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Vol. 10 / Issue 7 / September 2019

U. S. District Judge Dismisses Repairify’s Lawsuit Against AirPro Based on Venue, Without Prejudice

Solving the Tech Shortage: Focusing on Kina’ole: Doing the Right Thing for the Right Reason

by Chasidy Sisk

by Stacey Phillips

On July 15, U. S. Southern District of Texas Judge Ewing Werlein Jr. released a final judgment in the lawsuit filed against AirPro Diagnostics by asTech parent company Repairify. The case was dismissed because Judge Werlein found there were insufficient grounds for Repairify to sue AirPro in the federal Texas district; however, the ruling merely addressed the venue, not the merits of the case on relevant laws. Because the case was dismissed without prejudice, Repairify is permitted to refile the law-

suit, though the company has not yet indicated whether it intends to do so. In a statement released on July 17 about what it referred to as “asTech’s second unsuccessful attempt to use litigation to damage AirPro’s growth in the marketplace,” AirPro President and CEO Lonnie Margol said, “AirPro remains confident that its ‘Truth Campaign,’ listed on our website, can easily be verified through an independently conducted, side-by-side comparison and renews its challenge to asTech to participate. We are, however, confident that See Lawsuit Against AirPro, Page 12

Marketing for Shops: Does Yelp Bully Body Shops? by Ed Attanasio

Some shops have told me Yelp is unfair, unless they’re willing to buy an advertising plan for $300-$500 or more. Shop owners aren’t fond of it, but they realize Yelp isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Some try to ignore Yelp altogether while others seemingly live and die with each review, so it’s always a hot topic amongst small business owners. Years ago, I heard a representative from Yelp who was invited to speak at a California Autobody Association (CAA) meeting in San Jose, CA. After his brief presenta-

Samantha McCauley, a collision repair refinish instructor at Hammond High School in Hammond, IN, said it can be very challenging to acquire the proper tools and equipment needed in her classroom to properly instruct students.

tion, there was a question-and-answer session and at one point I thought - I hope they don’t lynch this poor guy! Many of the shop owners in attendance vented their many grievances about Yelp, including the authenticity of reviews and preferential treatment for shops that buy advertising. The controversy surrounding Yelp was re-ignited with the recent release of Billion Dollar Bully, a new documentary about Yelp that you can watch on Amazon and iTunes. It claims that Yelp extorts small business owners for advertising fees in See Marketing for Shops, Page 6

Toby Chess presented Samantha McCauley, a collision repair refinish instructor at Hammond High School in Hammond, IN, with two full toolboxes during the CIC in July, courtesy of March Taylor Scholarship Fund.

“There are a lot of times that I request equipment and I’m sure other teachers across the country are in the same predicament,” she said. “Our administration says to put our requisition forms in; every week for months, we follow up to find out what happened to the requisition forms only to find out the funds are already gone.” McCauley recently received a special gift to help alleviate that frustration. During the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) in Indianapolis, Toby Chess presented McCauley with two toolboxes, one for her own needs and the other for her students to use. The toolboxes were awarded on behalf of the March Taylor Scholarship Fund. “I truly appreciate what you are See Focusing on Kina’ole, Page 14

CIC: Regulators Show New Interest in ‘Most-FavoredNation’ Clauses by John Yoswick

What does Amazon’s contract with some online sellers have in common with State Farm’s direct repair agreement? The answer: most-favored nation clauses. Scrutiny by government regulators could be behind Amazon’s decision earlier this year to drop that clause in the United States, which required third-party sellers to price their products on Amazon no higher than they do anywhere else. Amazon had previously ceased using such “mostfavored-nation” (or “price parity”) contract clauses in some European countries after government investigations. The revived interest in the po-

tentially anti-competitive impacts of most-favored-nation clauses (MFNs) – such as the one State Farm “Service First” shops have had to sign since 2006 – was discussed by the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) “Governmental Committee” in Indianapolis in late July. Michigan attorney Stephen Bolerjack, whose practice focuses on antitrust and contract issues in the automotive industry, said that on the surface, MFNs appear pro-competitive and simplify the negotiation process between parties. But they also can focus solely on price and overlook other factors that can impact pricing, he said. “If the seller is doing something different with other buyers, there’s a See CIC: Regulators, Page 28



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CONTENTS Automotive Classes to Begin at Surry Community College in NC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Blaze Damages Body Shop on Racetrack Road in Fort Walton Beach, FL. . . . . . . . . . . 26 Former Riverside Chevrolet Owner Pays Over $1.2 Million in Charges . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 GA Teen Places Fifth in National Automotive Contest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Gold Star Family Presented With Restored Car in Honor of Fallen Soldier . . . . . . . . . . . 24 IGONC Enjoys a Night at the Bulls Ballpark in Durham, NC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 SCC’s New Dean Receives National Award . . . 23 Shazam Auto Glass and Its Owner File Motion to Dismiss Florida Fraud Lawsuit. . . . . . . . . 22 Subaru Donates New Subaru Ascent to Blue Ridge Community College in NC . . . . . . . . . . 8

With the ‘Ultimate Disruptor’ . . . . . . . . . . . . 60

Anderson - Check OEM Procedures Before Disconnecting, Reconnecting Batteries . . . . 42 Ledoux - 50 Years - A Retrospective . . . . . . . . 48 Ledoux - Hey Buddy … Got a Millisecond? . . . 38 Phillips - How to Leverage the Certified Repair Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Southeast Association Event Announcements: September 2019. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

Garmat Builds Upon CARSTAR Partnership . . . 35 GM Opens $65 Million Parts Processing Center. 10

AAPEXedu to Address Aftermarket Trends . . . . 58

Hyundai Kona Electric Explodes, Blows Hole in Garage: Cause Unknown . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Industry Snapshot Survey Updated . . . . . . . . . 26 Maaco President Shares on Entrepreneurship With Transitioning Soldiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Marketing for Shops: Does Yelp Bully Body Shops?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 OEM Repair Procedure Legislation Vetoed in New Hampshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Pass & Go Event Rewards Students With Prizes, Chance to Win a Car . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Doing the Right Thing for the Right Reason . . 1 Solving the Tech Shortage: In-Prison Automotive Programs Provide Education & Training for Potential Hires. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Too Many Openings & Too Few Techs— A Crisis With No End in Sight . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 U. S. District Judge Dismisses Repairify’s

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

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

Accuvision-3D . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Hendrick Kia Concord . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

AkzoNobel Coatings, Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

Honda-Acura Wholesale Parts Dealers. 31, 32-33

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

Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . 56

Athens Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep-Ram . . . . . . 11

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

Audi Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . 57

Jon Hiester Automotive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

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

Kia Motors Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . 59

Axalta Coating Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . 2, 23

Launch Tech USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63

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

Malco . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

Blowtherm USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

Matrix Electronic Measuring . . . . . . . . . . . 51

BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . 61

Mercedes-Benz Wholesale Parts Dealers . . 60

Braman Honda Miami . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

MINI Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . 61

Braman Honda of Palm Beach. . . . . . . . . . 13

MOPAR Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . 37

Braman Miami . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64

Mountain View Ford-Lincoln . . . . . . . . . . . 38

Certified Automotive Parts Association . . . 14

NOROO Paint & Coatings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

Classifieds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

Porsche Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . 61

Coggin Deland Honda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

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

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet . . . . . . . . . . . 36

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

Dent Fix Equipment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

Rick Hendrick MOPAR Southeast

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

Diamond Standard Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

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

Dominion Sure Seal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

Riverside Ford-Lincoln . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

Eckler’s Automotive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

SATA Dan-Am Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

ECS Automotive Concepts . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

SEMA Trade Show. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

Equalizer Industries, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes . . . . 7

Ford Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . 60

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

GM Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . 54

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

Grieco Ford of Fort Lauderdale . . . . . . . . . 44

Spanesi Americas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Gus Machado Ford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

Spartanburg Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram . . 15

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

Subaru Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . 58

Hendrick Automotive Group. . . . . . . . . . . . 41

Tameron Hyundai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

Hendrick BMW/MINI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

Volkswagen Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . 56

Hendrick Honda Pompano Beach . . . . . . . 28

West Broad Hyundai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

Hendrick Kia Cary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

WD-40 Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Lawsuit Against AirPro Based on Venue, Without Prejudice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

Commitment to CIECA Standards . . . . . . . . 54 Volvo Group to Spend $400 Million on Plant Upgrades, Expansion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Caliber Collects Over $900,000 in Donations. . 44

Weidmann Named CIECA’s Executive Director . . 4

CIC: Regulators Show New Interest in

Why Is Ethics Important for Self-Driving Cars? . . 4

Ford Warns Elon Musk That Tesla is Competing

Control Units Fail. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

AutoNation Names Cheryl Miller CEO, President. 61

‘Most-Favored-Nation’ Clauses . . . . . . . . . . . 1


Hyundai and Kia Airbag Lawsuit Says Airbag

VeriFacts Automotive LLC Renews NATIONAL

AUTOBODY MARKETPLACE section of Autobody News.

Autonomous and Electric Vehicles . . . . . . . . 58

Solving the Tech Shortage: Focusing on Kina’ole: COLUMNISTS

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Wilson vs. Safelite Lawsuit Comes to an End Through Court of Appeals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 / SEPTEMBER 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


Why Is Ethics Important for Self-Driving Cars? by Sean M. Cleary

Around 40,000 people in the U.S. die every year in vehicle accidents and more than a million globally; so, car manufacturers aim to put an end or at least decrease the number of traffic accidents in the near future. It is a daring goal, but so is the intent of creating self-driving cars. Oftentimes, technology and innovation eclipse state and federal legislation, meaning, for now, the automated road ahead remains hazy as lawmakers, courts and initiatives still try to address issues around liability and ethics posed by self-driving cars. The concept of self-driving vehicles is still in its research stage but computerized driving technology is slowly making its way into vehicles we use nowadays. Our cars are already equipped with automated components which can change gears, detect pedestrians, as well as to help us perform difficult maneuvers and force us to wear the seat belt. In the next few years, vehicles able to steer, brake and accelerate on their own are expected to be seen on roads. This technology is thought to help avoid traffic fatalities caused by fatigued or careless drivers. Ethical Concerns: the World of SelfDriving Cars Might Cost Lives In a future where most of the vehicles on the road are fully self-driving, the correct and ethical way of programming such automobiles raises huge problems since this encoded core of the cars is the one that controls the actions of these smart vehicles. But such tough decisions cannot be made only by engineers and IT specialists working for car manufacturers. They have to be shared with the society as this new technology will have a great impact on people’s lives and comes at the cost of the lives on the roadways. It is true that, so far, the number of accidents involving self-driving cars is low. However, this is the result of automated vehicles that simply stop when facing an uncertain situation. As technology continues to take over the automotive industry, self-driving systems may encounter 4

more complex scenarios to instantly react to, and this matter raises important ethical issues.

No-Win Scenarios Undoubtedly, the topic of self-driving vehicles can be a great source of excitement. More than 30,000 deaths are estimated to be avoided every year in the U.S. alone, not to mention the huge importance of these cars in the lives of people with reduced mobility and physical disabilities. However, a constraining issue arises when autonomous vehicles are confronted with where a collision is imminent and not avoidable—even if it complies with the programmed robotic rules or algorithms. Imagine yourself in a self-driving car on a sunny day when you see people waiting patiently at a bus station. At the same time, another vehicle, driven by a human, is heading towards you at great speed. The autonomous vehicle has two available options: avoid the car but hit the people waiting on the side of the road or crash into the car and probably kill both yourself, and the other driver. Such a scenario sets forth the issue of whether an autonomous vehicle chooses to kill the operator of the vehicle or the third party. Who should decide how the robotic car should react or be programmed – the autonomous vehicle manufacturer or the operator? And if the system makes the decision, what criteria should the system use to determine which individual lives and which individual dies? Is it ethical to injure the passengers of the self-driving vehicle in order to save the other people’s lives? This is the kind of decisions that automated cars will have to face on a daily basis and researchers, engineers, philosophers and society as a whole must work together in order to find the most ethically correct way to program these revolutionary vehicles. The legal and ethical implications of the decision are most difficult and must be considered by those who design and control algorithms for safe autonomous vehicles. It is impossible with current technology


to have an autonomous vehicle on the road that gets you from point A to point B without considering such a scenario. About the author: Sean M. Cleary is a personal injury attorney, founder, and president of the Miami, Florida-based The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary. The firm has been listed as an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau. Sean M. Cleary has a thorough knowledge of car accident law and has been able to help people that were hurt in car accidents under all sorts of circumstances gain compensation. He also has high expertise in areas such as medical malpractice, product liability, boating and aviation accidents and all types of personal injuries from paraplegia and quadriplegia to fractures and amputations. Guided by a philosophy of compassion and genuine care for the victims of personal injuries, Mr. Cleary also offers moral support for the individuals and families affected by the negligence of others.

Weidmann Named CIECA’s Executive Director

CIECA is pleased to announce the appointment of Ed Weidmann as CIECA’s interim executive director, effective Aug. 1, 2019. Weidmann has worked in the insurance and collision repair industry for more than 42 years. Weidmann is not new to CIECA. He joined the organization more than ten years ago as a trustee. Since then, he has held the positions of treasurer, vice-chair, and chairman of the board in 2008 and 2014. “I always tell people that CIECA standards streamline the transmission of data among companies, eliminating duplicate programming and minimizing the need for translators when a company works with multiple companies providing similar services,” said Weidmann. As the interim executive director, Weidmann said his goal is to help CIECA expand its product offerings, increase the industry’s understanding of its purpose and streamline CIECA’s internal workflows to more efficiently serve its members. For more information about CIECA, visit

Automotive Classes to Begin at Surry Community College in NC by Staff, Elkin Tribune

Surry Community College in Dobson, NC, will be offering a Collision Repair and Refinishing (Autobody Repair & Restoration) course at four

Collision Repair and Refinishing (also known as Autobody) will be offered at four different class times in August at Surry Community College, 630 S. Main St., Dobson. The schedule includes both morning and evening classes. Credit: Submitted Photo

different times. The first offering is on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Aug. 15 through Dec. 12, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The second class time is on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, Aug. 15 through Dec. 12, from 6 to 9:50 p.m. The third class time is on Mondays and Wednesdays, Aug. 19

through Dec. 11, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The fourth class time is also on Mondays and Wednesdays, Aug. 19 through Dec. 11, but from 6 to 9:50 p.m. The Collision Repair and Refinishing classes prepare individuals to apply technical knowledge and skills to repair, reconstruct and finish automobile bodies, fenders, and external features. The classes are held in Room B-102, Surry Community College, 630 S. Main St., Dobson. Pre-registration and payment of $183 are required. There is a $15 supply fee. For more information or to register, call (336) 386-3618. You can also register online at Reprinted by permission from The Tribune, Elkin, NC, Aug. 7, 2019. We thank The Elkin Tribune for reprint permission.


