattuso, SEMA vice president of events. “During this year’s SEMA Week, Monday through Friday, Nov. 2-6, the amount of content exchange and interaction between manufacturers, buyers and media will again be unmatched.” There are currently more than 600 manufacturers ready to oﬀer an exclusive look at their newest products, highlight trendsetting vehicles and in-progress project builds, and meet with buyers through SEMA360. Gattuso has also been contacted by retailers and resellers whose businesses have not stopped moving forward. Neither has the association. While there’s no SEMA Show in 2020, SEMA360 was built to provide buyers with a viable marketplace that oﬀers beneﬁts like an in-person trade event. “Industry buyers and manufacturers have made it clear that a marketplace is needed during this challenging year,” said Gattuso. “At-
tendees will discover that SEMA360 has many of the same beneﬁts and business opportunities as the SEMA Show, with a focus on new product intros, vehicle debuts, networking and educational sessions.” For buyers and media, planning for SEMA360 is similar to the SEMA Show. For instance, at the SEMA Show, attendees can view a new product display, gather specs and a description, collect pictures and press material, and connect with the manufacturer on the Show ﬂoor. The same can be done through SEMA360 in a very eﬃcient manner; including the direct connection to the manufacturer. Here’s a look at some more similarities between the SEMA Show and SEMA360: The dates for SEMA360 and the week of the SEMA Show are the same, beginning Monday, Nov. 2, and concluding Friday, Nov. 6. The SEMA Show is open to the trade only. SEMA360 is the same: open to trade only. The SEMA Show features qualiﬁed buyers and media. SEMA360 will feature qualiﬁed buyers and media. The SEMA Show and SEMAS 360’s main buyer beneﬁts and takeaways are the same: ﬁnding new products and new ideas. The online platform is anchored with a robust New Products Showcase of more than 1000 products. Industry-leading education sessions will be a main focus of SEMA360 and feature the relevant content participants in the in-person SEMA Show have grown to count on to build their businesses. Vehicles, always a mainstay at
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the SEMA Show, are featured in a SEMA360 online Builder Showcase and in many of the 600+ Manufacturer Showcases so buyers and media can still spot trends and see products in application. OEMs use the SEMA Show to announce new products, partnerships and initiatives. There are four OEMs ready to do the same this year. Celebrities and notable industry icons are part of the fabric of the in-person Show. SEMA360 will also feature the insights and talents of many of these popular personalities. Show-special deals will be integrated into many of the online manufacturer presentations, just as they are at the in-person SEMA Show. Networking and connecting with industry colleagues can be facilitated as they are at the SEMA Show with virtual public and private meeting rooms with video and chat capability. While SEMA360 is all online, it has been purpose-built to include the features SEMA Show visitors have
grown to expect—all designed to connect the industry and help propel businesses into a successful 2021. Nowhere else will you ﬁnd the level of industry participation: 600-plus Manufacturer Showcases, a New Products Showcase featuring 1,000 products, a Builder Showcase with hundreds of vehicles, industry-leading education with 50 seminars, and unmatched networking with thousands of industry buyers and media. If you want to be part of the momentum and energy that is moving the industry forward into 2021, you need to be part of this year’s SEMA Week and you need to be part of SEMA360. Register to attend: www. sema360.com/buyer.html Register for a Manufacturer Showcase www.sema360.com/manufacturer.html Register here to submit a vehicle build www.secureprod.sema show.com/SEMAESM/ESM/Builder Showcase.aspx We thank SEMA for reprint permission.
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Enterprise Releases U.S. Length of Rental Data for Q3 As patterns of “new normal” emerge—from continued remote working to limited travel, business as usual and everything in between—Enterprise has continued to track results and patterns in the Length of Rental (LOR) for the U.S. and Canada. The second quarter of 2020 saw a wild swing from April’s increase to June’s stabilization—do Q3’s results follow suit? Excluding total losses, average replacement LOR for Q3 was 12.2 days in the U.S., slightly down from Q3 2019’s result of 12.4 days. “The latest data for LOR indicates a return to previous seasonality patterns, and follows suit with PartsTrader’s slight uptick in the number of replacement parts per repair order,” added Greg Horn, chief innovation officer at Parts Trader. “The parts suppliers have rapidly returned to pre-COVIDlevel delivery times and frequencies.” Colorado posted the most significant LOR decrease. In Q3 2019, the state had an average LOR of 14.5; in Q3 2020, Colorado posted
an LOR of 12.8, a good sign considering the impact many cities faced from summer 2019’s hail storms. Eleven other states, plus the District of Columbia, showed a year-over-year drop of more than one-half day.
Conversely, South Dakota recorded an increase in LOR in 2020, going up 1.4 days from 11.4 to 12.8. Arkansas, Connecticut, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana and
Vermont also saw increases greater than half a day. LOR with associated drivable claims saw a slight increase of onetenth of a day, from 10.97 in 2019 to 11.06 in 2020. Non-drivable results showed a four-tenths of a day decrease, from 18.0 days in 2019 to 17.62 in 2019. Total Loss remained stable, decreasing slightly from 14.7 in 2019 to 14.6 in 2020. Conclusion Overall, LOR results seem to have stabilized since the initial COVID-19 disruptions in March and April. Results in Q4 will bear watching, as many schools are returning to in-person classes in parts of the country. “We’ll also watch the weather for late fall and early winter as well as the average number of parts per estimate,” added Horn. Source: Enterprise
OEC Appoints New President and CEO OEConnection LLC (OEC), the leading technology provider to automotive original equipment manufacturers, has announced the appointment of Patrick C. Brown as its new president and CEO. Brown succeeds Chuck Rotuno, who was named executive chairman. These changes were effective immediately. Brown brings extensive experience running high-growth companies in the FinTech, InsurTech and automotive industries. Most recently, Brown served as president and CEO at Innovative Aftermarket Systems (IAS), a leading provider of technology and finance & insurance (F&I) solutions to the automotive industry. IAS is one of the largest F&I providers in the U.S., serving more than 6,000 dealerships across the country. Brown holds an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and bachelor’s degrees in economics and finance from Wingate University. He also serves on the board of All Web Leads, Inc. Source: OEC
30 NOVEMBER 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
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California Governor’s Ban on New Gas Cars in 2035 May Wallop Drivers’ Wallets: Analyst by Brian Sozzi, Yahoo Finance
Drivers throughout the U.S. may want to start a rainy day car fund in the wake of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s climate-change-focused ban on sales of new gas-powered autos beginning in 2035.
Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, met with Gov. Gavin Newsom and CalFire officials Sept. 15 to review the devastation of the Creek fire in Pineridge, CA. Credit: Carlos Avila Gonzalez/ The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images
Veteran auto analyst Lauren Fix tells Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade the cost of new cars across the country could rise materially in the years leading up to the ban. In the mind of the beancounters at automakers such as Ford and GM, in order to offset higher outlays from ramped up electric vehicle production to meet
California’s new ban, consumers will have to bear the financial burden upfront. “If automakers have to produce electric vehicles, they have to pay those carbon credits which sometimes in the past they were buying from Tesla. That all gets figured into the price that you pay, somewhere around $2,500 a car already. So if they are going to increase the cost, that means no longer will the average price of the vehicle across the U.S. be somewhere around $34,000. It could go up closer to $40,000. Again, that makes it untouchable for some consumers, and that’s not going to help,” Fix explained. Seemingly trying to one-up France’s 2017 decision to ban gas-powered autos by 2040, Newsom signed on Sept. 23 an executive order that puts California in the position as most aggressive on future auto emissions standards. The ban will apply to new gas cars and trucks. Gas-powered cars and trucks on the road before the ban will still be allowed to roam freely. “This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” Newsom said in a statement. “For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute
the air that our children and families breathe. Californians shouldn’t have to worry if our cars are giving our kids asthma. Our cars shouldn’t make wildfires worse—and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines.” Shares of Detroit’s Big 3 automakers—Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler—turned lower after Newsom’s announcement. Fix adds there could be other consequences from Newsom’s decisions that the governor neglected to factor in. “Think about the auto repair shops. They are going to be very busy for a period of time if this goes into place. But then they will have less customers down the road [think no oil changes for EVs] and so that could lead to an impact on the economy. It could possibly cause a large group of people to own vehicles out of state. You can buy them in other states and have licenses in Montana or Maine or Nevada, and that has been done already,” said Fix. We thank Yahoo Finance for reprint permission.
Registration Open for SCRS’ Education Series The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) announced registration is open for the 2020 Repairer Driven Education (RDE) series, and can be accessed at https://rde.scrs.com. The RDE series will be released in conjunction with SEMA360, on the same days of Nov. 2-6. The online RDE Full Series Pass ($375) provides even greater accessibility to educational solutions, unlocking access to all sessions being offered in the 2020 Repairer Driven Education series. Unlike in-person, where attendees had to pick and choose between sessions within a time slot, the RDE Full Series Pass will provide access to all sessions produced for the program, and will remain accessible through August 2021 for continued reference. For a full list of RDE sessions and speakers, visit https:// rde.scrs.com/courses. Source: SCRS
Hertz Obtains $1.65B in Debtor-in-Possession Financing by ARN Staff
Hertz Global Holdings Inc. on Oct. 16 announced it has secured commitments for debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing totaling $1.65 billion, and has filed a motion for approval of the financing by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. According to an 8-K SEC filing, Hertz expects the financing will provide it with sufficient liquidity to fund its ongoing operations during Chapter 11. Paul Stone, Hertz president
and CEO said in a statement Oct. 16: “This new financing will provide additional financial flexibility as we continue to navigate the pandemic’s effects on the travel industry and take steps to best position our business for the future. We are pleased with the strong interest from our pre-petition first-lien lenders and appreciate their support of
Hertz and our future opportunities as a rental car leader.” The proposed DIP financing willsupport the company as it moves through its next stage of its Chapter 11 process. The financing will be provided by some of Hertz’s as yet unnamed pre-petition firstlien lenders, containing “economic terms that are the most favorable to the Debtors compared to other proposals received by the Debtors,” according to the 8-K filing. The interest on the debt is calculated at LIBOR plus 7.25%, which is reduced to LIBOR plus 6.75% “upon a significant repayment of prepetition first lien debt.” The DIP Facility matures on Dec. 31, 2021, and requires the filing of a plan by Aug. 1, 2021. Up to $1 billion can be used to provide equity for vehicle acquisition in the U.S. and Canada. Up to $800 million can be used for working capital and general corporate purposes. The financing is subject to court approval, with a hearing scheduled for Oct. 29. We thank Auto Rental News for reprint permission. https
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Wildfires and Their Impacts on the Industry
Hummer EV Edition 1 Sells Out Within an Hour
by Emmariah Holcomb, glassBYTEs.com
by Angel Sergeev, Motor1
WildďŹ res have severely impacted businesses, homes and more on the West Coast, and according to news reports, California recorded its ďŹ rst gigaďŹ re in modern history this weekâ€”a blaze that burns at least 1 million acres of land.
Planning Ahead Although we are not aware of when a natural disaster will strike, it is important for industry businesses to have a plan in place and communicate it with their staďŹ€. â€œItâ€™s essential for business to be prepared, have a plan in place, and ensure their staďŹ€â€™s safety,â€? said Miller. â€œIf the auto glass business has the capability to help, the most essential thing you can do in these times is to become a community drop oďŹ€ location so locals can donate water, food or other goods for families that are impacted.â€? If your business has been impacted by the recent California wildďŹ res, please share how you prepared your staďŹ€ in the comment section on glassBYTEs.com. The ďŹ re has seriously aďŹ€ected other shops however. glassBYTEs reached out to multiple auto glass businesses in highly impacted areas and did not receive responses, as many phones were down. We thank glassBYTEs.com for reprint permission.
General Motors made huge waves Oct. 19 with the full debut of the revived Hummer.
Impact Although Glass Doctor in Murrieta, CA, isnâ€™t located in the area directly impacted by the current wildďŹ re, the business has ďŹ rst-hand experience with the natural disaster. â€œMy heart goes out to those who are currently being aďŹ€ected,â€? said Laurel Miller, Glass Doctor Murrieta franchise owner. â€œWildďŹ res are devastating and last year we were aďŹ€ected by a close-by wildďŹ re.â€? She notes last yearâ€™s wildďŹ re taught her there is a lot the auto glass industry can do to help in local communities. Miller said she is a volunteer on a local nature preserve board, which educates the community about wildďŹ res to
The storied nameplate now belongs to an all-electric truck with huge capability and a massive price tag. Itâ€™s deďŹ nitely not for everyone but, apparently, there are more than enough customers willing to spend at least $112,595 for the Edition 1 model. Electrek reports the 2022 GMC Hummer EV has been sold out for the ďŹ rst year on the market. Or, as the publication says, itâ€™s been â€œreserved outâ€? as no actual sales and deliveries are about to happen before the fall of next year. A quick look at GMCâ€™s oďŹƒcial reservations site shows a message that conďŹ rms the Edition 1 is not avail-
able anymore. â€œIf you would like to be added to the Edition 1 waitlist, please reserve another trim and click the waitlist box on the reservation form, and we will notify you if an Edition 1 becomes available,â€? the message reads. Basically, you can apply for some of the other trim levels but conďŹ rm you are open to pay extra and get the Edition 1 in case someone cancels a pre-order. The Edition 1 will be the only model available for the 2022 model year. Itâ€™ll be joined by a more affordable EV3X model starting at $99,995 approximately a year after the Edition 1â€™s production begins. Itâ€™ll feature a three-motor powertrain and adaptive suspension. In Spring 2023, weâ€™ll get the $89,995 Hummer EV2X with a two-motor EV system and the same adaptive suspension. About a year later, in Spring 2024, there will be a new base model in the form of the two-motor EV2 model with a starting price of $79,995. We thank Motor1 for reprint permission.
