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Vol. 10 / Issue 5 / July 2019

Southern Automotive Repair Conference Brings Three State Associations Together to Address Common Concerns, Including Insurers and Legislative Action sippi’s Consumer Guide to Insurance and Auto Body Repair, a document The 2019 SARC meeting wrapped up developed by Hood’s Consumer Proin New Orleans on Saturday, June 15, tection Division and available for having engaged attendees with talks download at and panels featuring Jim Attorney General Hood Hood, the Mississippi AG described his early experiwho is currently running for ence with the industry when governor, Aaron Schulenhe was forced to personally sue an insurer for seizing his burg, Executive Director of SCRS, as well as Pulitzer property post accident. He was emphatic that this prize-winning political caropened his eyes to some of toonist Marshall Ramsey. Attorney General Jim Hood of the abuses routinely carried Ramsey hosted a panel Mississippi out by insurance companies. with Burl Richards, Doug Officially hosted and organized White and Matt Parker on Missis-

by MSCRA (Mississippi) and their Executive Director, Ricki Garrett, and President Doug White, the event catered to repairers from Mississippi,

Georgia Insurance Commissioner Suspended as a Result of $2M Fraud Case

Speaker Says Verdict Being Used by OEMs to Limit Use of Non-OEM Parts

by Chasidy Rae Sisk

by John Yoswick

by Autobody News Staff

Georgia Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck (R) was indicted in May on 38 counts of defrauding a former employer, the Georgia Underwriting Association (GUA), for a total of more than $2 million over a fiveyear period. In a statement, U. S. Attorney Byung J. Pak said, “Beck allegedly pocketed a substantial amount of money to which he was not entitled while he was the GUA General Manager for Operations. To be clear, the grand jury has charged Commis-

sioner Beck with crimes that occurred before he was elected to his current public office.” Beck denied these allegations which include money laundering as well as wire and mail fraud. His attorney, Bill Thomas of W. H. Thomas Firm, said, “Jim strongly denies these charges and we intend to mount a vigorous defense. Jim is proud of the work he did at the [GUA]. Any accusation that he defrauded the GUA is false. He acted legally and in good faith. Under his leadership, for the first time in its See Commissioner Suspended, Page 6

The Seebachan’s Honda Fit shown live at the MSCRA-sponsored SARC Conference

Automakers are pressing for state laws requiring the use of OEM collision repair procedures as part of their effort to limit the use of alternative parts, a representative of LKQ Corporation told a gathering of non-OEM parts manufacturers and distributors. “This is about money and profit,” Ray Colas, director of government affairs for LKQ Corporation, said at the Auto Body Parts Association (ABPA) convention held in May in Fort Lauderdale, FL. In the effort to pass state laws requiring the use of OEM procedures, automakers and repairers are pointing to the John Eagle Collision lawsuit, in which a dealership collision shop was successfully sued for not following OEM repair procedures on a vehicle in which a Texas couple, Matthew and Marcia Seebachan, were subsequently injured, Colas said. State lawmakers are being told that OEM procedure laws are needed

Louisiana and Texas in particular, but all repairers and vendors were welcome to attend then and in the future. See SARC 2019, Page 4

to prevent insurers from calling for the use of non-OEM part and industry-accepted repair practices, he said. However, he said, the dealership

LKQ Corporation’s Ray Colas said automakers are using a verdict against a shop related to OEM repair procedures as part of their efforts to limit use of non-OEM parts

shop sued by the Seebachans was “unable to provide evidence that [the repair process they used] was provided by the insurer.” “The insurer did not force them to follow a certain procedure,” Colas said. “They chose not to, because they didn’t feel they would get paid See Non-OEM Parts, Page 34



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CONTENTS Automotive Students Win Awards at SkillsUSA

Yoswick - Consumer Advocate Gives Industry New Voice With Insurance Regulators . . . . . 44

NC Competition. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Dave Luehr’s Body Shop Presents ‘Human Triggers’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Georgia Insurance Commissioner Suspended as Result of $2M Fraud Case . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Gerber Collision Acquires Location in Trussville, AL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Greenwood County, SC, Body Shop Owner

NATIONAL ASA Concerned Over State Farm Document ‘Tesla Fighters’ Audi E-Tron, Jaguar I-PACE, Face Recalls Over Fire Risk, Faulty Brakes . . 52 Acura and Honda Vehicles Recalled Again Over Takata Airbags . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Auto Part Distributors Meet at the Latin Expo . . . 4

Gets Permission to Rebuild . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Chrysler Recalls 343,000 Ram 1500 Trucks . . 49

Hernando County, FL, Car Show: ‘Car Mania’. . 11

CIECA Announces Executive Director Departure . 18

IGONC Hosts Training Session on ‘Selling

Claim Genius Joins CIECA as a Corporate

With Confidence’. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 IGONC May Triangle Chapter Meeting

Evaluating AI Tools and Applications: Tips From Tractable AI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

Knoxville I-CAR Golf Outing Benefits CREF. . . . . 8

Fix Auto USA’s Paul Gange Named as a Finalist . 4

Southern Automotive Repair Conference

Ford Explorer Police Interceptor Carbon

Brings Three State Associations Together

Monoxide Lawsuit Filed. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

to Address Common Concerns, Including

Gerber Acquires Four Locations in NV and AZ . . 22

Insurers and Legislative Action . . . . . . . . . . . 1

GM Digital Vehicle Platform Debuts . . . . . . . . . 52

Recycled Rides . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

HABA Celebrates 10th Annual Industry Appreciation Event . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Hodges Collision Centers based in The

COLUMNISTS Anderson - Vehicle Owner’s Manuals Help Educate and Negotiate Need for Various Procedures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Attanasio - Are You as High-Tech as Your Customers? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Ledoux - The 1970s - Part 2 - The OE’s Become Their Own Worst Enemy. . . . . . . . . 26 Ledoux - The 1970s - Trade Associations Become a Driving Force . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Ledoux - The HD Collision Market – Challenges and Opportunities . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Phillips - FCA Certified Collision Care Program Elevates the Focus on Proper Repairs . . . . . 14 Sisk - ASA Annual Business Meeting and Conference Exceeds Expectations . . . . . . . . 30

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guaranteed low rates, no hidden fees and may be canceled without penalty. “SEMA showgoers have options as to where to stay during the SEMA Show,” said Tom Gattuso, SEMA vice president of events. “Through onPeak, attendees have dozens of hotels from which to choose, all at the lowest possible cost.” The 2019 SEMA Show taking place Nov. 5-8, 2019, in Las Vegas, is the premier automotive tradeonly show in the world.


Member . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54

Sponsored by Snap-On Incorporated. . . . . . . 6

Virginia Beach, VA, Veterans Recipients of

The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) is partnering with onPeak to provide SEMA attendees with affordable and reliable housing options for the 2019 SEMA Show. Available through www.sema, hotel room reservations may be made at nearly 40 hotels throughout Las Vegas, NV. Housing in Las Vegas during the SEMA Show has been known to sell out and may be limited. Rooms booked through onPeak include

Woodlands, Texas, Named ‘Best Collision & Body Shop’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Louisiana Anti-Steering Bill Passes House and Senate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Louisiana House Bill 437 Creates Backlash Among Body Shop Owners . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Maaco Launches Strategic Southeast Expansion Nissan Sides With Tesla on Camera-Based Self-Driving Approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54



onPeak Returns as SEMA Show Provider

Publisher & Editor: Jeremy Hayhurst General Manager: Barbara Davies Contributing Writers: John Yoswick, Janet Chaney, Toby Chess, Ed Attanasio, Chasidy Sisk, David Luehr, Stacey Phillips, Victoria Antonelli, Gary Ledoux Advertising Sales: Joe Momber, Sean Hartman, Bill Doyle, Norman Morano (800) 699-8251 Office Manager: Louise Tedesco Digital Marketing Manager: Bill Pierce Art Director: Rodolfo Garcia Graphic Designer: Vicki Sitarz Online and Web Content Editor: Alexis Wilson Accounting Manager: Heather Priddy Editorial/Sales Assistant: Randi Scholtes

Serving Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and adjacent metro areas. Autobody News is a monthly publication for the autobody industry. Permission to reproduce in any form the material published in Autobody News must be obtained in writing from the publisher. ©2019 Adamantine Media LLC.

Alloy Wheel Repair Specialists, LLC. . . . . . 22

Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . 52

Audi Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . 51

Jim Cogdill Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram . . . . 8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

Jon Hiester Automotive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

AutoNation Collision Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

Kernersville Lexus-CDJR-GM . . . . . . . . . . 39

Axalta Coating Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . 5, 11

Kia Motors Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . 47

Benchmark Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram. . . 21

Launch Tech USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . 53

Matrix Electronic Measuring . . . . . . . . . . . 33

Braman Honda Miami . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Mercedes-Benz Wholesale Parts Dealers . . 52

Braman Honda of Palm Beach. . . . . . . . . . 10

MINI Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . 53

Braman Miami . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

MOPAR Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . 35 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

Mountain View Ford-Lincoln . . . . . . . . . . . 12

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

O’Reilly Auto Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

Coggin Deland Honda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

Porsche Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . 53

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet . . . . . . . . . . . 32

PPG Refinish. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Dent Fix Equipment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

Radley Chevrolet. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

Diamond Standard Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

Rick Hendrick Chevrolet Naples . . . . . . . . 44

Eckler’s Automotive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

Rick Hendrick MOPAR Southeast

Autobody News Box 1516, Carlsbad, CA 92018; (800) 699-8251 (760) 603-3229 Fax

ECS Automotive Concepts . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

Wholesalers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16-17

Equalizer Industries, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Riverside Ford-Lincoln . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

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

SATA Dan-Am Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

onPeRecycled Rides Go to Three Moms. . . . . . 50

GM Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . 49

Sorbothane Soft-Blow Mallet . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Speaker Says Verdict Being Used by OEMs

Gus Machado Ford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Southside Kia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

GYS Welding USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

Spanesi Americas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

to Limit Use of Non-OEM Parts . . . . . . . . . . . 1

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

Spartanburg Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram . . 13

Veterans Encouraged to Become Entrepreneurs. 46

Hendrick BMW/MINI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

Subaru Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . 48

Hendrick Honda Pompano Beach . . . . . . . 36

Symach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

Hendrick Kia Cary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

Tameron Hyundai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

Hendrick Kia Concord . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

U.S. Chemical & Plastics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Honda-Acura Wholesale Parts

Volkswagen Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . 50

Your Future Self-Driving Car Will Be Watching Your Every Move, Says New Study. . . . . . . . . 4

Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27, 28-29

West Broad Hyundai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 / JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


Fix Auto USA’s Paul Gange Named as a Finalist The San Diego Business Journal has named Paul Gange, Fix Auto USA’s president and CEO, as a finalist for the “CEO of the Year” award. As a finalist, Gange is recognized among San Diego’s business elite for propelling Fix Auto USA forward and driving the

business to new heights within the collision repair industry. “It’s quite an honor to be considered as a finalist for this award, especially given San Diego’s business community is quite large and brimming with other successful CEOs,” said Fix Auto USA President and CEO, Paul Gange. Gange was selected as a finalist for his professional achievements, contributions towards Fix Auto USA’s growth, innovation, marketing activities, and relationships with Franchise Partners, and the marketplace at large.

Your Future Self-Driving Car Will Be Watching Your Every Move, Says New Study by Loukia Papadopoulos, Interesting Engineering

Future autonomous car firms may choose to harness personalized customer information through geospatial and navigation technologies resulting in high surveillance. When we think of self-driving cars we think of the ease of not having to drive. We are transported where we want to go and can spend our time checking our email or even watching our favorite TV shows. However, self-driving cars come with one caveat and that is increased surveillance. By their very nature, the new autonomous cars would have access to all details about your whereabouts and possibly more. Harnessing personalized customer information Will car companies and others choose to harness personalized customer information through geospatial and navigation technologies? If so, your new comfortable ride becomes a very adept method of surveillance according to new research. “Self-driving cars will represent a new mode for surveillance. Through a self-driving car’s global positioning, Continued from Cover

Auto Part Distributors Meet at the Latin Expo

Thousands of auto part distributors attend the Latin Auto Parts Expo every year. This event provides a great opportunity to meet them. The sixth edition of the expo will be in the ATLAPA Convention Center in Panama July 17-19, 2019. Max Douglas of Berryman Products said about last year’s event, “The show buyer turnout was great! I was personally pleased with the results and leads accumulated for my aftershow follow-up. This show filled a niche for my distribution into the Latin American countries.” Registration is open and free. In this edition of the expo, it features new product categories, several training sessions and an increased number of educational conferences on new technologies in the automotive industry. For more information, view the conference schedule and visit the Expo’s website at https://www


