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Northeast Edition New York New Jersey Pennsylvania Delaware



Sandy’s Total Economic Damage May Reach $50 Billion, 250,000 Flood-Damaged Vehicles Widespread power outages and subway shutdowns, added to the tremendous physical damage to property, may make Superstorm Sandy the second most expensive storm in U.S. history, according to the forecasting firm Eqecat. That would rank it right behind Hurricane Katrina. Estimates also suggest that Hurricane Sandy will rank as the nation’s second-worst storm for claims paid out by the National Flood Insurance Program. With 115,000 new claims submitted and thousands more being filed each day, the cost could reach $7 billion at a time when the program is allowed, by law, to add only an addi-

A parking lot full of yellow cabs is flooded as a result of superstorm Sandy on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 in Hoboken, NJ. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)

tional $3 billion to its already substantial debt. Eqecat said that the damage from See Sandy Damages, Page 23

Brindle’s Auto Body in St. Thomas, PA, Gets Home and Shop Double-Hit by Sandy by Melanie Anderson

Superstorm Sandy hit the northeast in late October, leaving thousands without power and leaving behind many damaged homes and businesses.

Dave Brindle, owner of Brindle’s Auto Body, 7318 Village Lane in St. Thomas, located in southcentral Pennsylvania, got a double whammy when both his business and his home, located about a half mile apart, got hit by Superstorm Sandy. The eye of the storm went over the area north of Chambersburg and concentrated in St. Thomas and Mercersburg, PA, according to the Franklin County Department of Emergency Services. “The storm took a path right through St. Thomas,” Brindle said of See Double-Hit, Page 22


Toyota Develops and Announces ‘Predictive Estimating’ Tool—Called ‘Game-Changer’ by John Yoswick

Representatives of Toyota drew multiple rounds of applause at the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) in Las Vegas in November as the automaker previewed what it is referring to as a “predictive estimating” system for its vehicles. Toyota’s Jerry Raskind called the system a “game-changer” in that rather than having an estimator start from a blank page and add line items based on what they know or can locate about OEM procedures, the new system begins with a complete estimate that incorporates all necessary parts and Toyota-recommended procedures, along with links to all related Toyota bulletins and published documentation.

The system allows the user to adjust the estimate, such as changing the type of part to be used or omitting a procedure not necessary based on the actual damage to the vehicle. Repairs can be substituted for parts replacement. But Toyota believes Jerry Raskind the system will help ensure estimates are more likely to be completed based on the automakers’ prescribed procedures. “They’re more likely to include all the appropriate repair methodologies, procedures and parts, and won’t miss any of the key repair items,” Raskind said. See Predictive Estimating, Page 14

SEMA Panel Discussion Reviews InsurerBacked Parts Ordering in Other Countries by John Yoswick

The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) held a variety of training sessions and panel discussions aimed at collision repairers during the SEMA show in Las Vegas in November. Among the best-attended was one entitled, Bidding Wars, in which collision industry representatives from Australia, New Zealand and Canada discussed what they have seen in their countries after an insurer mandated use of a particular David Newton-Ross electronic parts procurement system. “We’re not going to tell you what’s going to happen here in the United States,” David Newton-Ross, editor of a trade publication in Aus-

tralia, said as he opened the session. “We’re going to tell you what’s happening in other countries. What happens here is up to you.” Rex Crowther, who sold his two New Zealand shops in 2008 and is now editor and publisher of a collision repair trade magazine in that country, said PartsTrader launched there in 2005, and use of it was manRex Crowther dated initially by one large insurer. With no domestic automakers and a vehicle population that averages 13.5 years in age (compared to 11 years in the U.S.), used parts dominate the New Zealand market, accounting for between 55% and 65% of all parts used, Crowther said. Mark-up on those parts dropped from 25% to 20% See Other Countries, Page 20

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Brindle’s Auto Body in St. Thomas, PA, Gets

Home and Shop Double-Hit by Sandy . . . . . 1

Carsmetics Opens Third Location in

New England . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

CARSTAR Gives Gift Cards for Vehicle

Repairs at Annual Turkey Derby . . . . . . . . 43

Bohlen’s Tech Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

VIP Auto Body Dedicates Plaque for 50th Anniversary of NY Fire that

Killed Six Firefighters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 COLUMNISTS

Attanasio: My Crazed 36 Hours at SEMA . . . 32

Cole’s Collision Centers Opens 4th Site

Franklin: What’s the Value of a Lifetime

Dealers Hit by Sandy Worry about Insurance,

Insider: Customer Service Has the Power—

in New York . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

Inventory, Non-insured Business Losses. . 13

Duo Arrested in Clearfield, PA, Bulglaries,

Including Body Shop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Ellinger Again Named AAA Top Shop

in New York . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

EPA Starts Radiation Abatement

at Former Atomic Project Site,

Now a Body Shop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

Fire burns several cars in PA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

H&V Collision Centers Contributes

Customer? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

Don’t Perfume the Pig . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53


4th Generation Body Shop Celebrates

135 Years in Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

Automaker, OEM and Recall News . . . . . . . . 30 BASF and Finishmaster Win New Trial

in Paint Lawsuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

Chess Teaches How to Make More Money

Without Spending $$$$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

Vehicle to Recycled Rides. . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

Clemson Students Unveil Deep Orange 3

2012 ACE Award . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

Education Foundation Awards $50,000

Talks PartsTrader . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Going Green Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

Keenan Auto Body West Wins

LIABRA Meets on Labor Laws and

Many Shops Still Closed in Aftermath of Sandy . 3

at SEMA 2012 Show . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

Makeover Grants at SEMA . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Says GRC-Pirk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

Massachusetts and NY Dealers Sue

Guilty of Junk Thinking? ‘How to Think

Massachusetts Shops Get EPA Grants . . . . . 10

Honda’s ProFirst Shop Recognition

Tesla Motors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

MD’s Mark’s Body Shop Releases

Car-O-Liner Video. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

PA Emissions Inspection Bill Passes Senate . . 4

PA Governor Signs “Chop Shop Bill” Into Law,

Better’ at SEMA 2012. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

Program Puts Shops First . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

How Marketing Can Help Customer-Pay Sales. 44 Matrix Wand Captures New Collision Product

Award at SEMA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

Shop Inspections During Business Hours . 55

Michigan Auto Supplier Adds Jobs

Provide Exceptions for Dealers When

New Alabama Association to Kick off

PA Vehicle Code is Amended to Exclude

Rich Evans and Crew Unveil 2004 H2

PA Vehicle Code is Also Amended to

Statement of Origin Exists. . . . . . . . . . . . . 54

Totaled Vehicles’ Assignment of Title

for Corvette Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Advertising Campaign . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

Hummer at SEMA 2012 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

Requirements for Insurers . . . . . . . . . . . . 54

SCRS Claims SEMA Now the Premier

Certificate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

SEMA Awards Best New Cutting-Edge

Paul’s Auto Body Receives Appreciation

Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Michael Vick’s

Flat Tire Draws a Crowd at Body Shop . . . . 6

Possible Body Shop Burglar Gets Hit by a Car. 4

Ridgewood’s ‘Lightly’ Radioactive Legacy

Prompts EPA Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

Robert Matthews, Owner of Matthews

Auto Body, Died November 4 . . . . . . . . . . 10

Sandy’s Total Economic Damage May Reach $50 Billion, 250,000 Flood-Damaged

Vehicles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

Students and their Cobra at NY’s

Show for Collision Repairers. . . . . . . . . . . 31

Automotive Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

SEMA in Pictures: Car Candy . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

SEMA Panel Discussion Reviews Insurer-Backed Parts Ordering

in Other Countries. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

Toyota Develops and Announces

‘Predictive Estimating’ Tool—Called

‘Game-Changer’. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

WD-40 Keeps on Truckin’ When it Comes

When Hurricane Sandy struck the Caribbean and Eastern United States in late October, she left behind $52.4 billion in damage and a couple of hundred fatalities. Sandy touched land in Atlantic City, NJ, and wrought havoc on the Jersey shoreline and throughout New York City, causing severe flooding and a loss of electricity. With such a vast amount of damage, collision shops in the area affected have taken a huge hit. Ed Kizenberger, Executive Director of LIABRA (Long Island Auto Body Repairmen’s Association), notes that Hurricane Sandy was “one of the most catastrophic, weather-related events that the collision industry has had to endure.” He notes that many shops in the NYC area are still closed, due not only to flooding and a lack of electricity, but also because of the damage sustained to equipment, computers, etc. The largest challenge that owners currently face is the fact that many live near their shops, so they are working on restorations for both their businesses and their homes. In addition to facing up to six feet of water, shops also have to contend with the partially or fully repaired vehicles in their facilities that were flooded during

to Helping Others . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

the hurricane. Most of the vehicles that sustained damage from the storm have been declared total losses, but there are some more fortunate whose vehicles were damaged by felled trees and debris, and undamaged shops are starting to process these repairs, though there is a devastating backlog due to the sheer volume of damaged vehicles. Though Sandy hit hardest in NJ and NY, her effects were also felt farther north. While Al Brodeur’s Auto Body, Inc. of Marlborough, MA, never lost power, Molly Brodeur notes, “We have definitely noticed an uptick in business since the storm—a lot of damaged panels from debris, but we haven’t had any issues with parts or receiving products in a timely manner since the storm.” According to Jeff McDowell, President of AASP/NJ, many shops in NJ have suffered severe damage as a result of the storm. All low-lying areas were hammered, and many continue to be closed due to lack of power even now, three weeks later. Recovery efforts are still ongoing. McDowell notes that tens of thousands of vehicles were affected by the storm, causing an extreme back-up in repairs, especially since so many shops are currently out of operation. Many of these vehicles have been

Publisher & Editor: Jeremy Hayhurst General Manager: Barbara Davies Assistant Editor: Melanie Anderson Contributing Writers: Tom Franklin, David Brown, John Yoswick, Rich Evans, Janet Chaney, Toby Chess, Ed Attanasio, Chasidy Sisk Advertising Sales: Joe Momber, Sean Hartman, Jay Lukes (800) 699-8251 Sales Assistant: Kristy Navarro Art Director: Rodolfo Garcia Serving New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware

Acura of Westchester . . . . . . . . . . 20 Amato Agency. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Audi Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . 54 Auto Data Labels. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Auto Land Hyundai-Suzuki . . . . . . 12 BASF . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . 45 Car-Part Pro. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Central Avenue Chrysler-JeepDodge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Chief Automotive. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Classifieds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 DCH Family of BMW Stores . . . . . 33 Empire Auto Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Equalizer Industries. . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Ford Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . 48 Fred Beans Parts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Garmat. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Glanzmann Subaru . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Hackettstown Honda. . . . . . . . . . . 18 Haydell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Healey Hyundai. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Honda-Acura Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28-29 Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers. 47 Jaguar Wholesale Parts Dealers. . 55 Kia Motors Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Koeppel VW-Mazda. . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Lexus Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . 53

See Shops Still Closed, Page 18

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



by Chasidy Rae Sisk

Indexof Advertisers


Many Shops Still Closed in Aftermath of Sandy

Matrix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Maxon Hyundai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Maxon Mazda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Mazda Wholesale Parts Dealers . . 51 MINI Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . 44 MOPAR Wholesale Parts Dealers . 35 Nissan/Infiniti Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Nucar Mazda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Plaza Auto Mall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Porsche Wholesale Parts Dealers. 50 PPG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Reliable Automotive Equipment . . . 8 SCA Appraisal Company . . . . . . . 14 Scion Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . 40 Security Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep . . . . 7 Solution Finish. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Stadel Volvo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Star-A-Liner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Subaru Wholesale Parts Dealers DE, South NJ, PA . . . . . . . . . 16-17 Subaru Wholesale Parts Dealers North NJ, NY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Thompson Organization . . . . . . . . 39 Toyota Wholesale Parts Dealers . . 38 Tsunami Compressed Air Solutions. 4 Volkswagen Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Volvo Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . 46 | DECEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS 3

Massachusetts and NY Dealers Sue Tesla Motors

Dealers in Massachusetts and New York are suing to shut down Tesla Motors stores they say run afoul of franchise laws and consumer protection measures in their states. The Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association and some of its dealers recently filed a complaint in Norfolk County Superior Court seeking to shut down Tesla’s store in the Natick Mall in suburban Boston. A request for a temporary restraining order was rejected, but a hearing on whether to issue a preliminary injunction was scheduled on Oct. 25. In New York, the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association and one of its dealer members sued Tesla and the state Department of Motor Vehicles in the New York State Supreme Court. The California electric-vehicle maker, which models its retail approach on the Apple store experience, operates 18 U.S. retail locations in 11 states and the District of Columbia. Company officials have said they are working within the limits of state and local laws at all locations. C

Paul’s Auto Body Receives Appreciation Certificate

Possible Body Shop Burglar Gets Hit by a Car

A 60-year old man in Northampton, MA, was hospitalized in critical condition after being hit by a vehicle in early November and is also the subject of a police investigation into a possible burglary at an outbuilding at Wayside Auto Body just prior to the accident. Police say Paul Gillis was seriously injured in a pedestrian accident and is possibly connected to the break-in that was reported just minutes before the accident. “We are not sure of the exact circumstances yet,” Lt. Kenneth Watson said of the reason why the man may have been inside the outbuilding. Police received calls about a suspicious person believed to be breaking into the building shortly before Gillis was struck. Capt. Scott Savino said witnesses spotted the suspect leaving the vacant outbuilding with a white bag in his hand just before the accident occurred near Wayside Auto Body. The driver stopped at the scene and waited for police. Northampton police have had “several contacts with Gillis over the years,” but declined to elaborate on the nature of those contacts.

Students and their Cobra at NY’s Bohlen’s Tech Center

Paul’s Auto Body in Ellwood, PA, on Nov. 2 received an Appreciation Certificate from Mayor Anthony Court for his services to the Ellwood City community. The owner of the business is Doug Weingartner whose family has owned and operated the business for 75 years and is still going strong today.

BOCES students put together a 1987 Mustang 5.0 engine and a five-speed transmission in a 1965 Shelby Cobra replica body as a class project at the Bohlen Technical Center in Watertown, NY. BOCES purchased a replica Cobra MK3 roadster kit seven years ago, intending to use it in several classes. “Auto body, auto tech, welding, visual

Mayor Court, left, presenting the certification to Paul’s Auto Body Shop

When asked how fast, Berger laughingly said “55 in a 55 mile-an-hour” zone

The certificate stated congratulations to the family for its years of service that has been provided to the Ellwood City Community. It later states, “A business, such as yours, serves as a REMINDER to others, that with dedication, hard work, and a true commitment, businesses can thrive, regardless of the location.”

communications, electrical wiring—it’s been a full gamut of different people working on the car to get it to the point where it’s at today,” said Russ Berger, principal of the technical center. The parts cost about $20,000, but the replica roadster could go for around $25,000. Berger noted that the kids at BOCES are miles ahead because of it.


PA Emissions Inspection Bill Passes Senate

SEMA-supported legislation to provide a 10-year emissions inspection exemption for vehicles never before registered in Pennsylvania or any other jurisdiction was approved by the Senate. The bill now moves to the House Transportation Committee. Current law only exempts new vehicles that have less than 5,000 miles on their odometer for one year after their first registration. The bill acknowledges that it is senseless to test newer vehicles, the results of which demonstrate no significant air-quality benefits. The idea behind exempting any class of vehicles is to reduce costs while not losing appreciable emissions reductions. This strategy builds support for emissions-inspection programs, but also directs finite resources to where they will be most valuable in cleaning the air. The measure still requires that the newest 10 model-year vehicles be subject to visual anti-tampering inspections for the presence of emissions-control components installed on the vehicle by manufacturers. For details, visit the SEMA Action Network (SAN) website. For more information, contact Steve McDonald at

Carsmetics Opens Third Location in New England

Carsmetics’ new 9,600-square-foot collision repair facility in Attleboro, MA, is the company’s third location in New England. Carsmetics Expert Accident Repair is a chain of collision repair shops based in Tampa, FL. The shop will focus on fast-track repairs, drivable damage on vehicle panels, bumpers, fenders, hoods and wheels that can be repaired within a two-day cycle time. Carsmetics now operates more than 25 locations in Florida, California, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.

Fire burns several cars in PA

Investigators are trying to figure out what caused several cars to go up in flames at an auto body shop in Huntingdon Valley, PA. The fire happened Nov. 11 on the 2900 block of Franks Road in Lower Moreland Township. When firefighters arrived around midnight, they found four cars engulfed in flames. They got the fires under control quickly. There are no reports of injuries. Investigators are not saying at this point if the fires are suspicious.

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“The last thing you do to a car is the first thing you see.” — Sam Foose (Chip’s dad)

My dad taught me to demand the very best of everything—from the wheels on up to the finish. Fortunately, BASF shares our passion and delivers. World-class finishes, outstanding durability and industry-leading color tools all back up that For more information, scan the QR code with claim. Like me, BASF knows that you never get your smartphone. If you do not have a QR a second chance to make a first impression. code app, it can be downloaded for free. To learn more, visit © 2012 BASF Corporation | DECEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS 5

VIP Auto Body Dedicates Plaque for 50th Anniversary of NY Fire that Killed Six Firefighters In late October, over 100 friends and family members paid tribute to the 50th anniversary of a fire in Maspeth, NY, that took the lives of six firefighters. The plaque and dedication ceremony took place at the location of the 50-year-old fire, now home to VIP Auto Body. “We thought we had it under control,” said John Killcommons, a now-retired FDNY member who was there the night of fire. Killcommons, 78, said he was lucky to make it out that night, stressing that as crews continued to take water to the fire, it just grew brighter and stronger. “That’s when the wall came down.” Killcommons said that two of the firefighters who passed in the fire had joined the department with him two years earlier. “It was a sad day, but here we are fifty years later,” he said. Killcommons said that the event would not have been possible without the help of Peter Keanne, the auto shop’s owner, who learned of the fire while doing renovations on the building several years ago. On October 26, 1962, a fire broke

out at the former site of the Sefu Soap and Fat Company on 56th Road – now VIP Auto Body - killing Captain William Russell, Firefighter Richard Andrews and Firefighter James Marino from Engine 325; Firefighter Richard Gifford and Firefighter George Zahn from Engine 238; and Firefighter Francis Egan from Ladder 115. Lorraine Zahn, 50, whose father George died in the fire when she was two months old, said she felt overwhelmed by the ceremony. “I think it’s a wonderful thing,” Zahn said. “And I feel like it’s been a long time coming.” As the audience prepared for the plaque unveiling, Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano reminded attendants how dangerous a firefighter’s job is. “This fire is a very sobering reminder of that,” he said. However, he also pointed out that the plaque’s dedication would educate others who did not know the firefighters who lost their lives at the site 50 years ago. “We place the plaque on the wall so that members of the community will see and always remember those who came 50 years ago and today,” he said.