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I-CAR, CREF Holding Virtual Golf Fundraiser To raise additional support for high school and college collision school programs, the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) will be collaborating with 90 I-CAR Volunteer Committee groups nationwide on a winter virtual golf fundraiser, exclusively sponsored by PPG Automotive. This event will be a private tournament within TopGolfâ€™s online game, to be held Friday, Nov. 20 through Sunday, Dec. 20. Golfers will be able to play an unlimited number of rounds of virtual golf during those 30 days, while viewing an in-game leaderboard to see how they are doing compared to others golďŹ ng from around the country. When paying their $25 registration fee online, golfers will be able to select one of the 90 participating I -CAR volunteer committees, and $20 of their registration fee will be reinvested into collision schools in that speciďŹ c market. Registration is now open online. Source: CREF
Judge Orders an End to Spontaneous Breakage Lawsuit by Emmariah Holcomb, glassBYTEs.com
U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers issued an order that eďŹ€ectively ends the civil class-action lawsuit between Subaru of America (SOA) and plaintiďŹ€s Lucia Luong and Brian Mann in Californiaâ€™s Northern District. The plaintiďŹ€s alleged the auto manufacturer was responsible for â€œspontaneous windshield breakage.â€? This order comes on the heels of a joint motion to dismiss, in which both parties met and went to two mediation meetings. The mediation resulted in new terms, to which both SOA and the plaintiďŹ€s agreed. According to the jointly ďŹ led motion, both parties agreed to end the class action lawsuit and each side would be responsible for his or her legal fees. Luong had alleged the windshields of 2015 through 2016 Subaru Outback and Legacy vehicles â€œcontain one or more design and/ or manufacturing defects that cause the windshield to crack, chip and/ or fracture.â€?
Luong is an owner of a 2015 Outback, which was purchased new during that year. She claimed she noticed a crack had â€œspontaneously appearedâ€? from the base of the windshield, with no visible point of impact, in March 2017. According to her complaint, she was denied warranty coverage, and the replacement windshield she received suďŹ€ered from the same defect.
SOAâ€™s attorneys responded by stating the â€œplaintiďŹ€ and her counsel have taken an individual warranty claim worth less than $1,000 and gone nuclear with it, attempting to plead a full-blown class action lawsuit, alleging that
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all windshields in all model year 2015 and 2016 Subaru Outback â€Ś and Legacy â€Ś vehicles are defective because they â€˜crack, chip and/ or fractureâ€™ â€˜for no reason at allâ€™ â€Ś.â€? The auto manufacturer ďŹ led previous motions looking to end the suit. However according to court documents, its previous motions were denied. Following the denied motions, SOA answered some of the plaintiďŹ€â€™s claims. SOA stated it issued both a technical service bulletin and an owner notiďŹ cation letter after it learned about potential issues of windshields cracking in a small section of some of its 2015 and 2016 models. Therefore, the corporation believes it fulďŹ lled its obligation to inform customers with those speciďŹ c models. In SOAâ€™s response, it denies Luongâ€™s claim of not being notiďŹ ed of an issue involving her windshield and potential cracking.
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Study Details Fordâ€™s Economic Impact in Chicago Region as Dealers Distribute Face Masks to Fight COVID-19 A newly released study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) spotlights Fordâ€™s longstanding commitment to building vehicles in Chicago and its contributions to the Illinois economy, including $6.8 billion to the state GDP and more than 60,000 direct and indirect jobs in the state. â€œFord is proud to serve as a key contributor to the Chicagoland economy for more than a century,â€? said John Savona, vice president, North America Manufacturing for Ford Motor Company. â€œWhile other manufacturers moved out of the city over the years, Ford has doubled down on Chicago, investing $1 billion to modernize our operations and build some of our most iconic vehicles, including Americaâ€™s best-selling midsize SUV, the Ford Explorer, along with the Lincoln Aviator and Police Interceptor SUV.â€? Fordâ€™s legacy in Chicago dates back to 1905, when the company opened its ďŹ rst branch oďŹƒce. Eight years later, Fordâ€™s ďŹ rst local manufacturing plant opened in what is now the Bronzeville area, where a team of just 500 assembled approximately 175 vehicles daily. One hundred years ago, Ford purchased land along the Calumet River in South Chicago and broke ground on what would become Fordâ€™s Chi-
cago Assembly Plant. That facility, Fordâ€™s oldest continuously operating assembly plant, has produced some of the companyâ€™s most iconic vehicles including the Model T, Model A, Thunderbird, Taurus and todayâ€™s Ford Explorer. In 2019, Ford invested $1 billion in its manufacturing and stamping plants to expand capacity for the production of the all-new Ford Explorer, Explorer Hybrid, Police Interceptor Utility and Lincoln Aviator at its Chicago Assembly Plant. With its introduction in 1990, the Chicago-built Ford Explorer helped redeďŹ ne the SUV segment and 30 years later is Americaâ€™s best-selling midsize SUV with a 15% retail share of segment as of Q3 2020. A newly released study by Boston Consulting Group underscores the substantial role Ford plays in creating jobs both in Chicago and across Illinois. Ford employs 7,100 people at its Chicago Assembly and Chicago Stamping plants on Chicagoâ€™s south side. The companyâ€™s manufacturing operations support an additional 23,000 supplier and community jobs, with Fordâ€™s economic impact in Chicago totaling $2.9 billion. Ford works with 319 suppliers across Illinois, and its combined
PartsTrader to Hold Virtual Collision Repair Industry Update PartsTrader announced a virtual collision repair industry update event, to be held at 11 a.m. PST Nov. 5. This will be a twist on traditional networking as SEMA and many other industry events are being canceled. This free, live, interactive event oďŹ€ers a way for
sharing insights on the current impact to our industry, and to look at trends to watch for the future,â€? said Greg Horn, chief innovation oďŹƒcer at PartsTrader. Attendees can expect an industry update from Horn, a live Q&A session and live trivia polls with a
industry professionals to get vital information about current trends affecting their business. â€œ2020 has been an incredibly challenging year; I look forward to
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production and non-production purchases in Illinois exceed $2.2 billion annually. Its statewide dealership network is more than 150 strong, supporting 6,700 direct employees and another 5,500 indirect dealer supplier and community jobs. Nationally, Ford supports roughly 1 million American jobs and ďŹ lters $100 billion into the U.S. GDP. Beyond economic contributions, Ford is stepping up to meet the needs of communities across the country. Ford and its UAW partners quickly ramped up production of personal protective equipment to protect health care workers, ďŹ rst responders and patients ďŹ ghting COVID-19. Since March, Ford has produced nearly 60 million face masks, more than 20 million face shields, 50,000 patient ventilators, 32,000 respirators and 1.6 million washable isolation gowns. In partnership with its philanthropic arm, the Ford Motor Company Fund, local Ford dealerships
and nonproďŹ t partners, Ford has distributed more than 3.2 million disposable face masks to Illinois communities since September. The week of Oct. 12, more than a dozen Chicago-area Ford dealerships were distributing an additional 200,000 face masks to schools, nonproďŹ ts and ďŹ rst responders in their communities. â€œWe are incredibly grateful for our dedicated Ford and UAW colleagues working to manufacture personal protective equipment for our communities,â€? said John Hennessy, owner of River View Ford in Oswego, IL, and former chairman of the Chicago Auto Show. â€œWhether weâ€™re distributing face masks to our customers and neighbors or raising money for our local schools through a Drive 4 UR School fundraiser, our network of Ford dealerships will continue serving and strengthening the communities we call home.â€? Source: Ford
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Fisker Inc. to Establish New Technology Center in San Francisco Fisker Inc.—designer and manufacturer of the world’s most emotion-stirring, eco-friendly electric vehicles and advanced mobility solutions—announced details surrounding its ﬁrst dedicated engineering and technology center, to be located in the Mission District of San Francisco. This facility will be the focal point and development center for the company’s software and vehicle electronics, including both in-car and Fisker data center elements. “With the development of our ﬁrst vehicle progressing at speed and the company scaling accordingly, we are now establishing the facilities that can support our expansion,” said Henrik Fisker, chairman and CEO of Fisker Inc. “As a company born in California, we wanted to draw on all the diversity, creativity and technical capability this state is famous for. We’re calling the San Francisco oﬃce ‘Source Code’—which also marks the start of a naming convention for all our facilities going forward.”
“The design and development of the software and vehicle interfaces will be an important diﬀerentiator for all our products, and our new facility in San Francisco will be central to that process,”
added Fisker Inc.’s recently appointed Chief Technology Oﬃcer Burkhard Huhnke. “Having a presence in the Bay Area gives us access to the right talent at the right time.” Fisker is planning a portfolio expansion to a four-vehicle range by 2025. In addition to the Ocean SUV, the four-vehicle lineup will include a super-sports sedan based on the EMotion concept, an extreme sports crossover and a new segment-changing lifestyle pickup truck. Each vehicle will be delivered
A lot of businesses have had to get a little creative to keep the doors open during the pandemic. Matt Thurston, who worked in the auto body business for 30 years, is going back to school. Beauty school, that is. “At 51 years old, I’m a full-time student again,” he said. After three decades working with cars, he switched gears two years ago, opening up the Chop Shop Hair Garage in Gardnerville, NV, a barbershop that caters to men and boys. “We’ve had a lot of local support,” Thurston said. “We have a great car culture in the Carson Valley and this hair garage really goes with that. Our workstations are toolboxes, we have galvanized siding on the walls, and it looks like a garage.” He’d relied on licensed cosmetologists to do the actual cutting there. Then COVID hit. “When they shutdown occurred we had to layoﬀ our employees and close the doors,” Thurston said. “And when it came time to reopen, those employees didn’t come back, and that left us without any way to
open.” So now he’s taking matters into his own hands. He’s enrolled in the hair design course at Sierra Academy of Style in Carson City. “I never thought that this was going to happen,” he said. “I really thought we could run the business by hiring people to do the work, but it didn’t work out that way. So I’m here, doing what we have to do to be a successful business.” He’s a couple of hundred hours into the course and learning a whole new way to work with his hands. “I’m improving, certainly getting better,” he said. “They say I’m doing great, so it’s going well.” He’s currently the only male student at the school and says he’s committed to doing whatever it takes to keep the doors open at the family business. “I enjoy it, it’s a lot of fun,” Thurston said. “The people are appreciative. Everybody wants to look good; I used to make their cars look good, now I make them look good.” He’s on track to graduate in March and put those new skills to work at the Chop Shop. We thank KTVN News for reprint permission.
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Fisker’s Design and Engineering teams are developing Fisker-speciﬁc IP and customer features, consistent with the Fisker brand. In creating its FF-PAD (Fisker Flexible-Platform Adaptive Design) development process, the company has enabled itself to be platform agnostic and intends to make the ﬁnal selection on the platform for the Ocean shortly, consistent with the intended start of production, projected for Q4 2022.
Mitchell, a leading provider of technology, connectivity and information solutions to the Property & Casualty (P&C) claims and Collision Repair industries, announced Oct. 14 its collaboration with Claim Toolkit, a leading provider of knowledge management and decision support tools to the P&C market for the past 20 years. The two companies have joined forces to oﬀer an integrated system to streamline and automate the complex process of correctly calculating taxes and fees for total loss payments given jurisdictional speciﬁcs—helping insurers reduce settlement time, increase customer satisfaction and maintain compliance with governmental regulations. The joint oﬀering will be featured at Mitchell’s mPower Conference and availability is expected in early 2021 for U.S. customers.
“As a company born in California, we wanted to draw on all the diversity, creativity and technical capability this state is famous for.” — Henrik Fisker
From the Auto Body Shop to the Beauty Shop by Chris Buckley, KTVN News
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Your Online Presence Needs to be Refreshed in Pandemic Recovery by Gary Ledoux
holiday in 2018.
In last month’s article I discussed how, due to the COVID pandemic and having limited mobility, more people were conducting more business online. As this article is being written, more businesses are being opened and travel restrictions are easing, but many experts think the switch to greater e-commerce predicated by the pandemic will remain long afterwards. The “new” normal is a greater reliance on the internet to find and buy products and services. Based on my last article, I looked at about 50 random body shop websites and Facebook pages. I looked for some shop websites based on a Yelp listing and never found the shop’s own site! Here is what I learned.
Spelling counts: Remember when you were in third grade taking a test and you asked the teacher if spelling counted, and she said yes? Guess what. It still does.
Make sure all information is current: A couple sites showed information that was obviously old. Two noted—in August 2020—their shop was closed for the Christmas/New Year’s
Grammar counts: Correct grammar and proper syntax makes your message easier to read and understand, not to mention more professional-looking. Make it easy to navigate: What is important to your customer? Your shop name, location, phone number, email address, hours of operation, how to find the shop on Google Maps and services available should be prominently displayed and easy to find. Granted, other information is important, but if they can’t find the most basic information, nothing else matters. Make it easy to contact you: Make your phone number, email address or social media contact information
prominent on your site. When you receive an inquiry, be sure to answer promptly. Nothing says “we don’t care about you” quicker than an unreturned contact. If you have OE certifications, or other industry-recognized qualifications, list them: If you are certified by an OE, are I-CAR Gold Class or ASE Blue Seal, chances are you worked hard and spent time and money getting there. Why not promote it? Customers will be looking for it. Use contrasting colors for text: Make your site easy to read. White text on an almost all-white background is difficult to read. Black on white, or other contrasting colors, is preferred. Don’t promote what the average lay person doesn’t understand: You might have just spent a pile of money for the latest whiz-bang welder or other piece of equipment and you and others in the industry might think it’s really impressive. But to the
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average customer, meh. It’s enough to say you have the latest equipment to handle any repair needs. Use high-quality photos: Most people are very visual and photos are great. But make sure they are in-focus and not distorted. Promote your own people: While we are on the subject of photos, seeing a before and after photo of a vehicle you fixed is OK. But how about photos of your most valuable assets, and the thing that makes your shop unique—your people? Don’t confuse your customer: As far as potential customers are concerned, your shop exists to provide collision repair services and that’s what they are looking for. If you are involved in racing or some other extracurricular activity, and you want to mention it, great. But don’t let that coverage overwhelm your main message. Keep “social” in social media: So-
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cial media, especially Facebook, is meant to foster two-way communication. For the 2.4 billion people worldwide who use Facebook, nothing irks them more than to not be able to leave a comment, or to have their comments or posting threads removed. This is sure to repel any potential customers. Keep your social media fresh: Be sure to post new items regularly to keep people interested. Facebook pages that look “abandoned” are a major turn-off. Mark Claypool, AAM, founder and CEO of Optima Automotive, a leader in the automotive repair industry for web design, social media management and search engine optimization also offers the following: Many collision shop websites need to be refreshed: Many look old and dated and way behind the times Make sure you have a “mobile-friendly” site: According to BroadBandSearch, an internet consultancy, in 2009, less than 1% of those people
who had internet access used a mobile device, such as a phone or tablet. Today, 51.5% of internet users use a mobile device. Can your site be viewed on a phone? Make sure your message is clear: Let people know that you are an essential business and ready to serve your clients. Make it easy to do business with you: There are a lot of people online but not everyone is internet savvy. Make it easy for your potential customer to contact you, upload a photo or request an estimate. Drop-off and pick-up procedures: If you are still using social-distancing procedures, be sure to spell those out on your site. Make sure you rank high in an internet search: Go to Google and search for a collision shop in your town. If your shop is not coming up at the top—or worse yet, not coming up at all—you may need to do some search engine optimization so people can find you.
