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GEICO Wins Appeal in Case Filed by Miracle Body & Paint Over Labor Rates in TX by Takesha Thomas, SE Texas Record

A San Antonio, TX, auto body shop has lost an appeal against GEICO to recoup funds it says were lost in a breach of contract claim. On Feb. 13, the 4th Court of Appeals in San Antonio affirmed the 45th Judicial District Court of Bexar County’s ruling granting a traditional and no-evidence summary judgment to GEICO Casualty Co. Chief Justice Sandee Bryan Marion ruled that MRG Inc. and Miracle Body and Paint “failed to produce evidence of mutual assent to

the terms of an express or implied contract.” Miracle is a San Antonio-based, independently owned auto body shop. The company sued GEICO over allegations of breach of contract, breach of implied contract, quantum meruit and suit on a sworn account, and, in the alternative, negligent misrepresentation, fraud and fraud by nondisclosure. According to the ruling, Miracle performed auto body work on vehicles insured by GEICO, and GEICO paid Miracle according to the labor See GEICO Wins Appeal, Page 6

2,200 Attendees Hit the City by the Bay for 2019 NADA Show by Ed Attanasio

This year, more than 2,200 industry professionals attended the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Show from Jan. 24–27 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA. U.S. and international new car dealers, commercial truck dealers, automaker executives and allied industry professionals from 37 countries converged in the City by the Bay for four days of work and fun. At the start of the show, NADA forecasted sales of 16.8 million new


AUTOBODYNEWS.COM Vol. 37 / Issue 3 / March 2019

ABAT Partners With TGP for 2019 Texas Auto Body Trade Show, Four Years On, Growth is Substantial by Chasidy Rae Sisk

The Auto Body Association of Texas (ABAT) recently announced its partnership with Thomas Greco Publishing (TGP) to manage its 2019 Texas Auto Body Trade Show. According to ABAT Executive Director Jill Tuggle, “We are excited to add Thomas Greco Publishing to our trade show planning team. They have an excellent reach with their publications and their work with the NORTHEAST® show. We want our show to reach that same level, and we are confident that TGP will take it to the top.” TGP President Thomas Greco shared, “We are thrilled to be involved with the show and ABAT. We have had much success with our partnership on Texas Automotive. We

plan to achieve the same level of success with this show—making it THE can’t-miss event for the Southwest.” “We are very excited! The ABAT board sees this as a new chapter going forward, and we are enthusiastic about what TGP will bring to the table,” ABAT President Burl Richards added. “With TGP’s experience—and knowing what they are capable of—it’s going to be a great win for everyone. Once we get new attendees to the show, they will want to come every year. There is just so much value education-wise—and with all the technology of today, it’s a great opportunity for vendors to show new equipment.” The Texas Auto Body Trade Show began just four years ago and has quickly grown to become the preSee ABAT Partners, Page 10

New ASA Executive Director Ray Fisher Shares His Goals for the Industry by Chasidy Rae Sisk

UpdatePromise was on hand in full force to unveil new products and meet with current clients. (l to r) Owner/CEO Curtis Nixon, merchant services manager Krista Lucchino, product specialist Bridgette Amador, product specialist Taylor Su, marketing manager Jennifer Marmolejo and sales rep Adam Guizado See 2019 NADA Show, Page 24

Recently appointed Automotive Service Association (ASA) Executive Director Ray Fisher held a press conference on Thursday, Jan. 10 to provide some information on his plans and goals as he transitions into his new leadership responsibilities. “I’m excited to bring my background into this role, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity,” Fisher stated. “We definitely want to engage our membership more. We want to listen to our members and provide venues for quicker availability. All facets of the industry across the globe are caught in different demographics and attempting to reach their constituents. We plan to utilize different mediums and platforms to reach ASA’s membership. My main goal is to represent my customer; our memberships are

our customers, and it’s important that we represent them well.” Fisher emphasized the association’s focus on its mission statement: to enhance the professionalism of the industry.

“I believe our industry is made up of a bunch of professionals, and ASA represents that professional group,” he said. “That was our foundation in 1951 and continues to be today. We plan to take that into 2019 and listen to our membership, enhancing our interactions and commuSee ASA Executive Director, Page 18



Change Service Requested P.O. BOX 1516, CARLSBAD, CA 92018




CONTENTS ‘Save the Date’ for ASA’s 2019 Annual Business Meeting & Conference in Hurst, TX. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 ABAT Partners With TGP for 2019 Texas Auto Body Trade Show, Four Years On,

Sisk - ASA Presents ‘The Even Better I-CAR’ Webinar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Sisk - Women in Auto and Collision Holds 1st Meeting of 2019 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Yoswick - Committee Seeks to Build Industry Consensus Around Part-Type Definitions . . . 34

Growth is Substantial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Arizona Shops Should Watch SB1226 For Assignment of Benefits Regulations . . . . . . 10 Colorado To Become All-EV State by 2040 – Is It Possible?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 GEICO Wins Appeal in Case Filed by Miracle Body & Paint Over Labor Rates in TX . . . . . . . 1 Hodges Collision Centers Expands to

NATIONAL 2,200 Attendees Hit the City by the Bay

Accountable Estimating Joins CIECA . . . . . . . . 68 APU Solutions Renews Commitment to

to Build Competitive Websites . . . . . . . . . . . 68 BirdEye Joins CIECA as Corporate Member . . . 23

Parker, AZ, Auto Body Shop Celebrates

Caliber Collision, ABRA Auto Body Repair

Glimpse of Its Future. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Texas To Form Connected And Automated Vehicle Task Force. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Transportation Career Fair in Denver To

of America Announce the Closing of Merger Transaction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 Car Accident Total Loss Lawsuits Allege Insurance Company Violations. . . . . . . . . . . 70 Carmakers, Some in Tandem With Tech Firms, Continue March to Autonomous Vehicles . . . 48

Raise Awareness of Collision Industry

CARSTAR Celebrates 30 Years of Business . . . 41

Employment Needs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

CARSTAR Expands Dealership-Based Facilities . 61 Deaths From Exploding Airbags, Shrapnel

COLUMNISTS Anderson - It’s Time to End Shops’ Accounting, Scorecard Nightmares by Creating New Parts Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Attanasio - Fledgling Auto Body Technician is Well-Known, Dedicated Bagpiper. . . . . . . 54 Attanasio - Team-Building Events Make Your Business Better on Many Levels . . . . . 58 Ledoux - Denver Body Shop Manager Discusses Position Statement on OEM Repair Procedures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Ledoux - Does the Collision Industry Have a Crisis of Opportunity?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Ledoux - The 1960s – The Collision Repair Industry Gets a Voice. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 New ASA Executive Director Ray Fisher Shares His Goals for the Industry . . . . . . . . . 1 Phillips - Celebrity Car Enthusiast Courtney Hansen Helps Reunite Car Lovers With ‘The Ride That Got Away’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Phillips - Solving the Tech Shortage: AR Collision Repair Instructor Calls Out to Industry: ‘Please Employ My Students’ . . . . . . . . . . . 30



CIECA Standards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 ASA Partners With Kukui to Enable Shops

Deer Park, TX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Self-Driving Shuttle Offers Denver a

As a Sustaining Partner, Sherwin-Williams will be a valuable contributor to this long-term plan for the collision repair industry. “The more we can help our customers achieve I-CAR Gold Class designation, the more successful they will be in their business,” said Rod Habel, SherwinWilliams Director of Training. “Better service and better education for our customers is the key to strengthening the industry and keeping people safe.”

for 2019 NADA Show . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

New Legislation Might Affect Shops in MT, TX . . 13

30 Years in Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Beginning in 2019, automotive refinish professionals can earn I-CAR credits for completing SherwinWilliams training courses at no additional cost. That’s because SherwinWilliams Automotive Finishes® has joined I-CAR’s Sustaining Partner™ program, an initiative designed to mobilize organizations in support of I-CAR’s mission to enhance collision repair industry training and ensure complete, safe and quality repairs.

Force 2.7 Million More Car Recalls . . . . . . . 28 East Coast Resolution Forum To Return to NORTHEAST 2019. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Enterprise Holdings Foundation Contributes $75,000 to CREF. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 Is Trump About To Clobber the Auto Industry?. . 66 Join CIECA for Webinar on March 19 . . . . . . . . 16 Missouri Anti-Safety Inspection Bill Reintroduced . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 New Training Model Helps Autonomous Cars See AI’s Blind Spots . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Self-Driving Vehicles To Make Traffic Even More Miserable, Says New Study . . . . . . . . . 4 Sherwin-Williams Joins I-CAR Program. . . . . . . 3 Toyota Works With Carma Project to Encourage Drivers to Check Vehicle Recall Status. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Utah House To Vote on Autonomous Vehicles Bill. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Volvo Releases Statement for Repair Shops . . 60 Waymo To Build Self-Driving Car Factory in Michigan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 WIN Calls for Board of Director Candidates . . . 68



Sherwin-Williams Joins I-CAR Program

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

Serving Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arkansas, Colorado, Arizona, Utah and adjacent metro areas. Autobody News is a monthly publication for the autobody industry. Permission to reproduce in any form the material published in Autobody News must be obtained in writing from the publisher. ©2019 Adamantine Media LLC.

Accuvision-3D. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 AkzoNobel Coatings, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Alloy Wheel Repair Specialists, LLC . . . . . 44 Audi South Austin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Audi Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . 63 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 AutoNation Chevrolet. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 AutoNation Chrysler-Dodge-JeepRam NRH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 AutoNation Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram of North Phoenix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Axalta Coating Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . 7, 13 Big Mike Naughton Ford . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Blowtherm USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . 61 Bob Howard PDC. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 Car-O-Liner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Certified Automotive Parts Association . . . 38 Chevyland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 Christopher’s Dodge World . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Christopher’s Mitsubishi . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Classic BMW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Classifieds. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 Courtesy Chevrolet-Isuzu. . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Covert-Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram. . . . . . 22 Dallas Dodge. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 Dent Fix Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Dent Magic Tools. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Diamond Standard Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Don Carlton Auto Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Eckler’s Automotive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 ECS Automotive Concepts . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Emich Chevrolet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Emich Volkswagen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Equalizer Industries, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Finnegan Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge . . . . . . . . . 2 Fisher Acura . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Fisher Honda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Flatirons Subaru . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9, 47 Ford Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . 65 GM Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . 67

Greeley Subaru . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 GYS Welding USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Honda-Acura Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32-33 Hyundai Motor America . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . 69 Kansas Auto Body Association . . . . . . . . . 23 Kia Motors Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . . 59 Killer Tools & Equipment Corp . . . . . . . . . 16 Larry H. Miller Chrysler-Jeep-DodgeRam/Sandy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Launch Tech USA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 Malco . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Matrix Automotive Finishes . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Matrix Electronic Measuring . . . . . . . . . . 27 Mercedes-Benz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11, 36-37 Mercedes-Benz of Littleton . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Mercedes-Benz Wholesale Parts Dealers . 68 Mitsubishi Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . 69 MOPAR Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . 39 North Freeway Hyundai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 O’Reilly Auto Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Part of the Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Peak Kia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 PPG Refinish . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Ray Huffines Chevrolet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 RBL Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 SATA Dan-Am Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Schmelz Countryside. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center . . . . . . . 20-21 South Pointe Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge . . . . . . 12 Spanesi Americas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Subaru of Little Rock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 Subaru Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . 50 Symach. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Toyota of Laredo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Toyota Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . 66 Volkswagen Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . 68 YesterWreck . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Young Chevrolet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54

Autobody News Box 1516, Carlsbad, CA 92018 (800) 699-8251 (760) 603-3229 Fax / MARCH 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


Self-Driving Vehicles To Make Traffic Even More Miserable, Says New Study by Taylor Donovan Barnett, Interesting Engineering

Whether you like it or not, self-driving cars will be hitting the road in fullforce in the coming years. Thanks to new technology developed by companies such as Tesla and even Uber, autonomous vehicles will become a staple of modern culture, with nearly 10 million self-driving cars expected to hit the road by 2020. Yet, not all is well across the autonomous landscape. Like any new

Credit: Waymo

technology, there have literally been speed bumps in the world of self-driving cars. From accidents to malfunctioning AI, self-driving vehicles are still very much in their infancy.

However, new research in the world of autonomous vehicles has uncovered another potential issue down the line: parking. Anyone living in a metropolitan area will tell you that parking is always a long-winded adventure. According to a new study, autonomous vehicles could create a problematic parking issue. Parking in 2020 and Beyond Imagine a scenario: You and your family are dropped off by your electric car in the center of the city. However, like most already know, parking in the city is expensive, so rather than park, your vehicle cruises around the city until you’re done. Though this may sound like a sweet set-up and a potential perk of owning an autonomous vehicle, this could be detrimental to transportation in the near future. “Parking prices are what get people out of their cars and on to public transit, but autonomous vehicles have no need to park at all. They can get around paying for parking by cruising. They will have every incen-

tive to create havoc,” said Adam Millard-Ball, an associate professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Robotfilled gridlock is a real potential issue if something is not done. The Autonomous Vehicle Parking Problem Professor Millard breaks down his concerns further in his published paper

and congestion pricing may ease the transition into the driverless world. Self-driving owners might be charged just a flat fee upon entering a city, or more sophisticated models could charge by miles driven or assign different fees to particular streets. Though Millard’s proposed idea does tackle the issue at large, there are other potential solutions to the gridlock issue. The emergence of the smart city

“...autonomous vehicles have no need to park at all. They can get around paying for parking by cruising. They will have every incentive to create havoc,” — Adam Millard-Ball “The Autonomous Vehicle Problem.” In his paper, he estimates that just the presence of the relatively small amount of 2,000 self-driving vehicles in the San Francisco area will slow traffic to less than 2 miles per hour. Considering where the autonomous vehicle market is headed, imagine what would happen if tens of thousands of vehicles were to hit the road. What’s Millard’s solution? Regulation

could be equally important to the rise of self-driving cars. In a smart city, cars could be monitored and controlled, optimizing traffic pattern via an IoT ecosystem. Properly addressing the challenges of this inevitable automotive change will lay the framework of how this technology will evolve. We thank Interesting Engineering for reprint permission.

New Training Model Helps Autonomous Cars See AI’s Blind Spots by John Loeffler, Interesting Engineering

Since their introduction several years ago, autonomous vehicles have slowly been making their way onto the road in greater and greater numbers. However, the public remains wary of them despite the undeniable safety advantages they offer the public. Autonomous vehicle companies are fully aware of the public’s skepticism. Every crash makes it more difficult to gain public trust. The fear is that if companies do not manage the autonomous vehicle roll-out properly, the backlash might close the door on self-driving car technology the way the Three Mile Island accident shut down the growth of nuclear power plants in the United States in the 1970s. Making autonomous vehicles safer than they already are means identifying those cases that programmers might never have thought of and to which the AI will fail to respond appropriately but that a human driver will understand intuitively as a potentially dangerous situation. 4

New research from a joint effort by MIT and Microsoft may help bridge this gap between machine learning and human intuition to produce the safest autonomous vehicles yet. Reassuring a Wary Public Were public hesitancy not a factor, every car on the road would be re-

Credit: Tesla

placed with an autonomous vehicle within a couple of years. Every truck would be fully autonomous by now and there would be no Uber or Lyft drivers, only shuttle cabs that you would order by phone. They would pull up smoothly to the curb in a cou-


ple of minutes without a driver in sight. Accidents would happen and people would still die as a result, but by some estimates, 90 percent of traffic fatalities around the world could be prevented with autonomous vehicles. Autonomous cars may need to recharge, but they don’t need to sleep or take breaks, and they are singlemindedly concerned with carrying out the instructions in their programming. For companies that rely on transportation to move goods and people from point A to point B, replacing drivers with self-driving cars saves on labor, insurance and other ancillary costs that come with having a large human workforce. The cost savings and the safety gains are simply too great to keep humans on the road behind the wheel. We fall asleep; we drive drunk; we get distracted; sometimes we are simply bad at driving, and the consequences are both costly and deadly.

A little more than a million people die every year on the roads around the world, and the move to autonomous commercial trucking alone could cut transportation costs for some companies in half. Yet, the public is not convinced, and they become more skeptical with each report of an accident involving a self-driving car. Edge Cases: The Achilles Heel of SelfDriving Cars? Whether it is fair or not, the burden of demonstrating autonomous vehicle safety is on those advocating for selfdriving vehicle technology. In order to do this, companies must work to identify and address those edge cases that can cause high-profile accidents that reduce public confidence in the otherwise safe technology. What happens when a vehicle is driving down the road and it spots a weather-beaten, bent, misshapen, faded stop sign? Though an obviously rare situation—transportation departments would have likely reSee New Training Model, Page 22

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Continued from Cover

Texas To Form Connected And Automated Vehicle Task Force Texas Department of Transportation recently announced that it is going to create a Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) Task Force to become a central point for CAV advancement in Texas.

The task force is designed to be a one-stop resource for information on and the coordination of all ongoing CAV projects, investments and initiatives in Texas. In addition to documenting public and private entity efforts and facilitating partnerships, the CAV Task Force will host industry forums and report lessons learned to facilitate progress and encourage greater collaboration. “With our world-class universities, top-notch workforce and

startup culture, Texas is a national leader in the development of new technologies,” said Gov. Greg Abbott. “As transportation technology advances, the CAV Task Force will ensure that the Lone Star State remains at the forefront of innovation.” “Our goal is to further build on the momentum already established with the Texas Technology Task Force and the Texas Innovation Al-

to greatly reduce crashes and improve roadway safety over time. They also provide opportunities to reimagine personal and commercial mobility with quality of life and economic benefits. For example, CAV technology could enable greater mobility for those who rely on transportation from others to access health care and routine appointments, such as the elderly and people with disabilities.