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Solito was no longer worried about her driveway when she found out whose car was in the way. Solito invited Vick into her gym, where dozens of children were working on becoming athletes themselves. There were more than 100 kids at the facility. Pictures were snapped. “He was very nice. There were little ones just hanging off his leg,” Solito said. “He told them if they worked hard, it would pay off.” Both she and Derrickson had nothing but good things to say about the NFL quarterback. “He said he would send me a jersey and some tickets,” Derrickson said. “He was so down to earth. It was a pretty neat experience.” Vick, whose mother lives in Virginia, told them both he might even stop back by on one of his trips south. “It was such a cool experience,” Derrickson said. The brief stop was not Vick’s first visit to Delmarva. Two years ago, Vick, who pleaded guilty to dogfighting charges in 2007, spoke to students at Snow Hill High School about making positive choices.

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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick made an unplanned stop in Berlin, MD, on his way to Virginia Beach, VA, when a tire on his Lexus went flat. Vick rolled up on Route 113, directly across the street from John’s Auto Body in Berlin. Berlin is a town of about 3,500 near Ocean City. Workers from the shop didn’t know who Vick was, but the owner, an Eagles fan, did. When the football player walked into the office of the body shop, staff members were more concerned about whether they could fix the tire than who their customer was. “I knew right away,” said shop owner John Derrickson. “I’m an Eagles fan. I walked up to see what was going on and I said, ‘Do you know who this is?’ “ As he and his mechanics worked to bring the Lexus across the highway to the shop, Carmella Solito of the adjacent Twisters Gymnastics came out to see what was going on. “She came out with her hands on her hips and wanted to know why we were blocking her driveway,” Derrickson said, laughing.

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Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Michael Vick’s Flat Tire Draws a Crowd at Body Shop

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LIABRA Meets on Labor Laws and Talks PartsTrader by Chasidy Rae Sisk

The Long Island Auto Body Repairmen’s Association (LIABRA) met Oct. 16 at Levittown Ford on South Broadway in Hicksville, NY. This meeting focused largely on the labor laws established by the New York State Labor Department with a miniseminar explaining how to properly run your collision repair business to avoid costly encounters with the Labor Department, an important topic Ed Kizenberger since the NYS Labor Department has specifically targeted the collision repair industry for audits. Other topics included LIPA Energy Efficiency Rebates and Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s ARMS Auto Technology. Ed Kizenberger, Executive Director of LIABRA, began the meeting by talking about PartsTrader. Because of the many complaints that PartsTrader causes inefficiency, PartsTrader released an efficiency study

on Oct. 9 claiming they have addressed their efficiency problems and the newly-increased efficiency of the program will allow shops more free time; however, Kizenberger claims their study is not transparent because the bottom line is that PartsTrader “really does adversely affect your business” by negatively impacting parts profits. Moreover, this program will not cease with one insurance company but will expand to others as well. Because of this, there has been substantial pushback from the American collision repair industry, and Kizenberger has scheduled a meeting with New York State regulators and legislators to discuss why this program is a bad idea in the U. S. Next, Kizenberger briefly discussed a recent press release from Honda regarding their new website on parts,, which he lauds as being informative and userfriendly for shops as well as consumers. He also mentioned the 2003 Avery v. State Farm case where State Farm was sued for the use of imitation parts, resulting in a $1,000,000,000 judgment which was overturned in


Reliable Automotive Equipment, inc.

their appeal. The case stifled the rise in imitation parts until the appeal was won. As of Sept. 26, the plaintiffs brought the case to the Supreme Court concerning how the appeal was handled and accusing State Farm of RICO handling. After a quick reminder that the use of counterfeit and salvaged air bags is illegal in the state of New York, Kizenberger introduced LIABRA member Greg Smith for a new problem-solving segment to allow members to discuss issues they’ve faced in their shops. Smith and several members conversed about fighting for their money against insurance companies who do not want to pay. LIABRA plans to continue this segment in future meetings as they find it beneficial to discuss problems with others in the collision repair industry since, as Smith noted, “we all have the same problems.” A brief political presentation followed as Kizenberger insisted that it is important for trade organizations to be politically involved because it is useful to have legislators and elected officials who understand the issues

faced by this industry. He introduced two candidates for the Supreme Court, Joy Watson and Chris Quinn, who each spoke for a moment on their platforms. Mike LiPetri, from the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), then presented on LIPA’s 2012 Commercial Efficiency Program. The goals behind the program include reducing peak energy usage, deferring the cost of building new power plants, helping customers save money, and stimulating business. LIPA is offering rebates through December 2012 in order to boost the economy and to encourage shops to convert their large lighting Chris Quinn fixtures to more energy-efficient options. These options include T8 High Bay Fixtures which last longer and are more efficient than traditional T12s, as well as LEDs which are brighter and last longer. Though these options are more expensive, the rebates currently offered by LIPA can cover up to 80% of

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the cost in some cases. LIPA’s enhanced incentive for fall 2012 includes T12 replacement, the addition of LED High-bays (L800) and more lighting controls, such as daylight sensors and dimming ballasts. Rebates for lighting controls range from $20 to $150, while LED rebates begin at $300 and can be as high as $500. The rebates have been enhanced to increase the number of shops replacing their low-efficiency fixtures before many of these are outlawed next year. LiPetri continued by explaining the guidelines of the program. All projects require pre-inspections, preapprovals and post-inspections. The pre-inspection involves validation of existing conditions and an appointment with the customer. Measures that are installed prior to the pre-installation process are not eligible for rebates. Additionally, eligible lighting products must be listed on one of the following websites: Consortium for Energy Efficiency (, Energy Star (, or Design Lights Consortium ( The documents required to receive a rebate include a signed application, W9 form, cut-

The next segment was hosted by Jenelle Proudfoot of Enterprise Rent-A-Car about their ARMS program. The purposes of this program are to simplify rentals, work smarter and increase efficiency by enhancing customer service and streamlining communication between the shop, the rental company and the customer. The three tiers of the system are Repair Updates, Exchange and Customer Repair Status Notification. In the Repair tier, shops fill out the information pertaining to the repair and receive feedback. Exchange works with the shop’s estimating system to pull in labor hours, and ARMS can sync with Ron Thorn (l), Graziano Collision, winner of the 50-50 most management systems drawing with Ed Kizenberger as well. This will also proAll non-residential LIPA cus- vide Body Shop Reporting which tomers are eligible to participate in consists of a summary of vehicles the Commercial Efficiency Program. repaired, cycle times and so forth, Applications should be sent to retro- broken down by insurance or newconstruc- nies., and additional The final tier, Customer Repair information can be obtained by call- Status Notification, allows shops to ing the Energy Infoline at 800-692- text customers with the status of their 2626. repair, regardless of whether the cussheets, worksheets and invoices, in addition to assignment letters and 501 © 3 Certificates, if applicable. The cutsheets are required for all measures proposed or installed, and they serve to indicate what product is proposed for the project and to validate the measures performed.

tomer uses the rental company. Improving communication between the customer and the shop leads to be a better informed customer and a higher customer satisfaction rating. Shops can elect to have texts automatically sent at certain points in the repair process, or they can opt to send messages through the system at will. Soon, ARMS will be updated to allow shops to make rental reservations for their customers through the system. The ARMS program is intended to save shops time by minimizing the number of phone calls they receive daily. More information about ARMS can be acquired by visiting or by contacting In the meeting’s final segment, Bob Arnold and Bob Arnold Jr. of Arnold Standard Cost Control Services in Long Island, NY discussed how the Labor Department is targeting the auto body industry in their audits, specifically as a Tier 1 Audit Target. Most shops are ill-equipped to deal with these issues, but they need to be addressed because the authorities are aware and are using this information to shops’ disadvantage. Arnold stressed that it is important to look at | DECEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS 9

a shop’s operations because the industry standards have to change, and he suggests “every shop conduct internal procedural audits.” Several key points in these audits have been the requirement for employees to receive a 30-minute meal break after working four hours, employees must be paid for 15-minute breaks, and overtime has to be paid at time and a half. If the Labor Department audits a shop and finds that employees aren’t being paid for their 15-minute breaks, shop owners will be forced to reimburse employees for these 2.5 hours per week deficit in overtime pay, plus they face a 50% fine. If the oversight is deemed intentional or has been noted for a second time, the fine is increased to 100%. One attendee noted that when he was audited, he was forced to pay all present and past employees for the past two years for the 2.5 hours of weekly overtime. Arnold Jr. emphasized that it is “necessary to understand the law and what your responsibilities are as a business owner.” Arnold Jr. noted that recordkeeping is very important as it pertains to this issue. Employees are obligated to keep detailed records,

and such records can be used to prove a shop’s adherence to labor laws in case a disgruntled former employee brings said shop to the Labor Department’s attention. Additionally, employee handbooks should be reviewed and updated, if necessary, at least once a year. Arnold insists shop owners “must have your records in order and be in compliance so you come from a position of strength.” Some additional notes during the Question and Answers section with attendees included that Federal and NYS laws are nearly identical, as both are governed by wages and hours. Employees should clock in directly before starting work and clock out when they leave, and though breaks that last less than twenty minutes must be paid, employers do not have to compensate workers for breaks that exceed 20 minutes. Also, shops should complete the Labor Department’s forms and update them manually, at a minimum. Kizenberger promised to expand on this topic at LIABRA’s next meeting, leaving attendees with this comment: “Whining about it doesn’t eliminate the problem; we all need to know what our responsibilities are.”

Massachusetts Shops Get EPA Grants

The Toxics Use Reduction Institute will be working with auto body shops in Lowell, MA, and some other Bay State cities to reduce use of harmful chemicals after receiving an $82,000 federal grant. TURI at the University of Massachusetts Lowell recently received the grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s New England region. The funding is intended to educate auto body shops around Lowell, Springfield, Holyoke, Fall River and New Bedford about toxic chemicals commonly used in the industry and help them switch to safer alternatives. Toluene and acetone, which are used for spray-gun washing, are known to cause damage to the central nervous system, according to TURI. Brake cleaning aerosol products typically contain perchloroethylene, which is classified as a probable human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. It may also cause liver, kidney or central-nervoussystem damage, TURI says. The grant will enable TURI to assist 30 auto shops. TURI’s staff and field workers will visit the cities to identify the shops that are willing to

participate in the program. During the free three-month program that starts in January, the participants will receive safer brake-cleaning products or paintgun-washing systems as well as before and after air monitoring study and technical support. “The biggest concerns we hear about switching to safer products is that they won’t work as well and they will be harder to use,” Joy Onasch, community and small business program manager of at TURI, said in the press release. “That’s why the trial period with the safer alternatives and the technical assistance is critical to success.” The program is modeled after the Boston Public Health Commission’s Safe Shops Project. At Moreno Auto Body in Roxbury, one of the participants, the before-and-after indoor airquality monitoring showed a 94% decrease in the presence of acetone and an 88% decrease in the presence of toluene, according to TURI.

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Robert Matthews, Owner of Matthews Auto Body, Died November 4 in Ormond Beach, Florida

Robert E. Matthews, 85, died suddenly on Sunday, Nov. 4 in Ormond Beach, FL. He was born on Oct. 22, 1927, in Brooklyn, to Robert Richard Matthews and Beatrice Morell Matthews. He is predeceased by a younger brother, Bruce Matthews. Bob’s early career was as a Draftsman for Republic Aviation in Farmingdale, NY. He then opened Matthews “Mobile” gas service station and then Matthews Auto Body Repair Shop, which later led him to become the Founder of Matthews Buses Inc. and owner of Upstate Transit in Saratoga Springs, both later became wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Matthews Group Inc., which now includes Matthews Specialty Vehicles, Rifled Air Conditioning, and Matthews Mobile Media, all located in Greensboro, NC. He was happily married to Justine Hackett Matthews for 63 years, living first on Long Island and then later in Dansville, NY, where they raised their family of five sons. Bob retired in 1995 and moved to Florida and also spent many years traveling the USA with Justine in their motorhome. They later returned to Dans-

ville, to make it ‘home’ once again. Bob was passionate about aviation and was a licensed multi-engine and instrument rated pilot and a glider pilot. He put his love of aviation to good use when building Matthews Buses, making countless trips with customers to visit the Thomas Bus manufacturing facility. He took great pride in being a member of the Ancient & Secretive Order of Quiet Birdmen since1982. He also earned the coveted Distributor of the Year Award for excellence for Thomas Built Buses twice. He is survived by his wife, Justine Hackett Matthews; five sons, Guy (Betsy), Mark (Kate), Rob (Rhonda), Glenn (Lori) and Brad (Nancy); 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, to whom he was affectionately known as “Bunky.” A private memorial service was held on Nov. 17, followed by a celebration of life open to all friends. Memorial contributions may be made to Wounded Warriors of America at or via a mail form downloaded from this site and sent to: Wounded Warrior Project PO Box 758517 Topeka, KS 66675.

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Honda’s ProFirst Shop Recognition Program Puts Shops First by Ed Attanasio

and knowledge provide a platform for business and personal excellence, generating benefits for both the organization and the customer, including increased operational efficiencies, reduced cycle times, minimized repair mistakes, and most importantly, complete and safe repairs.” Honda said all shops that qualify as a ProFirst shop will receive a plaque, free access to Honda and Acura parts catalogs and bulletins, access to service and repair information, and placement on the company’s shop-locator tool on its consumer website:

When American Honda Motor Co. Inc. launched its ProFirst ( body shop recognition program on Oct. 17, the automaker was pleased with the positive feedback it received from dealerowned and independent collision repair facilities alike. Representing Honda’s updated approach to online information, ProFirst is fueled with the newest technology, partnered with names like OEConnection and I-CAR and backed by the power of one of the nation’s most popular automotive nameplates. The program’s mission is to promote comprehensive and safe repairs of Honda and Acura vehicles, and to provide support to shops that have demonstrated a commitment to high levels of customer satisfaction. There are a few requirements that shops must fulfill in order to qualify for the ProFirst program including use of OEConnection’s Collision Link tool and meet a level of IThe landing page for Honda’s new ProFirst website is CAR training. designed to help and market body shops that qualify Participating shops must also be designated as I-CAR Gold “As the new Honda and Acura Class Professional businesses and models become more and more sohave a minimum of one technician phisticated and technologically adwho has completed I-CAR’s Collision vanced, it requires a collision repair Repair for Honda and Acura Vehicles technician with higher knowledge and course (HON01), according to Gary skills to properly repair them,” Ledoux, the Assistant National ManLedoux said. “Partnering with I-CAR ager of Wholesale Parts Marketing for in this context helps promote training American Honda Motor Co. and thus promote safe and complete These requirements are a big in- repairs of Honda and Acura automogredient and one reason why I-CAR is biles. pleased to be a part “With a new program involving of the ProFirst pro- hundreds and hundreds of shops, we gram and Honda’s needed a new way to manage it and approach to train- the ProFirst website really kicks it up ing and recogni- a notch,” Ledoux added. tion. “It’s meant to “ makes it elevate the cus- quick and easy for the shop to enroll, tomer experience and then after qualifying, an easy way Gary Ledoux and enable shop through which to access the parts catemployees to work up to their full po- alog and service and repair informatential,” said John Van Alstyne, pres- tion. Automating the enrollment and ident and CEO of I-CAR. “Training administration process was one of our

he fixes a lot of Hondas in his part of main goals and we achieved it.” “Once a shop becomes a ProFirst Connecticut. “We see at least 50 Hondas a month, shop, we offer them the advantage of which is essenbeing listed in our shop locator site, tially 20% of all which is attached to our new conthe vehicles we resumer site ( that pair. We use Colliwe launched in mid-September,” sionLink at least Ledoux said. “Shops are very inter50–60 times every ested in this aspect of the consumer month as well and site, because it gives them more expoDan Stander we’re proud to say sure to an automobile brand with a we’re an I-CAR Gold shop with all of large number of units in operation.” Bob McSherry, owner of North our 14 production technicians trained Haven Auto Body in North Haven, CT, on Honda and Acura. That’s why we was the first shop to sign up for ProFirst last October. “As a body shop, I would have to say it is pretty slick,” he said. “The parts catalog is very helpful and we understand that Honda is going to be promoting both sites pretty quickly here, so that will be instrumental. It’s a win-win, because what Honda is saying is that shops that do the right thing are going to get recognized for it.” ProFirst is an excellent The site’s Shop Locator will allow customers to find tool, said McSherry, because Honda-approved body shops in their respective regions

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joined right away and are happy to be involved is such a new program.” Dan Stander is the owner of Fix Auto Highlands Ranch in Littleton, CO. Stander is active in the national industry associations such as NACE and was one of the first body shops to achieve Honda’s Level 3 and is happy

to be a part of ProFirst, he said. “The repair updates are excellent and perfect for us. We repair as many as 50 Hondas every month, so updated collision repair data is essential to our success. If we can’t find it in our estimating system, we know we can go there to find it. We’re excited to be a Level 3 shop on ProFirst and know it will make us a better shop as a result.” As the carmaker’s website manager, Ledoux’s job is now a little easier with the new site and its added technology. “We receive updated information from I-CAR and OEConnection every night. As soon as a shop becomes an I-CAR Gold Class shop, we know it right away. We also track a shop’s Collision Link usage on a daily basis so as soon as they qualify for ProFirst, we know that right away as well. The process is quick and easy for us, quick and easy for the shop, and the best part is, ProFirst costs Once the user inputs their zip code or address, they will the shop nothing. It’s a winfind a list of ProFirst Honda collision facilities within the parameters they’ve set, both quickly and easily win for everyone.”