Dealership body shops need extra care: If your shop is part of a dealership, you should have your own web presence, not simply a sub-domain of the main dealership site. Being part of a dealership site makes it two to three times as hard for people to find you and makes it near impossible to compete with independent collision shops. If you are still wondering about the impact of the internet and how it is affecting your business, consider the following stats from BroadBandSearch: 61.4% of the world’s population uses the internet 89.4% of Americans have internet access and use it on a daily basis. There are 351.8 million registered domain names in the world. You need your customers to find just one—yours. The average time it takes a web page to load in the U.S. is 5.6 seconds. According to Google, the best performing sites take 3 seconds. Every second a user spends waiting for a site to open is an opportunity for them to click off the site. If your site
takes between six to 10 seconds to open, the customer is probably already gone. Facebook is the fourth most visited website in the world. Does your shop have a Facebook presence? Thinking of making a YouTube video? There are 1.8 billion unique monthly visitors to YouTube. 50% of internet users watch YouTube videos and product demos before buying anything. If you don’t have, at minimum, a website and Facebook page for your shop, you need one of each. And if you have one of each, make it a good one. Your future business depends on it.
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with Stacey Phillips
From the Desk of Mike Anderson with Mike Anderson
Mike Anderson is the president and owner of Collision Advice, a consulting company for the auto body/collision repair industry. For nearly 25 years, he was the owner of Wagonwork Collision Center, an OEM-certified, full-service auto body repair facility in Alexandria, VA.
Pricing Change Reﬂects the Absolute Need for Separate Charges for Scanning, Diagnostics I wanted to use my column this month to share with you a conversation I had recently with Jake Rodenroth of asTech. As many of you are aware, asTech recently announced some price changes for the remote scanning and diagnostic services they offer, and that’s something a lot of people have been asking me about. So I wanted to use this column to, first, provide some clarity on that, and separate the facts from the myths. Because I’ve been hearing some misinformation out there. But this isn’t really about asTech. I’m just using what they’re doing to make my second and more important point, something I’ve been preaching for years—includ—and that’s the absolute need for shops to separate out their scanning time and their diagnostic time. So let’s start with asTech’s change. I asked Jake to explain the new pricing model they rolled out. “I’m happy to explain it, but I also want to commend our company’s leadership for the research and consensus-building they did prior to making the change, and for the effort they’ve made to communicate and explain it,” Jake told me. “If you go to our website, astech.com, in the ‘resources’ section you can find a frequently asked questions document about the change, and they even established an email team, at pricing@ astech.com that can respond to any questions someone may have about the change.” The pricing change, Jake told me, was designed to make asTech’s services “competitive with other providers out there.” “When we started scanning vehicles for the collision industry, the bulk of the industry wasn’t scanning cars at all,” Jake said. “In the early days when I started with asTech, we were doing seven or eight cars a day. Now we’re well over 5,000. We hadn’t made a pricing change in four years, but decided it was the right thing to do. “Now, for vehicles where there
are no diagnostic issues—nothing the scan shows is out of whack, no steering angle sensor value that isn’t good or a seat weight sensor that is irregular—we made those scans $50. We broke up the service we do into pieces,” he continued. “The scan itself is $50. If it needs a technician or a service manual or a wiring diagram in order to figure out a possible fix, then we charge a $69.95 fee on top of that scanning charge. That brings it back to what our original pricing was, which was $119.95.” OK, I want to go on record as saying I, Mike Anderson, am absolutely, 100% in support of this. My agreement with this, however, is not because it makes asTech services competitive. The dollar figures are not my point or my concern. I support this change because it’s high time our industry separates scanning time from diagnostic time. This pricing model does that. Think about it: Diagnostic time varies. Just as judgement times varies based on the size of the damage, the accessibility to it and the substrate involved, diagnostic time varies. Isn’t the time it takes to research one diagnostic trouble code (DTC) different from researching five? And it’s not just looking up the DTC. You then have to navigate the OEM repair procedures, the flow chart, to determine what the most probable cause is. If there are four possible causes, it might be the first one you try, or the fourth one. All this takes time. I think asTech did the right thing here. But I don’t care if you use asTech, or another provider, or do it yourself in-house. What I care about, and the whole point of this article, is the need to separate out your diagnostic time from your scan time. I also think there’s another lesson for shops from the change asTech made to its pricing model. The scanning and diagnostic charges are somewhat higher for certain makes of vehicles, such as Porsche. I asked Jake why. “It comes down to the fact that
our cost of goods sold is just higher for those vehicles,” Jake told me. “It’s not only the higher expense of the scan tools, but the higher cost to attract a tech who specializes in running the tools for those European models. “The complexity of those vehicles also plays a role. From an R&D perspective, once we developed the software, we have to verify it, test the remote hook-up to the Porsche tool against a direct hook-up to the Porsche tool,” he siad. “That means obtaining both new and wrecked Porches to simulate what our customers will send us. We need to cover that cost. We’re not just throwing a higher number out because it’s an expensive car. There’s real merit to it.” That makes sense to me because it synchs up with what I’ve also preached to shops for years. You need to understand all the training
and equipment and other costs involved in earning an OEM certification, and price accordingly. I’m not focused here on whether the specifics of asTech’s pricing are good or bad, competitive or not competitive. I’m just in support of the change to separating out the scanning charge from the diagnostic charge. In my opinion, that’s a change that every shop, no matter who does that work on the vehicles they repair, needs to make.
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with Ed Attanasio
SEMA Show Goes On
Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist based in San Francisco, California. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
with Ed Attanasio
Online and Just in Time: SEMA 2020 Becomes SEMA360
and innovations to a world-wide auMedia and Publicity for Shops dience, according to a SEMA press
You can put your gambling mo- merce marketplace, new products, ney back in your pocket and take a vehicle builds and education for withyou Edwon’t Attanasio have the automotive specialty equipment deep breath because to rush around trying to find hotel industry,” SEMA360 is breaking rooms and flights again this year. ground and changing the trade show SEMA 2020 changed to industry through innovation. SEMA360 on Aug. 5, when SEMA360 will feature a it was announced COsimplified platform for maVID-19 and concerns over nufacturers to showcase their with Stacey Phillips the availability of facilities new products and innovatiand services would make an ons, as well as efficient interin-person show impossible. action between manufactu Instead of logging rers and resellers for quality countless miles walking SEMA’s Vice President business exchange. of Events Tom throughout the Las Vegas In addition, SEMA veGattuso and his with Phillips Convention Center andStacey puthicle reveals from worldteam tried to make ting in 15- to 20-hour days, SEMA 2020 happen, class builders will take place SEMA360—Nov. 2-6—will but when it looked virtually; industry-leading impossible, they allow you to participate in education focused on prothe annual show, but from started developing fessional development and a 100% the comfort of your office or SEMA360, new strategies will be more virtual trade show robust than ever. living room. with Stacey Phillips Touted as a “100% online trade- And as always, SEMA’s media only event that focuses on an ecom- contacts will report news, products
Body Shops Giving Back
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release. SEMA has survived through the Great Recession of 2008, the shooting at the Mandalay in 2013 and 9/11, but this was all-new territory for SEMA’s Vice President of Events Tom Gattuso and his team. Even while the COVID-19 pandemic stretched into late July, the people at SEMA were still hopeful they could pull off the show for its 53rd consecutive year. But when major companies opted out and the reality began to set in, Gattuso started looking at Plan B, and the result is SEMA360, an unprecedented completely virtual trade show. Gattuso has been with SEMA for nearly two decades, but these are uncharted waters for even an industry veteran. He knew if the show
couldn’t happen the same way it has since 1967, there was a viable alternative, but they would have to move quickly. “We knew that with 90 days left, we had to make hard decisions,” he said. “We looked at several approaches and even considered holding it completely outdoors. With health and safety as a top priority, we studied several preventive measures to minimize risks for all those at the event, including required use of face coverings, addition of hand sanitizing stations, increased cleaning, one-way aisles and more. But in the end, it wasn’t going to happen, so we began pursuing Plan B.” Gattuso knew that without SEMA, it would leave a void in the automotive industry that couldn’t be filled easily. “Our role has always been to represent our membership the best
My SEMA with Stacey Phillips
Shop Strategies with Victoria Antonelli
Product Innovation with Ed Attanasio
OE Shop Certification with Gary Ledoux
Product Innovation with Stacey Phillips
48 NOVEMBER 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
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left, ” he roading ealth stuures e at e of d saning, n the o we
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n to best
way we can and help them to succeed in their businesses,” he said. “The SEMA show benefits the industry at large, and holding it every year in the fourth quarter is a major deal for body shops. They can stay ahead of trends and acquire new technology that can help them for the next three to five years and even longer. “So, that’s why we came up with SEMA360 where attendees and exhibitors can do almost all of the same things they could at the actual show. SEMA360 addresses that need by leveraging SEMA’s exclusive buyer database to connect manufacturers with resellers. “We are comfortable where we are with this new digital component,” Gattuso said. “Much of the work we’re doing now will be in place for many years to come and will continually bring value to the whole SEMA experience. We’re investing in our future and seeing some positive signs as a result. We will have many of the majors participating at SEMA360 and although our goals are modest, we are very pleased with the industry’s reaction to date.” The SEMA360 Education Pro-
gram will still feature more than 30 professional development seminars and candid conversations with industry-leading celebrities and personalities. Attendees will be able to sign up for an unlimited number of seminars at no additional cost, when registering to participate in SEMA360.
SEMA Senior Manager of Professional Development Gary Vigil said while circumstances will prevent in-person educational sessions, SEMA remains committed to helping our industry members succeed and prosper. “Each educational session in SEMA360 was carefully crafted to help attendees make smarter business decisions, and offers the exciting opportunity to hear stories and advice from a diverse collection of highly successful, entrepreneurial leaders.” Unlike the SEMA Show, where vehicle space is limited and vehic-
le applications must be submitted by a participating manufacturer, the SEMA360 Builder Showcase will enable vehicle builders the opportunity to enter vehicles directly into the program. “We’re excited to open up the SEMA360 Builder Showcase to all the talented builders across our industry,” Gattuso said. “We wanted to put a spotlight on the trends and innovation that go into these vehicle builds every year while highlighting the people who bring the creations to life. This is truly a worldwide platform to show off the passion and creativity SEMA Week has become known for. The support we have had for SEMA360 has been tremendous, and we can’t wait to see what this new Showcase feature will bring.” SEMA360 recently published a list of things to do during SEMA360 to get the most out of this completely virtual online event. “Get your workspace ready for five days focused on new products and feature vehicles. Make sure you have a reliable computer. Prepare a spot on your hard drive to download brochures and sell sheets from
manufacturers. Check your internet connection. Have a camera, microphone and speakers on your computer so you can participate in optional video chats. Consider getting blue light glasses to ease the strain on your eyes. A comfortable chair will make the experience much more enjoyable. Have a plan. Remember to schedule breaks when you get up and walk around and stretch your hands and fingers. Also, block times on your calendar to participate in the seminars you don’t want to miss, and for browsing the New Products Showcase, Builder Showcase and Manufacturer Showcase pages.” No name badges, no Cirque de Soleil shows, no monster buffets and no industry cocktail parties until next year—hopefully. Say goodbye to SEMA 2020 and hello to SEMA360.
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with Stacey Phillips
Techs of the Future
Stacey Phillips is an award-winning freelance writer and editor for the automotive industry. She has 20 years of experience writing for a variety of publications, and is co-author of “The Secrets of America’s Greatest Body Shops.” She can be reached at email@example.com.