4x Monthly E-Newsletter.

John’s Automotive Care Is In It to Win It With WD-40 Brand Products ®


To perform O.E. repairs on today’s sophisticated cars, the crew at John’s Automotive Care needs the finest products and tools for the job, and WD40® Brand fits neatly into those categories. Owner John Eppstein opened his first shop in 1998 and worked solo for three years.

move onto something else for ten minutes and it doesn’t create a big mess. Usually when they come back it drills right out and they can proceed with the repair without losing any time.” Eppstein’s passion for the job made him a great addition to WD-40 Brand’s “Live Life Hands On” campaign. The cam-

John Eppstein, owner of John’s Automotive Care, regularly uses WD-40 Specialist Rust Release Penetrant Spray on rusted nuts, bolts and more.

John Eppstein is an ASE Certified Master Technician and opened John’s Automotive Care in San Diego in 1998.

Today, this ASE Certified Master Technician, who is also an active member of Automotive Service Councils of California and an ambassador of WD-40 Company’s PRO Board, has two locations in San Diego and La Mesa, CA. Eppstein relies on a range of WD-40 Brand products, including WD-40 EZ-REACH™, WD-40® Specialist® Rust Release Penetrant Spray, WD-40 Specialist Industrial-Strength Cleaner & Degreaser and WD40 Specialist True Multi-Purpose Grease. Eppstein’s crew uses WD40 EZ-REACH for many applications – the most common involves loosening pesky nuts, broken bolts, squeaky door hinges and stuck locks. “When we do exhaust work or under-car repairs, we use WD-40 EZ-REACH to save time,” he said. “We can get the product into tight spots with the eight-inch flexible straw. Our guys can spray it and then

test asking trades people and DIYers to share how they rely on WD-40 Brand product performance to Live Lives Hands On for a chance to win $5,000. U.S. residents can enter at until Sept. 15, 2019. Learn how WD-40 Brand empowers professionals and DIYers to Live Life Hands On at

paign honors those who rolls up their sleeves and get their hands dirty by sharing real-life stories of DIYers and professionals who rely on WD-40 Brand products to get their jobs done right at work, at home or at play. With an arsenal of WD-40 Brand products, Eppstein uses them to work on high-end brands like BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. As an ambassador of the PRO Board, Eppstein and his crew test and review WD-40 Brand products to provide unbiased feedback about how to use them daily. “Our feedback has been positive and constructive,” Eppstein said. “As a technician and a shop owner, we need products we can depend on and WD-40’s products help us to do a better job every day.” Eppstein is just one of many people who work with their hands every day. WD-40 Brand recently launched a / SEPTEMBER 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


Maaco President Shares on Entrepreneurship With Transitioning Soldiers Maaco Collision Repair and Auto Painting, the leader in the $43 billion automotive paint and collision industry, and a longtime supporter of the nation’s veterans, kicked off its program to encourage veteran ownership with a visit to the U.S. Army base at Ft. Bragg in Fayetteville, N.C.

Bob Benjamin, president of Maaco, spoke to transitioning soldiers stationed at Ft. Bragg who are interested in learning more about entrepreneurship and becoming a franchise business owner. As a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Army who retired as a colonel, Benjamin knows the value of military service and has a special appreciation for veterans. Maaco has more than 40 veterans as location owners or managers and many more employed as technicians. U.S. Congressman Richard Hudson (R-NC 8th District), a champion of North Carolina’s military members and veterans’ issues, recog-

nized Maaco for its program of helping military members become business owners. Kris Johnson from Congressman Hudson’s office was on hand to present Benjamin with a letter of commendation, which he accepted on behalf of the entire Maaco organization. “As Fort Bragg’s Congressman and a voice for North Carolina’s veterans, I’m proud to recognize companies that have a tradition of giving back to veterans,” said Rep. Hudson. “This new program takes their support to the next level and goes hand-in-hand with my

team management – toward ownership of their own business.” Maaco encourages veteran entrepreneur ownership by offering a new franchisee who qualifies as a veteran a 75 percent reduction on the initial franchise fee and a substantial reduction on the royalty fees during the first two years of a new Maaco Center’s operations. Maaco offers all new franchisees the benefit of a proven playbook backed by 47 years of experience in the automotive repair and painting industry, a training program second to

commitment to ensuring veterans have the support and resources they need to transition to civilian life and find good-paying jobs. I am proud to accept this recognition on behalf of Maaco,” said Benjamin. “We are proud to offer a program that helps veterans transition into civilian life and apply the skills they have learned in the military – like leadership, planning, task-oriented performance and

none and ongoing operational support. Maaco plans to participate in job fairs and special events at many of the country’s military bases to get the word out and meet with military members who are completing their active duty and looking forward to their next career. To learn more about franchising opportunities with Maaco, visit www

“I’m proud to recognize companies that have a tradition of giving back to veterans,” — Congressman Richard Hudson

Volvo Group to Spend $400 Million on Plant Upgrades, Expansion The Volvo Group on June 28 announced plans to invest nearly $400 million over six years to upgrade its New River Valley, VA, plant that produces all Volvo trucks sold in North America.

“The outstanding product line currently produced at NRV has strongly positioned Volvo Trucks for the future,” Volvo Trucks North America President Peter Voorhoeve said in a news release. “This investment is another sign of our confidence in that future, and will help us prepare for even more exciting products — powered by both diesel and electric drivetrains 6

— in the coming years.” The upgrades include expansion of the industrial footprint and installation of a variety of equipment that will improve plant efficiency and deliver even higher product quality for customers, the statement said. Pulaski County will support the project by granting Volvo 222 acres of adjacent property to expand the campus and providing $500,000 toward site improvements. Besides its financial investment, Volvo announced plans to create 777 jobs at the facility over the next six years. The project will be eligible for a Virginia Major Employment and Investment Grant of up to $16.5 million and other incentives, according to the truck maker. — Transport Topics. Used by permission of Transport Topics. We thank Transport Topics for reprint permission.


Continued from Cover

Marketing for Shops

return for promoting positive reviews and hiding negative ones. The film opens with Davide Cerretini, owner of Botto Italian Pizza Bistro in Richmond, CA, who claims that Yelp’s salespeople called him 20 times a week pressuring him to advertise on the platform. They finally wore him down and he signed up for a six-month contract, which he didn’t renew. Once he stopped paying for advertising, Cerretini claims his positive Yelp reviews vanished, only to be replaced with new and mysterious negative reviews. “To me, this is the mafia,” Cerretini says in the film. A few years ago, Nielsen conducted a study and the numbers were pro-Yelp. • 88 percent of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. • 85 percent of consumers read online reviews. • Yelp gets 142 million monthly visitors and 77 million local reviews See Marketing for Shops, Page 10 / SEPTEMBER 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


Subaru Donates New Subaru Ascent to Blue Ridge Community College in NC Subaru of America Inc. recently donated a 2019 Subaru Ascent to Blue Ridge Community College’s Automotive Systems Technology program along with various other software to help more proactively train future car manufacturers. The Ascent is valued at $32,970, and Subaru of America also donated a Subaru DSTi Vehicle Interface and Operational Software valued at $9,800 and $2,850, respectively. The local sponsoring dealership is Hunter Automotive Group, but Blue Ridge also works with other manufacturers throughout the region. Blue Ridge Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development/Continuing Education Dr. Chris English said the school’s relationship with Subaru came about through its relationship with the National Automotive Technicians’ Education Foundation (NATEF), which certifies schools’ training. Blue Ridge itself is a master-certified training center. As a testament to this, Blue Ridge was recognized as an Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES) training center several years back. “This program really connected the secondary to the post-secondary


level. We offer dual enrollment coursework for high schools, and then we have our regular automotive program at post-secondary level,” English said.

Subaru of America Inc. recently donated a 2019 Subaru Ascent to Blue Ridge Community College’s Automotive Systems Technology program. Credit: Blue Ridge Community College

AYES allows students to do job shadowing and internships while in high school to gain experience early, so when they transition to a community college, they’re already accustomed to the programs. It’s through these well-established relationships that Blue Ridge has received the cars and programs like those donated by Subaru. Subaru founded a program of its own several years back called Subaru University that combined the youth


program AYES and what a traditional automotive training program would look like. This allows certain schools— including Blue Ridge—to serve as a training center for that region. “If we’re going to train on Subaru, we’ve got to have the proper training mechanisms, software and components to deliver training,” English said. Both the new Ascent and a previously donated 2012 Subaru Forester rotate back and forth between the Transylvania County Campus and Henderson County Campus, to give each school an equal amount of time with each car. English praised Automotive Systems Technology instructor Brian Johnson for pioneering the relationship between the school and Subaru, which has been going strong for nearly three years. Subaru and other manufacturers provide a variety of items to Blue Ridge in addition to cars, such as airbags, transmissions, seats, etc. so students always have real components to work with and learn through. “Subaru is a leading company in the U.S. for sales. They are high on safety standards, and with the way cars are made now, there is a significant amount of technology involved

in a car. It’s very sophisticated, so our students need to learn using the most current technology to go out and get the jobs they can make a living with,” English added. While the students are learning from Subaru, the skills they learn are transferrable, so they’ll be able to do everything from rebuilding a transmission to diagnosing an engine performance problem in nearly any automotive setting. Even though the automotive industry is a growing one, it’s also an aging one with a skills gap that’s ever-growing between the different ages of workers. English said the biggest need they’re seeing is in collision repair, which he describes as a “lost trade” that’s slowly fading. According to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), at the end of 2018, car dealerships wrote more than 310 million repair orders, with service and parts sales totaling more than $116 billion. Total new-vehicle sales topped $1 trillion, and the nation’s 16,753 franchised dealers sold 17.22 million light-duty vehicles. Obtained via Blue Ridge Community College. / SEPTEMBER 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


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Marketing for Shops

in industries ranging from auto repair to food and entertainment. • 98 percent of Yelp users report making a purchase at a business they found on Yelp, with 85 percent doing so within seven days and 27 percent doing so within one day. • 80 percent of Yelp users visit the site with the intention of buying a product or service. • Consumers consider Yelp to be the most trustworthy, influential online review site with the highest quality reviews. So, we reached out to Yelp and asked them the big question—do you extort small businesses or manipulate their system? Their short answer was an emphatic no, but the longer explanation came in a document from Yelp that addressed many issues. “We understand that there are a lot of misconceptions out there, so we’re here to clear the air: the only thing you can buy on Yelp is advertising, not reSee Marketing for Shops, Page 13

Pass & Go Event Rewards Students With Prizes, Chance to Win a Car by Elise Shelton, Clarksville Now

The 11th Annual Pass and Go Event will be held Saturday, Aug. 3 at Wyatt Johnson Automotive Group’s Mazda dealership. This event rewards Clarksville-Montgomery County, TN, School System high school students who pass their Advanced Placement (AP) exams. The event is made possible through the support of community partners. A record number of CMCSS students took AP exams in May with their pass results more than doubling the national average. This year, 1,343 CMCSS tenth, 11th and 12th graders were enrolled in AP classes and took 2,198 exams. They passed 1,046 exams with a three, four or five. One of the reasons for CMCSS students’ success is the incentive of winning a brand new car. Wyatt Johnson Automotive Group hosts the event each year. Students who pass the AP exam with a score of three, four, or five have a chance to win a 2019 Toyota Yaris, Hyundai Accent or Kia Rio. Other event sponsors include the Clarksville-Montgomery County Education Foundation, Domino’s Pizza

and Beach Oil Company, each providing additional prizes for students. The AP exam pass rate for CMCSS students is 49%, which has been the case for several years. This pass rate is more than double the national pass rate, which stood at 22% in 2016.

Clarksville-Montgomery County School System high school students at the 11th Annual Pass and Go Event in Tennessee. Credit: Lee Erwin, Clarksville Now

“We’re thrilled to support the students and teachers of the ClarksvilleMontgomery County School System. We’re so proud of this partnership and all of the success with improving the AP classes and exams,” said Katherine Cannata, dealer principal with Wyatt Johnson Automotive Group. The event has garnered national

attention with the school system being recognized as a 2017 District of Distinction for encouraging students to take AP classes and increase the exam pass rate. On the day of the event, students register between 4 and 5 p.m. Eligible students must be present to win. Drawings begin as soon as registration ends. Students who draw a designated color of key have the opportunity to draw one of ten keys which will open a car door. The ten key holders who open the door then have the chance to draw the one key which will start the car. The Pass and Go program was launched in 2009 during a time when AP enrollment exam passage rates were stagnant and enrollment in the rigorous courses was declining. The idea was to encourage and reward students who not only enrolled in advanced placement courses, but also passed with a score of three, four or five. Nearly $30,000 in support has been provided each year to motivate and reward students. We thank Clarksville Now for reprint permission.