Dealers Hit by Sandy Worry about Insurance, Inventory, and Non-insured Business Losses Mark Scheinberg, president of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association told NADA Used Car Guide that “some big issues right now revolve around insurance,” for dealers in areas damaged by Sandy. “Flood insurance was not available for most of the coastal property, so damage to property is on the dealer,” Scheinberg said. He also noted that FEMA does not help with business losses, so dealers must deal with storm impact on their own. The Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association has contributed $250,000 on top of the $1M provided by NADA to the Emergency Relief Fund of the National Automobile Dealer’s Charitable Foundation. Approximately 340 dealers in New York were affected, and about 25 percent still have issues, either with phone lines, power, or Internet (as of Nov. 8), officials shared. And it isn’t just physical damage they are worried about. “Many dealers’ insurance plans do not cover for losses from losing business days. This is a challenge since about 85 percent of dealers service employees are union and are guar-

anteed a 30 hour minimum work week,” Scheinberg told NADA UCG. As for the vehicles themselves, thankfully, Scheinberg explained that many new vehicles are covered by floorplan insurance, so many dealers are “not on the hook” for damaged vehicles. “There were a lot of units lost because any salt water damage on vehicles results in a salvage situation. Also, since dealers don’t have much real estate, many vehicles were stored on piers and in other areas near the coast,” Scheinberg explained. Penske Motor Group’s 36 dealerships along the eastern United States were impacted by the storm and lost, on average, three to four days of business, with the dealerships in the New York metropolitan area suffering a more prolonged impact. The most severe damage was felt in Jersey City, NJ, where three of the company’s dealerships sustained damage from flooding, including the loss of approximately 1,000 new and used vehicles which were in inventory. Power was restored to those dealerships on Nov. 6, and the dealerships have re-opened for business. | DECEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS 13

Continued from Cover

Predictive Estimating

As demonstrated, the system requires the user only to select the damaged portions of the vehicle (left front fender, for example), and all items related to that section of the vehicle are automatically listed, including such item as one-time use fasteners, necessary information labels, and procedures such as color sand and polish (with a link to Toyota’s bulletin indiRick Leos cating that is a procedure necessary even at the factory). “Everything you need to fix our cars correctly and to our standards is there,” Toyota’s Rick Leos said. “I don’t need all kinds of opinions on how to fix our cars when I have engineers who are telling me how to fix our cars. That’s who I’m relying on. So now if someone wants to challenge this stuff, we have engineers to give them the answers. It’s no longer just you and your opinion, and the guy down the street who ain’t doing it.” Leos, who said he is in discussions about the system with CCC Information Services (and has contacted the other estimating system providers), used the system at the meeting to prepare a $10,000 estimate in two minutes. He said he hopes to have the system completed on Toyota’s top four vehicles during the first quarter of 2013, and he said other automakers are interested in working on the project as a joint venture.

Response to Toyota tool When asked about insurer response, Leos said he believes the system will help smooth out some of the variances in estimating. “We have had some talks with insurance companies…and they’re not

negative on this at all,” he said. Herb Lieberman of LKQ Corporation called the system “the right thing to do,” but asked Leos about what he termed the “unintended consequence” of more cars being totaled but ending back on the road after being rebuilt to no standard. Leos pointed out that the system allows the user to adjust the estimate, for example, to use alternative parts. “But what if a car totals because we’re going to fix it right? Then that’s probably where it needs to be,” Leos said. “I can’t stop the rebuilders in this industry. They’ve been around for years. They always will be. Salvage value will actually go down, not up, if that’s the case. So the insurance company might want to throw a little more money into fixing that car.” One shop owner at CIC told Leos this could reduce both the number of estimators he needs and the experience level they would need to prepare thorough estimates. Iowa shop owner Bob Jones said he had considered something similar in years past, perhaps ordering everything needed for a corner hit as kit, for example, but that insurers would balk if the unneeded items included initially were removed from the bill later in the process. Leos reiterated that he envisions an estimator taking the estimate that the system generates out to the car to omit parts or procedures not needed for that vehicle’s particular damage. Some of the groups who earlier this year called on automakers to help the industry establish OEM procedures as the industry’s “repair standards” praised Toyota for getting shops this easy access to the company’s repair procedures. “We really appreciate what you’ve done to lead the pack,” Scott Biggs of Assured Performance Network told the Toyota representatives. “You opened the door for us,” Raskind told the groups who have pushed for OEM procedures as the industry’s repair standards. “We’re now

Duo Arrested in Clearfield, PA, Bulglaries, Including Body Shop

State Police in Clearfield, PA, have arrested two people in connection with a string of burglaries. Police arrested Michael Whitmore of DuBois and Rebecca Carfley of Curwensville for burglaries that allegedly occurred Oct. 16–18. Whitmore and Carfley allegedly burglarized Adam’s Golden Grill, Butch’s 101 Pit Stop

and Down River Restaurant on and Grampian Car Wash. Whitmore also allegedly burglarized Tibben’s Auto Body and Towing, 7630 Clearfield, in Clearfield on Oct. 16 or Oct. 17. Whitmore was charged and waived his right to a preliminary hearing. A preliminary hearing for Carfley has not been scheduled.


taking a bold step through it.”

New chairman offers perspective Also in Las Vegas, Mike Quinn of Caliber Collision completed his final meeting as chairman of CIC, and George Avery of State Farm offered his thoughts as the incoming chairman. Avery acknowledged that his seHerb Lieberman lection to lead CIC, which was made by those who have previously chaired the conference, has not been universally popular—particularly among those discussing it on “social media”— given his role at State Farm. “The past chairs did select George Avery, not necessarily the company that he works for,” Avery said. “The George Avery that accepted was the one who started as a painter’s helper and over the years has made his way through the collision industry.” Avery’s career at State Farm has now spanned more than 30 years. He is not the first insurance company representative to chair CIC. Joe Landolfi chaired the conference in 1995 and

1996 when he was an executive with Kemper Insurance. And Roger Wright joined AIG Insurance several months into his two years as CIC chairman in 2003 and 2004. Avery in Las Vegas reiterated his believe in the value of CIC, noting that the industry in Canada used CIC as a model for a similar organization in that country, and that the restoration industry on the property insurance side is “desperately today trying to get a CIC to get all stakeholders in the room.” “So we can’t lose sight that CIC is a place where we can all talk,” Avery said, “We all go to meetings with our own folks, our own disciplines, and that’s healthy and good. But having an opportunity to all get together is very important.” Avery said he is working on a system to give more participants at CIC “a voice” even if they don’t get up to the microphone at the meetings. He will chair his first CIC meeting on January 24–25 in Palm Springs, CA. That meeting is CIC’s biennial “planning meeting” at which the committees and broad subject matter for the coming two years are developed.

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Ridgewood’s ‘Lightly’ Radioactive Legacy Prompts EPA Action The Environmental Protection Agency is working to reduce trace amounts of radiation on a certain block in Ridgewood—1125 to 1139 Irving Avenue, near the edge of Knollwood Park Cemetery, according to a report at written by Lauren Kirchner. See parallel story next page. Now home to a deli, an auto body shop: Primo Autobody Repair & Sales, and a construction company, this block was the site of the Wolff Alport Chemical Corporation from the 1920s to 1954, according to a notice on the EPA website. Some of the minerals that Wolff Alport processed and sold contained thorium, a natural radioactive substance that can be harmful to humans in concentrated amounts. One of Wolff Alport’s clients, according to another report, was the Manhattan Project. Unfortunately for Ridgewood residents, the radioactive waste from that project, among others, has never gone away. For several years in the 1940s, Wolff Alport chemists dumped the concentrated thorium byproduct from the processed minerals into the city sewers. Tests of the area in the past several years have found contamination in and around the sewers, in the cement foundation of the buildings, and coming from the soil underneath the sidewalks on Irving Avenue and in the yard behind the building. In fact, when Wolff Alport employees were dumping radioactive waste into the city sewers in the 1940s, they weren’t breaking any laws, because no such laws existed at the time. They were simply following industry protocol, said Dr. Andy Karam, a health physicist and radiation expert working for the city. According to the EPA, the federal government only told the company to stop disposing of its waste in the sewer in 1947. That was the same year that Wolff Alport sold off all of its remaining thorium to the government “for military uses.” The company went out of business in 1954. The October 17 meeting of Brooklyn’s Community Board 4 in nearby Bushwick began with a presentation by several representatives from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the EPA, two of the city, state, and federal agencies that are partnering to address the site. Dr. Andy Karam, a health physicist and radiation expert working for the City, assured his audience

that the health risks posed by the radiation is incredibly low. Radiation is part of our natural environment, Karam explained; we all get about one mrem of natural radiation every day on average. We might also get another one mrem per day from artificial sources. (A chest X-Ray, by comparison, would give you 10 mrem, and a CT scan 1,000 mrem). The radiation that has been measured at the Wolff Alport site ranges from 0.1 mrem to 0.3 mrem. “To put that number in context, it takes about 100,000 mrem to give us enough radiation to make us sick,” said Karam. “As a scientist, I think it’s very safe to say that nobody’s going to get radiation sickness from Wolff Alport. There’s just not enough radiation there for that to happen, so there’s no short-term risk.” That said, the goal of the project is to reduce long-term exposure for people who work on the site every day, or for people who live nearby who might use the sidewalk out front every day. Mike Ferriola, an on-scene coordinator from the EPA working on the project, described a course of action in which he and his colleagues would first do a pilot study, laying down different types of shielding elements like concrete and steel on the ground, and taking measurements to determine which material will reduce the radiation to the lowest level. Both I.S. 384 and the Audrey Johnson Day Care center are within two blocks of the site, but the EPA representatives said at the meeting that readings taken throughout those buildings for radiation and radon gas had shown normal levels. Toward the end of the group’s presentation, a board member asked what had prompted “everybody [to] come out now and start to do something after all these years?” Karam assured her that there had been no change in the radiation at the site itself, and that there hadn’t been any negative health effects reported. The radiation detected in the area has been the same for decades, he said. Although the EPA is only just acting on the site now, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection has been taking readings of the site since the late 1980s, when the city first became aware of its troubled past. “The site itself hasn’t changed, but the regulations have,” said Karam. “And that causes us to go back and


look at it again.” EPA press officer Elias Rodriguez, in response to some questions, wrote in an email that “this action is being taken as a result of the State’s request for help,” a request which only came in August of this year. He also wrote that an exact budget has not yet been set for this project, but that “$320,000 has been authorized as a starting point.” A few days before Sandy hit, Hector Rodriguez (no relation to Elias), a mechanic working at Primo Autobody Repair & Sales, which is on the affected block in Ridgewood, confirmed that the DEP has been visiting the shop and conducting surveys periodically for the past several years. On Wednesday, he said, several DEP and EPA coordinators were out in front taking readings on the sidewalk. Rodriguez said he has been working at Primo for 13 years. When asked whether he was concerned about what he had learned about radiation there, he smiled and shrugged, and said he was not sure what to think. “They say they are going to fix it, though,” said Rodriguez.

Continued from Page 3

Shops Still Closed

declared total losses and have been moved to parking lots pending processing while recovery efforts are being made. As a result of such a large quantity of lost vehicles, rental cars are in an extreme shortage, and many people are without transportation at the moment since importing rentals from nearby states still is not enough to maintain supply for the demand of rentals. Despite the many challenges caused by Hurricane Sandy, NJ shops are determined to rebuild. Many AASP/ NJ members’ shops managed to escape damage from the storm, and these owners have volunteered their services to help their peers in the industry. McDowell states, “That’s one thing you can always count on. As much as we compete, we are all part of the same brotherhood. Sometimes the worst brings out the best in us. We have seen a lot of that since the storm, and I am proud of those who have stepped up.” Anyone interested in helping the NJ victims can send donations to Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, P. O. Box 95, Mendham, NJ 07945-0095.

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EPA Starts Radiation Abatement at Former Atomic Project Site, Now a Body Shop in Ridgewood Neighborhood, Queens, NY In the Ridgewood neighborhood of Queens, NY, a past Manhattan project site is finally receiving government attention to protect current workers and nearby residents after decades of elevated radiation levels at the building, website recently reported. The former site of Wolff-Alport Chemical Company includes a giant warehouse that currently houses an auto body shop and construction company and an abandoned lot— and has been contaminated with the radioactive element thorium since the 1930s, government officials said. In October, the Environmental Protection Agency started to work on shielding the site on the Ridgewood-Bushwick border. “We just got a referral from the state to perform shielding Aug. 31,” said Eric Daly, the EPA’s on-scene coordinator at Wolff-Alport, where the city has known of radioactivity since it did a study in 2007. A 2009 EPA survey determined there was “no immediate risk to peo-

ple, but that more evaluation was needed,” the agency’s spokeswoman Mary Mears said. Some work done by Wolff-Alport was performed under contract to the Atomic Energy Commission and the Manhattan Project, a research and development program that produced the first atomic bomb during World War II, according to EPA documents. The company, which operated from the 1920s to 1954, imported monazite sand on a railroad spur behind the facility. Wolff-Alport processed the monazite to extract rare earth elements, leaving thorium and to a lesser degree, uranium byproducts, according to the EPA. “These waste byproducts were disposed of into a nearby sewer and other wastes may have been buried onsite,” according to an EPA document released. The EPA, the city’s Department of Health, the state’s Department of Health, and the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation all were

unable to explain why the EPA is taking sudden action at the site. “There has been further evaluation that led the agencies to determine the EPA should take the lead,” Mears said. Daly and his colleagues are now building a fence on Cooper Avenue to stop people from entering the lot, and are testing various types of shielding (including placing steel plates and concrete on the sidewalk) to lower the levels of radiation for workers and customers at Primo Auto Body and Terra Nova Construction, he said. Daly and other EPA officials, as well as a spokesman from the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said no elevated radiation or radon levels had been found outside the site, reported. David Brenner, director of radiological research at Columbia University Medical Center, said the heightened radiation at the site did fall above the standard for the general public, but that the level was “not un-

common.” The level of radiation for a worker would fall at 120 millirem (the unit used to measure radiation’s effect on the human body) per year, 20% more than the recommended 100 millirem per year for an average person. A worker at Primo Auto Body, for instance, would raise his chance of contracting fatal cancer by 1 in 25,000, according to the information available. For workers at Wolff-Alport, as well as some local residents, the word of radiation and radon certainly warranted concern. “I’m scared. I’ve worked here for two years but my husband has worked here for 14 years,” Hilda Rodriguez, assistant to Primo Auto Body’s manager, said. “He’s had health problems and others say they’ve had heart problems, breathing problems. But we don’t know if it’s connected to the radiation.” Rodriguez said the workers felt confused about the risk they encounter each day. | DECEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS 19

Continued from Cover

Other Countries

under PartsTrader, Crowther said, and shops found themselves having to buy from many more different suppliers (Newton-Ross said he spoke with one New Zealand shop that now has 300 suppliers rather the 30 the shop bought from previously). Some suppliers were dumping low-quality parts through the system, Crowther said. The insurer offered a $3 increase in labor rates, but Crowther said that had been the first increase in three years and did not offset the loss of parts profit. In his own $4 million business in 2006, he estimated that use of the PartsTrader system accounted for a decline in margins equal to about 4% of his sales. He cautioned that the PartsTrader system used in New Zealand is different than the one being mandated by State Farm in some U.S. markets. Insurers in New Zealand (almost all of which have now adopted the use of PartsTrader), for example, can see all prices quoted in the system there. And much to Crowther’s surprise, he said, an online survey that his magazine conducted in late 2011 found that 53% of shops (and 48% of suppliers) felt that PartsTrader had had a positive effect on their business. “I tried to find these people, but I can’t find them,” Crowther said.

Canadian shops face challenges John Norris, executive director of Collision Industry Information Assistance, a trade association in Ontario, Canada, said a major insurer in that market now requires use of an John Norris electronic parts

New Alabama Association to Kick off Advertising Campaign

Alabama repairers are forming a new collision association called ALARISE (Alabama Automotive Repair Industry Society of Excellence) and are working on a new advertising campaign (TV and radio) during December aimed at consumer awareness. The association is also finalizing the details for a meeting for its charter/founding members, and planning a membership drive. For more information contact Steve Plier at (205) 623-9307 or email

procurement system. The insurer has about 22% market share overall (for comparison, State Farm has about 18% market share in the United States, and Allstate has about 10%), but as much as 50% market share in Northwestern Ontario. Norris said the parts system is forcing some participating shops to endure delays in delivery of parts from sometimes distant suppliers because only suppliers willing to pay the insurer a fee (generally 3% of the part price) on every part sold may participate. The insurer contends the system has reduced parts returns from 15% of all parts ordered to just 10%. “The program supports our (direct repair) shops in reducing cycle time and improving the overall cost of repair,” the insurer told a Canadian trade magazine. Norris is unconvinced, however. He cited a shop in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, that used to walk across the street to pick up parts from a Honda dealer but now must wait three to five days for parts to be trucked from a Honda dealer nearly 400 miles away. “He cannot go across the road and buy a part even if at the same price,” Norris said. “If the other supplier that is working with the insurer has that part, he must buy it from that dealer.” Norris said a shop in Thunder Bay, Ontario, has had to buy used parts from a supplier in Welland, Ontario, 933 miles away. Hamilton, Ontario, has a population of about half a million people, but shops there—Norris said—must order General Motors parts out of Niagara Falls, Ontario, which is 43 miles away; the delivery trucks pass 11 other GM dealers while bringing the parts to Hamilton shops.

Attendees share their views A brief question-and-answer session

BASF and Finishmaster Win New Trial in Paint Lawsuit

On Aug. 30, a federal jury awarded Custom Car Crafters of Austin, TX, $1.5 million from BASF and $750,000 from FinishMaster. Custom Car Crafter’s was also awarded $1.5 million in compensatory damages. However, on Nov. 5 the court reversed itself and agreed with BASF and FinishMaster that the jury’s verdict was inconsistent. It has has ordered a new trial, vacating the misrepresentation and fraud claims of Custom Car Crafters.


following the panel discussion included a variety of comments from attendees. Charles Lukens, co-founder of APU Solutions, a web-based parts procurement system company recently acquired by Solera (parent company of Audatex), said he felt the panelists lumped all parts systems together, unfairly indicating they all have a negative impact on shops. “Not in any scenario are we increasing cycle time and decreasing margins, so I think it’s an unfair statement to say all parts procurement solutions are doing that,” Lukens said. Bobby Price of Prices Collision Centers, which operates five shops in Tennessee, said he is currently on State Farm’s “Select Service” program but “expects not to be” if the PartsTrader mandate comes to his market. “I don’t need State Farm telling me how to run my business,” Price said. “I believe that that’s what this is about.” Price said he is working to build his company’s brand directly to consumers through increased marketing and advertising. Newton-Ross cautioned that shops in the United States should view the issue as something larger than just

State Farm and PartsTrader. “It’s every insurer,” he said. “Because if State Farm is successful with what they do, do you think the other insurers are going to sit there and let them have an edge in the marketplace? No, they’re going to have their own deal with PartsTrader or someone else.”