SARC 2019

Burl Richards addressed The John Eagle Case, recounting Attorney Todd Tracy’s efforts in the $42M judgment against the Texas body shop. Looming nearby was unheard but visible testimony, silently delivered by the now famous John Eagle Honda Fit. The car, delivered to the Jung Hotel, sat on a trailer outside the meeting rooms and was frequently cited during the talks as a potent reminder of shops’ liability if an accident reveals an improper repair. The meeting was relatively small, with an estimated 400 in attendance along with approximately 50 exhibitors, but the energy was good and the speakers were prompted by the audience with questions. SCRS’ Aaron Schulenburg led an active panel discussion focusing on headlines in the media drawn from Repairer Driven News. Panel ists and industry veterans Burl Richards, John Mosley and Boyd Adams, gave input. They empha-


system, navigational tools and other data collection mechanisms, companies will be able to gain access to highly contextual data about passengers’ habits, routines, movements and preferences,” explained Luis F. Alvarez León, an assistant professor of geography at Dartmouth. “This trove of personal, locational and financial data can be leveraged and monetized by companies, by providing a data-stream for companies to target customers through personalized advertising and marketing,” he added. It’s not just your locations that will be tracked. As autonomous vehicles enable passengers to spend more time engaging with media in a vehicle, the media you consume could also be tracked. Digital platforms for media companies This will also change the very nature of cars transforming “the car into a bundle of services rather than just a product.” “Automobile manufacturers may essentially become digital platforms for media companies, search engines, retailers, vendors and other companies, aiming to

sized the need for shops to focus on the important issues they have in common, and not on infighting for customers between shops. The mes-

sage given was “the threat is outside your shop, not from your competition down the street.” Mike Ganske gave a presentation on Cycle Time which was repeated due to popular demand. One particularly well-attended session was given by GM’s Sarah Booth on the GM Collision Repair Network and the associated Partner Perks program. Mitchell was also represented as it’s responsible for managing enrollment and reporting capabilities as it relates to the program KPIs. Site audits are done by VeriFacts. GM Partner Perks is a parts loyalty program that provides benefits extending beyond redeemable points to include national marketing support, training resources and business

offer services to passengers through a car’s infotainment system,” reveals the study. The growth of self-driving cars will see a merging of different technologies. “Through autonomous cars, the automotive and technology industries are likely to become more integrated with synergies across geospatial, navigation, artificial intelligence, ride-hailing, automotive and other industries and technologies,” said Alvarez Léon. However, this will make us all ever more vulnerable to tracking. Privacy and security concerns abound when it comes to self-driving cars. These are further exacerbated by the fact that specific governance mechanisms have yet to be defined by federal regulations. As the age of the autonomous car approaches, shouldn’t we be looking into effective legislation to ensure the privacy and safety of citizens? What do you think? Are selfdriving cars a more convenient form of transportation or an impending disaster of invasion of privacy? tools that GM says can help drive profitability, productivity and the bottom line. Benefits accrue from the first purchase. The focus of the GM Collision Repair Network is to: ● Create an engaged network of collision facilities that are focused on proper and safe repair of all GM vehicles ● Increase visibility into collision repairs ● Ensure technicians are properly trained and prepared to handle today’s complex vehicles ● Increase customer brand loyalty The GM Collision Repair Network will evaluate several KPIs that are not typically measured by other OEM collision certification programs. The major difference is that it will be metrics-driven and dynamic, meaning that the Dealer, MSO, or Independent Repair Facility will continuously undergo audit checks, ensuring that they maintain the proper requirements for the GM CRN program. A future article will provide more detail on the program. See also / JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


Continued from Cover

Commissioner Suspended

history, GUA made millions of dollars of profits.” According to the indictment, Beck, while working as the General Manager of Operations for the GUA, allegedly convinced four associates to form four separate businesses supposedly supplying necessary services to the GUA, including residential property inspections and water damage mitigation. Beck then allegedly produced false documentation and fraudulent invoicing to approve substantial payments to the four new companies, and under Beck’s direction, his four associates paid the fraudulent invoices from a portion of the money they’d been paid by GUA. Between February 2013 and August 2018, Beck is accused of defrauding the GUA of over $2 million. Despite Becks’ denial of charges against him, Gov. Brian Kemp called on Beck to resign in a letter which said the indictment “severely undermines your ability to fulfill your offi-

cial obligations … In light of this connection [to GUA] and the possibility of new revelations, it would be inappropriate for you to continue to hold public office. I ask that you do what is right for our state and step down immediately.” The call for Beck to resign is reinforced by the fact that, as Insurance Commissioner, his job includes dealings with the GUA, and though Beck offered to recuse himself from anything related to the association, multiple legislators supported the governor’s belief that Beck should tender his resignation. Gov. Kemp has since signed an executive order for Becks’ immediate suspension, leaving Georgia without an Insurance Commissioner until the governor appoints someone to fill the role. The suspension comes after Beck responded to Kemp, stating “It will, unfortunately, be necessary for me to spend a significant amount of my time defending myself against these false charges. Preparing for that trial will be a significant distraction from my public duties.” The FBI investigated the charges

IGONC May Triangle Chapter Meeting Sponsored by Snap-On Incorporated by Chasidy Rae Sisk

On May 7, the Triangle Chapter of the Independent Garage Owners of North Carolina (IGONC) met at Carfix in Garner, NC.

IGONC’s meeting was sponsored by Snap-On Tools who supplied food, beer and fun giveaways. Credit: Courtesy of Chasidy Rae Sisk

According to IGONC Executive Director Bob Pulverenti, “The meeting was sponsored by SnapOn Tools who supplied food, beer and fun giveaways. There were three Snap-On route trucks, a techno truck, tool-box truck and live diagnostic equipment demos. The attendees had a great time and loved the swag Snap-On handed out and the food truck!” Board member Mike Allen 6

hosted the meeting at his shop. Pulverenti added, “Going to a member’s shop is always fun and interesting for a change. The meeting went very well.” IGONC’s goal is to allow members to network and get connected to sponsors, he said.

There were three Snap-On route trucks: techno truck, tool box truck and live diagnostic equipment during the Triangle Chapter’s May 7 meeting. Credit: Courtesy of Chasidy Rae Sisk

“Association events are important, because they build community and make our members aware of programs they can participate in and training sessions that are available to them,” Pulverenti said. For more information about IGONC and its future events, visit


against Beck, and in a statement, FBI Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Chris Hacker stated, “The FBI investigation found that Beck abused the trust of friends and his employer (GUA) in an elaborate scheme to enrich himself at GUA’s expense. The indictment is a testament to the fact that the FBI will expend all resources necessary to hold those who seek to enrich themselves through fraud and deceit accountable for their actions.” If convicted, Becks’ permanent removal from the position of Insurance Commissioner could prove detrimental to the state’s collision repair industry. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) consumer liaison Erica Eversman identified Beck as one of the insurance commissioners receptive to the collision repair industry’s

concerns about insurance companies refusing to pay for OEM procedures. During his campaign, Beck visited the Georgia Collision Industry Association (GCIA) and expressed his desire to protect consumers against insurer complaints. Attorney Thomas reiterated Beck’s desire in a statement: “We are pleased to note that these allegations do not relate to Jim’s performance as the Commissioner of Insurance where, among other things, he has led the fight against insurance fraud. The allegations relate solely to his prior work experience at a private, non-governmental association for insurance companies. Jim looks forward to continuing his work as Insurance Commissioner protecting Georgia consumers.”

Call or Email Now for Rates: AUTOBODY

800-699-8251 / JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


Knoxville I-CAR Golf Outing Benefits CREF by Chasidy Rae Sisk

On May 22, the Knoxville I-CAR Committee held its annual golf fundraiser at Avalon Golf Course in Lenoir City, TN. “The event was a huge success with good attendance and beautiful weather,” said Fran Stidham, education chair for the committee. “We had more than 80 golfers in addition to the committee and T-CAT volunteers.” The Knoxville I-CAR Committee hosts this annual event to raise funds for the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF). The committee believes this event is important, because it allows them to “help students in our industry be prepared for career opportunities by assisting them financially,” Stidham said. “Events like this support our industry in many ways. It builds a bridge between shops, insurance companies, vendors and vocational trade schools. We are hoping for an even larger event next year.” For more information about the Knoxville ICAR Committee, visit facebook .com/ICARKnoxville.


Virginia Beach, VA, Veterans Recipients of Recycled Rides by David Macaulay, The Virginian-Pilot

When Army veteran Cheryl Wiggins bought a lemon last year, she began to despair she would ever gain a reliable set of wheels to get around Hampton Roads again. Then the insurance company GEICO stepped in to give her a refurbished car through the Recycled Rides program in early April. The Recycled Rides program was set up by the National Auto Body Council (NABC) in 2007. Insurers including GEICO, collision repairers, parts vendors, paint suppliers and other companies have helped deserving people who need cars since 2007. The partners repair cars that are damaged in crashes. Wiggins said she served in the Army in the 1980s and the 1990s. The graduate of Granby High School in Norfolk, VA, served seven years active duty and ten years in the reserves. She returned to Norfolk in 2006. Wiggins who now works in housing redevelopment has been without a car most of the time since 2015 when her son Christopher left home to study. “In 2015 my son went to col-


lege. There was a balance in tuition. It was either the car or the tuition. I could not do both,” Wiggins said. To make matters worse, she bought a Nissan Sentra that kept breaking down in 2018. “It was a terrible transaction. I bought it sight unseen,” Wiggins said. Although she didn’t know it at the time, she had been recommended for the Recycled Rides program three years ago by Mission United, a nonprofit. “They contacted Recycled Rides. I had contacted them for financial support when I needed knee surgery,” she said. “I had no idea I was on their radar—it’s amazing.” She was presented with a refurbished 2015 Ford Fiesta at GEICO’s offices on Perimeter Parkway in Virginia Beach on April 3. Wiggins, who now lives in Virginia Beach, has relied on public transportation for the last four year, although her employer provides transportation on a bus to-and-from work. “There are no words to describe how I feel. I have been given the opportunity to have a new car with no payment attached,” she said.

Wiggins said the only advantage of not having a car was she walked more. “I lost 40 pounds,” she said. GEICO and Hall Body Shop also presented a recycled ride to Iraq veteran Susie O’Kelley and her husband George O’Kelley who received a 2015 Chevy Impala in March, in Norfolk. “The couple’s hardship included a brief separation from their two small children when they ended up homeless and sleeping in their car,” GEICO said in its news release. “Through the help of STOP Inc. (Supportive Services for Veteran Families and Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program), Susie gained needed housing and employment.” The O’Kelleys, who live in Isle of Wight, were unable to afford repairs on their 2002 Isuzu Rodeo, GEICO stated. “This vehicle will give them the reliability required to make necessary medical appointments and school functions,” GEICO said in its release. We thank for reprint permission. / JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


Automotive Students Win Awards at SkillsUSA NC Competition

Maaco Launches Strategic Southeast Expansion Plan by Staff, Maaco Collision Repair and Auto Painting

edge and skills to repair, service and maintain all types of automobiles. The collision repair and refinishing technology program prepares individuals to apply technical knowledge and skills to repair, reconstruct and finish automobile bodies, fenders and

by Staff, The Mountaineer

Two Haywood Community College automotive students brought home top awards from the North Carolina SkillsUSA competition. Enrique Muro-Castillo, an automotive-systems technology student, was awarded second place in the automotive systems event. Aaron Howard, collision repair and refinishing technology student, placed fourth in collision-repair event. SkillsUSA NC is the largest showcase of Career and Technical Education in North Carolina. This annual leadership and skills conference brings together over 1,900 North Carolina high school and postsecondary students to compete in over 100 hands-on trade, technical and leadership contests. Over 100 business and industry partners support the contests. The support of industry members, who serve as judges and contributors, allows students to gain accurate real-world experience. HCC’s automotive systems technology program prepares individuals to apply technical knowl-

Maaco, the nation’s largest paint and collision repair franchise, announced on May 20, 2019, a strategic regional growth initiative targeting more than 20 key existing markets in the Southeast. The proactive resale strategy will launch the brand into a new era, creating a stronger presence to support the company’s mission of restoring the safety and appearance of millions of vehicles. As part of the franchising resale initiative, Maaco is focused on expanding its regional footprint in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee with qualified multiunit investors who are motivated to pursue aggressive growth goals in their territories and diversify their portfolios in a strong industry like the aftermarket. This highly calculated approach includes the opportunity to reopen existing Maaco centers in major markets across the south, including Atlanta. “This proactive resale initiative will revitalize the franchise system and bring in a new generation of franchisees who are able to

Enrique Muro-Castillo and Aaron Howard, Haywood Community College automotive students, won awards for automotive systems and collision repair. Credit: The Mountaineer

external features. Students can pursue an associate degree, diploma or certificate, as well as certificates in diesel or mobile equipment and repair. Registration for the fall semester is underway now. For more information about automotive programs or registration, visit or email We thank The Mountaineer for reprint permission.

push the edges of possibility within the territory and grow the business far beyond its previous confines,” said Jeff Todd, resale director for Maaco. “In turn, it will help drive franchise development for the long term and ensure Maaco’s stronghold in the South persists and continues to operate at its highest potential.” The ideal Maaco franchisee is someone who has strong sales and marketing capabilities and has a commitment to following a proven game plan. They are process oriented, strong business developers and adept at managing a team of technicians. Franchisees should be community focused with a desire to ingratiate the business among local residents and organizations. Individuals and teams interested in franchising with Maaco can learn more about the steps to resale ownership by filling out a short information request form at at or by contacting Maaco.Resales@Maaco .com. We thank for reprint permission.


