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GM to Idle 3 Plants in North America Due to Semiconductor Shortage by Jamie L. LaReau, Detroit Free Press

General Motors is idling three of its assembly plants in North America and running a fourth in South K orea at half capacity for one week as it struggles with the ongoing semiconductor shortage that has already impacted production at Ford Motor Co., Stellantis and others globally. On Feb. 8, GM will idle the following plants―which run two shifts― for a week: • Fairfax Assembly and Stamping Plant in K ansas City, K S: About 2,000 hourly workers build the Chev-

rolet Malibu sedan and Cadillac X T4 SUV • CAMI, Ingersoll, Ontario Canada: About 1,500 hourly workers build the Chevrolet Equinox SUV • San Luis Potosí , Mexico: GM builds Chevrolet Equinox and Trax and GMC Terrain SUVs Some related GM plants that supply engines and other parts to the plants to be idled may be minorly impacted. For example, the engine plant at GM’s Spring Hill Assembly complex will reduce a shift on one See Semiconductor Shortage, Page 18

States Revive Push for Virus Liability Protections for Employers by Chris Marr, Bloomberg Law

More than a dozen states at the start of the 2021 legislative season are renewing a push to shield businesses from lawsuits over customers’ or employees’ COVID-19 exposure. From Florida to Montana, state lawmakers have declared liability protections to be a top priority this year. Republican lawmakers are mostly leading the charge, but in a few cases they’re coordinating with Democratic legislators or governors. If these states enact liability shields, they would join more than a

dozen others that did so in 2020. These state laws broadly shield all or most types of businesses from coronavirus-related liability lawsuits, unless a plaintiff can show the company was grossly negligent or guilty of intentional misconduct. After a federal proposal championed by Senate Republicans failed to win approval, the attention is back on the states and expected to stay there, now that Democrats will control both chambers of Congress and the White House as of Jan. 20. “We do not anticipate liability See Virus Liability Protections, Page 24



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AUTOBODYNEWS.COM Vol. 12 / Issue 1 / March 2021

President Biden Signs Executive Order to Strengthen Buy American Act Provisions by Roger Abbott and Karl Means at Miles & Stockbridge P.C.

On Jan. 25, President Joe B id en issued an executive order on Ensuring the Future Is Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers. The order is part of his “Build Back Better Recovery Plan” to strengthen American manufacturing and has potentially far-reaching effect. The order will tighten the federal government’s requirements to buy American products, support American jobs and rationalize the enforcement of the country’s patchwork of

“Made in America” laws. Companies that supply goods and services to the federal government may no longer benefit from statutes like “Buy American.” The Jan. 25 order will tighten agencies’ purchasing by increasing domestic content requirements and close loopholes for determining country of origin under Made in America laws. Companies that benefit from domestic preferences now must re-examine whether they will continue to benefit under the proposed new regulations. Contractors and subcontracSee Buy American Act, Page 22

Schools and Scans Among Topics Addressed at CIC on upcoming meeting dates for any industry advisory committees for A new position statement related collision repair training programs at to what is―and isn’t―included in any .S. schools―particularly for vehicle scan charges, and a plea for any such program that is struggling information about any school’s colli- or in danger of being closed. sion repair training programs that is Arrants contends “the pipeline struggling, were among the topics at containing the future workforce is collapsing,” offering some indirect evidence of a not insignificant decline in the number of such programs. S/P2, he said, which offers online safety and pollution prevention training used by some automotive training programs, reported 22,735 collision repair students took the training in 2020, down nearly 37% ASA is drafting a position statement indicating that a from 2019. charge for a vehicle scan is distinct from charges for That decline can’t be other procedures such as researching diagnostic codes and system initializations blamed on the pandemic; the number of students in the first Collision ndustry Confer- automotive service or heavy-duty ence ( CIC) of 2021, held virtually truck training programs who took S/ P2 training rose by as much as 2% in online in January. G eorge A rrants of the ASE 2020 compared to the previous year. Education Foundation said his orArrants also said of the more ganization is seeking information See Schools and Scans, Page 26 by John Yoswick

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ASE Announces New Officers, Board Members..26

Boring Company in Talks with Miami for

Auto Thefts Surge In 2020, National Insurance

$30 Million Underground Tunnel....................16 Caliber Collision Location in Charlotte, NC, Sells for $7 Million ..........................................6 Classic Collision Announces First Acquisition of the New Year in Florida ...............................8 Classic Collision Announces Second Acquisition in Florida in Two Weeks.................................23 Florida Health Care Liability Bill Emerges as Business Protection Package Advances.........26 Following the Playbook Earns New Maaco Franchisee ‘Rookie of the Year’ Honors............6 House Approves Extending COVID-19 Lawsuit Protection for GA Businesses by a Year .........13 Legislation to Tax Businesses’ PPP Loans Advancing Through Virginia Legislature .........14 Lucid Motors Adds Second South Florida Retail Location ................................................8 Porsche Launches New Scholarship and Guest Lecture Series at Morehouse College ............12 Winchester, VA, Rescue Mission Receives More Than $1,200 from Community..............16

Crime Bureau Reports ...................................53 Caliber Announces New Board of Directors Member ........................................................16 CCC Information Services Inc. Merges, Will Go Public ................................................55 Certified Collision Group Announces Significant Start to ‘21 ..................................51

Anderson - How to Improve Paint Materials Reimbursement ............................................30 Attanasio - Social Media Strategist Identifies Keys to Your Body Shop’s Online Success .....46 Phillips - COVID-19 Vaccinations in the Workplace: What to Consider for Your Collision Repair Facility .................................34 Sisk - ASA Northwest Hosts ASE for State of Collision Education Discussion ..................48 Sisk - CIECAST Prepares Collision Repairers for the EV Revolution.....................................32 Yoswick - Forecast: Expect More Private Equity Coming Into the Industry ....................43

Publisher & Editor: Jeremy Hayhurst General Manager: Barbara Davies Contributing Writers: John Yoswick, Janet Chaney, Toby Chess, Ed Attanasio, Chasidy Sisk, David Luehr, Stacey Phillips, Victoria Antonelli, Gary Ledoux Advertising Sales: Joe Momber, Norman Morano, Griffin Reinhard (800) 699-8251 Office Manager: Louise Tedesco Digital Marketing Manager: Bryan Malinski Art Director: Rodolfo Garcia Graphic Designer: Vicki Sitarz Online and Web Content Editor: Abby Andrews Accounting Manager: Heather Priddy Permissions Editor: Randi Scholtes Office Assistant: Dianne Pray

Serving Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina 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. ©2021 Adamantine Media LLC.

American Icon Automotive Finishes ................. 14

Insta Finish ..................................................... 15

Audi Wholesale Parts Dealers .......................... 49

Jim Cogdill Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram ........... 12

AutoNation Collision Part ................................... 9

John Heister Automotive ................................. 32

AutoNation Ford-Lincoln ................................. 22

Kia Motors Wholesale Parts Dealers ................ 47

BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers ........................ 48

LKQ Corporation ............................................... 5

Car-Part.com .................................................. 31

Malco ............................................................. 23

CCC Information Services Inc .......................... 56

Mazda Wholesale Parts Dealers ...................... 50

Certified Automotive Parts Association .............. 8

Mercedes-Benz Wholesale Parts Dealers ........ 48

City Kia of Greater Orlando .............................. 42

MINI of Charleston .......................................... 42

Classifieds ...................................................... 54

MINI Wholesale Parts Dealers.......................... 48

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Buick GMC Cadillac ............ 41

MOPAR Wholesale Parts Dealers ..................... 33

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet ............................ 41

NOROO Paint & Coatings ................................. 19

Eckler’s Automotive ....................................... 17

Parker LORD ................................................... 13

Equalizer Industries, Inc. ................................... 6

Rick Hendrick Chevrolet Naples ...................... 24

Florida Filtration & Spray Booth Services......... 18

Riverside Ford-Lincoln .................................... 43

Ford Wholesale Parts Dealers .......................... 52

SATA Dan-Am Company .................................... 2

GM Wholesale Parts Dealers ........................... 45

Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes .......10-11

Gus Machado Ford .......................................... 38

Southside Kia.................................................. 30

Hendrick Automotive Group............................. 37

Spanesi Americas ........................................... 25

Hendrick BMW/MINI .......................................... 7

Sport Durst Automotive Group ......................... 35

Hendrick Honda Pompano Beach .................... 34

Steck Manufacturing Company ....................... 16

Hendrick Kia Cary ........................................... 39

Subaru Wholesale Parts Dealers...................... 44

Hendrick Kia Concord ..................................... 39

Sunmight USA ...........................................20-21

Hendrick Volvo Cars of Charleston................... 42

Tameron Hyundai ............................................ 36

Honda-Acura Wholesale Parts Dealers .27, 28-29

Volkswagen Wholesale Parts Dealers .............. 51

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

CIECA Announces Board, Award Recipients .........8 CIECA Forms New Committee ...........................13 Collision Industry Mourns the Loss of Bano Ramirez ...............................................54 COVID’s Impact on Insurance Pricing, Coverage & Digital Trends ..............................55 Distracted Driving Trend Persists Despite Passenger Complaints ..................................54 Edmunds Experts Forecast 15.5 Million New Vehicles Will Be Sold in 2021 ................52 Ford, Google Partner ...........................................4 GM to Idle 3 Plants in North America Due to Semiconductor Shortage.............................1 Herb Lieberman—A Life of Service ...................44 Hyundai Isn’t Building the Apple Car After All .....39




Industry Members Share Their Predictions for the Year ...................................................52 Jeff Peevy Shares Growth Plans Related to I-CAR Tech Center .....................................40 Kia Niro EV Winner in Ownership Study .............55 Merchants Fleet to Buy BrightDrop EVs .............53 President Biden Signs Executive Order to Strengthen Buy American Act Provisions .........1 President Biden: We’ll Replace Entire Fleet of Federal Vehicles with EVs ............................4 Schools and Scans Among Topics Addressed at CIC .............................................................1 States Revive Push for Virus Liability Protections for Employers ...............................1 Tesla Will Now Handle Collision Repairs at

NATIONAL 2021 SEMA HoF................................................50 ABRA Auto Body Repair of America Adds Four New Facilities .......................................53

Its Own Service Centers ................................42 U.S. Electric Vehicle Market Poised for Record Sales in 2021: Edmunds .................................4 WIN Scholarship Open for Applications..............42

Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers .................... 53

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President Biden: We’ll Replace Entire Fleet of Federal Vehicles with EVs by Tom Moloughney, Inside EVs

President Joe B id en isn’t wasting any time in making his policy clear on electric vehicles. In a speech Jan. 25, less than one week into his presidency, Biden announced he plans to replace all federal vehicles in service with domestically-made EVs. According to the General Service Administration’s 2019 Federal Fleet Report, that’s a total of 645,000 vehicles. However, the president didn’t lay out any plans or timeline whatsoever, only a commitment to transition the fleet to zero-emission electric vehicles. “Together, this will be the largest mobilization of public investment and procurement infrastructure and R&D since World War II,” Biden said. Biden also added that all of the electric vehicles would be domestically made, which would narrow down the choices when ordering replacement vehicles. Tesla Model 3s have already proven to make great police cruis-

ers for some departments willing to give the vehicle a chance. It appears to be paying off, as the Bargersville Police Department in Indiana announced the Model 3 saved $ 6,750 in only one year of service, as compared to a Dodge Charger cruiser.

Mail delivery vehicles are perfect candidates for electric vehicles because they have set routes, do a lot of stop-and-go low-speed driving and in many instances don’t need to cover many miles to complete their daily route. The 140,000 federal mail

“Together, this will be the largest mobilization of public investment and procurement infrastructure and R&D since World War II,” — Joe Biden We can only imagine how much the government would save by replacing more than half a million vehicles with efficient EVs. Nearly 22% of the vehicles in the federal fleet are mail trucks, which are long overdue for replacement. The average age of a Grumman mail delivery truck is 28 years, and they lack basic essential functions of modern vehicles including airbags, anti-lock brakes and air conditioning.

trucks currently in service should be the first fleet to be converted. If we take Biden’s announcement literally, then we have to assume he means he’ll be ordering a new all-electric presidential limo, affectionately known as “The Beast.” Perhaps it will be a custom stretched Hummer EV-based Cadillac SUV? We thank I nsid e E V s for reprint permission.

Ford, Google Partner Ford and Google announced Feb. 1 a unique strategic partnership to accelerate Ford’s transformation and reinvent the connected vehicle experience. Ford has also named Google Cloud its preferred cloud provider to leverage Google’s world-class expertise in data, artificial intelligence (A ) and machine learning (ML.) As part of this new, six-year partnership― beginning in 2023―millions of future Ford and Lincoln vehicles at all price points will be powered by Android, with Google apps and services built-in. To drive ongoing innovation, Ford and Google are establishing a new collaborative group, Team pshift. Leveraging the talent and assets of both companies, Team Upshift will push the boundaries of Ford’s transformation, unlock personalized consumer experiences and drive disruptive, data-driven opportunities. This may include projects ranging from developing new retail experiences when buying a vehicle, creating new ownership offers based on data and more. Source: Ford, Google

U.S. Electric Vehicle Market Poised for Record Sales in 2021: Edmunds Electric vehicle sales are poised to hit their highest level on record in 2021, according to the car shopping experts at Edmunds. Edmunds data shows EV sales made up 1.9% of retail sales in the U.S. in 2020; Edmunds analysts expect this number to grow to 2.5% this year. “After years of speculation and empty promises, 2021 is actually shaping up to be a pivotal year for growth in the EV sector,” said Jessica Cald well, Edmunds’ executive director of insights. “We’re not only about to see a massive leap in the number of EVs available in the market; we’re also going to see a more diverse lineup of electric vehicles that better reflect current consumer preferences. “And given that the new presidential administration has pledged its support for electrification, the U.S. is likely to see incentive programs targeted at fostering the growth of this technology further.” Edmunds analysts anticipate 30 EVs from 21 brands will become available for sale this year, compared to 17 vehicles from 12 brands

in 2020. otably, this will be the first year these offerings represent all three major vehicle categories: Consumers will have the choice among 11 cars, 13 SUVs and six trucks in 2021, whereas only 10 cars and seven SUVs were available last year.

This diverse spread of EV offerings should help encourage stronger loyalty among EV owners, which has dwindled over the years as shoppers have gravitated toward larger vehicles. According to Edmunds data, 71% of EV owners who didn’t buy another EV traded in their vehicle for a truck or SUV in 2020, compared to 60% in 2019 and 34% in 2015. “Americans have a love affair with trucks and SUVs, to the detriment of EVs, which have until recently been mostly passenger cars,”

said Caldwell. “Automakers should have a much better shot of recapturing some of the EV buyers who they’ve lost now that they can offer larger, more utilitarian electric vehicles.” Edmunds analysts note that this infusion of fresh new products comes at a time where the market is also seeing a positive shift in consumer interest in EVs. According to Google Trends data, consumer searches for electric trucks and SUVs have recently hit a high point after trending upward for years. “Besides affordability, one of the biggest barriers to increased EV sales has simply been tepid consumer reception―it’s been tough for companies that aren’t Tesla to crack the code of how to get shoppers hyped up for these vehicles,” said Caldwell. “But in the past year we’ve seen automakers throw huge advertising dollars behind their EV launches in an attempt to drum up some buzz, and it’s promising that consumers seem to at least be more aware of the options out there.” As more consumers look to EVs as a possibility for their next

car purchase, Edmunds experts emphasize that shoppers should take extra time to consider their alternatives and do their research. “Buying an EV is an entirely different beast than a traditional car purchase, so extra research and diligence are key,” said I v an Drury , Edmunds’ senior manager of insights. “Range and weather conditions play a huge factor in determining whether certain EVs make sense for your everyday needs, and whether you own a home with a garage or rent an apartment could affect your charging situation. “Federal and state tax incentives are at play with these purchases. And with a number of manufacturers following Tesla’s direct sale model, there might not be opportunities to take a test drive, or even to trade in your current vehicle, like you would at a traditional dealership.” Source: Edmunds


4 MARCH 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

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Following the Playbook Earns New Maaco Franchisee ‘Rookie of the Year’ Honors Maaco Collision Repair and Auto Painting, a leader in the $ 43 billion automotive paint and collision industry, recognized outstanding performance by its franchisees at its recent virtual convention. One of the top awards is the Maaco “Rookie of the Y ear.” Two franchisees were honored with this award. B ob b y G ery , franchise owner of the Maaco center in Suffolk, VA, was one of the recipients. “Owning a Maaco franchise has been on my radar for a long time,” said Gery. “I have a relative who has been an independent collision shop owner for 40 years, and I saw how long it took for him to build up his business. I also have a friend who opened a Maaco shop, and I saw how quickly he became successful. The main difference was having the benefit of the Maaco brand, and the successful playbook Maaco offers.” ery was very specific about having the right location in a high-traffic, upscale business area, and once he found it, he built his ground-up facility, which opened in July 2019. n his first 12 months of

operation, he exceeded the $ 1 million milestone, despite the temporary disruption that the COVID-19 pandemic caused.

