Southwest Edition Texas Oklahoma Louisiana New Mexico
VOL. 32 ISSUE 2 FEBRUARY 2014
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Louisiana Court Holds that Paid Time Off Days are Considered Wages Under State Law An intermediate appeals court in Louisiana held that accrued and unused paid days off constituted earned wages for which compensation was due to a former employee upon separation under the Louisiana Wage Payment Act (“LWPA”). In Davis, the plaintiff resigned from her employment with the defendant and then brought suit demanding she be paid for the balance of her accrued but unused paid days off pursuant to the state law, specifically the LWPA’s requirement of prompt payment of earned wages upon an employee’s discharge or resignation. The statute pro-
vides that vacation pay becomes “earned wages” when an employee is “deemed eligible for and has accrued the right to take vacation time with pay” and “has not taken or been compensated for the vacation time as of the date of the discharge or resignation.” The Company argued that pursuant to its policy, paid days off did not constitute “vacation pay” because the accumulated paid days off are granted to employees, “in the nature of a mere gratuity”, and, thus, do not constitute “vacation” for purposes of See Paid Time Off in LA, Page 11
Shops Weather All Kinds of Winter Weather Disruptions but More Polar Vortex Coming? by Chasidy Rae Sisk
Projections for Late January
west and East and drought to build in California and the West. Impact from the another surge of very cold air may include the already familiar risks from below-zero temperatures including life-threatening conditions and frostSee More Polar Vortex?, Page 26
Change Service Requested
P.O. BOX 1516, CARLSBAD, CA 92018
This January added another new meteorological term to collective vocabulary even though the phenomenon it describes has been known since 1853. January 2014 started off with a frigid slow-moving cyclone known as a polar vortex that wrought havoc throughout the midwest and eastern parts of the country with recordbreaking low temperatures and icy winds. Worse news perhaps is that the polar vortex will get stronger and move farther south later in January, causing cold to intensify in the Mid-
Industry Observations from Collision Attorney
ERICA EVERSMAN If you’ve been paying the least bit of attention to legal issues in the collision repair industry over the past decade, you probably know of Erica Eversman, an OH-based attorney and consumer advocate who specializes in understanding collision repairers’ issues and their impact on consumer safety. A noted authority and frequent speaker on the topics of diminished value, DRP networks and the influence insurers attempt to exert over repairers, Eversman serves as a consultant to the industry, assisting repairers to analyze proposed regulations and laws affecting collision repair. In addition to creating “AutoMuse”, an award-winning blog, she is chief counsel for Vehicle Information Services, Inc. and the founder of the Automotive Education and Policy Institute, a non-profit organization geared towards educating consumers. Though Eversman is obviously busy playing so many roles, she took time from her hectic schedule to talk to Autobody News readers about some of the major concerns plaguing the collision repair industry today. As a consumer advocate, Eversman stresses that consumer education is vital; “first and foremost, consumers are the people in charge of their vehicles, but if they don’t have the proper information, they can’t stand up for themselves. They are the only ones who can effect meaningful change because it is their vehicles and their contract with the insurance company.” Furthermore, collision repairers must comply with consumer protection laws, so they are the ones at risk of noncompliance when insurer interference promotes a situation where repairers are asked to do as the insurer requests, which is always focused on cost and saving money rather than on providing a quality repair. The shop can only do so much, and if the consumer doesn’t help, they are essentially saying that the repair is good enough, even if it’s not actually safe.
INTERVIEW by Chasidy Rae Sisk
continued on page 14
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2 FEBRUARY 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
2 Louisiana Men Accused of Shooting
Chrysler Files Suit Against LKQ on RAM Design Patents
Chrysler Files Suit Against LKQ on RAM
Design Patents. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
out Car Windows . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Chrysler Seeks Registration of Diagnostic
Champion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
CIC in Brief, More Next Issue . . . . . . . . . . 31
Baton Rouge Tech is Safelite National Caliber Opens New Greenfield Shop
in Frisco, TX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
CIC Roundtable Launches Consumer
Website for OEMs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Fire Destroys Well Known Auto Glass Shop
Daydreaming Tops List of Crash-Causing
Huntsville, TX, Shop Says Business
Ford Approves Chief and Elektron Equipment
Louisiana Court Holds that Paid Time Off
Ford Rep Paul Massie on Repairing the
in Tyler, TX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 is Picking Up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Days are Considered Wages Under
Distractions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
for 2015 F-150 Repairs . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
2015 F-150 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
State Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Ford’s 2015 F-150 Launch Focuses Repairer
Manager at Hodges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Ford’s Best Selling F-150 Gets Lighter
Vendor from TX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Hyundai, Kia Expect to Top 2013 Global
Renovation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Industry Observations from Collision
Windstorm Tax . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
K&M Collision of NC Files Six Separate
Based Collision Authority Repair Centers . 7
LKQ Responds to Chrysler Design
Disruptions but More Polar Vortex Coming?. 1
Meet California’s NEW BAR Chief,
Tax Refunded. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Mercedes-Benz Recalls Some 2013
New CARSTAR Safety and Compliance
Opelousas Dealership Gets $6M Trustmark Rep Says Vehicles Shouldn’t Pay For TX Service King Acquires All Six Las-Vegas
Shops Weather All Kinds of Winter Weather Texas Repairer Says He Wants His COLUMNISTS
Attanasio - How to Improve Your Success
Concern on Costs and Benefits . . . . . . 16 and Tougher. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Vehicle Sales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Attorney Erica Eversman . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Shortpay Lawsuits. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Patents Suit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Patrick Dorais . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Vehicles for OCS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Mobileye Integrates with Accel Connected
Car Technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
with Google in 2014. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
New F-150 Has Aluminum Pinchweld,
to Be Read and Followed . . . . . . . . . . . 34
New Nevada Driver Authorization Cards
Chess - Honda’s Repair Instructions Need Franklin - Re-Think Your Marketing For
The New Year . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Precautions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Allow Legal Driving, Insurance Has
Been Available . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Sisk - AASP-Massachusetts Prepares for
NHTSA Moves Ahead on Backup Camera
Sisk - Montana Repairers Form a Small
North American Car & Truck Production
Yoswick - Shops Can Put News and Trends
Not All Insurance Carriers Will Sell Policies
2014 with a Strategic Plan . . . . . . . . . . 22
Association with Big Goals. . . . . . . . . . . 8
Related To Auto Insurers To Good Use . 38
14 Fort Wayne, IN, Shops Opt Out of State Farm’s Select Service Citing
PartsTrader. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
14 States to Increase the Minimum Wage
in 2014 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Legislation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Hits 16.6M Units . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
to Newly Carded Immigrant Drivers,
Citing History. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
OSHA’s New Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Other Lightweights at the Detroit
Auto Show. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
State Farm and I-CAR Partner on New
Welding Initiative, Easy Registration,
Reduced Prices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
A Former Select Service Shop Decides to
State Farm to Exit Canadian Market,
AAIA Releases 67 page 2013 Digital
State Farm to Raise Rates in Louisiana,
“Just Say No” to PartsTrader Mandate . 12
Collision Repair Trends Report with
Analysis of Whole Industry . . . . . . . . . 42
Beware Hole-in-One Golf Insurance Scams . 44 CCC Acquires Auto Injury Solutions Inc.. . 45
Credit Union Buying . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Up Avg of 3.4% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Study Estimates 9% of Cars will be
Self-Driving by 2035 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
WMABA Lobby Day is January 22 . . . . . . 30
LKQ Corporation confirmed that a complaint has been filed against it by Chrysler Group LLC in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Michigan. The lawsuit contends that certain aftermarket parts LKQ sells infringe Chrysler design patents relating to the Dodge RAM pickup truck. LKQ says it believes that the lawsuit is without merit and will defend it vigorously, “Moreover, the parts we sell that allegedly relate to these design patents represent an immaterial amount of our revenue. They represent less than one-tenth of one percent (0.001) of our estimated 2013 total revenue and less than onehalf of one-tenth of one percent (0.0005) of our estimated total revenue for all the years since the first patent was granted (2009 through 2013).” LKQ says it has forged mutually-beneficial business relationships with other auto manufacturers and cites its license arrangement with Ford, in place since 2009. The license arrangements allow the company to sell aftermarket parts covered by certain patents in exchange for a license fee.
Publisher & Editor: Jeremy Hayhurst General Manager: Barbara Davies Contributing Writers: Tom Franklin, John Yoswick, Janet Chaney, Toby Chess, David Brown, Rich Evans, Ed Attanasio, Chasidy Sisk Advertising Sales: Joe Momber, Sean Hartman, Bill Doyle (800) 699-8251 Sales Assistant: Louise Tedesco Art Director: Rodolfo Garcia
Mike Wigginton Named New Regional
Chrysler has filed a patent infringement action against LKQ and Keystone Automotive, saying the companies are producing and/or selling parts that infringe on 10 of its patented designs, specifically related to the Dodge RAM brand. Chrysler noted that LKQ's regulatory filings have the company stating that one of the risks of manufacturing aftermarket parts is patent infringement. The filing, which was made with federal court in Detroit, MI, Jan. 17, has Chrysler looking for a ban on the parts that infringe on the patents and damages “adequate to compensate Chrysler for the infringement, including the infringers’ profits, Chrysler’s lost profits, and/or no less than a reasonable royalty... Damages alone will not be a sufficient remedy under the law, and Chrysler has been and will continue to be irreparably harmed by Defendants’ infringement of the Ram Design Patents. Only a permanent injunction against Defendants will be adequate.” The suit seeks attorneys fees, a jury trial, and an award tripling the damages found at trial. LKQ has responded (next story.)
LKQ Responds to Chrysler Design Patents Suit
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A Frame Paint Booths . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Absolute Mitsubishi-Hyundai . . . . . 21 Accudraft Paint Booths . . . . . . . . . . 30 AutoMax Hyundai Del City . . . . . . . 32 BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . 31 CCC Information Services . . . . . . . . 5 Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA). . . . . . . . . . . 13 Chevyland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Classic BMW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Classifieds. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Creative Metal Manufacturing. . . . . 20 Dallas Dodge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 David McDavid Auto Group . . . . . . 19 Don Carlton Auto Group . . . . . . . . . 16 Equalizer Industries, Inc . . . . . . . . . . 8 Finnegan Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge . . . . 2 Ford Wholesale Parts Dealers TX, OK, LA, NM. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Fowler Honda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Freedom Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge . . . 17 Gillman Acura . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 GM Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . 43 Honda-Acura Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24-25 Houston Auto Body Association. . . 36 Huffines Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge Lewisville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Huffines Hyundai Plano . . . . . . . . . 28 Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers . 35 I-CAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Kia Motors Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 LKQ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Martech Services Company . . . . . . 11 Mazda Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . 42 Mike Calvert Toyota. . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Mitsubishi Wholesale Parts Dealers. 39 MOPAR Wholesale Parts Dealers . . 29 North Freeway Hyundai . . . . . . . . . 38 PreFab Ads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Ray Huffines Chevrolet . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Reliable Chevrolet. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Replica Plastics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Scoggin-Dickey Buick . . . . . . . . . . 27 Shell Commercial Real Estate . . . . 11 South Pointe Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge. 23 Subaru Wholesale Parts Dealers . . 44 Toyota of Fort Worth . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Toyota of Laredo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Toyota Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . 41 Valspar Automotive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Volkswagen Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Volvo Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . 45 Young Chevrolet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
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Huntsville, TX, Shop Says Business is Picking Up
After starting October 2012, Bearkat Collision has seen its business really picking up in the past year. Coowner with Terry Turner, Bobby Beason said business was good in the first three months of operation since there were already customers who knew the shop was coming and even waited to have their cars worked on. The high-tech auto body shop specializes in collision repair and restoration, repairing and painting cars, trucks, motorcycles, 18 wheelers, travel trailers, RV’s, brush guards, even plastic or fiber glass parts like ground effects and spoilers. “Our main target customers need collision repair, from minor scratches to perimeter repair,” Beason said. But after the initial rush, things slowed down a bit at Bearkat Collision, located on Highway 75 just two and a half miles past the Pilot truck stop. Beason said that in the last four months or so, due to online networking and word slowly traveling in the community, Bearkat Collision has become a lot busier and more consistent. Beason is a DeBery, TX, native who moved to Huntsville after management positions at multiple car dealerships.
Rep Says Vehicles Shouldn’t Pay For TX Windstorm Tax
A Corpus Christi-area state representative told a Beaumont, TX, audience that the state insurance department wants to tax auto insurance policies of residents who live along the state's 14 coastal counties to raise more money to pay for windstorm insurance. State Rep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi, said the Texas Department of Insurance intends to hold a public hearing on auto policy assessments in March and wants to raise awareness of it among the 14 counties. "I will call for Windstorm Unit in Action, for the 14 counties to come together," Hunter said in comments ahead of the meeting. Hunter serves on a joint House-Senate select committee with oversight of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, which acts as a kind of insurer of last resort to provide insurance protection in windstorms like Hurricanes Ike and Rita. Most major private insurers have abandoned windstorm protection in their home policies since Rita struck in 2005. Hunter said he plans to file a coastal windstorm funding bill in the January 2015 session of the Legislature and that the assessment is unfair.
Opelousas Dealership Gets $6M Trustmark Renovation
Sterling Ford-Lincoln in Opelousas, LA, is inviting the public to attend a grand opening and ribbon-cutting event at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 13. The event will feature refreshments and prizes. Sterling Ford-Lincoln is located at 5524 Interstate 49 North Service Road, adjacent to the Sterling Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep-Ram dealership. Sterling’s Ford-Lincoln operations were previously housed at the Bordelon Motors location in downtown Opelousas. The car dealership is said to be the first Ford-Lincoln dealership in the state to feature the new Trustmark brand imaging concept. A news release from the company said the concept utilizes a substantial amount of glass and energy-efficient materials. “The design allows for an abundance of natural light with an open-concept floor plan. In leveraging all of the program components—from building materials, fixtures and furniture to lighting and accessory materials—the new dealership supports the overall Trustmark design goals.” Dealership owners Art LeBlanc and Robert Cook said, “We appreciate our customers and are committed to providing the best sales and service experience.”
Mike Wigginton Named New Regional Manager at Hodges
Steve Guinn, owner of all Hodges Collision Centers in Houston, Spring (2 locations), and Magnolia, TX, has announced that Mike Wigginton has joined the Hodges Collision team as the Regional Manager. Overseeing all four Hodges Collision locations, handling personnel and on-site operations, Mike has more than 20 years of automotive service industry experience, including managing large collision facilities. “Mike is a great choice to lead our Region and is well aware of what it takes to be a good partner,” said Guinn. “He brings a wealth of hands on industry experience and we look forward to Mikes’ leadership ensuring Hodges is performing successfully in all key areas. We are happy to have him on our team.” Mike resides in the Champions area with his wife of 19 years and 3 children. Mike is currently the President of the Champions Park Stars Swim Team and enjoys time with his family, traveling and working on all types of automobiles. Hodges earned citywide recognition as the Houston Chronicle’s “Ultimate Body Shop” for 2003-2004.
Caliber Opens New Greenfield Shop in Frisco, TX Caliber Collision Centers continues its rapid expansion with the announcement today that it has opened its first “from-the-ground-up” greenfield facility in Frisco, Texas in more than 10 years. “Today’s opening of our new 26,000 square foot, state-of-the-art Frisco, Texas center increases our total locations in the Texas market to 58,” said Steve Grimshaw, Caliber Collision Centers’ Chief Executive Officer.
The new greenfield shop in Frisco, TX
“This preeminent North Texas facility will be the most advanced Caliber Collision center in our network with the latest innovations including side-load paint system technology, new lobby layout and design for a better customer experience, and a 2,000 square foot Enterprise
Rent-A-Car facility for one-stop drop and go convenience.” Caliber Collision’s new Frisco, Texas location officially opened for business at 6440 Preston Road, Frisco, Texas. The new Caliber Frisco center will consist of more than 23,000 square feet of repair space across 4.5 acres. The facility will have 21 service bays, four paint booths and 158 parking spaces for Caliber’s customers and partners. “Our new Frisco center brings Caliber Collision’s total locations to 159 as we continue to grow as the collision repair provider of choice in every community we serve,” added Mark Sanders, Caliber Collision Centers’ President and Chief Operating Officer. “To celebrate this new flagship Caliber Collision center, we plan on holding a Grand Opening event on Thursday, February 13th with ribbon cutting, facility tours, and great door prizes for partners, agents, dealerships and dignitaries.” Caliber Collision Centers is one of the largest MSO collision repair companies in America with 159 ICAR Gold Class Professional certified collision repair centers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Texas.
