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Georgia Collision Association’s Labor Rates Survey
The Georgia Collision Industry Association (GCIA) will again conduct a labor rates survey for body shops in the Atlanta area.
The purpose of this survey is to provide Georgia collision shop owners with prevailing rates for labor and material charges so all shops can be paid fairly for work performed. CSi Complete is conducting the survey as a third party. Go to http://www.csicomplete.com/gcia/survey.aspx to complete the survey.
Labor rates surveys are a valuable tool for body shops in any area. They help to determine the fair and prevailing rate for work done at a collision shop in a variety of areas including metalwork, refinishing, painting, etc. They are also an invaluable tool when it comes to Direct Repair Program payment negotiations. Associations in many areas attempt to conduct annual labor rates surveys to keep track of the industry average for posted door rates. Although many insurers conduct labor rates surveys of their own, the associations usually follow up with their own surveys to make sure the correct average rate is agreed upon.
Recyclers, Repairers Look for Ways to Improve Business Interactions By John Yoswick
Mel Hunke said he’d like to eliminate the “wedge” between collision repairers and auto recyclers. “We used to work together really well,” Hunke said of the two industries. “But once insurers stopped paying for clean-up or repair time on recycled parts, they basically said, ‘You two fight it out.’And we’ve been doing it ever since. That’s the wedge that was driven.” Hunke, a former shop owner who now represents the Quality Replacement Parts (QRP), a coalition of auto recyclers in nine states, was speaking
at the third “Recycled Parts Roundtable,” held in Las Vegas. The gatherings, originally organized by QRP but now open to anyone, bring together representatives from all segments of the industry to discuss and work to resolve issues related to recycled parts. “We need to blow out the wedge and put our relationship, our core business-to-business process, back together in a way that benefits everyone,” Hunke said as he opened the most recent roundtable. It was clear by the end of the half-day meeting that many of the two dozen participants – primarily owners See Recyclers, Page 14
VOL. 2 ISSUE 3 MAY 2011
Gunder’s Loses Appeal to State Farm—Court Rules ‘Even if False,’ Claims are Priviledged On April 7th, 2011 the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld a lower court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of State Farm Insurance in Gunder’s Auto Center’s claim against the nation’s largest personal auto insurer for slander and tortious interference with a business relationship. (See Autobodynews.com for background.) To recover for slander in Florida, the claimant must show (1) publication of a false statement; (2) about the plaintiff; (3) to a third party; and (4) damage resulting to plaintiff from the publication. To state a claim for tortious interference in Florida, the claimant must show (1) the existence of a business relationship; (2) knowledge of
the relationship on the part of the defendant; (3) an intentional and unjustified interference by the defendant; and (4) damage from the breach of the relationship. The court found that, “although denied by State Farm, we assume the statements allegedly made by State Farm disparaging Gunter’s were made and are untrue. Nonetheless, we agree with the district court that State Farm’s statements were privileged: Under Florida law a privileged statement is one in which “A communication made in good faith on any subject matter by one having an interest therein, or in reference to which he has a duty, is privileged if made to a person having a corresponding interSee Gunder Appeal, Page 19
PAINT FOCUS ARTICLES in this issue...
Painting With Waterborne at John Force Racing . . . . . . . . . . . . .p. 24
Revisiting Paint by Numbers: Refinish Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .p. 26
Getting OSHA-Compliant on Plans, Protection, Painting . . . . . . .p. 28
REGIONAL ARTICLES in this issue...
GCIA Labor Rates Surveys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .p. 1
Tornado Strikes KY Toyota Parts Plant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .p. 4
GCIA Meeting Hosts OSHA Presentation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .p. 10
FACA First Responder Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .p. 12
Service King Acquires 8 Locations in San Antonio . . . . . . . . . . .p. 12
Skills USA Winner Congratulated at San Antonio College . . . . . .p. 20
COLUMNS in this issue...
Yoswick — Effort to Develop Collision Repair Standards Takes
Another Step Forward . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .p. 13
Gonzo — On the Other Side of the Bookstore Counter . . . . . . . .p. 17
Franklin — Summertime Means Event Time For Body Shops . . .p. 18 Chaney — Three of Largest Auto Recycling Networks Merge . . .p. 21
Danalevich — Is Your Parts Supplier Purchasing Policy a
Benefit or an Expense? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .p. 23
Insurance Insider — Insurers Will Continue to Serve “Flavor
of the Day” to Shops . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .p. 30
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Contents AASP-Pennsylvania’s Big E Trade Show
Coming in October . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Alabama Hail Increases Body Shop Business
in Late March . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Allstate to Open 50 Agencies in Florida. . . . 6
Attanasio, Chief - Indiana Shop Owner
Favors Chief for Quality, Durability &
Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Chaney - Three of Largest Auto Recycling
Networks Merge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Are Southern Auto Workers Disinterested in
Chess - Getting OSHA-Compliant on Plans,
Bills Filed in Texas Aimed at Increasing
Danalevich - Is Your Parts Supplier Purchasing
Body Shops May Be Affected by New
Franklin - Summertime Should Mean Event
FL Drivers Could Be Paying “Fraud Tax”
Gonzo - A Day to Reflect—On the Other
FL Insurance Commissioner OKs Homeowner
Horn - Revisiting Paint by Numbers: A Deep
FL Jury Rules State Farm Driver Owed
Insurance Insider - Insurers Will Continue to
FL Opens First All Electric Vehicle
Stoll - Painting with Waterborne at John
Florida Autobody Collision Alliance (FACA)
Yoswick - Effort to Develop Collision Repair
Insurance Policy Transparency. . . . . . . . 4 Proposed Tax in GA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
With Insurance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Rate Hike. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
$3 Million . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Dealership . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Hosts 1st Annual First-Responder
Extrication Training. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Florida House Bill Aims to Repeal Motor
Vehicle Repair Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Ford to Idle KY Plant Over Parts Shortage
From Japan Quake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
GCIA Meeting Hosts OSHA Safety and
Environmental Compliance Management
Presentation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Protection and Painting . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Policy a Benefit or an Expense? . . . . . . . 23 Time For Body Shops. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Side of the Bookstore Counter . . . . . . . 17 Dive into Refinish Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Serve “Flavor of the Day” to Shops . . . 30
Force Racing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Standards Takes Another Step Forward 13
Yoswick - Recyclers, Repairers Look for
Ways to Improve Business Interactions . 1
Airbiquity to Supply Air-Over-Voice
Technology to Onstar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Ford Expands F-150/Lincoln Recall Due
to Airbag Flaws . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Georgia Collision Association’s Labor Rates
Ford’s CEO Mulally Says Suppliers
GM Idles Texas SUV Plant . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Ford’s Electric Focus Will Not Lease
Survey. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Gunder’s Loses Appeal to State Farm—
Court Rules ‘Even if False,’ Claims are
Priviledged. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Accomodating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Lithium-Ion Batteries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Full Deliveries From Japanese Suppliers
Stalled Until July . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Honda to Invest $94 Million in AL Plant . . . 6
Honda Extends Production Cuts in North
SC Offers Amnesty to Drivers with
House Rejects Changes to Bill Banning EPA
SCRS and FACA Co-Hosting Seminar on
Hyundai, Kia Running U.S. Plants at Full
Service King Acquires 8 Alamo Body and
Nissan’s Leaf Experiences A/C Sensor
St. Philip’s College in San Antonio, TX,
Used Vehicle Pricing Expected to Rise in
MS Gov. Vetoes Insurance Verification Bill . 6 Suspended Licenses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Improving Workshop Efficiency . . . . . . . 4
Paint Locations in San Antonio, TX. . . . 12 Rallies Around Skills-USA-Winning
America to May . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
and Calif. from Regulating Emissions . . 16
Speed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Problem. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Quake Aftermath . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Classmate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Verizon Unveils Hybrid and Alternative-energy
Vote in AL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
When it Comes to Cars, Men Buy Looks,
Texting While Driving Ban up for House
Tornado Strikes Toyota KY Parts Plant . . . . 4
Yancey Truck Centers Opens Macon, Ga.,
Location . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Publisher & Editor: Jeremy Hayhurst General Manager: Barbara Davies Assistant Editor: Erica Schroeder Contributing Writers: Tom Franklin, Stefan Gesterkamp, John Yoswick, Lee Amaradio, Toby Chess, Mike Causey, Dan Espersen, Tom McGee, Jeff Webster, Rich Evans, Ed Attanasio, Chasidy Sisk Advertising Sales: Joe Momber, Sean Hartman (800) 699-8251 Sales Assistant: Kristy Mangum Art Director: Rodolfo Garcia
Unions?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Vehicles. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Women Seek Practicality . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Serving Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and adjacent metro areas, Autobody News is a monthly publication for the auto body industry. Permission to reproduce in any form the material published in Autobody News must be obtained in writing from the publisher. ©2011 Adamantine Media LLC.
Box 1516, Carlsbad, CA 92018; (800) 699-8251 (760) 721-0253 Fax www.autobodynews.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
AkzoNobel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Arrigo Dodge-Jeep-Chrysler . . 10 Autoland Scientech . . . . . . . . . 17 Bill Penney Toyota. . . . . . . . . . 15 BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers. 30 Chief Automotive. . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Classifieds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Delray Honda . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Don Mealey Chevrolet. . . . . . . . 4 Don Reid Ford . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Equalizer Industries. . . . . . . . . 23 Ford Wholesale Parts Dealers FL, GA, AL, MS . . . . . . . . . . 32 Galloway Mazda . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Garmat USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Global PDR Solutions . . . . . . . 13 GM Wholesale Parts Dealers . 22 Gus Machado Ford . . . . . . . . . 18 Honda Wholesale Parts Dealers. 21 Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Kia Motors Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Mattei. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Mazda Wholesale Parts. . . . . . 27 Mercedes-Benz Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 MOPAR Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Nalley BMW. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Nissan Wholesale Parts Dealers. 27 Palmers Toyota . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Porsche Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Quality Stainless Products . . . . 8 Scorpion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Southtowne Hyundai. . . . . . . . . 6 Tameron Hyundai . . . . . . . . . . 22 Toyota Wholesale Parts Dealers. 19 Volkswagen Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
www.autobodynews.com | MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS 3
Tornado Strikes Toyota KY Parts Plant A tornado struck a manufacturing plant on the southeast side of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, on April 4, tossing pieces of the roof, collapsing part
TGASK sustained damage to the east side of the plant after the tornado
of the aluminum structure and injuring seven people, officials said. The plant, Toyoda Gosei Automotive Sealing Kentucky (TGASK), makes weatherstripping for Toyota vehicles. The plant is located between Hopkinsville and Pembroke, Kentucky. About 184 employees were inside TGASK when the storm arrived shortly before noon, said Paul Ray, spokesman for the Hopkinsville Po-
lice Department. None of the injured had lifethreatening injuries, said spokeswoman Jessica Beckham of Jennie Stuart Medical Center. Ray said the injuries were mostly bumps and bruises. Tornado watches were in effect the rest of that night in portions of Louisiana, Mississippi, northwestern Florida, most of Alabama and northern Georgia, including Atlanta. Severe thunderstorms were moving through and flood warnings were issued in some areas. Numerous trees and power lines were down across the area, the Sheriff's Office said. “It could have been a lot worse,” Ray told CNN. The plant was “very fortunate that at that time, there were very few injuries, and only minor injuries.” All employees had been accounted for, he added. The full affect of the damages to the building and its possible affect on production at the plant have not been fully disclosed.
SCRS and FACA Co-Hosting Seminar on Improving Workshop Efficiency The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) and the Florida Autobody Collision Alliance (FACA) will be co-hosting a seminar focused on trimming workshop efficiency led by instructor Steven J. Feltovich. The seminar will take place all day on Thursday, May 19 at the Villas of Grand Cypress in Orlando, FL. Whether you are the owner of an independent business, the middle manager in a dealership, or the president of a multi-location shop network, this class will show you how to improve your profits and productivity. Instructor Steven Feltovich will discuss the origins of “lean” production, running the shop more efficiently and effectively, raising the output quality while lowering operating costs, capturing more market share through continuous improvement, maximizing production and profit opportunities and developing systems and processes
for assuring greater customer loyalty. “This class is thought provoking. It’s about a mindset and culture of making every step count in your business, and at the end of it, it just makes sense. If you consider ways to include your staff in making the job easier, measurably increasing their efficiencies by developing win-win processes, their continued improvement to positively influence your business is assured,” said Gary Wano, Jr., with GW & Son Autobody. Breakfast and lunch will be provided and are included in the attendance fee. After the Seminar, the Florida Auto Collision Alliance (FACA) will be holding an evening reception followed by a statewide meeting and expo on Friday, May 20th at the same location. Registration for both FACA sponsored events can be made by contacting FACA Executive Director Cathy Mills at (904) 994-6516, or email@example.com.
4 MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
Bills Filed in Texas Aim to Increase Insurance Policy Transparency Two pieces of legislation recently filed in Texas would require insurance companies to provide customers with more complete information on rate increases and expand resources available to consumers for shopping the market. Rep. Armando Walle of Houston says House Bill 2723 and House Bill 2724 would “help consumers fully understand the premium increases imposed by insurance companies and will give consumers information on how they can shop around.” HB 2723 concerns accident and health insurance policies. Under the measure, an insurer must notify consumers of the rate increase 60 days prior to it taking effect, according to information posted on the Texas House of Representatives’ Web site. The notice would have to include the amount of the increase and information about how to file a complaint. Additionally, the bill would require the notice to include Web site addresses where consumers can access information regarding rate increase justifications and alternative coverage options.
