Southwest Edition Texas Oklahoma Louisiana New Mexico
VOL. 28 ISSUE 4 APRIL 2010
Texas A&M Student Ordered to Pay $22M to Victims of 2007 Fatal Crash Caused by Texting and Phoning A jury deliberating for about 2-1/2 hours after a two-day trial has decided a Texas A&M University student was texting while driving, causing a deadly wreck, and has ordered him to pay $22 million in damages to the family of the victim Megan Small, and friend Laura Gleffe who survived. Gleffe, Small’s lifelong best friend, was following behind her and was run off the road to avoid the collision, causing her car to roll. The victim, Megan Small of Houston, was a 21year old senior at Baylor University and was driving to Waco when the November 2007 accident happened near Calvert. The investigation indicated a vehicle driven by Reed Vestal crossed the center line and struck Small’s vehicle head-on near Calvert. Hunter Craft, a lawyer for Small’s family, said he was surprised by the verdict, but praised the jury for its decision. Craft
said Vestal declared bankruptcy prior to the trial, and won’t have to pay any of the damages. Vestal’s insurance company will be responsible for some of the award. Vestal initially denied having a phone when the wreck occurred, but phone records indicated that he had sent and received 15 text messages and made seven phone calls in the 45 minutes before the wreck, Craft said. “This case isn’t about money,” Craft said of the Nov. 25, 2007 wreck. “This case is about sending a message to everybody and protecting people in the future, and in order for them to be able to accomplish that, we told [the jury] they were going to have to make a significant award.” “I think the jury understands it is a growing problem,” he said. “[Vestal] tried to say he didn’t know any better, and he didn’t know it was dangerous.” It may be a record award in Robertson County.
Supporters of Access to Repair Parts Act Testify in Favor of Exception to Design Patent Law Favored by Automakers The aftermarket industry showed up in force in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee March 22. The committee heard from consumer and industry advocates on why the “Access to Repair Parts Act” (H.R. 3059/S.1368)—legislation that would create a narrow exception in the U.S. design patent law for purposes of repair—would guarantee access to affordable alternative replacement parts and curb car companies’ attempts to monopolize the marketplace. The Quality Parts Coalition (QPC), founded by the aftermarket manufacturers and insurers, and claims to represent consumers, seniors, insurers, parts manufacturers and distributors and repairers, urged Congress to swiftly enact the “Access to Repair Parts Act.” QPC argued that Americans are likely unaware of the “looming threat that could
send the costs of car repair and insurance premiums soaring: a car company parts monopoly.” They cite the history of more than 60 years of alternative parts to repair their vehicles instead of more expensive OEM parts. Alternatives are as much as 26–50 percent less than OEM equivalents. This translates into an estimated $1.5 billion in savings, primarily for insurers, the OEMs argue. Auto companies have secured an increasing number of design patents on crash parts for cars (bumpers, fenders, hoods). When enforced, the patents give car companies control of the market for those parts. LKQ, for example, had to settle with Ford to provide crash parts for the F-150 last year. Insurers argue that this loss of competition will drive up the cost of insurance premiums by as much as $3 billion. See SUPPORTERS TESTIFY, Page 9
• Parts for Profit—How Big Parts Departments Operate • Large Texas Body Shop Uses Scan Tools for Diagnostic Profits • Texas Congressman Wants Black Boxes in All Vehicles • Oklahoma Moves Towards Texting-While-Driving Ban • TIAA Alamo Chapter Meeting Covers Credit, Security, Benefits
Texas-based Col-Met Spray Booths ‘Refuses the Recession’
Sherwin-Williams’ Express Scratch Repair—A New Profit Center
3M’s New Dirt Trap System for Keeping Booths Clean and Productive
Is Waterborne the Only Solution to Low-VOC Requirements?
PPG’s Green Belt Program Improves Profit at Atlanta’s Largest Shop
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Parts Manager: Dick Graham Phone 800-231-9657 Fax 713-948-1949 email@example.com 2 APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
2009 Total Miles Driven Up, But Miles Per Vehicle Down 7
Carbon Motors Partners with BMW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
AkzoNobel Suggests Sustainable Business Model . . . 18
KMC on Demand™ and I-CAR Partner . . . . . . . . . . . 39
3M™ Solution to Improve Paint Booth Performance. . 24
Honda Against Aftermarket Structural Parts . . . . . . . . 29
Alamo Chapter TIAA Meeting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Large Texas Body Shop Uses Scan Tools . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Austin-Round Rock Ties Best Recovery in US . . . . . . . 4
License Rules Change for Young Driver in Texas . . . . . 4
CAPA Tracker Designed to Enable Part Tracing. . . . . . . 8
Mopar® Teams Ups with Rich Evans . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Amaradio - Hang ‘Em in the Town Square . . . . . . . . . 33
Auto Glass Chain Guilty of Insurance Scam . . . . . . . . . . 7
Legislation to Ban Texting-Drivers in Oklahoma . . . . . . . . 5 McGee - It’s Still a Mustang® . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
CARSTAR Industry Outlook . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Nissan Position Statement on Wheel Repair . . . . . . . . 21
Claims Adjuster One of Five Arrested In Insurance Scheme. 6
Optional Insurance for Oklahoma Lawmakers. . . . . . . . 5
Causey - Concessions: Why give them to insurers?. . . . 14
Evans - Finishing the Shelby Series 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Express Scratch Repair™ New Revenue Stream . . . . . . 13 Fewer Bays In A Growing Service Market . . . . . . . . . 19
Florida Autobody Collision Alliance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Florida Officials Arrest 19 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Florida Shop Owner’s Ongoing Slander Suit . . . . . . . . . 10
Franklin - Make Secure Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Gesterkamp - Is Waterborne Paint the Only Answer? . 18
GM in favor of Recording Devices in Cars . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Gonzo's Toolbox - “You Didn’t Do a Thing”. . . . . . . . . 21
Greenway Automotive Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Hey Toby! - Shop’s Welding Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Oklahoma Workers' Comp Reform . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
PA Association Expresses Concern on Aftermarket . . . 8 Parts for Profit—Managing Parts and Personnel . . . . 25
Auto Color PPG Supply Distributor of the Year . . . . . . . . . 6 PPG Shares Auto-Refinishing Technology . . . . . . . . . 38
Shop Showcase - Mississippi’s Larry King . . . . . . . . 37
Access to Repair Parts Act, Supporters Testify . . . . . . 1
Student Ordered to Pay $22M to Victims . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Texas Congressman Wants Auto Recording Devices . . 8
Texas-based Col-Met Spray Booths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Toyota Addresses False Claims Regarding 2002 TSB . 29 Weak Economy Favors Auto Parts Stores . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Publisher & Editor: Jeremy Hayhurst General Manager: Barbara Davies Contributing Writers: Tom Franklin, John Yoswick, Lee Amaradio, Dan Espersen Janet Chaney, Toby Chess, Mike Causey, Tom McGee, Stefan Gesterkamp, Rich Evans Advertising Sales: Joe Momber, Christina Shubert (800) 699-8251 Advertising Sales Assistant: Stephanie Bowling Art Director: Rodolfo Garcia
Serving Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico 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. ©2010 Adamantine Media LLC.
Box 1400, Oceanside, CA 92051 (800) 699-8251 (214) 371-6626 Fax www.autobodynews.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Aegis Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Autoland Scientech. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . 6
Mercedes-Benz of Oklahoma . . . . . . . . 38
Mike Calvert Toyota. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Mitsubishi Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . 32
Chacon Suzuki . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
MOPAR Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . 5
Classifieds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Park Place Lexus. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Chevyland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
David McDavid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Ford Wholesale Parts Dealers
TX, OK, LA, NM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Fredy Kia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Gladwin Paint . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Global Finishing Solutions . . . . . . . . . . 24 Honda/Acura Wholesale Parts Dealers 31
Huffines Hyundai McKinney . . . . . . . . . 10
Huffines Hyundai Plano . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . 34
Kia Motors Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . 30
LKQ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Mattei Compressors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Mazda Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . 35
Nissan/Infiniti Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . 36
Performance Ratiator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Ray Huffines Chevrolet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Replica Plastics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
SATA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
SCA Appraisal Company . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Sherwin-Williams. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
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Suzuki Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . 37
Toyota Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . 29
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Shoot Suits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Soft-Sanders from Style-Line, Corp . . . 17
Verifacts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Volkswagen Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . 35
Volvo Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . 38
Young Chevrolet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
www.autobodynews.com | APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 3
Austin-Round Rock Ties D.C. for Best Economic Recovery in US The Austin-Round Rock area tied for first on a list of large metro areas where the recession is easing. Central Texas tied Washington D.C. in the Forbes.com ranking that compiles job growth and real estate industry improvement, among other indicators. Washington has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, 6.2 percent, and the city produced more goods and services than any other in 2008. Austin has also maintained relatively lower jobless rates, though the number increased to 7.6 percent last month from 7 percent, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. Statewide, the rate was unchanged at 8.2 percent from December to January, compared to 9.7 percent nationally. Austin and Washington D.C. also benefit from their high government job generation, according to Forbes. The number of Central Texas jobs increased just shy of 1 percent between 2007 and 2009, more than any other city included in the research. Dallas came in second on the ranking behind Austin. The number of jobs there are expected to increase more than 7 percent in the next three years. San Antonio and Houston also made the top 10 list. Job growth projections were based on information from Moody’s. The listing also considered median home sale price changes and Metropolitan Gross Domestic Product.