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New CARSTAR Safety and Compliance Vendor from TX
CARSTAR the U.S. largest MSO has recently contracted with AAMStraining.com, a Texas based company, to offer safety and environment compliance services for all their collision locations. AAMStraining.com, launched in May 2013, is a webbased management system designed for MSOs. They have over 150 collision facilities using aamstraining. com in nine states since they launched. Aamstraining.com provides a overview of each MSO locations’ compliance progress. Management can identy with a quick overview in each shops’ their yearly compliance efforts. Said Jon Curlee, CEO of AAMStraining.com. “Our difference is we provide the least cost with the best technology along with the comprehensive program to keep shops safe and compliant.” CARSTAR VP of Purchasing, Ernie Laky says “With rapidly changing requirements, CARSTAR facilities need a comprehensive OSHA and EPA compliance program to provide a safe work environment for their employees.” CARSTAR endorses AAMStraining.com comprehensive, yet user friendly, safety compliance program to its shops.”
State Farm to Raise Rates in Louisiana, Up Avg of 3.4%
Fire Destroys Well Known Auto Glass Shop in Tyler, TX
Tyler fire crews fought a major fire that eventually destroyed Moose Auto Glass in the 4200 block of Timms Street in Tyler on the evening of Jan. 6.
Photo credit: KLTV in Tyler
The first call came in at 7:11 p.m., and eventually five engines and two ladder companies, along with a district chief and an investigator, responded to the scene. Investigators say the fire started in the middle of the building, but the cause is still undetermined. Authorities say that one of the primary concerns in fighting the fire was the propane tank and seven vehicles that were inside the business when the fire started. Part of the structure
collapsed during the fire, slowing fire crews’ ability to quickly fight the fire. The garage is a total loss. The office also suffered moderate damage. “Moose Auto Glass has been around for a long time,” said Wes Dobbs, a member of the Moose family. “It has grown tremendously and it’s just gonna be a big loss for the family. But thank God nobody was hurt.” Family members say they plan to rebuild. According to the company website, Moose has been in business in Tyler since 1954, originally on West Erwin Street.
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance, which covers about one in every three cars in Louisiana, is raising insurance rates for drivers, according to Associated Press reports. The company announced that the increases will average 3.4 percent, starting Feb. 17. Going up will be premiums for liability, collision and comprehensive coverage. State Farm spokesman Gary Stephenson says the average increase per insurance policy will be about $35 per year. State Farm has a little more than 1 million auto policyholders in Louisiana, making it the biggest carrier in the state. Overall premium changes for individual motorists will vary depending on factors such as the coverage they carry, the discounts for which they qualify, where they live, the kind of car insured, who drives it and how much it is driven. “The primary [cost] driver is the uptick in the severity of claims,” Stephenson said. “The value of the vehicles we are covering has increased, parts are costing a little bit more, labor costs are trending slightly upward.”
Moose Auto Glass after fire
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2 Louisiana Men Accused of Shooting out Car Windows
The two men arrested on multiple counts of criminal damage have been re-booked on additional counts in connection with vandalism done to more than 100 cars on Christmas Eve. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said Christopher Flanagan, 19, and Dacotah Hamilton, 20, both of Marrero, were re-booked on an additional 82 counts of criminal damage. They now face a total of 124 counts. Deputies said more charges are expected. They were first arrested Christmas day on 42 counts of criminal damage. According to detectives, both men admitted to shooting out car windows with a BB gun on Dec. 11, 18 and 24. Investigators said 166 vehicles were damaged. Officials said the two men face felony and misdemeanor charges based on the monetary value of each incident. Their bond is set at $227,000. The investigation is ongoing.
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Texas Repairer Says He Wants His Tax Refunded
Texas passed House Bill 500, amending the tax code definition of “retail trade,” which reclassified independent body shops as eligible for a reduction to 0.5 percent tax, the same that dealership body shops were paying under the “retail” classification. But Robert Jordan of Protech Collision Repair Center in Webster, TX, says he and other repairers should have the .05 extra they have been paying refunded back to them. The Texas Comptroller apparently disagrees: “H.B. 500 did not make the amendment to the tax code retroactive, therefore payment adjustments would not be made for past reports,” said R.J. DeSilva, spokesperson, Texas Comptroller. Jordan estimates his additional tax paid to be $84,000. “I’m not asking for anything that’s not fair and not reasonable,” Jordan told a media source. “I want my .05 back. Any fool who is not asking for it should be. This is a serious hosing and needs to be addressed.” Jordan says he’s going to refile his tax forms showing the correct amount he would have paid had he been a dealer shop.
Service King Acquires All Six Las-Vegas Based Collision Authority Repair Centers Service King Collision Repair Centers announced Jan. 15 that it has acquired Las Vegas-based Collision Authority. Service King, with more than 110 locations in Texas, Tennessee, Arizona, Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and now Nevada, acquired Collision Authority’s 6 collision repair centers in the Las Vegas-Henderson area. Said Chris Anderson, Market Vice President for Service King, “Collision Authority is the premier provider of high quality repairs and exceptional customer service in the southern Nevada market. Starting in 1991, Michael Spears, Vicki Dessaints, and Bill Falls built a locally owned company with high integrity and values. We look forward to expanding their successful culture and operations.” With this acquisition, Service King will now operate 18 repair shops in the western United States. Collision Authority’s state-of-the-art repair facilities cover 210,000 square feet and are capable of serving more than 1,500 cars per month. Collision Authority’s partners, Michael Spears and Vicki Dessaints,
and 130 team members will be joining more than 2,300 Service King teammates across the country. Spears has over 22 years of industry experience, helping grow Collision Authority to become the largest and most successful chain of auto body shops in Nevada. “We never intended to sell, but after spending considerable time with Service King, we knew that Service King would be a great fit,” said Spears. “Service King shares the same commitment to high quality customer service and teammate values that made our stores number one in Las Vegas. This is an excellent opportunity for myself, Vicki and the entire Collision Authority team to join the premier and growing Service King brand.” “With our current presence in Arizona, we are excited about the opportunity to expand into Nevada and be able to serve our customers and the insurance community in the Western United States,” said Chris Abraham, Chief Executive Officer of Service King. “We welcome the Collision Authority team and are thrilled that they will be joining the growing Service King family.”
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Western Associations with Chasidy Rae Sisk
Chasidy Rae Sisk is a freelance technical writer from Wilmington, Delaware, who writes on a variety of fields and subjects, and grew up in a family of NASCAR fans. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Montana Repairers Form a Small Association with Big Goals In the early 1980s, a group of collision repairers in Montana realized “we fight battles on a daily basis in this industry, and it’s better to do battle as a group than on our own,” as described by repairer Bruce Halcro. They formed the Montana Collision Repair Specialists (MCRS) and their current president, Bruce Halcro, describes it as “an awfully active association. We are very involved in training, and we also have a strong legislative agenda.” Representing members from all over the big sky state, MCRS’s mission is “to provide management and technical training to enhance the professional ability of each individual and improve the quality of the collision repair industry in the State of Montana.” Halcro expands on this goal, adding the desire to continue to be a voice not only for collision repair facilities in MT but also on a national level, noting “trends in our industry tend to start elsewhere and migrate to more rural areas like MT, so we like to stay abreast of these trends to ensure that our members are aware of any changes in the industry.” MCRS strives to be a useful resource to help all collision repair facilities, whether they are small independent shops, larger multi-shop operators or dealerships. Their mission is to enhance the collision repair industry in their state and to create a safer, more well-trained industry overall. Halcro believes that training and legislation are the two key components in achieving this initiative. As part of their efforts, MCRS became an affiliate of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) about ten years ago because they felt they needed more of a national presence. Halcro “can’t say enough about what SCRS has done for our association and for the industry nationally.” Halcro stresses the importance of legislative involvement when it comes to reaching MCRS’s goals. In MT, legislators only meet every other year, and since 2014 is not one of these years, MCRS is currently focused on planning and determining which issues need to be addressed most. As
such, Halcro is “keeping a close eye on the parts issue nationally, including the different forms of action being taken in various states.” The parts issue is one of the biggest dilemmas currently facing the collision repair industry, Halcro believes. “In my shop, parts are always a challenge since we’re located in a rural area, but shops have worked through this problem for years. Parts procurement systems cause delays in obtaining parts because they are sourcing them from all over the country, but the insurers still hold us to the same cycle time standards as urban areas where parts are much more easily accessible.” Another problem is that many aftermarket parts ordered are unusable upon receipt, leaving shops to begin the process all over again. As a result, Halcro believes that there is a need for tighter regulations on parts quality. “Parts procurement systems are being mandated without any accountability as to whether these programs are in the best interest of the shops. I don’t see any benefits. Their claim was that it would improve efficiency, but this is not true according to feedback from shops on the program. I see it as being a trainwreck when it’s rolled out in MT.” Still, Halcro sees no reason to focus on one company; he thinks that State Farm and PartsTrader are taking a big hit on this issue somewhat unfairly since other insurers are also starting to mandate the use of parts procurement systems, but, according to Halcro, “Mandated use doesn’t work. It’s not beneficial, and the decision should be more collaborative. The insurers claim that collision repair shops are their partners, so they should spend time with their partners to determine what’s best for the industry as a whole.” MCRS’s legislative involvement is important for the association’s members because it is related to ensuring that consumers’ vehicles are repaired safely. When shops are forced to take shortcuts because of insurer mandates, the consumers are not getting what they paid for, plus it can result in unsafe repairs.
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Additionally, when insurance companies refuse to pay for certain repairs, collision repair facilities are left with the choice of absorbing the cost or passing it along to their customers. These shortpay situations are unfair to the consumers, and the shops’ best recourse is through legislative activity. In fact, MT has an unique law, passed several sessions ago, that prohibits insurers from dismissing procedures that both they and the collision repair facility agreed upon. Halcro believes the law has been hugely successful as it has alleviated many of the shortpays that were coming through before it was passed. Of course, there are always challenges associated with pursuing legislative changes. MCRS is a relatively small association, and though they employ a lobbyist, they still have to battle the insurers’ lobbyists, plus they have to get legislators to understand that the issues doesn’t just concern the
insurance and collision repair industries; it is a matter of consumers’ safety. Halcro states, “our association is professional and well-respected at the Capitol, but there are always challenges. We aren’t there to play politics —we have real concerns that need to be addressed. Sometimes, our initiatives fail. It’s not always pleasant, but it’s important for MCRS’s members and their customers.” Halcro also weighed in on some other legislative issues on a national scale. Regarding the Right to Repair, he believes “the proper information should be available to shops repairing vehicles so that they can properly and safely repair the vehicles going back on the road.” The PARTS Act is another cause for attention. Halcro’s opinion is that “manufacturers spend millions of dollars to pass safety tests with the proper parts and materials designed for specific vehicles. Aftermarket
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parts that mimic these OEm parts aren’t always properly tested, and this can alter the safety ratings on the vehicle, a key deciding factor for many people when they purchase a new car. We also have a high return rate on aftermarket parts, and I just don’t believe they’re always designed the same as OEM parts. They aren’t all bad, and there is definitely a place for aftermarket parts, but I don’t believe they belong on a twoyear-old car.” Training is also a key initiative for MCRS, and a national trainer is scheduled to attend their next meeting at the end of March. The association’s Board of Directors will also be meeting in February for a planning session to establish their 2014 agenda and to discuss a potential legislative agenda for the next session. In the meantime, MCRS strives to maintain an updated website to ensure their members are informed of national trends and issues in the industry. Currently, there are around 100 members in the association with about 75-80% being repairers and vendors making up the remainder. Like most associations, membership and ongoing participation is
always a challenge for MCRS, especially as it pertains to smaller shops whose owners write estimates and repair vehicles, making it difficult for them to leave their business. Still, Halcro has found that once they come to a meeting, most of these repairers become regular attendees. “This is a tough industry and surviving every day is a challenge, but it’s easier when we face the challenges together as a group.”
Montana Collision Repair Specialists (MCRS) P.O. Box 1168 Sidney, MT 59270 www.mtcollisionrepair.com
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Baton Rouge Tech is Safelite National Champion
Safelite AutoGlass®, the country’s largest vehicle glass repair and replacement company, has crowned Casey Rose from Baton Rouge, LA, as the national champion of its 2014 technician competition. The bi-annual event—Safelite’s Best of Belron® —brings together the company’s top 12 technicians to compete for the title, a cash prize of $10,000 and to represent Safelite AutoGlass in the international Best of Belron® Competition, a tournament hosted by Safelite’s parent company, which includes champions from each of its 35 countries. Belron® is the world’s largest vehicle glass repair and replacement company, with 25,000 employees operating in over 30 countries. The event took place on January 10-11, 2014, in Columbus, Ohio, welcoming guests from all over the country. The competition, which includes windshield replacement, windshield repair, back glass replacement and side glass replacement, is based on skill, quality and customer service. The 12 competitors were identified in a series of market and regional competitions. Representing Safelite’s MidSouth region, Casey Rose has been with the company for five years. The
father of two met his wife at Safelite, who is a customer advocate supervisor Jill Mace. He will travel to Rome, Italy in May to compete for the international title.
Casey Rose (center) accepting his award
To prepare for the competition, Rose worked closely with his technician manager Tony Darbonne. “I couldn’t have done it without Tony. Together, we studied the notes that our technician director provided and I made sure to take time with my customers,” Rose said. “I just felt good when I stepped away from my vehicle after the competition, knowing I communicated well with my customers making sure they understood what was going on. While I am excited to win, each one of the 12 guys are winners.”
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Paid Time Off in LA
the law. The Company argued that the language of its paid days off policy expressly provided that such time was a “mere gratuity.” The Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, holding that the “accrual” of the right to be compensated while not at work, no matter how the employer labels it, is the triggering event that renders the law applicable. Furthermore, Company policy stated that employees were “entitled” to paid days off, which “accrue” at a specified rate. Thus, the Company policy did not expressly state that paid days off are a gift, a donation, or otherwise unearned. “[I]n the absence of a clear, written policy establishing that vacation time granted by an employer is nothing more than a mere gratuity and not to be considered an amount due or a wage,” wrote the court, “accrued but unused vacation time is a vested right for which an employee must be compensated or paid upon discharge or resignation.” “In light of the specific guidance the Davis decision contains regarding
the implications of the vacation and/or paid time off policy language for employee rights under the Wage Payment Act, Louisiana employers should consider review and perhaps revising their paid time off policies accordingly,” observed New Orleans based Jackson Lewis Shareholder, René E. Thorne. “The intent that such time be a ‘mere gratuity’ must be emphatically clear without any express or implied language that the gratuity is in any way earned or accrued.” Whether termed vacation, sick, holiday or other form of “paid time off” (often shorthanded as “PTO”), all employers should analyze their PTO policies under state law to prevent unintended consequences thereof. Further, employer may wish to consider aggressive strategies to avoid payout obligations. The case is Davis v. St. Francisville Country Manor, L.L.C., 2013 La. App. LEXIS 2241, 1-2 (La.App. 1 Cir. Nov. 1, 2013). This article is provided for news value only and should not be construed as legal advice. Employers should contact a qualified labor attorney before acting on this information.
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State Farm to Exit Canadian Market, Credit Union Buying
State Farm Insurance is getting out of Canada. The Bloomington-based insurance giant is selling its Canadian unit to Desjardins Group, Canada’s largest credit union. State Farm, Desjardins and its French partner Credit Mutuel, will invest $1.5 billion in the combined business. State Farm is now the fourth largest auto insurer in Canada, though it’s business is largely concentrated in three provinces. The new business to be run by Desjardins under the State Farm brand for some years would become the second largest Canadian property and casualty insurer with a larger geographical reach. The deal is expected to close in January of 2015. At that point, State Farm’s 1,700 Canadian workers and 500 Agents would work for Desjardins. State Farm Chairman Ed Rust says the agreement allows future cooperative ventures in Canada. Rust told Canadian workers in a letter that the regulatory and political response to the great recession and the company’s US-centric approach limits State Farm’s ability to respond and adapt to changing Canadian markets. Rust calls the decision to sell “difficult” but good for the new operation.