“There were enough unknowns in running a new business,” said Gery. “No one had a playbook for operating in a pandemic. But the Maaco operations team went above and beyond to provide support early on when the pandemic hit. They communicated daily and engaged with all franchisees to gather and share best practices to the entire group. Their support was really outstanding.” When the pandemic began, Gery had a meeting with his team and assured them as long as he could keep the lights on, everyone had a job. That went a long way in devel-

oping loyalty among his team. For a while, that meant his team would do building cleaning and maintenance when business was slow. His team also used that time to complete additional training on repair procedures. “The training that Maaco offers is second to none,” said Gery. “From day one, it was important to me to provide my people with all the training and equipment to properly and safely repair any vehicle that came through the door. Raising their skill level also enables us to participate in the Maaco national fleet program. I’m proud to say that we are now a Platinum Certified Repair Center, which is the second highest level of certification in the Maaco system.” The slowdown in business only lasted about 30 days, during which Gery used every minute of his time to work on bringing vehicles into his shop. He reconnected with customers who had previously brought their cars in for estimates, and he built relationships with local businesses that had fleet vehicles. Soon the business returned to a

level that kept Gery on track to reach his $ 1 million goal. Gery feels honored to share the Maaco Rookie of the Y ear recognition, and attributes his success not only to his team, but to the people he has learned from over his 22 years in the automotive industry. “I’ve managed several car dealerships over the years for other people, and I have had some great managers and some not-so-great ones, and I have learned from them both,” said Gery. “I saw body shops that were well run and some that had room for improvement. I have taken all that and applied it to this opportunity to be my own boss. “Being recognized as one of two Maaco Rookie of the Y ear recipients is a real honor, and it validates that I’m doing something right.” Maaco is always looking for people who want to become business owners with the benefit of almost 50 years of experience that Maaco brings. Visit www.maacofranchise. com to learn more about franchisee opportunities. Sourc e: M aac o

Caliber Collision Location in Charlotte, NC, Sells for $7 Million Marcus & Millichap, a commercial real estate brokerage firm, announced Jan. 29 the sale of Caliber Collision South Tryon, a 31,500-square foot property located in Charlotte, NC, according to Justin W. West, regional manager of the firm’s Orlando, FL, office. The asset sold for $ 7 million. Scott G ould and Rory Shelb y , investment specialists in Marcus & Millichap’s Orlando office, secured and represented the buyer, a private investor out of New Y ork, with the assistance of Benjamin Y elm, broker of record. “We’re excited to play a part in one of the largest collision repair real estate transactions in the last 12 months,” said Gould. “The buyer is a repeat client of ours who concluded his 1031 upleg with this acquisition. He was immediately attracted to this investment for a variety of reasons—Charlotte is one of the fastest-growing metros in the

country and the property is tenanted with an industry leading operator.” Caliber Collision Centers is the largest collision repair company in America, with more than 1,150 locations and I-CAR Gold Class Professional certified collision repair centers across 33 states. Caliber is consistently ranked among the highest in customer satisfaction in the industry and backs all repair work with a written lifetime warranty available at any of its repair centers. The company repairs more than 850,000 vehicles annually. Caliber has developed strategic partnerships with 109 car dealerships throughout the U.S in addition to 58 insurance carriers, which include AAA, GEICO, Farmers, Liberty Mutual, Allstate and USAA. Sourc e: M arc us &

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Lucid Motors Adds Second South Florida Retail Location Lucid Motors, which is setting new standards for sustainable mobility with its advanced luxury EVs, announced the opening of its newest retail location in South Florida, the Lucid Studio in West Palm Beach at Rosemary Square, on Jan. 23. This location is the sixth in a network of Lucid Studios that will grow to 20 locations across the United States by the end of the year. All Lucid Studios are designed to give customers the opportunity to experience Lucid’s advanced electric vehicle technology and reserve their own Lucid Air all-electric sedan. At any Lucid Studio, customers can review options for the full Lucid Air lineup of luxury, high-performance EVs, which resets the bar for electric vehicle performance and efficiency with 17 miles of pro ected range on a single charge for the Grand Touring model and a 0-60 mph time as low as 2. seconds. The lineup includes the Lucid Air Pure, a very well-equipped model available from 77,400 ( 6 , 00 after federal tax credit) , the Lucid Air Touring, which starts at ,000 ( 7, 00 after federal tax credit),

and the Lucid Air Grand Touring that starts at 13 ,000 ( 131, 00 after federal tax credit.)

director of retail operations, Lucid Motors. “Our first product, Lucid Air, is a true luxury EV that will set

“We believe in brands that are reimagining and also leading their respective industries and are thrilled to build on the success of our current tenants with additions like Lucid Motors that speak to the experience, connection and innovation that define our neighborhood,” — Gopal Rajegowda The first available Lucid Air model will be the exclusive, limited production Dream Edition, available from 16 ,000 ( 161, 00 after federal tax credit), featuring a pro ected 03 miles of range, with 10 0 hp and a quarter mile time of . seconds. Lucid Air production begins in Spring 2021 at the newly completed Lucid Advanced Manufacturing Plant (AMP-1) in Casa rande, A . “The opening of our West Palm Beach Studio signifies our confidence in the South Florida market as we continue the expansion of our retail network across the United States,” said Zak E d son, senior

new standards in power, efficiency, comfort and range, and we look forward to sharing it with discerning consumers at our newest location in West Palm Beach.” “We believe in brands that are reimagining and also leading their respective industries and are thrilled to build on the success of our current tenants with additions like Lucid Motors that speak to the experience, connection and innovation that define our neighborhood,” said G opal Raj egowd a, partner at Related Southeast, developer of Rosemary Square. Sourc e: L uc id M otors

CIECA Announces Board, Award Recipients uring the an. 12 virtual Collision ndustry Electronic Commerce Association (C ECA) board meeting, the organization’s Board of Trustees elected new officers for 2021 and announced the recipients of the 2020 C ECA Awards. 2021 C ECA Board of Trustees officers include Past Chair K im DeVallance Caron, Enterprise Holdings Chair Jeff roder, Car-Part.com Vice-Chair P il Martinez, Mitchell nternational Treasurer G reg B est, California Casualty Management Company and Secretary s ley enison, Caliber Collision. A awards were Outstanding Contribution A nd y B ob er, a software engineer at Entegral; Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Dedication arley irt, former technical pro ect coordinator for C ECA Chairperson’s Award P il artine , senior technical consultant at Mitchell nternational and vice-chair of C ECA and Electronic Commerce Company of the ear Mitchell nternational. Source C ECA

Classic Collision Announces First Acquisition of the New Year in Florida Classic Collision, LLC, a leading national multi-site collision repair operator based in Atlanta, announced its first acquisition of the New Y ear with the acquisition of A rrow Col l ision in Miami, FL. This is Classic Collision’s 16th Florida location. t now operates centers in eorgia, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina and California. Arrow Collision Center has been providing friendly, reliable and professional service to the Miami area for more than 1 years. “Classic Collision has a great reputation in the collision repair industry, and we are happy to be a part of this team during their accelerated growth ourney,” said O rlan Rod riguez, former owner of Arrow Collision Center.

“We are pleased to welcome all of the Arrow Collision team members to the Classic Collision family. We believe their expertise in the collision repair industry will greatly contribute toward expanding our service offerings,” said Toan N guy en, CEO of Classic Collision. uring these difficult market situations, Classic Collision is not slowing down plans to expand, and will continue to acquire highend businesses across the country throughout 2021 and beyond. A highly effective integration model and proprietary tech-enabled operations playbook keep Classic Collision safely performing at a high level. Sourc e: Cl assic Col l ision

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Porsche Launches New Scholarship and Guest Lecture Series at Morehouse College Porsche Cars North America, Inc. is teaming up with Morehouse College in Atlanta to launch a new scholarship for business majors and a guest lecture series that will expose students to the global automotive industry.

n the first year of PC A’s first-ever gift to a college, the Porsche Scholarship will benefit 10 sophomores, juniors or seniors majoring in business administration or economics and have at least a 3.3 grade point average. The funds will assist students with tuition as well as room and board expenses. Through its collaboration with Morehouse, PCNA hopes to provide greater access to post-secondary education on an ongoing basis, while also inspiring students to pursue careers in the automotive industry. Beginning this spring, PCNA

will also launch a virtual, in-classroom guest lecture series with Morehouse to bring real-world perspective from the automotive sector to course curriculum. PCNA will lend its expertise to students in courses such as customer relationship management and advance corporate finance, followed by other areas of study in years to come. “Porsche supports institutions that share our commitment to the connected goals of quality education and social equity,” said K j ell G runer, president and CEO of PCNA. “Morehouse College is an acknowledged national model for developing the next generation of leaders, and a logical partner in our hometown of Atlanta. “As a brand dedicated to delivering dreams, I am proud we can contribute to student development at Morehouse and cultivate a stronger connection between these future leaders and the mobility sector.” “On behalf of Morehouse College, I would like to thank Porsche Cars North America for working with us to expand academic opportunities for our business students,” said Dav id A . Thomas, president of Morehouse

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College. “Choosing Morehouse as the site of PC A’s first college scholarship program shows that Porsche is committed to academic excellence and the development of leaders of color. “We look forward to collaborating with Porsche experts in our classrooms and hope that this relationship will be the bridge that leads

scholarship, but they will also receive some important insight about global business strategies in classes taught by Porsche employees. “We appreciate PCNA’s generosity and commitment to higher education.” Morehouse College has a nationally-acclaimed business program and is the top feeder school for black men entering Harvard Business

Porsche is an industry leader that cares about local communities and has demonstrated its support through philanthropy,” — Monique Dozier to more Morehouse students starting new careers in the automotive industry, a business sector in need of more diversity. Porsche is an industry leader that cares about local communities and has demonstrated its support through philanthropy,” said Moniq ue Dozier, vice president of the Morehouse College Office of nstitutional Advancement. “By establishing this relationship with Porsche Cars North America, our students will not only benefit as recipients of the first-ever PC A college

School. The college educates 2,100 students annually, 60% of whom come from families with household incomes of $ 40,000 or less. As the national epicenter for thought leadership on civil rights, Morehouse is committed to helping the nation address racial inequities, which have created disparities in income, employment, health care, housing and educational opportunities for people of African descent. Sourc e: P CN A


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House Approves Extending COVID-19 Lawsuit Protection for GA Businesses by a Year by Nyamekye Daniel, The Center Square

A bill that would extend the length of time Georgia businesses are protected from certain COVID-19-related lawsuits cleared the House on Feb. 9. The House voted 99-68 in favor of House Bill 112, which extends the applicability of the Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act by a year, from July 14, 2021, to July 14, 2022. Rep. Trey K elley , R-Cedartown, who introduced the bill, said it would give business owners the certainty they need to continue operating during the pandemic. “We know that our businesses continue to struggle to stay open. We know that our hospitals and our medical community continue to struggle to take care of the Georgians that our constituents at a time when they’re being attacked by this horrible virus,” K elley said. “What we don’t need is for them to be attacked by frivolous lawsuits.” The Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act prevents health care facilities and provid-

ers and other businesses, including those who sell personal protective equipment, from being sued because of potential exposure to or transmission of COVID-19. It excludes protections for businesses or health care providers that have been proven negligent or guilty of “willful and wanton misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm.” The measure has received support from the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, Georgia Hospital Association and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. The governor issued an executive order in April that included similar liability protections for health care workers during the COVID-19 public health state of emergency. Critics said the business tort immunity could limit protections for employees and the public. Rep. Matthew Wilson, D-Brookhaven, said the measure is “too vague and too broad” and places shareholders and CEOs over Georgians. He referred to a COVID-19 outbreak last spring in Iowa. “Supervisors knew about

the hazards that they were sending workers to face,” Wilson said. “Plant managers are alleged to have explicitly told supervisors to ignore COVID symptoms and organize a betting pool for supervisors to wager on how many employees would test positive.” The company, Tyson Foods, also owns a plant in Albany, GA. “That’s the kind of abhorrent and abject disregard for human life that this kind of liability shield has allowed to infiltrate our society,” Wilson said. K elley said the bill does not infringe on the existing employees’ rights under current workers’ compensation laws. “So there is nothing, not a single right, that will be taken away from a single employee in our state,” K elley said. “What this will do is allow businesses to stay open so that employees have an opportunity to go to work.” HB 112 now heads to the Senate for consideration. We thank The Center Square for reprint permission.

CIECA Forms New Committee CIECA has announced the formation of a new Standards Development Committee, the Emerging Technologies Data Standards Committee. All industry stakeholders, including CIECA and non-CIECA members, are invited to join. CEICA Executive Director Paul B arry said that unlike other committees that focus on a single business problem, this committee will look broadly across the industry to identify emerging needs that may not be readily visible. The committee will provide definitions for new terminology to be documented and shared with the industry, provide accurate information to allow industry workflows to be documented, determine the data requirements to share this information electronically, and evelop new messages and modify existing messages to share the required data. To join the Emerging Technologies Data Standards Committee, fill out the form at https survey. ohopublic.com s VPC 7M Sourc e: CI E CA


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Legislation to Tax Businesses’ PPP Loans Advancing Through Virginia Legislature by Tyler Arnold, The Center Square

Members of the Virginia business community are voicing concern over legislation that would require small businesses to pay state income taxes on forgivable loans received by the federal government as they are trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic restrictions. Because Virginia is a state that does not automatically conform its state tax code to the federal tax code, it must introduce tax conformity legislation annually. Although normally a routine matter, a House committee has advanced legislation that would conform conform parts of the code. One part that’s left out of the bill is an income tax exemption for Paycheck Protection Program ( PPP) loans, which are tax exempt at the federal level. Del. Viv ian Watts, D-Annandale, the sponsor of House Bill 1935, said during a committee meeting that fully conforming to the federal income tax code would cause a 1 billion budget deficit for the state. Virginia, she noted, is required to pass a balanced budget every year, but the federal government is not. Finance Secretary A ub rey Lane told lawmakers the state tried to conform to as much of the tax code as it could, but recent federal changes have made it difficult. n the proposed bill, the state would conform to most of the individual tax provisions, but it will deconform from many of the business tax provisions. Some of the deconformity is from recent COVID-19-related changes to the tax code and others from the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

The possibility that the state will not fully conform to the federal tax code has caused concern for businesses that have lost revenue during the pandemic and have to face a gradual minimum wage hike beginning in May.

“This is a money grab from the pockets of suffering small businesses who lost so much revenue when they were closed by the government and through no fault of their own,” — Nicole Riley The Virginia state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, N icole Riley , cautioned that not exempting PPP loans would have a negative effect on the 113 businesses that took out these loans. “This is a money grab from the pockets of suffering small businesses who lost so much revenue when they were closed by the government and through no fault of their own,” Riley said. “The legislature just wants more money to spend but with this bill, that cost falls on the backs of small business owners. “Small businesses took PPP loans when the government shutdown the economy and the goal was to save employee’s jobs and keep them off the unemployment rolls,” Riley said. “The business owners followed all the rules and carried out their end of the bargain. Essentially, the state is kicking them when they are down.” Rob ert Melv in, the director of government affairs at the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association, told The Center Square his organization is disappointed in the legislation. He said any additional burden will hurt small busi-

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nesses and likely will require some of them to lay off employees or reduce hours. Melvin said state changes to federal law regarding businesses will have a collective impact that will damage small businesses. The


minimum wage is set to increase from $ 7.75 per hour to $ 9.50 per hour in May, but Melvin said people really will see the negative effect on businesses the following year, when the minimum wage goes up to $ 11 per hour in January. The association is fighting to slow down the increase. “None of this should be looked at individually,” Melvin said. Stephen Haner, a senior fel-

low for state and local tax policy at the free-market T omas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy, told The Center Square the state should not be taxing the COVID-19 relief. “This Northam Administration says this could be close to half a billion dollars over two years, which I consider as the state taking a 6% skim off the top of money Congress was and is using to save our economy,” Haner said. “ t is no different than if the state tried to tax the individual stimulus payments, but they don’t dare try that. “I think they were hoping the business community would just lie down and take this. The state is getting billions, billions of extra funds from the federal taxpayers and should not be taxing this relief.” Republicans have urged the state to exempt these loans from taxation, but Democrats have a majority in both chambers of the General Assembly. We thank The Center Square for reprint permission.