IGONC Enjoys a Night at the Bulls Ballpark in Durham, NC by Chasidy Rae Sisk

On July 12, the Triangle Chapter of Independent Garage Owners of North Carolina (IGONC) attended its annual Night Out at the Bulls Ballpark in Durham, NC. According to IGONC Executive Director

Members of IGONC’s Triangle Chapter enjoyed an evening of networking and fun during the group’s annual Night Out at the Durham Bulls Ballpark. Credit: IGONC

Bob Pulverenti, “We had over 110 members and their guests in attendance. Many shop owners used this as a chance to treat the whole shop and do some team bonding. We had members from other chapters all over the state join us for our largest attendance ever at this annual event.” 10

Pulverenti continued, “This is one of the two meetings we hold each year that is just about socialization and fun. Normally, these events give us a chance to train, but in this case, it really is a great opportunity for coworkers and shop owners to hang out and relax with folks from other shops as well as vendors. The Bulls Ballpark is a great place to bring the whole family and have a great time.” Attendees enjoyed a catered meal that consisted of hot dogs, hamburgers, grilled chicken and a variety of sides. IGONC members enjoyed watching the game from their private party deck or from box seating at the first baseline. Event sponsors included Advance Auto Parts, Factory Motor Parts, and Jasper Engines and Transmissions. “We are so happy to see this event grow every year, and it was great to see folks who traveled to join in the fun!” Pulverenti said. For more information on IGONC and its events, visit


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Continued from Cover

Lawsuit Against AirPro

asTech has finally learned through the courts that AirPro meets and exceeds its Ten-Minute Response pledge and that it is far from ‘mathematically impossible’. If asTech decides to continue on its failed path of senseless litigation, AirPro will certainly prevail as it proves AirPro delivers superior customer service using OEM software ‘local’ to the vehicle.” The litigation, filed April 15, accused AirPro of false or misleading badmouthing of asTech and followed and exchange of cease and desist letters between the two companies. On April 9, AirPro shared those letters with the industry and issued a challenge to asTech for “an independently monitored side-by-side comparison between our tools, methods and services.” In response, Repairify issued a statement on April 15 in which Repairify CEO Doug Kelly said “We are extremely proud of our product, which has undergone extensive testing and works as promised. Our team


is focused on promoting the differentiating characteristics of our product and the superior quality of our customer service. We believe the right way to build market share and customer loyalty is by highlighting the positive aspects of our product and business interactions, not by running around and bad-mouthing our competition.” Kelly continued, “Having said that, we fully intend to defend ourselves in the appropriate forum against malicious, false and unfair attacks by others. Unfortunately, we have been forced into a frustrating distraction from the focus on our product and customers resulting in the filing of the attached lawsuit.” On April 28, Repairify requested an injunction against AirPro, asking the court to force AirPro to remove various statements from its website; AirPro opposed the injunction and in a May 15 statement said “This case is all about our Truth Campaign posted on our website, which we firmly stand by. We welcome this opportunity to finally flush out the truth to educate repairers, OEM’s and the industry at large regarding the honest differences


between our technology and services versus that of asTech.” Repairify’s lawsuit stated that AirPro’s attacks against the asTech product had no foundation: “The AirPro website includes misleading statements suggesting that AirPro does have insider knowledge of the current asTech device, and thus is qualified to compare the asTech device with AirPro.” Because the allegedly misleading comments are found on AirPro’s website, they are available for the whole world, including Texas to see. Judge Werlein’s ruling shows how the court evaluates jurisdiction in cases against companies with broad online presences. Although Judge Werlein stated that asTech would be free to sue in Texas if they had produced evidence that AirPro had directly emailed Texas customers with the allegedly defamatory comments, according to the final judgement, “Defendant’s uncontroverted evidence is that, although it distributed the materials about which Plaintiff complains (and which Defendant maintains are truthful), ‘none of the individuals or entities that received

the information were located in the state of Texas or ‘based in the state of Texas.’” asTech’s argument that AirPro had emailed Asbury Automotive Group, a national chain doing business in Texas and an asTech customer, Judge Werlein said it did not create Texas jurisdiction since the email was sent to a regional manager in Atlanta. In the lawsuit, asTech pointed out that AirPro Sales and Marketing Vice President Frank LaViola has a home in Houston, but Judge Werlein wrote, “Plaintiff infers that based on his title, LaViola must be responsible for the allegedly defamatory statements in Defendant’s advertising campaign (which Defendant calls the ‘Truth Campaign’), but Defendant produces uncontroverted evidence that LaViola was hired in January 2019 and ‘was not involved in the planning, development or initial execution of the Truth Campaign,’ was not ‘involved in any aspect of creating the Truth Campaign,’ does not control the content of Defendant’s website, and ‘did not direct, order or authorize any of the posts complained of in asTech’s complaint. Given this un-

controverted proof regarding the facts that underlie the Plaintiff’s claims, LaViola’s mere presence in Texas does not support Plaintiff’s assertion of specific personal jurisdiction.” Judge Werlein also rejected consideration based on the fact that two percent of AirPro’s customer base is located in Texas, resulting in an attempt to hire staff in that location. He stated, “allegation or evidence that these minimum contacts have any relation to the allegedly false statements that form the basis of Plaintiff’s claims.” Insisting that AirPro’s comments must be demonstrated to specifically target Texans or reference Texas,

Judge Werlein wrote, “In the absence of any statements by Defendant about or expressly directed at Texas, the mere fact that Plaintiff is a citizen of Texas is insufficient to establish specific jurisdiction under both parties compete nationwide ‘effects test,’ particularly where and not only–or even primarily–in Texas,” Werlein wrote. Though asTech’s argument for jurisdiction was supported by the claim that Texans could directly interact with AirPro through ORION and the site’s “Contact Us” feature, the judge stated, “Plaintiff argues that these features make Defendant’s website active, or at least interactive, under the Zippo test used by the Fifth Circuit. [However,

asTech hadn’t claimed] there is anything false, misleading or otherwise improper about the interactive portions of Defendant’s website.” Regarding asTech’s disputes with AirPro’s “Truth Campaign” page, Werlein wrote, “Defendant produces uncontroverted evidence—and indeed Plaintiff does not argue to the contrary—that the portions of the website containing the statements that Plaintiff identifies as false and misleading are not interactive and do not allow for the exchange of information.” In regards to asTech’s petition for limited jurisdictional discovery, Judge Werlein rejected the request, writing “Plaintiff does not state what

additional evidence it reasonably expects to find if discovery were allowed. The parties, which know each other well and have engaged in previous litigation against each other, have filed full briefs including their verified evidence related to Defendant’s contacts with Texas alleged in Plaintiff’s complaint. As observed, the evidence submitted fails to establish that Defendant is subject to personal jurisdiction in Texas. Without stating what other facts pertinent to jurisdiction are expected to be discovered and a plausible basis for that expectation, Plaintiff fails to carry its burden to show that additional jurisdictional discovery is warranted.”

Continued from Page 10

on Yelp has no impact on reviews,” stated in Yelp’s document. “This is core to our trusted relationships with users and businesses alike, and it’s a principle on which we never compromise. These claims have been investigated and rejected in multiple courtrooms and disproven by independent scholarly studies.” Yelp then also offered some methods for interacting with reviewers for best results:

“If a review has incorrect information, this is a good chance to correct it,” according to Yelp. “While you should always take the high road and respond considerately, correcting incorrect information is okay. Remember, it’s not just what you say but how you say it. Since everyone can see your public comment, respond in a way that will impress your potential customers.” “Responding to a review with critical feedback can be tricky,” said

Yelp. “You want to act quickly because it’ll improve your chance to turn the situation around, but also take your time to think of the right thing to say. First, read the review. Then reread the review. Reread it again. On your third take, start looking for the value. Ask yourself: What did the customer expect? Why did they expect that? Where was the misunderstanding? Why did that occur? What

Marketing for Shops

views or stars,” Yelp said. “Here’s what money won’t buy any business owner on Yelp: A higher rating, the removal of negative reviews and positive reviews.” Does Yelp show more favorable reviews for advertisers or penalize non-advertisers? “Advertising (or not advertising)

See Marketing for Shops, Page 18


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right way, at the right time, in the place, to the right person, for the Focusing on Kina’ole right right reason, with the right feeling … the first time.” Chess said Taylor was a compasdoing and so will the students,” said sionate businessman who was comMcCauley. She encouraged CIC attendees mitted to changing the collision repair and the industry to get involved industry for the better and helping with students as much as possible— people learn. When Taylor passed away 12 whether that’s speaking to them about the collision repair trade or years ago, the March Taylor Memorial offering tours—and show them the Fund was established in his name to benefit collision repair technicians. possibilities available. “Right now, everyone in the in- Today, Chess said the donations redustry recognizes the need to draw ceived by the industry are used to promore students into the collision repair vide the next generation of technicians field,” said Chess. “We need more a “step upward” through tool scholaryoung men and women. The question ships and mentoring opportunities. With a reputation for being a is: ‘How do you attract them?’” Through his work in the colli- hard worker, Taylor would often start sion repair industry and with the his day early and work after-hours March Taylor Memorial Fund, Chess and weekends. Rather than doing it has found a way to support the in- for recognition, Chess said he did it dustry and reach students who will because it was the “right thing to do.” “March only gave,” said Chess. potentially fill the jobs of the future. “The biggest problem is when “He never took a thing from the inyou are getting an entry-level tech- dustry.” “The March Taylor Memorial nician coming into your shop and Fund was started by those of us who they don’t have tools,” said Chess. To help address this challenge, knew and loved March and believed in Chess has reached out to tool and his passion for the collision industry equipment companies across the and the technicians who made it all country as well as body shops request- possible,” said Barry Dorn, owner of ing monetary and in-kind donations. Dorn’s Body and Paint in Mechanicsville, VA. “March was always about The donations are then used to purhelping new technicians get into the industry.” Dorn is a member of the March Taylor Memorial Fund committee along with Jeff Hendler, CIC administrator; Jordan Hendler, president of Admin Concepts; Dale Matsumoto, president of Auto Body Hawaii; and Chess. Earlier this year in April, at the Collision Industry Conference They have found that a in Nashville, TN, Toby Chess (left) and Jeff Hendler (right) wide cross-section of the presented six students with toolboxes as part of the March collision repair industry has Taylor Memorial Fund shown its support by making chase tools and toolboxes for collision donations that will help provide oprepair students and teachers. In addi- portunities for students, technicians tion to the two McCauley received, six and teachers, like McCauley, while individuals were awarded toolboxes at honoring March Taylor’s memory. “I strive to teach every young the June CIC in Nashville, TN, on behalf of the March Taylor Memorial individual who steps into my classroom the same skills and trades I Fund. Many in the industry are famil- have myself, always maintaining a iar with the name March Taylor, strong level of compassion, integrity who lived and worked in the colli- and perseverance,” McCauley wrote sion repair industry. He was known in her application when applying for for living his life according to the a grant. “My integrity gives me the Hawaiian word “Kina’ole,” which determination to take on the tougher means “Doing the right thing in the assignment and handle them honContinued from Cover



estly while perseverance—most important of all—is needed in the public education system to encourage myself and those around me to not only do the best quality work, but also to do it when we’re under strenuous conditions.” “She’s a champion for her students,” said Jeff Hendler during the CIC presentation. He said helping technicians further their careers through scholarships and tools speaks to the heart of the March Taylor Memorial Fund. “March would be smiling as he always kept his focus on assisting those in the workshop repairing cars,” he said. In addition to the toolboxes, the March Taylor Memorial Fund also offers collision repair technician grants that include I-CAR coupons, partial or full payment for industry training or the ability to attend industry events. An application is available online and can be submitted throughout the year. Dorn said scholarships have been awarded at the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) and at the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) Red Carpet

Awards breakfast at the SEMA show in Las Vegas. To apply for a grant, Chess said individuals must have worked in collision repair for at least two years, currently be employed in the industry and their employer must be part of a collision industry association, whether it’s local, state or national. Chess recalls a recent high school graduate who had aspirations to attend a vocational-technical school, on the recommendation of a teacher, but he had some financial hardships and took out a loan to follow his career path. He also applied for assistance through the March Taylor Scholarship Fund and received $2,000 toward his education. “The Memorial Fund will always maintain March’s focus,” said Hendler. “The donations allow us to do that.” “We hope the entire industry gets involved,” said Chess. “We wanted to do something proactive to encourage these individuals to join the profession instead of just sitting back.” For more information about the March Taylor Memorial Fund and to donate, visit: https://www.marchtaylor / SEPTEMBER 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS




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Continued from Page 13

Marketing for Shops

changes can I make to make sure this situation doesn’t happen again?” “After rereading the review a few times, you’ll almost always find helpful information,” Yelp added. “Looking at difficult feedback as an insight into how you can improve will make a big difference. It will help you craft your response. It’s a good idea to start with a public response that includes a thank you, even if you disagree with the review. Look at it this way; the reviewer took the time to share what went wrong. There are lots of consumers who won’t take the time to give you those insights. Your reviewers are giving you the chance to improve.” So, is Yelp a buddy or a bully? If we believe in their statement, they are more of a friend than a foe, but there are tons of companies out there slamming them. If you’re on the fence about Yelp, watch Billion Dollar Bully, a horror film for any small business owner anywhere, and be careful.


Former Riverside Chevrolet Owner Pays Over $1.2 Million in Charges by Stephanie Brown, News 104.5 WOKV

The former owner of Riverside Chevrolet in California will not be able to sell cars again, under an agreement reached with the State to bring a close to a fraud investigation. “This was an example of motor fraud at its worst, where a car dealership was selling cars that still had liens and were not paying off the liens on those cars. And so, unwittingly, buyers were purchasing or trading in vehicles, getting new ones, and then were on the hook for two cars,” says Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody. Moody says they were able to recover more than $1.2 million in restitution in this case, to resolve the liens. Court filings claim there were more than 71 vehicles involved in this fraud. “Oftentimes this happened to our seniors, and in instances of military personnel, where it affected their security clearance,” Moody says. The dealership is now under new ownership, Beaver Chevrolet in Jacksonville, FL, and Moody says they have cooperated through the in-


vestigation and worked to make the affected customers whole. Between August 2017 and April 2018, Riverside Chevrolet allegedly took trade-in vehicles that had outstanding liens, but didn’t resolve them.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody announces agreement with former Riverside Chevrolet ownership. Credit: Florida Attorney General’s Office

That would mean the person who traded in the vehicle was still on the hook for the debt and could have their credit negatively affected if they didn’t pay those bills. Court records show there were also some cases where the lien-holder tried to repossess the vehicle, without knowing it had been traded in, because

Riverside Chevrolet hadn’t settled everything. The State also alleged that Riverside Chevrolet failed to pay more than $400,000 in sales taxes, failed to pay employee salaries and withholding taxes, and failed to transfer vehicle titles on trade-ins in a proper and timely manner. Not transferring a title in the required 30-day period could make it difficult for the prior owner of the vehicle to get financing and insurance on their vehicles. Under the settlement, Riverside Chevrolet- as the entity that ran the dealership under Andrew Ferguson- and Ferguson himself cannot own, operate, or manage an auto or truck dealership in Florida again. The agreement also includes various fines and attorney fees. We thank News 104.5 WOKV, Jacksonville for reprint permission.



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GA Teen Places Fifth in National Automotive Contest by Shannon Ballew, Cherokee Tribune

Austin Ledbetter, 17, has a talent for fixing wrecked cars. The rising senior at Cherokee High School in Canton, GA, has earned national recognition for his work in automotive repair. This summer, Ledbetter ranked fifth in a national SkillsUSA automotive contest in Louisville, KY, after earning gold in the state competition.