After several delays, the Obama administration is reviewing a revised rule that could push automakers to install backup cameras in more of their cars and trucks. The reworked regulation, submitted to the White House on Dec. 25, would set new rear visibility standards for light vehicles sold in the United States, according to a White House database that tracks the rulemaking process. The standards are aimed at keeping children from being run over and killed by vehicles moving in reverse. Automakers might decide to install backup cameras in all of their models. The standards may also allow automakers to comply by making less costly changes, for example, by redesigning a car’s mirrors to reduce the odds that a child behind the rear bumper will go undetected. The administration intends to release the final rule by January 2015. But that’s not soon enough to satisfy auto safety advocates. Consumers Union filed a lawsuit in September with the goal of compelling the Obama administration to make them a standard feature across the U.S. fleet.
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A New York Select Service Shop Decides to “Just Say No” to PartsTrader by Chasidy Rae Sisk
As State Farm rolls out PartsTrader in various metropolitan areas across the country, a growing number of shops appear to be withdrawing from their Select Service DRP. Recently, shops in several states have withdrawn from the program, and this trend is now spreading to NY where Angelo and Gus Palakis, owners of Dale-Way Auto Body Center in the Bronx, refused to sign up for PartsTrader and were subsequently removed from State Farm’s Select Service Program.
In January 2014, Angelo posted on LinkedIn: “State Farm is in the process of rolling out PartsTrader in NY. We declined to sign on so we were immediately removed from the service first program. Hopefully, most shops in NY will do the same!” Palakis graciously agreed to discuss his reasons for refusing to use PartsTrader. Angelo was “very upset about the implementation of PartsTrader because it’s extortion! By State Farm making the use of PartsTrader mandatory, it’s dictating to body shops where to buy parts from, with potential savings for State Farm at the body shops’ expense. You are not given a choice; if you do not use PartsTrader, they remove you from their Select Service Repair Program and start steering your customers to other body shops.” Using PartsTrader would also create more administrative work for the shops, Palakis believes. In turn, this will increase the shops’ cycle times as well as rental costs for the consumer. Because PartsTrader requires purchasing parts from the vendor that bids the lowest price, a ten-part order could potentially be shipped from multiple vendors. Palakis recently read an article about a shop owner using PartsTrader whose number of vendors grew from 30 to 300, most of which were located outside his market area. “To manage parts from so many different vendors would be very time-
consuming (receiving them, checking them, and distributing them),” Palakis explains. “To return a wrong or damaged part would also be very time-consuming since you have to find where the part came from and what procedure that vendor wants you to follow.” Currently, Dale Way has accounts with most of their vendors, granting them 30 days to pay their bills, but using PartsTrader would necessitate paying for their parts upfront, though State Farm won’t pay the shop until the repair is finished and the vehicle is delivered to the customer. According to Palakis, “this is a lot of time that we wouldn’t be compensated for. At the same time, our parts profit margins will shrink. For example, since you’re not purchasing your GM parts from one vendor, you would not be getting the same discount or service. Our ability to negotiate a better parts discount, as an independent business, would be taken away, leaving us at the mercy of the vendors on PartsTrader. Since opening Dale-Way Auto Body Center in 1981, the Palakis brothers have developed close relationships with their vendors. “Not only when it comes to parts; sometimes, we may need information or help with a vehicle, and they are always there for us. By using PartsTrader, these relationships would be destroyed,” Palakis says. “State Farm asked us to sign on with PartsTrader and provide them with a list of our vendors so they can approach them and basically intimidate them to sign on and pay a monthly fee or lose our shop’s parts business – those are mafia-like tactics! There is no benefit to the repairer or the customer.” Serving the customer’s best interest is a high priority for Palakis, but he does not feel that State Farm’s actions regarding PartsTrader align with this goal. “We have a responsibility to our customers who entrust their vehicle repairs to us, the auto body repair professionals. They trust us to repair their vehicles using the best procedures, parts and materials available, but using PartsTrader would mean I’m putting the insurance company’s interest before the customers who authorized us to repair their vehicle in the first place. In the end, the repairer and the consumer would lose, while the insurer
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and PartsTrader would profit.” In business for over 30 years, Dale-Way Auto Body Center repairs around 80 to 100 vehicles monthly. Currently, they participate in DRPS for three smaller insurance carriers that are “somewhat fair and do not try to micromanage us,” Palakis shares. In the 1990s, they enrolled in several DRPs for major insurers, such as Allstate, Geico and State Farm, among others. Palakis explains that the reason for joining these DRPs was because they felt that Dale-Way “could serve our own customer better by writing our own estimate, thus eliminating the need for most supplements and not having to wait for adjusters who were mostly incompetent. We also thought these programs could better our industry because they required shops to be licensed, equipped and trained, thus perhaps leading to higher and fairer labor rates. Obviously, we were wrong.” Dale-Way began withdrawing from these programs as long as a
decade ago when “they tried to micromanage us and dictate how repairs should be done,” Palakis recalls. Even if State Farm was willing to terminate
the mandated use of PartsTrader, Palakis would not rejoin their DRP; “the way that they are strong-arming our industry, I don’t think I would trust State Farm enough to participate in their Select Service Repair Program again.” Palakis feels that what State Farm is doing, in terms of their interference in the repair process, is illegal; he hopes that the lawsuits against State Farm and PartsTrader are successful in MS and FL and that more states follow suit in resisting this tortuous interference via legal channels. He also believes that “this is just See Just Say No, Page 15
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According to Eversman, consumers possess the power in relation to shops and insurers, so they must demand what they are entitled to or the insurance companies will steer them to low-cost shops that may not be performing quality repairs. These concerns should be highlighted because “if consumers had any idea that they’re driving potentially dangerous vehicles due to insurer interference, they would be appalled, but they have no clue what’s going on.” Actually, insurers have no role in the repair process whatsoever; they are only supposed to sign the check paying for the repairs, but they’ve become involved because the closer their involvement, the more control they can exert, allowing them to avoid dispersing full payment on repairs. Rather than arguing labor rates and shortchanging repairers, Eversman believes insurers should “take a step back, consider what they are asking shops to do, and reevaluate whether their requests are fair.” When insurers refuse to compen-
sate for the full repair cost, shops are forced to pursue shortpay cases, but Eversman admits, “litigation is not pleasant. You may get what you’re entitled to at the end of the day, but you have to trudge through mud to get there.” Recently, there has been a significant rise in the number of shortpay lawsuits being pursued in the courts, but this is not a novel or recent experience. Eversman believes that “collision repairers have had enough interference
you can trust insurance company ads that promise to take care of you but don’t explain how they intend to do so,” Eversman explains. Eversman hopes these shortpay cases will cause insurance companies to reevaluate their attitudes. Though collision repairers can’t control insurer’s behavior, this type of litigation provides them with an opportunity to be fairly compensated for their work which, in turn, allows them to acquire
in their businesses from a third party entity who doesn’t perform repairs or accept liability. They are tired of being shortchanged on payments, so they are turning to the courts for attention, but no one is excited to go to court.” There are benefits to this recent influx, though. Not only do these lawsuits send a message to the insurance industry, they also serve to create awareness of these issues amongst repairers, attorneys and consumers nationwide, raising public scrutiny and helping to alter insurers’ behavior. Additionally, it “sheds light on how much
the training necessary to branch out to other vehicles. Still, this concern is detrimental to consumers, and it should be resolved by the Departments of Insurance who insist this only involves collision repair shops and insurance companies due to their failure to understand that most of these shops that are being shortchanged are non-DRP facilities that have no contracts with or obligations to the insurance companies. Eversman is “appalled it has come to this because the Departments of Insurance are not doing their job which is to protect the
“There is a confluence of things impacting repairers that they don’t have much control over.”
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consumers since insurance companies are not properly and fairly paying these claims.” Another example of insurer interference in the collision repair industry is seen in State Farm’s mandate for shops on their Select program to use PartsTrader. Eversman insists, “anything which is imposed on collision repairers from an outside entity is inherently a bad thing. There are other parts procurement systems that shops use, but it is their decision. I find the mandate to use PartsTrader troubling, and I’m also troubled by the application as recent disclosures have indicated estimates coming back with alterations to labor rates which have nothing to do with parts! This is not what PartsTrader was intended to do, as represented by State Farm and PartsTrader.” The state of OH specifically has a state statute prohibiting repairers from installing salvage parts on a vehicle unless those parts were removed by an Ohio licensed salvage dealer. Eversman fears that the mandate requiring the use of parts procurement systems, especially PartsTrader, will lead repairers to violate these types of statues, creating a dangerous situation which could potentially lead to con-
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sumer protection-related lawsuits. Eversman feels that these issues could be rectified easily; “State Farm should withdraw their mandate requiring the use of PartsTrader. Then, PartsTrader would be like other parts procurement systems, and it would have to compete on its own merits, allowing repairers to have more power in choosing parts, ensuring those parts come from a legitimate source, and adhering to the law.”
should focus on evaluating patents on medication; that would be far more beneficial than exempting imitation parts!” An interesting side of this proposed legislation is the fact that, for decades, the insurance and aftermarket parts industries have claimed that the imitation parts are “purely cosmetic” and have nothing to do with how the vehicle performs in a collision; however, because the parts auto
Eversman sees the PARTS Act as “an absolute example of the extremes to which any industry will go to get what it wants without consideration for other industries. The patent laws focus on rewarding companies that spend money and produce or design something unique, protecting them for a designated period of time. Aftermarket parts manufacturers and insurers are trying to obtain an exemption for imitation crash parts from the application of the patent laws, but if Congress really wants to do something good for the consumers, they
makers seek to protect are cosmetic—the standard for design patent eligibility—imitation crash parts manufacturers are now arguing that their parts do have a meaningful function in the car’s performance. Eversman says “this is a terrible idea! We have patent laws for a reason, and since imitation parts manufacturers haven’t demonstrated a significant need to change this, we may as well do away with patents [if the PARTS Act is passed] since it undermines the entire patent system.” Though Eversman admits that
“Anything that is imposed on collision repairers from an outside entity is inherently a bad thing.”
she has not been very involved with and is not particularly informed on the Right to Repair, she wants collision repairers to be able to make a living doing what they’re good at. On the flip side, she has significant concerns with the increasing technology and sophistication of vehicles, as well as the use of alternate metals and composite parts, and she believes the industry is rapidly approaching a point where not everyone has the necessary skills and equipment to safely repair all vehicles. Because Eversman also wants consumers’ vehicles to be repaired safely, she can see the value of restricting this information to those who have received the proper training, yet since she also sees value in permitting any repairer access to this information in order to repair all vehicles, her opinion is split between these two conflicting interests. Additionally, there are many other challenges facing the collision repair industry. For starters, the industry is in a continuous state of flux, partially because of the changing nature of the vehicles themselves and also due to the significant presence of See Erica Eversman, Page 39
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Just Say No
the beginning – once State Farm and PartsTrader implement this program across the country and State Farm has all its Select Service shops using it, after a period of time, State Farm will utilize PartsTrader to squeeze a bigger percentage of the parts profits away from body shops, maybe even just send the parts to the shops and pay them a handling fee.” What would be Palakis’s advice to shop owners who are still deciding whether to sign up for PartTrader? “Just say ‘no’,” he suggests. “If most shops say ‘no’, State Farm will get the message and stop the mandated use of PartsTrader. If this industry keeps allowing insurers to dictate our practices and interfere in our businesses, it will reduce your parts profits, and you will have less control of your own business.” Dale-Way Auto Body Center 3039 Tibbett Ave. Bronx, NY 10463 718-601-8100 www.Dale-Way.com
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Ford’s 2015 F-150 Launch Focuses Repairer Concern on Costs and Benefits Ford has spend 5 years developing its 2015 F-150, the first full size pickup with a 95% aluminum body, and it has invested heavily in a market segment it already dominates. Ford started work in 2009 on the truck program that yielded the F-150, according to COO Mark Fields in assessing its ability to service, manufacture and purchase material before deciding on an aluminum body. What are the costs of this radical reengineering to consumers? Ford has implied the sticker price will be “roughly the same as the current F150, from $24,500 to $55,000.” Maybe. But what is indisputable is aluminum’s inherently higher price. Aluminum sheet currently costs $2.20 per pound vs. steel at 75 cents per pound. Analysts say you can roughly calculate the price premium of the new F-150 by figuring $2 extra per pound saved (700 lbs.) If those estimates are correct, the new F-150 should cost about $1,400 more than its predecessor. Ford also charges an extra $2,095 for adding the EcoBoost engine option on the current F-150. Repairers though have different concerns: the impact of probable higher insurance rates; the complexity of aluminum repair; and the potential impact on the iconic brand they’re used to working on. Writes Craig Trudell in Automotive News, “Less than 10 percent of the more than 30,000 independent repair shops in the United States are certified and meet training and equipment requirements to work with most aluDarrell Amberson minum auto body File Photo parts, according to an estimate by Darrell Amberson, ASA chairman. While some dealerships do in-house body work, independent businesses handle the vast majority of collision repair in the United States, he said. “Ford is betting buyers will accept what it estimates will be a 10 percent jump in costs to insure the pickup in return for improved fuel economy, towing and payload. Ford must also get the aftermarket industry up to speed as it debuts the highest-profile vehicle ever to swap steel for aluminum.”
“You don’t get any more mainstream than the F-150,” Amberson, who is also vice president of operations for LaMettry’s Collision Inc. in Minneapolis. Insurers see the material as more of a liability and Ford expects rates on the new F-150 to be about 10 percent higher than its predecessor. Ford has
2015 Ford F-150
said it isn’t worried about this because the current F-150 is now about 10 percent cheaper to insure than competing trucks, said Doug Scott, Ford’s truck marketing manager. But repair shops need separate hand tools for aluminum and steel such as wire brushes, grinders and sanders, because corrosion can happen when dissimilar metals come in contact with one another. The repair industry also has less experience with differences in how aluminum springs back from impacts compared with steel. “Aluminum has a very poor memory and it resists straightening attempts,” noted Jeff Poole, a coordinator for I-CAR. “Experience really pays dividends here, and this is where we’ve got a learning curve ahead of us.” Ford’s internal data show that 90 percent of customers live within two hours of a capable repair facility for today’s F-150, and 80 percent are within 30 minutes, Ford’s Scott said. Buyers of the aluminum-bodied F-150 will have the same access by the time it arrives in dealerships late this year, he said. “We’ve just been waiting for the reveal to unveil a certification process for dealer-owned body shops and the independent channel,” Scott said. Once the decision was made to go with the material, Ford was able to select a military grade high-strength alloy, thicker than what’s used in the current truck, because aluminum is about one-third the density of steel, Fields told reporters. “The new F series is going to be more dent- and ding-resistant,” he said. “Our engineers have great tests
16 FEBRUARY 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
where they’re dropping bowling balls. We’ve actually been testing this with a number of our customers, in the construction industry, the mining industry, to help us.” Residual values for the new F150, which measure how well the truck retains its worth after years of ownership, could decline because of higher insurance costs. “The automakers can force their certified body shops to be able to work with aluminum, but that still could narrow down the choice and the scope of shops that consumers and insurance companies will have,” Larry Dominique, the president of ALG, which has forecast residual values for almost 50 years. “This will work itself out, but it could take 10 years.” Ford produces its F-series trucks in much higher volume than other aluminum-centric manufacturers do. Past examples of aluminum use in auto bodies are inconsistent in terms of whether insurance rates rise and affect ownership costs that play a role in forecasting residuals, Dominique said. “Truck owners are so damn loyal,” he said.