“With our world-class universities, top-notch workforce and startup culture, Texas is a national leader in the development of new technologies,” — Gov. Greg Abbott liance and work with interested parties on the latest and greatest in CAV projects and enhancements,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “We look forward to furthering these important efforts as connected and autonomous vehicles become reality.” TxDOT has had a keen interest in the progress of autonomous vehicles, as they have the potential

The task force will continue to enable companies to pursue innovative ideas around CAV technology in a business-friendly way that has been the calling card for Texas in this space and others over time. It will also build on legislation passed by the 85th Legislature related to how connected and autonomous vehicles can operate in the Lone Star State.

GEICO Wins Appeal rates disclosed in the GEICO repair estimates. The lawsuit states that after completing the repairs, GEICO failed to pay the full amount for repairs to multiple vehicles because the labor rates in GEICO’s repair estimates are lower than the rates Miracle charges. “GEICO argues Miracle did not produce more than a scintilla of evidence to establish the existence of any valid contract in which GEICO agreed to pay Miracle based on labor rates in excess of the rates disclosed in the GEICO repair estimates,” the ruling states. The ruling states Miracle argued that the parties had an implied contract “whereby GEICO agreed to pay Miracle’s invoices based on the ‘prevailing market labor rate’ for work performed, which Miracle argues is the labor rate Miracle charged.” Under each of GEICO’s automobile insurance policies, the company See GEICO Wins Appeal, Page 12




Transportation Career Fair in Denver To Raise Awareness of Collision Industry Employment Needs The Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) will be hosting a two-day career fair from March 29–30 in collaboration with the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association (CADA).

The career fair will be held during the Denver Auto Show at the Colorado Convention Center. Auto dealers and collision professionals will have a chance to present career opportunities to students training for a transportation career and other attendees. “Hosting the career fair at the Denver Auto Show offers the collision industry an important opportunity,” said Brandon Eckenrode, director of development at CREF. “Not only can students connect with prospective employers, but sponsoring businesses in collision repair can shine a light on industry issues like the technician shortage with an au-

dience made up of the general public.” The career fair will be held during the Denver Auto Show Friday, March 29 from 2–7 p.m. and Saturday, March 30 from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. at the Colorado Convention Center, located at 700 14th St. in Denver. During the career fair, auto show attendees and the anticipated 400+ high school and college student attendees will have the opportunity to learn about career opportunities from participating sponsors and connect with potential employers. “Partnering with CREF was an opportunity for CADA to offer Colorado’s tech students additional career choices,” said Kim Jackson, marketing and communications director at CADA. Career fair employers can choose one of three sponsorship tiers to showcase the various career paths available to partners, students and families who attend the auto show. The Foundation is aiming to recruit 20 collision repair industry employers or representative compa-

‘Save the Date’ for ASA’s 2019 Annual Business Meeting & Conference in Hurst, TX


The Automotive Service Association (ASA) recently announced the dates of its 2019 Annual Business Meeting & Conference. This year’s Annual Meeting will take place in ASA’s “backyard” of Hurst, TX, April 30–May 2 at the Hurst Conference Center located between Dallas and Fort Worth.

and announce the results of its 2019 elections. Other meetings to include: mechanical operations, collision operations, affiliate executive director and AMi board. “I am excited to see our Annual Meeting coming together and us focusing on the business side of things,” said Ray Fisher, ASA ex-

ASA will host the three-day event, which will offer its members technical training opportunities along with management classes. Standard Motor Products will provide two informative, four-hour ADAS and calibration training sessions, along with a live demonstration. ASA’s board of directors will hold its Annual Business Meeting

ecutive director. “I believe it will be an intense few days that will provide everyone with some good information and great takeaways. I hope to see you there!” Registration will open in February, but in the meantime, mark your calendar and plan to join ASA for an educational event that you won’t want to miss this spring!


nies to be table sponsors. CADA is also aiming to recruit 20 table sponsors, most of which will be auto dealers. “New car dealers are painfully aware of the auto technician shortage in their bays,” said Jackson. “As baby boomers continue to retire in droves and vehicles become more technologically advanced, the demand for today’s well-trained automotive technician is high.” Sponsor Information The 20 CREF and 20 CADA table sponsors will each have a 10’x10’ booth, an 8-foot draped table, two chairs, electrical connections, WiFi, its company name on the passport and a copy of the student registration list. Investment: $1,500. The four supporting sponsors will receive all the benefits of the table sponsor, plus their company logo will be featured on the sleeve of the student tech shirts (as long as the sponsorship is secured by Feb. 16) and their company logo will be on the passport. Investment: $3,000. The lead sponsor will receive all the benefits of the table sponsor, plus its company logo will be fea-

tured on the front of the student tech shirts (as long as the sponsorship is secured by Feb. 16) and its company logo will be on the passport. Investment: $7,500. To register your company for the event, email Brandon.Eckenrode Additional 2019 CREF Events at Special Locations CREF will be hosting a list of career fairs this spring, including the Chicago Spring Career fair. Hosted in conjunction with the World of Wheels/AutoRama Student Day Event, the Chicago Career Fair is another opportunity to increase awareness of collision repair industry issues, like the repair technician shortage. Student Day will take place during the Friday morning of opening weekend of World of Wheels/AutoRama and is only open to local students. More than 700 collision and auto service students attend annually. For more information, look at the AutoRama website. https://autorama .com/student-day/ / MARCH 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


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Arizona Shops Should Watch SB1226 For Assignment of Benefits Regulations by Emmariah Holcomb,

A new bill has been introduced by Senator Livingston in Arizona. If it passes, there could be changes ahead for businesses throughout the state. The new bill, also referred to as SB1226, would impact any shop that requires an assignment of benefits (AOB) when replacing or repairing auto glass through a customer’s insurance company. SB1226 would create new limits around what a valid assignment of claim looks like. Some of the bill’s text indicates a more difficult process for customers to assign their benefits to auto glass companies in Arizona. According to the bill, if passed, a valid assignment must meet all of the new requirements after a loss has occurred. Some of them include: • The insured files a claim for coverage • After the claim has been filed and within three days after signing the assignment agreement, the insured notifies the insurer of the pro-


posed assignment, provides the insurer with a copy of the proposed agreement, an initial estimate and a description or summary of the services or repairs to be provided • Provides information concerning any lien unless the amount of damages or loss is $2,500 or less

• The auto glass company must provide a form of assignment agreement to the insured that discloses the key provisions of the contract. An interesting point to SB1226 involves its zero-cash back provision. “A potential assignee does not offer, direct, pay, promise, allow or provide the insured or other party with, and the insured or other party


does not accept any compensation, gift or other valuable consideration as an inducement to sign an assignment agreement or in connection with any agreement to retain the assignee to provide services or repairs to remediate a property or casualty claim,” a portion of the bill reads. Currently, the bill is likely to be reviewed in the next Senate Finance Committee meeting that takes place in February. Arizona’s state statute defines unfair claim settlement practices. The following can be found in its text: “As a property or casualty insurer, failing to recognize a valid assignment of a claim. The property or casualty insurer shall have the rights consistent with the provisions of its insurance policy to receive notice of loss or claim and to all defenses it may have to the loss or claim, but not otherwise to restrict an assignment of a loss or claim after a loss has occurred,” a portion of the statute reads. We thank for reprint permission.

ABAT Partners miere automotive event in the state. Although the first trade show was organized in a mere three months, it drew around 100 attendees and has quickly expanded by leaps and bounds, a feat Richards credits to the dedication and hard work of the ABAT board and Janet Chaney of Cave Creek Business Development. Chaney will continue to assist ABAT and TGP as TGP utilizes its massive resources to enhance the trade show even further. Greco stated, “We are diving in full force. We will work closely with ABAT, Burl, Jill and Janet to make this the best show possible.” Following its launch of Texas Automotive in partnership with TGP, ABAT’s 2018 event was its biggest to date. Richards believes the 2019 event will generate even more enthusiastic responses from industry professionals. Stay tuned at for more information about the upcoming 2019 trade show, scheduled for Sept. 20 and 21 in Fort Worth, TX. / MARCH 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


Continued from Page 6

GEICO Wins Appeal “is obligated to pay the prevailing market labor rates based on its overall experience in the specific market in question” in the event of a covered vehicle damage claim, the ruling states. “In this case, any services Miracle rendered were for the benefit of and accepted, used and enjoyed by GEICO insureds, not GEICO. If GEICO received any benefit, it was too indirect and attenuated to support a quantum meruit claim. Therefore, because GEICO failed to produce evidence that valuable services were rendered to and accepted by the person sought to be charged (GEICO), the trial court did not err in granting GEICO’s no-evidence motion for summary judgment on Miracle’s quantum meruit claim,” Marion wrote. We thank SE Texas Record for reprint permission.


Parker, AZ, Auto Body Shop Celebrates 30 Years in Business by John Gutekunst, Parker Pioneer

Elite Customs, the auto body and collision repair shop located at 500 Joshua Ave., has been in business for 30 years in Parker, AZ.

Rick Parker of Elite Customs is seen with the custom Porsche he has on display in the lobby of the business at 500 Joshua Ave. Credit: Pioneer photo, John Gutekunst

The body shop will be holding a street party and celebration from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23 from Fourth Street to Sixth Street on Joshua Avenue. Elite Customs’ founder, Rick Parker, said they will be giving out hot dogs and will also have a custom car show. Parker called it “Hot Rods and Hot Dogs.” Elite Customs has been in the same location for 30 years, although the business has considerably expanded since then. Parker said


most of their work is collision repair, although they also do custom work and restorations and work on RVs and motor homes. Parker got into the car body business through his family. He said his grandfather was an auto body worker, and he worked for him in the summer months. He then went on to found his own businesses. “I’ve basically been in business for myself since I was 21,” he said. Over the years, Parker said, Elite Customs has worked on approximately 11,000 to 12,000 cars. Parker said automotive technology has changed a lot in the last 30 years. He said he and his staff are trying to keep up with the education needed to meet all the technological changes that are occurring. Even that isn’t enough for shops in small towns. He said some people have been referred to shops in Phoenix because they’re the only ones who can handle some of the new technology. “You have to go to big cities now to get some technical work done,” he said. Parker is working on creating an internship program with Parker High School. Students could learn about auto body work and re-

pairs while still in high school. “Why not?” Parker said. “This is a growing industry.” Parker said there is a need for mechanics and others who can work on cars in the Parker area. He said he has had openings and has advertised all across the country to try to get people there. He’s had students inquire about working for him. “I’m glad to see kids getting into this,” he said, adding that Elite Customs will be attending Career Day at Parker High. At the party Feb. 23, Parker said they will officially open their second location at 400 Joshua Ave. They will have a facility there that can handle motor homes, as well as a retail shop called Elite Accessories. This will feature all sorts of vehicle accessories, including performance parts and accessories for cars, trucks, RVs, motor homes and off-road vehicles. Parker said the party will also be an opportunity to give back to community members for all they’ve done for his business. Elite Customs is located at 500 Joshua Ave. The shop’s phone number is 928-669-8040. We thank Parker Pioneer for reprint permission.

New Legislation Might Affect Shops in MT, TX by Emmariah Holcomb,

Two new bills could impact auto glass industry businesses in Montana and Texas. A Montana State Senator introduced SB 251, a new bill that would require an auto repair shop to perform repairs that follow the guidelines and directions from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). The new bill also would “prohibit insurers from disregarding repair directives.” According to SB 251, there will now be specifications for what will be understood as OEM, if passed. “… directives by the original equipment manufacturer include: •

Repair procedures


Technical service bulletins

• Requirements to scan a vehicle electronic system prior to beginning a repair procedure or at the conclusion of a repair procedure •

The use of parts, paint and ma-

terials,” a section of the bill reads This provision was added to the bill, which involves Montana insurance companies. “An insurance company … that issues or renews a policy of insurance in this state covering, in whole or in part, a motor vehicle may not: … unilaterally disregard a repair operation or cost identified by an estimating system that the insurer and an automobile body repair business or location have agreed to utilize in determining the cost of repair, including repair directives issued by an original equipment manufacturer,” a section of the bill reads. The House introduced a new bill in Texas, also referred to as HB 1348. A portion of this new bill defines an industry repair person. “A ‘repair person or facility’ does not include a person who exclusively provides automobile glass replacement, glass repair services or glass products,” a section of HB 1348 reads. If passed, this definition would go into effect Sept. 1, 2019. We thank for reprint permission.

Utah House To Vote on Autonomous Vehicles Bill by Glen Mills, ABC4 News

A state lawmaker says self-driving vehicles are the way of the future, and he’s sponsoring a bill to put Utah on the cutting-edge of research and development. “It authorizes fully autonomous vehicles to be operating in Utah and to be testing in Utah,” said Rep. Robert Spendlove (R), Cottonwood Heights. He said the testing part is crucial. “Right now, most of the testing is happening in areas like the Silicon Valley, Austin or Phoenix. But we need to see how these cars handle snow situations or road conditions that are not ideal or going over a mountain pass,” he said. House Bill 101 changes the current definition of a legal operator to include computers and provides guidelines for research and testing. Spendlove said self-driving vehicles will be a game-changer for agriculture, trucking, ridesharing and more. “The disabled community, the elderly community—it will re-

ally open up their world. People that right now may be homebound because they can’t drive will now be able to move around freely,” Spendlove said. He said it will also cut out human error and save lives on Utah roads. But what do drivers think? ABC4 News caught up with Jerry and Carol Allen at a previous Auto Expo. They are split. “I would have one in a second,” said Jerry. “I’m really afraid of them, I am. I know that we have wonderful technology, but I have trouble with just a real person behind it, I’m scared of nobody being there,” said Carol. HB 101 unanimously passed the House Transportation Committee. It’s now up for a final vote in the full House, which could happen as soon as Feb. 19. We thank ABC4 News for reprint permission.



Self-Driving Shuttle Offers Denver a Glimpse of Its Future—But Will Riders Jump on Board? by Jon Murray, The Denver Post

The small shuttle is off-putting at first, with no steering wheel or gas pedal in sight as it ambles along twolane streets at 12 mph. But the driverless vehicle, which debuted to the public Jan. 29 as part of a free circulator route on the sparsely populated plains of far northeast Denver, CO, may hold the key to the future of public transportation in the metro area. It’s set to become the highestprofile demonstration of autonomous vehicle technology in a state that’s quietly laying the groundwork for the predicted proliferation of selfdriving cars, trucks and buses in coming decades. Colorado hasn’t yet hosted public road testing of fully self-driving passenger cars of the kind under development by Uber, Tesla, Waymo (a sister company to Google) and other AV industry entrants. But the Regional Transportation District’s new shuttle marks the first time a U.S. transit agency has used an autonomous vehicle for a regular bus route. At the ribbon-cutting ceremony for RTD’s 61AV route, public officials and the pilot project’s corporate partners talked up lofty ambitions for the technology. RTD board chair Doug Tisdale made a reference to “The Jetsons,” noting that the futuristic cartoon’s flying cars still needed human pilots. But there’s a long way to go before shuttles such as the six-seat EZ10 designed by EasyMile, a French company that placed its U.S. headquarters in Denver, are common sights on urban streets. Automakers and upstarts envision varying uses for autonomous vehicle technology—from personal vehicles to flotillas of tractor-trailers on highways to new forms of mass transit—but questions still swirl around safety, reliability and how quickly the technology will roll out. Also unclear is its impact on major job sectors and whether the technology will be a boon to transit or encourage more trips by car. “This is one step in the evolving puzzle that will take several decades, if not longer, to fully unfold,” said 14