Ledbetter said. “I love doing it. I like taking something somebody says can’t be fixable and turning around and fixing it.” To prepare for the five-day contest, the senior received training support from various local shops and Matt Beard of the Metro Atlanta Automobile Association. At the SkillsUSA competition, contestants must demonstrate their ability to perform tasks set by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and the ASE Education Foundation including metal straightening, attachment methods, plastic repair and structural analysis. They are judged on overall appearance of the finished product, speed

Austin Ledbetter, 17, was recognized nationally this summer in collision repair at a SkillsUSA contest. Credit: Shannon Ballew, Cherokee Tribune

The teen spends time in class participating in the school’s automotive Career Pathways program under the direction of teacher Mike Hagan, and can often be found in the shop after school. But where he learned collision repair was at his father’s body shop in Jasper, GA, and he plans on continuing in his father’s footsteps.

Austin Ledbetter, right, with his automotive teacher Mike Hagan. Credit: Shannon Ballew, Cherokee Tribune

“I’ve been around it ever since I was in elementary school. Whenever I was out of school, dad would take me to work with him, I would just sit there and watch him, and I got to where I could help. Now I’m working there whenever I’m not in school,”

Ledbetter adjusts a tire on a donated car at Cherokee High School’s automotive shop. Credit: Shannon Ballew, Cherokee Tribune

and proper safety practices. Students also complete written tests on estimating, structural analysis, and ASE knowledge, and fill out a job application, present a resume and participate in mock interviews. The contest proved an opportunity to showcase what he had done before and to learn something new. Until the national competition, Ledbetter had never done a plastic repair, he said. Ledbetter said at first he was nervous, but was happy to hear his name called and learn he had made fifth place out of 36 contestants. “I was really excited to get fifth

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place. It wasn’t first, second or third, but I was happy I got as high a rank as I did,” he said. “He did a great job,” Hagan said. “The plastic repair, the score on it was professional. It’s a very professional score, for someone who’s ever done it before.” His participation in the national competition was paid for through sponsorships from Finish Masters and the Transportation Education Foundation of Georgia. Ledbetter has shown a history of impressing judges at SkillsUSA. His freshman year, he earned second place in the state-level competition. The teen already is looking forward to next year, hoping to top this year’s ranking, he said. In the automotive program at Cherokee, students learn regular maintenance skills like changing oil and rotating tires, using donated cars. Sometimes the students help teachers with their cars and do community service, working on cars for local nonprofits. Hagan said there’s a big need in

the industry for technicians with skills like Ledbetter’s. “We’re at critical mass right now. The high school jobs right now that require training, like a two-year de-

Austin Ledbetter checks codes for an old engine that was donated to the Cherokee High School automotive shop. Ledbetter, 17, was recognized nationally this summer in collision repair at a SkillsUSA contest. Credit: Shannon Ballew, Cherokee Tribune

gree at a tech school, for those particular skill sets, there’s a gap,” Hagan said. “If we don’t teach it, we’re not doing a service to our community; we’re not doing a service to our state or the nation.” We thank the Cherokee Tribune for reprint permission. / SEPTEMBER 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


Shazam Auto Glass and Its Owner File Motion to Dismiss Florida Fraud Lawsuit by Emmariah Holcomb,

Shazam Auto Glass, LLC, (Shazam) and its owner, Sean Martineau have filed a motion to dismiss its lawsuit against Geico Insurance Co.’s (Geico). Shazam and Martineau stated Geico’s complaint is “due to be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a cause of action.” A Florida court judge granted an extension for the company and its owner to respond to Geico’s fraudulent scheme allegations against them. The insurance company is seeking to recover $340,000 in financial damages under the civil racketeer influenced and corrupt organizations act (RICO) statutes. However, both Shazam and Martineau responded to Geico’s complaint by filing a motion to dismiss Geico’s original complaint, which would dismiss the lawsuit. Shazam and Martineau stated the following reasons why the case should be dismissed: 1) It’s an impermissible “shotgun pleading”; 2) Article III standing is not adequately pled;


3) No adequate jurisdictional basis is pled for state law claims; and 4) The sole count of the complaint alleging federal question jurisdiction fails to state a cause of action.

Shotgun Pleading The defendants (Shazam and Martineau) alleged Geico was at fault of shotgun pleading because it failed to meet specified requirements, as well as the complaint containing “irrelevant factual allegations.”

Some of the requirements include: • Providing a short statement of the basis of the court’s jurisdiction, the plaintiff’s entitlement to and demand for relief; and • Relevant facts should be segregated to each of their respective claims. According to court documents, failing to comply with the previously mentioned rules may result in an impermissible “shotgun pleading,” wherein counts often contain irrelevant factual allegations. “Shotgun pleadings invariably begin with a long list of general allegations, most of which are immaterial


to most of the claims for relief,” a portion of the defendants’ response reads. Article III Standing The defendants are also claiming Geico’s complaint should be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. They also claim the original complaint fails to sufficiently establish all elements for Article III standing for federal RICO, because it only alleges a collective, undifferentiated harm to all plaintiffs instead of a particularized and concrete harm to each. “Geico’s complaint contains only one count invoking federal question jurisdiction: Count II. There are no allegations in the complaint relating to how each of the individual plaintiffs was harmed individually. Nor is there any indication on the spreadsheet attached to the complaint as to whether each individual plaintiff paid any amount to any defendant,” a portion of the defendants’ response reads. No Adequate Jurisdictional Basis “For its state law counts, Geico alleges both diversity jurisdiction and

supplemental jurisdiction. Initially, if jurisdiction does not attach to the federal question count (which it does not for lack of standing and failure to state a claim), there remains no independent original federal jurisdiction to support the Court’s exercise of supplemental jurisdiction over the state claims against the defendants, except diversity,” a portion of the defendants’ response reads. Failing to State a Cause for Action When pleading a civil RICO lawsuit, the plaintiff (Geico) must prove a RICO violation; injury to its business or property; and a cause, according to court documents. Shazam and Martineau are alleging Geico has failed to prove a clear cause for action related to a RICO violation. Currently, Shazam and Martineau are awaiting the court’s decision on its filed motion to dismiss its lawsuit against Geico. The court has yet to release a date for further proceedings in the lawsuit. We thank for reprint permission.

Southeast Association Event Announcements: September 2019 by Chasidy Rae Sisk

AAAMS Prepares for First Business Conference in Years On Sept. 12-15, the Automotive Aftermarket Association of the MidSouth (AAAMS) will host its 2019 Business Conference at the brand new Margaritaville Resort in Gatlinburg, TN. This will be the organization’s first conference in several years. According to the association’s July newsletter, the event will begin on Thursday, Sept. 12 with dinner and networking opportunities. On Friday, Sept. 13, Board of Directors and Committee meetings will be held, while vendor tabletop displays will be available all day. The day will conclude with AAAMS’s Welcome Reception. Saturday, Sept. 14 includes the AAAMS Annual Business Meeting and an update on the group’s Business Insurance/HR Services program though IGO Insurance Agency. Members will receive additional updates on programs and services from Fleetcor/Speedway, Kennedy Office, Net Driven and PrimePay LLC. The morning’s schedule concludes with “Trends in the Aftermarket – Near

Term and Long Term” presented by Tom Tucker of the Auto Care Association. Tucker will then facilitate roundtable discussions. Vendor tabletop displays will again be available during Saturday’s programming as well as during the evening’s President’s Reception. Saturday will conclude with a banquet, awards and AAAMS Scholarships Live Auction. The conference will adjourn on Sunday morning after breakfast and an inspirational message from Jim Eastin. For more information about AAAMS and its upcoming conference, visit

Northern VA I-CAR Committee to Raise Funds for CREF at Annual Golf Tournament On Sept. 17, the Northern Virginia ICAR Committee will host its 26th Annual Golf Fundraiser at Topgolf Loudon in Ashburn, VA. Funds raised will benefit the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) and local high school and college collision programs. According to Committee Chair Rob Elison, “The event will bring industry partners together to show support and raiser awareness

of the growing needs of local technical schools.” Registration costs $150 per golfer and includes a lunch buffet and two drink tickets. Sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information, visit NCACAR’s Third Quarter Meeting Features ATI’s Keith Manich The North Carolina Association of Collision and Autobody Repair (NCACAR) will host its Third Quarter meeting on Thursday, Sept. 19 at Carolina Collision Equipment in Mooresville, NC. In addition to a State of the Association Address delivered by NCACAR President Brian Davies and NCACAR Vice President Brian Shaw, the meeting will feature “Developing and Implementing Standard Operating Procedures” with ATI’s Keith Manich. Registration for association members is free. Non-members pay $20 to attend, but the fee will be waived if they join the association. The meeting is sponsored by PPG Industries and Carolina Collision Equipment. For more information, visit

SCC’s New Dean Receives National Award

Southeast Community College’s Jon Kisby recently attended the North American Council of Automotive Teachers Conference in Calgary, Alberta. He was recognized as Mitchell 1’s Educator of the Year 2019. “Being chosen for this award has been a great honor,” said Kisby. “I really appreciate the way Mitchell 1 supports technical education, and the one-year subscription for SCC to use their products will be valuable to our students and instructors. I look forward to putting the same effort into my new position as Dean of Agriculture, Welding and Transportation as I did in my teaching career.” Kisby recently moved into his Dean position after several years as an instructor in SCC’s General Motors Automotive Service Educational Program. The five-day conference had numerous breakout sessions and activities about auto education, motivating students and what’s in store for the future. For more information, log on to the website at / SEPTEMBER 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


Gold Star Family Presented With Restored Car in Honor of Fallen Soldier by Rachael Riley, The Fayetteville Observer

Keys to a restored car were presented to the family of fallen soldier Sergeant 1st Class Keith Callahan on Thursday, July 11, at Segra Stadium in Fayetteville, NC. Callahan, 31, was killed in action in Iraq in 2007. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. Dody Callahan was nominated for the car donation by the USO of North Carolina and Tuesday’s Children, a national nonprofit organization that promotes long-term healing and builds common bonds through its resilience-building programming for children, families and communities affected by a traumatic loss.

Dody Callahan thanks donors as her children sit in the front seat of the car for the first time. The Callahan Family was given a car at Segra Stadium on Thursday, July 11, 2019. Credit: Raul F. Rubiera, The Fayetteville Observer

The car donation by Caliber Collision and State Farm is part of a national program to repair and donate vehicles to families in need. “We are especially honored to present Mrs. Callahan and her five children with this vehicle in which we share our appreciation for the sacrifices she and her family have made on behalf of our country,” said Jaime Shannon, a local State Farm agent. The car was restored by service members participating in Caliber Collision’s Changing Lanes program, which provides service members transitioning out of the military with no-cost training for a new career in auto body repair. “I think it’s absolutely amazing that they’re taking veterans and bringing them out and teaching them how to do this and readjusting them back into society and life,” Dody Callahan said of the program. A mother of five who is going 24

through school for nursing, Dody Callahan said the vehicle will help, as her 19-year-old son Devin Callahan is in college, and twins Brady and Brooke Callahan, 17, have shared a vehicle between going to school and picking up their younger sister, 8-year-old Katie.

This is what I am,’” Dody Callahan said. “And so that’s what he did.” She said her husband was on his fourth deployment at the time of his death.

The Callahan Family is given a car at Segra Stadium on Thursday, July 11, 2019. Credit: Raul F. Rubiera, The Fayetteville Observer

Brooke Callahan sits in the driver’s seat of a new car that was given to the Callahan family in memory of late Sgt. 1st Class Keith Callahan as Brooke’s sister, Katie, sits in the passenger’s seat Thursday, July 11, 2019, at Segra Stadium. Credit: Raul F. Rubiera, The Fayetteville Observer

Dody Callahan said she was also grateful the presentation on July 11 took time to honor her late husband. Lt. Col. Brian Koyn, the division chaplain for 82nd Airborne Division, served with Keith Callahan and said he put his own welfare above others. “One ... thing that I knew about Keith Callahan was if he wasn’t talking about his paratroopers, he was talking about his family and they were both family in his mind ... ,” Koyn said. “And so it’s just awesome that we can honor you today as an Army family and as an 82nd family.” Keith Callahan was a boxer and soldier with the 82nd Airborne Division when Dody Callahan first met him. Originally from Pennsylvania, Dody Callahan was visiting a friend in the Fayetteville area. Keith Callahan impressed her so much she moved to the area two weeks later. “He tried to be rough and gruff around the edges sometimes, but he had a rose waiting in the fence for me,” Dody Callahan said. Shortly after they met, Dody Callahan said her husband transitioned from the regular Army to the Reserves in 1999, and took on plumbing and heating civilian jobs. “He was like, ‘This isn’t for me. I’m a soldier ... This is what I love.


She said she decided to remain in the Fayetteville area because she didn’t want to uproot their children after “a life altering moment.” “What we built with their dad and their memories — what little memories they hold — are here,” Dody Callahan said. “And I wanted them to continuously —when we’d go on post — they’d see Army, so that’s not going to leave their minds — not that it’s ever going to leave

their minds, because his pictures are all over our house and I constantly talk about him.” The couple’s children are Tyler Callahan, who is now 25 and lives in Pennsylvania; Devin Callahan, 19, who is in college; and twins Brady and Brooke, both 17. “He loved life and he was such a good man a good father, a good husband, the best ever in the world,” Dody Callahan said. “Ask any of the soldiers — anyone that went to war with him or trained with him — he was legit. His values and his morals, it was straight to the point. He took care of his guys. He took care of his own. And just overall, he was a good one. I miss him so much.” We thank The Fayetteville Observer for reprint permission.



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Industry Snapshot Survey Updated

The Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) and I-CAR have collaborated to provide an updated executive summary of the Snapshot of the Collision Repair Industry survey, which is now available for download. The survey provides data on both the business environment and the technician workforce. “The research clearly shows the collision repair industry’s need to build its workforce development efforts,” said Jeanne Silver, from CARSTAR Mundelein who serves as chair of the CREF Board of Trustees. “The Snapshot Survey of the Collision Industry results provides a detailed view of the challenges facing the collision industry’s workforce and clearly identifies opportunities available to people in the industry.” The updated Snapshot of the Collision Repair Industry survey is available for download from the CREF’s web site or via I-CAR’s web site. Industry members with questions about the survey should contact Director of Development, Brandon Eckenrode at (312) 231-0258.