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Manufacturing experts and steelindustry advocates say that moving to aluminum will require fundamental changes to how Ford truck bodies make their way down the assembly line. Ford is adding thousands of salaried workers including technical engineers to support new-product introductions and assigned Fields the task of honing its processes. The complicated switch to aluminum from steel in the F-150's body contributes to IHS Automotive's estimate that Ford will need to take about six weeks of downtime at each of its truck plants to retool and swap out robots and machinery. However, Ford estimates that 80 percent of its customers are or will be comfortable with its use of aluminum because they know it in other applications, such as with toolboxes and ladders that need to be both strong and light, Scott said. The ability of the industry to prove it can handle collision work on the new F-150 will be tested soon after the truck reaches the market, said See Ford’s 2015 F-150, Page 30
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www.autobodynews.com | FEBRUARY 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS 17
K&M Collision of NC Files Six Separate Shortpay Lawsuits by Chasidy Rae Sisk
On November 27, 2013, Michael Bradshaw, VP of Operations at K&M Collision in Hickory, NC, filed six shortpay lawsuits on his customers’ behalf. Of the six cases filed, three were against GEICO, two were against Nationwide, and one was filed against Allstate, with amounts ranging from $680.95 to $5749.64. Some of the claims included in the lawsuits were Breach of Contract, Bad Faith, and Unfair/Deceptive Trade Practices. K&M Collision is being represented by attorney William E. Morgan of Morgan Law PLLC in Hickory, NC. According to Bradshaw, “These claims stem from the insurers’ continual refusal to pay for factory correct repairs according to manufacturer repair specifications and guidelines. Not all insurers are bad; what we’re finding is that many of these companies are doing the right thing and paying for manufacturer correct repairs; however, there is a select group of insurance companies that show complete disregard for manufacturer specified repairs, procedures and safety checks on a consistent basis. Unfortunately, those insurers put us in the position of either performing the operations for free, making the customer responsible for the additional costs or resorting to legal action.” While the six shortpay cases Bradshaw is currently pursuing encompass a little bit of everything, “the most consistent problem is the failure to recognize and reimburse customers for manufacturer recommended repairs and safety checks.” This is particularly the case when only a few shops are performing the operation as it leaves the insurance company uninterested in the manufacturer’s documentation showing the need for the repair, and they will refuse to pay for something which other shops don’t charge, even though the absence of the charge is due to the fact that it is not being done. Bradshaw fears that these insurers are “basing their repair standards on sub-standard repairs being performed.” An example of this is seen with a BMW recently brought to the shop. Because the manufacturer’s facility is only 45 minutes away from K&M Collision, Bradshaw toured the facility and learned about a procedure they use to correct any imperfections
in the paint; however, Nationwide refused to pay the shop to perform this procedure, though manufacturer guidelines indicate it is required and should be billed separately without being included in the paint time. The insurer insisted they have to do what the market dictates, and because most shops don’t perform this requirement, K&M Collision cannot perform it either (or at least they won’t be paid if they do). K&M Collision has been in business since 1991, and though Bradshaw did not begin working there officially until 2006, he has always been around this family-owned and operated business. Despite their decision to refrain from participating in any DRPs, the shop repairs a high volume of vehicles, grossing just over 1.3 million this past year. When questioned about the importance of pursuing shortpay lawsuits, Bradshaw explains, “in order to maintain our 12 manufacturer certifications, pay employees, and make a profit, it’s really a necessity; either we do it, or we don’t make money. The shortpay amounts are usually our profit margins on these jobs.” Though Bradshaw just won a shortpay lawsuit against Nationwide this past summer, he has not seen any improvements in their behavior since the victory; “they seem to change the way they handle claims, in terms of what they will and won’t pay, every few months.” He also notes the oddity of how Nationwide handles appraisals; they usually send at least two people to the shop, one of whom is generally a supervisor, and these individuals will engage in a review of their findings before making a decision about what they’ll pay. It is not uncommon for Nationwide representatives to be at the shop for four hours or more to process just one claim. Additionally, Bradshaw recently ran into a case where Nationwide did not believe certain repairs were necessary, and even after K&M Collision proved the necessity by performing measurements and providing this evidence, the insurer only paid for a portion of the repair. In contrast, Bradshaw notes that he is seeing some improvements from some other insurers. For example, he filed a claim against one insurer for refusing to pay his labor rates because
18 FEBRUARY 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
they claimed the rates were too high. Since the lawsuit was filed, this same insurer has not contested four new claims that were processed with higher labor rates than the first case which caused K&M Collision to lodge the complaint. Though Bradshaw believes that the majority of insurance companies are changing their behavior due to the recent influx in shortpay cases being pursued, for some insurers “this is the way it is and the way it’s going to be. Some of these insurers fear paying one shop more than the others because they have the mistaken belief that it’s necessary to pay all shops the same.” This is especially untrue as it pertains to shops that are certified by rare manufacturers, such as Porsche which only has around 50 certified shops in the nation, making it logical that these shops should receive increased compensation when performing the more difficult repairs that these cars call for. Bradshaw believes there will be “fewer cases being filed in the future due to a combination of factors.” “As always, our main concern is
that our customer’s vehicles are repaired safely, as close as humanly possible to their pre-accident condition. The costs involved in having the proper equipment, training, facilities and staff to repair today’s vehicles continues to escalate. But the reimbursement rates have moved very little in the past several years. I think the problem is many times an insurer is attempting to base payment on the lowest cost in the market and not the cost of proper repairs in the market. Based on our conversations with other shop owners around the country, this is a situation I believe is occurring nationwide. I remain hopeful that someday these actions will no longer be necessary as all insurers will choose to do right by their customers.” Bradshaw is fairly confident and optimistic about the outcome of these pending lawsuits. “We put a lot of research into this, and we believe these cases will be decided in our favor.” Trial dates for these six lawsuits have not yet been set, but they are expected to occur sometime during the first half of this year.
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www.autobodynews.com | FEBRUARY 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS 19
14 Fort Wayne, IN, Shops Opt Out of State Farm’s Select Service Citing PartsTrader by Chasidy Rae Sisk
In December 2013, State Farm experienced a dramatic reduction in the number of shops participating in Select Service (their direct repair program) in the Fort Wayne, IN, area due to the implementation of PartsTrader. Of the 22 local shops participating in the DRP, 14 (over 60%) opted out of the program, though some of Todd Bonecutter these shops had been on the program for decades. Several shop owners and managers were willing to discuss their reasons for being removed from the Select Service. Todd Bonecutter, General Manager at Glenbrook Collision at 100 W. Coliseum Blvd in Ft. Wayne, said he opposes PartsTrader as a mandated tool. “We don’t like being told where we can buy our parts or being prevented from buying parts from our usual vendors. This is just a stepping stone for the insurers to dictate other
things in the collision industry. They starts with parts, but it’s only a matter of time before they move on to paints and other materials.” Jeff Rice, Estimator at Koester Body Shop at 6818 SR 930 East, also in Ft. Wayne, agrees that the changes to the Select Service program are a bad thing which is why his shop opted out when use of PartsTrader became mandated. He also notes that since being removed from the program, there have been big delays in getting State Farm to get out to the shop to look at new jobs. The owner of Dan T. Gratz Body Shop, Dan Gratz, said PartsTrader is “just another way of keeping us under State Farm’s thumb and having them dictate how we run our businesses. They are looking for a way to make more money off the little guy, the collision shops… Insurer interference is getting worse and worse. If we don’t take a stand now, when will we? State Farm needs to learn that there are shops who will take a stand for the right thing.” Since the removal of these shops, State Farm has been using small, sometimes uncertified, shops that
don’t have the proper training and equipment, according to Gratz who sees this as a “lawsuit waiting to happen… State Farm doesn’t seem to re-
alize that they are running shops out of business by doing things like implementing PartsTrader which reduces our profits. If we can’t make money, we will have to close our doors. Who is going to repair cars then?” Eric Knipscheer, owner of Knipscheer Collision Center at 747 W Superior St in Fort Wayne, opted out of the Select Service because PartsTrader did not offer parts from any local suppliers. He prefers buying locally for the benefit of his local economy and “really doesn’t appreciate someone telling [him] where to buy
his parts.” All four of these shops currently participate in four to six total DRPs, and the consensus seems to be that the Select Service program wasn’t particularly problematic until the use of PartsTrader was enforced. All of these gentlemen agreed that they’d be willing to renegotiate their DRP contracts with State Farm if the insurer ceased to mandate the use of PartsTrader. When asked about the advice they’d give to shops on the Select Service in areas where PartsTrader is not yet mandated, everyone agreed that whether a shop should remain on the program after PartsTrader is implemented is a personal decision each shop must make. Bonecutter suggests that “you understand the ins and outs of the program so you can evaluate your options and make an educated decision in the best interests of your business.” Gratz believes that shops should also consider contacting some of the shops in Fort Wayne that opted out to learn more about the program and why they made the decision to withdraw from the Select Service. Knipscheer cautions that if PartsTrader is
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not resisted, “other insurers will adopt similar programs if we allow it, and shops will lose the freedom to choose their suppliers and to make a profit.” Mike Hartman, former president of the Indiana Auto Body Association (IABA), is also paying close attention to this situation. Though
some of the shops that chose to opt out, Hartman has found “the shops are not opposed to using parts procurement systems, but they are opposed to having it shoved down their throats. Owners don’t like someone coming in and telling them how to run their shops.”
Todd Bonecutter (center) with Glenbrook Collision Staff
Hartman Auto Body still participates in Select Service since he is located in an outlying rural area where PartsTrader is not yet mandated, once this changes, he will “probably bail out. My sign says Hartman Auto Body, not State Farm Auto Body! I’m not willing to be forced to use PartsTrader because I see no benefit to it whatsoever, especially if there are no local vendors on the system.” From his conversations with
Another problem cited is that since parts vendors in Fort Wayne are not participating in PartsTrader, shops have to order parts from outside their area, from suppliers they don’t have relationships with. This negatively impacts the shops’ cycle times as they’re forced to wait to receive their parts, and this affects their scorecard with State Farm. One Fort Wayne dealership opted out of Select Service because the pro-
gram forbade them from purchasing parts from their own parts department since it wasn’t on PartsTrader, and they didn’t like the loss of control in choosing their parts, particularly in being unable to supply their own body shop. Yet another criticism of PartsTrader is that it cuts the collision repair facility out of the parts profit. In New Zealand, the parts procurement program has progressed and expanded to include paints and materials also, and Hartman fears this happening in the U.S. because “you can’t sustain your business on labor rates alone.” Hartman also notes that the shops that opted out are seeing State Farm take longer to write estimates, sometimes taking as long as a week to even visit the shop. Because of this, longtime customers are being steered to shops on the Select Service where estimates are being written immediately. In one such instance, a shop waited eight days for an appraiser to come out to view a claim; meanwhile, several appraisers from State Farm visited the shop for supplements, yet they refused to write an
estimate on the new job, according to Hartman. Though State Farm is making it difficult on the shops that opted out, Hartman believes these shops are doing a fabulous job with explaining the reasons for the delays and educating consumers on their right to choose. Customers have been pretty understanding, and some even dropped State Farm because they were displeased with how the insurer is treating the shops and their customers.
The 14 shops, many of them larger facilities and dealerships, which opted out of Select Service were doing approximately 80% of State Farm’s business in Fort Wayne before PartsTrader was mandated. The shops that remain are struggling to keep up with the increase in volumes while State See Shops Opt Out, Page 39
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Chasidy Rae Sisk is a freelance technical writer from Wilmington, Delaware, who writes on a variety of fields and subjects, and grew up in a family of NASCAR fans. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
AASP-Massachusetts Prepares for 2014 with a Strategic Plan with Chasidy Rae Sisk
As 2013 draws to a close, AASP-MA prepares for what it sees as an exciting new year. Though the Board of Directors’ last meeting of 2013 was canceled due to inclement weather, they have used the time to make plans for 2014. Executive Director Jillian Zywien notes “2013 was a year of change for AASP-MA, and I am encouraged by the feedback received from our leadership and members. We had a successful year, and I look for-
ward to 2014.” The association will hold their first quarter Statewide Informational and Educational meeting on January 14th at the Doubletree Hotel in Westboro, MA, where all statewide and board meetings are scheduled to convene. According to Zywien, “our upcoming State Meeting will focus on a number of recent AASP-MA projects, including: our strategic planning session, our new member benefit offerings, and updates to our website and social media presence. We will also be presenting on legislative activities and the decision by Auto Damage Apraiser Licensing Board (ADALB, see Autobody News, Jan issue) to open the regulations (CMR 211, 212) for updates and changes. This meeting is a great opportunity for members and nonmembers, too.” Additional statewide meetings are scheduled for March 11, May 13 and September 9, 2014. AASP-MA’s Board of Directors met on January 9th to discuss the ADALB’s recent decision to open current regulations for review by both the ADALB and the Division “in an effort to update antiquated language, align the regulations with current business practices, and make sure the ADALB is doing its job.” The Board of Directors has selected five sections of regulations they would like to see reviewed: conflict of interest, contact with claimant and selection of repair facilities, revocation and suspension, conduct of appraisals,
and requirements of personal inspection and photographs. Both CMR 211 and CMR 212 are to be reviewed by the Division’s general counsel and staff, with those recommendations being reviewed at the ADALB’s next meeting on February 25th. After this review, a notice of hearing will be distributed for public comment, and the formal hearing will be scheduled. Regarding AASP-MA’s role in this review, Zywien explains, “AASPMA’s legislative committee has set up a meeting to review the regulations and formulate and submit our response to the Division and the ADALB. On January 7, we will be formulating our strategy for the upcoming ADALB. This is an important opportunity for our member shops to play an active role in the rewrite of these regulations. Please pay close attention to all future association publications as this initiative develops.” AASP-MA’s Board of Directors plans to meet monthly in 2014 with subsequent meetings scheduled for February 25, March 25, April 22, May 27, June 24, July 22, August 26, September 23, October 28, November 25, and December 16. AASP-MA has determined that they will hold their Annual Golf Outing at the Charter Oak Country Club in Hudson, MA on either June 10th or 12th, while Casino Night 2014 will be held on either November 8th or 15th. Though individual chapters of the association have yet to establish dates for their planned events, they intend to host the same events as in past years, such as the Midstate Chapter’s Annual BBQ and the Western’s Chapter’s yearly Clambake. At their recent strategic planning meeting, AASP-MA’s Board of Director’s primary goals were to “clearly define AASP-MA’s mission statement, vision, and strategies and to provide members with a clear understanding of the association’s direction on behalf of the entire industry... This is the first time the Board of Directors has participated in this kind of exercise, and I believe they did a fantastic job in aligning the new plan to members’ needs,” Zywien boasts. The association has also re-
22 FEBRUARY 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
vamped their mission statement to “Building the Success of the Auto Repair Industry”, which has been incorporated into their new logo. When the Board of Directors was asked what 2016 if they face no hurdles, they established a long list of like-to-haves. In addition to having a functioning ADALB and increasing membership to 500 individuals, they would like to have an auto labor rate change and a vehicle for sustained increases, as well as to strengthen participant appointees from the industry to the government. They also strive to be a subject matter expert to legislators, Departments of Insurance, media and consumers, plus they’d like to improve the image of collision repair owners and facilities to include setting the standards for the industry. Other goals include: “have our member shops be proud to be members and have clout with insurers, to be the education provider to the industry and
provide continuing education programs for shops and employees, have an increase in sponsor and vendor involvement, and have fair negotiations achieved through regulatory restructuring to include parts procurement.” While AASP-MA is a known advocate within the industry and among their peers, they have asked themselves how they will achieve their plan. Zywien and the Board of Directors respond, “we have the intestinal fortitude, resources, and determination to win. We focus on advancing the collision industry. We make you a more successful business owner. We work to solve industry wide problems. We are the experts for our industry, and we have ‘right’ on our side.” AASP-MA has their work cut out for them as they aspire to reach their visions, but Zywien is optimistic; “I am really looking forward to delving deeper into our strategic plan and tackling some of our goals.”
www.autobodynews.com | FEBRUARY 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS 23
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Continued from Cover
More Polar Vortex?
