Polar Vortex Continues to Plague Southern States in Late January and Early February by Chasidy Rae Sisk
As predicted, the polar vortex that wrought havoc at the beginning of the year strengthened and continued moving southward in late January, resulting in more unusually low temperatures and icy winds. This winter storm system impacted most of the country with 34 states being under some sort of winter weather warning or advisory during the last week of the month. While residents in the northern states are more accustomed to harsh winter precipitation, areas in the south were left floundering at the unusual
phenomenon of snow and ice that poured down in states that generally enjoy much milder winters. This ab-
normal weather system raised a lot of concern and caused significant damage in many southern metropolitan areas, particularly in Atlanta, GA, and See Polar Vortex Continues, Page 30
Axalta Racing Paint Scheme Wows Fans in Charlotte, NC, Fans Treated to Brilliant Flames for Charity
SS race car, driven by fourtime NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, last week at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, NC. When the cover was removed, there were gasps, claps and even an “awesome” could be heard from the crowd. Motorsports announcer, Winston Kelley moderated a panel discussion comprised of Rick Hendrick, Jeff Gordon, and Nigel Budden pictured race car driver Jeff Gordon; with No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet SS VP Axalta Coating Systems Axalta Coating Systems officially unand Head of North American Business veiled the 2014 Brilliant Flames paint Nigel Budden; and Hendrick Motorscheme on the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet See Axalta Racing, Page 17
VOL. 5 ISSUE 1 MARCH 2014
Perry, FL, Dealership Shot Up by Long-Term Employee, Sheriff’s Deputy Still in Serious Condition
Earl Edward Clauge, Jr., 51, an employee of Timberland Ford in Perry, FL, crashed a vehicle into the front of the dealership, exited the vehicle, and began shooting, at about 10:30 AM Wednesday, February 5. Taylor County Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Lundy was in the dealership having his car serviced when Clauge smashed through the glass in his black Nissan truck. On Wednesday, Clague had called in sick, but showed up a short time later, when he crashed through the front window with his truck and opened fire. An employee of the store ran to get Lundy, who was having his patrol car fixed in the service center. Lundy responded by firing his service weapon and Clauge was killed by Lundy’s action, but not before
Clauge hit Lundy with a shotgun blast. Clauge also shot two other employees, said Gretl Plessinger with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Two civilians were shot and are recovering at local hospitals while three additional victims suffered minor injuries. In addition to the Remington 12gauge semi-automatic shotgun he shot Robert Lundy and two other employees with, Clague had another fully loaded pump-action shotgun in his truck as well as a fully loaded rifle. Additional ammo was found on his person and in his truck. FDLE spokeswoman Plesinger said: “The shooter has been confirmed as 51-year-old Earl Edward Clague, Jr. We know that he’s from Taylor County, and he was a current employee of the dealership. We don’t have a motive yet.” See Dealership Shooting, Page 13
Mobile, AL, MSO, Cockrell’s Body Shop, Steps Up to Help the City During Winter Storm Leon “I heard Mobile’s first responders’ overtime budgets were used up [during Winter Storm Leon that blanketed the Southeast],” said Greg Cole, district manager who oversees six of the 15 Cockrell’s Body Shop locations. “I thought, ‘What can we do?’” Cole was well aware of the impact of the storm. Cockrell’s Auto Body saw between 30 and 40 vehicles at their six locations as a direct result of the storm. Local media called other shops and heard similar numbers. Cole said most of the damage has been superficial. “A lot of the cars that have been brought in have just been small bump and dents,” Cole said. “We’ve had a few tow-ins that spun around on the road and had some suspension damage so they couldn’t drive. But most of them are just small bump and dents.” Thankfully, Cole says no one was hurt in any of the vehicle accidents
Greg Cole of Cockrell's Body Shop stands next to Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson in front of one of the shop's 12 locations along the I-65 Service Road. Cole announced the donation of $12,000 toward helping to pay for overtime costs. (Credit John Sharpfirstname.lastname@example.org)
Cockrell’s serviced.“We can fix the bodies on the cars, but we don’t want anybody to get hurt,” Cole said. What Cole realized was being hurt was the budgets for the responders. The city needed help. Cole approached his manager Jody Johnston, with an idea to use some of the company’s savings to help support the city’s overtime budgSee Cockrell’s Helps Out, Page 8
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2 MARCH 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
NATIONAL 100 Lift Inspectors Are Now Auto Lift Institute Certified . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 3M Automotive Expands ‘Hire our Heros’ Campaign Grants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 1Collision Network Adds 2 Stores in WI and MI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 AAA Says Right to Repair Needs to Go Further . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 AAIA and CARE Conclude Voluntary Information Sharing Agreement with OEMs. . . . . . . 44 AASP-MO Hosts Mike Anderson for State of the Industry Report and PartsTrader Meeting. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Aisan Industry Co. Agrees to $6.86M Criminal Fine for Price Fixing . . . . . . . . 44 Alcoa Foundation Awards $60K Aluminum Training Grant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Aluminum-bodied F-150 is Boon to Eurovac and Car-O-Liner . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Aluspot® Deluxe DF-900DX Aluminum Repair Station . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 ASA BOD Elections Continue through End of February . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 ASA Encourages PartsTrader Action at State Level. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Aston Martin Recalls Most Cars Built Since Late 2007 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Attanasio - Get your Brand Out There
Like your favorite caption:
• Future I-CAR instructor. • His first DRP. • Lot of plastic on these new ones.
www.facebook.com/autobodynews • For the tech who takes his work home. • You should see the commode. It’s a floor lift. • This is what happens when you work flat rate. • That’s a wire brush not a toothbrush. Publisher & Editor: Jeremy Hayhurst General Manager: Barbara Davies Contributing Writers: Tom Franklin, Stefan Gesterkamp, John Yoswick, Janet Chaney, Toby Chess, Ed Attanasio, Chasidy Sisk Advertising Sales: Joe Momber, Sean Hartman, Bill Doyle, David Petro (800) 699-8251 Sales Assistant: Louise Tedesco Art Director: Rodolfo Garcia
COLUMNISTS Attanasio - The California Autobody Association (CAA) Charts a Course for Shops in the Golden State. . . . . . . . 36 Franklin - The Sci-Fi Shop of the Future . . 34 Yoswick - I-CAR Offers Update, Committees Detail Plans at Last CIC Meeting. . . . . . 32
by Going Outdoors. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Boyd Group Restructures Paint Supplier Agreement. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Bridgestone Guilty of Price Fixing, To Pay $425 Million Fine . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Business Groups Urge OSHA to Dump Silica Rule . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 CAPA Elects Rod Enlow and Alan Bush to Tech Committee. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Car-O-Liner Added to F-150 Ford Rotunda Program. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Chicago Man Threatens Woman for Keys But is Locked Up . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 CIF Holds Successful Fund Raiser in Palm Springs, CA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Clean Rooms Becoming a Common Sight in Body Shops Nationwide . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Consumer Reports Says Tesla and Subaru Move Up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Couple Sentenced in Glass Embezzling Case . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Dealer Group Sues Hitachi, Panasonic and Mitsubishi in Part Fixing Dispute . . 28 Diamond Standard’s New Reflexxion Website . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Erie, PA, Sees 333 Accidents in 24-hour Span . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Elektron’s Multitool Aluminum Dent Station . 12 Estify is Trying to be the Startup Disrupting the Collision Industry; Many Have Tried, Few Have Succeeded. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 ETI Plans Market Research on Collision Repair Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to be Company’s New Name . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 FinishMaster Acquires Metro Paint Supplies Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Flowmaster Mobile Work Station Easy to Use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Gerber Collision and Glass Opens Three New Centers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Honda Develops Advanced Auto-Braking System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 In-Process Quality Assurance . . . . . . . . . 18 Insurance Companies See a 20% Jump in Claims in IL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Iowa Parts Retailer Invents “It’s a Life Saver” to Alert Neighbors to Trouble Inside the House . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Maryland Reintroduces Insurer Parts Procurement Prohibition Legislation . . . 12 Midwest Auto Body Trade Show is March 20 in Altoona, IA . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 NABC’s Golf Fundraiser at CIC Draws a Sold-Out Crowd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 OEMs to Play a More Significant Role in NACE/CARS 2014 in Detroit. . . . . . . . . 38 Salt Shortage Seen in 44 OH Counties, Morton Blamed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 SCRS Provides Unified Voice for Industry. 42 Tesla Contests Rules in Ohio, Other States: Mixed Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Twitter Says its Users Buy Twice As Many Cars. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Two Killed, Including Owner, in Milford, IN, Shop Fire. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 VeriFacts Has Added Three New Repair Categories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 WIN Offers Support for Women in the Collision Repair Industry . . . . . . . . . . . 28
REGIONAL Axalta Racing Paint Scheme Wows Fans in Charlotte, NC, Fans Treated to Brilliant Flames for Charity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Birmingham, AL, Shop Talks to Local Media, Sees Surge in Estimates, Says Consumers Need Educating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 FL’s Operation ‘Leaky Pipes’ Nets 12 Arrests . 12 Four Firefighters Injured in Body Shop Fire in Greensboro, NC. . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Georgia Sees Unseasonable Business Due to Storms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Knoxville Sees Body Shop Demand Increase After Snowstorm . . . . . . . . . . 10 Limitations On Florida’s PIP Insurance Coverage May Complicate Treating Accident-Related Injuries . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Miss. House Passes Passes Insurance Disclosure Bill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Mobile, AL, MSO, Cockrell’s Body Shop, Steps Up to Help the City During Winter Storm Leon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 North Carolina Auto Insurers Seek No Rate Change. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Perry, FL, Dealership Shot Up by Long-Term Employee, Sheriff’s Deputy Still in Serious Condition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Polar Vortex Continues to Plague Southern States in Late January and Early February . 1 Ray Gunder, Trailblazing Collision Advocate, Continues Speaking at Seminars Nationwide . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
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BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . 39 Cavalier Ford-Lincoln Greenbrier . . 23 Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA). . . . . . . . . . . 21 Chief Automotive. . . . . . . . . . . . 12, 13 Classifieds. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Coggin Deland Honda . . . . . . . . . . 32 Creative Metal Manufacturing. . . . . 10 Crown Automotive Group . . . . . . . . 19 Don Reid Ford. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Ford Wholesale Parts Dealers FL, GA, AL, MS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Franklin Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram. . 4 GM Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . 42 Gray-Daniels Auto Family . . . . . . . . . 5 Gus Machado Ford . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Hendrick BMW/MINI . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Honda-Acura Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25, 26-27 Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers . 34 Jon Hall Chevrolet . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Kernersville Chrysler-DodgeJeep-Ram . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Kia Motors Wholesale Parts Dealers. 35 Landers Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge . . . . 24 Malco. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Mercedes-Benz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Mercedes-Benz Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 MINI Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . 39 Mitchell International. . . . . . . . . . . . 22 MOPAR Wholesale Parts Dealers . . 31 Nalley BMW. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Porsche Wholesale Parts Dealers . 45 PPG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Priority Honda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Reliable Automotive Equipment, Inc. . 9 Safety Regulation Strategies . . . . . 18 SATA Spray Equipment . . . . . . . . . . 8 Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16, 17 Subaru of Gwinnett . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Subaru Wholesale Parts Dealers . . 36 Tameron Hyundai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 UniCure Spraybooths . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Valspar Automotive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
www.autobodynews.com | MARCH 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS 3
Miss. House Passes Passes Insurance Disclosure Bill
Miss. Lawmakers could require insurers to disclose how much they collect in premiums and how much they pay in claims in each ZIP code, under House Bill 753. The bill could spark more debate over how much coastal homeowners are charged to cover against hurricanes, as well as make it clearer what areas private wind insurers are avoiding. The House Insurance Committee passed that bill, as well as House Bill 756, which would regulate when insurers can charge homeowners a hurricane deductible. Both go to the full House for more debate. The disclosure measure, called the “Clarity Act” by its supporters, is modeled after a similar law that was passed in Alabama. There, an initial round of disclosure has shown coastal homeowners have paid far more in premiums than they got back in claims in recent years. “Our suspicions were we were being overcharged on the coast and we got very clear confirmation of that,” said Stan Virden, a Gulf Shores, AL, man who is active in a group called the Homeowners Hurricane Insurance Initiative. Many of those homeowners end up buying policies from the state-sponsored Mississippi Windstorm Underwriting Association.
Georgia Sees Unseasonable Business Due to Storms
Georgia State Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens says Georgians have filed more than an estimated ten million insurance claims due to the winter storms. With those spike in claims, many collision centers also began to see an influx in business as damaged cars have been pouring in. Hunter Bryan, of Maaco Body Shop says the increase has been good, but hectic. “It was pretty chaotic. We had people coming in and out that have been accident related from the ice as well as poor vision from the snow,” said Bryan. Bryan says their business was up by about 30 percent. KN Collision Repair was also among the many body shop’s to see an influx of damaged cars come in. Owner Ken Nicholson says he’s fixed 15 cars since last week and has about ten left to finish. “The average claim was about $4,500,” said Nicholson. Both shops say they expect to receive more claims as multiple calls are still coming in as of this week.
Ray Gunder, Trailblazing Collision Advocate, Continues Speaking at Seminars Nationwide Gunder’s Auto Center owner, Ray Gunder is traveling throughout the country speaking with auto body repair owners about the most pressing issues facing the collision industry. “It is time we take back control of our shops by breaking the control the insurance companies have had over the auto industry for many years.We need to stop seeing the body shop across town as an enemy, but as an ally in the industry,” says Gunder. Gunder has become a guest speaker at many industry seminars and conventions throughout the United States. He recently returned from Michigan and will be speaking again in April in Mississippi at the Southern Automotive Repair Conference on topics such as consumer safety and protection, insurance company steering tactics, bad repairs, insurance company collision repair shops and current law suits filed by consumers against insurance companies for failure to pay for proper repairs. “It is time we take back control of our shops by breaking the control the insurance companies have had over the auto industry for many years. We need to stop seeing the body shop
across town as an enemy, but as an ally in the industry since we are all fighting the same fight,” said owner, Ray Gunder. In addition to his speaking engagements, Gunder and his wife, Deanie, formed the non-profit, One Voice, a group of independent auto body repair shop owners, attorneys, and others connected to the auto collision repair industry in June 2013. The non-profit was formed to bring these leaders together throughout the year to discuss industry issues and work together to change the way insurance companies contract with auto repair centers. Founded in 1969, Gunder’s Auto Center has been serving fellow Lakeland community members and the Central Florida area for over 40 years. The Gunder’s also formed the Auto Angel’s Car Give-a-Way, bringing together many other shops, vendors, and the industry to give Christmas vehicles to the needy. Gunder’s Auto Center is located 930 Griffin Road, Lakeland, FL, 33805. For more information about Gunder’s Auto Center or One Voice, please call 863-688-7897 or visit http://www.gundersauto.net.
4 MARCH 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
CAPA Elects Rod Enlow and Alan Bush to Tech Committee
The Certified Automotive Parts Association announced the election of Rod Enlow of RENlow Auto Technical Consulting, Inc. of San Antonio, TX and Alan Bush of USAA, San Antonio, TX, as chair and vicechair of CAPA’s Technical Committee. CAPA’s Technical Committee is unique in the collision repair industry and is comprised of nationally recognized collision repairers, part distributors, manufacturers, insurers, and quality experts. The Committee reviews, develops, and approves CAPA’s publically available quality standards. The Committee operates on a fully transparent and consensus basis and its crash parts standard development process has been approved by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI). Alan Bush, CAPA’s newly elected Technical Committee vice-chair, has over 28 years of experience in the property and casualty field, 24 of them with USAA. He has served two previous terms with the CAPA Technical Committee and returned to the committee in 2012. Both Rod and Alan are from San Antonio and are avid musicians.
CIF Holds Successful Fund Raiser in Palm Springs, CA
On January, 16, 2014 the Collision Industry Foundation (CIF) held its 4th Annual Gala Fundraiser in Palm Springs California. The foundation hosted a lively cocktail party, complete with Asian Fare hor d'oeurves and delicious cocktails at the renowned Lulu California Bistro. CIF President Bill Shaw addresses the crowd with fellow trustees. About 100 people from the industry attended the event. Attendees were able to participate in a raffle and silent auction featuring many donated items including high-end electronics and an Indy Race Car Package. The gala was very successful and CIF was able to raise an unprecedented $32,000. The major focus of the foundation's support has been the Collision Industry Relief Fund. The fund helps collision repair professionals who have lost their livelihoods from a natural disaster or other catastrophe. This event was the foundation's most successful event yet. Cheryl Boswell, CIF's Treasurer said that, “We could not have done this without the help of those who donated silent auction items and sponsored the event.” See www.collisionindustryfoundation.org.
www.autobodynews.com | MARCH 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS 5
Erie, PA, Sees 333 Accidents in 24-hour Span
1Collision Network Adds 2 Stores in WI and MI
Erie, PA, accident investigators received reports of one car accident every 30 minutes, from Tuesday, Jan. 29 through Wednesday, Jan. 30. As of Thursday morning, 333 accidents were reported to the Erie Police Department so far this winter; that’s 62 more accidents than they saw last January. The increase in accidents is largely due to icy roads and sub-zero temperatures. Prestige Auto Body Shop has seen a big increase of vehicles needing repairs, just in the past week. “We have definitely seen a spike in business, you know, cars getting hit, people sliding into ditches,” said Victor Irizarry of Prestige Auto Body. The number of cars in the lot at Bonnell’s Collision Center has also gone up. Of the 60 vehicles Bonnell’s see’s every week, 60–70% of cars have ice-related damages. “A lot of front-end, rear-end collision, sliding into one another out there,” said Jody Barto, Operating Manager at Bonnell’s. “We’re also seeing a lot of vehicles leaving the roadway often sliding into guard rails and fences. Your average accident is probably you know, $1,500 to $2,000.”
The 1Collision Network, a Midwest chain of independently owned collision repair businesses, has announced the addition of Wilson Collision Centers’ three locations to its family. With this addition, 1Collision now has 19 facilities throughout Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan. The three Wilson Collision Centers are owned by Kevin Wilson, who has been in business for 12 years. “I was impressed with the 1Collision value proposition, with many programs designed to enhance our success and planned business growth,” said Wilson. “I also see great value in affiliating and networking with other high performing, successful business owners.” 1Collision Network President Jim Keller commented, “We are proud to welcome Kevin and his organization as our newest 1Collision partner. I first met Kevin at the MSO Symposium at NACE and knew from our first conversation he was a high quality business owner, serious about his business, in touch with industry trends and was thriving in the marketplace because of his successful qualities. Visiting his businesses verified the commitment Kevin and his staff have to service excellence.”
Insurance Companies See a 20% Jump in Claims in IL
Salt Shortage Seen in 44 OH Counties, Morton Blamed
Todd Liston says he’s fixing double the usual number of cars this year at Auto Body Specialists in Rockford, IL. “Every aspect of vehicle accidents has gone up from sliding off the road, which is definitely there. The snow banks are so high that people are not even able to see around the intersection, sometimes and they pull out and get hit that way,” said Liston. Aside from car accidents, local mechanics say they’re running into another problem, finding enough car parts. State Farm Insurance reports a 20% jump in their car insurance claims from December 2012 to the same time last year. That includes car accidents and roadside assistance from drivers sliding off the road. “We’re seeing a lot more multiple vehicle accidents, a lot more accidents in the ditch and a lot more rollovers.” Gwen Brooks says she’s filing about 3 claims a day, compared to 3 claims weekly last winter. Liston says appointments at his shop are being pushed back about a month, due to so many weather-related accidents. Manufacturers are running low on parts due to so many weather related accidents.