Blaze Damages Body Shop on Racetrack Road in Fort Walton Beach, FL

scene. The shop’s crew was working inside when the fire ignited, but they were able to escape without any injuries.

by Staff, Northwest Florida Daily News

Firefighters with the Ocean CityWright Fire Control District extinguished a structure fire on Racetrack Road in Fort Walton Beach, FL, within ten minutes on Thursday, Aug. 8. Matt Elkins of Fort Walton Beach happened to be at Maaco Collision & Auto Painting when the fire occurred and took these photos. Credit: Matt Elkins, Contributed Photo

Credit: Matt Elkins, Contributed Photo

Ocean-City-Wright firefighters extinguished the blaze within ten minutes. Credit: Ocean City-Wright Fire Control District, Contributed Photo

According to Ocean City-Wright spokeswoman Capt. Jennifer Arne, the fire was reported about 2:15 p.m. at Maaco Collision & Auto Painting at 24 Racetrack Road N.E. Firefighters arrived within two minutes and quickly doused the blaze. Deputies with the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office were also on

Credit: Matt Elkins, Contributed Photo

Arne said that the cause of the fire was ruled “accidental and undetermined.” The shop’s paint booth and exhaust system sustained damage, she said. We thank Northwest Florida Daily News for reprint permission.

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Continued from Cover

CIC: Regulators

tendency to ignore that,” Bolerjack said, launching into a fictional conversation to offer an example. “‘Well, gee, you gave them a better deal.’ ‘Well, yeah, because he’s agreed to give me 50 percent of his business in the three-county area, so yes, I gave him a 10 percent discount. Do you agree to that?’ The answer likely will be ‘We just like the lower price. That’s what we’re interested in.’” Darrell Amberson, a collision repairer who chairs the CIC committee, said that’s the case with some MFNs in the collision industry. They may require that a shop give a particular insurer all of the lowest rates or biggest discounts the shop offers any other insurer on parts or labor, even if the shop offers no more than any one of those price-breaks to any other single insurer.

Attorney Stephen Bolerjack said government regulations interest in most-favored nation clauses used by Amazon might offer collision repairers a window to address similar provisions in direct repair program contracts. Credit: John Yoswick

Amberson works for a regional multi-location collision repair business, and said even if just one of its locations belongs to an insurer’s DRP, all of its locations must give any discounts that one store offers to that DRP to other insurers who use an MFN. Does he view MFNs as an important industry issue? It might not be up there with issues like OEM repair procedures, Amberson said, but MFNs can have a significant impact on a collision repair business. In the past, he said, it might take a shop two or three months to get all insurers on board with a labor rate increase. “If you’ve got an MFN clause in a DRP contract, you can’t ask that in28

surer for the higher labor rate until you get the very last insurer that you interact with to move up,” Amberson said, even if the insurer with the MFN would be willing to pay the higher labor rate. “It slows the whole process down and hurts your income.” MFNs in the health insurance market was in the news back in 2010. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Michigan’s Attorney General sued Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan alleging that the “most favored nation” clauses of the insurer’s contract with hospitals are anti-competitive. The U.S. Department of Justice had brought the lawsuit against the health insurer, saying MFN clauses raise hospital prices, discourage discounting and prevent other insurers from entering the marketplace. It said that some Blue Cross clauses required Michigan hospitals to charge the insurer’s competitors up to 40 percent more for services. “This cannot be allowed in Michigan, and let me be clear: We will challenge similar anti-competitive behavior anywhere else in the United States,” said Christine Varney, the U.S. assistant attorney general’s office antitrust chief at the time. The Department of Justice later dropped the suit when Michigan passed a new law prohibiting “mostfavored nation” clauses in health insurer preferred provider contracts in that state. A similar law was enacted in North Carolina. The Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) held a joint workshop in 2012 that many saw as an indication that antitrust regulators have “a reinvigorated focus on most-favored-nation (MFN) clauses.” “Although, at times, employed for benign purposes, MFNs can, under certain circumstances, present competitive concerns,” the two agencies noted prior to the workshop. “This is because they may, especially when used by a dominant buyer, raise other buyers’ costs or (prevent) would-be competitors from accessing the market. Additionally, MFNs can facilitate collusion and stabilize coordinated pricing among sellers.” At CIC in Indiana in late July, attorney Bolerjack said antitrust regulators tend to take particular interest


in MFNs when a buyer imposing them has a significant market share (30 percent or more). Still, he said, the interest shown by regulators in MFNs used by tech giants like Ama-

CIC Chairman Jeff Peevy said his strong belief that education can bring solutions to industry challenges, drives his leadership of CIC. Credit: John Yoswick

zon might offer an opening for collision repairers. “It may be a time when you have an opportunity … with the feds or it might be a good time to go to your state legislatures,” he said. “These have been outlawed in certain states.” Given that an informal survey of the approximately 350 attendees at CIC in Indianapolis indicated they were first-time attendees to the quarterly conference, CIC Chairman Jeff

Peevy started the two-day meeting by reiterating three of his personal core beliefs he feels are relevant in his role of leading CIC. “One is respectfulness or professionalism,” Peevy said. “I believe that being disrespectful to one another is counter-productive to our goal. So, as tempting as it may be at times to take a shot at an individual, at a role or at a segment within our industry, it will not be tolerated because it’s counterproductive.” His second core belief results in a bias toward learning and education, he said. “I believe that education provides the solution and solves most of our challenges on any topic,” he said. The third belief is actually the most important, he said, and that’s always putting passenger safety first. “Those families who ride in eh cars that our industry repairs should be at the forefront of our thoughts,” Peevy said. “In fact, there is an empty chair sitting on the stage to help remind us that those individuals are not here and able to speak for themselves.”

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Solving the Tech Shortage: In-Prison Automotive Programs Provide Education & Training for Potential Hires by Stacey Phillips

Terrance Jones didn’t have any automotive experience when he entered Washington State Penitentiary, let alone a skill or trade. He learned about the educational programs offered by Walla Walla Community College at a minimumsecurity unit of the correctional facility and decided to enroll in auto body repair. During the one-year certificate program held on the facility grounds, he learned how to disassemble and reassemble vehicles, do bodywork and paint vehicles for the local community who brought in their cars for repair. “I loved it,” said Jones. “A lot of these guys, including myself, when we go in, don’t have any experience in any type of field let alone being able to hold down a decent job. The

instructor, Lee Brickey, have been crucial to his success. “He is that guy who actually cares about what happens to the gentlemen who come through this program,” said Jones. As a result, he has been able to move up the ranks quickly at H & I Automotive. “I’m one of their lead technicians and ‘go to’ guy, which feels good,” he added. Jones said the experiences students have in the auto body program give them hope that they can work rather than return to their previous lives. “I know countless guys who I knew when I was inside prison who have gone back already and there’s only a handful of us who are still out and doing well,” said Jones. “It was really based on the skills and trades we learned while in prison.”

upon release,” according to the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. “Offenders who are provided opportunities to gain job skills are much more likely to be successful in the community upon release and educated offenders are statistically less likely to commit additional crimes.” To help reverse this trend, inprison educational programs are offered by community and technical colleges around the country. The goal is to educate incarcerated individuals so they can re-enter society and be able to work and contribute. Walla Walla Community College in Walla Walla, WA, is one of these. The college has established an inprison auto body and diesel mechanic program at Washington State Penitentiary and an automotive mechanics program at Coyote Ridge Corrections Center. Washington State Penitentiary Hired through Walla Walla Commu-

nity College, Brickey has worked as the auto body instructor for Washington State Penitentiary for the last decade. Prior to that, he instructed at Columbia Basin College for five years and has worked in collision repair facilities for more than 20 years. On a typical day, Brickey’s students spend about six hours a day, five days a week, at the body shop, which was set up at the minimum-security unit of the facility by the college and Department of Corrections. Teaching up to 18 students at a time, Brickey teaches them how to repair vehicles for the surrounding community following the same curriculum that is taught on the college campus. Students have the option of participating in a nine-month program or working toward an associates degree. Upon graduating, they receive a certificate from the community college. If they have done well in the class and haven’t been released from the correctional facility yet, they are invited to work as TAs and are paid

We’ve Got the Genuine Chevrolet Parts Need! rolett Pa artts You u Ne There are currently 18 students and six teaching assistants (TAs) who take part in the program at Coyote Ridge. Credit: Walla Walla Community College program at Coyote Ridge Correction Center

fact that when I got out I was going to have a trade skill under my belt and I could get a decent job when I first got out was really exciting.” Once Jones earned his auto body certificate from the college, he became a teaching assistant (TA) for the next year and a half before being released from prison in 2016. As part of Washington Department of Corrections’ work release program, Jones was placed at a Maaco facility where he worked for a short time before being hired at H & I Automotive in downtown Seattle. He said the skills he learned in the community college in-prison program from his 30

He encourages body shops to be patient with new technicians who might have gone through a similar program and “not to give up on these guys.” “You might have to sift through a few bad apples before you find a good one but don’t give up because we are out there,” said Jones. Studies have repeatedly shown that increasing education initiatives in prison lead to lower recidivism rates. “Most of the men and women entering correctional facilities lack the literacy and employment skills needed to succeed in our communities



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for helping with grades and student questions. “For anyone who has completed one of the programs, we’ve found that the rates of reoffending go way down,” he said. Brickey recalls one of his students who was 21 years old and had a challenging time working with others. The collision repair instructor gave him a project to focus on—painting a bright red sports car. When the vehicle was unmasked and pushed out of the paint booth, Brickey said it looked impressive. “Everyone was standing around and said it looked really nice,” he recalled. “I talked to him later and he said it was the first time in his whole life that anybody gave him a compliment about anything he had accomplished.” Personal experiences like these are gratifying for Brickey who always had an interest in the automotive trade. When Walla Walla Community College approached him about teaching, he decided it would be a good fit. “I like making a difference in people’s lives,” he said. “It’s amazing sometimes and it’s frustrating some-

times because you find out these guys get into trouble and it’s not going to turn out perfect for all of them, but there are ones that it does.” With baby boomers retiring and not enough workers to fill their positions, Brickey said vocational train-

skilled people we have,” he said. His advice to body shops looking for employees is to give inmates a chance. Coyote Ridge Correction Center Over the past two years, Douglas

An in-prison automotive mechanic program was set up at Coyote Ridge Correction Center by Walla Walla Community College. Credit: Walla Walla Community College program at Coyote Ridge Correction Center

ing in state correctional facilities will help address the gap. “It’s amazing the shortage of

Leclair has taught an automotive services program at Coyote Ridge. Similar to the Washington State Penitentiary

program, a full-service auto repair shop was established by Walla Walla Community College about a decade ago on the prison grounds where students work on vehicles throughout the week. He currently has 18 students and six teaching assistants (TAs) who take part in the program. At Coyote Ridge, the main focus is on mechanical repair. “Many cars require major assembly removal in order to do the repairs,” said Leclair, who has worked in the automotive field since 1992. “We’re finding in the body shop industry the big body shops will have a mechanic; they have to.” Leclair helps them learn to think critically to diagnose problems and work on soft skills, which he has found to be essential to prepare them to work when they are released from prison. “What made Southwest Airlines so successful is that they don’t hire people with the skillset, they hire people with the right attitude and teach them the necessary skills,” he observed. “We call it ‘men teaching men.’ In the prison system, it’s really

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hard for an inmate to tell another inmate what to do, but I think we’ve overcome that in our little area of the world. My TAs are well-respected by the other guys.” By state law, most inmates receive $40 and a bus pass when they are released. Leclair hopes that by teaching them a trade, they can make a living wage when they are released. “A lot of these guys have been incarcerated at a young age and don’t have a skillset or a trade,” said Leclair. “If they leave here with a trade, then they don’t have to resort to activities that are less than desirable. If we give them a skill, they make great employees.” An advisory committee is set up where the automotive instructors regularly meet with the industry as part of the curriculum development to find out what types of positions they are searching for. Last year, one of the inmates who took part in the automotive program was released from prison and hired as a foreman at a Ford dealership in Arizona. Another, who had served 17 years, was hired to work as a mechanic in Yakima, WA.

“He took the skills he learned in the program and within three weeks, he was promoted to be the main mechanic in the facility,” said Leclair. For those questioning whether or not to hire a former inmate, Leclair said if they are given a skill, studies have shown they make great employees. “I had a teacher in high school who took a chance on me,” he recalled. “The guys in here, on average, are good, solid people and they made a mistake.” He also recommends paying new technicians fairly, even those with little to no experience. Through his experience managing a car dealership, Leclair found that offering a competitive wage up front and training individuals from the onset most often led to success; he encourages body shops to do the same. Clayton Long recently completed the automotive mechanics’ program at Coyote Ridge. “I had no prior automotive experience outside of knowing how to drive a vehicle,” said Long. “With that in mind, I knew I had an uphill battle on my hands.”

He said the course curriculum was a system-by-system approach, which made understanding the material much easier. “I soon realized that we weren’t expected to know everything, as this field is constantly evolving,” said Long. “I had to learn that learning never stops; I have to adapt to technology constantly changing and I have to work hard and remain dedicated in order to be successful in my trade.” When Long is released, he said his educational certificate will help get him through the door and into the interview process. “The personal growth that I have achieved is what will get me the job I want,” said Long. “Once I get through the door, I want to do everything—especially the work that nobody wants to do.” Samuel Laur was also one of Leclair’s students at Coyote Ridge who completed the automotive program. “The program has given me hope that I’ll be able to get out and get a good job with a wage that will allow me to support myself and not come back to prison,” said Laur.