with Stacey Phillips
The Importance of Having a Broad Understanding of Vehicle Technology Up until recently, it was common working cooperatively.” practice for technicians to plug in a It’s not uncommon to have up dongle to the OBDII—onboard diag- to 43 networks in a car. These innostics—port to diagnose a vehicle. clude high priority systems, such as As modern cars have become in- steering, braking and airbag deploycreasingly computerized with sophis- ment, as well as lower priority ones ticated electronics, that is no longer such as adjusting the seat and radio the case, according to Scott McCor- control. mick, president of the Connective “I think we’re seeing an evoluVehicle Trade Association (CVTA.) tion in the relative importance of the “Take a Chevy Volt, for exam- technicians who are working on a car ple, that can change or update its that we really haven’t had before,” electronics over time,” said McCor- he said. “They are ones who are the mick. “That might sound great if agents of change, the ones who unyou want to upgrade the electronics derstand what is going on in a vehicle in two years, but you have to realize so they can lead their teams.” that the car is a system and changing McCormick is an accomplished one piece of software in it can create executive in the automotive and aeroissues.” space fields, focused in advanced If technicians aren’t familiar manufacturing, operations, strategy with the potential problems and restructuring. For the that could affect the vehicle, past 20 years, he has been a McCormick said, they will globally recognized expert most likely not be able to on vehicle communications. repair it properly. As a reHe has degrees in mathesult, it is becoming essential matics, mechanical and aerothey have a fundamental and space engineering; a master’s broad understanding of the Scott McCormick degree in business adminisissues at hand and the nectration; and doctoral research essary skills to address them when a in Artificial Intelligence. After spending the first 25 years customer comes in experiencing dif- of his career working as a program ficulties. “In the past, technicians, for the manager at General Electric, modmost part, had a familiarity with how ernizing aircraft and transportation, cars are built,” he said. “That will be- McCormick was the executive dicome increasingly important as more rector of the Automotive Multimedia electronics are being added to vehi- Interface Collaboration, a nonprofit cles.” research organization of the world’s Auto manufacturers are produc- largest automakers. ing cars with more than 100 million He established the Connected lines of code. In comparison, Mc- Vehicle Trade Association in 2005. Cormick said a Boeing Dreamliner The nonprofit organization facilitates has 4 million lines of code. the interaction and advances the in “Every level of automation we terests of the entities involved in the go up is going to add between one vehicle communication environment. and 200 million lines of code,” he Currently, there are 24 industry segexplained. “It’s not like Microsoft Of- ments involved, representing seven fice; it’s not one package.” countries. Instead, there are disparate pack- In addition to being named the ages running simultaneously. commissioner for the East Lansing, “We’re now dealing with sys- MI, Transportation Commission, for tems that were once standalone ob- the last eight years McCormick has jects—a device or computer board— been appointed by Congress to advise something that went into the car,” the Secretary of Transportation on said McCormick. “It’s coming to the matters relating to the study, developpoint where all of these devices are ment and implementation of Intelli-
gent Transportation Systems (ITS.) Throughout his career, McCormick has created a variety of instructional courses that help advance knowledge and understanding in the future of transportation. In 2015, he was asked to devel-
op a two-hour class for technicians coming out of trade schools and twoyear community colleges. The goal was to teach them about the changes taking place in automobiles today. In his current role as president of CVTA, McCormick launched the Connected Vehicle Profession-
al (CVP) credentialing program, in collaboration with The NEXT Education, in 2015. The comprehensive education and certification curriculum helps professionals build a specific skill set in the ITS community. The goal is to ensure individuals have the foundational understanding necessary to perform tasks involving connected vehicles and intelligent transportation. This includes in-vehicle safety, infrastructure, communication protocols and security. A series of three courses— focusing on Vehicle-to-Vehicle, Vehicle-to-Infrastructure and Vehicle-to-X connectivity—were designed for vehicle technicians, insurance professionals and others looking to enhance their knowledge in this growing sector. The blended learning approach
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OEC Acquisition of NuGen IT Will Further Assist Collision Repairers to Meet Requirements of Insurers, OEMs & Customers by Autobody News contributor Autobody News recently talked with Pete Tagliapietra, founder and president of NuGen IT, about the company’s acquisition by OEConnection (OEC) in July and what it means for the collision repair industry. OEC, established in 2000, is a leading parts fulfillment software solution provider for OEM distribution networks.
As a result of the OEC acquisition of NuGen IT, Tagliapietra said the companies are working together to deliver a combined technology platform that will not only facilitate a substantive step forward in refining the collision repair industry, but will also drive higher levels of efficiency over what is available in the market today. “As much as DRPs impacted the way collision repairers process damaged vehicles since the early 1990s, it is inevitable that technology and OEM-certified repair networks will impact this long-standing model,” said Tagliapietra. “The industry is moving toward a model in which OEMs will have significantly more influence on where and how to repair vehicles.” The discussion led to further questions.
How did your experience working in three different market segments lead you to establish NuGen IT?
I began working in the collision repair industry at a young age doing all the tasks technicians didn’t want to do at a collision repair facility. After completing my higher education, I spent 10 years in automotive retail, specifically in collision repair management, and then had a decade of auto claims experience working for two different insurance companies. Following that, I worked for a collision repair
database and estimating system information provider for 15 years. Looking back, I realize how fortunate I am to have worked in these three market segments of our industry. My experience has given me a good perspective on how to create balance and minimize friction among those segments. In the late 1980s, I met Dayle Phillips, who became my business partner at NuGen IT. Dayle, who was employed at a leading-edge software development company, often collaborated with me to discuss possible technology solutions to an auto claims or collision repair problem. We found our skills complemented one another. I’ve never met anybody like Dayle who understands a business issue and can come up with a solution that applies technology and enhances the process significantly, eliminating the amount of human task associated with it. After 35 years of experience in the industry, I felt it would be an ideal time to start my own business in 2004. As a result, I established NuGen IT and Dayle joined the company in January of 2006. It has been an incredible run since then.
What was the primary focus of NuGen IT and how has the company grown?
From the onset, the goal was to leverage the CIECA (Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association) Standards the collision industry embraced. The strategy was, and has been, to offer open solution platforms to the insurance and collision repair communities. Limiting the proprietary software environment with the exchange of information between insurers and collision repairers was having a positive impact on the industry. We set out to create an open environment that would alleviate estimating system mandates for insurance companies, allowing collision repairers to select and license the estimating system that provides the best outcome for both parties. Over the years, NuGen IT con-
tinuously reinvested into research other formatted document. Hence, and development. We typically look an insurance appraiser or body shop at where gaps exist in the process service manager knows when the esfor collision repairers and insurers. timate is not in compliance with the Then, we identify accuracy, efficien- database, external or internal policies, cy and productivity issues, as well and procedures or regulatory requireas technology to further refine the ments. process in various end-user The technology is compatworkflows. ible with any estimating sys We rely heavily on our tem and almost any formatted business-rules-driven comtemplate. As a result, collision pliance technology to acrepairers use one compliance tool rather than purchasing complish this through the multiple tools to meet their products we develop. I believe this, along with other Pete Tagliapietra needs and requirements of their insurance company parttechnologies—such as our ability to accurately transform a PDF ners. of an estimate back into the CIECA NuGen IT’s product offerings inLegacy EMS (Estimate Management corporate robotics automation whenSystem) or BMS (Business Message ever possible. Software robots can Suite) data formats—helped set our perform the analysis function on behalf of the user, so the correct outcome is company apart from competitors. Our product offering also heav- delivered the same way every time, ily focuses on Business Process creating accuracy, uniformity and conCompliance. Business Process Com- sistency. pliance utilizes computer software to The nice thing about robotics analyze an estimate or just about any automation and software intelligence,
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commonly referred to today as machine learning, is computers can “perform an outcome” the same way every time based on the input of many different variables. Initially, we developed our products primarily for insurance companies and giving them open network capabilities to deliver an assignment directly to a network or non-network repair facility. As long as a collision facility had an internet connection and a computer, they could receive an assignment and then import the administrative data into their system(s). As our company evolved, we believed collision repairers were at a disadvantage. Auto claim process applications for insurance companies were plentiful, and we saw an opportunity to provide software applications to collision repairers that could significantly alleviate the administrative burden they are faced with. Today, our application services are offered equally to both of these market segments.
How have NuGen IT’s product offerings evolved for col-
On the collision repair side, we understood the great need for products to help repairers meet their internal needs, insurance and regulatory requirements. As a result, we started offering “hybrid solutions” to collision repair organizations. For example, we developed a strategic partnership with ALLDATA about eight years ago and devel-
presented the concept of Self-Management to a leading insurance company, which resulted in a pilot project with two major MSOs. The concept led to a new way of capturing and analyzing shop performance and measurement. Our compliance technology allows our collision repair customers to optimize an estimate before submitting it to the insurance company. Estimate optimization ensures it is
“The industry is moving toward a model in which OEMs will have significantly more influence on where and how to repair vehicles.” — Pete Tagliapietra oped Estimate Integration. The goal was to proactively deliver OEM repair procedures to collision repairers regardless of the estimating system or manufacturer. Shops could analyze and audit estimates to ensure they were incorporating the required repair procedures before submitting them to insurance companies. We also pioneered the concept of DRP (Direct Repair Program) Self-Management. Around 2010, we
accurate as possible and meets the insurance company’s policies as well as identifies overlooked labor operations that could end up in a supplement request. It can be a daunting task for a service advisor at a collision repair facility to keep track of various DRP policy procedures for multiple DRP programs, and our goal is to help them streamline the task by fully automating the process, thus eliminat-
ing the time trying to be compliant.
How have NuGen IT’s prodCan you share information about the recent acquisition by OEC?
After our two companies learned more about each other, we realized the possibilities of how combining our technologies could bring a lot more value to the market segments we serve, particularly with collision repairers. That really excited us. We felt this was an excellent opportunity to take repair blueprinting to a new dimension. Today’s collision repairers must refer to multiple information providers to get all the information needed to process an insurance claim. For example, once collision repairers receive the assignment from an insurance company through an information provider, they have to write the estimate, conduct the part search, work with a rental car company, report vehicle status and comply with Customer Service Index (CSI). This all falls into the issue of scorecarding, which the industry highly utilizes.
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By combining our companies and allowing each to do what it does best, it’s ultimately going to address the issues facing collision repairers, now and in the future.
How have NuGen IT’s prodHow is the industry changing and what should shops be aware of?
As one of the people in the industry who has worked in all three segments—collision repair, insurance and information provider—I believe my experience has taught me there can’t be just one dominant force driving the industry. In the past, this has been insurance companies. The insurance industry has been a driver to how the collision repair industry operates, particularly its involvement in processing an auto claim. I see a paradigm shift occurring where we need to recognize how the three market segments need to work together. It will be not easy to accomplish and will take time, but it has to happen. We’re already seeing manufacturers develop strategic relationships with major insurers.
Insurance companies will need to collaborate with OEMs and collision repairers to ensure there is more than a satisfied customer, going beyond what it is today. What we’ve done for the last 20 years is not good enough anymore. It’s my opinion that manufacturers are becoming increasingly concerned about protecting their brand, knowing when a car gets damaged, there is just as much technology and software to deal with along with the body and any mechanical repair. Collision repairers are now required to be collision repair experts, mechanical repair experts and system technology experts. Otherwise, they need to outsource some services to complete the repair. OEC and NuGen IT will further assist collision repairers to meet the requirements of their insurance partners, ensure to OEMs the vehicle is being repaired correctly, meet internal business objectives and better serve mutual customers. Looking ahead, our goal is to also help OEMs better manage their certified repair networks and provide collision repairers, insurance
companies and manufacturers the data. This will be critical in the future. In the last 10 years, I have continued to emphasize to our employees that it’s all about the data. I believe software will continue to diminish in value/price and the value of the data will continue to increase. I am convinced data is the “newfound gold” in the collision repair industry and am dumbfounded by collision repairers freely giving it away and allow others to profit from it. I am extremely proud of what the NuGen IT team has accomplished and couldn’t be more excited about this next step in our evolution. OEC has a tremendous and successful track record of delivering solutions for automobile dealers, collision repairers and OEMs, and I look forward to what this will mean for our collective customer base and parent company. Don’t Miss the Weekly Industry NEWS Your Shop Needs. Sign Up Free Today! www.autobodynews.com
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Â©2020 BMW of North America, LLC. The BMW name, model names and logo are registered trademarks. 56 NOVEMBER 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
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autobodynews.com / NOVEMBER 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS 57
10/20/2020 7:11:17 PM
with Erica Schroeder
Industry Insight with John Yoswick
—John Yoswick is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon who has been writing about the automotive industry since 1988. He is the editor of the weekly CRASH Network (for a free 4-week trial subscription, visit www.CrashNetwork.com). Contact him by email at jyoswick@SpiritOne.com.
Two Shops Walk Away from Lawsuits Against Insurers
Two shops have ended lawsuits dismissed by the same U.S. District filed against insurers that had been Court in Florida. Professionals’ individual lawtransferred to a U.S. District Court with Ed Attanasio in Florida that has been overseeing suit, Kemper argued, was too vague, lacking the required “plain statement dozens of similar lawsuits. Professionals Autobody in Dun- of the claim showing that the pleadcansville, PA, filed two lawsuits in er is entitled to relief,” and failed to 2017, one naming Kemper Insurance point to any action by Kemper that and one naming multiple insurers, “unjustifiably interfered with idenincluding State with Farm, Ed Allstate and tifiable contracts with identifiable Attanasio USAA, alleging bad faith, breach of vehicle owners [that] caused [Procontract, unjust enrichment and tor- fessionals] damage.” GEICO also argued Professiontious interference for refusing to fully reimburse claimants for vehicle als’ lawsuit in which GEICO was repairs. The lawsuits sought about named should be dismissed because legal precedents show providing $8 million combined. The insurers made various ar- services unilaterally and then seekwith Ed Attanasio guments calling for dismissal of the ing compensation doesn’t qualify lawsuits. Kemper, for example, said one to claim unjust enrichment. The Hartford and Farmers arProfessionals already litigated its claims as a party in a similar law- gued the amounts alleged to involve suit, brought by the Alliance of Au- them in the lawsuit failed to reach tomotive Servicewith Providers of Penn- the $75,000 threshold for federal juEd Attanasio sylvania and other shops, that was risdiction.
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In both lawsuits, Professionals failed to meet the court deadline in August to respond to the insurers’ motions for dismissal, so Judge Gregory Presnell dismissed the lawsuits in mid-September. That same week, Leif’s Auto Collision Centers in Portland, OR, voluntarily dismissed its own lawsuit against GEICO that alleged the insurer conspires with its direct repair shops to fix prices and boycott Leif’s. Like Professionals’ lawsuits, Leif’s lawsuit had been filed in 2017 and had been consolidated to Presnell’s court in Florida. GEICO filed a motion to dismiss the case in August, arguing the lawsuit failed to offer specific facts to support the allegations. In voluntarily ending the lawsuit in mid-September, Leif’s told the court “current circumstances in
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Portland (COVID-19, riots, uncontrolled forest fires) have negatively impacted Leif’s business [and] as a result, at present Leif’s Auto cannot responsibly pursue its claims against GEICO on the other side of the country.” Leif’s and GEICO are still involved in two other lawsuits. One is a class action in which shop owner Leif Hansen is suing over GEICO’s alleged refusal to pay for vehicle scanning for Hansen’s personal vehicle, which GEICO insured. In the other lawsuit, GEICO contends it should not have to do business with Leif’s, despite Oregon’s law guaranteeing consumers the right to use their choice of shop, because doing so, GEICO says, subjects the insurer’s employees to menacing and other harassment by the shop. The lawsuit says Hansen and Leif’s “intentionally create an atmo-
with Stacey Phillips
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with Victoria Antonelli
58 NOVEMBER 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
10/20/2020 7:11:18 PM
sphere of fear and intimidation that leads to adjusters’ inability to adequately perform their work.” It said Hansen and other Leif’s employees routinely yell at adjusters, threaten to have them arrested or to sue them personally and carry around knives and talk about guns. “In particular, at least one Leif’s employee has talked about ‘killing people,’ with the intention of frightening the GEICO adjuster,” the lawsuit states. The company routinely obstructs adjusters’ access to inspect vehicles, GEICO claimed, through such means as making adjusters wait for up to multiple hours to do so, or by refusing to tell the adjusters where a vehicle is located, forcing them to “wander around Leif’s premises, which are approximately 5 acres in size,” to find the car located among “hundreds” on the premises. GEICO adjusters “have experienced significant stress and emotional harm,” the lawsuit claims, and “at least one GEICO adjuster has refused to return to Leif’s premises for fear of physical injury or harm.” GEICO is seeking unspecified damages exceeding $75,000 for lost
profits, damage to reputation and excessive labor costs “due to assignment of additional claims personnel.” Although Oregon law prohibits an insurer from refusing to do business with a particular shop chosen by an insured, GEICO is asking the court to declare the insurer need not continue to do business with Leif’s, given that Oregon law also requires an employer do what is “reasonably necessary to protect the life, safety and health” of its employees. Leif’s argues nothing in Oregon’s anti-steering law “provides for any express exemption at all, let alone a specific exemption” like the one GEICO is seeking. GEICO doesn’t argue the law requiring it provide workplace safety for its employees is “inherently incompatible” with the anti-steering law, Leif’s argues, because GEICO appears to have no concern about sending its staff into shops other than Leif’s. If that’s the case, Leif’s argues, GEICO should instead seek an order halting “the violating behavior” it alleges is happening at Leif’s, rather than seeking “a judicial revision of the anti-steering law.”