SEMA Attracts 60,000 Buyers SEMA organizers acknowledged that attendance at this year’s event was curtailed somewhat by Hurricane Sandy-related impacts on the East Coast. Still, SEMA CEO Chris Kersting said as the event was ending that close to 60,000 “buyers” attended SEMA, with about an equal number of others at the event, including exhibitors representing more than 2,250 companies, returning the show to about pre-recession levels. The “collision repair and refinishing” section of the show, now in its third year, featured about 160 companies, with many of the paint manufacturers and equipment vendors that sell to the industry located elsewhere on the massive show floor. SEMA will return to Las Vegas next year on November 5-8.

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Continued from Cover


the small town. The damage to his shop was worse than he initially thought. Brindle, who has been in business for more than 20 years, was able to save all the vehicles the shop had at the time because they noticed the roof coming down in time to save the cars. The storm blew the roof off and falling rafters damaged and pulled down walls. The building is now gutted and will need to be rewired as the storm also pulled out the power lines. Thankfully, no one was hurt.

The shop was without power for about 10 days and on Election Night someone who must have known the business was without its security cameras and alarm system broke in and stole several thousand dollars worth of

hand tools, Brindle said. Items missing include a paint gun, socket wrenches and other equipment. “Nothing like kicking you when you’re already down,” Brindle said. A police report has been filed. Brindle plans to re-open part-time in about two weeks due to the gracious offer of a competitor, a former employee who now owns his own shop working out of his garage. Brindle will use his


former employee’s garage for body work. The shop repairs four or five cars a week. Meanwhile, even though the paint side of the business wasn’t damaged, the shop is storing tools and equipment related to the collision side of the business in the paint section; so that side of the business isn’t open either. He’s not sure when his business will re-open fulltime. He’s hoping it could be three or four weeks, depending on how rebuilding goes. “It did not happen at a good time,” Brindle said. “We are in our busy season right now. We’re generally very busy with deer damage at this time of year. We have a very high population of deer in this area.” Storm damage “is hurting us,” Brindle said. “But we have good insurance (Nationwide) and I believe they are going to stand behind us.” As for community support, Brindle says it’s been awesome. “Friends, family and neighbors came out the day after and helped get our roof covered, cut some trees out of the road so we could get our cars

out of the driveway. One family even brought lunch for everyone. Then, as

soon as everyone was finished, they all moved to the shop to start cleanup. Dave Miner from Dave’s Auto Salvage brought a big crane over and we used that to pick the roof trusses out of the building. And most of our customers are being very patient and waiting on us to reopen.”


Autobody News on Facebook

Continued from Cover

Sandy Damages

the storm will likely be far worse than it initially predicted, largely a result of Sandy hitting the most densely populated part of the country. The firm doubled its previous estimate for the total bill and now says Sandy may have caused between $30 billion and $50 billion in economic losses, including property damage, lost business and extra living expenses. The cost to insurance companies could run as low as $10 billion and as high as $20 billion. The new numbers square with an earlier estimate from IHS Global Insight. IHS said Sandy could cause about $20 billion in property damages and between $10 billion and $30 billion in lost business. The firm pointed to two reasons that Sandy will leave a bigger bill than it first thought. Power outages are more widespread than in a typical Category 1 storm, Eqecat said. Sandy knocked out electricity for more homes and businesses than any other storm in history, according to the Department of Energy. The lack of subway service in New York City and blocked roadways

will also push the total cost higher, Eqecat said. Before the storm hit, Eqecat had estimated that total economic losses from Sandy could range as high as $20 billion and that losses to insurance companies could reach $10 billion. Payouts for insurance claims are typically a fraction of the overall cost to the economy. If the damages hit $50 billion, it would make Sandy the second-costliest U.S. storm after Katrina in 2005. Katrina’s overall costs were $108 billion. Taking inflation into account, that works out to $128 billion in today’s dollars. Even after adjusting for inflation, the high end of Eqecat’s damage estimates for Sandy would be higher than those caused by previous major storms. Andrew, which struck in 1992, cost $44 billion in today’s dollars, and the Ike storm of 2008 cost $32 billion. Estimates by a California-based risk modeling firm have placed insurer losses from Hurricane Sandy to as high as $25 billion. Risk Management Solutions projected that insurers may face losses between $20 billion and $25 billion. Initial estimates on property and casualty claims from the hurricane by Fitch Ratings were roughly $5 billion, similar to that of last year’s Hurricane

Irene. RMS said that it has two reconnaissance teams out surveying the damage. The firm has offices in Hoboken, N.J., where floodwaters stranded thousands of people. Eqecat’s estimates only cover private losses, not costs covered by the government through the National Flood Insurance Program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Max Mayfield, the hurricane center director during Katrina, said the costs to FEMA can be $2 to $2.5 for every dollar of losses covered by private insurance. A FEMA official said the government-backed flood insurance program expects to take a $6 billion to $12 billion hit from Hurricane Sandy, making it very likely the heavily indebted program will soon turn to Congress to raise its borrowing authority. Ed Connor, deputy associate administrator at FEMA’s Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, told the Treasury Department’s Federal Advisory Committee on Insurance that he estimates that Sandy would inundate the program with about 143,000 claims. Flood claims from Hurricane Sandy are expected to cost the National Flood Insurance Program at

least $8 billion, far above the roughly $4 billion the government-backed insurance program can currently pay, according to the Consumer Federation of America. According to the consumer group, Hurricane Sandy will give rise to 200,000 claims for wind damage and an additional 200,000 claims for flood damage.

Flood Damaged Vehicles While most reports say Sandy flooddamaged cars will not exceed 250,000, Black Book’s Ricky Beggs said Superstorm Sandy will have an even bigger industry impact than Hurricane Katrina did seven years ago, which he estimated at 640,000 units destroyed. The National Insurance Crime Bureau estimates than Katrina damaged ‘only’ 325,000 vehicles. Insurance companies so far concur with the lower estimates for Sandy. State Farm, Progressive, New Jersey Manufacturers, Nationwide and USAA have received about 40,000 car-damage claims as of Nov. 10. Allstate, considered to be one of the companies most exposed to insured losses from superstorm Sandy, said only that it expects October catastrophe losses to exceed $150 million. | DECEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS 23

Some Car Candy from SEMA


SEMA Awards Best New Cutting-Edge Automotive Products The Specialty Equipment Market Association announced the winners of the New Products Showcase Awards held at the 2012 SEMA Show on Oct. 30. The event recognized the most cutting-edge automotive products on the market or about to hit the market. This year, more than 2,000 new products were submitted for consideration. Criteria that ranked high on the judges’ selection for the New Product Showcase Awards included superiority of innovation, technical achievement, quality and workmanship, consumer appeal and marketability. The 2012 New Product Award Winners are:

Collision Repair & Refinish Product Winner: Matrix Wand 3-D Blueprinting System, Matrix Wand 3-D Blueprinting and Discovery System Runner Up: Goliath Carts, D1-A ‘Mobile Detailer’ Detail Cart Runner Up: PRO-TECH-IT, PROTECH-IT Reusable Covers

The Matrix Wand 3-D Blueprinting and Discovery System wand has cameras on both ends, and when passed in front of a damaged car, identifies damaged and ‘trusted’ areas. It allows for three-dimensional XYZ measurements, while the repair analysis software allows comparison of any two XYZ points. The D1-A “Mobile Detailer” from Goliath Carts utilizes the standard Goliath technology of a “closed system” that provides security and control of all tools and materials required by the detail and car wash departments of a collision repair shop. The cart is designed to minimized contaminants on the paper rolls and detailing supplies. Power tools can be connected on a mounted power strip. Pro-Tech-It was also granted a runner up spot for the Collision Repair and Refinish category for its magnetic car covers. The durable, reusable covers are designed to replace disposable car covers, reducing both costs and waste. SEMA recognizes a wide array of products, many of which aren’t confined to the collision repair industry.

Engineered New Product Winner: Mastershift, Magnum Paddle and Sequential Type Shifter Runner Up: Detroit Speed, 1964.51970 Mustang Aluma-Frame Runner Up: MSD Performance, MSD

Atomic LSTM, EFI for LS Engines

Exterior Accessory Product Winner: Husky Liners, Husky® 5th Wheel Tailgate w/ Backup Camera Mount Runner Up: Rampage Products LLC, Self Contained Electric mirror and power supply Runner Up: Hornblasters Inc., HornBlasters Jackass 228VX Interior Accessory Product Winner: Edge Products/Superchips, TrailDash Runner Up: Xtreme Outfitters, Cargo Assault Mount Runner Up: U-Ace Inc./Formosa Saint Jose Corp., 3D MAXDURA FLOOR LINER

Merchandising Display Winner: Extang/Truxedo/UnderCover, UnderCover Flex Runner Up: AMP Research, PowerStep POP Runner Up: Extang/Truxedo/UnderCover, UnderCover SwingCase

Mobile Electronics Product Winner: INTRAPHEX, Smartphone Integration Device (S.I.D.) Runner Up: Auto-i (Canada) Corp., Special OE Fit Camera for Commercial Van Runner Up: Brandmotion, Loftlite LED Interior Lighting Kit

Off-Road/4-Wheel Drive Product Winner: BedRug Inc., BedRug and BedTred for Jeep® Runner Up: Fuel-Tool, Fuel-Tool PT500 Fuel Transfer System Runner Up: Hi-Lift Jack Co., Hi-Lift Off-Road Base

Packaging Display Winner: Edge Products/Superchips, TrailDash Runner Up: MSD Performance, MSD Atomic EFITM, Master Kit Packaging Runner Up: Solution Finish Trim Restorer, Solution Finish, Rich Evans DIY Kit

Performance-Racing Product Winner: ATI Performance Products, ATI Cast Aluminum T-400 SuperCase Runner Up: Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, CTAP-001 Clutch and Throttle Activation Position Switch Runner Up: Zeitronix Inc., Ethanol Content Analyzer with Flow Through Sensor


Performance-Street Product Winner: COMP Performance Group, COMP Cams 4-Pattern Camshafts Runner Up: ProCharger, ProCharger i-1® supercharger Runner Up: COMP Performance Group, Inglese Sidedraft EFI System

Powersports Product Winner: K&N Engineering Inc., K&N Street Metal Intake System Runner Up: Warn Industries Inc., WARN Vantage 3000-S Powersports Winch Runner Up: AMSOIL Inc., AMSOIL DOMINATOR Octane Boost

Street Rod/Custom Car Product Winner: MSD Performance, MSD Atomic LSTM, EFI for LS Engines Runner Up: Powertrain Control Solutions (PCS), 6 SPEED VALVE BODY Runner Up: Circle Racing Wheels Inc., ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT STYLE BILLET WHEEL

Tire and Related Product Winner: Pirelli Tire North America, Pirelli Cinturato P7 All-Season Runner Up: Mickey Thompson Per-

formance Tires & Wheels, ET Street Radial Pro Runner Up: Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels, Street Comp

Tools & Equipment Product Winner: Miller Electric Manufacturing Co., MultimaticTM 200 TIG/MIG/Stick Welder Runner Up: Del City, Brake Line Wrench Kits Runner Up: Wray Products, The Stand Hand Plus

Van/Pickup/Sport-Utility Product Winner: CURT Manufacturing LLC, Easy Mount Electrical Brackets Runner Up: AnzoUSA, 2007 and up Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra 5 Function LED Tailgate Spoiler Runner Up: Elephant Stand, Elephant Stand Swivel Hitch

Wheel and Related Product Winner:Hotchkis Sport Suspension, Hotchkis Performance Wheels Model - H Sport Runner Up: Concept One/Klutch Wheels, Concept One Executive CSL5.5 Runner Up:Enkei Wheels, COMPE

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Call and ask us how we can sell these parts to you at aftermarket prices. If it doesn’t say MAXON on your wholesale parts invoice, you paid too much! Because you want to use OE parts, MAXON MAZDA can offer Genuine Mazda Collision Parts at aftermarket prices. You now have the choice to use OE parts and avoid the hassle of aftermarket “Like Kind and Quality.” Get OE Mazda quality for aftermarket prices on the following parts:

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The Honda and Acura Dealers Listed Here are HO N DA NE W YO R K




Babylon Honda

Lia Honda of Williamsville

Honda of Turnersville

We st B aby lo n

Wi l l i a m s vi l l e/ Buf fa lo

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Wex f ord


877-659-2672 716-632-3800

800-883-0002 856-649-1584


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Dept. Hours: M-F 8-6; Sat 8-4

Ray Laks Honda

Hudson Honda

Wes t S en ec a

We s t Ne w Yo r k



866-483-6917 201-868-9500

Dept. Hours: M-Thur 8-6; Fri 8-5; Sat 8-1

Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 7:30-3:30

Brewster Honda B re wst er

845-278-4177 Dept. Hours: M-F 8-5; Sat 8-4

Dick Ide Honda R och es t er

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

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

Clinton Honda

Dept. Hours: M-Thur 8-8; Fri 8-5:30; Sat 8-5


Lamacchia Honda Syra cu se

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

Lia Honda of Albany Alb an y

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

Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 7:30-5; Sun 8-3

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

Honda of Princeton

Dept. Hours: M-Sat 7-5:30

Shadyside Honda

Vi ne l a nd

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-5

Dept. Hours: M-F 6:30-5; Sat 7:30-3

Sussman Honda Ros ly n


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Mon tg om er y ville

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Honda of Tenafly

J.L. Freed Honda

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Rossi Honda

P ri nc et o n

Dept. Hours: M-F 8-4:30

Baierl Honda

Hi ll si de Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7:30; Sat 8-5

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


Apple Honda Yo r k

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Toyota to Recall 2+ Million Vehicles Worldwide for Steering, Water Pump Problems Toyota Motor Corp. said it will recall 2.77 million vehicles worldwide, including some of its popular Prius hybrid cars, for steering and water pump problems. It is the carmaker’s second multimillion-car recall in a little more than a month. Toyota is recalling the vehicles to fix a steering component that could be damaged by wear and tear, and 630,000 gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles to replace water pumps, company spokesman Joichi Tachikawa said. Many vehicles are targeted by both recalls, resulting in overlap. The recall affects 496,000 vehicles in Europe, 670,000 vehicles in the United States and 1.5 million vehicles in Japan. The defects, which Toyota said had caused no accidents and could each be fixed in an hour or so, could cost hundreds of millions of dollars to repair, according Deutsche Securities autos analyst Kurt Sanger. While the recall is widespread, the flaws are less serious and any damage to Toyota’s reputation would likely be limited compared with massive recalls in 2009 to 2011 when unintended acceleration problems in Toyota vehicles were the suspected cause of fatal crashes in the United States.

Jaguar Recall for XF Model

Jaguar is recalling certain model year 2010-2012 XF vehicles equipped with a 5.0L gasoline engine. The affected vehicles may have a fuel tank fuel outlet flange that may crack. The cracked flange may result in fuel leakage onto the ground. This leaking fuel, in the presence of an ignition source, may result in a vehicle fire. Jaguar will notify owners, and dealers will replace the affected fuel tank fuel outlet flanges, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on, or before, December 7, 2012. Owners may contact Jaguar at 1-800-452-4827.


Mack Trucks Get Recalled

Mack Trucks is recalling certain model year 2008-2009 GU, LEU, and MRU trucks, manufactured from Dec. 12, 2007, through May 8, 2008 and equipped with a certain focal mounted retarder control box. The control box may lose its electrical ground. If the control box loses ground, it may have localized overheating. This could lead to a vehicle fire. All affected vehicles, 260, were sold to one customer that has already been notified. An official owner notification letter was mailed to the one customer in early November 2012. Mack will replace the suspect control box on the affected vehicles, free of charge. Owners may contact Mack Trucks at 1-800-866-1177.

BMW Recalling 7-Series Cars Over Software Glitch

BMW AG is recalling 7,485 2005-07 7Series vehicles that may have a software glitch that may allow the doors to inadvertently open when they appear closed. BMW says “the door may unexpectedly open due to road or driving conditions or occupant contact with the door. The sudden opening may result in occupant ejection or increase the risk of injury in the event of a crash.” The German automaker said the recall covers vehicles equipped with both Comfort Access and Soft Close Automatic options, and built from August 2004 through September 2007. The automaker says no crashes or injuries have been reported related to the condition. The recall is taking place five years after BMW recalled vehicles in Japan and five years after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration first asked BMW about the issue. Even though BMW didn’t think it was a safety issue, it ultimately recalled the vehicles in Japan in September 2007. BMW made a software update as part of production change in 2007 to address the issue. In February, BMW agreed pay a $3 million penalty for failing to recall vehicles in a timely fashion.


Chrysler Recalls Jeeps for Airbag Issues

Chrysler is recalling certain model year 2002 and 2003 Jeep Liberty vehicles manufactured Jan. 9, 2001, through March 28, 2003, and 2002 through 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles manufactured Feb. 13, 2001, through May 23, 2003. A component in the air bag control module may fail causing the front airbags, side curtain airbags, and/or seatbelt pretensioners to deploy inadvertently while the vehicle is being operated. The recall covers Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty SUVs for a part in airbag control modules that may fail, according to documents filed with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Chrysler. A failure of that module could cause the front airbags or side curtain airbags to deploy inadvertently while the SUVs are being operated, increasing the risk of injury or accident, according to NHTSA documents. Of the vehicles recalled, 744,822 were in the United States; 49,430 in Canada; 21,828 in Mexico; and 103,465 outside North America, Chrysler said.

GM Investing $450 Million in Argentina Facility

General Motors Co. said recently it will invest $450 million to build an all-new global Chevy vehicle at its Rosario Automotive Complex in Argentina. The Detroit-based automaker said it would make the investment between 2013 and 2015. “We are pleased to be making this investment in Argentina, which remains a very important market for us,” GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson said in a statement. “We have a long, proud history here dating to 1925 and our latest investment is certainly good news for our GM Argentina employees, our extensive dealer and supplier network and the local economy.” The Rosario facility produced more than 136,000 vehicles in 2011.