Garmat Builds Upon CARSTAR Partnership

At the CARSTAR Acceleration 2019 Conference in Chicago, Garmat USA continued its long partnership with CARSTAR, hosting the welcome reception on Tuesday, July 16 for new CARSTAR franchise partners and top independent collision shop owners exploring opportunities with CARSTAR. “We’ve been partners with CARSTAR for many years and are honored to work with so many CARSTAR franchise partners,” said Debbie Teter, director of sales and marketing for Garmat. Themed “Picture Yourself in a Garmat Booth,” the reception featured a photo booth where guests could don paintsuits— along with fun hats, glasses and props—and take snaps in front of the Garmat paint booth backdrop. “We are proud of our many partners like Garmat who support our efforts to welcome new franchise partners to the CARSTAR family,” said Dave Foster, vice president of development for CARSTAR. / SEPTEMBER 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


Too Many Openings & Too Few Techs—A Crisis With No End in Sight by Ed Attanasio

When I interview shop owners or managers all over North America for various articles, they usually end up asking me the same question. “I need a new technician; do you know anybody good?” After an awkward pause they often say, “Someone with a pulse?” From New York City to Los Angeles and everywhere in between, the collision repair industry has too many openings and too few people to fill them. It’s all about supply and demand, and tech schools are enrolling more and more students, but it’s still a matter of “too little, too late.” A recent study conducted by TechForce Foundation quantifies the growing seriousness of the body technician supply shortage. A non-profit organization whose goal is to get more young people interested in careers in auto repair, TechForce has a steep hill to climb as trade schools close or reduce class sizes. The growing gap between postsecondary graduate numbers and job openings in mechanical and collision repair is hitting the panic stage, according to the TechForce Foundation’s Transportation Technician Supply Report. Based on the comprehensive analysis performed by the National Center for Education Statistics with 2011-2016 data, TechForce discovered that the postsecondary supply of new body technicians entering the field has not kept up with the expanding demand. The schools are trying to fill the void, but it is growing at a rapid rate. This shortage has been getting worse for the past 15 years, but hit its alltime low in 2013, as the gap between the supply and the demand has continued to grow every year. New technicians breaking into the industry are filling the growth in new positions, as well as replacing those who retire or exit the profession primarily through retirement. They are distinguished from seasoned body technicians who move between employers but don’t add to the overall trained workforce. It’s like a bad drought that isn’t being helped after some heavy rainfall because the need is increasing and 36

many technicians are reaching the retirement stage. The TechForce report reveals that auto tech postsecondary graduates have been declining in a big way since 2013. The number of postsecondary auto graduates decreased by 1,829 in 2016. There were approximately 38,829 graduates for 2016

when compared to the projected Bureau of Labor Statistics demand for 75,900 new techs. Private-sector colleges have experienced the biggest decline while public two-year institutions (mostly community colleges) have stepped up their efforts and proactively increased their recruitment efforts. So, what can be done to lighten the supply shortage and how long will it take to see some tangible results? Jennifer Maher, CEO/executive director of TechForce, recently said one of the main problems is that the auto tech education system in this country, has stigmatized trade-school education and killing the trades. Prospective students are still holding onto the outdated image of the greasy and sweaty mechanic because parents, instructors and counselors support the theory. Today’s new technicians are compensated well and possess skills that set them up for ongoing success but are burdened by more school debt than their fouryear school counterparts. Maher and her foundation are currently creating programs and supporting more students interested in becoming collision repair technicians. Greg Settle, TechForce’s director of National Initiatives, said that with only a small number of students interested in entering a skilled trade as opposed to seeking a college de-


gree, the competition among all the skilled trades for those graduating students is fierce. Body repair technicians can make a very solid, middle-class income, but not initially. Five-year collision body techs are pulling down great salaries and commissions, but starting wages are among some of the lowest. This heavily influences what young men and women will focus on when considering a career decision. Add to that the fact that entry-level auto techs are expected to take on their first job with their own tools, and it does not make these careers very attractive when compared to other choices, according to Settle. In conclusion, without some form of specifically focused collective action, the transportation industry will continue to suffer from insufficiently financed and seriously fragmented efforts to solve this dilemma, Maher explained. A solution requires pooling

resources and consistent public messaging, she said, in order to change the perceptions about the industry and construct a talent pipeline for tomorrow’s mechanical and collision repair technicians. It’s going to be an enormous undertaking, but unless organizations such as the TechForce Foundation dedicate themselves to solve the root causes of the problems in this industry, the shortage of qualified people will continue to hamstring the industry in many ways. In the 1950s, there was a shortage of engineers in the U.S. In the 1960s, the country didn’t have enough teachers, and in the 2000s, there was a serious need for computer programmers. Those gaps were filled by promoting those careers and getting more young people into the fold. If auto repair programs and tech schools can learn from history and get more people into shops as mechanics and body technicians, one of the industry’s major dilemmas will happily go away, and all of us will benefit as a result.


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Truck Topics with Gary Ledoux

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

Hey Buddy … Got a Millisecond? During the 2nd annual HD Repair Forum event held in Fort Worth, Texas, in March 2019, John Spoto, National Heavy Duty Truck Commercial Fleet manager for the 3M Company gave a fascinating presentation on the effects of a crash and how so much can happen in a very short amount of time. The following is a brief synopsis of that presentation. It is not meant to be scientifically precise, but only meant to give some perspective on what happens during a crash and what must be done to return the vehicle to road-worthiness. To begin with, there are many variables that determine the severity of a crash including:

• The speed of the moving vehicle. Did you know the faster you drive, the greater the impact or striking power of your vehicle? The laws of physics determine that the force of impact increases with the square of the increase in speed. So, if you double the speed of a vehicle, you increase its force of impact four times. • The weight of the moving vehicle. This is especially crucial with trucks. Is the truck traveling empty or loaded? If it is loaded, how much does it weigh and how secure is the load? • What is the nature of the object the truck will come into contact with? Is it completely stationary and immovable, like a reinforced brick or block wall, a bridge abutment, or a large tree? If so, the impact energy of the truck will be pushed back in an equal amount and the truck will sustain the entire force of the crash. If the truck hits something that will move, like a parked vehicle, for instance, the other vehicle will absorb some of the energy. The deceleration of the truck would not be so abrupt and thereby mitigating some of the damage to the truck and occupants. • If truck “A” is going 60 mph and hits truck “B” of equal size and weight in a head-on manner, also going 60 mph, it would be the same as truck “A” hitting an immovable object at 60 38

mph. The identical speeds and mass cancel out each other or, better said, the two objects push back on each other with equal force. But this rarely happens. Chances are if a head-on collision is to occur with a semi-truck, it will more likely be with a car of considerably smaller mass and weight. From a pure physics point of view, this would help mitigate the damage to the truck, but could be catastrophic for the car. • What is the direction of impact? In other words, was it a head-on crash or a glancing blow which could have dissipated much of the crash energy? What isn’t a variable is a law defined by Sir Isaac Newton – the law of inertia. It says an object in motion tends to stay in motion until acted upon by an outside force. Think in terms of the payload being transported by the truck in question. When the tractor hits the brick wall, Newton’s law of an outside force taking over to stop motion takes over to stop the tractor – but his law of inertia says the load and trailer want to keep going! And just think … what is going to take days or maybe weeks to repair, happened in a matter of milliseconds. How long is a millisecond? It is onethousandth of a second – the time it takes a camera flash to go off. A housefly’s wings flap every three milliseconds. Eight milliseconds is equal to 1/125th of a second or a common camera shutter speed. Researchers at MIT determined that the human eye can interpret images exposed for as little as 13 milliseconds. Anything faster goes undetected.

Zero Milliseconds This is the point where the front bumper first makes contact with a barrier or some other object – what you might call the “point of no return.” Using specific materials, parts and fastening protocols, engineers have designed the truck to collapse in a predictable manner to protect the truck’s occupants. This is where all that engineering pays off. And if the truck has been in a prior accident, this will tell if the repair was done in


a safe and complete manner—or not. Five Milliseconds The truck’s body structure is already absorbing and managing crash energy. Each section area within the cab has a specific function in the event of a collision to channel the impact energy around the occupants. Ten Milliseconds The front bumper is fully collapsed and crash forces are being channeled through upper and lower members and body panels. Panels are designed to collapse to a certain point to not only absorb the energy, but to keep the occupants from becoming trapped inside. This is also called “Controlled Deceleration.” Starting in January 1965, Ford Motor Company crashed over 175 cars into a concrete barrier at 30 mph. The reason, to build a vehicle frame and structural parts that

deform in a uniform manner upon impact to absorb the energy and mitigate cabin deformation, thereby saving the car’s occupants. The culmination of this testing would be introduced in all 1968 model Ford cars with what was being called a “Controlled Crush” front end. Other car and truck makers would follow. 15 Milliseconds The engine has been contacted and the subframe is being deformed. Different strengths of metal are used in the truck’s construction to either “break away” or transfer collision energy to other parts of the truck. (Before the days of “Controlled Deceleration” the engine may have penetrated the cab at this point injuring the driver.) 20 Milliseconds The structure forward of the engine is now fully deformed and the crash


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energy is being channeled into the roof rails, rocker and rear portion of the engine subframe. 30 Milliseconds The cab continues to deform. Crushzones crumple and redirect the crash energy around the truck’s occupants. (Crush Zones can be seen as dimples, slots drilled in body parts or different types and thicknesses of metals. Ribs or stamped areas across the width of a part are also called convolutions and designed to aid in a Controlled Deceleration event.) In a repair bulletin, Volvo notes, “The cab frame and body panels form a cage that protects the driver and passenger. The cab exceeds protection safety standards in case of collisions or rollovers. Unlike conventional cab structures, where a load carrying frame supports the outer body panels, both the VN and VHD cab frame and body panels are designed to be part of the load carrying structure.” 40 Milliseconds As the crush zones deform, the crash energy is transferred to the dash, front cowl, floor pan and rockers. At this

point, some sheet metal may have been bent, some kinked. Bent metal, depending on its strength and hardness may be bent back into shape. Kinked metal generally has to be replaced, especially if it is high-strength steel. (Straightening kinked metal could weaken it making it collapse in a subsequent crash.) 50 Milliseconds The engine assembly contacts the dash. The “A” pillar, roof, door pillar, rockers and floor pan carry the balance for the crash load. 67 Milliseconds The truck has reached maximum deformation. The penetration into the occupant area was controlled and limited due to the construction of the truck and materials used. The crash load was directed around and under the truck occupants. But even in the moment, the truck has completely stopped, momentum continues possibly forcing the payload through the back of the cab. 100 Milliseconds Event is complete

Now, the damage estimating and repair process begins. Referring again to a Volvo collision repair bulletin, they specifically point out, “When major body damage occurs, you should replace entire sections instead of changing parts within a section. Replacing an entire section preserves the structural integrity of the cab and generally takes less time.” When reviewing or estimating a crash, the primary point of impact, probably the front of the cab, will no doubt get the most attention as it is the most obvious place to look. However, there could be considerable “Indirect Damage” which could include the frame or any part of the truck as the force of the collision was dissipated through the entire vehicle. This is why it is so important to look over the entire truck, not just the point of impact. Indirect Damage could have occurred on mechanical parts, electrical

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parts, engine brackets, seat brackets, air valves, dashboard and door trim panels just to name a few. Indirect Damage could have also loosened, deformed or separated seam sealer, cavity foams or those parts secured with adhesives. Some repairers may overlook foams and sealants, yet they perform a vital role in the drivability, and performance of the truck as well as driver comfort. Foam and sealants can be used to reduce noise, vibration and harshness in the cab, stiffen the body structure, as well as seal out dust, rainwater or unwanted fumes. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to apply corrosion protection. When making collision repairs, remember to never compromise safety. Return the truck to the driver/owner with the same structural integrity it had prior to the crash because in a subsequent accident … milliseconds still count!

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From the Desk of Mike Anderson with Mike Anderson

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

Check OEM Procedures Before Disconnecting, Reconnecting Batteries The “Who Pays for What?” summer survey looked at how often shops research the OEM procedures related to disconnecting and reconnecting batteries. The results report won’t be tabulated until early this fall, but for now, we can take a look at some of the intricacies of disconnecting and reconnecting batteries when repairing a vehicle. What was once a seemingly easy step has become more complex and time-consuming as vehicle technology has evolved. Disconnecting the battery prior to repairs has become a common requirement. In the past, it was often considered necessary prior to performing any welding on the vehicle; but, many other procedures require disconnecting the battery, such as removing or disconnecting any electrical component.

• On a particular Audi, the automaker’s procedures state that when reconnecting the battery, you must “activate the one-touch up/down function for the power window regulators.” It also requires that you “Check DTC memories of all control modules, and delete the displayed entry “Undervoltage” under the vehicle diagnostic tester.” Most automakers say disconnecting the battery will set diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs). You can’t check for those without doing a post-repair vehicle scan in conjunction with reconnecting the battery. • Do you think reconnecting the battery is only a more complex process on high-end European models? Guess again. The procedure for the 2018 Chevrolet Cruze is seven pages! It notes that you also need to inform the customer that the “start/stop” feature

Automakers may designate wait times for how long after shutting off the ignition switch a technician must wait before disconnecting the battery; for the Nissan Armada, it can vary based on engine type. Credit: Nissan

varies even by engine type. You have to wait four minutes before disconnecting the battery on Armadas with some engine types, and 12 or even 20

minutes on Armadas with other engine types. Some automakers also have designated wait times after the battery has been disconnected before

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800.229.1001 The OEM procedure for reconnecting the battery on the 2019 KIA Stinger includes steps related to the sunroof and auto-up/down power window. Credit: KIA

It’s important to remember that disconnecting and reconnecting the battery is a non-included operation. There is no standard for what procedures are required by the automakers when reconnecting the battery; it varies based on the specific year, make, model and options of the vehicle being repaired. That’s why you MUST research it for every single repair. Let’s look at some examples: 42

on the vehicle “will not be available until the vehicle is allowed to sit for at least three hours undisturbed.” How would you know to do that unless you read the procedures for reconnecting the battery? • Many vehicles have specific wait times after the vehicle is turned off using the ignition before the battery is disconnected. For the 2017 Nissan Armada, for example, the wait time


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you can disconnect certain electrical components. • You also need to check the OEM procedures for what systems need to be initialized or calibrated after the battery is reconnected. Toyota’s procedure for reconnecting the battery on some Camrys, for example, lists five such systems that need to be initialized.

tance of checking the OEM procedures for every job before you do

something as simple as disconnecting or reconnecting a battery. It’s not as

• The OEM procedures also will tell you what type of test drive (or “drive cycle”) is necessary after a battery has been reconnected. Hopefully, these examples alone are enough to convince you of the impor-

The OEM procedures, like this one, for the 2018 Toyota Camry, list the systems that must be initialized or calibrated after reconnecting the battery. Credit: Toyota

Caliber Collects Over $900,000 in Donations More than 85 food banks across 37 states will be able to restock their shelves to ensure at-risk kids do not go hungry this summer thanks to Caliber Collision’s 2019 Rhythm Restoration Food Drive collecting over $900,000 in donations or 5.4 million meals from April through May. Caliber’s 20,000 teammates were

inspired to serve their local communities by raising cash and food donations through fundraising events such as car shows, motorcycle rallies, golf tournaments, dunk tanks and other giving opportunities. “We set a lofty goal of raising five million meals in 2019. Our teammates challenged themselves, our business

simple as the procedure once seemed. And two side notes: Don’t put “R&I battery” on your estimate or invoice if what you are actually doing is just disconnecting and reconnecting one terminal. Doing so could be seen as “work billed but not performed.” Also, have you ever had to buy a battery for a customer because the one in the vehicle died while it was at the shop? If so, avoiding that is another great benefit of performing a pre-repair scan of every vehicle when checking them into your shop. That scan can catch voltage errors that point to a weak battery. You can then inspect the battery, check its date, and maybe sell the customer the new battery they need on ‘day one’ of the repair.


partners, friends in the community and each other by collecting more than 5.4 million meals across more than 1,100 locations,” said Steve Grimshaw, Caliber Collision’s chief executive officer. Over the past eight years, Caliber’s annual food drive has become one of the largest food drives in the U.S.