HB 2724 contains similar provisions for residential property and personal automobile insurance. At the time of a policy renewal, the insurance company would be required to provide a side-by-side comparison of the new and old rates, as well as provide information on any changes in coverage and how to shop around. The bill also requires insurers to give the deductible in a dollar amount, rather than in a percent of the total value of the policy. Rep. Armando Walle is serving his second term in the Texas House of Representatives and serves on the House Committee on Insurance and the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety. He represents House District 140, which includes northern portions of unincorporated Harris County and the City of Houston. “Policyholders deserve clear information about upcoming rate increases with enough time to plan accordingly or shop around if they are unhappy with the product,” said Rep. Walle. For more information see www.house.state.tx.us.
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Allstate to Open 50 Agencies in Florida
Allstate Insurance says it wants to open nearly 50 new agency offices in Florida. About half of those openings will be in north Florida, the company said, according to reports made by Insurance Journal. “North Florida has shown incredible growth for our agencies,” says Bob Jackson, regional sales leader for Allstate’s Florida region based in St. Petersburg. “In order to meet the demands of our current and future customers, we’ve made a decision to expand.” Allstate estimates that each new office will mean multiple job opportunities for licensed staff, perhaps as many as 130 new jobs statewide. The agencies will sell auto, home and life insurance, according to a spokesman. Allstate began scaling back on its property insurance writings in Florida in 2005, after the severe hurricane season but it has shown renewed interest in Florida business lately. Last spring, it launched an effort to write about 50,000 new multiline policies and began looking into taking out policies from state-backed Citizens Insurance Corp.
In Florida, Allstate operates as Castle Key Insurance Co.and Castle Key Indemnity Co. Allstate changed the names of its Florida subsidiaries to Castle Key in July 2009. The insurer said the name changes were made in order to “better reflect the fact that these property companies are separately capitalized from Allstate Insurance Co.” The company has about 1,000 agents in the state. Allstate agents operate as independent contractors selling Allstate policies. They can own their own franchise while drawing on support and resources from the parent company. The company said there is no franchise fee associated with owning an Allstate agency, although candidates need to have $50,000 to $75,000 in liquid capital. The company says that money does not go to Allstate; rather it shows the new agency can pay for the normal operation costs associated with opening and running an agency. Visit www.insuranceagent.floridajobs.com for more information.
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MS Gov. Vetoes Insurance Verification Bill
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour has vetoed a bill to set up an electronic system to verify that drivers have insurance, a program intended to reduce the number of uninsured drivers on the state’s roads, according to reports made by Insurance Journal. In his veto message, Barbour said he supports the concept of the verification system but questioned whether there had been sufficient analysis of the costs of the proposed system and whether the proposed civil penalties would pay for it. He also said he was concerned that the bill requires the public safety department to suspend a driver’s license of the owner of a vehicle in violation of the insurance law, a task that may be beyond that department’s authority. Barbour said he believes the language of the bill can be fixed by clearly delineating the duties of the appropriate agencies. The governor said he is open to signing a revised bill. “Once the language in the bill is cleaned up, these agencies will be able to develop a workable system to verify vehicle liability insurance coverage of the vehicles on the highway. I am amenable to including this in the next special session,” he said.
Honda to Invest $94 Million in Alabama Plant
Honda plans to invest $94 million in its manufacturing facility in Lincoln, Alabama, and will add 20 jobs at the facility, according to reports made by Automotive World. The Associated Press, citing Honda spokesman Mark Morrison, said this investment will go towards increasing production capacity and improving the flexibility of vehicle and engine manufacturing. The Lincoln plant employs more than 4,000 people. According to the report, the Talladega County Commission approved tax abatements for the project on the night of 28 March 2011. The project is expected to be completed in mid-2012, according to the Associated Press. Honda Manufacturing of Alabama produces Honda’s Odyssey minivan, Pilot SUV, Ridgeline pick-up and V6 engines for these vehicles. This facility is Honda’s largest light truck production source. Up to now, Honda has invested more than $1.4 billion in the facility, which has annual output capacity of 300,000 vehicles and V6 engines. In February, the US accounted for production of 81,717 Honda vehicles.
FL Drivers Could Be Paying “Fraud Tax” With Insurance
Fraudulent insurance claims by drivers in Florida have cost vehicle owners and insurers nearly $1 billion since 2008, according to recent analysis by the Insurance Information Institute (III). The III’s recent study pointed out that the typical two-car family in the state could be paying what amounts to a “fraud tax” of up to $100 associated with their Florida auto insurance premiums due to fraudulent behavior associated with the state’s current no-fault auto insurance system. Staged auto accidents and other fraudulent behavior have already cost both the insured and insurers an estimated $853 million since 2008, the III says. Based on the current trend discovered in the study, the costs from 2009 through 2011 could reach $1.5 billion. “There are more auto insurance claims and a higher percentage of them seem to require extensive medical treatment. This is a costly combination that only offers one reasonable explanation, fraud and abuse of the nofault auto insurance system is being paid for by all drivers, and steps must be taken to reverse this course,” said Lynne McChristian, Florida’s representative for the III.
FL Opens First All Electric Vehicle Dealership
Suncoast Electric Vehicles is now open in St. Petersburg, Florida offering Wheego electric cars and Vantage electric vans and trucks. The dealership only offers all electric zero emission vehicles for commercial, municipal and consumer needs. This dealership is the first of its kind in the sunshine state. Suncoast owner Richard Nimphie says, “I am told that I am innovative, opening an all electric car and truck dealership. In fact, this is far from the truth. The first electric vehicle was produced sometime between 1832-1839 by Robert Anderson in Scotland. In 1895, Americans began to devote attention to electric vehicles and by the early 1900's you could buy an electric car that had a top speed of 14 mph and a range of 18 miles. The problem was, you would have to pay $2000 for it, while you could buy a Model T for $650.” Nimphie is convinced that the time for electric vehicles is here to stay and after nearly forty years in the retail auto business he believes that if someone is able to produce an alternate fuel vehicle at a substantially lower operating cost, there is surely a market for the vehicle.
His dealership is able to offer one of the first highway capable, plug-in zero emission automobiles. According to Nimphie, the good news is that his dealership has Wheego vehicles available for delivery within a short time after being ordered instead of the long delay that other manufacturers may be experiencing. The Wheego Whip meets the needs of more than 80% of those driving 10 to 25 miles per day, local driving. An electric plug-in low speed vehicle with a range of up to 40 miles, it is short, light, compact and easy to drive. Nimphie describes it as a perfect, intelligent, green alternative for urban dwellers. “Wheego wants to make the best electric cars and also educate everyone as to the practical benefits of owning and driving one. They do not aspire to be the biggest car company, or make the fastest cars, but instead, to make safe, reliable and fun products without compromise. It was that philosophy that convinced me to partner with them,” Nimphie said. Please visit www.suncoastelectricvehicles.com for more information.
SC Offers Amnesty to Drivers with Suspended Licenses
Thousands of South Carolina drivers will be able to legally get back behind the wheel through a one-week amnesty program for suspended licenses, according to reports made by Insurance Journal. The Department of Motor Vehicles said that the amnesty applies to residents who lost their driving privileges for violations that don’t involve drugs or alcohol. Agency spokeswoman Beth Parks said nearly 10,500 drivers qualify. About 20 percent of those drivers have two suspensions. Their driving privileges will be restored if they pay the required fees and have insurance. Most reinstatement fees are $100. The program will be offered May 16-20 at 17 offices around the state. It was required as part of a sentencing reform measure passed by the Legislature last year.
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www.autobodynews.com | MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS 7
Florida House Bill Aims to Repeal Motor Vehicle Repair Law Florida House Bill 5005, “Deregulations of Professions and Occupations,” sponsored by Rep. Esteban Bovo Jr., R-Dist. 110, includes provisions that would repeal Florida’s law requiring the registration of motor vehicle repair shops with the Motor Vehicle Repair Advisory Council and the regulation of motor vehicle repair. The Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act, which became a law, was created to assist consumers with matters relating to motor vehicle repair shops. The Motor Vehicle Repair Advisory Council was created to advise and assist the Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services in carrying out and reviewing the rules relating to the Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act. The law applies to dealers of new and used cars, trucks and motorcycles; garages; service stations; self-employed persons; truck stops; and paint, body, brake, muffler, transmission, mobile repair and glass shops. Registered shops must post, in a conspicuous location in the customer
service area, the registration certificate and a sign advising consumers of their rights under the Motor Vehicle Repair Act and give the department’s toll-free telephone number for assistance or information. Shops must also include in the sign a statement advising consumers they are entitled to the return or inspection of replaced parts, if requested at the time the work order is placed. Finally, shops must include their registration number in any advertisements, announcements, or listings relating to motor vehicle repair in any newspaper, magazine or directory. If Bill 5005 were to be passed as currently drafted, motor vehicle repair facilities will be deregulated. The Motor Vehicle Repair Act is vital to the motor vehicle repair experience for consumers in the state of Florida. Before 1993, there were approximately 5,500 consumer complaints per year related to automotive repair. Resolutions for these complaints went through the state court system, which was an expensive 2- to 3-year process.
During fiscal year 2009-2010, there were only 1,743 complaints for the year, a 70 percent decrease since the start of the program. With the Florida population increasing 35 percent during that time, the effective decrease in complaints was actually closer to 80 percent. The Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act is self-funded by the automotive service industry, and helps to offset much of the cost for the call center for all of the motor vehicle-related programs. The annual cost of the program for 90 percent of shops is $50. There are more than 22,000 auto repair shops in Florida. The program created by the Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act is effective and successfully arbitrates nearly 70 percent of all complaints within 60 days. The programs in Florida are costeffective for consumers and the industry as a whole. It has been a model program for other states. ASA opposes these provisions included in House Bill 5005.
Body Shops May Be Affected by New Proposed Tax in GA
The Georgia legislature is talking about cutting the income tax rate, but they hope to make up the money through an auto service sales tax, according to reports made by Georgia’s Whitfield County News. The bill would cut the state’s personal income tax rate from sixpercent to four-and-a-half percent. But, it would place a sales tax on auto repairs and the casual sale of cars, boats and airplanes. Republicans say it would make the state more competitive with Tennessee and Florida, which do not have a state income tax. Democrats say it will hike taxes on the middle class. The owner of Tate Automotive in Dalton agrees with Democrats, saying it would add 4 dollars to every hour of service. “I don’t think it’s a fair tax, to be honest with you. I think we’re taxed enough already. Georgia’s always been exempt on labor taxes, and I have a feeling its going to hurt people more than they’re already hurting.” Democrats say the Republicans don’t understand what their tax swap will do. Republicans cancelled a committee debate on the bill on March 30.
Ford to Idle KY Plant Over Parts Shortage From Japan Quake Ford Motor Co. will have to shutter its first plants April 4 through 8 due to parts shortages related to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami last month, according to the Detroit News. Ford sales analyst George Pipas said the Louisville, Ky., plant will be idled next week due to a parts shortage. He declined to identify the part. The plant makes F-Series Super Duty pickups as well as the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator. The timing of the downtime is fortuitous as sales of large trucks and utility vehicles have fallen off with recent high gasoline prices, Pipas said. Additionally, the Genk, Belgium, plant that makes the S-Max and Galaxy minivans and Mondeo midsize sedan will also be down next week, which will help prevent parts shortages in the weeks to come. The plant would have been down for a week in May but Ford moved up the timing to preserve parts. Ford’s Hermosillo, Mexico, plant will be down the week of April 4 to retool for the new 2012 Fusion and Lincoln MKZ. This was previously scheduled and it is not parts related.
And the Flat Rock, Mich., plant will be down next week because Ford has an abundance of Mustangs. Day supply is about 116 days which is almost double the desired inventory level. Pipas said total production figures are unchanged. In a regulatory filing in April, Ford said it is assessing the impact of the earthquake and while the automaker has no production facilities in Japan, it continues to work with suppliers of parts and materials located there to ensure shipments continue with minimaldisruption. “We also are pursuing other sources of supply as necessary and practicable,” Ford said, noting there still are restrictions on ordering vehicles in certain paint colors because of a pigment that is solely made at a plant by the damaged nuclear reactor. “Because the situation in Japan continues to develop, supply interruptions related to materials and components from Japan could manifest themselves in the weeks ahead.” The automaker said if shipment of a key component is affected and an alternate supply cannot be found, it would adversely affect the automaker’s financial condition.
8 MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
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Are Southern Auto Workers Disinterested in Unions?
Major foreign automakers have been placing their US factories in the south, including Montgomery, AL, due to the generous state and local incentives as well as a workforce that is resistant to unions, according to the Los Angeles Times. Montgomery is the home of Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, LLC. UAW organizers are currently attempting to persuade southern-located companies to let the union make its case to workers. The paper reports, for example, that members of the United Auto Workers tried to lure HMMA employee Deric Golden into signing a union card, an offer he declined. UAW President Bob King wants Hyundai and the other companies to agree to a set of organizing principles for “fair elections” that will allow the union to make its pitch to employees in a setting that's free of workplace “tension, fear and discord,” according to the report.
Texting While Driving Ban up for House Vote in AL
The Alabama House is making a second attempt to ban texting while driving, according to the Montgomery Adviser. The House voted 86-2 March 31 for legislation sponsored by Republican Rep. Jim McClendon of Springville. He got a similar bill passed last year, only to see it die in the Senate. Some senators who opposed the bill last year didn’t come back after the November legislative elections, and that makes McClendon optimistic. “It is my hope with the Senate we have now that is not going to happen,” he said. McClendon’s bill would make texting while driving a primary offense, which means officers could pull over drivers for texting without seeing any other offense. Fines would be $25 for a first offense, $50 for a second offense and $75 for subsequent offenses. Court costs, which vary from county to county, would also apply. An opponent, Democratic Rep. Alvin Holmes of Montgomery, said police will use it to target black drivers and issue more tickets.
