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Raid on Tampa Medical Clinic is Latest Pushback on Staged-Crash Medical Fraud
A West Tampa, Fla., medical clinic was raided and shut down, and four people were charged with racketeering offenses, as Florida officials continue to combat staged auto accidents and bogus medical clinics. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office raided Medical Rehab Choice at 3615 West Waters Ave in Tampa, earlier this month as part of a three-month undercover probe into staged car crashes and medical clinic fraud. Investigators uncovered evidence that people involved in staging auto accidents were associated with the clinic, and also found discrepancies in medical bills submitted to auto insurers for treatments that suppos-
edly occurred, according to a statement from Direct General Insurance Co., which is supporting law enforcement efforts. Jacqueline Rosales, 27, a receptionist, and Sugeidi Serrano, 32, a licensed medical technician, were arrested during the raid on charges of operating a racketeering influenced corrupt organization (RICO), according to the statement. Others facing RICO charges in connection with the alleged scheme include Juan Martinez, 28, the clinic manager, and Ernie Azucey, 25, also a licensed medical technician, the statement said. The racketeering charges
Florida-based consulting firm Auto Damage Experts, Inc (ADE)—known for its vehicle appraisal expertise— has established a “Collision Industry Legal Defense Fund” nominally designed to support Ray Gunder’s case but intended to expand to other collision-related litigation in future. The president of ADE, Barrett R. Smith, in a personal communication to Autobody News, explained the fund: “The fund was initially set-up with the sole intent to provide financial assistance to Gunder’s Auto Center for their ongoing legal action against State Farm for slander and
Tortious interference. We hope and anticipate the fund will grow to be available to others even before Gunder’s vs. State Farm is resolved; however this remains to be seen based upon the response and level of support it receives. We all know one distinct advantage insurers have and employ in such litigation is the ability to outspend and out-time the plaintiffs. Someone once told me that: Litigation is like two men sticking their heads in a bucket of water and the first one who comes up for air loses. The “Collision Industry Legal
See Raid, Page 15
Gunder Update on Case Against State Farm, Legal Defense Fund Established
See Gunder Case, Fund, Page 11
VOL. 1 ISSUE 7 SEPTEMBER 2010
talks with Autobody News about her long-time interests, including finance reform, insurance and automotive repair, replacement parts and steering. Collision repairers nationwide need to pay attention. Here’s why...
“You first came to national prominence as a shooting victim in the prelude to the grisly nine hundred murdersuicides in Jonestown, Guyana, in 1978. At that time you were a 28-year old lawyer and legislative aide accompanying Congressman Leo Ryan to inquire about Jim Jones’ Peoples’ Temple cult. Many of our readers know that five of your party, including Congressman Ryan, were killed, and that you were left for dead for nearly 24 hours before help arrived. What readers likely don’t know is that after your rescue you endured a dozen surgeries to recover from five gunshot wounds, and that you still had bullet fragments in you when you first ran for Congress. Tragedy struck again in 1994 when your first husband was killed when his car was hit by an unlicensed driver with faulty brakes. What no one but you knows is how these horrific experiences shaped your political views and perceptions. Tell us how they did” see page 20 inside
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2 SEPTEMBER 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
Allstate Operating Income Rises in Q2 . . . . . . . . 31
Allstate Spends $1.33M Lobbying . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Amaradio - The Lack of Industry Leadership . . . 18 Attanasio - California Congresswoman Jackie
Speier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Chess - Why is Camry “B” Pillar Reinforcement
Repair Done at the Roof Line? . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Columbus Ban on Texting While Driving . . . . . . . . 9
Huntsville AL to Ban Texting While Driving . . . . . . 5
Hyundai Releases 2011 Equus Information . . . . . 8 Hyundai Shoots for 50 mpg Fleet by 2025 . . . . . 31
IIHS Top Safety Picks for 2010 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
NACE Town Hall on Aftermarket Parts . . . . . . . . . 7 NHTSA Announces New Safety Ratings Program . 14
Nissan Looks to Mexican Exports, U.S. Plants to
Ease Impact of Strong Yen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Copper in Brake Pads Restricted in Washington
Oakland Park, FL’s ECO-Friendly Auto Center
Elephant Insurance to Aid in Gulf Oil Spill Cleanup . 7
Obama to Set $250 Million Loan Guarantee for
Evans - Building a Numbered Car Exactly like the
OnStar Smartphone Apps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
State, California Next? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Enterprise to Offer Nissan Leaf to Rental Drivers. 12
Red Mist, Part Two . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Ex-GM Worker Accused of Stealing Secrets . . . 30 Ford Completes Volvo Sale to Geely . . . . . . . . . . 29
Fox 5 Atlanta Investigates Aftermarket Parts. . . . . 4
GCIA Annual Golf Tournament . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Receives Green Certification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Ford Exports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Raid on Tampa Medical Clinic is Latest Pushback
on Staged-Crash Medical Fraud . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
S.C. to Issue Improved Driver’s Licenses . . . . . . . 7 Schroeder - Roy Rogers Body Shop: Old World
Craftsmanship, Education in Laurel, MS. . . . . 13
GCIA Drafts A Letter to Claims Managers,
Schroeder, Pro Spot - Len’s Auto Body Endorses
GCIA Holds BMW Workshop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Senate Committee Passes High-Tech Legislation. 31
Attorney General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
GM Awaits Fuel Ratings on Volt . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
GM Files Registration Statement for IPO . . . . . . . . 8
Oceanside’s Pro Spot Quality Welding Systems . 28
Suzuki Q1 Profits Up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Toyota Announces Recall For Avalons . . . . . . . . 30
Gunder Update on Case Against State Farm,
Two Accused of Faking $1 Million in Aflac Claims
Hudgens Wins GA Insurance Commissioner Runoff. 3
Weaver - Three Gallons of Trouble . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Legal Defense Fund Established. . . . . . . . . . . . 1
in GA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
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 Sales Assistant: Kristy Mangum 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Aegis Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
I-CAR Education Foundation . . . . . . 30
Auto Body Guru . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Kia Motors Wholesale Parts Dealers . 5
BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . . 24
Mazda Wholesale Parts . . . . . . . . . . 29
Autoland Scientech . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Maroone Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge . . . . 10
Chassis Liner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Mercedes-Benz Wholesale Parts
Classifieds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Mitsubishi Wholesale Parts Dealers . 24
Edwards Chevrolet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Nissan Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . 22
FL, GA, AL, MS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Performance Radiator . . . . . . . . . . . 13
City Hyundai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Crown Automobile Company. . . . . . . 6
Ford Wholesale Parts Dealers
Galloway Mazda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Garmat USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Global Finishing Solutions . . . . . . . . . 2
GM Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . 22
Gus Machado Ford . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Honda Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . 25
Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers . . 26
Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Nalley BMW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Palmers Toyota . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Pre Fab Ads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Stivers Ford-Lincoln-Mercury . . . . . . 12
Tameron Hyundai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Taylor BMW. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Toyota Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . 29
VIM Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Walcom. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Hudgens Wins GA Insurance Commissioner Runoff
The runoff election for the Republican candidate for Insurance Commissioner of Georgia has been won by State Sen. Ralph T. Hudgens. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Hudgens had 55 percent of the vote, while his opponent Maria Sheffield had 45 percent. A major issue in the race for the job has been health insurance and whether Georgia will comply with the federal reform that requires states to set up an insurance pool for high-risk people who have been uninsured for six months. Current Insurance Commissioner John W. Oxendine has refused to set up the pools. Hudgens has publically opposed the present reform plans, but, in a snafu that Sheffield made much of, Hudgens said on the radio that the insurance commissioner “cannot do squat” about health care reform. The statement went out over an internet feed. The microphone was on but Hudgens did not know it was on. Later, Hudgens, who is the chair of the state Senate’s Insurance and Labor Committee, did an about face and embraced the comment. The commissioner is an administrator, not a policy maker, he said.
Hudgens will face Democrat Mary Squires in the November election. Squires, who is currently the executive director of the Georgia Society of Professional Benefit Administrators, Inc,, and a former state senator, said that the main issue in the race to the November elections will be how to make sure the insurance department stops being the “lap dog” of the insurance industry. She said the department has not been serving the needs of consumers. “People are worried about their pocket books,” she said. “We have to protect consumers.” She also says that Georgia already has high-risk pools for health insurance that would satisfy the federal mandates, and that it has been wrong for Commissioner Oxendine to refuse to comply when the pools exist. Those pools were created years ago, she said, as part of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Other issues that are bound to be discussed during the coming campaigns are modernizing the insurance department and fraud investigation.
www.autobodynews.com | SEPTEMBER 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 3
GCIA Annual Golf Tournament
The Georgia Collision Industry Association will hold its 14th annual GCIA Invitational Golf Tournament at the Golf Club at Bradshaw Farms in Woodstock, Georgia on Wednesday, October 13th. Registration starts at 11:30 am with lunch at noon and Tee Off at 1:00 pm. A playing fee of $75 per person includes lunch & dinner, unlimited supply of drinks and snacks, trophies and chances at over $1000 worth of door prizes. Don’t miss this opportunity to play in GCIA’s signature golf event. Registration Deadline is October 3rd, 2010. The event has filled to capacity in their previous years. Visit gacollisionindustry.wordpress.com to download and fill out the form and give with fee to Howard Batchelor or fax to (770) 590-3881 or contact Howard Batchelor, Tournament Coordinator at (770) 367-9816. Four man “Best Ball” Tournament with Trophies. Soft Spikes only please. Free Range Balls starting at 11:00 am.
A Statement from the GCIA
“Our Executive Director, Howard Batchelor, just returned from the SCRS meeting and Collision Industry Conference in Chicago. Our association is receiving kudos from all over the U.S. for our 4th Annual Labor & Materials Rate Survey we conducted in the spring and recently released to the public. No other industry association in the U.S. has collected this amount of accurate data on collision materials and labor rates. This year, over three hundred shops participated and the results clearly show what the actual prevailing rate in the Atlanta marketplace is. And industry leaders and insurance companies alike are taking notice. We are making progress ... little by little. We are sending the results to every insurance Claims Manager with every insurance company that does business in metro Atlanta as well as to the current Insurance Commissioner and the candidates who are running for office in November. We encourage you to contact your local representatives as well as your insurance representatives and share this important data and information with them. Together, by educating these people about the true prevailing rates, we can make a difference. But it takes commitment and perseverance from every member of the GCIA to make a difference.” For more information please visit gacollisionindustry.wordpress.com.
Fox 5 Atlanta Investigates Aftermarket Parts The Fox 5 Atlanta i-team did an indepth investigation of aftermarket parts for their July 29 broadcast. In the report the team interviewed a consumer who’s truck was being fixed with aftermarket parts at the request of his insurance company. The Ford F150 owner, Craig Brown, tried to go to his insurance company, Grange Insurance, and request that his truck be fixed with Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts instead of aftermarket parts. Brown was turned down by his insurance company several times; the company would only pay to repair the truck with aftermarket parts not Ford or brand name parts. “This is not a Ford hood, it’s an aftermarket hood and right there you can see things are not lining up the way they’re supposed to be,” said Brown. David Montanaro, owner of Performance Auto Collision in Alpharetta, GA and former insurance adjuster, believes generic parts are in-
GCIA Holds BMW Workshop
The Georgia Collision Industry Association will hold a workshop for BMW insurers and independent shops Thursday, September 16th from 7:00PM-9:00PM at the Metro Atlanta Automobile Dealers Association, 440 Interstate North Parkway SE in Atlanta. The workshop will be presented by BMW of North America and will share repair information and quality standards with insurance companies and independent body shops to ensure that vehicles are repaired properly. Higher government regulations in regards to fuel economy and crash standards are leading to advanced engineering techniques used to construct the body shells and technical know how is a must to repair properly. Demonstration of specialized tools and equipment will be on display. Handouts and takeaways provided Topics discussed will be; Materials used in Construction GRAV Aluminum Structure, Methods of Fastening Riveting and Bonding Repair Process and Variety of Steels in BMWs ColorSystem, etcetera. To reserve a spot please visit gacollisionindustry.wordpress.com and download an invitation. Please fax this invitation to 770-590-3881 or email to email@example.com.
4 SEPTEMBER 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
ferior to their OEM counterparts. During the report Montanaro and iteam reporter Dana Fowle attempted to bend an OEM BMW radiator support and an aftermarket radiator support. Fowle could not bend the OEM support but crushed the aftermarket support with ease. “This is the part that’s supposed to help keep you from getting hurt in an accident,” said Fowle. Many demonstrations of the difference between aftermarket parts and OEM parts have been cropping up across the country; from industry experts to government officials. The i-team also spoke to David Colmans, Executive Director for the Georgia Insurance Information Service, about the lack of regulations and standards for aftermarket parts. “Aftermarket parts are not regulated ... from a federal government standpoint they are not regulated,” said Colmans. Cosmetic aftermarket parts are regulated by the Certified Automotive
Parts Association (CAPA), but the association does not regulate any of the structural aftermarket parts used for repairs. As the i-team explains, CAPA only regulates cosmetic parts such as grilles and tailgates. “Structural parts meet no standards at all,” said Fowle. Although the jury is still out on whether or not aftermarket parts are actually as safe as OEM parts, the iteam also revealed that some car companies may not honor warranties on the OEM parts in a car once an aftermarket part is installed. The i-team was able to obtain a statement from Ford saying “that if any aftermarket part causes damage to a Ford part that’s under warranty, the warranty will not cover that repair.” There is still some specualtion about whether or not all car manufacturers will honor warranties when aftermarket parts come in to play. For more information please visit myfoxatlanta.com.
