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Georgia Will Try a Region-by-Region Tax to Raise Money for Roads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Gerber Collision Acquires Evanston, Illinois Shop . . . . . 33 GM and Subaru Issue Recall for U.S. Autos Sold in Korea 33 GM Seeks Banks To Finance Subprime Buyers . . . . . . . 35 GM to End Year With 4,500 U.S. Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Gulfport, Mississippi, Mayor’s Hurricane Katrina Fraud Trial Starts July 8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Industry Pioneer Earl Scheib, Inc. Folds After 75 Years Painting Cars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Insurance Auto Auctions Moves to Macon, Georgia . . . . 6 Jay Leno ‘Not a Green Car Guy’, GM’s Volt Battery. . . . . 1 Lexus Responds to Engine Valve Spring Problem . . . . . 35 Mass. Senate Approves Right to Repair Act.. . . . . . . . . 32 McGee, Webster- Corvette Re-Initialization Procedures . 22 Mercedes-Benz USA Announces Major New Facility in Jacksonville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Mississippi, Florida AGs Putting Pressure on BP. . . . . . . 7 Nationwide Study Shows Dangers of Driving While Distracted . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 NCOIL Takes No Final Action on Model Parts Bill . . . . . 33 NJ Bill Targets Vehicles Registered Out of State . . . . . . 34 Paul Davis Restoration Opens National Training Center in FL 7 PPG-Painted Chevelle Auctioned for Project American Heroes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Schroeder - ECO-Friendly Auto Center in Oakland Park, FL, Walks the Talk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Schroeder, Matrix - Matrix System Automotive Finishes Adds Low VOC and Waterborne . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Smart fortwo Inventor Nicolas Hayek Dies at 82. . . . . . 32 Storm Shelter Funds Available to Mississippi Flood Victims 7 Suspicious Staged Accident Claims Surge 58% in Florida, Tampa Now Number One in Nation. . . . . . . . . 1 Tesla Shares Drop Below Initial Offering Price of $17 . . 29 Toyota Adding More Time to New Vehicle Development 33 Toyota and UAW Butt Heads Over NUMMI Plant Closure 34 Toyota President Apologizes to Shareholders . . . . . . . . 39 Toyota Recalls Lexus HS 250h Hybrid . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Toyota Received Complaints About Lexus Defect in 2007 37 Toyota Will Launch Green-Car Barrage in 2012. . . . . . . 36 Toyota’s Chief Test Driver Dies In German Auto Crash . 10 TRW's Collision Mitigation Braking Delivers City Driving Safety 30 U.S. Auto Sales Slow in June, Progress in Question . . . 38 Vehicle Mix is Dramatically Changing Aftermarket, Strong June Sales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 VW-Certified Collision Repair Facility Prog. Announced. 29 Weaver - Answering the Bell (‘I don’t got a gun’) and Remembering Old Sarge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Yoswick - Voices of IBIS—The Annual International Body Shop Conference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Florida Court Rejects Maine Couple’s $11 Million Lawsuit Against Mitsubishi A Maine couple shouldn’t receive $11 million from Mitsubishi Motors for the 2004 death of their son, the Fourth District Court of Appeals ruled June 16. In a 2-1 ruling, the appeals court threw out the 2008 jury verdict, saying Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Elizabeth Maass erred when she refused to let the car manufacturer show jurors charts, photos and video clips of the results of tests it conducted that disputed the theory that a faulty seat belt caused the death of 25-year-old Scott Laliberte. The experts were allowed to tell the jury that the seat belt wasn’t a factor in the rollover accident on I-95 in Brevard County. However, the appeals judges said, that without the visual aids, the testimony was “barren and unsubstantiated.’’ Appeals Court Judge Cory Ciklin disagreed with his colleagues -- Judges Dorian Damoorgian and Melanie May. He said circuit judges routinely are
forced to make such decisions and they shouldn’t be second-guessed. “The trial court sensitively balanced the relevance of Mitsubishi’s demonstrative aids against the danger of unfair prejudice and confusion and made the right calls -- or at least made the calls that were best performed by the person wearing the boots on the ground,’’ he said. West Palm Beach attorney Julie Littky-Rubin, who represented Laliberte’s parents, Donna and Peter, said she plans to ask all 12 appeals judges to consider the case. Based on Ciklin’s dissent, she said she has a good chance of persuading the full court to overturn Damoorgian and May’s decision. Wendy Lumish, who represented Mitsubishi, said she was pleased by the court ruling. Littky-Rubin said she is confident she could again win the case if forced to retry it. However, she said, it would be hard on the Laliberte’s who have already waited nearly six years for justice.
4 AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
2011 Honda CR-Z Sport Hybrid Coupe Pricing Announced 34 4 in North Carolina Arrested on Auto Insurance Fraud Charges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 40% of Drivers Want Vehicles Internet Wired, But Restricted . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Adults in Pickup Trucks Must Now Wear Seat Belts in GA . 7 Amaradio - What Do We Do Now? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Amid Safety Concerns, Hybrid Autos May Be Made Noisier 38 ASA Tours Thatcham Facility in UK. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Attanasio - 21st Century Collision in Oklahoma City Relies on Chief Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Attanasio - Auto Body Guru Helps Body Shops One Click at a Time. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Attanasio - Pacific Collision Centers Says Relationship with PPG a “Wise Move” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 BMW ActiveHybrid 7 Gets $900 Tax Credit . . . . . . . . . . 31 BMW May Invest $1 Billion in Mexican Auto Parts . . . . 37 Brown - A Brief History of Collision Repair Assoc. of CA. 36 Brown - A Brief History of Oklahoma Auto Body Assoc. 39 Brown - Specialty Paint & Body Repair in Athens GA— A Recycling Specialist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Center for Auto Safety Asks FTC to Look into Enterprise Recall Policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Chrysler Plans Separate Fiat Dealer Network . . . . . . . . 32 Chrysler to Expand its Belvidere, IL Assembly Plant . . . 39 Department of Energy Gives $24 Million for Algal Biofuels Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Driving Laws Sent to Louisiana Governor Jindal . . . . . . . 8 Evans - Building a Pinewood Derby Race Car . . . . . . . . 25 Feds Investigating Mazda3, BMW Z4 for Steering Problems31 First 4,400 Volt Owners Eligible for Free Charging Stations 31 FL Gets First Natural Gas Vehicle Fueling Station. . . . . . . 7 Florida Court Rejects Maine Couple’s $11 Million Lawsuit Against Mitsubishi. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Florida Governor Signs Commercial, Professional Lines Deregulation Bill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Ford Improves SYNC, Drivers Get Alternatives to Hand-Held Texting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Ford Introduces Curve Control Technology to Assist Drivers on Curves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Ford Motor to Repay $4Billion More in Debt . . . . . . . . . 34 Ford Pioneers Use of Eco-Friendly Soy Oil in Rubber Auto Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Ford Recalls Certain Model Year Transit Connect Vehicles 37 Ford to End Mercury Production in the Fourth Quarter . 37 Franklin- Using Fraud And Fear As Marketing Tools . . . . 16 Georgia Collision Industry Association Releases its Labor Rate Survey Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Georgia to Allow Failed Insurers' Clients to Buy Into Insolvency Pool . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Publisher & Editor: Jeremy Hayhurst General Manager: Barbara Davies Editorial Assistant: Erica Schroeder Contributing Writers: Tom Franklin, Stefan Gesterkamp, John Yoswick, Lee Amaradio, Toby Chess, Mike Causey, Dan Espersen, Tom McGee, Jeff Webster, Rich Evans, Ed Attanasio Advertising Sales: Joe Momber, Christina Shubert (800) 699-8251 Art Director: Rodolfo Garcia Serving Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and adjacent metro areas, Autobody News is a monthly publication for the auto body industry. Permission to reproduce in any form the material published in Autobody News must be obtained in writing from the publisher. ©2010 Adamantine Media LLC.
P.O. Box 1400, Oceanside, CA 92051-1400 (800) 699-8251 (760) 721-0253 Fax www.autobodynews.com Email: email@example.com
Aegis Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
I-CAR Education Foundation . . . . . . 38
Autoland Scientech . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Mazda Wholesale Parts . . . . . . . . . . 35
Chassis Liner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Mercedes-Benz of Naples . . . . . . . . . 9
Auto Body Guru . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . . 35 City Hyundai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Classifieds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Kia Motors Wholesale Parts Dealers 31
Mercedes-Benz of Gainesville . . . . . 10 Mercedes-Benz Wholesale Parts
Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
Crown Automobile Company. . . . . . . 8
Mitsubishi Wholesale Parts Dealers . 37
Ford Wholesale Parts Dealers
Nissan Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . 32
Garmat USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Performance Radiator . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Edwards Chevrolet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 FL, GA, AL, MS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
GM Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . 36 Greenway Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep . . . . 3
Nalley BMW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Palmers Toyota . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Stivers Ford-Lincoln-Mercury . . . . . . . 7
Tameron Hyundai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Greenway Ford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Taylor BMW. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Honda Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . 34
VIM Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Gus Machado Ford . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers . . 30
Toyota Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . 29
Gulfport, Mississippi, Mayor’s Hurricane Katrina Fraud Trial Starts July 8
Gulfport, Mississippi Mayor Brent Warr, the highest-ranking public official charged with Hurricane Katrina fraud, won’t be allowed to send questionnaires to potential jurors in his federal trial. Warr and his wife, Laura, have pleaded not guilty to charges in a 16count federal indictment accusing them of seeking a homeowners assistance grant for a house they owned but did not live in. They’re also accused of making false claims to their insurance company. Brent Warr’s lawyer has said the charges arose from a misunderstanding about the Warrs’ living arrangements and a beachfront home they were renovating when the storm hit on Aug. 29, 2005. Questionnaires are sometimes used to gauge potential jurors’ views, but judges don’t have to allow them. It’s not clear what Brent Warr’s attorney, Joe Sam Owen, wanted to ask people in the jury pool. Owen didn’t immediately return a phone call Thursday. U.S. District Judge Walter J. Gex III ruled Wednesday that the questionnaire is unnecessary. Attorneys will be
able to question potential jurors in person. Federal prosecutors had argued against using questionnaires, saying a copy of it could be leaked to the media because Warr’s case is so high-profile. “A juror questionnaire is just one more opportunity for the press to comment and try the issues outside of the courtroom, exactly the thing we hope to avoid,” the government said in a motion June 1. The government claims Brent Warr lied when he told FEMA that a home on Beach Drive was his family’s primary residence, and that it was “fully complete, furnished, and occupied at the time of Hurricane Katrina.” Prosecutors say the family wasn’t living in the home. Owen has said Warr bought the house in 2004 and was almost finished with renovations when the storm blew ashore. Brent Warr was already staying there some nights, Owen said. The Warrs face up to 210 years in prison and $4 million in fines if convicted on all counts, though maximum sentences are rarely imposed in such cases. The trial is scheduled to begin July 8.
Mercedes-Benz USA Announces Major New Facility in Jacksonville Mercedes-Benz USA announced the opening of a new state-of-the-art facility in Jacksonville, Florida that will house four business units including Sales Operations Southern Regional Office; Parts Distribution Center (PDC); Quality Evaluation Center (QEC); and Learning & Performance Center (LPC). The newly constructed building totaling 415,000 sq. ft. is a leased facility located off of Interstate 95 at 13470 International Parkway. MBUSA plans to take official occupancy in July. Ap-
proximately 160 employees are in the new facility, which incorporates innovative environmental systems and design. A new addition to MBUSA’s operation in Jacksonville, the Parts Distribution Center (PDC) supports approximately 70 MBUSA dealers in the Southeast with parts supply. The PDC will house about 15 percent of MBUSA overall parts inventory, shipping over 1.3 million lines annually. MBUSA has four other Parts Distribution Centers in U.S.: Carol
Stream, IL, Fontana, CA, Fort Worth, TX and Robbinsville, NJ. The Learning & Performance Center is a training facility for dealership and MBUSA personnel. MBUSA facilitates over 120 classes per year in the Jacksonville Learning & Performance Center, with a total of about a thousand participants from across the Southeastern U.S. MBUSA operates five Learning & Performance Centers in the U.S.: Houston, TX, Itasca, IL, Jacksonville, FL, Montvale, NJ, and Rancho Cucamonga, CA.
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has signed into law a bill exempting certain commercial and professional liability insurance rates from state review prior to use. Current state law exempts only those policies with annual premiums above $500,000 in addition to other criteria. The commercial lines deregulation bill that Crist signed, SB 2176, excludes from review rates for commercial lines insurance risks, excluding property and medical malpractice coverage, producing an annual premium of $25,000 or more. It also gives the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) the authority to desig-
nate any other commercial lines categories of insurance or commercial lines risks that it determines should not be subject to the filing and review requirements. In terms of specific risks, the new law exempts from review rates for commercial motor vehicles; errors and omissions; professional liability, except medical malpractice coverage; directors and officers; employment practices and management liability; intellectual property and patent infringement liability; advertising injury and Internet liability; environmental liability; property risks rated under a highly protected risks rating plan; and unique or un-
usual risks or portions of risks not rated according to manuals, rating plans, or rate schedules, including "A" rates. Under SB 2176, insurers will still be required to develop rates that are subject to legal standards of not being excessive, inadequate or unfairly discriminatory. Insurers had pushed the deregulation measure.
Florida Governor Signs Commercial, Professional Lines Deregulation Bill
Continued from Front Page
been doing so because they can file claims for alleged injuries and collect big payments with little risk of getting caught. “We are working hard to put a stop to that. Working with our insurance company and law enforcement partners, we created a Major Medical Fraud Task Force in South Florida in 2002 to focus on this type of insurance fraud. That cooperative effort has resulted in numerous successes and the criminals are feeling the heat. That’s one of the reasons they are moving up the state to the Tampa and Orlando areas. So we will soon be opening another Major Medical Fraud Task Force in Tampa to combat the issue there.” NICB just began a public awareness campaign in the Tampa area, using billboard and bus shelter ads, as well as radio spots to urge people who suspect a staged accident scheme to call 1-800-TEL-NICB or text their information to TIP411, keyword “fraud.’” The NICB report shows Tampa with 487 QCs related to staged/caused accidents in 2009, a 290 percent increase over the previous year. Miami had 258, an 11 percent increase, and Orlando had 240, a 24 percent increase.
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Solera Holdings Moving Headquarters to Dallas-Fort Worth
Solera Holdings Inc., which helps process car insurance claims, will move its corporate headquarters from San Diego to the Dallas-Fort Worth area by the end of August according to reports made by the Dallas Morning News and the San Diego Union Tribune. Solera provides the software and services used by car insurance companies and auto body shops. The company also announced that CFO Dudley Mendenhall would be replaced by Renato Giger. The company is aiming to increase its revenue to $1 billion by 2014. It reported $557.7 million in revenue for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2009. The change of CFO was not related to the relocation, said Kamal Hamid, vice president of investor relations. Solera, which is moving at least eight people, has not decided where its office will be. Hamid said the company has looked at Las Colinas and Westlake. The company was attracted to Dallas-Fort Worth because of the travel convenience, talent pool and time zone being closer to Europe, Hamid said.
Chevrolet Chooses its Launch Markets for Volt, Adding Texas
New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Texas join Michigan, California and Washington, D.C. already on the list of launch markets for the new electric Chevrolet Volt, according to a GM press release. Production on the vehicles will start late this year with the first cars hitting the selected states in early 2011. Pricing has not been announced. The Volt is the only electric car that can be driven under all weather and driving conditions, according to the release. The car can be driven solely on electricity for about 340 miles, has a portable 120volt charge cord and if the battery runs low, an engine-generator will automatically take over using gasoline. “We can add markets as diverse as Texas and New York because the Chevrolet Volt can handle both urban commuting and longer trips, in Austin summers and Manhattan winters,” said Ed Whitacre, chairman and CEO for GM. In Texas, GM will focus the Volt’s launch in the greater Austin area; Whitacre demonstrated this by delivering his speech to the Austin Chamber of Commerce. For more information about the Chevrolet Volt launch plans, go to www.chevrolet.com.
Insurance Auto Auctions Moves to Macon, Georgia
According to reports made by Bloomberg, Insurance Auto Auctions, Inc., the leading hybrid model salvage auto auction company and a wholly owned subsidiary of KAR Auction Services, Inc., July13 announced a new branch facility in Macon, Georgia. This marks the 43rd branch location in IAA’s southeast portfolio and adds to the more than 150 locations throughout North America. Macon is strategically located in the heart of Georgia and is the seventh IAA branch location in the state. “The new IAA Macon branch is strategically located at the intersection of major interstate highways, which further streamlines transportation efficiencies and logistics for our customers,” said Tom O’Brien, CEO. “We are passionate about delivering best-in-class service to each client. Part of that commitment is fulfilled by expanding our facility footprint in strategic locations, increasing our inventory, and offering customers a growing volume of salvage vehicles to bid on and buy,” O’Brien stated. Now buyers will have even more choices when they participate in IAA’s Hybrid Auction Model combining live and live on-line bidding and buying. The Macon facility is located at 2200
Trade Drive. IAA auction preview dates and times vary from facility to facility. For more information, go to IAA’s Branch Information page at iaai.com.
About Insurance Auto Auctions, Inc. Insurance Auto Auctions, Inc. (IAAI) a wholly owned subsidiary of KAR Auction Services, Inc., provides the advantage in salvage auto auctions with their Hybrid Auction Model combining live and live-online auctions, North America’s broadest salvage auction facility footprint, a strong global buyer base and high vehicle returns. IAA’s more than 150 facilities across the United States and Canada provide vehicle suppliers and buyers with powerful solutions to process and acquire total-loss, recovered-theft, fleet lease, donation and rental vehicles. The IAA Hybrid Auction Model, including live, live-online, and proxy bidding, united with their mature global buyer base and diverse inventory produce some of the industry’s highest returns for vehicle providers. With 28 years in the industry, IAA holds a comprehensive warehouse of salvage auction data. For more information regarding IAA visit our website at www.iaai.com.
6 AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
Georgia Will Try a Region-by-Region Tax to Raise Money for Roads
Georgia’s infrastructure has not kept pace with their monumental growth over the last three years; Georgia ranks 49th among the 50 states in infrastructure-spending per capita. Its petrol tax—which funds highway, road and bridge maintenance—is the second-lowest in the country. Georgia’s legislature has long been sharply divided between Atlanta and the rest of the state: telling voters in the rural south, for instance, that they will have to pay higher taxes to fund road improvements in the urban north is politically unpalatable. Georgia’s governor Sonny Perdue signed a comprehensive transport bill on June 2nd that was three years in the making, hoping to bridge all of Atlanta together to help strengthen infrastructure statewide. The bill divides Georgia into 12 regions, and gives each the power to decide on its own transport projects. Voters
in each region will decide by referendum whether to approve a one-cent increase in the sales-tax to pay for those regional projects. Atlanta stands to see as much as $790 million through the new tax. The bill may also help MARTA, Atlanta’s urban-rail system. It is the largest in the country that does not receive any state funding; it relies instead on passenger revenue and a 1% sales tax in the two counties it serves. Still, some worry that the regional focus will make statewide projects more difficult: building a rail link between Atlanta and Savannah, for instance, could require the co-operation of rural areas with little connection to either city. Also, the bill is moving slowly, so it may be some time before any changes may occur. The first referendum will not occur until the 2012 presidential primary.
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Storm Shelter Funds Available to Mississippi Flood Victims
People affected by the April 24 and May 1 tornadoes and floods in Mississippi can get up to $4,000 toward the cost of building a reinforced storm shelter inside their homes. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said people whose homes were damaged or destroyed by those storms will be considered first, but others may apply. The program reimburses up to 75 percent of eligible costs, up to $4,000. The shelter must be built according to designs and criteria available on FEMA's website. Counties where funds are available may also be viewed online.
Adults in Pickup Trucks Must Now Wear Seat Belts in Georgia
Mississippi, Florida AGs Putting Pressure on BP
Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue is preparing to sign legislation requiring adults riding in pickup trucks to wear seat belts. The legislation had been blocked by state House leaders until this year when Speaker David Ralston allowed it to come to a vote. The NHTSA and the Georgia Department of Transportation have estimated changing the law will save 21 lives and prevent 300 injuries each year. Supporters estimate it could save $30 million in hospital costs annually. Georgia already requires minors to wear seat belts and adults to wear them in all vehicles except pickups.
Attorneys general in Florida and Mississippi are upping the political pressure on BP over the oil gusher that is threatening their states and the entire Gulf Coast. Florida Attorney General McCollum sent a letter to BP asking the company to deposit no less than $2.5 billion into an interest-earning escrow account so Florida can be assured of its availability over the long-term recovery period. Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood is among the other coastal state attorneys general including Alabama's Troy King who has demanded that no claimants to the claims payment fund established by BP be required to sign a waiver of their right to sue later and that BP waive the $75 million statutory liability cap. BP has agreed to these demands and, thus far, has paid $5.5 million for 4,034 claims in Mississippi, according to Hood. The AGs of five coastal states have also asked BP to retain any and all documents related to the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion for use in future investigations.
Paul Davis Restoration Opens National Training Center in Florida Paul Davis Restoration, a national franchise company providing fire, water and mold damage restoration services services for residential and commercial properties, has opened its new national training center in Jacksonville, Fla. The company’s former training facility was also located in Jacksonville. The center features most categories of approved certification courses from The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) including emergency fire and water damage mitigation, structural clean up, fire and smoke
restoration, water damage restoration, odor control and contents cleaning and restoration. The company constructed two large theater-style classrooms at the new facility with state-of-the-art, audio visual systems. The centerpiece of the new national training center is the “flood” house training module. The flood house includes space for classroom activities that are designed to give students a real life training experience while learning proper mitigation and restoration techniques.
FL Gets First Natural Gas Vehicle Fueling Station
Wise Gas announced the official opening of Florida’s first compressed natural gas (CNG) alternative fuel station open to the public July 19. The CNG station, which is located at 650 NW 27th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale, is the first of many Compressed Natural Gas stations being developed across the state of Florida. To sweeten the opportunity for those ready to reduce America’s foreign oil dependency and declare their own energy independence, Wise Gas sells natural gas vehicles – from those that run on dedicated CNG systems to bifuel vehicles that can run on either gasoline or compressed natural gas. The price of CNG at the Wise Gas station is $1.99 as of July 19, a 27 percent savings over gasoline. Among other services Wise Gas offers is a local roadside assistance for natural gas vehicles that are unable to reach the refueling station due to low fuel. Florida law requires vehicles to display an Alternative Fuel Vehicle permit in order to refuel at the CNG station. Those interested in learning more about natural gas vehicles or refueling with CNG should contact Wise Gas at 954-636-4291 or visit wisegasinc.com.