Alabama Hail Increases Body Shop Business in Late March
Strong storms came with a lot of damaging hail to Alabama March 26 and 27, according to WBRC. Hundreds of vehicle owners have insurance agencies and body shops busy. Folks are scrambling to try to get those dents and dings repaired. Two-hundred vehicles came in to Gunter Body Shop and Auto Glass in Jasper by March 29. Mack Gunter owns Gunter Body Shop and Auto Glass. He said, “I’ve been doing this for a long time and been through a lot of hail storms. This has been the biggest one so far, a lot of claims.” Hollis Mitchell of Jasper had hail damage to two of his vehicles. Mitchell said, “It was loud crashing thunderous hail it was amazing. We weren’t thinking at the time about the hail and what it was doing to the roof and cars.” State Farm set up extra claims locations to handle the heavy volume of customers. State Farm representative Jim Aldridge said, “We are going to be writing estimate and paying damages all this week into next week.” State farm had the extra claims locations set up in Alabama through April 2.
Yancey Truck Centers Opens Macon, Ga., Location
Yancey Truck Centers opened its newest full-service International truck sales and service location in Macon, Ga. Located at 1320 Guy Paine Rd. Yancey Truck Centers’ Macon store is the fifth Yancey Truck Centers store operating in the state. The Macon location will provide middle Georgia with the parts, service and warranty for entire lineup of International Trucks products including heavy-duty, medium-duty and IC bus, as well as new and used trucks. The new location will support IdeaLease for renting and leasing trucks, as well as being an International authorized PartSmart dealer. International Fleet Charge will also be accepted at the Macon store for customer convenience. And as a fully authorized International, Cummins and Caterpillar dealer, the Macon store will serve a wide variety of customer needs. In addition to Macon, Yancey Truck Centers also operates in Albany, Blackshear, Tifton and Valdosta, Ga.
www.autobodynews.com | MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS 9
GCIA Meeting Hosts OSHA Safety and Environmental Compliance Management Presentation The Georgia Collision Industry Association (GCIA) held their first monthly meeting of the spring onApril 14th at 6:30 PM at the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter.
Chuck Elliott with KPA presented attendees with OSHA, EPA requirements
The group had Chuck Elliott, District Manager with KPA as their guest presenter. Elliott explained the differences between the recent inspections completed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) related to your waste streams within a body shop versus the typical OSHA inspections which are generally about employee safety and compliance. The night began with a discussion on OSHA and the expectations the organization has when it comes to safety in a colli-
sion repair shop.The requirements for shipping hazardous materials with the Department of Transportation was also discussed. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s guidelines for environmental compliance were also discussed, along with a summary of common violations by body shops such as throwing away liquids in the trash and the proper disposal of spray cans. KPA is the nation’s compliance expert on safety, environmental, and human resources, serving more than 3,000 clients nationwide. KPA’s on-site, on call, and online environmental and safety services are critical in reducing accidents and associated costs while ensuring the highest level of compliance with EPA and OSHA regulations. Additionally, KPA provides an HR system that screens problem applicants, forces compliance with state and federal regulations and dramatically reduces the risk of lawsuits and administrative costs. Questions can be directed to Chuck Elliott directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or (404) 626-6310. For information can also be found at www.gacollisionindustry.wordpress.com.
10 MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
FL Jury Rules State Farm Driver Owed $3 Million
A middle school teacher in Florida has been award $3 million in damages after a jury found State Farm refused to live up to its contract on a 2008 car accident, according to reports made by Insurance Journal. David Bowler sued State Farm for damages and medical costs after suffering a fractured neck and wrist in a Leigh High Acres, Fla., accident. The other driver in the crash, Randall Spivey reportedly had $25,000 in insurance coverage. But the lawsuit claimed that Bowler had over $2 million in uninsured motorist coverage that State Farm subsequently refused to pay. State Farm said it was willing to negotiate a settlement for a lesser amount, but Bowler refused the offer and the insurer refused to pay. After a Lee County trial that lasted four days, the jury ruled that State Farm had an obligation to pay Bowler for nearly $3 million for medical costs and pain and suffering stemming from the accident. In Florida, all motorists are required to carry uninsured motorist coverage to insure against bodily injury and property damage.
FL Insurance Commissioner OKs Homeowner Rate Hike
Florida’s insurance commissioner, Kevin McCarty, has approved rate hikes averaging 18.8% for homeowners who are covered by State Farm. The insurer had sought an average increase of 28%, according to a WTSP.com report. The insurer’s rate hikes, taking effect July 1 for new business and July 15 for renewals. Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty also approved a 62% increase for the carrier’s commercial residential policies, meaning an increase for those who own and rent out properties in the state. Despite a five-year lapse in major hurricane activity in the state, State Farm officials asked for the increases from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation because of rising costs. The insurer, the state’s largest private carrier, provides coverage to 632,000 policyholders in the state. The rate approval “is an important step for State Farm Florida to remain viable in this marketplace,” company spokesman Michael Grimes said.
Indiana Shop Owner Favors Chief for Quality, Durability & Support by Ed Attanasio
Jimmy Lefler owns and operates five extremely busy body, mechanical, and glass shops based in Evansville, Indiana, that are repairing more than 200 cars per week, juggling eight DRPs, employing 80 people and doing approximately $9 million in annual sales. So, when it comes to purchasing equipment to run his shops, CEO Lefler expects that his machines will perform day-after-day without breaking down or requiring extensive maintenance. That’s why he’s been buying his racks, computerized measuring systems and lifts from Chief Automotive Technologies, a leading manufacturer of pulling, measuring, anchoring and vehicle specification products. Lefler is a third-generation body shop owner whose grandfather, Leroy, founded Leroy’s Paint & Fender Repair as a dirt floor garage in 1952. Times have changed. For almost 60 years, Lefler has been a household name for fixing cars in the tri-state area on the borders of Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois. Leflers has been winning national awards for the family’s contributions to the collision industry, while expanding and succeeding in a very competitive market with more than 60 body shop/collision centers listed in the southern Indiana region. Jimmy started working in the family’s business in 1986 in the parts department. “I did it all in the beginning—fixed cars, washed vehicles, worked as an estimator and cleaned floors—anything and everything to learn the business. In 1996, I bought out my father and starting running the operation,” he said. The Lefler family has had a longterm mutually beneficial relationship with Chief, he said. “We bought our first rack from them in 1982, after we saw their demonstration. That was the key, because it was very informative and they showed us everything that the machines could do. We have one Chief machine right now that’s been here for 18 years and it’s still going strong. It’s paid for itself several times over, that’s for sure. Today, we own three Chief measuring systems, four racks and a drive-over lift/pulling system.” Chief Automotive Technologies started manufacturing its first pulling systems in 1972, and it rapidly became a leader in the industry. The company has stepped up over the years, driving technology changes, including the introduction of computerized measuring systems and comprehensive vehicle specifications.
SHOP & PRODUCT SHOWCASE Lefler Collision & Auto Glass Centers
Location: Evansville and Newburgh, IN
Telephone: 812-423-4044 www.leflers.com Company At A Glance...
Type: Collision & Mechanical Repair Facility Employees: 80
In Business Since: 1952 DRP Programs: Eight
Number of Locations: Three collision body shops & two mechanical/glass shops
Lefler Auto Body Tech Rodney Blandford works on a vehicle using the shop's Chief Impulse frame rack, one of the Chief machines that Lefler counts on to repair approximately 200 cars weekly
Lefler’s VP/Operations Manager Ed Dietz praised Chief’s exemplary customer service for keeping his techs informed and productive while they are working with the manufacturer’s machines. “Our techs can get a Chief technical person on the phone immediately, and that’s critical,” Dietz said. “It allows my technicians to resolve their issue and stay productive, which is so important to our cycle times. If they have to sit on hold or wait to get a call back, that’s time that’s been lost.” Roger Tutt, production manager for Lefler’s Evansville North shop, has consistently received fast and accurate information from the Chief customer service team whenever he has needed it. “They make it easy. The only time I ever need technical service from Chief is a computer-related issue, and the technical service hotline walks me right through it every time,” he said. “The ability for a Chief technical person to log in remotely to see what the tech is looking at on the Genesis computerized measuring system computer is a ‘game changer’ for service.” Lefler has all his techs trained by Chief, he said, to ensure that they know every detail involved in the operation of these machines. “We recently brought Ken Soupene, a Chief instructor, on-site for a week of training for all of our technicians. It was great, because all of our employees were able to go through the training in a real-world setting, without costing us a decline in production or cycle times”. A big part of what Chief brings to the equation for Lefler is its training,
which allows techs to get certified and earn I-CAR credits in the process, Lefler said. “They make the training very effective and comprehensive,” Lefler explained. “It’s topnotch all the way. Soupene is one of the best instructors we have ever encountered from any company, and he taught most of my techs how to work these machines.” Chief’s support starts with training and continues after the sale via the company’s equipment reps on the ground, Lefler said. “Mark Lee is our equipment rep and he has proven to be one of the best we have ever worked with,” Lefler said. “He’s very responsive and is always readily available to answer any questions after the sale. Customer service is a big deal, because we’re using these Chief racks on a daily basis, and we work them hard. So, we need to have a guy like Mark who knows these machines inside and out and is dedicated to servicing our needs. I know that if we need a part in a hurry, he’ll drive it over here, even though his company is in Indianapolis, a 3.5-hour ride from here. That’s the kind of customer support we’ve been getting from Chief and reps like Mark.” Lee, owner of Lee Equipment, has been selling Chief equipment to Lefler for the past five years, and has a long history with the manufacturer, he explained. “Chief doesn’t make cheap machines, but the quality is there and the products’ longevity and durability is the proof. I have customers who are still using the same Chief machines that they bought 35 years ago.”
Combined Production Space: 47,800 square feet (combined)
All of Lefler’s shops are busy day and night, doing $9 million in annual sales despite a rocky economy
Jimmy Lefler is a third-generation body shop owner who owns five locations in Southern Indiana
Chief Automotive Technologies Phone: (800) 445-9262 email: email@example.com website: www.chiefautomotive.com
www.autobodynews.com | MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS 11
Florida Autobody Collision Alliance (FACA) Hosts 1st Annual First-Responder Extrication Training including Fire Department personnel from the areas of Lakeland, Auburndale and Winter Haven on April 13. I-Car certified instructor; Steve Laszlo, was on hand to assist in the training and provided information on current vehicle construction technology and related materials. Training forcused on avoiding areas on newer vehicles where airbags or electrical components could pose a potential risk. Newer hybrid and allTraining Instructor Steve Laszlo electric vehicles can be dangerous for The Mid-State Chapter of the emergency personnel unfamiliar with Florida Autobody Collision Alliance the cars mechanics. (FACA) provided hands-on training to Activities took place at 6:30 pm at Central Florida area First-Responders All Pro Used Auto Parts, 1425 Old Dixie Highway Auburndale, FL 33823-9505. All Pro Used Auto Parts provided the example vehicles for the training. Food and beverage served to participants was also provided by Gunder’s Auto Center and Subs and Such of Certified first responders and firemen learn electrical and airbag Lakeland. ‘hot spots’ to avoid on newer vehicles
Service King Acquires 8 Alamo Body and Paint Locations in San Antonio, TX
Texas-based Service King Collision Repair Centers has agreed to acquire Alamo Body and Paint, a multi-location operator in the San Antonio, Texas area with eight large scale, high volume locations. The addition of the Alamo Body and Paint locations will make Service King the largest independently and employee owned collision repair organization in the U.S. with 42 locations throughout the San Antonio, Dallas, Ft. Worth, and Houston areas. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to be completed by May 1, 2011. Mark Fuller, Alamo Body and Paint’s Co-Owner and President will be joining the Service King Team as Operations Manager. “We are very excited about Alamo Body and Paint joining the Service King Team,” stated Fuller. “For the past twenty-five years, our success has been driven by our unrelenting focus on complete satisfaction and respect for our customers and employees,” added Fuller. Co-Owner Dave Braun will dedicate all his time to Nexsyis Collision, Inc., a developer of a multiple location collision repair management system, where he serves as CEO.
Cathy Bonner, President of Service King said in a recorded message, “Stay tuned for more. We’ve got more expansion and more acquisitions in mind in Texas.” Bonner was hired by Service King in 2010 to lead the company through an ambitious national expansion. At the time she joined the company, Service King revealed its goal of doubling the size of the company within five years. The company had 31 locations at the time. Service King Collision Repair Centers was founded 35 years ago by Eddie Lennox, who now serves as its chairman and CEO. Service King’s Vice President of Central Texas, Brent McKinney, said, “We look forward to adding Alamo’s talented employees and skilled technicians to our base of over 1,000 Service King teammates throughout Texas.” Symphony Advisors, LLC acted as advisors to Alamo Body and Paint throughout the acquisition process. Service King Collision Repair Centers was founded 35 years ago by Owner, Chairman, and CEO, Eddie Lennox. Visit www.serviceking.com.