Bryan Reimer, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Transportation and Logistics, as well as MIT’s AgeLab. His research focuses on the emerging automated vehicle industry and human interaction with the technology. Pilot Doesn’t Aim for Big Ridership The 61AV’s 1-mile daytime circulator loop, running every 15 minutes from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, mostly uses public streets. It connects the 61st Avenue and Peña Boulevard commuter rail station to … well, not much—at least not yet. That low-pressure testing ground is intended to help RTD and EasyMile learn lessons over the next four to six months, as a “proof of concept” for the technology’s use in public transportation. RTD and Denver city officials see the earliest promise in addressing the “first and last mile” challenge in transit—by reaching into areas that lack good connections to major bus and train lines. “We’ll learn from the pilot how well people are going to accept and adapt to this new mode of transportation,” said Eulois Cleckley, who leads Denver’s Department of Public Works at a time when that agency is looking to get more involved with urban transit. “There’s definitely an energy in Denver and around the country to be able to utilize this type of technology.” The goal with the pilot is not to attract a large ridership, though new apartments are set to open soon at one stop. The shuttle also connects to an under-construction hotel and the Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Co. facility that is the anchor for the early-stages Peña Station Next smart-city community south of Denver International Airport. For now, EasyMile and its competitors have found the most success with self-driving shuttles in office parks and specialized districts—both in other states and abroad—with heavy use of private roads. As with Denver’s pilot, an attendant usually is on board at all times to answer questions and troubleshoot any kinks, and a bright red emergency stop button is within anyone’s reach. The vehicles also are re-


motely monitored. EasyMile says it recently began running its first EZ10 shuttle without an attendant on a corporate campus in France. Will riders hesitate to step on board? One goal in Denver’s pilot is to figure out if potential riders will trust a computerized driver enough to hop on—a challenge at the outset with any kind of on-street self-driving technology. A national survey released by AAA in May found that 73 percent of drivers said they would be too afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle. In fact, that reported hesitance had increased by 10 percentage points since late 2017 in the wake of high-profile wrecks involving selfdriving vehicles in testing, including the death of a pedestrian who was struck by an Uber test car in Tempe, AZ, in March. “The key part is we need to build trust in the system,” Reimer said, and he placed the onus on the industry to be responsible in its research and development. “It’s all about trust. We

need to make cautious steps to make sure we don’t erode trust before the market develops.” The more than 100 EZ10 shuttles produced by EasyMile have logged more than 200,000 miles and 350,000 passengers, all with zero accidents, senior vice president Sharad Agarwal told the crowd at the Denver launch event. Its shuttles operate in 23 countries. EasyMile and RTD pointed to a familiar system in Denver that they hoped would reduce any uneasiness. DIA’s underground automated train also lacks on-board drivers, though its wheels are on fixed concrete guideways, reducing the potential for mishaps. The DIA trains, which are remotely operated, also don’t face the challenge of anticipating what human drivers in other vehicles will do. During demonstration trips Jan. 29, it was evident that caution was programmed into the EZ10’s brain. The vehicle, which can accommodate up to 12, including standing passengers, moved gingerly. It glided / MARCH 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


to a gentle stop at stop signs and paused for several seconds before turning left to ensure a truck had cleared its path. When it approached the dropoff lane at the train station, the shuttle idled behind a sedan, waiting for the car to move out of the way, for longer than a human driver would. Later, though, it got tripped up when it passed a parked car whose driver had waved. After it stood still too long, the attendant reset the system. “You See It Thinking,” Mayor Says After Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s inaugural ride with other officials, he marveled that “you see it thinking, you see it do its thing—and it keeps you safe.” That caution comes courtesy of a network of cameras and sensors, including a lidar system that uses laser light in a way that’s similar to radar. It detects obstacles of varying kinds and quickly evaluates whether it should stop or merely slow down, said Lauren Isaac, EasyMile’s director of business initiatives. As it drives, the electric shuttle is following a pre-mapped route that


was recorded for reference on a test run. And it stays on that exact route “to within millimeters,” Isaac said. Still, there are limits to the selfdriving technology. While the EZ10 can handily navigate simple stops and turns in a low-traffic area, Isaac said multilane roads with heavier traffic still pose a challenge for the shuttle. It’s easy to imagine the shuttle stalling out on Colorado Boulevard, overwhelmed. “Having to merge into different lanes, that’s where we hit our limit with today’s technology,” Isaac said. An RTD spokeswoman estimated the cost for the shuttle pilot project at $150,000. EasyMile and RTD worked through the state’s Autonomous Mobility Task Force, which has overseen the certification process for public-road tests since 2017. Before the task force’s establishment, the highest-profile test was a beer run in 2016. That’s when a self-driving tractor-trailer made by Otto, which is owned by Uber, delivered a Budweiser shipment from Colorado Springs to Fort Collins, traveling more than 120 miles overnight


on Interstate 25. Amy Ford, the chair of the state task force, said it has not approved testing for any smaller self-driving vehicles on public roads except a Colorado Department of Transportation “impact protection vehicle” that follows behind road crews. Self-driving vehicles don’t need certification if they meet all state traffic requirements or for testing on private roads. City and RTD officials echo Reimer, the MIT researcher, in pushing back against predictions that selfdriving personal vehicles---whether owned or shared—could make public transportation obsolete. “If personal mobility wins,” Reimer said, “we’re going to have a whole lot more congestion as it gets cheaper and more convenient. We need cities and public transportation organizations to be investing in public transit.” We thank The Denver Post for reprint permission.


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Join CIECA for Webinar on March 19 Dawn Mortimer, assistant vice president of IoT/Telematics Product Management at Verisk/ISO, will host the next CIECAst webinar on Tuesday, March 19 at 11 a.m. CST. During the one-hour live broadcast, Mortimer will discuss how to build a roadmap to righttouch claims and proactive loss mitigation. She will also talk about solving the “many-to-many” problem by utilizing the exchange model framework to collect data from the OEMs, TSPs and other providers in order to streamline operations and efficiency. With 30 years of experience in insurance, Mortimer has served the industry in many capacities, including strategy, marketing, I/S, claims, agency and product lines. She is currently responsible for leading personal auto product development around IoT/telematics with suppliers and insurance companies to develop new products, services and business opportunities. / MARCH 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


Continued from Cover

ASA Executive Director nications through various platforms.” Looking at the long-term plans for the association, Fisher acknowledged that ASA’s board of directors has developed a strategic plan that will be reviewed over the first quarter of this year. “The board works very hard for the association,” Fisher praised. “I cannot say enough about how hard these volunteers work and all they’ve done over the past months to fill the role I’m transitioning into.” Fisher then discussed some of the experiences that took place during his 20+ years working in dealerships and management roles before joining ASA-Michigan in 2004 and becoming its executive director in 2010. He recounted some of the successes that the affiliate saw under his leadership, especially on the legislative front. As Fisher transitions into his role in Texas, he will also be representing ASA-MI for the next several months while the group figures out how to restructure some of its affiliates. Expressing gratitude for the support he has received, Fisher explained, “I plan to carry that passion and challenge forward for the national group. We are only going to be successful if we engage our membership. Joining a country club doesn’t make you a better tennis player, but it gives you an opportunity to get involved and improve your game. We need member shops to get involved and improve their game. “ASA is focused on giving back to the industry. Everything we do will be based on our membership’s drive and needs. I like to be proactive and use the windshield, not the rearview mirror. Education and training are what make us all better.”

Fisher elaborated on how his that we have legislative representa- bringing important issues to us, and role with the affiliate chapter led to tion for our industry, and Bob is in- we want to utilize these volunteer his involvement with the national or- valuable in D.C.” committees much more through ganization. In addition to legislation, training polls and surveys. The biggest thing “The affiliates represent the local is a vital component to ASA provid- we need to do is prepare the industry members and work hard to bring local ing members with what they need to for upcoming changes, but we have programs to their region, chapter or be successful. While the details have the personnel in place and the right state,” he said. “They are vital to de- not been completely ironed out yet, people doing the right things to keep livering our message because the Fisher plans to deliver more content these messages coming in a timely quicker we get the message going forward that will hit manner.” out, the better we all are. We Many more questions about every aspect of the automoplan to revisit the affiliate tive business. ASA will also ASA’s future will be addressed at the model to determine how to continue to host monthly Annual Meeting from April 30 best help them succeed and through May 2, Fisher anticipated. webinars. enhance that for everyone. Fisher stressed, “I am all Multiple topics for different generaASA’s success is based on about training. As a man- tions will be discussed at the meeting, affiliates representing their Ray Fisher stepped ager, I was one of the first including succession planning. Fisher areas well, and we also plan into the role of ASA dealers in my area to have I- invited everyone to come learn more to explore how we can reach executive director in CAR Gold [status], certified at the meeting. January 2019 areas where we don’t curAs the webinar drew to a close, welding techs and more. I rently have affiliates.” don’t like to be a follower; I like to Fisher stated, “I want to use my pasWhen asked about changes ASA be a leader, and that will carry forth sion to give back and represent ASA’s may see under his leadership, Fisher in my new role.” membership. It’s important that the stated, “We are working diligently to Noting the importance of change industry has a structured association be more interactive and more time- in the industry, Fisher identified one to deliver messages and represent the friendly. We plan to utilize Facebook of the industry’s biggest challenges as industry like we do at ASA. SomeLive going forward and to constantly “making sure we don’t bury our heads times, you fall into the mode of simmake sure our feeds are available to in the sand. We need to look for the ply trying to maintain, but we need to members and the industry. We repre- opportunity of what’s next. Our me- make sure our goals are priorities and sent our members, and in turn, we chanical operations and collision op- our priorities are what’s right for the represent the industry. I’m really ex- erations committees do a great job of industry. We’re here for the industry.” cited about the things we have coming and like to use my passion and background to ask the challenging questions, look at the future and prepare for it.” Turning to ASA’s legislative initiatives, Fisher discussed Washington, DC Representative Bob Redding’s work to ensure OEM procedures are used as a proper source of informaNO Calibration tion. There will also be legislative NO Lasers focus on telematics and who owns that information. NO Targets Fisher stressed, “We have to NO Adaptors make sure we have access for differNO Magnets ent technologies and also that we  Place car on Bench, look at OEM procedures. We have to Lift or Ground make sure we are at the table and  Mitchell Data having conversations with manufacturers and legislators. It’s important  Simply Point and Measure

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Continued from Page 4

New Training Model moved such a sign long before it got to this awful state—edge cases are exactly this kind of situation. An edge case is a low-probability event that should not happen but does happen in the real world—exactly the kinds of cases that programmers and machine learning processes might not consider. In a real-world scenario, the autonomous vehicle might detect the sign and have no idea that it’s a stop sign. It doesn’t treat it as such and could decide to proceed through the intersection at speed and cause an accident. A human driver may have a hard time identifying the stop sign too, but that is much less likely for experienced drivers. We know what a stop sign is, and if it’s in anything other than complete ruin, we’ll know to stop at the intersection rather than proceed through it. This kind of situation is exactly what researchers at MIT and Microsoft have come together to identify and solve, which could improve


autonomous vehicle safety and, hopefully, reduce the kinds of accidents that might slow or prevent the adoption of autonomous vehicles on our roads. Modeling at the Edge In two papers presented at last year’s Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems conference and the upcoming Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence conference, researchers explain a new model for training autonomous systems such as self-driving cars that use human input to identify and fix these “blind spots” in AI systems. The researchers run the AI through simulated training exercises like traditional systems go through, but in this case, a human observes the machine’s actions and identifies when the machine is about to make or has made a mistake. The researchers then take the machine’s training data and synthesize it with the human observer’s feedback and put it through a machine-learning system. This system will then create a model that researchers can use to identify situa-


tions where the AI is missing critical information about how it should behave, especially in edge cases. “The model helps autonomous systems better know what they don’t know,” according to Ramya Ramakrishnan, a graduate student in the computer science and artificial intelligence laboratory at MIT and the lead author of the study. “Many times, when these systems are deployed, their trained simulations don’t match the real-world setting [and] they could make mistakes, such as getting into accidents. The idea is to use humans to bridge that gap between simulation and the real world, in a safe way, so we can reduce some of those errors,” Ramakrishnan said. The problem arises when a situation occurs, such as the distorted stop sign, in which the majority of cases the AI has been trained on does not reflect the real-world condition that it should have been trained to recognize. In this case, it has been trained that stop signs have a certain shape, color, etc. It could even have created a list of shapes that could be stop signs and would know to stop for

those, but if it cannot identify a stop sign properly, the situation could end in disaster. “Because unacceptable actions are far rarer than acceptable actions, the system will eventually learn to predict all situations as safe, which can be extremely dangerous,” said Ramakrishnan. Meeting the Highest Standards for Safety By showing researchers where the AI has incomplete data, autonomous systems can be made safer at the edge where high-profile accidents can occur. If they can do this, we may get to the point where public trust in autonomous systems can start growing and the rollout of autonomous vehicles can begin in earnest, making us all safer as a result. We thank Interesting Engineering for reprint permission.


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Waymo To Build Self-Driving Car Factory in Michigan by Levi Sumagaysay, The Mercury News

Waymo said Jan. 22 that it will build in Michigan the world’s first factory dedicated exclusively to producing self-driving vehicles.

John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo, speaks at a press conference at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, MI, Jan. 8, 2017. Credit: Geoff Robins/AFP/ Getty Images

After securing approval from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Alphabetowned autonomous vehicle company said it will build a plant in southeast Michigan, which it expects will employ hundreds of workers in a few years. “We’ll be looking for engineers, operations experts and fleet coordinators to join our team and help assemble and deploy our self-

driving cars,” Waymo said in a blog post Jan. 22 “This will be the world’s first factory 100 percent dedicated to the mass production of L4 autonomous vehicles.” Level 4 autonomous vehicles are considered high automation, just one step below Level 5, which is full automation. According to the Society of Automotive Engineers, Level 4 vehicles can perform all driving tasks under certain conditions, while Level 5 vehicles can drive under all conditions. Giving a nod to Michigan’s legacy as the heart of U.S. auto manufacturing, Waymo said that “the Great Lakes State is one we already know and love, with a talented workforce and excellent snowy conditions for our cars to test.” A Waymo spokeswoman said Jan. 22 that the company is looking for a site for the factory and that it plans to move into it midyear. Waymo expects to employ up to 400 workers there. “Every person hired within this entity will be hired to work exclusively on Waymo self-driving vehicles,” she said. We thank The Mercury News for reprint permission.

BirdEye Joins CIECA as Corporate Member “Trusted by over 40,000 local businesses, our company focuses on reputation management by enabling companies to obtain reviews and feedback from review sites, social media and Net Promoter Scores,” said David Tulkin, director of business development at BirdEye.

The feedback is then used to assist BirdEye’s clients in better understanding customers, benchmarking performance, improving operations and establishing a positive online presence. BirdEye was founded in 2012 by Google, Yahoo and Amazon alumni and backed by Silicon Valley companies including Trinity Ventures, Salesforce founder Marc Benioff and Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang. “Collision repair centers and

body shops that use the BirdEye SaaS platform in conjunction with CCC One are able to automatically send review requests to customers in real time asking for feedback,” said Tulkin. “With authentic customer reviews, collision repair shops will be able to reach more prospective customers and establish the strong online reputation required to drive new business growth.” BirdEye became a CIECA member in 2018. “We’re thrilled to partner with CIECA to help the collision repair industry improve online visibility, build customer trust and gain more customers,” said Tulkin. “We share CIECA’s mission and vision to help develop innovative communication standards that allow collision centers and body shops to be more efficient in gaining a deeper understanding of their consumers.” For more information, visit



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Continued from Cover

2019 NADA Show cars and light trucks in 2019. “We expect the sales momentum to continue this year,” said Patrick Manzi, NADA senior economist. “The 2019 auto show season kicks

tory, according to Manzi. Last year, consumers continued to abandon car segments. Light trucks accounted for 69 percent of sales, while cars accounted for 31

the board, not just on crossovers but also traditional SUVs and pickups.” Manzi also said he expects gasoline prices to remain low enough this year to not cause a panic and a consumer shift back to the car market. When NADA comes to a city for its annual show, it always leaves a little something behind as its way of saying thanks. This year, the or-

I-CAR’s large booth made quite an impression at the NADA Show. (l to r) National MSO manager Doug Schlueter and manager, business development Armin Price Director of Operations Zach McGregor displayed DJS Fabrications’ line of dollies and accessories at the four-day NADA show

off in Detroit. Dozens of new vehicles, with auto show rebates and incentives, will soon arrive in dealer showrooms across the country that will appeal to consumers and spark auto sales during the first quarter.”

percent of sales. In 2017, light trucks accounted for 65 percent of sales and cars accounted for 35 percent. About 10 years ago, the sales mix consisted of 48 percent light trucks and 52 percent cars.

ganization donated $50,000 to the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank to assist with the purchase of a new, refrigerated commercial truck. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to receive this generous donation,” said

Accudraft was represented by (l to r) account specialist Stacy Defnall and business development manager Steve Boda (l to r) David Cosio, Cody Workman and Adolph Cosio from Automotive Collision Equipment and Lorinda Teague from Pro Spot International

New light vehicle sales topped 17.3 million units in 2018, marking the fourth-best sales year in U.S. his-

“One of the main factors of this shift has been continued low oil and gasoline prices, and the fact that crossover utility vehicles are nearly as fuel efficient as their sedan counterparts,” Manzi said. “And we’ve seen fuel economy increases across

Hodges Collision Centers Expands to Deer Park, TX Steve Guinn, president/CEO of The Woodlands-based Hodges Collision Centers, announced that the company has expanded to Deer Park, TX, with the acquisition of Crossroad Collision Center. With this sixth location, the company continues to serve customers as the largest independent body shop in the Houston area. Michael Cheatum was named the new Hodges Collision Deer Park location manager. The facility is 20,000 square feet and located at 306 Center St. 24

Big Ass Fans exhibited at this year’s NADA Show to unveil its Light Bar. (l to r) Exhibit manager Pam Lawless, national account manager Scott Fehrenbach and vertical market business development manager John Nunnelley

“We are excited to expand our Hodges Collision Centers offering to Deer Park. It is a great location for us, and we are especially pleased to have Michael Cheatum serving as our new location manager,” noted Guinn. “Hodges Collision Deer Park is here to offer quality, positive customer experiences, and we hold each collision repair to the highest standards in the automotive industry. We are looking forward to meeting our local insurance agents and getting involved in the local community!”


Paul Ash, executive director of the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank. “Our trucks are the lifeline of our entire operation, and I can tell you that this new truck, courtesy of NADA,

Broadly, a marketing and social media company, exhibited at its first NADA Show. (l to r), customer success manager Janna Dolson, account executive Todd LoGuidice and senior account executive & sales trainer Jenna Simon

will be put into service immediately to help feed the thousands of people who rely on us for healthy meals each day.” NADA’s donation helped complete the purchase of a 2019 Kenworth T370, a 24-foot fully refrigerated box truck that will be used for pick-ups and deliveries in the food bank’s network of 270 pantries. / MARCH 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


Colorado To Become All-EV State by 2040 – Is It Possible? power) demands. CBS reports, “‘Our goal is to reach 100 percent renewable elecMoving Toward Zero Emissions As his first executive order after be- tricity by 2040 and embrace the coming governor of Colorado, Gov- green energy transition already unernor Jared Polis signed an order to derway economy-wide,’ said Polis.” The executive order and its aid Coloradans in moving from internal combustion vehicles to elec- ramifications for the automotive industry in Colorado are not emtric vehicles. Recently, the state of Colorado braced by all. Colorado Automobile Dealer’s received over $68.7 million from the Association President and automotive manufacturer CEO Tim Jackson chimed Volkswagen AG as part of in on Polis’ move. the “Dieselgate” U.S. settle“We trust Colorado conment. Among Colorado’s sumers, who care about the environmental issues, the environment as much as money is earmarked for anyone, to be able to freely cutting NOx and carbon choose to buy the vehicles dioxide emissions, reducthat they need at home or ing ozone concentrations Colorado Governor work. These consumers and more. Jared Polis. Credit: range from rural Coloradans According to this exCBS4 Denver who farm and ranch to subecutive order, the money will help transition Colorado into a urban parents who need to transport low/zero emissions state. Colorado the Little League or soccer team,” he automotive consumers will be pro- said. “Three-quarters of Coloradans vided with less expensive options choose vehicles from the light truck for electric vehicles. Consumers category, which includes pickups will be given incentives to cut and SUVs, to meet Colorado’s chalemissions while the state builds an lenging driving conditions. There is infrastructure that can handle in- a reason you don’t see electric vecreased (EV charging stations and hicles pulling horse trailers or haulby Nathan Adlen,



ing six kids to their events.” Currently, electric car pricing options for Coloradans start over $30,000 (before government cred-

CADA President and CEO Tim Jackson. Credit: CADA

its) for a base-model, low-range, front-wheel drive model like the 2019 Nissan Leaf. The least expensive all-wheel drive EV currently available in Colorado is the Tesla Model 3, which can easily surpass the $50,000 mark. These prices do not include home chargers. We thank for reprint permission.