bite. The new invasion of frigid air will produce lake-effect snow downwind of areas of open water. While much of Lake Erie has frozen over, most of the other Great Lakes are still open. Some areas immediately downwind of Lake Erie may get colder with a late January outbreak (compared to the last) as a result. Beginning on Thursday, January 2nd, the polar vortex spewed snow and freezing rains throughout the country until about Tuesday, January 7th. Over two dozen states from the Midwest to the Northeast and even the Southeast were impacted by this cold front, so it’s no surprise that this unusual event also affected many businesses nationwide, including collision repair facilities. Tiger’s Body Shop in Chicago fortunately did not suffer many ill effects, according to Greg Yonan, a member of the family that owns the facility. “It was really cold, and though there may have been an increase in accidents related to the icy road conditions, we haven’t seen the
effects yet. Monday, Jan. 6, was so cold that we had several appointment cancellations because people didn’t want to leave their homes.” Though their equipment worked fine since the inside of their shop was well-heated, the water coming in from the street froze, and they had to wait for the city to come out and solve that problem. Overall, though, Yonan notes that it has been business as usual. Mike Hartman, owner of Hartman Auto Body Inc. in Waterloo IN, noted some effects from the weather because “when a major storm is forecast in advance, people heed the warning and stay off the streets. It also impacted volumes quite a bit. We have had a couple of cancellations each week for the last three weeks because customers do not want to get out in the snow or extremely cold temperatures.” In terms of operations, Hartman experienced several cold-related technical difficulties; “our paint booth quit working when it was -18 degrees Fahrenheit and -40 degrees Fahrenheit on the wind chill. I had to go on top of the roof, which had 12 inches of snow on it, to reset the main computer mod-
ule. What a trip! It’s also harder to write a very accurate estimate when customers bring their car in and it is covered with snow, ice and salt. We would really like to have the vehicle for half a day so we could wash it and let it thaw out.” Debbie Ross, Office Manager at Route 1 Auto Body in Fairfield, CT, their shop was lucky enough that the unprecedented low temperatures didn’t really have a negative impact on their business or their equipment. “We have been able to service all of our customers. Other than wearing more layers of clothes, we have been lucky… We did have a few new customers whose collisions were a result of sliding on black ice but not many. I think that because the worst weather was on a weekend, there were less people on the road because they didn’t have to be.” For Don Mallon Chevrolet in Norwich, CT, the Polar Vortex generated more business, according to Collision Manager, Dawn Barden. “It has actually brought us more business, more front and rear bumper covers cracking upon a minor impact, instead of flexing. One of the customers said that a shopping carriage rolled into her
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front cover, and it left a hole in it . They are breaking like ice or glass shattering… I do not think that it has affected our business in a negative way here in the collision center; however, in our service department, it has definitely slowed them down; people do not want to drive out in the colder weather unless they have to!” Don Mallon Chevrolet did suffer some technical inconveniences due to the weather, though. “Our paint booth sprinkler heads froze and broke, leaking in the booth and making us two days behind on paint after repairs were made. My painter says that it is taking more time for the bake cycle now, and we have added an additional heater in the paint mix room as we have water-based paint which is at a greater risk of freezing now with the low temperatures. The heater in our office has not been able to keep up with the colder weather either, plus my customers’ cars are having issues with the lift gates freezing because the gate shocks grease probably froze,” Barden said. Craig Camacho, Marketing Director at Keenan Auto Body Inc. in Clifton Heights, PA, notes that their volumes have increased by 25%
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across the board. “Claim volume has increased in our entire servicing footprint, directly related to the recent low temps, snow and ice… Our tooling and machinery was not affected one bit, but our locations were hindered by the snowfall and the need for snow plows and salt.” Though Keenan Auto Body experienced some delays due to their technicians being unable to work, Camacho looks upon this dilemma graciously. “As they say, family first. Many of our employees and techs were home taking care of their own driveways and walkways, ensuring their families’ safety and the safety of others as their primary focus. Our customers were made aware by our staffs that, due to the low temperatures, heavy snowfall and ice developing, there may be delays in completing their vehicles on time.” Rich Tornetta, Marketing Communications Manager of eight CollisionMax Auto Body and Glass Centers in PA and NJ, notes quite a few issues caused by the Polar Vortex. “Customers sometimes would not show up for their scheduled estimate appointments or repairs. This could be due to cars not starting, being buried in snow
or the roads not being adequately plowed and salted for safe travel. The weather has delayed our technicians who’ve had issues making it in to work on time due to unsafe driving conditions, cars not starting or being plowed in by passing trucks. We’d spend time digging out vehicles to be repaired and then gaining access to the parts in the storage facilities which are commonly located outdoors. Some mornings were spent plowing and shoveling outside bays to get cars in. Once the vehicles got into the shop, we’d sometimes use heat guns and/or air hoses to melt and remove the remaining snow/ice. The time spent cleaning the storage facilities is time not spent repairing vehicles, so this had a negative effect on production.” Tornetta said that CollisionMax had to postpone valet delivery of vehicles to their customers because of the unsafe driving conditions, and there were also delays with parts deliveries which, in turn, caused delays in repairs. He adds, “below freezing temperatures made mobile auto glass repair and replacement difficult for our technicians both due to unsafe travel conditions and because their fingers would get numb within min-
utes of being outside.” There were also some technical difficulties as “the spray booth and older equipment tend to fail during cold streaks because they’ve been working overtime,” Tornetta explains. On the positive side, Tornetta notes that “collision workflow is up about 15% compared to what we normally run. Our glass business saw a spike in volume as well, due to the extremely low temperatures which caused many windshields with small chips to crack. In some instances, increased non-drivable volume has caused extended scheduling on drivable repairs.” As we move further south, we see less impact from the cold weather. According to Assistant Manager Walt Link, at Nalley Collision in Doraville, GA, suffered few effects caused by the abnormally cold weather. A few employees were delayed due to the snow, but the cold weather did not impact volumes or cause any problems with equipment. “We had a bit of ice in the parking lot, but we didn’t have an issue.” Link is uncertain whether volumes were affected as business seems to be picking up as usual after the holidays, with numbers appearing to be consis-
tent with last year. Alysia Hanks, Office Manager of Lakeway Collision in Mandeville, LA, states “the weather didn’t really affect us in anyway, except that our guys hate working in the cold, so production slowed down a lot!” The Polar Vortex is a regular circulation of strong winds surrounding the Arctic Pole, but normally, these winds keep the coldest air trapped in the Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Occasionally the vortex can become distorted, permitting this super cold air to travel further south. Though it is inconvenient and certainly unpleasant, the Polar Vortex of early January 2014 seems to have had little long-lasting impact on most shops’ operations. However, meteorologists say the during the third and fourth weeks of January, more changes will take place. The high amplitude pattern is forecast to get more extreme.pattern will gradually change the current mixture of Pacific and Arctic air in the Canada Prairies and the North Central U.S. to all Arctic air. The air will get significantly colder over the Canada Prairies and the much of the eastern half of the nation as a result.
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On Creative Marketing
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
Re-Think Your Marketing For The New Year with Thomas Franklin
When you’re running a busy shop, it’s necessary to have many systems and procedures more or less on automatic. There’s no time to address every situation newly every time. Lean processes and procedures have been carefully thought out so if everyone adheres to the system, the shop runs smoothly. Nevertheless, periodically it’s necessary to re-evaluate any system or procedure that’s been used for a long time. I, for example, tend to invest in dividend-bearing securities that I can count on generating consistent income for the long haul. But from time-totime I have to weed out the poor producers and replace them with better producers or perhaps just purchase more of the good producers. An astute shop owner or manager should do the same thing with marketing procedures. Sadly many shops fail to accurately track the effectiveness of promotional ads, mailings, e-mails, website hits and events. At one time this was understandable. We didn’t have tools like hit counters or e-mails received reports or 800 number calls. But even tools like these don’t really tell us whether any of these promotional responses turned into real jobs. Our only reliable statistic is the customer’s report about what sent him or her to the shop. Without those numbers the shop owner or manager has no real idea what marketing actions to drop and which ones to double up, to refine or replace.
Even with customers’ information about who sent them, it’s still not always possible to know how to reinforce the sources that sent business to the shop. Some insurance company referrals will specify the customer’s agent but sometimes the agent is many miles away so that it’s not practical to market to thse remote agents. If most of the jobs come to the shop referred by one insurance company, how secure is it to bet the survival of the shop on one source that could cripple the shop if it stops sending work? One again, the investment metaphor applies. How secure is it to put most of your investment money into purchasing or holding just one stock, bond or other security? It’s well known that a certain amount of diversity is necessary to protect oneself against possible market turndowns. Another factor that must be considered in a re-evaluaton is the cost of each marketing action. Some promotional actions are hard to track but cost so little it may be worth keeping them in motion. But if a marketing move is costly, it’s definitely worthwhile to take a close look at how much profit that action is creating. One shop owner I knew well kept a DRP with a low-profit, cut-rate insurance company that he knew barely made him a profit on each job. But when he was able to get a contract with a much better paying DRP, he dropped the other one like a rock! I’ve found that some shop owners don’t really know the true cost of
Mobileye Integrates with Accel Connected Car Technology
Mobileye, a Dutch private company and a leader in camera-based advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) technologies for the automotive industry and Accel Telecom Ltd., a leading provider of cellular based connected car solutions, have announced the integration of Mobileye’s Collision avoidance system with Accel’s VOYAGER connected car smartphone. The integrated solution allows remote monitoring of Mobileye alerts transmitted via the VOYAGER 3G cellular connection, which is ideal for fleet managers, insurance companies and families that want to receive real time updates on
their driver’s behavior on the road. Isaac Litman, Mobileye CEO commented: “[This] is an elegant solution that allows both the driver and a third party to receive Mobileye’s life saving alerts in real time which is a real need for fleet managers, businesses, families and more. We are happy to partner with Accel on this exciting offering and believe it will enhance the Mobileye experience.” Marc Seelenfreund, Accel CEO said, “the integrated VOYAGER– Mobileye solution will add an additional layer of driver safety via remote monitoring of Mobileye alerts.”
28 FEBRUARY 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
referral arrangements with insurance companies, dealerships and other referral sources. If the labor and parts discount is calculated per job, and give-aways factored in, like lot damage, totals storage and more, the real costs of some of those relationships may be much more than they seem to be at a glance. Like the automatic production procedure, a shop owner may have gotten so comfortable with a relationship, he or she may not realize it’s time to re-evaluate that relationship and perhaps consider looking for a new one -- or re-negotiating the profitability of that long-term situation. Finally, our world has changed significantly with the proliferation of smart phones and tablets. New apps for these pop up daily now, and there is an expectation that every business can provide instant electronic information. Printed paper phone books and many publications are now rarely
read or used. Resources spent in this direction may be totally wasted. While it can be costly to seek out a good provider for social media promotion and possibly even a smart phone app, it would be wise to face up to that cost now or be left behind in the dust. And even this marketing effort and cost might not be necessary if a shop’s primary customer base is unlikely to seek out or respond to this electronic kind of marketing. The location, age, environment and occupations of a shop’s customers could be such that the shop could get away with another year of limited state-of-the-art electronic marketing. But the young people becoming adults today are totally conversant with smart phones, social media and more. If a shop plans to be in business past this year, there’s no getting aweay from the need to embrace these new technologies and put the marketing dollars in that direction.
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Continued from Page 16
Ford’s 2015 F-150
Amberson. “People don’t wait until the vehicle is a few years old to start having accidents,” he said. “We can see them very early on.” It’s expected the first F-150s will hit dealerships in the third quarter. Ford said last week that the truck will go on sale in the fourth quarter. “This is the biggest bet of the show and maybe one of the biggest bets ever in the car industry,” Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation Inc., said in an interview. “Ford is going to have to execute, and building at that volume in aluminum has never been done in the history of the automobile business. And there are reasons it hasn’t been done: It’s expensive, and it’s complicated and it’s difficult to work with.” It’s a lot to ask” [of dealers], Jackson said. “But that’s the price of leadership.”
Mercedes-Benz Recalls Some 2013 Vehicles for OCS
Mercedes-Benz is recalling certain model year 2013 SL63, SL550, and SL65 vehicles manufactured Jan. 16, 2013, through April 30, 2013, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The affected vehicles are equipped with an occupant classification system (OCS) that may not detect a very light person sitting in the front passenger seat. If the OCS does not detect a very light person sitting in the seat, the passenger side air bag would be turned off. In the event of a crash necessitating side air bag deployment, the passenger would be at an increased risk of injury. Mercedes will notify owners, and dealers will replace the passenger side seat cushion including the OCS. The recall is expected to begin in December 2013. Owners may contact Mercedes at 1-201-573-0600. Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800424-9153), or go to: www.safercar.gov.
CHECK IT OUT!
WMABA Lobby Day is January 22 by Chasidy Rae Sisk
The Washington Metropolitan Auto Body Association (WMABA) recently distributed invitations for their upcoming Lobby Day in Annapolis, MD. The event will take place on Wednesday, January 22nd from 8:3010:30am at the Calvert House located at 58 State Circle, Annapolis, MD, 21401. WMABA’s Lobby Day will begin with attendees joining their Maryland legislators for breakfast, followed by a presentation given by WMABA Executive Director and the association lobbyist representatives from Alexander & Cleaver. Attendees will learn about the 2014 proposed parts legislation for the current legislative session which began on January 7th. This legislation is WMABA’s 2014 Parts Bill which focuses on aiding shops interested in keeping the same vendors and on providing the best parts to customers. In addition to discussing the specifics of the bill, WMABA will also explain how repairers and vendors can participate in
the legislative process. Those who register at least a week before the event will also have the opportunity to schedule a personal meeting with their legislator. “It is very important that repairers be involved with their personal legislator and the legislative process, even if they do not actively support particular legislation,” states Jordan Hendler, Executive Director of WMABA. “You want them to know you as the expert when it comes to anything relating to automotive issues. Then, they come to you for advice on proposed legislation versus us chasing them down on something that could have been easily avoided. It really is rewarding to be active with those who represent you and your business’ interests at the capital.” www.wmaba.com
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Ford Rep Paul Massie on Repairing the 2015 F-150
Paul Massie, powertrain and collision product marketing manager for Ford, spoke at the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) held Jan. 16–17 in Palm Springs, CA. He sought to reassure repairers concerned about the forthcoming newly engineered 2015 F-150 which goes on sale later this year. “We designed the vehicle so it can be easily repaired and accessible so the customer can go where they want to get it repaired,” said Massie. Massie said there will be no restrictions on what kind of shops can repair the vehicle. Ford will not require a shop to have a separate clean room however, it will recommend the use of curtains to separate aluminum from steel work and specific equipment to handle the repairs. The total investment for a shop that is starting from ground zero with aluminum repair can be as high as $50,000. (Autobody News’ next issue will detail a shop’s outlay on clean room setup.) “That’s if you have absolutely no aluminum equipment,” Massie said. “So if you’re already in the aluminum business and already have the equipment and can separate aluminum from steel, you’re probably a long way towards having the equipment you need.” Genuine Ford collision repair parts will be available to all shops. All parts sold will include instructions on how to
properly install them. Ford will begin its education on the 2015 F-150 and aluminum repair at the AASP/NJ Northeast Show March 21–23 at the Meadowlands Expo Center in Secaucus, NJ. A cutaway of the vehicle will be featured so repairers can see all of its structural components. Engineers will be present to talk about the vehicle, and I-CAR training developed with Ford will be available. Ford is also offering to do a presentation on the 2015 F-150 at the next CIC April 9–10 in Portland, OR, although details are not firmed up yet. Information will also be available at NACE in July and SEMA in October. “The goal is to make high-strength, military-grade aluminum alloy collision repair mainstream,” said Massie. “We want it to be as mainstream as it already is for steel.” Elsewhere Ford has said it put the new model through rigorous tests, including cross-country hauls through desert valleys and over high-altitude mountain passes and in climates of 20 degrees below zero and 120 degrees above. A disguised F-150 even raced in the Baja 1000, where it earned the distinction of completing the 883-mile race while some other purpose-built race vehicles could not.
CIC in Brief, More Next Issue
CIC chair George Avery welcomed the CIC body before inviting John Van Alstyne, president and CEO of I-CAR, to present the organization’s initiatives for the coming year (see I-CAR story this issue) Following Van Alstyne was a presentation by guest speaker Scott Sorrell, CEO of Sales Adrenaline. Sorrell discussed how to find your value as a business and how to keep reselling that value to customers. The afternoon was focused on reviewing each CIC committee—definitions, insurer/repairer relations, parts and material, data privacy, education and training, human resources, governmental, marketing, and technical—and their plans for the coming year. Notable changes to the committees included putting the definitions committee on hiatus, and the appointing of Randy Hanson, auto director at Allstate, as the new chair of the insurer/repairer relations committee. Hanson will replace Rick Tuuri. Discussion also occured on the data privacy committee on vehicle information technology.
CIC Roundtable Launches Consumer Website for OEMs
The Collision Industry Conference’s OE Roundtable Committee announced the launch of crashrepairinfo.com, a consumer education site, during the first day of the January 2014 Collision Industry Conference (CIC) planning meeting in Palm Springs, CA. The site is aimed at providing consumers with information that can help them navigate the process of getting their vehicles repaired following a collision. Gary Ledoux, assistant national manager of wholesale parts marketing at Honda and a member of the OE Roundtable Committee, said the site is meant to help vehicle owners make informed decisions about the collision repair of their vehicle. The site includes OE position statements, collision repair basics, what to do in case of an accident, and links to other OE sites. Ledoux said the committee recommends all repairers use the site as a resource and direct customers to the site, as is applicable.
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Social Media for Shops
Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist based in San Francisco, California. He can be reached at email@example.com.