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Hernando County, FL, Car Show: ‘Car Mania’ by Sabrina Sivert, Hernando Sun

On Saturday, May 18, 2019, Suncoast Technical Education Center’s (SunTech) automotive program hosted a car show called Car Mania. On display

Suncoast Technical Education Center’s (SunTech) automotive program hosted a car show called Car Mania. On display were approximately 50 cars. Credit: The Hernando Sun

were approximately 50 cars. There was food, a DJ, raffle and an information tent about what the automotive

program offers. Monster Transmission helped sponsor the event and Crystal Automotive brought a variety of cars to show. This event was held as a way to show the public what the program has to offer. “We wanted to be able to expose people, such as students, young adults and parents to the automotive industry,” Sophia Watson supervisor of the adult and technical program said. The automotive program helps prepare you for jobs in the automotive mechanics’ field. With this program, you will learn multiple skills. This program also offers certification and license for automotive service technicians. The automotive program has a few requirements that students must meet prior to taking the course. For example, the basic skills grade levels for this program are Math 10, Language 9, and Reading 9. For completion of the automotive program, students must pass all of the required courses, attend at least 90 percent of the class hours and then they will be eligible for the class certificate of completion. These programs are fully accredited. The program is held four nights a week Monday through Thurs-

sources manager of Monster Transmission. He added, “We are always looking for new people.” He also said the program is a great way to expose young people to the industry and to give them an idea of something they may be interested in pursuing. Crystal Automotive off of Cortez Boulevard brought with them four vehicles to show. They had a Jeep Wrangler, a Dodge Ram truck, Dodge Challenger and a Dodge Charger. They were all newer vehicles. “We came out to this event because it is Crystal Automotive off of Cortez Boulevard brought a a good way to build relationJeep Wrangler to Car Mania. Credit: The Hernando Sun ships with the automotive Central High School. Enrollment for program,” said Ron Roppolo, sales the next class course begins on June manager with Crystal Automotive. Suncoast Technical Education 1, 2019, and the new term of classes Center offers many other programs in will begin July 22, 2019. Monster Transmission has been a variety of careers. You can check out working with the automotive pro- all these courses, what they offer, avgram since the school started the pro- erage salaries of the jobs and requiregram. They have also hired many ments at their website www.sunteched students from the automotive class. .com or you may call them at 352“Events like this help us spread the 797-7091. word about the program and give us the opportunity to explain what we We thank the Hernando Sun for reprint do,” said Mike Rowshan human re- permission. day from 4 to 8 p.m. for 66 weeks. The program bounces between two local high schools—Nature Coast and / JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


Greenwood County, SC, Body Shop Owner Gets Permission to Rebuild by Adam Benson, Index-Journal

A Greenwood County, SC, man will have the chance to rebuild his auto body shop on a split-zoned property along Old Mount Moriah Road— though not without some assurances that he’ll follow planning guidelines. On Tuesday, June 4, the County Council voted 4-2 in favor of a request by Kendrick Williams to overturn an earlier decision that made his .6-acre parcel on 308 Old Mount Moriah Road exclusively residential. Until a fire struck the site in November 2018, it had been bisected into commercial and residential. Williams used the unique designation to run his Lil Hawk’s Body Shop. In February, the council voted to support a Planning Commission decision to keep the property solely residential, but Williams asked for relief, saying the business was his livelihood. County officials were swayed enough to reconsider, but told Williams he needed to improve relations with his neighbors—several of whom complained about noise,

foot traffic and blight. “I reached out to all the neighbors again and I’ve been getting a response they’re happy with,” Williams said, adding that he installed a privacy fence along the perimeter. “I just want to get my business back.” Dusty Steele, a mechanic and long-time business associate of Williams, said Lil Hawk’s was an honest operation with a good reputation in the industry. “This property has been a body shop since the early 70s. We’ve always tried to respect the neighbors as much as possible. I’ve towed cars for him in the middle of the night and I’ve actually turned my lights out. That’s the man’s livelihood and he really needs to be able to put his shop back up,” Steele said. “It’s a tragic thing that happened—it hurt his income and his family.” Steve Brown, County Council chairman, said he drove past Williams’ property shortly before the meeting and had concerns about several vehicles in a state of disrepair visible from the road. “I personally want to vote to give you back this property as commercial use, but I also want

you to help us out and I think you still have some work to do,” he said. “There are some clunkers that are still sitting down there. A body shop and a junkyard are two different things.” Brown and Theo Lane, council member, who both voted to restore the split zoning status, told Williams he’d be watched closely to ensure his business doesn’t encroach on the residential portion of his land. “By you standing before us tonight, are you committing to us that you will not use that residential parcel for any commercial purposes? You’re going to have to build and work your business on the one commercial lot,” Brown said. “Yes sir,” Williams replied. Along with Brown and Lane, council members Edith Childs and Robbie Templeton voted for the rezoning, while Mark Allison and Chuck Moates were opposed. Councilwoman Melissa Spencer was absent. A final reading on the issue is expected later this month. We thank Index-Journal for reprint permission.

Gerber Collision Acquires Location in Trussville, AL

The Boyd Group Inc. announced on May 16 the acquisition of a collision repair center located in Trussville, AL. This location previously operated as Myers Auto Collision Repair, servicing this market since 1988 and from the current location since 1997.

Trussville is an eastern suburb of Birmingham and was included in Money magazine’s top 100 best places to live in America. The Birmingham Metropolitan Statistical Area is rapidly approaching 1.2 million people. “We’re excited to enhance our presence in this region and look forward to providing the excellent service customers in the Birmingham area have come to expect,” said Tim O’Day, president and COO of the Boyd Group. “We also look forward to better assisting our insurance partners in this growing market.”

IGONC Hosts Training Session on ‘Selling With Confidence’

use additional tips and tricks to make it easier to explain repair needs to On May 4, the Independent Garage customers and the costs associated Owners of North Carolina (IGONC) with them.” “We always get a lot of great held a training session on “Selling With Confidence,” presented by Rick feedback from our training classes White of 180BIZ at the LaQuinta Inn with White. He is great at offering & Suites in Durham, NC. The full- new ideas to keep shop owners growing their business, and they really appreciate his easy and personable teaching style,” Pulverenti said. “While we plan these events to support our members, we also welcome nonmembers.” IGONC hosts training sessions in order to provide support and information to association “Selling With Confidence” seminar sold out. Credit: members to help them Chasidy Rae Sisk grow their businesses. “Only someone in the busiday session included lunch and focused on increasing sales in the shop. ness knows what other shop ownAccording to Bob Pulverenti, ers are going through and can offer IGONC executive director, “The them the targeted information they event was exactly what we were need,” Pulverenti said. hoping for. We had a sold-out crowd for a day of training targeted toward For more information on the IGONC shop owners and service advisors. and its upcoming events, visit igonc Even natural business people can .com. by Chasidy Rae Sisk




800.472.0382 423.763.0367 423.763.0327 Fax 301 E 20th St. І Chattanooga, TN 37408

Parts Hours M-F 7:30am - 6pm / JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


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

National Associations with Stacey Phillips

FCA Certified Collision Care Program Elevates the Focus on Proper Repairs Autobody News recently reached out to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to learn more about the FCA U.S. LLC Certified Collision Repair Program and the role of Assured Performance Network. FCA shared

how body shops can find out more information.

Can you please tell us what prompted Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to establish the FCA Certified Collision Care Program?


In 2011, we recognized the importance of assisting our Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep®, Ram and Fiat customers through every stage of the ownership cycle, including the unfortunate occurrence of an accident. With vehicles that feature ever-increasing levels of technology and complexity, it was important to offer customers a network to turn to for safe and proper collision repair. In July 2012, we launched the FCA U.S. LLC Certified Collision Repair Program. It is the first OE certification program managed through Assured Performance Network, the largest OE


The FCA U.S. LLC Certified Collision Repair Program was launched in July 2012. Credit: FCA

highlights about the program as well as the type of training offered and



certification group in the U.S. We currently have 1,847 shops that are part of the program.

shops have the right tools, equipment, training and modified facilities to be able to provide a proper repair. What are some of the highlights you would like to share with collision repairers and others in the industry about the program?


Mopar, established in 1937, is the official service, parts and customer care brand for FCA U.S. vehicles — Chrysler, FCA said its certified shops utilize the right tools to safely and properly repair vehicles to FCA standards Dodge, Jeep®, Ram and and procedures. Credit: FCA Fiat. Mopar’s top priority is to deliver owners the confidence and What is the role of Assured peace of mind that comes through rePerformance Network? pairs made at an FCA certified body shop with the use of OEM replaceAssured Performance Net- ment parts. Our program seeks to be work facilitates the program a convenient OE partner for repair See FCA Certified, Page 18 on behalf of FCA and certifies that







Rick Hendrick MOPAR Southeast Wholesalers / JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


Continued from Page 14

FCA Certified

centers while requiring industryleading adherence to OE repair methods. For example, FCA has developed a list of the necessary equipment that is driven more on capability specifications rather than specific brand name tools. For all of our vehicle owners, Mopar is there every step of the way on their customer journey, and that includes safe and proper collision repair through a trusted network.

Q: A:

also partner with certified shops to offer customized mailers to Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep®, Ram and Fiat vehicle owners in certain zip code proximity to their locations.

Q: A:

What type of training is offered for certified shops?

For 2019, we have continued to invest in both web-based and in-person training on how to correctly repair, scan and recalibrate FCA vehicles. We are taking a closer look at our network’s performance/capabilities and ensuring we have the right shops in the network for our customer experience.

What are the benefits of being part of the certified program?

Participation in the program elevates the focus on proper repairs. Through our partner network, we are able to require repair methods and training levels that only about 10-15 percent of the industry can meet, and we feel that’s a great service for our customers. Another benefit for our Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep®, Ram and Fiat owners


is access to a network of shops where they can feel confident the focus is on safe and proper repair. Our certified shops have the right tools in their toolbox to safely and properly repair vehicles to FCA standards and procedures.

Mopar is the official service, parts and customer care brand for FCA U.S. vehicles. Mopar-modified Ram 2500 Heavy Duty and a Jeep Gladiator shown in photo. Credit: FCA

FCA works closely with our shops to spread the word that they are part of our trusted network, and we feel this is another great benefit of our program. We host a certified shop locator on the Mopar owner website and the owner mobile app. We


How can collision repair facilities find out more details about the program?


For more information on the FCA U.S. LLC Certified Collision Repair Program, visit http://


For more information about Assured Performance Network, visit https://

CIECA Announces Executive Director Departure CIECA announced on June 6, 2019, that Fred Iantorno, CIECA’s executive director, has officially resigned from his position effective July 31, 2019. “We are incredibly appreciative of the contributions that Fred has made to CIECA over the years and he will be truly missed,” said Steve Betley, CIECA’s chairman of the board. Iantorno became executive director of CIECA in July 2002. During his leadership, Iantorno helped build over 200 messages and all of the codes needed to provide meaning to those messages. In addition, he was instrumental in the implementation of the messages to improve the operation and bottom-line of CIECA’s member organizations. “Where I have taken CIECA has been an accomplishment of which I am most proud,” said Iantorno. “We are now a financially-viable organization playing key roles in impacting the industry.”

In Reverse with Gary Ledoux

Gary Ledoux is an industry veteran with 48 years’ experience in the automotive and OEM collision parts industry. His column appears exclusively in Autobody News. He can be reached at

The 1970s - Trade Associations Become a Driving Force Auto body associations had been around since the 1940s. By the 1970s, like the rest of the industry, the associations were “coming of age.” During the 1970s, auto body associations were working even harder to improve the industry. An article in the July 1970 issue of a national trade magazine notes the “rebirth” of the industry association. The article said with the revival of associations, shop owners are no longer fearful of each other. Owners have come together to make the industry a better place to work. Back then, trade magazines were full of stories about new state-level associations popping up and joining with the Auto Body Association of America (ABAA) or Independent Garage Owners of America (IGOA), to get the benefits of national representation. Most shop owners came to the realization that there was strength in numbers, especially at a

national level. Auto body associations became larger, better run and more influential within their own ranks, the government and other entities. Another article in a trade magazine, in August 1971, commented on the transition of IGOA and the future of the industry. “We are long past the day where we can view IGOA as a local civic club,” said Carl Chambers, the new president of the IGOA. “It is now a quarter-million dollar business enterprise under professional management. There’s no doubt in my mind that the future is ours.” Uniform Accounting and Dealer Shops In February 1970, the IGOA adopted a uniform accounting and management system, specifically designed for body shops. The association encouraged all shops to use it. This was

timely, since shop profitability began to emerge as a pressing issue. The system was a great idea, but shops wouldn’t embrace proper accounting practices for another ten years. Also, early in the 1970s, Michigan shop owner and head of the IGOA body shop council, Robert Ramsey proposed all IGOA state affiliates to invite dealer-owned body shops to join their group. Ramsey said this was a good idea, since independents and dealer-owned shops have similar problems and can work together to fix them. Prior to this time, a deep rift existed between dealer-owned shops and independents, so it was a brave move for Ramsey to suggest this idea. Shop Owners and Insurance Executives Talk In February, shop owners and other members of the ABAA met in New York City with insurance company

executives to discuss industry matters of mutual concern. Both shop owners and company executives were concerned about parts availability. Shop owners wanted to meet with carmaker executives. The OE’s had become their own worst enemy by ignoring the collision repair industry. Finding New Technicians Associations were starting to address the need for more trained collision repair technicians. By early 1970, soldiers were being trained for the auto body trade at Fort Bragg in North Carolina through a cooperative effort between the United States Army and the ABAA. The six-week course familiarized soldiers, close to their discharge date, with the collision repair industry. Combined Forces On the east coast, Malcom Slagel, president of the Washington MetroSee FCA Certified, Page 36 / JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


Louisiana House Bill 437 Creates Backlash Among Body Shop Owners by Chasidy Rae Sisk

State Representative Kirk Talbot (R), chairman of the Louisiana House Insurance Committee, has sponsored a bill that proposes to prevent insurers from writing a first estimate based on photos. The bill would also require shops to acquire the vehicle owner’s signed acknowledgment before using non-OEM aftermarket crash parts in a repair. House Bill 437 was pre-filed on March 29 and was formally sent to the House Insurance Committee the following month. House Bill 437 states: A.(1) No appraiser shall secure or use repair estimates that have been obtained by the use of photographs, telephone calls, or in any manner other than a personal inspection. (2)(a) An appraiser shall not require the submission of photographs or videos in order to obtain an appraisal. (b) An appraiser or an insurer as part of the appraisal process shall disclose to the owner of the vehicle that there is no requirement to submit photographs or videos in order to obtain an appraisal.