12 MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
The Florida Autobody Collision Alliance is a State-wide association of collision repairers and is committed to the future of the collision repair industry. FACA’s mission is to provide the leadership needed to raise the professional image of the industry and to develop new industry leaders. FACA’s goal is to educate, inform and represent the collision repair professional in all aspects of the industry. For more information on FACA please visit: www.FACAFL.com or contact Ms. Cathy Mills, Executive Director via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (904) 994-6516.
The proper equipment used in real-life scenarios was used during the training
Firefighters were able to put the information learned to work right away with vehicles from All Pro Used Auto Parts
Industry Insight with John Yoswick
John Yoswick is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon, who has a body shop in the family and has been writing about the automotive industry since 1988. He is the editor of the weekly CRASH Network (for a free 4-week trial subscription, visit www.CrashNetwork.com). Contact him by email at jyoswick@SpiritOne.com.
Effort to Develop Collision Repair Standards Takes Another Step Forward A Collision Industry Conference (CIC) committee hopes by April to have hired a consultant to help build a business case for a new organization that would oversee the development and implementation of formalized collision repair standards in the United States. Russ Thrall, co-chairman of the Repair Standards Advisory Committee, said at the CIC held in Secaucus, NJ in mid-March that several proposals from consultants are now being reviewed, and a decision is expected in April. If funding for the position can be raised, the consultant will be asked to issue a draft of the business case by the end of September. For a number of years, an all-volunteer CIC committee has discussed and crafted some portions of a possible standard, which would address training, equipment and even repair procedures. A draft of the still in-
process 100-page document can be viewed online (www.repairstandards.com). Thrall has said the consultant is needed to work with the volunteer committee to conduct the interviews and research necessary to propose a structure and funding mechanism for the organization that would use a formal process to create and implement the standards. The consultant’s report would also outline the value such standards would offer various segments of the industry, and how the performance of the standards could be measured. The committee is planning a forum to be held in conjunction with CIC’s November meeting in Las Vegas that would present the consultant’s findings and recommendations. Thrall said the committee hopes to include presentations and discussion at that forum with representatives from
shops and insurers in the United Kingdom where a formalized set of industry standards has been in place for several years. As happens during many of the discussions of proposed industry standards, a number of participants at CIC in Secaucus expressed questions or concerns about the process or outcome. Aaron Schulenburg of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists, for example, asked whether the fund-raising that was planned was just to cover the expense of the consultant’s research, or if would be establishing funding for a standards organization even before the need for and interest in such an effort was established. He said his group had recently held a conference call with about 18 of its affiliated state repairer associations. “The perspective was pretty consistent from association to associa-
tion,” Schulenburg said. “To be honest, there was a lot of skepticism over the value, the benefit, and the overall impact (of formalized industry standards) on the repair facilities that these association represent.” Thrall and others on the committee stressed that funding was only being sought to determine whether there is an interest in and business case for the development of a standard-setting and –implementing organization. I-CAR offers update Also at the meeting, Bill Stage of ICAR provided an update on the training organization’s efforts to revamp its offerings and recognition program. He said that while the Gold Class Professionals designation is currently based on “points,” it will convert to be based on “hours” of training next year. See CIC, Page 15
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Continued from Front Page
of shops and recycling yards – learned things that could help them eliminate that wedge. Here are some of them. • Photos could help. A Texas shop owner at the meeting asked if recyclers can make photos of the parts they have available. Photos, he said, can help a shop confirm the color and condition of the part. It also could help recyclers with better quality (or more accurately described) parts compete with those selling lower-priced but lower-quality parts, because the shop could see, for example, that the lowerpriced part has rust along the bottom edge. Several recyclers at the meeting pointed out that yards meeting the Automotive Recyclers Association’s Certified Automotive Recycler program take as many as two dozen photos of vehicles before dismantling. Although few recyclers have photos of individual parts available, these “Gold Seal” recyclers can provide those vehicle photos upon request to the shop. • Consider more part types. One potential win-win-win for recyclers, insurers and repairers could result if recyclers helped make shops aware of parts they are likely to need in a repair but that are not typically purchased from a recycler. “If you buy a fender, hood and bumper from me, but you also need the windshield washer jug and battery tray and all the other stuff recyclers are currently crushing, we can amortize our overhead and dismantling costs over more parts, and you can increase your alternative part usage and save totals,” Hunke said. A representative of one multishop operator at the meeting said his company is working with recycled parts vendors on just such an effort so the collision repair business can maintain insurer-required levels of recycled parts usage without having to use structural or other types of recycled parts it would prefer not to. • Understand and use part grading and damage codes. Those at the meeting agreed that too few recyclers and shops recognize and understand the codes that have been standardized within the industry to grade recycled parts and identify the type and location of damage on those parts. Educational and reference materials on these
description systems are available at the “Standards & Codes” section of the ARA website (www.a-r-a.org). • Understand estimating issues related to recycled parts. Industry consultant and former shop owner Mike Anderson said at the meeting that he serves on an Automotive Service Association committee that recently updated the “not-included operations” chart it created for recycled parts (a similar chart is available for new parts as well). The charts summarize what operations are not included in each of the “Big Three” estimating system times and thus may need to be added to an estimate when using such parts. • More data would help. Participants at the Recycler Roundtable meeting have agreed that some data collection could help shops and recyclers work better together – and perhaps help influence insurer practices. Work has begun, for example, on a survey to better understand the expectations of shops, insurers and recycler in terms of recycled parts use to help each segment better meet more of those expectations. They survey is likely to ask shops, for example, how valuable the availability of photos of recycled parts would be. One meeting participant also suggested that a statistical case study look at whether insurers could benefit from accepting lower values for salvage if it increased the availability, pricing and use of recycled parts. A study could also look at how insurer-mandated use of particular recyclers or the “lowest-cost” part negatively impacts shop efficiency. • Spend some time at each other’s business. Recyclers and shops at the meeting who had taken the time to visit the recycling yard they purchase from—or the body shops they sell to—agreed it was time well-spent. It’s a great way to see things that each side in the transaction may be doing or not doing that negatively affects the other. Ordering parts ahead of determining if a vehicle is a total loss—or ordering the same parts from multiple recyclers to see which arrive first or in the best condition—are examples of shop practices that negatively affect recyclers, those at the meeting discussed. Recyclers’ dismantling practices, or failure to accurately describe part conditions, cost shops time and money. Time spent at each other’s businesses can help shops and recyclers work better together, those at the meeting agreed.
14 MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
• Understand the value of the Gold Seal designation. Recyclers at the meeting said shops could help themselves and the industry by just asking the recyclers they deal with, “Do you have the Gold Seal designation?” Gold Seal is earned by recyclers who meet the ARA’s Certified Automotive Recycler requirements and also conduct ongoing customer satisfaction surveying. A description of the program requirements, and a list of Gold Seal recyclers nationwide, is available at the ARA website (www.ar-a.org). Among the benefits to a shop of using a Gold Seal recycler is that those recyclers are required to use the ARA part grading and damage codes. Every part from these recyclers includes a Gold Seal tag that includes a toll-free number a shop can use if a part arrives not as it was described. “Last year alone, we kicked three Gold Seal recyclers off the Gold Seal program because they didn’t meet the criteria,” a recycler who serves on the program’s oversight committee said at the roundtable meeting. “There was complaints against them from shops, and we removed them.”
Many of the shops at the meeting acknowledged they needed to go back and ask the recyclers they work with if they have the Gold Seal designation. Participants at the meeting also agreed that more needs to be done to identify in the parts locating services which parts are from Gold Seal recyclers. The industry also needs to work, they agreed, to help insurers understand that just as “certified non-OEM parts” are better than non-certified, that there are cycle time and other benefits to be gained from using parts from Gold Seal recyclers. Janet Chaney of Cave Creek Business Developer said the goal of the Recyclers Roundtable is to continue such discussion between repairers and recyclers and to bring in other segments of the industry as needed. Chaney, who serves as the administrator of the roundtable, said the next meeting is being planned for April 16 in conjunction with the United Recyclers Group (URG) event being held in Denver. For more information, email Chaney: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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rationality” in the pricing for the two types of training.
Continued from Page 13
Stage said there are currently about 4,000 Gold Class facilities in the United States, up by about 1,800 since last July. That growth, he said, came in part because of Allstate’s push to ensure all shops in its direct repair program are Gold Class. “There’s another insurance company that is pretty close to going down that path as well,” Stage said. “And two OEMs at this time are close to announcing a Gold Class initiative for their dealership shops.” Starting in July, I-CAR will begin to allow experienced technicians to “test-out” of some of the more “basic” courses required for “Platinum Individual” status. He said I-CAR will announce three new online classes in April, as well as about one new online class about each month after that. He said that while four hours of online training currently is more expensive than one 4-hour live I-CAR class, a new pricing structure expected to roll out in January will have “a lot more
Other discussion at the meeting In other news and discussion at CIC in Secaucus: ● Industry trainer Toby Chess presented information on the need to recalibrate the steering angle sensor that is part of the electronic stability control system on an increasing number of new vehicles. Such systems are standard equipment on 85 percent of 2010 new vehicles, and will be required on all new vehicles as of model year 2012. The recalibration is an additional procedure that must be done after the vehicle alignment. “It’s an added step, and there’s also no more 2-wheel alignments with these systems. That won’t work,” Chess said. He said even though no “trouble light” will be lit on the dash and the vehicle may handle properly under normal driving conditions even if the system is not calibrated, the electronic stability control function may not work properly in a subsequent “emergency maneuver.” ● Deborah Craig, a compliance offi-
cer with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said that even though the deadline has passed for shops to comply with new federal refinish and paint stripping regulations, any business that has not complied should not avoid doing so. “Some folks think if they hang back and don’t submit the paperwork that somehow EPA isn’t going to know about them,” Craig said. “They don’t want to shine a light on themselves by submitting something late. Our recommendation is that you just move forward as quickly as possibly to come into compliance. Give the regional EPA folks a call. Ask for help in filling out the forms. Talk to folks in your trade group for assistance. Talk to your paint suppliers. A lot of the paint suppliers have really been offering such excellent customer service by helping you comply.” ● An informal collection of cash donations from the approximately 150 people at the meeting raised more than $1,600 for the Japanese Red Cross to support efforts to help that country following the earthquakes and March 11 tsunami.
GM Idles Texas SUV Plant
General Motors Co. idled a Texas sport-utility vehicle plant for a day on April 8 due to a parts shortage, a union official said. GM confirmed its Arlington, Texas, plant will be temporarily shut but declined to comment on what caused the shutdown, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Arlington factory operates two 10-hour shifts Monday through Thursday. For the last 18 months, the company has also operated two shifts on Friday, and sometimes operates on Saturday, to keep up with demand, said Enrique Flores, president of United Auto Workers Local 276, which represents workers at the plant. Flores said GM officials informed him late April 6 that this Friday’s two 10-hour overtime shifts would be cancelled because there aren’t enough parts. The plant resumed production on April 11. GM said the production on April 8 would be rescheduled for a later date. GM’s Arlington Assembly plant builds big SUVs including the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon. The vehicles are highly profitable for GM and consumer demand has been strong despite rising fuel prices.
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House Rejects Changes to Bill Banning EPA and Calif. from Regulating Emissions Autobody News
The House late Wednesday rejected Democratic attempts to soften a bill to bar the Environmental Protection Agency and California from regulating tailpipe emissions but delayed a final vote until April 7, according to the Detroit News Washington Bureau. The legislation, co-sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., would block the EPA and California from issuing new regulations limiting tailpipe emissions — and other sources of greenhouse gases. “I’m from Michigan. I know what a struggling economy looks like. And I think it is a travesty that this government is deliberately imposing policies that will harm job creators and working families,” Upton said on the House floor April 6. After debating the bill, the House rejected a series of Democratic amendments on a mostly party-line vote. The Upton-Inhofe measure would overturn a 2007 Supreme Court decision giving the EPA authority to regulate tailpipe emissions as a danger to public health under the
Clean Air Act. That ruling allowed California to impose its own tailpipe emissions limits. The prospect of a patchwork of separate state and federal emissions limits has been harshly criticized by automakers. Although the House is expected the pass the measure, it faces an uphill battle in the Senate, which on April 6 rejected a measure similar to the House plan. That measure was tacked to a small business bill sponsored by Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky. The amendment was defeated on a 50-50 vote — 10 votes less than necessary to end debate in the Senate. Other similar amendments to delay EPA rules, including one by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, also were voted down. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney hailed the Senate vote to defend the EPA’s “ability to protect public health under the Clean Air Act.” “The Senate also rejected an approach that would have increased the
Nissan’s Leaf Experiences A/C Sensor Problem
Ford’s Electric Focus Will Not Lease Lithium-Ion Batteries
Nissan Motor Co. said there have been a few reports of Leaf electric cars failing to restart after they have been turned off because of an air-conditioning sensor problem. “If this sensor is activated it will illuminate a warning light on the instrument panel and may cause the vehicle to not restart once it has been turned off. We are actively investigating to determine the root cause and what action is necessary to address the issue,” the company said in a statement. Nissan isn’t planning a recall because the problem isn’t a safety issue. The company says the cars won’t not stop running while being driven. Nissan says it is trying to “promptly address this issue.”
FLORIDA • GEORGIA • ALABAMA • MISSISSIPPI
Ford’s new all electric Focus is ready to hit the market, however it will be sold without a leased-battery option. The lithium-ion battery pack will be included with the car and will not be leased separately. Awaiting customer reaction, Ford is convinced that leasing the batteries is not the right strategy. Leasing batteries would have brought the initial price down and many predicted that Ford ultimately would make the decision to lease batteries. The Focus has a 28kWh electric motor with a top speed of 84 mph. It will take around 4 hours to recharge the car, about half of what its main competitor, the Nissan Leaf, needs.