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4 in North Carolina Arrested on Auto Insurance Fraud Charges Four people have been arrested in North Carolina for their alleged involvement in a series of automobile insurance fraud schemes worth more than $9,000, according to state officials. Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin said each was processed at the Pitt County Detention Center: -Derrick Vontrell Lewis, Greenville, was charged with four felony counts of obtaining property by false pretense, four felony counts of insurance fraud and three felony counts of conspiracy. He was placed under a $3,000 secured bond. -Tanisha Learnell Williams, Greenville, was charged with three felony counts of obtaining property by false pretense, three felony counts of insurance fraud and three felony counts of conspiracy. She was placed under a $3,000 secured bond -Angela Harris Williams, Greenville, was charged with two counts of obtaining property by false pretense, two felony counts of insurance fraud and one felony count of conspiracy. She was placed under a $10,000 unsecured bond. -Sharon Williams Davis, Greenville, was charged with one felony count of obtaining property by false pretense and
one felony count of insurance fraud. She was placed under a $5,000 unsecured bond. Department investigators allege that in 2008 and 2009, Lewis, Tanisha Williams and Angela Williams filed fraudulent vandalism claims to GEICO Insurance Co., GMAC Insurance Co. and Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. They are accused of filing multiple vandalism claims for the same damage on a vehicle. They are also accused of filing a false claim of a two-car accident to GEICO. Sharon Davis is accused of filing a fraudulent claim to Nationwide Insurance for a bogus hit-and-run accident. As a result of the claims, officials said GEICO paid out approximately $4,140.74, GMAC paid out approximately $3,296.11, Liberty Mutual paid out approximately $1,074.31, and Nationwide paid out approximately $817.36, for a total payout of $9,328.52.
Crown Automobile Company
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has signed one law imposing new restrictions on drivers in his state and another is awaiting his signature. In addition, Jindal has agreed to repeal an increase in drivers license fees that was enacted earlier this year. Louisiana's current ban on text messaging while driving gets tougher in August, when a bill that makes texting while driving a primary offense goes into effect. Under Senate Bill 9, police officers can stop a driver for that traffic violation without needing another reason. Minors 17 and under can be stopped simply for using a cell phone. The change takes effect Aug. 15. Before that, a driver can only be cited for texting while driving if a police officer stops the driver for another alleged violation. Penalties for sending text messages while behind the wheel, with an exception for emergencies, can reach up to $175 for the first offense and $500 for subsequent offenses. A House vote also has sent to Jindal a bill imposing new restrictions and requirements for young drivers. House Bill 1339 by Rep. Hollis Downs, R-Ruston, takes effect Jan. 1. It
says that drivers who want to move up from a learner's permit to a driver's license will have to have 50 hours of driving experience with a parent, guardian or adult, instead of the current requirement of 35 hours. The extra 15 hours must be driven at night. Also, licensed 16-year-olds driving without adult supervision will be prohibited from carrying more than one passenger under age 21, except for family members, between the hours of 6 p.m. and 5 a.m. The cost of a Louisiana driver's license will drop by $15, after Gov. Bobby Jindal agreed to repeal the recent increase enacted by his administration and overwhelmingly rejected by lawmakers. Jindal signed the repeal bill by Sen. Joe McPherson into law. The move returns the price of a new or renewed basic license to $21.50 and ends complaints from lawmakers who said the hike was inappropriate by a governor who repeatedly talks of opposing tax increases. The governor had wanted $13.6 million annually to be raised by the higher fee to help cover costs for state police. SB9, SB 407 and HB 1339 can be found at www.legis.state.la.us
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Leno and Volt
“We’ve pulled into Bob’s Big Boy parking lot, opened the hood and drawn some great attention,” he said, noting the Volt was at the diner late last year in conjunction with the Los Angeles Auto Show. “There is a particular audience that is all about advanced technology and green transportation,” Peterson said. “For people like that, the Volt has that cachet. It’s kind of like an iPhone. An iPhone is still a cell phone with a lot of capability in it.” A lukewarm endorsement from Leno likely won’t have much impact on Volt buzz, said auto analyst Erich Merkle of Autoconomy.com in Grand Rapids. “If I were GM, I don’t know if I would be courting Jay Leno for the purpose of getting an endorsement on the Volt,” Merkle said. “Don’t get me wrong, Jay’s a big car guy, but he’s not your Prius, your Volt, your green car guy.” Leno’s Big Boy dig rings hollow, he added. “The typical Volt driver might be a vegan,” Merkle said. “They may be opposed to a Big Boy altogether.” Leno said GM needs to wow the public with the Volt’s performance. “For the Volt to be a success, it can’t be equal. It has to be superior,” he said.
The Volt, which will get up to 40 miles on electric power alone, will have a range of 300 miles on its gasoline engine. The Volt’s engine kicks in after its battery is drained by about 70 percent to sustain the battery’s remaining charge to keep the car running for several hundred miles. “I think it’s great technology,” Leno said. The comic also praised Ford Motors Co. CEO Alan Mulally and GM Chairman and Chief Executive Ed Whitacre Jr. “For years, they were building crappy cars under the reputation of building good cars. That caught up with them,” Leno said. “Now, they’re building world-class cars.” GM says other celebrities are clamoring for it, although the automaker declined to name them. “There are celebrities who would like to have it,” Peterson insisted. Volt Battery Gets 100K Mile Warranty GM has announced an eight-year, 100,000mile warranty on the Chevrolet Volt’s new lithium-ion battery as a show of confidence in the technology’s capability. The warranty program is three years longer than GM’s standard powertrain warranty and is clearly designed to reassure consumers worried about buying a vehicle that relies on first-generation battery technology, one which executives hope will transform the public’s perception about GM.
“This is really a major statement of our confidence,” Vice Chairman of Global Product Operations Tom Stephens told the Detroit News. The lengthy warranty is necessary to convince consumers the Volt’s technology will work and be durable for the lifetime of the vehicle, said Ivan Drury, an analyst at Edmunds.com. “It’s almost a must for a vehicle seen as the showcase for Chevrolet, and therefore GM. There’s been so much hype. If the Volt fails in any way, it’s a disaster.” GM’s warranty is similar to the long warranties offered by other manufacturers of advanced-technology, clean vehicles. Toyota offers an eight-year, 100,000-mile battery warranty for its Prius hybrid in most states and a longer, 10-year, 150,000 mile warranty in California and other states that have adopted California’s stricter clean vehicle standards. Because GM has not had the Volt certified yet in California, the California Air Resources Board has not determined the warranty it would need to obtain partial zeroemission vehicle credits. GM announced its warranty program ahead of a key competitor, Nissan, which has not announced warranty plans for its all-electric Leaf, which goes on sale late this year. Tesla Motors, meanwhile, offers a three-year, 36,000-mile warranty on its electric Roadster sports car. Large batteries are very expensive,
ranging in cost from several thousands of dollars up to tens of thousands. GM would not disclose its battery costs Wednesday. Many automakers, including GM, offer similar, or stronger, warranties on hybrids. Ford offers an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty on its Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner hybrid batteries and components. Toyota offers the same warranty on its hybrid vehicles. Honda Motor Co., meanwhile, offers eight-year, 100,000-mile battery warranties on its Insight hybrid for cars sold in states that don’t follow the California Air Resources Board emissions standards. In states that do follow the standards, Honda offers a 10-year, 150,000-mile warranty. The Volt, which will get up to 40 miles on electric power alone, will have a range of 300 miles on its gasoline engine. The Volt’s engine kicks in after its battery is drained by about 70 percent to sustain the remaining charge and keep the car running. GM plans to produce 10,000 Volts for the 2011 model year before eventually expanding to as many as 30,000. Its warranty announcement was made during an event at GM’s battery assembly plant in Brownstown Township, where regular production of battery packs begins in August. The automaker also gave updates on validation and testing of the lithium-ion battery and details on the start of regular batterypack production.
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www.autobodynews.com | AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 9
Georgia to Allow Failed Insurers' Clients to Buy Into Insolvency Pool
Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue has signed into law a bill allowing employers whose previous workers compensation carrier goes out of business to pay into the insolvency pool to cover injured workers' claims. The law has been criticized by private insurers. Sponsored by Rep. Carl Rogers, RGainesville, who is an insurance agent, the measure (HB1364) responds to the liquidation order last October against Southeastern US Insurance Co. (SEUS), the state's eighth largest workers compensation carrier. The insurer's failure left thousands of hospitals, businesses and government agencies without coverage for claims by injured workers. As a captive insurer formed in 2001, SEUS was exempt under state law from having to participate in the Georgia Insurers Insolvency Pool for claims prior to Jan. 1, 2008. Rogers said there are more than 80
serious claims by injured workers whose employers had coverage with SEUS. The bill will permit the employers of these injured workers to get coverage in the insolvency pool for these claims. Under the version of the bill signed into law, companies with net worth under $25 million can pay $10,000 per claim to have them covered by the pool; companies with net worth more than $25 million can pay $50,000 per claim. Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine is investigating the SEUS collapse and the business practices of M. Clark Fain, III, the former chief executive officer of SEUS. The new law has not gone over well with private insurers. Liz Reynolds, Southeast state affairs manager for the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC), said the measure seeks to address a tragic situation but does so in a way that violates core insurance principles.
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Toyota’s Chief Test Driver Dies In German Auto Crash
Toyota’s chief test driver, 67-year-old Hiromu Naruse, died in a crash on highway 410 near the famed Nürburgring race track in Germany on June 23 according to reports made by the German newspaper Rhein-Zeitung. He was driving the recently spied Lexus LFA Nürburgring Edition at the time of the accident, and reports say he
Both cars suffered immense damage to their front ends
Naruse’s yellow Lexus LFA crashed into other test drivers in a BMW
veered into oncoming traffic and collided head-on with two others test drivers in a BMW near the famed Nürburgring race track. The reason for Naruse’s quick swerve into oncoming traffic was still being investigated. The two BMW test drivers survived the crash, though one is reportedly still in critical condition. Police are investigating
the crash and have yet to determine its cause. Naruse, a long time car enthusiast and chief test driver, was heavily involved with the development of the Lexus LFA supercar he was driving, along with many other past sports cars from Toyota’s history since he joined the company in 1963. Enthusiasts today call him the “Godfather of the LFA,” though he was involved in the development of sports cars for Toyota as more than just their chief test driver going as far back as the storied 2000GT from the late 1960s. The prototype of a special edition version of the LFA that he was driving when the accident occurred was reportedly worth 1.5 million euro.
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www.autobodynews.com | AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 11
TX Auto Insurance Company Rejects Data Collection System
A federal lawsuit filed by the fourth largest U.S. auto insurer alleging patent infringement on a motor vehicle monitoring system spotlights serious concerns about privacy. The systems collect data on the driving practices of customers and are used in accident or ticket forgiveness programs. The information also can be used to help determine insurance rates for what is now commonly referred to as pay-as-you-drive (PAYD) insurance. The lawsuit, filed by Ohio-based Progressive Corp., accuses Massachusetts-based Liberty Mutual Group Inc. of infringing on a patent it received in 2000 for a motor vehicle monitoring system that collects data regarding location, mileage, speed and other information from an onboard computer used to calculate a safety score on the driver. According to the lawsuit, Liberty Mutual uses the technology in its Safeco program called “Rewind” and the “Onboard Advisor” used by Liberty Mutual’s Ohio Casualty unit. Innovation has brought numerous challenges to the industry, but there is an alternative way to offer PAYD products without the use of vehicle-tracking devices. One such company is MileMeter, a Dallas-based, per-mile auto insurer that holds more than 100 patent pending
claims across multiple filings and uses no GPS or vehicle-installed tracking technology. Tracking devices infringe upon consumer privacy, also raising the cost of insurance, according to Chris Gay, founder and president of MileMeter. “Intellectual property is an asset class and we applaud Progressive for defending its investments,” Gay said. Launched in 2008, MileMeter is the first and only company in the United States offering true pay-per-mile auto insurance. Drivers pay for insured miles in advance, purchasing only what they need and buying additional miles online when needed. Rates are based only on age, location and vehicle. In addition to saving money for its customers, MileMeter’s program encourages customers to drive less, which helps reduce pollution and traffic congestion.Its innovative business model has garnered national attention with profiles by major news outlets. MileMeter directly offers by-themile auto insurance to drivers in Texas, it is actively licensing its product and technology to existing insurance carriers in other markets. MileMeter’s goal is to serve the market so that national customers can also benefit, helping revolutionize how drivers buy auto insurance.
Report Says 25% of Dallas County Vehicles Uninsured
According to a report in the Dallas Morning News, about 25 percent of all vehicles in Dallas County—429,478 cars and trucks—remain uninsured, as new analysis by the state Department of Insurance shows. Dallas County continues to have the highest percentage of uninsured drivers of the six largest urban counties in Texas. In Tarrant County, about 21 percent of vehicles had no insurance coverage. The figures, pulled from the database of the TexasSure vehicle insurance verification program, also indicated that 3.7 million vehicles statewide—21.6 percent of the total—lack basic liability coverage, a violation of a state law requiring insurance. Though the numbers are high, they're an improvement from December 2009, when nearly 26 percent of vehicles in Dallas County and 22.2 percent statewide had no insurance coverage. Funded with an annual $1 fee paid by all Texans when renewing vehicle registrations, the program is intended to crack down on the millions of drivers violating the state's mandatory insurance law – forcing other drivers to carry extra insurance to protect themselves. South Texas counties had the highest percentages, with nearly 32 percent of vehicles uninsured in Cameron
County. That was down about 6 percentage points from less than a year ago. The insurance department is continuing to send letters to thousands of drivers found to be uninsured, telling them of the insurance requirement and asking them to verify their coverage by mail, email or telephone.The verification program relies on a massive database containing the names of all insured drivers and their insurance companies, matched to their license plate numbers and VINs. When a driver is involved in an accident or stopped for an infraction, the law enforcement officer can enter the license plate number or VIN into the TexasSure system to verify insurance coverage. Those without insurance are ticketed, subject to a fine of up to $350 on the first offense and up to $1,000 and possible suspension of their license on the second offense. Those who rack up multiple offenses and take no action are subject to arrest. In addition, the data is available to county tax assessor-collectors who can use it to confirm whether a driver has insurance before issuing a registration sticker. The commission will vote in September on both changes, which could take effect early next year.
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Matrix System Automotive Finishes Adds Low VOC and Waterborne Matrix System Automotive Finishes, a subsidiary of Quest Specialty Chemicals, not only provides painters with a wide array of primers, clearcoats and solvent-based paints, it now produces waterborne and other low-VOC paints. Founded in 1983, Matrix System employs over 115 full-time associates in a 52,000 square foot modern production facility in Commerce Township, MI. The corporate headquarters, warehouse and training facility are located in Walled Lake, MI.
The Commerce Township, MI facility
Matrix System became the first aftermarket paint manufacturer to introduce a
successful intermix system of toners, pearls and companion products shortly after the company’s inception. All of Matrix System’s aftermarket clearcoats, primers, hardeners and reducers are produced in the United States—making it one of the last American-made paint companies. Aqualution™ is Matrix System’s new high performance waterborne basecoat system. Matrix System provides 66 Aqualution toners and pearls to provide maximum color matching capabilities. Aqualution is designed to meet future and current VOC requirements. Aqualution™ also provides easy application, quick coverage in less coats, faster cycle times, a smooth satin appearance and over 25,000 color possibilities. Aqualution™ does not require any new equipment since toners are simply shaken prior to use. Aqualution toners can be stored on common shelves at a constant temperature and minimal training is needed to work with Aqualution™ paints. “In most cases we’ve had people up and running within a few hours,” Ken Papich, Western Regional Manager for Ma-
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trix System, told Autobody News. Matrix System’s Aqualution™ waterborne paints are actually less expensive than their solvent-based counterparts, which is contrary to most other paint suppliers according to Papich. This is not only because Aqualution is provided as a shake and pour solution, but also because waterborne paints in general require less volume than solvent equivalents to do the same quality job. “It’s actually an economical solution for many of our customers,” said Papich. Because Aqualution takes advantage of existing technologies shops gain the benefits of utilizing time tested materials developed specifically to maximize coverage, reduce cycle times and decrease material requirements. Since many car manufacturers are getting on board with waterborne paints and using them in the manufacturing process, cars are coming from the factory with waterborne as their original paint. A lot of body shops have also gotten on board with waterborne to synch up with these factory standards. If a customer is not ready to make the complete switch to waterborne quite yet but would like to use lower VOC count products, Matrix System also provides solvent-based clearcoats and primers that have low VOC counts.
Aqualution shake and pour toners
“AccuShade LV gives our customers a choice; an alternative to waterborne if they’re not ready to completely convert,” said Papich. The AccuShade LV line is a low VOC solvent basecoat system, most of the paints in this system hit VOC levels below 2.1. AccuShade LV consists of a conversion binder and a low VOC reducer. With the AccuShade LV line customers don’t have to use any new equipment or go through
any training—customers can use the same technology and equipment used to mix and
spray the regular solvent based systems for the low VOC option. Customers using Matrix System’s AccuShade Intermix System have the ability to get the best quality match while still conserving time and left over paint without a reactive reducer. The AccuShade Intermix System makes finding the right formulas for the right colors quick and easy with the AccuShade Color Retrieval System. It uses 120 toners and pearls to ensure color matching capabilities from a database cataloging over 35 years of domestic, foreign and fleet formulas. The system is also capable of mixing the MPB, MSB, RSB, FX Series Custom Colors, Single Stage and AccuShade LV paints in one system with the ability to produce over 98,000 colors with exact formulas. From primers to their FX Series custom paints and from fisheye eliminator to their QuickFix Aerosols, Matrix System provides everything shops need to complete a paint job from start to finish with accurate results. Along with its “greener” paint options, Matrix System has also been taking other steps in their offices and manufacturing centers to reduce their environmental impact. According to Papich, about a year ago Matrix System reduced the number of monthly paper mailings and faxes they sent out by switching over to electronic versions of the information and sending them via email. Matrix System has also concentrated efforts towards a leaner business strategy by consolidating some operations in their manufacturing centers. It has a separate waterborne paint manufacturing section in their production facility; this way processes can run more efficiently because everything doesn’t have to be completely cleaned and retooled between manufacturing solvent and manufacturing waterborne.
www.autobodynews.com | AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 13
Specialty Paint & Body Repair in Athens GA—A Recycling Specialist by David M. Brown
Thomas Durrence’s Specialty Paint & Body is growing—and his “green” efforts are making other things grow in the Peach State.
Bins outside the shop provide a place for employees to recycle properly
Since 1987, his full-service shop, 11542 Jefferson Road in Athens, Ga., has been providing auto body repair in the Athens and Jefferson areas. The 13,100-square-footshop, an I-CAR Gold Class service facility, repairs more than 800 cars and trucks annually. About 91 percent are insurance referrals, and the shop is also referred from several area dealerships, explains Durrence,
who started Specialty after working in the collision industry for several years. Old-fashioned business virtues have primed his success, he notes: “Our primary goals are quality repair, fair prices, and customer convenience, and our well-trained employees are committed to quality, honesty and integrity.” At the same time, he and his 10 employees use the latest estimating and management software and advanced equipment for body repair and painting — ensuring a quality product for the customers. For instance: “We blueprint the repair for individual cars so as to minimize waste and maximize efficiency,” Durrence says. “We seek to understand our customers and give them the repair they desire as well as educate them on the repair process.” He notes, too, that Specialty Paint & Body is one of the few facilities in Athens designed as a body shop: “This allows us to repair cars in assembly-line fashion with as little down time between steps as possible.” Most recently, his shop is also thinking green, finding that Earth concern is producing not only a more efficient shop but a more economical one as well. “We are a better business because recycling allows us to reduce our environmental impact,” Durrence says. “Our recycling program keeps clutter to a minimum, which improves our effi-
14 AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
ciency, which improves our bottom line.” For one, the shop recently converted the painting system to waterborne — lessening the release of volatile organic compounds, which evaporate from liquids such as paint, paint thinner and gasoline. “We made the decision to convert to waterborne paints for the health of our employees as well as the environment,” Dur-
A view of the front of Specialty Paint & Body
rence says. Because of the changeover, the shop has also minimized the amount of hazardous waste generated and has improved color match, reducing tint time, he adds. And, because waterborne paints cover better, paint-jobber bills have gone down. In addition, Specialty has been recycling post-consumer material — otherwise disposed as solid waste. His employees even compost shredded office paper for use as fertilizer; one of his employees spreads this on his organic garden.
So, too, Specialty has reserved areas for recycling plastic parts, metal parts, paper and cardboard; these eventually go to an off-site recycling center. “Knowing that recycling benefits the environment motivates the employees to keep recycled materials in designated areas,” Durrence explains, adding that the specificity makes this part of the shop’s recycling system particularly easy to follow. “These efforts greatly reduce our trash and have allowed us to use a smaller dumpster,” he says. As a result, the company’s garbage services bill has been reduced 20 percent since the change. In addition, Specialty Paint & Body reuses the plastic sheeting from vendor parts deliveries to wrap customer parts while repairs to the vehicles are being made. For example, technicians will protect interior door panels with bubble wrap until it is reinstalled on the car when repairs are complete. In addition, Specialty reuses plastic cardboard boxes at least once to organize small parts for the technicians. After this, they are broken down and recycled. Durrence plans to bring both of his sons, Nick and Adam, into the business soon. Besides planning future upper management, he says, “I am continuously working to improve our cycle time, market share, customer service — as well as our capability to think and act with sensitivity for the environment.”