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Huntsville AL to Ban Texting While Driving
Huntsville has become the sixth Alabama city to ban sending text messages while driving, According to reports made by Insurance Journal. Beginning Sept. 20, it will be illegal to send text messages or check email while driving in the Huntsville city limits. The ordinance approved also prohibits scrolling through music files, viewing videos and programming a destination into a satellite navigation unit while driving.
The ban covers smartphones, laptops, netbooks, electronic readers, electronic tablets and global positioning devices but not voice radios, mobile radios, commercial radios or two-way radios. Huntsville joins Gadsden, Birmingham, Vestavia Hills, Jacksonville and Roanoke in imposing a texting ban. The Legislature failed in its efforts this year to pass a statewide ban.
Two Accused of Faking $1 Million in Aflac Claims in GA Two people have been indicted on charges they stole nearly $1 million from insurer Aflac Inc. by filing false insurance claims from 2007 to 2009, According to reports made by the Associated Press and Insurance Journal. The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports that federal prosecutors are accusing former Aflac employee Danielle Mahone and Travis Washington of using fake insurance information to file fraudu-
lent claims with the company. Prosecutors said that after Mahone left Aflac’s Columbus office in 2006, she helped Washington file the fake documents for a cut of the money. Authorities said others were involved in the crimes but they were not named in the indictment. Mahone faces 23 counts of health care fraud, while Washington faces 15 counts.
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www.autobodynews.com | SEPTEMBER 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 5
Oakland Park, FL’s ECO-Friendly Auto Center Receives Green Certification ECO-Friendly Auto Center in Oakland Park, FL, received Florida State Green Certification through Certified Green Partners (CGP) on August 5. ECO-Friendly received this certification thanks to processes and techniques they use daily in their shop.
shop and all of its processes were looked into by an auditor from CGP to make sure the shop held up CGP’s standards for certification. ECO-Friendly recycles just about everything possible around the shop from scrap metals to batteries to office papers. They also use a service called Safety-Kleen which cleans their used oils and antifreeze for reuse.
ECO-Friendly Owner Sully Dawson and CGP Founder Gus Casamayor
Florida city officials as well as representatives from suppliers attended ECO-Friendly’s Certification Ceremony at the shop on August 5. “From day one I had being green in mind,” said Sully Dawson, owner of ECO-Friendly Auto Center. The auto center had to be audited by Certified Green Partners before receiving this certification. The entire
Ray Lubomski (Assistant to the Oakland Park City Manager), Siegi Constantine (Executive Director of Oakland Park Main Street Inc.), Sully Dawson and Gus Casamayor
ECO-Friendly is the only shop in Florida to offer customers the choice of using an oil made from animal fat called G-Oil instead of regular motor oil. G-Oil
Crown Automobile Company
is totally biodegradeable and certified by the American Petroleum Institute. Dawson has also been asked to write about what it takes to be a certified green shop for Certified Green Partners’ certification book in the coming months. ECO-Friendly is the first auto repair shop in the state of Florida to receive certification from CGP. “It shows I’m a leader, not a follower; it makes me different than anyone else,” said Dawson. Certified Green Partners is an independent certifying organization ded-
Carlos Baralt and ECO-Friendly’s owner Sully Dawson
lence. If we all become certified, there would be no need for legislation,” said Gus Casamayor, Founder Certified Green Partners. For more information please visit certifiedgreenpartners.org or ecofriendlyautocenter.com. Questions can be email directly to Sully Dawson at email@example.com.
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Elephant Insurance to Aid in Gulf Oil Spill Cleanup
In an effort to help aid in the cleanup of the oil spill that is damaging the environment and wildlife in the Gulf Coast, Elephant Auto Insurance announced July 24 a new campaign to help raise money that will be donated to the National Wildlife Foundation. Elephant Auto Insurance is a Virginia based company offering discount auto insurance online and over the phone. The National Wildlife Federation has been working in the Gulf of Mexico since April 20 in an effort to perform “Search and Rescue” on affected wildlife along the Louisiana Gulf coast. Elephant’s Give for the Gulf will donate $10.00 for every completed Virginia online auto insurance rate quote to the National Wildlife Foundation through the month of July. All participants can visit www.elephant.com/gulfgive to get a free online
auto insurance quote and $10 with automatically be donated on their behalf. “As a former Louisiana resident, I know almost firsthand the impact this is having on the environment, the people, and their livelihoods. At Elephant, we believe we have a responsibility to give back to the community and the environment. While we are based in Virginia, we all see the impacts of the disaster in the Gulf,” says Andrew Rose, CEO of Elephant Auto Insurance. “This is one small way that our auto insurance company can create an opportunity for consumers to help us give back. There is no cost or obligation to the consumer – we’d love to save them money on their auto insurance online, but even if we don’t we still want to give to cleanup efforts.” For more information please visit www.elephant.com.
According to reports made by Insurance Journal, South Carolina will issue more secure driver’s licenses. The State newspaper reported that Department of Motor Vehicles director Marcia Adams said August 5 the new licenses and ID cards should
be offered in late September. Adams says the new cards are designed to protect against fraud, counterfeiting and duplication. The new cards also will guard against efforts to change photographs or birth dates.
S.C. to Issue Improved Driver’s Licenses
NACE Town Hall on Aftermarket Parts
Created especially for collision repair professionals, an official NACE Town Hall meeting will be held during Automotive Service & Repair Week (ASRW) on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010 from 11:30–1:00p.m. Sponsored by ASA, this event will be a platform to discuss the use of aftermarket parts. ASRW is scheduled for Oct. 10–13 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas and includes NACE and CARS. The panel discussion, titled “Is Certification the Best Aftermarket Parts Policy for Consumers and Repairers?” will include various industry segments and entities that have (or plan to) establish parts certification programs. The program will focus on these key questions: ● What does parts certification mean to consumers and repairers? ● Has parts certification been effective to date? ● What should determine whether a parts certification program works or not? ● With multiple parts certification programs in place and more in the developmental stage, does this hurt or enhance the effectiveness of certification? Where does the proliferation of these programs stop? ● Would consumers and repairers ben-
efit from a single parts certification program versus multiple programs? ● Should state governments and/or the federal government be involved in parts certification? Why or why not? Tickets are $40, include a box lunch and are available in the online attendee registration systems for NACE and CARS. “There’s no bigger debate in collision repair right now, than aftermarket parts,” says ASA president and chief staff executive Ron Pyle. “As the pulse of the industry, we realized we needed to allot extra time for this important discussion at NACE.” Many new show features and industry forums are currently in development for ASRW 2010. Online registration is now open and offers various package options starting at $210 and Expo registration available for just $15 until the August 31 early cut-off. Online housing is also open, and provides the lowest hotel rates in recent years.
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www.autobodynews.com | SEPTEMBER 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 7
GM Files Registration Statement for IPO General Motors Company August 18 announced that it has filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a proposed initial public offering consisting of common stock to be sold by certain of its stockholders and the issuance by the company of its Series B mandatory convertible junior preferred stock. The amount of securities offered will be determined by market conditions and other factors at the time of the offering. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering have not yet been determined. Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan (representatives of the underwriters), BofA Merrill Lynch, Citi, Goldman, Sachs & Co., Barclays Capital, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank Securities, RBC Capital Markets, and UBS Investment Bank will be the joint book-running managers for the offering. When available, copies of the preliminary prospectus relating to the offering may be obtained for free, by visiting the SEC website at www.sec.gov. Alternatively, you may obtain a
copy of the preliminary prospectus, by contacting: -Morgan Stanley & Co. Incorporated, Attention: Prospectus Department, 180 Varick Street, 2nd Floor, New York, New York 10014, telephone 1-866-718-1649, or by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org -J.P. Morgan Securities Inc., Attention: Broadridge Financial Solutions, 1155 Long Island Avenue, Edgewood, New York 11717, telephone 1-866-803-9204. A registration statement relating to these securities has been filed with the SEC but has not yet become effective. These securities may not be sold nor may offers to buy be accepted prior to the time the registration statement becomes effective. This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such an offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or jurisdiction. For more information please visit media.gm.com.
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Hyundai Releases 2011 Equus Information
Hyundai revealed additional information for the all-new 2011 Equus July 26. The Equus will be offered in just two configurations, Equus Signature and Equus Ultimate, both lavishly contented. Equus Signature features the award-winning 385-horsepower Tau® V8 engine, a 608-watt Lexicon® audio system with 17 speakers, electronically controlled air suspension with continuous damping control, Vehicle Stability Management with pre-collision warning, Smart Cruise Control, HID headlamps, front and rear parking assistance system with rearview camera, premium leather seating, Alcantara suede headliner, driver seat massage, heated and cooled front seats, heated wood and leather steering wheel, and numerous other premium technologies and features. The Equus Ultimate adds features typically found only in lowvolume special-order luxury sedans with six-figure price tags, including a forward-view parking and cornering camera, reclining rear seats with powered headrests, rear seat massage and leg support and a rear seat entertainment system. Purchase of the Equus also in-
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cludes “Your Time, Your Place,” the industry’s first at-home vehicle demonstration program, the Valet Service program, which provides athome pickup for Equus service and maintenance and the industry’s first iPad-based interactive owner’s manual. As Hyundai’s flagship rearwheel-drive sedan, Equus contains many firsts. One innovative new technology is the Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) system, which governs ESC, the electronic parking brake, smart cruise control, the collision warning sensor and the seatbelt tensioning system for optimal safety. The seatbelt tensioning system works through sensors, which detect critical driving situations and retract the seatbelts accordingly to prevent passenger movement. The Equus’ dynamic safety package is further enhanced by the Lane Departure Warning System and driver’s knee airbags. All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by the Hyundai Assurance program, which includes the 5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable new vehicle warranty, Hyundai’s 10year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and 5-years of complimentary Roadside Assistance.
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GCIA Drafts A Letter to Claims Managers, Attorney General The Georgia Collision Industry Association will send letters out this month to all Georgia Claims Managers, the GA Insurance Commissioner and the GA Attorney General detailing the results of the GCIA labor rates surveys given in July. The GCIA hopes to inform these parties about their analysis of the prevailing competitive price. More information can be found at gacollisionindustry.wordpress.com. The full text of the letter is as follows; August 9th, 2010 To: Georgia Insurance Company Claims Managers From: The Georgia Collision Industry Association RE: Collision Labor/Materials Rates in Atlanta Metro Area
The Georgia Collision Industry Association (GCIA) recently completed their 4th Annual Labor & Materials Rate Survey for Metro Atlanta and we are writing to inform you of the results of the research.
The Survey was conducted by CSi Complete to ensure unbiased data collection. CSi Complete is a provider of customer satisfaction indexing to collision repair, claims and other services industries and you can learn more information about the company by visiting their website at www.csicomplete.com. Our goal in conducting this annual survey and sharing the results is twofold: 1. To utilize an impartial company to identify and communicate statistically valid figures representing the average labor rate for repair services offered in the Atlanta Metro area, and 2. To communicate the results of the research to both collision repair facilities, insurance carriers and the appropriate involved in serving the consumer in the repair and claims handling process. The 2010 survey indicates a 3.15% average increase over 2009 rates, bringing labor rates to $42.00 and Materials to $28.00. The GCIA encourages all Claims
Managers and insurance company executives to thoroughly review the 2010 GCIA Labor Rate Survey. We urge you and your company to join the GCIA in our efforts to alleviate the variances between the actual prevailing rates (as shown in our survey) versus the rates some carriers are currently compensating collision repair shops for materials and labor in Metro Atlanta. The GCIA has conducted this survey for four (4) consecutive years. No other industry association in the U.S. has collected this amount of accurate data on collision materials and labor rates. This year, nearly 300 shops participated, and the results clearly demonstrate the actual prevailing rate in the Atlanta marketplace. It is our intention that the information offered be used to ensure your company is fulfilling its obligation to the policyholder, be reimbursing for the actual prevailing rates in Metro Atlanta. If you have any questions about the GCIA, or the results of this survey, I would encourage you to contact our
Executive Director, Howard Batchelor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Respectfully, Board of Directors Georgia Collision Industry Association Georgia Collision Industry Association â€“ www.gcia.org 595 Commerce Park Dr Marietta, Georgia 30060 FAX: (770)590-3881 VOICE: (770)770-367-9816.