Continued from Page 50
Vehicle Technology combines online education through the NEXT Education’s platform as well as two half-day instructor-led online classroom sessions. Those who complete courses earn the Connected Vehicle Trade Association Certificate of Competency. McCormick has also worked closely with Elaina Farnsworth, CEO of The NEXT Education, to create courses for technicians and installers to teach them about the equipment that will be included in the cars of the future. Both McCormick and Farnsworth participated in the recent TU-Automotive Detroit 2020 conference, which focused on future automotive trends, including autonomous vehicles, electrification and digital services. McCormick said one of the most critical future advancements is related to blockchain. “Blockchain is basically a mathematical structure for storing data,” explained McCormick. “Everything in blockchain is connected.”
For example, a collision repair shop could log all of the repair work and use blockchain to locate a part for the specific model of vehicle in one place, and the information would be accessible to other segments of the industry. He used the example of a shop trying to locate a part for a 5-yearold vehicle. Using blockchain, “You could locate that part almost instantaneously,” he explained. “Anytime you can reduce the amount of time you are doing something, you become more efficient and effective; therefore, more profitable.” Blockchain could also be used to ensure valid parts are being used on a vehicle. McCormick highly recommends educating technicians on the use of this technology to ensure they are trained properly. “It’s a tremendously new skillset and people who have this understanding are going to be in the highest demand,” he said. For more information, email Scott McCormick at sjm@connectedvehicle .org.
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autobodynews.com / NOVEMBER 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS 59
10/20/2020 7:11:19 PM
with Victoria Antonelli
Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist based in San Francisco, California. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
with Ed Attanasio
Killer Tools Attacks Pandemic with Mr. Fogger During the pandemic, some com- use against SARS-CoV2, the virus panies have succeeded while others that causes COVID-19. have paused or closed their doors When the pandemic hit in March, completely. Those can Ledoux pivot Trueit gave his crew two weeks off, withwho Gary have been able to not only survive, but but then came up with his idea for Mr. thrive during these uncertain times. Fogger, and all of his nine employees Such is the case with Killer came back to work in order to make Tools in Orangevale, CA, and its ow- and distribute it. ner and inventor, Gerry Trueit, 72. “We wanted to create tools that Trueit’s company has concei- would enable technicians to sanived and designed moreStacey than 50 protize cars thoroughly so that shops with Phillips ducts, and estimates at least one or wouldn’t have to worry about the two are being used in every body health of their employees and custoshop in North America right now. mers,” Trueit said. “Insurance companies are allotting 60 to 90 minutes to sanitize these cars, so this has become the new normal way and will with Mike Anderson likely continue long after this thing passes.” More than two decades ago, Trueit discovered a pneumatic door skin tool, and that’s when the story began. He bought a motor home, and with his wife and Killer Tools was founded by Gerry Trueit, far left, almost his dog, they hit the road to 20 years ago to create tools and equipment that make visit as many body shops as collision repairs easier and more efficient they could. When Trueit saw a definite need “We sold so many that we were for a tool that would help the colli- forced to get off the road so that we sion repair industry as the pandemic could focus on manufacturing them,” continued, he and his team develo- Trueit said. ped a system to accommodate both “We chose the name Killer Tools body shops and their insurance part- because I would show up in a colliners. sion shop and people would tell me With a pivot move that even LeBron James would be proud of, Killer Tools developed a machine that generates ozone to completely disinfect interiors of vehicles before and after repairs. Offered in 110V and 12V, they have become top sellers. Most recently, Killer Tools also unveiled a cordless sanitizing tool named Mr. Fogger, so technicians Shortly after the pandemic hit, Killer Tools unveiled a cordless sanitizing tool, Mr. Fogger, or car detailers can sanitize touchposo that technicians or car detailers can sanitize ints and vehicle interiors more quitouchpoints and vehicle interiors more quickly ckly and efficiently using the least and efficiently amount of disinfectant. Killer Tools sells Bioesque Bo- that I always had the ‘killer’ tools,” tanical Disinfectant Solution, which Trueit said. “So, we adopted the uses thymol, an all-natural antimi- name and incorporated. Since we becrobial agent derived from the thy- gan back in 2002, we have sold more me plant, registered by the EPA for than 50,000 of these tools, and they
OE Shop Certification
keep rolling off the shelves because they work and make technicians› lives easier.” Killer Tools is now a household name in the world of collision repair, with products like The Dent Killer, a
From the Desk of Mike Anderson self-leveling door lift, the family of Shark welders, Cordless Tool Garage, the Painter’s Helper and the largest variety of tram gauges in the industry. Killer Tools sells its tools through
more than 10,000 distributors worldwide. The main question Trueit asks before developing any tool is if will it be used by the industry enough to make it worthwhile. That’s why he and his team are always soliciting feedback on any tool or piece of equipment they release to the world of collision. He works closely with a skilled management team, consisting of his General Manager Mario Harders—formerly with DentFix—and a fellow tool inventor and former body man, Tim Gerhards. “We sit down and determine if there are a definite need and a viable market for any tool we decide to pursue,” Trueit said. “You can make something that works well, but if it’s not accepted by the industry, it will just sit on shelves.” See Killer Tools, Page 64
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autobodynews.com / NOVEMBER 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS 61
10/20/2020 7:11:22 PM
with Victoria Antonelli
Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist based in San Francisco, California. He can be reached at email@example.com.
with Ed Attanasio
BAR Auto Shop Locator Educates and Empowers California Consumers About 10 years ago, I wrote an artic- savvier about their cars, and that le about the Bureau of Automotive includes knowing about the BAR Repair (BAR), an organization eve- and its role in the automotive repair ry body shop inwith California more industry in California. By working GaryisLedoux than familiar with, but the general hard to educate the public about what they do and how they public doesn’t even know what the acronym means. can protect consumers, the Most people encounter BAR has significantly enthe BAR when their cars are hanced its communications smog checked, or they see a and marketing, including its plaque on a wallwith in a waiting website at www.bar.ca.gov. Stacey Phillips room at a body shop. BAR’s website offers an I used some of my Clay Leek, head of Auto Shop Locator, a confriends and other people back BAR’s smog check, venient and fast way for engineering and then to find out what they consumers to find a licensed information services knew about the BAR. Only division, worked with automotive repair facility six out of the 30 people I tal- a team to develop nearest to them. BAR’s new Auto ked to knew what the BAR Originally it was designed with Mike Anderson Shop Locator to was and what it does. to locate Smog Check statieducate and protect ons, but now it has been ex I also got some peculiar consumers panded to include all licenresponses to my query, including “It’s law-related, right?” and sed auto repair businesses, including body shops, mechanical repair shops, “Is it a bartender union?” Now in 2020, consumers are air conditioning, parts retailers, auto
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dismantlers, glass windshield and mobile mechanics. The Auto Shop Locator also allows users to obtain two other pieces of invaluable information—the shop’s BAR license number and whether or not it’s on probation or the subject of a pending enforcement action by BAR. Rather than using MapQuest or Google, the BAR’s Shop Locator is a “more convenient way to find shops”, according to Clay Leek, who oversees BAR’s smog check, engineering and information services division. “We have enhanced this feature with a new interactive map, a series of filters and a mobile app, so that consumers can access this information anywhere, all the time,” Leek said. “People can search for locations near their address, their city or their ZIP code, and then the Shop Locator tells the user their proximity to the
From the Desk of Mike Anderson
shop. “At the same time, people can make sure that the shop is licensed by BAR. This allays peoples’ fears and gives them an additional layer of comfort knowing that they’re taking their vehicle to a licensed business that is in good standing with the BAR.” For example, I chose the Automotive Repair filter, followed by the Auto Body filter. I then tested the locator and quickly found a sample of the 50 body shops closest to me, one of which was on probation with the BAR. To eliminate any ambiguity, the listing of the shop is surrounded by a big red border with the word “Probation” listed clearly within the listing. To get feedback from the collision repair industry, Leek and his team received input from a wide range of automotive industry representatives
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10/20/2020 7:11:24 PM
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and body shops during their development stage. The BAR registers and regulates 36,000-plus California automotive repair dealers and mediates automotive repair complaints, saving California consumers millions of dollars each year in the form of direct refunds, rework and bill adjustments, for example. The BAR is one of 37 organizations under the umbrella of the Department of Consumer Affairs. BAR was established within DCA in 1972 following enactment of the Automotive Repair Act. In response to consumer and industry concerns about fraud and incompetence in the auto repair industry, the act established BAR as the licensing and regulating authority over automotive repair dealers. The act also gave BAR authority to license and regulate stations and individuals that perform services in the areas of lamp and brake inspection and repair. In 1982, California became the 20th state in the nation to adopt a vehicle inspection and maintenance (smog check) program. Pursuant to
authority granted by SB 33, BAR became the administrator of the California Smog Check Program in 1984. For more than 40 years, BAR has helped to protect California consumers from its headquarters in Rancho Cordova and 12 field offices stationed throughout the state. The organization serves many functions and administers various programs aimed at protecting Californians. Leek is happy with the finished product and invites shop owners and managers to make sure their shop is properly listed on the Auto Shop Locator. “I think they will like it for its simplicity and functionality,” he said. “We are really excited because by using it, consumers can stay informed and make educated decisions within a competitive automotive repair marketplace.”
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Volkswagen Orders Over 2,200 Robots for EV Production by Mark Kane, Inside EVs
Volkswagen announced it has ordered more than 2,200 new robots for the planned production of MEB-based electric cars in its plants in Emden, Hanover in Germany and Chattanooga, TN, mainly used for body production and battery assembly. This shows huge investments are needed to conduct a major switch from conventional to mostly all-electric cars. The Emden and Chattanooga plants will get more than 1,400 robots from Japanese manufacturer FANUC for ID.4 manufacturing lines, while Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles ordered 800 robots from ABB of Switzerland to make the production version of the ID.BUZZ. ID.4 is currently produced in Zwickau, and will be produced at
two sites in China too. That’s a total of five sites. According to the German manufacturer, those three plants in Emden, Hanover and Chattanooga will become the most advanced production plants in the industry. It will cost “several billion euros,” while the overall investment by the Group is €33 billion by 2024. “At Emden and Chattanooga, we are developing two of the most advanced production facilities in the automotive industry for the transformation to e-mobility,” said Christian Vollmer, member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen brand responsible for production and logistics. “We are investing in the latest technologies such as digitalization and automation for this purpose even in the present situation.” We thank Inside EVs for reprint permission.
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10/21/2020 4:52:27 PM
Mitchell Delivers XR Hands-Free Solution for Collision Repair Facilities Mitchell, a leading provider of technology, connectivity and information solutions to the Property & Casualty (P&C) claims and Collision Repair industries, announced the release of Mitchell Intelligent Vision, the industry’s first Extended Reality (XR) hands-free solution integrated into the collision repair workflow. Introduced last year as a proof of concept, the solution was featured at the company’s mPower Conference, a virtual event held Oct. 13-15, and shipping is expected before the end of the year. The Mitchell Intelligent Vision solution is designed to improve the speed, efficiency and accuracy of the collision repair workflow—from vehicle check in to check out. Mitchell collaborated with Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and RealWear, Inc. on its delivery, leveraging the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ Mobile XR Platform and the RealWear HMT-1 100% voice-controlled headset. “XR is transforming industries across the globe,” said Brian Vogelsang, senior director of product management, Qualcomm Technol-
Continued from Page 60
Killer Tools In many cases, Trueit has been able to find great ideas from body technicians that eventually lead to inventions being used today. “We have built a reputation for being a company where if you have a concept and we think it will work, we’re not afraid to pursue it,” Trueit said. “They conceive it, and we test it and then manufacture it and sell it. One technician who came up with a great idea for a tool has made more than $300,000 within the last decade. “Technicians are not afraid to think outside of the box, and most of the tools we sell were designed in order to complete a task,” he said.. “That is why I like being a part of this industry. Knowing that many of our tools are in shops is very satisfying.” Trueit prides himself on making
ogies, Inc. “With our Snapdragon technology paired with Mitchell’s expertise in automotive repair, we are excited to help transform the way
ly ruggedized headset was designed for environments like collision repair facilities where technicians need to streamline operations and enable hands-free access to much-needed repair procedures,” said Sanjay Jhawar, co-founder and president, RealWear. The Mitchell Intelligent Vision solution allows technicians to automate the collection of data—including consumer and vehicle information—for faster vehicle check in. They can also use the solution to take time-stamped photos of the damage and automatically upload them to Mitchell’s Mitchell Intelligent Vision is the industry’s first Extended cloud-based ecosystem. Reality (XR) hands-free solution integrated into the Voice activation and an collision repair workflow. XR field of vision provide quick access to critical collision repairers work—by help- OEM procedures during teardown ing them improve productivity, meet and repair, reducing research time. customer expectations and address Prior to check out, technicians can the challenges of today’s complex visually document the repair work automobiles with the new Mitchell with the Mitchell Intelligent Vision solution. Those images are then reIntelligent Vision solution.” “RealWear’s purpose-built, ful- tained in Mitchell’s software.
tools that will last and withstand heavy use, he said. “We use attention to detail and stress things like quality and safety. I have had to reject several ideas because I thought that the tools would be too dangerous. As a result, all of our tools last. “We are here to repair anything we make. Our phone does not ring and I’m usually the one to answer it, which is a good thing. I tell my people that if the phone isn’t ringing, that means we are doing a good job.” The King of Killer Tools—or Head Shark—still loves what he’s doing and isn’t thinking about retiring any time soon. “We have created a niche for us by taking people’s ideas and making them happen,” Trueit said. “If we can come up with a new tool and sell it for the right price—we already have a customer base waiting to buy it.” Sounds like a killer situation.