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Caliber Announces New Board of Directors Member

Boring Company in Talks with Miami for $30 Million Underground Tunnel

Caliber on Jan. 25 announced the appointment of A y lwin B . Lewis to its Board of irectors, effective that day. Lewis, the former chairman, president and CEO of Potbelly Corporation and a former top executive at K mart, Sears and Y um! Brands, brings a long track record of leadership and performance to Caliber’s board. In addition to the position on Caliber’s board, Lewis currently serves on the boards at Marriott International, Voya Financial and Chef’s Warehouse. In the past, Lewis has held board roles with Halliburton, K mart, Red Robin, Sears, Starwood Hotels and the Walt Disney Company. As part of Caliber’s board, Lewis will help oversee and guide the company’s 1,200-plus service centers that restore 1.5 million vehicles and customer lives each year, and support more than 21,500 teammates and the communities they serve. Source: Caliber

Miami took third place as one of the U.S.’s most congested cities in 2020, as was pointed out by location specialist TomTom in its 2020 Traffic Index Report. So it came as little surprise when Mayor F rancis Suarez posted on Twitter the details of a phone conversation he had with The Boring Company founder E lon Musk on Feb. 5 about digging a 2-mile-long tunnel beneath the city. The plan is to ease traffic. Not only would the project minimize traffic above ground, but it would also save the city a heap of money. Suarez explained in his Twitter video post that The Boring Company’s project would cost only $ 30 million—down from a nearly $ 1 billion price tag transit officials quoted in 2018. On top of all that, the tunnel would be completed in six months—down from the fouryear estimate the previous project quoted. Musk didn’t hide his interest

by Fabienne Lang, Interesting Engineering

could also affect the project. It sounds like many more details still need to be hashed out before the project gets the green light, but it’s still exciting to hear about such projects. The Boring Company has been in action under Musk since 2016 and has predominantly gathered attention thanks to its projects in Las Vegas. Its main objective is to use Teslas speeding underground through its tunnels, to alleviate congestion and pollution above ground, as well as minimize travel times Tesla going through a Boring Company tunnel. between locations. Credit: Boring Company In Vegas, for inLocal newspaper The Miami stance, the company’s tunnels Herald pointed out, however, that would link the city’s convention Miami may be a tricky spot for center to some of its most promiboring tunnels—a topic of con- nent hotels and casinos, and even versation during Musk and Su- the international airport. We thank I nteresting E ng iarez’s phonecall. South Florida’s porous and spongey limestone neering for reprint permission. bedrock may place the integrity of the region’s structural impact under strain, and rising sea levels www.autobodynews.com

in Miami as a prime tunnel-constructing ground, as he wrote on Twitter in January that “@boringcompany tunnels under Miami would solve traffic & be an example to the world.”

Winchester, VA, Rescue Mission Receives More Than $1,200 from Community Maaco Winchester proudly donated $ 1,275 to the Winchester Rescue Mission, thanks to overwhelming community support. Throughout the month of December, Maaco in Winchester, VA, donated $ 25 to the Winchester Rescue Mission for every estimate received.

“We know a lot of people have dents and dings they’d like to fix, so we did our best to help share our promotion with the community to not only support our local family business but this incredible charity,” said K ev in K and rick, owner, Winchester Maaco. “The response was overwhelming, and we are incredibly proud to make this donation on behalf of our amazing Winchester community.”

As food banks and homeless shelters across North America continue to experience a strain on their supplies, this contribution aims to helps Winchester’s most vulnerable. “Winston Churchill once said, ‘ We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give,’ and that saying has always stuck with me,” said K andrick. “We are proud to be a part of this community, and seeing how we have all come together to find ways to give back only further demonstrates the value of working together.” The Winchester Rescue Mission is a homeless shelter supporting those who have found themselves falling on hard times. It opened its doors to the citizens of Winchester in July 1973, and has since grown to support both men and women of the community with safe shelter, hot meals, medical care and job training to transform lives. Visit Maaco.com to learn more. Sourc e: M aac o

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Semiconductor Shortage engine line next week because GM sends that engine to Fairfax. In addition, GM will run its Bupyeong 2 assembly plant in South K orea at half capacity beginning the week of Feb. 8. GM builds the Chevy Malibu, Trax and Buick Encore SUV there for sale in the U.S. On Jan. 22, Business K orea reported GM planned to cut vehicle production by suspending overtime and extra work at its Bupyeong plant because of the semiconductor shortage. It uses the chips in its electronic control units and infotainment systems. “No production disruptions,” GM spokesman Dav id B arnas told the Free Press the last week of January. “There were rumors last week from suppliers that our K orea operations were being disrupted. But GM K orea corrected those stories.” Barnas said GM will not idle Bupyeong, but will merely run it at half capacity for a week, starting Feb. 8. Workers get paid The UAW reacted to GM’s news by saying its leaders continue to work with major employers, the Biden administration, Congress and suppliers to address the semiconductor shortage. “Over the past 30 years, production of semiconductors has been offshored to South K orea, Taiwan and more recently, China,” said UAW spokesman B rian Rothenb erg in a statement. “Today, the United States only controls manufacturing for about 14% of all semiconductors.” The union negotiated worker protection in the event of parts shortages interrupting production in its contract, he said. Union workers will receive supplemental pay and unemployment that pays 75% to 80% of salary and continued benefits. “However, the UAW is working with employers to minimize the impact on auto manufacturing production as much as possible,” Rothenberg said. GM said union workers at CAMI, represented by Unifor, will be paid through the provisions of their labor agreements, noting that represented

seniority employees will receive about 75% of their compensation through a combination of unemployment and supplemental benefits. Protect pickups and SUVs Demand for semiconductor use is up in part because of the coronavirus pandemic and an increase of laptop computers, which use the semiconductor chips. Cars also use them in a variety of parts and infotainment systems. The union said if the parts were made in America, the industry would have “more ability to respond to these demand issues,” Rothenberg said. He added the UAW is calling on the government to develop trade and policy solutions to bring advanced technology production back to the U.S. GM’s Barnas said semiconductor supply for the global auto industry remains very fluid and its supply chain organization is “working closely with our supply base to find solutions for our suppliers’ semiconductor requirements and to mitigate impacts on GM.” GM is assessing the overall impact to production and Barnas declined to provide an estimated production impact from the planned plant closures. “Our focus is to keep producing our most in-demand products―including full-size trucks and SUVs and Corvettes―for our customers,” Barnas said. GM builds its heavy-duty, fullsize pickups at Flint Assembly Plant and its light-duty, full-size pickups at the Fort Wayne Assembly Plant in Indiana. It builds its midsize pickups at Wentzville Assembly in Missouri and its full-size SUVs at Arlington Assembly in Texas. All four plants will continue to run on three shifts and weekend overtime, Barnas said. GM builds the Corvette at Bowling Green Assembly in K entucky. GM’s assembly plants in Lansing and other parts of Michigan will continue to operate regularly. “ ue to the fluidity around the availability of parts, our current plan is to update the plants each week,” Barnas said. “Our intent is to make up as much production lost at these plants as possible. Importantly, this issue will not impact our commit-

ment to an all-electric future.” Ford impact GM will provide further details on the semiconductor issue when it reports its 2020 earnings Feb. 10. Ford has been hit hard by a global parts shortage with factory workers in several states receiving temporary layoffs or shift reductions. Ford has reduced shifts at its Michigan Dearborn Truck Plant, which employs 4,600 hourly workers and builds the 2021 F-150 pickup. Likewise, it has shortened evening and day shifts at K ansas City Assembly, which employs 7,300 hourly workers and builds the F-150. At the Chicago Assembly Plant, which employs 5,300 hourly workers and builds the 2021 Ford Explorer, Lincoln Aviator and Police Interceptor, Ford is expected to announce a potential production disruption. Ford’s Louisville Assembly Plant is down through Feb. 7 because of the shortage. That affects about 3, 00 hourly workers building the Ford Escape and Lincoln Corsair. Stellantis planned to shutter plants

in Mexico and Canada, building the Jeep Compass and Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger, through the end of January. A Stellantis spokeswoman said Wednesday that its North American facilities are running in February and the automaker continues to work closely with its global supply chain network to monitor the industry-wide issue. Automakers globally that have been impacted by the chip shortage and have cut production include Toyota, Volkswagen, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Subaru and Nissan. GM’s Global Purchasing and Supply chain organization has managed to fend off plant disruptions until now in part due to getting a jump start on the problem, a source familiar with the matter said, but declined to be named because he is not authorized to share information with the media. The group also has a lot of experience from setting up ventilator manufacturing in a matter of days last spring and managing GM through the 2010 tsunami in Japan. We thank the D etroit F ree P ress for reprint permission.

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Buy American Act tors will need to closely monitor developments to implement the order to ensure compliance and maximize their ability to continue benefiting from these preferences. The federal government spends some $ 600 billion annually on goods and services. Federal law requires government agencies to give preferences to American firms. In the past, Buy American requirements have not been consistently enforced and waivers of the requirements have become common. The executive order aims to “strengthen and enforce ‘ Buy American’ so that the massive amount of taxpayer money the federal government spends every year on everything from defense equipment to steel to auto fleets is used to help American manufacturers and their workers.” Among other things, the executive order will close loopholes that allow companies to offshore production and jobs while still qualifying

for domestic preferences. Federal agencies are directed to close current loopholes in how domestic content is measured and increase domestic content requirements. To accomplish this, the Jan. 25 executive order: Directs an increase in the threshold amount of domestic content for a product to be made in the U.S. and qualify under the Buy America law. “The content threshold of 50% isn’t high enough,” according to Biden’s remarks before signing the executive order. Directs a change in how domestic content is measured, basically changing how the government decides if a product is sufficiently “Made in America”: “The way we measure the content doesn’t account for U.S jobs and economic activity,” and that will change, Biden said. The new proposed test would measure domestic content by the value that is added to the product through U.S.based production or U.S. job-supporting economic activity. Creates a new Made in America Office within the Office of Management and Budget ( OMB) and


appoints a new “Director of Made in America” to oversee implementation of the executive order. Directs a central review of agency waivers of Buy American requirements, to reduce the number of unnecessary waivers. The review process makes issuing a waiver more cumbersome and time-consuming for agencies. It also includes the publication of waivers on a publicly available website. Directs an increase in the price preferences for domestic goods― the difference in price over which government can buy a product from a non-U.S. supplier. This pricing premium was recently increased significantly under a Final Rule issued Jan. 19, from 6% to 20% for large businesses and from 12% to 30% for small businesses. It is unclear whether the Federal Acquisition Regulatory ( FAR) Council will propose additional increases. Directs the FAR Council to review existing constraints on the extension of the requirements in Made in America Laws to information technology that is a commercial item and develop recommendations for lifting

these constraints. Supports enforcement of the Jones Act, requiring the use of U.S.flagged vessels carrying cargo between U.S. ports, to support U.S. production and U.S. workers. Although it is unclear whether the proposed changes will simplify compliance with the Made in America laws, it is likely they will significantly affect which products qualify for preferential treatment. That said, it is worth highlighting several important limitations to the scope of the order: The Administration’s goal to increase federal purchasing of domestic products is limited by a number of treaty obligations. Under the Trade Agreements Act ( TAA) , foreign end products produced in certain countries must be treated as equivalent to U.S. products for purposes of the BAA if they are part of an acquisition that is equal to or exceeds certain monetary thresholds set forth in Section 25.402 of the Federal Acquisition Regulations ( FAR) . The Department of Defense ( DOD) has entered into reciprocal

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procurement agreements with 27 foreign counterparts, and has determined that it would be inconsistent with the public interest to apply Buy American Act restrictions on products from these 27 qualifying countries. nlike the TAA, offers that fall under these blanket DOD waivers are not subject to any threshold. Within 180 days ( on or before July 24) , the FAR Council must consider for publication and comment amendments to the FAR. However, recent history indicates that any changes will likely not be effective for at least another year. Nonetheless, the executive order fulfills a promise of the Biden

campaign and is intended to ensure the federal government is investing taxpayer dollars in American businesses, both small and large. The administration’s policy is to buy from all of America―including minority entrepreneurs and businesses―so that “Made in America” means “Made in All of America.” Opinions and conclusions in this post are solely those of the author unless otherwise indicated. The information contained in this blog is general in nature and is not offered and cannot be considered as legal advice for any particular situation. We thank J D Supra for reprint permission.

Classic Collision Announces Second Acquisition in Florida in Two Weeks Classic Collision, LLC, announced its second acquisition in two weeks, with the acquisition of both A meric a’ s B est A uto B od y locations in Florida. Classic Collision now has 18 Florida locations and operates 60 centers total in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina and California. America’s Best Auto Body has been providing honest, reliable and professional service to the Palm Bay and Vero Beach areas, and has a combined 80 years of experience in auto repair. “After so many years as an independently owned and operated shop, we feel this is the perfect time to join forces with Classic Collision as they continue their accelerated growth ourney,” said Richie Hamad , former owner of America’s Best Auto Body, Inc. “ e are pleased to welcome all of the America’s Best Auto Body team members to the Classic Collision family,” said Toan N guy en, CEO of Classic Collision.

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Virus Liability Protections protection popping back up” at the federal level, said A shley Cuttino, an attorney who co-chairs the COVID-19 litigation practice for Ogletree Deakins. Wisconsin came close on Jan. 12 to enacting the first liability protection law of 2021, but fell short because of differences between the Assembly and Senate versions of a broad COVID-19 relief bill. Both include liability protections but differ in other provisions, such as the Assembly bill’s proposed ban on employers mandating COVID-19 vaccines for their workers. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers said he would sign the Senate version if the Assembly agrees to it. Montana’s Senate passed a liability shield bill Jan. 18 that now goes to the House for consideration. Republican Gov. G reg G ianforte has said he supports the measure. State-level liability protections, unlike the federal proposal the Senate GOP promoted for much of last year, don’t shield employers from coronavirus-related claims under federal employment statutes, such as anti-discrimination or anti-retaliation laws, Cuttino said. They do provide an extra layer of protection against claims such as a workplace wrongful death lawsuit or a complaint of unsafe working conditions, she said. Those types of claims are often, but not always, preempted by workers’ compensation laws or federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration jurisdiction, she added. No Flood, But Litigation ‘Fear’ Chambers of commerce, restaurant associations and other business groups have been calling for liability protections since the pandemic gripped the U.S. last March. They contend that even the threat of a flood of lawsuits would make it difficult for businesses to reopen after virus-related shutdowns, and that litigation

could lead some to close permanently. The American Legislative Exchange Council, an idea-exchange for conservative state lawmakers, last year drafted model legislation for states to use to enact liability protections. Cuttino and some state legislators advocating for the protections, including Florida Rep. Lawrence McClure ( R) , acknowledged there still hasn’t been a rush of liability litigation, in line with evidence from litigation trackers and court dockets. But they say the threat remains significant. “It’s the fear of liability. Our businesses have been through just an unbelievable, uncertain time. Once in a hundred years, right? ” McClure, who’s sponsoring Florida’s H.B. 7, told a House committee that voted to advance the bill Jan. 13. “Although the courts aren’t packed, I’ll submit, it’s the fear of frivolous lawsuits as this evolves. e have the obligation to define that and put the business community at ease.” Trial lawyers’ associations, labor unions and worker advocacy groups oppose liability shields, arguing that limiting people’s ability to hold businesses accountable in court takes away an important incentive for companies to follow proper health and safety protocols to protect workers and customers―a point that Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf ( D) echoed when he vetoed a liability shield bill in November. The language in the Florida measure is unconstitutional because it would remove the right to trial by jury, turn a judge into the jury and set “an impossibly high standard, to be honest, to prove by clear and convincing evidence gross negligence on the part of the property owner in failing to follow the guidelines,” said Curry Paj cic, treasurer of the Florida Justice Association and a past president of the American Board of Trial Advocates. The Florida AFL-CIO also objected to the bill on similar grounds.