Alamo Chapter TIAA Meeting Covers Credit, Computer Security, and Benefits
TIAA’s preferred vendor for credit card processing shared the important information at the Feb. 18th meeting. NEVER write down a card number, expiration date, and even the CVV2 info on a piece of paper when a sale is called in. If someone is then able to fraudulently conduct 10 transactions for a total of $3,000, each incident can result in fines of $25,000. Even though the cards get charged back, the fact that the perpetrator did it from your shop or store could put you in violation of PCI Compliance, which could cost you the $3,000 plus fines of up to $250,000. Neither the merchant receipt or customer receipt can be printing card numbers. They must BOTH be truncated. If your merchant copy is not truncating place a call into the office at The BankCard Group immediately and explain that your receipts are not truncating: (866) 412-0717.
In relation to PIN DEBIT. If you are doing “internal” pin debit meaning that the customer is entering in their pin number on the actual terminal itself, NOT a separate pin pad, you may also be in violation. If you have NOT purchased a new pin pad in the last 2 years you may also be in violation. The back of your pin pad should say that it is 3Des encrypted or Triple Des Encrypted. Alamo Chapter Treasurer, Louie Sirianni, with Sirianni Automotive, said the annual TIAA Car Care Event to Benefit the Battered Women’s Shelter will be held April 10th. In the past many women in very desperate situations have been helped. We need vendor assistance in the form of parts donations as well as shops to volunteer their labor to assess the vehicles the night before and perform repairs the day of the event. This is a great opportunity to help someone in need.
800-955-6282 Parts Direct:
License Rules Change for Young Drivers, 18 to 24, in Texas
Applicants for a drivers license in Texas between the ages of 18 and 24 now must complete an approved driver education course and a driving skills test to get a license, the Texas Department of Public Safety says. DPS says applicants must submit a certificate proving that they successfully completed a driver education course approved by the Texas Education Agency. Applicants with such proof will not be required to submit to the written highway signs and traffic laws test, but still need to pass the driving skills part. A driving safety course or drug and alcohol driving awareness program are not acceptable as driver education courses. The changes were approved by the 2009 Legislature. List of approved courses:http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/drive/activede.html
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Jay Leggett, retired from Jay’s Toys (Computer Consulting), suggested an online disaster recovery source that is very reasonably priced. Symform provides backup, should a catastrophic event occur, at a cost of $5–10 per month. There are no restrictions on the amount of data that you save, but there are other qualifications regarding swapping data storage space. This system is supported and hosted by the Amazon network. Contact Jay Leggett at (210) 320-2530. Henry Maine of Maineline Insurance and MAR Financial are now offering a NEW member benefit that will assist our members in Human Resources. They will be sending additional information soon. The Annual Fishing Tournament will be held May 21st with the Annual meeting, lunch, and management training following on May 22nd. Be on the look out for additional TIAA Grams.
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Legislation to Ban Texting While Driving Advances in Oklahoma
A measure in Oklahoma that places limits on texting while driving has passed out of the House Public Safety Committee. The measure would also prohibit young drivers from using a cell phone to talk or text while the vehicle is in motion. House Bill 3250, by state Rep. Sue Tibbsand state Rep. Danny Morgan, would penalize any person who is operating a motor vehicle on a street or highway while using a cellular telephone or electronic communication device to write, send, or read a text-based communication while the motor vehicle is in motion with a fine of up to $1,000. “This is an important measure that hopefully will encourage drivers to pull off the road to a safe area if they must text someone,” said Tibbs, R-Tulsa. “This could save people from serious injuries or death. There’s no reason for innocent
lives to be lost because a text couldn’t wait.” House Bill 3250 also prohibits any driver operating under a learner’s permit or an intermediate driver’s license (class D) from using a cell phone to talk or text when the car is in motion. In addition, learner’s permit holders would only be able to drive between the hours of 5 A.M. and 10 P.M. Violation of either provision would result in the suspension of the driver’s license, payment of court costs and ticket fees. Tibbs noted that the Tulsa-based Crime Commission has partnered with students from Booker T. Washington High School to create a program that keeps Oklahoma’s teenage drivers safe on the road. State Farm Insurance is funding the “Generation tXt” program through their Youth Advisory Board grant in the amount of $35,453.
Generation tXt focuses on educating 8th and 9th grade students on the dangers of texting and driving through educational forums, videos, driving simulators and educational curriculum. According to a Virginia Tech Transportation Institution study, for every six seconds of drive time, a driver sending or receiving a text message spends 4.6 of those seconds with their eyes off the road. Each year, 21 percent of fatal car crashes involving teenagers between the ages of 16 and19 were the result of cell phone usage. That number is expected to increase as much as 4 percent every year, according to the study. Recent research on states that have banned hand-held cell phone use while driving has shown no significant decrease in accident rates versus before the bans. Distraction, not phone handling, is to blame.
Optional Insurance for Oklahoma Lawmakers Approved in House
The Oklahoma House has passed legislation allowing lawmakers to opt out of the state employees group health and life insurance plans. House members voted 92–4 for the bill and sent it on to the Senate for consideration. The measure’s author, Rep. Leslie Osborn of Tuttle, says the bill will free up taxpayer money. Any savings would be retained by the state. If 25% of state lawmakers opted out of the state's health insurance, the state could save around $500,000 a year. Osborn says that money would be better spent on education, public safety or other core services. Osborn says legislating is a parttime job and many lawmakers may have better options for insurance through their spouse or their private sector employer.
Oklahoma Workers' Comp Reform Bills Pass House as Package
Legislation aimed at reforming the Oklahoma workers' compensation system has passed the state's House of Representatives. House Bills 1611, 2652, 2658 and 2659 now move to the Senate for consideration. The titles are off the bills, meaning they remain works in progress, said author Rep. Dan Sullivan. The legislation seeks to significantly improve employee benefits and lower business expenses, making Oklahoma more attractive to new industry. There is currently deep dissatisfaction with the workers' comp system, which is plagued by fraud and high costs and rarely produces consistently fair and equitable results, according to information released by the House. Advertisement Despite the fact that the benefits specified in state law are comparable to work comp benefits in other states, the actual cost of those benefits in Oklahoma is the most expensive in the nation. Some of the reforms being sought will include defining the term “surgery” for purposes of compensation, strengthening the value-added attorney fee provision and capping the time for temporary total disability. A reduction in the number of workers' comp judges may also be considered, coupled with a more equitable distribution of judges between Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Source: Oklahoma House of Representatives
www.autobodynews.com www.autobodynews.com | APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 5
PPG Names TN’s Auto Color Supply Distributor of the Year
PPG has named Auto Color Supply, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee as its 2009 Platinum Distributor of the Year. The award was presented to Auto Color Supply owner Pat Anderton at the annual Platinum Conference held February 18–21, 2010 at the Green Valley Ranch Resort in Henderson, Nevada. “I never expected this,” said a surprised Anderton after the award was announced. “I was very excited and completely dumbfounded, speechless. I didn’t know what to say. It’s a real honor to receive this from PPG, and it’s something that everyone at our stores had a hand in.” The award was presented by Bob Wenzinger, director of the PPG Platinum Program. “Auto Color Supply has demonstrated consistent sales growth and participated in the Platinum Program’s training and business development offerings. That’s something Pat and his team has done very well,” said Wenzinger. “They especially performed well in a very difficult year. Auto Color Supply is an exceptional representative of PPG products and has the technical and industry knowledge to earn the trust and confidence of their customers. They truly deserve this award.” Anderton bought Auto Color Supply in Murfreesboro from his sister and brother-in-law in 1983. Since then, he has expanded operations and opened stores in Shelbyville and Columbia, TN. His team
of 12 employees sells a full line of PPG products. Anderton became a PPG Platinum Distributor in 2005. The PPG Platinum Program began in 1995 as a loyalty and support initiative for
Pictured left to right: Greg Benckart, general manager, PPG; Auto Color Supply owner Pat Anderton; and John Outcalt, vice president, PPG Automotive Refinish.
PPG single-line distributors with the ultimate goal of providing exceptional service and benefits for PPG Refinish customers. The program delivers competitive advantages to its participants by aligning the technology, training and customer support of PPG with the entrepreneurship, customer awareness, local market knowledge and service capability of the independent distributor. For more information about the PPG Platinum Distributor Program, call 800/647-6050 or visit the PPG Automotive Refinish website at www.ppgrefinish.com.