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The Mitchell Intelligent Vision solution will be available first to U.S. repair facilities. The company also expects to announce availability in Canada soon, having successfully completed pilot testing. “Mitchell is committed to delivering innovative, cloud-based solutions that streamline workflows and support proper, safe vehicle repair. With Mitchell Intelligent Vision, we’re again breaking new ground and taking a small but very significant step forward in bringing wearable technologies to the collision industry,” said Olivier Baudoux, senior vice president of global product strategy and artificial intelligence at Mitchell. “Through our open ecosystem and work with industry leaders like Qualcomm Technologies and RealWear, we’ll continue to advance the use of XR and XR-powered solutions to meet the needs of our customers and the market.” More information about the Mitchell Intelligent Vision solution can be found at https://www.mitchell.com/mitchell-intelligent-vision/ Source: Mitchell
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Beth Rutter Shares Sneak Peek of Pilot Program at I-CAR Virtual Meeting by Chasidy Rae Sisk
Four guest speakers attended the St. Louis I-CAR Committee’s September virtual meeting, including collision repair industry professional Beth Rutter, who spoke about the Pilot Program. Rutter agreed to share some additional information with Autobody News. The Pilot Program originated three years ago at Ranken Tech, where Collision Director John Helterbrand designed an apprenticeship program to ensure collision students are prepared to successfully enter their career after graduation. Students work with mentors at local shops, obtaining hands-on repair experience in conjunction with classroom education, as tasks begin with the most mundane and progressively advance along with the student’s knowledge and skills. “Students rotate between eight weeks in the classroom, followed by eight weeks at a shop where they implement the techniques they just learned,” Rutter explained.
After safety, process is the sec- “Some graduates can be hired ond most important thing that schools right out of school because they’ve teach collision repair students. obtained the knowledge they need “An educator without a text- to start in a shop; others aren’t even book can’t do much, but if you close—collision repair curriculum can take it home, you can do a lot isn’t consistent across all colleges, of work on that,” Helterbrand said. and we are working to address that.” “We [must] maintain a high level of The mission of the National educator for students. Our Pilot Program is “to be the catalyst in the development program is a little harder of national ‘school-to-work’ in the sense that we make collision educational prothe students focus on themgrams at the post-secondary selves, but we make them level by bringing the collilifelong learners. So, it’s all sion industry and colleges about taking care of the student.” Beth Rutter recently together in a collaborative A currently-silent in- spoke about the Pilot partnership that not only industry partner recognized Program at the St. creases the number of qualthe value of Ranken’s Pilot Louis I-CAR Com- ified technicians available mittee’s September to the industry but allows Program and proposed exvirtual meeting. students to be mentored in panding it nationally. “We need more than just a cur- a supportive environment that imriculum to address the issue of our proves the image of technicians and fractured industry,” Rutter empha- the collision industry as a whole.” sized. “Recognizing that entry-level With decades’ worth of collitechs need a basic level of knowl- sion repair industry experience, Rutedge in order to be trainable and ter got involved with the program to hirable, we decided to start with the communicate with the shops and the colleges. schools.
“We have to get the shops’ buyin for mentoring the students, and then the colleges have to agree to implement the curriculum we’ve developed, which is ASE-accredited,” she said. “There’s a lot of benefits for the schools, though. They receive a lot of support and an I-CAR curriculum, plus by the time the student finishes the program, they are Pro-Level 3 and able to obtain their welding certification as soon as they test.” Four colleges are currently participating, though three will not have seated classes until January 2021 due to COVID-related concerns. Students at Ranken Tech and at the College of Lake County in Illinois are currently learning in the classroom and interviewing with local shops that meet the program’s criteria. Mentoring shops must be I-CAR Gold Certified, use updated tools and equipment and have a mentor who can “take students under their wings,” Rutter said. The current mentor shops include several large MSOs as well as a handful of independent collision
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repair facilities. “Once they qualify, the shop presents to the students and interviews them, so the student is hired before the first eight-week rotation ends,” Rutter said. “In the next rotation, students will work in shops on the things they are now learning and report back to their instructors, who also make visits to the shop to check on their students’ progress. “Working in the shop allows young students ease into the workplace, building work ethic which can be tough to learn. Collision repair requires learning so much that, even if it’s your passion, it’s still very stressful. This program allows the students to leave that stressful situation after eight weeks and return to school to discuss their experiences with their peers and instructors.” Working as an independent consultant with the program, Rutter’s role includes easing the students’ transition from the class to shop rotation, and last year, she developed and led a one-day workshop for mentors and mentees to learn effective communication. She is currently building online training for this
year’s virtual world. As with any aspect of the collision repair industry, obstacles must be overcome as the Pilot Program gains speed. “It’s a lot of work,” Rutter said. “We have to implement a brand-new curriculum, and the rules for doing that vary by state. In order to be ASE-accredited, the college is required to hold advisory committee meetings, and that means getting the industry involved. “We’re kind of building a bridge as we’re walking across it, but once the colleges build relationships with their local collision repair industry, I believe it will take on a momentum of its own.” Depending on how the school lays out its curriculum, the program can take up to two years, but by graduation, the student has a degree and real-world experience. For participating collision repair facilities, “it’s like a two-year interview where the student, subject to normal employment parameters, becomes inculcated into the shop’s culture over that time,” Rutter said. “Students get the benefit of going to
a college that provides a robust education, which helps them get hired.” Retention is another goal of the program. Nearly half of the students who graduate collision repair programs leave the industry within two years, according to Rutter. “With an industry that needs qualified techs so badly, we can’t afford to lose the ones we have because it’s too difficult to find a job,” she said. “We need to take care of our people, treat them well, and that starts by training these students, so they have the knowledge and ability to get hired in entry-level positions. “Then, the facilities must treat them well enough that they want to stay. If everyone does their part, it works for the entire industry.” Those interested in obtaining more information about the Pilot Program can email Beth Rutter at email@example.com. “Beth talked about her role in helping to build a mentorship program that supports entry-level technicians in the workforce, while they earn their degrees at college,” said St. Louis I-CAR Committee Chair Shelly Jones. “Beth talked of the
importance of information sharing between a school, student and collision repair shop, and how she created a workshop to develop strong communications between the mentor and mentee.” Three additional guest speakers attended the St. Louis I-CAR Committee meeting. Rob Ferguson, ASE Education Foundation, briefly discussed the benefits of schools being accredited by the ASE Foundation. Robbie Saladino, I-CAR principal, business development southcentral region, spoke about virtual live classes and shared a progress update on the committee’s goals. “We have just three goals left to complete out of nine,” Jones said. “It has been a team effort.” Brandon Eckenrode of the Collision Repair Education Foundation shared information about the upcoming virtual golf fundraiser, which will be open Nov. 20 through Dec. 20. Golfers can begin practicing at WGT.com or by downloading the free “WGT Golf” app. “During registration, people See Beth Rutter, Page 71
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Automakers Report September and Q3 2020 Sales Several automakers on Oct. 1 released sales reports on the month of September and the third quarter of 2020. Hyundai Hyundai Motor America reported total September sales of 54,790 units, a 5% increase compared with September 2019. Retail sales were up 21%. Hyundai fleet sales were down 67% and represented 5% of total volume. Hyundai anticipates outperforming the retail sales industry average again in September, something it has accomplished every month in 2020. “Our outstanding product portfolio combined with stable inventory, the right incentives and the elevation of the customer experience at our dealerships has resulted in another month of market share gains,” said Randy Parker, vice president of national sales. “Retail sales in the third quarter also increased, another indication that sales are recovering from the pandemic.” In the third quarter, Hyundai sold a total of 170,828 units, a 1% decline and 161,254 retail units, a 7% increase compared with Q3 2019. Mazda Mazda North American Operations reported total September sales of 24,237 vehicles, an increase of 28.7% compared to September 2019. Year-to-date sales totaled 203,280 vehicles; a decrease of 2.3% compared to the same time last year. With 25 selling days in September, compared to 23 the year prior, the company posted an increase of 18.4% on a Daily Selling Rate (DSR) basis. Mazda Motor de Mexico reported September sales of 4,089 vehicles, a decrease 4.8% compared to September last year. Year-to-date sales decreased 28.3%, with 31,078 vehicles sold. FCA FCA US LLC sold 507,351 vehicles in the third quarter—a 10% decrease over the same time period a year earlier—as strong retail sales offset much of the ongoing softness in fleet purchases. The Ram brand remained a powerhouse for dealers as retail sales for the iconic pickup trucks rose 15%. Jeep® also posted a solid quarter, led
in large part by the continued success of the Jeep Gladiator and Jeep Wrangler. Total Gladiator sales rose 37% to 22,163 vehicles. Third-quarter total sales finished 38% higher than the second-quarter results, as FCA sold 140,265 more vehicles. Mitsubishi Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. reported third-quarter 2020 sales of 24,857 vehicles, an increase of 1.5% over the same period in 2019, and up a significant 49% over the previous quarter of 2020. This sales performance signals a continued recovery of new vehicle sales across the U.S., following a substantial disruption of business through the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and safer-at-home orders. Mitsubishi Motors Corporation recently released a first look at the redesigned 2022 Eclipse Cross, the next step in the company’s commitment to delivering a showroom full of new and extensively redesigned vehicles in the U.S. Subaru Subaru of America, Inc. reported 60,103 vehicle sales for September, a 16% increase compared with September 2019. Following 11 consecutive years of sales records, Subaru reported year-to-date sales of 436,560, a 17% decrease compared to the same period in 2019. September marked the first month of 60,000+ vehicle sales for the automaker since December 2019. As the top performing carline by volume, Outback sales increased 51% in September compared with the same month a year ago. Outback and Forester models achieved their best September ever. Crosstrek sales for September increased 0.5% over the same month in 2019 and marked the best month of 2020 for the carline. BRZ posted a 126% increase, while WRX/STI posted 47% increase in September. In addition, the three-row Ascent SUV and Legacy sedan posted 8% and 18% increases over September 2019, respectively. GM General Motors announced it deliv-
ered 665,192 vehicles in the third quarter of 2020, a decrease in total vehicle sales of about 10% compared to a year ago. In a sign of a recovering industry, sales improved sequentially each month within the quarter. Industry and GM sales rebounded significantly in September, finishing the month with year-over-year sales increases. Total industry SAAR1 was an estimated 15.9 million vehicles for the quarter, up about 4 million units from the previous quarter. GM’s mid-size SUVs outperformed the industry, including the Chevrolet Blazer up 45%—its best quarter ever—and the Cadillac XT6, also up 45% compared to the third quarter of last year. Buick’s compact SUV, the Envision, was up 44%. Despite tight inventory, GM’s large pickup trucks sold well, especially heavy-duty pickups; the Chevrolet Silverado HD was up 9% and GMC Sierra HD was up 11% compared to a year ago. Total Sierra sales posted its best third quarter ever. Year to date, GM’s combined light-
and heavy-duty pickups gained 1.6 percentage points in retail market share to capture 37.5% of the segment, according to J.D. Power. GM remains focused on producing the right mix of vehicles to meet demand. Large pickup and full-size SUV plants are all operating on three shifts and at maximum overtime. Honda and Acura Honda brand sales climbed 11%, as trucks set a September record, with a 20.4% jump. “September marks a high-water mark for Honda sales this year with double-digit gains and our first month in positive territory since the pandemic began,” said Dave Gardner, executive vice president of national operations at American Honda. “Powered by the strong performance of our Honda and Acura SUV lineups, we’ve been building momentum throughout the third quarter and early indications from dealers and customers are that the just-released 2021 Acura TLX is a real winner. So we’re optimistic for a strong close to 2020.”
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Volkswagen The Volkswagen Group said its development in the current fiscal year has clearly felt the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, although business started to pick up again in the second half of the year. Worldwide deliveries in the first eight months were down by 21.5%, to 5.6 million vehicles, compared to 7.1 million in the same segment of 2019. The company outperformed the market and reported 0.4 percentage points growth in its global market share compared with the previous year, taking this share to 13%. The company expects incoming orders and deliveries in September to be up on the previous year and anticipates the upward trend will continue for the remainder of the year. As a result, Volkswagen confirmed its goal to remain profitable in the sum of all parts of the company and to report a positive operating result in 2020. “All medium- and long-term forecasts continue to involve considerable uncertainty and depend on the future course of the pandemic”, said CEO Herbert Diess.
KIA KIA Motors America announced September sales of 55,519 units, marking both the best September retail sales and best quarterly retail sales performances since Kia entered the U.S. market in 1994. September sales were led by the Telluride and Forte models with 8,829 and 7,643 units sold, respectively. Year-over-year, retail sales rose 35.3% to 53,513 vehicles, with additional September sales highlights including: An all-time monthly sales record for KIA’s fastest turning model in company history—the Telluride SUV, with 8,829 units sold. On average, Telluride models stay on dealer lots for seven days Best-ever September sales and best-ever monthly sales performance for the Sportage SUV Record monthly sales for the Seltos SUV with 5,613 units sold Highest monthly sales for the all-new K5 midsize sedan, with 5,763 units sold in September Source: Hyundai, Mazda, FCA, Mitsubishi, Subaru, GM, Volkswagen, Honda, KIA
New Push for Autonomous Vehicles Bill by Ashley Gold, Axios In a renewed push to get an autonomous vehicles bill through Congress, Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) was to reintroduce the SELF Drive Act on Sept. 23, Latta told Axios. New policy legislation is a long shot in the short Congressional calendar leading up to Election Day. But Latta’s effort shows the importance many lawmakers put on promoting a U.S. lead in the development of self-driving vehicles. “The technology is changing, and we don’t want the Chinese to lead,” Latta, ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce technology and communications subcommittee, told Axios. “We’ve got to keep moving on it for safety’s sake.” The SELF Drive Act is a federal framework for autonomous vehicle regulation in the U.S., requiring cybersecurity provisions for AV manufacturers, exempting certain national safety standards to get cars to market quicker and pre-empting states from passing safety laws regarding AVs. The revised bill contains some changes from a version that passed the
House previously, including language that committee aides say makes it more inclusive for people with disabilities. Latta said the coronavirus crisis has made the need for self-driving cars in the U.S. even more apparent, as people seek contactless ways to get around and have goods delivered. After the SELF Drive Act first passed the House in 2017, objections in the Senate over certain provisions doomed the effort to create a federal regulatory framework for autonomous vehicles. Our thought bubble, from Axios transportation reporter Joann Muller: Congress has been talking about passing AV legislation for more than two years but hasn’t been able to get it done. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Transportation offers only guidance to companies developing self-driving cars. Without federal standards, the industry is relying on a patchwork of state laws, and consumer advocates complain about safety risks of AV testing on public roads. We thank Axios for reprint permission.