Columbus Ban on Texting While Driving
According to reports made by Insurance Journal, the north Mississippi city of Columbus is considering a local ban on texting while driving. Mayor Robert Smith and council members have asked the city attorney to research the issue and present some possible options for an ordinance. The Commercial Dispatch reported that officials plan to call a public hearing to gather residentsâ€™ ideas before voting on a ban. A state law enacted in 2009 bans young people from texting and driving.
www.autobodynews.com | SEPTEMBER 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 9
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 Numbered Car Exactly like the Red Mist, Part Two with Rich Evans
I’ll align myself about 2 inches away from where I want to mold the two panels together. That way when I’m spreading the mar-glass I’ll be able to pull the tape and not have so much extra sanding work. You’re not really having a heavy build but you have enough build to seam that metal to the fiberglass and not have the seam break loose after primering and painting it. That’s why I chose the marglass. It’s a short-strand fiberglass reinforced auto body filler. I’ll apply Bondo™ on top of that. After 2 or 3 days getting these panels shaped up with 36 grit. I’m going to use the Soft-Sanders™ with this body kit. The Soft-Sander™ Using the Soft-Sander™ blocks on the rear flares blocks are an everyday use of Back to the Red Mist project. The car mine anyways, but these blocks reis identical to the one in the movie ally truly save me up to 75% of the Kick Ass and is on its way back to time because of all the shapes that Woody Frees and his sons. Paying atthey come in. So I’m able to get in tention to detail and quality is what it’s the grooves. I’m able to sand a conall about. Never be in too much a tinuous stroke and also shape better hurry to do a project. Just make sure with the Soft-Sander™ blocks just you get it done right. because you’re able to form them to Let’s review the steps and pro- the radius of what you’re sanding. cedures that it took to get Woody’s They come in different sizes: 4-inch, car done and on the road back to 8-inch and 12-inch. With my body Fort Lauderdale, Florida. When we kit it’s really got a lot of shape to it we left off in July I had just widened so these blocks are able to get me the rear end 3 inches, installed my there quicker. If you go to body kit, mocked it up, and we used www.softsanders.com you can get a the mar-glass fine hair (from Marwhole list of their product. I’ve always said time is money and this product is a time and money saver. I wish I had run across it 15 years ago. Let’s move on to the paint. Obviously we’re going to have to prime it first. So I gave Sherwin-Williams a call and they were cool enough to sponsor me for this build which gives me a chance to try some other products. I used Using the Soft-Sander™ blocks to true the guide coat the Speed P30 Spectra Prime. son ®) to bond the body kit to the The mixing ratio is 2 part Spectra 2008 GT Mustang. Now to shape the Prime, 2 part SR15 and one part rear flares so it’s part of the body UH900. I applied probably about 8 and also mold in the rockers to the mills and used a 1.9 tip on my fender and the rocker panel. I’m HVLP SATA primer gun. You want going to use the mar-glass to blend it to shoot it at about 25 to 45 psi and because it’s stronger material than that will give you a good atomizathe Bondo™. I use the 3M® tape and tion and break down that thick This column is part two of Rich Evans’ column from our July 2010 issue titled Building a numbered car exactly like the Red Mist in Kick Ass. To read that column go to www.autobodynews.com > columns > Rich Evans.
10 SEPTEMBER 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
primer. I really loaded up because I only want to primer it once. After sanding it ended up with about 320. With my sand scratches I usually
Getting the primer right
leave about 80 or 150. I don’t get too detailed because I’m going to follow up with 80. So with this project I left my sand scratches at 80 and I feather-edged everything with 150 and then the additional paint that’s left over you want to hit with
the 320. Applying the three coats of primer gives you probably close to 9 mills. I guide coat it with some black guide coat. This will give me a reference for my highs and lows to blend this into the quarter panels or down in the rockers all the way to the fenders. It’s going to give me a good reference where my highs and lows are and if I have any additional pinholes I’ll use the 417 putty to get in there. It’s pretty much like a poly primer. After priming I use the Soft-Sander™ blocks and hit it with the 80 grit. After that I’m going to re-guide coat it and come back with the 150 grit. Basically I chase out the 80 grit scratches with the 150. I re-guide coat it and then wet sand it with a 400 wet. This See Red Mist Part Two, Page 27
Continued from Front Page
Gunder Case, Fund
Fund” is being developed with the intent to give relief to Gunder’s, and others equally situated who have spent, and will likely spend tens of thousands of dollars in legal costs. Regarding as to whom, what and when will the proposed legal funds be made available, let me try and answer it succinctly as possible. Currently the fund is a trust fund set-up by the legal counsel representing Gunder’s Auto Center. As for who will make the determination, it will be based upon a board that will look at the merits of each applicant and case. Currently that board consists of the attorney firm of Brent Geohagan, P.A., Ray Gunder and Barrett R. Smith. Others will be brought in as needed to ensure proper oversight and distribution as the program evolves. Generally speaking the legal fund is proposed to be made available to those who have an existing legal case in the system (with counsel) and likely well past the stages of Summary Judgment and Court Ordered Mediation. Thus the case will have passed the “litmus test’ if you will and be seen not only as a viable case, but one whose merits have been recognized by the courts as legitimate and worthy to proceed. Additionally, when a plaintiff repairer has made it through the initial stages of litigation (i.e. discovery, depositions, several hearings etc.) they have already made a significant personal investment of their time and financial resources and one can be assured it is a case that will most probably go the distance unless settlement is reached beforehand. While not set in stone, other than Ray Gunder’s commitment to repay and match the funds used, we anticipate others will gladly agree to the same conditions whereby the fund will continue to grow; both through on-going donations and from the recovery of fees and costs and/or awards of successful litigation. Of course the legalities and such will be determined by legal counsel as the opportunities to assist others present themselves. The “Fund” has been met with great interest from repairers all across the nation in support of both Gunder’s and the “Fund”. To date, donations from $10.00 to as high as $500.00
have been received along with many well wishes and support! All contributions are kept confidential.
Ray Gunder Statement Ray Gunder has released the following statement regarding his ongoing case involving State Farm. “In response to numerous inquiries regarding the status of the Slander and Tortious Interference case Gunder’s Auto Center has against State Farm; we have filed our appellate brief and State Farm has filed their rebuttal and we are currently awaiting the courts ruling relative to a request for Summary Judgment presented in the matter. We anticipate success in this regard and to move forward to achieving the ultimate goal of “having our day in court.” This entire matter hinges on whether any insurer, including State Farm, can merely target a repairer and have the right to say anything they wish with the intent to harm the repairer and disparage their good name in an effort to interfere with the relationship between the repairer and their customer; so long as the insurer does not breach the legal limit referred to as “Expressed Malice.” It is my understanding that, according to State Farm, this means they can say anything they wish about me and my company, up to the extent that one is a “murderer” or “rapist” etc.! As it was explained to me, it would appear that State Farm believes, because they are merely involved in payment of repair that they therefore have what is referred to as a “qualified privilege” and are free to say anything they wish to their insureds, including, but not limited to; “they do substandard work,” “they don’t have the equipment necessary to pass our inspection,” “they overcharge and you’ll have to pay the difference out of pocket,” etc. without fear of recourse. We firmly believe that insurers are not party to the contract of repair between a repairer and their customer and have no business interfering with that relationship. This type of conduct should never have been considered a “privilege” or acceptable behavior by any individual or entity! These are nothing less than slanderous strong-arm tactics by bullies of our industry and we will not merely accept it or condone it as a normal business practice. See Gunder Case, Fund, Page 22
www.autobodynews.com | SEPTEMBER 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 11
Enterprise to Offer Nissan Leaf to Rental Drivers Nissan will sell 500 Leaf electric cars to Enterprise Rent-A-Car starting in January, as the Japanese automaker aims to put more drivers behind the wheel of its battery-powered vehicle, according to reports made by the Associated Press. Enterprise said July 27 it will make the Leaf available to customers in eight different cities starting next year. Charging stations will be installed at 100 different Enterprise rental locations beginning in November. The cost of renting the Leaf, which runs 100 miles on a full charge of its lithium-ion battery, hasn’t been determined yet, Enterprise spokeswoman Lisa Martini said. But, like the hybrid vehicles that Enterprise rents to customers, the rental price is likely to be higher than its gasolinepowered cars, she said. The Leaf will be Nissan’s first fully electric vehicle and is one of several battery-powered cars hitting the market over the next several years. Nissan is currently taking reservations from Leaf buyers and will start deliveries of the hatchback to customers in select markets in December. The vehicle will have a base price of $32,780 in the U.S., but that
Nissan Looks to Mexican Exports, U.S. Plants to Ease Impact of Strong Yen
will be brought down by a $7,500 tax credit— the same price Enterprise is paying for the vehicles. Nissan said 17,000 people have placed orders for the Leaf so far in the U.S. Buyers in California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona and Tennessee will receive the first deliveries in December. The Leaf will go on sale in other markets over the course of the year, becoming available nationwide by the end of 2011. Leon Kamins, general manager of Mossy Nissan of Kearny Mesa and Poway, posted information about Leaf delivery on a discussion forum: By the end of March of 2011, there will have been roughly (only) 3,300 Leafs delivered nationwide. Nissan initially wanted a lot more (10,000), but decided to launch in Japan in January, which diverted two thirds of the cars. So, of the 3,300, Nissan is parsing them out at a few hundred a month over the 4 months (December through the end of March). They are launching the car first in San Diego, Portand, Nashville, Houston, Tuson-Phoenix corridor because this is where the infrastructure will be. But 3,300 LEAFs for the whole U.S. until the end of March 2011 isn’t much.
Nissan will boost output capacity in Mexico to about 700,000 vehicles a year and may consider increasing exports from the U.S. as the strong yen makes North American production competitive, according to reports made by Bloomberg. Nissan is spending $600 million to upgrade two Mexican auto plants and is increasing U.S. production as a stronger yen make exports from Japan less profitable. The yen has risen against all the world’s major currencies in 2010 and is up about 5 percent against the U.S. dollar and 14 percent against the euro this year. The automaker has already moved some production overseas from Japan, citing the nation’s rising currency. The company has begun assembling its new March small car in Thailand and will start making it in Mexico in 2011. Nissan will cut output in Japan by about 20 percent from October compared with its September production plan. The company’s U.S. factories are in Tennessee and Mississippi. The company exports U.S.-built light trucks to the Middle East and has shipped Quest minivans to China.
Obama to Set $250 Million Loan Guarantee for Ford Exports
President Barack Obama announced a $250 million loan guarantee on August 5 to finance Ford Motor Co. exports, according to a statement from the White House. Obama toured an automobile factory in Chicago, where Dearbornbased Ford will begin assembling the new 2011 Explorer later this year. Ford is spending about $400 million to add 1,200 jobs to build the Explorer sport-utility vehicle. The factory is already hiring new workers at an entry-level wage of about $14 an hour, under a two-tier wage system that starts at about half the amount paid to hourly production workers hired previously. Obama will highlight potential foreign sales of the Explorer as helping the U.S. meet his goal of doubling exports over the next five years. The president will also announce the Export-Import Bank’s $250 million loan guarantee, which will finance $3.1 billion of exports to Canada and Mexico of more than 200,000 U.S.-made vehicles the statement said.
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12 SEPTEMBER 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
Erica Schroeder is a writer and editorial assistant for Autobody News in Oceanside, CA. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Roy Rogers Body Shop: Old World Craftsmanship, Education in Laurel, MS with Erica Schroeder
Roy Rogers Body Shop in Laurel, MS, has been a family-run business since its founding in 1954. Current Vice President Ann Smith’s father opened the original shop on Mason St in downtown Laurel. Ann and her brother, Thomas Rogers, moved the shop to its current location in 1979. “Our business is 56 years old, we’re a family business that is in its third generation of ownership,” said Ann.
Ann felt that being a family run business for so many years had allowed the shop to focus more on their
The painting areas are 3,000 sq. ft.
The body shop area occupies 10,000 sq. ft.
craftsmanship and the quality of work turned out by the business. Roy Rogers’ facility is just under 15,000 square feet in total; 10,000 of that is collision repair area, 3,000 is for paint and the rest is taken by office space. Roy Rogers employs about 12 employees and sees nearly 120 cars
per month for all operations. The shop is able to gross just under $2 million annually. All Roy Rogers technicians are ASE and I-CAR certified; the company focuses heavily on getting their employees as much education and training as possible. “Most shops around here have no certification; any type of certification or schooling—when we get a chance we try to send our employees to it,” said Thomas Rogers. Both Smith and Rogers felt that having as much education for their employees helped to bolster the shops overall quality and craftsmanship. Both felt that quality and craftsmanship defined the way they run their business, so sending their employees through as much schooling as possible is considered a necessity for the shop.