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Tips for Busy Body Shops with Stacey Phillips

How to Leverage the Certified Repair Model OEM certification programs are increasingly becoming a major topic of discussion among collision repair facilities across the country. Scott Biggs, CEO and chairman of Assured Performance Network, recently shared

The team at Mission Viejo Auto Collision in California, an Assured Performance Network certified shop. (l to r) James Dean, Victor De La Torre, Brad Clark, Todd M. Hesford, Kip Hoover and Frank Elo

how to leverage the certified repair provider model during an Elite Body

Shop Academy webinar. Biggs talked about the specialized business tools, processes and strategies that are crucial to successfully operating as a certified repairer in the changing marketplace. “Nearly 90 percent of automakers in the country have a certification program or a repair network of some kind,” said Biggs. “This has permanently changed the collision repair world.” Many shops are adopting a new business model based on becoming a certified repair provider. Not only are the programs being designed to produce a certified repair, but Biggs said they are also focused on offering customers an exceptional repair experience. Part of this includes creating a repair plan that requires OEM procedures, documents every single repair and enforces quality control throughout the business.

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

Biggs said these components will help the shop achieve and maintain high efficiency and profitability.

tion, which he defined as the process by which goods lose their economic value and are indistinguishable in terms of their uniqueness or brand in Four Contributing Factors to the OEM the eyes of the market. “This means that your product Certification Model Just a decade ago, Biggs said there and what you sell has the same price, was a perfect storm of conditions that look and name,” explained Biggs. In this case, he was referring to body shops having many similarities in the early 2000s, which didn’t allow for them to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Biggs said the second condition that had a significant impact was the negativJoshua Fuller (left) with customer Eric Steinberg at Fuller ity buyers often associated Auto Body in Massachusettts, one of Assured Performance with having a poor collision Network’s certified shops repair experience. “About 62 percent of the time, led to the creation of the compelling if customers had a bad repair, they model that is altering the industry. The first of these is commodiza- would blame it on the car manufac- / SEPTEMBER 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


turer or the car, and they would have the propensity to change brands,” explained Biggs. As a result, car manufacturers were spending excessive amounts of money trying to retain customers. The threat of liability was another condition that Biggs said contributed to the OEM certification model.

Corey Ricketts, a technician at Mission Viejo Auto Collision, using Assured Performance Network’s repair documentation tool to send scan results

“Liability always remains on the repairer or body shop,” explained Biggs. With the advent of advanced safety features in automobiles today, he said functionality is integral to vehicle safety and is critical to the vehicle’s performance to ensure a proper repair. “Even too much paint over a sensor could cause a deathtrap,” he said. The fourth condition that created the perfect storm, according to Biggs, was that the majority of shops didn’t have the necessary equipment and training to repair vehicles properly. “The shops in the industry had no choice,” said Biggs. “They realized they were going to need to retool, retrain and re-engineer. That was a daunting task.” The Formation of Assured Performance Network From his experience working with OEMs and shops across the country as well as sitting on various board of directors of industry associations, Biggs quickly realized something significant needed to be done to help bring about change. He established Assured Performance Network in 2004 to help address what was going on in the industry. 46

The non-profit consumer advocacy organization and certifying entity (501 C6) was created in 2008 to address customer service and quality issues as well as what he referred to as “repair capability.” Within a few years, Assured Performance, the Automotive Service Association (ASA), the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) and the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers (AASP) signed a joint position statement acknowledging that OEM repair procedures are the industry’s repair standards. “This is a milestone that has permanently changed the industry,” said Biggs. “Up until that point, it was never official that those OE procedures were, in fact, the default standard in the industry.” Since then, Assured Performance has focused on certifying “bestin-class” collision repair businesses across the country. The company’s strategic partners include several of the largest auto manufacturers including Nissan, INFINITI, FCA, Hyundai and Kia, and others. Nearly 6,000 shops have been through the five-step Assured Performance auditing process, which includes management review and evaluation, proof of compliance, an onsite inspection and audit, and OEM approval. Biggs said that only the top five-to-ten percent of all businesses qualify.

ments are adopted to raise the repairers’ technical capabilities and meet the industry’s growing demands.

Mission Viejo Auto Collision technician Luis Cisneros reviews print out and confirms and documents weld count and location. Management then reviews and confirms communication and documentation from a mobile device or PC

In this environment, Biggs said a shop’s number one job is to increase the value of its business. “If you took two businesses sideby-side and one is certified and one is not, the one that is certified is worth

more,” he said. Biggs highlighted some of the direct and indirect benefits of OE certification: • Being a unique differentiator and having the credentials to prove it; • Increasing market share through growth; • Gaining a competitive advantage to leverage OEM brands and credentials; • Developing and improving performance based on a certified repair culture; • The ability to attract, hire and train the best employees; and • The opportunity to build customer credibility and satisfaction. Biggs also shared Kaoru Ishikawa’s model of 5M Quality Production Management Principals. He said many car manufacturers have been influenced by the Japanese theorist who referenced five principals: Man, Machine, Material, Method and Measurement. Biggs demonstrated how these principals could be applied to the collision repair industry and the certified repair model. See Certified Repair Model, Page 60


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In Reverse with Gary Ledoux

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

50 Years - A Retrospective Fifty years ago this month, September 1969, I took my first job in the automotive industry. I worked at a family-owned auto parts store, Towers Motor Parts, located in my hometown of Nashua, NH, that also sold automotive refinish paint and related supplies. In the days before PBE Jobbers, many auto parts stores divided shelf space between spark plugs, distributor points and condensers with refinish paint, sandpaper and body filler. Nashua, with a population of 55,000 was served by five auto parts jobbers, one of which was a NAPA store who carried a small amount of RM paint and another independent jobber carried a small amount of Ditzler paint. Neither store actively pursued the collision industry. Our store carried a full line of DuPont refinish products, 3M products and mostly everything a body shop of the time could need or want. Being the most aggressive collision-industry jobber in town, we did a brisk business in supplying body shops within about a tenmile radius. Here is a brief overview,

as I remember it, of the collision repair business, 50 years ago. The Job When I started, my responsibilities included mixing paint, delivering parts as well as paint supplies and eventually, waiting on customers. As a DuPont jobber in 1969, our two main paint products were Dulux enamel and Lucite lacquer. Another paint product, Duco, a nitrocellulose lacquer, which had been developed in the 1930s, was still in use, mostly for use on import or “non-domestic” 48

cars because Lucite had not been developed for those cars yet. Within a year or so, Duco was phased out in favor of Lucite and almost as quickly, Centari acrylic enamel and Imron polyurethane enamel was introduced. Initially, Imron, developed primarily for fleet use was available in only about a dozen colors. Before the days of computers (and even before microfiche) paint mixing formulas were printed on index cards and kept in file drawers similar to book index cards in a library of the time. Lord help you if you spilled paint on an index card and destroyed it. Being the town’s major supplier of mixed paints, some days we were backed up for hours.

The Product Inventory The two largest selling paint products were gallons of Dulux for overall refinishing and pints of Lucite for panel refinishing. Most shops would accept a mixed pint of paint if we didn’t have a “factory package” but most shops preferred the factory packaged paint. At any given time, we might have around 1,600 pints of factory-packaged Lucite in stock. The basic colors, like white or beige or yellow were designated with an “L” after the stock number. All “L” colors were about $1.90 a pint as I recall. Those with an “LH” or “LM” suffix were different shades of red and were about $2.25 for LH and $2.75 for LM colors. We carried a full complement of 3M abrasives in various sheet sizes and configurations as well as 3M Glazing Putty and various adhesives. (I wish I had a nickel for every tube of 8001 3M weather strip adhesive I handled!) Nitro-Stan putty in tubes was a big seller as were Detroit brand tack-rags and Marson Fish Eye Eliminator. We carried a full line of Unican body filler products including SnoBall body filler. SnoBall came four 12pound gallons to a case and it was not unusual to sell a case at a time to some


shops. Unican also had various fiberglass repair products. In 1969, fiberglass was used to repair Corvettes, repair rust holes in cars (more on that later) and repair front cowls on snowmobiles. (Remember, this was NH … snowmobile country.) Besides plastic body filler, we also sold a fair amount of body lead in one-pound bars, 50 bars to a case. To get paint on the car required a spray gun and the most popular guns at the time were DeVilbiss MBC and JGA guns in siphon configuration. Binks and Sharpe guns were later added. The Customers Maybe because I enjoy the collision repair part of the business so much is why I remember many of the people and reconnected with some of them years later in my capacity as the administrator of American Honda’s

ProFirst body shop certification program. Nashua, in 1969, had few large shops including the local Chevrolet dealer, Lincoln-Mercury dealer, Buick dealer and an independent shop run by four owners. But most shops were small, two and three-man operations. As was typical of the time, with the exception of the Chevrolet body shop, all interior shop surfaces were steeped in a fine coating of filler-dust, and offices and non-production spaces were unkempt. In many cases, it was difficult to find a place to set-down whatever I was delivering. Many used car dealers did bodywork to spruce-up the rusted quarters and rocker panels of a car that was otherwise good mechanically. Before factory-applied E-coat, New England winters with salted and sanded roads caused cars to rust quickly and thoroughly. It was not uncommon to

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pull-away the mats or carpet in the footwells of the front seat and find large-gaping rust holes. Not far from our store was a Ziebart dealer who did a land-office business applying their rust-preventive under-coating on new cars. There were two, one-man shops I distinctly remember. One ran a body shop in a bay in his Atlantic (later ARCO) gas station. Working without a spray booth, he came into the store one hot, sticky summer day to pick up some more paint, covered in overspray … stuck to his hair, eyebrows and clothing. Rather than do mechanical work, he thought bodywork was more profitable. The people from Atlantic Richfield thought otherwise and he moved his collision repair business. The other one-man shop was in a small, one-car garage, with a dirt floor, outside of town in a secluded, wooded area. I drove up to the garage to deliver his paint. He greeted me at the garage door with a beer and lit cigar in one hand and spray gun in the other. Today, 50 years later, his garage is gone, he’s gone and that area is fully commercialized with strip malls.

The Technology In 1969, two-stage and three-stage paints were still a ways into the future. The paint was either metallic— or not. Metallic finish was not new in 1969, but some people still had some issues with it, spraying it wet enough to get the flakes to lie down but not so wet that it would run. “Paint effects” as they are known today, was still the realm of car customizers— people who had the time and ingenuity to experiment with multiple coats of clear and color. Two-tone paint jobs on cars were pretty much gone by 1969. However, that concept was still popular with pick-up trucks—the main body being one color and a wide swath of the side and top of the cab being white. Before the days of OSHA and the EPA, few shops had spray booths or if they had one, it was a makeshift affair and not overly effective. Some shops that were short on space even painted cars outside. At Towers, we sold a few steel “repair panels” – sheet metal that was designed to replace rotted-out body sections such as rocker panels or headlight buckets. In 1969, nobody had yet

heard of aftermarket sheet metal, as we know it today. Before computers, all estimates were written by hand—a slow, arduous process. Also around that time, insurance companies made their customers go around and get estimates from three different body shops, then they generally choose the cheapest one. Needless to say, knowing this, many shops didn’t put a lot of effort into writing estimates. In 1969, it was not uncommon to do collision repairs with a full front or rear clip—made possible because cars were so much simpler. One in particular I recall was done at a local shop, a 1968 Plymouth Road Runner built from two “donor” cars, one severely damaged in the rear, the other severely damaged in the front. The car looked great when they were done. But even my non-technical mind wondered how a car capable of that amount of wheel-torque or speed would fare under severe conditions or worse … a subsequent accident.

or Chrysler vehicles with a smattering of VW’s, Volvo’s, Saabs and Renault’s. Body shops just didn’t like to work on “those foreign cars.” They claimed parts were difficult to get, they could never find the paint code and if they did and could get some paint, it was difficult to match. Eventually, DuPont came up with factory packaged Lucite for import cars and mixing formulas became more readily available.

The Fleet In 1969, the majority of cars on America’s roads were domestic—GM, Ford

The Future The automotive industry and especially the collision repair industry changed a lot in 50 years. I consider myself fortunate to have had the chance to enter the industry at that time and place at Towers, and was able to make a pretty good career of it. Now, two years into retirement, I don’t have to actually “do the work” anymore … I get to follow my other passion … and write about it.


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Wilson vs. Safelite Lawsuit Comes to an End Through Court of Appeals by Emmariah Holcomb,

The United States’ Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals three-judge panel ruled to dismiss Dan Wilson’s lawsuit which highlighted employee benefit plan issues at Safelite Group, Inc. (Safelite).

‘This dispute centers on what constitutes an employee pension benefit plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and its resolution determines whether the duties and protections of ERISA apply to the plan at issue. Wilson, the former president and CEO of Safelite, sued Safelite for breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation arising from the company’s alleged mismanagement of its deferred compensation plan for executive employees. Finding that the plan was an employee pension benefit plan under 29 U.S.C. § 1002(2) (A) (ii) and not a bonus plan exempted from ERISA

under 29 C.F.R. § 2510.3-2(c), the district court granted Safelite’s motion for partial summary judgment,’ a portion of the court’s decision reads. The case began in 2016 when Wilson made sued his former employer for breach of contract. Wilson was Safelite’s president and CEO of from 2003 to 2008, according to court documents. In 2005, the company’s board of directors created the Safelite Transaction Incentive Plan (TIP), which ‘provided for substantial bonus payments to its participants—five Safelite executives, including Wilson—if they secured a strategic buyer for the company,’ according to court documents. Things changed for the company in 2006, as it was acquired by Belron. According to court documents, Safelite came up with a solution to combat substantial TIP payments. ‘Realizing that Belron’s acquisition would trigger significant payments under the TIP that could increase participants’ tax obligations, the board adopted the Safelite Group, Inc. nonqualified deferred compensation plan (Safelite Plan),’ a portion of court documents reads.

The plan allowed participants to defer two types of income to avoid certain tax consequences. When the Safelite Plan was implemented, four executive employees that included Wilson, were eligible for it.