Shop and Product Showcase
Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist based in San Francisco, California. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
21st Century Collision in Oklahoma City Relies on Chief Equipment with Ed Attanasio
A long-time collision repair professional knows that the right equipment can make his job easier. But if a lift or another piece of shop equipment can fail during a busy period, it can break the business and cause chaos trying
Haney, Jr. said. “If you can identify the best products and build an ongoing relationship with these companies, you can get an advantage in this industry. I’ve been very fortunate to be associated with companies like Chief. Without the proper equipment, you won’t survive long in this business.” 21st Century is a busy collision repair facility, but it’s not just a “body shop”, according to Haney, Jr. “I don’t like to call us a body shop, 21st Century Collision is a busy shop in Oklahoma City that repairs because we do so approximately 250 cars per month much more. In these to meet those highly critical cycle times. Lee times, with the technology we have, the inHaney, Jr., owner of 21st Century Collision, dustry has changed and body shop just a 13-year-old shop in Oklahoma City, can cite doesn’t describe what we’re doing to get equipment manufactured by Chief Automo- these cars back to pre-existing condition.” 21st Century Collision fixes approxitive Technology as being a great asset to the mately 250 vehicles monthly, Haney Jr. overall success of his operation. “I’ve worked with quite a few great said. The business operates out of a suppliers and vendors over the years,” 20,000-square-foot shop and employs 23-
25 people. When the weather turns nasty, 21st Century sees a spike in business, when huge hailstones rain on the area. “The storms are good for us, but we don’t like them, does that make sense? It’s not the type of work we like to do. It’s all hoods and roofs and fixing dents. I’d rather fix cars--I hate the bad weather. Our biggest thrill is getting a car in here that is totally destroyed but still fixable, and then returning it to 100% it original condition. That’s what we live for, but the storm work isn’t like that, to be honest.” Haney, Jr. learned the collision business working for his late father, a life-timer in the collision industry who often imparted his vast knowledge about this industry to all of his three sons, he said. “My dad taught us this business inside and out. He was a body man and a paint guy all his life. I learned a ton working by his side for more than two decades. Some of the best things he said were basic advice, but he was right on. He said ‘never get sleazy’ and ‘it’s not a problem, it’s a situation.’” In 1988, Haney, Jr. left the family business, Flair Body Shop, and ventured out on his own to work for a Dodge dealership in Oklahoma City, he said. It was a great learning experience, because he got a chance to run a busy collision repair facility at the dealership level for nearly a decade, he said.
21st Century has been purchasing and using Chief Equipment since the very first day it opened its doors 13 years ago
“It was a great job, because I was able to learn the business from a different angle.” Haney, Jr. said. “Working in a dealership environment helped me to realize some important things—how to motivate people and assemble a team. It was a useful experience because it showed me how it’s done in a different setting. Fixing cars is the same, but running a large crew gave me some invaluable experience. In the end, customer service and doing quality work is the most important thing, regardless of whether you’re running an independent shop or working for a big dealership’s shop.”
In his many years running collision repair businesses of different sizes, Haney, Jr. has owned more than 20 Chief Automotive pieces of varied equipment. “I was introduced to Chief in the mid-‘70s and I’ve never had a bad experience with their equipment. We’ve never had a safety issue and their support is world-class. Every
21st Century likes Chief Equipment because it requires very little maintenance and will never break, according to the shop’s owner, Lee Haney, Jr
time I see one of their reps at NACE, they remember us. Their people keep in touch with us and they’re an important part of why we buy from Chief.” Haney, Jr. describes his Chief equipment as ‘virtually indestructible.’ “When it comes to any piece of equipment, my main concern is quality, for obvious reasons. My techs can’t break the Chief equipment and that’s the key. I want to buy something and then never worry about it again, and Chief is that way. In 2008 at NACE, I bought their newest machine. We spent a significant amount of money updating our equipment, in order to stay with the times and take advantage of the newest technology.” Haney, Jr. currently owns three Chief racks: An Excalibur, a Fuzion with a hopper and an F21 EZ Liner, his newest addition to his Chief team. In addition, his shop features three computer measuring machines, two Velocities and one Vector. He also owns a Stingray Welding System manufactured by Chief. “Chief has done an unbelievable job for us," Haney, Jr. said. “The support we’ve received from our distributors--the people at English Color & Supply--has been tremendous. They’re right here in town and if we need them, they’re here. The deal is—they don’t have to come down here much to service these machines, because they don’t break down.” If you’re not familiar with Chief Automotive, it’s a brand of the Vehicle Service Group which is a subsidiary of the Dover Corporation – a Fortune 500 company, according to the company’s Web site. “That gives us the financial strength and stability we need to give our cusSee 21st Century Collision, Page 19
www.autobodynews.com | AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 15
On Creative Marketing
Tom Franklin has been a sales and marketing consultant for forty years. He has written numerous books and provides marketing solutions and services for many businesses. He can be reached at (323) 871-6862 or at email@example.com. See Tomâ€™s columns at www.autobodynews.com under Columnists > Franklin
Using Fraud And Fear As Marketing Tools with Thomas Franklin
A while back, Ford used the following headline in their magazine ads: â€œOnly Your Mother Cares More About Your Safety.â€? With the media today telling consumers about manufacturing defects and recalls, faulty repairs by shops, and even huge amounts of fraud, the prospective repair customer may fear for her and her childrenâ€™s lives if she chooses the wrong shop. Today many people are more motivated by fear than by positive motives. This may be a good time for a wise shop-owner to use this perception to his or her advantage. Every successful shop owner needs to educate the customer about the importance of doing a quality repair and why his or her shop is the best place to get it. And maybe a few shop owners make some comments about the poor quality of a competitor. But now it may be time to talk seriously about the dangers of faulty repairs. Accelerator pedals that stick, brakes that fail to stop a vehicle, welds that donâ€™t hold, andâ€”perhaps worst of allâ€”repairs that were paid for and never done. These are all legitimate sources of fear that a shop owner can capitalize on when selling the reliability and integrity of his or her shop. Recently more than fifty shop owners and estimators in Orange County were BMW Says New 5-Series Sold Out, Customers to Wait 4 Months Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, the worldâ€™s largest maker of luxury cars, has sold out of the revamped 5-Series sedan in all markets, forcing customers to wait three to four months for deliveries. The new 5-Series starts at $44,550 in the U.S. The vehicle went on sale in the U.S. June 30 and in Europe in late March. BMW fell 3 cents, or 0.1 percent, to 41.49 euros in Frankfurt. The stock has gained 30 percent this year, valuing the Munich-based carmaker at 26.5 billion euros ($33 billion).
Ford Sync to Include GPS Tracking for Emergency Responders Ford Syncâ€™s 911 Assist will now include an emergency response app that will send a vehicleâ€™s exact GPS coordinates to first responders if the car is involved in an accident. The system requires a Bluetoothequipped cell phone to send those coordinates to emergency vehicles. The 911 Assist feature comes in all Ford models with Sync and the upcoming 2011 models equipped with MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch. The service does not require drivers to subscribe to OnStar.
charged with fraud. This is not a new problem. An article in the January 30, 2007 Los Angeles Times [controversially] reported that an investigation by the State of California BAR â€œhas found that billing for 43% of cars inspected so far, after being repaired had evidence of fraud with an average of $586 in overcharges for parts not used or labor not performed.â€? The article further reported that â€œabout 13% of the repaired vehicles had structural issues that would indicate inadequate or defective repairs to car framesâ€Ś Those inadequacies included improper welds and failure to rust-proof key parts.â€? It goes without saying that many of these deficiencies compromise the safety of the driver and passengers of the vehicle repaired. [Edâ€”the numbers cited in this article were later walked back by Sherry Mehl, the BAR chief appointed at about the time the article was written, citing flawed methodology in the survey.] More disturbing was the case of a jury in Massachusetts who convicted a mother and son and the owner of a Stoughton auto body repair shop on charges they conspired to defraud an insurance company of $50,000 by inflating damages to a BMW convertible. I guess they were trying to keep it all in the family. Introducing the Chevrolet Cruze Eco At the New York Auto Show earlier this year, Chevrolet revealed the compact 2011 Cruze Eco. This high-efficiency model achieves an estimated 40 mpg on the highway when combined with a six-speed manual transmission. Cruze Eco is expected to deliver the best fuel economy in the compact segment. Cruze models for the United States and Canada will be produced at the Lordstown, Ohio assembly complex. More than $350 million has been invested to retool the plant and add new, state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment. The Cruze Eco will be available in the fourth quarter of 2010 and is backed by Chevyâ€™s five-year/100,000-mile warranty. Jaguar, Land Rover get $1 Billion Infusion from Owner Tata Motors Indian automaker Tata Motors has announced plans to raise as much as $1 million for its luxury brands Jaguar and Land Rover. Tata plans to use part of the funds to pay down loans used to purchase both brands. Jaguar, formerly owned by U.S. automaker Ford Motor cost $2.5 billion alone. The automaker, which is Indianâ€™s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer, also plans to use the raised funds to expand Jaguar and Land Rover operations.
16 AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
$50,000 is cheap compared to the auto body shop owner and five co-defendants in Massachusetts, who plead guilty for their roles in a $117,000 staged accident insurance fraud scam. A recent talk by 30-year industry veteran Dale Delmege at several CAA meetings asserted that about seventy-five percent of the 40,000 collision repair shops in the U.S. provide less than total quality repairs, leaving hidden damage uncorrected. (See July issue of Autobody News). He also noted that the shop that takes the time to do a thorough, quality repair leaving no hidden liabilities is paid the same as the shop down the street that takes costsaving short cuts. He also suggested that there may be a way to enjoy more revenue for your superior repair work. Many potential customers coming into a shop for an estimate have just had an emotionally traumatic experience. They may be exceptionally susceptible to any reassurances that their repair will be thorough and safe. How can you challenge the deceptive claims of a competitor down the street with-
out simply bad mouthing him or her? Dalmege suggests your should prove WHY your shop and your repairs are superior to those of a majority of other shops. Obviously, education is the only answer. You are already doing a certain amount of educating the customer. Canâ€™t you justify the additional time it can take to show a customer examples of hidden damage and the probability of neglected repairs that would be out of sight? Perhaps you canâ€™t afford not to! Those shops found guilty of fraud or billing for inadequate repairs may not be around for long, but for shops that are dedicated to producing an honest and thorough job, fraud investigation like this is good news. Shops with an exemplary record of complaint-free performance attract customers looking for a facility where they can be confident of the integrity of the owner and all employees. With such a high percentage of fraud in auto body repair, a shop with conscientious, ethical policies may make that shop a popular choice for both private individuals and insurance companies looking for a new direct repair facility.
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Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist based in San Francisco, California. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Auto Body Guru Helps Body Shops One Click at a Time with Ed Attanasio
If you don’t know SEO from [a] CEO, and PPC could be a new type of paint, or if ‘organic search’ sounds pretty much like a hunt for fresh but pricy vegetables, you might want to pay some close attention to Auto Body Guru. Don’t be embarassed if you lack internet skills. Instead take a little while to understand what you might be leaving on the Body Shop Owner table, by ignoring the Rouben Mirzaians potential benefits to has experienced an ongoing improvement your business. in his business via Body shops the Internet since need to know how to he signed on with fix cars while navihis Rony’s program gating around the with Auto Body Guru. many obstacles that can get in the way of doing a good job while still making a profit. That’s why it makes sense to understand the benefits of using a company like Auto Body Guru to figure out the proper ways to position yourself on the Internet and get results. “Body shop owners know how to run their businesses, but when it comes to Internet marketing, they will admit they need assistance,” Rony Mirzaians, the founder and owner of Auto Body Guru explained. “Would you hire a body tech to create your Web site and then optimize it for search? I don’t think you would. The best thing a body shop owner needs to know is what he or she doesn’t know. Delegate your online marketing to an expert and you’ll succeed. Do it part-time or hire a hobbyist to do it, and you’re setting yourself up for failure.” Most body shop owners will admit that they just don’t have sufficient time to do marketing. And that’s why Mirzaians knows the game plan when it comes to getting shops customers via online, he said. “Our job is to educate the body shops about how to leverage their presence online. A shop can have a beautiful Web site with all the bells and whistles, but if no one can find it, what good is it? The bottom line is that the phone needs to ring. You can have an award-winning site, but if you’re not attracting customers, who cares? Auto Body Guru is associated with all the big names in the World Wide Web, Mirzaians said. “We partner with Google, Yahoo! and bing and are Google Adwords Certified Partners, Yahoo Ambassador Program Members and MSN AdExcellence Members. These Certifications allow
us to provide the best Pay Per Click management and setup options to our clients. The partnership with Google, Yahoo! and bing as trusted data providers allows us to provide enhanced Local Search (SEO) and maps optimization services.” “These are the worldwide powerhouses of search and we have great relationships with all of them,” Mirzaians said. “I tell shops that we’re working with the leaders, so if they’ll give me at least 2-3 months to help them, they’ll start to see tangible results.” Auto Body Guru can help body shops to wean themselves off the costly yellow pages and jump into the online world at a very reasonable rate, Mirzaians said. “The yellow pages are dying, because people are now using their computers, cell phones and GPS devices to find businesses. We
graphically target your specific area so that your ads will be displayed to customers online.” Auto body customers usually have a sense of urgency when they are looking for repair services online, Marzaians said. “In a typical scenario, the auto body customer is likely to be doing a search on the side of the road on their phone or at home after an accident so they can quickly get their car back on the road. The most powerful real estate for auto body companies is in the first page of Google, next to the map and complemented by sponsored links for maximum online exposure.” Being patient while building an online presence is key to his program’s success, Mizraians said. “With any marketing campaign you’ll have to give PPC at least a month to properly test its ef-
The Auto Body Guru crew includes (from left) Senior Sales Executive Jonathan Johnson, Sales Executive Ignacio Juarez, Operations Manager/Social Media Expert Nikki Pope, Owner Rony Mirzaians, Director of Search & Pay Per Click Young Chu, Customer Service Manager Frank Perez, Sales Executive Josh Shipley, Local Search & Google Maps Tech Gary B. and Social Media Manager Lilit K.
can sign a shop up quickly and affordably, without contracts, setup fees and per click charges. 65% of users search online for auto body services and that number will increase each year, we believe.” One of the main advantages of online marketing allows shops to attract customers from a wider geographical range, Mirzaians said. “The great thing about the auto body business is that your core service requires you to communicate with your customers consistently. This means you are not restricted to one distinct location like the traditional brick and mortar business. In fact, it’s not unusual for auto body companies to service a 50+ mile radius. This extended service radius means you potentially have a larger pool of customers to capture. PPC (Pay Per Click) Marketing is the perfect method to instantly tap into that pool of customers. Especially since it allows you to geo-
fectiveness. Start with a small campaign and a modest budget to build and test the campaign. Be prepared to spend time and learn from the results you find with each different ad and make changes on weak campaigns.” Body shops have embraced the search expertise implemented by Auto Body Guru, getting outstanding results since signing with ABG. One of Mirzaians’ first customers was his father, who has owned American Eagle Auto Body in Los Angeles for 12 years. In fact, one of the main reasons why Rony got into the Internet marketing field initially was to help his dad in generating leads for his shop, he said. “In ’07-’08, when the economy started to limp along, my father came to me and asked me to help him with his marketing. Like many other shops, he had no idea where to start. So, I designed a Web
site for him rather quickly, to get him in the major search engines, primarily Google and Yahoo. In our first month, my father’s shop got three new jobs from being on the first page of Google next to the map, which equaled $14,000 in revenue. Since then, he’s experienced a consistent response. Unlike the yellow pages, his Internet marketing efforts have paid for themselves and now they generate a profit every month.” Rooben Mirzaians has experienced an ongoing improvement in his business via the Internet since he started with his son’s program 2.5 years ago. Now he knows exactly how many leads he gets each month from the SEO he and Rony strategized, he said. “It does work,” the senior Mirzaians said. “We’re getting a lot of inquiries and they’ve lead to a considerable amount of repair jobs. We used the yellow pages for many years and it was very expensive. The Web site and the search approach gets the phone ringing, and then it’s our job to get them to come here. Once they also see our feedback online, people will drive from all corners of L.A. County to come here. Once they feel confident and secure about us, they don’t mind traveling to get their cars fixed.” Joe Merdkanian, owner of Eurasian Coach Works in West Hollywood, recently contracted with ABG and he’s already seen some significant activity based on the search strategies they devised for his shop, he said. “We’ve been with ABG for a few months and we’re still tweaking and learning the program. They put my Web site together and it was so fast I was amazed. Other web designers in the past took months and months to produce our sites, but ABG had it done in less than two weeks and it looks great.” James Davis, owner of Irvine Auto Collision, has been an ABG customer for two years and is pleased with the response, he explained. “We’ve received very positive results from our Web site and the SEO they’ve put together. For a while, I did it on my own, but it was very time-consuming. It’s worked out much better to hire ABG, because if you don’t know everything you can pay too much for keywords, etc. My advice is hire an expert and concentrate on other things like fixing vehicles.” Auto Body Guru 6708 Foothill Blvd., Suite 209 Tujunga, California 91402 (888) 558-0006 www.GuruMarketGroup.com
www.autobodynews.com | AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 17
Collision Centers Get More “Green” From Enterprise Rent-A-Car Collision centers that work with Enterprise Rent-A-Car may get more than they expected when it comes to going “green.” In addition to repair center customers driving off in some of the most fuel efficient rental cars on the road today, paperless technology helps streamline the rental car process between collision repair centers, insurance companies and Enterprise. In terms of going “green,” it’s a win-win situation for everyone. With the world’s largest fleet of fuel efficient vehicles, Enterprise is helping reduce the nation’s carbon footprint and giving more drivers the opportunity to experience fuel efficient vehicles. Nearly 450,000 cars in the combined fleet of Enterprise, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car average a highway fuel efficiency rating of at least 28 mpg; nearly 230,000 average 32 mpg or better; and nearly 425,000 have earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay certification mark – a distinction the EPA grants to vehicles that emit relatively low levels of both regulated pollutants and greenhouse gases such as CO2. To reduce paperwork, as well as lower costs, save time and enhance service with insurance companies and car owners, Enterprise offers free of charge to collision centers the ARMS® Automotive and ARMS® Automotive Exchange applications. Widely recognized as two of the most
effective tools available to the collision repair industry, ARMS® Automotive updates the status of car repairs, while ARMS® Automotive Exchange automates labor hours and provides free cycle time reporting.
technology collects only the data contained in the EMS file directory, which is the industry standard designed for sharing estimate files between different computer systems and trading partners.
Powered by CynCast Data Pump, the ARMS® Automotive applications work with a repair center’s estimating and/or management system to automatically “push” certain repair information to Enterprise via an EMS (estimate management software) file. In addition to making the replacement rental process more efficient, ARMS® Automotive applications protect the security of the repair centers’ data and computer systems. The
Fuel efficient vehicles and paperless technology applications are just two of initiatives Enterprise has embraced as part of its environmental stewardship platform, which is the most comprehensive in its industry. “We know that more and more consumers expect the companies that serve them to share their concerns about the environment. For our company and our in-
dustry to be successful, we must address those concerns while also working to sustain our business over the long term,” said Andrew C. Taylor, chairman and CEO of Enterprise Holdings, which operates the Enterprise Rent-A-Car brand. “To that end, Enterprise is investing in the latest technologies to minimize fuel consumption and related emissions, today and tomorrow.” Taylor said the company’s efforts to reduce fuel consumption and related emissions are as much about sustaining Enterprise’s business as they are about sustaining the environment. “We have always managed our business for the long term, and we are taking that same longterm approach here,” he said. “Taking care of the environment is the right thing to do, but for Enterprise it is more than that; very simply, it is a business imperative if we are to continue to run our business and serve consumers successfully into the future. “We want our customers to know that when they choose Enterprise, they get more than just a rental car. They also are getting our commitment to making a positive difference in those parts of the world we touch with our business, now and in the future,” Taylor said. Additional information about the ARMS® Automotive applications is available from Frank LaViola at Enterprise, Frank.R.Laviola@erac.com.
Project Manager of The EV Project. “Texas has already been strategically engaged in preparing for the wide acceptance of electric vehicles,” said ECOtality President & CEO Jonathan Read. “We believe our presence in the state will accelerate that process.” “Texas is a leader in alternative energy sources, making it an ideal market for electric vehicles,” said Tony DiSalle, Product and Marketing Director for the Chevrolet Volt. “As such, we recently announced Texas would be one of the first markets in the national launch for the Chevrolet Volt. The EV Project expansion to Texas markets will help make electric vehicles, like the Volt, a success in Texas and across the nation.” The EV Project began last year, with grant funding through the U.S. Department of Energy from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. A $30 million extension of the grant funding was announced earlier this month. That Federal grant extension includes $15 million of ARRA funding, which will be matched with $15 million in private funds, to reach the total extension amount of $30 million. The total overall value of the project now stands at approximately $230 million. For more information about The EV Project, please visit www.theevproject.com or www.Chevrolet.com/Volt.
NESSARA, New England Service Station Auto Repair Association, is the leading organization for the independent auto repair industry in Massachusetts; and, with over 400 members, NESSARA has more independent repair business members than any other organization in Massachusetts. “After careful review of the proposed S. 2517 “Right to Repair” law, it has become clear that this bill is a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Roger Montbleau, NESSARA president. “The opinion of independent repairer’s in Massachusetts as to the availability of auto repair information and tools runs the full range of opinions. There is confusion. Some believe that these items are not easily obtainable, if at all, while others believe that most or all of them are readily available. This mix-up is being exploited by the proponents of this 'Right to Repair' effort,” said Montbleau. According to Montbleau, this bill will do nothing to address what the Massachusetts auto repair industry really needs: training and education. NESSARA has performed, and continues to offer, auto repair demonstrations for legislators to get a first hand view of the real circumstances around this issue.
Right to Repair legislation has unanimously passed the Massachusetts Senate. The bill requires car manufacturers to provide automobile repair codes and information to local mechanics at a fair price. If passed by the House, this bill will enable small, independent automobile shops to repair consumer’s cars at a lower price than dealerships charge, protecting these small businesses, an important part of our communities, while saving consumers money. “The manufacturers don’t want this to happen because they want to continue charging customers more money to fix their cars,” said Art Kinsman, a spokesman for the Right to Repair coalition. Recent advertising by opponents of this consumer legislation has misrepresented the legislation. The following is a side-by-side analysis of the advertising prepared by the Massachusetts Right to Repair coalition: “When this bill passes the House it will be a huge victory for the average consumer,” said Kinsman. “With the economy being what it is, times are tough...” The Right to Repair Coalition represents more than 1,000 independent repair shops in Massachusetts.
EV Project Expands to Texas, Now Six States Participating ECOtality, Inc., a leader in clean electric transportation and storage technologies, has announced its second expansion of The EV Project, culminating in a robust charging infrastructure network in sixteen cities located in six states—Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Tennessee and Texas, as well as the District of Columbia. Overall, The EV Project will include the manufacture and installation of more than 15,000 chargers in residential and public locations throughout the United States. Data from Volt drivers in Texas will add another facet to The EV Project’s understanding of the interaction between electric vehicles and charging infrastructure. Purchasers of a Chevrolet Volt who qualify for EV Project participation in the Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston areas will receive a free home charger and credit toward the installation of the charger. The EV Project will gather and analyze data defining how these Volt purchasers utilize their vehicles and interface with their home charging infrastructure. “Data from Volt drivers in Texas will add another facet to The EV Project’s understanding of the interaction between electric vehicles and charging infrastructure,” said Don Karner, President of ECOtality North America and
18 AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
Some Repairers Oppose “Right to Repair” Legislation...