Regarding the use of aftermarket parts, the bill says, “At the time of delivery of the disclosure document required by Paragraph (2) of this Subsection, the insurer shall obtain a separate written statement, signed by the insured, acknowledging that the insured has received and understands the disclosure.” In the event that a supplement is necessary, House Bill 437 would also require the insurer to “promptly inspect damaged vehicles prior to the repairs in question.” It also allows for that inspection to be made “by personal inspection or by photographs, videos, or telephonic means, except that a personal inspection shall be required in the case of disputed repairs.” Doug Reed, owner of Complete Collision Centers in Baton Rouge and Zachary, LA, weighed in on how this bill could affect local repairers. “I agree that the initial inspection should be completed in person. Initially, I accepted virtual claims as they became more common because it had the potential to streamline the process, but we quickly found it was being used as a deceptive practice to minimize the severity of the damage,

Louisiana Anti-Steering Bill Passes House and Senate by Chasidy Rae Sisk

Louisiana House Bill 411, an antisteering bill which would require consumers to be notified of their right to choose a shop, passed the state’s House of Representatives and Senate in May. In order to become law, the bill merely needs to be signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards. According to an email written by Edwards’ communications director Shauna Sanford, “The Governor is inclined to sign the bill given the overwhelming support of the measure by the Legislature. There was no objection to the bill by the House or Senate.” House Bill 211 was introduced on March 29. Sponsored by Louisiana State Representative Terry Landry (D), along with 20 co-sponsors, House Bill 211 unanimously (88-0) passed the House of Representatives on May 15. It moved to the Senate without amendments. On June 1, the Senate also passed the bill unanimously (36-0). While Louisiana law already prohibits insurers from requiring policyholders to repair their vehicles at a specific shop, the bill adds lan20

guage, stating a carrier “shall not recommend the use of a particular motor vehicle service or network of repair services without informing the insured or claimant that the insured or claimant is under no obligation to use the recommended repair service or network of repair services.” Additionally, House Bill 211 prohibits insurers from using “any act or practice of intimidation, coercion, or threat to use a specified place of business for repair and replacement services.” If Gov. Edwards signs the bill into law, it will increase fines for steering. Current law fines up to $500 per offense, but under the new law, the Insurance Commissioner could fine an insurance company $1000 for the first offense, $2500 for a second offense within a year and up to $5000 for a third steering violation within the same 12-month period.




Autobody News

which deceives the customer for the sake of profits.” “It seems that insurance companies write such low estimates that it deceives the consumer into thinking they have little damage to their vehicle, so they either take the cash and never repair the car or they never file a claim at all, because the estimate amount is less than their deductible,” Reed added. Frank Rinaudo of Frank’s Accurate Body Shop in Slidell, LA, agreed. “The biggest concern with photo estimates is the risk to the consumer— both physically and financially—due to frequent underpayments and the likelihood that a repair will not be pursued,” Rinaudo said. Louisiana’s current laws require disclosure to the vehicle owner when aftermarket parts are used, but House Bill 437 would take it a step further by requiring the consumer’s signed acknowledgment. Reed doesn’t believe this change will make much of a difference: “If they don’t sign it, it doesn’t matter because there’s no law protecting them against aftermarket parts if they object. Choosing OE parts will cost them more money, but all of this information should be

disclosed in the policy upfront in a way the consumer can understand.” “Every time a customer walks in with insurance estimates, we review them, and 95 percent of the time, the insurer didn’t explain the difference in parts to them. We’re always the bearers of bad news. I’m all for having the customer sign off on aftermarket parts so they understand what they’re getting,” Rinaudo shares. “What happens if the consumer doesn’t sign? Are they obligated to pay the difference?” Rinaudo asks. “There’s verbiage on the estimates, but none of that is explained to the consumer, and most of them don’t understand body shop terminology.” “There’s a lot of language in House Bill 437 that I don’t agree with as a shop owner, said Reed. “I’m against anything in the bill that has language pertaining to how a body shop conducts business with an insurance company. We’re here to fix cars for the consumer, not the insurer.”


4x Monthly E-Newsletter. / JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


HABA Celebrates 10th Annual Industry Appreciation Event by Chasidy Rae Sisk

On May 14, the Houston Auto Body Association (HABA) hosted its 10th Annual Collision Industry Appreciation event at Jackson Street BBQ. The event attracted nearly 200 Houston-area shop owners, technicians, industry vendors and I-CAR representatives who enjoyed “the best BBQ that Texas has to offer.” “This year’s event was a great time for all with good food, comradery and a chance to get to know each other and attract new members, as well as door prizes and more,” HABA president John Kopriva said. “HABA thanks all the collision centers, technicians, vendors and sponsors who attended the event.” HABA held a brief business meeting during the event to update attendees on the association’s recent accomplishments and upcoming initiatives which include growing the association’s membership and addressing legislative issues in Austin. According to Kopriva, “We included a business meeting during this year’s event because we wanted everyone to know exactly what we’ve done since last year’s event.”


Kopriva said HABA accomplished many of its goals this year and people were shocked. “We had almost 100 people join us in Austin,” Kopriva said. “We talked about House Bill 1348 and I

sung Smart TV, a guided fishing trip, a golf bag, two Yeti coolers, a crawfish cooker and a sports watch. Darrell Dobbs of Scott Street Auto Parts donated a live auction raffle prize which included a bottle of Crown

told them to not to be disappointed –more people know who we are now and we made a lot of headway.” Additionally, Kopriva presented Larry Cernosek with the association’s President’s Award. “As HABA’s Legislative Coordinator, Larry worked tireless hours helping to prepare for House Bill 1348 and organizing Collision Day at the Capital to support and advance the bill known as the Auto Body Insurance Accountability Bill,” Kopriva said. “Thanks to Larry, we got a lot done in Austin this year.” Among the many door prizes, attendees received a 65-inch Sam-

Royal Whiskey in its original blue and gold braided bag. The bag was stuffed with an undisclosed amount of money. “Tasco Auto Color placed the winning bid for the bag and then donated the money back to the Houston Auto Body Association,” Kopriva said. “PPG Automotive Refinish then matched their donation.” HABA’s Board of Directors will be meeting in June to plan the training calendar for the remainder of 2019 and to set a date for HABA’s Annual Fall Conference. For more information on HABA, visit

“We included a business meeting during this year’s event because we wanted everyone to know exactly what we’ve done since last year’s event.” — John Kopriva


Gerber Acquires Four Locations in NV and AZ

The Boyd Group Inc. announced on May 16 the acquisition of four collision repair centers located in Nevada (three locations) and Arizona (one location). The shops are located in the Las Vegas area and Scottsdale.

These locations were previously branded New Look Collision Center, which originated in 2004 with a single shop. Additional locations opened in 2011, 2017 and 2018. “These acquisitions reinforce our brand and we are excited to continue providing high-quality service to customers in this region,” said Tim O’Day, president and COO of the Boyd Group. “We are eager to also better assist our insurance partners by expanding our footprint in this growing area.” Obtained via Newswire. / JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


Hodges Collision Centers based in The Woodlands, Texas, Named ‘Best Collision & Body Shop’ by Linda Freede, Woodlands Online

Continuing to build on their sustaining values of “Car Repair by People Who Care,” The Woodlands-based Hodges Collision Centers has claimed the special distinction of winning the Woodlands Online Best Collision & Body Shop the first time that the category was offered and on the 10th Anniversary of the Woodlands Online Decade of Excellence. “I am so proud of our entire team for this recognition, especially since the voting came from the community,” noted Steve Guinn, president/CEO of Hodges Collision Centers. “Each of our locations has won awards for their customer service and quality work, but what puts us on top almost every time is how our Hodges Collision team goes over and above to support not only our customers, but the communities where we are located. We are grateful to all of the people who voted for us and realize the honor of being named the Best of The Woodlands and all that goes with it.” He continued, “I have been in this business a long time and have seen the industry go through major

changes. I am appreciative that we are in a position to give back—we enjoy supporting those non-profits in our communities that may touch our hearts, need a helping hand or a sponsorship that makes a difference.” Guinn started his organization with the purchase of one autobody shop and has either acquired or built them from the ground up to create the Hodges Collision Centers organization, the largest independent body shop in the Houston area. It is owned and operated by professionals who combine extensive automotive experience with successful practices of customer care and marketing borrowed from other service industries. Guinn has been recognized by various organizations for his professionally run organization. The Houston Business Journal named Hodges Collision Centers a finalist for the 2014 Fast 100 awards, which honor Houston’s fastest-growing private companies with finalists coming from every corner of the Houston economy. Hodges earned citywide recognition as Houston Chronicle’s “Ultimate Body Shop” for 2003 and 2004, and

they were named Best of the Woodlands 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019. Because Hodges Collision Centers are ASE, I-CAR Gold and I-CAR Welding certified, their technicians receive regular training to help ensure proper repairs. The I- CAR Gold Class is the most difficult certification that can be obtained within this industry and the first five Hodges locations are I-Car Gold for 2018 & 2019. The Hodges Collision—Rayford Road location was recently named the prestigious Liberty Mutual Insurance ‘Shop of the Year’ 2019 for the State of Texas. And the Hodges Collision Lane Ln, The Woodlands location was named as a Geico ‘Shop of the Month’ three out of four months. Huge accomplishments in their industry and each location met rigorous criteria to achieve their honors. At each of their six locations, Hodges Collision uses state-of-theart equipment, quality parts and materials, and always meets a series of stringent standards that are audited on a regular basis, ensuring the quality of their service. A member of The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce, Guinn

also sits on the Liberty Mutual and the Safeco Advisory Boards. As part of their company culture, Hodges Collision Centers supports many community non-profits such as Montgomery County Youth Services, Texas Autism Academy and Inspiration Ranch, as well as other local community events. No matter which location, Hodges Collision offers its customers a lifetime guarantee on their work and provides a Customer Satisfaction Audit program. Their six locations at Lane Ln, The Woodlands; Rayford Road in Spring; HWY 249/1960 West Tomball location; a facility on FM 1488 in Magnolia, Nichols Sawmill Rd, Magnolia; and the newest location in Deer Park, Texas offer hours of operation from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information visit www We thank Woodlands Online for reprint permission.