December 2012

GM Unveils Faster, Fuel Efficient Engine for Corvette

General Motors Co. recently debuted its faster, more fuel-efficient small block, LT1 6.2-liter V-8 engine, which will power the new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette. In what GM is calling the most significant redesign in its history, the fifth-generation small block for the Corvette will include a direct-injection fuel system, continuously variable valve timing and active fuel management, or cylinder deactivation, all of which will help give owners more miles out of a gallon of gas. The biggest fuel saver for the Corvette is active fuel management, which GM has said can boost fuel economy up to 12% in cars. It saves fuel by deactivating four of the eight cylinders in light load situations, such as coasting on an exit ramp or cruising on the highway.

VW to Build New SUV in U.S.

VW Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn said the company expects to build an all-new SUV in the U.S. designed for American customers after the success of the new Passat sedan. A final decision is expected next year. Strong demand for the Passat, also designed for Americans, has transformed the U.S. into a growth hub for VW, which faces rough conditions in Europe. The company recently said its profit margins narrowed in the third quarter as pricing and demand for cars deteriorated. While operating profits were down for the first time this year, its results exceeded expectations. “Many of us wondered if VW’s long period of outmaneuvering and outperforming the horrible European market was going to come to an end,” said analyst Max Warburton at Bernstein Research. “Yet third-quarter results show little evidence of such pressure.” For the year to date, VW’s operating profit is up 2% at 9 billion euros, or $11.7 billion, and VW retained its forecast for slightly higher sales revenue and flat earnings this year.

SCRS Claims SEMA Now the Premier Show for Collision Repairers, Citing Traffic, Exhibitors

Half a decade ago, the SEMA Show was less than a blip on the collision repair industry’s radar. Those days are long gone as the show continues to solidify its standing as the premier event for the industry, with filled aisles, packed booths, a burgeoning number of collision-repair-related industries on the show floor, and an infectious energy that collision repairers just can’t seem to resist. “From our vantage point in the booth, you can’t help but notice the enthusiasm of the collision repair customers walking the aisles,” said Brian Shenk, director of marketing services for Sherman-Williams Automotive Finishes. “I think it’s because the Show is infused with the colorful, cool fun of the custom car segment, which carries over to collision repair participants. Two years ago, we moved our booth to the North Hall, home to the collision repair section, and we haven’t looked back since. Having a presence here has really paid off, and our custom paint group is totally on board, as well.” The SEMA Show is attracting in-

creasing numbers of collision repairers and exhibitors for a variety of practical reasons, too. At the top of the list is the search for alternative revenue streams, as more and more collision repairers understand the need to think out of the box when considering products and services that can increase their bottom line. At the show, they get exposure to these kinds of options, like customization and specialty paint work that often can be accomplished with a collision repairer’s existing tools. Vendors of products and services that align with a repairer’s core work, such as those related to mechanical repair, are also well represented at the SEMA Show. “Repairers that keep their eyes open to opportunity can walk the aisles of the show and get any number of ideas to diversify their businesses,” said Frank Terlep, owner of Summit Software Solutions Inc. “Reduced claims and increased consolidation are dictating that repairers refine their business model; this is the place to get inspired to do it,” said Terlep.

Jonathan Barrick, marketing manager for Global Finishing Solutions, has similar feelings. “Basically collision repair owners and managers can come to this show and find everything they need to improve their business,” he stated. “This includes the quality educational material that SCRS provides and promotes through Repairer Driven Education (RDE). Our company likes being here because the attendees seem so open to learning about new products. That makes the SEMA show the perfect place to illustrate what our company is all about. It’s a venue that allows us to show our personality and make a good brand impression. We’ve increased our booth space every year.” The benefits of expanded markets resonate throughout the exhibitor side, as well. “Our company has been coming to this show for many years,” noted PPG Senior Manager Business Solutions/Industry Relations Domenic Brusco, “primarily as a well-received provider of custom finishes for hot rods, motorcycles and other specialty vehicles. The traction that is growing in the collision repair section—which I think can be attributed in part to the work SCRS has done to build the industry’s identity at the show—is great for us because it also gives us the opportunity to connect with our collision refinish

business customers. It’s a nice synergy.” SEMA also exhibits a set of intangibles that adds to its allure. “The show brings together everyone that is an auto enthusiast, which makes it unique,” said Jeff Kern, president of Car-O-Liner, another company that has increased its booth size every year and was one of the first collision repair vendors to host a booth on the SEMA show floor. “Attendees get a sense of ‘we are all in this together’ and feel a part of a greater automotive-related whole, perhaps, they never would have gotten to experience otherwise.” SCRS Board Member Kye Yeung likewise sees benefit in the distinctive nature of the show. “Because the SEMA show includes all auto-related businesses, it provides a kind of neutral background which, for some reason, seems to encourage networking between shop owners,” he said. “I guess you could say it takes us out of the day-to-day mindset we fall into as we are grinding away in the trenches, so we can look at our competitors more objectively and appreciate what they have to offer.” Top-notch education of the type SCRS provides through RDE is yet another reason repairers find the show compelling—explaining why so many collision repair vendors have stepped up to support the program.

Michigan Auto Supplier Adds Jobs for Corvette Parts

A Michigan auto supplier, Continental Structural Plastics, which makes exterior body panels and structural composites components, announced Nov. 13 that it plans to expand its operations in Huntington, IN, creating up to 50 new jobs by 2015. The Michigan-based company will invest $6.3 million to renovate and equip its 203,000-square-foot Huntington facility to accommodate a new production line for the 2015 Corvette model body panels. Renovations on the facility, which currently manufactures products for other General Motors and Ford vehicles, is expected to be operational by next spring. “CSP’s growth reflects the proven strength of the Hoosier State’s automotive industry, a sector hard hit by the sluggish national economy,” said Dan Hasler, Secretary of Commerce and chief executive officer of the Indiana Economic

Development Corp. “However, the industry is on the rebound with Indiana leading the recovery thanks to our work in preserving a low-tax, pro-business environment,” Hasler said. CSP currently has 286 full-time employees in Huntington and has already begun hiring additional production, logistics, engineering and administrative associates. Founded in 1969, today CSP employs more than 1,890 people at six production facilities across the Midwest. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered CSP up to $300,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $50,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. The city of Huntington will consider additional property tax abatement at the request of Huntington County Economic Development. | DECEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS 31

Social Media for Shops

My Crazed 36 Hours at SEMA with Ed Attanasio

The late writer Hunter S. Thompson (known as the father of “gonzo journalism” and a long-time contributor to Rolling Stone magazine) wrote that he feared and loathed Las Vegas, yet he consistently returned there to get in various forms of trouble and test the limits of acceptable behavior. Thompson would have loved SEMA and other automotive industry shows, because they’re great events for reporters to cover and offer a wide range of opportunities to get into mischief. I know, because I have covered quite a few of these shows for many years as a freelance writer specializing in collision repair. I’m proud to say I survived them all. One year, I covered three in a row—SEMA, AAPEX and NACE, all in Las Vegas—and it nearly killed me. I know firsthand why many shops never attempt this schedule. After eight crazy 15-hour days and walking show floors for miles, I came down with a kind of walking pneumonia, which sidelined me for several weeks afterward. I’m not saying shows like SEMA aren’t fun. In fact, they’re a blast, but they can also be exhausting and if you don’t pace yourself, you can get sick just like I did. Because industry shows, in many ways, are races with the clock running. You have a lot to achieve in a very limited period of time (in SEMA’s case, five days), coupled with a plethora of fun events—like dinPeter MacGillivray ners, shows, cocktail parties, luncheons and even some wining and dining of clients or colleagues, in many instances. Show burnout is a common ailment. Too little sleep, not enough liquids (or maybe too many of the wrong type), sleep exchanged for gambling or other endeavors, too much walking in the opposite direction, fast food, caffeine and sugar, and it all leads to either mental or physical exhaustion if not handled properly. Peter MacGillivray is the vicepresident of events and communications for SEMA. He has attended

every show since 1987, so he has stories to tell and advice to offer. To avoid the feared SEMA burnout scenario, MacGillivray shares a few helpful tips. “We tell our people to get humidifiers and put them in their hotel rooms,” he said. “The air

Celebrities are always a big part of any SEMA show. Here I am with former Chicago Bears NFL star William “The Fridge” Perry as he represents Big Ass Fans (yes, that’s their brand name.)

here in Las Vegas is very dry, so it will help them to sleep. I always have one running in my room. Also get comfortable shoes, because you’re going to be walking miles and miles. And dress comfortably. We loosened up our dress code for SEMA employees two years ago and got rid of those suits. Now our staff wears buttondown shirts and they look and feel much more relaxed.” When you think about it, everyone at SEMA has a different agenda. As a writer, I need to find interesting things to write about. As an exhibitor, your goal is to sell product and meet with as many customers as you possibly can in a very limited time. As a body shop owner, you want to learn about all of the newest products out there in the market and purchase the ones that are right for your business. Since SEMA is not open to the general public (although many sneak in) everybody here has a distinct motive and plays a unique role. Trying to find a particular booth is like playing the board game Battlefield. I was guessing most of the time and walking in exactly the long direction without fail. Every time I was in the North Hall, the next booth I


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

wanted to visit was in the South Hall. I know SEMA has its own app, but why can’t they invent a GPS for directionally-challenged people like me? A handheld unit telling you that booth 17884 is approximately eight miles from where you’re currently standing and maybe design a route for you so you don’t have to zig-zag all over the Las Vegas Convention Center would be nice. One topic that seems to come up every year at SEMA involves the use of attractive (usually scantily clad) women to help exhibitors as they promote their products and services. Do they attract the kind of customers companies want, or are people simply flocking to your booth to ogle these beautiful ladies? MacGillivray explained that it’s a Catch-22, because the women will create traffic. But does it result in sales and/or can it damage the company’s reputation? “We encourage exhibitors to let their products speak for themselves. Anyone is going to appreciate a beautiful woman standing next to a car, lift or paint booth—but is it really beneficial to your bottom line? Many companies still use them and report it’s a useful marketing vehicle, but lately more and more are moving away from that strategy.” Celebrities are a big part of SEMA—with many doing appearances. MacGillivray said, “We get the big names who want to attend and in

we always accommodate them because they add a little buzz to the whole affair.” I always like to go around and see the celebrities representing exhibitors at their booths. This year I met former football star William “The Refrigerator” Perry (representing a company

Pretty girls are always used for marketing purposes at SEMA and always attract crowds of mostly men. These ladies were working the KIA booth as the carmaker unveiled its Super Hero Street vehicles

called Big Ass Fans), comic/ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, race drivers Danica Patrick (she’s even prettier in person and talked to me for at least 10 minutes), Dario Franchitti (3-time Indy 500 winner) and Mario Andretti; “The King of the Kustomizers”

Mitch (at right) and Tom Kelly from Crazy Paint proudly displayed their ’57 Chevy Blue Heaven creation at SATA’s SEMA booth. See for background on this vehicle

“The King of the Kustomizers” George Barris is always nice and spends time with everyone

most cases, they get in. Tim Allen, Jay Leno, Snoop Dogg, the guys from ZZ Top, race announcer Dave McClelland, the “Voice of NHRA,” and many more apply for tickets and

George Barris, the legendary custom car builder Gene Winfield and all of what I call the “paint/rebuilder stars” such as Mitch and Tom Kelly from Crazy Paint, Chip Foose, Rich Evans (who appeared at no less than five different booths) and Mickey Harris. Overall, I would have to say that my 36 hours of SEMA was a fun and fruitful adventure. The only thing I left in Sin City was my phone charger and about 200 business cards. I did win enough money playing poker to pay for my trip.

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Parts Manager | DECEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS 33

On Creative Marketing

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

What’s the Value of a Lifetime Customer? with Thomas Franklin

What is the value of a lifetime customer? Let’s just take 15 years. A typical driver has some sort of vehicle damage once every three to five years. If we count little parking lot scrapes and minor dents, three years may be just about right. That means a good customer might visit the shop five times in 15 years, but at least three times. How important is it that this customer becomes a repeat customer? Of course that depends on the size of the shop, the referral sources the shop relies on, and the number of repeat customers the shop relies on to maintain a steady, profitable business. A shop with many DRPs providing a steady flow of new customers may not be as concerned with repeat customers as a small to medium sized shop that needs at least half of all customers to come back again—and hopefully again and again. In just those 15 years, a repeat customer might generate $5,000 worth of business, and possibly much more. In his unique book on marketing, “Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got,” author Jay Abraham says: “Until you identify and understand exactly how much combined profit a client represents to your business for the life of that relationship, you can’t begin to know how much time, effort and ... expense you can afford to invest to acquire that client in the first place.” Cable, phone and other similar companies offer a low rate for the first

year to gain new users. It’s well known that repeat buyers and users become far more profitable as time goes on. How can this approach apply to a body shop? Visiting many shops over the years, I’ve often heard the viewpoint that fixing dings and small dents is a losing proposition. They say the time and effort just generating the paper work costs more than the small profit made for the repair. Obviously this viewpoint is not taking into account the lifetime value of a customer. It also overlooks the habit principle that says the number of repeat experiences determines how deeply a habit is ingrained in an individual. Just getting someone to come to the shop multiple times (without having a bad experience) will accustom that person to having a repetitive relationship with the shop. How deeply the habit is ingrained will also determine how resistive the customer will be to being pressed by his or her insurance company to go to their selected DRP shop. For many people, a strong, personal relationship is necessary to be willing to reject their insurer’s insistence on using a different shop than yours. So, how far would you go to get many, if not most, customers to become lifetime friends and customers? Jay Abraham says it starts with viewing the person as a ‘client’ rather than as a ‘customer.’ A customer is one who

purchases a product or service, but Jay notes that a client is defined as “a person who is under the protection of another.” He advises becoming a trusted adviser who they can look to for protection—in our case from predatory shops seeking obscene profits or making fraudulent claims, or insurance companies directing them to a shop that is more to the advantage of the insurance company than to the customer/client. I’ve seen the length some shops will go to, to find a less costly part or to provide service above and beyond what is generally expected. The customer/client loyalty to these shops is quite remarkable. But is there something more a shop can do to cement a lifetime relationship during that first visit to the shop? Many businesses now provide customers with a ‘reward’ card and department stores provide customers with a credit card only good at their store. Most reward cards just ac-

cumulate points for gifts or to apply credit against a future purchase. I’ve heard of a few shops that were in the process of creating a similar card to give to first time repair job customers. But the card could also be used for car washes, detailing, pin-striping and other vehicle related services. A completely different approach is providing an estimator with special incentives to build a more personal relationship with first time customers. If a shop has a long-term estimator who can be counted on to stay with the shop far into the future, the personal touch is often key to getting people to come back. Letting the estimator be the good guy, cutting some costs or speeding up repair time, can endear him or her to the customer. Many people come back simply because they like and trust a specific person at a place of business. When future business is taken into account, a shop is always wise to calculate profits in the long run.

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H&V Collision Centers Contributes Vehicle to Recycled Rides

H&V Collision Centers—with several locations including Troy, Alabany, Queensbury and Saratoga Springs, NY—has partnered with Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany (CCDA) and State Farm to donate a vehicle to a needy community member as part of the National Auto Body Council's (NABC) 2012 Recycled Rides program, a nationwide awareness project where members of the NABC—a not-for-profit organization—repair and donate recycled vehicles to families in need. State Farm works with the NABC to donate vehicles in communities across the country. Recycled Rides is scheduled to make simultaneous donations throughout the country the week of

Thanksgiving. The 2012 donation marks the third time that H&V Collision Centers has contributed a vehicle to a family in need or one that is facing special challenges. “H&V Collision Center’s goal is to help people in our local community, especially during these challenging times,” said Vartan Jerian Jr. of H&V Collision Centers. “This important program allows H&V to make a positive impact for a family in need right here in our community and across the country.” H&V Collision was founded by Vartan Jerian Sr. in the early 1970s at the company’s home on Oakwood Avenue in Troy. In the 1990s, Vartan Sr.’s three sons, Vartan Jr., James and John joined the operation.


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Education Foundation Awards $50,000 Makeover Grants at SEMA by Melanie Anderson

The Collision Repair Education Foundation announced the two winning schools who will each receive a $50,000 Ultimate Collision Education Makeover grant. The winners were surprised at an Oct. 30 reception held at the Las Vegas Hotel during SEMA. This year, for the first time, both a secondary and a post-secondary school received a $50,000 makeover grant. The two winning schools are

Nichols Career Center in Jefferson City, MO, (a secondary school) and Manhattan Area Technical College located in Manhattan, KS. The Education Foundation awarded two grants so secondary and post-secondary schools didn’t have to compete with each other. Seventy schools from 31 states applied for the 2012 Makeover grant. Over the next several months, the Education Foundation will be working to fulfill the two schools’ collision programs $50,000 wish lists of needed tools, equipment and supplies. Although he was unable to attend the reception due to Superstorm Sandy, Collision Repair Education Foundation Executive Director Clark Plucinski later noted, “It was great bringing the collision industry together during our industry reception to not only highlight the support the organization has provided to collision school programs through the generosity of our industry donors, but also to surprise both of these instructors that their collision programs will have their $50,000 wish lists fulfilled. We look forward to working together with not only the two winning schools but also focusing support on all of the ap-

plicant schools, as they took the time and effort to let us know their specific collision needs. Congratulations again to both Nichols Career Center and Manhattan Area Technical College!” The two instructors attending the late-night Las Vegas reception were awestruck when they learned they had won the makeover grants for their schools. The $50,000 for tools and equipment means their programs, barely surviving on miniscule budgets, can now offer the newest and latest in industry technology for their students. Dennis Bruemmer, instructor at Nichols Career Center Automotive Collision Technology in Jefferson City, MO, said he was “totally overwhelmed” when the announcement was made that his school was one of the winners. “Before being hired as their instructor in 1998, I had served on the Nichols Career Center Automotive Collision Advisory Board,” Bruemmer said. “My personal goal has always been to improve the quality of education for the students in this program. Winning this grant will help tremendously in my quest to achieve this goal. I am extremely grateful to those involved for choosing my program to receive this award.” The Automotive Collision Technology program at Nichols Career Center has been in existence for 36 years, from its inception during the 1976-1977 school year. “I am proud to say I was a student in that first class at Nichols Career Center,” said Bruemmer. “My instructor at that time was Fred Bremmerkamp, who now runs a successful collision repair business. He, as well as many other area collision repair facilities, have participated in internships and shop tours for our students. These internships have led to full-time positions for some of our students, as well as encouraged others to continue their education in collision repair after they have graduated from our program.” The collision repair program at Nichols currently has 27 students. The Manhattan Area Technical College in Kansas has offered their automotive program to students since the 1970s. Typically, the program has 1820 students, but this year, only nine are enrolled. With a budget of only $8,600, instructor Linn Schroll can’t buy much in the way of materials, tools or equipment. Due to the constrained budget, students get hit with lab and material


fees. He plans to spend some of the Makeover grant money to beef up his program and attract more students. “Winning the Ultimate Makeover grant from the Collision Repair Education Foundation was one of the biggest surprises of my life,” said Schroll. “My wife and I were standing at the back of

Instructors Dennis Bruemmer, left, and Linn Schroll, right, accepted $50,000 makeover grants from the Collision Repair Education Foundation for their schools

the room because I don’t win these kind of things, so why move up in the room? When they started reading part of the application letter for the postsecondary winner, I looked at my wife and said, ‘Holy cow, that is my writing, I think I just won.’ I am not really sure how I made it to the stage.”