16 MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
nation’s dependence on oil, contradicted the scientific consensus on global warming, and jeopardized America’s ability to lead the world in the clean energy economy,” he said. Automakers have stayed neutral on the Upton-Inhofe bill. The United Auto Workers and other major unions have opposed the bill. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, said on the floor that EPA regulators “drink their lattes” and work in “marble palaces” as they write tailpipe emissions regulations. In the wake of the Supreme Court decision, the Obama administration reached a deal with California and automakers in May 2009 to set nation-
wide fuel efficiency standards for the 2012-16 model years, hiking fleetwide efficiency to 34.1 mpg by 2016. The deal essentially extended California’s proposed standards nationwide, but gave automakers additional flexibility early on. The pact will cost the auto industry about $52 billion over five years, but save 1.8 billion barrels of fuel over the life of the vehicles. The Obama administration says it would save $3,000 per vehicle in gas over the life of the vehicles. The House measure would bar the EPA and California from taking part in the 2017-25 tailpipe emissions limits.
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This is a new story by Scott “Gonzo” Weaver as posted on his website, www.gonzostoolbox.com. See his book “Hey Look! I Found The Loose Nut”, which provides a Good Laugh for Mechanics of Any Age. The book is available at amazon.com. Contact Gonzo at Gonzosae@aol.com
A Day to Reflect—On the Other Side of the Bookstore Counter with Gonzo Weaver
original 50’s decor. With malt shakes Sometime ago I had my first book signing at a local book store. Steve’s and great sandwiches. You could take the whole day to browse for books Sundry—Books and Magazines. It’s a landmark bookstore in town. Every- while sipping on a shake or coffee. with Richard Arnold one knows Steve’s place. It’s been in It’s a very pleasant place, nostalgic town for more than 60 years. It’s a and modern at the same time. great place for a large malt at the soda One regular cusfountain, or to browse around the tomer sitting at the end of store to find a good book. I’m not a well known author; I’m a me- the bar was sipping away chanic/technician who wrote a book. on his coffee while texwith Ed Attanasio ting messages on his I really didn’t think there would be a Blackberry. On the crowd of potential buyers and admirers at the book signing; I’m not that other end there was an naive to think I would be bringing in old couple who apa flood of new customers to the book peared to be in their 70’s reading the paper and store. So, instead,with I usedErica the time to browsing a book or two. I could see Schroeder study the people that came in and out this Norman Rockwell painting of of the store. What a wonderful place, them pictured there for probably the a book store. In the back of the store last 40 years doing the same thing. My place for the day was at a is an old counter with a bar and several bar stools. The counter, the soda little table next to the register. A fountains, and the bar stools are all large stack of my books was neatly
spread across the table. People would walk by, glance, and smile. The owner of the store would make short references to my book and try to get people interested in talking to this so called “author” sitting there all solemn and quiet. The register was busy with small book purchases and a few patrons from the bar. Very home spun and relaxing, a lot of ‘hellos’ and “how’s the weather” comments throughout the afternoon. Some people would ask about the football game coming up and others would want to know where a certain book was. All this was going on while I sat there patiently waiting for the clock to roll around to my designated leaving time. Not that I wanted to leave, oh no, I was enjoying the atmosphere
Shop and Product Showcase Shop Showcase Shop Snapshot with Erica Schroeder
and the quiet nature of the daily workings of the store. That brings me to the thought that crossed my mind. Are these the same people that come to my shop with an attitude and misconceptions of the auto industry? Probably so. I have often wondered if it’s my attitude that brings out the worst in people, but, the whole time I was sitting there I was still the mechanic. I was still the guy they needed to fix their car. However these people didn’t know me as such. I was an unknown author signing books. When someone would ask about my book I would tell them that it was a book about people and the daily happenings at my repair shop. That it was funny, but informative, and you would definitely get something out of it. If you knew a person in the auto industry this would make a See Day to Reflect, Page 31
Consumer Callout with Ed Attanasio
Custom Corner with Ed Attanasio
Company Connections with Chasidy Rae Sisk
Shop Strategies for Savings with Walter Danalevich
Inside Insurance with The Insurance Insider
www.autobodynews.com | MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS 17
On Creative Marketing
Tom Franklin has been a sales and marketing consultant for fifty years. He has written numerous books and provides marketing solutions and services for many businesses. He can be reached at (323) 871-6862 or at email@example.com. See Tom’s columns at www.autobodynews.com under Columnists > Franklin
Summertime Should Mean Event Time For Body Shops with Thomas Franklin
Summer time is nearly here and shop came to the event and I didn’t hear of owners who are interested in attract- any new commercial contracts. Was ing insurance or other referral busi- the event a wise investment? ness may be considering putting on an I don’t think the dealership owner event. considered it a success, but the upThese can vary widely in terms of grades to the shop were needed and the size and cost. I assisted one dealership P.R. value of the event was substantial. owner in creating quite a large event Could he have put on an event for less? to build business for his body shop. In The answer is a definite “Yes!” Lookwith Dick Strom ing back, I could see that a dealership addition to insurance DRP coordinators. Since he did a lot of work for principal would have difficulty resistcommercial contractors and also local ing turning a body shop promotional law enforcement, he invited many event into somewhat of a vehicle sales company owners and managers and event. That increased his cost greatly. also sheriff’s department personnel. In general I’ve seen more shops He put up large umbrellas over simply put on a barbecue along with a picnic tables all along the driveway in tour of the shop. Others have made front of his body shop work bays. Nat- their shop available for a small local urally food and drink vendors were lo- trade show with suppliers and other cated along there. vendors setting up their demonstraEach work bay was converted tions and presentations on long tables. with Lee Jr.One disadvantage of this is having into a presentation space. By Amaradio the prep and spray booths, his paint jobber set other shop owners coming through. up demos of spray guns, a color- The barbecue event can be focused matching photospectrometer, and varpurely on insurance company repreious paint supply items. sentatives and/or other referral sources. His 3-M distributor used a bay to An even more economical apdemonstrate special materials for proach to an event is to participate in everything from windshield repair to someone else’s event. simple repairs on plastic and fiberOne local school put on a safe glass auto parts. Another bay housed driving event. The Auto Club and a a paintless dent removal specialist, local radio station sponsored it. A couand some attendees were provided ple of collision shop owners and also with small dentwith removals from Loftus their driving school owners were invited to Sheila vehicles. An ongoing demonstration set up tables with safe driving inforof the estimating and management mation. In a sense this was more of an systems was provided in the body event looking to the future when the shop office. Tours of the entire dealerhigh school kids would become new ship were given every fifteen minutes. drivers, but parents were also there and The cost of the event was in ex- had an opportunity to learn more about cess of $10,000. Was it worth it? One the participating collision repair shops. small insurance company representaA more direct event for the gentive agreed to add the shop to their eral public was put on by a shop that DRP list. The dealership got a few orbecame a voting location on an elecders for new pick-up trucks, but very tion day. The owner played patriotic few new commercial company people music and had patriotic banners all
Shop Showcase with Janet Chaney
AASP-Pennsylvania’s Big E Trade Show Coming in October
The AASP-PA trade show in the East, known as the Big E, will return this fall October 14th through 15th at the Valley Forge Convention Center in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. The Big E features world renown speakers and trainers all the while bringing together aftermarket parts and product specialists with AASP-PA members. This show fills fast so visit
www.aasp-pa.org to register. Booth space is available at a first come, first serve basis so AASP-PA urges all exhibitors to register as soon as possible. Not only does it guarantee your space at the show but it allows the AASP-PA to publicize the fact that your business will be in attendance. Visit www.aasp-pa.org to sign up now to attend.
Industry Overview with Janet Chaney
18 MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
over the place. He even hired a model dressed up in an Uncle Sam costume to conduct tours of the shop for anyone interested. Since many voters are longterm local homeowners with more expensive high-end cars, the shop owner felt he would reach the kind of customer he wanted. While a shop event aimed at insurance or commercial account attendees has to direct their promotional mail, phone calls and faxes to a very specific list of prospects, the shop focusing on the general public could use radio, TV and print publication ads to get the word out. Shops located in a desirable residential area could also distribute flyers directly to homes in the area. Collision shops have one major advantage over many other businesses when it comes to putting on events. Most shops occupy a fairly large space overall. Like the dealership I de-
scribed, most have many parking spaces and open repair bays where demonstrations and presentations can be carried out easily. Few people are aware of the size and complexity of a typical body shop. The event can be an ideal opportunity to educate prospective customers on the advantage of choosing a shop with state-of-the-art spray booths, frame measuring and straightening equipment, top quality welding equipment and the many special tools needed to perform repairs on today’s ever-changing vehicles. Putting on an occasional event is a good promotional effort for a shop because it not only provides a reason to invite key potential referral sources to see the shop, but it also motivates shop owners and managers to clean up the place and make it presentable for the event. That alone is worth at least a small investment.
Continued from Page 1
est or duty, even though it contains matter which would otherwise be actionable. The court continued: “Because all statements were made to State Farm insureds in the context of a claim under a State Farm insurance policy, and because all statements concerned a matter of mutual interest to the insureds andState Farm—the quality, timeliness and costs of vehicles repairs—the statements were privileged. The privilege raises a presumption of good faith on the part of the speaker, but the privilege is not absolute. The privilege is forfeited if the statements are made with express malice: [w]here a person speaks upon a privileged occasion, but the speaker is motivated more by a desire to harm the person defamed than by a purpose to protect the personal or social interest giving rise to the privilege, then it can be said that there was express malice and the privilege is destroyed.
Gunder’s failed to proffer sufficient evidence of express malice to raise a material issue of fact for a jury. The statements of which Gunter’s complains—even assuming their falsity—supports no inference of malice, and Gunter’s failed to proffer extrinsic evidence of express malice. Summary judgment was due on Gunder’s slander claim. On the tortious interference claim by Gunder, the court ruled “Gunder’s makes no allegation that State Farm interfered with customers or prospective customers of Gunder’s who were not State Farm insureds. As a matter of law, “[t]here can be no claim [for tortious interference with a business relationship] where the action complained of is undertaken to safeguard or promote one’s financial or economic interest.” The court continued, ““[u]nder Florida law, a defendant is not a stranger to a business relationship, and thus cannot be held liable for tortious interference, when it has a supervisory interest in how the relationship is conducted or a potential financial interest in how a contract is performed.”
Gunder had argued in court that State Farm had lost the priviledge because it used improper means, but was unable to prevail because the testimony detailing the improper means had earlier been stricken from the court’s records. The court continued, “ On appeal, Gunder’s cites—for the first time— [a paragraph in the] amended complaint to claim it pleaded improper means. Even if Gunder’s has preserved this argument, the only arguably improper means Gunder’s alleged are the statements Gunder’s claims State Farm made to its insureds about the costs, quality, and timeliness of Gunder’s repairs. These statements are the same statements upon which Gunder’s grounds its slander claims. Even assuming the falsity of those statements, as earlier discussed, those statements were privileged; they fail to show the improper means needed to defeat State Farm’s privilege against a tortious-interference claim.” Ray Gunder, the founder of Polk County’s Gunder’s Auto Center, a 43 year-old auto collision repair and mechanical shop, made the fol-
lowing statement after the judgment was delivered: “Last night, after getting the court’s decision, I re-read it and just sat in disbelief just staring at it for hours. Is it really possible in this country for a huge conglomerate like State Farm to attack my small business with what are known to be outrageous lies and be considered legally privileged? “As I understand it, the legal rule is that the so-called ‘privilege’ is forfeited if derogatory and defamatory comments re made with ‘Express Malice.’ “To be considered ‘Express Malice’ one would need to reach the level of calling me and/or my family murderers and rapists. “State Farm came after us in 2004 in an attempt to silence my voice by attacking our company’s reputation in our community and their attempt to financially destroy our business by steering customers away with totally untrue and outrageous lies… and that, according to the court, at least in my case… is legal!? This ruling is justice? “It’s important to understand that if this ruling stays; every honest and See Gunder Appeal, Next Page
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St. Philip’s College in San Antonio, TX, Rallies Around Skills-USA-Winning Classmate
Students in St. Philip’s College’s Collision Technology Department have created a Student Organization with officers rallying around one of their classmates, Raymond Tolosa, who placed first at the Texas Skills USA competition in Vehicle Refinishing. The organization also recognizes the achievements of Jose Palomo, who is also a St. Philips auto collision student and finished second in the competition. The students are starting a fundraiser for travel expenses for Tolosa to travel to the Skills USA Nationals in Kansas City in June. The students are also creating a letter announcing the formation of the Student Organization and its purpose including the benefit to the industry and students relating to Skills USA accomplishments. St. Philip’s College Auto Collision Repair Program is a 2 year state accredited program that offers students three options in their auto collision industry education and career path, including a 2 year Associates in Applied
Science degree, a Collision Repair Certificate and a Refinishing Certificate.