Eyes on Indiana, Texas Bills proposing COVID-19 liability limits also have been filed for 2021 in Alabama, Alaska, Indiana, Missouri and North Dakota. Governors or legislative leaders have voiced support for enacting liability protections this year in Arizona and South Carolina, and business groups also are urging lawmakers to pass them in New Hampshire and Texas. The specific language varies somewhat from state to state―as with the laws that states passed in 2020―but many include protections for nonprofits, individuals and government entities such as schools and prisons. “Our businesses, our health care providers and educational institutions should not be put at risk or competitive disadvantage through no fault of their own, particularly after following safety protocols,” South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster ( R) said in calling for liability limits during his Jan. 13 State of the State speech. “We should be careful not to let litigation kill what the pandemic could not.” In 2020, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, K ansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mis-

sissippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming enacted broad liability restrictions that protect many or all businesses from COVID-19 lawsuits. A number of other states adopted narrower restrictions to protect specific industries, such as health care providers or makers of personal protective equipment, while a few governors issued orders to establish liability protections. A handful of those states could take further action this year. In Georgia, for example, a coronavirus liability shield law is due to expire in July, and House Speaker Dav id Ralston ( R) has voiced an interest in extending it. In Arkansas, Gov. A sa Hutchinson ( R) has called on state lawmakers to extend and reaffirm his declaration of a state of emergency, which would allow his order imposing liability restrictions to remain in effect. With assistance from Jennifer K ay in Miami. We thank B l oomb erg L aw for reprint permission.

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ASE Announces New Officers, Board Members The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) has announced the officers and board members for the coming year, according to Tim Zilke, ASE president and CEO. Mark Polke, Bosch Workshop Concepts, North America, Robert Bosch LLC, will serve as chairman, and Brad Pellman, Pellman’s Automotive, as vice chairman. Homer Hogg, Travel Centers of America, and Brian Szalk, FCA, will serve as treasurer and secretary, respectively. Bobby Bassett, formerly of Gates Corporation, will remain on the board of directors as past chair. Additional board members are John Hanighen, Cloyes Manufacturing; Ted Hayes, Hayes Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep; Mark Miller, GM Global Technical Center; Tom Palermo, Preferred Automotive Specialists; Jason Rainey, NAPA/AAA; Tom Trisdale, Toyota; Jeff Walker, Walker’s Automotive Service; John Wolf, Snap-on Business Solutions; and Zilke. Source: ASE

Continued from Cover

Schools and Scans than 900 collision repair training programs around the country, 17 ASE-accredited programs went inactive this year―and potentially another 26 could in the next few months― and 87 schools dropped their I-CAR subscriptions last year.

that’s struggling, once spring break is over, those decisions have been made by [school] administrators and there’s nothing we can do to reverse it. We need to know as quickly as possible to get them the help they need now.” Anyone aware of industry advisory committee meeting dates can reach Arrants by email at george.arrants@aseeducation.org.

“We need to know those programs that are in jeopardy as early as possible,” — George Arrants Arrants said because industry advisory committee meetings have largely moved online during the pandemic, it is easier for his organization and others seeking to support such programs anywhere in the country to attend to help struggling programs or those slated to be shuttered. “We need to know those programs that are in jeopardy as early as possible,” Arrants said. “If we wait to find out about a program

Also during the meeting, the Automotive Service Association shared a draft of an industry position statement distinguishing a charge for vehicle scanning as distinct from “all other procedures necessary to correctly and safely identify and address a vehicle’s electronic system faults or diagnostic trouble codes… [which] are considered additional operations and not included in the scanning operation.” A draft of the position statement

says those additional operations include such procedures as prepping the vehicle for a scan; researching, verifying and documenting manufacturers’ data; vehicle diagnostics; systems programming or initiation; ADAS calibrations; and test driving. During CIC, Mike LeVasseur of ASA’s Collision Division Operations Committee said clarifying what is and isn’t included in a scanning procedure charge, and documenting it within the estimating systems, will provide “needed distinction to reduce the friction” that exists between shops and insurers relative to charges for the operations. The draft statement makes reference to use of “a qualified scan tool,” and when asked, LeVasseur said that is among the elements of the position statement still to be finalized. “We’re very close, but there are things open to interpretation that need to be clarified,” LeVasseur said. “We will get it, but we’re not there yet.” www.autobodynews.com

Florida Health Care Liability Bill Emerges as Business Protection Package Advances by John Haughey, The Center Square

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state Legislature’s Republican leadership have identified providing COVID-19 liability protections for businesses as an urgent priority. To fast-track pandemic protections for Florida businesses, nonprofits, schools and religious institutions from “frivolous” COVID-19 lawsuits, companion House-Senate measures excluded health care providers. The House version, House Bill 7, filed by Rep. Lawrence McClure, R-Dover, was approved Feb. 3 in an 11-6 vote by the House Pandemics and Public Emergencies Committee. HB 7 awaits a final hearing in the Judiciary Committee and is likely to be ready for adoption on the House floor when the 60-day 2021 legislative session begins March 2. Its Senate companion, Senate Bill 72, filed by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, advanced Jan. 25 in a 7-4 vote through the Senate Judiciary Committee. SB 72 must pass through hearings in the Senate Commerce & Tourism and Rules committees be-

fore advancing to the Senate floor. Missing from the effort were protections for health care providers to be addressed in a separate bill. On Feb. 2, DeSantis expressed eagerness to see a bill offering liability protections for health care providers, particularly long-term care centers and nursing homes reluctant to allow visitors without them. “I don’t want them to say we can’t do all this stuff because we’re scared of getting sued,” DeSantis said. “We need to give them every protection to return to normal. That would be really, really good.” On Feb. 3, Brandes filed SB 74, which extends protections to health care providers that “substantially” follow government-issued standards and guidance. Plaintiffs must prove a provider acted with “gross negligence or intentional misconduct” to be liable under the bill. SB 74 would allow plaintiffs one year to bring a COVID-19-related claims after a death, hospitalization or diagnosis. The protections are effective until one year after public health emergency declarations expire.

Under the bill, “A complaint must be pled with particularity by alleging facts in sufficient detail to support each element of the claim. A court must dismiss the plaintiff’s lawsuit if it is not sufficiently detailed.” “No industry in Florida has been as heavily impacted during COVID-19 as our health care providers,” Brandes said. “They struggled to meet evolving standards and often found themselves desperate for resources—to the point where trash bags, shower caps and homemade masks became PPE, as they were asked to MacGyver their way through this pandemic.” Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, welcomed the measure, which will be heard before the Senate Judiciary, Health Policy and Rules committees. “So many of our hardworking and dedicated health care providers have been on the front lines of this pandemic from day one, putting their own health in jeopardy to help others,” Simpson said. “The last thing we want is for health care providers, who do the right thing, to face a con-

stant threat of frivolous lawsuits that hamper their ability to serve their patients.” LeadingAge Florida, which represents more than 140 health care providers and 500 long-term care centers housing 80,000 residents, applauded SB 74. “This bill is the first step in giving providers the confidence and protection needed to continue providing the highest quality of care for Florida’s seniors in the midst of an ongoing pandemic,” it said in a statement. During Feb. 3’s HB 7 hearing before the House Pandemics and Public Emergencies Committee, McClure said he was flexible in addressing concerns about the bill’s standards for affidavits in filing lawsuits. The 14-page bill’s retroactive protections apply to businesses, nonprofits, schools and religious institutions that make a “good faith effort” to follow federal, state and local health guidelines. Asked what “good faith effort” means, McClure replied, “Simply put, the defendant tried.” We thank The Center Square for reprint permission.

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with Stacey Phillips

From the Desk of Mike Anderson with Mike Anderson

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

How to Improve Paint Materials Reimbursement I’ve been getting some phone calls recently from shops concerned about materials reimbursement when refinishing vehicles with three- or four-stage finishes. thought ’d address this―and the subject of materials reimbursement in general―here. First, it’s important to know all three estimating systems have formulas related to three-stage finishes. CCC Information Services and Mitchell International do not have formulas for four-stage. Audatex says it believes the three-stage formula should apply to a four-stage vehicle―that’s a whole conversation for another day. As I outline any time I talk about negotiating payment for something, materials reimbursement comes down to four key questions: Is what you’re asking for required? Is it included? Is there a pre-determined

time? And if not, what is it worth? Y ou can watch a new three-minute video I created with SCRS on those four questions here: https://www.youtube.com/watch? v = eGv9zJHn6Jg So let’s walk through those. First, is added materials reim-

bursement required for three- and four-stage vehicles? One way to document the answer is yes is to check the OEM repair procedures. When you decode a VIN in Toyota’s Technical Information System, for example, it identifies the paint code, and if it’s a three or four-stage finish,

A 2020 “Who Pays for What?” survey found the majority of shops who bill for refinish materials using an invoicing system say they are paid by the eight largest insurers based on those invoices “always” or “most of the time.”

it lists that as a special color. But here’s another cool idea: Y ou can check online for sales literature from the vehicle manufacturer related to that vehicle. I’ve found Honda and Toyota brochures, for example, that clearly show new car buyers who choose vehicles with certain colors pay a premium for those finishes. It seems to me that rather than telling shops they won’t pay more for the necessary materials when specialty finishes are involved, insurance companies should be assessing premiums based on the paint code, given it takes more to refinish those vehicles. Another possible source of negotiation help when dealing with specialty finishes The manufacturer of the paint line you are spraying. I know Axalta Coating Systems, for example, gives an estima-

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30 MARCH 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

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tor the ability to print off from the scale a guide to specialty colors. It’s a regularly updated list of what make, model and year vehicles have three- or four-stage finishes, or that require a “limited use toner.”

and there’s no pre-determined “time” for materials. Don’t forget you can always use the Database Enhancement Gateway ( www.DEGweb.org) if there’s a question about whether something

But even the 2020 survey report offers some good insights. Although about 70% of shops still rely on the traditional multiplier method―dollars per refinish hour―to attempt to cover their cost of paint and ma-

The “Who Pays for What?” surveys have found a growing percentage of shops use invoicing systems to bill for refinish materials

Other paint manufacturers may offer something similar. t’s another way to demonstrate why additional reimbursement for materials is needed for those vehicles. The next two of the four negotiation questions can be answered quickly. All of the estimating systems clearly state materials are not included in the refinish labor times,

is included or not-included. So in terms of refinish materials, it comes down to the fourth negotiation question: What’s it’s worth? We’ll have some of the very latest industry data on that in March, when the report on our “Who Pays for hat ” survey related to refinish, which took place in January, is compiled.

terials, that’s been changing. The percentage of shops using invoicing systems to bill for refinish materials has steadily risen over the past five years, from 19% to 28% . And the majority of shops who use them say they are paid by the eight largest insurers “always” or “most of the time” when they bill based on the charges calculated by

their invoicing system. Shops report with the exception of GEICO, the top eight insurers all agree to the invoiced amount 60% to 70% of the time. More than half of shops using a materials invoicing system say they use their paint company scale to produce these invoices; that’s more than twice the percentage that scale-produced invoices as recently as 2016. More than one in four shops using invoicing systems use Mitchell’s Refinish Materials Calculator. And about 15% say they use some other system, such as PMC Logic, PaintEx, etc. I believe this shift toward using invoicing versus the multiplier method will continue, particularly as the use of three-stage, four-stage and other specialty finishes increases, and as the paint companies continue to improve the integration of their paint scales and systems with the estimating and shop management systems. www.autobodynews.com


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Midwest Associations with Chasidy Rae Sisk

National Associations with Chasidy Rae Sisk

Chasidy Rae Sisk is a freelance technical writer from Wilmington, Delaware, who writes on a variety of fields and subjects, and grew up in a family of NASCAR fans. She can be contacted at crsisk@gmail.com.

CIECAST Prepares Collision Repairers for the EV Revolution

Northwest Associations

As electric vehicles become increas- manufacture the vehicle. Regardless ingly prevalent―the Edison Elec- of severity, follow the OEM procewith Chasidy Rae Sisk tric Institute anticipates 18.7 million dures without exception to ensure EVs will be on the road by 2030― the vehicles are safe.” how will these vehicles impact the Barry asked about possible collision repair industry in general changes in the way OEMs commuand your shop specifically How can nicate with the collision industry reyou prepare? garding repair standards. General Motors’ John E ck, “We need to make it easier for with Ed Attanasio Chris E v ans from State Farm, and repairers to access; we want to work Pete Tagliapietra of NuGen IT, an with the industry to ensure they can OEC company, answered these ques- repair these vehicles safely,” Eck

Shop Showcase

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Associations Assembling with Ed Attanasio

pact is damaged most frequently, rear impact damage seems to be more frequent in this population; however, a lot of the damage is on the front of the vehicle in total loss scenarios. “Regardless of severity, most EV repairs require some sort of recalibration, and there’s a lot of movement and trending in the industry around OE repair procedures.” Mentioning that some OEMs have implemented security gateway modules that present a hurdle for repairers, Evans expressed excitement to see Ford and other OEMs opening their communication systems. “The data that exists in event data recorders is going to become more relevant in the future,” Evans said. “Communication from the vehicle is only going to increase. However, the data that’s captured is owned by the vehicle owner or lessee, so we have to contend with the added chal-

lenge of introducing consumers into the exchange of data.” Evans provided a brief synopsis of State Farm’s collaboration with Ford, announced in August 2020, in which the insurer is integrating directly with the car itself as they look at solutions around rating, policies and driving behaviors. “The objective is to develop and understand the capabilities, leverage the sophistication, and use this technology to increase efficiencies in claims handling,” he said. “There’s still a lot to learn.” Tagliapietra, business development leader for NuGen IT, rounded out the series of presenters. He began by discussing recent trends related to OEs’ involvement in the repair process. “ ith the rise of and refinement to certification networks, there’s an See CIECAST Prepares, Page 50

Association Meetings with Thomas Franklin

Old School Know How

tions and more Jan. 26 during CIE- said. “We are exploring better and CAST: Preparing for the EV Revolu- deeper integration of our content into with Ed Attanasio tion, moderated by CIECA Executive the workflow process through a vaDirector Paul B arry . riety of means to make the process Eck, collision manager of GM’s easier.” customer care & aftersales wholesale Eck also advocates for imdealer channel, began by discussing proved collaboration among OEMs, some of the opportunities EVs create insurers and repairers, pointing out with Chasidy for vehicle manufacturers, such Rae as Sisk the many shared metrics as well the ability to work on new technolo- as the shared consumer everyone gy and an opportunity for diversifica- wants to serve. tion across the industry. Next, Evans, P&C claim con“The build of the [electric] vehi- sultant for State Farm Insurance cle is different, and though the impact Companies, shared projections that may not be as with severeThomas structurally,Franklin it 20% to 30% of new cars on the road shouldn’t be very dissimilar to what will be an EV by 2030, noting State [collision repairers] currently see,” Farm has seen the number of EVs Eck said. they insure quadruple since 2018. “As long as shops follow the “The market is signaling growth,” OEM repair procedures and safety he said. protocols, repairers should be able to “From a claims standpoint, with Attanasio we’ve noticed an interesting dynamhandle EV repair,” EckEd emphasized. “OEs know the vehicles better than ic with EVs,” Evans added. “Unlike anyone―we design, engineer and most collisions where the front im-

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with Ed Attanasio

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Stacey Phillips is an award-winning freelance writer and editor for the automotive industry. She has 20 years of experience writing for a variety of publications, and is co-author of “The Secrets of America’s Greatest Body Shops.” She can be reached at sphillips.autobodynews@gmail.com.