Cars were coming into the LJI Collision Center on Chagrin Road Orange Village, OH, two at a time Feb. 5. “They just keep coming in, the weather and the salt shortage have made it rough for drivers,” says owner Jill Strauss. “This winter has been much worse. Cars are just sliding across the roads and need to get towed in. We are working late nights and weekends to catch up.” The banged up bumpers and off-kilter wheels underscore the slick road conditions that have been worsened this year as 44 counties in Ohio have seen a massive salt shortage due to backlogged salt provider Morton Salt. “We have never had an issue like this in the heart of the winter, and we will plan differently in the future as a result,” says Bill Boag, the head of Shaker Heights Public Works. “I've called the Morton Salt people—and my calls were not returned. As a result of the shortage we have to be stingy and think outside of the box for next year.” Boag says not only will Shaker Heights order more salt and expand storage options, it will not rely on one vendor. “We will never go with one contractor again I would bet,” he said.
6 MARCH 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
Midwest Auto Body Trade Show is March 20 in Altoona, IA
The Iowa Collision Repair Association (ICRA) sponsored Midwest Auto Body Trade Show convenes for its 4th year on March 20 at the Prairie Meadows Event Complex in Altoona, Iowa. Organizers have assembled a wealth of new resources focused on the future of the collision repair industry. In addition to 60+ booths, attendees will get the latest on all the industry’s hot topics from an impressive speaker list—including Iowa State Senator Brad Zaun. Topics include exciting info on the new aluminum Ford F-150 with information fresh from Ford Motor Company along with profit centers, aluminum welding, insurer mandate updates, IT best practices and more. A wealth of training programs & vendor exhibits make this year’s show a must-go for anyone in the industry: 8:30-11:30 am – ICAR’s New Technology for 2014 Makes & Models Instructor Scott Schuerman 12:00- 1:30 pm – “There is No
Free Lunch” Industry Luncheon ($30) Iowa Sen. Brad Zaun and ICRA Lobbyist Scott Weiser: “Update on Insurer Mandates” NuGen IT’s Pete Tagliapietra: “Information Technology & the Future of Collision Repair” 2:00 – 7:00 pm - Trade Show Feat. 60+ Vendor Booths plus free “Training in the Round” Ford’s Video Introduction To Aluminum F-150 Pickup Truck Parts Procurement Training Social Media Training New Revenue Stream – Wire Repair vs. Replacement The Prairie Meadows is offering attendees a special discount on accommodations until March 10th: Mention code 031920141W when booking your reservation. More information about the show is available on the ICRA website. For more information go to: http://www.iowacra.com.
www.autobodynews.com | MARCH 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS 7
Gerber Collision and Glass Opens Three New Centers
The Boyd Group has opened three new repair centers, two of which are located in Arizona and one in Maryland. The new Mesa-Hampton Avenue facility is the fourth location in Mesa, AZ. This repair center is approximately 15,500 square feet. The second facility, in Tempe, AZ, on 3rd Street, is approximately 15,000 sq ft and will be the third location in Tempe. Both locations were previously operated under the Kustom Koachworks name and will now operate under the Gerber Collision & Glass brand. The company offers AGRR services through Gerber’s glass division. Gerber Collision & Glass did not purchase Kustom Koachwork’s Scottsdale, AZ, location. The repair center in Ellicott City, MD, is located in a newly renovated building with one of the largest dealership groups in the market. It will be Boyd Group’s second location in Ellicott City and is approximately 12,500 sq ft. It will operate under the Gerber Collision & Glass brand. “With the addition of three new repair centers, we continue with our growth rate of 6–10 % through single storeadditions,” said Tim O’Day, president and COO of U.S. operations.
Continued from Cover
Cockrell’s Helps Out
ets, which are stretched during natural disasters like the ice storm that paralyzed Mobile for more than 24 hours. The company presented Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson with a $12,000 check—representing 2 percent of the company’s savings during the month of January—and promised two more months of financial support that will be earmarked for overtime expenses. “This is something we’re grateful for,” Stimpson said during a news conference at the Cockrell’s Body Shop at 108 E. I-65 Service Road North. “We have Mobile heading in the right direction financially where we have people stepping up.” The donation comes as the Stimpson administration continues to push for private-public partnerships highlighted with a donation in late December by auto dealer Dean McCrary of DeanMcCrary.com for approximately $11,000 that was used to pay for the fireworks display during MoonPie Over Mobile. McCrary’s donation, which was forwarded to a Events Mobile Inc.—a
8 MARCH 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
non-profit entity that handled the planning of the annual New Year’s Eve event—came after the Stimpson administration decided that taxpayers were only going to fork over $7,500 for the fireworks show instead of the approximately $18,000 cost in years past. “It set a tone for what maybe what other Mobilians can consider doing,” Stimpson said. “There are a lot of things they can consider doing for our city. I hope it begins a movement.” Interim Mobile Fire-Rescue Chief Paul “Randy” Smith said the private support is “definitely” something that can be utilized for a department that is trying to shore up overtime costs. The Fire-Rescue Department spent $250,000 on overtime during the three-day ice storm event. Other departments are also being mindful of overtime costs. Police Chief James Barber, earlier this week, said police patrols will be lighter during afternoon Mardi Gras parades this year in an effort to cut back on overtime during the city’s Carnival season. “We’re happy we have citizens like this and businesses in the city willing to step up,” Smith said. Private-public partnerships help-
ing to pay for public services is nothing new, but the practice has become an increasing trend in the U.S. as city governments struggle with deficits and budget cuts. For Mobile, the push to generate more public-private partnerships comes as the city battles its own budget issues, which includes a $4.4 million deficit for fiscal year 2014. Plans on how to reduce the deficit are likely to be unveiled next week. Those plans are likely to include more ways to reduce overtime and other personnel expenses. Cole said he hopes local businesses support the local government. “Let all Mobile businesses be called to duty to help Mobile’s first responders and join Cockrell’s Body Shop and our worthy cause,” he said. Cockrell's Body Shop was established in 1941 by W. F. "Dick" Cockrell. It was located on Craft Highway in Prichard, Alabama. In 1979, the shop was relocated to Noel Avenue off the I-65 service road. The Cockrell family of body shops now includes shops in the original Mobile location, West Mobile, Daphne, Bay Minette, Foley, and Theodore, Alabama, and Pensacola Florida.
Clean Rooms Becoming a Common Sight in Body Shops Nationwide by Ed Attanasio
If you’re a body shop owner, you’ve heard the news—aluminum is here now and there’s more on the way and we’re not talking about beer cans or cooking foil--we’re talking about cars and trucks and the advent of aluminum in many of our newer vehicles. To adhere to the world’s more stringent fuelefficiency standards, aluminum is an ideal lightweight yet sturdy metal and that’s why more and more car manufacturers are producing and designing vehicles containing aluminum. In the past, only foreign-made, high-end luxury vehicles were using aluminum, but now the domestic auto manufacturers are also joining the party. For example, the new Ford F150 will include 600 pounds of aluminum, replacing approximately 1,000 pounds of steel and pretty soon, experts are claiming that all of the other American carmakers will join the migration to aluminum. Aluminum is not like steel and not every body shop in the country is interested in working with it, because it’s highly heat-sensitive and requires spe-
cial equipment, tools, training and certifications. But, if you want to fix cars made by Mercedes Benz, Audi, Jaguar, etc.—you will have to step up and invest in the equipment that they demand. Aluminum repairs aren’t just something you can get into tomorrow by listing
strictly aluminum work. It’s carefully sectioned off from the rest of the shop via curtains, so that steel and aluminum will never meet. Steel and other types of metal contain elements that contaminate aluminum. Iron oxide flies into the air when technicians grind and sand
Here is an example of what a good clean room setup looks like, courtesy of Reliable Automotive Equipment, the country’s leading provider of clean rooms to the collision industry
them under you’re the Services section of your web site. It takes planning and a substantial investment in both time and equipment but most notably, it will require the installation of a clean room. An aluminum clean room is a quarantined cubicle dedicated to
steel components, which causes corrosion. That leads to adhesion and paint failures. Shops end up replacing those ruined components and eating that part of the repair and damaging the bottom line, especially if it becomes commonplace.
Reliable Automotive Equipment, Inc. in Belford, NJ is one of the country’s leading providers of clean rooms for the collision industry. General Manager Mike Kirchoff has seen the evolution of aluminum in cars, because his company has been on the cutting-edge of this movement since 2003. “We’ve been providing clean rooms and the associated tools and equipment since before most body shops were even thinking about aluminum,” Kirchoff said. “At first, we were working with a lot of collision centers associated with dealerships selling mostly Mercedes Benz, Audi, Tesla and Jaguar, but now we’re getting calls from independent shops and small Multiple Shop Organizations (MSO’s) that want to fix these higherend vehicles.” Setting up a clean room with the right equipment and tools is not something you can learn on Wikipedia, according to Kirchoff. “Part of what we offer is our knowledge and experience,” Kirchoff said. “Anyone can construct a room, but do you know how to equip it with the best tools available? We know See Clean Rooms, Page 14
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Four Firefighters Injured in Body Shop Fire in Greensboro, NC Four firefighters out of more than 100 who responded to a 911 call were injured extinguishing a fire at Import Knight Auto Repair at 811 S. Elm St in Greensboro, NC on Jan 31. The fire broke out at the shop about 12:45 p.m. The four were injured soon after the fire started and the roof collapsed, according to fire officials. All but one were released from the hospital that same evening. Smoke from the blaze could be seen billowing miles from the downtown area. Greensboro Fire Department officials said the roof at Import Knight Auto Repair collapsed as firefighters were battling the blaze. The four injured firefighters were taken to local hospitals for treatment. One remains in the hospital as of press time. Forty-seven seconds after the first 911 call came in, dispatchers sent fire trucks to the scene. Within five minutes of that first call, firefighters were at the Import Knights building. Then, a complicated and coordinated communications effort began. Greensboro police had blocked the area surrounding the building and
are re-directing traffic. Motorists were encouraged to use alternate routes. Greensboro Fire Chief Greg Grayson provided an update on the condition of the four firefighters: Capt. Sterling Suddarth was the most seriously injured of the four. He was transported to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in WinstonSalem for treatment of his injuries which are described as non lifethreatening. Firefighter Matthew Clapp is at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro receiving treatment for a non-life threatening injury to one of his legs. Capt. Shane Boswell and firefighter Bryan Bachemin were both treated for minor injuries and released.
Flowmaster Mobile Work Station Easy to Use
The Flowmaster Mobile Work Station is a portable, clean air re-circulating unit that can be used for sanding, priming, spot painting using the 3 oz. rule or even as a whole shop clean air solution. It comes equipped with either 110V for universal applications or 220V. It is the most powerful unit on the market with up to 10,000 cfm and a total overall measurement of 8’4” tall, 4’ wide and 28” deep. A basic unit is finished in galvanized steel with an option of powder coating. The four-stage filtration system is the highest in the industry as well as the most inexpensive to change. There is no assembly required. It’s as easy as rolling into your shop, plugging it in and turning it on. The easy mobility over various terrains is possible with the 8” heavy duty pneumatic air wheels with a locking feature. Other features include a 50’ electrical cord, folding hook and a filter change indicator. The Flow-
Master does not need permits, fire suppression, plumbing or roof penetration. The FlowMaster Mobile Workstation is made in the USA. For more information, see www.creativemetalmfg.com.
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Knoxville Sees Body Shop Demand Increase After Snowstorm Some Knoxville collision shops say they’re already getting more calls for estimates and repairs, after the snowstorms. “People parked on the side of the road, couldn’t get around, people who got ran into,” said technician Scott Grizzell with Joe Neubert’s west Knoxville location. They are getting more calls in one day right now, than what they usually receive in a week —because of the snow. “Could be a little bumper job, could be a busted headlight,” Grizzell said. “Then again, it could be the front end shifted over to one side.” The shop is working doubletime now, as repairmen try to get their work on pre-snow jobs done. They know in a matter of days, they’ll start working on snow and ice-related crash repairs. “The phones will start ringing. Claims will start being made — what we needed to do to reach that process,” said Jeff Neubert. He adds some will wait until after the winter, if the damage is cosmetic. Others may not have that luxury.
“Headlights knocked out, and alignment knocked down, and flat tires, and busted wheels,” Neubert said. “There will be some people with radiators damaged — so there will be some people who’ll have to have repairs done.” He estimates the amount of inquiries on estimates could equal the 2011 hail storm, that left thousands of East Tennessee cars dented and scarred. “North shop, west shop — both locations will be seeing a lot more business than what we seen during the hail storm,” said Neubert. It’s expected to be a long few days ahead for these kind of businesses. “Trying to get the cars out and working overtime and getting the cars pushed out,” repairman Grizzell said.
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FL’s Operation ‘Leaky Pipes’ Nets 12 Arrests
The ongoing insurance fraud investigation known as ‘Operation Leaky Pipes’ has led to the arrests of 12 Miami residents, according to an announcement made by CFO Jeff Atwater. The investigation uncovered a scheme between a licensed public adjuster and a plumber to coach homeowners on how to file fraudulent insurance claims for pre-existing or non-existent water damage. The homeowners filed fraudulent claims in an attempt to claim money for home remodeling. “These 12 individuals tried to cheat the system and now they have to face the consequences,” said Atwater. “The National Insurance Crime Bureau works with its 1,100 member companies and law enforcement to identify, investigate, and deter insurance fraud that impacts the American public,” said NICB Director Dennis Russo. “The NICB values our partnership and working relationship with the Florida Division of Insurance Fraud.” DIF detectives obtained sworn confessions from all 12 named homeowners. They were arrested and transported to the Miami Dade County Jail for processing. Although the homeowners will be charged individually, the scheme in total resulted in a loss of more than $175,000 to insurers.
Maryland Reintroduces Insurer Parts Procurement Prohibition Legislation
Bills introduced in Maryland House and Senate seek to eliminate insurance company mandated procurement processes. Bills also provide for “Genuine” parts for three years after manufacture. Bills prohibiting insurance companies and their employees from specifying specific collision repair parts procurement processes were reintroduced in both the Senate and House of the General Assembly of Maryland this week. Senate Bill 487, sponsored by Senator John C. Astle and its companion House Bill 574, sponsored by Delegate John A. Olszewski, Jr., would prohibit “… a specified adjuster, appraiser, insurance producer, or employee of an insurer from requiring a motor vehicle repair facility to use a specific vendor or process for the procurement of parts or other materials necessary for the repair of a motor vehicle; requiring an insurer that issues or delivers in the State a policy of motor vehicle liability insurance that provides coverage for the repair of physical damage to the insured motor vehicle to authorize specified repairs to be made using genuine crash parts; etc.” Cosponsors of the Senate Bill include Senator David Brinkley, Senator Richard Colburn, Senator Brian Feldman, Senator Katherine Klausmeier, Senator Mathias, Senator Catherine Pugh, Senator Ramirez, Senator Jamin Raskin, and
Elektron’s Multitool Aluminum Dent Station
Elektron’s new MultiTool Aluminum Dent Repair Station is a complete mobile workstation equipped with the tools technicians need to properly repair dents in aluminum sheet metal body panels and hoods. Because ferrous metal can contaminate aluminum and cause corrosion (leading to adhesion issues and
paint failure), best practices for aluminum repair call for dedicated alu-
minum repair areas and equipment. Elektron’s MultiTool Aluminum Dent Repair Station includes a work area as well as space for storing the tools used exclusively on aluminum components. “The new MultiTool Aluminum Dent Repair Station is self-contained and mobile, making it easy to use in shops with dedicated aluminum repair bays as well as those that only work on aluminum occasionally and need something that can be pulled out as necessary,” explains Mike Cranfill, vice president of collision for Vehicle Service Group (VSG), Elektron’s parent company. “Many vehicle hoods are already made out of aluminum and the use of aluminum in vehicles in North America will continue to increase. The Elektron MultiTool Aluminum Dent Repair Station represents an affordable investment in a shop’s future by providing equipment necessary to work on the next generation of cars and trucks.” The fully equipped MultiTool workstation comes complete with the new MultiSpot M22 AL stud welder. This 115V aluminum capacitor discharge welder includes a stud gun and two-clamp grounding cables. A starter kit of aluminum studs and zinc-plated steel eye-bolts is included.
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Senator Norman Stone, Jr. Cosponsors of the House Bill include Delegate Charles Barkley, Delegate Conway, and Delegate Kramer. The bills largely mirror House Bill 1375 that was introduced by Delegate Mark Fisher, a former repairer, during last year’s legislative session in Maryland. In addition to prohibiting insurers from requiring specific procurement processes, the bill also requires insurers to authorize “genuine crash parts” that are defined as OEM, or authorized to carry the name or trademark of the OEM, for a period of three years after the date of manufacture. Last year’s bill required a five year period. Consumers can, however, authorize the use of aftermarket crash parts. Jordan Hendler, According to Executive Director Jordan Hendler, of the Washington executive director Metropolitan Auto of the WMABA, Body Association the association has met with sponsors of the bills and particularly supported what the association believes are the consumer protection aspects of the legislation. “For members of the Washington
Metropolitan Auto Body Association these bills are about protecting consumers,” said Hendler. “Our members are seeing more and more people are opting out of rental coverage, so while any delays caused by insurance company parts procurement processes might not hurt the insurer, consumers will have to spend that money out of their pocket.” The three year period where insurers must authorize OEMs helps consumers and is similar to consumer protection laws in other states. “Several other states have similar laws placing a timing restriction on aftermarket parts,” said Hendler. The association had a lobby day scheduled last week to meet with representatives about this and other legislation. That meeting was postponed until next month due to inclement weather. Details will be release by the association shortly. “Repairers need to get involved with the legislative process,” said Hendler. “They can send a letter to their legislator asking for their support of these consumer-oriented bills. Yes, it does help the repairer in the end, but the reason it matters most is that it protects the interests of the consumer to be made whole after an accident. Without it, they just simply are subject to insurer costcontainment tactics that have no regard for subsequent harm to that consumer.”
Birmingham, AL, Shop Talks to Local Media, Sees Surge in Estimates, Says Consumers Need Educating Ginger Lowrey with Riverchase Collision Repair located near the Galleria in Birmingham, AL, has been busy estimating cars that need repair and re-finishing from the winter gridlock. “We’ve just had a lot of calls, a lot of people come by, many more estimates than we would normally write,” says Lowrey. Lowrey told local news sources that consumers need to be careful where they take their vehicles. “I think any body shop that will offer you a warranty for a long as you own the vehicle is going to be a reputable shop,” said Lowrey. “I think you have to be real careful when you file insurance claims. Often times you will be sent to a preferred shop and they are preferred because they give that insurance company discounts in exchange for volume.” Lowrey says also know what you’re paying for. “You don’t want a lot of junk parts or aftermarket parts, they’re generic and may void warranties on your vehicle,” said Lowrey. “Most people don’t know that aftermarket parts are not crash tested [for warrnty purposes]. So if you buy a 5-star minivan that’s crash-tested, then you
throw aftermarket parts on it, it will not be a 5 star crash rated minivan anymore.” And she advises consumers to get their vehicle to a shop as soon as possible. “If your vehicle is repaired you will not be charged storage fees at a repair facility. You will be charged storage fees if it is towed to a tow lot. I would pick a shop, have a vehicle towed to the shop you want to have it repaired at, and then you will avoid any extra charges,” she said. Lowrey recommends these websites for consumers: www.yourvehicleyourchoice.com www.stopsteering.com www.alarise.com Cars were also lining up at car washes like Blue Rain Express. Staff members at the car wash say they are expecting to see breaking numbers with more than 900 customers in line. Meantime, Birmingham police say they are avoiding towing vehicles still abandoned on city streets after the week’s ice and snow storm, and are giving people a chance to pick up their cars as long as it’s not interfering with traffic.