How to Improve Your Success with Google in 2014 with Ed Attanasio
I tell marketing people at body shops all the time that if you pay attention to Google and stay on top of its periodic algorithm updates, you’ll be way ahead of the game. It may not sound that important, but when you think about the fact that every website in the world is affected by Google in one way or another, you can see that those who know how to use it right will obviously have a distinct advantage over their competition. Google’s incarnations (or releases) come with little or no warning and every time Google updates itself, it’s an attention-getter for anyone who works with the Internet. Named after animals (first there was Penguin and then there was Panda) these updates revolve around the fact that Google wants to reward sites that offer value while penalizing those that contain spam and irrelevant content. The newest update is called Hummingbird and it’s been buzzing in every webmaster’s ears since it was released nearly six months ago. This summer, Google explained their newest update in a simple paragraph: “Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query—the whole sentence or conversation or meaning—is taken into account, rather than particular words. The goal is that pages matching the meaning do better, rather than pages matching just a few words.” Some people will always try to beat the system and fool Google with “black-hat” tactics, but in the end they’re like the IRS. You may get away with using text that you’re “borrowing” from other sites for a while and do other shady things to rank highly in local searches, but in the end, the party’s over. And Google is not like the American justice system—no one is innocent until proven guilty and they could care less about reasonable doubt. But, do not fear—if you hire a respectable webmaster with a good track record that performs honest SEO relevant to your business and adhering to Google’s rules, you’ll be fine online. One company that’s been doing exceptional work for both mechanical
and collision businesses online is Ring Ring Marketing in San Jose, CA. Their motto is “We Make Your Phone Ring” and they specialize in working with small to medium-size companies. Welton Hong, the COO at Ring Ring Marketing offered us some valuable tips on how body shops can use Google effectively in this new Hummingbird environment. “To optimize an auto body shop website for Google Hummingbird, consider adding more real-world, question-specific queries into your site content,” Hong said. “This could be in the form of blog posts, FAQs and more.” In the end, Google still values and respects original content and quality links over anything else. Any time you’re going to post something on your web site or blog, ask yourself this—is it of real value to my customers? Make certain that you’re creating content that is relevant to your audience and then integrate it into all of your social media. Increase your exposure and build your brand by positioning yourself as an expert in collision and getting the word out through to the local media, including radio, TV, print and the Internet. And post different types of content to enhance your SEO and create more opportunities to engage your audience—especially video, according to Hong. “Add more relevant video content to your site,” he said. “It's much harder for Google to generate this sort of content in response to inquiries, so this type of material will be insulated, at least for now, from the negative effects of Hummingbird.” Other Google-related things to consider this year: ● Ride the Google+ Train: Google rewards companies that use their products and this is one of their leading products. Too many body shops set up Google+ accounts in 2013 and did nothing else. Tell your marketing people that you want to use Google+ more and devise a plan.
● Going Mobile: The Internet is going more mobile every day, so get on the ball and be a part of it. Google wants you to make your site optimized
32 FEBRUARY 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
for mobile users to attract mobile visitors. Right now, half of all Americans (and every 13-year-old girl out there) own smartphones and one-third own tablets. The number is going to grow at an explosive rate, so get mobile of get lost. “Make sure your site is as mobile-friendly as possible,” Hong explained. “Hummingbird is designed for mobile users. Mobile visitors are quickly outnumbering desktop visitors. You must focus your efforts here.”
● Some Appetizing Google Apps: I use Google Docs every day, because it enables me to share documents easily with others, via my desktop, laptop or smartphone. It saves time, because users can check in whenever and wherever. Also consider Evernote (a great note-taking app) and of course, Gmail and Dropbox. Google tweaked and improved both of these applications in 2013, making them
easier to use and full of new functionality. Whether working on a vehicle or coordinating your marketing efforts, it’s all about having the best tools available and knowing how to use them. Google has literally 50-plus business tools to make you more effective and profitable in 2014 and beyond. So tap into the Google universe and learn which ones are best-suited for you. But, most importantly, learn the Hummingbird update and discover its nuances and capabilities. Make Google a bigger part of your marketing plan this year and plug away at creating a significant presence there. Because Google is here to stay and the shops that use it correctly will reap huge benefits over time. Be patient and stick to your plan and pretty soon you‘ll hear the phone ringing, followed by those wonderful words, “We found you on Google!”
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Hey Toby! with Toby Chess
Toby Chess is an I-CAR program instructor, Training specialist, and former salvage yard operator. Toby is universally known in the collision industry for his work with first responders and advocacy for body shops and consumers. He can be reached at email@example.com
Honda’s Repair Instructions Need to Be Read and Followed
2012 Honda Accord
2013 Honda Accord
Question: What is the major difference between the two Honda Accords? Answer: The “A” Pillar reinforcement, “B” pillar reinforcement and Rocker panel reinforcement are constructed of one of the highest strengths steels seen in passenger cars. They have an 1500 MPa steel rating. Question: What does Honda say when these parts are damaged from a side impact? Answer:—Plenty
1,500 MPa (HOT STAMP) STEEL LOCATIONS
1,500 MPa steel stronger than ordinary steel, so it can help protect vehicle occupangts while reducing overall vehicle weight to improve fuel efficiency. The numbered parts in the diagrams below are constructed of 1,500 MPa steel:
1 2 3 4
Front Inner Upper Pillar
Center Pillar Upper Stiffener Side Sill Stiffener
Inside Sill Reinforcement
First and Foremost—Honda states “No body repairs should be attempted without first referring to the appropriate body repair manual for complete information”. I find it amazing how many collision repair shops in this country will repair/replace structural components on today’s vehicles without having the appropriate procedures when the vehicle is estimated and repaired. I also find in appalling that many insurance adjusters will estimate a vehicle without having repair data before writing their estimate. Furthermore, why do body shops have to prove that they need a certain procedure for a OEM stated position, when they should have this information as well. Just the other day, A shop owner called me for information to justify why the shop could not use heat on repairing a 2010 Toyota Tacoma frame that was damaged in the rear. Moreover, I feel that there should be a charge on the estimate for data retrieval. It cost me $300.00 for a one year subscription to the Honda web site and I don’t have a shop or write estimates anymore. (Sorry for getting off the subject, but I needed to get it off my chest.) Use of Heat for body straightening and repairs. What does Honda say? “When you are doing body straightening and repair procedures: DO NOT apply heat to any body part during straightening. This may compromise the internal structure and strength of high strength steel parts. Moreover, any part that has heat applied to it during straightening MUST be replaced with new parts. Ignoring these instructions, may significantly reduce occupant protection in any subsequent collision.” Let’s look at what Honda says about sectioning. “Because of body structure improvements for collision safety and rigidity, the materials, steel thickness and internal reinforcements have become very specific. Follow these guidelines to avoid an unsafe repair: avoid sectioning (cut and joint) except for outer panels and floor panels unless a specific procedure is provided in the body manual (As I stated previously, how do you repair todays
34 FEBRUARY 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
vehicles without having the repair data) and relace body structural components as assemblies that match the replacement parts configuration. Honda dedicates 3 pages in their guide lines for replacement and welding, but I will address this later on in the article. Honda states in their body repair news about seats with airbags “ damaged front seat covers should be replaced and not repaired. Furthermore, Do not install non-factory seat covers, because they may alter the airbags intended deployment.” Honda also states “NEVER attempt to modify, splice or repair airbag system wiring. If airbag system wiring is damaged, replace the wiring harness(es). What does Honda say about their Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). “TPMS calibration must be started every time you: Adjust the pressure in one or more tires; Rotate
the tires; Replace one or more tires; Replace or update the VSA-modulator control unit. A couple of other items that should be noted when estimating and repairing a 2013 Honda Accord. Honda now sells replaceable headlamp brackets that get broken in an accident. It should noted that they only work if the following criteria is met: No damage to the headlamp assembly and sealing of the headlamp lens and housing is maintained. Some models may be equipped with one or more of the following systems the require aiming after collision repairs (special tools are required to complete the aiming procedures). Lane Watch—Lane Watch uses a camera and center dash display for blind spot detection. The camera must be aimed if the following operations are performed in the repair process: The camera is removed or replaced,
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Door mirror is removed and/or replaced, door panel is removed or replaced or the door is repaired. It should be noted that DTC will not be displayed on the dash, but will be stored in the control module. Forward Warning: The camera must be re-aimed if the FWC camera unit is removed or replaced. If the windshield is removed or replaced, the unit must be re-aimed. Note a dash light will illuminate if the system is inoperative. Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). The millimeter wave radar of the ACC must be re-aimed if the radar unit is removed or replaced. If damage occurs in the unit’s mounting area, the system needs to be re-aimed. A malfunction of the unit will be displayed in the multi-unit dash. Let’s look at welding and repairing the 1500 MPa steel on the Honda Accord. Honda states when repairing and welding 1500 MPa steel parts as follows: ● NEVER attempt to straighten damaged 1500 MPa steel ● 1500 MPa steel parts MUST be replaced at factory seams using squeeze type resistance spot welds ● MIG weld braze joints should
be used ONLY in locations that can not be reached with STRS welders. ● To maintain adequate weld tensile strength, always set the spot welder to specifications in the body repair manual. ● NEVER perform MAG (aka MIG) welding on 1500 MPa steel parts ● MIG brazed joint locations are specified in the body repair manual ● A single or double hole MID braze may be specified in the body repair manual depending on tensile strength of the parts being joined. ● A pulsed MID welder MUST be used. You can convert most MIG welders to weld bronze silicon, but you have better heat management and control with a pulsed welder. More on this a little later on in the article. ● Parts made of Ultra High Strength Steel (UHSS) must be installed as complete part. No sectioning allowed. FAILURE TO USE THE PROPER EQUIPMENT OR FOLLOW THE PROPER PROCEDURES CAN RESULT IN AN UNSAFE REPAIR. Honda specifications for repairing and welding steels with 590 to 980 MPa ratings: Parts made of High
Strength Steel (590-980 MPa) must be installed as a complete part. No sectioning is allowed unless a procedure is provided in the body repair manual. Plug welds using a MIG welder may be done joining body parts with 590980 MPa steel ratings. MAG (MIG) butt welding may be done only steel parts with a tensile strength of 590 MPa and lower. You will need to print out the diagram showing the locations of the different strengths of steel from the Honda web site. Here is what Honda specifies for welding 1500 MPa steel on the 2013/2014 Honda Accord. You will need to go to the web site for pictures on the welding procedures.
1500 MPa Parts Welding Specifications ______________________________ High-Strength Steel (1500 MPa) Parts Welding Specifications The high-strength steel (1500 MPa) material is used for the front pillar area, the roof side area, the center pillar area, and the side sill area of the vehicles. Parts replacement for the reinforcement and/or the stiffener may be
required depending on the damage to the side panel. Take notice that spot welding conditions for welding the replacement parts differ from the normal welding conditions. MIG brazing must be used where spot welding cannot be done. NEVER perform MAG welding.
MIG brazing welding method To ensure adequate joint strength, use a pulsed MIG welder with specified wire and the following brazing technique. This will create a capillary action in order to liquefy the solder so that it can penetrate into the upper and lower plates: • Begin brazing about 5mm (0.20in) before the holes(s). • Move the torch across the hole in a zigzag pattern as you close the holes(s). • Continue the brazing operation about 10mm (0.39 in) past the hole(s).
Spot welding specifications
• Current: 9000 A • Pressure: 3432 N (350 kgf, 772 lbf) • Welding cycle: 40 NOTE: When spot welding is performed, make sure that the following See Hey Toby!, Page 40
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New Nevada Driver Authorization Cards Allow Legal Driving, Insurance Has Been Available
A law passed by the 2013 Legislature and signed by Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval allows immigrants in Nevada without citizenship status to obtain driver authorization cards. An increasing number of states have been passing similar laws in recent years, and 11 states and the District of Columbia have enacted such measures. These cards authorize the holder to drive a motor vehicle on Nevada public streets and highways. A DAC is not valid as identification to obtain any state benefits, licenses or services or for federal purposes such as boarding aircraft or entering facilities where ID is required. Driver Authorization Cards are valid for one year from the date of issuance. You may renew the card each year. All renewals and address changes must be completed in person. You cannot drive legally in Nevada without a driver’s license but you have long been able to buy auto insurance without one. It’s a little known fact that illegal aliens in Nevada have already been able to insure themselves, purchasing insurance for as little as $30 a month and as much as $200. It meets the state’s requirements, even if they’ve been illegally driving the roads. Las Vegas agent Esperanza Montelongo sells at least a dozen poli-
cies for liability coverage a month. She has sold more than 5,000 policies in the past eight years for American Access, a Chicago-based insurance carrier that saw an opportunity to provide auto insurance to a segment of people who have been ignored by mainstream insurance companies. These immigrants have been considered a high risk because they can’t produce a valid driver’s license. Montelongo estimated that at least 80 percent of the undocumented population in Las Vegas already have insurance. Asked whether from a business standpoint she’s looking forward to Nevada’s new driver authorization card, which will allow immigrants in the country illegally to legally drive in Nevada starting , the 58-year-old Nebraskaborn woman sat back and chuckled. “Gosh, I can only hope that there’s a huge fluctuation in business. But I’m not anticipating it because most of the Mexicans here are already insured,” she said, referring to Las Vegas. “And I say Mexicans because we’re talking about Mexicans. Nevada is Mexican country. They’re the majority of my customers, and they’re fiercely loyal.” It’s an interesting approach to doing the right thing and yet such pur-
Not All Insurance Carriers Will Sell Policies to Newly Carded Immigrant Drivers, Citing History
Although some insurance companies anticipate a flood of new policies, many are taking a wait and see approach to the newly legal drivers. Some car insurance companies anticipate a new golden market in new driving privileges. Even before the cards were available, these carriers found that the illegal driver segment is very profitable. The insurance companies experience good “retention,” meaning that the policies renew regularly. Just as important is the fact that illegal immigrants seldom report small accidents to lower the chances that they'll have a brush with the law. Companies like Progressive, Farmers Group, Bristol West, Infinity P&C and Alliance United have been putting a lot of effort into expanding this part of their book of business. Even though many states deny driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, the law generally doesn't prevent insurers from selling insurance to unlicensed drivers and car owners. Companies like Progressive are already writing car insurance for illegal immigrant drivers and expect to sell more now that licenses are available to illegals.
However others are more cautious. Farmers Insurance Group of Companies, for example, is still taking a wait-and-see approach as to whether it will insure the new motorists, according to Robert Compan, the company’s government and industry affairs manager. He estimates it will take at least three years to figure out whether there’s a profit in the business. “The law doesn’t mandate that we sell it,” said Compan, an executive board member for the Nevada Insurance Council, an educational and public policy arm of the industry. “But if there’s a profit margin to be made, of course we’re going to sell it, but how do you rate it if they don’t have a driving history? How do you rate it if somebody doesn’t have a credit history? If we don’t know how they manage their daily lives, it could be difficult providing insurance. “Normally, what we’ll do is take a look at the driving history and predicate the rates on that, but in this case it’s hard to rate somebody who doesn’t exist in the system,” he said.
36 FEBRUARY 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
chases have been upstaged by the political hype surrounding the new card and the boon that an estimated 60,000 card-carrying customers are expected to bring insurance companies across the Silver State under Senate Bill 303, Montelongo said. The legislation was designed to make the roads safer on the premise that motorists will not only be required to purchase insurance but also to pass DMV tests demonstrating that they know how to drive and understand the rules of the road. Aztec isn’t the only insurance agency doing business in the valley. Nearly 50 such companies, most licensed and registered under the Nevada Department of Insurance, can be found in and around predominantly Latino neighborhoods. There’s Insurance for Less down the block from the Aztec Insurance office. There’s El Sol Insurance about a mile away. Estrella Insurance a little bit farther. Many of these insurance companies here have been selling liability policies for years to immigrant motorists who want to be covered in case of an accident. In the absence of a license, the immigrants want to have proof of insurance should they be cited for a traffic infraction and wind up in court.
Alfonso Garcia, a criminal attorney, has represented hundreds of immigrants who have had to explain to Las Vegas judges why they don’t have a valid driver’s license. Many times that proof-of-insurance card brings leniency, not only from the traffic cop but also from the judge. “We’re talking about people who are already on the radar for being in the country illegally,” he said. “The last thing they want to do is get stopped and not have proof of insurance.” Mostly, Garcia said, the judges accommodate them by reducing charges and fines for first-time offenders. “They know that just about any of us can get cited for a traffic infraction, and so they give them a chance,” he said. “Just like they’d give you or me a chance.” But because they are living in the country illegally, it can be difficult to produce a driver’s license without first producing proof of legal residency. This fact has led some offenders trekking across state lines to apply for driver’s licenses in the more lenient states, such as Oregon, Washington and New Mexico. “But all that’s about to change,” Garcia said. “Now everything will be above board with the new law, and the judges are hip to that.”
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Industry Insight with John Yoswick
—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.
Shops Can Put News and Trends Related To Auto Insurers To Good Use It’s easy as a shop owner to get so caught up in day-to-day operations that it can be a challenge to follow just the news directly affecting collision repairers. But there’s plenty of insurance-related news that shops also should know about, because it can help them educate their customers, market their business, and maybe even alter how they vote or shop for insurance themselves.