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In Reverse with Gary Ledoux

Gary Ledoux is an industry veteran with 48 years’ experience in the automotive and OEM collision parts industry. His column appears exclusively in Autobody News. He can be reached at

The 1970s - Part 2 - The OE’s Become Their Own Worst Enemy See Part 1 in June, 2019

The American fleet had grown exponentially by the 1970s. This growth has led to an influx in business for many body shops. Vehicle manufacturers were all about new cars, new models and the next great gizmo to help sell more cars. However, little thought was given to parts and service. Manufacturers had developed their network of dealers—and, it was up to those dealers to take care of the customer after the sale. The problem was that there were not enough dealers with body shops to handle the level of business the new cars created. It would be years before the OE’s realized they had to provide better support to the industry and to independent shops. Availability of parts from automakers was limited and therefore, it was not an OE’s first priority. Fred Jones, Pennsylvania shop owner, testified before a Senate Subcommittee, investigating the high cost of auto repair states. Jones continued to say that repairers cannot depend on parts deliveries from the big three automakers. He said he waited 28 days for parts on a Ford, 69 days for Buick parts and 37 days for Plymouth parts. He noticed that many new parts came in damaged. The repairer can go back to the dealer who claims the damage was produced by the trucking company, but it is difficult to make a claim. Even if a claim is made, the trucking company may or may not pay it. If the dealer will not compensate the shop for the repair, the shop must eat the cost. Jones continued to share his input on pricing. He said many dealers now receive wholesale compensation to help defray their reduction in gross profit when they discount parts to the independent shop. However, many deals do no avail themselves of the program and continue to sell parts to shops at a price, which gives the dealer-owned shop an unfair advantage. At the time, a dealer could give an independent body shop a discount of 10% off the MSRP 26

price and 15% off if the shop was a great customer. Furthermore, insurance companies are having cars towed from Jones’ yard to have them repaired at other shops, for what is claimed to be a lower price, without knowing what his price was, Jones’ said. The pressure for American automakers to provide better parts availability began to surge in the spring of 1970. Roy Lovell, claims manager for Nationwide Insurance, instructed all of his field people to alert him of any parts delays. Lovell planned to document any delays and bring the information to Senator Phillip Hart, the man in charge of the Senate Subcommittee, investigating the automotive industry. The industry has made it clear: the need for expedient parts delivery to collision shops is increasing. American Motors Corporation (AMC) heard the industry’s cry and announced the creation of an expanded corporate parts distribution division. Michael Lonergan is now the division’s general manager. In March of 1971, AMC announced that they had a new computerized parts ordering system, which enabled them to maintain an order performance level of 92%–higher than any other domestic car company. A part ordered through the system can be in the dealer’s hands within 24 to 72 hours. This all sounds good, until one realizes that this was part of an intricate distribution system—driven at the OE dealer level—a level with less technology and sophistication. In the early 1970s, dealers had four different ways (and slight variations thereof) to generate a parts order: Computerized system – ADP and Reynolds and Reynolds (R&R) came up with similar programs designed to control inventory and generate parts orders. Expensive systems as such can be effective for those larger dealers who can afford them. Pad system – Both ADP and R&R had systems whereby the dealer’s entire parts inventory was up-


loaded onto a computer along with the amount in stock. The results were printed on a “pad” of paper and delivered overnight to the dealer. The dealer then noted additions to and deletions from the inventory by placing “tick” marks in the proper column next to each part number. Periodically, the pad was returned to the computer at the company headquarters and a new, updated pad returned to the dealer. Based on parts movement, the system could then be used to generate a suggested parts order. This system was slow, prone to inaccuracies and not very efficient. Cardex system – Some of the smallest dealers kept track of their parts inventory by generating a 3X5 card for each part number in their inventory. Each day, a clerk would have to review every repair order and retail parts ticket generated the previous day, and mark on each card

what was sold, or what came into the inventory from an incoming parts order. Then, the clerk would review each card and determine if an order for the parts was needed. Seat of the Pants system (SOTP) – This system suggests that the dealer had no order-generating system at all. Except for the periodic ordering of some very fast moving items like oil filters or spark plugs, nothing was ordered until a customer requested it. The dealer also had a few different ways to order parts from their OE warehouse. Again, depending on the OE, these methods had different variations. Stock order – This order type was designed to allow the dealer to replenish their own stock. Typically, it provided the most benefits to the dealer—free freight, additional disSee Their Own Worst Enemy, Page 50 / JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


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National Associations with Chasidy Rae Sisk

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

ASA Annual Business Meeting and Conference Exceeds Expectations On April 30-May 2, the Automotive Service Association (ASA) hosted its 2019 Annual Business Meeting and Conference at the Hurst Conference Center, in Hurst, Texas.

and where we are going. In addition, new officers are sworn in and election results are announced,” said Tony Molla, ASA vice president. The meeting began on Tuesday, April 30, with a joint meeting of ASA’s Board of Directors, Affiliate Executive Directors and Affiliate Board Chairman/President of Collision and Mechanical Opera-

Bob Cooper of Elite Worldwide presented a two-part class on pay plans. Credit: Chasidy Rae Sisk

“ASA’s Annual Business Meeting is a combination of business management and technical training. It allows members and leaders to network and to learn the latest information on what the association is doing


Roy Schnepper, ASA outgoing chairman (center), is flanked by his wife, Roseanna and Ray Fisher, ASA executive director, as he is presented with the traditional ASA Chairman’s Ring. Credit: Chasidy Rae Sisk


tions Committees. There was also an Advanced Driver Assist System (ADAS) calibration class for both collision and mechanical members, provided courtesy of Standard Motor Products.

Jeremy O’Neal of Advisor Fix did double duty at the meeting in serving as co-moderator of the Recruitment & Retention panel and providing two classes for the shop-owner attendees. Credit: Chasidy Rae Sisk

On Wednesday, April 30, additional training opportunities included a class on pay plans presented by

Bob Cooper of Elite Worldwide and a vehicle design and technology class taught by Tom McGee, courtesy of Spanesi USA. Sarah Fraser of Haas Performance Consulting provided a presentation on Generation Z—outlining the difference between Generation Z and millennials.

Sara Fraser from Haas Performance Consulting presented an informative session on the differences between millennials and Generation Z. Credit: Chasidy Rae Sisk

“The interesting takeaway here proved valuable as an employer and

as a customer,” said Ray Fisher, ASA executive director. “It really helped you understand why their thinking process is different from boomers— not in a ‘bad way’ either, just different influences.” Molla moderated a Recruitment and Retention panel, on the afternoon of April 30, featuring panelists from TechForce Foundation, ASE

Education Foundation, AMi, Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) and the U.S. Department of Labor. Jeremy O’Neal of Advisor Fix also taught two informative sessions. In addition, a variety of board meetings and committee meetings were held throughout the conference. Lastly, ASA hosted its annual awards dinner on the evening of April 30. “The ADAS training and Recruitment and Retention Panel discussion was well received,” Molla

said. “We were glad to receive some suggestions for next year along with positive feedback. The event exceeded our expectations.”

ment, most of our news and information is delivered electronically. While this is certainly efficient, it can’t replace the value of personal interactions and networking as part of a robust involvement in the industry—it’s always better when you can put a name to a face.” During the ASA updates, Fisher announced the launch of its new ASA app, which can be found in any phone’s app store. The Recruitment and Retention panel explored the resources “We partnered with Moavailable from a variety of organizations to help shop owners bileSoft to develop a new find the talent they need. (l to r: Tony Molla, ASA VP of tool for our members to get Industry Relations; Christen Battaglia, CREF; Trish Serratore, ASE Education Foundation; Jeff Peevy, Ami news and information on President; Roxann Griffith, US Department of Labor; the go, with additional feaand Jennifer Maher, TechForce Foundation). Credit: tures like an ASA Member Chasidy Rae Sisk Shopfinder, industry events, The ASA’s goal is to advance legislative news and member beneexcellence in the service and repair fits,” said Molla. “MobileSoft can industries. Molla said one of the ben- also provide a customized mobile efits of the meeting, aside from the app for any ASA member business at training and education, is the ability a very affordable price as part of our member benefits.” to network with like-minded peers. “It’s important for our members to have the opportunity to meet face- For more information on ASA and its to-face at least once a year,” Molla future events, visit “In today’s connected environ- nualmeeting.

Dave Luehr’s Body Shop Presents ‘Human Triggers’

Dave Luehr’s Elite Body Shop Solutions announces the next installment of the FREE Elite Webinar Series. “Human Triggers: How to influence customers to choose your shop over the competition” will feature Ryan Taylor, CEO of BodyShop Booster, on Thursday, May 30, at 1 p.m. Central. To register, visit: https://events.genndi .com/channel/May2019EliteWebinar. Those who are unable to attend the live event can watch the recorded webinar by joining the Elite Body Shop Academy for free at http://www.elitebodyshop This action-packed webinar will show attendees the fastest way to grow their shop by using behavioral triggers that will influence customers’ buying behavior. “This will be Ryan’s second time presenting with us on our Elite Webinar series,” said Luehr, founder of Elite. “The feedback from his last presentation received so much praise for its cuttingedge practical information.”

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Shop Management with Ed Attanasio

Are You as High-Tech as Your Customers? No one wants to take their car to a body shop. The customer is either mad someone hit their car or embarrassed, thinking the accident was their fault. Collision repair is not an impulse buy, but it’s a service that is needed; so, people want the process to be fast and convenient. Now, collision repairers are leveraging technology to better accommodate customers. Consumers used to utilize any form of technology that made their collision repair easier. Nowadays, people expect technology to make their lives easier in every realm. Everyone—from seniors to millennials—are no longer afraid of cutting-edge technology they don’t understand, but do value, such as computer-based systems, automation, robotics, artificial intelligence and more. Tech-savvy customers are hard to impress. The true test of any new form of technology is when it becomes a daily part of our lives. Megan Williams, chief marketing manager at Lefler Collision & Glass Repair oversees marketing for this 66-year-old MSO with three locations in Indiana and one in Kentucky. “While the collision repair industry as a whole is outdated in terms of processes, we are experiencing a shift in service due to the addition of technological advancements,” she said. Technology is changing the world every day and body shops tapping into it are benefitting as a result. Body shops on the cutting-edge will excel, while late adopters will suffer. Below are three types of technology that can help make body shops become accountable and efficient while creating consumer confidence and trust.

Videos In the old days, you dropped off your car for repair and wouldn’t see it AUTOBODY


again, until the job was complete. Now, however, thanks to video technology, you can play a significant role throughout the entire repair process. Vehicle manufacturers are developing video technology that will empower car owners to find out about things such as scratches and dents that occur during transit, including the date and time of the incident while overseeing the repair process. Mercedes is a company that offers an IP solution, incorporating video surveillance software and IP cameras. Exterior cameras are able to record every aspect of the vehicle being loaded onto the showroom, including every license plate number. This technology allows users to access live video via the Internet instantaneously.

Apps People have an average of 35 apps on their devices. As a result, developers worldwide are clamoring to meet the demand. Collision repairers realize that apps used to transmit data about their various services and specials is a great way to get more business. Today’s car owners are more aware of technology; therefore, body shops are looking for ways to cater to today’s mobile customers. Apps are gaining momentum, Williams said. “Thanks to the ‘Amazon effect,’ consumers, like us, are looking for ways to incorporate technology into our everyday lives,” she said. “You can see this in our day-today behaviors such as ordering Starbucks from their app, so it is ready for us upon arrival, Prime shipping on Amazon and Target with their new order and drive-up service.” Apps help make body shops more responsive to their customers through software techmology such as UpdatePromise, the 3M Free Collision Repair App and Bodyshop Booster, among others. Williams sees value in the colli-



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

sion repair industry’s plethora of new apps. “Applications such as Bodyshop Booster make it possible for us to capture business during times where we are not open, but people still need to get in touch with us,” she said. “36 percent of individuals want to do business with us while we are closed, according to Mike Anderson’s research. We are seeing more individuals prefer to have text updates via CCC rather than phone calls, as it allows them to be updated more frequently and not have disruptions throughout their day.” Blogs Blogs are playing a major role now too, as shops educate consumers about their cars with helpful tips about different aspects of their vehicles and how to repair them. Blogs create a smarter customer—they have to tap

into technology to satiate their hunger for more. Experts forecast that the rapid evolution of in-car technology and consumer-focused mobile apps will place consumers firmly in the driver’s seat when it comes to repairing their cars. At the end of the day, technology makes our lives easier, but superior customer service remains crucial, Williams said. “As CCC reported in their 2019 Crash Course, consumers who are provided opportunities to ‘save a trip’ and make the collision repair process less of a hassle are more likely to return due to the superior service they received,” she said. “Other potential benefits include reduced cycle time due to the ability to plan for the vehicle prior to its arrival, increased employee productivity due to fewer phone calls and time spent writing estimates in person.”


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for the [automaker repair] process which is why the verdict was against the body shop. They chose profits over morals.” The reality, Colas said, is that nothing prevents body shops from

for the use of OEM parts as called for in their position statements, he added. “Our position is, as creative as they are, with utilizing this mechanism to restrict the use of aftermarket parts,” Colas said. “Why don’t they use that same level of creativity to get paid [for following OEM procedures]?”

following OEM procedures. The industry regularly uses “best practices” in the many situations in which a documents OEM procedure doesn’t exist. It is “hypocritical” of the repair industry to back legislation mandating insurers to pay for OEM repair procedures if shops aren’t also required to follow them, he said. “There is no penalty against the body shop” in most of the proposed state bills, Colas said. “They’re going after the deep pocket—it’s the insurer’ fault.” Such legislation is being backed by automakers as part of their push

Colas acknowledged that proponents of some of the state bills calling for the use of OEM procedures offered assurances that the legislation was meant to address repair procedures only, not to impact parts choice. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said in December it views the OEM procedure issue as “separate and discrete from the question of what parts are used. In March, the alliance urged Connecticut lawmakers to amend the bill to make it clear it is not an effort to limit the use of non-OEM parts.