Continued from Page 19
and slandering Gunder’s “once” is privileged in the courts opinion, but speaking lies “over” and “over” again knowing they are lies is indeed “Express Malice”! “We will prove that State Farm has continuously committed Slander with Express Malice and have done so regularly with an evil intent. “I believe with right there’s might and Gunder’s will press on and we will begin by giving serious consideration to submitting a request for a review and appeal with the United State’s Supreme Court.” A copy of the court’s ruling may be found at: http://www.courtlistener.com/ca11/26Fy/gunders-autocenter-v-state-farm/ In another lawsuit the shop has pending against the insurer in Polk County Court, a judge has granted the shop's request to compel State Farm to make documents and a number of witnesses available to the shop's attorney as part of the discovery process. Among those that shop attorney A. Brent Geohagan seeks to depose in the case are representatives of at least eight repair shops that serve State Farm insureds in Polk County.
ethical shop owner in the industry is in jeopardy of similar efforts against them if they don’t fall in line and do as they’re told by this megalith insurer and other insurers who may chose to follow suit! Continued Gunder, “This ruling is scary for all of us. Although this is but one ‘leg’ of my legal journey to correct the harmful and predatory practices of some insurers, it’s a very bitter pill to swallow! “Know this; I’ve been knocked down but I’m not knocked out. I’m going to continue to “pound that rock” and find the justice that I believe exists in our legal system! While I’m not a poker player, the term ‘I’m all in’ is indeed applicable as I’m too far invested in time and finances to quit now and I’ve never been one to see a wrong and not try to make it right and with the best legal representation one could hope for, we will continue to move on. “What one doesn’t find in this decision is one of the most important parts; State Farm speaking improperly
SPC Skills USA winners Jose Palomo and Raymond Tolosa
Tolosa is a Veteran of the armed forces, and after his service to his country decided to take advantage of the opportunity to go to college. “Mr. Tolosa is a Husband and fa-
20 MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
ther of 3, he has shown and continues to show tremendous leadership qualities in our lab activities and classroom,” said Chris Beardsall, Faculty for Repair and Manufacturing and Auto Collision Technologies courses at St. Philip’s College. According to Beardsall, Tolosa enjoys working on vehicles and has excelled rapidly in the 9 months he has been attending classes. Tolosa’s Skills USA win was his first attempt in the Refinishing competition, earning for the first time in 6 years St. Philips Colleges representation in the nationals portion of the competition. Aside from the Skills USA competition, Tolosa has also stepped up and was elected the St. Philip’s Auto Collision’s Student Organization’s first Treasurer. “Raymond Tolosa works hard at everything he does and all the faculty and staff are very proud of his achievements thus far,” said Beardsall. More information can be found at www.alamo.edu.
Ford Expands F-150/Lincoln Recall Due to Airbag Flaws
Ford Motor Co. is recalling almost 1.2 million F-150 pickups and some Lincoln Mark LTs due to faulty air bags. Federal regulators have received hundreds of instances of inadvertent air-bag deployment, many of which have resulted in bruises, cuts and even a chipped tooth. Two drivers said they were knocked unconscious. Ford, however, said it is not aware of any accidents related to the glitch. The recall affects Ford trucks from model years 2004 through 2006. “If the clockspring jumper wire comes in contact with the driver side frontal air bag lower horn plate, the wire insulation may become chafed, creating a potential short circuit,” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. Ford had resisted expanding the recall because the car maker didn’t see it as necessary, but it finally caved to pressure from regulators. “We understand the government’s desire to reach a broad group of potentially affected consumers and will recall the remaining population of trucks for our customers’ peace of mind,” a spokesman said.
Three of Largest Auto Recycling Networks Merge by Janet Chaney
The merger of three of the largest independent auto recycling networks in the country was announced at the United Recyclers Group Annual Conference in Colorado. QRP Midwest, a network of 33 independent recyclers has joined TEAM PRP affiliates, Absolute and Heartland, to form PRP Midwest. This alliance unites 52 independent recyclers in the Central geographic region of the United States. Krystyn Roberts of County Line Auto Parts, Kansas City, Missouri is the Chair of QRP Midwest and feels the timing is right, “Both PRP and QRP Midwest are very excited for the future and the possibilities that will come from our three independent recycling groups
joining forces. All groups have different strengths that we have brought to the table and it just makes sense for us to team up to ultimately better serve our customers and our industry.” The merger came about quickly after the first meeting between the recycler groups at which sharing delivery system resources was explored. Ultimately, they recognized the benefit of consolidation, leveraging a full integration of the three trading networks. Significant value will be offered in better service to PRP Midwest mechanical and collision customers through the integrated delivery systems, expanded inventory and access to better salvage procurement options. “The merger of these three quality driven membership groups of in-
dependent recyclers will no doubt positively impact the repair community in the regions covered,” states Chris Northup, an independent industry consultant who is currently retained by the TEAM PRP National Board of Directors, “Realistically, this could provide the template for a go forward footprint of independent recyclers to compete on the national scale.” Kent Rothwell, Weaver Auto Parts, Carnesville, Georgia, a Team PRP National Board Member is pleased with the expansion, “Team PRP encourages individualism as we use our combined philosophy to build the strength of our network.” Mel Hunke, the General Manager of PRP Midwest has been working closely with all entities and sees the
Ford’s CEO Mulally Says Suppliers Accomodating Ford CEO Alan Mulally said April 13 that Ford is working with suppliers to minimize the North American production impact of Japanese parts shortages caused by last month’s earthquake and tsunami. The only impact on Ford in North America to date
has been limiting vehicle orders in certain paint colors because of interruptions to Japan-supplied paint products. Mulally said Ford has shifted parts from slower-selling to hotselling vehicles, used scheduled va-
cation downtime early and taken other actions to keep North American production from being disrupted. He counseled patience to Lincoln brand dealers, asking them to give increased product spending time to yield
positive change ahead, “ I am very excited about the potential resulting from these three networks of auto recyclers, who have a long history of commitment to excellence and outstanding customer service, joining forces to form one superior source of auto parts for all categories of customers,” Hunke continues, “I am optimistic that PRP Midwest will offer even greater customer benefits than the three groups have provided separately in the past. PRP Midwest is ready to assume a leadership role in providing “alternate source” auto parts to our customers”. About TEAM PRP: Team PRP is a national network of independent auto recyclers, offering expanded inventory, regional transportation systems and knowledgeable support staff. a broader vehicle lineup in the coming years. Some Lincoln dealers are upset that Ford is pushing them to improve their facilities and begin offering perks such as free car washes and loaner vehicles when the brand’s product lineup is limited.
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When it Comes to Cars, Men Buy Looks, Women Seek Practicality
TrueCar.com has released a refreshed demographic study based on car-buying behavior in 2010, examining gender differences in auto buying. TrueCar.com’s study was based on over eight million retail purchases in 2010. “The study shows that women car buyers are more cost-conscious and purchased fuel-efficient vehicles while male buyers were completely the opposite, purchasing vehicles that were either big and brawny, like a large truck, or chose a high-priced, high-performance vehicle,” said Jesse Toprak, Vice President of Industry Trends and Insights at TrueCar.com.
Some of the key findings of the TrueCar.com study include: ● The brand with the highest percentage of retail sales to females in 2010 was MINI (47.9 percent), followed by Kia (46.8 percent), and Honda (46.0 percent) compared to 2009 when Saturn and Kia tied at 45.2 percent and MINI came in third at 45.0 percent. There were fifteen brands with a female ratio over 40 percent in both 2009 and 2010. ● The highest percentage of male buyers primarily purchased exotic brands. There were five brands in 2010 at 10 percent or less for retail sales to
women, including Ferrari (6.4 percent), Lotus (7.2 percent), Lamborghini (7.4 percent), Maybach (8.0 percent), and Rolls Royce (9.3 percent) compared to 2009 when there were six brands; including Bugatti (0 percent), Maybach (3.7 percent), Ferrari (5.1 percent), Lamborghini (5.5 percent), Rolls Royce (8.0 percent), and Aston Martin (9.0 percent). ● The top ten models that had greater than 50 percent retail sales to females and at least 1,000 annual retail sales in 2010 were: Volkswagen New Beetle, Kia Spectra, Nissan Rogue, Volkswagen Eos, Hyundai Entourage,
hicle services to virtually any vehicle. “We’re exceptionally proud of Airbiquity’s eight-year relationship with OnStar, the leading brand in connected vehicles,” said David Jumpa, senior vice-president of global business development, Airbiq-
uity. Currently available on more than 40 MY 2011 GM models, OnStar soon will be available for installation on most other vehicles already on the road through local electronics retailers, including Best Buy. “With our underlying technology, OnStar continues to offer an innovative and cost-
Airbiquity to Supply Air-Over-Voice Technology to Onstar Airbiquity, a provider of wireless connected vehicle services, announced at CTIA Wireless in Orlando, the company’s selection to provide data-over-voice technology to OnStar’s retail product, OnStar FMV. OnStar’s mirror-mounted retail device will bring connected ve-
Volvo S40, Jeep Compass, Honda CR-V, Nissan Sentra, and Hyundai Tucson. – The top ten models that had greater than 50 percent retail sales to males and at least 1,000 annual retail sales in 2010 were: Porsche 911, GMC Sierra, Chevrolet Corvette, Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-Series, BMW M3, Ford Ranger, Toyota Tundra, Dodge Ram and Audi S5. TrueCar.com also examined the most current market prices and listed discounts for all of the brands and specific models that were tracked with over 1,000 vehicle sales annually.
effective range of services to drivers,” Jumpa said. “Adding OnStar to a car is now as quick and easy as installing a new rear-view mirror.” According to Airbiquity, OnStar FMV will be available for purchase from North American consumer electronics retailers in 2011.
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Shop Strategies for Savings
Walter Danalevich, AAM, has been the owner of Santa Barbara Auto Refinishing since 1979. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is Your Parts Supplier Purchasing Policy a Benefit or an Expense? with Walter Danalevich
This month let’s take a look at parts electronic options which include fax, text, digital and e-mail. ordering considerations that will imBefore ordering parts, Do you prove your bottom line. Think for a know if there is a moment of all your part suppliers both with The Insurance Insider 1) Maximum part return date OEM and aftermarket. Do you know what the return parts policy is from 2) Credit for returns for damaged parts each supplier? You should if you want 3) Credit for returns on electrical to maximize your business profits. What is their return policy on parts parts that do not fit? Will they reim- 4) Warranty for reconditioned wheels Warranty for off road usage burse you for fullwith labor or just the part Chasidy Rae 5)Sisk cost and leave you with a “catch you 6) Warranty for CAPA aftermarket parts (like kind & quality) on the next one” policy? 7) Warranty for Mechanical Parts Not too long ago, it was no “big 8) Warranty for Chrome parts deal” to return parts for credit months 9) Warranty for New sheet metal later. Some of us may even remember through credits issued with certain part suppliwith Chasidy Rae rust Sisk ers for returns where we did not even 10) Warranty for Non-CAPA aftermarket parts produce evidence in the form of an invoice. Well, times have changed con- 11) Optional mechanical service warranty Agreement siderably when ordering auto body 12) Transferable warranty to a nonparts. Today we have the option of ordering parts by the traditional voice original owner 13) Policy for compensation to shop phone communication or a variety of
Inside Insurance Northeast News Shop Showcase
for wrong parts received 14) Fee for shipping cost on special order parts 15) Restocking fee after 30 Days
Having answers to the above parts ordering warranty concerns will assure you maintain and improve your parts department profit margins. For example, recently our auto body shop in Santa Barbara, California had a very positive parts warranty experience involving our aftermarket parts supplier. Our repair shop had customer approval to proceed with repairs to their 2010 Honda Civic. Their insurance company, to my complete surprise, stipulated in the repair estimate the use of an aftermarket fender and front bumper. I questioned the insurance company adjuster to make sure there was no mistake on their proposed estimate for such a new vehicle. The In-
surance adjuster replied the insured’s policy stipulates using aftermarket parts when available in exchange for a lower annual policy premium. Upon hearing this news I decided not to make a fuss and proceeded with repairs. All appeared well until the car bumper was installed. After the body tech installed the bumper it was quite obvious there was a “quality of fit” problem. The bumper end did not meet the attachment point of the aftermarket left fender. Additionally, there were noticeable one-inch gaps in front of both headlamps. How Sweet!!! I immediately addressed the issue with our aftermarket supplier who referred me to the district manager. The district parts manager asked me to take a few digital pictures of the misfit and send them to him to forward onto the manufacturer. Within 24 See Shop Strategies, Page 27
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www.autobodynews.com | MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS 23
Painting with Waterborne at John Force Racing by Paul Stoll, PPG Trainer
Robert won NHRA’s 2011 Winternationals. Proving PPG Envirobase High Performance is not only Fast in the paint shop but also Fast on the track
John Force Racing drivers have won the last five National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) events, dating back into late 2010. You don’t do that with-
out some body damage to your Ford Mustang Fuel Funny Cars. John Force Racing has been using PPG’s Envirobase® High Per-
formance waterborne basecoat on their cars for two years now. Envirobase® HP is very easy to use and repair, something that the paint team has the opportunity to do on more than one occasion—when things go bad on the racetrack. PPG waterborne basecoat dries to a thinner film than conventional solvent basecoats, helping the team keep the Ford Mustang bodies light. And PPG’s Envirobase® HP waterborne paint has helped John Force Racing go green. I had the opportunity to go to the team’s Brownsburg, Indiana shop earlier this winter and spend four days helping paint the Ford Mustang bodies for 2011. I worked with Dean Antonelli, one of John Force’s crew chiefs and general manager of the Brownsburg facility. Paint shop manager and graphic designer Brandon Baker, painter Dave Gregory and Jesse Knox were all part of the team. Creating Robert Hight’s 2011 Ford Mustang Body Last year’s carbon fiber bodies are stripped of the PPG clearcoat and
most of the basecoat too, to keep the weight down. We used a PPG citrusbased paint remover for various reasons: first to be safe over the carbon fiber; second, it’s a green product that’s safe for the environment; and finally, the water-based stripper
White covered up with transfer tape
works better than the caustic type paint removers traditionally used. Envirobase® HP is a latex resin basecoat that is very flexible and resists solvents and chemicals. The paint that is not removed, as well as the exposed carbon fiber, are then sanded with 400 grit dry sandpaper. Sanding carbon fiber will expose the