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Roy Rogers is also a Direct Repair Shop for State Farm Insurance, Progressive and Shelter, though the shop is happy to work with any customer’s insurer. Employees at Roy Rogers Body Shop try to maintain a 4 day work week. Working 10-hour work days Monday through Thursday enables them to see more customers before and after regular work hours. Rogers mentioned that the shop was working above and beyond this schedule right after Hurricane Katrina, but is trying to get back to a strictly 4 day work week. Roy Rogers is currently open for a half day on Fridays. One of the shops painters, Gary “Randall” Gilbert, has been with the shop for over 36 years. “I’ve been working at the shop for about 40 years and he came on
shortly after me; he works hard and does a good job,” said Rogers. Roy Rogers Body Shop also offers 24/7 towing and windsheild or glass replacement to serve their cus-
Roy Rogers’ company tow truck stands ready
tomers’ every need when it comes to getting cars back to factory condition after a wreck. They offer wrecker service that comes to your site, flatbed towing as well as winch and recovery services. “We try to have a real good turn around time; get it in, get it out so it’s not here forever,” said Rogers. The shop also sells truck and Jeep accessories including bedliners, tow hitches, tool boxes and bed covers. Roy Rogers Body Shop prides themselves on being Jones county’s biggest shop. The shop is equipped with 2 Car-O-liner bench racks, a Chief frame machine, Car-O-liner spot welders and Lincoln Electric welders. Roy Rogers is spraying AkzoNobel Sikkens basecoats, clearcoats and topcoats. For more information please visit royrogersbodyshop.com. Roy Rogers Body Shop 3066 Old Amy Rd Laurel, MS 39443 (601) 426-2090
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www.autobodynews.com | SEPTEMBER 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 13
IIHS Top Safety Picks for 2010
To determine crashworthiness, how well a vehicle protects its occupants in a crash, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor based on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests, a rollover test, plus evaluations of seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts. To earn Top Safety Pick for 2010 a vehicle must have good ratings in all four Institute tests. Winners for each category are; Large Cars: Buick LaCrosse 2010–11 models, BMW 5 series 2011 models, Ford Taurus, Hyundai Genesis built after January 2010, Lincoln MKS, Mercedes E class built after April 2010, Toyota Avalon 2011 models and Volvo S80. Small Cars: Honda Civic 4door models (except Si) with optional ESC, Kia Forte built after October 2009, Kia Soul 2010–11 models, Mitsubishi Lancer, Nissan Cube, Scion xB 2010–11 models, Subaru Impreza (except WRX), Toyota Corolla and Volkswagen Golf 4-door models. Midsize Cars: Audi A3, Audi A4, Chevrolet Malibu 2010–11 models built after November 2009,
Chrysler Sebring 4-door models with optional ESC, Dodge Avenger with optional ESC, Ford Fusion built after April 2010, Hyundai Sonata 2011 models, Lincoln MKZ built after April 2010, Mercedes C class, Mercury Milan built after April 2010, Subaru Legacy 2010–11 models, Subaru Outback 2010–11 models, Volkswagen Jetta, Volkswagen Passat sedan and Volvo C30 2010–11 models. Minivans: Toyota Sienna 2011 models. Midsize SUVs: Audi Q5, Cadillac SRX built after May 2010, Chevrolet Equinox built after March 2010, Dodge Journey, Ford Flex built after January 2010, GMC Terrain built after March 2010, Jeep Grand Cherokee 2011 models, Kia Sorento 2011 models built after March 2010, Lexus RX, Lincoln MKT built after March 2010, Subaru Tribeca, Toyota Highlander, Toyota Venza, Volvo XC60 2010–11 models and Volvo XC90 2010–11 models. Small SUVs: Honda Element, Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Patriot with optional side torso airbags, Subaru Forester and Volkswagen Tiguan. For more information please visit iihs.org.
NHTSA Announces New Safety Ratings Program
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration July 29 announced the lineup of 2011 model year passenger vehicles that will receive new safety ratings under the agency’s revamped and updated 5-star safety ratings program. In all, 24 passenger cars, 20 sport utility vehicles, two vans, and nine 2011 model year pickups will be rated under the new system that not only includes tougher crash tests, but, for the first time, provides consumers with a single overall safety score per vehicle. The new testing program will also provide consumers with information about new advanced crash avoidance technologies, such as lane departure and forward collision warning systems. “The vehicles we are announcing today will be the first ones tested under the Department’s tougher, more rigorous 5-star ratings program,” Secretary Ray LaHood explained. “This new testing program significantly raises the safety bar for all vehicle manufacturers and will provide consumers with a great deal more safety information about the cars and trucks they want to buy.”
“For over 30 years, NHTSA’s 5star crash testing program has been the gold standard for consumers looking to buy the safest cars on the market for their families,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “Now, this great program has gotten even better by making it easier to compare the safety performance of vehicles not only in terms of crash survivability, but in terms of avoiding crashes in the first place.” Look for results of the 55 vehicles being tested under NHTSA’s new 5-star safety ratings system to be posted on the agency’s website, www.safercar.gov. When the new safety ratings become available, consumers will not be able to compare them to old ones since the testing criteria has changed. It will also be more difficult to achieve a high safety rating in this new program. More information can be found at visiting www.nhtsa.gov.
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Copper in Brake Pads Restricted in Washington State, California Next? Autobody News
In March of this year, Washington State became the first state to legislatively phase out the use of copper in car and truck brake pads. Washington legislation bans brake pads containing more than trace amounts of cadmium, chromium, asbestos, lead and mercury, starting in 2014. Initially, it will limit the use of copper in brakes to a maximum of five percent by model year 2021. Studies show that braking friction releases minute copper particles that fall onto the road and are eventually washed into rivers, where environmentalists say the metal poses a hazard to marine life, especially Coho salmon because it intereferes with their sense of smell. Vehicle brake pads manufacturers use a variety of ingredients, including copper, in formulating brake pads and each vehicle stop wears off a tiny amount of brake pad material. Studies conducted in South San Francisco Bay identified vehicle brake pad wear debris as a significant source of copper in urban runoff. In 1998, the Brake Pad Partnership, a collaborative group of brake manufacturers, environmentalists, storm water management entities and regulators, came together to study brake pad wear debris. The Brake Manufacturers Council (BMC) and its members agreed to introduce reformulated products within five years if the technical studies indicated that copper in brake pads was contributing significantly to water quality impairment. In late 2007, the partnership completed a series of interlinked labContinued from Front Page
the four face are similar to those that law enforcement agencies often file against criminals involved in organized crime or drug trafficking rings. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office raid was part of an ongo-
oratory, environmental monitoring and environmental modeling studies that indicated that brake pads are a substantial contributor to copper in runoff to the San Francisco Bay. “It was a balanced approach, balancing the needs of our consumers and environmental concerns,” said Curt Augustine, policy director for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group of 11 manufacturers, including Ford, Chrysler and Toyota. Many brake pads are made of steel, brass and copper fibers—materials designed to create friction and draw off heat. Some also contain ceramics, Kevlar and other nonmetallic compounds. Brake pads contain as much as 25% copper, a metal used because it is good at dissipating heat, Augustine said. Heavier and high-performance vehicles tend to have more copper, but many cars already contain less than 5 percent, he said. Copper adds structural integrity to the friction material and creates friction. The metal also has properties that help prevent brakes from squeaking and shuddering, over a wide range of temperatures and driving conditions. The industry believes it can produce a safe and reasonably priced brake pad without copper, said Terry Heffelfinger, director of product engineering for Affinia Global Brake & Chassis, a major brake maker. One alternative may be ceramic brake pads, which have grown in popularity in recent years. However, some brake pad makers say there is no other material that can easily substitute for copper and a ing crackdown on staged car crashes and medical clinic fraud in West Central Florida that is being aided by Direct General Insurance Company, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), and other auto insurers and law enforcement agencies. In April, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Direct General and others announced that an eight-month
replacement would likely require a combination of components. “We are worried that we won’t be able to provide reduced copper pads by the proposed deadline,” said Bob Peters, chief engineer at Akebono Brake Corp., which supplies brake pads to Ford, Chevrolet and GM. Akebono has been studying other materials that could be used in their pads. There are two major types of brake pads. “Organic” ones include copper; the expensive semi-metallic pads do not contain copper and are usually only used in high-performance cars such as Porsches. About 85% of cars have brake pads made with copper, to prevent brakes from overheating and reduces squeaking. Copper is a major source of water pollution because it is present in so many products, including plumbing, paint and building materials. A study by the nonprofit Sustainable Conservation found that one-third of 530,000 pounds of copper released from human activity in the San Francisco Bay watershed in 2003 came from automobile brake pads. Similarly, state ecology officials in Washington estimate 70,000 to 318,000 pounds of copper are released into Puget Sound each year, with about one-third coming from vehicles. Copper replaced asbestos as a key ingredient in brake pads in the early 1990s after asbestos was banned as a health danger. Though a federal appeals court overturned part of that ban in 1991, manufacturers continued to use copper. undercover probe dubbed “Operation Crash for Cash” had resulted in the arrests of more than 50 people and investigations into four medical clinics. Then in May, the NICB announced that Florida ranked number one among all states for the number of staged accidents and questionable claims reported between 2007 and 2009. Tampa is now the second worst
California SB 346 California is likely to be next due to SB 346, introduced in 2009 by Sen. Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego). Kehoe’s bill would eliminate copper in a vehicle brake pads and place limits, beginning in 2014, on the use of lead, mercury and asbestos in vehicle brake pads. “By banning the use of copper in vehicle brake pads, California has the opportunity to again lead the nation in protecting our environment,” Kehoe said in 2009. “This bill would be a major achievement toward removing a significant amount of toxic chemicals found in brake pads that otherwise find their way into the ocean and our watersheds.” Proponents of the bill claim the legislation can serve as a template for other states to follow to reduce the levels of copper in streams, lakes and creeks. Unlike the failed attempt by the Federal government to remove asbestos from brake pads, this initiative is being carried out at the state level. * Brake pads can contain as much as twenty-five percent copper; * Brake pad wear debris may contribute up to forty percent of the copper that enters the Bay through storm drains; * Copper content can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and among pads made by the same manufacturer; and * Low-copper and no-copper brake pads are available for at least some models of cars. city in the United States for staged accidents, with reported crashes quadrupling in one year. Miami is the third worst city, and Orlando is fourth worst. Direct General said in the statement it is taking a “zero tolerance” policy toward staged accidents and auto insurance fraud, and is working closely with law enforcement agencies to battle this fraud wave.
www.autobodynews.com | SEPTEMBER 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 15
2009 Dealer Wholesale Parts Down More than 19% from ‘08
“Dealer wholesale parts sales (mechanical and body parts redistribution) plunged nearly one-fifth during 2009 compared to the previous year. As a result, Dealer 2009 wholesale parts volume was over $2.5 billion lower than five years earlier.” “Combining lower wholesale Dealer business with sinking bay parts sales and reduced Dealer counter parts volume, total 2009 Dealer parts sales fell more than $6 billion at retail level. This dramatic sales reduction in Dealer parts is creating unprecedented opportunities for manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and installers of aftermarket products.” Get a Competitive Edge For complete analysis of Dealer service bay parts volume, see the just released 2010 AAIA Factbook & Lang Annual.
Dealer Wholesale Parts Decline The unprecedented plunge in Dealer wholesale parts (mechanical and
body) sales reflects an array of market conditions. In addition to Dealer closings and leaner Dealer parts inventories, which have reduced availability of OE parts in many markets, OE-Supplier brands are being aggressively marketed and the perceptions of installers regarding OE-Supplier brands vis-à-vis OE-Dealer brands are changing, particularly in the foreign vehicle aftermarket.
Big Wholesale Drop After Dealers expanded their 2007 and 2008 wholesale parts volume at an average 3.7% annual pace, Dealer 2009 wholesale parts sales suddenly plunged over $2.6 billion, an unprecedented 19% reduction. As a result, Dealer 2009 wholesale sales fell more than 22% below 2004 levels.
Three Reasons for Wholesale Fall-Off There are three primary reasons for the sudden drop in 2009 Dealer wholesale parts volume.
16 SEPTEMBER 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
First, approximately 1,500 Dealers closed or converted to used-car outlets with bays during 2009. As a result, there was a sharp cut-back in Dealer locations wholesaling parts to independent installers. Second, many Dealers reduced parts inventories in order to control expenses, thereby limiting their ability to fill parts requests by independent installers. Third, there is the growing success of foreign parts distributors (Worldpac, IMC, and others) in converting installers, particularly Foreign Specialists, to purchase OE-supplier and other foreign brands in place of Dealer OE-brands.
OE-Supplier Parts The growing availability of foreign OE-supplier brands and the superior delivery and electronic ordering capabilities of Worldpac and others to provide these brands to installers (who often must wait much longer for Dealer delivery of OE parts) has changed the buying habits of many
independent installers in the foreign vehicle sector.
Reduction of Dealer parts Dealer 2009 parts volume also fell significantly in terms of Dealer bay replacement and counter sales.
$6 Billion Dealer Parts Reduction Across all segments of Dealer parts sales and installation, there was more than a $6 billion drop in 2009 parts volume at user-price.
Unprecedented Opportunities The historic drop in Dealer parts sales across a wide array of segments— wholesale redistribution, bay installation, counter sales, etc.—provides unprecedented opportunities for manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and installers of aftermarket products to fill the market gap resulting from the faltering performance of Dealers. ‘From Aftermarket Insight™ by Jim Lang, President of Lang Marketing Resources, Inc., www.langmarketing.com.’
Three Gallons of Trouble with Gonzo Weaver
One of my regular customers brought his adult son into the shop the other day. It was right at opening time and the good old dad made it a point to tell his son, “Gonzo, probably hasn’t had his coffee yet so go easy on the old guy.” He was right about the coffee, but that still didn’t prepare me for the story I was about to hear. The story started sometime earlier, about two years ago… apparently I changed the fuel pump on the son’s car back then. The owner decided his gas mileage had dropped considerably. To the point that he was concerned and very upset that there was obviously something that I had done wrong to cause it. I guess it had been grating on him for two years. He insisted that the new fuel pump was to blame because he always tracked his mileage by way of his trip odometer. Before the new fuel pump he would get close to 400 miles per tank. His accuracy was noted on his little log book and showed how much gas he would refill his tank with. It was always around 23 gallons and never a drop more than 23 gallons. But now his tank was holding 26 gallons. His question to me was, “So, where is the other three gallons going?” I had to laugh. I’ve changed a lot of fuel pumps but I never have had anyone come in and tell me that the tank suddenly holds more fuel than before. My guess was that his original gas tank sending unit was probably inaccurate and that was the discrepancy.