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Continued from Page 67
COVID Boosts Digital Age for Auto Claims by Emmariah Holcomb, glassBYTEs.com Some auto glass members say having digital options for customers is needed and COVID-19 increased demand. The insurance claims side of the industry has offered customers options to file and check claim status
ic, many companies preferred that their employees work in the office.” According to Morgan, auto insurance companies were faced with changing its plans when local governments started issuing stay-athome orders. She noted there is an estimated 25% to 30% of work forc-
“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for claims organizations to digitize and make other changes to appeal to the younger generation of workers,” — Rebecca Morgan reports online, and experts agree on its appeal. “The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for claims organizations to digitize and make other changes to appeal to the younger generation of workers,” said Rebecca Morgan, Mitchell International worker’s compensation solutions product management vice president. Mitchell International is the parent company of National Auto Glass Specifications (NAGS). “For example, prior to the COVID-19 pandem-
es that aim to continue having some of its staff work from home after the pandemic is over. “Companies had to accelerate multi-year plans that they had in place and boost technology and networks in order to successfully transition their employees to working from home,” she said. The industry will need to shift again when it comes to how auto related businesses recruit, train and retain employees, according to Morgan. She highlighted five changes
that companies should consider making, which included: • Having updated workplace technology • Recruiting future employees effectively • Emphasizing training or retraining employees • Developing employees • Retaining employees “In order to effectively attract, train, develop and retain employees from the younger generations, the insurance industry must update its workplace technology,” explains Morgan. “Our industry needs innovation and new technology in order to be more effective at meeting our business goals. Doubling the number of employees using the latest technology leads to an 11% increase in profitability for U.S. companies.” According to Morgan, the pandemic caused the industry to rely on technology to an even greater degree and has accelerated the industry’s need for innovation. We thank glassBYTEs.com for reprint permission.
Beth Rutter will have the option to play in support of the St. Louis Committee. When they pick our committee, a portion of the $25 registration fee will go to support our local school collision programs,” Jones said. “Overall, the meeting was well-attended, and there were a lot of great discussions.” The St. Louis I-CAR Committee’s last meeting of 2020 will be held virtually at 8 a.m. Nov. 12. Additional information about the St. Louis I-CAR Committee and its upcoming activities can be found at facebook.com/ICARSt LouisCommittee.
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NADA Issues Analysis of Third Quarter 2020 Auto Sales by Patrick Manzi, NADA
NADA on Oct. 7 issued its analysis of U.S. auto sales and the economy following the third quarter of 2020. Through the first three quarters of the year, new-light vehicle sales were down 19% relative to the same time period in 2019. In September, raw sales volume totaled 1.34 million units, an increase of 6.1% compared to September of 2019; the increase in September’s volume was due, at least in part, to the inclusion of the Labor Day sales weekend and two additional selling days compared to the same month in 2019. “While we have continued to experience a steady recovery for new-vehicle demand year since the lows of April, vehicle sales have remained depressed compared to 2019 given a variety of factors including inventory,” said NADA Chief Economist Patrick Manzi. “September’s SAAR registered 16.3 million units, the first time sales have topped 16 million units since February 2020. However, this is a decline of 4.3% compared to September 2019.” Despite a decline for all car segments, sales of pickups, SUVs and crossovers all posted gains relative to this time last year. In the first three quarters or 2020, three out of every four vehicles sold were light trucks. NADA sees strong retail sales despite an environment with falling manufacturer incentives, after peaking in April at $4,981 per unit. J.D. Power estimates that average incentive spend per unit will drop to $3,964, the first time since June 2019 when incentives have fallen below $4,000 and down approximately $300 compared to September of last year. Interest rates have also decreased, while average monthly pay-
ments have increased. According to J.D. Power, the average interest rate on new vehicle financing was 4.4% in August 2020, down a little over 100 basis points compared to August of 2019, but up by 80 basis points
from April 2020’s low of 3.6%. The average monthly payment on a new-vehicle finance contract was $582 in August 2020—up $18 compared to August 2019. Inventory continues to be a concern for dealers; nationwide, franchised dealer inventory was 2.66 million units at the end of September—up 3.6% compared to August 2020, but down 26.7% compared to September of 2019. At present, dealers has an average 50 day supply of inventory—down one day from August 2020 and 16 days compared to September 2019. On the production side, North American light-vehicle production is expected to be 1.36 million units, roughly flat compared to September of 2019, according to Wards Intelligence. North America production for the entire year is on track to total 13.4 million units—20.2% below 2019’s 16.8 million. Consumers who took lease extensions in March, April and May are expected to be returning to the new vehicle market in the next few months which should be a positive
boost for sales in the final quarter of the year. While retail demand is expected to continue to recover the remainder of the year, fleet sales will continue to be depressed relative to 2019 volumes. However, NADA sees possible improvement in fleet demand in the fourth quarter of 2020. At the onset of the pandemic, NADA reduced its initial 2020 light-vehicle sales forecast of 16.8 million units to 13 million to 13.5 million units. “Given the better than expected recovery in the new light-vehicle market, we estimate 2020 new light-vehicle sales to be higher, reaching 14.1 million units,” added Manzi. At the macro level, real GDP in the third quarter of 2020 is expected to increase by roughly 35% on an annualized basis following a sharp decline of 31.7% in the second quarter. In the labor market, job gains are expected to continue in the fourth quarter, albeit at a slower rate than in the months prior. According
to the September jobs report from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employment increased by 661,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate fell to 7.9%. However, weekly jobless claims continue to be elevated compared to pre-pandemic levels with employment potentially falling in impacted sectors such as leisure and hospitality as American consumers return indoors during the winter months. Additionally, pandemic-related job losses continue to impact lower-earning workers more significantly than higher income workers. At franchised new-car dealerships, employment has improved each month since bottoming out in April at 888,000; as of August, franchised dealerships currently employ 1,048,800 workers. For more detailed information on financial trends for the first half of 2020, find the midyear version of NADA Data 2020 report here. Source: NADA
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10/20/2020 7:11:36 PM
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The Dealers Below Are Mercedes-Benz Genuine Parts Specialists:
Mercedes-Benz of Wilmington Wilmington
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autobodynews.com / NOVEMBER 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS 73
10/20/2020 7:11:37 PM
Why Dealers Are Now ‘Exercising Caution’ by Auto Remarketing Staff
Dealerships sold millions of used vehicles during the summertime, including a four-month stretch of yearover-year sales gains. However, Black Book isn’t necessarily seeing buyers and managers rushing to replenish store inventory. According to their newest “COVID-19 Market Insights” released Oct. 13, analysts highlighted a typical autumn wholesale price cooldown, explaining those softer prices aren’t always bringing the hammer down to send vehicles onto transport trucks bound for stores. “Retail demand has softened, but dealers are still in need of inventory after the strong summer sales. However, they are exercising caution in purchasing high-priced inventory,” Black Book said in the latest report. “Instead, they are being very selective with their purchasing decisions. “Lower-mileage used vehicles continue to be good substitutes for the models that still lack in new supply, like full-size trucks that have days’ supply well under 30 days,”
analysts added. Speaking of those full-size trucks, analysts noticed prices for those units finally dipped after 19 weeks of increases. Full-size truck values dipped by 0.18%. Triggered in part by that movement, Black Book’s volume-weighted data showed overall truck segment values—including pickups, SUVs and vans—declined by 0.34% last week, nearly doubling the previous week’s drop of 0.19%. Analysts mentioned that both mainstream and luxury subcompact crossovers continue to experience heavy value declines as they plummeted by 1.13% and 0.98%, respectively. Black Book also pointed out that new-model inventory levels of full-size crossovers and SUVs continue to be low too, “so depreciations are remaining fairly stable.” Those units edged down by just 0.05% this past week. On the car side, value depreci ation accelerated compared to the previous week. According to Black Book’s volume-weighted data, analysts said
Average New-Vehicle Prices Rise 2.5% Year-OverYear in September: Kelley Blue Book The valuation analysts at Kelley Blue Book on Oct. 1 reported the estimated average transaction price for a light vehicle in the U.S. was $38,723 in September.
New-vehicle prices increased $940 (up 2.5%) from September 2019, while rising $23 (up 0.1%) from last month. “New-car transaction prices have climbed year-over-year, but remained flat for the past few months,” said Sara Richards, an analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “This may indicate supply challenges experienced over spring and summer have been corrected and OEMs are finally able to build up stock. If automakers seek to recover sales lost earlier
in the year, incentives could climb dramatically and transaction prices could remain flat or even dip in the future.” Honda, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, Hyundai and Kia, Subaru and Toyota all reported strong, greater than 4% year-over-year gains, despite relatively little change month-overmonth. Specifically, for Toyota the RAV4 was the biggest driver. They had a significant redesign this past year, contributing to an 18% lift in transaction prices year-over-year. Non-luxury and luxury vehicles are relatively flat month-overmonth; however, the year-overyear story is completely different. Non-luxury transaction prices are up 3.9%, while luxury prices are down 3%. Source: Kelley Blue Book
overall car segment values decreased 0.92% the last week, up from the previous week’s drop of 0.66%. Black Book noticed that mainstream car segments—subcompact, compact, midsize and full-size—all suffered declines of more than 1% with those sub-compacts leading the way at 1.40%. The report mentioned that premium sporty cars continue to generate interest as values for those units
rates on a few luxury manufacturer lanes with remarketers holding firm to floors,” they added. One other trend Black Book mentioned in the latest report directly correlated with how dealers are behaving in the lanes. “A couple of weeks ago, we noticed the success the independents were finally having in being able to successfully bid against the larger buyers. However, this past week we
“Retail demand has softened, but dealers are still in need of inventory after the strong summer sales. However, they are exercising caution in purchasing high-priced inventory,” — Black Book ticked just 0.02% lower, counter to the overall car segments trends. “Sales results at the auctions improved last week for many remarketers as many floors have now been adjusted to reflect the softening in wholesale values,” analysts said. “This was not the case for all sellers, with many of the dealer lanes seeing a lot of ‘ifs’ and high no sale
did see that change a bit as the larger buyers got a little more aggressive in their bidding,” analysts said. “This was especially true on the lanes where the remarketer was letting go of most any of the inventory that received a bid,” analysts went on to say. We thank Auto Remarketing for reprint permission.
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74 NOVEMBER 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
10/20/2020 7:11:38 PM
UTI’s Blended Training Model Leads to Employment for Graduates As the pandemic continues to deliver a colossal shock to the economy, with weekly unemployment claims increasing to 870,000 for the week ending Sept. 19 and topping an unprecedented 700,000 each week for more than six months, Universal Technical Institute’s pandemic response plan and blended training model are delivering results, with graduates finding employment across the nation. “In a time of extraordinary challenges, our students are completing their education and going to work,” said Jerome A. Grant, CEO. “The fact that there are good jobs waiting for our graduates speaks to industry’s urgent demand for skilled technicians and the quality of our industry-aligned education model.” The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated pre-pandemic there will be more than 110,000 job openings for automotive, diesel and collision repair technicians on average annually across the U.S. through 2028. In an economic downturn, people and businesses keep their vehicles longer and trained technicians remain in demand to maintain and service them.