... Others Support R2R, Including Right to Repair Coalition
Service, Service, Diagnostic Diiagnostic D and an nd d Mechanical M e ch aniccal al NEWS Mec echanical Mech ech ec hanical ca
ECO-Friendly Auto Center in Oakland Park, FL, Walks the Talk Autobody News
by Erica Schroeder
When Sully Dawson opened ECOFriendly Auto Center in Oakland Park, FL 3 months ago he wanted to leave no environmentally friendly stone unturned.
mechanical repair work as well as regular maintenance like oil changes and tire repairs but does not do any body work. According to Dawson the shop recycles everything possible including, metal, batteries and paper. The shop also uses a service called Safety-Kleen which takes their used oil and antifreeze, cleans it and returns it to the shop for reuse. ECO-Friendly also provides customers with the option of using G-Oil Green Motor Oil. G-Oil is made from animal fat and is completely biodegradeable.
switch from regular motor oil to G-Oil. The shop also sells other biodegradeable automotive necessities; from engine degreasers to car wax to window cleaners, customers can find everything they need
One of the empty bays and lifts
Sully Dawson outside the front of ECO-Friendly Auto Center
“I made a conscious effort to be green from the inception,” said Dawson, “I took the best of everything I could find out there.” The 6,000 square-foot shop has 3 employees and sees about 350 cars a month. ECO-Friendly has only been open for
The auto center's front desk area
to be environmentally conscious when it comes to their vehicles. ECO-Friendly uses low VOC cleaners in all of their processes and their wash
A vehicle up on one of the lifts
Customers in the front desk waiting room area
about 3 months, but Dawson anticipates the repair shop will bring in about $400,000 this year. The shop does major Continued from Page 15
21st Century Collision
tomers long-term service while continually developing innovative products and technologies,” their mission statement outlines. Haney, Jr. likes the speed and accuracy offered by his computerized measuring systems. “We put the vehicle information in the system and it tells us the measurements instantly. It’s dead-on accurate every time and it’s very easy to op-
kids and our grandkids.” Dawson also believes in being a spokesperson for shops implementing more environmentally conscious techniques in the workplace. ECO-Friendly is currently
ECO-Friendly is the only shop in the state of Florida to offer this option which is American Petroleum Institute certified. According to Dawson, G-Oil is a little more expensive but well worth the cost. He also said he is seeing that about half of his customers coming in are making the
system is Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) approved. “These things are easy,” said Dawson, “it’s all about what we can do now for our
erate. We rely on those machines every day, so we need them to work perfectly every time, or we’re in trouble.” English Color’s Equipment Sales Manager for Oklahoma and Arkansas, Alan Vinyard, is Haney, Jr.’s rep for Chief and respects the way he runs his operation. “Lee must be doing something right, because he’s one of the busiest shops in town. He’s always looking to get the best and newest equipment he can find—including his paint booth, his lifts and everything in between. He knows Chief after
many years working with their products, so we don’t need to sell him about the brand.” The collision repair business isn’t easy, but after all these years out on the front lines, Haney, Jr. can’t encounter anything that will rattle him, he said. “It’s a great business for young people to get in, but it’s tough in many ways. I tell people owning a collision facility has tested me more than once, but I’ll never go postal.” What has been the main reason for
Sully Dawson working on a customers car
working on their Green Certification through the state of Florida; after the shop gains this honor Dawson will be working on writing a guide for other shop owners on how to implement green technologies simply and cost-effectively in their own shops. “Part of my job is informing people, especially my customers,” said Dawson. ECO-Friendly is also very proud to be considered female and child friendly with a kids play area, cafe and WiFi offered in the waiting area. Any questions can be referred directly to Dawson through his email; email@example.com. More information about Eco-Friendly Auto Center can be found on their websites at ecofriendlyautocenter.com and ecofriendlyautocenter.net. ECO-Friendly Auto Center 1139 E. Commercial Blvd Fort Lauderdale, FL 33334 (954) 581- 1747
keeping 21st Century busy during a tough economic period? “The economy has changed, but we’re still fixing cars the only way we know. Things are a little leaner and money is a little tighter everywhere, but quality is always the most important thing and we won’t ever compromise that.” 21st Century Collision 6501 West Reno Avenue Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73127 (405) 787-6143
www.autobodynews.com | AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 19
This is a new story by Scott “Gonzo” Weaver as posted on his website, www.gonzostoolbox.com. See his book “Hey Look! I Found The Loose Nut”, which provides a Good Laugh for Mechanics of Any Age. The book is available at amazon.com. Contact Gonzo at Gonzosae@aol.com
Answering the Bell (‘I don’t got a gun’) and Remembering Old Sarge with Gonzo Weaver
On a warm spring afternoon about 15 years ago, my shop was busy with jobs. It was just another day, working ‘till it was quitting time. Even the phone seemed to have a pleasant ring that day. My wife, Le Ann, was in the office working on the daily office paper work. I was in the shop turning wrenches and humming to the always constant radio in the background. The shop was busy and things were going along without a hint of trouble. It was a story book day of blissful repairs. I even stopped for a moment to reflect on the wonderful day that it was… “Ah, it’s a fine day, a fine day indeed. Nothing could bother me today.” I looked outside at the street in front of the shop. Hmm, police cars… two of them, driving slowly. Then, in the far distance, I could hear more cars coming this way, sirens blazing away. I looked back just in the nick of time to see the two squad cars that were in front of the shop tear down the street at high speed. Then two more came from the opposite direction, slowing down just in front of the shop. I walked towards the garage door when suddenly a figure flew by me. This guy was on a flat out run for the furthest point away from those cop cars. You should have seen it; those cops were on this guy like a swarm of bees. The guy ducked around the corner with the cop cars in full pursuit. He didn’t stand a chance. Where’s the wife? I need to go tell her about all of this… why, this is exciting… I can’t wait to tell her. As I reached for the door knob to the front lobby, my wife threw open the door. She was so frantic she could hardly speak. “How could you leave me up here all by myself? Didn’t you hear me banging on the wall! I could have been killed,” gasping for breath as if it were her last. “Calm down honey,” I said, “It was nothing. Nothing at all, did you see that guy, and the cop cars?”
“Nothing? What do you mean NOTHING!” she shouted at me. “That guy came in all sweaty, sits down in the lobby chair, and tells me he just needs a rest. Then tells me he wants to give himself up, and wanted me to call the cops. There he is sitting there holding his shirt up and tells me “I don’t got a gun” what was I suppose to do…? I called the cops and kept banging on the wall trying to get you to come up front.” “Holy cow, dear,” I stood there in shock answering her, “Why didn’t you come and get me?” “Ya Big Baboon! I was on the phone! Who do you think was calling for all these cop cars,” she screamed at me. Her voice kept getting louder, and she was a total emotional wreck, but continued to tell me, “I couldn’t move, I had to talk to the cops, give them a description and the address, they kept telling me to stay on the line. I wanted to run out of there. The guy was out of breath and he didn’t look like he had an ounce of strength left. I tried banging on the wall thinking you would show up any minute. But, when this guy heard the sirens he took off again.” It’s about then I understood the seriousness of the “gangster in the lobby.” My poor wife was terrified. There was no way she was going to spend another minute up front without some way of getting our attention in the back of the shop. That afternoon I rigged up an $8.00 12volt doorbell from the hardware store with a two-prong turn signal flasher from a car. Now if someone comes in the flasher causes the door bell to “ding, ding, ding” ‘till the door closes. If the door buzzer doesn’t shut off in its usual pattern… drop the tools and run to the front... wife needs me. This crude door bell set up has been a part of our shop since that day. I’ve changed the flasher two or three times since then, but
Matrix System Automotive Finishes is in its second year of sponsorship with the Webster Racing U-22 unlimited hydroplane for the 2010 race season. Mike Webster from Shillington, PA Hydroplane driver Mike Webster is the professional driver of the U-22 and has been racing boats since the age of
10. He is considered one of the youngest national champions in the sport at age 30 and won his first national title at age 15. Later on he also won national and world titles in 2004 and 2005. In 2009, Webster debuted the U-22 and finished 7th overall. He also took home Rookie of the Year honors for the H1 Unlimited Series. For the 2010 season, Webster racing is looking forward to improving the hull performance and consistency of the boat, making the final heat of each race, and qualifying again
not the bell. I’m guessing it’s about 15 years old by now, but it still works perfectly. I also installed a louder bell with an emergency button in several locations just in case the first “ding” didn’t get my attention. I’m sure, if I hadn’t installed the door dinger that afternoon, I would have been spending a lot of sleepless nights on the couch. As they say… when one door closes another one opens…this time I can hear it open, thanks to a ‘dingy’ bad guy with no gun. Wub ya honey, and yes it’s still true… it don’t get no better.
Old Sarge I met this great man through his son, who happened to be the driver of the Chevy van (from the furniture store, for those who have read my book) who was my very first customer. Sarge isn’t his real name, but that’s what I called him. He was a retired Marine Corps cook. I met him one day when he came in with a sick Cadillac. The old Cadillac hardly had any power at all; just as slow and lazy as a snail. I had only been in business for a few months, and didn’t know anybody or have any work history to speak of, so even though it wasn’t an electrical problem (as he originally thought), I jumped right in and found the problem. It was a clogged catalytic converter. Unbelievably, it wasn’t even welded in place. I could take off the clamps, and remove it without much hassle. Back then I didn’t have a lift to put the car in the air, so I had to do the whole job on the ground. Well, old Sarge just sat there and watched me do the whole thing. I think he was a little suspicious of this skinny little white kid who was hacking away at his car, but he patiently waited, being the good man he was. We got to talking about things, and it wasn’t long before he found out that I was also in Marine Corps. Now we had some common ground. We were buds for
life, always cutting up with each other. One hot August afternoon Sarge brought in one of his other cars to get some work done. I had the back door to the shop open, and Sarge steps outside for a little fresh air. I thought I could hear the guy crying or mumbling something, couldn’t tell which it was. I stuck my head around the corner, “Sarge, ah …. you OK, buddy?” I asked. He proceeded to tell me how the house he grew up in was close by, before it became a shopping center. He talked about his dad and family, and how he used to hunt rabbits right where we were standing. It was during the Depression. Hard times. Things were scarce in those days. How his dad hid a pig in a pit, not too far from here. Where they kept the corn mash for making bootleg moon shine. I sat and listened to this hardened Marine tell me his life’s story that day, from his first car to how he ended up in the Corps. I didn’t answer the phone, or go up front to see if anyone came in. I just sat out there in that August heat, drenched in sweat, listening to this fella tell me the long and fascinating story. I’ll never forget that afternoon. I’ll also never forget how every time he came to my shop over the next 25 years he would sneak up on me, and yell in a drill instructor voice, “TEN HUT!” I would snap to attention just like a good Marine should. Sometimes, just to get a rise out of Sarge I would purposely hit my head on the hood of the car I was working on. He got a kick out of it every time. Sarge passed away a couple years back. I still think about him now and then. I hope he’s up there hunting rabbits, or something. Maybe he’s guarding the gates like every Marine hopes to be doing when their time comes. Or, he could be just waiting there to try and surprise me with one more “TEN HUT” when I show up. So long Sarge. I miss having you around the shop.
Matrix System Automotive Finishes Sponsors Webster Racing U-22 Hydroplane for Second Year
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The hydroplane Matrix sponsors (white)
for the World Championships in Doah, Qatar. The U-22 is part of the American Boat Racing Association (ABRA) circuit, which is considered the top tier of boat
racing. During the course of the year Webster Racing will be participating in the Madison, IN Regatta - July 24, APBA Gold Cup - Detroit, MI July 9-11, Lamb Weston Columbia Cup -Tri-Cities, WA July 23-25, Seafair Albert Lee Cup - Seattle, WA August 6-8, and the UIM World Championship - Doah, Qatar November 19-20. For more information please visit: www.matrixsystem.com.
Vehicle Mix is Dramatically Changing Aftermarket, Strong June Sales by Jim Lang, Lang Marketing
Ten Year Shift The mix of light vehicles on U.S. roads changed significantly over the last ten years.
Domestic Cars Down Domestic cars (not including transplants) represented the largest share of light vehicles on U.S. roads during 1999, nearly 40%, but plunged to second in 2009 share, at only 28%. Light Trucks Gain Domestic light trucks substantially increased their vehicle share between 1999 and 2009, climbing from 31% of the 1999 market to 34% of the 2009 population.
Foreign Vehicles Increase Foreign cars (imports and transplants) expanded their vehicle share in the U.S between 1999 and 2009, increasing from 23% to 27%. Foreign Light Truck Share Up 85% Although representing the smallest segment of light vehicles in operation during 2009, foreign light trucks posted a large percentage share gain between 1999 and 2009, soaring from 6% to 11% of light ve-
hicles, nearly an 85% share surge.
Greater Change Over the Next Eight Years Lang Marketing projects seismic swings in U.S. vehicle mix between 2009 and 2016.
Domestic Cars Sink Domestic cars will sink to only one-fifth, 20%, of light vehicles in the United States by 2016, a mere half their 1999 market share and down nearly one-third from 28% of the 2009 vehicle mix. Domestic Light Trucks Gain Domestic Light Trucks will inch-up to 35% of vehicles on U.S. roads during 2016, a gain from 34% of the 2009 market and 31% of 1999 vehicles in operation. Foreign Cars Soar Foreign cars will account for nearly onethird of vehicles on U.S. roads during 2016, 32%, over one-third more than their 23% share of the 1999 market and up sharply from 27% of the 2009 U.S. vehicle population. Foreign Light Truck Share Doubles Foreign Light Trucks will more than double their share of vehicles in the U.S. between 1999 and 2016, soaring from 6% to 13% of vehicles in operation.
Aftermarket Impact The 2017 aftermarket will be a different world than the aftermarket of 1999 because of these tectonic shifts in major segments of the vehicle population. Domestic cars and light trucks (not including transplants) will sink to 55% of vehicles on the road by 2017, down from 71% of the 1999 population. This will greatly diminish the 63% aftermarket product volume generated by domestic cars and light trucks during 2009.
Strong Sales Through June in Aftermarket
Aftermarket Sweet-Spot Vehicles in the so-called aftermarket repair sweet-spot (five to ten years old) will be dominated by foreign vehicles by 2017. Foreign models will account for more than 53% of cars and light trucks in this age parameter, up from less than 30% of the aftermarket repair sweet-spot in 1999.
Replacement Parts Growth The aging vehicle fleet and record number of cars and light trucks over twelve-yearsold on U.S. roads are ginning-up replacement parts volume to a pace not seen in over ten years. Contrary to car and light truck aftermarket product growth for the past ten
Soaring Foreign Vehicle Aftermarket Foreign cars and light trucks (imports and transplants) will account for 45% of vehicles in operation by 2017, up over 50% from their 29% share of the 1999 aftermarket. This will super-charge foreign vehicle aftermarket product growth over the next eight years.
2010 is Packing the Strongest Sales Punch the Aftermarket Has Seen in Years Following two years of car and light truck product contraction (2008 sales down 1.9% and 2009 off 0.4%), 2010 is shapingup as a strong turn-around year for the light vehicle aftermarket. Annual light vehicle 2010 product percentage growth, at user-price, could top anything recorded since 1998. Foreign Vehicles Lead the Way Foreign vehicles (imports and transplants) continue to drive car and light truck product expansion in the U.S. aftermarket. Lang Marketing projects foreign vehicle product volume will soar over 6.0% during 2010. However, some of this sales momentum will be cancelled-out by a much lower domestic car 2010 product rate.
See Vehicle Mix, Page 23
www.autobodynews.com | AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 21
ALL OEM Information with Tom McGee and Jeffrey Webster
Tom McGee is National Account Manager for ALLDATA Collision. He has had a long career with I-CAR, including as President & CEO. Tom is an ASE certified Master Collision Repair/Refinish Technician. He has also run his own collision facility and been a career and technical school instructor. He can be reached at Tom.McGee@alldata.com. For other Tom McGee articles in Autobody News, go to: http://www.autobodynews.com/tom-mcgee/index.php — JEFF WEBSTER is an ALLDATA Technical Writer.
Corvette Re-Initialization Procedures The most basic vehicles today are pretty much computers on wheels. The more sophisticated the car, the more computers and systems that need to be re-initialized each time you work on them. The complexity and the confusion grows with each new model year. Take, for example, one of the icons of the American automobile industry, the Chevrolet Corvette. From 1953 to present, the Corvette has evolved into a remarkable machine. But, like any other vehicle on the road, Corvettes suffer collision damage, and upon repair, there are many systems that need to be re-initialized. ALLDATA Collision provides manufacturers’ (OE) collision and mechanical repair information for Corvettes, as well as the other makes and models you see in your shop. OE is the gold standard when it comes to collision repair. It provides an
indisputable blueprint for sectioning and working with new materials, such as ultra high strength steel, aluminum and advanced plastics. ALLDATA Collision also specifies re-initialization procedures for all those complex systems. Here are five initialization/calibration procedures for a 2009 Corvette: I. BRAKE PEDAL POSITION SENSOR CALIBRATION Calibration Criteria Important: Do not apply the brake pedal during the brake pedal position sensor calibration procedure. Any movement of the brake pedal during this procedure will cause the calibration procedure to fail. If this occurs, the brake pedal position sensor (BPPS) calibration must be repeated.
Brake pedal position sensor calibration must be performed after the brake pedal position sensor or body control module (BCM) have been serviced. The calibration procedure will set brake pedal position sensor home value. This value is used by the BCM to determine the action of the driver applying the brake system and to provide this information to the vehicle subsystems
via the class 2 communication bus.
Calibration Procedure 1. Apply the parking brake. 2. Place the transmission in the PARK position for automatic transmission or NEUTRAL for manual transmission. 3. Install a scan tool. 4. Clear all BCM DTCs before proceeding. 5. Turn ON the ignition, with the engine OFF. 6. Navigate to the Vehicle Control Systems menu. 7. Select Computer/Integrating Systems menu item. 8. Select Module Setup menu item. 9. Select BCM menu item. 10. Select the BPP Sensor Calibration procedure and follow the directions displayed on the screen.
II. INFLATABLE RESTRAINT SENSING AND DIAGNOSTIC MODULE PROGRAMMING AND SETUP
Important: The air bag indicator light may remain ON after the body control module (BCM), or sensing and diagnostic module (SDM) is replaced, and during the programming procedure for the BCM until after the procedure is completed, and the ignition key is cycled OFF and ON. If the SDM is replaced you must setup the new SDM part number in the BCM. With a scan tool, select the SIR module setup.
Select setup SDM Part Number in BCM and follow the on-screen instructions. III. PASSENGER PRESENCE SYSTEM REZEROING
Introduction The Inflatable Restraints Passenger Presence System (PPS) is a calibrated system that requires rezeroing anytime the seat cushion trim attachments have been removed or the PPS has been replaced. The procedures below are designed to assist in
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the rezeroing of the PPS. Before you start, read these procedures carefully and completely. For further information regarding the PPS refer to SIR System Description and Operation (See: Restraint Systems\Air Bag Systems\Description and Operation). Important: The following procedures must be followed: 1. Read this procedure carefully and completely. 2. The PPS will not function properly if the PPS rezeroing procedure is not performed. 3. Perform the Diagnostic System Check Vehicle (See: Initial Inspection and Diagnostic Overview\Diagnostic System Check - Vehicle) after successfully completing the rezeroing procedure to ensure the system is functioning properly.
Passenger Presence System (PPS) Rezeroing Procedure Important: Before rezeroing the PPS, the front passenger seat must be completely empty of all items. The presence of any items on the front passenger seat will affect the calibration and operation of the PPS. Important: When rezeroing the PPS, the instrument panel cluster (IPC) and dash lights will begin dimming ON and FF. This is normal operation during the rezeroing procedure and does not indicate additional system faults. 1. Empty the front outboard passenger seat. 2. Verify that all SIR and PPS components, connectors, and connector position assurances (CPAs) are properly connected and mounted. 3. Install a scan tool. 4. Turn ON the ignition, with the engine OFF. Important: All SIR and PPS DTCs must be cleared before rezeroing the PPS. The presence of current or history DTCs will prevent the PPS from rezeroing and may set additional DTCs. 5. Use the scan tool in order to clear the SIR and PPS DTCs. 6. With a scan tool, request the PPS rezeroing procedure. 7. Initiate the PPS rezeroing procedure. The PPS will illuminate both PASSENGER AIR BAG ON and OFF indicators until the rezeroing procedure has been completed. • When the rezeroing procedure has been successfully completed, the PPS will display the current system status by using either the PASSENGER AIR BAG ON or OFF indicator. • If the rezeroing procedure was unsuccessful, both PASSENGER AIR BAG ON
and OFF indicators will alternate from no illumination to full illumination in 1 second intervals for 5 seconds. The PPS will treat an unsuccessful rezero attempt as a system fault. 8. If the rezeroing procedure was unsuccessful, repeat this procedure. Due to the communication status between the SDM and the PPS module, this procedure may have to be repeated until a successful rezero attempt has been achieved. 9. After the PPS has been successfully rezeroed, perform the Diagnostic System Check - Vehicle (See: Initial Inspection and Diagnostic Overview\Diagnostic System Check - Vehicle).
IV. POWER WINDOW RE-INITIALIZATION The re-initialization of the power windows will be necessary anytime a door module has been disconnected, replaced, or the vehicles battery has been disconnected or discharged. The power window will be reinitialized when the door module learns the full up and full down positions. To re-initialize a power window: 1. Close the door for the window being reinitialized. 2. Turn ON the ignition, with the engine
OFF. 3. Run the window to the full up position and hold the switch continuously for a minimum of 0.5 seconds. 4. Run the window to the full down position and hold the switch continuously for a minimum of 0.5 seconds. V. TIRE PRESSURE INDICATOR SENSOR LEARN
Learn Mode Description The Tire Pressure Monitor (TPM) System uses the keyless entry transmitter, body control module (BCM), remote control door lock receiver (RCDLR), 4 radio frequency transmitting pressure sensors, and the serial data circuit to perform the TPM learn mode functions. The sensor learn procedure must be performed after every tire rotation, RCDLR replacement, or senSee Corvette Re-Initialization, Page 28
John Yoswick is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon, who has been writing about the automotive industry since 1988. He is the editor of the weekly CRASH Network (for a free 4-week trial subscription, visit www.CrashNetwork.com). He can be contacted by email at jyoswick@SpiritOne.com.