According to court documents, the two types of income that could be deferred were compensation and TIP amounts. An employee’s compensation was defined as the base annual salary and any annual or long-term bonuses; meanwhile, the TIP amounts were triggered by Safelite’s sale to Belron in 2006 for $334 million. ‘Wilson properly submitted the forms to become a participant in the

Safelite Plan. Between 2006 and 2013, he elected to defer hundreds of thousands of dollars of compensation each year,’ a portion of the court documents read. Wilson left Safelite in July 2008. His complaint showed he had a total of $9,111,384 in deferred compensation. That year, however, a federal audit showed some of Wilson’s elections failed to comply with a tax statute regulating deferred compensation plans. This resulted in Wilson owing income taxes while also gaining tax penalties, according to the court’s decision. Lower courts sided in Safelite’s favor; however, Wilson appealed. He argued the Safelite plan fell under the bonus plan exemption from ERISA. The Court of Appeals panel unanimously disagreed with Wilson. “Because the Safelite Plan is not designed as a bonus plan and instead distributes deferred amounts of nonbonus income, it is not a plan providing for payments made ‘as bonuses for work performed,” a portion of the opinion reads. We thank for reprint permission.

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VeriFacts Automotive LLC Renews Commitment to CIECA Standards VeriFacts Automotive LLC recently renewed its commitment to CIECA and the CIECA Standards. Founded in 2002 and headquartered in Newport Beach, CA, VeriFacts is an independent third-party provider that verifies and reinforces the implementation of best repair practices within the collision industry. “Our focus is on quality repairs and keeping drivers safe on

the road,” said Farzam Afshar, CEO of VeriFacts. The company offers a wide variety of services and technology solutions to collision repairers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), insurers and other entities in the supply chain. This includes on-the-job technician coaching, equipment and process validation, and repair quality measurement

and assessment solutions. “We joined CIECA because the organization is committed to reduce the cost of electronic commerce and significantly improve efficiency throughout our industry,” said Afshar. Since joining the organization, Afshar has been a CIECA chairman and volunteer. “CIECA standards are important for our industry because any time there is a standard, there are rules of engagement and a direct path for higher innovation,” he said. “This allows all industry participants to leverage data sharing and connectivity, which ultimately benefits the consumer and the entire industry.” For more information about VeriFacts Automotive, visit http://www

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OEM Repair Procedure Legislation Vetoed in New Hampshire New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has vetoed OEM Repair Procedure legislation. ASA, which supports legislation requiring the use of OEM repair procedures, had asked the state’s repairers to contact Sununu in support of New Hampshire’s House Bill 664. HB 664 had called for insurers to reimburse repairers for “all repairs” if a repairer followed OEMrecommended “collision repair procedures, recommendations, or service bulletins, while repairing a vehicle.” In a letter to the committee in support of the bill, ASA Washington, D.C. representative, Bob Redding said OEM repair procedures are “the logical repair processes to be followed.” “The veto of this bill is a disappointment to the automotive repair industry and the motoring public,” Redding said after the governor’s action. “Collision repairers support the use of OEM repair procedure and this issue is not likely to go away any time soon.” A number of states considered OEM repair procedure legislation

in 2019. During the NACE Automechanika show in Atlanta last summer, ASA and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers announced an effort to have OEM repair procedure policy addressed in state legislatures. For 2019, New Hampshire was one of the first states to initiate OEM repair procedure legislation. ASA has emphasized the importance of pre- and post-scans in the collision repair process. This ensures that after a collision, vehicles are returned to the owner with optimal functionality. ASA advances professionalism and excellence in the automotive repair industry through education, representation and member services. To take advantage of the many benefits of membership in ASA, please visit or call (817) 5142901. Access our new mobile app by downloading on iPhone and Android devices. For additional information about ASA, including past news releases, go to or visit ASA’s legislative website at Taking

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Hyundai and Kia Airbag Lawsuit Says Airbag Control Units Fail by David A. Wood,

A Hyundai and Kia airbag lawsuit alleges both automakers, in addition to parts manufacturer ZF TRW, are guilty of installing defective airbag control units in these models.

• 2012-2016 Kia Optima Hybrid • 2013 Kia Forte • 2013 Kia Forte Koup • 2013-2019 Kia Optima • 2013-2019 Hyundai Sonata • 2013-2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid • 2014 Kia Sedona

According to the plaintiff, the airbag problem is especially dangerous because it occurs only when a crash occurs, the very time an airbag is necessary. The allegedly defective component is the integrated circuit of the airbag control unit that can suffer from electrical overstress.

The problem of overstress is allegedly caused by the electrical signals from the airbag sensors which prevent the airbags from deploying. The proposed class-action lawsuit also alleges the seat belt pretensioners will fail at the same time the airbags fail. Hyundai and Kia allegedly knew about the airbag problems for years before finally letting customers know. The plaintiff claims ZF TRW and both automakers investigated airbag failures between 2011 and 2015 but waited until 2015 to inform the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Hyundai and Kia also allegedly downplayed the serious defects even when vehicles were finally recalled in 2018. According to NHTSA, airbag failures killed four people and injured six by March 2018 when federal safety regulators opened an investigation into failures in 2011 Hyundai Sonatas and 2012-2013 Kia Fortes. Tennessee plaintiff Jennifer Johnson owns a 2014 Hyundai Sonata she purchased in July 2015 from a Kia dealership. Although she doesn’t claim the vehicle has suffered airbag prob-

lems, Johnson says if she would have known about the airbag control units she wouldn’t have purchased the Sonata.

The plaintiff says Hyundai and Kia vehicles are worth less than they should be because of the airbag control unit problems and allegedly none of the vehicles were fit for ordinary use by consumers when the vehicles were sold. In addition, Hyundai and Kia continued to profit from selling the vehicles by concealing the true nature of the problems. By claiming the automakers

knew of airbag problems, the plaintiff points to an incident in August 2011 when a Kia Forte airbag failed in a Chinese crash. An investigation conducted with ZF-TRW allegedly showed the airbag control unit told the airbags not to deploy. Then in February 2012, Hyundai learned of a crash of a 2011 Hyundai Sonata with airbags that failed to deploy. ZF-TRW allegedly determined the airbag control unit had been damaged by an electrical overstress condition. Both Hyundai and Kia issued recalls due to airbag control units that were susceptible to electrical overstress that occurred during crash impacts. But the lawsuit alleges Hyundai and Kia failed to recall all the affected vehicles, making owners believe similar vehicles were safe. The Hyundai and Kia airbag lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Southern Division - Johnson, et al., v. Hyundai Motor America, Inc., et al. The plaintiff is represented by Keller Rohrback. We thank for reprint permission.



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Ford, Volkswagen in Partnership Towards Autonomous and Electric Vehicles ing costs. On the same forward-thinking A joint venture between Ford and note, VW is going to invest $2.6 bilVolkswagen (VW) was announced lion into Argo AI, Ford’s self-driving on Friday, July 12. The two well- car venture and Ford plans on buildknown automotive companies will ing an electric car from VW’s MEB be collaborating on their autonomous electric vehicle platform. Herbert Diess, VW’s chief executive, said: “Our global alliance is beginning to demonstrate even greater promise and we are continuing to look at other areas on which we might collaborate.” Ford is looking to build over 600,000 electric vehicles by using VW’s parts, Ford and VW Collaboration. Credit: Volkswagen Group, which will eventually bring Twitter manufacturing costs down and electric vehicles and technolo- for both companies. According to Citi analysts, the gies considered critical for the future collaboration is “transformational” of the industry. Billions of dollars’ worth in in- for both companies. Even though the companies will vestments will call for intellectual property and hardware, among the be working closely together and sections of the two auto companies, crossing manufacturing paths regularly moving forward, the alliance to be shared moving forward. What technologies will the com- will not require cross-ownership. By working closely together, panies be exchanging? The joint venture aims to cut and sharing a pool of knowledge and down developing and manufactur- industry innovation, the auto compaby Fabienne Lang, Interesting Engineering

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2019 Ford F-150 Raptor. Credit: YOURCAR via Youtube

As Diess said, “In such a competitive environment, it just makes sense to share investments, pool innovation capabilities and create scale effects that are clearly defined.” If we already take a look at what the automakers combined built in 2018 alone, they produced 18 million vehicles, approximately 20 percent of the global new-vehicle market. Imagine what they will create moving forward by working together. We thank Interesting Engineering for reprint permission. GEORGIA

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AAPEXedu to Address Aftermarket Trends

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Ford Warns Elon Musk That Tesla is Competing With the ‘Ultimate Disruptor’

Ford CEO Jim Hackett admits that the future of the automobile will be electric. Amidst this transition, the CEO noted that there will be disruptors that are bound to emerge. Yet, despite the arrival of these competitors, Hackett believes Ford will ultimately have what it takes to maintain its place in the auto industry. Poppy Harlow of CNN Business, who was interviewing the Ford CEO, mentioned how Tesla CEO Elon Musk remarked that the Detroit-based veteran carmaker will likely not make in the next recession. Responding to the interviewer, Hackett candidly noted while he respects Musk as a competitor, Tesla will be facing a great challenge in Ford because the automaker is a disruptor itself. “There’s a disruptor coming. I happen to compete with a rocket scientist who’s really smart, and I respect that about him. And yet, he’s competing with the ultimate disruptor in Henry Ford. When you go seven miles from here and you see the Rouge Complex, Henry bet the company, he goes bankrupt because there’s no industrial model in the world that has 100,000 people workContinued from Page 46

Certified Repair Model

eration. The automaker already sells more electric cars than any other car company on the market, but production-wise, Tesla’s factories are yet to achieve the same unanimous recognition as Henry Ford’s River Rouge facility. This, according to Hackett, is where Ford has a distinct advantage over Tesla. Thus, the CEO noted that he is not too worried about competition from the Silicon Valley-based electric car maker. “So let’s go back to the challenges of the disruptor. How well does their pro2019 Ford F-150 Raptor. Credit: YOURCAR via Youtube duction system work? How Hackett’s statements harken fast were they building cars? Which back to what could very well be the is saying that fitness, as we were saymost disruptive era of Ford’s history. ing, is a compendium of things that Led by Henry Ford, the company you have to get right. It’s not just the opened its River Rouge factory in technology in this case. You have to 1917, and it revolutionized the pro- have an industrial model. Ford’s reduction of automobiles to such a de- ally good at this,” Hackett said. Apart from his statements about gree that Henri Citroën, Louis Renault and Kiichiro Toyoda, the the competition rising from compafounder of Toyota, all visited the nies like Tesla, the Ford CEO stated that the Detroit-based automaker is plant to study how Ford operated it. Tesla, for its part, has exhibited fully committed to the transportation great growth over its 16 years of op- industry’s shift to autonomous vehiing in it. That one did, and [it] took 12 hours to build a vehicle before [Henry Ford] built it. It went down to 52 minutes. Today, we build an F-150 every 53 seconds,” Hackett stated.


Material: Were OEM-approved parts and paint materials utilized?

Method: Were OEM repair procedures followed? Measurement: Were the vehicle codes scanned and the actual repair documented to provide irrefutable proof the vehicle was repaired properly and is fully functional and safe?

“When you can provide all of that with proof and it can be upheld in court, you can provide a certified repair, which is the ultimate goal for your customer,” said Biggs.



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Man: Was the technician properly trained to repair the vehicle?

Machine: Was the shop that repaired the vehicle certified with the proper tools, equipment and facilities?

cles. Hackett said he expects Ford to have fully autonomous cars ready by 2021, which will be ready for realworld testing without human drivers. Similar to Musk’s statements, the Ford CEO mentioned that the company’s self-driving initiatives will largely be dependent on regulators. For now, and with upcoming vehicles such as the Tesla Pickup Truck preparing to enter its most profitable segment, Ford is keeping busy by establishing strategic partnerships. Among these involve electric truck startup Rivian, which received a $500 million investment from Ford, and Volkswagen, whose partnership will allow the companies to come up with two new electric vehicles for the European market. Ford has also invested $1 billion in Argo, a company that develops autonomous driving technology.





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AutoNation Names Cheryl Miller CEO, President

AutoNation, Inc., America’s largest automotive retailer, announced on July 22 that Cheryl Miller, AutoNation’s chief financial officer, has been appointed chief executive officer and president, replacing Carl Liebert. Miller is the first female CEO of a publicly-traded automotive retailer. “On behalf of AutoNation, I would like to thank Carl for his service, including the passion and enthusiasm he brought to the company. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors,” said Mike Jackson, AutoNation’s executive chairman. Jackson went on to say, “Cheryl has extensive knowledge of automotive retail, having been with AutoNation since 2009 and served as CFO since 2014. In addition, her broader career, including at JM Family Enterprises and Alamo/National Car Rental brands, will bring outside, industry-leading, automotive experience to the role, as AutoNation continues to build its core business and brand extension strategy.”

Hyundai Kona Electric Explodes, Blows Hole in Garage: Cause Unknown by Gustavo Henrique Ruffo, InsideEVs

Lithium has offered us the most efficient battery until now, but it is also very flammable. This is why any fire situation with a huge lithium-ion battery may be very difficult to extinguish. The newest such case comes from Canada. More specifically from Île-Bizard, Montreal. And it involves a vehicle that had not presented any similar problem until now, the Hyundai Kona Electric.

Louise Desrosiers, a Division Chief from the Montreal Fire Department, said they found no other possible cause to the fire apart from the Hyundai Kona. Credit: RadioCanada/Mathieu Daniel Wagner

Piero Cosentino bought his last March. On July 26, he was about to have lunch when he heard an explosion and the fire alarm went off. Thick black smoke was coming

from the door that leads to his garage. “As soon as I saw that, I immediately turned off the breaker,” he told CBC. “My first instinct was to go out and run outside so I did not have to open doors and feed the fire.” Cosentino then started to fight the fire with the help of a garden hose while he waited for the firefighters. It was only there Cosentino could see the extent of the damage. The explosion set his garage door to the other side of the street. Part of the roof of the garage went down. Around 30 men managed to put out the fire. Louise Desrosiers, a Division Chief from the Montreal Fire Department, said they found no other possible cause to the fire apart from the Hyundai Kona. “It was a fully electric vehicle, and there was nothing around that could have caused the explosion. We will be following up [...] closely with the owner to understand the problem in anticipation of other cases,” she told Radio Canada, which also took the pictures in this article. The story gets even weirder. Cosentino claims his Kona was not

charging. And that is was not even connected to a socket. We will have to wait for the investigation to determine what caused the accident. Probably a little more

Piero Cosentino bought his Hyundai Kona Electric last March. On July 26, he was about to have lunch when he heard an explosion and the fire alarm went off. Thick black smoke was coming from the door that leads to his garage. Credit: RadioCanada/Mathieu Daniel Wagner

than Cosentino and a neighbor will take to get back into their homes, which possibly had their structures affected due to the fire and the explosion. They will only be allowed to return when a structural analysis is concluded. We thank InsideEVs for reprint permission.

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