Claims Adjuster One of Five Arrested In Insurance Scheme Five Florida residents, including a claims adjuster for Zurich Insurance Group, are accused of stealing more than $240,000 from the insurer by creating multiple false and fabricated claims. Donald Alfred Toohey III, 30, of Lake County, FL, was recently arrested following an anonymous tip in September 2009 of possible fraudulent activity during his employment with Zurich, according to the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud. An investigation found that Toohey, along with four other individuals, were allegedly receiving payments from 26 different claims, totaling $240,000, from August 2004 through June 2009 in various counties in Florida. The investigation discovered that Toohey, using his position as a Zurich claims adjuster, created fictitious claims for monetary gain for himself and his four co-conspirators, all of Pasco County, Fla., according to investigators. The co-conspirators are identified as Scott J. Kincaid, 44; Brian Frederick Kneifer, 26; Anthony Michal Kneifer, 26;
and Tricia Ann Allen, 27. All four, along with Toohey, face up to 15 years in state prison if convicted on charges of grand theft and conspiracy. The scam was allegedly initiated by Toohey, who would create a fraudulent file and claim for each of the participants, showing reason for reimbursement to the individual for injuries occurring either to the person or their automobile during an accident, according to officials. The participant would then receive a check in the mail with the understanding that a portion was to be paid to Toohey. The investigation into Toohey’s alleged activities led the fraud division to confirm three or more checks received and cashed by each individual with thefts ranging from $8,800 to more than $67,000. Zurich Insurance Group informed investigators that none of the five were policyholders at the time of payment, or at any other time, and payment audits confirmed the payouts as fraudulent, according to the Florida Department of Financial Services.
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Auto Glass Chain Guilty of Nationwide Insurance Scam
The owner and three employees of a national auto glass company based in Oakland, CA, have been convicted in federal court in connection with a scheme to overcharge insurance firms by installing cheaper windshields than they claimed on repair invoices, authorities said March 22. Mehrdad “Tony” Hakimian, 48, of Mill Valley, the owner of Glass Emporium of Marin Inc., was convicted by a federal jury Thursday of nine counts of wire fraud and one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and obstruction of justice. He will be sentenced June 11. Hakimian directed employees at his business’ West Oakland headquarters and at its subsidiaries, Glass Pro and Glass Masters, to cheat insurance companies by misrepresenting the grade of windshields they were installing, prosecutors said. According to a federal complaint, Hakimian told a regional manager to “train (employees) like I want it done, to put in a cheap part and bill for a more expensive part.” The FBI began an investigation in 2005 when an employee of a Glass Masters shop in Tennessee came forward with paperwork showing 10 examples of billing irregularities, authorities said.
2009 Total Miles Driven Up, But Miles Per Vehicle Down
According to Jim Lang, Presdent of Lang marketing, annual mileage on U.S. roads by all types of vehicles climbed a meager 0.23% in 2009. While reversing the historic 3.43% plunge in 2008 driving, the weak 2009 gain did little to staunch the continuing drop in average annual miles per car and light truck in the U.S. Although miles driven is an important statistic, the real significance of mileage to aftermarket product use is annual miles of the typical car and light truck. Since 2004, the average light vehicle in the U.S. has been driven fewer miles each year. While total 2009 mileage for all vehicles failed to match 2004 levels, miles driven by the typical car and light truck in the U.S. during 2009 was lower than average vehicle mileage ten years earlier. 2009 Mileage Gain: A Symbolic Victory Following the historic 3.43% plunge in 2008 miles on U.S. roads by all types of vehicles, the modest 0.23% 2009 driving gain was a symbolic victory which reversed the largest annual mileage drop in over 60 years. What made the 2008 mileage reduction so unusual was its occurrence in the absence of gas shortages at the pump. The only other three years after World War II in which annual mileage failed to increase were during the first and second oil crises (1974, 1979,
and 1980), when surging gas prices coupled with spot shortages at the pump.
Unusual Circumstances While the 2008 driving plunge occurred under unusual circumstances, so too did the meager 0.23% 2009 mileage recovery. Despite 2009 gas prices averaging nearly 22% below 2008 levels, falling pump prices failed to ignite a 2009 mileage surge.
Two Key Factors As Lang Marketing noted in Aftermarket Insight™ Issue 169, U.S. Unemployment and Consumer Confidence are major forces determining the level of driving on U.S. roads. It will be difficult for mileage to increase significantly as long as Consumer Confidence remains low and the Unemployment Rate hovers at double digits (with “real” unemployment topping 16%). Putting 2009 Mileage In Perspective Despite increasing 0.23%, 2009 driving failed to reach total miles recorded five years earlier in 2004. As a result, annual miles declined at a 0.2% average annual pace between 2004 and 2009. Miles Per Vehicle Down While total miles on U.S. roads is an important statistic, the real significance of mileage to the rate of aftermarket product
use is miles driven by the typical car and light truck. Over the past five years, since 2004, the average light vehicle in the U.S. has been driven fewer miles each year.
Mileage Per Vehicle Peaked In 2004 Annual miles for the average car and light truck in the U.S. peaked at 11.95 thousand miles during 2004. Since then, the typical car and light truck in the U.S. has traveled fewer miles each year. While total annual miles by all types of vehicles decreased between 2004 and 2009, the number of cars and light trucks on U.S. roads climbed more than 33 million. Consequently, the typical light vehicle in the U.S. traveled approximately 1,420 fewer miles in 2009 than five years earlier in 2004.
Fewer Annual Miles On Older Vehicles The reduction in annual mileage by the average car and light truck in the U.S. over the past five years has been partially offset, in terms of its negative impact on aftermarket product use, by the soaring average age of vehicles between 2004 and 2009 and the rising number of older vehicles in operation, especially those 12 years and up. For complete analysis of average annual miles per light vehicle in the U.S. since 1998, see the 2010 AAIA Factbook & Lang Aftermarket Annual.
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www.autobodynews.com | APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 7
Texas Congressman Wants Auto Recording Devices
A Texas congressman, Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas), is planning to introduce legislation that would mandate electronic data recorders, also known as black boxes, in all new cars and trucks. These little devices that some are calling driving diaries would be placed inside your dashboard near another device that’s already there called a data processesor. Black boxes have been used in airplanes for years, and they are available for automobiles right now, but as an optional feature. “Anything that helps create a safer car, create a safer environment inside the vehicle is what’s really important.” Said Sewell Ford Assistant General Manager Wes Hunt. Hunt says these little black boxes have the potential to record key information from collisions, such as vehicle speed, the status of airbags and whether or not seatbelts are being used. Congressman Green from Texas says this legislation is especially relevant considering the massive Toyota recall saying, “As we witnessed in the Toyota hearing, there is a demonstrated need of detailed crash information.”
GM in favor of Recording Devices in Cars
General Motors has recently come out in support of what’s being called the “black box legislation.” GM is in favor of legislation from Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, that would mandate event data recording devices in vehicles, and additional ‘reasonable’ legislation. Though not currently required by law, the devices are standard for certain automakers, including Toyota. Not all Toyota devices record pre- and post-crash data, but by the end of 2010 all Toyota vehicles will be equipped with devices that record both. By 2005, 64% of vehicles came with the devices, including all FoMoCo cars. Chrysler started using the devices in 2005, but GM had been using a predecessor to today’s device in their light-duty trucks since 1995. “There can be a discrepancy in what a driver claims happened and what (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) concludes happened. This would mandate equipment that would remove any human emotion or bias to provide much more precise data,” Robert Ferguson, GM’s new VP for government affairs said. NTSB has recommended that OEMs and the NHTSA use on-board collision sensing and recording devices.
Florida Officials Arrest 19 in Fraudulent Staged Accident Ring
Florida officials say a statewide sweep of staged accident scammers in March resulted in the arrest of 19 suspects, including arrests in Ft. Myers, Miami, Orlando, Pensacola, Tampa and West Palm Beach. Florida State Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink said that since July 2009, investigators have arrested 259 people for faking accident medical injuries and personal injury protection (PIP) fraud, culminating in 156 convictions. “It's huge. It's absolutely enormous and it represents millions of dollars in fraud,” said Sink. “Staged accidents put every Floridian at risk, both physically and financially. I am taking aggressive action every day to get these scammers off our streets and behind bars where they belong,” Sink said. The claims were filed under personal injury protection coverage, automobile insurance that pays medical expenses, and lost wages in some cases, due to accidents regardless of whose at fault. The Department of Finanical Services' Division of Insurance Fraud said PIP fraud is the most reported type and accounted for 30% of the referrals last year. Investigators arrested 259 PIP fraud suspects since July, leading to 156 convictions. DIF has seven PIP fraud squads dedicated solely to investigating PIP fraud. “Every driver that has auto insurance is paying for auto insurance fraud in the
form of higher insurance premiums and the estimate is around $200–300 annually,” said Amy Moore, a spokeswoman for Allstate Insurance. She said an estimated 20% of premiums go toward helping insurers cover the cost of fraud nationwide. Tampa ranked second in the nation behind Brooklyn, NY, for questionable auto claims for the first half of 2009, according to National Insurance Crime Bureau statistics. Tampa Bay ranked fourth in a similar comparison of metropolitan regions. Scammers will stage a car accident, report it to police and insurance companies, then pocket the insurance money instead of using it for bills and repairs. In Florida, most staged crashes are carried out by a ring who either stage a crash or set up a fake crash scene, according to Detective Michael Hennessy, who investigates insurance fraud in Tampa for the Florida Department of Financial Services. Usually, no innocent drivers are involved. The insurance industry is lobbying to give state fraud investigators the authority to pull over suspects and they also want to ensure personal injury clinics are licensed with the state. Insurance fraud is a third degree felony that can lead to up to five years in prison. The state hotline is 1-800-3780445. Callers reporting fraud are eligible for up to a $25,000 reward.