with Stacey Phillips

COVID-19 Vaccinations in the Workplace: What to Consider for Your Collision Repair Facility Body Shops Giving Back As COVID-19with vaccines roll Phillips out and well-being best practices. Stacey across the U.S., employers must deRegardless of the approach taktermine whether they will require en, Cherveny said, there are foundavaccinations in the workplace and tional things to consider. She recomif they should set up a program to mended employers determine if their administer them. culture will sustain a workplace vacThere are essentially three op- cination program, the financial cost Stacey Phillips tions available,with according to Carof launching a program and complirie B . Cherv eny , E sq . senior vice ance issues, as well as whether they president of strategic client will be able to recruit and solutions for the south reretain talent if they mandate gion of HUB International. a program. Employers can mand ate vaccinations for all Employment Law with Stacey Phillips employees with some legalCherveny shared informaly required exceptions; motion about general employtiv ate and create voluntary Carrie B. Cherveny, ment law to understand programs with built-in mobefore building a vacciEsq. senior vice tivators to drive everyone to president of strategic nation program and some get the vaccine; or ed uc ate client solutions, for business and legal considerthe south region of staff about the vaccine and HUB International ations. This applies whether with Victoria Antonelli companies administer the then leave it up to them to choose. program themselves or bring in a “Businesses have some really third-party vendor who is contracted big decisions to make, and while to deliver the vaccine. the safety conversation that we have all been having since March 2020 Americans with Disabilities Act was filled with a lot of nuances and The Americans with Disabilities Act EdtheAttanasio choices to make,with I think vaccine (A A) requires qualified employconversation is even more complex ees with disabling health or mediand difficult to navigate,” said Cher- cal conditions, under the ADA, are veny. “Health care has been doing it provided with reasonable accomfor years, but these are new conver- modations. Although state laws may sations and topics for other indus- vary, Cherveny explained the ADA tries... This is unchartered territory.” typically applies to businesses with During a virtual pan- Ledoux 15 or more employees who with Gary el discussion focused on work for 20 or more weeks “COVID-19 Vaccine in the in the prior or current year. Workplace,” Cherveny and “The employee and the two other representatives employer exchange inforfrom HUB International, mation to arrive at an aca global insurance broker, commodation that allows discussed some with of the Stacey rules Cory the employee to remain at Phillips Jorbin, Esq. and implications when setwork performing the essenchief compliance ting up a workplace protial functions of the job,” officer, employee gram. They included Cory benefits, west region, said Cherveny. “The emJorb in, E sq . chief compli- HUB International ployer ultimately gets to deance officer, employee bentermine the accommodation efits, west region and Wend y K ing, that makes the most sense in light of director of health and performance. the medical information and docuwith Mike Anderson To help companies plan and mentation provided by the employee develop strategies, Cherveny, Jorbin and the nature of the job.” and K ing shared their expertise about Under ADA guidelines, ememployment law, benefits regulations ployers are strictly limited in the

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medical information they can ask for ry under the ADA, although the necprior to an offer of employment. essary and related pre-vaccination “Y our conversation with a job questions are. applicant is limited to the essential Regardless of the type of profunctions of what it takes to perform gram established, once employers the ob,” she said. After an offer is become aware there is a medical condition that prohibits a team made and before an employmember from receiving the ee begins working, compavaccine, they must determine nies have the most latitude to if there is a reasonable acgather medical information. commodation available. In terms of the vaccine, For example, this could Cherveny said asking workmean working remotely or in ers to provide proof of vacan office with a closed door cination is not a medical inWendy King, quiry regulated or managed director of health and or plexiglass or wearing additional personal protective by the ADA. performance, HUB International equipment, such as an N95 “Y ou can simply ask an or double mask. employee to provide proof of receiving the vaccine and it’s not considered a medical inquiry under ADA Legitimate Business Justification If an employee chooses or is not able the ADA,” she said. Administering the vaccine is to get a vaccine and the employer also not considered a medical inqui- feels this represents a direct threat of

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spreading COVID-19 in the workplace, Cherveny said to be cautious. “Be very careful if you want to rely on the direct threat defense in excluding an employee from the workforce because they can’t get the COVID vaccine,” she said. “Y ou have to go through a very specific analysis to determine whether or not the employee actually represents a direct threat.” One of the biggest questions management asks, according to Cherveny, is if staff can be fired for not getting the vaccine if there is a mandatory policy in place. If there is no accommodation available, Cherveny said, only then may an employee be excluded from the workforce. However, both the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ( EEOC) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC) instruct employers to explore remote/ work-at-home options before ending the employee’s employment. Additionally, ADA guidelines require businesses to go through a specific process before determining if an employee cannot remain in the workplace. There are also local health and state rules to abide by. “ o not start firing employees for failure to get the vaccine without first talking to outside counsel and being sure that you are up to speed and up to date on any local requirements or prohibitions from firing employees for failure to get the vaccine,” said Cherveny. “Proceed with extreme caution! ” Religious Exemptions In addition to the ADA, there are religious exemptions associated with the vaccine. “There are many religions that are opposed to vaccinations and under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act,” said Cherveny. As a result, companies are required to engage in a cooperative, collaborative process to identify an appropriate accommodation, much like the ADA interactive process. Pregnancy Discrimination Act As of January, the vaccine had not been tested or approved for pregnant women. When it is available, Cherveny said there is no obligation to accommodate a pregnant individual. “However, we very much rec-

ommend you be flexible with your pregnant workforce and allow them accommodation-like opportunities as well,” she said. Cherveny said to keep in mind some pregnant women may have medical complications associated

with pregnancy that may qualify under the ADA. Medical Confidentiality While information is being gathered in the process of administering a voluntary or mandatory vaccination program, employers will become aware of confidential, private medical information about their employees. Cherveny said there are a limited number of people whom it can be legally shared with, such as immediate managers and supervisors, and human resources―those who “need to know,” which is construed very narrowly. Workers Compensation If an employee seeks medical attention or misses time at work due to any side effects associated with the vaccine, workers compensation may kick in depending on the insurer carrier and the state. National Labor Relations Act Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act allows workers to freely discuss the terms and conditions of employment. “Employees who want to talk about your vaccine program have a right to do so; you generally can’t discipline or fire them,” explained Cherveny. Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) OSHA includes the General Duty Clause that states businesses must provide a safe working environment for employees. Cherveny said there are two schools of thought regarding vaccines in the workplace. One is that it is unsafe to require

a vaccine in the workplace because it is only under emergency use authorization. As a result, she said some law firms and other sub ect matter experts advise against mandatory programs. On the flip side, others are taking the position that the CDC and FDA recommend people get vaccinated, so it would be unsafe not to vaccinate. “Either way, it’s important to talk to counsel as you make these important decisions,” said Cherveny. “Y ou may or may not stumble into some risk exposure or claim later that mandating or not mandating, offering or not offering it created an unsafe working environment in your workplace.” Regardless of the approach taken, Cherveny reminded attendees that the CDC and OSHA guidance instructs employers to continue their COVID-19 safety programs. This includes wearing masks, applying disinfectant, social distancing and following all safety protocols. Employee Benefits Regulations orbin addressed employee benefit

regulations associated with the vaccine, including cost. “Essentially, all health plans, except for grandfathered plans, need to cover the cost of the vaccine,” he said. This includes fully-insured and self-insured plans, non-ERISA ( Employees Retirement Income Security Act of 1974) , MEC ( Minimum Essential Coverage) , individual market plans, Medicare and Medicaid. While the federal government is funding the cost of the vaccine, the health plan must pay the administration fees. Jorbin said the amount will vary based on provider, geographic area and contract negotiations. Those without health coverage will be able to obtain the vaccines for free, although the timeframe is currently unknown. “Part of that will depend on the state they live in and what phase of distribution they fall into,” he said. When it comes to deciding between in-network and out-of-network providers, Jorbin said in-network providers must be paid the negotiated rates under the insurance plan. If going out-of-network, the

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official language states, “Providers must be reimbursed an amount that is reasonable, as determined in comparison to prevailing market rates for such service.” The federal government has set the minimum amount considered reasonable the same as what Medicare pays for the vaccine. In a situation when an out-ofnetwork provider doesn’t accept the price paid by the plan as reasonable, there is a potential for what is called “balance billing.” This is where the provider seeks full payment of the charge. As a result, Jorbin said it usually pays to go to an in-network provider. For businesses that operate in multiple states, Jorbin said there might be different prevailing market rates for the vaccine depending on location. Wellness Programs Employers must also decide if the fees associated with a vaccination program should be associated with a health plan or another cost center, such as a wellness plan or safety program. K ing pointed out depression

and serious psychological distress are factors to consider. Prior to the vaccination being rolled out, depression and anxiety were at an all-time high, she said― anxiety rates were three times higher in 2020 than in 2019, and depression and diagnosis of depression quadrupled over the same period. “We would be remiss not to start with the foundation around employee state of mind,” said K ing. “The vaccine is a hot topic. It’s one more layer that many employees are stressing over right now.” While some feel it is the light at the end of the tunnel and the vaccination signals an end to what has been going on, K ing said others are hesitant. She encourages management to acknowledge many have anxiety and fear the unknown. However, people are beginning to think of the risk and reward like any other decision. “They are going through the process to determine if it is worth the risk to get to the reward, which we know is getting back to some sense of normalcy,” said K ing. As businesses decide if they will

mandate a program or begin with a voluntary offering, ing recommends approaching it in a way that treats people like people. “Being cognizant that employees are already having a lot of personal anxiety around the vaccine will help you to really approach it in a humanistic way and balance your corporate goals with the culture goals in your organization.” As of January, about 40% of Americans say they will take the vaccine as soon as it is available, said K ing. According to the K aiser Family Foundation, another 30% will probably get it. “Therefore, about 70% will get the vaccine whether or not you structure it as mandatory or voluntary,” said K ing. The top reason for hesitancy is the worry about potential side effects. However, statistics are showing interest is growing with time. “The closest thing we have to compare it to is the flu vaccine, but we can’t compare it equally to the flu because it’s a new vaccine,” she said. “Today, studies show that phy-

sicians are the highest trusted authority, not the employer; people want to talk to a doctor, understand the facts and feel comfortable taking the vaccine,” she said. For businesses considering offering individual financial incentives, K ing pointed out it can pose complexities. “It’s not like rewarding an employee for going to an annual visit with a physician,” she said. “This is a personal decision for many.” For those who decide to offer incentives, she recommends those with a lower financial value, such as gift cards and water bottles, so individuals don’t feel they are missing out on a big incentive. Another option is to offer a group incentive, such as a lunch or a competition among departments. Like most wellness programs, K ing said companies must think through the required steps to ensure that the engagement, medical information, appropriate disclosures and incentive limits are set up in a way that keeps the organization compliant. In terms of vaccination distri-

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bution, as of January, there is no national onside vaccination provider. Vaccine rollouts across the country currently differ, depending on the state; even age requirements vary. Therefore, K ing recommends referring to state regulatory websites, connecting with local pharmacies and encouraging staff to reach out to their physicians. K ing said this is a good time to have conversations with managers about what’s in store and educate them. She said it could go a long way in ensuring they are going to embrace the approach and be a positive word of mouth in the organization. “However you decide to coordinate this within an organization, whether it’s mandatory or voluntary and with or without a financial incentive, leadership is really going to need to get in front of the communications around it,” said K ing. “It’s a complex situation and going to require dedicated communications.” This may include flyers, postcards and other educational materials offered by the C C and organizations like HUB International.

Looking ahead, K ing predicts there will be a lot more education circulating about the vaccine. hen talking to staff, ing said to not focus on the benefits to the company or the bottom line. “Make it about the safety of your patrons, clients and the health of employees so from a corporate perspective, it’s not just about numbers or business goals, but more about how we can thrive together.” This is the first in a series of COVID-19 vaccination articles. Next in the series is “Implementing an Employee Vaccination Program: Cost, Access and Communication.” H B nternational offers an e-book with more information: https://www.hubinternational. com/-/media/HUB-International/ PDF/Employee-Benefits/beyondCOVID-19-employment-laws-vaccines .pdf

Hyundai Isn’t Building the Apple Car After All by Chris Bruce, Motor1.com

The Apple car is dead again. Hyundai Motor Group said it and the tech giant are no longer in negotiations to create a partnership on an automotive project, according to Automotive News. In January, Hyundai confirmed the two companies were in the early stages of discussing the collaboration. “We are not having talks with Apple on developing autonomous vehicles,” Hyundai said in a statement to investors, according to Automotive News. It’s not clear which side suspended the negotiations. On Hyundai’s side, there was allegedly concern among some execs the automaker would just be a contract manufacturer for Apple, like the tech company does for Foxconn, making the iPhone. According to the rumor at the time, K ia was going to build the Apple car at a new factory in Georgia. There was speculation the companies might have even had a concept version of the ve-




hicle ready in 2022. Sales could have started as soon as 2024. While the news about the negotiations only came out in the last few weeks, these talks had apparently been happening since 2018, according to Automotive News, citing a Reuters report. As of early 2021, Apple reportedly still has a small, internal team working on its car. The crew allegedly includes some former Tesla engineers. A complete vehicle could be ready between 2024 and 2028 if the project comes to fruition. Before Hyundai, Volkswagen Group was allegedly going to be Apple’s partner on the automotive project. They were going to start by creating an electric, autonomous version of the VW Transporter van for use on the tech company’s campus. While this was heavily rumored, the collaboration was never officially announced. We thank M otor1 .c om for reprint permission.

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Jeff Peevy Shares Growth Plans Related to I-CAR Tech Center by Stacey Phillips

In 1979, the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair ( I-CAR) was established as a result of the introduction of the frontwheel-drive unibody vehicle, according to Jeff Pee y, vice president of technical products, programs and services for I-CAR. “The industry came to the realization that it didn’t know how to safely repair that type of vehicle,” said Peevy, who has been involved with the organization for the past three decades. “I-CAR came into existence to fulfill that need to teach the industry to help understand the correct way to repair the car.” From there, -CAR began offering welding training and certification to meet the needs of the industry. As new automotive features were introduced over the years, such as seatbelts, airbags and anti-lock brakes, Peevy said I-CAR has been a driving force in providing the industry with the knowledge and skills necessary to repair vehicles correctly. Today is no different. ith an increase in the number of electric and high-voltage vehicles on the road as well as the development of ADAS features that need to be calibrated so the car can function as designed, I-CAR has new challenges to take on. “We need to make sure we are able to support the collision repairers out there with accessible, on-demand and relevant education,” said Peevy. “We have to do this work as early as we possibly can to keep the industry on top of it.” I had the opportunity to talk to Peevy about his new role at I-CAR and its initiatives related to technical training and the growth of I-CAR’s technical capabilities and capacities.

Q: A:

Can you tell us about your new role?

I’ve been involved with I-CAR as a volunteer or instructor since 1990 and part of its staff for 17 years. oined the organization as a regional manager in 1998, and have also worked as a national field manager, director and, ultimately, held a senior director position.

I temporarily left I-CAR in 2015 to help the Automotive Management Institute ( AMi) rebuild its accreditation program and stayed there for five years. Throughout my career, I always felt the role of technical training was very important to ensure a complete, safe and quality repair. Frankly, I missed working in this area, and rejoined I-CAR in July 2020. My current role was developed to help the organization meet its


Q: ship?

How will I-CAR meet this objective under your leader-


We never lose sight of our vision: “That every person in the collision repair industry has the information, knowledge and skills required to perform complete, safe and quality repairs for the ultimate benefit of the consumer.”

The I-CAR Tech Center has extensive video and lighting equipment to produce the various training and information products for the industry

objectives in terms of technical positioning. This includes working on the future development of I-CAR’s curriculum and training to support the industry.


When it comes to technical positioning and training, what is I-CAR’s goal?


By nature, I-CAR is a natural collaborator in the industry. It’s in our DNA. We serve and are represented by all of the inter-industry segments. Although we’re already in a global leadership position, things are growing and changing so rapidly that we needed to get in another gear to keep up and ensure we are providing the knowledge, skills, testing and information the collision repair industry requires. Our technical objective is to increase I-CAR’s global leadership position and technical presence by expanding our technical capability, capacity and expertise to meet the growing needs of the collision repair

As a result, we took a hard look at what we needed to do technically to ensure our vision is fulfilled, as well as expand how the information is delivered. It comes down to our strategic technical planning, expansion and overall execution. We face the very same things a collision repair shop faces in needing to add tools and equipment, space and expertise to keep up with the increasing momentum of change.

Q: A:

Can you tell us about the I-CAR Tech Center?

The I-CAR Tech Center, in Appleton, WI, houses the equivalent of a body shop with a spray booth, welding stations, lifts and a lot of equipment. Additionally, it has extensive video and lighting equipment to produce the various training and information products and services most of the industry sees. Since the main role of the center is to support the development of I-CAR’s curriculum and training,

there must be a higher level of understanding of technology coming down the road. From this facility, we support OEMs, suppliers and all industry segments in some capacity. I don’t believe the industry has had a chance to be exposed to I-CAR’s world-class technicians who typically work out of the Tech Center. They are the ones who do the research to understand vehicle and repair technology. Many have been with I-CAR for years. It’s an amazing group and it’s important to recognize the level of dedication and knowledge they have. They are really serious about their role in understanding the information and developing ways to teach it. In addition, our talented group of subject matter experts working with our instructional designers, video and graphics teams work year-round at the facility to develop I-CAR’s curriculum, which consists of both online, virtual and hands-on classes. We’re all working from home right now due to the pandemic, except when in-shop work is needed, but hope to be back in the center when it is safe to do so.

Q: A:

What are some of the expansion plans in the works?

Q: A:

What can we expect to see from I-CAR in the future?