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Clague had worked for the dealership off and on for the past 15 to 20 years. “While we don’t know his motive, we feel confident that his intent was to shoot and hurt as many people as possible,” said Don Ladner, Florida Department of Law Enforcement special agent. “Deputy Lundy’s actions ended this situation quickly,” Ladner said. Williams said Lundy had a successful surgery Wednesday and was in stable, but critical, condition still. Two other employees were shot as well. They both are in local hospitals. We do believe they will survive, and we think they’re going to be okay. We’re not releasing their identities at this time… [Clague] used a semi-automatic shotgun. We aren’t releasing any further details about the ammunition at this time. It is still a very active investigation… [Lundy] was remarkable. He did everything he should have done. He saved a lot of lives today.” Capt. James Cruse of the Perry Police Department said the two employees who were shot are “recovering at area hospitals at varying stages of recovery.”
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement Tallahassee Regional Operations Center, Perry Police Department and Taylor County Sheriff’s Office are investigating. Timeline: 10:28:31 Deputy Lundy radioed shots were fired. 10:29:17 Deputy Lundy announced he had been shot. 10:29:24 In less than one minute after Deputy Lundy’s announcement of shots fired, officers arrived on scene. 11:10 Deputy Lundy went into surgery. 4:00 p.m. Deputy Lundy was in stable, but critical condition. “The selfless actions of this deputy saved many lives today,” said Taylor County Sheriff L.E. “Bummy” Williams. “The safety of the citizens of Taylor County is our main concern, and Deputy Lundy was willing to risk his own life today to save others. I am proud of his bravery and his heroism is to be commended. Deputy Lundy, his family and the victims are in my prayers.” Taylor County Deputy Robert Lundy is still listed in stable, but critical condition in the intensive care unit at Doctors’ Memorial Hospital in Perry.
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what each manufacturer requires and that’s why body shops gravitate toward working with us. Using the right welders, riveters and the correct hand tools as well as having proper lighting —these are crucial decisions. So, we sit down with every customer and discuss their specific needs. What cars do you want to pursue certifications for? What happens if you want to add manufacturers at a later date? What is the size and layout of your shop floor? By getting answers to these questions, we can identify the best package for each shop.” What are the essential components needed in every clean room environment? Kirchoff briefly described each category to give us a general idea of what’s involved:
Tool Set: Shops need an entirely separate set of tools to be used only for aluminum. You’ll need to buy a second set of all the tools you currently use on steel, because contaminants can adhere to your tools and lead to major problems down the road.
Bonding Agents and Guns: Very specific based on each manufacturer and their use. Different adhesives require specialized equipment.
Safety Equipment: Technicians need a separate set of safety equipment for the clean room, including eye goggles and gloves.
MIG/Pulse Arc Welder: The characteristics of aluminum require the use of MIG/Pulse Arc welders.
Riveting Tools: Aluminum requires the use of high-tech riveting tools, many of which are also used on airplanes.
Explosion-Proof Vacuum: An explosion-proof vacuum is necessary to clean excess dust from the room. It draws all hazardous particles into a water bath to prevent thermite reactions and explosions. In addition, you’ll require a Gas Evacuation System to suck out all the contaminants
Parts Cart: Absolutely anything that aluminum components will touch needs to be 100 percent dedicated for permanent aluminum use. That includes parts carts, stands, workbenches and jacks. Cross-using those items be-
tween different materials causes a risk of contamination.
30 LB Class D Fire Extinguisher: A special fire extinguisher is required in
get there. Has it been a successful venture? Yes, because we work with local dealerships and we have no DRPs. We get enough of these cars here in the shop to justify the costs and I
An aluminum clean room is a quarantined cubicle that’s carefully sectioned off so that steel and aluminum will never meet
the event of a thermite reaction, because typical extinguishers can actually spread these types of fires.
Frame Bench: Specialized frame equipment is required for measuring and jigging structural aluminum components. Paul Sgro is the owner of Lee’s Garage in West Long Branch, NJ. Well before aluminum was prevalent in many vehicles, Sgro contracted RAE to install a clean room in his shop. And it’s been a win-win ever since, he explained. “Eight years ago, we saw more aluminum in these cars and to get certified with Audi and Mercedes, we knew we had to step up,” Sgro said. “We contacted RAE and they helped us in every aspect of the design and construction of our clean room. We decided to build it in a room completely separate from the rest of our shop, so that contamination would be a non-issue. The steel never even gets close to any aluminum, so it’s ideal.” Lee’s Garage employs 21 people and fixes 200-275 cars monthly in a modest, 12,000 square-foot facility but by utilizing every inch wisely, his move to a clean room has been a productive one, he said. “It’s not cheap working on the cars we have certifications for (Mercedes Benz, Jaguar, Land Rover, Porsche, Audi and Volkswagen), especially when you include the proper tools and training. We had to ask ourselves—what do we want to be? And the answer was yes—we want to work on these types of cars, so we invested roughly $100,000 to
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know we’ll see a lot more of them in here, because we’re known for being skilled and have the equipment necessary to do these repairs. We have a good track record, which differentiates us from our competition.” Sgro said working with RAE was also a smart move, he said. “Their knowledge was so important and they
gave us the best solutions possible. They pushed us into the right direction and then everyone here bought into it. If you’re a shop considering a clean room, I would say—don’t hesitate. This is the beginning of the aluminum age and if you’re not on the cutting edge, you might just get cut.” Amber Alley is the manager at Barsotti’s Body & Fender in San Rafael, CA, a shop that has been repairing high-end luxury vehicles well before the massive migration to aluminum. Alley has three clean rooms going all the time, installed with the assistance of RAE, she explained. “Shops call us all the time to ask us about clean rooms—what they cost, how to install them, etc. I tell them, first look carefully at your part of the country and make sure people have enough of these cars to justify the investment. Here in Marin County, we get a lot of these cars and they make up about 70% of our total car count. We fix 100-200 cars every month without any DRPs, but that’s not going to work in other regions. You can’t get into this just part-time or half-time, because these car manufacturers want you to prove that you’re 100% committed to fixing them.”
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Get your Brand Out There by Going Outdoors Outdoor advertising used to primarily consist of billboards, but now with new technologies and other emerging types of media, the signage industry includes bus boards, taxi advertising, car wraps, trade show booth advertising, bus stop and train stop mini-billboards, video kiosk advertising, sport events advertising and even grocery cart advertising. It’s gotten to the point where almost everywhere we look we see an outdoor advertising message for some brand. Body shops and collision centers all over the country utilize billboards and other forms of outdoor advertising to get their message out there while engaging their existing and potential customer base right where they want them to be—in their cars or on busses and in cabs, etc. But, not everyone appreciates outdoor advertising and many call it “visual pollution.” Last year, São Paulo in Brazil was the first city to enact a ban on virtually all outdoor advertising. Billboards, neon signs, and even buses and taxis have been wiped clean of advertisements in the municipality, the world’s fourth largest. According to Mayor Gilberto Kassab, the city’s so-called “Clean City Law” meant attacking pollution in every form, including air, water, noise and annoying signage. Since its adoption, the law has eliminated some 15,000 billboards as well as other ads citywide and has generated more than $8 million in fines, according to David Evan Harris from Adbusters. While some advertising and business groups complain that the ban limits free expression, costs jobs, and makes streets less safe by reducing lighting from signage, the move has won more than 70 percent approval from São Paulo residents, many of whom appreciate the aesthetics of a city with less advertising. São Paolo is not the only city to take action against outdoor advertising. This spring, the municipal government of Beijing, China’s capital city, began reducing ads by targeting billboards for luxury housing. “Many [of the ads] use exaggerated terms that encourage luxury and self-indulgence
which are beyond the reach of low-income groups and are therefore not conducive to harmony in the capital,” the city’s mayor, Wang Qishan, told The Wall Street Journal. Well, as long as it’s still legal, outdoor advertising is an ideal way for
Zara’s Collision Center in Springfield, IL has been using billboards for the past seven years
collision repair companies to continue their ongoing branding efforts. Getting your name in the brain of the consumer in your area is key and if a billboard or an inflatable gorilla standing on your roof will reinforce your shop’s name and lead to people coming through the door, why not do it? Zara’s Collision Center in Springfield, IL, has been using billboards for the past seven years and its owner, Brad Zara strongly believes they bring him business, he said, although he has no specific numbers. “Most of the billboards we do here in Springfield are not near our shop, because we want to pull business from other parts of the city,” Zara said. “We do four different themes every year and run each one quarterly, so that there’s some variety. We usually donate one billboard per year to a local charity or cause we believe in. Our logo is there on those charitybased billboards, but in the end we give the organization or cause most of the space.” Are his billboards worth the cost, we asked Zara. “I have no idea, actually,” he said. “But I can tell you this—our customers mention them literally every day. People say things like ‘I saw this billboard yesterday,’ etc.—but that billboard was from three years ago. But they think it’s still up there, which is good, because it shows that they’re thinking of us and
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Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist based in San Francisco, California. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
they still have that message in their brains.” Zara’s gets their billboard designs and coordinates the placement of the billboards through HIP Advertising is a full-service central Illinois advertising agency offering creative, marketing, Web and media services. Mark Butler, a corporate communications executive at HIP Advertising has been working with Brad Zara on his billboard campaigns since day one. “Our relationship with Zara’s came from a cold call back in 2005, as I recall,” Butler explained. “The campaign has grown from there and by now, we have the process down. At the end of each year, we sit down with Brad and his people and go over the creative concepts for each billboard for the following year. Then we do the final designs and start scheduling the billboards for the coming year.” When it comes to billboards in general, the key is obviously visibil-
ity, but the message is also a big part, Butler said. “It has to be simple and direct with a large graphic supporting the message. A common mistake is when companies try to convey too much information on a billboard. Drivers aren’t going to sit there and read it, so you have to convey your message quickly. If you’re going get 10-15 seconds of their time, that’s pretty much the max. So brevity is crucial if you want your billboard to get response. With Zara’s, we like to use a fun, whimsical and humorous approach and it really seems to work.” Jon McKnight is the business development manager at Fife’s Auto Body, with two locations in Ohio. Rife’s has been buying billboards and other forms of outdoor advertising for the past five years and the results are positive, he explained. “People around here know who we are, and by asking each customer
through the door how they heard about us, we know that the billboards are being seen,” McKnight explained. “That’s pretty much what you want from any form of advertising or marketing. We partner with charities and give us our billboards, at least one every year and we also do promotions via our billboards. We gave away a round of golf one time, by asking people to like us on Facebook and we always try to do timely things. For instance, right now we’re running a Winter Olympics theme. We’ve used every technique to get consumers to look at our billboards. We put our dogs on there and we even ran one billboard upside down, just to create a buzz and entice the public—and it seemed to work!”
3M Automotive Expands ‘Hire our Heros’ Campaign Grants Through its 2013 Hire Our Heroes campaign, 3M Automotive Aftermarket donated $250,000 to programs that help returning military veterans, and honored some 25 veterans who are currently working in auto body repair shops along with their repair shop owners at the November NASCAR race in Texas. “The message of Hire Our Heroes was directed to shop owners and managers, so it felt right to recognize those veterans working in our industry and the owners who employ them,” said Dale Ross, U.S. marketing operations manager for 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division. “The $250,000 donation was made possible due to the support from our many distributors and collision shop
customers through their purchases of 3M products, and we thank them for helping make this program a success in 2013.” This year, 3M Automotive Aftermarket will expand the Hire Our Heroes program to continue to serve veterans. The 2014 program will again include a goal of $250,000 in grants and support for collision repair training delivered through the Collision Repair Education Foundation. And this year, the Foundation and 3M are creating a job matching service to connect graduates of the collision repair programs with auto body shops looking for skilled, qualified employees. Grants are available for qualifying returning veterans and family members.
Grants may be used for tuition, school fees, tools, textbooks and equipment at qualifying technical schools. For additional information and to apply, visit: www.CollisionEducationFoundation.org. “We are excited to be able to continue the 3M Hire Our Heroes program in 2014 and expand it to provide more resources to our returning veterans who want to pursue education, training and jobs in the collision industry,” said Ross. “We had an opportunity to meet many deserving veterans during the course of the 2013 program and were honored to help with their transition to civilian life and a new career path.” For 2014, distributors of 3M products and shop owners can continue to help support the 3M Hire Our Heroes campaign. For every qualifying purchase by a shop owner of select popular 3M products, 3M will contribute to the campaign, with a goal of $250,000 total. This year, distributor sales professionals who lead the effort can also earn a trip to a NASCAR race in Bristol, TN, or a trip to the SEMA Show. to show their support of U.S. veterans. For more information contact Ted Guck, 3M Automotive Aftermarket, at tcguck@ mmm.com or go to www.3mcollision.com/hire. Continued from Cover
sports Chairman and Owner Rick Hendrick. Axalta Racing paint scheme artist Sam Bass was also available to take questions from media. The paint scheme, designed by Bass marks the 22nd season of a historic partnership between Axalta, Hendrick Motorsports and Gordon. In addition to displaying the new car design, Axalta presented Gordon with a donation to the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation. “This is truly a brilliant partnership. We are proud to support Team 24, Jeff’s philanthropic endeavors and Hendrick Motorsports. There is tremendous enthusiasm and mutual benefit. We look forward to a successful 2014,” said Budden. Axalta’s first sponsored race of the 2014 season will showcase the Brilliant Flames paint scheme in Las Vegas on Sunday, March 9, 2014 in the Kobalt Tools 400.
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In-Process Quality Assurance by Lee V. Rush, Manager of Business Consulting Services, Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes Lee can be reached at email@example.com.
I am not a theory guy and happy to admit that. After nearly 20 years of managing body shops, & MSOs, I have discovered technicians do not respond well to theory. So I prefer a more real world, shop floor, “boots on the ground” approach when it comes to improving the quality process of a collision repair facility and coming up with a strategy to execute. When it comes to the quality challenges facing our industry, many would agree that there is too much talk and far too little action. The issue is that most of us use “quality control,” QC systems, to assure that lessthan-perfect repairs don’t reach the customers. At Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes we believe a more effective system should introduce standards for identifying and correcting quality defects at each stage in the repair process, “In-Process Quality Assurance” (IPQA). IPQA focuses on the “process” not just the outcome. Too many body shops focus on the outcome of repairs or service and not the process. By mapping processes you are able to reduce or eliminate persistent quality problems. Processes that are poorly constructed lead to poor quality. In terms of quality improvement, we must begin with a paradigm change, which means a change in the “way we view the world”, the world of collision repair. The world of collision repair and our view of it have developed over many years and have many traditions of which most are not healthy. I am amazed that I can have basic service or tire work performed on my vehicle and it is taken for a test drive after the work is performed. Yet, in our industry, a vehicle can have mechanical and structural work performed and the technician will never drive the vehicle. Our first order of business is to revise or change our view of the world of collision repair. Remember that small revisions in your world views will generally cause small behavioral changes, yet incremental increases in quality performance, while significant revisions cause significant behavioral changes and large quality performance improvements. To earnestly
begin your IPQA system you and your teams will need a paradigm change Problems with repair quality are frequently the result of a misunderstanding or a miscommunication rather than a reflection of the technician’s ability to repair the vehicle correctly. There are two principals at the core of an In-Process Quality Assurance system: 1. Each step in the repair process must include a well-defined set of individual and departmental responsibilities. 2. Each technician must know exactly what is expected of them when they assume the responsibility for a repair process.
Though these principles do not seem very difficult or complicated, they have proven to be elusive to many shops. You might say “no problem, we are doing this today, and our quality is fine”. The intent is to implement a process that is consistent and predictable with as little effort from management as possible. The opportunity is to eliminate the “internal redos” that cost a shop far more in productivity and through-put than any come-back. Certainly we want to eliminate come-backs, but the real gains come from eliminating “internal come-backs,” repairs returning to body from paint, to paint from body, from detail to body and paint… etc. These internal “come-backs” are far more costly than customer comebacks. Just because they are not as obvious to the P&L statement and are not reflected in “Policy Adjustment” we have become accustomed to accepting them. Even when the final results of our quality are good, the pain and amount of effort to achieve and complete the delivered vehicle does not justify the losses in productivity and through-put. By implementing an In-Process Quality Assurance system in your shop, you can ensure the vehicle will move from department to department eliminating stops and starts, and internal come-backs. Each step in the repair process includes a well-defined set of individual and department responsibilities from front end Sales & Service to Production. We are quick to point out the quality defects of a technician’s re-
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pairs, however very remiss to point to our own defects in Sales & Service. The product we produce in the front
end of the business is as important to quality assurance as the repairs are to the vehicle itself. From the accuracy of our Damage Analysis (100% accurate RO) to Parts Correctness (100% mirror matched parts), the management of Sales, Service, and Production Coordination are equally accountable to quality assurance as is the technician’s repair of the vehicle. Once we realize improving the repair means improving the process, we can begin to focus on the solution, and not the problem. By identifying the Criti-
cal to Quality (CTQ) characteristics, we can standardize the methods that best produce the desired quality of repairs and services our customers expect. Let’s look at an example of each:
Quality Assurance Responsibilities in Sales & Service Because problems with repair quality are frequently the result of a misunderstanding or miscommunication, it is critical for the front end of the business to ensure the quality of work is such that it provides all the necessary information to production. By specifying each step in the repair process and including a well-defined set of individual and departmental responsibilities, quality can be built into the product and service provided. Critical to Quality (CTQ) for Sales & Service 1. Customer Information Form completed 2. Customer concerns and requests documented 3. Complete Vehicle Check In Form See Quality Assurance, Page 20
www.autobodynews.com | MARCH 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS 19
Continued from Page 18
with customer 4. Pre-Existing Damage identified 5. Authorization to Repair Form signed by customer 6. Payment process explained to customer 7. Communication process explained to customer 8. CSI process explained to customer 9. Repair Order information marked on glass 10. Vehicle moved to Damage Analysis staging area When employees know exactly what is expected of them, they will assume responsibility for that repair and customer’s experience. Without clearly defined expectations, they will never assume the responsibility. After all, would you assume responsibility for something that has not been explained to you clearly, written and discussed to ensure everyone understands? Once CTQ expectations are understood it is important to set up the process by which the expectations are to be managed.