8 APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
PA Association Expresses Concern on Aftermarket
The Pennsylvania Collision Trade Guild has written to Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario of the Pennsylvania Insurance Department raising concerns about the safety and functionality of replacement crash parts. It also asks for immediate action to ensure the safety of vehicles repaired with non-OEM replacement parts. In a letter, the guild says results from recent tests have shown that structural crash parts manufactured by non-OEM part makers have been seen to be inconsistent in construction as compared to the OEM parts. These include bumpers, bumper brackets, energy absorbers and structure members. The letter says that citizens who are operating vehicles that have been repaired using untested and inferior replacement crash parts are putting themselves and their passengers in danger. It also states that various organizations including CAPA and ABPA, among others, have asked manufacturers and distributors of non-OEM parts to remove them from distribution.The guild asks the State of Pennsylvania to recall all vehicles repaired with inferior structural aftermarket replacement parts and re-repair them to return them to their pre-loss condition relative to safety and performance. To read the letter see www.pctg.org/documents/Joel-Ario-Letter.pdf.
‘CAPA Tracker’ Designed to Enable Part Tracing
The Capa Tracker is a free web-based program that connects the unique CAPA seal number to the exact vehicle on which it was installed. was developed in response to collision repairer concerns about tracing problem parts. In the event of a part recall, usage can notify every participating shop that installed one of the parts in question. The shop can then alert their customer and take any necessary action. This program was designed specifically for repairers who expressed concern that should a problem surface with a CAPA Certified part, it would be difficult for them to determine if they actually installed that part on a particular customer’s car. “The Capa Tracker effectively solves this dilemma for shops concerned about safety,” said Jack Gillis, CAPA executive Director. It provides repairers with far more control over the part identification process than they have with car company brand parts. The CAPA program is effective because of CAPA’s unique, individually numbered, part identification system incorporated in the CAPA Quality Seal, which enables positive identification of parts in the market.
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Jack Gillis, testifying on behalf of CFA, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Center for Auto Safety and Public Citizen, told legislators of the consumer cost of a car company parts monopoly: “The lack of competition for repair parts will result in high repair costs and more vehicles being ‘totaled’ because the price of repairing the damage exceeds the value of the vehicle. High repair costs will lead to higher insurance premiums. Furthermore, when
faced with expensive repairs and a limited budget, consumers may simply not be able to replace their head light or a broken side mirror, items essential for safe driving.” Eileen A. Sottile, executive director of the Quality Parts Coalition added, “The Quality Parts Coalition thanks the House Judiciary Committee for hearing testimony on this vital piece of legislation and looks forward to its swift passage. Our members and supporters span the spectrum of motorist to aftermarket employee and from insurance agent to retired senior. At a time when our nation is just beginning to regain its economic footing, it is increasingly im-
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portant that we put all safeguards in place to protect the cornerstones of competition and consumerism.” Bob Passmore, senior director of personal lines policy with the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), a member of QPC, testified before the Judiciary Committee. Passmore noted: “At its core, this is a consumer issue. PCI supports the 'Access to Repair Parts Act' because it will preserve competition in the market for replacement parts and benefit consumers. Without it, consumers will carry the burden of a monopoly by way of increased premiums and higher autobody repair costs.”
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Florida Shop Owner’s Ongoing Slander Suit Against State Farm Began with Repair Procedure Disputes by Ed Attanasio, Special to Autobody News
What does a shop owner do when he’s up against the country’s largest auto insurer simply to get paid for work done, and then suffers what he sees as a slander campaign against him? For Ray Gunder, of Lakeland, FL, it started with saying ‘no’ to State Farm’s restrictions and it has escalated into a Federal Court case for defamatory statements and for interfering with a business relationship. “I can’t make State Farm stop slandering me by myself, but this great country we live in, and this fair legal system we have, can do something about it, and that’s why I’m countRay Gunder is suing ing on it,” Gunder State Farm for told Autobody News. defamation and for Ray Gunder interfering with his opened Gunder’s business. Auto Center in his hometown of Lakeland, Florida in 1969. It was a different world back then, but from the very first day, Gunder pledged
that he would provide quality above anything else. Over several decades, Gunder built his shop into a $3.3 million business employing 28 people. Things went well until about five years ago when Gunder said he ran smack into a roadblock called State Farm’s Service First program. In the early ‘90s, the program with State Farm was cordial until they began butting heads over the communication with other shops on Quality Repair Procedures in 2002, Gunder said. “State Farm came after me in a big way during a six-month period in ‘04,” he said. “They told me, ‘If you continue to communicate with other shops and write these procedures, we will remove you from our program.’ If my techs ‘dropped sweat’ for any of the procedure in the process of fixing the automobile, they deserve to get paid fairly for their efforts. This is how we feed our families. All I’m asking them is to be fair in the reimbursement for procedures that are prescribed for that repair.” Gunder quickly saw that State Farm was cutting their program out from under him as a direct result of his unwillingness to yield over procedures, and communications with local shops.
“From 2001 to 2004, I did $1.8 million with State Farm. From ’05 to ’09, I was down to $700,000. I saw it drop from 37% of my overall business to 4% and this year I’ve done maybe six cars with them.” The problems escalated when State Farm began rejecting more and more items previously included on his estimates, Gunder said. “They started re-iterating the fact that they weren’t going to pay for certain procedures and then their re-inspectors began rejecting items that were considered acceptable before.” These banned procedures included items like masking jams, denib, car covers for primers, and color, sand and buff, Gunder said. “In the beginning with the Service First program, we were actually writing the estimates, uploading them to State Farm and getting paid for them,” Gunder said. “Then, when we started writing procedures and when we started talking to other shops in the area about being paid fairly for procedures that are needed, they started to target me. That’s when I fell from grace.” Gunder won’t ever sacrifice quality to make a fast buck, he said, but State Farm doesn’t seem to share the same concerns.
“We’ve been doing things a certain way for 35 years, so why should I start chipping away at quality to keep an insurance company happy? I have to show my face in this town and I can do that with pride, because I’ve always run an honest, fair business. The database available to the collision industry in the late ‘90s helped Gunder to understand the right way to identify repair procedures as Included–Non Included. “Information is power,” Gunder said. “When the computer systems became more available, we were able to learn more and more about the proper procedures and the correct steps to identify them. Back when I started, I had to handwrite everything. We just looked in a big book and tried to understand it, and that’s how we did it. But then we started educating ourselves with the computers, and with the new technology and the information that became easily available, we started asking to be paid fairly for things that weren’t included.” But, State Farm wasn’t focused on adhering to these same procedures, Gunder said. “When I started asking to de-trim a door, they laughed at me and said ‘we’re not going to pay for that, because nobody else asked for it.’ It just evolved into a sit-
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uation where they put down their feet and told us to go pound salt. But, I stuck to my guns and State Farm didn’t like it one bit. It became ridiculous. “My goal with every repair is to adhere to all of the needed procedures to put a car back in pre-accident condition, as best as humanly possible. And they said things like ‘we’re not paying you because it’s not prevailing competitive pricing in your market.’ Or, ‘you’re the only one and
nobody else asks for that.’ If I had a dollar for every time I heard that, I’d have been a millionaire years ago.” What’s the main transgression State Farm has committed to cause Ray Gunder to sue the insurance company? “Slander,” Gunder said. “Their representatives made totally inaccurate, false statements about my shop to long-term customers and potential customers, whose respect I had earned over the years. They
told my customers that if they wanted to come to Gunder’s, they couldn’t. They said we’re not on their approved list. You’ll be paying a lot more than just your deductible if you go to Gunder’s, they told them. They said we overcharge. They said we don’t have the proper equipment and won’t pass their inspection. They said we do substandard work. And they also told customers that we take longer to fix cars than anyone else in this area, and any additional down time on rental would be their responsibility.” Once statements like these got back to Gunder via his customers, he was livid. “I didn’t go with their plan and I wouldn’t play nice, and they certainly did not like my communication with other shops, so they turned on me like a rabid dog and tried to take my customers from me. I’ve earned those peoples’ trust and I’m not going to let them taint that in any way.” State Farm has lightened up on Gunder recently to some extent, he said, but it’s a case of too little, too late. “They decided to stop torturing me late last year. They finally changed their word track and they’re not saying to the same degree negative things about my shop. Now they acknowlege, on a few occasions, that I have an excellent reputation in the community.”