Continued from Page Cover

Non-OEM Parts

Colas said opponents of such legislation “should have never trusted them,” because automakers and shops only sought to amend the bills after the non-OEM parts industry opposed the bills in several states. The

“What we’re trying to do is make the consumer process better,” — Bill Langley

CCC’s Bill Langley said results of a survey the company commissioned showed consumers feel uninformed about choosing a collision repair shop

proponents of OEM procedure legislation want to use their own wording for any amendment related to parts rather than letting the alternative parts industry “write the exemption language” that it wants, he added. “The problem is we don’t understand the terminology they are using in different states, and what

loopholes they are creating [in the legislation],” Colas said. “They are several years ahead of us. They know what they’re planning to do— utilizing technology and processes five to ten years from now—whereas we don’t have that insight. So obviously we’re very concerned with anything they propose on our behalf. Let us propose what’s best for us and our industry.” Bill Langley, director of strategy at CCC Information Services, discussed a consumer survey commissioned by CCC that may signal the company is looking to play a larger role in how vehicle owners choose a collision repair shop. Langely said CCC worked with Magid to interview 7,000 consumers who had collision repairs to a vehicle in the previous two years. “They were very unsatisfied about finding a repair facility,” Langley said in summarizing the survey findings. “They were more satisfied with the end repair than with the process they were going through” in choosing a shop. Consumers were asked about See Non-OEM Parts, Page 39

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Continued from Page 19

Non-OEM Parts

politan Auto Body Association, and an active member of IGOA of Virginia, said the only way to solve auto body industry problems is with one voice. To achieve one voice, Slagel proposes the combining of IGOA and the ABAA—the two largest associations in the US at the time. In the early summer of 1970, members of the IGOA and ABAA met in Washington, D.C., to discuss joining the two organizations. Both associations realized they are after many of the same goals and can achieve more with one louder, single voice. IGOA and the ABAA left the meeting to discuss the issues with their respective board of directors. In the fall of 1970, members of both the ABAA and IGOA met again—this time in New York—and agreed that combining the two organizations was the right thing to do. Reasons given include: • One voice representing all industry people will have great influence in Washington, D.C. • Unification will eliminate covering

the same ground twice. • Unification will establish positive certification and standardization. • One unified group will have a greater potential for growth. • Among non-members, there will be no question as to what association to join. • Unification can establish better communications. • One voice will be better at solving many of the problems with the insurance industry. • Unification could make a national advertising program possible.

Despite the need for a single national association and among new statelevel auto body associations popping up, the ABAA said each state association must be strong. Many industry problems must be addressed with state legislators—a job best served by one state-level association as opposed to a national organization or a number of smaller, state-level associations. Among the items to be addressed at the state level are: licensing of shops, licensing of appraisers, certification of technicians and state aid for education for tech-

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nicians in the auto body industry. Trade Shows The California Auto Body Association announced that they will sponsor their second trade show and convention, known as the Western States Autobody Trade Show, at the Sheraton Palace Hotel in San Francisco. Around 6,000 people were expected to attend. Over 3,000 attended the first show held in Los Angeles in 1969. The trade show theme is “Total Involvement.” It was later reported that over 3,000 repairers and other industry people attended the show featuring 80 exhibitors with a number of companies conducting clinics. Starting perhaps in the 1950s and certainly into the 1960s, there were many small local and regional trade shows sponsored by the local auto body associations. They got little attention except in their local market, mainly because there was no national trade media. With the advent of the 1970s and nationwide coverage of the industry, these shows started to attract a larger audience. In the fall of 1970, the ABAA was getting ready for their fifth annual convention and trade show in Holly-

wood, Florida. They were expecting to have 125 booths exhibiting. The theme for the show was “Partners in Progress,” pulling together the three main components of the industry: manufacturers, body shops and jobbers. Manufacturers, in this case, refer to those who make auto body equipment. There was no mention of paint manufacturers or OE’s. However, it is not surprising about the OE’s, since they were not on good terms with the collision industry. Parts availability and parts damage was still a problem. Improved Public Image Shop owners were also beginning to become more conscious of their image and how they were perceived by the public. In the summer of 1970 at the IGOA convention in Texas, shop owners adopted a five-year plan to improve the image of shops to customers. Much of what was discussed during a five-man panel was not so much the physical condition of the shop, but more about how shop customers are treated.



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From the Desk of Mike Anderson with Mike Anderson

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

Vehicle Owner’s Manuals Help Educate and Negotiate Need for Various Procedures My friend Danny Gredinberg at the Database Enhancement Gateway (DEG) recently made available a document that includes links to each automaker’s database of online vehicle owner’s manuals. I am blown away by how useful a tool this can be. If you haven’t taken some time to review some of these manuals, you’re missing out on awesome content that can help you or your estimators with damage analysis. I know from the “Who Pays for What?” surveys I conduct with CRASH Network that only about one-third of shops say they are being paid regularly to inspect seat belts when they do it—and bill for it—as a necessary and “not included” repair procedure. However, nearly half of all shops say they’ve never sought to be paid for this critical step. The owner’s manuals are a great tool to educate your customers about

the importance of this necessary step. For example, take a look at the owner’s manual for the 2017 Nissan Armada. It states that “All seat belt assemblies, including retractors and attaching hardware, should be in-

spected after any collision. Seat belt assemblies not in use during a collision should also be inspected and replaced if either damage or improper operation is noted.” If a seat belt pretensioner has activated, “it cannot be

The 2017 Nissan Armada owner’s manual indicates when seat belts should be inspected or replaced. Credit: Mike Anderson

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reused and must be replaced together with the retractor.” Now, keep in mind, this doesn’t apply to every Nissan vehicle. The manuals are specific to the model and year of the vehicle. That’s why, like the OEM repair procedures themselves, the owner’s manuals can be more effective than automaker position statements at demonstrating the need for certain procedures to take place. I’m sure many of you have had an insurance company say they don’t want to pay for a vehicle scan, right? They may say, “I don’t care what the automaker’s position statement is.” So, again, take a look at that same owner’s manual for the 2017 Armada. It very clearly states: “If there is an impact to your vehicle from any direction, your Occupant Classification Sensor (OCS) should be checked to verify it is still functioning correctly.” The OCS, it says, “should be

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The owner’s manual for the 2017 Nissan Armada says the occupant classification sensor should be checked after any vehicle impact. Credit: Mike Anderson

A “Who Pays for What?” survey of more than 600 shops found that about 34% of those who bill to inspect seat belts are paid regularly for the procedure by the nation’s largest eight insurers. Credit: Mike Anderson

checked even if no airbags deploy as a result of the impact. Failure to verify proper OCS function may result in an improper airbag deployment resulting in injury or death.” That’s a pretty strong statement. The only way to check your OCS is with a vehicle scan. Some automakers also require a scan as part of the seat belt inspection. I think you will be surprised by some of what you can find in the owner’s manuals. One of the things I would encourage you to do is review the owner’s manual for each vehicle with the owner when they are dropping it off for repairs. If you’re certified by the automaker and equipped to conduct the inspections, you can let the customer know you will do this as part of the repair, or you can let them know you will sublet it to a dealer. Using the owner’s manual is a great way to educate your customer early in the process. Furthermore, customers want to do business with someone they trust and this is a great way to help gain their trust. In my next column, I’ll dig more into the topic of building customer trust.

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their comfort level with getting a variety of tasks accomplished, such as home or vehicle repairs. Nearly twothirds (64%) said they felt “knowledgeable” about getting a home structural repair, such as roof damage from hail or a fallen tree, handled. A similar percentage felt knowledgeable about dealing with a home appliance failure (63%), a vehicle failure that left them stranded (61%) or another major home repair such as a furnace or air conditioner failure (61%). However, only about half (54%) felt knowledgeable about how to handle vehicle body damage requiring a body shop. More than 21% of consumers said they felt “uninformed” about addressing vehicle body damage. Moreover, 15% felt uninformed about addressing a home structural repair and 17% felt uninformed about what to do when a home appliance or furnace failed. “What we’re trying to do is make the consumer process better,” Langley said.


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Truck Topics with Gary Ledoux

Gary Ledoux is an industry veteran with 48 years’ experience in the automotive and OEM collision parts industry. His column appears exclusively in Autobody News. He can be reached at

The HD Collision Market – Challenges and Opportunities Most people in the auto collision industry agree that the collision industry was born around 1946. It was during this time that service men and women were returning from the European and the Pacific theater of operations. A lot of these men and women did not have existing jobs to return to, so they would start their own business. Oftentimes, it would be an auto and collision repair business. During the 1960s, each shop was on its own. Shop owners worked independently with little to no input from other shop owners, associations or industry leaders. No one knew what was going on in the industry, because there was no means of communication. It seems as though the HD collision market is facing similar challenges the industry faced over 70 years ago. However, there are a few distinct differences. First, at the time, there were fewer HD shops than auto shops. Unlike the auto shops that seemed to be at war with everyone, the truck shops seem to want to work together. The size of the market and the desire to work together should help push the industry along at a quicker pace. Chris Sterwerf is an industry leader who argues that HD shops work better together. Shops should cooperate and speak up when needed, he said. “Shops must paint a clear picture to vendors, equipment providers, OEMs and information providers on what is needed to make sure these behemoths operate safely,” said Sterwerf, chief finance and operations officer for Fairfield Auto and Truck Service in Fairfield, Ohio. Sterwerf, chairman of TMC’s Heavy Duty Collision Repair Guideline Task Force, mentioned that in the past, HD shops rarely shared information with competitors. “Car shops tended to collaborate with shops out of their market area,” he said. “HD 20 Groups and the HD Repair Forum are now helping to connect the dots to give HD


shops the megaphone that has been needed for decades. Technology is pushing the HD collision industry along and it won’t wait. Repairers won’t have years to catch up. Training is paramount and needed now. ADAS systems are installed on the majority of new Class 8 and 9 trucks and they need repair and recalibration. All-electric trucks

could also guide policy, creating organizations like I-CAR or TMC to create training for HD repairers.” Challenge: According to some in the trucking industry, ADAS systems threaten to make trucks completely autonomous—eliminating drivers and making accidents almost non-existent—greatly reducing the need for HD collision shops.

are now operating on our highways. An inexperienced or untrained technician, making the wrong move, working on such a truck could injure or kill the technician, Sterwerf said. “CNG, LNG, Hydrogen and Propane are explosive fuels that shops need to be trained on to keep employees, property and neighbors safe,” he added. “ELD (Electronic Log Data) equipment and tracking can be difficult to deal with. Safety systems must be integrated with the tractor/power unit from the trailer and, or utility bodies. HD collision technicians need to know how to deal with these systems.” Here are a few other challenges and opportunities HD shops create. Challenge: Within the HD collision world, there is little to no formal training available. Opportunity: I-CAR has created new training content. I-CAR has also adapted existing training materials to accommodate the HD collision world. In April, Penske Collision Repair in Norcross, GA, became the first HD shop to achieve Gold Class status. It is now up to the industry to support I-CAR’s efforts, allowing them to grow and expand. “It might be possible to get collaboration between I-CAR, ASE and TMC, so the wheel doesn’t have to be reinvented, possibly creating delegations from various associations,” Sterwerf said. “The HD Repair Forum

Opportunity: In her address to the HD Repair Forum held in April in Fort Worth, Texas, Susan Alt, senior vice president of public affairs for Volvo, said fully autonomous cars and trucks of sci-fi movies will be a

“Shops must paint a clear picture to vendors, equipment providers, OEMs and information providers on what is needed to make sure these behemoths operate safely,” — Chris Sterwerf


long time coming, if ever. Alt said airplanes have had autopilot since the 1940s; yet, we still have pilots. Trains run on a very narrow pathway and can operate with little or no human intervention. However, engineers still are needed when negotiating populated areas or rail-switching yards. In addition, trucks can operate with little to no driver assistance on open highways; but, in a construction zone, warehouse yard or loading yard, a driver is still needed. The opportunity to make collision repairs will still exist, but the nature of the repairs will change. Gone will be the horrific crashes creating bent and twisted frames; much of the damage will be small. The biggest challenge will be the proper replacement of sensors, cameras, etc. to allow the ADAS system to operate properly. “Mother Nature—weather, animals, road infrastructure, etc.—still

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damages vehicles and creates the need for HD shops,” Sterwerf added. “These trucks will always need corrosion protection and reimaging— operations performed by HD body shops.” Challenge: Communication and cohesiveness between HD shops, except for shops operating in the same city, seem to be lacking. There is a gap both in communication among shops and a lack of knowledge about what is happening within the industry. Opportunity: The auto side of the collision industry operated the same way from 1946 to the early 1960s. Three things happened almost simultaneously to promote communication and cohesion within the industry. One, trade magazines began to emerge giving the industry a voice. Two, trade associations began to emerge to represent an industry as a unit and three, leaders within the industry began to emerge. On the HD side, AutoBody News has begun to bring you news of the industry. It is one column per month, but it’s a start. Trade Associations such as the TMC has begun to recognize the collision side of the business. Leaders

like Joey Fassett and Chris Sterwerf have begun making strides towards consistent and safe collision repairs. Challenge: Currently, no codified collision repair procedures exist for the HD market, which is dangerous. Some shops may be making safe repairs, but others may not. Ultimately, the shop is responsible for the repairs they make and any subsequent problems that may arise. An example of this is exemplified in the following case. On October 2, 2017, a Texas jury awarded Matthew and Marcia Seebachan a $42M settlement for the botched repair on their Honda Fit. Repair procedures from Honda existed, but the shop chose to ignore them. Had they followed the correct procedure and the car crashed with the same or similar result, chances are there would have been no lawsuit. Opportunity: Every HD shop has the opportunity to work with and support the TMC’s HD Collision Task Force to create RP’s (Recommended Practices) for safe and complete HD collision repairs. Once these RP’s are established, it will be up to every shop owner to follow them and raise the repair standards within the industry.