Key Elements of the Sales & Service Process The CSS or CSR has overall responsibility for the completion of the Sales and Service Vehicle Drop Off Process. 1. Complete, verify, and document all process steps before removing a vehicle from drop off to staging for DA. 2. DRP requirements and the approved billing must be verified and all involved personnel informed. 3. In a professional manner contact and update the customer every other day on the repair progress. 4. Obtain insurance approval or complete DRP documentation. 5. Any vehicle that is “On Hold” for more than 2 days is referred to the Facility Manager. 6. Use the correct formula to calculate the projected delivery date.
Quality Assurance Responsibilities in Production The intent of the Production quality assurance responsibilities is to establish processes, standards, and accountability for: 1) identifying and 2) correcting quality defects at each stage in the vehicle’s repair process. The Production Process should inform and educate the technicians about the Production Quality Assurance Process
and use the appropriate Critical to Quality characteristics. These CTQ expectations should be listed on a Quality Assurance Inspection (QAI) form, and all steps necessary to complete a QAI should be addressed. Proceeding in this manner should result in the quality being built in from department to department.
Metal Technician Accountabilities * Structural areas properly welded * All welds cleaned and ground * OEM Seam Sealer applied properly * Clamp marks repaired inside and out * Corrosion protection applied to all metal repairs * Parts Labels removed from all replaced parts * Sound Deadening Panels Applied * Trim removed for paint as per repair order * No Sand scratches, pin holes * Body lines correct * Gaps match other areas * Interior of Vehicle properly protected
Key Elements of the Production Process The Production Manager or the person designated as such has the overall responsibility for the completion of the Quality Assurance Process and should: 1. Verify all inspections before moving a vehicle to the next department. 2. Verify and sign the QAI and inform all involved personnel. 3. Discuss all failures with all involved personal. 4. Obtain QAI approval and complete sign offs as soon as possible. 5. Be assertive and disciplined with QAIs. 6. A vehicle that is “on hold” for a failure for more than 2 days is referred to the Facility Manager. 7. Document all failures for Quality Assurance review. Once these responsibly and the process is defined and understood, the Production Manager or the person designated as such has the overall responsibility for the completion of the In-Process Quality Assurance Process and will have the overall responsibility to make sure this process is completed according to expectations. However, the repair technician is responsible for completing the inspection of their own repairs and signing off on the Quality Assurance Inspection. Now, I know what you might be thinking, “If I can get them to sign the QAI, how can I be sure they will judge
20 MARCH 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
themselves correctly”? Remember, our first order of business was to change our view of the world of collision repair and with that a new expectation. Given the need to “connect the dots” between the grand concepts presented to us by the visionaries in our industry and the managers and techni-
cians at the shop level, SherwinWilliams Automotive Finishes has developed the Managed Collision Repair program. MCR is a tactical, shoplevel approach to lean implementation designed by collision operators for collision operators. MCR uses a series of workshops to help operators clearly understand each lean tool and develop a custom strategy to implement these
tools in their own shops.
The MCR program is not your traditional “training,” but a customized approach focused on the real-world challenges we face when implementing lean tools within our shops, such as In-Process Quality Assurance. With the emphasis on “workshop,” the MCR program is designed to help your collision facility take the implementation lessons we have learned in the past to formulate a sustainable program to drive process improvements moving forward. By connecting the dots, together we can improve overall quality, productivity and profitability through the use of In-Process Quality Assurance. The point is that you don’t have to be a lean expert to take advantage of the many lean tools available in the industry today such as IPQA. We just need a simple, clearly defined Standard Operating Process and a Strategic Plan of how to implement in your facility. Visit www.sherwin-automotive.com to learn more about the MCR program.
www.autobodynews.com | MARCH 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS 21
AASP-MO Hosts Mike Anderson for State of the Industry Report and PartsTrader Meeting
On Monday, February 10th, AASPMO hosted a State of the Collision Industry Report and PartsTrader meeting, presented by collision industry expert Mike Anderson, to help attendees plan how to handle the PartsTrader mandate. The special event was held at Syberg’s, located at 270 and Dorsett in Maryland Heights, MO, from 6:309PM. AXALTA and Colormaster sponsored the event, so there was no fee for attending and complimentary hors d’oeuvres and iced tea were served. The meeting began with the State of the Collision Industry Report which comprised most of the meeting. Ron Reiling, Executive Director of AASPMO, offers his praise: “Mike did a great job of letting the shops know where they stand compared to their peers. Many of them will go back and take a good hard look at their businesses and make changes to improve.” During the second part of the meeting, “Mike gave his opinions on PartsTrader and reminded them that when making decisions that affect their businesses and employees’ wellbeing, they shouldn’t be taken lightly
or be made hastily without thinking outside of the box; however, once that decision is made, you have to live with it,” Reiling recounts. “So, if you want to belong to a DRP, you have to be willing to follow their rules and make the best of it. Also, he gave examples of mandates from the past that are now part of everyday business, and they got better as time went on.” Overall, the meeting went very well with 156 attendees representing 83 different businesses, a fact that exceeded Reiling’s expectations. He also notes that he received great feedback from attendees, several of whom claimed it was the best meeting they had ever attended. Reiling believes these types of sponsored events are important to the association’s members and the industry as a whole “so shops realize they are not out there all alone and that through associations, you can bring change to the industry much easier and faster than on your own… AASP-Missouri works diligently to provide our membership with these types of meetings and information to assist them in making good business decisions.”
22 MARCH 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
Iowa Parts Retailer Invents “It’s a Life Saver” to Alert Neighbors to Trouble Inside the House Terry Beswick, an auto body parts retailer, repair man and new Clinton, IA, business owner, has established himself as an auto body mechanic in Fulton but, his newest creation, the “It’s a Life Saver” device is something he calls his best idea yet. Beswick said, “I spend a lot of time thinking about things that can help people and save them money and a lot of people have told me this is the best idea I’ve had.” The “It’s a Life Saver” device is similar in purpose to a car alarm, which is designed to alert the owner of criminal mischief to a vehicle. By taking that concept, Beswick created, essentially an alarm for the house that is triggered by a small remote button, just like a vehicle alarm. Beswick designed it to be activated in emergency situations including medical crisis or home intrusion scenarios in which getting to a phone to dial 911 is not easily accessible. When activated, the apparatus sounds an alarm that can be heard within approximately one block of the home, alerting neighbors that trouble is abound. “People have car alarms so I started thinking why don’t houses
have similar alarms?” Beswick said. “This is different than a security system too because those are hundreds of dollars plus annual fees that you have to pay. This is a one time cost of $250 plus a $50 installation fee.” Not only does Beswick offer the device at the one-time flat rate, he also guarantees that if it does indeed save a life, a full refund will be rewarded to the victim. “I figure if this thing saves your life, you’ve already had a pretty rotten day so why not put $250 bucks back in your pocket?” he added. While the new store on the corner of South Second Street and Fourth Avenue South is designed to promote the alarm, he also obtained the active corner location to help boost activity at his Fulton-based auto body shop. In addition to selling the device, he also will offer auto body parts for people interested in car restoration or who just need to replace a part on their car. “My store is mainly going to be focused on letting people know about my shop and for the do-it-yourself guys who like to fix up cars,” Beswick said.
North Carolina Auto Insurers Seek No Rate Change North Carolina auto insurers say no rate increase is needed for auto insurance policies in the coming year. Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin said the Department of Insurance has received the annual auto insurance rate filing from the North Carolina Rate Bureau. The Rate Bureau, which represents the auto insurance companies writing business in the state, submitted a filing on Jan. 31 that requests no change in rates for private passenger car and motorcycle insurance policies for the coming year. The rates currently in effect are the result of a rate cut and freeze initiated in 2009 that lowered car insurance rates to just below 2006 levels and required insurers to issue $50 million in refunds. Rates have not gone up since then. “The fact that today’s car insurance rates are no higher than they were in 2006 shows that North Carolina continues to have a strong and stable auto insurance market,” Goodwin said. “In North Carolina, we have more than 150 active auto insurance companies competing for our consumers’ business, and we have some of the lowest average rates in the country.”
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, North Carolina has the sixth-lowest average auto insurance costs in the nation. The current filing will be reviewed by the insurance department. Additionally, the department said it is reviewing the auto insurance territories, which is required to be done every 10 years under state law. North Carolina’s method of setting automobile insurance rates is unlike any in the country. Instead of each insurer filing their rates separately with the state Department of Insurance, all 160 companies operating in the state file their rate requests with the North Carolina Rate Bureau. The bureau in turn proposes a statewide base rate on behalf of the companies, which must be approved by the insurance commissioner. Companies can only adjust individual policies by offering safe driver and other discounts, along with dividends. There have been some legislative attempts to change the rate approval system but due to the state’s low rates and opposition to change by some insurers and Goodwin have thwarted those moves.
Limitations On Florida’s Pip Insurance Coverage May Complicate Treating Accident-Related Injuries In January of 2013, changes to Florida’s laws governing “personal injury protection” (PIP) coverage in automobile insurance policies went into place. The law was intended to limit fraudulent insurance claims that were reportedly costing the state nearly $1 billion annually in the form of increased insurance premium rates. Once in effect, the revised rules limited claims on PIP policies that were not brought in a timely fashion (within 14 days) of an accident. Furthermore, to receive coverage, injuries resulting from car crashes need to be treating by an accepted medical care provider like a doctor, dentist, paramedic or chiropractor. Claims for injuries that were not treated by an acceptable provider or within the 14-day timeframe could be denied. One year from the date when the reformed PIP rules went into place, the state’s Office of Insurance Regulation estimates that auto insurance premiums around the state should drop an average of 13.2 percent due to the decrease in fraudulent claims. Prior to the passage of the law, the National Insurance Crime Bureau had listed several Florida cities as having among the highest number of “questionable” PIP claims in the country. Background Florida, like several other states, is a “no-fault” insurance state. This means that, should injuries result from a car accident, each driver’s car insurance will be
responsible for his or her injuries, regardless of fault in the accident. For example, if Bill is driving his car and runs a red light, striking Jane’s car, Bill’s insurance will be responsible for covering his injuries, while Jane’s insurance will cover her injuries, even though Bill caused the accident. This is not to say that legal actions are not allowed in car accident claims, just that immediate medical care is typically funded by each driver’s PIP coverage. Logically, the “no-fault” system makes sense, and it should be a relatively easy way to sort out payment issues following an injury-causing car wreck. As designed, “no-fault” insurance reduces delay claims by the injured policyholders and allows payment issues to be settled without the need for lawsuits. Unfortunately, there are issues related to no-fault and PIP coverage that were not easily foreseen by legislators. Supporters of the new, stricter PIP rules say that the old system lent itself to fraud by not having sufficient time constraints on injury claims or by limiting the types of providers. They say that allowing relatively unregulated industries like acupuncture and massage therapy be counted with established, “legitimate” care providers for PIP payment purposes, and by not placing a reasonable time limit on claims, the state was all but endorsing fraudulent claims. www.autobodynews.com | MARCH 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS 23
Two Killed, Including Owner, in Milford, IN, Shop Fire A fire at a Milford auto body shop that left two dead on Feb. 14 was caused by an electrical malfunction, according to the Kosciusko County Fire Investigation Team. The fire happened in the morning at the Medina’s Body Repair Shop at 310 N Higbee Street
in Milford, IN. The identity of a woman found dead has been confirmed by the Kosciusko County Coroner’s Office and a man found on the first floor is presumed to be Jose Cruz Medina. Annalu Nunez, age 25, Medina’s fiance, was found by firefighters on the second floor of the building. The coroner said she died of smoke inhalation. Police said Nunez and Medina both had the body shop’s address listed as their residence. Police had said the two people who died lived in an apartment above the body shop. Medical examiners of the Northeast Indiana Forensic Center determined
the man also died of smoke inhalation. But, authorities are waiting for DNA testing to be completed to confirm a positive identification of Medina. The fire was ruled accidental. The Kosciusko County Fire Investigation Team sent out a release on Feb. 18 stating that “the fire originated in the ceiling of a work bay and spread throughout the structure. Evidence found at the scene indicates an electrical malfunction in the wiring supplying power to a ceiling light.” The fire was called in just after 7 a.m. S R 15 was closed near E. Syracuse Street while fire crews—three different departments—battled the flames. Because it is a body shop with presumed oil, gas and a paint storage area were all potential dangers for the firefighters. The roof was also sagging in and one wall is bowed. For all of these reasons, emergency workers were at first unable to get inside to check for the residents of an apartment above the northwest corner of the shop. “They were happy together, and they’re together again now,” said Alex Nunez, Analu’s brother. Analu was a secretary for Medina’s Body Shop. “She was always making somebody happy, her smile. That’ sjust how she was,” said Alex Nunez.
Estify is Trying to be the Startup Disrupting the Collision Industry; Many Have Tried, Few Have Succeeded Estify’s story reads like a success checklist for tech startups. Young, savvy coders see an industry they can disrupt. Their idea wins university contests and scores an $800,000 seed round of funding. They enter an accelerator. They move to sunny California to make their fortunes. One twist though: the industry. Rather than social media or travel or entertainment or fashion, Estify’s founders set out to modernize what they see as an antiquated sector—collision repair. “The industry’s really outdated, and to be honest, that’s why we wanted to work with it,” says Jordan Furniss, who founded Estify in 2012 in Provo, Utah, along with fellow Brigham Young University business student Taylor Moss and Arkansas transplant Derek Carr. “A lot of [shops] are family businesses, and some of the stuff they do is just how they’ve always done it.” Specifically, the trio wanted to address the mind-numbing process of reconciling the actual cost of repair jobs with the estimates the shops submit to customers’ insurance companies. Comparing estimates to costs—part for part, labor hour for labor hour—is a big time suck, says
Danny Panduro, vice president of J&L Body and Paint Shop in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley. “If our system doesn’t match the insurer’s estimate, it messes up accounting ridiculously,” he says. A big repair job can take two hours to reconcile, and J&L does about 20 estimates a week, in line with industry norms. Estify Reconcile completes this task automatically, comparing two scanned or PDF estimates line-by-line via algorithm and creating a report, so differences can be quickly addressed. “I upload the PDFs, and literally within five minutes I have a reconciliation,” Panduro says. “It’s gold.” Estify, now based in the greater Los Angeles area, sells its software to repair shops and adjustors for $99 to $500 a month, depending on how robust a system the shop wants and the number of estimates and reconciliations processed. Within several weeks of its first big public push last October at an industry trade show, Estify had signed up close to 100 shops.
24 MARCH 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
Couple Sentenced in Glass Embezzling Case
“We settled on a plea and she and her husband will be at least paying a little back,” says Lynette Hackworth, office manager for A2 Auto Glass based in Washtenaw County, MI. Oral and Janice Molden were sentenced to probation this month for allegedly embezzling from the automotive glass company. They have been ordered to pay a combined total of $189,881 in fines. “We’re glad for it to be over,” said Hackworth. “It took way too long and it’s a shame this ever happened. It’s a very sad situation and cost the business a lot of money in attorneys’ fees. Our company is much healthier now and we’re glad to move on.” The couple was accused of embezzling the money over a three-year period. Janice Molden was a bookkeeper for the company and Oral Molden did computer work there. Janice Molden was sentenced to five years of probation and has been ordered to pay $166,440 in fines, according to a report. Her husband was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay $23,441 in fines. Plea deals in the case were reached in October with the sentencing taking place this month.
Tesla Contests Rules in Ohio, Other States: Mixed Results
The face-off in Ohio continues Tesla’s state-by-state conflicts with dealers over factory-owned stores (see story this issue.) In 2013, the company battled dealers in several states, including Massachusetts, New York, Texas, North Carolina, Minnesota and Virginia. Results have been mixed. Tesla lost a prominent showdown with Texas dealers over Teslabacked bills that would have carved out an exemption to state law restricting factory-owned dealerships. But in Minnesota, North Carolina and New York, Tesla held at bay dealer-backed legislation that might have crimped the EV maker’s plans. The company also won court decisions in dealer lawsuits in Massachusetts and New York. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said he will consider seeking action on the national level, either through federal legislation or a federal lawsuit. According to the National Automobile Dealers Association, 48 states have restrictions on factoryowned dealerships. Of those, Tesla has said, about 20 have statutes that make Tesla’s factory store model difficult.
www.autobodynews.com | MARCH 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS 25
The Honda and Acura Dealers Listed Here are HO N D A AL AB A MA
FL O RIDA
GEO RG I A
Jerry Damson Honda
Rick Case Honda
Hu n t svil le
O r l an do
Bu f ord /G win net t
Dept. Hours: M-F 7-5:30; Sat 8-4 Rkeel@damson.com
Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 8-4 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 7:30-4 email@example.com
Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 7-5 firstname.lastname@example.org
South Motors Honda
Milton Martin Honda
Coggin Deland Honda
M ia mi
Gain esv ille
B ir m in g h a m
D e la nd
Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-5; Sat 8-3 email@example.com
Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-5 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dept. Hours: M-F 8-7 email@example.com
Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6 firstname.lastname@example.org
GEOR GIA FL O RI D A
AutoNation Honda Clearwater Cle a rwa t er
Ed Morse Honda
Carey Paul Honda
R i v i e ra B ea ch
S ne ll vi ll e
Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 7:30-5 email@example.com
Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 8-5; Sun 10-3 firstname.lastname@example.org
AutoNation Honda Hollywood
Ho ll ywo od
800-542-8121 954-964-8300 Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 7-5; Sun 9-5 email@example.com
Braman Honda of Palm Beach G re en a c re s
C l e r mo nt
Dept. Hours: M-F 8-7; Sat 8-5 firstname.lastname@example.org
Hendrick Honda Bradenton B rad e nto n
877-706-2021 941-752-2123 Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-7; Sat 8-4 Kris.email@example.com
Hendrick Honda Daytona
Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-4:30 firstname.lastname@example.org
D a y to n a Bea ch
Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-4 Hondadaytonaparts@hendrickauto.com
Honda Mall of Georgia
Un ion City
Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 7-6 email@example.com
Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-7; Sat 8-5 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ed Voyles Honda
Southern Motors Honda
M ar i e tta
800-334-3719 770-933-5870 Direct
Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 7-6 email@example.com
Dept. Hours: M-F 8-6; Sat 8-5 firstname.lastname@example.org
Gerald Jones Honda A ugus ta
800-733-2210 706-228-7040 Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-5 email@example.com
MI SS IS SI P P I
Patty Peck Honda Rid g elan d
800-748-8676 601-957-3400 Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-5 firstname.lastname@example.org
Gwinnett Place Honda Dul uth
N O. CAR O LI NA
Apple Tree Honda
Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-5 email@example.com
Ash ev ille
Dept. Hours: M-F 8-5; Sat 8-4 firstname.lastname@example.org
AC U R A AL AB A MA
FL OR IDA
GEO RG I A
Jerry Damson Acura
Hu n ts vi lle
J ack so nv il le
Ro swe l l
Dept. Hours: M-F 7-5:30; Sat 8-4 Rkeel@damson.com
Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 8-5 email@example.com
Dept. Hours: M-F 7-6; Sat 7:30-6 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-2 Tim.email@example.com
Rick Case Acura
FL O RI D A
Acura of Orange Park J a cks on v ille
888-941-7278 904-777-1008 Dept. Hours: M-F 7-8; Sat 7-5; Sun 9-3 firstname.lastname@example.org
F o rt La u de rda l e
M ar i e tta
Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-5 email@example.com
Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 7-5 firstname.lastname@example.org
26 MARCH 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
Southern Motors Acura
N O. C AR O LI NA
Flow Acura Win st on -Salem
800-489-3534 336-761-3682 Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-1 www.flowacura.com
NO . CA R O LI N A
NO . CAR OL INA
Vann York Automall
B ur l in g t o n
Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-3
Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6:00; Sat 8-1 email@example.com
Crown Honda Southpoint Du r h am
855-893-8866 919-425-4711 Dept. Hours: M-Thu 7-11; Fri 7-6 Sat 7-5; Sun 11-5 www.southpointhonda.com
Hendrick Honda Ch a r lo t t e
800-277-7271 704-552-1149 Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 8-5 firstname.lastname@example.org
Leith Honda R al ei gh
800-868-6970 919-790-8228 Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 7:30-5 email@example.com
McKenney-Salinas Honda G as to n i a
888-703-7109 704-824-8844 x 624 Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-5:30 firstname.lastname@example.org
Metro Honda I nd ia n Trai l
866-882-9542 704-220-1522 Dept. Hours: M-F 6:30-6:30; Sat 7-4 www.copytk.com
NO. C AR O L IN A
336-841-6200 SO . CAR OL INA
TEN NE SS EE
VIR GIN I A
AutoNation Honda West Knoxville
Hendrick Honda Woodbridge
K no xvi l le
Woodb ridg e
Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6 email@example.com
Dept. Hours: M-Fri 7-6 Sat 8-5; Sun 10-4
G ree n vi ll e
Bill Gatton Honda
Ches ap eake
Br is to l
Dept. Hours: M-F 8-6; Sat 8-5 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-5 email@example.com
Dick Brooks Honda
Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-5:30; Sat 8-1 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ba r tle t t
Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-5 email@example.com
Hamp t on
G ree r
800-936-9090 864-877-1772 Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-3 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7 email@example.com
C o l u m bi a
877-273-4442 803-691-8585 Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 7-4 www.copytk.com
Piedmont Honda A n de r so n
800-849-5057 864-375-2082 Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-5 firstname.lastname@example.org TE NNES SEE
Airport Honda Alcoa
Duncanâ€™s Hokie Honda C hr ist ia nb urg
Stau n ton
800-277-0598 540-213-9016 Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-5:30; Sat 9-5 email@example.com
West Broad Honda
Dept. Hours: Mon-Fri 7:30-5:30 Sat 8:00-5:00 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dept. Hours: M-Thu 7:30-6:30; Fri 7:30-6; Sat 8-3; Sun 11-3 email@example.com
Vi rgi ni a Be ach
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www.autobodynews.com | MARCH 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS 27
WIN Offers Support for Women in the Collision Repair Industry by Chasidy Rae Sisk
The collision repair industry has always been a male-dominated industry, but times are a’changing. An increasing number of women are entering collision repair in various capacities, and that poses the challenge of finding their place, whether it be as office personnel, estimators, technicians,
(l to r) 2012 WIN Chair, Victoria Jankowski (State Farm) Presents Sponsor Appreciation Acknowledgments to Petra Schroeder (Axalta) and Frederica Carter (AkzoNobel)
chemists or engineers. Fortunately, for women currently in the industry or those looking to enter it, the Women’s Industry Network (WIN) stands by to help!