Spot primed and sanded Mustang Body ready to move in to booth to spray PPG EHP Silver Metallic base coat
y Original air Pick Onlly ep R t ex N r ou Y r Fo
! TOYOTA PARTS 2 Coats PPG EHP White base coat
With the first color sprayed and Dry for 30 minutes Brandon and Dave begin the masking process
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fibers, so sanding is kept to a minimum. Areas that require a body filler and any fuzzy carbon fiber exposed from over sanding are sprayed with PPG’s ECP A-Chromatic Surfacer. After drying, we sanded with 400 grit dry sandpaper, and finished with 600 grit. Envirobase ® HP basecoats should be sprayed over a 600 grit (or finer) scratch because of the thinner film build. A sealer could be used to fill sand scratches, but on these cars, sealer is left off to help keep the weight to a minimum. The Mustang body is now blown off and cleaned with PPG’s OneChoice® H2O-So-Clean waterborne cleaner. This evaporates quicker and pulls the sanding dust from the sanding scratches much better then solvent cleaner, leaving a nice surface that is ready to paint. Since we are working on a carbon fiber body, we do not get any static when wiping the body. The first color to go down will be a metallic silver. I spray three coats just in the area where we will mask off the silver with ½-inch tape for
1st coat of PPG EHP Blue water base coat
Body unmasked, tacked, ready for Clear Coat
2 coats of PPG EHP Blue. White unmasked
1 Double coat of PPG ECS 700 Clear
Brandon’s design. I use an Iwata LPH400 gun with a gold air cap. I let the metallic silver dry between coats, which takes only five minutes thanks to the TurboAir Drying System® installed in JFR’s booth. Air movement is what makes waterborne paint dry
fast, and the TurboAir unit is a turbine blower that does the job quickly— speed is required at John Force Racing. After a 30-minute dry time in the booth, masking begins. We use a plastic/vinyl masking tape like FBS. Bran-
PPG EHP finished cars getting sponsors logos
don also uses his computer skills to cut out a paint mask to aid in speeding up the process and, more importantly, to keep all the designs the same on all the John Force Racing Mustangs. The area of the car that will be See Painting with Waterborne, Page 27
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www.autobodynews.com | MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS 25
Revisiting Paint by Numbers: A Deep Dive into Refinish Data by Greg Horn, VP Mitchell
Recently, I published an article on refinish times broken down by vehicle type, age and origin in the Q1 Mitchell Industry Trends Report (ITR). I wanted to see if all vehicles received the same treatment in the refinish process regardless of these factors. “Paint by Numbers: A Deep Dive Into Refinish Data,” drilled down into the refinish data for a year’s worth of appraisals and compared these elements to determine if there were significant differences in the refinish process. At the outset, I want to state clearly that this article examines the data only and is not intended to be construed as advocating or refuting any OEM refinish procedure or recommendation. I firmly believe that every damaged vehicle is unique and the proper repair procedure must be done on an individual basis. This determination should include the vehicle’s design, age, condition, finish, location and extent of damage, automaker and paint company recommended procedures, and last but certainly not least, the customer’s expectations. Our data immediately pointed out that there are in fact differences in the refinish process appearing on the appraisals. According to the data domestic made vehicles, including trucks/SUVs and older vehicles, received slightly fewer additional paint operations. Trucks and SUVs have slightly fewer hours added for blending into adjacent panels, averaging 1.35 hours of blend vs. 1.4 on average for passenger cars on estimates where a blend was specified. Surprising? That’s one way to put it. The original ITR article spurred a great deal of discussion in the collision repair industry. Many expressed that the data didn’t represent what was truly indicative of the operations required; rather they felt it was representative of what insurers paid for. In fact, the data does reflect what was written and accepted for the repair because the estimates were “aged,” meaning at least 90 days had elapsed before we queried the data. Note, I said accepted because these repairs reflect that an appraisal was written, a claim was made and presumably the repairs were done in accordance with the appraisal.
I also received many questions about the difference in allotted hours for blend into adjacent panel time vs. full refinish operations and believe it is important to clearly state the differences between the two in the Mitchell Procedure Pages. In order to explain the differences we need to clarify our refinish labor time premises. The steps for refinishing a new undamaged E-Coated panel include:
* Solvent wash * Scuff panel and clean * Mask adjacent panels * Prime or seal as required * Final Sanding and clean * Mix materials * Adjust spray equipment * Apply color * Clean equipment
The largest portion of not included time is for flash time between coats. The blend formula is to be used in conjunction with refinishing an additional panel on the vehicle and therefore would not allow for the already included flash times on the original panel. Were vehicle owners charged for the additional operations that were not approved for reimbursement by insurers? While this occasionally does happen, and is not a great customer experience for the vehicle owner, it is safe to assume that this practice does not occur on every estimate where additional paint operations are performed but not reflected in the uploaded estimate. Again, the fact that calling for a blend on a truck or SUV is less frequent than on smaller passenger cars points to the fact that with
occurring. It is important to note that when we looked at blending within the panel, we did not evaluate how many refinish hours were specified on the appraisal for a specific panel vs. full refinish time. It is very likely that the full base and clear coat were specified in the damaged panel, however, that data is nearly impossible to separate in a data pool of several million estimates. We focused on the blend operation as called out in the appraisal. In looking at the results of the original refinish study, I did not fully explore the question of geography in the initial finding. Does the area of the country affect how many hours of blend time are reported? Herein lies the key; areas in the Midwest and South had fewer hours of blend time,
Avg Blend Hrs Only Ests w/Blend 1.44
Mitchell refinish labor times also allow for flash times between coats. When blending a panel the reduction in labor time is due to not having to perform the following steps:
* Prime or seal as required * Final Sanding and clean * Mix materials * Adjust spray equipment * Clean equipment
26 MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
1 yr or Less 1 yr or Less
1 yr to 5 yrs 1 yr to 5 yrs
5 yrs or older 5 yrs or older
the larger panel areas found on trucks and SUVs there is more of an opportunity to blend within the damaged panel. Some may object to this conclusion and say cost shifting was involved, meaning that the additional costs were spread into other areas of the appraisal so that a shop could be compensated for what was truly required. Unfortunately, that may be the case and there is no way in the data to isolate instances where cost shifting is
and they also have the largest population of trucks/SUVs as well as more domestic vehicles than foreign. When broken out by West Coast, Midwest, Southern and Eastern states, the blend time is lower in states where there are higher volumes of trucks and SUVs being repaired. We can conclude that in today’s collision repair environment, older vehicles, domestic vehicles and trucks and SUVs receive fewer blend hours in part because the
panel is being blended within the panel and in part because of the geography of where the vehicle is located. The focus on refinish operations is particularly important as we see dramatic increases in the cost of a barrel of oil. As Mideast turmoil adversely impacts the cost of oil, Americans are shifting towards smaller vehicles. Increases in paint costs because of rising oil costs will soon follow. While refinish operations have been an area of contention between some collision shops and insurers, when the price of oil rises, so does the frequency of contention and the volume of questions our editorial department receives related to refinishing. Looking towards the future, as we start the shift away from large SUVs, the increasing number of smaller vehicles on the road will increase the necessity of blending into adjacent panels. Statements and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. They are not offered as and do not constitute legal advice or opinion of Mitchell International, Inc.
Continued from Page 23
Continued from Page 25
hours he authorized the aftermarket parts manufacturer to pay 100% of all the body & paint labor, including paint supplies. We then reported the potential catastrophe to the insurance company who authorized us to install an OEM bumper. We proceeded with completing the repairs. A couple of weeks later we received payment in full for $653.93 from the aftermarket parts supplier. The insurance company even commented on how well we handled potential part warranty replacement crisis. This could have turned ugly if we choose to involve a less reputable aftermarket part supplier whose warranty did not conform to full reimbursement for parts and labor. By choosing carefully your suppliers part sales warranty, you will experience increased productivity and retained shop profits. May you all receive many “PERFECT FITTING PARTS” and added income to your bottom line!
blue is covered with plastic, so as to not add excess paint and weight to the car. The white stripes are sprayed next. Two coats of Envirobase® HP T400 white toner are sprayed, with five minutes dry time between coats and a 30-minute dry time before we’re ready for the blue. The white basecoat covers twice as fast as solvent, so this step goes quickly and weighs less due to fewer coats of paint. This also helps keep edges between colors much smoother. We mask off the white with a transfer paper that Brandon uses to transfer the vinyl decals he puts on the car. Again, this is faster than tape and paper. I am back in the booth, and I spray two coats of ‘AAA of Southern California’ blue. The Envirobase® HP formula covers quickly, and with the TurboAir blowing, I am ready for the second coat as soon as I can reload the paint gun. In just half an hour, I am ready to clean up and we are unmask-
Painting with Waterborne
Give your customers what they deserve... The Best.
ing. We had a couple of small blow throughs on the first car—easily fixed. A quick mask of the blue and re-spray a little silver. The second car was perfect, no blow throughs. I blew the body off and tacked it with a PPG tack rag. Dave then stepped in and sprayed a double coat of PPG EC700 Production Clearcoat. While custom, multiple-color paint jobs are not considered to be very productive, with the tools at John Force Racing and the speed of the Envirobase® HP basecoats, we where able to spray a body a day while I was visiting. The last part of the job was applying sponsors’ logos on the cars, which I left in the experienced hands of Brandon. Paul Stoll is a PPG Trainer, who, among his many duties, teaches custom painting classes at PPG training centers across the country. Classes include training using Envirobase® High Performance basecoats in custom paint jobs. When not traveling, Stoll can be found at the PPG training center in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., (909) 987-0924.
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Order your Genuine Mazda Parts from one of these parts specialists in your area. www.autobodynews.com | MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS 27
Toby Chess is an I-CAR program instructor, Welding specialist, and former salvage yard operator. Toby is universally known in the collision industry for his charitable works, worthy causes, and magic tricks. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Getting OSHA-Compliant on Plans, Protection and Painting with Toby Chess
As I promised in last month’s article, program elements as well as manageI have put together a checklist to help ment of hazard specific to your shop. you get ready for an OSHA inspecA written plan which describes tion. This a not a complete checklist training, labeling, Material Safety and you will probably need some outData Sheet (MSDS) management and side help to help you achieve total other requirements of “Right-tocompliance, but it will help you have Know” must be in place. A good start a better understanding of what is for you and your employees is Iwith David McClune needed to get your facility ready for CAR’s 4-hour WKR 01 (Hazardous an inspection. Materials, Personal Safety, and RefinYou can also call your state ish Safety) class. The class deals with agency and they will come out a give MSDS sheets, personal protection you a courtesy inspection. All violaequipment and a number of hazards tions will need to be corrected, but that are common in the body shop. there is no fine/ticket issued at the A couple of other items that you time of inspection. You should know may want to incorporate into your plan. that they will return to check if the violations have been corrected and you ● A written procedure for handling inwill be on theirwith radar John screen. Yoswick I will house employee complaints regarding need another article to complete this safety and health. checklist, so stay tuned next month. ● An incentive program for reducing To see the OSHA standards, go to work place injuries Google.com and type in 29CFR 1910. ● A formal disciplinary policy relat38. This is the official OSHA web site. ing to safety. I know one shop that will First off, do you have 10 or more write up techs who do not wear their employees? If ‘yes,’ you will need a safety glasses. Second time is a one written Emergency Contingency Plan. day suspension, third write up is 3-day I took this description from the OSHA suspension, and the fourth write up is Manual: termination. Do you have all your current and 1910.38(b) Written and oral with Richard Steffen past MSDS sheets? Are they in a conemergency plans. An emergency action plan must be in writing, kept in spicuous location? Did you know that you must retain all MSDS sheets for the workplace, and available to employees for review. However, employer 30 years after product is no longer being used? After the evacuation plan, with 10 or fewer employees may comthis is a big ticket item with OSHA inmunicate the plan orally to employees. spectors. You can obtain them from An example of an Emergency Exit Plan your jobber, manufacturer’s reps and on-line.
and paint suit. He is being exposed to isocyanates and doesn’t know it. Who is responsible for the Personal Protective Equipment (I will refer to it a PPE) and its use? Well, the employer is responsible for providing the equipment and the training in using it and the employee is responsible for actually using it.
California Autobody Association
Year in Quotes
painting (paint suit for protection against overspray and isocyanates) and welding (jackets and gloves)? ● Is proper hearing protection equipment furnished? Here is an example of an ear muff.
Respirators: ● A respirator fit test is requires yearly (29 CFR 1910.134). ● Respirators must be placed a sealed container when not in use (29 CFR 1910.134) What Gets Most Scrutiny from OSHA? The area that receives the most attention during an OSHA inspection is the paint department. Let’s look at some of the problem areas that need your attention. The painter is first on my list.
Collision Repair Association of CA.in place for training and ● A program
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
with John YoswickLet’s talk about Personal Protective equipment. Look at the picture below and tell yourself what is wrong.
with Karyn Hendricks Do you have a Written Hazard Communication Plan? OSHA rule 29CFR 1910.1200 states that you need to have an active safety and health program in operation that The refinish tech is mixing paint with deals with general safety and health no eye protection, gloves, respirator,
28 MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
with David M. Brown
proper use of respirators. ● The type of respirator used for specific products will be found in the Preventative Measures of the MSDS sheets. ● Respirator cartridges need to be replaced on a regular basis. 3M P100 cartridges need to be replacing after 40 hours of use or 30 days, whichever comes first.