4x Monthly E-Newsletter.

Missouri Anti-Safety Inspection Bill Reintroduced Once again, legislation has been introduced in the Missouri legislature that seeks to repeal the state’s vehicle safety inspection program. State Rep. J. Eggleston, assistant floor leader of the House, introduced House Bill (HB) 451. Eggleston introduced similar legislation last session—HB 1444. ASA opposed HB 1444 and successfully worked with ASA members in Missouri, as well as coalition partners, to ensure the bill did not become law. ASA opposes HB 451 and has begun efforts to stop this bill from moving forward. A hearing for the legislation has not been scheduled to date. “There are approximately 15 state vehicle inspection programs,” said ASA Mechanical Division Director Tom Piippo, AMAM. “With the number of recalls and rapidly increasing vehicle technologies, the trend should be more state inspection programs, not less. Missouri’s program is one of the best in the nation, and ASA has profiled it in hearings in Washington, D.C. and in other states. Any effort to repeal the program is nonsensical.” / MARCH 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


Deaths From Exploding Airbags, Shrapnel Force 2.7 Million More Car Recalls by Leighanna Shirey, Citizen Truth

In early January, Toyota and Ford announced the recall of 2.7 million vehicles due to exploding airbags in the ongoing Takata airbag disaster. At least 23 people have been killed as a result of exploding front passenger Takata airbags, leading to a massive recall that has affected almost every automaker. Toyota recently announced an additional 1.7 million cars for recall, which followed just days after Ford announced an additional 953,000 vehicles for recall. Some estimates say the recall affects as many as 350 million cars worldwide. In each horrific accident, the faulty airbag component exploded without warning, sending flying shrapnel throughout the vehicle. In addition to the needless deaths, at least 240 people have suffered injuries such as puncture wounds, lacerations and skull fractures. Florida Senator Bill Nelson is leading the charge to hold Takata airbags accountable, as Florida has been identified as the locale with the most injuries and deaths from the faulty airbags. The state has linked 83 injuries and three deaths to the airbags so far. Unstable Ammonium Nitrate At fault in the airbags is the use of ammonium nitrate, which creates an explosion reaction designed to inflate the airbags. Over time, though, and especially in hot climates like Florida, the integrity of the airbag system can become compromised, creating an explosion with too much force that blows apart a metal canister containing the chemical and sends shrapnel into the passenger. As reported by the Associated Press, the airbags did just as feared when one woman in Florida in January of 2018 died from shrapnelcaused injuries. Nichol Barker of Holiday, FL, was a 34-year-old woman who was traveling with her 5-year-old daughter, 10-year-old son and mother when a 19-year-old man in a 1999 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am made an illegal left turn in front of her. Barker’s 2002 Honda Accord struck the Tran’s Am’s passenger’s side, causing the faulty airbag to rupture 28

and fire hot shrapnel into Barker’s skull. Barker suffered 3-inch and 6inch wounds to her head, as well as a fractured skull and bleeding and bruising on her brain. Although she was flown by helicopter to a hospital, Barker was pronounced dead only 40 minutes after the accident. Barker’s

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

daughter was unharmed, and the others suffered minor injuries. Sgt. Chester T. Everett, the lead investigator on the scene, and Dr. Christopher Wilson, the medical examiner who performed the autopsy, concluded that Barker would have survived the crash if not for the faulty airbag. It is believed that Barker is the 21st person to die as a result of the Takata airbags, but the total number of injuries and deaths is considered unknown. In June of 2018, Honda reported that the 2004 death of a Malaysian driver was due to the faulty airbags. How big is the recall? Senator Nelson told product safety attorney Rich Newsome in a 2016 interview that the recall affects an estimated 250 million cars worldwide and possibly even more. At 70 million recalls, the Takata recall was already the largest recall in automotive history and now is approaching epic proportions. What’s even more alarming, as Newsome explained, is that the Takata airbags are being replaced again with an ammonium nitratebased repellant. Takata claims the difference now is that the new propellant contains a drying agent. However, in 2017, millions of the newer ammonium nitrate propellants with drying agents were found to be defective and added to the recall. Takata claims the problem is again


fixed because the company switched to a different drying agent. According to Newsome, Takata is the only airbag manufacturer that uses ammonium nitrate as a propellant. Other airbag manufacturers use guanidine nitrate and tetrazole, which are considered to be safer. Takata switched to ammonium nitrate in the 1990s when consumers became concerned about toxic fumes stemming from traditional airbag propellants. Takata switched to a tetrazole-based propellant, but then switched again to ammonium nitrate because it was one-tenth of the price. Did Takata know? Takata’s own engineers testified against the company, saying they warned the company about the potentially life-threatening dangers of using ammonium nitrate. “I literally said [that] if we go forward with this, someone will be killed,” Mark Lillie said to Reuters. “I couldn’t in good faith pump this

stuff out believing that it was unsafe to put in front of a passenger in a car.” Lillie and another engineer even claimed that Takata destroyed and ignored its own 2004 data that showed tests on 50 airbags that revealed defects. Takata ultimately pleaded guilty to a 2017 federal charge of wire fraud to settle a U.S. Department of Justice investigation. The settlement was for $1 billion and bankrupted the company, which was then bought out by auto components maker Key Safety Systems. Is your car recalled? A list of the recalled vehicles can be found on USA TODAY’s website or on Newsome’s website. Toyota owners can also see if their car has been recalled by entering their VIN or license plate number on Toyota’s website. Beginning in late January, Toyota vehicle owners affected by the recall will receive mailed notifications, according to Toyota. We thank Citizen Truth for reprint permission. / MARCH 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


Solving the Tech Shortage: AR Collision Repair Instructor Calls Out to Industry: ‘Please Employ My Students’ by Stacey Phillips

Autobody News Invites Your Input It should come as no surprise to hear that across the country, collision repair shop owners and managers are facing a shared challenge: how and where to find new technicians. With baby boomers retiring and vehicle repairs becoming more and more complex, there is a need to address this growing problem now more than ever. Autobody News is embarking on a new approach to sharing some of the ideas to solve this problem by starting a monthly column dedicated to solving the tech shortage. We invite your input and look forward to hearing about the creative ways your businesses are finding, training and hiring technicians. Whether it’s through a co-op program, apprenticeship, job-shadowing program, workplace training program, mentorships or other methods, it’s important to share ideas and start the conversation.


In Jonesboro, AR, Jeff Smith has seen this problem first-hand as a collision repair instructor at the Northeast Arkansas Career and Technical Center. The school serves 13 high schools in the area and has ap-

to be paid above minimum wage once they graduate. However, he has found that the body shops don’t have the necessary liability insurance to cover someone under 18. As a result, he said he is losing a lot of passionate auto body students to local factory jobs simply because the wages are higher than what the auto body shops are offering. With the overwhelming shortage of technicians in the collision repair industry, Smith said something must be done to reverse this trend. If the students had more experience before graduating, he said he is convinced they could earn a more competiChandler Allison (2018 National SkillsUSA Competition) tive wage at the shops and proximately 50–60 students per se- have the ability to pursue their dreams mester who take part in the collision and positively impact the current technician shortage. repair program each year. Smith recently reached out to Over the course of his career, Smith has attempted to find work for Autobody News to share some of his his students at local body shops thoughts about what is currently hapwhile they’re still in high school so pening in the industry and his recomthey can gain the experience needed mendations to solve this dilemma.


After working as a collision repair instructor for the last six years, what have you found?


The students in my class are between the ages of 16–18 and want to work in a body shop while still in high school, but they can’t due to their age. By the time they’re out of school, the body shops are only offering $10 an hour for entry-level jobs, while local factories are offering $13-$18 an hour, so they choose to take those jobs. If they received the experience needed parttime at a body shop while still in high school, I’m sure they could negotiate a higher rate after graduation. I’m finding that body shops don’t want to risk hiring someone under 18 due to liability issues (if someone were to get hurt), yet they admit they aren’t finding the skilled technicians they need. I’ve had several students who would have been excellent entrylevel collision repair technicians. Instead, our collision centers in town are competing with manufacturing


companies because they offer higher wages in the factories nearby. We’re losing the best of the best—the kids who want to work in the collision repair industry. I have spoken with a handful of shop owners in our town, which has a population of approximately 75,000, and they have all told me that they are in need of new technicians. They have also said they are willing to train someone to do the work that needs to be done.

If we could get these high school students in a shop working part-time, then I believe that we would have a much better chance of retaining our hardworking students in the collision repair industry. Once they reach out to our competition, I believe we will continue to lose a large portion of our future technicians.


What do you think shops can do to help address this prob-

lem? To help address this growing issue, I believe we need to begin offering students between 16–18 years old apprenticeships in a certified collision repair program in the shops. We also need to find out more about shopkeeper insurance offered to cover workers of a certain age. In my opinion, for those shops looking for technicians, owners may be able to begin taking the vocational tech students who are trained and available and put them to work as apprentices or interns. While


Chandler Allison, student

The problem that I am running into is that no one knows if they are able to cover students under the age of 18 with the insurance currently available.

these automotive students are still in high school, employers are competing with fast food restaurants, grocery stores and retail stores.

going to gain experience and most likely come to work full-time when they graduate. I love what I do, and I love to see my students be successful. Unfortunately, until I can get students working, my failures seem to be passed on to my students. I will continue to search for a program where I can put my high school students to work through the summer, after school or through work study.

Autobody News wants to know: Is this happening in your area of the country? (l to r) Austin Bennett, Eli Hickman, students at Northeast Do you know of any shops Arkansas Career and Technical Center in Jonesboro, AR that can hire students who Apprenticeship pay would be are under 18 years old, and if yes, is much more competitive with this there workplace insurance available type of employer than it will be once in the event of something happening my students graduate and the com- to an underage worker? petition in my area becomes manufacturing positions. It’s no wonder Together, we can work to solve this problem with your feedback. Please we are losing technicians every day. If we are able to find work for contact Autobody News columnist these students who have an interest in Stacey Phillips at sphillips.autobody the collision repair industry, they are / MARCH 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS




Chapman Honda Tucson

800-461-6744 520-202-5770 Dept. Hours: M-F 7-6; Sat 8-4

Earnhardt Honda Avondale



800-350-6537 623-463-4380 Dept. Hours: M-F 7-9; Sat 7-6 COLORA DO

Honda of Greeley Greeley



888-903-1101 970-506-2795 Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-7; Sat 8-4:30

Mile High Honda Denver

800-548-4730 303-369-7800 Dept. Hours: M-S 7-6 LOUISIA NA

Superior Honda Har vey


800-943-4227 504-368-5687


Dept. Hours: M-F 7-5:30 A CURA A RIZONA


Acura of Peoria Pe o ria

866-347-4507 623-792-2559 Dept. Hours: M-F 7-6; Sat 7-5 COLORA DO

Mile High Acura Denver

800-548-4730 303-369-7800 Dept. Hours: M-S 7-6

Pikes Peak Acura C o lo ra do S prings

800-456-9568 719-955-1715 Dept. Hours: M-F 7-6; Sat 8-4





Please contact these dealers for your Honda or Acura Genuine parts needs. LO UI SIANA


Walker Honda

Bankston Honda

McDavid Honda Irving

Al ex andri a

L e wisville

Ir ving


318-448-8255 318-445-6677

800-344-8611 972-219-0021

800-492-4464 972-790-6003

800-234-4441 512-458-2910

Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 8-5

Dept. Hours: M-F 8-6

Dept. Hours: M-F 8-6

Fiesta Honda

Honda of San Marcos

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-5:30 NE W MEXICO

Garcia Honda Al buquerq ue

800-677-6632 505-260-5002 Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8:30-5 O KLAHOMA

Don Carlton Honda Tu l s a

800-722-2379 918-622-9670 Dept. Hours: M-Sat 7-6

Fowler Honda Nor man

S a n A nton io

San Marcos

800-727-8705 210-340-0831

866-392-1313 512-392-1313

Dept. Hours: M-F 8-5; Sat 8-5

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 9-5

Cleo Bay Honda

Kelly Grimsley Honda

K illeen

Od essa

877-253-6229 254-699-2478

844-453-5594 432-334-6632

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-5

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-12

Honda Cars of McKinney

Russell & Smith Honda

Mc K inn ey

972-569-4276 972-569-4222

866-369-5376 405-573-5719

Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 7-5

Dept. Hours: M-F 7-9; Sat 8-4

Honda of Frisco

Fenton Honda of Ardmore Ardmore

580-226-1000 Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 7:30-2


F r isco

866-442-2711 972-731-3176 Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 7:30-5:30

Wholesale Parts Direct

Hou ston

800-833-0180 713-663-4266 Dept. Hours: M-F 8-6; Sat 7-4

Rusty Wallis Honda Dallas

877-466-3272 214-328-3891 Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 8-5



Acura of Baton Rouge

Autonation Acura

David McDavid Acura

Bat on Rou g e

Le a gu e C ity

P lan o

S a lt La ke C ity

866-733-2861 225-756-6166

800-749-6227 713-371-4700


800-234-0875 801-323-0492

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-5

Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 8-5

Walker Acura

David McDavid Acura

M et ai ri e

Au s tin

800-359-8555 504-465-8555

800-575-3553 512-401-5976

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-2

Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 8-5

Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 8-5

Sterling McCall Acura H ou s ton

713-596-2337 713-596-2338 Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-7; Sat 7:30-4

Jody Wilkinson Acura Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-5

Mike Hale Acura Murra y

800-292-4595 801-263-0202 Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 7:30-5


Don Carlton Acura of Tulsa Tu l s a

888-550-7278 918-664-2300 Dept. Hours: M-Sat 7-6 / MARCH 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


Industry Insight with John Yoswick

—John Yoswick is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon, 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 Contact him by email at

Committee Seeks to Build Industry Consensus Around Part-Type Definitions The confusion within the industry related to part-type definitions was evident at the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) held in Palm Springs, CA, in January when a CIC committee walked attendees through a series of multiple-choice questions. It was a topic raised at the preceding CIC at a time when the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) was reiterating its rule that all parts must be identified only as new, used, rebuilt, reconditioned, OEM or non-OEM. The BAR has stated that the terms “alt-OE” or “opt-OE” are too unclear or inconsistently used and therefore cannot be listed on cus-

the committee hopes to address in the coming year. The lack of consensus on parttype definitions became even more glaring when Weiss asked CIC attendees in which part category they would put: • A “surplus OEM part” (65 percent said they would label it “new OEM” while 15 percent said “aftermarket” and 17 percent said “other”) • A “blemished OEM part” (32 percent said “new OEM,” 20 percent said “used,” 16 percent said “reconditioned,” and 25 percent said “other”) • An “OEM take-off part or assembly” (56 percent said “used,” while 27 percent said “new OEM”).

CIC committee chairman Ken Weiss led attendees through a series of questions that demonstrated a lack of consensus within the industry about parts-type definitions

tomer estimates or invoices in that state without providing additional information about such parts, including what warranty they carry. To demonstrate the lack of consistency among part types within the industry, Ken Weiss, the new chairman of the CIC “Parts and Materials Committee,” asked the more than 250 people at the Palm Springs meeting whether an OEM part “must come in branded OEM packaging,” and 81 percent of respondents agreed that it did. But he also asked if that OEM part can be sourced only through one of that OEM’s branded dealers, and only 40 percent agreed that it did. (Most automakers in the past have said OEM parts can only be purchased through one of their dealers.) Weiss said the nearly 50-50 split over where OEM parts can be sourced is somewhat emblematic of the confusion in the industry and is something 34

How about an OEM’s private label part, Weiss asked, such as a BMW part engineered by Bosch for BMW and sold in a Bosch box? CIC attendees were about evenly split on whether they would categorize that part as “new OEM” or “aftermarket.” About half of CIC attendees agreed with the statement that “optOEM” is a “catch-all part-type description to avoid labeling a part as aftermarket,” but 30 percent of CIC attendees weren’t aware that “optOEM” (along with “alt-OEM or “surplus-OEM”) can’t be used on customer estimates or invoices under California BAR regulations. “What I’m trying to underscore is there is confusion. There is not a consensus in the industry,” Weiss said. “Different platforms should not be using different terminology to describe identical part types. We need, as industry partners, to get together and come up with clear definitions that the industry accepts [so] we at least understand what a part is.” That process, he said, will require the involvement of shops, insurers, parts suppliers and the estimating and parts platform providers. Anyone interested in participating in the CIC committee (which holds conference calls in between CIC quarterly meet-


ings) can sign up at the CIC website ( Downsides to Not Accessing OEM Information Directly Two other presentations at industry meetings held in Palm Springs offered examples of some of the potential limitations of relying on aftermarket scan tools or sources of OEM procedures other than the automaker’s own information websites. Speaking at CIC, Greg Potter of the Equipment and Tool Institute outlined how the organization conducts its primary function as a conduit of technical data from the automakers to the independent aftermarket (primarily aftermarket scan tool-makers). It is the frequency with which that data is provided by some automakers that could be a concern to those seeking the latest information. “Some manufacturers provide us data about six times a year,” Potter

said. “Some manufacturers provide us a single year’s packet of data each year.”