“I’m pretty sure your gas tank hasn’t increased in volume since the fuel pump has been changed. I would imagine you’re probably mistaken as to how much your tank actually holds,” I told him as I reached for my coffee. Nope, he wasn’t buying that answer. He knew how much his gas tank held and he knew I was the cause of his three missing gallons. What he wanted was for me to find out why his gas mileage has decreased so much. I tried to explain it to him, but he was very, very sure he was correct and I wasn’t listening to what he was saying. He was getting quite loud and belligerent over the whole matter. Poor old dad just sat there with a smirk on his face. I kinda figured dad had already had enough of his boy’s attitude and figured old Gonzo was going to straighten him out. (This is going to take a lot more coffee…) The aggravated son then began to tell me how good a mechanic he was, because he had rebuilt a few motors in the past so he knew what he was doing under a hood. (Note: putting parts together does not a mechanic make. That’s solving puzzles and it doesn’t need a mechanic.) Then he added to his story with the usual… “I went to one of those parts stores that will read codes for you. They said the reason for the check engine light was because of a bad gas cap.” He was grasping at possible reasons why his gas mileage had dropped so much.
What gets me is how something as important as the service light isn’t brought up into the conversation until after you have told me how good a tech you are and that you have already made the decision that I was to blame. (I’m going to need more coffee.) So at this point, we have a service light on, we have a supposed loss of fuel economy, and I’m sure there is more… there is always more… I had to ask, “Anything else?” On occasions the ABS light comes on. He had that checked too. This time he consulted the ever faithful Internet. He tells me in a loud forceful voice, as if I couldn’t hear anything he was saying, “That always means it’s time to rebuild the ABS controller.” Oh yeah, I do that every day. I take the controllers apart and remove the epoxy sealer over the circuit boards and remove the affected components on the board and then reseal the whole thing back together. All this before a full cup of coffee? It’s really too early to absorb this kind of dazzling technical information. After dad and son dropped the truck off, I went straight to the glove box. I checked the owner’s manual as to how much capacity the fuel tank held. It had it in big bold letters: 26 gallon capacity, not the 23 that he had logged so meticulously. While I had the truck in the shop I checked the tune-up parts and the filters. All looked great. The next thing was to tackle the check engine light. Yes, there was a code. A code
GM said last summer that it expected to label the Volt with a 230 mpg city rating and even launched a website touting that number. But Larry Nitz, GM’s executive director for hybrid and electric powertrain engineering, said that the company no longer is planning on that figure. “It will never show up on the label,” Nitz told reporters on the sidelines of the Center for Automotive Research’s Management Briefing Seminars annual meeting.
GM has submitted a confidential rating proposal to the EPA, but Nitz declined to disclose it. “The (EPA) is not close to finalizing the label. They say the end of the year, but that’s the general label. What they’ve agreed to is to work with us on a specific label” for the Volt, Nitz said. The EPA said it may release a draft proposal this month on calculating plug-in electric vehicle fuel economy ratings, but might not finalize it until year’s end. GM wants to make sure drivers
GM Awaits Fuel Ratings on Volt GM is anxiously awaiting how the government will rate the fuel economy on its extended-range Chevrolet Volt, which goes on sale late this year, According to reports made by the Detroit News. GM said it is still in talks with the EPA about the final fuel economy ratings for the vehicle that will run on both battery power and a gasoline engine. The automaker expects a final rating later this year, before the Volt goes on sale.
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
that might lower gas mileage? Sort of, but not by three gallons, that’s more than 11%, right? It was the evap solenoid valve code, p0449. After doing the test on the valve it turned out the valve wasn’t responding to the PCM commands. A new evap solenoid valve solved the problem. As far as the ABS? Nothing; not a thing; no codes; no history codes, and the system was working normally. A drive test showed no problems and I gave him the benefit of the doubt that he may have an intermittent ABS controller problem… however when I gave him the option of leaving it alone or changing it… he left it alone. After all the phone calls were made and arrived to pick up his truck there was never any mention of the alleged missing three gallons or the fact that it was merely the original fuel sender that was reading improperly all this time. Or the fact that the loose gas cap had nothing to do with the service light this time around. I guess when you’re wrong you don’t have to admit it. That is, when you’re the customer. But you can be darn sure if the mechanic is wrong, everyone will know about it, and somebody is going to have to apologize. I apologize for being the mechanic in this story and I guess I should apologize for one more thing… Writing in BIG letters on his invoice… YOUR TANK HOLDS 26 GALLONS! !
get the most out of the vehicle, taking full advantage of its electric power. The Volt will get up to 40 miles on a single battery charge, and a gasoline engine that generates electricity adds another 300 miles of range to the vehicle. The vehicle’s $41,000 price tag raised some eyebrows at a panel discussion July 27. Nitz noted that GM will expand production volume in 2012 from 30,000 to 45,000 Volt vehicles. For more information please visit gm-volt.com.
www.autobodynews.com | SEPTEMBER 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 17
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Lack of Industry Leadership with Lee Amaradio Jr.
I am a member of the CAA, the SCRS and a Gold Pin holder of CIC; I have some questions for all these organizations. My first question is to the board of the CAA. As a member of the CAA, I want to know where the board stands on aftermarket parts? Do you agree with the aftermarket parts companies when they say they have tested their parts and they are the same as OEM parts according to the law that reads that the parts must be of ‘like kind and quality’ to the OEM’s? Or, do you agree with the recent tests that have been conducted by Ford Motor Company that proves that they are not the same? I want to know where you stand on this issue because as this industry issue has come to the forefront at CIC (with Toby Chess and his now famous rebar test) you have been quiet as to where the CAA stands on this issue. It seems that you
should have some opinion and I would like to know what it is and why you have chosen to keep quiet on such a controversial industry issue. As a member of the CAA, I want to feel comfortable that the organization is looking after my best interest as a shop owner. My second question is to the SCRS. As a member, I would like to ask you the same question. As the Society of Collision Repair Specialists it seems to me that the SCRS would be very outspoken about this ongoing issue with aftermarket parts and vehicle safety. It seems to me that you have chosen to remain quiet also. I really don’t understand why as an organization that is so highly respected within the collision industry—with a board that consists of people I highly respect—so please answer: why are you not taking the lead on this issue? Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t believe that any of your
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members really need to be told of the difference between an aftermarket part compared to an OEM. Where do you stand on the use of aftermarket parts? We want to hear from you please. My question to the CIC board. As an associate member, I want to know why after all of these years do we keep re-hashing the same issues over and over and keep fooling ourselves into thinking things are getting better. As the recognized industry forum where everyone in the industry can come together for the good of all why do we keep pretending that we are all on the same page? Our industry leaders don’t lead and we never accomplish anything significant. Why didn’t some one step up and encourage Toby Chess when he was threatened and demand that he do his rebar test anyway and then threaten those that threatened him. Instead, all of the so-called collision industry leaders failed to lead at a
time when leadership was crucial and necessary. We are so worried about anti-trust and being politically correct that we are failing to guide this industry through desperate times. True leadership always comes with a price and there are tremendous risks involved. Nothing will ever change by taking the safe road, but things will change by taking the high road. I would have never started my business if I hadn’t been willing to risk everything at some point. We are a fragramented industry because we lack the direction of a defined leader. We are compiled of a bunch of associations that either have their own agendas or are just using them for networking purposes. Right now, today, we know that over 50% (I think more like 80%) of the vehicles are repaired improperly after a collision. Today the majority of See Leadership, Page 25
‘Open Letter’ Leads to Lawsuit Involving Aftermarket Certifiers
NSF Files Suit Against CAPA NSF International has filed suit against the Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) and CAPA Executive Director Jack Gillis. NSF says its suit is in response to an “Open Letter” that Gillis, in his capacity as CAPA’s Executive Director, circulated to members of the Automotive Body Parts Association on July 28, 2010. Attorneys for NSF demanding a public retraction from what they claimed were misstatements of fact and out and out distortions of NSF’s position in relationship to the automotive aftermarket and its certification programs. In February this year NSF International announced the launch of its new Automotive Parts Certification Program to address concerns regarding consumer safety and compromised automobile crashworthiness from the use of untested aftermarket structural parts. The NSF Automotive Parts Certification Program said it offers independent, third-party certification of steel bumpers, step bumpers, absorbers, reinforcement bars and brackets, and that certification has never
previously been available for these aftermarket bumper system components. NSF said at the time that the program offered by the Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) currently certified plastic bumper covers and facias but not reinforcement beams, brackets, or energy absorbers, and that CAPA currently certified just one of the five categories of parts identified by the Auto Body Parts Association (ABPA) as a structural part: radiator core supports. Not long afterward, CAPA announced that its own structural parts certification program was also in development, and that the organization had been testing bumpers since last year. ABPA let it be known in April of this year that it was reviewing the NSF program with a view to other OE equivalent certification options because of shortcomings in the CAPA program. Gillis’ letter was addressed to Charlie Hogarty, Chairman of the Auto Body Parts Association and his Canadian counterpart, Delores Richardson. It essentially took ABPA to task for participating in NSF’s new
certification program that has “unknown standards.” Hogarty responded to Gillis in his own open letter on August 2. The full text of both letters can be read at www.autobodynews.com. The NSF suit seeks an injunction and damages for false and misleading statements about NSF’s Automotive Aftermarket Parts Certification Program and other NSF programs, qualifications and abilities. NSF says Gillis’ statements were made in an apparent attempt to harm NSF and NSF’s 65-year stellar reputation for protecting the public health and welfare, and to improperly imply that CAPA is superior to NSF in connection to automobile part verification/certification. NSF says Gillis declined an opportunity to retract his letter and correct the record. NSF International says it has filed this suit to protect its name, 65-year reputation for protecting and improving public health and safety worldwide, and the integrity of the NSF Mark. The NSF suit alleges unfair competition under 11 USC 1125 (a), common law unfair competition,
violations of Michigan’s Consumer Protection Act, business defamation and injurious falsehood. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division case no. 10-13309. NSF launched an industry first, parts certification program for front bumpers, step bumpers, absorbers, rebars and brackets in early 2010, to counter the growing concerns that lower quality parts were being used in the automotive repair industry. NSF’s Automotive Aftermarket Parts Certification Program verifies that aftermarket auto parts meet rigid safety, quality and performance standards through testing and inspections. CAPA is a direct competitor of NSF in the area of automotive parts certification, and while NSF says it welcomes the competition, the company says it competition must be in compliance with applicable law. NSF believes that Gillis’comments regarding NSF’s qualifications and the NSF Automotive Aftermarket Parts Certification program constitute Unfair Competition Under 11 USC 1125 (a).
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Jackie Speier INTERVIEW by Ed Attanasio
Can you tell us how your views on political or consumer issues may have been shaped by those horrific experiences?
Personal tragedy has strengthened my resolve not to waste a day of my life. I’ve chosen public service as a way to give back. Simply put, I am drawn to finding out the facts when the voice of special interests attempt to drown out the truth—this mindset has frequently put me in the position of protecting consumers.
In 1986 you won a seat in the California State Assembly. You were reelected five more times, the last as the nominee of both the Democratic and Republican parties. In the Assembly you authored more than 300 bills that were signed into law by both Democratic and Republican Governors. One of your key achievements was passing the California Financial Privacy Act, which took effect in 2004 and was called by Consumers Union “the strongest financial privacy legislation in the nation.”—Why were the foundations of this act of such importance to you?
Personal privacy is foundation of our freedom. Corporate greed has been responsible for the invasion of our privacy and the diminishment of our freedom to choose the path that is best for us. I don’t want to restrict our right to seek and obtain information, I simply oppose those entities that want to sell our personal financial information without our consent. SB 1 struck a blow for protection from special interest manipulation.
Another legislative victory was your authorship of California’s anti-steering law in 2003. How did you come to understand that steering was a threat to consumer and repairer’s interests?
I chaired the Senate Insurance Committee in 1999 which investigated auto insurance fraud. Committee staff interviewed hundreds of consumers, auto repair dealers and insurance adjusters. They documented that that insurers were pressuring shops to repair cars quickly and cheaply, sometimes at the risk of compromising proper repair procedures. This pressure was embodied in confidential agreements
between the insurer and shops. It was if insurers wanted to run the shops without accepting any liability. I authored SB 1648, approved by the State Senate, that would have prohibited insurers from owning repair facilities. The bill failed passage by the full Assembly despite stellar advocacy efforts by consumer groups and the collision repair industry. Since that effort fell short, I carried legislation to protect consumers from the harmful effects of direct repair agreements, the backbone of illegal steering practices. Now that I am in Congress, I am taking a broader approach by examining the use of aftermarket safety parts, such as reinforcement bars, that appear to violate laws requiring replacement repair parts to perform as well as the OEM. Specifically, the aftermarket industry has failed to provide proof that its replacement parts are crashed tested to insure that they will perform the same as OEM in collision situations. In 2005 you sponsored a bill to regulate sub-prime loans which, unfortunately, did not succeed. We all know how unregulated sub-prime financing has since cut the legs from the U.S. real-estate market and played a huge role in our near financial meltdown in the last years of the Bush administration. How did you come to be aware of how dangerous sub-prime financing was likely to be?
Consumers Union, Center for Responsible Lending and the California Reinvestment Coalition had documented the abuses that were happening to real families. The information was compelling, but the frenzy was too great and the banking and mortgage broker industries were too powerful. Let’s face it, they were making a truckload of money selling these products. California was more unprotected than many because of the high cost of homes and the lack of strong regulation in the mortgage industry at both the state and federal level and lack of consumer protections for home buyers and homeowners. In Congress on July 11, 2008, you introduced your first federal bill, The Gasoline Savings and Speed Limit Reduction Act, which would set a na-
20 SEPTEMBER 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
tional speed limit of 60 mph in urban areas and 65 mph on less-populated stretches of highway. Tell us your reasoning on those issues.