But Gunder isn’t going to drop his case just because State Farm is playing nice right now, he said. “They realized that I’m not a cry baby throwing jelly beans and that I’m serious. They essentially tried to steal my customers and bankrupt me, and they’re not going to get away with it. I have no idea how long its going to take to rehabilitate my name because of the slanderous lies they have spoken about Gunder’s Auto Center in our community. They have made me “MAD”! Getting M.A.D. to me now means Make A Difference. Not just for Gunder’s but for our Industry!” Gunder’s Auto Center Inc. 930 Griffin Road Lakeland, Florida 38305 (863) 688-7897
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CARSTAR Industry Outlook Includes Management and Quality Parts
“ It was the best of times. It was the worst of times, to quote Charles Dickens,” is how Dick Cross, Chairman and CEO of CARSTAR Collision Centers introduced the CARSTAR 2010 Outlook conference call on March 18. Speaking to an invited teleconference industry group, Cross and Dan Bailey, President and COO of CARSTAR, gave a candid assessment and fielded questions on the state of the industry as they perceive it. “[Best and Worst] is kind of what it feels like for Dick Cross, us out there. As we Chairman and CEO look out, we’re pretty of CARSTAR excited about it. Collision Centers. Everybody is having a very difficult time these days. But we’re kind of excited about it. When industries go through the kind of events that are occurring right now in ours, big things change. But people that have the capacity to recognize and respond to and move ahead of those things, generally gain ground. So, at the highest level that’s what it looks like to us. We think that this economy is very very bad for some stores and very very good for some others.” Bailey added, “The economy is very tough and vehicle designs are changing rapidly and require investment in training and equipment to be able to repair these vehicles properly. “We’ve had a big focus on what everyone always wants, which is more work. But when you really look at the numbers, and measure them, you might not need another car to the door. What you might need to do is improve your image and your look and feel to consumers to increase your closing ratios. Increase closing ratios obviously increases revenues without more cars to the door. It’s a time today that our stores and the industry need to measure their key performance indicators (KPIs) closer than they ever have, probably in the history of this industry.” “You have to make operational decisions based on what that information is telling you. And we’re doing that for our stores today. Something that we couldn’t do a year ago, as well as we wanted to, but we have live data today that we’re able to feed back to our stores and our Regional Service Managers that are in the field coaching these stores have access to this data 24/7 to help a store improve its operational performance to higher levels.” “Also it’s a time to look at overhead costs. It’s so easy to be overstaffed or have your overhead is too high. It’s a time that you’ve got to tighten every-
thing that you can tighten. We’re creatures of habit. We’ve just come out of Jan. and Feb. as pretty good months. There is something that happens from March 15th to about May 15th that is not good for our industry. In some cases the profit levels are not high enough for a store to make it through that time unless they are able to quickly adjust their overhead and make changes to reduce their costs.” Addressing the recent scrutiny given to aftermarket structural parts, Dan Bailey, CARSTAR execuPresident and COO tives are calling for of CARSTAR Collision Centers. a recall of certain
12 APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
faulty aftermarket components, contending that insurers should bear the cost if they had specified that a suspected sub-par part be installed on a customer’s vehicle. “It’s caused headaches,” says Dan Bailey, citing the results of demonstrations conducted by I-CAR trainer and Autobody News columnist Toby Chess. The testing highlighted industry concerns over the form, fit and safety of various aftermarket structural crash parts. Bailey made two other key points: “In this industry, and CARSTAR is guilty too, when the going gets tough there are two things that are sometimes looked at as discretionary spending and that’s training and marketing.” “You actually—and especially with marketing—get more for your dollar dur-
ing tough business conditions marketing than you do at any other time. Our advice to our stores is don’t stop marketing. In fact, pick up the pace if you can. And don’t stop training, because again, training is often looked at as a discretional spend, but with the way cars are changing toady to put a vehicle back in pre-accident condition, training is a necessity and we track and push our stores to keep up with all the new technology that’s out there.” As CARSTAR continues to evolve from a “loose confederacy” of collision centers into a solid franchise operation, it remains receptive to enlisting solidly run businesses. Said Cross, “It’s time to turn up the heat, that’s still our game. Being in this industry by yourself is going to get harder and harder over time.”
Express Scratch Repair™ Gives Fixed Ops New Revenue Stream by Nick Bartoszek, Sherwin-Williams
Recently published data from R. L. Polk & Co. show that the median passenger car age increased in 2008 from 9.2 years to 9.4 years. Looking at the glass half-empty, this means that consumers are delaying their vehicle purchases until their economic confidence level rises. When we look at the glass half-full, we can clearly see the opportunity this creates for the Fixed Operations side of the business. Due to the economic uncertainty, vehicle owners are now finding it more palatable to spend income on repairs to extend the life of an existing vehicle, rather that committing to ongoing monthly payments for a new vehicle. This means more brakes, tire rotations, radiator flushes, oil changes and collision repair. Wait a minute! Collision Repair… really? Well, not typical Collision Repair. Full Collision Repair is a great business for a dealer who is committed to that part of the business, but the vehicle owner is only involved in a collision on average every 6.25 years. That makes it a bit difficult to establish a repeat customer. What I am talking about is a different concept called Express Scratch Repair™ (ESR). Express Scratch Repair focuses on superficial, cosmetic repairs that can be fixed in one day or less and do not require the replacement of parts (aside from mirrors). ESR is newly perfected repair process that is in-between Paint-less Dent Repair (PDR) and the full fledge insurance claim, collision repair. ESR focuses on the bumps and bruises that happen to our cars each and every day. Parking lot dings, bicycle scratches, mail box encounters, and even the overly friendly neighborhood dog that jumps up on your car to greet you when you come home. These are all incidents that happen to us all, yet we live with them because of consumer perceptions of long repairs, rental car hassles and of course the dreaded insurance claim. Now, new technology in the paint industry allows for the ability to repair vehicle damage in about the same time it takes to perform an oil change and a tire rotation… without the need for a high temperature curing oven. Let’s take a closer look at this opportunity. Marketing the opportunity Ever walk through a parking lot and take notice of all damaged vehicles? So much drivable damage is never repaired out of the absence of having an affordable, convenient solution to get it done. Consumers want these repairs, they just don’t know where to
Typical repair highlighted for this process.
find them and dealers are not asking for the sale. Dealerships have a great opportunity to market this service. Professional marketing brochures, posters, radio spots and waiting room videos make great tools to effectively communicate this new service. A marketing plan for a successful Express Scratch Repair would not be complete without tying into your CRM. Managing those relationships and transferring those warm leads are critical to success and a winning closing ratio. Internet based software is currently available to allow your customer to log on and obtain an instant evaluation on his or her repair 24/7 and allows you the ability to understand the repair and follow up the lead promptly. Whether your dealership has an existing collision center with excess capacity or a service department with available bays, ESR offers your dealership another great service to increase customer frequency and customer loyalty. Additionally, this type of repair process is also great improving the speed and cost control of reconditioning used car inventories.
Training Now that you’ve got them, what do you do with them? Easier said than done, but there are some great training programs out there that not only focus on the technical aspect completing the repair, but also the management and estimatics portion as well. Solid programs will not only focus on fixing the car, but also look at profitably writing the repair order, scheduling and managing customer expectations. The dealership model is a prime target area to harvest future ESR customers. In the service lane, each an every service advisor has the duty to perform a detailed walk around each vehicle that enters his department. Looking for add on sales in the service department is a great opportunity to grow this new revenue stream. You have already trained them to look for unrelated, previous damage to limit any potential exposure to the dealership. Why not take one more step to teach them how to
write a visual instant estimate to fix the vehicle and capture that new revenue. Simple tools exist to enable service advisors to be able to write ESR estimates that are fast, accurate and profitable. Since the repairs are limited to surface repairs, it is easy to distinguish between ESR repairs and full collision repairs. Who knows, you may even generate a few leads for your collision center. Customer service skill training for the service advisor should also be addressed. In collision repair, the introduction of the Direct Repair Insurance Program has hindered the attentive nature of the customer service advisors. We all too often focus on fixing the car, when quite often we forget that the owner needs fixing too. We forget that there has been a loss in pride of ownership since their vehicle has suffered a blemish. It is important to build a reliable process for providing an outstanding customer experience and be able to deliver a fantastic repair to a delighted customer. Combining these critical areas will be core to managing the success of the program. The training program should also focus on setting realistic goals and timeframes for defining success. A reputable paint supplier should be able to assist with facility design and layout if required. Whether it is just a few bays or tens of thousands of square feet, any up front cost will pay for itself in the end.
Sample repair in process. Can air dry without booth being fired up.