Greg Potter of the Equipment and Tool Institute said some automakers share updated technical data—used by aftermarket scan tools—as infrequently as once a year

That indicates that some changes made by a manufacturer could take up to another year to reach those using aftermarket scan tools. Other potential shortcomings are in the process as well. See Industry Consensus, Page 41 / MARCH 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS





National 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

ASA Presents ‘The Even Better I-CAR’ Webinar On Jan. 30, the Automotive Service Association (ASA) hosted a webinar on “The Even Better I-CAR” at 1 p.m. EST featuring Nick Notte, senior vice president of sales and marketing for I-CAR. Notte discussed some of the refinements to I-CAR’s Professional Development Program (PDP). ASA Vice President Tony Molla welcomed attendees and introduced Notte. Molla noted that I-CAR has made some recent improvements since November’s plans and is constantly evolving. Notte explained that I-CAR evaluated its PDP 2.0 Launch and made some refinements between NACE and SEMA. “That three-month period was especially busy for us because we got so much feedback about the Professional Development Program,” Notte said. Due to delays in the learning management system design, I-CAR has delayed the launch from January to April 1. I-CAR has received feedback from shops regarding the perceived complexity of the program, such as increased levels of training, increased spending levels and a high demand for the new hands-on courses. After receiving an indication that more training would happen than initially planned, I-CAR also evaluated its staffing levels and realized it needed to adjust its capacity. Additionally, I-CAR realized that the plan to utilize schools to deliver these hands-on courses was not feasible because the majority of the schools lacked the required equipment and facilities to hosts hands-on skill development classes. Notte stated, “As we are changing our core product and service offering, all refinements must work in a logical and synchronized manner. [It is] a somewhat 3-dimensional, complicated process. We believe the outcome is a better solution for the industry and I-CAR.” At NACE, I-CAR promised that Platinum would go to ProLevel 3 and Gold Class would turn to ProLevel 2, including the prohibition of 38

one person in the shop from holding all four of the roles—though a single person can hold two roles in the new PDP. They talked about shop-level electrical/diagnostics and mechanical courses being required, eliminating turnover rules and adjusting

requirements for annual training. In addition to welding certification and aluminum training, they also talked about the elimination of Road to Gold in December. However, that has now been extended through Feb. 28. “I’m happy to say none of this has changed. We’re still delivering this to the industry,” Notte announced. Notte then provided a summary of the future state refinements. The PDP protocol will include industry common and agreed protocol with a complete update based on industry feedback to cover knowledge and skills in more detail. I-CAR has designed a purpose-built curriculum with a national schedule at fixed training sites (FTS) and is working to make core PDP courses available in Spanish. Many shops are uncertain of how pricing would work for the hands-on training because they have not yet been exposed to these courses. Therefore, I-CAR has decided to phase these in at two courses per year over an expected six-year period and likely beyond. I-CAR addressed cost concerns by offering a two-for-one deal for Gold Class shops on the two mandated classes (MIG Brazing and Squeeze Type Resistance Spot Welding) for 2019 only, with more information to come. I-CAR’s plans for in-shop knowledge assessments have also undergone some refinements. Because many shops have already taken these weld-


ing and hands-on courses and have participated in in-shop assessments, there were objections to paying for these services again through the subscription. In response, I-CAR has debundled them from the subscription package and provided them on an a la carte pay schedule. Some changes were also made to the transition from ProLevel 1 to ProLevel 2, providing more time for shops to achieve the 50/100 requirements. “Let’s give the industry another year to get through that scaling and get up to the ProLevel 2,” Notte noted. “There are a couple of additional courses you’ll need to take; not a whole lot, but some of your technicians will have to train up to the new PDP courses as you transition, giving you an extra year to level up and figure out the program.” Moving on to a couple more

changes, Notte noted that the renewal dates always seem to collect in December. I-CAR has opted to spread out the renewal dates for Gold Class throughout the year. Annual training required will now include six VTST courses per technician, compared to the current requirement of six credit hours, which often winds up being more hours of training. I-CAR will offer an unlimited access subscription that includes classroom, online and instructor-led virtual classes as well as turnover coverage and all-staff training. Continuing in 2019, I-CAR will recognize I-CAR training as well as training through the qualified Industry Training Alliance during Gold Class onboarding. To keep Gold Class status, shops will undergo knowledge and skills protocol, recognition requirements and skills re-verification. See ASA Presents, Page 52 / MARCH 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


From the Desk of Mike Anderson with Mike Anderson

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

It’s Time to End Shops’ Accounting, Scorecard Nightmares by Creating New Parts Code It’s time for this industry to resolve the parts code mess. You probably know what I’m talking about. It’s no secret that a lot of collision repair shops, particularly those on direct repair programs, price-match parts. Rather than use an alternative (non-OEM or recycled) part, they put a new OEM part on the vehicle, billing for it at the alternative part price. My goal here isn’t to debate whether this practice (or DRPs in general) is good or bad. Those are business decisions that aren’t the focus of what I’m calling for here. But I am saying that the pricematching practice has negative consequences for shops. First, the paperwork that shops give to their customers should always accurately reflect what was done to the vehicle. If you install an OEM part, the paperwork given to

the customer should state that, not inaccurately indicate that an alternative part was used. Second, price-matching makes it tough for a shop to have accurate financial reports. Let’s say a shop chooses to use a new OEM part, but because of how it is measured under a DRP, the part remains on the estimate as a non-OEM part. When that data gets transferred into the shop’s management system, the sale goes in as a non-OEM part, but at an OEM part cost. The system ends up overstating—sometimes wildly—the shop’s gross profit on non-OEM parts and understating the gross profit on OEM parts. I have a degree in accounting, and I work regularly with more than 350 shops, coaching them on their financials. I can’t tell you how many of those financials I look at show that the shop made, say, 70 percent gross

profit on aftermarket parts and lost money on OEM parts. They didn’t really lose money on the OEM parts, and they didn’t make that much money on aftermarket parts. It’s all a coding issue. And I can tell you, accountants and bookkeepers spend countless hours trying to figure out why the gross profit information isn’t right. So why not switch the parts code from alternative to OEM when transferring to the management system? One reason: Some shops offer some insurance companies a discount on OEM parts. So they may already be taking a hit by buying an OEM part but only charging for nonOEM, and then get hit again with the OEM discount to the insurer. A third potential downside to all this for shops: It’s known that many automakers are moving toward using scorecards to evaluate the perform-

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ance of their certified collision shops. Shops that are certified and have DRP agreements will be faced with the risk of coding an OEM part they use as an alternative part to not hurt their DRP score, only to have that hurt their scorecard for OEM parts usage with the automaker certifying their shop. Some people will suggest that price-matched parts could be coded as “opt-OE.” But that label has become so convoluted and misused as a parts type category. Some automakers have an “opt-OE” part that they sell, for example, and others don’t recognize that label at all. The California Bureau of Automotive Repair has said “opt-OE” and “alt-OE” aren’t adequate as parts descriptors. At the end of the day, I believe there’s a simple solution to all this. We need to recognize a new partstype code in the estimating and manSee New Parts Code, Page 46

Continued from Page 34

Industry Consensus “When we receive all this data, we have no idea whether what we receive from a manufacturer is complete,” Potter said. “Nobody really knows that until they have to implement it and make it work. So we let our members know there’s new data provided by, say, Acme Car Company. They will access the information that they need to repurpose into their databases and implement into their scan tools, and they will always find missing pieces. So they come back to us and say, ‘We can’t find information on this controller,’ or ‘We can’t find this routine,’ and we go back to the manufacturer and say there are some things missing. They find it and provide it to us and we upload it. So it’s a constant process we do with the manufacturers all year round.” Insufficient Information in Estimating System The other example of possible limitations of third-party providers of

OEM information was shared by Montana shop owner Matthew McDonnell during the Society of Collision Repair Specialists’ (SCRS) open board meeting held in Palm Springs.

Montana shop owner Matthew McDonnell said he found insufficient OEM repair information in one of the estimating systems

McDonnell, an SCRS board member, said his shop recently repaired a 2017 Toyota Highlander that involved replacing the dogleg on the quarter panel. The shop used the Mitchell International system to prepare the estimate and access the Toyota repair procedures incorporated into Mitchell’s system. [General Motors will be similarly incorporating its repair procedures into the Mitchell system.]

The issue? McDonnell said the Toyota procedures available through Mitchell included “maybe about 20 percent” of what was needed. “We were able to pull about four OEM documents related to the full quarter-panel replacement, but what we couldn’t pull was the corrosion protection [procedures], the foam location and installation and the safety inspection information after a collision,” McDonnell said. He said all of the Toyota information for the job they did download through the Mitchell system was at least six months old, and some was as much as a year old. The shop was able to locate the additional information needed through Toyota’s website, but McDonnell said the “bill-payer” on the job questioned the amount of time the shop spent on OEM research for information that the insurer presumed “was just a click of a button” away within the Mitchell system. “We have spent a lot of time [using] the OEM websites, and I feel that is the most accurate and up-todate source that we can find,” McDonell said.

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In Reverse with Gary Ledoux

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

The 1960s – The Collision Repair Industry Gets a Voice Each month, collision industry trade magazines provide readers with a glimpse of the industry at that point in time. Each issue is a microcosm of an entire ecosystem of repairers, estimators, adjusters, shop owners and managers, paint suppliers, parts suppliers, equipment suppliers, consultants, trainers and all the other people who help keep the industry running. They provide a “voice” to the industry that few other mediums can. From the end of WWII to the early 1960s, the collision repair industry grew exponentially—but the entire industry was in the dark! Nobody knew what was going on within the industry. Yes, there were associations, such as the Washington Metropolitan Auto Body Association, that communicated their information to their constituents, but this was on a local or regional level. People in Miami had no idea what was going on in Los Angeles and vice-versa. And then—there was a light! Already a magazine publisher, Emil Stanley started something that would eventually do more to bring the industry together and help it coalesce than anything else in the 60-plus years that people had been repairing fenders. In September 1962, Stanly introduced Volume 1, Number 1 of Auto Body News and Good Car Care magazine, believed to be the first nationally distributed collision industry trade journal. Finally, the industry had a “voice.” The monthly circulation was 45,000. (At the time, depending on your source, there were about 80,000 shops in the country.) The opening article stated, “The business of auto body rebuilding and appearance maintenance is a growing industry in itself. No auto body publication exists today that supplies staff-created news and features according to the ABN formula. A number of publications carry limited auto body sections or departments treating auto body work in a ‘fringe’ manner. ABN is a specific auto body publication for the specific auto body market and pro42

vides leadership and readership in a proven formula of ABN’s several companion publications, all in the automotive industry.” A letter from a body shop owner published in the following issue stated, “Wonderful idea, this magazine. For years, we’ve needed such a circulation. I’m so happy to see a publisher cater to [us] fender-benders.” It wasn’t long before “Letters to the Editor” started appearing on a regular basis. If subscribers read nothing but the Letters to the Editor page, they could experience a microcosm of the entire industry on a single page. It was a place where everyone in the industry could air a grievance—not just body shops. As collision repair publications do today, the magazine carried articles about current trends, IGO and other association news, technical articles and articles about how to be more profitable. In the seeming absence of today’s I-CAR, AMI and other collision industry training, S.M. “Silvie” Licitra, ABN editorial director, started a multi-installment course on “Auto Damage Insurance Adjustment.” One of the first articles that appeared in this magazine was titled “Body Restoration – A Profession.” It stated in part, “Time was (not so many years ago) when a dinging hammer and block , a metal rasp and body solder could produce fairly good results, even in the hands of the average garage mechanics. Those were the days of easy-to-get-at- fenders, straight panel sections, and smoothly flowing contours—when there was little under the hood but a simple engine, unencumbered by with the modern maze of filters, gadgets and accessories that fill every available space. Today’s master of body rebuilding must be a practical diagnostician, with the delicate touch of a surgeon, plus the skill of a practical mechanic. The blending, preparation, and application of modern paints is something acquired only by long experience with the aid of proper equip-


ment. Verily, today’s auto body craftsman no longer is ‘just a body mechanic.’ He’s a skilled artisan—a professional. And his business is a profession!” The editors of ABN noted that they would not display any “cheesecake” advertising, showing “shapely female legs” or “scantily clothed” women, as was the norm in automotive advertising at the time. They wanted a magazine that could be read by “the whole family” and be welcome in anyone’s home. A short article called for better corrosion protection, used by the OEs at the factory and made available to refinishers. This was due to the increased amount of salt used on roads in snow-belt areas. Another article noted, “Among the strongest allies of the independent shops are manufacturers of replacement body panels and other

items available through independent automotive wholesalers. Such suppliers and independent insurance companies are the reasons independent shops are still in business.” This was true because the magazine was loaded with ads from different manufacturers of replacement body panels. Another article noted three classifications of work for today’s body shop: 1.) Customer-paid work, for which the customer generally wants good-quality work and is “not afraid to pay for it.” 2.) Work generated by independent insurance companies that want work done as cheaply as possible, pitting shops against one another on price, issuing a check to the vehicle owner and leaving the owner to his/her own devices for repair, and 3.) The so-called “captives.” These were cars financed and insured See The 1960s, Page 52 / MARCH 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS


Denver Body Shop Manager Discusses Position Statement on OEM Repair Procedures by Gary Ledoux

On Oct. 5, 2018, Rickenbaugh Automotive of Denver, CO, distributed a position statement to its DRP insurance companies that sent ripples through the entire collision repair industry. The 74-year-old auto body shop and dealership featuring Cadillac, Volvo, Infinity and Fisker essentially told its DRP “partners”: “Here’s how we are going to do business, regardless of your policies, mandates or subterfuge.” To paraphrase, the statement said that the shop’s garage-keeper’s insurance carrier had inquired of the body shop about how it conducted business regarding repair methods. In the wake of the John Eagle Collision case, the insurance company was concerned about the shop’s liability and thus the possibility of a huge payout should the shop be sued for performing bad repairs and/or failing to follow OE-recommended or required repair procedures. The statement said in part, “They


(the garage-keeper’s insurance carrier) explained that the insurance providers are currently not educating their field staff about these procedures and that it is our responsibility to make sure that we do not deviate from any required or recommended repair procedure. They stated that should there be an incident and we were found to have not followed and documented the OEM repair procedures, they could deny coverage. Due to the extreme liability that we have when repairing vehicles, Rickenbaugh Automotive Group will not allow any of its businesses to deviate from ANY (emphasis seen on written statement) recommended or required OEM procedures.” The statement goes on to say that any manager who does not follow OEM repair procedures and does not perform the proper documentation will face immediate termination. Rickenbaugh management, most specifically company Vice President Nick Pacifico, made it crystal clear—cars would be repaired properly, or not at all.


A few months have gone by since this statement was issued— time to have the situation “shake out.” Autobody News contacted Rickenbaugh body shop manager Chris Hudson, a 28-year industry veteran, to see what effect, if any, the statement has had. Based on your position statement, it looks like your garagekeeper’s insurance company called the meeting with you to discuss your repair methods. Did it surprise you that an insurer would take that initiative, especially with a 74-year-old company like yours?


It did in a way. But when they cited the devastating outcome of the John Eagle case with its multimillion dollar payout and a few similar but smaller cases, it all made sense. They have to look out for themselves—and I understand that. And they were very clear about it; they said, “If you don’t do a proper repair, you’re on your own.”


I must assume that the statement in question was sent to all of the insurance companies with which you have a DRP agreement. What was their reaction?


Crickets. At the time, we had DRP agreements with four insurance companies, and none of them said a word or responded in any way. This is not surprising, as I’m sure none of them wanted anything in writing that said that they didn’t support OEM repair procedures.


Do you promote to your customers that you only follow OE procedures?


Yes—all the time. We explain that not only do we strictly follow OEM repair procedures, but we are certified by eight OEs at the moment. We are part of the Assured Performance network, Certified Collision Group and are striving for additional OE certifications. Once a customer is informed, once they know what you are doing and why, they become one



of your best advocates. At the time, were you already following OEM repair procedures and documenting the same way?


Yes, we were. But we wanted to take a stance—get the insurance company’s attention. We wanted to make sure that they all understood what our position was and that we would not deviate from it. We had been doing proper OEM procedures all along, but with some carriers, it was always a fight. This eliminated the fighting and bickering. It’s now the right way or the highway—case closed, end of discussion.


How has this affected your business? Did you lose any of your DRP associations?


Three of our four DRP carriers just refused to honor our commitment to proper repair. We just don’t do business with them anymore as a DRP. The bickering and fighting with these carriers have simply ceased. One carrier, State Farm, didn’t seem to mind, but we get very little business from them anyway. Despite the loss of those three carriers, business hasn’t really suffered—we have plenty of cars coming through the doors, which proves you really can live without DRPs.


Continued from Page 40

New Parts Code agement systems. If you price-match a part, you use that new code so your management and accounting systems recognize the sale and cost as an OEM part. You get accurate financial statements without skewing your OEM or alternative parts usage numbers with either an insurer or an automaker. Now, some stakeholders in the

Q: A:

Has this had any effect on your shop internally?

Yes! Something I never thought about as the statement was being drafted was the unintended benefit of tremendously raising morale among our techs. The techs have always done a great job and been proud of where they work and the job they do. But this statement seems to have energized them. It says the company they work for is wholeheartedly supporting what they do, and neither they nor the company will be doing any kowtowing to the insurance companies. Your position statement states, “We will also be documenting any and all instances where an insurance provider attempts or recommends deviating from a required or recommended OE procedure or position statement to the Colorado Insurance Commission for review.” How many of these reports have you had to turn in?