Voices of IBIS—The Annual International Body Shop Conference with John Yoswick
Organizers of the annual International Bodyshop Industry Symposium (IBIS), face a difficult assignment: bringing together two days of presentations on industry issues that will be of interest and value to a diverse group of attendees—insurers, repairers and industry vendors—hailing from about two dozen different countries. The 10th annual IBIS, held in London in June, included as many presenters from outside the industry as it did collision repair experts. The goal, conference director David Lingham said, was to offer some fresh perspectives and a look at how comparable issues are being addressed in other industries. Here is a wrap-up of some of the more striking and interesting comments and insights offered from the IBIS podium this year. Future view of the OEMs Prof. David Bailey, an automotive analyst with the Coventry Business School in the United Kingdom said that despite the growing interest in electric-powered vehicles, collision repairers can expect to see plenty of diesel and gas powertrains for the foreseeable future. Even by 2020, he predicted, only about one-third of new cars will have electric powertrains. Although 10 automakers currently account for about 75 percent of the vehicles currently being produced, Bailey said he expects to see even further consolidation among automakers through mergers, acquisitions and alliances (such as OEMs sharing more jointly-developed platforms across multiple auto lines). Some automakers may get out of the assembly process altogether, he said, focusing on developing and branding vehicles that are actually manufactured by suppliers. The challenge of non-OEM parts Although Jack Gillis, the executive director of the Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA), spoke on a variety of topics at this year’s IBIS, he touched on Continued from Page 21
years, when soaring accessory volume provided most of the lift to light vehicle annual product sales, replacement parts are super-charging the current rise in aftermarket product volume. Accessories continue to struggle, particularly accessories for light trucks which had been (until 2008) the hottest accessory segment for the previous 20 years.
the latest non-OEM parts controversy surrounding non-OEM bumper reinforcement bars and other structural parts. He showed a video of some of the crash testing CAPA has done of such parts. One non-OEM bumper energy absorber visually appeared to match its OEM counterpart well, even down to the marking indicating what type of plastic it was made from. But lab testing showed the nonOEM part was actually made from a different type of plastic. When crash tested at 6.1 mph, the OEM absorber deformed but sprang back, with only a small amount of crushing and cracking; in the same test, the non-OEM version shattered. “We’ve had a very difficult time finding aftermarket bumpers that are actually the same as the car company bumpers that get produced,” Gillis said at IBIS. Standardized estimating reduces charges Richard Nathschlager, who oversees Audatex in Central and Eastern Europe, offered IBIS attendees an overview of the industry in such countries as Poland and Russia. But perhaps the most striking statement in his presentation came during his discussion of Romania, a country in which insurers are just now establishing repair shop networks to handle the approximately one million insurance claims filed each year. Audatex, Nathschlager said, introduced its products in Romania starting in 2005, and already nine of the country’s top 10 insurers are using it and requiring shops to do so as well. The impact, he said, has been dramatic. “What happened was not very funny, not very nice for the repairers, because (repair costs) went down by 20 percent,” Nathschlager said. He said some shops, however, have seen as much as a 50 percent increase in volume for those lower prices. “This is a good example of how a standard can work and help both parties involved in the business,” Nathschlager said. “Romania shows that establishing our system in a
Light Trucks Strong Growth Contributor Despite slumping new light truck sales share (something which is hurting accessory volume), light trucks, both domestic and foreign, are playing a pivotal part in the current bounce-back in aftermarket product volume. Lang Marketing expects light trucks will achieve strong 2010 aftermarket product growth; however, the downturn in domestic car aftermarket product sales threatens to cancel most 2010 sales expansion by domestic light trucks.
market brings both parties together. We create common language. We create a standard. We have a common understanding now.”
Finding common ground is key Viewing the common interests that shops and insurers share was also one message brought to IBIS by Prof. David Bland, the former director general of the Chartered Insurance Institute in the United Kingdom. Clearly more of an expert and advocate for insurers, Bland also did not hold back from being critical of such practices as that of some U.S. insurers to “cash out” policyholders by giving them a check and “just saying go get (their car) fixed.” “That is not high standards in the insurance industry, and part of what people in every industry have to do is hold the others in their industry to uphold standards,” Bland said. Bland was also asked about ways to bridge the gap that often seems to separate repairers and insurers. He said shops should be “completely transparent, especially in costing and billing, and then you can challenge the insurers to do the same.” Both sides, he said, must reach “an understanding that by networking together you can both gain business advantage and cost-effectiveness.” “If both sides are seen as having proper standards and ethical dealings with each other, and are not trying to chisel each other’s market share or market return, then you begin to build a basis of confidence on which you can go forward,” Bland said. “There’s no better way.” Similar pressures in aircraft industry One of the IBIS speakers who clearly brought some perspectives from a parallel industry was Howard Leach, head of operations of the aircraft safety academy in the United Kingdom. Leach discussed how airline pressures to get and keep planes flying sometimes comes into conflict with need for safety, maintenance and repair
Domestic Vehicles Will Generate Over 60% of 2010 Aftermarket Product Sales Despite the poor 2010 aftermarket product sales performance of domestic cars, domestic vehicles will account for approximately 62% of total car and light truck 2010 aftermarket product volume, according to Lang Marketing’s latest projections.
Not All Market Sectors Sharing Growth In addition to product growth by foreign vehicles and replacement parts in the 2010 aftermarket, the Service (DIFM) market is
work and inspections. Leach was asked, for example, about how if collision repair standards were established in the United States, current technical and commercial practices—and the sometimes seemingly conflicting desires of shops and insurers—can be balanced. “You’re talking about a cultural shift.” Leach acknowledged. “One of the key phrases we often hear is, ‘If you want me to be safe, I can’t get the aircraft out on time.’ So we’re almost holding safety up against commercial pressure. The challenge is to get everyone to actually recognize that if you get it right the first time, it’s going to help you with your business case anyway. You’ve got to shift people’s paradigms so they align safety and business in the same breath. Because they really are the same.” The reputation of the “greater industry” Also asked to speak at IBIS about how to bring together those with conflicting views was John Bercow, a British lawmaker who last year was elected Speaker of the House of Commons. Bercow, the 157th Speaker in Britain’s long history, drew laughs at the start of his presentation by acknowledging that although his 5-foot-6-inch stature ranks him among the shortest people to hold the title, there were some shorter speakers in centuries past—at least after they were beheaded. Bercow was asked how an industry in which stakeholders such as shops and insurers may prefer that different standards be established can bring those disparate views to common ground. “That is very difficult,” Bercow said. “You’ve got to decide whether the collective reputation of your industry depends upon uniformity. If within a particular sector, different companies think the rules mean different things, that is a recipe for some conflict and it’s very difficult to then claim there is an industry standard.” One key to consensus building, he said, is to establish a timeframe under which all sides agree to produce a result.
performing much stronger than Do-ItYourself volume; while Integrated and Import channels of distribution are outperforming the other major light vehicle product channels during the first half of 2010. Although 2010 aftermarket sales have been strong through June, sales expansion is not equally distributed across all market sectors and participants. 'From Aftermarket Insight™ by Jim Lang, President of Lang Marketing Resources, Inc., www.langmarketing.com.'
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Industry Pioneer Earl Scheib, Inc. Folds After 75 Years Painting Cars Nationally famous for its low-priced paint jobs, Earl Scheib, Inc. ceased operations nationwide on Friday, July 16 as the company closed its doors for good in order to turn control of its company-owned stores over to individual owners. The company has been owned since 2009 by the San Diego-based private equity firm of Kelly Capital, LLC who acquired in 2009 for an estimated $8 million, and relaunched the corporate operations as New Earl Scheib Paint & Body Shop. The California-based chain consists of more than 175 stores in about 150 U.S. cities. About half of the company’s facilities are in California, but the company had stores in 16 other states as far east as New York, Virginia and Washington D.C. Though the stores are primarily known for economically priced, production auto painting services, body and fender repair services are also offered. Earl Scheib manufactures its own paint at a company-owned facility in Missouri. The company established a fleet sales division in 1998. The Earl Scheib brand became well known largely through founder Earl A. Scheib, a pioneer of advertising. The company was founded in 1937 by its namesake, Earl A. Scheib who opened the first Earl Scheib Paint and Body in Los Angeles. Scheib decided to paint a few cars in his gas station’s garage during the evening hours when the station was closed. What began as a small, after-hours endeavor soon blossomed, and Scheib could not keep up with demand. Scheib was the first to introduce production painting of automobiles in the United States. Offering low prices of $29.95 for sedans and $24.95 for coupes, Scheib seriously undercut competitors’ prices, which generally ran a few hundred dollars for a complete job. Because of the rock-bottom prices, customers rushed to Scheib’s shop, reportedly causing traffic snarls that required assistance from the police. Open daily, Scheib and his ten employees painted between 150 and 210 cars per week during the early years. Scheib began to expand nationally in the 1950s, and to raise awareness of his auto painting shops he turned to advertising. Earl Scheib marketed his shops through low-budget television commercials on late-night TV programs. Scheib soon became a national icon and celebrity,
and his oft-heard sales pitch, “I’m Earl Scheib, and I’ll paint any car, any color for $29.95. No ups, no extras,” became an instantly recognizable phrase. Scheib is credited as being the first spokesperson for his own company, handled all advertising and developed and wrote his own television commercials. Scheib believed viewers would find his ads more convincing and genuine if he spoke directly to the viewers about the company’s offerings. As son Donald explained in a company statement: ‘He’d personally call the station manager and tell him to interrupt a sponsored show at a pivotal moment and run his ad. ... So you’d be watching a show, the villain’s sneaking up behind the hero with a knife, and just when he’s about to plunge the knife into the hero’s back ... Earl comes on the screen pitching his service.’ Scheib’s commercials were seen and heard on television and radio stations in more than 100 cities, and he continued to film spots until his death in 1992. Earl Scheib, Inc., which went public in 1963, was the largest non-franchised auto painting chain by the 1980s. Though the cost of a standard Earl Scheib paint job had grown to $99.95, the chain’s prices were still among the lowest in the industry and appealed to budgetminded consumers. Car owners were choosing to keep their cars longer, and this trend was reflected in Scheib’s sales; in the early 1980s the company’s sales increased an average of 17.6 percent per year, and between 1982 and 1985 the firm’s stock quadrupled. By 1985 there were 275 Earl Scheib stores, ranging from Hawaii to New York. The company opened its first store in Canada in 1984 and and an Earl Scheib store opened in London in 1985. On February 29, 1992, a day after turning 85, Earl Scheib passed away, leaving behind a legacy and a struggling business. A few days later the company’s stock skyrocketed 47 percent as investors speculated about the future of the company. Many believed Scheib’s 37 percent interest in the company would be sold in order to finance his estate taxes. Irwin Buchalter, an Earl Scheib board member and executor
of Scheib’s estate, indicated that the 37 percent stake would be divided between Scheib’s three sons, all of whom were employed by the company. Buchalter acknowledged problems with Scheib’s management and commented in the Wall Street Journal that Scheib ‘refused to take realization of the economy--of what was happening to the auto-painting business. He always felt he had to have the lowest prices in the business by a wide stretch.’ Scheib’s belief, Buchalter noted, prevented him from raising prices to compensate for slow sales. It was not until June 1991 that Scheib finally relented, raising the price of a basic paint job from $99.95 to $119.95. Earl Scheib’s death, his son Donald was named president and CEO. Donald Scheib had previously served as vice-president. Irwin Buchalter was elected chairman. The company also announced that it had no plans to sell. The formidable task of turning around the ailing company was started. For fiscal 1993 the company reported sales of $53.64 million and a net loss of $110,000. The following fiscal year sales declined to $48.49 million, yet net loss grew to $1.82 million. The New Earl Scheib A major restructuring strategy was adopted in fiscal 1995, and as a result 84 unprofitable stores, most situated in the Midwest and East, were closed. The company took a pre-tax charge of $4.2 million for restructuring-related costs. The following fiscal year Earl Scheib reported its first profit in four years. The company spent about $4.6 million to renovate and convert 137 stores into the New Earl Scheib Paint and Body store format. The new stores boasted an updated look, including new paint and graphics, as well as new exterior signs. The shops also offered a customer information center and modern equipment, such as the Infrared Quartz Finish Drying System. Conversions of stores in California were completed in early 1996, and results were initially positive. The new shop format was designed to boost the chain’s image, and to back up its new exterior, Earl Scheib started develop-
ing a new, top-quality paint. “We definitely had some of the worst paint in the industry,” Chief Operating Officer Christian Bement admitted in the Los Angeles Daily News. “When I first got here I received letters from customers complaining about the paint jobs. The paint that was chipping off was actually in the envelopes,’ he added. The company-owned paint manufacturing plant in Missouri was called upon to create a high-quality auto paint, and the outcome was Euro-Paint, a 100 percent acrylic urethane paint. Introduced in 1997, the paint provided durability and a high-gloss finish and was rated as the best paint in production auto painting by Paint Research Association Laboratories Inc. The paint, as well as other changes, effectively reduced the percentage of jobs that had to be redone because of poor quality. The company’s ‘redo rate’ dropped from 22 percent in 1995 to below six percent in the late 1990s. Recently, according to the company website, at least some of the stores had been using Sherwin-Williams brand and some are now in the process of switching to Sherwin-Williams’ waterborne. Earl Scheib stepped up its expansion efforts beginning in 1997, concentrating on opening more stores in existing markets to diminish the need for increased advertising expenditures and to fully penetrate existing markets. In 2000, the company continued with its comeback strategy. The company hoped to increase sales in stores open for more than a year and to continue expansion, but rising materials and administrative expenses stalled growth. A company statement read “Effective Friday July 16 Earl Scheib, Inc will be going out of business and closing our doors. We will be unable to respond to any warranty repair issues or any outstanding invoices due to our current circumstances. Thank you.” In a statement on its website, the company said, “We truly apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you, however we believe the independent owners and operators will continue to provide the same great service that Earl Scheib, Inc. offered for almost 80 years. The shops received notice of the company’s plans to close about a week ago through telephone calls from company management. It will be up to the individual stores to decide whether they keep the Earl Sheib name.
GM-Developed Crash Test Dummy Donated to Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History
A General Motors crash test dummy whose 15 years of service included scores of fullvehicle crash tests and a host of special assignments will spend a peaceful retirement in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. The donation of 50H-1, an Anthropomorphic Test Device, or ATD, is part of a
museum initiative to collect materials related to technological advancements in the auto industry to improve safety features. Though not as talkative as Vince and Larry, 50H-1 is significant because he represents the dummy most used in U.S. automotive crash testing. His title refers to the Hybrid III ATD representing a typical
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male adult in the 50th percentile for height and weight. Just since 2007, 50H-1 has been used in more than 50 tests designed to improve the safety of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac cars, trucks and crossovers. It was among the first dummies used in rollover crash testing when the $10 million addition
opened in late 2006. In addition to 50H-1, GM's donation includes an ATD leg and instruments used for measuring crash forces, and an energyabsorbing steering column from a 1967 Chevrolet. More information on the new General Motors can be found at www.gm.com.
Rich Evans is the owner of Huntington Beach Bodyworks and an award winning painter and fabricator. He offers workshops in repair and customization at his facility to share his unique talents. For contacts and design samples visit www.huntingtonbeachbodyworks.com
Building a Pinewood Derby Race Car with Rich Evans
This month I’ve got a really cool project that’s gonna take us out of the big garage and put us in the small garage. I know you guys have heard of the Pinewood Derby races, usually involving the Boy Scouts. Now we have something called SEMA Pinewood Races Builder Race.
The Hotrod Industry Alliance HRIA is presenting the 2010 Pinewood Builders Race. For the first time ever, over two dozen world-class hot rod and custom car
builders will be put to the test with miniature wooden pinewood race cars. Each builder will be given a small block of wood to create a one-of-a-kind pinewood race car. There are no rules and no limits on creativity. The cars will be raced at the annual SEMA Banquet in Pasadena California on July 24. One winner will be crowned the race champion and one car will be voted most popular. In November all of these collectible and autographed pinewood cars will be on display at the annual SEMA show in Las Vegas, NV and will be auctioned for two children’s charities, Child Help and Victory Junction Camp. I was asked to be one of the builders and said ‘yes’ right away. I mean anything having to do with charity, I’m all about; no rules, I’m all about, and a race? Who could say no? So it’s a combination of stuff that sounds
really cool; one block of wood, a few rules, how can you go wrong? You’ve just got to carve out a little bit of time, it allows you to get out of your element and get a little creative. You know me; I like to get creative. So it started with a block of wood, I sketched out a design. With few rules (except a weight and dimensions limit) it’s harder trying to figure out first things first. I need to come up with a design. I start a little sketch on the side of the wood block, get to the band saw and cut it out. Once
you get your basic design, you want to make it to the specs of what’s in your head. So I’m thinking ‘winning the race’ and I’m thinking ‘cool looking car.’As you can see by the pictures I just took a block of wood, started sanding on it, smoothing surfaces out, made a little scoop. I wanted to give it that racey look without getting a lot of drag in the wind. So when it comes to race time we don’t have anything holding us back. I’ve been working with a company on some new product that I think you guys all know. This company, Sherwin-Williams, seems like they’ve really been going to bat for us end-users and trying to develop and come up with an easy, friendly product and products that work faster, excel in dry times. They help us because we all know time is money. I thought this is the perfect project to try out some of that product. So I’ve got this block of wood ready and I’m gonna hit it with some of this primer called Spectra Prime. It’s P30A, a grey, so I’m gonna load this block of wood up with some of this primer. I’m not worrying about the weight of the car because in the rules it says “maximum weight limit
of the car cannot exceed 24 ounces.” That’s a lot of weight for a car this size. By reading up on these cars racing, I found that the more weight, the better, so we want to try to provide as much weight as possible. The next rule is that “the over length of the car shall not exceed 8.0 inches, including wheels, the overall width of the car shall not exceed 2.75 inches, including wheels. The car must have approximately 3/8th inch clearance underneath the body of the car.” Not a lot of rules, so let’s get back to the paint. I’m going to apply four or five coats of this primer so I can just get in and hit it with some 150 and then come back with some 400 and then we’ll be ready for our base. I like the primer. It goes on quick, dries quick, no shrink back. Obviously I’m painting on top of wood, I’m very impressed with the way that it adhered, no shrink back at all. I’m ready for base coat. I’ve got a concept design which is simple but clean, but still stand out a little bit. We’re going all black. Can you imagine that? Me going all black? Sherwin-Williams has got a black waterborne which is the AWX1738 black. This is probably the deepest black they make. Before applying the black, there’s a sealer we should apply (I don’t have the part number) but that sealer is
phenomenal. It went on nice, had no shrink back, and covered all my scratches, so I put three coats of the sealer, then three coats of the black. I was looking at it and thought ‘I’m going to need some graphics.’ I decided on one single rally stripe down the middle. As I masked everything off, I’m thinking about colors and I decided to
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go with a silver. Sherwin-Williams has a silver called PCW 2711 (part number). A mixing ratio on this is 1 to 30 percent, so it’s a pretty easy mixing ratio. The base color goes on nice. You’re able to peel your fine line back and not have any lifting problems. I’m going to mask on top of that and put another blue, Sherwin-Williams ‘blistering blue,’ part number’s PCF P18. I’ve got all my color on so now I’m ready to clear it. Sherwin-Williams has a clear called HPC 21. I’m very impressed with this 2.1 VOC clear coat. This clear coat can be sanded and buffed within 15 minutes of application. I kid you not. I can apply this to the car, within 15 minutes you can pick it up, grab it, handle it, and it’s
fully cured. So for small projects—helmets, motorcycle tanks, anything you want to accelerate the speed on, I’d recommend this. If you get in a jam on a collision part where you’ve got to deliver the car and you got a ding on it, that would be the perfect opportunity to accelerate time and procedures. You can find out more about Sherwin Williams products by visiting their very user friendly website at www.sherwin/automotive.com. You can get all the information you need, 24 hours a day. Any information you need on specs, product data sheets, they’re all available. You can go to that site and find out your mixing ratios, your time, your windows, how much to apply, what gun, what tip to use, PSIs —they have it all for you. Time in between coats, time in between sealers, how many days before you have to scuff it, or how many days before it allows you to work on top of it. I’m very impressed with their products and what they’re doing to support their use and their users. Obviously they’re one of the biggest brands on the planet and they’re putting the research in to it. They actually have candies coming out. I’m getting ready to write about some of their candies and we’ll talk about that next month. I have tried their candies and you guys are going to be
pretty stoked about them application-wise. We’re doing all this in waterborne, remember. Let’s get back to the car. I just wanted to give Sherwin-Williams a big plug because I was very impressed with their products and I’m digging more deep into it so we’ll see where we go with that. I always like to try product I can recommend to you guys and let you know what’s going on with it. I really like to get into new (to me) products and explore them to see what they can handle, where I can go, how I do with it, so that’s what I’m doing with Sherwin Williams right now. Back to the project. We’ve got this thing all painted, got the axles in it, got a little driver that I slammed in there. I put this thing on the scale and it’s weighing 3 ounces. I’m 21 ounces away from weight so now I’ve got to figure out how to get some weight in to this thing and also I’ve got to figure out how to handle the wheels. We want this thing to win; we want it to look good but we also want it to be fast too so I researched some bearings and got some real small bearings. You’re going to have to do your own research because finding these tiny bearings was tough. I don’t want to give that away. We’ll let the competition do their own research. So I used 8 bearings, drilled out the wheels, countersunk the bearings in and to make a long story short, we’ve got a nice roller which rolls straight. There’s a lot of different research that you have to do to learn about speed and what pinewood racing is all about. I think I’ll be pretty close to the weight. I’m still working on some
other alternatives to get more weight on there but I’m going for the maximum weight. Like I said, the more weight, the better. It’s not gonna do anything to slow your car down—it’s going to do everything to speed it up. So with that, we’ve got a nice rolling car. I know it’s a small project. I’ve got to, of course, put the Rich Evans traditional shield on the side of it so it’s recognized by the world, we hope.
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I want to get out there and support these charities, and have a good time with it. Hopefully I’ll see some of you guys out there. I know this article will be coming out afterwards but hopefully I’ll be able to write on my next article that I won that tournament and you guys will all be able to see that car out at SEMA 2010 in Novem-
ber. I’d like to thank my sponsors: 3M for providing me with some of the sanding products; Soft-Sanders™, for providing me with blocks to be able to get down in some of these tight areas; SherwinWilliams for supplying me with their refinish products; Hot Rod Industy Alliance (HRIA) for inviting me to participate in this great project and fundraiser.