Challenge: While several HD collision estimating systems exist, they all seem to be lacking parts and pricing information. During a panel discussion at the HD Repair Forum in Fort Worth, one shop owner said it could take him up to two weeks to get pricing and parts availability information from an OE dealer. Meanwhile, the truck is down, not generating any income for the company, exacerbating the cost of the repair. Also, some OE’s make parts pricing available online only to a select few independent shops, as determined by the OE dealer. Some OE’s make it available to anyone; some make it available to any estimate provider, while others do not. Opportunity: Estimating information, including parts pricing and availability, is a basic tenet of collision repair. It should be a priority for all OE’s to provide this information to estimating companies, dealers and independent collision repair shops. The OE’s would do their customers great service by ensuring that their truck can be repaired in the least amount of time possible. Challenge: After hearing several

OE truck representatives speak about their current and future products, there is no question that Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are installed on a majority of new trucks coming off the assembly line. Given their acceptance within the trucking community amongst fleet owners, managers and safety officials, these systems will soon be on every new truck, retrofitted to some older fleets and become more integrated into existing systems. Trucking and HD truck repair is going to get more complicated. Opportunity: The opportunity exists to create/grow a new kind of technician—someone who will learn ADAS systems and other new technology and will be able to repair, replace and recalibrate those systems. Performing these operations in-house will create a faster repair—saving time and money for your customer with less downtime for the truck. It could be a service element that separates your shop from every other shop. The entire HD collision industry is sitting at the on-ramp of the next phase of the industry’s growth. There are plenty of opportunities to “grab a gear” and move forward.

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Industry Insight

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

with John Yoswick

Consumer Advocate Gives Industry New Voice With Insurance Regulators Eversman said the NAIC is now Ohio attorney Erica Eversman, who has long been an advocate for largely focused on healthcare issues. “There is nothing going on right consumers and collision repairers in legal battles with insurers, has now at the NAIC involving auto insurrecently become one of about 30 ance, but we intend to change that,” volunteer consumer liaisons to the Eversman said. National Association of Insurance Presentations made at NAIC Commissioners (NAIC). The con- meetings help lead the organization sumer liaisons attend the NAIC’s to have one of its committees take on a particular issue, she said. three meetings per year She presented at NAIC on that draw state insurance the John Eagle Collision commissioners and their Center lawsuit. The lawsuit staff, along with insurance referred to the dealership industry representatives. collision shop that was sued The NAIC focuses on for not following OEM reinsurance regulatory issues, often drafting or, at least, at- Ohio attorney Erica pair procedures on a vehicle, in which a Texas couple tempting to draft model legEversman was injured by, she added. islation states may adopt. In the early 2000s, for example, the Eversman said she focused on the NAIC unsuccessfully attempted to need “to have insurance companies draft a proposed regulation for states pay for OEM procedures that affect to consider the use of non-OEM safety.” When asked if that would drive parts.

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up insurance rates, Eversman said it may or may not. “But even if it did, would you rather have insurance rates go up or would you rather have unsafe cars go back out on the road just so we can keep insurance rates down?” Eversman asked. She also said auto insurers declining to pay for “proper, safe repairs” has repercussions for other insurers, such as the health insurer covering the costs of medical care for the couple hurt in the accident that led to the John Eagle lawsuit or the garage-keepers’ insurer covering the shop. Eversman said California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara seemed particularly receptive after her presentation to work with her “on solving some of these issues for consumers,” and she sensed “immediate opportunities to be able to

make a change” in New York, North Carolina, Colorado and Mississippi. “This is not to say other states wouldn’t be interested, but I didn’t have any personal interactions [at the NAIC meeting] with some of the other states,” Eversman said. Mississippi is one state in which repairers shouldn’t have trouble being paid for OEM repair procedures, she said. Following her presentation, Eversman spoke with Deputy Insurance Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Insurance, Mark Haire. “Our commissioner already mandates the use of OEM procedures. We don’t have that issue,” Eversman said Haire told her. “That was the first I’d heard of that. That could be true, I don’t know, but that was the position they took.” Eversman acknowledged that many collision repairers and shop as-

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sociations have become frustrated with trying to get their state insurance regulators to address their concerns about some claims practices by auto insurers. “Unfortunately, as I think we’ve all experienced, sometimes it seems as if the insurance commissioners are there to protect the insurance companies [rather than consumers],” Eversman said. “I certainly have had that experience.” One message she said she received at an NAIC meeting centered on the idea that shops should file complaints about insurer practices with their state regulators. “I told commissioners we sometimes get push-back—we’ve been told there are some states in which the department of insurance won’t take complaints from collision repairers—only from consumers,” Eversman said. “They told me no, that isn’t true.” She said if shops are told that, they should contact her so she can address it with the state agency involved. Complaints directly from consumers may be better, she said, “but how is the consumer supposed to know why a roof needs to be welded

rather than glued? They can’t know that.” One state regulator told her they don’t have the authority to make factual determinations about who is at fault in some disputes, she said. Getting complaints from multiple shops around a state—rather than a lot from one shop—can help demonstrate a pattern or practice and thus trigger an investigation, she added. When submitting a complaint about an insurer’s refusal to pay for a necessary OEM repair procedure, she recommended shops to stick to the facts. “Do not whine,” Eversman cautioned. “Tell them the proper way to repair the vehicle and let them know it’s a safety issue.” The NAIC website offers links to each state’s insurance regulatory agency, including a link that shows how to file a complaint in each state. Eversman also suggested that collision repairers support the re-election next year of Mike Causey, a retired life insurance executive and a former lobbyist for the North Carolina Autobody Association of Collision and Autobody Repair (NCACAR).

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Causey, a Republican, was in the news earlier this year after he alerted federal law enforcement about what he saw as an attempt to bribe him. The chairman of the Republican Party of North Carolina—one of four people indicted in the scheme—allegedly offered campaign contributions to Causey to help ensure special treatment for an insurance firm. All those indicted have denied the allegations. “Mike is the guy who wore a wire for the FBI” after he told authorities of the alleged bribery attempt, Eversman said. “Mike is a friend of this industry. He’s willing to help the industry, but we have to keep him there.” Eversman said that like the other consumer liaisons, she has a one-year term in the position at the NAIC, but can reapply this fall for another term. “Some of the consumer liaisons have been with NAIC for 15-plus years and really know the various departments and how they operate,” she said.

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Evaluating AI Tools and Applications: Tips From Tractable AI by Chasidy Rae Sisk

Technological advances in the collision repair industry are an ongoing challenge; however, when utilized properly, many of these advances, such as artificial intelligence (AI), can be a huge benefit during the repair process. Advances, such as Tractable, help develop AI for accident and disaster recovery. “Tractable’s market-leading tools use photos to automate damage appraisal—allowing partners to improve accuracy, reduce turnaround time and deliver a revamped customer experience,” said Ahmed Zifzaf, senior partnerships and marketing manager at Tractable. “One of Tractable’s AI tools is their ‘review product,’ which helps automate estimate desk reviews, by comparing the photos of a collision with the estimate that was written.” Although it’s common knowledge that AI photo-analysis solutions are increasingly being marketed across the industry and promise to lead to major changes in the repair

process, it isn’t always clear how well these solutions work. While it may seem daunting to determine how well an AI photo system works, Tractable’s educational video shares three simple steps collision facilities can use to test such solutions. The first step is to obtain a set of photos the AI has never seen. Secondly, upload the photos on the spot to the AI system and lastly, evaluate the results yourself. Tractable’s AI tool generates estimates of repair or replace decisions and a likely range of labor hours, based on the uploaded photos. During a demonstration earlier this year, Alex Dalyac, Tractable CEO, noted that the range is meant to address the “notoriously ambiguous task” of determining labor hours since experts will estimate different labor times for the same procedure. Users can configure their AI tool to specify the number of hours for a certain function. “Our AI can predict bodywork, R&I and paint time,” said Zifzaf. “In general, these need to be adjusted to

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the client as opinion times vary greatly across North America (e.g. based on the type of insurer, repair facility, etc.). In the demo, our AI outputs a range of hours instead of specific hours, but in production, we calibrate to the particular client or market area.” When it comes to the decision of repair vs. replace, Tractable AI begins with part recognition, then moves onto damage assessment and then lastly, it makes a recommended decision based on its confidence level. The system’s confidence level will depend on part visibility, photo conditions and extent of the damage. This means the AI can also interact with the person taking photos to request specific additional photos on the spot. “Confidence level can be seen as a proxy for how certain the AI is making the correct decision,” Zifzaf notes. “The decisions made can be calibrated to specific geographic areas, carriers or shops.” Tractable’s AI technology specializes in exterior damage, but it can also be used to predict damage to GEORGIA

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things like sensors via decoding the VIN and predicting the damage associated with an impacted panel. However, Tractable recommends that shops still perform a diagnostic scan on the affected components that are unseen by photos. “Our research is driven by visual algorithms, so we can get an accurate assessment of what happened to the exterior, but we recommend that shops still do their due diligence to see what other damage there may be internally,” said Zifzaf. Tractable’s AI software is able to “learn” from previous photos, said Zifzaf. “The AI is trained on millions of photos from opt-in customers and partners,” said Zifzaf. “Algorithms can work on any make and model to look at different photos and severities. This is how it learns to calculate the corresponding damage and labor hours in the future.” AI photo technology can benefit shops in several key ways. Shops can use AI for triage, Zifzaf explains, “It is inefficient for body shops to reNO. CAROLINA

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ceive vehicles that are total losses. AI total loss appraisals take seconds and can help ensure the right vehicles make it to the salvage yards instead of the shops.” AI technology can also be used for self-auditing purposes, especially for larger MSOs. Zifzaf says, “They can get started by augmenting or automating desk reviews using photo AI systems. This can allow shops to self-manage accuracy; while, allowing shop employees to spend more time focusing on customer needs and repairs. It can also help MSOs identify and promote top-performing shops.” Additionally, shops can use AI to automate and streamline estimate writing and interactions with insurers. “Body shops can calibrate AI to their accurate repair standards and reduce supplements and unnecessary interactions with the insurer,” according to Zifzaf. “This allows them to spend more time repairing cars and taking care of customers, instead of wasting precious time on other tasks that can be automated.” Zifzaf said using AI photo technology for audits can reduce risk and

liability “by increased compliance and standardization across estimates. As algorithms give consistent answers, it allows for consistent decisions to be made and therefore reduces risk and liability. A well calibrated and accurate AI is at the core of this.” Tractable is not the only AI technology available on the market. CCC offers an AI photo-estimating product, and in 2017, Audatex announced its partnership with hail photo-estimating provider CSI. When it comes to evaluating which system to invest in, Zifzaf advises, “As a first step, make sure the photoanalysis system really works. Ask to upload your own photos to the system and judge the results for yourself.” “Tractable was found in 2014 and is backed by $30M in venture capital,” said Zifzaf. “We are in production with top insurers globally and have processed over a million auto claims. Now, we are looking to engage with repair facilities on how our technology could best help them.” Feedback can be provided to”

Chrysler Recalls 343,000 Ram 1500 Trucks by David A. Wood,

A Ram 1500 recall has been ordered for nearly 343,000 trucks that need repairs to prevent the airbags and seat belt pretensioners from failing.

The 2019-2020 Ram 1500s have software problems related to the occupant restraint controllers which can disable the airbags. Nearly 296,000 of the recalled trucks are in the U.S., 38,884 Ram 1500s are recalled in Canada, another 1,817 will be repaired in Mexico and 6,154 trucks are recalled outside North America. Fiat Chrysler (FCA) says the 2019-2020 trucks have software with vulnerabilities “during powerdown memory clean-up events which can corrupt flash memory.” According to Chrysler, once

the truck ignition is turned off the occupant restraint controller begins under its own power, but data corruption is possible if the controller powers down and interrupts a memory erase process. However, the process doesn’t occur every time the ignition is turned off. If the problem does occur, a driver will see an illuminated airbag warning light, and the truck will result in fault codes internally. The real issue is the deactivation of the seat belt pretensioners and airbags. The model year 2019 trucks were built from October 31, 2017, to April 29, 2019, and 2020 model trucks were manufactured between April 8, 2019, to May 21, 2019. FCA says the recall is expected to begin July 20, 2019, when dealers will reprogram the occupant restraint controllers or replace them. Ram 1500 owners with questions should call 800-853-1403. Chrysler’s numbers for this recall are V61 and V71. We thank for reprint permission.

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Continued from Page 26

Recycled Rides Go to Three Moms

Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO), Caliber Collision and Enterprise combined their efforts to present three military moms with vehicles that were refurbished to like-new conditions. Receiving vehicles were Gloria Crothers, a volunteer and a member of the Maryland Chapter of Gold Star Mothers. Her son Michael Heed, Jr., Marine Sargent, was killed in action on July 13, 2009, serving in Afghanistan. Janice Chance, president of the Maryland chapter of Gold Star Mothers. Her son Jesse Melton III, Marine captain, was killed on September 9, 2008, serving in Afghanistan, and Lafreda Scurry who honorably served in the Army for eight years was the third recipient. “GEICO has a rich history of working with our military customers. This event is an example of our strong commitment to the military,” said Angela Rinella, vice president of GEICO’s claims operations.