We have turned in a few, but sadly they have fallen on deaf ears. The Colorado Insurance Commission, and probably Commissions in other states, will follow up on complaints of fraud, misrepresentation or otherwise cheating a consumer. Unfortunately, [failing to repair a car] according to OE recommendations is not a crime. Performing a shoddy, unsafe repair and placing consumers


industry may not want this to happen. But it’s not fair for shops to suffer from the current accounting nightmare and the risk of “being damned if they do, damned if they don’t” in terms of competing scorecards. I’m imploring the organizations in our industry that can make this happen—the information providers, CIECA, the Collision Industry Conference, the trade associations, etc.—to make this a priority. It’s time to make this change.

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at risk is not illegal. Until the laws change—until politicians and the legal system catch up with technology— this will continue. Insurance companies will, with impunity, continue to bully smaller shops, and shops run by owners and managers who are less politically savvy to provide incorrect and unsafe repairs. The shop is left on the hook, and there are no consequences for the insurance company. our position statement also says, “If your company will not comply with the recommended and required OE repair procedures, we will not be able to fix the vehicle.” How many of these vehicles have you had to turn away?


Oh, we have turned away a few. Interestingly enough, a neighboring (but unrelated) body shop recently took the same stance with an insurance carrier and refused to work on a car. The carrier had the car picked up and towed to our shop with the same request for the same shoddy repairs. It was a very short conversation. The insurance company will be picking up the car from


us tomorrow, bringing it to the next shop, and again requesting shoddy repairs.

Q: A:

Has this affected the repair parts that you use?

We have only used OEM parts. This is especially crucial now when you have cameras and ADAS monitors buried behind bumper covers, behind windshields and so forth. Many OEs specifically state to not use aftermarket bumper covers for that reason. Hudson went on to say that several shop owners and managers have contacted him about his statement— or “manifesto,” as he calls it—what it took to write it, deliver it, execute it and what effect it has had. “I would like to see more shops follow our lead, said Hudson. “I would like to see a new breed of auto body association with the pursuit of performing only OE repairs as its main agenda. The industry needs a more collaborative effort from more shops that are willing to take a stance on this.”

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Carmakers, Some in Tandem With Tech Firms, Continue March to Autonomous Vehicles by Bob Moulesong, The Times of Northwest Indiana

In August 2018, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released a report on the status of autonomous, or driverless, vehicles. Evaluating the crash history and research on self-driving cars, the report concluded that there is a “need for caution on the road to full driving autonomy.” The study took place after a National Transportation Safety Board investigation determined that safety driver error played a role when an Uber self-driving car struck and killed a pedestrian in March 2018. It called the crash avoidable. Considering that reducing deadly crashes and increasing mobility are among the goals of autonomous vehicles, automakers are increasing their efforts to improve the process. To this end, “GM acquired San Francisco-based Cruise Automation in 2016,” said Jennifer Korail, corporate news analyst for General Motors Co. “A year later, we unveiled the first production-ready car with no steering wheel or pedals.” In October 2018, Cruise and GM announced a partnership with Honda Motor Co. on autonomous vehicle technology. The three will fund and develop a purpose-built autonomous vehicle for Cruise slated for mass production globally. Seattle-based Cruise recently signed a deal with DoorDash for food delivery, Korail said. Nissan Motor Corp. is going with ProPilot Assist, its hands-on assistant, to help drivers on long highway trips and the daily stop-and-go commute. “The ProPilot Assist system 48

represents the first generation of advanced driver assistance features in

“The ongoing Chauffeur development focuses on full autonomy, where the human is essentially removed from the driving equation,” McAllister said. “Toyota Guardian, on the other hand, is being developed to amplify human control of the vehicle, not replace it.” With Guardian, the driver remains in conNissan introduced the IMs, a pure electric all-wheel drive trol of the car except concept car with fully autonomous drive capability, in when it anticipates or January in Detroit identifies a pending incident and takes corrective action in coordination with driver input. The system borrows from fighter jet technology in which a pilot’s intent is translated by the low-level flight control system thousands of times a second to stabilize the aircraft Toyota will use its two-track Guardian and Chauffeur automated and stay within a safety driving systems in the TRI-P4 test vehicle

Nissan vehicles,” said Chris Keeffe, senior manager in corporate communications. The next generation of Nissan’s technology will support steering, braking and accelerating in multilane driving in a pilot project within a year. It plans to offer ProPilot technology in 20 models in 20 markets by 2022 and sell 1 million ProPilot-equipped vehicles by then. Keeffe added that “Nissan already has more vehicles on the road with semi-autonomous capabilities than any other automaker, and we continue to learn from this experi-

ence to bring benefits to customers.” “Toyota is doubling-down on humans,” said Curt McAllister, Midwest public relations manager for Toyota Motor Corp. “Might sound odd for an AV project to include human interaction, but we believe it makes sense.” Toyota Research has committed to a two-prong approach to automated driving.



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envelope. Teaming up with Velodyne, SAIPS, Nirenberg Neuroscience and Civil Maps, Ford Motor Co. plans to have a fully autonomous vehicle in commercial operation by the end of 2021. The plan calls for the vehicle to operate without a steering wheel, gas or brake pedal within limited areas as part of a ride-sharing or ride-hailing operation. It will be classified as a Society of Automotive Engineers Level 4-capable vehicle that can complete all aspects of driving without human intervention. Mass producing a Level 4 vehicle will put Ford at the forefront of automotive automation. We thank The Times of Northwest Indiana for reprint permission. AUTOBODY


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Celebrity Car Enthusiast Courtney Hansen Helps Reunite Car Lovers With ‘The Ride That Got Away’ by Stacey Phillips

Every car lover has the one that got away, according to celebrity car enthusiast Courtney Hansen. Whether it’s the car they grew up riding around in with their parents, the first car they purchased or the dream ride they had to sell when they fell on hard times, Hansen’s goal is to reunite car lovers with their beloved rides in her new television show “The Ride That Got Away.” A self-described “pit kid,” Hansen grew up in Minnesota spending much of her time at racetracks and garages. Her father, Gerry Hansen, raced at Formula Race Car Club of America (FCCA) and won 27 national championships throughout his career. Her family also owned Brainerd International Raceway in Minnesota. Growing up in the automotive world, Hansen said, she quickly became an enthusiast. “Cars are in my blood, and I’m thankful that I was able to parlay my love for cars into a TV career that started 15 years ago,” she said. “Here

I am now, executive producing my latest project and one of the characters on the show. It’s all very exciting.” Hansen gained popularity as the co-host of TLC’s car-makeover show “Overhaulin’,” starring legendary auto designer Chip Foose. The show

shows for NBC Sports and CBS Sports in which she showcased million-dollar rides, rare classics and “tricked” vehicles. In Hansen’s newest project, she is the executive producer of History Channel’s auto-themed TV series “The Ride That Got Away,” which premiered in January. Hansen hosts the show with renowned custom designer and builder Troy Ladd under the brand ROYL (Ride of Your Life) Garage. Autobody News recently talked to Hansen about her new show, the advice she offers young women interested in the automotive field and current industry trends.

Hansen grew up in the auto industry and spent much of her time at racetracks and garages

What is the focus of your new show “The Ride That Got Away”?

focused on transforming a viewer’s ride into a show car within one week. She also co-hosted two specials for TLC: “Rides: Biggest Spenders” and “Million Dollar Motors.” Hansen then hosted 10 seasons of Powerblock/PowerNation for Spike TV and later four automotive

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from fans and viewers since the premiere episode. In every episode of “The Ride That Got Away,” we are on a mission to find these missing pieces of personal and family history and return them to their rightful owners who said goodbye to them long ago. What the owners don’t know is that they’re about to meet again. After finding their ride that got away, we meticulously repair, restore, re-imagine and create a fantasy version of the dream car. Every transformation is unique and personal to its owner. For example, we turn a ‘64 Impala into a lowrider and a 1920s Ford into a TBucket hotrod. At the end of each episode, we coordinate the “surprise of a lifetime” with the owners’ loved ones. With these amazing transformations, we’re making people’s dreams come true.

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I created the project, so I’m the executive producer and I’m one of the characters on the show. I also dive in and help with the builds, so you’ll see me do some welding and grinding and taking part in all aspects of the build. I wear a lot of hats on this project. My co-host is renowned car designer Troy Ladd. He is one of the best in the world, and I’m honored he came on board with the project. He basically swept the 2017 awards season for custom car building. Together, we assembled a team of the industry’s best, so we have these incredible fabricators who work on the vehicles. They are also amazing characters who make you laugh and at the end of the show even cry a little bit. I absolutely love our team, and they are so welcoming of me and the garage. They trust me and seem to love having me join in and get my hands dirty.


What was your inspiration to create “The Ride That Got Away”?


My inspiration was wanting to give back. The automotive industry has been very good to me and my family and I wanted to pay it forward. I always dreamed of doing a show with a give-back angle and I always wanted to work with Troy Ladd.


When we reunite these deserving people with their beloved rides that got away, what I feel is so powerful are the family relationships that grow even stronger because of what we are doing. What is your advice to young women considering a career in the automotive industry?


I always tell young women, including my 4-year-old daughter, Holland, you can do absolutely anything that you put your mind to. I honestly can’t believe I was able to execute this projCourtney Hansen hosts “The Ride That Got Away” with ect. Everything possible custom car designer and builder Troy Ladd stood in my way. There were I also wanted to make dreams countless obstacles and challenges to come true for the people who love surmount, so I believe you can do anytheir cars. The show highlights family thing if you are focused, work hard, relationships and the special bonds maintain a good attitude and don’t between family members. When you compromise your values and who you watch the show, you can really see are. I say, “Go for it; you can do whatthat it’s not just that they love the cars, ever you want to do.” We’re seeing more and more but the cars have meaning to their family and there is a strong history women in the automotive industry working for big automotive compathere.


nies, in the garage, on car shows and racing. I think it’s beautiful and there’s room for many, many more. I’ve found that the men in this industry support and actually encourage women’s involvement. I personally feel zero chauvinism, which I think is awesome. There are many different facets of the automotive world and opportunities women might not even realize are available if they have a love of cars. Depending on your skillset, there’s everything from getting hands-on with the vehicle to designing cars, working in production or even working for a big auction house. In addition to your television career, you’ve written a book. Can you tell us about “The Garage Girl’s Guide to Everything You Need to Know About Your Car”?


I wrote that book to educate women and first-time car buyers about the basics of owning a vehicle. I wanted to share the knowledge that I have, inspire more women to get involved in the automotive industry and pay attention to what they are driving.


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I was honored to receive Ford’s “Life in Drive” Award. This prestigious award recognizes women who combine talent with that little something extra that allows them to break free from convention to live life with style and attitude.

“The Ride That Got Away,” starring Hansen and Troy Ladd, premiered in January

I’m starting to work on a second book that focuses on being able to achieve your dreams with integrity, without compromising what you stand for.

Q: A:

What current trend have you noticed in the industry?

We’re definitely shifting toward the hybrid and electric car movement, but I can’t lie. I’m a

Continued from Page 38

ASA Presents While in-shop assessments will be optional in 2019, Notte anticipates it will become a requirement in the future. Notte then moved into a pricing comparison of the core curriculum, noting that Gold Class shops receive 20 percent off the standard pricing. In the new program, only five live courses are required. Standard pricing will increase by less than $500 for an average nine-technician shop, but the pricing includes 126 courses compared to the 71 courses currently offered, which will get a shop to ProLevel 3. “One of the stories this doesn’t tell is that the pricing is about the same, but you’re training more technicians, and again, the price is about the same. However long it takes you to get to ProLevel 3, this is the price to do that,” Notte explained. “There is also a monthly option to pay for that subscription.” Applying the subscription ap52

combustion engine woman. That’s my world. That’s my passion. I love the sound of them; I love the smell of them; I love the performance of combustion engines. At the same time, I understand we’re more environmentally conscious these days, so I also respect the trend that’s happening. There are a lot of impressive rides out there that are electric and there is performance there as well. Although vehicles are changing, those who love cars and racing aren’t going anywhere. I don’t think cars are disappearing as fast as some people say they are. At the same time, I think there is a shift with the millennials, unfortunately, away from cars and into electronics. I would love to see the younger generations care more about cars and I think these car shows, such as “The Ride That Got Away,” will help that. If people want to submit a story on behalf of their loved one who has a ride that got away, they don’t need a car. All they need is a deserving story, which can be submitted to ROYL Garage at ROYL Garage has offices in Burbank, CA; New York City; and southwest Florida.

proach, Notte examined the scaling formula to show that the annual base shop fee is $1,000, plus $325 per technician annually. This includes unlimited consumption of live FTS delivery, online/virtual courses and Ask I-CAR through the RTS product. The skills re-verification process will actually be less expensive because a full course is not required unless the re-verification of skills cannot be demonstated. The in-shop knowledge assessment price will be reduced because I-CAR promises better efficiencies with a two-day visit in the future, compared to the current three-day visit for a shop of nine technicians. After concluding his presentation, Notte answered questions from attendees about “The Even Better ICAR.”


Autobody News


Continued from Page 42

The 1960s by the car manufacturer. They usually ended up at dealer-owned body shops. This deepened the rift that already existed between independent shops and dealer-owned shops. In the days before computers and the mountains of statistics we have today, an article promoting maintenance, vehicle-painting and restoration for older cars stated that this type of work is necessary to generate profits because the collision repair customers are generally “one-time patrons.” It was unknown at that time that statistically, a person is going to be in an accident periodically. Another article encouraged shops to intermix their own paint, as opposed to buying factory-packaged paint from the local jobber or allowing the jobber to mix it. The article claimed that it is more profitable and efficient for even a small shop to intermix its own paint. Depending on the workload for the paint mixer at the local jobber, a shop could wait half a day

for a mixed pint of paint. Arco Paints, the paint and chemical division of the Martin Marietta Company, was one of only two paint manufacturers advertising in this first collision industry magazine. The other paint manufacturer was Rinshed-Mason Company. An advertisement placed by the Equipment and Tool Institute of Kalamazoo, MI, asked, “Why service today’s cars with equipment and tools born in the ‘50s?” The ad invited shops to upgrade their tools and equipment to meet the needs of modern cars and replace tools that were worn or outdated. Today, there are several collision trade journals serving the industry, each with its own special twist. Autobody News is unique in the industry because it offers local news and information but with a national flavor in both paper and digital media, providing a great service to readers and advertisers. As you browse through this issue of Autobody News, consider what Emil Stanley started almost 60 years ago ... and thanks for being an Autobody News subscriber.

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Day Job/Night Job

Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist based in San Francisco, California. He can be reached at

with Ed Attanasio

Fledgling Auto Body Technician is Well-Known, Dedicated Bagpiper Kristopher Muse, a metal technician at Mike’s Auto Body, is only 25, but he has been playing the bagpipes for 14 years and is a member of one of the largest nationally acclaimed bagpipe bands in the country. Muse joined the Prince Charles Pipe Band (PCPB) in South San Francisco, CA, when he was only 11. J.W. Bill Merriman, former member of the City of San Francisco Caledonian Pipe Band, taught him the art of bagpiping. The band, which began with a small number of students, has

In February 2017, Kristopher Muse graduated from Mike’s Auto Body’s training program in Antioch, CA, and is currently working at the company's Vallejo, CA, location as a metal technician

trained approximately 500 pipers and drummers and has been competing in the U.S., Canada and Scotland for more than 50 years. To be a good metal technician and excel as a piper, Muse knows training is the only way to get there. “To fix a car properly, you have to be thinking and multi-tasking all the time, and playing the pipes is very similar,” he said. “We have to memorize the music, and there are a lot of different things going on when I’m piping.” In February 2017, Muse graduated from Mike’s Auto Body’s training program in Antioch, CA. He is currently working at the MSO’s Vallejo, CA, location as a metal technician. “To complete the training program at Mike’s, I went through a lot of classroom instruction along with performing hands-on repairs on metal, plastic, panel removal and vehicle construction on salvaged vehicles. After I completed the program, I had already earned I-CAR Training Pro Level 1, and I am now also fully 54

Car-O-Liner-certified. The director of the program is Lupe Algood, who is an amazing teacher who sets up all his students for ongoing success in this industry.” Since Muse’s graduation from the program, Algood has watched him progress within the company. “When he entered the program, he didn’t know much about cars, but he has worked hard to learn the trade, and his focus is incredible,” Algood said. “He is a hard worker and stands out for his commitment to the company and the craft.” After graduation, Muse went through Mike’s Auto Body’s mentoring program, shadowing journeyman techs and learning the trade by doing it all himself. “It’s great working with someone who knows what they’re doing,” he said. “I’ve had two amazing mentors, Jim Dowton and Gary Bissitt, who are awesome teachers. I am currently working with Gary at Mike’s Vallejo location, and I learn something new every day. In three or four years, I hope to become a journeyman technician and continue on this path.” Muse plays the bagpipes at a wide range of events, including the Benevolence car giveaways that Mike’s Auto Body holds every year. His connection to the instrument goes way back, he said. “My grandmother Jean is from Manchester, England, and some of my ancestors are Scottish, so I believe that piping is in my blood,” Muse said. “My grandma introduced me to the bagpipes, and we would play them along with records. Two of my great uncles played pipes in the Black Watch, the famous Royal Highland Regiment. I was 11 when I started taking one-on-one lessons before being able to play with the PCPB during practices held on Sundays.” A big highlight for Muse’s piping career took place when he competed in the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, Scotland as part of the Prince Charles Pipe Band. This iconic event was first held in 1906. The annual Cowal Highland


Gathering attracts more than 220 bands from 15 different countries, and the winners are recognized as world champions. “We were up against the best in the world, and it was a big thrill,” Muse said. “We did not make it to the qualifiers, but we’re talking about going back next year. It was a great learning experience.”