The Event The first annual HRIA Builder Pinewood race happens on Saturday, July 24, at the Pasadena Convention Center. This race involves over 20 of the most legendary and creative custom car and hot rod builders in the county. there are very few rules leaving the engineering and creativity up to the builders. Participants in this race include West Coast Custom’s Rick Dorr, Clay Smith, Rich Evans, Allen Johnson, Roy Brizio, Art Morrison, and many more. The builders race will begin at approximately 1 p.m. inside the convention center. The convention center will also be hosting the SEMA show and shine car show with over 250 custom vehicles on display. We’re going to be revealing The Autoholics 1964 Lincoln Continental at that show (see previous issues of Autobody News for background on that). I’ve got two cars that I’m bringing to that show, probably have a few other ones that I’ve built. On July 20th in LA we will have a viewing party for The Autoholics first episode. I’m pumped about it. We did all the build work and now we get to go back and enjoy all the hard work that the editors and producers have done to put this thing together. I’ll keep you posted on what network (hopefully) will be picking
it up, so you guys can watch what we did. I think it will bring you guys some steps and procedures you can learn so you can go back in to your garage or shop and put it to use. The big thing about The Autoholics is that they’re going to have a background feature called “The Autoholics behind-the-scenes,” so you go on to the website and catch the footage you didn’t see on TV. No footage will be lost. It will be all sectioned and put into the website so you can just click on a button correlating to what you want to watch. If you want to watch the wheels being made, the body work being done, the painting, you’ll be able to see it all. So thanks to all our sponsors on that, there’s too many to mention. Go to my website: huntingtonbeachbodyworks.com to learn more about that. Watch out for the SEMA Project I’m doing with Mopar which is a custom 2010 Challenger. You can catch up on that on my website. I’m also going to be putting a quote every other week on there. You can go to mopar.com and read up on it as well. It’s a very cool project we’re doing, one of many cool projects going on. I don’t think I’m going to have too many days off between now and November 1, so see you out at SEMA.
Make sure you visit the Mopar booth, that’s where we’ll be revealing the 2010 Dodge Challenger Mopar/Rich Evans Project. Richevansdesigns.com, huntingtonbeachbodyworks.com. Until next month.
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Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist based in San Francisco, California. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pacific Collision Centers Says Relationship with PPG a “Wise Move” with Ed Attanasio
Steve Vettel, owner of Pacific Collision Centers, with six locations located in five Southern California counties, learned the collision business by working at the dealership level for many years, and gleaned much knowledge from that perspective. Since then, Vettel’s shops have flourished and consistently generated rave reviews, while establishing a reputation for embracing the latest technology and operating on the cutting edge. His relationship with
Pacific Collision Centers has six shops located in five Southern California counties
PPG, his paint supplier for more than a decade, is one of the reasons why Pacific Collision has hit impressive numbers, even during a recession. Together, Pacific’s six locations repairs an average of approximately 500 cars monthly, operating out a total of 140,000 combined square footage and employing 100 people, including 25 paint crew members, Vettel told Autobody News. At his peak, Vettel said he was repairing 750 cars per month, but the recession dropped his numbers, just like everyone else’s in the country. “So much has changed within the last 18 months that we don’t know where we’re headed right now. The larger operations will survive and a lot of the smaller independents will be closing or getting absorbed by the larger chains. That’s the reality of it, so we need to prepare for these developments if we want to survive and stay profitability.” One of the things Vettel calls a “smart move” involves his 12-year relationship with PPG. “They’ve helped us in so many ways,” he said. “We’ve used their assistance on how to dial in our processes and we’ve tapped into their knowledge and experience time and again. PPG is a great supplier, because they have a good product, Envirobase® High Performance, but
they also help us on so many different levels.” “It’s a product that’s easy to use and that’s one of the biggest benefits of using PPG’s products,” Vettel said. “Over the 12 years, we’ve really learned to appreciate everything about PPG, including the process, which is streamlined; the simplicity of the mixing and the color matching and the ease of application. And it was easy to teach our people about the product, which is a time savings, obviously. It’s a very user-friendly product.” Vettel started using PPG waterborne for a full nine months before the mandate in his counties took effect. “We’ve been using it for two years, so we’re completely comfortable with it by now. My philosophy was that I didn’t want to be on the bleeding edge, but I certainly wanted to be on the cutting edge. We wanted to convert before it was mandated, just so we could work out the kinks, and that’s what we did.” Vettel’s path to becoming an owner of six locations is somewhat unique. “I started out as a dealer auditor for Chrysler Corporation right out of college. My job essentially was to audit dealerships for profitability and it was very interesting to find out the body shops were busy and generated a fair amount of revenue, but they were never profitable on paper. I would sit down with these dealership principals, and they would always tell me that you can’t make money in the body collision industry. It was a very educational experience.” Vettel discovered that the dealership’s collision facilities were successful, but were always saddled by all of the fixed operations associated with selling new cars. “The rent, the insurance, the advertising--all went to the body shop’s expenses, so the owners viewed the collision aspect of their company as a loser, but they were actually making money.” After seeing this again and again, Vettel decided to go out on his own. “This can’t be this difficult, I thought. So, in 1987, I opened a small body shop in Huntington Beach with just two techs. And that was the genesis of my career in collision repair.” When each new location opened, Vettel worked there until he knew it was time to open another one. “I am a very hands-on guy. Every time I opened a new store, I was the one working with the techs and train-
ing them myself. I’d get the model running in the back, and then I’d be the person writing the estimates and pushing the production. The entire time, I’d be growing my managers. When we were stable at the lo-
centers in Sherwin-Williams' A-Plus™ Network and EcoLean™ certified facilities across the United States. The GreenLink Shop status, an extension of CCAR's CCAR-GreenLink® Envi-
ronmental Compliance Assistance Center and S/P2 Safety and Pollution Prevention® E-learning Program, is designed to promote consumer confidence in local automotive repair facilities' environmental/safety
Pacific Collision Centers stresses professionalism and uses all of the latest techniques, products and equipment to repair an average of 500 cars monthly
cation, I’d start looking around for another area or opportunity. That’s how I was able to grow.” Jim Downey is the senior PPG regional manager who oversees half of Southern California and Hawaii. In the past few years, he’s been involved in helping more than 600 body shops to convert to PPG waterborne, including Vettel’s six locations. Vettel was an early adopter and made the changeover to waterborne one location at a time, Downey said. “Steve Vettel is probably one of the most astute businessmen I know in this industry. He’s always on top of the newest trend. He’s got an incredible background and he was able to foresee the economic crunch before others did and that’s why he’s surviving while a lot of other shops are struggling and don’t see any relief in sight.” Twice a month, Vettel, his managers and Auto Color Specialists, his local PPG distributor, conduct a conference call to stay in touch, discuss issues and monitor things like profitability and how they can do a better job, Downey said. “Every once in awhile, we’ll participate in the conference calls to find out what Steve’s shops are doing and to explore how we can make their lives easier. Feedback from the shop managers is very important and being proactive is the key. Anticipating rather than reacting is a smarter way to go, because when you have six locations, there is a ton of moving parts.”
In the early days of waterborne, Vettel tested several other paints before deciding on PPG’s product. “Steve evaluated another product specifically, testing our product and a competitor’s for three months to see which would give him the highest quality. In the end, he continued working with us, and Steve said he avoided a grave mistake by sticking with us. We proved ourselves to him and that was all he needed.” Downey believes that customers appreciate the greening of the industry in using waterborne paint and that body shops can leverage that approval to get more business, he said. “In Southern California, people are very aware of the green movement, because the media is always talking about it. They’re very informed about what’s going on with the environment around here, so they do care. Will people gravitate toward shops that will be greener? Based on my experience, yes, so we all win.” Where will Vettel and Pacific Collision Centers be in five years? “We’re operating in what’s been referred to as the ‘New Normal’ in collision repair. I think today’s busi-
All of the Pacific Collision Centers use PPG waterborne to paint every vehicle that comes through the doors
ness environment requires you to have the ability to change and adapt quickly and that requires a very fluid five-year plan. I wish I could pinpoint where we’re headed, but I can’t. I believe there will be a certain amount of attrition in the collision repair business. It’s an uncertain time in this industry, right now, but we’ll know a lot more in the next 12-18 months.” Pacific Collision Centers 1621 Orangethorpe Avenue Fullerton, California 92831 (714) 888-9000 www.pacificcollision.com
CCAR and Sherwin-Williams Partner to Promote GreenLink Shop Designation for A-Plus Network and EcoLean Facilities The Coordinating Committee For Automotive Repair (CCAR®) announces that it will partner with Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes (SWAF) to promote the GreenLink Shop designation for collision repair
awareness and stewardship. For more information on the CCAR GreenLink Shop program, go to www.ccargreenlink.org/gls or call toll-free to 888-4765465 or go to www.a-plusnetwork.com.
www.autobodynews.com | AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 27
Action Counts What Do We Do Now? with Lee Amaradio Jr.
Lee Amaradio, Jr. is the president and owner of “Faith” Quality Auto Body Inc. in Murrieta, California. Lee is president of the CRA as well as an advocate for many other industry groups. He can be contacted at email@example.com
We all have worked really hard the last two years in anticipation of an upturn in the economy. What now? I haven’t seen much of an upswing. Although, as a matter of fact, I haven’t seen things get any worse either. We have made our adjustments and we just seem to be plugging along. My problem is that I want things to return to the pre-recession economy. I find myself sitting on my hands wishing and waiting, instead of preparing for things to remain as they are. Things really could be much worse. Life is just life and as business owners we cannot beat ourselves up too badly when we find ourselves struggling in these tough times. If you are surviving in today’s economy you are getting ahead. But I am not in business just to survive. I went in business to prosper. I have been in business for over 30 years and, if I were to add it up, at least half of those 30 years have been spent in the survival mode. It has taken me a lifetime to learn one thing and that is business and life will always have its disappointments, so enjoy the good times while they last.
Business is much like a marriage. You really need to take the time to appreciate it when things are good, because tough times are coming. That’s life. I can’t tell you why we never reach the top of the food chain, but I can tell you that you never will. Look at people like Bill Gates. You would think that he doesn’t have much to worry about but his life offers no more satisfaction then yours or mine. I once had a very wealthy friend tell me that he was no smarter than me, nor di d he work harder. The only difference in his life compared to mine were that there were just more zero’s added to everything he did. We cannot beat ourselves up over and over because of circumstances over which we have no control. We just need to keep on keeping on, and make the best decisions with the information we have. Remember ,even if you fail, there will be good that will come out of it. You’re not to blame that there is a limited amount of credit available to small business. You’re not to blame for this economy, but you must do your part and learn from these difficult
times. But worrying and beating yourself will accomplish nothing. So do we just quit caring? Absolutely not! We just quit worrying about the things that will never change and make your decisions based on today’s economy not the pre-recession economy. I remember almost 20 years ago when I was struggling to make a go of two shops when the last recession hit and I was forced to close one location. In my efforts to succeed I borrowed money from friends and family, only to fail anyway. Not only did I close my second location but now I had a huge debt to pay off. I soon realized that shutting down the other location was my saving grace and wished I’d shut it down before borrowing any money. The lesson I learned was that no matter how hard I worked or how much money I invested what happen to me would have happened no matter what I did. There was really nothing I could do to stop it. Looking back on it, it was a key element in driving my future success. I had so many people to pay back it forced me to become a more diligent and better businessman. The toys all went away because
I learned to invest in my business first and never to rob my business capital to advance my lifestyle. Tough times can be a blessing. They will make you a better businessman or woman and you will develop character accompanied by wisdom. These are lessons you cannot learn in any school. Find the good during these tough times and always look for opportunities to excel. Try to polish your business skills and remember to learn from your mistakes so you will be rewarded years in the future. I remember that I didn’t reap the benefits for what I went through until another ten years later. But the hard times, as hard as they seemed at the time, were all building blocks to the future. You can only do what you can do. Always remember that in business there will always be some tough times when you need to ask yourself: What do we do Now?
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Learn Mode Cancellation The learn mode will cancel if the ignition is cycled to OFF or if more than 2 minutes has elapsed for any sensor that has not been learned. If the learn mode is cancelled, the original sensor IDs will be maintained. If the learn mode is cancelled after any sensor is learned, the DIC will display dashes instead of tire pressures for the remaining unlearned sensors and the learn procedure will need to be repeated for the system to function properly.
wheel valve stem to a different position due to the sensor signal is being blocked by another component. 1. Place the electronic keyless ignition in the ACCY position. 2. Using a scan tool, initiate the TPM
following order: • Right front • Right rear • Left rear 5. After the LR sensor has been learned, a double horn chirp will sound indicating all sensors have been learned. 6. Place the electronic keyless ignition in the OFF position to exit the learn mode. After the learn mode has been exited, adjust all tires to the recommended pressures.
sor replacement. Once the learn mode has been enabled, each of the sensors unique identification codes can be learned into the RCDLRs memory. When a sensor ID has been learned, the RCDLR sends a serial data message to the BCM to sound a horn chirp. This verifies the sensor has transmitted its ID and the RCDLR has received and learned it. The RCDLR must learn the sensor IDs in the proper sequence to determine correct sensor location. The first learned ID is assigned to the left front location, the second to right front, the third to right rear and the fourth to left rear.
Sensor Functions Using J-46079 Each sensor has an internal low frequency coil. When the J-46079 Tire Pressure Monitor Diagnostic Tool is used in activate mode, it produces a low frequency transmission that activates the sensor. The sensor responds to an low frequency activation by transmitting in learn mode. When the RCDLR receives a learn mode transmission while in TPM learn mode, it will assign that sensors ID to the location on the vehicle relative to the order in which it was learned.
TPM Learn Procedure Important: Before proceeding, ensure that no other learn procedure is being performed simultaneously or that tire pressures are not being adjusted on another TPM equipped vehicle within close proximity. Stray signals from other TPM equipped vehicles just driving by can be inadvertently learned. If any random horn chirps are heard from the vehicle while performing the learn procedure, most likely a stray sensor has been learned and the procedure will need to be cancelled and repeated. Under these circumstances, performing the TPM Learn Procedure away from other vehicles would be highly recommended. In the event a particular sensor activation does not cause the horn to chirp, it may be necessary to rotate the
28 AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
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Learn Mode. A horn chirp will sound indicating the Learn Mode has been enabled. 3. Starting with the left front tire, hold the antenna of the J-46079 aimed upward against the tire sidewall close to the wheel rim at the valve stem location. Press and release the activate button and wait for a horn chirp. 4. After the horn chirp has sounded, repeat step 3 for the remaining 3 sensors in the
©2010 ALLDATA LLC. All rights reserved. All technical information, images and specifications are from ALLDATA Collision. ALLDATA is a registered trademark and ALLDATA Collision is a mark of ALLDATA LLC. All other brand names and marks are the property of their respective holders. Acura, Acura TL and Honda are registered trademark names and model designations of Honda Motor Company, LTD. and/or American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Cadillac and Cadillac CTS are registered trademark names and model designations of General Motors. Lexus, LX 570 and Techstream are registered trademark names and model designations of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. All trademark names and model designations are being used solely for reference and application purposes.
Tesla Shares Drop Below Initial Offering Price of $17
Tesla Motors Inc., the electric-car company that hasn’t posted a profit, fell below the $17 price its shares sold for the last week of June in the first initial public offering by a U.S. automaker in more than a half century. The maker of the $109,000 electric Roadster retreated for a fourth straight day, losing 16 percent to $16.11 in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading. The Palo Alto, California-based company has slid 33 percent since rising 41 percent on the first day of trading June 29. The $260 million IPO, the first by an American car company since Ford Motor Co. in 1956, is funding a startup that expects to lose more money in the next two years as it tries to build a $57,400 battery-powered sedan. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk, who made almost $300 million selling PayPal Inc. and Zip2 Corp., brought Tesla public as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index posted its worst quarterly drop since 2008. The automaker, which now has a market capitalization of $1.5 billion, sold 15.3 million shares at $17 each after an overallotment option was exercised, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company will use proceeds for factories and possible acquisitions.
VW-Certified Collision Repair Facility Program Announced
Volkswagen of America, Inc. June 29 announced a VW-Certified Collision Repair Facility program for U.S. dealer-affiliated and independent body shops. This program provides VW-certification for collision repair facilities performing repairs in accordance with Volkswagen’s high safety standards and specifications. Technicians at Volkswagen Certified Collision Repair Facilities must undergo training in the proper use of the factory-approved repair equipment, tools, and technologies to meet Volkswagen’s exact safety standards and specifications. Repair facilities must also use Volkswagen-approved tools. Volkswagen will visit repair facilities to provide annual program certification and will list VW-Certified Collision Repair Facilities as they become certified on www.vw.com. This program benefits Volkswagen dealers by providing them with full service capabilities for customers. Repair facilities interested in participating in this program should contact Volkswagen of America at firstname.lastname@example.org. Volkswagen dealerships should nominate collision repair facilities by contacting email@example.com.
40% of Drivers Want Vehicles Internet Wired, But Restricted
A new Autobytel “What’s Hot Now?” report, Wired-in-the-Car, released as part of National Safe Driving Month reveals that not only are phoning and texting while driving still serious issues, but distracted driving has the potential to exponentially increase as Echo Boomers (35 and under) increasingly hit the road with their iPhones, iPads and various other mobile Web-surfing devices. Furthermore, the report indicates that Echo Boomers have little interest in technology from auto manufacturers that improves the safety of having wired devices and built-in electronics in their new cars. Wired-in-the-Car, based on a snapshot survey1 of consumers who visit Autobytel’s network of sites, indicates that drivers continue to be conflicted between their desire to be “plugged-in,” with 40% overall wanting the Internet in their vehicles; their concerns about safety, with 87% believing in-vehicle Web access is a safety issue; and their actual behavior, with over 50% still admitting to, at some point, illegally texting/phoning while driving (even though 95% want the Internet banned or restricted in vehicles). Industry predictions are that 90% of vehicles will have some form of wireless
connectivity by 2012; however, 50% of Wired-in-the-Car respondents predict that that reality will come much sooner – by 2013. Survey respondents overwhelmingly support laws that restrict texting while driving in every state (90%), but only 3% of respondents have ever been ticketed for using a cell phone or texting while driving. Sixty-eight percent of Echo Boomers indicate that the ability to surf the Internet in their car was either “very important” or “nice to have.” However, technology that would make in-vehicle use of electronic devices safer is not a high priority for survey respondents, with only 8% of Echo Boomers (and 14% of respondents overall) favoring voice controlled mobile interfaces that minimize distractions, versus 30% that chose GPS navigation as the device/accessory they don’t currently have in the car but would like. Distracted driving in 2010, according to Autobytel’s What’s Hot Now? report is potentially even more threatening, with 35% of respondents either having been in an accident - or seriously close to being in an accident - involving a driver distracted by using a technology device such as a cell phone, iPod, etc. while driving.
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Ford Pioneers Use of Eco-Friendly Soy Oil in Rubber Auto Parts
Ford Motor Company’s biomaterial researchers have engineered a patent-pending formula to use renewable soy oil to improve rubber car parts and make them more environmentally friendly said the automaker July 8. By using renewable soy oil as a 25 percent replacement for petroleum oil, Ford researchers more than doubled rubber’s stretchability and reduced its environmental impact. Soy-based rubber parts such as radiator deflector shields, air baffles, cupholder inserts and floor mats are under consideration for future Ford vehicle programs. The scope of Ford’s recent rubber research, which was funded in part by grants from the United Soybean Board (USB), included the use of soy fillers (flour, meal) as well as soy oils. Ford researchers found that soy fillers could provide an inexpensive and environmentally friendly partial replacement of carbon black, a petroleum-based material traditionally used to reinforce rubber. Used together, soy oil and soy fillers could replace up to 26 percent of the petroleum-based content in automotive rubber applications. According to the International Rubber Study Group, the automotive sector
accounts for more than 50 percent of worldwide rubber consumption, which exceeded 22 million metric tons in 2008. Automotive rubber usage is expected to rise more than 4 percent through 2013. Ford was the first automaker to demonstrate that soy-based foams could be formulated to pass stringent requirements for automotive applications, starting with seats for the 2008 Ford Mustang and headliners for the 2010 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner. The new 2011 Ford Explorer will become the 23rd model to feature soy foam. With bio foam on more than 2 million vehicles, Ford has annually reduced its petroleum oil usage by more than 3 million pounds and its carbon dioxide emissions by 11 million pounds. Ford also is looking at the use of other renewable sources for foam, including grape seed and sunflower oil. In addition to bio foam, the company is working with post-consumer recycled resins to make underbody systems, postindustrial recycled yarns for seat fabrics, repurposed nylon carpeting made into nylon resin and molded into cylinder head covers, and wheat straw-reinforced plastic parts. The use of recycled or renewable content is making a positive impact on the environment and Ford’s bottom line.
TRW's Collision Mitigation Braking Delivers City Driving Safety
TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. has July 8 unveiled its Collision Mitigation Braking (CMB) technology which provides drivers with additional braking support in the event of an imminent collision with a moving or stationary object. The system is primarily designed for urban driving conditions including heavy traffic. The system uses a radar sensor to directly measure the distance and relative speed to objects in front of the host vehicle. If a potential collision is identified, a warning is triggered to alert the driver; this warning can be audible, visual or haptic. If the driver does not react to the warning and the system determines that a collision is likely to occur, a certain amount of brake pressure can be applied automatically to slow the vehicle and reduce the severity of the impact. If the driver does respond to the warning and depresses the brake pedal, the brake system will automatically provide maximum brake boost to slow the vehicle as quickly as possible and mitigate the collision. With the development of TRW's 24GHz radar, this technology is now more affordable than ever. CMB technology has been designed with city traffic and traffic jams in mind. It is applied at close distance (6-7 meters
Ford Introduces Curve Control Technology to Assist Drivers on Curves
Ford Motor Company June 28 announced a new innovation – Curve Control – designed to help drivers maintain control of their vehicles when taking a curve too quickly. Curve Control debuts as standard equipment on the all-new 2011 Ford Explorer going into production later this year, and will be offered on 90 percent of the company's North American crossovers, sport utilities, trucks and vans by 2015. The technology senses when a driver is taking a curve too quickly – a situation found to contribute to about 50,000 crashes each year in the U.S. – and rapidly reduces engine torque and can apply four-wheel braking, slowing the vehicle by up to 10 mph in about one second. Curve Control is effective on dry or wet pavement, and is expected to be particularly useful when drivers are entering or exiting freeway on- or off-ramps with too much speed. When a vehicle enters a curve too fast, the system responds to the driver's steering input by rapidly reducing torque and increasing brake pressure to help keep the vehicle under control. The patent-pending system works by measuring how quickly the vehicle is turning and comparing that with how
quickly the driver is trying to turn. When the vehicle is not turning as much as the driver is steering – also known as "pushing" – Curve Control activates. The system applies the precise amount of braking required on each wheel to enhance the individual wheel braking of the traditional stability control system. Based on Ford's exclusive AdvanceTrac® with RSC ® (Roll Stability Control™), Curve Control uses sensors to measure roll rate, yaw rate, lateral acceleration, wheel speed and steering wheel angle, and runs calculations based on those inputs 100 times every second. Curve Control is one of several new driver assist and safety technologies to be offered on the all-new Explorer. Other technologies include next-generation adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support, state-of-theart pressure-based airbag technology, the industry's first inflatable rear seat belts and intelligent four-wheel-drive terrain management system. Ford safety researchers found through analysis of government crash data that approximately 50,000 crashes annually in the U.S. involve driving too fast on a curve. For more information please visit http://www.ford.com/.