Even though he’s had time to digest the news, Schroll said his head is “still spinning. I still can’t believe that we won but I am excited about what it will mean to this program. I have put many hours into this program over the last six years and it feels really good to be recognized for my efforts on a national level. I am also very pleased that so many things that I have wanted for the program will be completed because of this Makeover grant. I think most teachers who are committed to improving a program donate so much of their own time and money to help make a program better, but with limited resources, there is only so much you can do out of your own pocket. “By winning the Makeover grant, I will be able to accomplish in a short time what would have taken years to accomplish, if at all. We are being contacted by vendors who are donating materials and the Foundation is making contact with a lot of people to get things moving. I can’t thank the selection committee and the Foundation enough for what this will mean to the school, students and myself,” Schroll said.

Chess Teaches How to Make More Money Without Spending $$$$ by Melanie Anderson

I-CAR instructor, Autobody News columnist, and shop consultant Toby Chess, AAM, entertained and taught a small crowd at SEMA about how to make more and spend less within the normal daily operations of a collision repair shop. In the industry since 1969, Chess’ background includes wrecking, restoration and collision. Falling asleep in Chess’ class wasn’t an option as he kept the presentation lively, heckling those attendees who were sitting in the back of the room and pulling out the ‘ladder of success’ from his attaché bag to

A Few Toby Tips:

kick off the talk. Make More Money Without Spending an Arm and a Leg focused on how businesses can cultivate positive changes without spending a huge amount that many shops can’t justify in the current economy. Chess presented simple, straightforward tips to help shop owners and managers streamline operations and increase profits by reducing waste and expenses. “For collision repair businesses, there is a ton of opportunity to improve your business with very little investment if you know where to look,” said Chess. “This session offers a number of proven ideas that will decrease cycle time, reduce comebacks

• Belong to an association, such as SCRS, to become more powerful as a group. • All owners and managers should be asking ‘why’ if something isn't right. • Write your goals down. If it's not written down, it's just a dream.

and increase quality; and the investment costs will be under $500. Forget about learning fancy buzzwords associated with process improvement. This session will give time-tested examples of ways to improve your business and make more money for very little, if any, up front expense.” And with that promise, Chess was off to the races, touching on several topics including time wasters, setting goals and developing SOPs. To set the tone, Chess re-defined the industry by saying, “You do not fix or repair cars. You re-manufacture cars.” Chess got the audience involved by asking the question, “How much is

• It takes 30 days to develop a new habit. • Don't put a car up on the frame racks without having all the parts there. • A waste of time is the devotion to useless activity. • Take advantage of training and seminars by vendors. • Organize your shop. Clutter in a shop is a waste of energy. • List the items needed in the tear down stall.


spent on a supplement?” Most of the shop owners and managers thought the cost of adding a supplement to an estimate was $40 or $50. Some said $100. One brave soul said $300 and

Toby Chess always gets the audience to participate. In this scenario, Chess simulates a car needing a push.

Chess zeroed in on him wanting a firm commitment to his answer and the gentleman didn’t waver. Chess then turned the classroom into a spontaneous live production, getting audience members to role play a scenario where a supplement is needed. Turns out, according to Chess and his theater See Make More Money, Page 45


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Clemson Students Unveil Deep Orange 3 at SEMA 2012 Show Clemson University automotive engineering students unveiled Deep Orange 3, a third-generation vehicle, at SEMA 2012 in Las Vegas on Oct. 31. Deep Orange 3, the third-generation Deep Orange vehicle prototype designed and engineered by the automotive engineering students is a whole new vehicle, inside and out. Working at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR), the students have free reign to push the boundaries of conventional design and engineering. They designed the vehicle in partnership with Mazda North American Operations and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. Deep Orange 3 features a unique TwinEngine hybrid powertrain that automatically chooses front-, rear- or all-wheel-drive; a load-bearing structure based on innovative sheet-folding technology patented by Industrial Origami; and a groundbreaking 3+3 seating configuration in sports car architecture all packaged in an exterior design created by students at the Art Center College of Design.

Paul Venhovens, BMW Endowed Chair in automotive systems integration, who leads the Deep Orange program, said the latest design not only provides solutions to the effi-

“The students’ design is truly innovative,” Venhovens said. “With each new concept, the class must push the boundaries of conventional thinking to produce a vehicle that is both groundbreaking and functional. “The students at CU-ICAR represent tomorrow’s engineering leaders who will need to combine deep knowledge of a particular field with the breadth to place it in context,” Venhovens said. “Deep Orange 3 is evidence Deep Orange 3 is the third-generation vehicle prototype designed and of that.” engineered by Clemson automotive engineering students. Image by Deep Orange Clemson University runs the course of ciency-vs.-sportiness debate, but also two academic years in parallel with delivers driving pleasure, practicality Clemson’s two-year masters proand flexibility in a setting where gram in automotive engineering. The program provides students with exeveryone enjoys the ride. The vehicle accelerates from perience in financial and market zero to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds with a analysis, vehicle design, developtop speed of 125 mph, achieving 42 ment, prototyping and production city and 49 highway miles per gal- planning, and gives them an opportunity to work with automotive inlon.

Keenan Auto Body West Wins 2012 ACE Award

Keenan Auto Body West recently won the VeriFacts 2012 Repair Center Achievement in Collision Repair Excellence Award, also known as the ACE Award. “We are truly proud of this award and wish we were able to attend the presentation ceremony at SEMA but Hurricane Sandy had other plans for us here on the East Coast,” said Keenan President and COO Michael LeVasseur. “Our shops take the highest quality standards put forth by VeriFacts very seriously and work very hard to keep on the cutting edge of technology instead of getting complacent. We are committed to this program and feel it is in perfect alignment with the goals of quality, service and integrity that the insurers demand,” LeVasseur said. VeriFacts is recognized as one of the industry’s only on-site, hands-on coaching and quality assessment solutions available to collision repair and claims professionals. “VeriFacts offers a great deal of benefits to the shops that commit to their high standards,” said Craig Camacho, Keenan Auto Body’s Marketing Director. “There’s a benefit to insurers as

well. We have hosted two onsite clinics in the past two years and have had terrific insurance support and many of their field appraisers that have signed up and gained knowledge that they didn’t necessarily know existed.” The VeriFacts ACE awards were established to recognize outstanding performance from individual technicians and collision repair centers committed to attaining higher repair quality as measured through the VeriFacts Verified Quality (VQ) program. Keenan Auto body, Inc. owns and operates eleven state-of-the-art collision repair centers throughout Philadelphia, Delaware, Chester, Montgomery counties, and New Castle County in Middletown Delaware. Keenan has been in business for over 60 years offering its customers the highest quality collision repairs at no more than standard industry rates.


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dustry partners to develop ideas. Robert Davis, senior vice president of U.S. Operations for Mazda North American Operations and a Clemson alumnus, said the experiences Clemson students gain from Deep Orange makes them very attractive to industry. “These engineers will design and build the cars we drive tomorrow,” Davis said. “The work they contribute to the Deep Orange project is outstanding, and we at Mazda are honored to support their efforts.” John Waraniak, vice president of vehicle technology for SEMA, also a CU-ICAR partner, said the Deep Orange project demonstrates Clemson’s vision to develop CU-ICAR as the world’s premier auto manufacturer, performance aftermarket and motor sports research and education facility. “Deep Orange encourages open innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity,” Waraniak said. “Next-generation vehicle enthusiasts want the fastest and coolest cars, as well as the smartest cars. For this alone, CUICAR and SEMA is an obvious partnership.”


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4th Generation Body Shop Celebrates 135 Years in Business by Ed Attanasio

Many shops today spend a lot of time worrying about the ability to meet their weekly payroll and don’t have enough time to think about next week, let alone next year. So, when you hear about a shop that has been around for 135 years, your first response might

George V. Arth bought the Oakland Manufactory in 1877 and changed the name to George V. Arth & Son. Today, it is recognized as the oldest body shop west of the Mississippi

be shock, followed by curiosity. In this highly volatile, ever-changing industry, how has any collision-related business lasted so long? When George V. Arth opened his shop back in 1877, there were obviously no DRPs, aftermarket parts, supplements or waterborne paint—or even cars for that matter. The country’s president was Rutherford Hayes and Thomas Edison had just invented the phonograph. It all began when George V. Arth and his family arrived in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, after having made the long journey from Alsace Lorraine, France. A career blacksmith, Arth bought a small local shop named the Oakland Carriage Manufactory and promptly renamed it George V. Arth & Son. The business was wildly successful and quickly became well-known for performing toptier repairs on horse-drawn buggies. But pretty soon the business model changed dramatically, when Henry Ford’s “horseless carriages” began roaring through the streets of Oakland. The shop realized rather quickly that they would have to re-invent themselves to survive, so they embraced the technology and began repairing and painting these new motorized vehicles. 135 years and four generations later, George V. Arth & Son is still fixing cars in Oakland, CA, and flourishing, despite experiencing at least five recessions over the decades (including the Great One in the 1930’s); two major earthquakes and a professional

hometown football team that left and then came back again. Until someone can prove differently, George V. Arth & Son is the oldest continually operated family-owned auto body shop west of the Mississippi and maybe even in the entire country. Ron Arth is the great grandson of George V. and the manager today. He started working at the shop in his early teenage years and has continued to work alongside his father, George W. Arth Jr. and his brother George Arth III in the family business. Ron believes that his shop is the oldest in the West, but he isn’t sure if it’s the oldest in the country. A national trade publication had a contest back in the early 1970’s and found two shops to be older on the East Coast, but that was almost 40 years ago and Ron has no idea if those two shops are still in business. “To be safe, we just refer to our shop as being the oldest family-owned shop west of the Mississippi,” Ron Arth said. “I can’t imagine that there are very many body shops, or even mechanical shops that have been in continuous operation for 135 years.” Ron took on full responsibility and management of the shop when his father stepped down and retired on his 65th birthday. Ron’s father, George W. Arth, Jr., is still going strong at age 86

those same footsteps by serving on the organization’s board and as president of the association for several years as well.

Today, George V. Arth & Son is still a family-owned and operated business, employing 2 people and fixing approximately 80 cars monthly

Ron cites several reasons for the company’s longevity and ongoing success, but being customer centric is the most important. “The fact that we’ve always been a family-run business is important. People like to see the same faces every time they bring their car in. It provides them with a sense of stability in what is usually a stressful situation. It also allows us to build relationships which really are the foundation of our business. We now get customers whose parents and grandparents brought their vehicles here.“

Repairing more than 80 cars monthly and employing 12 people, Ron has also seen a definite change in the relationship between body shops and insurers. “Obviously, another one of the biggest changes that I’ve seen in this industry is the introduction of Direct Repair Programs (DRPs) that entered the picture about 15 years ago. The insurance companies used to do the estimates themselves, but now we write most of them and often take the place of the insurance adjuster.” What is one of the biggest changes in this industry? “It would have to be the technology, definitely. I remember when my father used to have to get a ledger sheet from our bookkeeper at the end of every day, so that he could know exactly where he stood financially. Then one day I showed him that we can do the same thing with just a couple of clicks of a mouse. He was shocked, but we assured him it was just as accurate, if not more so. With the variety of new computer management systems available today, it not only makes us better owners and operators, but saves us time with the overall estimating and repair process.” tC 2011


When cars started arriving in the early 1900s, George V. Arth & Son was ready to work on these new amazing contraptions

and stops by the shop on a regular basis, usually three to four times a week, just to check in, Ron said. “My father still plays a role here and actively attends Oakland Rotary meetings every Thursday,” he said. “These connections to the city were built over years and years of living and working here and they still help us to keep the shop strong.” George W. Arth, Jr. was also one of the founding members of the East Bay Autobody Association, now known as the East Bay Chapter of the California Autobody Association. Ron’s father served as president and was on the board of the association for many years before finally retiring. His son has followed in


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Going Green Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive Says GRC-Pirk by Melanie Anderson

Contrary to popular belief, going green doesn’t have to be expensive, said Steven Schillinger of GRC-Pirk Management. “Shops can save a lot of money by greening their practices,” said Schillinger. “Marketing tricks and television advertising do their best to convince us that in order to become more eco-friendly, we have to buy more stuff—but that’s not true. If you replace a perfectly good item just to buy a new ecofriendly one, you aren’t really doing anything to benefit the environment.” Steven Schillinger Schillinger is a registered environmental assessor and president of ReComply, an environment records management company. Schillinger’s presentation, Going Green Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive, discussed 101 ways that shops can save money by practicing green. (See abbreviated list below). The talk helped attendees understand what it means to

Do-It-Yourself Tips to Save on Energy

• Realign or re-hang windows or doors that do not close properly. • Make sure automatic door closing mechanisms work properly. • Replace or repair faulty gaskets in garage or on other overhead doors • Resize exterior doors, such as delivery door, to make them smaller to reduce excessive infiltration. • Add expandable separate enclosures where practical. • Install self-closing doors on openings to unconditioned spaces. • Install a switch on overhead doors that prevents activation of heating and cooling units when doors are open.

‘go green’ and how to be a good environmental steward, what sustainability, energy conservation and pollution prevention means, and that shops can’t

condition, or reduction, of greenhouse gases, in a shop. The amount of greenhouse gas created in a shop is caused 70% from energy use, 10% from con-

manage what isn’t measured, such as carbon footprint = greenhouse gas. Sustainability is defined at a condition which natural and social systems survive and thrive together indefinitely. Schillinger said that a carbon footprint verifies the environmental

sumption of metal, wood and plastic, 15% from waste, such as paint, solvent, soap and trash and only 5% is from VOCs and other chemicals. The energy used in a typical collision repair shop includes 33% for the

• Install vestibule doors at major entrances. • Replace worn and/or broken weather-stripping and caulking. • Replace broken or cracked windows. • Recycle your old refrigerator. Do not have multiple refrigerators. • Reduce hot water heater temperature • Shut down exhaust fans after hours. • Use economy sensors on your spray booth. • Use a timer on the photocopier. • Add a surge tank to the air compressor. • Create incentives to conserve energy. For a free ROI (return on investment) checklist, email Schillinger at


spray booth, 31% for lighting, 18% for heating, ventilation and air conditioning, 12% for miscellaneous and 6% for the air compressor. For an idea of how much GHG (greenhouse gas) pollution cars create, envision 65 million cars on United States roads, with an average car emitting five tons of carbon dioxide each year, Schillinger said. Benefits of going green include receiving tax credits, 30-year shared savings funding, discounts, rate reduction or rebates with the local utility, reduced workers’ comp insurance and business insurance, and promotion by your local city. To attain recognition for being a green shop, go to, a public service website. For more information about going green, see the Federal Trade Commission website to download free copies of FTC green guides at: Businesses who promote or advertise themselves as ‘green’ need to prove it with hard evidence. A lack of proof is called ‘greenwashing.’ Those

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companies who ‘greenwash’ hide the hidden trade-off, have no proof, are vague, incorporate irrelevant practices or outright lie. Currently in progress is a Energy Star Green Garage Challenge sponsored by the EPA. This program encourages consumers to use repair shops that have attained green certification under official government programs. Automotive industry suppliers, associations and organizations compete for prominent mapping position based on improved energy performance and greenhouse gas reduction. For more information on the Green Garage Campaign, go to Within the website is an energy tracking tool called Track Green Garage, an automated system that collects and reports electronic data acquired from local utility companies and suppliers. The Energy Star-based data processing procedure converts electricity, gas, water and waste usage into greenhouse gas ‘GHG’ metrics. The metrics are compared to a previous period on a timeweighted-work average basis to determine a more or less percent of green sustainability.

Cole’s Collision Centers Opens 4th Site in New York

Cole’s Collision Centers has announced the opening of its newest collision repair shop in Halfmoon, NY. The center will create 15-20 immediate job openings for various positions including administrative, auto repair technicians, customer service representatives and estimators. Cole’s Collision currently employs 52 full-time workers and has three other locations in the Capital Region. Formerly the location of Lee’s Plumbing and HVAC LLC, the renovated 11,800-square-foot, state-ofthe-art facility at 1624 Route 9 includes a showroom, office space, repair shop, two estimating bays, a shipping and receiving room and more. The total investment on renovations and new equipment for the building exceeds more than $500,000. “We are committed to the highest safety standards and quality customer service at all of our locations,” said John Cole, founder and president. “This new store wouldn’t be possible without the support of our customers, partners, suppliers and staff.”