Facilities and Equipment If you are not equipped for success, how can you expect to achieve success? Facilities and equipment are the second largest reason more dealerships are not in the collision repair business, followed only by lack of adequate management to run the business. The prevailing perception is that it takes high-bake ovens and a huge facility to run a solid collision operation these days. That’s not the case for ESR. ESR needs only a small defined set of tools (fits tightly in a wheeled tool box) and an OSHA-approved ventilated spray area. This streamlined approach is because there
are new technologies on the market that do not require bake ovens and that significantly reduces the cost. Some systems even allow you to paint, polish and deliver a vehicle in less than an hour at ambient (70–75°F) room temperatures. That’s about the same amount of time some fluid change services take. Since some of the technology has advanced to air dry levels, not only is there a significant savings in equipment, you won’t get socked with a huge spike in energy or fuel to heat the building and make the process productive. Cost effective mixing machines are available to allow shop personnel to effortlessly match any finish and color of today OEM vehicles and produce a repair that is transparent to the vehicle owner. In an ESR repair, damSherwin-Williams’ breakthrough air-dry age repair area is clear, HPC 15 kept to a minimum, so material costs are also manageable. It’s simple, fast and profitable. Let’s face it, traditional collision repair has a lot a moving parts; insurance relationships, parts orders, accounts receivable, Work-In-Process (WIP) & rental car companies. Pretty ironic—all of those things that make traditional collision repair challenging, are not present in Express Scratch Repair. By looking at an Express Scratch Repair program for your dealership, you will be able to: ● Capitalize on unutilized capacity ● Satisfy a need in an untapped market segment ● Build Customer Loyalty ● Drive potential collision business ● Add a great process for reconditioning Used Car Inventory ● Add Revenue and Profits to your top and bottom lines
Express Scratch Repair programs are a great way to evolve your business into a consistent profit center that will grow revenue, profits and loyal, satisfied customers. Contact your local Paint, Body and Equipment Supplier to find out specifics on what types of program might be available to you.
Nick Bartoszek is the Global Director of Product Management for the SherwinWilliams Automotive Finishes Corp. (SWAFC).
www.autobodynews.com | APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 13
The Right Cause
Mike Causey is a consumer advocate and lobbyist for the Independent Auto Body Association (IABA), in addition to Non-profits such as alternative healthcare groups (Citizens for Healthcare Freedom, NC Reflexology Association), Organic farming and Healthy Eating. Mike is a writer and speaker on numerous consumer issues and legislation. Mailing address: Causey & Associates, P.O. Box 16725, Greensboro, NC 27416 Email: email@example.com Phone: (336) 210-1947
Concessions: Why give them to insurers? with Mike Causey
According to a recent New York Times report on the national health insurance debate titled Many small businesses can no longer afford to cover their workers, employer-sponsored group health insurance plans are foundering because of “soaring premiums.” During the congressional hearings regarding national health insurance, insurers agreed to make some concessions. But only for individual private health insurance policies or the insurance plans of major corporations. The insurers “balked” at giving similar concessions to small business owners. The insurers offered key concessions to make it easier for individuals to buy health insurance. Furthermore, the insurers, during the congressional hearings, said they will “sell policies even to people with pre-existing medical conditions, and to stop basing prices on how healthy or sick someone is.” However, those same insurance companies “appear unwilling to give small employers the same break,” according to the NY Times. Businesses with fewer than 100 workers employ 40 percent of the labor force in the United States. Small business is the backbone of the US Economy. Yet, insurers won’t even consider “concessions” when it comes to helping the business owners with the high cost of group health insurance. Yet, insurers are quick to ask small business owners (body shop owners) to give them all sorts of concessions on parts, labor rates and any number of things.
Why Give Concessions to Insurers? Simple. It’s all about the money. If the shop is a Direct Repair Shop (DRP) it is a requirement of the contract. The insurer promises to “send” more business to the DRP shop when certain discounts are given to the insurer. For non-DRP shops, the insurer simply “refuses to pay” above the amount the DRP shops are getting paid from the insurer. Insurers are experts at “negotiating” DRP contracts and agreements that guarantee advantages and profitability for insurance companies. After all, the insurers write the terms and conditions, and the body shops can “take it or leave it” as far as the insurers are concerned. Insurers no doubt control the repair process today, but body shops can “stand their ground” and push back if they would just do so. When the insurer wants to get rid of their “labor-intensive clerical work” and
shift it to the body shop, they get away with it simply because the body shop owner “agrees” to do this in exchange for business being “steered” to their shop by the insurer. And in most cases the shop does get the business. But at what cost? Many insurers only consider body shops for DRP deals that agree to buy a specific computer system and software favored by the insurer. After that is set up, the body shop has the responsibility to post schedules and routine clerical updates to the computer during the repair process, so the insurer can “monitor” a repair without visiting the shop. When the claims adjuster does visit the DRP shop, they will be given that a “private office” and all sorts of office equipment, courtesy of the DRP shop. Today the stakes are higher than ever. Many body shops are going out of business due to the Great Recession and heavy insurer steering to preferred shops. The demands for concessions have escalated to levels never dreamed. Now, State Farm demands EVERY concession a shop gives to other insurers. Which insurer will top State farm in their concession demands? If the repair job in your shop is “delayed” for any reason, expect to pay the claimant’s rental car bill when the repair is finished. One more thing: body shops on some DRP programs are required to carry high limits of liability insurance, and sign an agreement to “hold-harmless and pay all legal costs incurred” on behalf of the insurer in the event of a dispute. What a contract! Because of the tough business climate and the desire to get more cars to repair, some body shops give concessions they normally wouldn’t accept. Concessions such as discounts on labor rates and parts. The insurance industry has an iron-fisted grip on the collision repair industry, and it shows no signs of easing up. A 2007 JD Power & Associates study, The Impact of ‘Customer Choice’ on Insurance Claims Experience, found the Progressive direct-repair program was “faster” in repairing vehicles than the industry average but had the second highest failure rate in the industry. According to some, repair quality can suffer under a direct-repair program. Why? Because insurers refuse to pay for certain costs, the body shops won’t fight back and the body shop “eats” those costs. The “costs” that the body shops “eat” are often little things that really add up over time. For example, $6 or $8 for flux additive for bumpers; If the shop does just 40
14 APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
bumpers a month, that works out to about $3,000 a year on just one simple item. “Multiply the ‘simple items’ not paid for by insurers and it’s a significant amount of money that a body shop is losing every year,” says Neal Nuce of Precision Collision, Inc. of Raleigh, NC. Nuce says “Many body shops are being forced to cut corners in repairs” because the insurer refuses to pay for what is necessary to properly repair the damaged vehicle. “Giving concessions to insurer further empowers the insurers and harms the negotiating position of body shops,” says Nuce. If body shop owners continue on this path of giving in to insurer demands for concessions, where will we be in the future? What will be the ultimate concession that the insurer demands—to perform the work and pay the insurer for the privilege. What ultimate good can come from granting concessions to insurers? By saying “No” to insurers shop owners make it possible to compete on a level playing field. Some insurers cross the line of ethical and fair business practices to the side of
unfair and unethical behavior because of the willingness of some body shop owners to “get along” and agree to concessions. Of course it’s not enough just to say “no” to the insurer. After all, the insurer is the party holding the checkbook and the pen that writes the check. The shop owner must know what a proper repair calls for and know the P-Pages for the major estimating systems. As a State Farm adjuster once said, “Most shop owners don’t know how to get paid for all their work, parts and supplies because they don’t know how to document the requirements to show the insurer what is necessary to restore the vehicle to its pre-accident condition.” It is a safe bet that the insurer knows perfectly well what is required to restore the vehicle to its pre-accident condition. But the insurers’ goal is to pay out as little as possible. That’s why they want cheap parts and quick turn-around time. It’s a matter of survival for many body shop owners today. Ask yourself, “If not me, who? If not now, when?”
On Creative Marketing
Tom Franklin has been a sales and marketing consultant for forty years. He has written numerous books and provides marketing solutions and services for many businesses. He can be reached at (323) 871-6862 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make Secure Connections to Create a Better Future with Thomas Franklin
I recently learned that a shop owner in my area had dropped a couple of DRPs, including Farmers and 21st Century (which had been absorbed by AIG). I heard that he had decided that between his Toyota and BMW dealership relationships plus his many-year prior customers, he no longer needed the hassle of increasingly onerous demands and low profits from the insurance companies. Naturally I applaud his courage in seeking to prosper without the insurance connections, but I had to wonder if he adequately considered the longterm ramifications of his decision. Over the years I’ve observed that body shop relationships with dealerships are often similar to marriages. Many end in divorce. I also thought about the rising role Farmers Insurance is playing in the industry. Since absorbing Bristol West and recently 21st Century with its prior AIG connection, I see Farmers becoming a much greater force to be reckoned with. Is it wise for a shop to sever a connection with Farmers at a time when it may become a source of far more business? Of course I can’t answer that question for this
shop owner. I don’t have access to his financial records and this move may make perfectly good sense financially. Several years ago I had the opportunity to speak with two very different kinds of body shop owners. One was bemoaning the past, saying that fifteen years ago the business was fun—there were fewer regulations and fewer forces nibbling away at profits at every turn. Today he said he was earning less and working more and the fun was gone. He was pessimistic about the future. The other owner was expanding, buying out a near-by shop and increasing his reach into a wider market. He was optimistic about the future! Today it’s harder to find shop owners who are that confident about a better future ahead. Which viewpoint will better serve a shop owner who wants to grow but also wants to hedge his bet in case the economy doesn’t bounce back very quickly? The creation of a desirable future is what inspires us to work, and especially to put out that extra effort to build the kind of future life we wish to arrive at. If we are optimistic and believe it is possible to cre-
ate that better future, it is easier to get up in the morning and to eagerly attack the tasks of the day, knowing that each day is bringing us closer to the better future we have envisioned. If we see the future as being doomed to continuous decline with diminishing returns for the efforts we make, it will become more and more difficult to make that effort. Remember, for a moment, where you wanted to go when you started your business. What were your goals? What kind of future did you want to create? Have you arrived where you intended? Have you gone farther? Or have you fallen short and lost sight of what it was you wanted to achieve? If so, when were things last going well? What shifted or changed? What could you do to get back on track? Try to recreate for a moment, those original intentions. How could your intentions be modified to fit the present? If you were just starting out today, how would you go about striving to reach your objectives? I come back to thinking about the shop severing that connection to Farmers Insurance. In today’s world, more than
ever, our forward thrust is determined by our connections. We’re much like our power tools that have to be plugged into an electric outlet to draw power to be energized. If we don’t connect to referral sources, reliable suppliers, informational databases, competent workers and numerous customers, we’ll find ourselves disconnected from the power sources we need to operate. It may be that this shop has sufficient connections to thrive without the insurance connections. But if I were to advise a shop owner who wanted to create a secure and growing future, my first advice would be to diversify his or her sources of business and to open up as many channels as possible for business to flow in. Connections in this economy can be fickle. Someone offering a little better price, better discounts and/or faster service may very well steal one source of business out from under you when you’re not looking. If you have enough other sources to survive the loss and keep growing, you may be able to continue to create the better future you have envisioned.