We are currently building a world-class ADAS calibration lab, so we can expand our research and development specific to ADAS-related activities, and do so in an effective and efficient way. This also allows us to expand our support of the car manufacturers. One of our next projects includes building a dedicated electric vehicle lab so we continue our leadership position in understanding the repairs of these vehicles and further support the OEMs. By keeping up with the latest repair procedures and collision repair information, it allows us to be the link between collision repairers and car manufacturers.

Not only will the quality of our courses continue to grow, but the industry is also going to see an increased level of accessibility

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through online and hands-on learning. We have plans to do some very innovative things to help learners be more engaged and learn more efficiently. We’re blessed to have a lot of instructors who currently teach both virtual and in-person, and we want to make sure to support them. I also think it is important I-CAR continues to increase our technical leadership in light of the changes taking place. Just as our industry is growing and our shops are taking more training to keep up with changes in technology, our organization’s technical department has to do the same. We recently brought Dirk Fuchs onboard as I-CAR’s director of technical programs and services. He oversees the repair technical support ( RTS) and has a strong global understanding of electric vehicles, as well as ADAS calibration. We already have subject matter experts around those disciplines; however, coming from Germany, he brings deeper knowledge from other parts of the world. The changing technology in

these cars requires a close relationship with car manufacturers. As a result, I see us continuing to grow deeper relationships with OEMs and increasing our ability to support them, which will enable us to better support collision repairers. ou will see us get very specific on what we share with the industry. We’re currently working on a social media strategy to share information about our great technical team and all of the work they do behind the scenes. We’d really love the industry to have access to the inner-workings and get to know the personalities and the impressive level of expertise available. I think it will be very interesting to our industry. As we move forward with our initiatives, we will continue to collaborate with the industry and welcome feedback. We really want all stakeholders to understand what we are doing and get involved. It’s all about supporting the industry and those who are repairing vehicles, which ultimately benefits the consumer with a complete, safe and quality repair.

WIN Scholarship Open for Applications WIN ( Women’s Industry Network) is committed to financially supporting women who are eager to advance in the collision repair industry through the WIN Scholarship Program. Applications for the 2021 program will be accepted now through March 15. To apply or view scholarship requirement details, visit https://thewomensindustrynetwork.site-ym.com/page/ Scholarship offers scholarships that provide tuition assistance, educational opportunities and enrichment events to qualified applicants. Each scholarship applicant receives a one-year membership to WIN to further support their journey and provide an added sense of community as they chase after their goals. The program for 2021 will offer the College Student Tuition and Conference Scholarship Award. This scholarship is presented to students enrolled in a post-secondary collision repair technology program. Source: WIN

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Tesla Will Now Handle Collision Repairs at Its Own Service Centers by Steven Loveday, Inside EVs

Tesla alerted owners and customers at the end of the last week of January its service centers will now offer collision repair. CEO E lon Musk mentioned this back in 2018, and it’s something people have been waiting for. The message was titled, “Collision Repair is Here,” and it said Tesla Service Centers can “Fix minor dents, scuffs, scratches and more.” The message also talked about collision repair, including “suspension and axle damage, front and rear bumpers, hoods, liftgates and side mirror caps, along with doors, wheels and all glass repairs.” According to the report by CNBC, owners can simply visit their Tesla app to make an appointment. Choose the “Collision & Glass Repair” tab from the app’s Service Menu. After an appointment is made, owners can track the progress on the app. A select few Tesla Service Centers have been offering larger repairs for some time though; in

most cases, those repairs were reserved for Tesla-approved collision shops. Now that Tesla will move collision repair “in-house,” it will add yet another consistent revenue stream to its bottom line. While EVs need less maintenance than gas cars, that doesn’t mean they don’t need repairs. In fact, Tesla has been specifically dealing with quality and fit and finish issues for years. We’ve heard and shared plenty of reports of owners dealing with service centers often. Moreover, there is now an increasing number of Tesla vehicles on the road that are out of warranty, which means Tesla could benefit significantly going forward. Tesla owns and operates just 140 service centers in North America. However, during the recent Q 4 2020 Tesla Earnings Call, President of Automotive Jerome Guillen said the company has plans to open 46 more facilities in the first half of 2021. We thank I nsid e E V s for reprint permission.



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with Erica Schroeder

Industry Insight

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

with John Yoswick

Forecast: Expect More Private Equity Coming Into the Industry

Shop Showcase

During the MSO Symposium in No- one such company, Frontenac Com- significant market share, “this is still vember, industry consultant Vincent pany, a Chicago-based private equi- a really fragmented market relative Romans said there are a dozen pri- ty firm looking to invest in the colli- to many others” where consolidation with Ed Attanasio has played out more, Sahney said. vate equity firms with investments sion repair sector for the first time. During an MSO Symposium Lastly, he said, “Scale presents in U.S. collision repair organizations, including Caliber, Gerber, panel discussion, Sahney said three a real advantage in this space,” givService K ing, Crash Champions and things make the industry appealing en the investment needed because of vehicle technology, and the reto investors. Classic Collision. quirements of direct repair “Just a decade ago, there was programs and OEM certifione, when ONCAP acquired Caliwith Ed Attanasio cations. ber,” Romans said. “The players who conCollision repair businesses with tinue to generate scale will private equity investments currently have a real advantage over produce about $ 10.9 billion of revthe smaller players,” Sahney enue, or more than 28% of the total Neal Sahney and Jonathan Seiffer, representatives of predicts. market, according to Romans, who two private equity firms, said investors like the stability Another panelist, Jonforesees more investment in the in- and scale opportunities they see in collision repair with Ed Attanasio at an eiffer of Leonard dustry forthcoming. First, it’s “a highly stable space,” Green and Partners, a private equity “I believe that we will see at least two or three more private eq- he said, less influenced than other in- firm invested in Caliber, said scale uity firms settling down with invest- dustries by economic shifts, and with can also help address the long-standments in MSOs within the U.S. in insurance reducing some of the “risks ing human resources challenge in the industry in that “people can find related to being paid.” the next six months,” said. withRomans Ed Attanasio Second, though MSOs now have advantages and security working for N eal Sahney is a principal at

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with Stacey Phillips

larger organizations.” Seiffer and Sahney, speaking a month before the first COV -1 vaccine had received Food and Drug Administration approval, said the pandemic and its impact on vehicle miles traveled and auto claims haven’t deterred investors’ interest in acquiring shops. “I think there was bit of hesitation, as it relates to figuring out the deals, at the start of COVID,” Sahney said. “I think we’ve [since] shifted now to, ‘ OK , this is the new reality that we’re going to live in for a while. So how do we adapt our deal-thinking to the reality we’re in.’ “And I think folks have become very creative in finding ways to look at where businesses were pre-COVID, what happened during COVID and what do you believe about the future,” Sahney contin-

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Herb Lieberman—A Life of Service by Gary Ledoux

Many in the collision repair business know industry icon Herb Lieb erman from so many CIC meetings, and his well-known relationship with the recycle industry and aftermarket collision parts industries. Lieberman recently retired after a 60-plus year professional career. Autobody News caught up with him for an in-depth look at his life. Early Beginnings The Lieberman family has been associated with the auto wrecking industry since 1904. But this story starts in 1952, at the corner of Lakeland Road and Norwalk Boulevard in Santa Fe Springs, CA, near the intersection of the now-super busy I-5 and I-605 freeways. At that time, the area was pretty desolate. It was on this corner, in a 3.5-acre abandoned cow pasture surrounded by oil wells, where Herb’s father, A lex Lieb erman, and grandfather, William Lieb erman, founded The Lakenor Scrap Metal & Auto

ated the offer but was not interested Wrecking Business. Lieberman’s grandfather re- in the scrap metal side of the busimained on site while his father drove ness. I wanted to move the company around to industrial accounts collect- into late-model total loss vehicles ing scrap metal. Eventually, the scrap and wholesale sales to the profesroutes were discontinued and both sional repair industry.” Lieberman’s father and grandfafather and grandfather worked on site ther continued their side of the busicollecting metal and end-of-life cars. “These were not your late-mod- ness, and Lieberman started buying el totals but true end-of-life cars― late-model totals, mostly Chevrolets just scrap, purchased as scrap,” and Cadillacs because their parts Lieberman said. “If any retail cus- were in the most demand at the time. Under Lieberman’s direction, tomer wanted to buy a part off one the business name changed of the cars, they pulled the to CADnCHEV Inc DBA part themselves and it was Lakenor Auto Salvage. plus-money.” “The first car brought in In the early days, recy1957 was a 1954 Pontiac… cling was very profitable, hit in the rear,” Lieberman noted Lieberman. remembered. “One of our “Y ou almost couldn’t major sources of totals was lose money. Cost of invenHerb Lieberman the Auto Club of Southern tory was low, cost of labor was low and there was little govern- California. They had a large lot in Gardena ( CA) and only sold to state ment interference.” Lieberman’s U.S. Army service licensed dismantlers and dealers.” ended in 1957. “My father asked me to come Lady Bird Strikes into the business as a partner,” he Things started to change dramatisaid. “I told him that I really appreci- cally for the auto-wrecking business

Beyond Chevrolet and Cadillac Initially, under Liberman’s direction, Lakenor did business primarily with Chevrolet and Cadillac dealer body shops. But the collision industry was changing. The DRP concept



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during the Ly nd on Johnson administration, between 1963 and 1969. First lady Lad y B ird Johnson was on a highway beautification crusade to rid all federally-funded highways of unsightly billboards and “junkyards.” This meant many wrecking yards were issued “conditional use permits,” meaning the city could remove the yard by simply not renewing its annual business license. “This also led to city and state regulations of our industry as well as federal regulations, such as federal storm water permits and storm water run-off testing,” Lieberman noted. “ personally, via the Automotive Recyclers Association, worked on the Highway Beautification Act, as well as the federal act requiring the VIN to be put on 16 major components of the vehicle by the OEM.”

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44 MARCH 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

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min969. was sade ways unkking use d renew-

state ll as deral water d. “ Rethe well VIN ts of

recarily ealer duscept

was growing and DRP shops were required to work on all makes. To stay current with the industry, Lakenor adjusted its inventory to all domestic brands, five years old and newer. But the growing U.S. fleet also included many foreign nameplates, and Lakenor could not carry every line and be “inventory efficient.” “So we established respectful working relations with ten other good recyclers,” Lieberman said. “We agreed to refer sales to each other with no mark-up in price and referred all potential sales to each other with the agreement that we would deliver direct and bill direct but not try and steal each other’s accounts. The group we formed was called TeleWrecker.” “Only processing late model domestic vehicles,” Lieberman continued, “allowed us to maximize our request-to-sales ratio. We turned our inventory four times per year. We also had long-term professionals on our team who knew their business and how they were expected to operate. “Our sales volume was in the

top 2% of our industry nationally. We also had a complete computerized and priced inventory. Our employees were very loyal. At one time, not including any Lieberman family members, the average longevity of our company employees was 20 years.” LKQ Comes Knocking Lieberman’s son, B arry Lieb erman, was born in 1960. He completed high school, spent a few years at UC Santa Barbara and then decided school was not for him. Wanting to give his son the same opportunity offered by his father and grandfather, Lieberman made Barry part of the family business, and he eventually became the fourth-generation family member to run the company. In fact, Barry was running the company, and Lieberman was semi-retired when LK Q came knocking in 1999. Being semi-retired, Lieberman thought it was not his place to make the decision to sell or not. His father, now fully retired, had started the business so he had a big sentimen-

tal stake in the company, and his son was now running it. Lieberman left the decision up to them. Barry enjoyed the recycle business, but hated the management side. With Lieberman soon to fully retire, Barry just didn’t want the responsibility. So, the decision was made to sell to LK Q .

Barry stayed on for two years while LK Q found a suitable replacement. Barry went on to sell real estate in California’s beautiful Lake Arrowhead area. Herb Lieberman continued his work with the Automotive Recycling Association. A Lifetime of Service Never one to sit on the sidelines,

Lieberman knew it would take involvement by himself and others in the recycle business to improve the industry. He is a past president of both the Auto Dismantlers of Southern California and the Automotive Recyclers Association, and past member of the California Auto Dismantlers Association Executive Committee. He was active in and helped establish the California Auto Body Association, and participated in many Collision Industry Conference committees, including the Parts and Best Practices committees. He was active with ASA and I-CAR, as well as working with several OEs on their recycling operations, including American Honda, Cadillac, Ford and BMW North America. “I was invited by BMW to visit and comment on their motor vehicle recycling operation in Germany,” Lieberman said. “I very much enjoyed working with all of the industry associations, as well as the See Herb Lieberman, Page 50


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with Ed Attanasio

Social Media for Shops

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

with Ed Attanasio

Social Media Strategist Identifies Keys to Your Body Shop’s Online Success In the old days, body shop marke- co-branded vs. independent, etc., our ting and advertising was relatively approach for body shops has a lot of simple, with only a few things to similarities in what we do across the consider―directwith mail,Ed phone book board with clients we have worked Attanasio advertising, radio or TV advertising with for years in other industries. and, if you decided to think outside of the box, billboards or even sky writing. And don’t forget about putting with on Edyour Attanasio a big inflatable gorilla roof Today, marketing and advertising is so much more sophisticated due to technology that changes daily. How can a shop owner or manager know what to do with so many options out there? with StaceyFacePhillips Owners have to navigate book marketing and advertising, social outreach on multiple platforms, Joe Conte, CEO/lead strategist at Auto Moto reputation management, web design Digital (AMD) in Sausalito, CA, creates marand development, Google Adwords keting plans that grow exponentially using and ratings, custom video, email cutting-edge modalities such as Artificial Intelligence with Stacey Phillips marketing, online podcasts/webinars, Our initial goal is to define the blogging and vlogging, showcasing story of who the body shop is and testimonials and speaking at events. help tell that story to define their Phew―where do you begin A utob od y N ew s recently sat down customers, and how best to creawith Joe Conte, CEO and lead stra- te compelling content that engages with them on a personal level. tegist of Auto Moto ( AMD) withDigital Stacey Phillips We do this through a number ( www.automotodigital.com) in Sausalito, CA, and discussed how his com- of different strategies and solutions pany uses digital marketing and soci- that enable us to learn more at each al advertising to build a body shop’s stage―it is through this A integrated business affordably and exponentially, and algorithmic learning solutions via “social conversion strategies” using their proprietary system. Stacey Phillips that we can target specific types of Conte grewwith up working on Porsches with his father, and began fo- individuals and their behaviors, that cusing on the collision repair indus- further help to create conversions of users into paying customers. try more than a decade ago. AMD delivers AI algorithmic How can a small independent social data solutions for its client shop or mini-MSO compete partners. SA data integrated process with a activates audiences and converts with Victoria Antonelli large chain of shops with a them into loyal brand supporters, via huge marketing budget? proven data mining analytics and alThere are a lot of firms out gorithmic based solutions. there that promise the moon Digital advertising/marketing and groups that create generic confor body shops is completely tent, basic SEO, websites, etc., and different from any otherEd type of busi- strategies that are not specific to the with Attanasio ness and you’ve worked with. What body shop itself. are some of the main differences Our goal is to work with the owners, no matter if they are a part t’s not as different as you of a larger MSO or mini-MSO, and would imagine. As body help them create an online identity shops differ from RP vs. non- RP, that galvanizes consumers into ac-

SEMA Show Goes On


It is through this identity-based social engagement strategy that we help them grow their online identity and their online presence. A key factor for this is defining who the body shop is and who they work with, from a business-to-business standpoint. The types of paint, paint booth, machinery, etc., all adds to the layers of who they are and how they do what they do. We are not solely focused on the body shop when we work with them―we also work with their partners to help understand the entire landscape and ecosystem that surrounds them. This philosophy helps to build a strategy that focuses not only on direct-to-consumer conversion solutions, but data marketing strategies for manufacturers, brands and distributors who work with the body shops. It is this multi-faceted promotional strategy that enables us to create a diverse, long-term growth solution not only developing bottom-up outreach to consumers, but cross-brand pollination strategies that help grow social engagement through the entire landscape. This approach not only helps the shop itself, but all up- and downstream strategic partners that help build the network.

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Body Shops Giving Back

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What can you say to a shop owner who claims that social media is ineffective


The main goal with social engagement is to create a network effect. This enables the locations to grow and build relationships on the [business to business] and business to consumer side― giving body shops loyal customers that help promote and support the growth of their business. It is during this outreach process where we start to build customer loyalty. We also do it via online reputation management solutions that help to build a shop’s online credibility and shift the conversation

that comes from the actual customer, and not just outreach from the body shop. This is what social engagement is all about and why working with smaller shops at times tends to be a greater value proposition for the shop than with the larger MSOs.