CARSTAR Gives Gift Cards for Vehicle Repairs to Select Fans at Annual Turkey Derby in Wall, NJ Residents of New Jersey are still digging out from Hurricane Sandy and many face damaged vehicles to repair. CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts store owners throughout Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey are ready to help, providing gift cards for vehicle repairs to select fans attending the annual Turkey Derby at Wall Stadium Speedway in Wall, NJ, Nov. 22-24. The recipients will include members of the Garden State Vintage Stock Car Club, many of whom lost their homes and businesses. Additionally, select fans in need will be presented with CARSTAR gift cards. The CARSTAR gift cards, totaling some $2,800, will be presented to select recipients by special guests Ray Evernham, former Wall Stadium track champion, retired NASCAR championship crew chief and current ESPN analyst, and legendary modified and open-wheel driver Wally Dallenbach as part of the unveiling of a historic race car that Evernham restored to its original condition. “Everyone in this region has been hit hard by the storm, and we’re all working together to recover and get our lives back to normal,” said

Gus Natelli, owner of Gus’ CARSTAR Collision in Philadelphia. “We understand that people’s vehicles are usually the second most expensive item they own, and that they need to get their vehicles safely repaired so they can get back to work and their daily activities. As automotive professionals, and as members of this community, we want to do everything we can to help them get back on the road.” The participating CARSTAR stores include: Lakeside Collision CARSTAR 3233 Marne Highway Mt Laurel, NJ 08054 Autocrafters CARSTAR Collision 2659 Bristol Pike Bensalem, PA 19020-0000 Pete's CARSTAR Collision 213 Horsham Rd Horsham, PA 19044 Hunter's CARSTAR 133 Chester Pike Norwood, PA 19074 Gus' CARSTAR Collision 9412 Bustleton Ave Philadelphia, PA 19115 Champion CARSTAR Collision 1291 US Highway 130 Hightstown, NJ 08520

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How Marketing Can Help Customer-Pay Sales by Melanie Anderson

Shop owners and managers learned how to market to self-paying consumers in a presentation led by Steve Trapp and Robert Rick at SEMA 2012 in Las Vegas. Steve Trapp, Program Manager at DuPont Performance Services and DuPont Performance Alliance, and Robert Rick, President of RR Custom Solutions Training and Consulting, presented “Marketing to Consumers Supporting Customer-Pay Sales Efforts.” Current statistics show that 35-40% of customers are asking repairers to write a customerRobert Rick paid estimate, with a historical 50% closing ratio on these

Marketing Tips

• One marketing tool that really stands out is a lighted exterior sign. “A new standard sign does not stand out after a week. It becomes a tree,” Trapp said. Instead, he suggests shops invest in a lighted sign that includes the time and temperature because it becomes a landmark in your town. “As you drive around your town, do you know what businesses display the time and temperature?” he asked. Everyone in the room raised their hand. • If you have the customer’s attention and they decide to call you, do not waste the opportunity with a mundane greeting and impersonal phone interaction. This is your next customer, so treat them like your mother, Rick said. • To brand your business, make sure people see a sign outside of the building and another sign the first thing they see when they walk in. Every member of the team also needs to be wearing a name badge. Trapp suggests shops invest in interior foam logo signs and exterior fabric banner signs to help support sales and shop branding. • Posters showing photos of a step-bystep repair process help customers understand how much work is involved in their repair. Use the posters as a visual when talking to your customers about their repair. Trapp said DuPont will customize these posters for their customers

estimates. Improving sales skills for these more price-sensitive customers is key. This SCRS Repairer Driven Education course reviewed the advisory sales process and how it uniquely applies to this segment of prospective customers. “Customer pay is going up,” said Rick. “People are freaked out about turning in an insurance claim because consumers are afraid of being dropped or having their premiums go up.” Because most shop owners don’t have a marketing degree, Trapp and Rick presented a mini “Marketing 101” class to teach shop owners and managers the basics of marketing techniques. In layman terms, marketing is getting someone to contact you or bringing someone to your door. “Marketing happens when someone comes into your shop or when you

and other paint companies offer similar posters. • Don’t use lingo and acronyms that customers won’t understand. • Giving customers a shop tour will help close the sale. • Customers, especially younger people, love text messages for status and updates. • Use an iPad and hand it to your customer for the CSI, so you know it’s done immediately. When you get a negative remark on the CSI, call the customer and try to resolve the problem. • Develop a plan to stay in touch with customers for five years. Ideas include sending periodic enewsletters, offering special coupons for seasonal services, such as spring detail or headlight aiming, offering a 24-month paint protection plan, or mailing out letters a year or two after service offering lifetime warranty or a coupon. Mail a lottery ticket and ask for a referral. • Create good will and public relations opportunities by holding community events at your location. Community events can include teen driver nights, ladies’ nights, vehicle extractions and participating in the NABC Recycled Rides program. • And the #1 marketing tool body shops should use, Trapp said, is to have solid customer service and using customer relationship management to maintain a relationship.


Steve Trapp, Aaron Schulenberg and Robert Rick

pick up the phone,” said Rick. “How much time and money is spent getting people in the door? When your phone rings, how many people in your repair shop look at the ringing phone like it’s the devil?” Rick said he wishes he could change the sound of a ringing phone into dollar signs because the person on the other end of the phone could be your next $2,000 customer. Trapp added, “They are already in the door, so why not close them?” Depending on your shop size, increasing

closing sales ratio by 5% on customer self-pays could increase annual repair center sales by $200,000. “Getting work to the door is most repairers biggest need,” said Rick. “At the end of the day, we are here to bring in more customers.” Estimators don’t want to see customer pays because they are comfortable with DRPs, said Rick. But, with customer-pays, “your market opportunities to close are limitless,” he said. Trapp suggested that shops call

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remember you. Build a relationship. One way to do that is to always thank your customers. Don’t send an email—that’s too impersonal and they get deleted. A mailed handwritten note is best. What should your marketing budget be? For new shops just starting out, spending 10% of your budget on marketing is best. For shops that are five years or less into the business and growing, spending 5% of your budget on marketing is good. And for shops that are more mature and have been in business longer than five years, only 3% of your budget is needed for marketing. Social media is a whole other subject, but Trapp and Rick briefly spoke on website presence. Your website is your virtual lobby that is open 24 hours a day. It manages your virtual branding. Basically, a Steve Trapp and Robert Rick reprise their NACE talk website should provide directions, consumer reports an insurance claim answer frequently asked questions, every 10 years. They don’t know the provide status updates and include an claims process. Your job is to help amateur video to boost website conthem get through it. tent and interest. The website content It’s important to do what you can should be relevant and current. Don’t to get your customers to remember let it become stale. Remove outdated you. Create a story so your customers information. their sales advisors ‘service advisors or customer care advisors.’ “Earn your customers’ trust by giving good advice,” Trapp said. “Get rid of the E-word,” Rick agreed. “Stop using the ‘estimator’ word.” Shops need to remember that the key needs of a customer are convenience, empathy, needing a trusted advisor and superior service. The average

Continued from Page 37

Make More Money

demonstration, that chasing down a supplement wastes a lot of time and takes people away from work, thereby costing the shop about $288 per supplement. Chess also touched on the importance of Standard Operating Procedures, or SOPs. SOPs are not needed for every operation, he explained, but for those areas where there are problems. “Look at what obstacles are blocking production,” he said. He stressed the importance of creating the SOPs with shop employees so they have a buy-in to the new procedure. “The number one thing an employee wants is to be treated with respect, and the best way to do that is to ask for their input,” Chess said. He went on to give an example of how he helped a shop in Gardenia, CA, go from $88,000 in the red to more than $100,000 in profit and one of the things he did was implement an Employee Appreciation Month. The benefits of creating Standard Operating Procedures include:

• reducing system variations • facilitating training • facilitating cross training • reducing waste • creating regular evaluation of work • improving work activity As an example of a SOP, Chess shared what information he marks on a windshield when a car comes into the shop: • Repair order number • Customer last name • Insurance information or COD • Date of arrival • Target date of repair completion • Name of estimator • Name of technician • Any sublets needed (such as alignment) • Note whether pictures have been taken.

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Matrix Wand Captures New Collision Product Award at SEMA by Ed Attanasio

The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) announced its New Products Showcase Awards on the eve of its 2012 show to recognize the world’s most cutting-edge automotive products in the collision industry today. With more than 2,000 new products submitted for consideration, only a handful received accolades and the trophies that accompany them. It’s the Oscar, the Emmy and the Lombardi Trophy of collision combined and surely one of the most coveted awards out there, because it comes with the SEMA stamp of approval and all of the benefits associated with it. First place in the Collision Repair & Refinish Product division went to the Matrix Wand 3-D Blueprinting and Discovery System, manufactured by Matrix Electronic Measuring, Inc., a company that was founded in 2003 and is located in Salina, KS. Judged on its superiority of innovation, technical achievement, quality and workmanship, consumer appeal and marketability, the Matrix Wand was launched in April 2012 and received

positive reviews almost immediately. This handheld, electronic measuring system accurately and precisely measures collision damage so that a body shop can repair a vehicle back to factory specifications.

tion electronically for retrieval and subsequent analysis. Three feet long and weighing about 12 pounds, the device is extremely precise and easy to operate. By passing it over the vehicle like a magician’s imaging wand, technicians can complete the entire process in 15 minutes or less. Jan Srack is the cofounder and president of Matrix Electronic Measuring Inc. and a 25-year veteran of the collision industry. She’s obviously pleased about winning the award and has great plans for the product’s potentially bright future. “We’ve got the Matrix Wand currently in body shops from Ron Chiles, director of sales and marketing at Matrix Electronic Hawaii to Connecticut and Measuring, Inc. poses with the Matrix Wand system and the soon it will be available introphy for first place in the Collision Repair & Refinish Product ternationally. This is an exdivision from SEMA. citing time for us because Consisting of the wand, cameras, the industry has embraced the Wand computer, and software, the Matrix and without that, we wouldn’t be Wand collects measurements and data where we are right now. The fact is that so many people have supported utilizing stereoscopic photo documenand assisted us in our success. Withtation and archives all of the informa-

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out them, we wouldn’t be where we are today and I sincerely mean that. It takes so many levels within this industry to make a product successful. ” SEMA’s award kicked off a great show for the company and Srack hopes to ride that momentum into 2013, she said. “To share our victory with our team was really wonderful. We always knew there was a need for effective electronic measuring in this industry, and the Wand provides it. We’ve been developing this product since 2008, so it hasn’t happened overnight. We introduced it to the collision industry in April 2012 after much work, because we wanted to make sure it was dynamic and marketready before we made it available to body shops. We got the call from SEMA at 10 p.m. on Monday, October 29 to tell us that we had won, so it was a thrill. There were a lot of great products in consideration, so it means even more to us to be recognized.” The Matrix Wand’s journey from conception to completion took a total of 4.5 years, but it has paid off with the SEMA award and burgeoning sales. “There was a lot of work in-

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volved in developing it and testing it,” Srack said. “We received approval recently on our three patents, which is huge, so this award was even more meaningful to us and our distributors nationwide. SEMA is a great organization, so being a part of that is significant. This industry is full of amazing companies and people, so it definitely means a lot.” What are some of the main reasons for the Matrix Wand’s success and acceptance within the industry? “The documentation in 3-D is instrumental,” Srack explained. “It’s a winwin-win all the way around, because from the body shop owner to the estimator to the technician and onto the customer and the insurance company, this product benefits all of them and makes their lives easier. The Matrix Wand decreases the friction between the shops and the insurers, and takes the drama out of the blueprinting and measuring process, because it provides accurate information that every party involved can rely on. That’s an ideal situation and how often does it really happen in any industry, let alone collision repair?” Costing approximately $31,000 each—but with an affordable lease op-

tion, the complete Matrix Wand system is a substantial investment for any shop, but by paying for itself within a reasonable period of time, it makes sense for any size operation, Srack said. “Our customers are justifying the cost after just six months, in most cases. How often can you buy a piece of equipment and say that you’ll recoup all your money within half a year? One of the advantages of innovative technology, even in a poor economy, is that people will still invest in cutting-edge technology.” How is the Matrix Wand different than laser measuring systems out there on the market? “Most lasers are twodimensional, but our imaging is threedimensional and you have access to the information much easier, within 15 minutes or less with the Matrix Wand. Without our product, it takes 1.5 hours on average to do the job, and you’re still guessing because you don’t have three dimensions to refer to. By discovering the structural damage upfront, body shops can quantify it and triage the car throughout the shop, meaning that cycle times are greatly improved. For the first time, the insurance companies have 3-D validation of the damage on their customers’ vehi-

cles. This is not a CAD drawing or an overlay; this is really the actual customer’s vehicle. Mobility is another benefit of using this product, because it’s a handheld device and you don’t have to worry about the car being level. With the complexity of these cars today, the Matrix Wand is more essential than ever.” SEMA’s Vice-President of Events and Communications Peter MacGillivray discussed the importance of the award and how it impacts the industry worldwide. “The number one reason why people go to the show is for new products. These product awards are judged by industry peers and that’s why they mean so much to the winners. We always announce them before the show begins, so that the winners can enjoy the benefits of this very special achievement.” For more information see: To schedule a demonstration contact: Toby Chess at, or by phone at 310-995-7909. Matrix Electronic Measuring Inc. Box 1246 Salina, KS, 67402 Toll Free: 800-424-8023 email:

Ellinger Again Named AAA Top Shop in New York

Greg Ellinger Collision, 5839 RomeTaberg Road, in Rome, NY, has again been named an Automotive “Top Shop” by AAA Western and Central New York, based on customer satisfaction ratings. Greg Ellinger Collision is a family-owned and operated business. Greg Ellinger and wife Prudy Ellinger established the collision repair center in 1974 when they opened their business in Lee Center. Although the facility was good, they quickly outgrew it. In 1977, Greg Ellinger Collision moved to their second location on Route 69 in Rome. After several additions, they once again outgrew the building and moved across the street to their current location. Winners of the annual award are participants in AAA’s Approved Auto Repair program and have met the highest standards for automotive repair and customer service, the group noted. Ellinger was named an AAAapproved Auto Body Repair Top Shop winner. Repair centers displaying the award sign ‘excel in workmanship, service, training, appearance, and reputation,’ AAA stated.

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WD-40 Keeps on Truckin’ When it Comes to Helping Others by Ed Attanasio

We know how many uses there are for WD-40® and you’ve probably been using it for many years. But are you aware of all the charity outreach that the company performs every year, through its SEMA Cares vehicles program?

Here is the initial mockup of the WD-40®/SEMA Cares Foose ’53 Ford F-100

After the last three WD40®/SEMA Cares vehicles raised a combined $400,000 for children’s charities during previous shows, Chip Foose and WD-40® Company teamed up this year one more time to build two more custom trucks, a 1953 Ford F-100 and a 2012 Ford F350, that will eventually be auctioned off to benefit the SEMA Cares program.

This year’s first project vehicle, the WD-40®/SEMA Cares Foose ’53 Ford F-100, was created to commemorate the 60th anniversary of WD-40®. Six decades ago, engineers in San Diego, CA, developed this product to displace moisture on the Atlas missile, and today WD-40® is sold in 187 countries worldwide. Featuring a vintage “shop truck” look with an updated drive train and suspension, one-off Foose wheels and custom paint, this one-of-a-kind pickup truck looks similar to the truck used to deliver the first case of the product in the early ‘50s, back when the company was called Rocket Chemical Company. Proceeds from the auctioned vehicle will benefit two SEMA Cares charities—Childhelp®, an organization that provides services to abused and neglected children, and Victory Junction, which provides life-changing camping experiences to special needs and chronically ill children. WD-40® Brand Manager Shannon Edwards passionately believes

in supporting causes that help children while strengthening the automotive industry in the process, she said. “Victory Junction is a great organization and Childhelp offers a wide variety of services to abused and neglected children, as well as

clude: Foose Design, Street Scene Equipment, Barrett-Jackson, LMC Truck, L&R Automotive, Egge, MHT Wheels, Pirelli Tires, BASF Paint, American Auto Wire, Painless Performance, Quiet Ride, K&N Filters, Red Kap and McGard.

The WD-40®/SEMA Cares Foose ’53 Ford F-100 commemorates the 60th anniversary of WD-40®

to treatment counselors, educators, parents, foster care families the community and law enforcement professionals.” Leading aftermarket manufacturers and other companies that chipped in to build and promote the vehicle in-

“This year, we’re upping the ante and building two vehicles – one that pays tribute to WD-40® Company’s history, and one that celebrates some of its newer specialty products that help auto pros like me get the job done right,” Foose explained. “With the

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help of some great aftermarket partners and a lot of WD-40® brand products, we’ll be able to build two vehicles that honor those who work hard every day.” The second project vehicle, the WD-40® Specialist/SEMA Cares Foose Ford F-350, is a custom 2012 Ford Super Duty work truck that includes Foose-inspired front and rear wheel flares, side rockers, and custom bodywork, among other upgrades. The vehicle represents the new WD-40® Specialist line of prod-

The WD-40® Specialist/SEMA Cares Foose Ford F-350 is a custom 2012 Ford Super Duty work truck

ucts that help skilled trade professionals get their specific jobs done with ease. Following its debut at the 2012SEMA Show inside the WD-

40® Company booth, this vehicle will hit the road for several months making special appearances before being auctioned to help fund the SEMA Cares scholarship fund. Leading aftermarket manufacturers and other companies that chipped in to build and promote the vehicle include: Foose Design, Street Scene Equipment, Ford, Source Interlink Media, Icon Vehicle Dynamics, DynaTrac, Custom Truck Shop, BFGoodrich, Magnaflow, Takit, Husky Liners, LEER, Katzkin, Pro Comp, Polk Audio, Audio Innovations and PowerBass. After its unveiling at SEMA, both vehicles will embark on a tour at automobile shows and other events throughout the West, before being auctioned for charity at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, AZ, Jan. 13–20, 2013. Edwards is happy to work with Chip Foose for a wide range of reasons. “He lives our values and makes a lasting impression in everything he does. The way we run our company and the way Chip operates his business are very similar, and that’s why we’re very pleased to be associated

Chip Foose is a crowd pleaser wherever he goes. Here he signs WD-40®’s Asia Simonella’s shirt at 2012 SEMA

with him, especially on great projects like this one.” Ford Motor Company sold WD40® its Ford F-350 for one dollar, Edwards said, and in just eight months it went from blueprint to reality. “Ford stepped up and Foose with Mike

Spagnola from Street Scene Equipment in Costa Mesa, CA, made this truck a one-of-a-kind vehicle. By using some of the best of the best in this industry, we were able to get two amazing trucks that efficiently communicate our message while capturing a point in the company’s history with the ’53 Ford F-100.” WD-40®’s marketing VP thanked everyone involved, with special kudos for Foose and his finished product. “These charity vehicles would not have been possible without the hard work and vision of Chip Foose and his team, as well as the time, energy, dedication and resources of our build partners,” said Tim Lesmeister, vice president of marketing for WD-40® Company. “After raising a combined $400,000 for SEMA Cares with our last three project vehicle builds, we expect these trucks to turn a lot of heads and continue to help a great cause.”

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Guilty of Junk Thinking? ‘How to Think Better’ at SEMA 2012 by Melanie Anderson

Two powerhouse thinkers thought they could change the way we think and so presented “Change the Way You Think at a CORE Level” at SEMA 2012 in Las Vegas. The purpose of the presentation was to provide a clear understanding of what junk thinking is, show evidence of existence of junk thinking in the market, and provide a clear direction to depart from the junk Byron Bissell thinking environment. According to speakers Bill Park and Dr. Byron Bissell, junk thinking is responsible for at least 80% of the problems in one’s business. “The lack of quality thinking has led to enormous disasters and disappointments. And it’s not only thinking through the solutions to the gnarly problems. More often than not, it’s the painful reality you’re working on the wrong problems,” said Dr. Bissell.