This is a clear example where safety, energy conservation and saving consumers money should all go hand in hand. I’ve been working on these issues for a long time, including introducing an earlier speed limit bill in Sacramento. Slowing down may not be a popular idea, but the benefits are real and that’s why I’m for it. I should also mention I introduced a bill to give consumers rebates for more fuel efficient cars, similar to Cash for Clunkers which went into effect later on. We need to keep pushing fuel economy, if for nothing else to tackle our addiction to oil, to clean up our air and to save lives—an estimated 4,000 annually if the nation’s highest speed limits were reduced. You have recently met with OEM technical staff and some California repairers to discuss what can be done
about substandard aftermarket collision parts. This is another issue in which consumers and collision repairers interests align (at least in regard to the efficiency of installation of OEM parts). Can you tell us what the state of those discussions is? Do you think the OEMs should be more proactive in pushing back on insurers for OEM part usage?
As I noted before, I am examining the use of aftermarket safety parts, such as reinforcement bars, that appear to violate laws requiring replacement repair parts to perform as well as the OEM. Specifically, the aftermarket industry has failed to provide proof that its replacement parts are crashed tested to insure that they will perform the same as OEM in collision situations. Rather than rush in with a bill, I am waiting for vehicle manufacturers to provide engineering data to support the contention that aftermarket parts don’t perform as well as OEM. In some respects, it should be on the shoulders of aftermarket producers to
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prove their products are equivalent. But I believe auto makers can make a significant statement by releasing crash data. Federal law may be needed to protect consumers from unsafe aftermarket parts. But ideally consumers should be educated to ask for and to demand that safety-related vehicle replacement parts be OEM and they should avoid insurers that refuse to put their safety first. Tell us how you originally got involved in the collision repair industry and related legislation?
I got involved part because I was chairing the Insurance & Financial Institution Committee, finding myself sparring with the insurance industry and they were often times looking at ways to shave their costs. I just think that when a consumer pays for an insurance product, they should get precisely what they pay for, so the whole idea of steering to particular a specific body shop because they’re in a DRP,
or because they’re going to put inferior parts on the vehicles, it just doesn’t sit right with me. So, that’s how I first got involved back in the late ‘90’s. It just grew from there. More recently I’m on a committee in the House in which has oversight authority over the automotive industry, and we had a hearing with the CEO of Toyota, Akio Toyoda, recently. He was questioned and during the course of the questioning, it became apparent to me that we need to have some legislation on event data reporters and mandate them in all new vehicles, so that there isn’t this dispute based on whether there was driver error or faulty brakes, for instance. That type of information should be communicated to NHTSA in a timely fashion, so that we catch them before these problems become tragedies.
Will recent federal insurance reform have any impact on the collision repair industry in the near future?
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I don’t believe so. I worked really hard to make sure that the consumer protections and state law was not trampled on in an effort to create some national insurance regulatory construct. For instance, in California the Insurance Commissioner will still have the authority to take action on any number of consumer issues, based on California law. Recently, I started looking at the aftermarket collision parts issue, and there is really an alarmingly potential for important safety equipment on a vehicle to be compromised, because aftermarket parts are being used. In part, I was looking at the reinforcement bars in some vehicles and how they’re critical to activating the car’s airbags. If they’re not a proper fit, they can in fact compromise the airbags from being activated. Do you think the constant tug-of-war between the insurance companies and body shops has gotten better, or will it never stop?
Well, it got better. I carried legislation [in California] to prevent steering, and then two years later I left the Legislature and the insurance industry went to a member to start and undo that. I worry that the Legislature has become so beholden to the insurance industry; that the only way for consumers to be protected in this environment and for auto repair shops to be able to make professional decisions relative to the repair of a vehicle, will have to be done in the courts. I really object to insurance companies telling consumers one thing in their ads and then delivering something completely different when you really need them. We were successful in preventing Progressive Insurance from owning its own repair shops when I was in the Legislature, and I know that at one point Allstate was looking at it as well. What is your position about Right to Repair?
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It should be a requirement for the car manufacturers to cooperate with the repair shops. [Otherwise] that would be like a medical diagnostic company not sharing information about the equipment that they’re selling to the doctors to diagnose a health condition.
Has the ‘bailout’for the American car manufacturers been a success in your opinion?
I’m smiling when you say that, because I was at the committee and asked the question of General Motors, when they were coming to us with their hats in their hands for assistance from the federal government. And I made a case when I told them, ‘you want something from the people of this country, how about offering something back, such as meeting these guidelines for lower emissions or higher gas mileage at a faster rate?’ And they said ‘No, we couldn’t possibly do that.’ That was in the fall of 2008 and look at where we are now. Now [we are about to have] the Volt and 100,000-mile warranties—so I think it was important for the federal government to step in, because it saved a lot of jobs. It saved the economy in part and I think in time all the loans will be repaid. American car manufacturers got leaner and better at making products. We need to make a concerted effort to create manufacturing jobs in this country, so saving the carmakers is a critical part of that. Where do you think the collision repair industry will be in 5–10 years?
The industry needs to align itself with the consumer more and find opportunities to work with consumer organizations to make the case that they’re looking out for the owner of the vehicle. The repair shops don’t want to be compromised in doing a good job for the car owner and they’re often times put into a conflict of interest by the insurers, and we really need to prevent that from happening. They need to work together to push the customer to the top of the list. Thank you very much. Last Question: Is it true that as a child you wanted to study ballet but your father insisted you learn Judo instead? True. But I earned a brown belt, so I can’t complain.
Comments on this interview and future ones can be posted at www.autobodynews.com.
www.autobodynews.com | SEPTEMBER 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 21
Continued from Page 11
Gunder Case, Fund
We are not alone in this issue as many repairers have heard the same or similar comments throughout the country, and not only by State Farm. So this issue isn’t merely about Gunder’s Auto Center vs. State Farm, it’s about what every honest and ethical repairer around the country who stands up against any abusive insurer for what is right and ethical. This is truly a David and Goliath matter and while we don’t anticipate actually slaying the giant, we anticipate the outcome to be successful in curtailing their predatory and abusive activities for all repairers. Other litigation Gunder’s has against State Farm include smaller claims on behalf of our customers involving recovery of required repair procedures (P-Page) and paint and materials (P&M) costs which the insurer has refused to pay as not being within their “PCP” (prevailing competitive pricing) however we have learned that they [State Farm] are paying other shops in our market area for the very same things.
Over the last two years of presenting electronic data based material invoicing (utilizing PMC Logic) to every insurance company, only State Farm has refused Gunder’s Auto Center’s invoices while capping us at a set amount. We have learned through investigation and discovery that many other repairers in and around our market area are indeed being compensated by this insurer [State Farm] for the very same items and material costs which they are denying Gunder’s Auto Center. We are pursuing recovery via a Power of Attorney (POA) often referred to in our industry as “Assignment of Rights” or “Assignment of Proceeds.” We had similar issues with other insurers in the past in which our customers have prevailed in all. At this time we have approximately 30 such cases involving State Farm which will continue to develop and find their way in front of a judge and jury. It’s important to note that the Slander and Tortious Interference litigation has not been without significant cost to me and my family, both economically and emotionally. It’s not for the weakof-heart and I am not too proud to admit
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it has brought me to my knees financially. Recently, I read two great books: Delay, Deny, and Defend, by Jay Feinman (www.delaydenydefend.com) and Collision Collusion: Auto Insurers– Modern Day Gangsters in Collision Claim Payments, by Danny Wyatt (www.collisioncollusions.com). Both describe what I am currently experiencing firsthand. The insurance industry can financially outlast almost anyone willing to challenge them in court. It usually is not about right and wrong, but about who has the deepest pockets. As much as the insurer’s accusations and lies to my customers have pained me and my family personally, we understand this battle is not our own; we’re acting on behalf of those honest and ethical repairers across this great country who are confronted with the same issues on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and who are watching, hoping and praying for our success. Most are aware of the financial toll and it’s been discussed setting up a fund for financial contributions from those who are supportive of our efforts and who see our prevailing as a win for the in-
dustry at-large. By contributing what they can, they can be a part of the change this industry so desperately needs, and if we prevail, I’ve agreed to match whatever contributions were provided in our effort to be used as an industry legal fund to assist others in their efforts to level the playing field. We need to continue the effort to bring a fair balance to our industry. We appreciate the thoughts, prayers and contributions of our industry brethren and suppliers across the country. Please know that I am “all-in” and will continue to do my best to stop the strong-arm tactics that have and continue to plague our industry. My sincere thanks to the industry media and its writers for their continued interest, unbiased coverage and thorough dissemination of the information in these issues. I leave you with a quote from M. Scott Peck: “The whole course of human history may depend on a change of heart in one solitary and even humble individual—for it is in the solitary mind and soul of the individual that the battle between good and evil is waged and ultimately won or lost.” —Ray Gunder
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Toby Chess is an I-CAR program instructor, Welding specialist, and former salvage yard operator. Toby is universally known in the collision industry for his charitable works, worthy causes, and magic tricks. He can be reached at email@example.com
Hey Toby! with Toby Chess
Why is Camry “B” Pillar Reinforcement Repair Done at the Roof Line?
Aloha Toby, I just got done reading your article (Heat? On a Toyota Front Frame Rail? No Way !) in the July edition of Autobody News. I’ve always considered myself fairly smart and up to date with repair standards but after taking the “test” and feeling a bit foolish, answering only 7 correctly out of the 15 questions, I have to agree with you that we can no longer repair vehicles the way we used to. Acquiring the vehicle manufacturer’s repair procedures before you start the repairs and following their recommended repair procedures is the only way to go. Thanks for all that you do, for all of us in this industry. Keep up the great work that you do! Mahalo, Dale Matsumoto—Auto Body Hawaii Aloha Dale—Mahalo for the compliments and your honesty. One of the major problems that our industry is
facing today is lack of knowledge on “the why” we do certain procedures and not on “the how.” Case in point. Why is the “B” pillar reinforcement replacement on a 2009 Toyota Camry done at the roof line instead of sectioning? Let’s take a look at the why first and then the how. The government mandated that the car manufacturers design vehicles that will protect the vehicle’s occupants in
front collisions. Vehicle makers have responded by building cars that will absorb a great amounts of energy in
frontal impact and, along with frontal air bags, this contributes to much less injury and death. Look at the previous picture and you will notice that front structure collapsed nearly 50% of its original length, but the passenger compartment hardly had any deformation. This was all accomplished by using high strength steels, internal reinforcements, crush zones and laser welding (Example: The front rail on a Toyota Camry has 3 different thicknesses of metals attached using laser welds). The Federal Government started to look at side impacts and rollovers more seriously in the mid 90’s. Our first encounter in the body shop was the door intrusion beam. These parts were constructed of ultra high strength steels. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, as part of their crash ratings, began to test for rolls over and side impacts. IIHS devised a test by placing a weight on the “B” pillar and measured the amount of crush. The standard of 2009 was 3 times the weight of the vehicle and in 2012 it will be 4 times the weight. To achieve a 5-star rating, vehicle manufacturers began increasing the strength of the “B” pillar reinforcements. Toyota uses steel with a MPa rating of 590 and the Volvo XC 90 reinforcement rating is 1100 Mpa. Let’s look at welding and the affect of heat on Advanced High Strength Steels (AHSS). Looking at the previous picture, you will notice the weld, silver metal and the black oval ring around the
high strength properties. Realizing this fact will help us understand why some manufacturers require that the entire reinforcement is replaced instead of sectioning the part. To better understand the drastic changes that started in 2009, I will demonstrate the start to finish process of a “B” pillar reinforcement in a 2009 Toyota Camry. I contacted Joe Di Donato, the lead instructor at the Toyota University
in Torrance, California about documenting the removal and replacement of a “B” pillar reinforcement. Joe, who I consider to be one of the best instructors in the country, accepted the challenge (of baby sitting me for 3 full days). I printed out the repairs from Toyota’s Technical Information System (TIS) along with all pertinent Collision Repair Information Bulletins (CRIB). 1. Vehicle is placed on a frame bench 2. Vehicle is measured to determine the extent of damage (2nd photo this page).