Here are some common questions that are asked about PPE: ● Are approved safety glasses required to be worn at all times in areas where there is a risk of eye injury? ● Are protective goggles provided and worn where there is any danger of flying particles and harmful vapors (isocyanates for example)? ● Are protective gloves issued for various toxic exposures? (Again, you can look in the Preventative Measures of the MSDS sheets for specific type of gloves that are necessary for a particular product). ● Do you have an eye-wash station and it is properly maintained? ● Is protective clothing supplied for
Photo courtesy of SATA spray equipment
All painters should be wearing a paint suit, glove and utilize a fresh-air system. I think that the fresh air system incorporates goggles and respirator into one system. Your painter can wear a half-mask fresh air system or a respirator, but must also wear goggles if used instead of the full fresh air system. (Did you know that the fastest route for hazardous materials to get into the blood stream is through the eyes?) You will also need a CO monitor if you use shop-supplied air. There are systems that use electric pumps that produce no carbon monoxide, oil vapors, or oil mist. The only drawback is that the painter will need a separate air hose (The SATA unit pictured utilizes one hose. You plug your air line into a unit on a supplied belt and a
small hose comes off the unit to the CO monitor and then delivers fresh air to the helmet.) I ask the same questions every time I conduct I-CAR’s WKR 01 class to refinish technicians and helpers. Do you mix paint? Do you clean the guns? When they answer ‘yes,’ I ask them if they wear goggles, respirators, paint suits, and gloves when they perform both task. The majority answer that comes back is they ‘only wear gloves.’ Isocycantes are present in all three operations: mixing, painting, and cleaning. The appropriate PPE must be worn at all times. You need to enforce this rule or you are setting yourself up for a lawsuit. Be forewarned. Here are some other areas in the paint department that need your attention. ● All containers need to have a workplace label. If you mix paint for the day, it is not necessary, but if the paint is not used that day, it will need a label. A piece of masking tape with the paint code is not sufficient.
This is a disaster in the making. ● All metal flammable containers must be grounded
● A fire extinguisher must be within 10 feet of any inside storage area of flammable liquids (More on fire extinguishers in the next article). ● All solvent wastes and flammable liquids must be kept in fire-resistant, covered containers when not in use. ● All hazardous liquids must have a spill containment system
● No smoking signs must be posted in areas of flammable liquid storage ● Paint mixing rooms/areas must have explosion proof lights. There are many companies that have these materials (Grainger is an example). Craig Oliveira of Kent Automotive gave me his parent company’s (Lawson Products) Safety Catalogue and I found it to be extremely helpful in getting all the information and products necessary to be in OSHA compliance. It is free— check with your local Kent Automotive Representative or other reputable source. Next month’s article will focus on the rest of the shop. Stay safe.
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Used Vehicle Pricing Expected to Rise in Quake Aftermath
Full Deliveries From Japanese Suppliers Stalled Until July
Automotive News Reporter Arlena Sawyers writes that since the earthquake in Japan, used-vehicle prices have become so volatile that price experts are scrambling to keep up. And dealers, anticipating new-car shortages, are going beyond usual channels to stock usedcar lots, often paying more for those vehicles and then worrying about having shelled out too much. Prices already were high. The recession led to a shortage of used vehicles, and when demand rose as credit eased for used-car customers, prices soared. Then the quake struck. Reduced production by Japanese automakers, such as Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., and the threat of production cuts by virtually all automakers means a reduced new-vehicle supply. Dealers who are short of new vehicles look to the used-car lot to meet demand. And prices could go even higher. If new-vehicle incentives dry up, as many predict, prices of used vehicles will rise as new-car transaction prices go up.
Automotive News Editor Jason Stein reports that as inventories of Japanese products continue to dry up, Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. have warned U.S. dealers: Full deliveries from Japan likely won’t arrive until July at the earliest, and perhaps as late as September. Parts shortages have forced Toyota and Nissan to prepare several scenarios in which full production in Japan wouldn’t begin until at least 30 to 90 days after the country’s upcoming holiday break, said people who have been briefed on the situation. In the best-case scenario, both automakers will begin full production a month after Japan’s Golden Week holiday that ends May 9. In an internal document sent to dealers Friday, April 15, Toyota said it will keep building cars in Japan at half of the original plans until June 3, which will cost the automaker another 120,000 vehicles in lost production. A decision on Toyota production at Japanese plants after June 6 “will be made at a later date after assessing the situation of its suppliers and other related companies,” the document says.
Honda Extends Production Cuts in North America to May
Hyundai, Kia Running U.S. Plants at Full Speed
Automotive News is reporting that Honda will extend reductions of vehicle output at its U.S. and Canadian plants through May 6. The automaker had previously said it would reduce vehicle output through April 22. Decisions have been made on a plantby-plant basis on how much to cut back production in order to conserve parts. Affected plants include East Liberty, Ohio, which makes the Honda Accord Crosstour and CR-V; Greensburg, Ind., which builds the Honda Civic and Civic GX; Lincoln, Ala., which makes the Honda Odyssey, Pilot and Ridgeline; Marysville, Ohio, which produces the Accord and the Acura TL and RDX; and Alliston, Ontario, which builds the Civic and the Acura CSX, MDX and ZDX. Honda has been altering production schedules at those plants since March 30 in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The automaker said it anticipates that additional production adjustments will continue after May 6. Honda has already restricted dealer orders for June, so that allocated colors and trim levels for U.S.-built vehicles cannot be altered. It also has suspended U.S. dealer orders for Japan-built models that are sold here.
Hyundai and Kia, South Korea’s biggest carmakers, are running full shifts at their U.S. plants with overtime, unaffected by parts shortages that are curbing output for Japanbased competitors. Hyundai’s plant in Montgomery, Ala., aims to squeeze out 10 percent more Sonata and Elantra sedans than its 300,000-unit capacity this year, said Robert Burns, a spokesman for the factory. About 80 miles east, Kia’s plant in West Point, Ga., has run extended weekday shifts and Saturday work since last year and expects that to continue for the foreseeable future, said Corinne Hodges, a spokeswoman for Kia. Expanded U.S. output at Hyundai and Kia contrasts with assembly reductions at the North American plants of Toyota, Honda and Nissan implemented after Japan’s earthquake on March 11. U.S.-based General Motors and Ford also cut some assembly, and Chrysler Group canceled overtime shifts to conserve supplies of parts that might grow scarcer. Globally, 1.5 million units of auto production might be lost temporarily because of damaged operations at Japanbased parts and materials suppliers.
www.autobodynews.com | MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS 29
The Insider is a corporate-level executive with a Top 10 auto insurer in the U.S.. Got a comment or question you’d like to see him address in a future column? Email him at Auto.Insurance.Insider@gmail.com
Insurers Will Continue to Serve “Flavor of the Day” to Shops with The Insurance Insider
Northeast News with Chasidy Rae Sisk
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The Insider offers an unvarnished look at various issues impacting the collision industry from an insurers’ perspective.
In past columns I have explored many different perspectives on the value of direct repair programs. I believe most DRPs provide value to the vehicle owner as well as the shop, although based upon the responses I’ve received from readers, there are a lot of people who disagree with my position. But from my perspective, most vehicle owners reap tremendous value North County BMW from DRPs. DRPs have raised the bar for body shops; it forces them to provide exemplary customer service and (800) 564-8222 high quality repairs. They also need to continually train their staff and invest North County BMW in equipment otherwise risk being left behind as technology evolves. As a result, insurance companies don’t want (800) 564-8222 to do business with every shop in the countryand they shouldn’t. They www.ncountybmw.com
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should want the best-in-class repairing their policyholders’ vehicles. But there is one reason why the current DRP models sucks, regardless of insurance carrier. This exception provides absolutely no value to the shopalthough it does provide a lot of value to the insurance company. Can you guess what the exception is? Okay, it’s actually not just one thing. It can be summarized in four words: flavor of the day. Similar to the ice cream shop in your neighborhood, insurance companies regularly serve shops a flavor of the day (or week or month). Insurance companies have a set of guidelines that a shop must agree to in order to participate in their program. These guidelines are in writing and allow a shop owner to decide whether or not the program is of value to them. I cautiously use the word guidelines because the literal translation is “concessions.” While I don’t agree with concessions, at least
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30 MAY 2011 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
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they are in writing. It allows the shop owner to make a business decision as to whether or not the concessions are worth the potential additional work. Unlike the guidelines, however, the “flavor of the day” isn’t in writing. Unlike in the ice cream shop, it isn’t posted or advertised. And it sure the heck doesn’t taste good. What I’m talking about is parts usage, paint labor hours, cycle time, repair times, rental car days and the like…whatever it is that the insurer decides that today is most important to them. There are enough flavors of the day to make Baskin Robbins jealous. And unfortunately, sometimes these unwritten rules are weighted more heavily by the insurer than the written ones. Shops are routinely eliminated from a DRP for not adhering to everything that they never agreed to adhere to in writing. Sound fair? Not really. What can a shop do? You can say noand jeopardize your relationship with that carrier. Fair? Not at all. This is what we refer to in the U.S. as the 500-pound gorilla or the bully on the playground. How do these flavors of the day occur? Are they handed down from the insurer’s corporate headquarters?
In most instances, no. It’s something that is usually a result of a local or regional claim office. Management in these offices have the autonomy to do whatever is necessary to meet their budgets. Thus the “flavor of the day.” Local or regional management analyzes data and identifies trends while trying to figure out what number can be manipulated to give them the result they desire. That’s why the flavor is always different and ever-changing. Shops need to find a way to work within the system because you aren’t going to beat it. I’m not encouraging anyone to give into whatever the insurance company wants. Nor am I encouraging fraud. I am encouraging you to play the game. Continue to write complete, consistent estimates. Perform the work you write on the estimate. Document everything. As you know, the flavor of the day changes routinely. If you can hold out for a day or a week, something else will be a priority and today’s flavor can quickly become yesterday’s old ice cream. You can’t change the flavor but you can change what you do and how you react.
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Verizon Unveils Hybrid and Alternative-energy Vehicles Verizon showcased some of the newest energy-efficient additions to its motor vehicle fleet at an event attended by President Obama on April 1. Verizon, which has the third-largest corporate vehicle fleet in the nation, was among five companies recognized by the president for adding substantive numbers of green vehicles. Verizon displayed three of its latest energy-efficient vehicles at the event, which featured alternative-energy trucks and cars operated by some of the nation’s largest corporations. “We’re bringing environmentally friendly innovation and advanced technologies to our motor fleet operations,” said Jim Gowen, chief sustainability officer for Verizon. “By seizing the opportunity to help improve the environment, our vehicles are saving energy, reducing emissions and improving our greenhouse gas profile.” At the event, held in Landover, Maryland, Verizon displayed a hybrid Chevrolet pick-up, an all-electric Chevrolet Volt and a first-of-its-kind hybrid aerial-splicing vehicle. Over the past few years, the company has added hundreds of hybrid Toyota Priuses, as well as more than 500 compressed natural gas vans and 700
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Day to Reflect
great gift and they would get a great kick out of reading it too. Well, something like that anyway. Most of the time I would get a disagreeable hmmm in response. Others had that pondering look as if they were going back into their memory trying to find what was so funny about getting the oil changed on their car. And then walk away shaking their head. I didn’t find that in anyway offensive, or disrespectful. I found it to be a logical, and a very intelligent way for a person to state their opinion without saying much at all. I admire folks like this, the ones that can speak their minds without uttering a word. As each and every one of these patrons would checkout at the register they gladly paid for their things and gave a big thank you to the person behind the counter. I never heard one person ever ask “why does this cost so much”, “I think you shouldn’t charge so much for this sandwich”, “I know a place down the street that can do the same thing for half of what you’re charging.” Now that’s funny, that’s pretty
hybrid pickups. Verizon is the first communications company to engineer and deploy a hybrid fiber splicing unit. Because of their weight, these vehicles (commonly known as “bucket trucks”) usually consume significant amounts of fuel. To reduce fuel consumption, the company incorporated a hybrid engine and innovative, onboard batteries that assist in the vehicles’ acceleration, and power the bucket lift and lighting units. “We’re replacing less-efficient vehicles with transformational, energyefficient cars and trucks—a move that will have a long-term impact on reducing and improving fuel consumption and reducing pollutants,” said William Roberts, president of Verizon Maryland. “This event is a clear example of what happens when companies are allowed to innovate and deploy different technologies to meet their needs while achieving our shared environmentally positive goals.” Verizon was also the first company in the nation to deploy hybrid pickup trucks on a large scale, in a commercial setting. Last year, Verizon deployed more than 700 of these vehicles and plans 300 more units in 2011.
much what I hear every day. What gives? Oh, now don’t get me wrong, it’s not every customer that complains about the prices. I have many, many customers that are eager to pay for my time and service, even a few that think I’m not charging enough for what I do. I even have some that feel the need to leave a tip. It’s those that want to complain and complain and complain that irks me. I have even had some tell me that I should give them the part for what I paid for it. Does the book store give you the book for what they paid for it? Come on people. I wish I knew why it is the way it is, but for some reason perfectly sane people arrive at an auto repair shop and become tyrannical evil forces. Is it the smell of 90 weight oil in the air? Could it be the constant groan of pneumatic tools in the background? I wish I knew. Maybe after I retire I’ll take a job somewhere pleasant. Quiet, reserved, and ever so nostalgic. Yeah. Like a book store.
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