Their Own Worst Enemy

counts, etc. The downside was a slow processing and delivery time, and a far time in between ordering dates. A dealer may only be able to order parts once a week, or possibly once a month. Daily order – Some OE’s allowed a dealer to order parts on a daily basis, so the parts would arrive quicker. In order to do that, the dealer must give up additional discounts and pay for the freight. Vehicle off Road (VOR) – This is the most expedient way for a dealer to get parts. A part ordered via this method could arrive at the dealer within 24 to 48 hours. The only problem is, the dealer must forfeit any extra discount they may have received, and they must pay premium fright costs—sometimes way more than any gross profit they may have made on the part. So, despite what the OE’s did with their own internal parts systems, parts availability was no better than the dealer who invested in an equally

sophisticated system and a parts manager who knew how to use it. Parts pricing was also coming under scrutiny. According to a survey conducted by the Insurance Services Office, an insurance industry trade group, the price of auto parts had risen from 6% to 30% for 1972 models compared to 1970 models. The survey was broken into two broad categories—collision-related parts and wear-related parts—for three of the most popular models on the road: the Chevrolet Impala, the Plymouth Fury and the Ford Galaxie. For the collision category, the Chevrolet Impala recorded the highest change in prices at 30%, followed by the Ford Galaxie at 16% and the Plymouth Fury at 9%. For wear parts, the Ford Galaxie was the highest at 15%, followed by the Plymouth Fury at 9% and the Chevrolet Impala at 8%. To emphasize the high cost of OE parts, studies were conducted by various entities to see how much it would cost to build a car—from the ground up—with individual parts purchased from an OE dealer. Although that information from the 1970s could not be located, a simi-

lar study in 1996 conducted by the Alliance of American Insurers. This study found that a 1996 Chevrolet Lumina with an MSRP of $19,340 would cost almost $73,000 if all the parts were purchased through the dealer network. Sadly, back in the 1970s, again in 1996 and in a similar exercise in 2001, no mention was made, by the OE’s or anyone else, about what contributed to those costs. There was no mention that parts get delivered to a car-building factory—hundreds or thousands at a time—decreasing shipping and handling costs. Conversely, no one mentioned that for a dealer to receive a part and make it available to a shop, each part must go through multiple levels of shipping and distribution, and each must be individually boxed and accounted for, all adding to cost. The price of an OE part will always present an issue. However, with the advent of the 1980s, the OE’s and dealers have increased parts availability and put a stop to shipping damage.

Acura and Honda Vehicles Recalled Again Over Takata Airbags by David A. Wood,

Honda is recalling more than 19,000 vehicles with front passenger Takata airbag inflators that may have been installed incorrectly during replacement.

• • • • •


2009-2014 Acura TSX 2011-2013 Acura TSX Sport Wagon 2010-2012 Acura ZDX 2008-2012 Honda Accord 2010-2011 Honda Accord Crosstour

• • • • • •

2012-2014 Honda Crosstour 2006-2011 Honda Civic (Includes Civic Hybrid and Civic NGV) 2007-2011 Honda CR-V 2009-2013 Honda Fit 2010-2013 Honda Insight 2009-2015 Honda Pilot

The passenger inflators were installed as replacements during previous recall repairs at numerous dealerships before May 2018. An airbag inflator that wasn’t installed correctly won’t deploy properly in a crash. The recall is expected to begin June 28, when Honda and Acura dealers will replace any affected passenger frontal airbag module assemblies. Customers with questions should call 888-234-2138. We thank for reprint permission.





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‘Tesla Fighters’ Audi E-Tron, Jaguar I-PACE, Face Recalls Over Fire Risk, Faulty Brakes by Simon Alvarez,

The Audi e-tron and the Jaguar IPACE were recently hit by twin recalls over potential safety concerns. Both companies have opted to proactively issue the safety recalls before reports of any untoward incidents concerning the vehicles emerged from owners. In the case of the Audi e-tron, water can get into the all-electric SUV’s highvoltage charging port, which could then make its way to the vehicle’s

electronics, resulting in a potential battery fire. Michael Forson, Audi etron owner and ServiceNow Director, recently noted on Twitter that not all of the electric SUVs are affected by the major electrical fault, but the German manufacturer is nonetheless taking the issue seriously. With this in mind, it would not be surprising if Audi ends up inspecting most, if not all, e-trons that have been delivered to customers thus far. The Jaguar I-PACE, on the other

hand, was recently hit by a recall over the vehicle’s regenerative braking system. According to investigators, the I-PACE’s regen brakes could ex-

hibit an “increased delay” between the point when a driver hits the brakes and when the vehicle actually begins slowing down. Jaguar is recalling all of the I-PACE that it has delivered so far, such as the 3,083 units it has sold in the United States. While Audi has yet to issue a statement about a potential fix to the e-tron’s major electronic safety issue, Jaguar has announced that it already has a solution to the I-PACE’s braking fault. According to the British carmaker, a software update is expected to address the increased delay in the all-electric crossover’s braking system, though this would not be rolled out through an over-the-air update similar to Tesla. Instead, the software update will be distributed through Jaguar’s dealer network at no cost to I-PACE owners. Jaguar is expected to

start implementing the firmware update next month. Both recalls being faced by Audi and Jaguar for the e-tron and I-PACE involves features that are among the fundamentals of electric vehicles. Charging port protection and regenerative braking systems, after all, are basics that more experienced EV makers such as Tesla, and GM for that matter (thanks to the Volt), have learned and mastered over the years. Ultimately, these recalls show that designing and producing electric cars are not as easy as Tesla skeptics might think. While credit must be given to Audi and Jaguar for recalling the e-tron and the I-PACE even before any untoward incidents happened, it should also be noted that Tesla had exhibited the same proactive reaction in the past. Last year, for example, the electric car maker voluntarily recalled 123,000 Model S built before April 2016 due to excessive corrosion in the aluminum power steering bolts supplied by Bosch. This issue, according to Tesla, could make steering the Model S heavier than usual due to the loss or reduction of power assist steering. We thank for reprint permission.

GM Digital Vehicle Platform Debuts

Today, Mark Reuss, General Motors (GM) president, debuted the company’s all-new electronic platform necessary for its next-generation of vehicles, EVs, active safety, infotainment and connectivity features, and the evolution of the Super Cruise driver assistance feature. Debuting on the recently-unveiled 2020 Cadillac CT5 sedan, the electronic platform will go into production later this year and should be rolled out to most vehicles within GM’s global lineup by 2023. The new architecture also provides more rapid communications within the vehicle itself and to outside sources thanks to Ethernet connections of 100Mbps, 1Gbps, and 10Gbps. “The critical role of software and its importance to our vehicles, both now and for years to come, cannot be overstated,” said Reuss. “Our new digital vehicle platform and its eventual successors will underpin all our future innovations across a wide range of technological advancements, including EVs and expanded automated driving.”

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Ford Explorer Police Interceptor Carbon Monoxide Lawsuit Filed by David A. Wood,

A Ford Explorer Police Interceptor carbon monoxide lawsuit alleges two California officers were killed in a crash caused by defects found in the Explorer. Stanislaus County Deputy Sheriff Jason Garner and civilian Community Service Officer Raschel Johnson were killed responding to a call, but without the lights and siren activated. According to court records, the crash occurred on May 17, 2017, when officers Garner and Johnson were traveling with Garner behind the wheel. The lawsuit alleges carbon monoxide allegedly entered the passenger compartment and caused Garner to lose consciousness. The Explorer crossed a yellow line and went off the road, accelerating to about 89 mph when the SUV struck a steel post and other wrecking yard debris. The lawsuit says the Explorer hit a storage bin and caught fire, with both occupants pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy showed Garner’s blood carboxyhemoglobin saturation level was 19 percent and Johnson’s blood carboxyhemoglobin saturation

level was 27 percent. According to the lawsuit, both levels are “alarmingly high and toxic” based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The plaintiffs claim the Ford Explorer police vehicle allowed exhaust fumes and carbon monoxide to poison the officers, because of numerous defective areas of the SUV. Alleged problem areas include: • Behind the bumper and within the interior and exterior panels • Defective rear air extractors • Rear liftgates that used defective drain valves • Sheet metal panels, overlaps, joints and seams • Rear auxiliary air conditioning parts that were defectively designed and/or located too close to the driverside rear air extractor According to the lawsuit, Ford Motor Company sent multiple technical service bulletins (TSBs) to dealerships concerning exhaust odors in the cabins of Explorers. TSB 12-12-4 was sent in December 2012 and titled, “Explorer Exhaust Odor in Vehicle,” and tells technicians, “[s]ome 2011-2013 Explorer vehicles may exhibit an ex-

haust odor in the vehicle with the auxiliary climate control system on. Customers may indicate the odor smells like sulfur.” The bulletin was followed by TSB 14-0130, titled “Exhaust Odor in Vehicle,” which added 2014-2015 Explorers to the list. According to the lawsuit, this is important because this TSB included the 2014 Ford Explorer modified for use by police departments. However, the plaintiffs claim none of the repairs in the bulletins fixed the exhaust problems and neither TSB mentioned carbon monoxide dangers. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) investigated the crash and more than a year later concluded Garner crashed the Explorer due to a health-related condition not related to carbon monoxide. An autopsy shows the driver had an enlarged heart and investigators couldn’t rule out a heart-related event caused the crash. According to the Modesto Bee, the pathologist who performed the autopsies ruled out carbon monoxide as the cause or even a contributing factor of the deadly crash. In addition, the pathologist determined both Explorer occupants had elevated levels of carbon monoxide in their blood

due to smoke from the vehicle fire. The Bee says Johnson’s autopsy report shows soot was found in her airway while Garner had no soot in his airway, a possible reason why Johnson’s carbon monoxide levels were higher. Ford denies carbon monoxide had anything to do with the crash and referenced official reports from the coroner and the CHP Multi-Disciplinary Accident Investigation Team which said carbon monoxide wasn’t a contributing factor of the crash. The automaker has faced prior lawsuits after Ford Explorer police vehicle incidents allegedly caused by carbon monoxide poisoning, including lawsuits filed by three officers in three states. In addition, Ford created a program to repair Police Interceptors after numerous agencies across the country complained about their fears. The Ford Explorer Police Interceptor carbon monoxide lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Stanislaus - Garner, et al., v. Ford Motor Company, et al. The families are represented by the Matiasic Firm, P.C. We thank for reprint permission.

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Claim Genius Joins CIECA as a Corporate Member

Claim Genius recently joined the Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association (CIECA) as a corporate member. The company’s patent-pending GENIUS suite provides insurance carriers, salvage firms and car leasing companies with an integrated AI damage estimation platform. Raj Pofale, senior technology executive and product development leader at Claim Genius, said this enables clients an instant AI assessment of claims based on photos uploaded from a carrier’s mobile app. Claim Genius first learned about CIECA through another member and decided to join the organization shortly after. “We believe that bringing the best technology practices and standardization to the industry are great initiatives by CIECA and we are excited to contribute to this goal,” said Pofale. Pofale said CIECA standards are important for the industry because they make everyone’s jobs easier.

Nissan Sides With Tesla on Camera-Based Self-Driving Approach by Simon Alvarez, Teslarati

Japanese automaker Nissan Motor Co Ltd said on Thursday, May 16, that it would be using cameras and radar in the development of its full self-driving technologies. Seemingly siding with American electric car maker Tesla, Nissan argued that LiDAR, a key component in the autonomous driving systems of competitors such as GM and Ford, is too expensive for its capabilities. Nissan’s announcement comes roughly a month after Tesla held its Autonomy Day, where Elon Musk dubbed LiDAR a “fool’s errand.” During the event, Musk predicted that companies relying on the light-based sensors would likely abandon the technology in the future. For his part, Tetsuya Iijima, general manager of advanced technology at Nissan, noted in a statement to reporters that LiDAR’s capabilities currently fail to match up to advanced camera and radar solutions. “At the moment, LiDAR lacks the capabilities to exceed the capa-

bilities of the latest technology in radar and cameras. It would be fantastic if LiDAR technology was at the level that we could use it in our systems, but it’s not. There’s an imbalance between its cost and its capabilities,” Iijima said. Iijima’s statements about LiDAR are not just empty words from the Japanese carmaker, as Nissan has unveiled its own camera and radar-focused self-driving technology recently. Unlike Tesla’s current Autopilot system, which requires drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel, Nissan’s system allows hands-free driving in single lanes on highways on predefined routes. To enable this technology, Nissan utilizes cameras, radar, and sonar sensors to compile three-dimensional mapping data, enabling the company’s vehicles to “see” their surroundings accurately. The Japanese carmaker is also developing a “TriCam” system that focuses on three points to the front and sides of a vehicle, allowing cars to capture a wide area of view.

Nissan plans to roll out its selfdriving technology even to its lineup of affordable vehicles in the future. By doing so, the carmaker expects to see a boost in sales, enabling it to recover from a profit slump. Nissan’s earnings have been rough as of late, with the company noting during a recent report that it had hit “rock bottom” amidst the aftermath of a financial scandal related to its former chairman, Carlos Ghosn. Tesla’s full self-driving strategy, which uses cameras and artificial intelligence, was explained by Sr. Director of AI Andrej Karpathy during the electric car maker’s Autonomy Day event last month. Karpathy likened Tesla’s full selfdriving approach to the way humans operate a vehicle, even joking that the event’s attendees only used their biological cameras (eyes) and neural networks (brain) to drive to the event’s venue. “You all used your own neural network in your brains to get here. You didn’t shoot lasers from your eyes to drive,” Karpathy lightly said. We thank Teslarati for reprint permission.

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