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weld. The black oval ring is called the “heat affected zone” (HAZ). In ICAR’s Damage Analysis 8, there is a demonstration on the effect of heat on ultra high strength steel. The UHSS was basicaly changed to mild steel by heating the metal to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature in the HAZ can reach up to 2000 degrees, which will weaken or destroy its ultra
www.autobodynews.com | SEPTEMBER 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 23
3. Upper body measurements are taken (third photo this page). 4. Replacement outer panel is placed into position and marked. 5. The outer Roof panel and post cover is cut and saved. The welds on the inner “B” pillar reinforcement are exposed 6. Clean and expose all spot welds as outlined in TIS removal document. I started to remove some spots welds that did not need to be removed. I also missed a couple of spot welds on the
bottom of rocker panel. Again, you
need to look at removal document prior to beginning the repairs. I would suggest that you mark all spot welds on the car as well as the data sheet. 7. Mark the outer rocker at the sectioning location and cut. 8. Remove the entire piece as a single unit. Again I did not follow the instructions and tried to remove all the damaged parts separately. This took a lot more time. 9. Clean all the mating surfaces. 10. Apply weld thru prime to all bare
we were plugged into. We move the machine to a different plug (85amp circuit) and we were able to get a good weld that passed a destructive test. 13. Test fit the inner “B” panel reinforcement, 14. Weld inner “B” panel reinforcement to the out rocker reinforcement (We reused the old one, but I would recommend that you use a new outer rocker panel.
mating surfaces. 11. Measure the thickness of the metal. 12. Weld some scrap metal from the removal process and perform a destructive test. We welded a number of scrap pieces at different thickness settings. The welds looked good, but all failed the destructive test. We discovered that there was not enough amperage on the circuit that
15. Weld upper portion of the “B” panel reinforcement to the roof panel. 16. Apply epoxy primer to all bare metal. We mixed up some epoxy primer in a cup and applied it with cotton applicator (outline in the TIS). 17. Weld the outer rocker panel reinforcement to the vehicle. Use only an
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Continued from Page 18
collision repair shops lack the equipment and training to repair collisions properly. Vehicle safety is put on the back burner because most shops are not informed or forced to repair the vehicles properly. Collision repair is evolving so rapidly that even the well financed well informed shops are having trouble keeping up. So why do we keep fooling ourselves and act like things are going to get better. We can’t even speak out against Aftermarket bumper rebars at our own industry meeting without some one overpowering us and stopping Toby’s test. If things are to change it will only be when the CIC, CAA, or the SCRS stop trying to be so politically correct and really stand up for the repair process. Its time to take notice that there is a safety problem!! Now that Paul Masse from Ford Motor Company has completed testing that is pretty powerful and hard to ignore collision shops and insures are opening themselves up to huge liability problems. How can I be so bold as to say the things I am saying? Because they are
true! After Toby was stopped the CRA contacted him and we were able to do the same test for Channel 7 and Fox News with Assemblyman David Jones. After this Allen Wood and I went to Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s office and saw her do the test with her own hands. After this meeting Jackie was so concerned that she ask me if we could get some national support for this or was it just a California issue. I told her I was sure I could get national support. I made a call to Aaron Schulenberg, the president of the SCRS, and left a detailed message asking him if he wanted to be involved. I didn’t get a return call for weeks (after the fact) with a message that he was sorry for not getting back to me. Wow. I thought this was a big issue. I mean how we repair vehicles: safety in collision repair is something that we, as the repair providers, are assuming the liability for. We met with the Deputy Attorney General Paul Stein from the State of California, along with the Chief Council to the Insurance Commissioner, and we did the test for them. The department of insurance thought tracking would solve the issue because the CAA had told them that this was the primary problem
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and the A/G wanted proof that the parts were not the same (he has his proof now thanks to Ford). But they both ask me the same questions, if this is such a big industry problem where is every one else. We told them the truth, they are either receiving funding from A/M parts companies or they are afraid. So at the end the A/G wanted proof and the DOI didn’t believe we have a problem other than tracking the parts. These are facts and while I am purposely not trying to sound politically correct, you can see we lack defined leadership because we all have a different agenda. I have my agenda and I dislike being treated like a fool and having substandard aftermarket parts shoved down my throat. It’s not the fact that I am being forced to use them but that people continue to insult my intelligence by telling me they are the same. Someone expects me to deceive my customers for their monetary gain. This is such a stupid issue that we should be embarrassed as an industry for even wasting our time and energy discussing it. Call a spade a spade and move on but please quit trying to prove that aftermarket parts are the same as OEM because no matter how many foo
foo certification companies you start and no matter how many stickers you stick on them, they are “NOT” the same. We have asked many insurance adjusters to bring their family cars by and let us install an A/M core support and bumper assembly for no charge. Even though they swear they are ‘like kind and quality’ we still have no takers. I really doubt that I could get any A/M vendors to take me up on my offer. So we need a defined collision repair process defined by the OEM’s, not the insurer. The use of programs such as ALLDATA® and Verifacts™ should be mandatory. We need leadership that is willing to call a spade a spade (the CRA). We need laws that protect the consumer from substandard repairs (Jackie Speier). We need an Insurance Commissioner (David Jones) that enforces the law and an industry that make his department accountable. We need to stand up against the politically correct associations (tell the truth) and demand leadership that is directed at our best interest as collision repairers. We will never be able to please everyone (too bad) but doing what is right is always the safe road to follow and I still believe that, when people have choice, most will do the right thing.
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Continued from Page 24
25. Cut panels using cut and join open butt weld. Toyota does not recommend a butt weld with backer on any welded joints as per CRIB #176 (revised). 18. Set outer “B” panel reinforcement on vehicle and mark plug weld
locations. Perform practice welds and conduct a destructive test prior to welding on the vehicle. 19. Measure as per dimension sheet in repair manual,
technique. 26. Weld outer panel with stitch method and STRSW. 27. Dress all welds.
to use hot or cold straightening methods. The original estimate now needed to be changed and additional parts ordered. This delay could have been avoided by printing out the necessary documentation for this repair at the time of writing the estimate. The easiest way to get this info is directly from the Toyota web site. Go to oem1stop.com and click on Toyota. You can subscribe for 2 days, 30 days or 1 year. Here is another point from CRIB#175 revised. “Do not section 980 MPa and 590 MPa strength rated pillar reinforcements.” Another reason why Toyota states that the “B” pillar reinforcement on a 2009 Corolla, Prius and Camry are replaced in their entirety. The Venza on the other hand has a laser weld near the bottom of the reinforcement, which separates the upper portion of 590 MPa steel and lower portion 440 MPa steel. The “B” pillar reinforcement can be sectioned using an open butt joint on the lower portion of the panel. I-CAR has just introduced a new class called TOY 01 and it is a must for repairing today’s Toyotas correctly. Another
class that I would recommend for estimators, appraisers and body technicians is I-CAR’s POP 01. This class deals with the OEM’s recommended repairs for Toyotas, Hondas and the Pontiac G8. Lastly, I would like to discuss the training program from Toyota. Toyota University has a number of excellent classes. You can take a classes on refinishing (2-day hands-on class), Color matching, Hybrids, Nonstructural repairs (2-day class) and structural repairs (also 2-day class). I attended recently the Toyota structural class with Joe Di Donato. The first day we went over the theory of the Toyota Structural repairs and the second day we installed a rail section in a Camry. The class uses the latest equipment and Joe is an excellent instructor (not as good as me, but real close—just kidding). The class in open to anyone. All you need is a SPIN number (get it from your local Toyota dealer) and sign up on line and that is it. The best thing of all is its cost. It’s dirt cheap for what you get. Hope that I was able to give a better insight into the repairs of Toyotas. Think About It
DO THE RIGHT THING ENOUGH TIMES, AND PEOPLE BEGIN TO NOTICE. Hyundai Sales Up More than 14% (year on year). In 2008 Hyundai became the world's fifth-largest automaker, with 7% market share in the United States.
20. Weld outer “B” panel reinforcement with squeeze type resistance spot welds and MIG welds as outlined in the Toyota Repair Manual. 21. Apply weld thru primer to all mating surfaces. 22. Apply semi rigid foam as outline in the Toyota Repair Manual. 23. Weld in outer access panel. 24. Set outer “B” panel and rocker cover on vehicle a mark the cut location.
28. Apply epoxy primer to bare metal 29. Apply body filler 30. Refinish. I was visiting a local collision center and they had a 2010 Toyota Prius on a frame bench. The parts had arrived and the shop had both doors off. I asked the shop foreman what procedures he was going utilize in the process. He explained the tech was going to repair the inner “B” panel reinforcement (pulling with a frame tower). I went into TIS and pulled down all the repair information and CRIBs pertaining to this particular repair. CRIB #175 (revised) states “Because occupant safety is such a high priority, HSS & UHSS occupant cabin reinforcement repair is not recommended.” If goes on to say not
26 SEPTEMBER 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
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Continued from Page 10
Red Mist Part Two
sand paper from Soft-Sanders goes from 320 all the way up to 2500. It’s amazing paper, it’s called Superflex Sandpaper. After the 400 wet, I 800 the rest of the car. Now we’re masked up and ready to get in to the booth. After getting
Spraying the Colorado Red
into the booth I’ve got to take the wheels off. Obviously we’re changing the color so I’ve got to remove a lot of the parts in the engine compartment, which makes it easier. You try to remove everything from the left and right inner aprons and then I
use aluminum foil for things that I’m not going to remove. I’m not going to remove the motor but I still want to get as much detail as possible which you’ll be able to see in some of these photos. I’m leaving the radiator and the A/C condenser in. Tape really tight tape and you can get a really good job of changing the color. I’m first going to start with a sealer that Sherwin Williams provided me with—Spectra Seal. It’s a 2.1 VOC color primer. I’m just going to use a grey primer on this which is a P27 and then they have P27 black and also P27 white which you can intermix to get the different color tones. Basically the mixing ratio on this is take the P27: 4 to 2 which would be the S42 to 2 which would be the H45 hardener and then the solvent will be an ES15 and that’s the 4. So 4 to 2 to 2 to 4. I’ve shot a lot of sealers. This one goes on flat, no orange peel whatsoever. It just flows out and then it’s shiny, so they say 15 to 30 minutes. You just have to be able to put your thumb in it, check it on a test panel, because I always shoot a test panel,
and move your thumb. If it’s locked down you’re ready for base. On the base I had them mix me up some Colorado Red and I only apply one coat of the sealer, so one coat you’re good.
This front end gets noticed
on this job. However, I applied 5 coats just because I knew we’d be cutting some off and when you add reducer that thins it out a little bit so it’s not as thick. That works out to 4 coats on this project. I don’t think you want to go with too much more. I’m waiting 10–15 minutes between each coat. That way you don’t get too much build on the edge. You don’t want it to bubble up on you or get air pockets on your edges. So, four coats worked for me. Three coats would probably be okay but the extra is an insurance policy with myself, just because I like the flattened panels. So we’ve gotten through the paint stage, now we’re ready for color, sanding and buffing. Next month we’ll finish up the project. This car has got stamp #7. I’d like to thank my sponsors on this project, Sherwin-Williams, 3M, Grit Guard (which we’ll talk about next month), and Soft-Sanders. Thanks to Woody and his family for giving me the opportunity to do this great project for them. I’m always looking for great projects so if you want quality, and you want it done my way, which I hope is the right way. Try to better yourself at what you do every day and try to learn something new. I’m definitely practicing every day to be better. I’ve got six cars going to SEMA.Visit
Hats off to Sherwin-Williams. So on my base coat we’ve got the Colorado red and I applied 3 coats. I’ve got a system and anytime I apply a base coat, I apply 3 coats. That way if the car ever gets in an accident or I’m redoing it I have a system. Always create a system for yourself. The reducer I use is a 0025, so on our base coats I’m going with 3 coats. It’s 1 to 30 percent, so pretty easy mixing ratio with this water. It covered really well. I was really surprised. The first coat covered, second coat was even better, and—with my system—3 coats because I’m painting everything in pieces. You want to use the right psi. I use 27 psi on my base coat and a 1.4 tip with my SATA gun. Go to sata.com and figure out what you need. I’ve got about 20 different guns so I’ve got a gun for every application. So after my 3 coats I’m giving it about 15 to 20 minutes wait. I’m spraying it in a cross draft. Now I’m ready for my top coat. The top coat that I chose from Sherwin-Williams is the 1100755 EleThe finished Red Mist ready for delivery to Woody in Florida gance clearcoat. It’s a 2.1 VOC. Mixing ratio of the clear is my site to see what’s going on: 2 to 1 as reducer with BUS4 to the UH huntingtonbeachbodyworks.com or 80 hardener. So it’s 2 to 1 to 1. richevansdesigns.com and don’t forget This clear just lays down flat. I to visit mopar.com and follow me on haven’t used reducer and clear in over my Challenger build. This thing is 10 years and I was pretty impressed cool. You’ll be able to get the product with the way the clear shot. I tend to to trick out your own car in two hours. want to put more mills on. We’ve got We’re supposed to be done with that no graphics so I’d usually do 3 coats October 1. Until next month. www.autobodynews.com | SEPTEMBER 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 27
Shop Showcase with Erica Schroeder
Erica Schroeder is a writer and editorial assistant for Autobody News in Oceanside, CA. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Len’s Auto Body Endorses Oceanside’s Pro Spot Quality Welding Systems