To meet employer demand and support students in continuing their educations during the pandemic, UTI transitioned its on-campus, in-person training to a blended format, and has built and continues to enhance a model that blends online, instructor-delivered teaching and demonstrations with hands-on training in campus labs that meet health authority guidelines. The blended model prepares UTI students for high-tech careers, requiring hands-on and digital skills, and for upskilling on the job, as employers train on new technology online and virtually. Corey Vanderploeg was four weeks from graduation when the pandemic hit, and completed his training in UTI’s blended model, using a HEERF CARES Act emergency grant to help support himself and stay in school. He graduated from UTI-Avondale’s diesel program in June and immediately went to work as a technician with Pape Machinery in Portland, OR. “I’d spent the last five years working in dead-end jobs and, without UTI and the support I received, I’d probably be out of work altogether due to the pandemic,” Vander-
ploeg said. “There will always be a need for people who work on diesel trucks and equipment.” UTI’s manufacturer-specific advanced courses have also continued during the pandemic, with strong student outcomes. These programs train students who have completed their core program to work with a specific manufacturer’s vehicles and technology. Employers extend offers of employment to many of these students even before they graduate and, for some of these programs, manufacturer partners cover students’ tuition. After initially putting his love of German vehicles aside and working in construction, Davidson Ansick enrolled at UTI, completed core automotive training and was selected for the Porsche Technology Apprenticeship Program (PTAP.) He graduated from the program in the midst of the pandemic, crediting the instructors who supported him, and immediately went to work for Porsche of the Main Line in the Philadelphia area. “When I found out about the Porsche program and learned it was manufacturer paid and would almost guarantee a job after school, it was
Subaru of Keene
Belmont (617) 826-5013 (617) 489-0733 Fax
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Long Automotive Group Framingham (800) 982-2298 (508) 879-1212 Fax
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Metrowest Subaru LLC Natick (888) 456-2200 (508) 745-2004 (508) 647-1539 Fax
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an easy choice,” Ansick said. “Now I work for the best of the best.” Seth Werner, a graduate of the automotive program at UTI’s NASCAR Tech and this summer’s Volvo Service Automotive Factory Education (SAFE) program, now works as a technician for Parkway Volvo in Wilmington, NC. “I was under the assumption that as a new tech, I’d mostly be doing brake jobs and oil changes, but by day two, I was already working on more complex issues, including computer problems,” Werner said. “Studying online and in person was different, but it was definitely worth it.” Zachary Gaulin, who graduated from UTI’s Motorcycle Mechanics Institute (MMI) in Orlando and the Harley-Davidson program and is employed as a service technician at Big Moose Harley-Davidson in Maine said, “With the increases of people riding their bikes, we’re understaffed, but I am constantly energized by doing something I love, and I’m making good money as a young person right out of school.” For more information about UTI, visit www.uti.edu. Source: UTI
Keene (866) 832-0013 (603) 757-0013 (603) 719-0932 Fax
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Flemington Subaru Flemington (877) 657-2787 (908) 782-1795 Fax
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Belknap Subaru Tilton (800) 358-4029 (603) 729-1300 (603) 729-1301 Fax
Liberty Subaru Emerson (888) 782-9493 (201) 261-3261 Fax
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The following dealerships are eager to serve your needs. Call your local Subaru collision parts specialist today! autobodynews.com / NOVEMBER 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS 75
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Martin Named DCR Dir. of Operations DCR Systems is excited to announce Dave Martin has been named director of operations. In his new role, Martin will lead operational standards across all the company’s markets, including Ohio, New York, North Carolina and Massachusetts. Martin began working in the collision repair industry in 2001, after serving four years in the U.S. Marine Corps. As director of operations, he plans to continue building a culture that focuses on the complete repair experience using the DCR Systems Process while providing a great customer experience. For more information about DCR Systems, visit https:// www.dcrsystems.com/. Source: DCR Systems
Middle-Aged Drivers More Likely to Crash Than Those in Their 70s: Study by Christopher Smith, Motor1.com
Young drivers think old drivers go too slow and get confused too easily. Old drivers think the young whipper-snappers go too fast and take too many chances. In between are the middle-aged drivers, which generally have the best track record of them all. However, that could be changing according to a new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Data for 21 years was compiled, starting in 1997 and running through 2018. The study looks at the number of fatal crashes per 100,000 licensed drivers, with the data further broken down into four age groups: 35-54, 70-74, 75-79 and over 80. To be fair, the overall trend for the period shows a decline for all age groups, but the over-70 crowd saw a substantial drop. Fatal crash rates dropped 43% for folks in their 70s, while the middle bracket dropped 21%. Interestingly, the bulk of that decline for older drivers occurred
not in recent years, but through the first half of the data set. Crash rates for middle-age and 70-74 segments were nearly identical, with the 75-79 bracket matching the other two groups in 2012. From there,
middle-agers crept upwards overall while both 70-year-old groups held fairly steady or even declined slightly. As for the over-80 crowd, fatal crashes per licensed drivers have decreased by a full 50%, but in 2018, it remains the group most likely to be involved in a deadly accident. This is all rather inter-
Tesla Dominated Q2 U.S. Automotive Exports, Data Says by Joey Klender, Teslarati
Data is showing Tesla held a considerable share of the U.S. automotive exports during the second quarter of 2020, with 35.4% of the total car exports during the threemonth span coming from the electric automaker. Kevin Rooke of Zap EVs indicated the U.S. automotive market exported 68,900 vehicles. Meanwhile, Tesla built 36,800 of its 90,891 sold cars at the Fremont facility in Northern California. 29,684 vehicles were produced at the Shanghai production plant. This leaves 24,407 cars that were produced in the U.S. to be available for export. Giga Shanghai did not export vehicles in Q2. However, Tesla plans to send some Giga Shanghai-produced Model 3s to Europe in the future. Tesla’s 24,407 exported vehicles make up 35.4% of the 68,900 exports that the U.S. had during the second quarter. Tesla has experienced the same tumultuous 2020 as any oth-
er company in the world, but the way it responded to the adversity is more than admirable. Despite having its American production facility shut down during the first month of Q2 2020, Tesla managed to deliver 90,891 vehicles.
Even more impressive is the fact that Tesla is beginning to change the U.S.’s massive automotive trade deficit, which has been primarily consisting of imports for many years. Rooke points out that the influx of Tesla’s exports is starting to shift how U.S. consumers buy and sell cars. Other countries, like German and Japan, who have several largescale automotive manufacturers, are heavy on exports, which contributes to a strong economy. German brands like Volkswagen and Japanese brands like Honda have been popular with U.S. drivers for
an extended period. However, now that EVs are becoming more popular in the automotive market, and Tesla, an American company, is leading the charge, exports are becoming a larger part of the U.S. market. Now that Tesla has one international plant constructed in China, and another under construction in Berlin, Germany, exports may slow down slightly for the electric automaker. However, there are still plenty of regions where Tesla does not have a manufacturing plant, and Fremont will be responsible for shipping cars across the water into other territories. For example, while the Model S and Model X are not Tesla’s top sellers, they are still requested by international buyers. Fremont will continue to be the only plant that will manufacture these cars for the foreseeable future, so exports will continue to be a factor for Tesla even though its international presence continues to ramp up. We thank Teslarati for reprint permission.
esting considering the number of older drivers on the road has increased significantly over the last 21 years. What’s the reason for this trend? IIHS points to safer cars with more advanced safety systems as well as better overall health for older drivers. Changes in infrastructure with regards to road signs and intersections are also thought to be a factor. As for why the middle-age fatality rate crept higher, IIHS notes a correlation between periods of economic growth and increases in impaired driving, notably due to alcohol. It’s theorized that middle-agers indulge in such activities more than others. It will be interesting to see how 2020 and coronavirus affect these trends; however, that data likely won’t be available for at least a couple of years. We thank Motor1.com for reprint permission.
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76 NOVEMBER 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
10/20/2020 7:11:40 PM
From helpful direction to assistance with your next order of Genuine Volkswagen Collision Parts, our team is well read on ways to make your job easier.
Curran Volkswagen Stratford
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Contact your local Volkswagen dealer or visit Wholesale.VWServiceandParts.com to place your Genuine VW Collision Parts order today. “Volkswagen” and the Volkswagen logo are registered trademarks of Volkswagen AG. ©2020 Volkswagen of America, Inc.
autobodynews.com / NOVEMBER 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS 77
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Tesla Sues U.S. Government Over Trump’s China Tariffs by Martin Bigg, CarBuzz
The ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China led to President Donald Trump imposing tariffs on imported Chinese goods, including auto parts. Unsurprisingly, these increased costs have riled major automakers that rely on importing parts from
China to manufacture cars. Now, several automakers are taking action by suing the U.S. government. CNBC reported Tesla is suing the U.S. government and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer over the Trump administration’s tariffs on parts Tesla imports from
China to manufacture its electric cars like the Model 3 and Model Y. According to the lawsuit filed in the U.S. Court of International Trade, Tesla wants the court to declare two batches of Trump administration tariffs to be void, and refund Tesla the tariffs it paid with interest. The specific tariffs Tesla has issues with are known as List 3 and List 4. Since it was introduced in 2018, List 3 places 25% duties on $200 billion of imported goods from China. List 4, on the other hand, imposes a 7.5% tariff on $120 billion of Chinese imports and went into effect in 2019. Tesla’s lawsuit doesn’t specify which parts Tesla paid tariffs on or how much it paid, but the company’s lawyers argue that the “imposition of List 3 and List 4 duties was arbitrary and capricious because USTR did not provide meaningful opportunity to comment, failed to consider relevant
factors when making its decision, and failed to draw a rational connection between the facts found and the choices made.” Tesla also applied for waivers in 2019 on artificial graphite, silicon oxide and door ring tailor welded blanks. The waivers for these expired in August 2020. Tesla isn’t the only automaker taking action against the U.S. government, either. Mercedes-Benz has also filed a lawsuit accusing the U.S. government of “prosecution of an unprecedented, unbounded and unlimited trade war impacting over $500bn in imports from the People’s Republic of China.” Volvo, which is now owned by China’s Geely, has also filed a lawsuit as the automaker “believes the way to reach economic growth is to reduce tariffs and harmonize international trade.” We thank CarBuzz for reprint permission.
Nationwide Introduces Express App To address independent agents’ need for speed and ease of doing business, in 2019 Nationwide introduced Nationwide Express®, a technology platform that enables agents to quote multi-line policies in as little as two minutes. On Sept. 23, Nationwide introduced a new Nationwide Express mobile app, which allows agents to scan a driver’s license to complete an auto quote in as little as 60 seconds. Agents can also add a renters policy with just one click. The launch of the new mobile app now puts the power to generate quotes on the go into the palm of an agent’s hand. Agents can access Nationwide Express today in all states Nationwide offers personal lines insurance, with additional features to be added this year. The Nationwide Express mobile app is available in 31 states on iOS devices. More states and an Android version coming soon. Source: Nationwide
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78 NOVEMBER 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
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Caliber Commits to ‘Restoring You’ by Gifting Restored Vehicles to Front Line Heroes Living its purpose of Restoring the Rhythm of Your Life®, Caliber, with its portfolio of automotive services brands—including Caliber Collision, the nation’s largest auto collision repair company—is pleased to extend its “Restoring You” community and teammate program. In collaboration with its insurance partners as part of the National Auto Body Council’s Recycled Rides® program, Caliber will be gifting restored vehicles to front line medical workers, medical support staff and first responders who are helping fight the pandemic. Caliber, which encompasses Caliber Auto Care and Caliber Auto Glass, in addition to Caliber Collision—with its 1,173 centers across 33 states and the broadest network of OEM-certified collision centers in the country—is committed to repairing and maintaining the vehicles of all drivers and fleet operators. During this extraordinary time, the company recognizes a particular need among medical workers, their support staff and first responders, many of whom may worry about
for reliable, safe transportation among those who have been working so hard to fight this pandemic— those in front line roles as medical workers, medical support staff and first responders. “We know that the current environment is putting a severe strain on these workers and their families, and we want to provide them with the gift of transportation through our long-standing partnership with insurance carriers and the National Auto Body Council’s Recycled Rides® program.” As part of its Restoring You initiative, Caliber Collision in Riverside, CA, teamed up with The giftings will occur in Auto Club of Southern California to gift a vehicle to a areas with concentrated local single mother earlier this summer needs, including Dallas/ “The COVID-19 pandemic Fort Worth, Los Angeles and New has made us think differently about York Metro. how we serve our communities as Caliber invites the public to an organization,” said Steve Grim- nominate a worthy health care shaw, CEO of Caliber. “We have worker, medical support staff or seen communities banding together first responder in these markets to during this challenging time, yet we receive a refurbished vehicle from recognize that there are still needs a local Caliber center and teamhow they’ll get to work and elsewhere for daily necessities without reliable transportation. Caliber aims to help ease this hardship by gifting newly refurbished vehicles to deserving recipients.
mates. Nominations can be made at calibercollision.com/restoring-you and will be received through mid-October. Since 2012, Caliber has teamed up with its insurance partners to obtain and restore hundreds of vehicles to pre-accident condition. The company has gifted more than 500 vehicles to veterans, active duty service members and others in need of reliable transportation. Today, Caliber is directing its efforts to aid crucial front line health care workers and first responders, while inviting the public at large to participate by nominating those who have given so much to communities during this time of need. For more information about Caliber’s program for medical workers, medical support staff and first responders, go to www.calibercollision.com/restoring-you. To learn about Caliber’s history of community involvement, including NABC Recycled Rides®, visit www. caliber collision.com/about-us/community -involvement. Source: Caliber Collision
More Shops Invoicing, Being Paid For Labor to Inspect Seat Belts, According to ‘Who Pays for What?’ Surveys Given that automaker procedures often call for inspections of seat belts in vehicles that have been involved in a collision, industry trainer Mike Anderson is glad to see continual growth the past four years in the percentage of shops being paid for this procedure.
of the time” by the eight largest insurers when they perform and bill for the procedure on behalf of their customers. That’s up from just one in four back in 2016, and up even from just last year when about onethird of shops reported being paid regularly.
“I think the ‘Who Pays’ surveys are helping raise awareness of the need for this procedure,” — Mike Anderson But he also says he’d feel better if the pace of growth was even faster. “This is one of the procedures I’m most concerned about,” said Anderson, of Collision Advice. “The data from our ‘Who Pays For What?’ survey in July, while heading in the right direction, still indicates to me that too few shops are researching OEM repair procedures and so are unaware of the need to inspect seat belts.” About two in five shops now say they are paid “always” or “most
Part of that change is based on a decline in the number of shops that acknowledge they’d never sought to be paid for the procedure. Back in 2016, more than 62% of shops said they had never billed for inspecting seatbelts. That’s fallen to 41% this year. “I think the ‘Who Pays’ surveys are helping raise awareness of the need for this procedure,” Anderson said. “One of the things I’ve learned in researching OEM procedures is that many automakers include two procedures related
to seat belt inspections. One may be a seat belt precaution, generally a list of what you need to look for if a vehicle has been in an accident. The other is a seat belt inspection, procedures required when you reinstall a seat belt removed as part of repairs.” The latest quarterly “Who Pays for What?” survey, which Anderson conducts in conjunction with CRASH Network, is now open through the month of October. It focuses on scanning and ADAS calibration procedures, but also surveys shop labor rates and their billing practices relative to shop supplies, like plastic repair materials and seam-sealer. Shops can take the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/ r/9LXYVTN Survey participants receive a report with complete survey findings at no charge, broken down by region, insurer and DRP vs. nonDRP. The report also includes analysis and resources to help shops better understand and use the information presented. Anderson said the survey,
which will take about 15 to 25 minutes, can be completed by anyone in a shop familiar with the shop’s billing practices and the payment practices of at least some of the largest national insurers. Each shop’s individual responses are held in the strictest confidence; only aggregated data is released. The results of previous surveys are also available online at https:// www.crashnetwork.com/collision advice. Collision Advice (www. CollisionAdvice.com) is an independent training and consulting firm featuring some of the most respected and experienced experts in the collision repair industry. CRASH Network (www.CrashNetwork.com) is a subscription newsletter offering news and information not available from other industry sources. Source: Collision Advice
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80 NOVEMBER 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
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