Frederica Carter, an original WIN board member and one of the “founding mothers” who has served as WIN’s Conference Committee Chair and Co-Chair and is currently an integral part of their Communications Committee, shares how the association got started. “There was a group of women who met at various industry functions—these were some of the Most Influential Women in the industry honorees who had been recognized for their significant contributions - and they felt there was more that could be done to bring women into the industry. So, we reached out to other women and worked on starting an organization. High expectations were set from the beginning.” First, WIN created a Board of Directors, and then, realizing they needed support and funding, they reached out to various companies, acquiring a large number of sponsors from their inception, a figure that continues to grow. Soon after, WIN began to form committees, set their budget, and define their objectives which included bringing other women into the industry and creating a network. De-
Dealer Group Sues Hitachi, Panasonic and Mitsubishi in Part Fixing Dispute
A group including dozens of car dealerships hit Hitachi Automotive Systems Ltd., Panasonic Corp., Mitsuba Corp. and others with separate putative class actions in Michigan federal court on Feb. 7, alleging a scheme to fix prices for a number of auto parts in a conspiracy that prompted criminal charges. The suits come a month after Nippon Seiki Co. Ltd. announced it would pay $4.56 million to settle with consumers in a related auto parts price-fixing multidistrict litigation. In the new suits, Martens Cars of Washington Inc., Landers Auto Group No. 1 Inc. and more than 30 other car dealership plaintiffs seek damages and injunctive relief for conspiracies to fix prices for air flow meters, electronic throttle bodies, steering angle sensors, high-intensity discharge ballasts, automatic transmission fluid warmers, electronic-powered steering assemblies and power window motors. “The U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division is currently conducting a broad criminal investigation into illegal price-fixing and bid-rigging in the automotive parts industry,” the complaints say. “The
ongoing cartel investigation of pricefixing and bid-rigging in the automotive parts industry has yielded $1.8 billion in criminal fines, already surpassing the total amount in criminal fines obtained by the DOJ’s Antitrust Division for all of last fiscal year.” In each suit, the plaintiffs say the DOJ announced that the defendant company has agreed to plead guilty for its role in the conspiracy to fix prices of car parts. The dealers who bought the parts at inflated costs deserve justice, according to the slew of complaints. Those named as defendants in the suits filed Friday include Hitachi, Panasonic, Mitsuba, T.Rad Co. Ltd. and JTEKT Corp. The broader MDL stems from the DOJ's blockbuster investigation into a series of price-fixing conspiracies in the auto parts industry that has already yielded more than $1.6 billion in fines. Last September, nine Japanesebased auto parts makers, including Hitachi, T.Rad, Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and others, agreed to pay $740 million in fines as a result of their roles in international price-fixing conspiracies that increased the cost of cars sold in the United States.
28 MARCH 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
ciding that the next steps would be to organize a conference, WIN held their first conference in 2007 in Phoenix, beginning an annual tradition.
Jankowski Opens 2013 Educational Conference
With a service area that encompasses all of the US and Canada, WIN’s mission is to promote women in the industry. Ruth Weniger, a WIN member for six years who serves on the Board of Directors and is the Chair of the Communications Committee, elaborates “WIN began with the goal of enhancing the collision repair industry and the women in it through networking, education and the sharing of resources.” According to Weniger, there is a lot of fluidity between the associa-
tion’s short-term and long-term goals as they strive to increase membership, support female students through scholarships, recognize outstanding leaders in the industry, and develop support for their members via education, information and the development of a network to draw from for strength and advice. Weniger emphasizes, “WIN is committed to providing the strength of community for our members.” Currently, WIN is preparing for their 2014 Educational Conference which will be held on May 7th–9th at the Paradise Point Resort and Spa in San Diego, CA. As always, the event will be filled with educational sessions, professional development and networking opportunities. This year, WIN is assuming stewardship of the Most Influential Women Awards program from AkzoNobel, so presenting these awards will a feature of their gala dinner. During the event, WIN will also announce the recipients of their scholarship awards. This year, they will present $1000 scholarships to stu-
dents entering technical schools’ collitalent acquisition and retention, hence sion repair programs, as well as $1000 their commitment to helping females scholarships to students already enthrive in this male-dominated envirolled in collision repair programs at ronment. Most of WIN’s members all post-secondary schools. The recipients share two bonds: all of them are in this of the post-secondary scholarships will industry and they are female, so WIN also receive year-long memberships to WIN, plus the cost of their travel and attendance at the annual conference. This year, scholarship recipients will also be mentored by winners of the Most Influential Women Awards, offering immediate support to these young women. In collaboration with the Collision Repair Education Communications Committee Co-Chairs, Ruth Weniger Foundation (CREF), WIN (Airbag Solutions) and Melissa Miller (Carstar), at Conference 2013 has also developed a poster, “There’s a Place for You,” which is strives to support women across all available for sale on their website for functional positions they serve within a $20 donation to the WIN Scholarthe industry, whether it be an adminship fund. The poster has also been istrative function or as a technician. distributed to nearly 1200 technical Though WIN is an association foschools in the US to promote the in- cused on improving the role of women dustry among female students. in the industry, they still understand WIN feels that supporting stu- the value of seeking input from their dents who are interested in entering male counterparts. At NACE in 2013, the industry is extremely important they held a focus group with Mike Anbecause one of the biggest challenges derson as the facilitator and invited facing the collision repair industry is male leaders in the industry to con-
tribute suggestions on growing WIN and to find out what these men knew about their organization. Carter found this to be an interesting approach and notes, “we received great feedback, and some of the men in the focus group even decided to join WIN!” In regards to the challenges WIN faces in maintaining operations, Weniger notes that WIN is an all-volunteer, virtual organization so their members commit their time and personal resources to keep the association going. Carter adds, “our members have been very gracious to volunteer as they all have other jobs too. There’s a lot to do with starting and maintaining an organization, and WIN would struggle without our wonderful volunteers.” Carter estimates that WIN’s members number in the hundreds and is growing at a rate of 10-20% each year. WIN members receive many benefits, such as education and networking, plus only members can attend their annual conference, the cost of the educational program which is partially subsidized by the association’s sponsors. Additionally, members receive a monthly newsletter and gain the ability to participate in committees and in leadership positions.
When asked about WIN’s stance on legislative action, Weniger explains, “this brings us back to a fundamental philosophy our organization holds dear. In order to best support our members, WIN remains non-political and avoids becoming embroiled in current issues, allowing us to focus on the professional development of the industry. We’ve found that keeping our focus on personal or professional development is the way to attract women from competing segments of the industry. We are aware of the issues, and people engage on an individual level, but these are not discussions we deal with as an organization. Our focus remains our commitment to our female members and how they interact within the collision repair industry.”
WIN is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to encouraging, developing and cultivating opportunities to attract women to the collision repair industry while recognizing excellence, promoting leadership and fostering a network among the women who are shaping the industry. More information about WIN can be found on their website: thewomensindustrynetwork.ning.com.
www.autobodynews.com | MARCH 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS 29
Continued from Cover
Polar Vortex Continues
Birmingham, AL, where the combination of weather and traffic congestion contributed to a surge of accidents. Beginning on Tuesday, January 28 and continuing well into the next day, snow and ice accumulating in the southeast brought Atlanta to a screeching halt. While the city normally aver-
Snow covered Talladega Superspeedway
ages a low temperature of 28 degrees and a high of 49 degrees in January, temperatures plummeted into the teens during the last week of January with up to three inches of snow in some places. Slick conditions created by ice and sleet led to accidents which, in turn, caused an increase in traffic delays. Many cars were left abandoned on the roads and highways after running out of gas due to sitting in the long-standing traffic, while other vehicles were parked in lots as their owners attempted to wait out the storm—in fact, many people are comparing the dismal images to scenes from the first season of TV’s “The Walking Dead!” Glenn Grey, owner of Grey’s Auto Collision in Hiram, GA, and his wife experienced the effects of the storm first hand. “My wife left home at 11:30AM to pick our child up from school, and though it’s normally a 35minute drive, she didn’t reach the school until 5PM. She was further delayed by traffic and didn’t get home until after 11PM, nearly 12 hours after she left!” Meanwhile, Grey closed his shop at noon after seeing the travesty on the roads, but he regrets not sending his employees home earlier. On his drive home, Grey saw many vehicles stuck in the snow drifts, and he and others, true to the southern tradition of aiding neighbors in need, helped pull these vehicles out. Grey says, “I saw some pretty bad wrecks, a lot of which were caused by people just not knowing how to drive in the snow and ice because we’re not all that used to it down here. People were throwing down kitty litter for traction, and some
people ran out of gas while they were sitting in traffic.” In terms of how the storm has impacted his business, Grey has seen an increase of 20–25% in volumes, but about 25–30% of the damaged vehicles are being declared total losses. “We are seeing a little bit of everything, both small and large repairs that may be just a bumper or window, or it could be the whole side of the vehicle from the front fender all the way to the quarter panel.” Fortunately, Grey hasn’t had any problems with his machinery, other than the paint booth as bake cycle times are being affected by the low temperatures. Rusty Ravia, Manager of D & I Body Shop in Atlanta, GA, notes that he and his employees spent a night in the shop, working until 2AM Tuesday and not leaving until 2PM on Wednesday. “We’ve seen a slowdown with repairs because the insurance companies are taking their time to come out, and we’ve also seen some steering as insurers tell customers that estimates will take less time at DRP shops. They are also estimating parts at my cost and cutting corners on repair hours, so who’s paying the shop bills? We are trying to stay positive and get business because the goal is to make our customers happy and try to make things as easy as possible by being honest with them.” Ravia notes that D & I Body Shop is seeing larger repairs with many vehicles being declared total losses before his technicians ever touch them, so the shop is losing money when the insurers take work away and only
compensate the shop for storage fees. The shop has seen an increase in volumes of approximately 20% after the storm, but since they aren’t equipped for the weather and their materials are not accustomed to the cold, their paint cycle time has also increased, making it a challenge to paint and refinish these vehicles on schedule. At Kong’s Body Shop in Atlanta, GA, volumes have at least doubled, according to Manager Norm Kong. Says Kong, “we have experienced
30 MARCH 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
more technical difficulties with some of our machines freezing up. We lost electricity, and our compressors were also impacted by the low temperatures. The shop was forced to close for a couple days, too, which put us behind schedule with repairs so there has been both good and bad aspects to the storm for our business.” Several Atlanta shops that were contacted are so busy with the backlog of work resulting from the storm that they were unable to discuss the weather’s impact on their businesses. The scene in Birmingham, AL was similar to that in Atlanta with many accidents resulting from the ice leading to more traffic jams. In an area with average January temperatures between 34 and 54 degrees, the drop into the low-twenties elicited more than a bit of chaos throughout the city. Wally Newton, Manager at Highway 280 Paint and Body in Birmingham, notes “the storm is affecting us quite a bit so far and growing daily as people retrieve their vehicles from tow yards, so we’ve seen an increase in volumes with lots of estimates being written up. Luckily though, we haven’t had any problems with our machinery malfunctioning because of the weather.” At Checker Auto Body Repair in Huntsville, AL, Manager Bill Goebel said “our volume has decreased roughly 25% due to school [and other business] closings; fewer people driving during the course of the day equals fewer accidents. The only problem we’re seeing is an extreme propane shortage, and since our shop is heated with propane, we have had to shorten our work days.” Checker Auto Body has not yet experienced any other technical difficulties or problems with equipment, “except having to sub-out cleanups because we have no indoor cleaning facility and everything outside is frozen!” For Ginger Lowrey, a member of the family that owns River Chase Collision in Birmingham, the biggest problem is an increased amount of insurer steering since her shop does not participate in any DRPs. “We have had more than an average amount of steering,” she explains. “On February 5th, one of our regular customers called to say the insurance company was towing his car to another shop because they couldn’t send an estimator to River Chase Collision until the 13th, but when I phoned
my contact at Allstate, she told me that she was assigned to view the car on the 7th, nearly a week earlier than my customer was told. I’m glad we resolved that problem, but our customer is very angry that his insurance company lied to him. Our shop isn’t backed up at all whereas the other shop may be. The insurer isn’t helping the customer since that would mean paying for a rental car even longer. The whole situation makes me worry about how much steering is really going on.” In regards to the increase in delays for insurers to write estimates for shops not on their DRPs, Lowrey believes “there’s no limitation to what they will do, and most of the time, they get away with it. We need to change people’s mindsets so they understand that the person who owns the vehicle is in charge, not the insurer. All too frequently, shops cut corners, putting
families at risk, because they’ve made a deal with the devil and money makes good people do bad things. This unfortunate weather-related event is making it worse because a lot of repairs are needed to restore normalcy to those who were impacted, but the insurance companies are making empty promises and consumers are uneducated. We’re in a sad state right now in this industry, yet it’s hard to reach people when the insurers have deep pockets and so much influence with lobbyists. People tend to turn a blind eye to what’s right for the consumer.” Due to the storm, River Chase Collision is busier than normal with at least twice the amount of work they usually have at this time of year. Because they closed early on the 28th and stayed closed on the 29th, the shop opened on Saturday, February 1 to accommodate their workload. Lowrey says that they are “receiving different types of repairs. Only a few have structural damSee Polar Vortex Continues, Page 40
www.autobodynews.com | MARCH 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS 31
—John Yoswick is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon, who has a body shop in the family and has been writing about the automotive industry since 1988. He is the editor of the weekly CRASH Network (for a free 4-week trial subscription, visit www.CrashNetwork.com). Contact him by email at jyoswick@SpiritOne.com.
I-CAR Offers Update, Committees Detail Plans at Last CIC Meeting Much of the agenda at the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) held in Palm Springs, Calif., in January was devoted to CIC’s biennial planning session, where participants discuss what topics CIC committees will take on in the coming year or two. But the quarterly meeting also included a number of informational sessions for attendees. I-CAR CEO John VanAlstyne, for example, offered an update on not only his organization’s training activities, but also its efforts to improve the availability and accessibility of OEM technical information for collision repairers. He said that I-CAR had budgeted over $1 million on that ongoing project over two years, and that the website portal I-CAR is developing to improve access to OEM technical information is being beta-tested and will launch soon.
He said I-CAR also has worked to make its training more affordable. For the fourth year in a row, he said, there would be no price increase for training for Gold Class businesses, and pricing has been reduced for John VanAlstyne I-CAR newly-renamed “Welding Testing and Certification.” The welding program discounts increase based on the number of students a company is registering, part of I-CAR’s effort to get training to more technicians, VanAlstyne said. He said I-CAR soon will be rolling out aluminum welding and other training courses specific to Ford’s 2015 F-150 pick-up, which hits showrooms late this year.
Time to Return to an Elected CIC Chair?
During the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) meeting in January, Scott Biggs of Assured Performance Network suggested that CIC return to the practice of allowing attendees to elect its chairmen. For well over a decade, the selection of the chairman for a 2-year term has been made by a committee made up of previous CIC chairmen. Biggs suggested that those past chairmen instead could put forward two candidates and let CIC attendees vote for which would be the next chairman. Two previous CIC chairmen voiced opposition to the idea of an election. Massachusetts shop owner Chuck Sulkala, who was CIC’s fourth chairman in 1989 and 1990, noted that CIC isn’t an organization; it’s simply a meeting and the chairman is the facilitator. “As people who have been in the position (as chairmen) before, we clearly know what’s needed to make sure that the quality of the meeting is as good as we can possibly make it,” SulChuck Sulkala kala said. He said the past chairs look for someone who has been an active participant at CIC, and someone who is “very competent and qualified, who is respectful to all segments of the industry, because you can’t chair or facilitate a meeting like this if there’s bias in your heart.” See Time to return, Page 33
32 MARCH 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
About half of the I-CAR training that students choose to take is now online, up from just 3 percent three years ago, VanAlstyne said. That and the expanded focus on being a source of technical information beyond training is part of I-CAR’s shift in scope. “We’re working to make information on-demand and accessible, so people get the training and information they need when they need it,” he said. Also during the meeting, CIC committees offered a preview of some of what they hope to address at upcoming meetings. Steve Regan, chairman of the Governmental Committee, said his committee will have a presentation on the topic of “most-favored nation” clauses at the next CIC, being held April 9–10 in Portland, OR. The clauses are often found in insurer direct repair program agreements, requiring participating shops to give the insurer the best pricing offered to any other.