Len’s Auto Body Inc. is in Oceanside, BlowTherm Infrared paint baking sysIn addition to body work and mechanical repair CA—the hometown of Autobody tem. Len’s is spraying Spies-Hecker work, Len’s also offers waterborne paint and clearcoat in News. It was founded in 1985 and has grown to become one of the largest tire services for cusorder to be VOC-compliant in Caliwith body John Yoswick and most prominent shops in tomers having other fornia. The facility also has an upstairs San Diego’s North County region. work done after a colliarea complete with company board sion. room and a separate Len’s also offers an Enmeeting area where terprise rental office on training classes can site, drive through estibe held. mations as well as a lifeWhen the new with Ed Attanasio time labor warranty on shop was built, VerTechnician Salvador De La Cruz uses a Pro Spot electric welder all work they do. They heyen looked to Pro offer towing and pick up service as Spot Quality Weld- auto body repair facilities. “Pro Spot has been good to us; well. Len’s is a DRP shop for most ining Systems to hook surance companies including Auto up the shops electri- they have great service,” said Torres, adding that Pro Spot technicians come Club of Southern California, USAA, cal welding needs. in about every 3 months to perform Allstate, Progressive, Mercury and “We chose Pro Spot mainly because of routine maintenance on all of their many more. welding equipment. Pro their reputation,” said Spot also offers 24/7 online Body Shop Manager The Pro Spot I4 inverter copper welder technical support through Alex Torres. The shop facility is 38,000 square Pro Spot Quality Welding Sys- their website. Pro Spot welders feet and the property is around 86,000 tems is also headquartered in Oceansquare feet. Len’s employs about 30 side, so the locality of their facilities make it easy to set up the employees including 4 Estimators, 8 was also a factor in Verheyen’s deci- correct temperature specs for any spot welding job; auto body technicians, 6 Apprentices, sion to use their products. 2 Painters, 3 Prep, 2 Detail, 1 ASE Len’s has a complete Pro Spot the weld current control is Certified Mechanic, 1 Parts Manager, overhead welding system. The shop has all computerized. Pro Spot 1 Production Manager and a complete two electrical lines running overhead welders are able to monitor and adjust weld currents office staff. Len’s technicians are all with drop-down cables so that techniI-CAR Gold Class Certified and their cians don’t have to run extension cords automatically during a job. This allows technicians to Owners Len and Anne Verheyen mechanics are ASE Certified. on the ground to get a Pro Spot electriduplicate factory welds when repairLen’s sees around 200 For more information please visit ing a vehicle. cars per month and is able to lensautobody.com. Len’s also uses the Pro Spot I4 gross about $6 million per Inverter Spot Welding System, which Len’s Auto Body Incorporated year for all operations. Len is a liquid cooled welder that can weld Verheyen and his wife, Anne, 510 Jones Rd boron steel and high strength alloys Oceanside, CA 92058 have been running the busiused in new model vehicles. Higher ness as a family team since its (760) 757-7547 Give us your opinion on matters affecting industry. strengththe materials are being used in a Want to Contribute to this Sout founding. lot of newer cars making the I4 InVerheyen was able to Pro Spot Quality Welding Systems verter invaluable to the technicians at learn about the automotive in2625A Temple Heights Dr w.autobodynews.com Len’s. dustry from doing body work Oceanside, CA 92056 email@example.com publisher@autobodynew CHECK OUT! “The new liquid cooled i4 welder (760) 407-1414 with hisITdad in Sydney, Auskeeps everything cool enough, the www.prospot.com tralia in the 1960s. Anne hanwelds don’t get brittle and it spot dles the customer service and welds quicker,” said Verheyen. insurance connections for the Promote your business with The I4 Inverter is relatively new business. an exclusive article featuring to the shop; they have only been In 2002 the shop moved your products or services. working with it for about 3 months from their original location in To advertise To advertise The source for timely and have already found it a valuable Oceanside to a new building Advertising Sales at: call Joe Momber at: tool for their shop. about 2 blocks away that Verinformation that every 800-699-8251 800-699-8251 “Pro Spot is the leader for Inheyen had designed himself. body shop Len’s overhead welding systemneeds! verter spote-mail: welders,” said Torres. The shop area is split e-mail: CALL: Joe Momber for details! firstname.lastname@example.org Len’s has also installed the new Pro cal welder at each bay. Torres also men- email@example.com with an area separate from the repairCALL 800-699-8251 Spot Aluminum Weld Station for retioned that Pro Spot is the only welding bays for painting equipped with two www.autobodynews.com w.autobodynews.com 800-699-8251 pairing Aluminum. companyYour to makeFREE overhead systems for downdraft spray booths and one Start
28 SEPTEMBER 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
Ford Completes Volvo Sale to Geely Ford Motor Company August 2 announced it has completed the sale of Volvo Car Corporation and related assets to the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Company Limited. The total purchase price for Volvo and related assets set forth in the agreement signed in March 2010 was $1.8 billion, including a $200 million note and the balance in cash, with the cash portion subject to customary purchase price adjustments at closing. Pursuant to the terms of the agreement, Geely today issued the note and paid $1.3 billion in cash to complete the sale. The estimated purchase price adjustments used at closing are expected to be finalized and settled following final true-up of the purchase price adjustments later this year. “Volvo is an excellent brand with a strong product line, and it has returned to profits after a successful restructuring. We are confident Volvo has a solid future under Geely’s ownership,” said Alan Mulally, Ford’s president and CEO. “At the same time, the sale of Volvo will allow us to sharpen our focus on the Ford brand around the world and continue to deliver on our
One Ford plan serving our customers with the very best cars and trucks in the world.” Ford will continue to cooperate with Volvo in several areas to ensure a smooth transition, but has not retained any ownership in the Volvo business. Ford will continue to supply Volvo with powertrains, stampings and other vehicle components. Ford also has committed to provide engineering support, information technology, access to tooling for common components, and other selected services for a transition period. Agreements between Ford and Geely govern the use of intellectual property; these agreements will allow both Volvo and Ford to deliver their business plans and establish the proper use of each other’s intellectual property. As previously announced, Stephen Odell, CEO of Volvo Car Corporation, is returning to Ford as group vice president and Chairman and CEO of Ford Europe. Stuart Rowley, CFO of Volvo Cars, is returning to Ford as chief financial officer, Ford Europe. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.
Suzuki Q1 Profits Up
Suzuki Motor Corp beat market expectations this year with its highest quarterly profits in two years as sales zoomed in Asia, but stuck to its cautious guidance citing a softer euro and stiffer competition in India, According to reports made by Reuters. Suzuki, in which Volkswagen took a 19.9 percent stake this year, weathered the financial crisis better than most thanks to a product line-up heavy on cheaper, small cars such as the Swift hatchback, and to its dominance in the Indian market. Suzuki’s local unit, Maruti Suzuki India, sells about half of India’s new cars, but will see more competition over the next year from Nissan Motor, Toyota Motor and other major brands aiming for a piece of the market with low-cost cars for local tastes. Analysts will also be looking at how well car sales in India hold up in the near term. Suzuki reported an operating profit of $369 million for the April-June quarter. Suzuki is better shielded against a stronger yen than its domestic rivals, having set a conservative assumption for the euro to average 115 yen. With few cars sold in the United States, the company has little exposure to the dollar.
OnStar Smartphone Apps
Owners of new Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC vehicles will soon be able to control key vehicle functions from their smartphones, thanks to the power of OnStar, according to reports made by the Detroit News. Owners of Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC vehicles will be able to use OnStar technology to activate all the functions available on a traditional key fob — remote start, horn and lights and door lock/unlock —from their smartphones, General Motors Co. and OnStar officials say. That means they no longer will have to be within a determined distance, or even have their keys with them, to control those functions. So if you’re racing to catch a flight and realize at the gate that you forgot to lock your vehicle, the new mobile app technology will enable you to take care of it, via smartphone. In cold weather, you’ll be able to remotely start the vehicle and warm it up before leaving the office for the parking lot. Or cool it down in the summer. More information can be found at onstar.com. Genuine Mazda parts are specifically designed, engineered and tested for Mazda vehicles. Customers and repair professionals prefer the quality and satisfaction that only comes from genuine Mazda parts.
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Toyota Announces Recall For Avalons Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., July 29 announced that it intends to conduct a voluntary safety recall involving approximately 373,000 2000-2004 Model Year Toyota Avalons sold in the United States to address the possibility that the vehicle’s steering lock bar could break under certain conditions. No other Toyota or Lexus vehicles are involved in this recall. Because of improper casting of the steering lock bar, which is a component of the steering interlock system, there is a possibility that a minute crack may develop on the surface. Such a crack may expand over a long period of repeated lock and unlock operations, and eventually the lock bar could break. If this occurs, the interlock system may become difficult to unlock when stationary. If the vehicle while being driven is steered to the right with sufficient lateral acceleration, a broken and loose lock bar may move toward the steering shaft. If the engagement hole in the shaft happens to line up at the specific time the broken lock bar has moved, this could cause the steering wheel lock bar to engage, locking the steering wheel, and increasing the risk of
a crash. Steve St. Angelo, Toyota chief quality officer for North America, said, “Toyota is continuing to work diligently to address safety issues wherever they arise and to strengthen our global quality assurance operations so that Toyota owners can be confident in the safety of their vehicles.” As part of the recall, Toyota will replace the steering column bracket on involved vehicles, a procedure that takes about two hours to complete depending on the dealer’s schedule. Toyota will notify owners by first class mail beginning in late August 2010 to bring their vehicles to their local Toyota dealer for replacement of the steering column bracket at no charge to the customer. Detailed information and answers to questions are available to customers at www.toyota.com/recall and at the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.
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Ex-GM Worker Accused of Stealing Secrets
According to reports by the Detroit News and the Associated Press, a former General Motors engineer and her husband were charged July 22 in federal court with conspiring to sell stolen trade secrets about hybrid vehicles to Chinese automaker Chery Automobile. Shanshan “Shannon” Du, 49, and her husband, Yu Qin, 51, both of Troy, stood mute before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Randon on conspiracy and other charges. They had been under investigation for years and were charged in 2006 with destroying documents, but the case was dropped while a broader probe continued. The indictment says Du, who was hired at GM in 2000 and worked in the company’s Advance Technology Vehicle Group, copied thousands of pages of GM trade secrets onto a portable computer hard drive five days after accepting a buyout offer in 2005. The indictment alleges the theft of secrets dates back to 2003. GM estimates the value of the stolen documents at $40 million, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. By the summer of 2003, Qin, who had been an engineer with Troy-
based electrical systems and equipment maker Controlled Power Company, was telling people he had a deal to provide hybrid technology to Chery Automobile, the indictment says. The couple had established their own company, Millennium Technology International, in 2000. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen Corkren said GM was notified of the alleged theft by Controlled Power, which had discovered the portable hard drive containing GM documents. GM called the FBI. The indictment contains details of e-mail exchanges offering GM data and plans. Corkren said the indictment indicates none of the trade secrets actually reached Chery. The indictment also tells about how the couple tried to discard shredded documents that had been requested by a federal grand jury investigating the matter. “Theft of trade secrets is a threat to national security,” Andrew Arena, head of the FBI in Detroit, said in a statement. The couple was arrested the morning of July 22. Randon set unsecured bond for each at $10,000 and ordered them to not leave the three-county area.
Hyundai Shoots for 50 mpg Fleet by 2025
Hyundai Motor America announced plans to maintain its leadership and achieve a corporate average fuel economy rating of at least 50 miles per gallon by 2025 for its lineup of passenger cars and light duty trucks on August 4. Current National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulations require automakers to achieve a CAFE rating of 35.5 mpg by 2016. Before those rules were enacted last year, Hyundai had already announced its own plan to reach 35 mpg by 2015. Hyundai’s announcement of this longer-term goal of delivering a minimum 50 mpg CAFE rating by 2025 is consistent with its philosophy of setting stretch objectives that align its resources, challenge its team members, and delight consumers and society. Hyundai has shown that customers will flock to high-quality, stylish products offering high fuel economy. The game-changing all-new 2011 Hyundai Sonata is the first midsize family sedan to offer only 4cylinder engines. Sonata achieves an EPA highway rating of 35 mpg, yet leads competitors in power output through the use of advanced gasoline
direct injection (GDI). Sonata’s sales were up 48 percent in the first half of 2010, while its transaction prices and residual values now exceed those of most mid-size competitors. The Sonata and its 2.4liter Theta II GDI engine are built at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama. Since becoming the fuel economy leader in the 2008 model year, Hyundai Motor America market share is up more than 50 percent. Hyundai is poised to maintain its fuel-economy leadership as projected data for the 2009 model year shows Hyundai retaining its edge over the industry. Forecasts show a 2009 modelyear fuel economy rating of 30.1 mpg for passenger cars and light duty trucks. Hyundai is also the only automaker to top 30 mpg in the 2009 projections. For more information please visit hyundai.com.
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Allstate Income Rises in Q2
Allstate Spends $1.33M Lobbying
The Allstate Co. reported that second Allstate Corp. spent $1.33 million quarter 2010 operating income rose in the second quarter to lobby the to $441 million compared to $297 federal government on legislation million in the same period of 2009, involving flood insurance regulareflecting improved results in both tions, safe-driving laws and finanproperty/liability and Allstate Financial reforms, according to a recent cial. disclosure report and reports Net income was $145 million in madeby Bloomberg’s Business the second quarter of 2010 compared Week. to $389 million in the second quarter The total is down from $1.54 of 2009, primarily due to realized million that Allstate spent in the capital losses in the 2010 quarter versame quarter a year ago, but up sus realized capital gains in the prior from the $1.08 million that the year period. property and casualty insurer spent Allstate brand growth of 1.6 perin this year's first quarter. cent contributed to the premium inAccording to a July 20 filing crease, partially offset by a 20.4 with the House clerk's office, Allpercent Encompass brand decline state lobbied the government on iswhen compared to the second quarter sues including flood insurance a year ago. Actions to improve Enrate-setting and financial regulatory compass profitability negatively imreforms. pacted results. Those reforms included a proAlthough lower than the record posal to tighten regulation of derivsecond quarter impact in 2009 of 12.5 atives, private bets between two points, it was 3.2 points higher than parties on how the value of assets Allstate’s 19-year average for a seclike crops or measures like interest ond quarter of 6.6 points. rates will change in the future. Allstate brand standard auto on pre- mattersAllstate, basedthe in Northbrook, Give us your opinion affecting industry. miums written increased 1.9 percent Ill., also lobbied the House and for the second quarter of 2010 comSenate on legislation aimed at repared to the prior year second quarducing accidents caused by inattenter, due to a 3.3 percent increase in tive drivers who send text messages average premium. email@example.com while at the wheel.
Senate Committee Passes High-Tech Legislation
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Autobody News September 2010 Southeast Edition