30 AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
or 20-23 feet) where a 20kph (12.4 mph) speed reduction by braking, with limited deceleration, can be achieved before the potential crash. Generally speaking, if relative speed to the approaching object is below 20kph, the function works to help avoid the collision, if it is above 20kph, the system will help to mitigate the impact of the collision. TRW's 24GHz technology has a range of up to 150m (492 feet) and can also enable driver assistance functions such as Adaptive Cruise Control for a full range of driving conditions including high speed highway driving up to 160kph (99.4mph), so it is ideal for the needs of today's mass market vehicles.
About TRW Headquartered in Livonia, Michigan, USA, the Company, through its subsidiaries, operates in 26 countries and employs over 60,000 people worldwide. TRW Automotive products include integrated vehicle control and driver assist systems, braking systems, steering systems, suspension systems, occupant safety systems (seat belts and airbags), electronics, engine components, fastening systems and aftermarket replacement parts and services. Please visit www.trw.com for more information.
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Toyota Recalls Lexus HS 250h Hybrid
Toyota’s luxury division Lexus is recalling its first hybrid-only model, the HS 250h, due to a problem with its fuel system. Toyota will recall 17,000 2010 Lexus HS 250h vehicles after discovering excess fuel leakage during rear-impact crash tests. During an impact that involves the car rotating 90 degrees, an excessive amount of fuel can leak out and could result in a fire. Toyota filed the recall with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration June 25, owners can call Lexus at 800-255-3987 or NHTSA’s hot line at 888-327-4236 for more information.
BMW ActiveHybrid 7 Gets $900 Tax Credit The IRS certified the 2010 BMW ActiveHybrid 7 for a tax credit of up to $900 under the Alternative Motor Vehicle provision. The ActiveHybrid 7 is the hybrid version of the 750i/Li and marries an electric motor to the twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8. The eight-speed transmission will take it from zero to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. The EPA's estimated fuel economy for the ActiveHybrid 7 is 17/26 mpg city/highway. This is an 18% improvement over its non-hybrid counterpart, although it may not reach standards set by other hybrid car manufacturing rivals.
First 4,400 Volt Owners Eligible for Free Charging Stations If you’re one of the first 4,400 buyers of the new Chevy Volt, you’re also eligible for a free home-charging station, according to GM. This is part of the Department of Energy's federal grants that will install 15,000 home and public charging stations around the country by December. The grants are worth as much as $2,000 to consumers and will put a 240-volt charging station in Volt owners’ homes. The catch is that the Energy Department will study your charging habits to better understand what will be required to bring more electric vehicles to market.
Feds Investigating Mazda3, BMW Z4 for Steering Problems The government is opening investigations into possible power steering problems in Mazda3 passenger cars and BMW Z4 sports cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened investigations of possible loss of power steering in more than 290,000 Mazda3 sedans from the 2007-2009 model years and nearly 50,000 BMW Z4 sports cars from the 2003-2005 model years. NHTSA said it has 33 steering complaints for the Mazda3's and reports of three crashes tied to the problem. It has received 107 complaints for the Z4 and one crash report. NHTSA probes may not lead to recalls.
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www.autobodynews.com | AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 31
Department of Energy Gives $24 Million for Algal Biofuels Research The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced today the investment of up to $24 million for three research groups to tackle key hurdles in the commercialization of algae-based biofuels. The selections will support the development of a clean, sustainable transportation sector-a goal of the Department's continued effort to spur the creation of the domestic bioindustry while creating jobs. Developing cost-effective renewable transportation fuels is a key component of the Administration's strategy to cut greenhouse gas emissions and move the nation toward energy independence. The consortia consist of partners from academia, national laboratories, and private industries that are based across the country, broadening the geographic range and technical expertise of DOE partners in the area of algal biofuels. Projects are expected to continue for a period of three years. Together, they represent a diversified portfolio that will help accelerate algal biofuels development with the objective of significantly increasing production of affordable, high-quality algal biofuels that are environmentally and economically sustainable. The three consortia selected for funding are:
ASA Tours Thatcham Facility in UK
Representing the Automotive Service Association's (ASA) Collision Division, Jerry Burns, AAM, ASA chairman, and Denise Caspersen, manager of ASA's Collision Division, recently toured the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre - or Thatcham - in Berkshire, United Kingdom. The tour was scheduled to coincide with ASA's participation in the International Bodyshop Industry Symposium (IBIS) in London June 9-11. The theme of IBIS 2010 was "Raise the Standard." Standards developed by Thatcham involve all stakeholders and industry segments, including repairers and insurance companies, said Burns. Thatcham's ability to move the standards issue forward is something ASA has been monitoring for some time. The main aim of Thatcham is to carry out research targeted at containing or reducing the cost of motor insurance claims, while maintaining safety and quality standards. Thatcham was established in 1969 by British insurers. Burns and Caspersen were given a tour of the facility June 8 by Lesley Upham, director of Commercial Development for Thatcham. In addition to the Thatcham tour, ASA representatives were honored with a tour of NCR Bodyshops in Newbury, Berkshire, by owner Christine Maskill June 9.
Sustainable Algal Biofuels Consortium (Mesa, Arizona): Led by Arizona State University, this consortium will focus on testing the acceptability of algal biofuels as replacements for petroleumbased fuels. (DOE share: up to $6 million)
Consortium for Algal Biofuels Commercialization (San Diego, California): Led by the University of California, San Diego, this consortium will concentrate on developing algae as a robust biofuels feedstock. (DOE funding: up to $9 million) Cellana, LLC Consortium (Kailua-Kona, Hawaii): Led by Cellana, LLC, this consortium will examine large-scale production of fuels and feed from microalgae grown in seawater. (DOE funding: up to $9 million) Despite algae's potential, many technical and economic challenges must be overcome for algal biofuels to be commercialized. Under the Recovery Act, the Department awarded funding earlier this year to an algal research consortium to tackle a broad range of barriers. Additional information on algal biofuels is available on the Department's Biomass Program Web site.
Mass. Senate Approves Right to Repair Act
After months of debate, the Massachusetts Senate quietly passed a proposal allowing independent auto mechanics access to the same repair information available to dealership mechanics. The measure, known as the Right to Repair Act, was approved this morning during an informal session with no objections from Senate legislators. It will now head to the House for another vote. Advocates of the bill said the measure will help consumers get their cars repaired more inexpensively because consumers will be able to get their cars fixed at independent mechanics' shops where they will have access to the same diagnostic information as dealership mechanics. Dealership mechanics generally charge more. The bill's backers include the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association, which represents companies like Napa and Auto Zone and Napa. Opponents said the measure is a way for generic auto parts makers like Auto Zone and Pep Boys to get information that will allow them to reverse-engineer parts and manufacture them generically. "We're disappointed that despite all the opposition, the Senate still passed the legislation and we look forward to moving this battle to the House," said Charles Territo, a spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.
32 AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
Smart fortwo Inventor Nicolas Hayek Dies at 82
Nicolas Hayek, the engineer and industrialist who founded the Swiss watch company Swatch and brought the world the Smart car, died on June 28 of heart failure at his office in Switzerland. He was 82. Hayek saved the Swiss watch industry from lower-priced Asian competition in the early 1980s by offering colorful, inexpensive Swatch timepieces that he backed with equally colorful marketing. He wanted to do the same thing with the automobile. The first Smart cars were to have removable body films that would allow owners to change the colors of their cars as easily as his other customers changed wristwatches. He also wanted a diesel-electric drivetrain to maximize the efficiency of the 1,800-pound car. The original spec for the Smart was to be "big enough to hold two people and a case of beer," as he told us during an interview in his Geneva office years before the car went into production. The car went on sale in Europe in 1998 but took 10 years after that to reach U.S. showrooms. Sales of the Smart car were 24,622 in 2008, its first year on sale in the United States, and 14,595 in last year's recession. Nonetheless the Smart lives on along with millions of Swatches as legacies to Hayek's creativity and fearlessness in industries so often diluted by blandness.
Chrysler Plans Separate Fiat Dealer Network
Chrysler Group LLC will set up a separate dealership network to sell cars made by Italy's Fiat Group SpA when they are reintroduced in the U.S. later this year. The Auburn Hills, Michiganbased automaker said existing Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram dealers will get a chance to apply to sell the Italian Fiats, but they must be able to operate separate facilities with different sales and service teams in order to win a franchise. The Fiat dealerships will be located in roughly 125 U.S. metropolitan areas that Chrysler has found to have high small-car registration and high potential for growth in selling smaller cars, said spokesman Ralph Kisiel. The company expects to have 200 Fiat dealers in 41 states. Letters will go out Monday to Chrysler Group's roughly 2,300 dealers nationwide giving them general guidelines for applying to become Fiat dealers. Dealers outside the 125 identified markets will be considered for Fiat franchises provided they meet all the performance standards and financial requirements, Kisiel said. Chrysler hopes to announce the dealership network in September.
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Gerber Collision Acquires Evanston, Illinois Shop
The Boyd Group Inc. has announced the opening of its new repair center in Evanston, Illinois. The repair center, previously known as M&D Auto Body, was recently acquired by the Boyd Group and now operates under the Gerber Collision & Glass trade name. The new location is approximately 8,000 square feet, with nearly 7,500 sq. ft. of production space. With this addition, Gerber Collision & Glass now operates 23 repair centers in Illinois and 55 overall in the U.S. “Our latest acquisition is consistent with our strategy of expanding into select markets and growing our network of repair centers across North America,” said Tim O’Day, President and COO of the Boyd Group’s U.S. Operations. The Boyd Group Inc. is the largest operator of collision repair centers in Canada and among the largest in North America. The company operates locations in the four Western Canadian provinces under the trade name Boyd Autobody & Glass, as well as in seven U.S. states under the trade name Gerber Collision & Glass. The company also operates Gerber National Glass Services, an auto glass repair and replacement referral business with 3,000 affiliated service providers throughout the United States.
GM and Subaru Issue Recall for U.S. Autos Sold in Korea
General Motors is issuing a recall for more than 2,000 vehicles in Korea due to manufacturing defects. According to the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs, the GM recall is being issued by its South Korean unit, GM Daewoo Auto & Technology, and will cover 840 vehicles comprising of their CTS, DTS and Escalade models. The specific cars involved in the recall were manufactured between October 2005 and September 2008 in the United States and sold in Korea. The cause for the recall is due to a fault found in the vehicles’ windshield wiper fluid anti-freeze system that can cause wipers to catch fire. Also involved in the recall are 1,314 Veritas, which is a large sedan produced by GM Daewoo Auto & Technology. And in a separate recall, Subaru is also issuing a recall of 26 units of its Legacy model, and 5 units of its Outback model. The specific cars involved in the recall were manufactured between April 2009 and April 2010 in Japan and sold in Korea. The cause for Subaru recall is due to defective steering wheel electric circuits which can result in malfunctioning of the klaxon and airbag warning lights.
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Toyota Adding More Time to New Vehicle Development
Toyota Motor Corp. is extending the time it takes to develop new vehicles by about four weeks for more quality checks in the wake of its massive safety-related recalls, a top executive said June 7. Executive Vice President Takeshi Uchiyamada said the company has learned a lot in the wake of its recalls of more than 8.5 million vehicles worldwide, including the need to slow the pace at which it develops new vehicles. Currently it takes Toyota about 24 months on average to bring a new vehicle to market in Japan, Uchiyamada said. The timeframe varies somewhat in other markets, including the U.S. Toyota has been reeling in the wake of its recalls, which bruised its vaunted reputation for quality and dented its market share in the U.S., its biggest market. The company's largest recalls stemmed from unintended acceleration related to faulty gas pedals and floor mats. In recent months, the automaker has recalled hundreds of thousands of other vehicles for various other reasons. Toyota executives have acknowledged that the company expanded too quickly in the U.S. before its recalls. Company officials said today that the automaker has taken a host of steps to beef up its quality controls since then.
Nationwide Study Shows Dangers of Driving While Distracted
Thirty-eight percent of drivers said they have been hit or nearly hit by a driver distracted by a cell phone, according to a new survey by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. Despite the fact that many people have experienced an accident or close call as a result of driver distraction, more than one in four admit to using phone applications while driving. The problem encompasses more than just the use of cell phones for calling and texting, according to the survey. GPS devices, Internet and use of smart phone applications are also major causes of driver distraction. Nearly four out of 10 drivers have in-car technology such as a DVD player or video monitor (17 percent), music search (14 percent), hands-free phone calling capabilities (13 percent), GPS (13 percent), and Internet access (2 percent). Smart phone applications for Twitter and Facebook are extremely popular, according to the survey. “Social networking has become an obsession for many people, but it’s critical that people not try to do it while driving. No post or tweet is so important it’s worth losing your life over,” Bill Windsor, Nationwide’s associate vice president for consumer safety. The phone survey of 1,000 adults was conducted in June. To view and print the entire survey, go to nationwide.com/dwd.
NCOIL Takes No Final Action on Model Parts Bill
The National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) Property-Casualty Insurance Committee took no final action on its proposed Motor Vehicle Crash Parts and Repair Model Act today at the NCOIL summer meeting in Boston. The committee will continue discussing the Model Act at its annual meeting this fall in Austin, Texas. ASA opposes the NCOIL Motor Vehicle Crash Parts and Repair Model Act because of concerns about the provisions regarding aftermarket part certification, the lack of a written consent process for the use of replacement crash parts by consumers, and the equating of certified parts to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. ASA had been particularly concerned about the certification process and what standards would be in place to certify aftermarket parts as equivalent to OEM parts. Another concern is the language used in the Model Act to ensure that consumers will be aware of what types of parts were being used to repair their vehicles. ASA supports formal written consent, as to the replacement crash parts used in the repair, by the consumer to ensure that the consumer is fully aware of the parts being used to repair their vehicle.
The Property-Casualty Insurance Committee did approve a provision for the Model Act that differentiates certified aftermarket crash parts from aftermarket crash parts. ASA opposed this provision. ASA encourages independent repairers to go to the ASA legislative website, www.TakingTheHill.com, to view the letter sent from ASA in opposition to the Model Act, as well as view the text from the proposed Model Act. The Automotive Service Association is the largest not-for-profit trade association of its kind dedicated to and governed by independent automotive service and repair professionals. ASA serves an international membership base that includes numerous affiliate, state and chapter groups from both the mechanical and collision repair segments of the automotive service industry. ASA's headquarters is in Bedford, Texas. ASA advances professionalism and excellence in the automotive repair industry through education, representation and member services. For additional information about ASA, including past news releases, go to www.ASAshop.org, or visit ASA's legislative website at www.TakingTheHill.com.
www.autobodynews.com | AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 33
NJ Bill Targets Vehicles Registered Out of State
Toyota and UAW Butt Heads Over NUMMI Plant Closure
Center for Auto Safety Asks FTC to Look into Enterprise Recall Policy
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According to reports made by the Associated Press, New Jersey is taking aim at residents who fraudulently register their vehicles or obtain auto insurance in other states. The Assembly recently passed a measure that makes so-called “reverse rate evasion” a form of insurance fraud under state law. Under the practice, vehicle owners register and insure their vehicles in other states to get cheaper premiums, even though the Garden State is their principal residence or the insured vehicle is mostly kept in New Jersey. Critics say this results in the state losing substantial revenues, causes higher premiums for those who properly register their vehicles and reduces insurers and stockholder profits. They also note that many out-of-state policies provide lesser coverage than what's mandated under New Jersey law. But since the state doesn't include reverse rate evasion as a form of insurance fraud, such matters can't be prosecuted by the state's Insurance Fraud Prosecutor's Office, which has called for changes in the law. “Insurance fraud is not only wrong, but it costs honest drivers money through higher premiums,” said Wayne P. DeAngelo, D-Hamilton, one of the bill's primary sponsors in the Assembly. “We've
According to reports made by Bloomberg, a consumer lobbying group founded by Ralph Nader has asked the Federal Trade Commission to look into the recall repair policy at Enterprise Rent-A-Car. This comes after a jury awarded $15 million on June 22 to parents who filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Enterprise after their daughters died in a fiery crash north of the San Luis Obispo-Monterey county line in 2004. The car had been subject to a recall to check for power steering fluid leaks that could cause a fire, but it was not repaired. The Alameda County Superior Court jury awarded damages June 9, 2010. The defendants have 30 days to appeal. The Center for Auto Safety filed a complaint against Budget Rent-A-Car in 1988, contending that the company failed to disclose to prospective renters that it did not inspect and repair automobiles subject to recall notices. Budget agreed to inspect and repair the vehicles within 120 days after receiving a recall notice or disclose to prospective renters that vehicles are subject to safety recall notices and may contain defects.
made a lot of progress in controlling auto insurance rates, but we still have a long way to go and cracking down on fraud needs to be a big part of that continuing effort.” The Assembly passed the measure (A-2052) by an 80-0 vote on June 21. It now moves to the Senate, where it will be considered by the Commerce Committee. If the bill becomes law, it would make reverse rate evasion a fourth-degree crime, which means violators can be jailed for up to 18 months. Specific fines would be determined by a judge under the state's Insurance Fraud Prevention Act, according to the text of the bill. Paul Loriquet, a spokesman for the state Attorney General's office , which the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor's office is part of , said it would support such legislation. “It is something we've looked for in recent years,” Loriquet said. Besides DeAngelo, the bill's primary sponsors in the Assembly were Democrats Nelson Albano and Matthew W. Milam, both of Cape May Court House; Linda Greenstein of Hamilton (Mercer County); Annette Quijano of Union and Paul Moriarty of Turnersville. Sen. James Whelan, D-Atlantic, is sponsoring the measure in that chamber.
Ford Motor to Repay $4B More in Debt
Ford Motor Co., the only Detroit automaker to avoid bankruptcy protection, said June 30 it will reduce its huge debt by another $4 billion as it continues to show signs of financial strength. The Dearborn, Mich., automaker will pay $3.8 billion in cash to a United Auto Workers trust fund that pays retiree health care bills, and it will pay out $255 million in dividends on preferred securities that had been deferred as the automaker worked its way through financial troubles. Ford shares rose 38 cents, or 3.8 percent, $10.26 in morning trading. The automaker said the actions combined with a $3 billion debt payment in April will reduce its total debt to around $27 billion from $34 billion at the end of the first quarter. Ford was forced to mortgage its factories and even its blue oval logo to borrow more than $23 billion in 2006 and 2007. But the move helped it avoid bankruptcy protection, unlike Chrysler Group LLC and General Motors Corp. Recently Ford has reported sales gains and four straight quarterly profits.
34 AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
The new head of the United Auto Workers has vowed to “pound Toyota” as part of a stepped-up campaign to bring union representation to factories operated by Asian automakers in the United States. UAW President Bob King vowed to bring protesters, including retirees, to picket outside Toyota dealerships with banners charging that the automaker puts “Profits Before People.” “We're going to pound on Toyota until they recognize the First-Amendment rights of workers to come into the UAW,” King told over 1,000 union delegates at a convention in Detroit. Toyota and the UAW are at odds because of a decision by the Japanese automaker to close a Fremont, California plant that it had been operating in partnership with GM. That plant, where workers had UAW representation, had produced the Corolla and Tacoma models for Toyota. In a move that further angered the union, Toyota announced on June 24 that it would shift production of the Corolla sedan to a still-unfinished plant in Mississippi. King said Toyota was looking to cut labor costs and free itself from union representation. He said the UAW would lobby to have the decision on Corolla reversed at the same time that it pushes to organize other Toyota factories.
2011 Honda CR-Z Sport Hybrid Coupe Pricing Announced
The all-new 2011 Honda CR-Z sport hybrid coupe is set to debut at dealers on August 24, 2010, with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) starting at $19,200, plus a destination and handling charge1 of $750, American Honda Motor Inc., announced June 22. The all-new 2011 Honda CR-Z introduces a sleek two-passenger coupe design with quick, sporty handling to the gasoline-electric hybrid segment. A 1.5-liter i VTEC 4-cylinder engine works with Honda’s unique, compact and lightweight Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system to supply both power and efficiency to the CRZ. A sport-focused, six-speed manual transmission is a first for any mass-produced hybrid. An automatic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is available and includes steering wheelmounted paddle shifters for manual-like gear-ratio control. The CR-Z is available in two equipment grades – the wellequipped CR-Z (base) and the feature-rich CR-Z EX. Consumer information is available at automobiles.honda.com.
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Lexus Responds to Engine Valve Spring Problem
Lexus officials July 2 issued a response to the discovery of faulty valve springs in some V8 and V6 engines in certain Lexus models sold in the United States. The company estimated that approximately 137,000 vehicles are potentially affected in this country, including the IS 350, GS 350, GS 460, GS 450h, LS 460, LS 600h L. Current model years are not affected, according to Lexus. Executives believe because of slight variations during the manufacturing process, some foreign material may have contaminated the valve springs resulting in potential breakage. In such a situation, Lexus contends there is a remote possibility that abnormal engine noise or idling might occur. The brand emphasized only in extremely rare instances, the engine may stop while the vehicle is in operation. Lexus officials stressed that they have not received any reports of accidents or injuries related to this issue. They insisted they're moving quickly to resolve the situation with plans to announce an appropriate remedy as soon as possible.
GM to End Year With 4,500 U.S. Dealers
General Motors Co. will wind up with about 4,500 dealers in the U.S. later this summer following arbitration hearings mandated by Congress -about 500 fewer than previously disclosed. Before bankruptcy, GM had 6,150 dealerships. Once the restructuring is completed this summer, the automaker will have about 4,500, GM North American President Mark Reuss said June29. When GM filed bankruptcy last year, it terminated franchise agreements with about 2,000 dealers, arguing that a smaller network would save money and boost the average number of sales and profits, at remaining locations. The move triggered complaints from dealers, many of whom said there was no rationale for the closures. In December, Congress ordered arbitration hearings for rejected GM or Chrysler Group LLC dealers who wanted to pursue it About 1,160 GM dealers challenged the forced closings and the automaker offered to reinstate 666 of them. About 600 dealers accepted GM's terms and are being reinstated. The remaining dealers are continuing toward arbitration. Original BMW Parts
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pared with the first five months of last year. Ally Financial, which finances about 34 percent of GM's auto loans, lends money mainly to buyers considered to have prime credit, but it is starting to do more subprime loans as the economy recovers, said Ally spokeswoman Gina Proia. She said Ally does not normally release what percentage of its loans go to prime or subprime buyers. Automakers with their own finance companies can tell them to make more subprime loans to boost sales, but GM has to negotiate with Ally because it's separate company responsible for protecting its own assets. That leaves GM at a disadvantage to other automakers. GM sold a 51 percent stake in Ally's predecessor, GMAC Financial Services, in 2006 when it was starved for cash. The new owners, led by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP, ran into trouble in 2008 with bad mortgage loans and had to be bailed out by the U.S. government, which now owns 56 percent of the former GMAC. The government named Ally the lender of choice for both GM and Chrysler. The government loaned GM roughly $50 billion, of which GM has repaid $6.7 billion. The rest was converted to equity in the automaker, which is now 61 percent government-owned.