Dr. Bissell is a retired associate professor of business from the University of Arizona and is currently a blogger for mPowerU, a website dedicated to providing insight and information to the auto body collision repair industry. His background includes working as a manager, an educator, scholar, academic administrator, behavioral consultant, psychiatric social worker and child welfare caseworker. He holds a PhD in business and a Master’s degree in psychiatric social work and in public administration. Bill Park currently trains and consults small to medium sized businesses in the automotive collision repair industry. His passion is to “Add value. Period.” Bill also has founded and operated multiple businesses over the years, ranging from small, 2-3 person entities, to a medium sized 100employee corporation. Bill has over 20 years experience in all facets of business development, including, but not limited to: green-field and startups, process development, venture capital, financial literacy, acquisitions and disposition. He also holds an

MBA and previously owned four collision repair locations in Arizona that were sold three years ago to Gerber Collision & Glass. “The purpose of this presentation is to identify junk thinking, act on it, change it, and improve business thinking,” said Park. In short, junk Bill Park (l) and Dr. Byron Bissell (r) encouraged SEMA attendees to thinking is “think- stop junk thinking and to think better ing that leads to a train wreck.” sell said. “Good thinking takes effort, Junk thinking is a major reason discipline, and learning how to have why businesses fail. The top 5 reasons good thinking. Good thinking doesn’t a business fails are: come naturally. Start the journey to 1) lack of experience good thinking first by admitting to en2) insufficient capital gaging in junk thinking.” 3) poor location An example of junk thinking, 4) poor inventory management Park said, is that employers will often 5) over-investment in fixed assets hire workers based on their work “The commonality here is junk skills, which is only 20% of their thinking,” Park said. total skills—the other 80% being Junk thinking happens because “soft skills”—such as how they get it’s easier. “Thinking is hard,” Dr. Bis- along with people, their work ethic,

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attitude, presentation. Basic job description skills can be taught, especially for those employers who want their people to follow particular standards. Other examples of junk thinking include crisis management, wishful thinking, biased thinking, and denial. Dr. Bissell described how our brain thinks. Our five senses capture data from an external environment and our brain interprets the data and processes it. The brain then identifies what the information means to us and selects the behavior we will engage. In a nutshell, Bissell and Park said there are two types of thinking. The first is called System 1 and is the type of thinking we do lightning fast, that is automatic and effortless. For example, we automatically stop at a red light. We don’t have to think about it. System 2 thinking is slower, methodical, deliberate, controlled and ruled-governed. It uses up a lot of energy and it’s a lot of work. Most of us avoid that type of thinking. To visualize System 2 thinking, think of a turtle working on a Rubik’s Cube. When an event happens, we take about a nano-second to compartmentalize it. System 1 thinking is, do we

pay attention to it, ignore it, deal with it now or later? If it’s later, we move it into System 2, where we give it a great deal of thought later. In System 2 thinking, we pull information from memories and beliefs. “The reality is, knowledge is based on beliefs,” said Dr. Bissell. System 2 thinking comes into play when we ask ourselves, “Is what I know enough?” If you say yes, then you take action. If you tell yourself no (which we rarely do because it takes strength to admit we don’t know enough), we move on to System 2 thinking and seek more information. Junk thinking is a result of System 1 thinking when we should be using System 2 thinking. “The trick is to know when to activate System 2 thinking,” said Bissell. “If the costbenefit ratio of time and energy to use System 2 thinking is positive, then engage it.” Success in the auto repair industry starts with good System 2 thinking, and tuning up your CORE, Bissell said. CORE thinking is an acronym for: Cognition (the way you think) Organization (how information is stored and retrieved) RX-8 2012

Reference (based on your identity, who you think you are) Energy (mental)

Bill Park

To think better, prepare yourself to make thinking changes. Change the way you think; change what you believe; change your perception of who you are; change how you direct your mental energy. “We seem to have a prime directive inside all of us that says ‘we shall not change,’” Bissell said. “In order to change, you have to be willing.”

“What we can do better from a business perspective is better understand the real business we are in, which, by the way, is not fixing cars,”said Park. “People feel stuck, they don’t have the control they want. A business has to be under constant experimentation and testing based on sound thinking principles.” Park asked the audience to speak up and admit to a major mistake they had made based on junk thinking. A shop owner from Hawaii said he made a million dollar expansion to his business without utilizing the knowledge and expertise of others, particularly vendors. The owner didn’t design the expansion properly and ended up changing the shop layout, which cost him time and money. Assumptions and emotions can get in the way of good thinking. We think we know best. Bissell cautioned that emotion is an important part of decision making but needs to be controlled, not eliminated. Dr. Bissell pointed out that we need to think about what could go wrong. We need to do due diligence. “You have to be willing to hear what you don’t want to hear,” he said.

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Rich Evans and Crew Unveil 2004 H2 Hummer at SEMA 2012 Rich Evans and crew unveiled this 2004 H2 Hummer at SEMA 2012. The H2 Hummer was built in 10 days in Canada for the first taping of Evans’ new show, “World Wide Car Building.” All nine U.S. builders were there, as well as the Canadian team from Curtis Customs.

MD’s Mark’s Body Shop Releases Car-O-Liner Video

Mark’s Body Shop of Baltimore, MD, an Auto Damage Experts coaching/ consulting client, released a new informational video in their ongoing efforts to help inform and educate consumers. Mark Schaech, owner and President of Mark’s Body Shop’s said, “Through our relationship with Auto Damage Experts, we have learned the importance of continually edifying consumers within our marketplace and beyond to enable them a better understanding of the benefits of proper and thorough repairs and to help prepare them to make informed decisions before the need arises. Most consumers are just not prepared to make the important decisions on matters that often affect their personal safety and economic welfare when it comes to the repair of the damaged vehicle. They oftentimes rely upon the advice of others, whose interest may not be in the overall best interest of the consumer.” Schaech continued, “With the assistance of Lee Emmons of Absolute Perfection Tinting & Graphics, we are putting together a series of videos on the various aspects of collision repair and issues consumers should be aware of.”

Mark’s prior video showed a post repair inspection of a poorly performed repair. “Such aspects will be the necessary equipment, quality parts, materials, training and knowledge which are required to perform a repair that will restore a vehicle’s original safety, performance, appearance and value to the best of human ability. A level of repair that unfortunately fewer consumers are receiving today. We want to help consumers to understand it is their property and it is their choice of repairer and help them to make the right choices.” “It’s interesting that upon release of the video, we were contacted by Car-O-Liner corporate and they asked if they could show our Car-O-Liner video during the recent NACE and SEMA expositions and their training seminars. We were very gratified in this request and of course authorized their use of the video. We have heard many positive comments since their showing it,” Schaech said. The video can be viewed at CHECK IT OUT!


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

Customer Service Has the Power—Don’t Perfume the Pig with The Insurance Insider

Customer service has taken on a life old? He said, acting very surprised, that unto itself. If you don’t have a job in they weren’t at all. But they told me, he which customer service is Priority said, that “I can have it my way.” Wow. with Rae ISisk Number One, then you Chasidy won’t be emwish I could employ those tactics at ployed for very long. Why? Because home with my wife. It’s never my way. your company will lose business and eventually downsize or go out of business. We’ve become a society where outstanding customer service is no longer just expected. demanded. withIt’s Chasidy Rae Sisk And it’s demanded NOW! Remember that old slogan at Burger King: “Have It Your Way.” To elaborate how extensive the desire to please the customer goes, here’s my embarrassing tale of my teenage grandson. He was visiting the other day and told me that he’d gone into a “BK” the day before and immediately after orCustomer service seems to be the dering had asked them to make fresh primary driver and motivation for virFrench fries because he didn’t want the tually every large corporation today. At ones already made. And I suppose their times, profitability seems almost secanswer will be anti-climactic at this ondary. Okay, maybe not quite, but the point: They did it. fact is that customer service motivates I asked him why? Were the fries companies to take action and change.

Northeast News Shop Showcase

JD Powers and Associates’ customer service reports seem to draw the same focus as quarterly earnings reports. Executives await the results to see if their attempts to drive results have become a reality. Employees await the congratulatory email or a call-to-action to improve results. In the shrinking market for auto insurance, carriers are focused on gaining and retaining their customer base. We spend millions of dollars on marketing to new customers. Has that translated into new policyholders? The results have been mixed. If it was that easy, even a caveman would do it. If it was as easy as throwing money to create commercials and trendy gimmicks, everyone would be following that model AND reporting record sales. Spending millions hasn’t proven to create the desired result. There have been a few success stories, but far more examples exist of money wasted for 30 seconds of air time. As a result, companies are now evaluating whether or not spending the ridiculous amounts of money on marketing and advertising pays dividends. Buying customers through trendy advertising still requires you to deliver an exemplary product and service. My dad used to say, “Son, you can’t put perfume on a pig.” The pig may smell nice but he’s just as dirty and sloppy as he was before. The bottom line is that he is still a pig. I think that’s what consumers have experienced with those companies that have spent significant amounts of their annual budget to attract but not retain. So, you may ask, if companies aren’t growing, what are they doing to retain business? They’re doing a myriad of things but let’s focus on their direct repair programs (DRP). As a direct repairer for a given insurance company, do you have any idea the power you have to influence the customer’s perception? If you don’t, you are missing the best opportunity you have to grow your business. You aren’t really in the business of repairing vehicles, nor are we insurers in the business of paying for their loss. All of us are in the business of providing service in a time of need. The easi-

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est thing any of us can do is help the customer through something that happens once every seven or so years on average. We should be providing respect, courtesy, information, updates, smiles, reassurance and comfort to name a few things. The cost to provide those items? Nothing. Assuming that you don’t charge for effort, care and compassion. The sooner you realize that, the sooner you can win the game. Customers and insurers expect the car to be repaired properly and on time. We both demand customer service. Depending upon the carrier, the vehicle owner will spend more time in your facility and interacting with your staff than they will with their insurance company. If you wow the customer, the customer is going to be satisfied with you and more than likely the insurance company. If they don’t like you, you can bet your last customer service survey that they don’t have a lot of nice things to say about us either. In my opinion, insurance carriers allow the repair facility to have too much influence on the customer experience. Carriers have become acclimated to pushing additional responsibilities onto the shops. Customer service is something that insurance companies need to reclaim more of a share in. Unfortunately, insurance companies are beset with shrinking budgets and are reducing staff because of the lack of growth and fierce competition. That’s good news for shops. It creates an opportunity, obvious or not. Find a way to deliver consistently outstanding customer service, and your direct repair business is going to grow exponentially because insurance carriers need you. Don’t try putting perfume on the pig. You can’t fake good customer service. You either create a culture of service in your business or you will be left behind with the other swine. “The Insider” is an auto insurance company executive who wishes to remain anonymous. This column reflects solely the opinion of The Insider as it offers an unvarnished look at various issues impacting the collision industry. | DECEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS 53

Pennsylvania Vehicle Code is Amended to Exclude Totaled Vehicles’ Assignment of Title Requirements for Insurers

Pennsylvania has amended its Title 75 (Vehicles) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in certificate of title and security interests, further providing for certificate of salvage required. Insurers receiving assigned titles will be exempt from notarization and verification requirements. The text of the bill reads: The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania hereby enacts as follows: Section 1. Section 1161(b) of Title 75 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes is amended to read: § 1161. Certificate of salvage required. (b) Application for certificate of salvage. An owner who transfers a vehicle to be destroyed or dismantled, salvaged or recycled shall assign the certificate of title to the person to whom the vehicle is transferred. Except as provided in section 1163, the transferee shall immediately present the assigned certificate of title to the department or an authorized agent of the department with an application for a certificate of salvage upon a form furnished and prescribed by the department. An insurer as defined in section 1702 to which title to a vehicle is

assigned upon payment to the insured or claimant of the replacement value of a vehicle shall be regarded as a transferee under this subsection, and an assignment of title to an insurer under this subsection is exempt from the requirements of notarization and verification in section 1111(a) (relating to transfer of ownership of vehicle). If an owner retains possession of a vehicle which is damaged to the extent that it qualifies for vehicle replacement payment, the owner shall apply for a certificate of salvage immediately. In this case, an insurer shall not pay vehicle replacement value until the owner produces evidence to the insurer that the certificate of salvage has been issued. A self-insurer as defined in section 1702 shall apply for a certificate of salvage when a vehicle is damaged to the extent that the cost of repairs would exceed the replacement value of the vehicle as certified by a licensed motor vehicle physical damage appraiser. This act shall take effect in 60 days.

Pennsylvania Vehicle Code is Also Amended to Provide Exceptions for Dealers When Statement of Origin Exists

Sections 1111(a.1) and (b) and verification of the required informa1161(b) of title 75 of the Pennsylva- tion. The department may supply the nia consolidated statutes are amended verified information by either written to read: or electronic means. The application § 1111. Transfer of ownership and a properly assigned certificate of of vehicle. title or manufacturer’s statement of (a.1) Exception for dealers. when a origin shall be delivered to the decertificate of title for a vehicle ac- partment within the time period prequired by a licensed dealer for the scribed by section 1103.1 (relating to purpose of resale is encumbered by a application for certificate of title). If a lien or when there is a manufacturer’s dealer sells a vehicle after verificastatement of origin for a new vehicle, tion of the required information for a delivery of the certificate of title or certificate of title encumbered by a manufacturer’s statement of origin by lien, but fails to satisfy the lien or dethe dealer as a transferor at the time liver an assignment and warranty of of delivery of the vehicle upon resale title to the dealer’s transferee within shall not be required [for a vehicle 90 days of the date of purchase, and being titled in this commonwealth] if, this failure is the result of an act or prior to delivery of the vehicle, the omission by the dealer, the dealer dealer obtains the applicable powers shall accept return of the vehicle from of attorney to properly execute trans- the transferee and shall refund the fer of the title or manufacturer’s state- purchase price less actual depreciament of origin and the dealer requests tion of the vehicle while it was within and receives the departmental verifi- the possession of the transferee. In recation of any lienholders, ownership, funding the purchase price, the price odometer information[,] and title shall include the listed dollar value of brands, on titled vehicles, and any any trade-in vehicle as stated in the other information that the department sales transaction document in lieu of deems necessary to be verified. Upon returning the transferee’s trade-in vepayment of the established fee, the hicle. department provide the dealer Give usshall your opinion onormatters affecting the industry. authorized messenger service with

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Pennsylvania Governor Signs “Chop Shop Bill” Into Law, Shop Inspections During Business Hours

The Pennsylvania governor has signed into law a bill that significantly strengthens the state’s laws targeting chop shops and other auto crimes. Senate Bill 86—sponsored by Sen. Stewart Greenleaf—takes effect the end of December and gives law enforcement the ability to inspect body shops (or any automotive business) “during normal business hours, or any other time when body work is being done” for the purpose of locating stolen vehicles or parts. “The crime of auto theft has become increasingly complex, and auto thieves have become more organized,” said Senator Greenleaf. “Pennsylvania’s existing laws need to be amended to help prosecutors charge someone with auto theft.” SB 86 expands the Motor Vehicle Chop Shop Act to include “trailers” and “semitrailers” to help law enforcement charging thieves who steal trailers. Law enforcement has said that the current law is vague when attempting to charge someone with the crimes of profiting from stolen vehicle activity. SB 86 clarifies the offense of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity to specifically include stolen or illicitly obtained property. The current law fails to establish any limits on time for police inspections

of suspected “chop shops.” The bill allows for inspections during a shop’s normal business hours or any other time in which work is being done and also allows for the search of any vehicles or parts that are subject to the record keeping requirements of the law. The measure contains new recordkeeping requirements that must be available for these inspections for up to three years, as well as an entire section imposing stiffer penalties (up to 10 years in prison) and empowering the Commonwealth to seize all property, tools and equipment of a business found to be operating a chop shop. With nearly unanimous passage by both legislative houses and signed by the governor on October 25, SB 86 says that “Any person who knowingly owns, operates or conducts a chop shop; or transports, sells, transfers, purchases or receives any vehicle or vehicle part that was illegally obtained either to or from a chop shop, commits a felony of the second degree and, upon conviction, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than ten years or a fine of not more than $100,000, or both. The law creates a broad scope of inspection powers providing that any police officer or authorized department employee may inspect any vehicle, or


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The short title of SB 86 is: An Act amending Titles 18 (Crimes and Offenses) and 75 (Vehicles) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, for the unlawful disposition of motor vehicles and for investigation by police officers; and repealing the Motor Vehicle Chop Shop and Illegally Obtained and Altered Property Act. Also on the Gov.’s desk for his signature is HB House Bill 1970, which would provide for an exemption from vehicle registration and limits on number of towed vehicles. For example, a western Pennsylvania company, Beth's Barricades, hauls traffic control devices to and from job sites. Although the equipment is designed to be towed in tandem, law enforcement has cited the company several times for towing two of these trailers together. As such, House Bill 1970 makes it clear that hauling two such trailers is legal if they are less than 300 inches combined and the trailers are designed by the manufacturer to operate in tandem. This legislation provides a simple but needed fix to our Vehicle Code that puts Pennsylvania in line with other states. HB 1970 was unanimously passed by the Senate and House.

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major component part, for which records are required to be kept, in any garage or repair shop or on the premises of any dealer, miscellaneous motor vehicle business, salvage motor vehicle auction or pool operator, salvor, scrap metal processor, or other public place of business which deals in the trade of vehicles or major component parts. New record-keeping requirements have also been beefed up, including a requirement (among others) that shops keep a photocopy of a government-issued form of photo identification from the person towing or selling a vehicle or major component part, including their driver’s license number and location from where the vehicle or major component part was towed or sold and the business name, address, license number and contact number of the towing company. The records shall be maintained for three years. If inspection under the law reveals stolen vehicles, or major component parts with identification numbers, Federal certification labels, anti-theft labels or parts stickers removed, altered or falsified, any police officer or authorized department employee may seize those vehicles or vehicle parts, and the entire business as well as any “instrumentalities used to facilitate criminal activity.”

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Call or e-mail now for rates: 800-699-8251 or | DECEMBER 2012 AUTOBODY NEWS 55

December 2012 Northeast Edition  

Auto body information for industry in northeast United States.

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