Mopar® Teams Ups with Custom-Car Designer Rich Evans at 5th Annual Chrysler Festival Mopar® is joining forces on two projects with renowned custom-car builder and Autobody News columnist Rich Evans at the 5th Annual Chrysler Spring Festival in Irvine, CA. Evans will utilize Mopar parts and bring to life a customized Dodge Challenger for the 2010 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas, Nev., Nov. 3–6, 2010. Evans will also serve as a judge in a newly-formed tuner category of Mopar’s “Top Eliminator” enthusiast recognition program. Well known to our long-term readers as the owner of Huntington Beach Bodyworks and Rich Evans Designs, Evans is a master automotive fabricator, welder and painter. His custom-made rides have appeared in numerous movies and television programs, including Pimp My Ride, Monster Garage, Man Cave and Chop, Cut & Rebuild. The Southern California native also recently debuted a new iPhone App, The Rides of Rich Evans. His one-of-a-kind Mopar-flavored ride for the 2010 SEMA Show will begin with a base 2010 Dodge Challenger. Evans will employ an array of Mopar parts, some modified with his own fabricated spin, in order to create a new automotive work of art. Rich Evans Exclusive Parts as well as
products from numerous aftermarket suppliers will be utilized during the build, which will be documented in a series of podcast videos posted to Mopar’s YouTube channel. Evans will also pen exclusive blogs for posting on http://www.mopar.com as well as his own Web site, http://www.huntingtonbeachbodyworks.com. “Rich Evans has crafted some of the most remarkable customized rides on the street today,” said Pietro Gorlier, President & CEO, Mopar Service, Parts & Customer Care, Chrysler Group LLC. “This Mopar SEMA project will demonstrate to our customers what they can create Rich Evans with proven, qualitytested Mopar parts and accessories.” Evans will also act as a judge for the new tuner category of the Mopar “Top Eliminator” program. Now in its fourth year, the program highlights restyled or customized Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge or Ram vehicles of Mopar enthusiasts. The new tuner category winner will be selected from enthusiast nominations based on creatively applying technology to a current-
model vehicle while maintaining brand integrity and values. All “Top Eliminator” winners, from the various categories, will be displayed in the Mopar Alley at the 2010 SEMA Show. “I’m pumped up to team up with a premier organization like Mopar on these thrilling new projects,” said Evans. “Together, I think we can seize the attention of the young Next-Gen crowd with the new ‘Top Eliminator’ tuner award and the SEMA-car build while still holding the attention of today’s enthusiasts. You will see an amazing Mopar/Rich Evans creation in the Mopar exhibit at SEMA in November.” 5th Annual Chrysler Spring Festival. The 5th Annual Chrysler Spring Festival takes place March 20 in Irvine, CA. The event is the largest gathering of Chrysler LX/LC platform vehicle owners in the world, featuring current-model vehicles such as the Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300. The Mopar Direct Connection rig will be on hand for show attendees to visit. Show vehicles packed with Mopar parts will be on display at the rig, including the Dodge Challenger 1320 Street Pak, Dodge Challenger Mopar Edition and Ram 2500 ST Reg Cab w/8.0 box. Enthusiasts may
also inspect Mopar engines on display, including the 426 HEMI engine with cutaways, 426 HEMI Crate Engine and a Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak HEMI engine with a cutaway bell housing and transmission. When Chrysler bought Dodge in 1928, the need for a dedicated parts maker, supplier and distribution system to support the growing enterprise led to the formation of the Chrysler Motor Parts Corporation (CMPC) in 1929. Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) was trademarked for a line of antifreeze products in 1937. It also was widely used as a moniker for the CMPC. The Mopar brand made its mark in the 1960s—the muscle-car era. The former Chrysler Corporation built race-ready Dodge and Plymouth “package cars” equipped with special high-performance parts. Mopar carried a line of “special parts” for super-stock drag racers and developed its racing parts division, called Mopar Performance Parts, in order to enhance speed and handling for vehicles both on the road or at the track. For more information on Mopar, visit www.mopar.com. For additional information on Rich Evans, visit huntingtonbeachbodyworks.com.
www.autobodynews.com | APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 15
Finishing the Shelby Series 1 with Rich Evans
I had a little detour from this project to film a pilot for a new TV show called Autoholics. For the pilot show, we built a ‘64 Lincoln Continental convertible in a week so we hope you guys will be able to see that show in production shortly. I had fun and I met a lot of good people and we did it without pranks or yelling or anything like that.
We are back on part three with the Ultimate Vodka Shelby Series 1 and we left off with the 800 grit to 1000, then 1200, to 1500, to 3000, thanks to the Quick Cut Sanders™ and Soft-Sander™ blocks. After color sanding with 3000 we’re used the 3M® 1-2-3 system involving three different compounds: a heavy compound, and a polish, and then a final polish. By using 3M’s 1-2-3 system we saved a lot of time especially if you take it down to 3000 grit. I’m also using a new tool called a ‘thumb gun’ that allows me to dispense my polish or my compound with the push of a button. You can see it at www.thumbguntool.com. It’s a phenomenal timesaver.
If anyone ever had those problems such as stopping when your wheeling up a panel and shaking your bottle, getting the compound to hit the end, and putting too much on, and wasting it. You save time, material, and product, so it all saves that mighty buck. I’m using a DeWalt buffer and that allows me to control the various speeds when I’m wheeling this out, so after wheeling out all the panels, we’re ready for assembly so we roll roll the vehicle over to the other side of the shop. I set
everything out as we bagged everything when we did mock-up, so it should be fairly easy to put this vehicle back together. I always start with the basics, such as my Rich Evans’ panel alignment tools that are basically just 1/8” rods (described in previous column), used where I drilled the 1/8-inch holes in mock-up form. We started with the rear deck lid. I used two dowels on each side, put the bolts in, tightened it down, pull the dowels out, and boom, it’s perfect. So after putting the deck lid on I’m moving to my doors. I put the strikers on the B-pillars. I usually get the door latched in there, close the doors so I can have access to the front where the hinges are and allow my dowels to go in there. I put my four bolts in and tightened down, pulled the dowels out. The door’s right where it needs to be, first-time around.
Rich Evans is the owner of Huntington Beach Bodyworks and an award winning painter and fabricator. He offers workshops in repair and customization at his facility to share his unique talents. For contacts and design samples visit www.huntingtonbeachbodyworks.com
a better alignment up front. So after installing the front bumper, we’re ready for the hood.
We go back to the Rich Evans panel alignment tools again. I get the two bolts started on each side, find the holes, line them up, drop the dowel through it, tighten it up, drop the hood, we’re perfect. On goes the cowl from there and the seal that goes around the cowl and down left and right fenders gets the front completed, then I’m moving to the window. I’ve got a new window seal. I didn’t change too many of the other seals because
No chipping paint, no worrying about my gaps. Now I move forward to the fenders. I didn’t really dowel those out. I basically I just wanted to get a good gap. I don’t have have too much movement on the front, so two bolts on the top, two bolts on the bottom, the rocker, and then one bolt on the front allows me to get my gaps. So I get my gaps looking good on the left and right fender, then I’m going to move to the bumper.
On the bumper I put some nutserts behind so I don’t have to reach around and deal with a nut and a bolt. Now the nuts are permanently molded to the bumper so I’ve bettered that from the assembly line, which makes it easier for me and gives me
16 APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
Phone: (360) 687-3451
they’re not easy to get ahold of. You want to make sure when you’re taking things off that you clean them up and get prepared to put them back on, so you can move a little quicker. I got two days into putting this vehicle together. After the doors and door glasses that I marked out and put back in place. Put the belt moldings back on, the door panels back on. I did my homework when I took it apart, so I’ve got all the pieces that I need for assembly. I popped the two seats out, and had them repaired, just to better the project. This is a nice looking vehicle on the outside but had a couple of tears in the seats which I got stitched up. That allowed me to clean up the floor access and put the back panel in, which the seatbelts drop through. It’s got the rally stripes that run through where the center console is, so I got that all back together. I went to the rear door valance. I put the rear lower valance and left the rear tail lights out, so I get access to that rear valance.