Several states have now banned the clauses in health insurance contracts, and the Automotive Service Association has urged the U.S. Department of Justice to review most-favored nation clauses in DRP contracts. Regan said his committee is also planning a presentation for later this year on legal and liability issues related to autonomous (or “self-driving”) cars. Gene Lopez, chairman of CIC’s Education and Training Committee, said his committee is working on presentations related to coaching and developing mentoring and peer-to-peer training relationships within an organization. CIC Chairman George Avery led a discussion about the future of CIC’s Data Privacy issue, which may be renamed to incorporate a broader scope of “information technology” issues. There appeared to be general consensus the committee is still needed. Sev-
Continued from Page 32
Time to return
Elections, Sulkala said, are often popularity contests, where people tend to choose someone who “thinks like they do.” “It’s not about making sure my side wins and someone else loses,” Sulkala said. “It’s the opportunity to make sure that information is shared in a fair and reasonable manner for everybody. We don’t particularly care who (the chairman) works for. We don’t necessarily care what their job is. But when they sit in that position as chairman of CIC, their total responsibility is to each of us, without favoring any of us.” CIC Administrator Jeff Hendler, who was CIC’s third chairman in 1987 and 1988, said with an election, an organization could pack the room to ensure their representative was elected, eliminating the neutrality CIC has worked to maintain. He said it also could allow a chairman to be chosen by people who rarely if ever attend CIC. “When George Avery (of State Farm) was named as chairman, I got over 130 emails and letters from people incensed that we would name a chairman from an insurance company to a ‘collision industry association,’” Hendler said, noting CIC is not an association and that Avery was not the first CIC chairman from the insurance industry. “Research showed that over 84 percent of the people who wrote those letters had never been to a CIC meeting. Do we want to be run by people who never show up?”
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eral attendees noted the recent controversy when a Ford marketing executive said the automaker tracks customers through vehicle GPS and other technology—only to later retract the statement. A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that automakers and navigation system providers gather a lot of data on where drivers have been, and there are no standards for how long the data is retained nor a way for drivChris Northup ers to ask that their data be destroyed. Avery said he would be seeking a new chairman for the CIC committee that works on data privacy issues. Chris Northup of the CIC Parts and Materials Committee cited a laundry list of topics still to be addressed by subcommittees, including: aftermarket parts certification standards, parts inventory/availability issues, recycled parts clean-up times, multiple recycled parts standards, impact of OEM price-matching policies, etc. Randy Hanson of Allstate this year becomes chairman of the CIC In-
surer-Repairer Relations Committee. Outgoing chairman Rick Tuuri said the committee will continue to “identify areas for insurers and repairers to work together for efficiencies.” CIC attendee Rick Sherwood suggested that the committee go back to some of the recommendations the committee developed – such as best practices related to digital images, which was finalized in 2010 – to find out if insurers are aware of them and whether or not they’ve adopted them. “So rather than just bring a recommendation, which I understand is CIC’s mission, get some feedback that might assist in refining these things as we go forward so they are more actionable at the end of the day,” Sherwood suggested.
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www.autobodynews.com | MARCH 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS 33
The Sci-Fi Shop of the Future The week of Jan 13, 2014, Ford Motor Co. announced the completely re-engineered Ford F-150 pickup truck featuring aluminum from the hood to the tailgate, 700 pounds lighter than the previous model. Mercedes Benz introduced the next C-Class sports sedan with a body built mostly of aluminum, and Audi’s A8 luxury sedan had an aluminum chassis almost 20 years ago. At the time an Audi executive said, “there are only a handful of shops capable of repairing it. It has to be shipped to one of those centers to be fixed.” For them the next step is the doors and the body. And aluminum isn’t the only challenge for collision repair centers. The BMW Electric 13 is mostly made from plastic-like carbon fiber. If this wasn’t enough of a challenge, Ford has teamed with MIT and Stanford University to make self-driving cars more intuitive. Radar-like LiDAR infrared sensors bounce infrared light off objects as far as 200 feet away to generate data to make a 3-D map to plan a path to safely avoid pedestrians, bicycles and other vehicles. Recently a blind “driver” at the Santa Clara Blind Center” made a completely safe shopping trip in a self-driving car, preprogrammed by a Google engineer. The repair facility of the future will also be faced with vehicle programming systems, radar-like systems, mapping devices and more. These technical advances will strain collision shop finances as more tools, equipment and highly trained technicians are required. But how will this affect a shop’s marketing strategies?
The most forward looking shop owners may well realize the great marketing potential that these technical advances offer. The new generation of young adults is already more techsavvy than most shop owners. The Internet and cell-phone advances have made this generation well aware of the need to keep on top of new technology. The shop that positions itself as a leader in new automotive repair technology can capture the “hearts and minds” of this generation if handled correctly. What should a shop do? Because more and more people are turning to the web when shopping for a repair facility, a shop should turn the home page into bold advertisement for the shop’s technical know-how. While young people may be keenly aware of applications for their tablet, cell phone and computer, they are not likely to know much about repair challenges a shop faces when repairing their late model vehicle. Images of damaged aluminum and carbon fiber parts with captions explaining a little about these challenges may capture their attention. A little research should let you know how many shops in your area are equipped to deal with these repair challenges. If you are one of the few that can do it, this is a prime time to shout out your superiority over the competition, not just in general but with specific numbers. Photos and information about equipment may not impress a vehicle owner looking for a repair, but insurance executives who check out your website will definitely be concerned
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34 MARCH 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
Tom Franklin has been a sales and marketing consultant for fifty years. He has written numerous books and provides marketing solutions and services for many businesses. He can be reached at (323) 871-6862 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. See Tom’s columns at www.autobodynews.com under Columnists > Franklin
with the makes and qualities of your frame machine, welding equipment, electric and hybrid handling processes and more. It’s important to provide educational information for these different publics on your site and in your printed literature. Most of what you put on the web can also be inexpensively reproduced in some simple printed handouts for less web-savvy customers who come to the shop. The next step in demonstrating a future-orientation can be accomplished with employee uniforms, data-entry pads and display screens that can show a repair prospect shop areas where his or her vehicle will be processed in a way that is different from the competition. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to put technicians into star-trek-like uniforms with labels that say “hybrid specialist”, “autonomous vehicle specialist” and more. Customers should feel confident that this shop can handle the vehicle that has become a sort
of robot, sensing the driver/passenger’s preferences in temperature, seat position, music, lighting and destination. As a shop moves more into servicing late model vehicles with these futuristic advances, it would be wise to re-imagine the shop in a futuristic way. Even the furniture in the waiting area could be fashioned after airport seating and modernistic showroom designs. Large blown-up photos on the wall of late-model vehicles with captions can complete the image of a forward-looking shop of the future. Website and social media sites are great places to capture images of a space-age shop, service areas and personnel. Shops that grabbed the position of first to have water-borne paint, aluminum welding and frame machines, and high-tech sensors to handle on-board computer systems, could now be the first in the area to be recognized as the Sci-Fi shop of the future.
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www.autobodynews.com | MARCH 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS 35
Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist based in San Francisco, California. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The California Autobody Association (CAA) Charts a Course for Shops in the Golden State The California Autobody Association (CAA) is a non-profit trade organization made up of roughly 1,000 individual and independent businesses within the automobile collision repair industry. The main focus of CAA is to enable the auto body industry to survive and succeed by helping its members produce a quality repair for the consumer at a CAA Executive fair price for a fair Director David McClune profit. By being in-
volved in CAA, body shop owners show they care about the future of this industry and will always strive to make it better for all involved. CAA approaches its 50th anniversary in 2016.
We sat down recently with David McClune, the Executive Director who has served the organization for the past 14 years, to discuss the state of the organization and its role in California’s collision industry.
Q: Tell us a little bit about the origins and history of CAA?
Talking to Lobbyist Jack Molodanof Jack Molodanof, lobbyist for CAA, offered some perspective on CAA’s ongoing legislative efforts. Q: Jack, tell us briefly why CAA is valuable to body shop owners through its role in Sacramento?
JM: CAA is the industry’s eyes and ears, essentially. As a body shop owner, you’re not able to stay on top all of the legislation out there that can potentially impact your business—both negatively and positively. It all comes down to power in numbers. If you’re holding one pencil, it can break easily, but if you put four or five of them together, it makes it pretty hard to break. With a group of body shops pushing the same agenda, we can get things done and make an impression, that’s for sure. We’ve done it again and Jack Molodanof again over the years and that’s why we’ve succeeded at the state level. Many of these bills can affect consumers, body shops or the automotive repair industry as a whole, so we’ve learned that the hotter the topic, the more people will step up to either support it, or more likely, to fight it. Legislators come up with new bills all the time, and if no one is there to watch the door, so to speak, things can pass through.
Q: During some years, there are a lot of proposed bills out there that that can greatly impact the industry and then, like last year, there were not as many. Is this just the roll of the dice or is there a plan behind it?
A: Yes, there are some years where there are more than a few bills on our radar and then there are other years, when less is happening—but something is always out there that we need to address and take a position on from the collision industry’s position. We’ve had some very crucial and pivotal things happening over the past few years, primarily the Insurance Department’s regulations on estimates and then the aftermarSee Jack Molodanof, Page 37
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DM: CAA was formed back in late 1966, when several body shop owners in southern California formed chapters the state organization and it just grew from there. Before I became the executive director in 2000, the organization was run by a management company. CAA has evolved with the industry, basically. I think we’ve done a very admirable job on staying abreast of all the changes in collision industry and continually strive to provide the best services and advocacy we can offer.
Q: How has the industry changed since you took over leadership of CAA?
DM: The way some insurers have changed their way of doing business with many of the shops and the emergence of more and more Multiple Shop Operations (MSOs) are probably the most significant changes in the
industry since I started this job. DRPs are much more prevalent now and that’s changed the business in many ways as well. The MSO system is going to increase and we’re going to see larger MSOs gobbling up smaller MSOs as they try to strengthen themselves in different regions of the state. But, I don’t think that will cause the demise of the independent shops, because they will always have a role and if they do a good job, they will continue to flourish. In the end, if you do good work, you will still get customers and insurance companies will want to work with the leading operators every time, regardless of whether they’re an MSO or an independent with one location. The shops that run efficient businesses and continue to market themselves in their area while taking good care of their customers— those shops will stay strong. Q: Do you think MSOs have an ad-
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Continued from Page 36
ket crash parts regulations that materialized and was a huge victory for the industry. But, those items could come back at any time, in the form of a new bill or new regulations from the Insurance Department. So, we can never rest or take a break from our legislative efforts on behalf of the body shops that depend on us to be their watch dogs.
Q: We’ve heard some very positive things about David Jones, our current Insurance Commissioner. Do you concur on that opinion?
JM: Fortunately, we currently have an Insurance Commissioner (David Jones) who believes that these issues are important. He understands them and wants to do something about them. He’s also working on labor rate surveys to make certain that the insurance companies are doing surveys that contain some type of criteria while they’re being performed and clarify the process. In addition, Jones is looking at existing law concerning steering regulations and if they’re fair and equitable. He’s been very active in all these areas and he’s planning on doing more, and we’re working with him actively on an ongoing basis. Our members communicate with him regularly and in fact, Jones will be speaking at our upcoming board meeting, so the relationship is good.
For more information call CAA State Office at: 1-800-454-3368 or visit their Web site at: www.calautobody.com.
vantage over the smaller independent shops?
DM: The insurance companies are more and more discerning nowadays when they’re looking for shops to work with, and they are always searching for the best business practices out there when making their decisions and that will never change. So, it does not mean that they will always opt for an MSO. If an independent is doing good repairs and has a strong track record, they will get DRPs, because it’s all about the quality in any business and the insurers want to work with shops that can perform, regardless of their size.
Q: Many shops couldn’t make it through the economic collapse of 2008 and I imagine you lost a few members as a result?
DM: It has been a tough time and all kinds of businesses have had to make changes after 2008. Competition gets more intense when there is less of the pie out there, so body shops have had to step up in some areas, like marketing and efficiency, for example. It’s adapt or survive, but in the end, the consumer benefits, because things such as customer service and professionalism have improved significantly within the last seven years in the collision industry. The main thing I heard more from body shops during that rocky period was that they had to increase their efficiencies and do more work with less people. But, that made them better businesses in the end. Many of them told me that if they had run their businesses this same way 10 years ago this way, that they could have retired by now.
over in 2000?
DM: Back when I started, we played a major role in devising the body shop complaint form, because until then body shops had no real way to complain to the Dept. of Insurance. So now, both consumers and body shops can file complaints, so that was a big deal. A few years after that, we introduced a bill that said insurers could not own body shops. Even though that bill was defeated, it was significant for us, because it brought the issue up to the surface. It helped to bring some attention to it and eventually it became a non-issue, because in the end we believe that insurance companies don’t really want to be in the collision repair business.
Q: Some CAA chapters seem to thrive while others struggle to exist. What do you think are the reasons for this?
Q: What are some of the bigger things CAA has achieved since you took
DM: In any trade organization, you’re going to have some chapters that are more active than others. We sit down with the chapters that are struggling and look for different ways to strengthen them. At our board meetings, all of the chapters submit reports, showing what’s worked and what hasn’t, and that helps all of the chapters. If you look back at our history, you’ll see that certain chapters have spiked in membership and participation and then they go back down, for a wide range of reasons. It’s usually based on leadership and also sometimes attached to what’s going on in that part of the state. Leading members drop out because they retire, for example, and if those people aren’t replaced, the chapter is impacted. If this happens, we do everything we can to bring the chapter back, and in some cases, it’s worked well.
Chicago police say a man who allegedly tried to steal a woman’s car got a big surprise when she handed over the keys then shut him inside her garage. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that 21-year-old Andre Bacon is charged with attempted vehicular hijacking and theft and was ordered held Sunday in lieu of $75,000 bail. Police say Bacon demanded that she give him the keys to her 2012 Acura MDX, which was parked in her garage. She did, but then closed the door behind her and called police.
Honda has developed an advanced automatic braking system that can prevent a vehicle from colliding with a pedestrian even at a speed of 60 kph. The technology uses millimetre-wave radar and a high-resolution camera to identify pedestrians sooner than conventional braking systems can. Honda is expected to install the new braking system in its Legend luxury sedan slated for release this year as well as its global strategic models. The automaker has yet to set the price of the technology.
Chicago Man Threatens Woman for Keys But is Locked Up
Honda Develops Advanced Auto-Braking System
www.autobodynews.com | MARCH 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS 37
Bridgestone Guilty of Price Fixing, To Pay $425 Million Fine
Anti-Vibration Parts Sold to Toyota, Nissan, Fuji Industries, Suzuki, and Isuzu
Bridgestone Corp., a Tokyo, Japanbased company, has agreed to plead guilty and to pay a $425 million criminal fine for its role in a conspiracy to fix prices of automotive anti-vibration rubber parts installed in cars sold in the United States and elsewhere, the Department of Justice announced. According to a one-count felony charge filed today in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in Toledo, Bridgestone engaged in a conspiracy to allocate sales of, to rig bids for and to fix, raise and maintain the prices of automotive anti-vibration rubber parts it sold to Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Corp., Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., Suzuki Motor Corp., Isuzu Motors Ltd. and certain of their subsidiaries, affiliates and suppliers. In addition to the criminal fine, Bridgestone also has agreed to cooperate with the department’s ongoing auto parts investigations. The plea agreement is subject to court approval. In October 2011, Bridgestone pleaded guilty and paid a $28 million fine for price-fixing and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations in the marine hose industry, but did not disclose at the time of the plea that it had also participated in the anti-vibration rubber
VeriFacts Has Added Three New Repair Categories
VeriFacts Automotive LLC has added three new categories of repair capabilities to its Verified Quality (VQ) program. With the identification of these categories, VeriFacts aims to better match its shops with specific types of repairs needed after a crash. The three categories include: ● Cosmetic (no structural, suspension damage or welding required) ● Structural (all cosmetic including structural, welding, measuring required) ● Aluminum/Composite (ability to repair and weld aluminum along with repair of composite materials) “Virtually all modern passenger vehicles now contain highly exotic structural steels, structural aluminum and structural composite type materials that require very specialized collision repair equipment and training to restore the structural integrity designed into them by the manufacturer,” said Audie Swedeen, director of technical field operations and training at VeriFacts. “Wouldn’t you want to know if your car has aluminum damage that the shop repairing it actually has the correct equipment and training to properly complete the repairs?”
parts conspiracy. Bridgestone’s failure to disclose this conspiracy was a factor in determining the $425 million fine. “The Antitrust Division will take a hard line when repeat offenders fail to disclose additional anticompetitive behavior,” said Brent Snyder, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division’s criminal enforcement program. “Today’s significant fine reaffirms the division’s commitment to holding companies accountable for conduct that harms U.S. consumers.” According to the charges, Bridgestone and its co-conspirators carried out the conspiracy through meetings and conversations in which they discussed and agreed upon bids, prices and allocating sales of certain automotive anti-vibration rubber products. After exchanging this information with its co-conspirators, Bridgestone submitted bids and prices in accordance with those agreements and sold and accepted payments for automotive anti-vibration rubber parts at collusive and noncompetitive prices. Bridgestone’s involvement in the conspiracy to fix prices of anti-vibration rubber parts lasted from at least January 2001 until at least December 2008. Said Special Agent in Charge
Stephen D. Anthony, “The illegal activity in this case threatened the basic tenet of free competition. We are pleased with the acceptance of responsibility along with the significant penalty which will be paid by Bridgestone for this conspiracy to fix prices.” Bridgestone manufactures and sells anti-vibration rubber parts, which are comprised primarily of rubber and metal, and are installed in suspension systems and engine mounts as well as other parts of an automobile. Including Bridgestone, 26 companies have pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty in the department’s ongoing investigation into price fixing and bid rigging in the automotive parts industry. The companies have agreed to pay a total of more than $2 billion in criminal fines. Additionally, 28 individuals have been charged. Bridgestone is charged with price fixing in violation of the Sherman Act, which carries maximum penalties of a $100 million criminal fine for corporations. The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine.
FinishMaster Acquires Metro Paint Supplies Group
Uni-Select Inc. announced that its subsidiary FinishMaster, Inc. completed the acquisition of the assets of Metro Paint Supplies Group, which includes the assets of Metro Paint Supplies, Inc., Midwest Refinishings Supply, Inc. and Automotive Coatings & Equipment LLC. This acquisition will increase FinishMaster’s presence in both the Chicago and Colorado markets. The Metro Paint Supplies Group has served automotive and industrial customers in the Midwest since 1951, operating 3 stores and 1 warehouse in the Chicago Metropolitan area and additional stores in Denver and Colorado Springs, CO. The transaction will broaden FinishMaster’s product offering in Colorado through gained distribution rights of additional product lines. “We are pleased to welcome the Metro Paint Supplies Group to FinishMaster. This team has a strong tradition of providing great value to their customers, and that tradition will continue after the acquisition. We are proud to continue the legacy that Bill Weiss started over 25 years ago and are fortunate to add talented, experienced people to the FinishMaster team,” stated Steve Arndt, President and Chief Operating Officer.