There are so many ways to go with digital marketing, with new social media coming out all the time. What social media do you suggest for your clients and why?


Facebook foundational work is where we begin, because the information you can discover with the ad-based network and ad manager sophistication they have is what feeds all other types of outreach techniques we offer. There are a number of techniques, from location-specific ads and strategies like “geo-fencing, geo-targeting” to behavioral analytics based micro-targeted ads that enable us to find who is clicking on what and why―all of these strategies are designed to create cost-effective ad spend solutions and the most affordable conversion solutions and content, to really find what makes the consumer who they are and help align them to the right body shop. hat we find that resonates the most with today’s consumers is the story of the owner, their work ethic and philosophy, and the culture of their shop. Every shop is unique, and by sharing original content and educating body shop owners that being the voice of their shop matters, it not only empowers them to see their potential, but it ultimately helps customers make their decision easier because they can relate to the business and they see the shop as a partner who cares. That’s where the long-term loyalty comes in that helps a business grow. The beauty of all of this is the exponential factor; once you lay down the proper online and social See Online Success, Page 51

with Gary Ledoux

46 MARCH 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

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Historical Snapshot with John Yoswick

Associations Assembling with Chasidy Rae Sisk

Chasidy Rae Sisk is a freelance technical writer from Wilmington, Delaware, who writes on a variety of fields and subjects, and grew up in a family of NASCAR fans. She can be contacted at crsisk@gmail.com.

ASA Northwest Hosts ASE for State of Collision Education Discussion cant drop in collision students Southeast signifi News but an increase in automotive ser-

Although On Feb. 2, ASA Northwest hosted a virtual presentation and discussion with on theChasidy current state Rae of collision education, featuring G eorge A rrants, vice president of the ASE Education Foundation, and B eth Rutter, global director, industry and customer engagement, for Tradiebot Industries. with his Chasidy Rae Arrants began presentation by pointing out, “The pipeline containing the future workforce is collapsing… We don’t have a shortage of entry-level techs; we have a shortage of qualified applicants― with Chasidy Rae young people are interested in the industry and applying for positions, but they don’t have the qualifications the shop needs. So, how do we address that? ” Crediting with K y le Holt of S/P2 Chasidy Rae for providing data, Arrants explored the number of S/P2 student users in 2019 compared to 2020, showing a

vice trainees. Sisk

Western Associations Sisk

Southwest Associations George Arrants, vice president of the ASE

Sisk Education Foundation, shared statistics on the tech shortage crisis and discussed the importance of schools getting involved to save local education programs

Southeast Associations The U.S. Bureau of Labor Sta-

tistics’ report on occupational projecSisk

tions for 2019 to 2029 predicts 13,600 job openings in collision repair during this time period, yet it only anticipates

Northeast Associations

4,400 new collision professionals entering the field. More frightening, in a survey of collision graduates, ASE found 42% are no longer in the automotive or collision industries. “Of the graduates surveyed, 18% are employed in the technical trades, so they are still working with their hands, just not with us,” Arrants said. “I hear a lot of shops say that their new tech screwed up on the first day, but did they really? Or did they ust do things differently id you provide an experienced associate to mentor them on your organization’s processes and procedures? If not, they weren’t the one who messed up.” Arrants next explored current trends in collision education. Over the past year, 17 ASE accredited programs went inactive, with another 26 potentially following suit over

the next few months. From 2019 to 2020, 241 collision programs did not renew their training with S/P2 Collision. The Mississippi Department of Education recently became the first state to mandate all collision programs be ASE-accredited. Estimating there are nearly 1,000 collision programs in the U.S., “the industry and education speak different languages,” Arrants said. “Colleges need to produce students who can work in the industry as an entry-level technician, and the industry needs to create an environment where new technicians can grow. “According to Spherion’s emerging workforce study, 35% of employees who do not receive mentoring look for another job within 12 months, while those who receive mentoring are 77% more likely to stay,” Arrants continued. “This is a national concern

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48 MARCH 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

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with a local solution: get involved! ” Rutter then discussed the Automotive Collision Engineering Pilot Program, an Enterprise initiative in collaboration with Ranken Technical College in St. Louis, MO.

Beth Rutter, global director, industry and customer engagement, for Tradiebot Industries, encouraged shops to consider investing in their future by mentoring an apprentice through Enterprise’s Automotive Collision Engineering Pilot Program

The national program focuses on recruiting and training students, and then partnering them with local shops to provide students with additional learning opportunities through apprenticeships. Rutter recalled receiving a call from an Iowa shop that wanted to put

a technician through its local school’s collision program but was uncertain the curriculum would meet the shop’s needs. “We met with the school’s dean, and now the school is in the process of buying the equipment they needed and starting down the path of ASE accreditation,” Rutter said. “The instructors never had support before, but now they are getting the support they need. Behind every successful vo-tech collision program, there’s a group of active industry professionals on their advisory committee, supporting these educators and their students.” ASE, CREF, S/P2 and I-CAR have all been collaborating to identify collision programs around the country in danger of closing, so they can address the concern and gather support from the local industry. ASE field managers can help with advisory committees and gap analysis, but it starts with the local shops and other collision repair industry organizations. “Businesses need students that graduate these programs, but we are losing collision programs around

the country. We have to stop the bleeding,” Arrants stressed. “These programs need to produce qualified candidates, and ASE’s program im-

provement process will help figure out what they have and what they need.” “We need to hold educators accountable for teaching our future employees, but we also need to adjust our culture so new employees don’t feel like outcasts,” Rutter said. “We want to create a community that onboards them well and makes them want to stay, and mentorship is a key piece of that. Instead of expecting a new tech to be productive immediately and know what you need them to know on their first day, your shop culture should focus on continuous

improvement and learning.” “Reach out to your local programs and determine how we can assist, and if you are involved with a program that is struggling or in jeopardy of closing, we need to know now,” Arrants urged. “We can’t wait any longer; if we continue waiting, the programs will be gone, and once they’re gone, they’re never coming back. “We need to see what we can do to salvage those programs, but they’re your programs, so we need your help. Get involved. We need to convince the school administration that this is a viable industry! ” For more information about ASE’s Education Foundation, visit aseeducation.org. Stay up to date on ASA Northwest and its future events by visiting asanorthwest.com.


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Continued from Page 32

CIECAST Prepares enhanced ability to interact with the networks the manufacturers are establishing and see how the vehicles are being repaired,” Tagliapietra said. “There’s a changing paradigm of how OE repair information is utilized and delivered, and following the OE repair procedures exactly as they’re written is absolutely critical for properly repairing EVs. “OEM Certification network shops must follow repair procedures to be aligned in understanding what repairs are needed to restore EVs to their pre-loss condition,” Tagliapietra continued. “The future of these networks is going to be just as important to insurers as they are to the OEMs, emphasizing the fact that there needs to be a level of collaboration and understanding between manufacturers and insurance companies that has not previously existed to the level that will be necessary with EVs.” Acknowledging shops’ struggle to obtain OEM repair procedures effectively, Tagliapietra suggested the

Continued from Page 45

Herb Lieberman OEMs.” Lakenor Today The Santa Fe Springs property originally occupied by Lakenor is now leased by Caterpillar’s parts division. The area is completely commercialized. The recycled parts business, now owned by LK Q Corp., has a 200,000-square foot warehouse in Santa Fe Springs, fed by a 45-acre dismantling operation in California’s high-desert area. Santa Fe Springs is now the LK Q distribution hub for Southern California. Today’s Market Asked about today’s challenges in the recycle business, Lieberman said, “The industry today is fraught with challenges...very high cost of goods with total loss salvage no longer sold only to dismantlers and dealers by sealed bid. They are sold to the highest bidder anywhere in the world via open auction on the

repair procedures should be available before the estimate is even written. “Shops need to understand the safety measures that need to be considered before they touch the car, and we are examining different ways to deliver that information more efficiently. Education is vital,” Tagliapietra said. “Repairers will be required to access OEM repair procedures on every single vehicle going forward, not ust for structural damages―we cannot continue down that path as an industry and stay in alignment. “Insurers, as well as shops, need to understand and agree on these procedures so that shops can be fairly reimbursed for their efforts.” Tagliapietra believes the data in the repair orders needs to be made available to the different key stakeholders in the industry. “CIECA standards are essential to provide access to the data participants need to achieve their business objectives,” he said. “So many entities participate in the repair process now, not just the insurer, OEM and collision repair shop. We need to evaluate how that information is accessed, ingested and memorialized internet. “Moreover, recyclable parts inventory availability and pricing is available to anyone driving prices down. So, we are forced to compete worldwide, pay the highest prices for our inventory and then sell our products for the lowest prices listed....and still try to be profitable.” Of aftermarket collision parts, Lieberman noted, “The quality is better than ever and the returns for fit and or performance is way down.” Retirement Lieberman said he greatly misses all the people in the industry he worked with over a 61-year career. But these days, he spends time with the lady he married in 1957, his children and grandchildren, shoots some photography and is active in the street rod world with his 1938 Chevy two-door sedan and his 1952 Chevy short-bed pickup. Both vehicles are what Lieberman calls “sleepers” with a “tame” exterior but a potent small block Chevy engine under the hood, coupled with a Turbo 350 transmission. Carry on, Herb!

so it can be played back to the industry for the benefit of everyone. “Collaboration is critical. These relationships need to be fostered if everyone is going to succeed and win,” Tagliapietra continued. “Everyone is dependent on collision repairers to complete a quality repair, but it’s first incumbent on manufacturers, insurers and information providers to facilitate that and share the information the shops need. “We cannot allow a few to monopolize that information when it’s essential for the good of the whole industry.” CIECA then opened the webinar up for a question-and-answer session. As January’s CIECAST concluded, Barry reminded attendees the webinar is eligible for credit through the Automotive Management Institute. The next CIECAST, scheduled for Feb. 25, will highlight the next generation of CIECA standards. The organization is looking for interested parties to join in the development of those standards. For more information on CIECA and the next CIECAST, visit cieca. com.

2021 SEMA HoF Nominations Open SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association, is accepting nominations for its Hall of Fame at www.sema.org/hof. Established in 1969, the SEMA Hall of Fame recognizes people who have contributed a significant body of work to the industry over a long period of time, and is the most prestigious award presented to an individual by the association. It is designed to honor the leaders, innovators, creators and enthusiasts who transformed small, burgeoning businesses into an industry worth more than $ 46.2 billion annually. To nominate an individual who epitomizes the essence of ingenuity in action, visit www. sema.org/hof before the deadline March 19. To learn more about the SEMA Hall of Fame and for a list of inductees, visit www.semahof. com or contact Lindsay Bianco at lindsayb@sema.org or 909-9786692. Source: SEMA


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Continued from Page 43

More Private Equity ued. “There’s all sorts of hypotheses about where we will land. I think we will land in a new normal that may look different than where this industry was before COVID, but it’s going to look something closer to that than where we’ve been the last six months.” Seiffer agreed COV is likely not a long-term negative in this industry. “Even if it lingers, people’s behaviors have adapted,” he said, acknowledging resumption of traffic has rebounded to varying degrees around the country. “If you’re looking for a platform, you’re presumably looking to build something much bigger over time. So a shortterm blip shouldn’t really change your view on the opportunity.” He said there will no doubt be permanent changes that will negatively affect other parts of the economy, but there may actually be some upsides to the pandemic in the medium-term for collision repairers.

“There will be some subset of people who will be slow to return to mass transit and other forms of transportation, and I don’t think working from home is going to be an option forever,” Seiffer said. How does private equity view the potential longer-term impact of advanced driver assistance systems ( ADAS) and autonomous vehicles? Sahney noted it takes a long time for new technologies to be in place in a large percentage of the vehicle population on the roads. “The feeling on it is we’re still decades away from that truly hammering away at the industry,” Sahney said. In addition, he said, MSOs are going to be in a much better position than a single-shop operation to make the investments in being able to service those technologies. Seiffer agreed, saying he sees ADAS as likely to have a bigger impact on personal injury claims than collision claims. “So we pay attention to it, but people tend to overestimate how quickly the world will change,” Seiffer said. “ e pay attention to it,

but view it a little bit as noise, and try to focus on the bigger picture. “There are going to be a lot of cars in the U.S. for a long time, and those cars are going to get into accidents because of weather, congestion and distraction. Cell phones have been a huge benefit for the industry.” Even if collision repair work declines over time, he said, well-run MSOs will find other ways to use a network of bays with skilled workers. “If you have talented folks, and a distribution network with points of access, there will be new business opportunities that arise if others start to go down,” Seiffer said. Autonomous vehicles may result in a larger population of cars rather than smaller, and those vehicles will have service and repair needs beyond collision repair. “The infrastructure that’s built may move a bit over time,” Seiffer said. “Y ou may not need city center locations, or Main Street locations, but I think [shops] will still have tremendous value to the automotive transportation infrastructure.”

Continued from Page 46

Online Success marketing foundation, the right strategy and the right content are gifts that keep on giving. The data starts to come in, and the growth of the business and actual decisions about the future of the company come from this data. This is where it then starts to spiral, when one customer talks to another potential customer and the “network effect” that we discussed earlier starts to take shape. In the end, it is not about the shop next door, it’s about the story. The best thing about a body shop is its story, and even if shops are next to each other, everyone has their own story. Our goal is to help them get to the right customer and help them build a strong in-bound customer base, while growing their car count exponentially. www.autobodynews.com


Certified Collision Group Announces Significant Start to ‘21

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Certified Collision roup (CC ), the OE certifications and P -focused solutions provider to the collision repair and insurance communities, announced Jan. 31 the addition of 24 new locations in the first month of 2021.


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“With the coming of the new year, CCG is very mindful of the increasing challenges facing repairers nationwide,” said Marty E v ans, CCG’s CCO. “We are also acutely aware that the highly reputable, OE certified, customer-focused independent operator is vital for consumers; CCG will keep leveling the playing field for those operators so they can compete.” These 24 new locations are located in five states― orth Carolina, Penssylvania, Virgina,

South Carlina and Wisconsin. CCG now operates in 39 states with more than 550 locations and 50 vendor provider partners. The focus remains providing the insurance community with a sustainable alternative that is differentiated by 2500+ OEM badges and the very best K PI results. “The extraordinary support of our vendor providers and insurance partners allows us to continue delivering stability and long-term profitability to our best-in-class independent affiliates,” Evans continued. “We remain bullish on opportunity as we expand our internal team and infrastructure to maintain our position and outperform the marketplace.” Source Certified Collision roup


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Edmunds Experts Forecast 15.5 Million New Vehicles Will Be Sold in 2021 The car shopping experts at Edmunds say the auto industry is on track for greater stability and healthier sales this year, forecasting 15.5 million new cars will be sold in 2021. Edmunds analysts note this would represent a 6.5% lift over 2020. “2020 was an incredibly tumultuous year for the industry, but some unique market conditions helped retail sales end up in a much stronger place than anticipated, and the good news is that these should serve as some decent tailwinds into 2021,” said Jessica Cald well, Edmunds’ executive director of insights. “Despite the economic hardships faced by so many Americans during the pandemic, there’s still a large population of well-off consumers who have been taking advantage of favorable financing conditions and sustaining healthy demand in the new car market.”Edmunds experts put together some of the biggest trends that they predict will shape the road ahead in 2021:The new vehicle market will continue to grow more pricey and exclusive as the

pandemic drives an income divide among Americans. New car prices are skyrocketing: In December 2020 the average transaction price for a new vehicle hit an all-time record high of $ 40,573. Edmunds analysts expect this number to go up as a uent consumers benefiting from lower interest rates and healthy stock and housing markets continue buying bigger, more expensive new trucks and SUVs. At the same time, more affordable options in the new car market are growing increasingly scarce as automakers shutter their car lines, which Edmunds experts say will create a barrier to entry for many consumers and force them into the used car market. COVID-19 vaccines will help keep auto sales steady but won’t boost them dramatically. Unlike other industries such as airlines or entertainment, automotive sales are not expected to see a dramatic retail lift post widespread vaccination distribution―in 2020, retail sales were down only 8.6% . However, Edmunds experts say that a return to an in-person work

environment should help maintain sales, and they anticipate a boost in daily rentals in 2021, which generally make up 12% of new vehicle sales but sank to 7.4% in 2020. Exciting new products will help breathe life into the automotive industry. 2021 will be a standout year for new vehicles. It will see the birth of a brand-new segment in EV pickup trucks, at least seven new electrified S Vs, and some popular off-road nameplate revivals including the Ford Bronco and Jeep Wagoneer. “It comes down to production cycles and a little bit of luck, but every so often there’s a truly exciting product year for the automotive industry like we’re about to witness in 2021,” said Caldwell. “Between the GMC Hummer, the Tesla Cybertruck and a debut vehicle from Rivian, the EV pickup truck segment is about to explode and we’re going to see even more electrified S Vs enter the market. “And under the new presidential administration, there could be the possibility of new tax credits or incentives for individuals that could finally help move the needle

for electric vehicles, which for years have been slow to grow in popularity in the U.S.” Although 2021 is looking to be an exceptional year for the industry from a product standpoint, Edmunds experts note there are a number of uncertainties that could negatively affect sales. “The chip supply shortage could throw a big wrench in production for automakers, which have only just gotten back into a good groove after shutting down during the pandemic,” said Caldwell. “And there is the bigger question about what consumer demand for vehicles is going to look like in a post-vaccine world. “Lots of additional wealth and resources have been pushed into new car purchases for now, but people have been cooped up for nearly a year. They might choose to shift their spending to experiences rather than goods, which could be a threat to car purchases.” More insight into recent auto industry trends can be found in the Edmunds Industry Center at http://www.edmunds.com/industry -center/. Source: Edmunds