Muse is a member of the Prince Charles Pipe Band, an organization that has trained approximately 500 pipers and drummers and has been competing in the U.S., Canada and Scotland for more than 50 years

Excelling at playing the bagpipes isn’t easy. “You blow into the blowpipe to fill the bag, which you then apply

pressure to with your arm to squeeze the air out of the three drones and the Chanter,” Muse said. “While air is flowing through them, the drones and chanter each emit sound. Your hands go on the chanter, and that’s the part that plays the melody.” One bagpipe teacher remarked online that playing the bagpipes is trying to “keep a hole-filled bag inflated while also carrying a chair on your shoulder, marching around in a kilt, and keeping your fingers moving.” As a piper in popular demand, Muse constantly plays at parades, band competitions, corporate gigs, funerals and other events as a band member or solo act. He knows at least 40 songs by heart but will play some of the more well-known ones if requested, including “Amazing Grace,” “When the Battle is Over,” “Green Hills of the Tyrol” and “Scotland the Brave.”

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National 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

Women in Auto and Collision Holds 1st Meeting of 2019 On Jan. 15, Women in Auto and Collision (WAC) held its first meeting of 2019 at Ranken Technical College in St. Louis, MO. The meeting was hosted by Department Chair John Helterbrand and featured a presentation by guest speaker Chazzerene Howard, a Ranken collision student. Dinner was sponsored by Meramec Heights Collision. According to WAC President Shelly Jones, “We learned about Ranken’s automotive & collision program and received a tour. We also announced WAC’s new mission statement and discussed our goal to enhance our booth presence at career fairs.” WAC’s mission statement was simplified to “Industry professionals promoting automotive careers.” Jones shared, “Our mission statement was changed to be more reflective of the group of people that we

have as members and to open the group to all opportunities to promote all segments of the automotive industry. This is a women-led group that has a membership of women and men from a wide range of companies and roles within the industry. These indus-

WAC met on Jan. 15 to discuss the group’s plans for 2019 at Ranken Technical College

try advocates collaborate on how to engage and attract talent. “WAC is moving into 2019 with flexibility and growth in mind. This year, we will continue to grow our membership and tailor it so that professionals can float in and out as time allows. We are finding that our mission speaks to many, but time is a

barrier. In 2019, we want to make certain that members know that they are welcome to join, whether they participate in one meeting or all the meetings and events. To encourage continued growth, we made the announcement that our annual individual membership will be $50 in 2019.” WAC also discussed the goal of enhancing the association’s presence at career fairs. “We currently have tools of the trade, a mannequin dressed in a paint suit and gear, career opportunity fliers, and WAC members to engage the youth and start conversations,” Jones explained. “Our next step is to have eye-catching statements and interactive activities that will draw students and their parents to the table. We are sourcing virtual equipment as an exciting way for young people to test out the technical aspects of the industry.”

East Coast Resolution Forum To Return to NORTHEAST 2019 The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) and the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) recently announced the East Coast Resolution Forum & Leadership Meeting will once again take place in conjunction with AASP/NJ’s Annual NORTHEAST® Automotive Services Show.

This year’s event will take place on Friday, March 15 at 1 p.m. at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, NJ. This forum brings automotive repair leaders and various state affiliate representatives together for a roundtable discussion to share and discuss industry challenges and solutions. “One of the distinct values for us 56

as a national association is the faceto-face time with so many of our state affiliate associations,” shared SCRS Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg. “The NORTHEAST leadership conference presents the opportunity to sit together in a room and talk through the challenges facing our members while tapping into this network to foster broader understanding of problems and potential solutions.” “Year after year, the East Coast Resolution Forum always provides the participants with relevant information on current events happening in our industry. The unique difference about this forum is that instead of identifying problems, we are able to discuss solutions,” stated NYSACT/LIABRA Executive Director Ed Kizenberger, moderator of the forum. For more information, please visit


The group also discussed sponsorship levels for 2019. Sheena Wagner, WAC sponsor coordinator, thanked current corporate sponsors and announced new sponsors. “It is exciting to have reps of many of these companies participate in our meetings. Sheena has worked hard to share our mission and build a sponsor base,” Jones stated. “WAC Secretary Kelle Oeste has also been vital to this initiative of bringing in new sponsors. Between the two of them, we have added sponsorships from Kent Automotive, Vintage Air and Eckler’s Automotive Parts Wholesale Division in the last few weeks.” WAC announced that the St. Louis School-Business Partnership has invited the association to participate in an annual conference in February, the theme of which will be “Shaping the Talent of Tomorrow.” See 1st Meeting of 2019, Page 64

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Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist based in San Francisco, California. He can be reached at

with Ed Attanasio

Team-Building Events Make Your Business Better on Many Levels In the old days, they were called retreats: A group of employees would meet at a hotel and go out in the woods or up in the mountains to bond, and the really smart people would figure a way out of it. Now, however, they’re called team-building activities, and more and more companies, including body shops, are holding several every year for their staff. Some employers are saying good-bye to the traditional company events and replacing them with team-building activities, removing the possibility of employees getting drunk and making a scene at the company holiday party or getting hurt by trying to be a hero at the company softball game. Some shops hire motivational speakers to inspire their crew. One MSO in northern California takes all of its employees on a three-day cruise. As the team-building event industry has grown, companies have created activities with names like Mr. Treasure Hunt, Paint Night, Parties that Cook, Laser Quest and Mystery by Design, among others. Loni Amato, president of Ingenious Solutions in Sacramento, CA, has helped the company’s clients discover team-building activities that match their goals and company mission. “Team-building is the process of turning a group of a company’s employees into a cohesive team by doing interesting and entertaining things together,” Amato said. “After participating in team-building activities together, employees can better understand one another’s strengths, weaknesses and interests. We have discovered that these events improve productivity while increasing motivation, collaboration and communication. When people spend time with each other away from the workplace, they start trusting each other more and get positive reinforcement from each other.” Here are some popular and affordable team-building activities that usually require one full day or an evening of your employees’ time. Some of these have different names 58

depending on your location, but you should be able to find these types of events no matter where you are. Paint Nights are more popular now than ever before because they provide a great opportunity for bonding through art. No painting experience is required as a performing artist teaches your crew how to paint an image that they get to take home while enjoying food and refreshments. Mr. Treasure Hunt is a city-wide scavenger hunt that stresses problemsolving and teamwork with clues, puzzles and races. Urban Putt features 14 different mini-golf courses for groups of any size, including food and libations. Some other shops host kart racing, fake mountain-climbing at a climbing gym or even bungee jumping, but make sure everyone signs a release form before embarking. Adventure Challenge courses, consisting of cables, ladders, ropes and other obstacles, provide physical, emotional and mental challenges together to build a stronger team. The Go-Game is an app that makes team-building easy and convenient and can be done in or out of the office. Mystery by Design is a great way to build your crew while solving a mystery! With more than 20 intriguing plots, your employees can get into character and let their imaginations take over. Matt McDonnell, the forwardthinking owner of Big Sky Collision Center in Billings, MT, truly believes that team-building activities help his employees become smarter, healthier and more engaged on many levels, he said. One of McDonnell’s most popular team-building events is a book club, which shows you don’t even have to leave the building to get your people involved. “Every Monday, we meet to discuss a book for one hour. The club is always well-attended,” McDonnell said. “The first book we read was ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie, and we can


see that some of our people are now using some of the theories outlined in the book. We also read ‘Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demand of Reality’ by Dr. Henry Cloud, and now we’re reading ‘Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depends on It’ by Chris Voss. We pay for the books and buy the coffee, and it turns out to be a great experience with at least half of our employees involved. Some of our people have told us that these are the first books they’ve read since high school, so the club gets their creative juices going, and it helps them with their jobs.” Another team-building and selfimprovement vehicle that McDonnell uses every day involves physical exercise, he said. “I built a CrossFit gym in our basement, and we have a few workout groups consisting of 10–12 people who go down there daily,” he

said. “We encourage them to get in shape, and several of our employees have lost a ton of weight and turned their lives around by working out during business hours. Our motto here is ‘Look better, feel better and perform better,’ and this gym is a big part of that.” Five days a week, Big Sky Collision Center engages its employees in activities that build a better crew and enrich their lives. “We have estimator training, captain’s meetings, customer service training and negotiating schools, and we do it all in-house. We are making our people better through these classes, and the investment has paid itself back in many ways,” he said.


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Volvo Releases Statement for Repair Shops by Emmariah Holcomb,

Volvo recently released a statement involving what is to be used for windshield replacements on its vehicles. According to the company, it wants only original equipment manufacturer (OEM) auto glass used. “Volvo Car USA LLC requires all windshield replacements on Volvo vehicles be performed according to Volvo standards at an authorized Volvo facility, using only Volvo Genuine Windshields and adhesives,” a portion of the statement reads. Volvo also stated there are “many variants” for vehicle windshields as far as the aftermarket is concerned and that there isn’t a way to ensure all aftermarket windshields meet the same standards that the company does. The new release aims to continue setting a standard for Volvo’s vehicles by only recommending OEM. “Volvo genuine windshields are manufactured to the same spec-

ifications as the windshield originally installed in vehicle at time of assembly, offering perfect fit, exact tolerances and maximum precision. Aftermarket alternatives may not meet these exact specifications and may affect the car’s passive safety technology, active safety functions as well as the overall rigidness of the body,” a portion of the statement reads. It’s imperative to have the right windshield fit and to calibrate after replacing a windshield equipped with safety features for a customer, but Volvo claims that if aftermarket glass is used, the results might differ. “Aftermarket windshield services may find it quite difficult to properly recalibrate,” a portion of the statement reads. We thank for reprint permission.


Caliber Collision, ABRA Auto Body Repair of America Announce the Closing of Merger Transaction Caliber Collision Centers and ABRA Auto Body Repair of America recently announced the closing of their merger that unites the companies’ teams, brands and operations. Going forward, the combined company will be investing even more in enhanced technologies, specialized resources and innovative processes to redefine world-class standards for quality repairs and customer service in the industry. “We plan on maintaining all existing centers from both companies as we embark on our journey to create one company with one operating model and one culture. We plan on further strengthening our culture that strongly supports our teammates’ careers behind industry-leading development programs,” said Steve Grimshaw, Caliber’s chief executive officer, who now serves as CEO of the new combined company.The new combined company, now operating under the Caliber brand name, will provide customers and clients with the first national lifetime warranty along with even more offerings, in-

cluding dedicated non-drive facilities, express repair centers and aluminum-certified and high-line centers. The combined company will also offer glass repair, diagnostic scanning and calibration services and the broadest network of OEM-certified locations in the U.S. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Private equity firm Hellman & Friedman—ABRA’s majority shareholder since 2014— will become the majority shareholder of the combined company. Caliber’s two largest shareholders, OMERS and Leonard Green & Partners, L.P. (LGP), will be minority shareholders in the combined company. “We believe this merger represents the next evolution of the collision repair industry. The combination further enhances the companies’ best-in-class performance metrics, proven acquisition integration processes, strong relationships with insurance clients and career opportunities for our teammates,” said Erik Ragatz, partner at Hellman & Friedman.

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Toyota Works With Carma Project to Encourage Drivers to Check Vehicle Recall Status by Samantha Serbin, WTVM

By the end of 2019, 55–70 million vehicles will have been recalled for defective Takata airbags.

and family get their cars checked. The president of the Carma Project, Tony Lim, said the combination of heat and humidity, along with the age of the car, causes the issue with the airbags. “What happens is the airbag inflator, which is a metallic canister, if it ruptures, it is essentially shooting

and an additional $50 worth of gift cards when they actually have their vehicle repaired. “It is a tremendous opportunity for people like you and me, your mom, your dad, brother, sister, family, friends and co-workers. We can all do something really good on social media,” Lim said.

“Check your vehicles; check your mom’s; check your co-workers’,” — Tania Saldana

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said this is the largest recall in U.S. history. Nineteen automakers are impacted by this recall on Takata airbags. Toyota, being one of the impacted automakers, is working on a new project to encourage its customers to get their vehicles checked out. It is collaborating with the Carma Project, giving gift cards to people for spreading information about the recall and having friends

shrapnel to people, not only on the driver’s side, but potentially the passenger side as well,” Lim said. “So it’s a very dangerous recall that a lot of car owners and consumers need to take seriously.” “Check your vehicles; check your mom’s; check your co-workers’,” said Toyota communications manager Tania Saldana. How the incentive program works: Visit and send information about this recall to your social network. You’ll receive $5 in gift cards for every Toyota owner who schedules an appointment to have their vehicle repaired

The repair is free for the Toyota owner, and they can have the service done at any Toyota or Lexus location. “What people need to understand is that sharp metal fragments could spray directly at the driver and passengers if these defective airbags deploy, and this could increase the risk of serious injury or even death,” said Saldana. You can also download the airbag recall app to see if your vehicle is impacted. We thank WTVM for reprint permission.

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CARSTAR Expands Dealership-Based Facilities CARSTAR is continuing to build upon its network of collision repair facilities based in auto dealerships. At the end of 2018, CARSTAR had more than 50 collision repair facilities in dealerships in the U.S. and Canada. This trend is expected to continue in the coming years as dealership owners look to improve their collision repair facility performance and profitability. Today, nearly two of every five franchised dealerships operate collision repair centers, the National Automobile Dealers Association reports. At the 2019 National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) show, CARSTAR had an opportunity to showcase its powerful resources to auto dealers from around the world. “We’ve created very dynamic partnerships with automobile dealerships that combine the local dealer’s brand name with CARSTAR’s proprietary operating procedures, insurance relationships and training programs,” said Michael Macaluso, president of CARSTAR.

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Does the Collision Industry Have a Crisis of Opportunity? by Gary Ledoux

Ever since the earliest days of “motoring,” when vehicle owners had to depend on blacksmiths, plumbers, bicycle mechanics and other artisans of the day to repair a broken spring or a crumpled fender, there has been a cry about the shortage of qualified technicians that is still heard today. But Josh Carlisle, auto collision instructor for the Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center in Cape Girardeau, MO, has a slightly different perspective. He claims the current situation is more of a crisis or shortage of opportunity, rather than a shortage of people. “The younger generation has little to no chance of breaking into the collision repair business,” said Carlisle. His reasoning for the “crisis of opportunity” is two-fold: 1.) “Most shops are not interested in hand-holding new techs” said Carlisle. “They want people with five-plus years of experience. They want their new tech to hit the ground running. The new techs can’t gain any experience if they can’t get hired in the first place.” 2.) “There is a crisis of opportunity because there is a crisis of pay plans,” he continued. “Most shops want to pay a new tech around $9 per hour. For a 48-hour week, that’s only around $23K per year. Meanwhile, the new tech might have $30K in student loans, plus they have to buy tools. It doesn’t pencil out.” Based on this assumption, Autobody News went to several industry leaders and consultants to ask, “Do we really have a ‘crisis of opportunity’?” Doug Irish, department chair of Collision Repair & Refinishing Technology at Fayetteville Technical Community College in Fayetteville, NC, said he thinks there may be a lack of opportunity at the local level for students and graduates just entering the collision industry workforce. New people may have to relocate to find the opportunity. Irish said, “They may not find work in their own backyard. Right here in Fayetteville, we have three of the largest MSOs in the country. A new tech may find an opportunity 62

with them, but it may be at one of their other locations. We had one student get a job offer on the West Coast. It took a lot of commitment to move.” As for the crisis of hourly pay, Irish said, “I have not seen anyone lowballing new techs at $9 per hour in this market.” When asked about the high end of the pay scale, Irish replied, “I’ve seen a graduate with an associate’s degree start at $75,000 per year. It wasn’t in this area, but the point is there is opportunity out there. “It is true that some shop owners have no appetite for new techs. Their perception is that they have no time for mentoring people. They don’t want to be ‘babysitting’ the new guy. What we need to do as an industry is foster a ‘mentor mentality’ within each shop so we can grow people. The ageold act of ‘pirating’ people from other shops does not solve our problem.” Brandon Eckenrode, director of development for the Collision Repair Education Foundation, said he feels there are certainly some shops that only want experienced techs. But plenty of work is available for basic techs too, and plenty of new people are going through training classes. “The problem is—and any instructor will tell you this—out of a class of 20 people, there are maybe five who have shown some initiative and are willing to do the work,” he said. “The others are filling a seat. Auto shop tends to be a dumping ground in some schools when they don’t know what to do with a student. “As for the $9 versus $15 per hour pay scale—that is an issue. Yes, a person with no experience can start at a higher rate in other professions. What I always look at is the potential. A person starting at a lower rate at a body shop can train, learn from mentors and be worth more and make more over time, whereas the person who started at $15 per hour could [stay at that] rate for the foreseeable future.” Marc Gabbard is the president of GSR Quality Collision Repair in Yakima, WA, and administers a Facebook page called Collision Repair Technicians United. He said, “I prefer the new guys. All three of my current guys came from the local high school voc-tech


program. They were all green. For two of them, this was their first job. I’ve had great success with hiring green talent and training, and maybe that’s because I participate in an internship and mentoring program. I have hired several technicians directly out of that program.” On the question of money, Kristen Felder, well-known industry icon and president of Collision Hub, said, “Young people today—not all, but many—have been led to believe they will make big money right out of tech school. The fact is: Most don’t. They have to pay their dues. And so many are set up for failure from the start. “It’s not so much a shortage of people or even a crisis of opportunity. It’s much bigger than that—it’s a crisis of culture. It is something no Band-Aid will fix. There is no silver bullet. Our industry needs a change in culture, and it starts with the way most technicians are paid. “Most techs today are paid on a commission basis. The more they hustle, the more work they put out, and the more money they make. This

creates a number of problems, one of which is having no time or appetite to mentor new techs. In fact, we could live without tech schools if shops had a good mentoring program and a business model to support it. ABRA, Caliber and Fix Auto all have great programs that get a new person doing productive work in weeks, not months or years. “Another issue is more societal. The WWII generation and baby boomers had a strong work ethic. They didn’t mind working hard. They didn’t mind hustling; in fact, they expected to. They were motivated to buy a new car, buy a house, buy a motorcycle and boat. The WWII generation is gone and baby boomers are retiring. Their [type] will not be seen again. Those replacing them, the millennials, aren’t driven by the same motivation. Many couldn’t care less about owning a car or house, let alone motorcycles and boats. They want a different quality of life and yet, the current business model used in collision shops is based on the hustle mentality of earlier gen-