OEMs to Play a More Significant Role in NACE/CARS 2014 in Detroit
Chrysler and Mopar, Ford, General Motors and ACDelco, Honda, and Nissan have already committed to a strong presence at NACE/CARS 2014, each with larger exhibits than in recent years. With so many positive changes taking place around the event, it makes sense for these companies to play a key role in the show. “The car manufacturers have the most current information and knowledge on the latest advancements in technology and repair methodologies. Their participation is critical to the success of the show since the industry leaders attending will be seeking to expand their knowledge and remain current with the quickly changing automotive repair industry,” said Dan Risley, ASA Executive Director. With a position in both collision repair and mechanical repair, the OEMs have an opportunity to serve two important market segments at one industry event. And in addition to displays, attendees can expect to see presentations, seminars, and training on the most up-to-date OEM technologies. “We are excited to continue the launch of the all-new Ford F-150, the toughest, smartest and most capable to ever be introduced, at this year’s NACE in Detroit,” said Paul Massie, Ford’s
38 MARCH 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
powertrain and collision marketing manager. “Ford has a long-standing history with ASA and the 2014 NACE and CARS show is a great venue to deliver information to repair professionals about this exciting, new truck.” “We’re excited about exhibiting at NACE/CARS again and showing our support for the collision and mechanical repair industries,” stated Gary Ledoux, Assistant National Manager for American Honda Motor Company. “I think this is going to be a great show and another opportunity to interact with Honda customers and business partners. All roads lead to Detroit in July!” The two biggest changes to NACE/CARS 2014 include the new location in Detroit and the new summer dates, July 28-August 2. The anticipated growth or “renaissance” of the event coincides with the renaissance and revitalization of Detroit. “The Motor City” is a logical place to take advantage of growth in the automotive industry and improvement in the overall economy while NACE and CARS see a renaissance from recent years. “Our team, including members of the ASA Board of Directors, ASA Michigan members and staff, our event management company, and show con-
tractors, have spent significant time in Detroit planning NACE/CARS 2014. Everyone has been impressed, and the city will be a great host. We believe visitors are going to be thrilled with the hotels, restaurants, convention center, amenities, safety and security, family attractions, and overall friendliness of Detroit,” said Risley. Along with NACE/CARS, a series of automotive repair industry events and co-located meetings will take place July 28-Aug. 2, 2014. Early in the week there will be a series of Board and other private meetings. Tuesday will host the CIC quarterly meeting. Wednesday will highlight the I-CAR conference and gala 35th anniversary networking reception. Thursday and Friday will be the NACE/CARS expo along with numerous NACE and CARS business and technical sessions, the MSO Symposium, the Mechanical Symposium and on-site I-CAR training. Technical presentations end at noon Saturday, August 2. For exhibit or show information, contact ASA’s trade show management team at: Stone Fort Group (832) 932-7868 10575 Katy Freeway, Suite 330 Houston TX 77024
Aluminum-bodied F-150 is Boon to Eurovac and Car-O-Liner
“This is the biggest thing in the history of our company,” said Rob Retter about what the 2015 aluminum-bodied Ford F-150 pickup means for Eurovac, the Concord, Ontario, equipment firm his family owns in Canada. “Right now we have 25 employees. We’re expecting that will grow substantially. We’re working hard.” Retter was at the Ford Motor Co. stand at the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) convention showing off two pieces of equipment his company makes for collision repair shops. One of them, the Eurovac II, carries a price tag of $10,125. It’s designed to vacuum aluminum dust off shop floors. Ford is encouraging dealers to buy the equipment if they want to make their body shops aluminum capable. Eurovac manufactures industrial equipment for removing dust and fumes. A Eurovac portable fume extractor on display is optional. Until now, aluminum bodies largely have been limited to high-end cars such as the Audi A8 and Jaguar XJ. But the F-150, the top-selling vehicle in the country, changes all that. With the F-150, aluminum moves into the mainstream, and some analysts predict more vehicles will follow.
A steady stream of dealers flowed through the Ford stand looking at aluminum work stations, rivet guns and other equipment. Ford estimates the average dealer will have to spend $30,000 to $50,000 to get set up. Dealers can purchase the equipment through Rotunda, Ford’s tool supply unit. Ford is offering dealers a 20 percent discount, up to $10,000, on equipment they buy before Oct. 31. “Right now they’re trying to get their heads wrapped around all the requirements,” said Retter. The F-150 is great news for companies such as Eurovac and Car-OLiner Co. with U.S. headquarters in suburban Detroit. Car-O-Liner President Jeffrey Kern said his company is prepared for a surge in business. “We’re capable of handling the additional volume,” Retter said. “We’ve had rollouts before with manufacturers, but not to this level.” At the NADA convention, Douglas Bortz, Car-O-Liner’s national sales manager, shows off some tools designed specifically for repairs of aluminum body panels on the Ford F150. The aluminum buzz at the NADA convention wasn’t confined to the Ford stand. Car-O-Liner displayed a full aluminum work bay at its booth
featuring a damaged aluminum-bodied Audi R8. Ford is encouraging dealers and independent collision shops who want to perform aluminum collision repair to set up separate areas in their body shops. Ford and experts in collision repair say that aluminum and steel do not mix in work areas, making separate areas advisable. In a statement Ford said: “The majority of collision repairs can be completed by most body shops today (e.g. bumpers, grilles, mirrors, dings, dents). Major collision repairs should be performed by aluminum capable Ford Body Shops or Ford National Body Shop Network members (dealers and independents).” Car-O-Liner supplies the heavyduty floor-to-ceiling curtains dealers need to set up a separate station along with welding equipment, sets of aluminum body-working tools, and lifts and racks of various sizes. They help dealers set up aluminum work areas. Ford will not require dealers to set up a separate “clean room” for working on aluminum. So dealers can curtain off areas, do the body work, clean the area and convert back to steel. For suppliers such as Car-OLiner and Eurovac, the aluminum F150 is a gift that will keep on giving.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to be Company’s New Name
Chrysler and Fiat will be known as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV as they move forward as a single company. Fiat’s board of directors agreed on the new name Wednesday, with headquarters for tax purposes in the United Kingdom. But the board sidestepped the thorny political issue of whether the true headquarters would be in the United States or Italy. Fiat and Chrysler also announced fourth-quarter and fullyear earnings. Chrysler’s strong profits once again propped up its parent company, which otherwise would have lost money. Shares of the combined company will trade jointly on the New York Stock Exchange and in Milan, Italy, by Oct. 1. The shares will trade under the symbol FCA, which also appears on the new company logo. FCA now includes the Jeep, Ram, Dodge and Chrysler brands as well as Fiat, Maserati, Ferrari and Lancia and Alfa Romeo. The new company will maintain significant research, engineering and financial operations in Fiat’s hometown of Turin, Italy, and at Chrysler’s sprawling office complex in Auburn Hills, MI.
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NABC’s Golf Fundraiser at CIC Draws a Sold-Out Crowd
One of the NABC’s major sources of funding for its ongoing proOn Wednesday, January 15, the Na- grams, proceeds from the annual golf tional Auto Body Council (NABC) fundraiser helps to support NABC’s held their annual golf fundraiser at the work with Recycled Rides, the DisTahquitz Creek Golf Resort in Palm tracted Driving Initiative and First ReSprings, CA. Nick Notte, NABC sponder Emergency Extrication Board President, notes “this year’s (FREE). golf fundraiser was highly successful, The benefit to Recycled Rides was apparent at the event itself, as explained by Notte: “The golf event kicked off with the presentation of a Recycled Rides vehicle to a local young mother with a two-year-old son born with a congenital birth defect. A 2013 Ford Fusion, donated by Hertz and repaired by Pacific Collision Center in Cathedral City, CA, was preA sold out field of 144 golfers enjoyed spectacular weather sented to Jennifer Valdez and golf while raising funds to support the National Auto who will now be able to take Body Council programs her son to his frequent medone of the best ever. The National ical appointments in the comfort of Auto Body Council appreciates and her own car, rather than having to rely thanks all those who, through their on friends and public transportation. sponsorships and participation in the Jennifer was selected as a recipient by event, recognize the value our collec- a local nonprofit support organization, tive efforts bring in promoting the Variety–The Children’s Charity of the image of our collision industry.” Desert.” A sold-out field of 144 golfers participated in the even to support the NABC and its programs. Representatives from all segments of the industry were present to support NABC’s mission, including repairers, insurers, rental car companies, parts suppliers and manufacturers, among others. In addition to Hertz, the event’s presenting Left to right Doug Webb, John Webb, and Doug Kelly sponsor, over 30 other comenjoying the golf course views at the NABC’s annual panies sponsored the event. Golf Fundraiser Top sponsors included AudaExplore, Axalta Coating Systems, Notte believes the event “proEnterprise Rent-A-Car, PPG Automo- vided participants with fun, camative Refinish, Sherwin Williams, Sterraderie and networking opportunities ling Auto Body Centers and Team while learning more about the proPRP. grams and mission of the NABC,” and by Chasidy Rae Sisk
Continued from Page 30
Polar Vortex Continues
age—the repairs we’re getting are mostly aesthetic, small damages to bumpers and doors from slipping and sliding on the ice. It was kind of like bumper cars out there! We can flip these repairs quickly, though, if the in-
surers get on with their business. I don’t work for them, but I’ll work with them to get the consumer taken care of as quickly as possible.” Forecasts for February indicate the Polar Vortex may finally be letting up in the southern region of the US, but the Northeast and Midwest can expect the icy winds and snow accumulation to continue through February.
40 MARCH 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
he credits its success to “the collaboration and efforts of members from various industry segments who join forces and provide valuable community service programs.”
levels of membership. Notte added a special thanks to members of the NABC Board of Directors, the fundraising committee, chaired by Domenic Brusco and
Palm Springs resident Jennifer Valdez and her special-needs son enjoy their new Recycled Rides vehicle, thanks to Pacific Collision Centers of Cathedral City and Hertz. See Feb. ABN for more.
The visibility and value of NABC programs have resulted in membership growth momentum in recent months with the addition of four new Diamond Members and several additional members joining at various
David Merrell, Executive Director Chuck Sulkala, and the NABC staff, for the many hours devoted to making the golf fundraiser an enjoyable and successful event. www.nationalautobodycouncil.org
ASA Encourages PartsTrader Action at State Level The Automotive Service Association (ASA) has announced that, as part of its 2014 legislative initiatives, it will continue to work with independent repairers and their state affiliate associations that have taken an active role in addressing insurer parts procurement mandates on a state level. Although a few states in 2013 saw bills introduced to stop insurermandated parts procurement programs, none of these bills advanced to become law in their states, ASA noted. The association anticipates that 2014 will see more legislative activity on parts procurement and other similar insurer mandates. ASA contacted state attorneys general and insurance regulators in the fall of 2013 asking that they review these programs to determine if they violate their state laws. ASA has had discussions with a number of these states that have submitted inquiries for additional supporting information. Important to note, ASA states, is that subsequent to its announcement relative to sending letters to each state, State Farm sent states letters arguing the legitimacy of such mandates. To view an example of these letters, visit www.TakingTheHill.com. “Our goal was to resolve this [State Farm PartsTrader issue] with-
out government oversight, interference or legislation,” said Dan Risley, ASA executive director. “As such, we have persisted in our efforts to work with State Farm to change the current PartsTrader mandate policy. This has included multiple meetings and other discussions that continued throughout 2013. ASA believes that there are potential solutions provided State Farm is willing to work toward an amicable resolution that benefits State Farm, collision repairers and the consumer.”
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Alcoa Foundation Awards $60K Aluminum Training Grant The Collision Repair Education Foundation announced that the Alcoa Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Alcoa, the aluminum company, awarded the Collision Repair Education Foundation a $60,000 grant that will provide aluminum repair focused training and technical presentations to high school and college collision school instructors and industry professionals attending the NACE 2014 show (the International Autobody Congress and Exposition) at Detroit’s Cobo Hall July 28–August 2. Working together with the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I CAR), collision school instructors will attend aluminum specific training sessions in Detroit the week of NACE and aluminum technical presentations and panels will be conducted on the NACE show floor. As more and more of today’s and future vehicles are being constructed with aluminum, it is crucial that current and future repair professionals complete aluminum repair technical training in order to repair consumer’s collision damaged properly. “Aluminum is the second most used material to build cars and has grown every year for the past 40 years, so it’s not a new material to the auto industry,” said Michael Murphy, Vice President, Commercial for Alcoa Automotive. “However we know that some in the market would like to understand better how they can work with and repair aluminum. Our
goal in teaming-up with the Collision Repair Education Foundation, I-CAR and all the partners at NACE is to educate people and have them understand that repairing aluminum isn’t difficult… it’s just different.” Collision Repair Education Foundation Executive Director Clark Plucinski noted, “After the overwhelming success of the 2013 Alcoa Foundation grant where collision instructor and student pairs attended aluminum repair technical training at the I-CAR Tech Center, we were thrilled to hear that Alcoa has increased their level of support with this new grant. Working together with I-CAR and in conjunction with the NACE 2014 show this grant will help bring additional aluminum repair training to both collision school instructors and attending industry professionals.” The Automotive Service Association (ASA) President Dan Risley added, “Alcoa’s commitment to educate instructors and the collision repair industry on aluminum repairs is unparalleled. In addition to the classes and material presented by ICAR on aluminum, we will be assembling a showcase on the show floor highlighting current model vehicles that are aluminum intensive. We anticipate providing live demonstrations on proper aluminum repair techniques to further supplement an already outstanding lineup of aluminum content and information.”
According to AAA the Right to Repair Agreement should help consumers with auto repair, but it does not go far enough in ensuring access to car data as vehicle technology advances. “Most consumers want the ability to choose their preferred mechanic,” said Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA. “While this agreement has benefits for consumers, it is not a comprehensive solution. Vehicles are changing rapidly and more must be done to guarantee consumer choice and control of vehicle data in the future.” AAA believes that automakers must help ensure the consumer rights of transparency, choice and security as cars increasingly transmit data outside the vehicle.
have a right to clearly understand what information is being collected from their vehicle and how it is being used. Businesses and the government should be transparent about the collection and use of vehicle data. Choice—Consumers have a right to decide with whom to share their data and for what purpose. This includes ongoing monitoring of vehicle systems, repair and any data of the vehicle owner’s choice. Customers should not be forced to relinquish control as a condition of purchasing or leasing a vehicle or of receiving a connected-vehicle service. Security—Consumers have a right to expect that connected-vehicle manufacturers and service providers will use reasonable measures to protect vehicle data systems and services against unauthorized access and misuse.
AAA Says Right to Repair Needs to Go Further
AAA Consumer Rights on Car Data Transparency—Consumers
www.autobodynews.com | MARCH 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS 41
SCRS Provides Unified Voice for Industry by Chasidy Rae Sisk
If you’ve been involved in the collision repair industry for longer than a month (if that!), you’re probably aware of the existence of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS), yet you may not know exactly what their role is within the in-
dustry. Sure, you can search their website to find their mission statement – “to educate, inform and represent the collision repair professional in all aspects of the industry” – or their vision – “to promote, support and encourage exemplary businesses committed to the future of the collision repair industry, while providing the visibility and leadership needed to raise the professional image of the industry and advance the business conditions of those whom we represent” – but who is SCRS, and what do they do? Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg graciously agreed to answer these questions and more. In the 1970s, before SCRS was founded, the collision repair industry was fragmented with shops functioning independently. Due to a lack of communication, shops were very competitive and suspicious of one another, and as the new decade approached, signs of an imminent industry upheaval emerged due to advancements in technology and materials as well as the absence of the industry-accepted training which caused shop owners to feel that they were losing control of their businesses. Believing that the lack of a collective voice left the industry vulnerable, a group of perceptive shop owners in the Kansas City area began contemplating the possibility of forming a group to help them improve as collision repair professionals. This group gathered to listen to John Loftus who reminded them that they were all in the same business and thus alike, making it obvious that they had a better chance of solving their problems together rather than individ-
ually. Conversations continued until, at their next meeting at Gene Parks’ Body Shop in Riverside, MO in 1982, this group of repairers had decided to form an association with Loftus as their leader. Realizing the need for more members if they wanted to effect meaningful change, the group began looking beyond their locality as they considered creating a national collision repair association; thus, SCRS was formed. As seen by the events leading up to the creation of SCRS, their work was inspired by the concept “Working Together Is the Most Important Work We Do,” and this belief has influenced the work and decisions of SCRS for the past three decades. Schulenburg notes that the association’s purpose has not really changed since its inception; “SCRS started because a group of grassroots shops believed the industry needed a unified voice, and though our approach, scope, abilities and funding have progressed over time, we are all really proud that there has been no deviation from our purpose which remains as grassroots as when we first started. Our focus is still the same – to be a voice for repairers – and since SCRS was founded in 1982, we continue to strive for the same things, staying true to why we started the association.” Since 1982, SCRS has become the largest national trade association solely representing and dedicated to collision repair facilities across the continent. Through their direct members and affiliated associations, they represent over 6,000 collision repair businesses and over 58,000 industry professionals. According to Schulenburg, their “goals as an organization are to make this industry better in every way we can. We ask ourselves, ‘what is the best way to support collision repair businesses?’, and then we try to make the biggest difference possible for our members and the industry as a whole.” In terms of the challenges SCRS faces in order to maintain operations, Schulenburg notes that they really aren’t that dissimilar from their affiliates; “it all comes down to industry engagement. The issues we face are often defined by the lowest denominators in our industry – expectations are set by the floor, rather than the ceiling – so how do you reach people who aren’t engaging in industry activ-
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ity, or even following industry publications, news and developments? This also impacts the question of how to grow consistently. Despite SCRS’s yearly growth in every member category, we can only reach so many people, and we want to get to everyone with a collision repair sign in the doorway of their business so that they’re aware of changes in the industry and know how to handle them.”
Expanding, Schulenburg notes that the issues are the same across the country, and the main difference between SCRS and local associations is the scope of activity, emphasizing the
importance of why SCRS is structured to support a network of associations. Many issues, such as how insurance is governed, are handled at a state level, so how state associations address these issues locally is different from what SCRS can do on a national scale. By talking to their affiliate associations and coordinating collaborative discussion amongst state and regional groups, SCRS gets to see the bigger, global picture and help support those local efforts through enhanced communication. Schulenburg believes this structure works well and is efficient. Of course, SCRS also plays a large role in contending with problems impacting the industry. According to Schulenburg, some of the biggest of these challenges are the future of cars and an increasing loss of control and intrusion into collision repair businesses. “As technology develops, the need for costly training, equipment and specialization will become more prolific; we are also cautiously looking decades down the road at the developments of self-driving vehicles and those
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with sophisticated accident avoidance systems which promote increased safety, but could prove to be dangerous to the trade. If so, what does the evolving future of the industry look like? The intrusion of third-party entities into the collision
repair industry is also a huge concern today, and as more repairers become frustrated, many are taking more vocal stands and removing themselves from insurer programs; many are even taking a litigious approach – all of this is an indication of the boiling point the industry is experiencing.” As SCRS keeps an eye on things potentially impacting the industry and serves as a source of information for many in the repair community, they are looked to for leadership and positioning regarding the current issues facing their members’ business. When asked about insurance pro-
grams mandating parts procurement providers, Schulenburg made note that they take exception to all insurer mandates, particularly the mandated use of parts procurements system, a hot topic pervading the country. “SCRS believes this control falls outside of the scope of the insurance business [and] SCRS supports efforts that rightfully seek to eliminate such intrusion into the collision repair business, and enforcement of existing laws, regulations and codes that currently prohibit such actions. It is the opinion of SCRS that voluntary agreements cannot include stipulations which violate existing laws, rules and regulations. SCRS believes that collision businesses are capable of establishing successful vendor relationships and internal processes that will best accommodate the needs of the consumer, and that service providers will continue to respond to the market with increasingly creative solutions that drive performance for their customers and the respective market entities. We believe that solutions with tangible value propositions will be utilized and supported by the
marketplace without the undue influence of insurer mandate.” Regarding the PARTS Act, Schulenburg understands why OEs want to protect their designs in order to recover their investments on the research and development involved in creating a vehicle, and also why the aftermarket industry objects to this protection; however, the biggest concern is that the PARTS Act does nothing to ensure the quality of parts entering the marketplace, which is perhaps the biggest struggle SCRS’ members face when expected to use the alternative parts in question.