Industry Members Share Their Predictions for the Year by Emmariah Holcomb, glassBYTEs.com

FY 2021 is in full swing and auto glass senior leadership and business owners have shared why they think this year is filled with optimism. “Forecasting for 2021 was quite difficult, but we were fortunate enough to open up a couple of new stores, as we believe in the brick and mortar,” explained Jon Laski, CEO at City Auto Glass, during Auto Glass Week Preview Day held earlier in January. Laski said that City Auto lass has increased its staff after having a few promising months in 2020. But he’s not the only one who’s grown from the pandemic, as Peter B rown, president of Tiny & Son’s Auto Glass, said he’s made changes to his business too. “I just added two new trucks and have trained four new technicians,” said Brown. “I think it’s going to be okay now that people know what’s going on and how to work with us [since the start of the pandemic].” Ted A nd ersen, vice president

of franchising at Novus Inc., headquartered in St. Paul, MN, said he’s focused on bringing the company’s financials back to what they were prior to COVID, in 2019. “As it pertains to forecasting we are going to do some expansion this year, we’re bringing our collision business into the U.S. and that’s going to allow us to grow on the collision and auto glass sides,” explained Andersen. Andersen also noted that the anticipated growth aimed for 2021 will be “tricky” as many states are still issuing lock down orders, California being one of them. “We’re fortunate enough that we were deemed as an essential service,” said Andersen. “I think that [now] everyone understands how to operate through this [pandemic] and it’ll be good going forward.”



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52 MARCH 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

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Auto Thefts Surge In 2020, National Insurance Crime Bureau Reports A preliminary analysis by the National Insurance Crime Bureau shows auto theft took a dramatic leap upward in 2020 compared to 2019, reversing two years of auto theft declines. According to its initial study, there were 873,080 auto thefts in 2020, a 9.2% increase over 2019, which had 799,644 thefts, a boost of more than 73,000 thefts. “Preliminary reports indicate a sharp increase in automobile thefts for 2020,” said NICB President and CEO Dav id G lawe. “All indications are 2020 will be the largest theft year in the past decade by a significant margin.” According to the findings, every month in 2020 showed increases compared to 2019. Overall, the yearly increase was 9.2% ; however, each month from June through December showed double digit gains. “Based on the preliminary nature of the data, the cause of this increase will require a thorough intelligence assessment,” said Glawe. “Considerations such as the pandemic, economic downturn, loss of juvenile outreach programs and

public safety budgetary and resource limitations are likely contributing factors. “Thieves exploit opportunities and may look for vehicles parked in the same location or citizens not taking proper measures to secure their vehicles.” If you see something, say something by contacting local law enforcement if you suspect questionable activity in your neighborhood. Given the unique circumstances of 2020, the NICB is distributing this data in advance of its much-anticipated annual Hot Spots report, to be released in mid-2021. Due to the scrutiny the data receives from NICB analysts, the Hot Spots report will likely differ to a small extent from this initial analysis. Vehicle owners must guard against complacency and remember to heed simple tips to safeguard their vehicles. NICB recommends drivers follow four layers of protection to guard against vehicle theft. Common sense: Vehicle owners should always remove keys from the ignition, lock doors and windows and park in well-lit areas.

Warning devices: These include visible and audible alarms. Aftermarket alarms are available for all makes and models of cars. Visual devices include column collars, steering wheel locks and brake locks. I mmob ilizing d ev ices: The third layer of protection prevents thieves from bypassing the ignition and hot-wiring the vehicle. Some examples are smart keys; fuse cutoffs kill switches starter, ignition and fuel pump disablers; and wireless ignition authentication. Tracking d ev ices: Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles. Some systems combine GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle. If the vehicle is moved, the system will alert the owner, and the vehicle can be tracked via computer. Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800.TEL.NICB ( 800835-6422) or submitting a form on the NICB website. Source: NICB

Merchants Fleet to Buy BrightDrop EVs Merchants Fleet, the nation’s fastest-growing fleet management company, announced Feb. 2 its plans to further electrify its portfolio with BrightDrop, the new business backed by General Motors, offering electric first-to-last-mile products and software services. Merchants Fleet is working with BrightDrop to procure 12,600 BrightDrop EV600s, an all-new, electric light commercial vehicle purpose-built for the delivery of goods and services over long ranges. The EV600 is powered by the Ultium battery system and combines zero-emissions driving with segment-leading safety features. Merchants Fleet expects BrightDrop EV600s to enter its clients’ fleets starting in early 2023.BrightDrop is building a smarter way to deliver goods and services. Its ecosystem of electric first-to-last-mile products, software and services are designed to help businesses deliver goods and services more efficiently, while improving overall sustainability. Source: GM

ABRA Auto Body Repair of America Adds Four New Facilities

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ABRA Auto Body Repair of America is celebrating its growth as the company added four new shops to its network―one each in Montana, Minnesota, Iowa and Georgia. The company has been able to support its communities with the essential services it provides, despite the many challenges brought on by the pandemic. Franchisees within the network have continued to invest in additional capacity, bringing more value to their customers. “I am deeply proud of our ABRA facilities, who have been able to adapt on the fly to the changing demands of our industry,” said Mark Wahlin, VP of franchise development and operations, ABRA. “The team has seamlessly enhanced its repair processes to include increased sanitization on key touchpoints and has found ways to safely perform estimates---all to maintain a positive customer experience.” From South Carolina to Minnesota, ABRA facilities across the country have pushed themselves to enhance their service offerings,

find new areas of opportunities, expand their market reach and participate in additional training. “Our owners’ commitment to exceptional customer satisfaction extends beyond the repair as they are actively involved in their communities,” said Wahlin. “Seeing our franchisees host food drives, giving back to causes close to their customers during a challenging year for most shows why ABRA has been in the business for over three decades.” ABRA facilities throughout the country also took time to give back to the communities they serve in 2020. ABRA St. Cloud in Minnesota used its mobile glass vehicle for Meals on Wheels deliveries to support seniors in need. Facilities also gave back to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation through fundraising initiatives throughout the year. Visit ABRA Woodstock, ABRA Billings, ABRA Duluth and ABRA North Liberty websites to learn more about the new facilities. Source: ABRA

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Collision Industry Mourns the Loss of Bano Ramirez

Distracted Driving Trend Persists Despite Passenger Complaints by Steve Hallo, PropertyCasualty360

Incidents of distracted driving persist despite more than 97% of passengers confronting a motorist who had let their focus slip from the road, according to a survey of U.S. consumers by LeithCars.com. The survey also found 22.5% of respondents had been a passenger in a crash caused by a distracted driver. Texting and browsing the internet were cited as the leading accident-causing distraction by passengers who had been in a crash initiated by an unfocused driver. They were also the most common events leading to complaints from a passenger, as 52% and 33.3% of riders, respectively, said they confronted someone about these behaviors. The risks from distracted driving are so severe that LexisNexis Risk Solutions suggested distracted driving could potentially rival DUI violations as a factor in road safety and insurance rating. Concerning the latter point, insurer The Zebra reported getting a ticket for texting, or otherwise using a phone while driving, can raise in-

surance rates by an average of 23% . In some states, that increase can be more than 63% . Drinking alcohol, falling asleep and using a cell phone to surf the web or text were among the distractions perceived to be most danger-

While most will speak up to family, friends or colleagues driving dangerously, more than 60% of people don’t address distracted and dangerous driving issues when in a taxi or rideshare. Credit: guteksk7, Shutterstock.com

ous, the survey revealed, with reaching around for an item rounding out the top five. Comparing attitudes around drunk driving and texting risks, the survey found that baby boomers see using a cell phone while driving as being more dangerous than drinking

and driving, while millennials found the adverse to be true. When it comes to incidents of drinking and driving, more than one in four survey respondents had ridden with someone who consumed alcohol while driving, according to LeithCars.com. Y et, slightly less than 13% felt compelled to address the obvious danger. This comes on the heels of recent news that nearly half of U.S. motorists admit to drinking and driving. The survey also found an alarming number of rideshare drivers are also partaking in distracted driving, with nearly 85% of those surveyed saying they had experienced dangerous or distracted driving in a taxi or ridesharing vehicle. Speeding, weaving through traffic and being too chatty were the most cited experiences. While most will speak up to family, friends or colleagues driving dangerously, more than 60% of people don’t address these issues when in a taxi or rideshare.

It is with sadness that we announce the passing of B ano Ramirez, a member of Mitchell International’s Solution Specialist team, on Jan. 25. Ramirez touched many lives in his over 40-plus years in the collision industry. He spent 12 years with Mitchell International and previously owned and operated B ob ’ s B od y and F end er in Van Nuys, CA, where he was an active member of the community, hosting many industry training events. Ramirez was a longtime member of the California Autobody Association and an invaluable contributor to its Glendale/ Foothill chapter. His positive attitude, loyalty, integrity and hard work will be remembered by all. Ramirez is survived by his lovely spouse A lison, daughters Sy lv ia, Rosie and A mand a, eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

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54 MARCH 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

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COVID’s Impact on Insurance Pricing, Coverage & Digital Trends by Steve Hallo, PropertyCasualty360

As we move into 2021, the insurance sector should expect continuing hard market conditions, according to Jim B ramb let, managing director-insurance lead for Accenture’s North American operations, who explained the pandemic will shape pricing and coverage in the year to come.

Investing in a digital brand presence can help keep an insurer top-of-mind among its potential clients in the community, making social marketing even more important during a time when face-to-face interactions are limited. Credit: RAGMA IMAGES, Shutterstock

“Carriers are going to have to continue to look at pricing vs. risk, and ask themselves what are the current consumption patterns for assets they typically insure,” he said, giving for example the number of rebates around personal lines seen in the past year. “What is that

going to look like going forward? ” He added even outside the pandemic, carriers should think about changing consumption patterns for personal lines, given the revival in home improvement investments and “cocooning” trends. This makes it paramount that insurers find the right pricing for these fundamental changes in consumption patterns. Concerning coverage, the past year exposed a gap in policies around pandemics and business operations. This is particularly true for business interruption claims, which might take a public-private partnership to cover. “There has to be some collaboration between government and insurers, whether through primary insurance, reinsurance or a government backstop,” he said, adding more needs to be done than “waiting for relief packages to run through the government.” As previously reported, the enormity of losses stemming from COVID is believed to be beyond the abilities of the private market to cover. From consumer-facing technologies to in-agency systems, the pandemic has propelled the industry’s investment in digital tools, ac-

cording to Bramblet, with spending on distribution and customer-facing tools showing the best ROI. For the industry to capitalize on this, the transition from a digital environment to a more traditional insurer/policyholder connection should be seamless. Regardless of how a client wants to buy a policy―in person, through a website or on a mobile app―the insurance education and research process almost always start digital now, Bramblet explained. “Y ou want to make it as easy as possible for them to bridge from the digital world into your carrier system,” he stressed. The ability to build a personal social brand digitally is also growing in importance because of the pandemic, according to Bramblet, who explained agencies cannot at this time have a presence in their communities through traditional means such as sponsoring little league teams or attending a family picnic. “Make the investment in a digital presence and digital brands. They have to be built,” he cautioned. We thank P roperty Casuatl y 3 6 0 for reprint permission.

Kia Niro EV Winner in Ownership Study The K ia Niro EV has been ranked No. 1 among mass-market brands in the J.D. Power 2021 Electric Vehicle Experience ( EVX ) Ownership Study. For this inaugural study, J.D. Power surveyed nearly 10,000 electric vehicle ( EV) owners on factors including cost-of-ownership, battery range and driving enjoyment to determine the likelihood of repurchasing and recommending an EV. The U.S. EVX Ownership Study, driven by a collaboration with PlugShare, sets the standard for benchmarking satisfaction with the critical attributes that affect the EV ownership experience. The overall EVX ownership index score measures electric vehicle owners’ satisfaction in premium and mass-market segments across seven factors: accuracy of stated battery range; availability of public charging stations; battery range; cost of ownership; driving enjoyment; ease of charging at home; and vehicle quality and reliability. Source: K ia Motors North America

CCC Information Services Inc. Merges, Will Go Public CCC Information Services Inc. and Dragoneer Growth Opportunities Corp. on Feb. 3 announced a definitive merger agreement between Dragoneer and CCC’s parent holding company. Upon closing of the transaction, the combined company is expected to be renamed CCC Intelligent Solutions Holdings Inc. and is expected to be listed on the New Y ork Stock Exchange in the second quarter of 2021. CCC’s mission-critical SaaS platform provides advanced AI, IoT, customer experience and network management workflow solutions to the P&C insurance economy. CCC enables more than $ 100 billion of transactions annually among a vast ecosystem of interconnected businesses. CCC’s network includes thousands of customers including insurers, repair facilities, automotive manufacturers, parts suppliers and other industry participants who leverage CCC’s platform to digitize operations, improve business performance and power better decisions in an increasingly complex and rapidly

changing market. Under Chairman and CEO G ithesh Ramamurthy , who will continue to lead the company following the close of the transaction, CCC expects to report approximately $ 600 million of revenue in 2020, and has delivered a consistent track record of profitable revenue growth for 20-plus years by focusing on delivering best-in-class innovations for its customers. “Today is an exciting day for CCC as our return to the public markets provides us with additional sources of capital to accelerate innovation and increase the value we provide customers,” said Ramamurthy. “Throughout our history, CCC has developed pioneering technology solutions focused on enabling growth, increasing efficiency and empowering new possibilities for all participants in the P&C insurance economy. “We serve a large and interconnected market that is still in the early stages of digitizing its operations and is growing in complexity. We believe CCC is well positioned to support customer digitization in this

dynamic market. “We are incredibly excited to begin this new partnership with Dragoneer, one of the most highly respected investors in the world, and to continue our relationship with Advent, who have been terrific partners for the past four years,” Ramamurthy continued. “Together, I am confident CCC will continue to generate meaningful value for our customers and shareholders.” “Under Advent’s ownership, CCC has cemented itself as a leading SaaS platform for the P&C insurance ecosystem,” said Eric Wei, managing director at Advent. “Since 2017, we’ve partnered with Githesh and the CCC management team to accelerate organic growth through a focus on innovation, and we believe this sustained investment in R&D will deliver significant RO for customers for decades to come. “Advent is excited to partner with Dragoneer, with its preeminent technology investing franchise, to support CCC’s continued focus on digitally transforming the insurance economy. We have strong conviction in CCC’s growth potential and are

not selling a single share as part of the transaction.” “CCC is one of those rare software companies that serves as the backbone of a critical industry―the P&C insurance economy,” said Marc Stad, founder and portfolio manager at Dragoneer. “As the products we use and the cars we drive become more and more sophisticated, insurers, consumers, manufacturers and service providers require increasing amounts of support and coordination whenever issues occur. “CCC’s advanced technology platform enables the right groups to connect quickly and efficiently, and its twenty-plus years of profitable growth are a testament to the value the company provides to its customers. The CCC team’s impressive track record of execution and financial performance speaks for itself, and we are thrilled to partner with them and Advent as they work to realize their ambitious vision for the business.” Source: CCC


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March 2021 Southeast Edition  

March 2021 Southeast Edition