Insurer pushes for more alternative parts As of this year, The Hartford is now requiring its direct repair shops to use “any appropriate alternative part when it is available” regardless of the age or mileage of the vehicle being repaired. A memo from Bethany Siddall, director of auto claims for The Hartford, tells shops the new policy is subject to state law, and that any salvage parts still must be of the same model year or newer than the vehicle being repaired. But unless prohibited by state law, the new mandate means available non-OEM parts must be used even on current model year vehicles. “Keep in mind that each claim should be handled on an individual basis and any variance from this standard should be clearly documented in the claim file,” Siddall’s memo states. State Farm encouraging welding training, certification. When I-CAR announced a new lower pricing structure for its welding qualification testing (now called Welding Training and Certification) early this year, it also announced that State Farm negotiated a discount for its Select Service shops as well. The announced continues State Farm’s track record of encouraging but not mandating certain training requirements on its direct repair shops. “We believe welding proficiency benefits State Farm policyholders by providing quality repairs to policyholder vehicles,” Russ Hoffbauer, director of property and casualty claims for State Farm, said. “While participating in the I-CAR Welding Training and Certification is not mandatory for Select Service repairers, we anticipate that repairers will be eager to take advantage of this unique opportunity.”
Tardy insurance regulation report issued by the feds. Nearly two years after it was due, a new report released by the Federal Insurance Office in December concludes more federal regulation of some aspects of insurance is needed. Rather than debating federalvs. state-oversight of insurance, the report suggests a hybrid approach, with federal involvement where beneficial in an otherwise state-based system. Most of the federal regulation suggested in the report deals with mortgage insurance and international insurance issues, but it also calls for oversight of personal lines in terms of practices related to risk-profiling groups and individuals based on personal information. Insurer groups were generally pleased with the report’s support for more consistent state-based regulation of the industry but were more skeptical of its call for more federal involvement.
State insurance regulator group in upheaval At the same time when increased federal oversight of the insurance industry is being proposed, the association of state insurance regulators Tom Leonardi appears to be having internal conflicts. Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Tom Leonardi is calling for an outside firm to conduct a corporate-governance review of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), questioning what he sees as poor decisions by the group’s executive committee and what he called NAIC’s “imperial presidency.” Leonardi cited as one example the decision by last year’s president, Kevin McCarty of Florida, “to give the Federal Insurance Office one of the NAIC’s three seats on the International Association of Insurance Supervisors Executive Committee.” He was also critical of some insurance commissioners’ decision to turn down an invitation to meet with President Obama. “This could be so bad that it might be the pivotal point we later rec-
38 FEBRUARY 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
ognize that doomed state-based regulation. Talk about a self-inflicted wound,” Washington Commissioner Mike Kreidler is quoted in the letter. Leonardi said “cronyism” and the “undue influence of two former [unnamed] commissioners,” is undermining the NAIC and gives fodder to those who question “whether we are up to the task of regulating the largest insurance market in the world.” Tom Corbett Other state insurance commissioners have raised similar concerns but believe the NAIC needs to attempt to address the issues internally before seeking the outside review that Leonardi wants. State enacts new deductible rules. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett in December signed a new law that allows insurers to offer zero-deductible
auto policies? Previous state law required a deductible of at least $100. The legislation also drops the current mandate that policyholders selecting a deductible below $500 acknowledge in writing that they recognize that “a lower deductible means a higher premium.”
Insurer offers telematics as a way for parents to track teen drivers Esurance says parents in 39 states who have installed its DriveSafe telematics device on their vehicle can now pair the device with their teenage driver’s cell phone to limit (on some phone brands) texting or other use of the phone while the car is in motion. The system also allows parents to monitor a teen’s driving behaviors including routes taken, speeding, hard braking or driving past curfew. Esurance says the information is not shared with the insurer nor is it used to determine premiums.
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Insurance exec a big, big winner Ira Curry, a 56-year-old vice president for property-casualty in the Atlanta office of Aspen Insurance, was one of two winners in December’s Mega Millions $636 million jackpot. An Aspen spokesman said Curry had taken a leave from the company “to disappear with family for a while.” Curry took the lump-sum cash option, walking away with about $120 million after taxes.
Insurer to offer policies in another state Pennsylvania-based Erie Insurance Group will expand into Kentucky, its 13th state, by early next year. Erie is the 15th largest personal auto insurer in the country, although nearly half of its premiums are from insureds in its home state. Idea of city-owned insurer debated An editorial in the Detroit News urged Mayor-elect Michael Duggan to drop his idea of starting a city-owned auto insurance company. Duggan first raised the idea last fall while campaigning to become Detroit’s next mayor. Detroit residents by some estimates have the highest auto insurance
rates of any city in the country, leading some residents to use suburban addresses when buying auto insurance. Duggan said his own auto insurance rates doubled when he moved from nearby Livonia to within the city limits of Detroit. The newspaper says Duggan should not take on such a risky endeavor but should instead focus on efforts to curtail auto thefts and to lobby the state for reform of the nofault system. One claim in the editoMike Duggan rial surely caught the eye of collision repairers. “If Duggan believes he can lower premiums by taking the profit out of insurance, he’s in for an awakening,” the editorial states. “There is no profit in auto insurance, (Peter) Kuhnmuench (executive director of the Insurance Institute of Michigan), says.”
John Yoswick is also the editor of the weekly CRASH Network (for a free 4-week trial subscription, visit www.CrashNetwork.com). He can be contacted by email at: jyoswick@SpiritOne.com.
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consolidators and multi-shop operators (MSOs). Many MSOs are actively buying other shops, leaving independent shops feeling that they can’t compete and providing an escape route for shop owners who are exasperated with the current state of the industry. Of course, the still impoverished state of the economy comes with its own set of problems which also negatively impact repairers. Finally, the fact that people are driving less and winters have been milder in recent years leading to fewer accidents also affects some shops’ business. Overall, Eversman believes there is “a confluence of things impacting repairers that they don’t have much control over.” Fortunately, there are some preemptive measures that shops can take to protect themselves from some of these problems. Stay tuned to Autobody News for a future series on key documentation that every shop should consider utilizing.
Farm presumably seeks new shops in the Fort Wayne area to join Select Service. IABA continues to monitor the situation closely. In October, Mississippi’s John Mosely and Lloyd Bush attended IABA’s meeting to discuss PartsTrader, and this topic will certainly be pursued at the association’s next meeting. Members of IABA include shops that opted out, as well as those who stayed on Select Service. Hartman thinks “it’s really cool to see so many Fort Wayne shops sticking together. This is a really competitive area, and it’s amazing to see these shops supporting one another. I’ve never seen such solidarity.” State Farm’s has issued the following response: “Repairers who want to leave our Select Service program can inform State Farm and remove themselves. We are aware that some repairers in the Ft. Wayne area have recently done that. Our priority is to continue to meet the needs of our customers in the Ft. Wayne area, and we continue to do all we can to do that.”
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conditions are maintained: the specified current, conductivity time, welding pressure, holding time, and shutdown time recommended for spot welder. Follow the spot welder manufacturer's instructions. MIG brazing specifications
• MIG brazing machine with pulse controller • Wire: CuSi3 • Shielding gas: Argon gas (100%)
NOTE: • For details about correct brazing current and voltage, refer to the equipment manufacturer’s recommendations. • MIG welding/brazing: Metal inert gas welding or brazing where 100% Argon (Ar) shielding gas is used. Argon is inert and does not react with the molten weld pool or brazing operation.
Brazing hole size For joining, or brazing of stiffener (340 and 980 MPa) and the highstrength steel (1500 MPa) parts: Drill two holes φ8 mm (0.31 in) in about 10 mm (0.39 in) pitch. For joining, or brazing of outer panel (270 MPa) and the high-strength steel (1500 MPa) parts: Drill one hole φ8 mm (0.31 in) at the outer panel. As I previously mentioned, let’s talk welding machines.
I purchased a Prospot SP5 after testing it at the SEMA show.
This diagram is taken from the 2013/2014 Honda Body Repair Manual. It is located in the General Description under Roof and Side Panel 4 Door Construction
Center Pillar Stiffener Complete
Upper Stiffener [1.8 (0.071)]
Center Pillar Reinforcement [1.8 (0.071)]
Lower Stiffener [1.8 (0.071)]
This legend is also found on the same page as the diagram. Note that part number 6 is constructed of 3 different metal strengths
You will note that there are 3 spot welds (590 steel)welded to reinforcement on the inside of the vehicle along with 4 spot welds
weld all in one machine. It is a 220 volt single phase machine that is pulsed. It is a very user friendly and the welds that are produced are amazing. This machine is overkill for the body shop. Prospot has the same machine, but with 2 guns (steel, aluminum or MIG braze—your choice). It is about 25 percent cheaper and I
would highly recommend this unit. You can go to Prospot.com and click on the SP welder for a video demonstration of this welder. Now to the actual replacement of the center pillar and rocker reinforcement.
1. When replacing the center pillar lower stiffener (A) only, weld it to the center pillar reinforcement (B) and the center pillar upper stiffener (C). ( )*: Welding positions with 590 MPa or higher parts. Confirm the plug welding specifications. (■)*: Welding positions with the center pillar upper stiffener (1500 MPa parts). Confirm the spot welding and the MIG brazing specifications
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L= Welding length unit: mm (in) ( ) and ( )*: The number of welds You will note that there are 3 spot welds (590 steel)welded to reinforcement on the inside of the vehicle along with 4 spot welds
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Meet California’s NEW BAR Chief, Patrick Dorais Appointed by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. effective November 8, 2013, Patrick Dorais is the new Chief of the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR). In this position, he oversees all operational matters, including licensing and enforcement activities and the administration of the Smog Check Program. Dorais served as BAR Deputy Chief of Smog Check Operations, Engineering, Research Administration and Consumer Assistance Division from 2007 to 2013 and has been working in government in some capacity since 1986, with a focus on consumer rights.
ABN: What have you learned about the job that you didn’t know initially within your first two months in the position? PD: As Deputy Chief, my focus was the administration of the Smog Check Program. Since my appointment as Chief, I have learned more about BAR’s other programs and objectives that are aimed at ensuring a fair and competitive automotive repair marketplace for California consumers. I’ve also learned that we have a great num-
ber of qualified and professional people her at the BAR that are committed to promoting consumer protection and the automotive repair industry. I’m honored to work with these individuals and appreciate their dedication to maintaining BAR’s mission and values. Lastly, I’ve learned that although our stakeholders come from varying perspectives, we all share in the same objective –to provide Patrick Dorais consumers with quality automotive repair services.
ABN: In this position, you’re overseeing 600 people; an annual operating budget of approximately $200 million and a statewide network of 12 field offices. It’s an enormous responsibility, so where do you begin? Are you planning on making significant changes and if so, what will they be? PD: I was involved in the development of BAR’s current Strategic Plan, which identifies our organization’s goals and objectives for the next four years. This
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plan provides an effective framework that I will follow to oversee and uphold the services and programs we provide and to make any necessary improvements or changes. I believe in the old adage if it ain't broke, don’t fix it. We have a solid plan to follow and we will make adjustments as necessary to reflect the interests of consumers and other stakeholders. I also believe in surrounding yourself with good people and hiring dedicated staff to get the job done right. I used this approach when appointing Dan Povey as Deputy Chief of Field Operations and Enforcement and will do the same to fill the vacancies for Deputy Chief of Smog Check Operations and Deputy Chief of Consumer Assistance, Licensing and Administrative Support Programs.
ABN: When I talk to body shops in California, they feel like many illegal operators stay off your radar and thereby continue to do shady work. How would you respond to this claim? PD: This issue is something we continue to address, but we can’t do it alone. We encourage any shop that suspects unlicensed activity to contact their local BAR field office and report their concerns so we can investigate these issues.
ABN: Midnight Body Shops who aren’t licensed and operating under the radar still seem to exist in considerable numbers, according to body shop owners I’ve polled. How has the BAR dealt with shady shops and how can they be stopped? PD: BAR utilizes two enforcement paths for unregistered shops. First, regulations for issuing citations took effect in October 2011, and BAR regularly issues citations to unlicensed facilities under this authority. Second, BAR continuously fosters relationships with district attorneys throughout the state in an effort to create support for criminal and civil filings against unlicensed facilities. In addition, BAR is exploring an industry suggestion to require in regulation that providers of automotive repair services publish their registration numbering all advertisements. This will further enhance BAR’s ability to identify those who are engaged in unlicensed activity.
ABN: When you’re encountering shops breaking the law, how are they normally doing it? And is it true that
most of your consumer complaints deal with mechanical (rather than collision) issues? PD: The most common auto body violation is failure to provide the parts or services specified on the invoice. When looking at all auto repair complaint trends, the majority of complaints received by BAR involve mechanical issues. BAR categorizes complaints by component or the type of repair. Examples of this are Auto Body, Engine Repair, and Automatic Transmission. The greatest percentage of complaints received fall under these categories.
ABN: Both of your predecessors tried to create a BAR that is a kinder and gentler organization. What is going to be your approach to enforcement? PD: It’s all about balance and creating an open line of communication with our registrants and licensees. We will educate those who are trying to do the right thing to ensure they are in compliance. We will also exercise our enforcement authority for those who are deliberately harming the consumer or trying to circumvent the law, and thereby undermining the operations of those who truly want to comply. I will ensure that our enforcement team has the tools and resources they need to appropriately address these issues.
ABN: BAR’s Auto Body Inspection program has gained a lot of exposure and I’ve received positive reports about it from people within the collision industry. How many inspections did the BAR conduct in 2013 and do you plan to make any changes to it in 2014? PD: In 2013, BAR conducted 104 nocost auto body inspections. Since BAR’s highest priority is to protect the public, we have set a goal to create greater awareness of our consumer programs and to promote increased participation in the Auto Body Inspection Program (Program). To meet this goal, BAR, with the assistance of the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), recently released a YouTube video to highlight the Program’s services. The video has been posted on various social media sites and is available on BAR’s Web site at: www.autorepair.ca.gov. ABN: Of the nearly 15,000 complaints received every year, how many of these are collision repair-related and how
www.autobodynews.com | FEBRUARY 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS 41
many of these are acted on? PD: Auto body related complaints typically account for approximately 10% of all complaints BAR receives. BAR investigates all complaints received and contacts the consumer to document their concerns and obtain the final invoice before performing an inspection of the vehicle. BAR addresses any deficiencies identified during the inspection with the shop that performed the repairs.
ABN: What are your top three priorities overall? PD: Consumer protection is always paramount. We need to get back to the basics of what we do well, which is promoting and protecting the interests of California consumers. Over the past few years, our efforts have been focused on several side projects that have diverted our attention from our main objectives. We will renew our consumer focus and ensure the success of our programs, which include the Auto Body Inspection Program and the rollout of the new On-Board Diagnostic Inspection System (OIS). Collaboration is also a top priority. BAR does not have all the answers on the best methods for consumer pro-
tection and proper regulation of the automotive repair industry. We want to work with all stakeholders, including those inside and outside of our organization, to continue to be a leader in the automotive repair industry. To do this, we have also prioritized communication and consistency. We strive for regulatory consistency and want to do government in a way where all parties have a voice and can participate.