Which parts are used in a repair should be decided based on quality and consumer choice. Insurance companies commonly push shops to use the cheapest parts, but this can result in consumers being taken advantage of..” Currently, SCRS has many projects in the works, but Schulenburg doesn’t believe that 2014 will see any tremendous changes in their objectives as they “continue to focus on what’s most important to members’ interests.” SCRS continues to examine how to address parts procurement mandates, the arbitrary reduction of refinish times on repaired panels and finding ways to support the development and use of OEM repair procedures for the most proper repair. . The association will also continue develFLORIDA ALABAMA oping education for their acclaimed Repairer Driven Education series at Brumos Motor Cars Crown Automobile the SEMA Show, and Schulenburg beJacksonville lieves that the anticipated increase in Mercedes-Benz attendance for 2014 “speaks to our 800-726-9150 Hoover mission to educate and inform our 904-725-2923 Fax 800-476-4669 membership.” M-F 7:00am - 7:00pm 205-402-2243 Fax SCRS has also been actively MBparts@brumos.com M-F 7:30am - 5:00pm CST monitoring current trends with new vehicles being released. For example, www.brumos.com email@example.com
the 2015 Ford F150, just formally announced at the beginning of this year, is unique in that it is going to be constructed of weight-saving aluminum, and many repair shops still need to prepare for the investment in equipment and training that this will necessitate if they wish to continue to repair the most popular vehicle in America. Looking further down the road, Schulenburg indicated that SCRS is already examining a burgeoning interest from carriers into analytical estimating, how it could potentially change the way losses are settled, and the effect it will have on the industry altogether. He notes, “it’s going to be a busy year because there’s no shortage of things for which our members need a unified voice.” On January 15, SCRS held their first Open Board meeting of the year in Palm Springs, CA. Schulenburg notes, “the meeting was great because it provided an opportunity to interact with members and share what’s going on in the industry.” The association’s committees also shared their work on current projects, and Schulenburg particularly enjoyed the presentation on tools given by Kye Yeung and Toby Chess, the findings of which will be published on SCRS’s website soon. They reviewed a broad range of tools, from basic to advanced, that could make a significant difference in the repair process. Since being founded, SCRS has strived to provide a unified voice for the collision repair industry in their efforts to better the trade, and their belief that meaningful change is only possible through working together has inspired many positive improvements in the industry. As Schulenburg has stated many times, “we are stronger together.” Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) PO Box 909 Prosser, WA 99350 877-841-0660 www.scrs.com
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AAIA and CARE Conclude Voluntary Information Sharing Agreement with OEMs The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Alliance), the Association of Global Automakers (Global), the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA), and the Coalition for Automotive Repair Equality (CARE) announced their collective acceptance of a national agreement to ensure consumer choice in post-warranty auto repair, decisively ending the longstanding “Right to Repair” debate within the industry. The national agreement is based on the recent law finalized in Massachusetts. The signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) extends the essential provisions for all light vehicles negotiated in the Massachusetts law nationwide; it impacts all companies and organizations that are currently members of the signatory associations. Unlike the recent changes to the law in Massachusetts, the agreement does not include heavy duty trucks, nor does it include motorcycles. Should a consumer or repair shop be unable to obtain information, software or a tool from a automaker, the complaining party would first be required to contact the car company either directly or through the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF), to request access to the information, tool or software. A car company has 30 days to respond to this request.
If the shop or consumer are still not satisfied, then the individual or shop can take the issue before a five-person Dispute Resolution Panel established under the MOU comprised of representatives from the four signatory groups and chaired by an independent professional mediator. If the dispute cannot be resolved amicably, the panel will make a ruling based on the terms of the MOU. The Automotive Service Association, in September 2002, reached a voluntary agreement with vehicle manufacturers. That agreement provided that manufacturers would provide independent repair shops with the same service and training information related to vehicle repair as is available to franchised dealerships. It also specified that NASTF would work to resolve issues that might arise, but did not include the more formal Dispute Resolution Panel. “ASA is a long-time supporter of industry solutions to service information, tool and training issues. ASA signed an agreement in the fall of 2002, addressing these issues, at the urging of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee. We believe this agreement has made a significant contribution to the automotive independent repairer,” said Bob Redding, ASA’s Washington representative. “It is encouraging to see the automotive
industry continue to come together on non-legislative solutions for the service information issue. On these most important issues, a government solution should be the last option not the first.” This national agreement ensures the Alliance, Global, AAIA, and CARE will stand down in their fight on “Right to Repair” and work collectively to actively oppose individual state legislation while their respective groups work to implement this MOU. In the meantime, the parties agree that further state legislation is not needed and could serve to weaken the effectiveness and clarity of the MOU. “Automakers manufacture high quality, innovative vehicles that provide strong value, safety, and convenience to our customers,” said Mitch Bainwol, President and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. “Accessible, efficient, accurate, and competitively-priced repair and service are paramount, and franchised dealers and the aftermarket play unique and important roles in the repair process.” “We are excited that consumers and independent repair facilities around the Nation will have the same access to the information, tools and software needed to service late model computer controlled vehicles as is required under the Massachusetts right to repair statute,”
Aisan Industry Co. Agrees to $6.86M Criminal Fine for Price Fixing Price-Fixed Electronic Throttle Bodies Sold to Nissan Motor Co. and Subsidiaries
Aisan Industry Co. Ltd., an Obu, Japan-based company, has agreed to plead guilty and to pay a criminal fine of $6.86 million for its role in a price fixing conspiracy involving electronic throttle bodies sold in the United States and elsewhere, the Department of Justice announced. According to a one-count felony charge filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit, Aisan engaged in a conspiracy to rig bids for and to fix stabilize and maintain the prices of electronic throttle bodies sold to Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and certain of its subsidiaries in the United States and elsewhere. In addition to the criminal fine, Aisan has also agreed to cooperate with the department’s ongoing auto parts investigations. The plea agreement is subject to court approval. “The Antitrust Division will continue to hold companies accountable for anticompetitive conduct that impacts the automobile industry in the United States,” said Brent Snyder, Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Antitrust Division’s criminal enforcement program. “To date, 25 companies have been charged as part of
the Antitrust Division’s ongoing auto parts investigation.” Aisan and its coconspirators carried out the price fixing conspiracy through meetings and conversations in which they discussed and agreed upon bids and price quotations for electronic throttle bodies. Aisan’s involvement in the conspiracy to fix prices of electronic throttle bodies lasted from at least as early as October 2003 until at least February 2010. Aisan manufactures and sells automotive electronic throttle bodies, which are part of the air intake system in an engine that controls the amount of air flowing into an engine’s combustion chamber. By controlling air flow within an engine, the electronic throttle body controls engine speed. Including Aisan, 25 corporations have pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty in the department’s investigation into price fixing and bid rigging in the auto parts industry. The companies have agreed to pay a total of more than $1.8 billion in fines. Additionally, 28 individuals have been charged. Aisan is charged with price fixing in violation of the Sherman Act,
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which carries a maximum penalty of a $100 million criminal fine for corporations. The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine. The prosecution arose from an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into price fixing, bid rigging, and other anti-competitive conduct in the automotive parts industry, which is being conducted by each of the Antitrust Division’s criminal enforcement sections and the FBI. The charges were brought by the San Francisco Office of the Antitrust Division with assistance provided by the National Criminal Enforcement Section of the Antitrust Division, the Detroit Field Office of the FBI, and FBI Headquarters’ International Corruption Unit. Anyone with information concerning this investigation should contact the Antitrust Division’s Citizen Complaint Center at 1-888647-3258, visit www.justice.gov/atr/ contact/newcase.html, or call the Detroit Field Office of the FBI at 313965-2323.
said Kathleen Schmatz, President and CEO of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association. “We believe that the resulting competitive repair market is a win-win for car companies, the independent repair industry and most importantly consumers.” “Much like with fuel efficiency economy and greenhouse gases, a single national standard regarding vehicle repair protocols is imperative,” said Mike Stanton, President and CEO of the Association of Global Automakers. “A patchwork of fifty differing state bills, each with its own interpretations and compliance parameters doesn’t make sense. This agreement provides the uniform clarity our industry needs and a nationwide platform to move on.” “Since the first Right to Repair Act was introduced in Congress in 2001, CARE and the automotive aftermarket have worked to ensure our customers continue to have the right to choose where they buy their parts and have their vehicles serviced,” said Ray Pohlman, President of CARE. “This agreement will ensure vehicle owners will have competitive and quality choices in their repairs while strengthening the auto repair industry nationwide. This illustrates what can happen when organizations put customers and consumers first,” Pohlman said.
Twitter Says its Users Buy Twice As Many Cars
Twitter Inc. is seeking a bigger slice of the more than $15 billion auto-advertising market, saying that households with users of its service were twice as likely to buy a new car as the average U.S. household. About 6 percent of households with Twitter users bought a new car during a six-month period measured by partner Datalogix Inc. last year, the San Francisco-based social network said in a blog post. Those households bought new vehicles at double the national rate from April to October, according to Datalogix and IHS Automotive’s Polk. The car-buying data “moves the conversation from ‘why Twitter?’ to ‘how should we use Twitter?’” said Jeffrey Graham, ad research director at Twitter. “The measurement shows that Twitter works and there’s a huge opportunity there.” Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is focused on reversing a slowdown in user growth. The more significant measure to monitor is the company’s advertising revenue given the “tremendously under-developed potential for monetization” of the platform, according to Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research Group in New York.
Consumer Reports Says Tesla and Subaru Move Up
Consumers continue to distinguish Toyota, Ford, Honda, and Chevrolet as the leading brands overall, but several others, including Tesla and Subaru, are moving up the rankings, according to Consumer Reports’ annual Car-Brand Perception Survey. Toyota has a 25-point advantage over second-place Ford, reflecting a five-point gain over the year prior for Toyota and a threepoint improvement for Ford. It could be interpreted that the safety concerns that saw the Toyota score stumble a few years ago have faded, returning the brand to its position as the perceived industry leader. Consumer Reports brand perception scores reflect how consumers perceive each brand in seven important buying factors, ranked here in order of the importance to consumers: quality, safety, performance, value, fuel economy, design/style, and technology/innovation. Combining those factors gives us the total brand-perception score. While the scores reflect a brand’s image, they do not reflect the actual qualities of any brand’s vehicles. “The key word is ‘perception’.
Car-O-Liner Added to F-150 Ford Rotunda Program
The Car-O-Liner CMI3000II MIG /MAG Pulse Welder, along with additional approved aluminum repair equipment, comprises more than 150 collision repair products currently in the Ford Rotunda Tool and Equipment Program. As an approved equipment supplier to the Ford Rotunda program for multiple years, Car-O-Liner’s breadth of products provides technicians with the tools needed to perform high quality, safe and efficient repairs—a complete solution to improve efficiencies and productivity. “We are excited to be a supplier to Ford Motor Company’s 2015 F-150 Collision Repair Program. Our extensive experience through many years of collaboration with global OEM repair programs has established our reputation for quality repairs,” says Peter Richardson, key accounts manager for Car-O-Liner Company. Car-O-Liner’s powerful truck clamping system and EVO universal anchoring system eliminates the need for specialized adapters and tools in favor of solid, proven technology that is approved and universal in application.
Diamond Standard’s New Reflexxion Website
Diamond Standard Brand Parts Manufacturer Reflexxion Automotive launched a new website, located at www.reflexxion.com, dedicated to provide an easy, interactive portal to Reflexxion’s market leadership in cowl hoods featuring on-truck hood views and paperless Flip-Page 2014 catalog. “We are pleased to provide a clear leading edge website designed to help insurers, collision centers, distributors and consumers by arranging content in a logical path to find the right part solution among more than 100 applications available for General Motors, Ford, Chrysler Dodge light duty truck and SUV models. As the manufacturer of steel and aluminum cowl induction design replacement hoods we felt it important to address in a bold way the growing need for replacing a cowl induction hood in collision repair and the increasing consumer demand for exterior components to enhance and personalize vehicle appearance” said Mike O’Neal, President of Diamond Standard. The website provides numerous features to enable a streamlined process of easily finding information, parts and sourcing solutions effectively reducing clicks required and eliminating menus.
ASA BOD Elections Continue through End of February
Elections for the 2014 Automotive Service Association (ASA) national board of directors are being held now through the end of February. All regular/shop members and corporate members are eligible to vote for one position of general director; mechanical shop members may vote for the ASA mechanical division director; and collision shop members may vote for the ASA collision division director. (Division assignments are made at the time a member joins ASA). Cast a vote at www.ASAshop.org.
ETI Plans Market Research on Collision Repair Equipment
The Equipment and Tool Institute (ETI) will launch a series of market research projects geared toward the collision repair industry. The projects include a survey to find out more about collision repair facility familiarity with different repair equipment. It is already available to complete. Gathered research will be used to help the industry acquire better products, ETI said. The findings will be made available to all ETI member company attendees at ToolTech 2014 in Sonoma, CA, on April 28.
Business Groups Urge OSHA to Dump Silica Rule
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Business groups are sparring with labor and environmental groups over a rule the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says would protect workers from harmful silica dust. OSHA originally proposed the silica rule last August before twice extending the deadline to file comments. Public hearings are set to begin March 18. Labor and environmental groups argue the proposed silica rule would set in place much needed protections for construction and manufacturing workers who are exposed to silica. OSHA says the rule would prevent 700 deaths each year. But business groups argue the new regulations would “unnecessarily” cut jobs and hurt the economy. Dan Bosch, manager of regulatory policy at the National Federation of Independent Business, said the silica rule would hit small businesses particularly hard. “NFIB strongly urges OSHA to withdraw the rulemaking because it has not shown that it is necessary, it will be extraordinarily expensive and complex to attain compliance, and it has failed to adequately consider the impact on small businesses and their employees,” Bosch wrote in a comment letter. In a comment filed with OSHA, the National Industrial Sand Associa-
tion (NISA) argues that the agency has “no basis” for strengthening its silica dust regulations because the current standards are adequate. “We strongly believe that OSHA’s proposed drastic reduction in the permissible exposure limit is not necessary to protect workers and will unnecessarily cost jobs and hurt the national economy,” NISA President Mark Ellis told OSHA. But Ron White, director of regulatory policy at the Center for Effective Government, pointed to an OSHA study that estimates the silica rule would create jobs, contrary to industry arguments. “It actually creates job; it doesn’t harm jobs,” he said in an interview. The AFL-CIO called the rule “long overdue. The proposal will significantly reduce workers’ exposures to deadly silica dust and prevent thousands of deaths and diseases a year,” Peg Seminario, safety and health director at the AFL-CIO, wrote in her comments to the agency. White also submitted comments to OSHA saying he supports the rule, but would like to see it go even further in reducing workers’ exposure to silica dust. “There are still very high risks for workers,” White said.
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100 Lift Inspectors Are Now Auto Lift Institute Certified
The Automotive Lift Institute (ALI) has certified the 100th lift inspector through the ALI Lift Inspector Certification Program, making it easier than ever for lift owners to find qualified individuals to perform mandated annual lift inspections. Nicholas Lewandowski of Allied, Inc. in Ann Arbor, Mich., is the 100th lift inspector to complete the program. More than 650 additional candidates, representing 417 companies across the United States and Canada, are enrolled in the program and working toward certification. Enrollment grew significantly in the final week of 2013, when 45 new companies signed up. “2013 was the first full year of the Lift Inspector Certification Program and we made great progress,” says R.W. “Bob” O’Gorman, ALI president. “We set out to build a resource for lift users, and there is now a stable of 100 Certified Lift Inspectors ready to provide service whenever and wherever inspections are needed. I’m happy to welcome Nicholas to the Certified Inspector family and look forward to hitting many more milestones as the current candidates work their way through the program.”
Aston Martin Recalls Most Cars Built Since Late 2007
Aston Martin is recalling most of its sports cars built since late 2007 after discovering a Chinese sub-supplier was using counterfeit plastic material in a part supplied to the luxury sports carmaker. The recall totals 17,590 cars, including all of its lefthand-drive models built since November 2007 and all righthand-drive models made since May 2012, affecting about 75 percent of all vehicles produced in that period, a spokeswoman said. Aston Martin is owned by Kuwaiti and private equity investors, found that Shenzhen Kexiang Mould Tool Co. Ltd., a Chinese subcontractor that molds the affected accelerator pedal arms, was using counterfeit plastic material supplied by Synthetic Plastic Raw Material Co. Ltd. of Dongguan, according to documents filed with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The cars are being recalled from model years 2008 through 2014 because the accelerator pedal arm may break, increasing the risk of a crash, according to the NHTSA documents. This recall replaces the recall announced last May and expanded in October.
Boyd Group Restructures Paint Supplier Agreement
Boyd Group Income Fund says it has now entered into a letter of intent with its existing paint supplier for a new or amended agreement, Canada’s Collision Repair Magazine has reported. Under the new or amended agreement, Boyd will continue to benefit from a back-end purchase discount structure that was put in place as part of the amendment and restructuring of its paint supply agreement in October, 2013. “We are pleased to have taken the next step towards finalizing a new long-term paint supply arrangement that better reflects our current size, purchasing scale and access to capital, as well as changing paint market conditions,” said Brock Bulbuck, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Boyd Group. “Under the new arrangement, we will continue to benefit from the accretive nature of the higher, marketdriven, back-end purchase discounts achieved by amending and restructuring our previous arrangement last October. We are also very pleased to be able to continue to work with our incumbent paint supplier, who has been a valued business partner since 2006.”
Gerber Collision is DiamondLevel NABC Sponsor
Gerber Collision & Glass increased its commitment to the goals and mission of the National Auto Body Council (NABC) with a top level Diamond membership. A member of the National Auto Body Council since 2010, Gerber Collision & Glass has teamed up with insurers, rental car companies and others in the collision industry on numerous Recycled RidesTM events and other community service projects. “Our involvement with the National Auto Body Council and its program initiatives continue to grow year after year as we witness the benefits and value this brings not only to recipients of our Recycled Rides vehicles, but also how it has enriched our team members and the industry as a whole,” said Tim O’Day, President & COO of Gerber Collision & Glass. “We look forward to working even more closely with our peers and colleagues through the National Auto Body Council to help promote a positive image of the collision industry.” Gerber joins 29 other companies at NABC’s top-tier Diamond member level. NABC’s overall membership includes over 200 members, more than 600 shop locations.
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