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GM Seeks Banks To Finance Subprime Buyers
According to reports made by the Associated Press, General Motors Co. is looking to boost auto sales by lining up banks and other financial institutions to make loans and lease deals for buyers with poor credit. The talks lessen the likelihood of GM trying to buy the auto finance business of Ally Financial Inc., its main lender. They also make it less likely that GM would start its own auto financing unit. GM considered both options earlier in the year because Ally was reluctant to fund loan and lease deals to buyers with subprime credit. About 16 percent of loans for new cars and trucks went to subprime buyers in the fourth quarter of last year, but because of Ally's reluctance to lend to them, GM was unable to tap that market. Subprime buyers are customers with credit scores below 620 on a 300-to-850point scale. GM continues to work with Ally, which used to be GMAC Financial Services, and it already has relationships with many banks and credit unions. The automaker's sales are up about 15 percent through the first five months of the year, but they trail the increase for the overall U.S. industry by more than 2 percent. Crosstown rival Ford Motor Co. has seen its sales rise 30 percent com-
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A Brief History of Collision Repair Association of California by David M. Brown Special to Autobody News
In the fall of 2006, five independentminded shop owners in Northern California agreed that the collision industry needed steering —toward better protection for shop owners and consumers, that is. “They were tired of the manner in which industry issues were being addressed and wanted to take a more aggressive stance on the issues,” says Lee Amaradio, CRA’s second president and owner of Faith Quality Auto Body in Murietta. “We lobby our positions vigorously,” says Amaradio. Those founding members are current board members and shop owners Roy Carnevale, Anthony’s Auto Craft, San Rafael, and Blake Andros, Blake’s Auto Body, with shops in Marin and Sonoma counties, as well as Byron Orris, Byron’s Auto Body in Napa, an owner and general member. Two of the original founders, Todd Bishop and Gene Crozat, are no longer members. Crozat, the original president and owner of three G&C AutoBody shops in Northern California, had been critical of CRA’s direction even before his departure. “The association grew out of frustration with the way industry issues were being addressed,” says Allen Wood, executive director for CRA. Owner of a consulting business, he was formerly a program manager for the California Bureau of Automotive Repair. Based in Sacramento, the CRA represents member issues with the Department of Insurance, Bureau of Automotive Re-
PPG-Painted Chevelle Auctioned for Project American Heroes
PPG contributed the paint for a newly restored 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle muscle car auctioned off as part of Super Chevy magazine’s “Project American Heroes” fundraising program. The sale of the unique vehicle was conducted by Barrett-Jackson Auctions Saturday, June 26 at the Orange County Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, CA. The winning bid was $250,000. All proceeds from the car’s sale go to the Armed Forces Foundation for the benefit of military veterans. The team at Route 66 Motorsports, New Lenox, IL, contributed time and talent to make this dream car a reality. Project American Heroes was started in 2007 by Super Chevy magazine to provide financial support to the men and women of the Armed Forces through the sale of classic Chevy automobiles.
pair, the California Attorney General and other groups. The group has worked on issues such as steering, labor rates, aftermarket parts usage and capping and has testified before the State Senate Banking and Finance Committee regarding steering, capping and labor rate surveys. CRA was also instrumental in defeating the original aftermarket parts bill about two years ago, which the group felt would allow inferior parts to be used in collision repair. Recently, CRA participated in a press conference with Assemblyman David Jones (D-Sacramento), a candidate for California insurance commissioner, to publicize its safety concerns with the use of aftermarket bumper reinforcements. In addition, the group met with Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo), author of the state’s original anti-steering law, to demonstrate the differences in aftermarket reinforcements as compared to OEM parts. Rather than form chapters, the CRA encouraged its members to communicate directly with the board, says Amaradio, who began his now 30,000-square-foot shop in 1979 on “a giant step of faith.” He notes: “This allowed membership dues to go directly to address issues.” Today, the membership varies from 100 to 125. Amaradio notes that CRA offers its members insurance and operational programs, provides training on regulatory issues and how to deal with the California Department of Insurance and BAR, holds conferences for members and posts labor rate surveys and other industry-related information on its Web site, www.cra-ca.com. The CRA has recently opposed SB
350, sponsored by the Certified Aftermarket Parts Association and pending in California. The organization has offered three amendments for its buy-in. “Unfortunately, as written the bill contains contradictory and confusing sections that would erode consumer protections if enacted,” the organization wrote in its April 14, 2010, letter to Assemblymember Mary Hayashi, (D-Hayward), who chairs the Committee of Business and Professions. “The CRA does what others won’t do. We’re not afraid to step out of the box and get in the faces of state or local officials and try to make them accountable,” says John Tyczki, CRA treasurer and owner of El Dorado Collision Center in Poway and J&M Autobody in San Diego. “Our board members are owners in the industry— not vendors—and we understand the industry needs.” Tyczki started in the industry in 1979 sweeping floors. “I felt that CRA provided a great opportunity to help me have a voice and be associated with some very knowledgeable industry leaders,” says Kim Andreatta, owner of Bakersfield Auto Body and CRA’s vice president. His family began the company in 1951, today a 20,000square-foot facility on 2.75 acres. “Those leaders have been a great
help, not only to me as a shop owner but in looking out for the public’s well-being concerning their rights as motorists and safety issues on how vehicles are repaired and with what types of parts,” he adds. “They gave me a voice in the state capital and have helped me become a better-informed business owner.” Nathan Simmons, a CRA board member and also a president of local chapter of California’s other auto body association, the CAA, says he joined CRA after seeing a video of the hearing with Sen. Jackie Speiers and the shop owners who founded the group. “CRA goes after the real problem in the autobody repair industry,” says Simmons, owner of C&C Collision in Pasadena for 10 years. “They are not swayed by aftermarket-parts sponsors, they do not let relationships with insurers get in the way, they do not allow personal agendas to bog down or dilute the association.” “If it’s important to consumers and repairers, you better believe the CRA is going to do whatever it takes to solve the problem,” he adds. “If you’re worried about your insurer relations, just send your support, so we can continue to fight these battles.”
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Toyota Will Launch GreenCar Barrage in 2012
Toyota plans to introduce three newto-market green vehicles in 2012, a company source said. A battery electric vehicle, a plugin version of the Prius and an as-yetunveiled variant of the Prius will arrive in U.S. dealerships in the first half of 2012, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the plans. The second Prius vehicle will begin the creation of an ongoing family of vehicles that will carry Prius badging but will not be a separate brand. Toyota may sell the electric vehicle only in certain markets that provide sufficient infrastructure to support the vehicle. It plans to track those markets' sales and infrastructure progress on their Web site, www.toyota.com/esq.
36 AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
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Ford to End Mercury Production in the Fourth Quarter
Ford will end production of Mercury vehicles in the fourth quarter of this year to fully devote its resources toward further growing its core Ford brand while enhancing the Lincoln brand. Mercury originally was created as a premium offering to Ford and was an important source of incremental sales. However, the continued strength of the Ford brand – particularly during the past three years – has accelerated the migration from Mercury to Ford for many customers. The majority of current Mercury sales are to fleet buyers and customers purchasing through employee, retiree and friends and family discounts, which Ford anticipates largely can be satisfied by Ford brand vehicles. Of Ford Motor Company’s 16 percent market share in the U.S., Mercury accounts for 0.8 percentage points, a level that has been flat or declining for the past several years. Ford’s strengthening financial position allows the company to absorb short-term costs associated with the discontinuation of Mercury and to consolidate future product investments into Lincoln. Today, there are no stand-alone Mercury dealerships in North America.
Ford Improves SYNC, Drivers Get Alternatives to Hand-Held Texting
As the issue of texting while driving grows in prominence nationally, Ford Motor Company is expanding its SYNC technology with new features to give drivers safer alternatives to hand-held texting and keep them more focused on the road. To help make the in-car connection safer, Ford is improving the SYNC text message readback feature and empowering drivers with a “Do Not Disturb” button so they can decide the level of connectivity and communications they want to manage while in the car. Ford is also taking the proactive step to “lockout” capabilities that are not relevant to the task of driving while the vehicle is in motion. Ford will offer the new features on 2011 model year vehicles equipped with MyFord or MyLincoln Touch, the driver connect technology that provides drivers personalized access to information and entertainment through voice control, touch screens and familiar five-way controls mounted on the steering wheel. Ford has also proactively designed the MyFord and MyLincoln Touch driver connect system to give drivers more control of how they manage communications while in the car. Screens can be personalized to display information relevant to an individual driver using a sim-
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ple button click, voice command or touch-screen tap. The new 2011 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX will be first to offer the “Do Not Disturb” button. This handy feature blocks incoming phone calls or text messages from a Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone paired with SYNC; diverting calls into voicemail and saving text messages on the device for viewing later. But unlike turning the phone off, drivers can still make voice-activated outgoing phone calls, if they so decide, and the SYNC 911 Assist feature can make a call to 911 in case of emergency. In addition, Ford continues to limit access to a variety of communication features while the vehicle is in motion, thus encouraging drivers to use voice commands if they wish to access the function. Ford is also taking the proactive step of locking out or limiting content and capabilities of MyFord Touch that are not related to the task of driving when the vehicle is in motion, for instance: screens with information not intended to be used by the driver while driving such as SIRIUS Travel Link sports scores, movie listings and ski conditions; any action that requires typing on a keypad; and limiting lists of navigation and phone choices that the user can view to fewer entries.
BMW May Invest $1 Billion in Mexican Auto Parts
According to reports made by Bloomberg, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG may invest more than $1 billion to boost the supply of Mexican auto-parts to its U.S. plants, Mexican Economy Minister Gerardo Ruiz Mateos said. BMW is purchasing more supplies outside Germany as part of a goal to lower costs by more than 4 billion euros ($4.9 billion) by 2012 and to reduce the impact of foreign currency swings on earnings. By buying components in Asia and North America, the company will cut currency risk by 1 billion euros by 2012, Herbert Diess, BMW’s purchasing and logistics chief, said in a May 4 interview. For Mexico, the BMW initiative would help Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s plan to increase foreign investment at a time when the country’s share of North American auto production may rise at a quicker pace as U.S. automakers seek lower labor costs. BMW rose 17 cents, or 0.4 percent, to close at 40.07 euros in Frankfurt trading. The stock has gained 26 percent this year, valuing the carmaker at 25.7 billion euros.
Toyota Received Complaints About Lexus Defect in 2007
According to reports made by Bloomberg, Toyota Motor Corp. received complaints more than three years ago about engine problems that sparked recalls of more than 100,000 Lexus and Toyota vehicles in Asia this month. The carmaker received the first customer complaints in March 2007 in Japan regarding defective valve springs that may cause engines to stall, Toyota spokeswoman Ririko Takeuchi said by phone July 6 from Tokyo. The problem occurs when foreign substances enter the material used to make the part, causing the spring to weaken and break, Tokyo-based spokeswoman Monika Saito said. While Toyota decided to address the problem in August 2008 by altering the design of the valve spring and making it thicker, the company didn’t feel that a recall was necessary given the rarity of the problem at the time. The company will recall 91,903 Lexus GS 350, GS 450h, GS 460, IS 350, LS 460, LS 600h and LS 600hL models and some Toyota Crown cars in Japan, the nation’s transportation ministry said in a statement on its website yesterday. The company decided to initiate a recall after a rising trend in the complaints, Saito said.
Ford Recalls Certain Model Year Transit Connect Vehicles Ford is recalling certain model year 2010 transit connect vehicles manufactured from December 5, 2008 through May 31, 2010 for failing to meet the minimum federal safety requirements. Specifically, federal motor vehicle safety standard number 201, "Occupant Protection in Interior Impact." During vehicle testing the vehicle exceeded head injury criteria requirements set by this standard. The headliner retention pushpin located on the headliner above the Bpillar trim on both the left and right side of the vehicles needs to be replaced. The consequence could result in an occupant at an increased risk of injury in the event of a vehicle crash. Ford will notify owners and dealers will repair the vehicles free of charge. The safety recall is expected to begin on or about July 19, 2010. Owners may contact Ford Motor Company at 1-866-436-7332. Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236, or go to www.safecar.gov.
www.autobodynews.com | AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 37
Amid Safety Concerns, Hybrid Autos May Be Made Noisier
According to reports made by the Associated Press, gas-electric hybrids, propelled by electric motors at low speeds, are wellknown for their quiet ride and great mileage. But some researchers and safety groups say that quiet operation can pose risks for unsuspecting pedestrians and the blind, who use sound cues. Advocates for the blind have sought the addition of artificial noises in hybrids for several years. Hybrids account for about 2 percent of new car sales each year, but auto companies are expected to boost production in advance of tougher fuel efficiency standards this decade. The government's auto safety agency said in a research report last year that hybrid vehicles are twice as likely to be involved in pedestrian crashes at low speeds compared with cars with conventional engines. The study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration examined circumstances in which the vehicles were slowing down or coming to a stop, backing up or entering or departing a parking space. Congress is heeding the warnings, adding sound performance requirements for hybrids and electric cars to an auto safety bill being considered after the massive Toyota recalls. Lawmakers could consider the changes this summer, and car
companies probably would have to have the sounds ready to go three years after the release of new government rules. Automakers helped develop the proposal in Congress and are moving forward with new artificial sounds that will be emitted from electric cars and future hybrid models. Japanese automaker Nissan Motor Corp. has produced distinct sounds for the Leaf, the electric car expected to go on sale this year, when the vehicle accelerates or moves in reverse. When the Leaf speeds up to 20 mph, it automatically will use a soft whirring sound that changes pitch as the car accelerates. When the Leaf backs up, an intermittent bell will ring to warn those nearby. General Motors Co. wanted a more subtle chirp on its Chevrolet Volt, so it chose an alert horn that lets the driver warn an unknowing bystander. Toyota Motor Corp., which makes the top-selling Prius hybrid, is studying artificial sounds for hybrids when the vehicle is propelled by its electric motor at low speeds. And Ford Motor Co. is working to bring external sounds to future hybrids and electrics, including its Focus electric car, expected in 2011, and a nextgeneration hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicle planned for 2012.
38 AUGUST 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
U.S. Auto Sales Slow in June, Progress for the Year in Question
According to reports made by the Associated Press, sales of new vehicles cooled in June, fueling worries about the economy, signaling that the auto industry's recovery is far from certain. GM , Ford and Chrysler said sales of new cars and trucks fell between 12 and 13 percent in June from the prior month. Sales at Toyota Motor Corp. slid 14 percent. Hyundai, however, bucked the trend with a slight gain. Industrywide auto sales rose 14 percent from June of 2009, when the industry was in the depths of its downturn and General Motors and Chrysler were in Chapter 11. But the May-to-June performance offered a glimpse of the recovery's progress. Sales fell more than 10 percent during that time. The recovery in auto sales this year has been fitful. Sales rose in May from April, but fell the month before. Over the last six months, month-to-month sales fell as many times as they rose. June sales often fall from May, which benefits from big sales over Memorial Day weekend.. Hyundai Motor Co. was the sole automaker to post higher month-over-month sales, rising 4 percent. The South Korean automaker has grabbed a bigger chunk of the U.S. market recently thanks to several new models that have scored big with buyers.
Sales at General Motors Co. slid 12 percent from May to 195,000 vehicles. But compared with last year, its four core brands - Cadillac, GMAC, Chevrolet and Buick - saw sales rise 36 percent. Automakers are still predicting a gradual recovery in the last half of the year. Most expect full-year sales of between 11.5 million and 12 million, an improvement from the historic low of 10.4 million last year, but still well below the record high of more than 17 million in 2000. Unemployment remains around 10 percent, and millions of people could be cut off from jobless benefits because Congress has not extended federal jobless aid that was passed during the recession. Hyundai reported a 4 percent increase from May and a 35 percent jump from June of last year; Toyota sales fell nearly 14 percent from May but said they rose 7 percent over June of last year; Nissan Motor Co. sales dropped 23 percent from May but were up 11 percent from June of last year; Honda sales slipped 9 percent from May but rose 6 percent over June of last year; Subaru's U.S. sales fell about 9 percent from May; Chrysler Group LLC sales fell 12 percent from May.
A Brief History of Oklahoma Auto Body Association by David M. Brown Special to Autobody News
The Oklahoma Auto Body Association may have started as a fellowship group five years ago, but today it is spending its time fighting for fellow rights of its collision-industry members. “The ‘same six guys’ have always gotten together through the last 25 years and put together some sort of affiliation,” says Jeff Leatherock, President of OKABA and Owner of Hammer & Dolly Body Shop in Oklahoma City, OK. “This is the latest—and the best.” In addition to Leatherock, these founders are Gary Wano Jr., owner of G W and Son Auto Body, Oklahoma City; Brian Shellem, Advanced Automotive Equipment and Prestige Automotive Refinishes, Oklahoma City; Chris Donnelley, Body Works, Oklahoma City; Doug Reinhardt, Car Craft Auto Body, Oklahoma City; and Mickey and Shannon Varner, Jay’s Body Shop, in El Reno, about 20 miles outside Oklahoma City off Interstate 40. Prior to OKABA, a number of associations served the Oklahoma collision industry, including an ASA chapter and the Fellowship of Concerned Repairers of
Oklahoma, or FOCRO, Leatherock says. Tulsa also has a loose fellowship, he adds. “I believe the association can bring a united voice as well as a conduit of communication among shops, insurers, legislators, vendors, and anyone else involved in the collision industry,” says Shellem, an OKABA boardmember since 2006. His Advanced Automotive Equipment is one of the largest Celette dealers in the country, he says, and supplies a full range of equipment to the collision industry, primarily in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. Prestige provides automotive finishes to Oklahoma City shops. OKABA serves 50 members, including owners of collision repair companies as well as others associated with the industry. The group meets quarterly in Oklahoma City. “We were planning an educational seminar in the middle of this year, but the recent hail storm has put everything on hold until the work load settles down a bit,” says Leatherock, who began working at Hammer & Dolly in 1978, was a junior partner 1982–1995 and became full owner in 1995. As yet, OKABA does not offer professional services to its members, Leatherock says, noting that to now it has been more of a fellowship group and a forum for
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members to express their concerns about business needs and industry conditions. The group, however, has accomplished a number of goals during its short existence. For one, it has obtained an Oklahoma Insurance Commission opinion that paint material caps are an illegal policy benefit reduction, Leatherock notes. OKABA has also helped to settle with the Oklahoma Tax Commission that body shops are tax exempt, making collections easier for shop owners. “We were able to obtain a blanket amnesty on sales tax collections prior to 2010,” Leatherock says, noting that till then repair shops had to pay sales tax twice on materials, first to the wholesaler and then were responsible for charging it again on all repairs and remitting the proceeds to the state. Three industry issues are key for Shellem—issues which he hopes OKABA will take up, discuss and eventually resolve: price suppression by insurers, lack of honesty by adjustors, and assertions by some collision shops claiming quality but not delivering on promises. “We have all heard about the ‘Only One Club,’” he says. “I think the more honest every person involved in the industry is, the better things will be for all of us.” For the Varners, Mickey and Shannon, of Jay’s Body Shop, a major issue for the association to begin to work on is clarity and consistency in labor rate surveys. “To my knowledge in Oklahoma, there are no set rules or guidelines for how the survey is conducted and who is eligible to be a part of that survey,” says Mickey Varner, an OKABA boardmember for two years. “It is up to each individual insurer to determine the competitive rate for the market area using whatever method they choose to determine that rate. As a result, you can have 10–15 insurers coming up with three different rates for a particular area.” Mickey and Shannon’s shop performs collision and mechanical repairs as well as service, including front-end alignments, brakes, tires, air-conditioning, as well as installing spray-in bedliners. The Varners
Chrysler to Expand its Belvidere, IL Assembly Plant
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Chrysler says it's adding 500,000 square feet for a larger body shop at its assembly plant in Belvidere, IL. Chrysler senior manager Ross Good told city leaders July 6 that the company needs the extra space at its north-central Illinois plant but has no immediate information about what will be made there or any work force changes. Good says the building project could take about 200,000 hours of construction. Belvidere Mayor Fred Brerton calls the expansion "great news" for the region.
also operate Car Rental Xpress & Auto Sales out of Jay’s Body Shop, where customers can rent cars while theirs are being repaired or because they want to take a trip or just buy new ones. Varner recalls seeing someone setting up shop in an old warehouse to repair recent hail-damaged vehicles: “As it is right now, if you call yourself a ‘body shop’ and have a building to work out of, you qualify to be part of the survey. You are not required to have trained personnel, you are not required to have frame/unibody straightening or measuring capabilities.” He adds: “There are still shops repairing late-model vehicles with ‘rose-bud’ tipped torches, come-alongs and a tape measure.” Leatherock notes that in Oklahoma, the insurance companies should survey shops in each market area every two years but, at least for the last 35 years, State Farm would call shops and compile results and the other carriers would follow its lead. About four to five years ago, State Farm stopped doing the survey and instructed shops to set up a profile on its B2B Web site and post rates there. “This has created a Catch-22 in which DRP shops are afraid of being removed from the ‘program’ if they raise their rates, and other shops don’t change anything because it hasn’t been done any differently in their professional lifetimes,” Leatherock says. “The insurance companies could not create a better way to stop rate increases if they tried.” Leatherock says that body shops in Oklahoma charge half as much for an hour of labor as mechanic shops: “This clearly shows that the basis of all price negotiations in the body shop industry in Oklahoma are based on a lie. What is the price for a real hour of labor? OKABA believes car owners, insurers and body shops deserve an honest answer.” Varner adds: “What I’d like to see is less manipulation of the databases, which can shortchange the consumer and the shop. In the end, I just want to be paid for what I do—no more, no less.”
Toyota President Apologizes to Shareholders
Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda apologized to shareholders June 24 for the troubles caused by massive global recalls of the company's vehicles. Toyoda also said the company was doing its utmost to improve quality control and thanked shareholders for their support. Executive VP Shinichi Sasaki acknowledged that Toyota had failed to fully understand the feelings of customers about safety. But he said the company was working harder to beef up quality controls.
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Autobody News Southeast August 2010 Edition