ABN: Another of your predecessor’s stated goals was to embrace the technologies available to you to be more effective, including updating your Web site and using the Internet/Intranet to more effectively communicate and disseminate relevant information more quickly. How will you continue in this area and what changes are you planning technologically? PD: The BAR uses various approaches to disseminate program specific and general information, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, news releases, Webcasts, regulatory workshops, public meetings, publications, and mailing lists. Our public Web site is the most effective and comprehensive source used to communicate information to consumers, licensees, and interested parties. Information provided to con-
AAIA Releases 67 page 2013 Digital Collision Repair Trends Report with Analysis of Whole Industry
The Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) has released the 2013 Digital Collision Repair Trends report, an online 67-page descriptive analysis of data compiled from primary AAIA research, federal government and independent research data sources. The report highlights the size and scope of the U.S. collision industry, including the paint, body and equipment (PBE) aftermarket, with a brief analysis of the Canadian collision industry. It also includes analyses of factors influencing the collision industry, automotive collision insurance coverage and the Direct Repair Program (DRP). According to this year’s report, collision repair-related sales by aftermarket repair shops grew 2.3 percent in 2012 to $39.7 billion. This growth was driven by several factors such as increased number of registered vehicles, increased road congestion causing a higher frequency of accidents per year and the increased collision repair cost per vehicle. Powered by Nxtbook Media LLC™, this digital publication retains both the traditional design and high quality content of AAIA reports. This on-
line production provides added value with many new functional enhancements. Users can: ● Download Excel-based files, charts, tables and graphs that can be copied and pasted for presentations. ● Turn pages with the click of a mouse. ● View pages in a variety of sizes and formats. ● Quickly locate what you are looking for through a “word search” feature. ● Save material for future reference through the “bookmarks” feature. ● Print the entire publication. Copies of the new 2013 Digital Collision Repair Trends report are now available—cost is $125 for AAIA members and $250 for nonmembers. To order, visit www.aftermarket.org and click “Market Intelligence,” or call AAIA market intelligence at 301-654-6664.
sumers includes on-line services to find Smog Check stations and automotive repair dealers and to verify the status of licenses and registrations, Smog Check and vehicle maintenance assistance, outreach and educational information, and dispute resolution and complaint reporting materials. Web tools provided to Smog Check technicians, lamp and brake adjustors, and stations include information on licensing, training, and program updates. A complete revision to our public Web site is currently underway and is planned for release in mid-2014. The revised Web site will be more userfriendly for both consumers and industry and will include relevant and up-to-date information about BAR programs. The Web site will feature a cleaner look-and-feel and will have a consumer focus to ensure that important information is easily accessible and understood by the general public. The BAR is also considering electronic certificates for lamp and brake inspections. This process is still under consideration and would replace the current paper certificate with an electronic certificate similar to those issued for Smog Check inspections.
42 FEBRUARY 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
On October 24, 2013, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) initiated two new internet resources to assist employers in better protecting their employees from exposure to hazardous chemicals. These initiatives do not create new mandatory standards, but rather provide employers with resources that OSHA hopes will encourage companies to voluntarily adopt safer policies regarding hazardous chemicals. According to OSHA, these new resources are needed because many of its standards are out-of-date and fail to adequately protect workers from exposure to hazardous chemicals. One of the new internet resources is a toolkit that identifies safer chemicals that can be used in place of more hazardous chemicals. This toolkit can be found at: http://www.osha.gov/dsg/safer_che micals/index.html. OSHA also created Annotated Permissible Exposure Limit tables (annotated PEL tables), which list more stringent exposure limits for chemicals. The annotated PEL tables can be found at: http://www.osha.gov/dsg/annotated-pels/index.html.
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New F-150 Has Aluminum Pinchweld, Precautions
Ford Approves Chief and Elektron Equipment for 2015 F-150 Repairs Ford Motor Co. has named Chief Automotive Technologies and Elektron approved collision repair equipment suppliers for the 2015 F150 pickup truck. Ford’s F-Series has been America’s best-selling vehicle for more than 30 years. To improve fuel economy, Ford has significantly redesigned the F150 to replace the vehicle’s traditional steel body panels and bed with military-grade aluminum. Ford has also increased the amount of high-strength steel in the new F150’s frame from 23 percent to 77 percent. Properly restoring an aluminum collision-damaged vehicle to pre-accident condition requires new repair methods and equipment. Recognizing this, Ford has added a number of Chief and Elektron products to its Rotunda Dealer Equipment program and is encouraging its dealers to invest in the proper equipment and training before the 2015 F-150 hits the showrooms later this year. “Chief has the largest installed base of structural repair equipment in North America and is a long-time Ford-approved supplier,” says Mike Cranfill, vice president of collision for Vehicle Service Group (VSG),
parent company of the Chief and Elektron brands. “In fact, more than 60 percent of Ford dealers with body shops currently rely on Chief equipment every day. We have worked closely with Ford to develop a dedicated new structural holding package and target attachments for the 2015 F-150 that will function seamlessly with dealers’ existing Chief frame racks and measuring systems. We are also providing a full range of Elektron welders designed specifically for aluminum repair.” In addition to the Chief frame racks, LaserLock™ live mapping™ system and Elektron spot welders that are already available to Ford dealers through the Rotunda Dealer Equipment program, Ford has approved the following F-150 special tools: ● Chief Structural Holding with F150 Kit, Complete (part #1283000001) ● Chief F-150 Holding Kit (part #128-300002) ● Chief Deluxe Chain and Clamping Package with Rolling Cart (part #128-619205) Chief Collet Style Target Attachment Set for Non-Ferrous Vehi-
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cle Openings (part #128-540-200) ● Elektron MultiMig 511 Welder with Standard Torch (part #128EL900011) ● Elektron MultiMig 511 Welder with Push-Pull Torch (part # 128EL900012) ● Elektron MultiMig 522 Dual Torch Welder Complete with Standard and Push-Pull Torch (part #128-EL900010) ● Elektron MultiTool Aluminum Dent Repair Station (part #128EL930001)
Auto Glass Techs are taking note that the new F-150 has an aluminum pinchweld and that the manufacturer uses Dow urethane. Aluminum/galvanic corrosion may be a concern when replacing the windshield on these vehicles. Ford has done their research and knows how to bond the glass to the body without causing corrosion. The company’s paint procedures are such the coating will protect the aluminum from oxidation. What happens when repairers get the vehicle for glass replacement? What precautions must we take to protect the vehicle from premature corrosion? What products must we use to avoid dissimilar metal interaction? Dale Malcolm from Dow says that the key to reduce galvanic corrosion is to “clean and seal the scratch as soon as possible, especially with aluminum.” His product Betaseal™ 5504G All-In-One Primer is the company’s answer to sealing the scratch. Dale’s suggestion for the best results is to seal the scratch immediately. The longer the scratch is exposed to oxygen the more prepping the tech must do.
Chief will also introduce new training through Chief University later this year that will cover proper aluminum repair methods to help technicians prepare to work on the new F-150. “Our Chief and Elektron technical experts are working with the Rotunda team to help dealers ensure they are ready to properly repair the new 2015 F-150 as soon as it goes on sale,” Cranfill says. “We can equip them with the training, tools and equipment they need to smoothly transition to aluminum vehicle repair.” See www.chiefautomotive.com or call (800) 445-9262.
State Farm and I-CAR Partner on New Welding Initiative, Easy Registration, Reduced Prices
State Farm Insurance has teamed with I-CAR and invites all of its Select Service repairers to participate in I-CAR’s Welding Training & Certification program throughout 2014. This initiative supports State Farm’s commitment to training that will enable its repairers to perform proper welds that yield quality repairs. The program offers Select Service businesses the opportunity to easily register for welding training directly through a provided link on their websites, at newly reduced price www.autobodynews.com levels. Russ Hoffbauer, P&C Claims CHECKfrom IT OUT! director State Farm, explain, “We believe welding proficiency benefits State Farm policyholders by providing quality repairs to policyholder vehicles. While participating in the I-CAR Welding Certification is not mandatory for Select Service repairers, we anticipate that repairers Tobeadvertise will eager to take advantage of this call Advertising Sales at: unique opportunity.” Repairers who participate in I800-699-8251 CAR’s Welding Training & Certificae-mail:will find they benefit tion program email@example.com from an assessment of shop infrastructure and equipment that includes www.autobodynews.com coaching and trouble- shooting, ensuring readiness for a successful training
event. Once a shop passes the assessment, each student in class will receive personal instruction, have the ability to practice on the equipment that they use in-shop every day, then apply their skills and demonstrate through a certification test that they have a confirmed level of welding skills. “I commend State Farm for working with I-CAR to develop this initiative supports the industry’s Give usthat your opinion on matters need to better prepare repairers for the welding required today and in the future,” states I-CAR CEO & president John Van Alstyne. publisher@autobod For more information on I-CAR courses, visit www.i-car.com.
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Ford’s Best Selling F-150 Gets Lighter and Tougher
In what many industry analysts consider a risky move for Ford, and others consider a transformative moment, the company is rolling the dice on the pickup line, America’s best-selling truck for 37 years and its best-selling vehicle for 32. The 2015 F-150 will be substantially lighter due to extensive use of aluminum and more high strength steels. Aluminum alloys are used throughout the F-150 body for the first time, as the truck slims down by up to 700 pounds. The lighter body then allows other components such as fuel tanks, brakes and powertrains to also shrink, all while maintaining or improving driving performance and fuel economy, according to companies involved, including Alcoa and Novelis Inc. “This is already the most significant debut at the auto show,” said Joe Langley, a production analyst for researcher IHS Automotive. “Especially since Ford will be taking such a big gamble.” Ford engineers increased the use of high-strength 70,000-psi steel—from 23 percent to 77 percent of the frame—to improve stiffness and durability while reducing weight. The new frame is up to 60 pounds lighter than the current frame. “The frame is the backbone of the
Daydreaming Tops List of Crash-Causing Distractions
Studies and data suggest that drivers need to pay more attention to the task of driving to avoid accidents. According to a recent study, simply being “lost in thought” amounted to 62 percent of the distractions listed as a cause of a fatal automobile accident. The report indicates that roughly 10 percent of fatal traffic accidents involve at least one driver who is distracted. This amounts to about 6,500 people killed each year. Cellphone usage of all types placed second at about 12 percent in the study. This includes both talking on the phone as well as texting and dialing. Using other devices, such as navigation tools, was ranked as being a factor in two percent of fatal accidents as was adjusting the climate control or audio systems. Other major factors include being distracted by the scenery or people outside the vehicle, which accounted for seven percent of accidents, and conversing with passengers, which was listed in five percent of accidents. More minor causes include consuming foods or liquids, adjusting car controls, smoking, moving pets and even swatting insects. These factors were found in about two percent of the incidents.
truck, and we delivered a frame that is stronger and more capable than before,” said John Caris, F-150 lead frame engineer. “Our frame team developed exclusive, industry-first engineering techniques to create a truck foundation that is lighter without sacrificing toughness. This F-150 frame is the toughest we have ever built.” Ford engineers also increased the use of advanced materials in the F150 body. “Our objective was to find materials that allowed us to design the truck to be as tough or tougher than the current model, yet could help it be hundreds of pounds lighter for better capability and fuel economy,” said Pete Friedman of Ford manufacturing research. “Out of all the materials we tested, we carefully selected only certain grades of aluminum that met our high performance standards in all of our tests, while allowing us to trim hundreds of pounds from the truck.” The reduced weight of the highstrength, military-grade, aluminum alloys enables the F-150 to tow and haul more than ever while also improving acceleration, braking and handling performance. Also, aluminum alloys will not rust and are resistant to corrosion, helping enhance vehicle life.
Other Lightweights at the Detroit Auto Show
The redesigned 2015 Ford F-150 and the 2015 BMW M3 and M4 lead the “lightweight” movement at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show. The push for better fuel economy is helping to drive the movement toward lighter weight vehicles. Consumer demand for more content, such as infotainment systems, leather seats and larger wheels, adds more weight to the car. Automakers are then under pressure to cut weight elsewhere throughout the body of a vehicle in order to improve fuel efficiency. This new diet requires new materials such as aluminum, magnesium and carbon fiber, as every pound counts. The estimated 700 lb weight loss in Ford’s best-selling truck helps the vehicle to “tow more, haul more, accelerate quicker and stop shorter,” while “contributing to efficiency,” Ford said on Monday. The EPA has not yet published fuel economy numbers on the 2015 F-150. BMW said its 2015 BMW M4 Coupe has a curb weight of around 3,300 pounds, “thanks to the rigorous application of intelligent lightweight design measures.” This reflects a weight savings of around 176 pounds over a comparably equipped previous model, according to the automaker.
Beware Hole-in-One Golf Insurance Scams
Autobody Associations planning golf events with hole in one prizes need to watch out for potential phony insurance scams. A Connecticut man pleaded guilty in Washington state to two counts of selling insurance without a license and one count of first-degree theft after insuring golf tournament hole-in-one prizes and failing to pay. Kevin Kolenda, 55, of Norwalk, Conn., could spend up to three months in jail when sentenced. He must also pay up to $35,000 in restitution. Kolenda started his business in 1995 under the name Golf Marketing. It went through several name changes, including Golf Marketing Worldwide, Golf Marketing Inc., Hole-inWon.com and its current name, Hole-in-Won.com Worldwide. He has a satellite office in Rye, NY. Kolenda has been accused several times of insurance tournaments and failing to pay hole-in-one winners in several states, including Montana, Ohio, Georgia, California, New York, Hawaii, Alabama, Massachusetts, Florida, Connecticut and North Carolina.
44 FEBRUARY 2014 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
The weight was reduced through the increased use of lightweight materials, such as carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic and aluminum on a number of chassis and body components. The 2015 BMW M3 and M4 feature a carbon roof. Another car in the BMW lineup also puts the emphasis on light weight. The electric 2014 BMW i3 features a body made of carbon fiber. The automaker says this super-light vehicle gets more miles on a charge than its competitors. An all-aluminum body and chassis let Land Rover shave about 800 pounds off the 2014 Range Rover Sport. The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, which debuted at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, features lightweight materials, including an aluminum frame, carbon-fiber hood and a removable roof panel on coupes. Edmunds.com said: As this trend picks up speed, “lightweight” is becoming a major marketing point, a good thing for car shoppers concerned about fuel economy.
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Study Estimates 9% of Cars will be Self-Driving by 2035
Sales of vehicles able to drive themselves will account for about 9 percent of global auto sales in about two decades, according to a forecast published this month by auto industry consultant IHS Automotive. The study focused on autonomous cars, which can drive with “no attention needed by the driver,” IHS analyst Egil Juliussen said. Such cars are not currently available for sale, but IHS predicts they will be available around 2025. IHS expects global sales of self-driving cars in 2025 to be 230,000—less than 1 percent of the 115 million cars expected to be sold that year. But by 2035, sales of self-driving cars will reach 11.8 million, or 9 percent of the 129 million global auto sales expected that year, Juliussen said. Most of those sales will be in well-established auto markets such as the United States, western Europe and Japan. The pace of growth for self-driving cars will exceed that of electric cars, which have been hobbled by the high cost of batteries, Juliussen said.
14 States to Increase the Minimum Wage in 2014
As of January 1, 2014, thirteen states will raise the minimum wage for workers. In Arizona ($7.90 per hour), Colorado [pdf] ($8.00 per hour), Connecticut [pdf] ($8.70 per hour), Florida [pdf] ($7.93 per hour), Missouri ($7.50 per hour), Montana ($7.90 per hour), New Jersey ($8.25 per hour), New York ($8.00 per hour), Ohio ($7.95 per hour), Oregon [pdf] ($9.10 per hour), Rhode Island ($8.00 per hour), Vermont [pdf] ($8.73 per hour), and Washington ($9.32 per hour), workers will see an increase. All employers in these states need to display updated posters with the new state minimum wage as required by state law. Additionally, California’s minimum wage will increase to $9.00 per hour on July 1, 2014. The Federal minimum wage remains unchanged at $7.25 per hour. However, if your workers are in a state that has a minimum wage above the Federal rate, you must pay workers the higher rate.
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CCC Acquires Auto Injury Solutions Inc.
CCC Information Services Inc. (CCC) announced on Jan. 7 the acquisition of Auto Injury Solutions, Inc. (AIS), formerly a division of Humana Inc. The transaction brings together CCC with AIS, the only national, full-service provider of auto injury medical review solutions. “We’re thrilled to welcome Matt Elges and his team to the CCC family. The acquisition of AIS is an important step in the continued execution of our strategy to expand into adjacent segments in order to better service the auto claims market,” said Githesh Ramamurthy, Chairman and CEO of CCC. “Together, our platform will be able to leverage proven technology, advanced data analytics and worldclass customer service to provide customers with an array of solutions.” Elges said, “The combination of CCC and AIS represents a strong strategic fit that will enable us to expand our reach and leverage our collective strengths in developing innovative new solutions for our customers.
The National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) reported that the Chrysler Group LLC is registering diagnostic software and tools in both dealerships and aftermarket shops to ensure authenticity when servicing customer’s vehicles. NASTF was made aware of this from Chrysler in response to a question NASTF had asked on this topic. License registration has been in use by many OEMs for some time, but in the near future, unregistered Chrysler tools will not operate. Soon, the wiTECH software will show a warning to users whose devices do not hold a valid registration. Registration of the Chrysler tool is free, assuming the user has paid the yearly license fee. A Chrysler spokesperson told NASTF that approximately 80– 90% of known users have already registered their device. Later in 2014, Chrysler will no longer allow unregistered users to operate their wiTECHs. The other affected group will be users of Giveofus opinion clones theyour wiTECH VCI. on
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North American Car & Truck Production Hits 16.6M Units
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