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erations. Today’s generation wants to work 9 to 5, and then move on to other things in their life. Their work does not define them. It just doesn’t work anymore for the Xbox and Google generation. “The answer is a shop pay plan based on salary with a built-in training/mentoring component. If people are salaried, the shop owner can then better control costs and work more efficiently. If they then control other overhead and productions costs and work more efficiently, they are better able to afford training and mentoring.” David Luehr, president and founder of Elite Body Shop Solutions, offered, “If a shop is only recruiting people with five-plus years of experience, it is convenient for the shop owner, but not necessarily the right way to do things. They might be missing out on some very talented people with less experience. Plus, those experienced people may have years of bad habits that have to be un-learned, whereas new people can be taught the right way of making repairs and learn that shop’s way of doing things. It is easier to adopt a culture from scratch rather than unlearn one and re-learn another.” “On the question of money: Everyone has to eat, so a shop needs to set a pay schedule that is in line with the geographic area and type of work. “One of my favorite sayings is, ‘If you want to attract more people to your business, make your business more attractive.’ The newspaper and online ads that shops use today to attract people are the same ads that were used 40 years ago: ‘Wanted: Busy

Shop Needs Experienced Collision Tech – Must Have Own Tools – Inquire at…’ How we advertise makes a difference. We have to tell prospective technicians why our shop is a better place to work. The current generation is driven not by a ‘hard work’ ethic but by more intangible things. They want a career path. They want a diversified work model; they don’t want to be stuck doing the same job for an interminable amount of time.” When asked if a shop’s labor rate affects its ability to afford to train and mentor a new tech, Luehr replied, “Of course labor rates are important, but it doesn’t tell the whole story of profitability. It’s more about a shop’s efficiency. I know shops that charge $45 an hour and are doing well and shops on the West Coast with a labor rate of $100 per hour that are hurting. If your work is sloppy and you spend a lot of time re-doing jobs, or you are wasteful with materials and don’t keep your overhead costs under control, you won’t have any money for anything other than keeping your head above water.” Bruce King, a former Massachusetts owner of five shops and current coach for Elite Body Shop Solutions, offered, “We used to hire detailers for $12 per hour and burned through a lot of people because not only was it a boring, repetitious job, but it didn’t pay well. We found a pizza shop down the street paying people $20 per hour just to deliver pizzas! Deliver pizzas! We then reassessed the job of detailer and how important it was. The body guys and painter may have done a great job on the repair, but if we deliver a dirty car

Continued from Page 56

level sponsors will be added to the website going forward as the association strives to keep members and visitors informed. WAC will host its next meeting on Feb. 19 at North Tech High School at noon with senior students in attendance. Jason Buchheit, collision instructor, will be hosting the event and will provide lunch. This will be WAC’s first lunch meeting. If it is well-attended, WAC will consider adding more lunch meetings throughout the year. For more information about WAC, visit the association’s new website at

1st Meeting of 2019 Jones noted, “Typically, they host 75–100 educators and industry members, and nearly all school districts in St. Louis County are represented. Julie Hemann, WAC treasurer, and I are honored to be invited to sit on a panel in a breakout session on Promoting Nontraditional Careers.” Finally, WAC announced that the group’s website has officially been launched under the guidance of WAC Vice President Jess Crump. Events, meetings, articles and Gold 64


to a customer, that’s all they see and it is how the shop is rated. So we increased the pay scale and also developed a career path for that position. “I like hiring [millenials] because they are team-oriented; all they need is some training. One of the problems shops have is they hire techs as if they were independent contractors, and then they get angry when the tech starts acting like an independent contractor by coming and going as he pleases. It’s important that they know they are part of a team and what they do affects everyone else on the team. Each person has to do what is right for the team and for the mission. As a manager, this is what we have to get across. The problem is not the individual tech—it is how they are managed. Give the techs a mission and a path and set milestones.” Jeff Peevy, long-time executive with I-CAR and current president of the Automotive Management Institute (AMi), has dealt with training collision techs for years. He realizes, perhaps better than anyone, that this is a multi-faceted issue. “We need to look in the mirror and honestly face the reality that if

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we do not sincerely and effectively address this issue, we will have a crisis that will cripple our industry in the very near future,” he said. “We need a willingness to work together for the greater good and recognize our industry’s success is tied to everyone. Individual efforts, though commendable, will struggle without industrywide support and acceptance.” So … is there a “crisis of opportunity” as Josh Carlisle contends? It depends on the person with whom you discuss it, their perspective, and the degree to which the issue exists. Peevy perhaps sums it up best: “Our industry has not organized itself well enough as a whole to be competitive against other trades. We lack the industry-accepted structure around apprenticeship programs. Being an industry of small businesses, we inherit the usual small business challenges associated with offering the level of benefits to be competitive.” As of this writing, Peevy, who is also Collision Industry Conference chairman, vowed to bring up this issue at the next CIC meeting and make new-tech training and recruitment a priority for the industry.

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Is Trump About To Clobber the Auto Industry? by Rick Newman, Yahoo Finance

press this industry.”

Investors have been edgy about President Trump’s trade dispute with China. But there’s another trade threat that’s going to flare soon: the possibility of new tariffs on nearly $200 billion worth of automotive imports, which would kill jobs and send car prices soaring if imposed by Trump. Last year, Trump directed the Commerce Department to investigate whether automotive imports pose a threat to national security, with a report due no later than Feb. 17 of this year. If the report finds cause for concern—as everybody expects—it would give Trump the authority to impose tariffs within 90 days. And he has already proposed a 25 percent tariff on imported autos. The premise is ridiculous: Nobody in the national security business thinks imported cars are a threat. But the threat of tariffs is leverage Trump feels he needs to strike better deals on trade with Europe, Japan and China. Trump, for instance, wants those nations to lower their own tariffs on imports from America and make it easier for U.S. firms to enter those markets. If Trump did impose the tariffs, it would immediately hit the economy. “A 25 percent tariff could lead to a decline in sales volume larger than what a recession would produce,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at Cox Automotive and owner of Kelley Blue Book and other services. “It could be autos that create the next recession.” Even if Trump is bluffing, the threat of tariffs could punish shares of General Motors, Ford and other automakers until the fight subsides. At this year’s Detroit Auto Show, Bob Carter, head of Toyota North America, told Yahoo Finance that a 25 percent tariff on imported autos and auto parts would add $1,800 to the cost of a Camry sedan—even though Toyota builds the Camry in the United States with many American components. “Consumers are the ones who pay those taxes,” Carter said. “Tariffs on automotive parts would sup-

Affecting Decision-Making Tariffs are already distorting automotive decision-making. Last year, Ford canceled plans to import the Focus Active compact from China to the United States because of the new


using the threat as leverage to get concessions from Europe, Japan and China. Trump and his top trade negotiator, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, could ask for the European Union, for instance, to lower its tariff on U.S. imports, since Europe charges a 10 percent tariff on

“A 25 percent tariff could lead to a decline in sales volume larger than what a recession would produce. It could be autos that create the next recession.” — Jonathan Smoke, tariffs Trump has already imposed on Chinese imports, which include cars and car parts. Trump wants companies to build such products in the United States, but Ford can’t make a profit on a low-margin economy car if it builds it here. So it won’t offer the compact in the U.S. market at all. “We had a great plan to have a Focus Active here in the U.S.,” Ford Executive Vice President Jim Farley told Yahoo Finance in Detroit. “Customers aren’t going to pay for a tariff in the U.S.” Trump’s auto tariff probably wouldn’t apply to imports from Mexico and Canada, as long as Congress ratifies the new trade deal the three countries inked last year to update the old NAFTA agreement. That would leave around $103 billion worth of new-car imports from the rest of the world, and about $77 billion worth of parts, according to 2017 figures. The Center for Automotive Research says a 25 percent tax on auto imports from all countries except Canada and Mexico would raise the average cost of a car by $2,450. There would be more production in the United States, as Trump wants, but total auto sales would fall by about 1.2 million units per year because of higher prices. On net, that would kill 197,000 jobs. And if the tariffs did apply to imports from Canada and Mexico, the economic damage would more than double. Some auto executives think Trump is more likely to bluff on tariffs than to actually impose them,


imported cars but the U.S. tariff is only 2.5 percent. They could demand better access to the Japanese market, which is essentially closed to American cars. And the threat of auto tariffs would add to the pressure on China, which is already fighting a second battle with Trump over reforms he wants. There’s also the chance that Tar-

iff Man, as Trump famously calls himself, could go through with the auto tariffs, if only because he believes—against the advice of nearly all mainstream economists—that tariffs foster more home-grown employment. Some trade experts thought Trump would repeal the steel and aluminum tariffs he imposed last year, or at least exempt Canada and Mexico, once he got a renegotiated NAFTA. But he hasn’t, even though higher costs are costing automakers billions. Trump’s latest tariff gambit comes as forecasters expect auto sales to taper off in 2019, after several years of record sales. GM just announced it’s closing five plants, and other automakers may cut back as well if sales slow as expected. Tariffs would force automakers to hit the brakes harder. Buckle up. We thank Yahoo Finance for reprint permission.



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WIN Calls for Board of Director Candidates The Women’s Industry Network® (WIN) is now accepting applications for seats on its board of directors. The board consists of representatives from various industry segments including (but not limited to) collision repair shops, distributors, suppliers, consultants, paint manufacturers, recyclers and insurance companies. Participants from all segments of the collision repair industry are welcome, the only requirement being that the applicants are WIN members in good standing. “Volunteering for board service is an outstanding opportunity to have continuous influence on our industry,” said Michelle Sullivan, WIN chair and chair of the Board Nominating Committee. “WIN is seeking members to apply for seats on our 2019 board as we continue to drive growth and success for the organization in the coming years.” The WIN board of directors provides overall strategic direction for WIN and is responsible for making policy decisions that execute WIN’s vision and mission. “Engaging at the board level is an outstanding way to advance our industry and guide the success

Accountable Estimating Joins CIECA Accountable Estimating recently joined CIECA as a Corporate Member. Established in 2018 by Kent Ruppert and Scott Ellegood, the company focuses on training individuals involved in the estimating and repair planning process, including estimators, blueprinters, CSRs and their management. Members of Accountable Estimating’s leadership team have followed CIECA from its inception. “CIECA standards allow our customers to share their data with us in real-time so that we may offer solutions to their problems as they need them,” said Ruppert. “This allows our customers to use their information more effectively and make decisions that grow their businesses.” “CIECA’s standards are the gold standard of electronic commerce in the collision industry and offer us the ability to provide meaningful solutions to our industry,” said Ellegood. “With the help of CIECA, Accountable Estimating will guide the collision industry in taking control of their estimating process.” 68

of WIN while building leadership skills, business acumen and invaluable industry relationships,” said Jenny Anderson, a member of the current board and the Board Nominating Committee. Each year, the board updates its strategic plan and each member contributes to the execution of that plan. The volunteer board members work together to foster an environment that encourages the recruitment, retention, education and networking of women in the collision repair industry. New board members will begin their term and be introduced to the organization at large at the 2019 Educational Conference, May 6–8 at the Westin in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The deadline for applications is Feb. 28. For application requirements and further details, please visit Completed applications should be emailed to michelle.sullivan@

ASA Partners With Kukui to Enable Shops to Build Competitive Websites The Automotive Service Association has joined forces with Kukui as its latest Sponsored Benefit Provider. ASA Sponsored Benefit Provider companies provide special-priced member services and products to ASA members to help offset their everyday business costs. Kukui provides businesses a custom marketing website platform that integrates with each business’s Point of Sale system. This provides Kukui’s clients with quantitative data showing their return on investment, the number of new clients based on their POS system, statistics revealing their customer retention rate and areas to improve their business through the tracking of phone calls, appointment forms and feedback from customer reviews. “Throughout my career, I have been personally impressed with ASA,” said Todd Westerlund, CEO of Kukui. “The organization has stood as a stalwart of leadership in the service and repair industry. Being able to add Kukui’s member benefit to the long list of outstanding supporters is an honor.”

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APU Solutions Renews Commitment to CIECA Standards APU Solutions, a Solera company, has renewed its commitment to CIECA and the CIECA standards. Founded in 1999, APU is based in Overland Park, KS. The company’s focus is to ensure the correct part is used in the repair process. “We work closely with our supplier partners to vet the data before it is presented to the insurance companies or body shops,” said Jay Scruton, director of product management, APU Solutions. “Our goal is to show a significant reduction in severity, supplements and an increased usage of quality alternative parts for our customers.” Since joining CIECA in 2004, several APU employees have regularly served on various CIECA committees. The company has used the CIECA BMS in a variety of B2B integrations with partners across the industry. “APU has long been a strong proponent of CIECA standards in the industry,” said Jon Delgado, APU Solutions’ senior software engineering manager. “CIECA’s dedication to the development and maintenance of messaging standards has been instrumental in APU’s product develop-

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Enterprise Holdings Foundation Contributes $75,000 to CREF The Enterprise Holdings Foundation has continued its support of the Collision Repair Education Foundation with a contribution of $75,000 to support collision education. The donation benefits the entire industry by enhancing the Collision Repair Education Foundation’s ability to offer grants and scholarships to career and technical schools and colleges and the students attending these schools. The Enterprise Holdings Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the company that operates the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent-A-Car brands through its integrated global network of independent and regional subsidiaries and franchises. “These students are vital to the future of the collision repair and automotive insurance industries, as well as our own business and vehicle service centers, and through our support of the Collision Repair Education Foundation, we can help students pursue their careers in the industry,” said Mary Mahoney, vice president of Insurance Replacement for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. “We’re committed to helping provide opportunities for the next generation of ve-

hicle repair technicians to receive high-quality, hands-on repair training through access to the latest vehicle models and technologies.” Clark Plucinski, executive director of the Collision Repair Education Foundation, added, “Enterprise’s continued support of the Collision Repair Education Foundation provides crucial support to the industry’s efforts to help collision schools across the country. These schools graduate productive, efficient, and capable staff members [for] day one on the job within the collision industry. Enterprise’s support assists our ability to help high school and post-secondary collision instructors provide the quality technical education their students need to succeed in the industry.” Industry members interested in working with the Collision Repair Education Foundation in support of secondary and post-secondary collision repair students, instructors and their school programs should contact Education Foundation Director of Development Brandon Eckenrode at or (312) 231-0258.



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Car Accident Total Loss Lawsuits Allege Insurance Company Violations by Sage Datko, Top Class Actions

Several class action lawsuits have been filed against multiple insurance companies, including GEICO, State Farm, Allstate, Progressive and First National, over their total loss auto coverage. These lawsuits cite many claims, including that the companies violated their own policies and have not fully reimbursed customers for the total value of their vehicles following a car accident total loss insurance payout. The lawsuits against GEICO and State Farm claim that the companies fail to include sales tax and title transfer fees in their valuation, wrongfully deflate values following car accident total loss insurance claims, and rely on invalid and outdated methods to assign a value to vehicle damages. Sales tax and title transfer fees vary by state but can often add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars. Policyholders claim that insurance companies should be responsible for paying these fees after a total loss car accident claim. One policyholder named as a plaintiff in a class action lawsuit against GEICO claims that

she was forced to pay around $1,500 in title transfer and sales tax fees after the total loss of her vehicle. Car Accident Total Loss Lawsuits A Florida class action lawsuit filed against GEICO in 2016 claims that the company’s refusal to include sales tax and title transfer fees in total loss valuations violated its own policy language. The plaintiffs in that case argued that sales tax and title transfer fees are mandatory costs associated with replacing a total loss vehicle and that under GEICO’s own policy, the insurer is responsible for all costs associated with replacing or repairing the damaged property. The plaintiffs are suing for breach of contract. A recent class action lawsuit filed against State Farm claims that the methodology used by the insurance company to assign a value to vehicles after total loss claims is not based on any industry-standard valuation method. The plaintiffs in this lawsuit claim that the company intentionally deflates vehicle value estimations in order to pay out less than the actual pre-loss value of the vehicle. The plaintiffs in the State

Farm lawsuit estimate that the insurance company has made millions of dollars from this alleged scheme at the expense of policyholders. What is a car accident total loss claim? After a car accident, an insurance adjuster examines vehicle damage and investigates the circumstances of the crash. They use this information to make a value estimate in order to reimburse the policyholder for the damages. If the adjuster estimates that the cost to repair the vehicle is more than the insured value of the vehicle, the insurance company may “total” the car, or deem it a “total loss.” Often after a total loss is assessed, policyholders are offered the fair market value of the car as estimated on the day of the accident. If your vehicle was in a car accident and was deemed a total loss by your insurance company, you may be entitled to join a car accident total loss investigation or loss suit if the company did not pay the sales tax or title transfer fees associated with replacing the vehicle. We thank Top Class Actions for reprint permission.

Symach To Sponsor IBIS USA 2019 Symach has announced that the company is sponsoring IBIS USA 2019 – World of Opportunity. The International Bodyshop Industry Symposium (IBIS) conference is being held February 13-15 at the Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa in California. “We are excited to support this world-class conference by sponsoring IBIS USA as a Titanium Partner,” said Osvaldo Bergaglio, president and CEO of Symach. “As long-time attendees of IBIS events, we have great respect for the organization and how it brings together collision repair influencers from around the world to raise the safety, skills and standards in all sectors and markets.” Since Bergaglio established Symach in 2001, the Italian-based company has developed a complete range of equipment for collision repair centers and designs, installs and trains new body shops around the world.




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