There are a lot of plastic shims in this car and you have to put those back in because they’re there for a purpose. When the body’s being mounted, the mounting points for the rear valance are part of the frame. You don’t want it pulling the body down to the frame so they’ve got it gapped out evenly. So just an another tip to make sure you’ve got everything back the way it was. We talked about bagging, numbering, and labeling, earlier. It’s very important in this process. Otherwise you could be three, four, or five days extra, with repaints on nicks and chips, etc. So after that process, we’ll reinstall the seats.
We’ve got the convertible top dropped-in. Now we jack the car car up, get our rocker panels on, which are riveted in, so we’ve got everything pretty much riveted on. Then we’ll put our four wheel wells in. Those are the splash liners to
keep dirt from going up into the car. We drop the engine cover in and we can finalize with an inspection of the headline adjustments to make sure everything is right. All the gauges are working. All the turn signals are working and then we’ve got the louvers. Inside the fenders we painted the louvers silver and working to drop those. I had a deadline for Thursday at 11:30 and they showed up for the car at nine o’clock. I finished the car at noon, 30 minutes behind schedule. The guys are happy and are ready take it out on the road and show it off. I’m really happy with it. I put my signia on the right front lower bumper for Rich Evans designs. I didn’t want to dominate with the signia but it’s enough to let everybody know who did the job.
Hopefully they will have this car at SEMA so you guys can visit it. Just check
my website for the schedule. You can see it after following these three columns on doing it. Pictures really don’t do it justice.
tween the compounds and their sandpaper and their “bondo gun” Visit them at 3M.com. To make sure I’m not forgetting anybody, please visit Huntington Beach Bodyworks and click on my link page and you can see all the different partners and the different products I use. If you need more information on doing a particular projec,t visit HuntingtonBeachBodyworks.com go to the store and pick up some videos. I have over 10 videos showing steps and procedures. Thanks to House of Kolor for providing with the great color choices that we had for this project.
Another great project under my belt. You’ll be able to see it on the Rides of Rich Evans iPhone app. You can Google it on iTunes or your iPhone, and play the game. I had a good time doing it. I can’t ever forget my sponsors. Thanks to Chicago Pneumatic™ for giving me the best pneumatic tools on the planet. MicroFlex™ gloves for providing me with it the safety part of my job. SATA spray guns has provided me with my spray guns in the the fresh air system that keeps me around longer. The Soft-Sander™ blocks. also Quick Cut Sanders™ or provide me with the equipment that I need and that the blocks that I need to get through the steps and processes. 3M provides me with all the product I need, be-
I’m looking forward to next month to do something new and cool which I’ll share with you guys. As I always say, there are 100 ways to build a car. This is one way that’s working for me and hopefully some of the steps I’ve described will help you.
Christina Shubert joined the Autobody News team in January, 2010, as an account representative. She moved to Encinitas (near the Autobody News’ office) in August 2009 to escape the cold winters of Northern Illinois. She grew up in the small town of Paddock Lake, WI, and is the youngest of four. Christina’s alma mater is Trinity International University, where she received her degree in Marketing and met her husband Shane. Before heading to the West she worked in the Chicago area at American Hotel Register Company as an Inside Sales Representative. Apart from working at Autobody News, Christina loves the beach, traveling, and trying out new foods. She also has more Facebook friends than anyone else on the planet! Call Christina about an ad or just to say ‘hi’ at 800-699-8251, or email: email@example.com.
Joe Momber rejoined the Autobody News team in February 2009 as a regional sales manager. Joe was instrumental in building Autobody News into the leading regional paper for collision repair and was with the company during the paper’s expansion into the southwest region Joe left the Marine Corps in 1979 and spent five years with Jorgensen Steel. He started working with Leta Amick (founder of Autobody News) in the spring of 1996. When the paper was sold in 1999, Joe stayed on until 2003, when he decided to try something new. Joe is a believer in giving back. He’s been donating blood for more than 20 years and donated a kidney a couple years ago. Joe stays so fit with racquetball and running he makes the rest of us sick. Call Joe about an ad or just to say ‘hi’ at 800-699-8251, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
www.autobodynews.com | APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 17
Stefan Gesterkamp is a Master Craftsman and BASF representative who has been in the automotive paint industry for 27 years. He started his career in a custom shop before turning to collision repair. Stefan graduated from the University of Coatings and Colorants in Germany and is the author of “How to Paint Your Show Car.”
Is Waterborne Paint the Only Answer for Low VOC Requirements? with Stefan Gesterkamp
In an Autobody News column last issue, the point was made that Southern Califoria shops can still use a VOC compliant solvent-borne basecoat systems rather than a waterborne basecoat system. Some of you may have read this and thought, ‘hey, wait a minute, I thought in California’s Rule 1151 and other similar rules, water was the only game in town?’ Well, the rule asks for a 3.5 VOC basecoat. It does not specify that you have to use waterborne paint. How you get to 3.5 VOC is not important. Why would a shop want to go waterborne if they don’t have to? From my point of view, the answer is simple; it is the better choice for the vast majority of shops. After more then two years of using waterborne basecoats in Southern California, most painters tell me that they wouldn’t trade their waterborne basecoat back-in for their old solvent system. Although color matching in water required a bit getting use to in the beginning, the overall matches right out of the can have been better in water. This makes a lot of sense because the OEMs are using waterborne basecoats in increasing numbers. I truly feel that waterborne basecoat technology is the right choice for about 80% of shops in our industry. So what about the rest? The remaining shops are likely in one of the following categories: “mobile” small damage repairer, custom, or restoration business, fleet service provider, RV builder or repairer, or otherwise challenged by environmental circumstances. For the mobile repair businesses, a solventborne solution like BASF’s Limco Supreme line has many advantages over water. Mobile repairers frequently do their work in the most unconventional areas and are exposed to weather and airborne particulates. Making waterborne basecoats work in these conditions is not impossible, but more challenging than it has to be. The initial flash-off time in water is slower compared to exempt solvent technology and it increases the risk for airborne particulates to get stuck in the paint while spraying in a parking lot. Another advantage to mobile repair specialists is that you have a better chance to get a color match dialed-in on the mixing stick, without having to spray a test panel. Not that I would recommend it, but some have made an art form out of it. Then there is the ever increasing cost issue. In the mobile repair business, margins are generally thin. With the exception of the rare specialty paint lines like “House
of Kolor”, most other solvent based options on the market I am aware of are more accurately categorized as an economy product. In other words, it is likely translating into older technologies and much less R&D investment by the manufacturer for continuous improvements such as color match and other very costly performance attributes. This is precisely why fleet service providers also like this technology. Their end-user is generally less critical than the average collision repair client and warranties are rarely given or very short term. Custom and restoration shops have other reasons to consider the use of a solvent based basecoat. If the paint job involves intensive graphics and striping work, solvent based basecoats can be easier to use a times. This would also be the case and a driving factor for RV businesses. RVs are all about stripes. Please don’t misinterpret what I am trying to say, many great custom painters and RV shops alike are already using waterborne products very successful every day. It simply takes a new approach and different techniques to be successful. But I am not trying to knock the old school custom guys either; there are reasons, good reasons, why they are the hardest bunch of painters to move into a new paint technology. Custom shops have worked very hard to build a reputation for the unusual and unexpected. Unique and hard to copy craftsmanship is the name of the game in this specialized segment of our industry. They found unconventional ways to manipulate their paints to get just the right effect their clients are looking for. Giving up all the hard learned lessons, tricks and experiences going with it isn’t easy. There is great comfort in knowing what to expect when you push paint past the envelope a manufacturers designs its product for. Knowledge like that took decades to develop and having to do it all over again is highly time consuming. The other side of the coin is the period correct restoration work. Some shops are really critical in reproducing the old style metallic-flake look of the 50’s or 60’s. Producing that somewhat flat, a bit lusterless look in waterbase takes a lot of effort. Waterbase is by default cleaner more brilliant than solvent-based basecoats. The last group that would benefit from modified, older solvent based technology is shops that simply don’t have the ability or recourses to get their facility to a suitable condition. A shop that routinely does business in a cold & humid climate
18 APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
and has no ability to control the spraying environment at all may be challenged to make it work. This may not always be driven by money either; some shops are in situations where the local government or other regulation would not allow for a new
booth, or booth upgrade permit. For the shops that have to, the technology is here for you to use. For the rest, be aware that there are tradeoffs and a potential price to pay for avoiding the change to modern times.
AkzoNobel Suggests Sustainable Business Model AkzoNobel says 160 attendees representing 140 businesses from both car and commercial sectors gathered Feb. 17–19 in Ft. Worth, Texas, for the Sikkens Acoat selected Winter National Performance Group meeting (NPG). This meeting marked the 16th annual gathering. It is the first of two NPG events annually hosted by AkzoNobel. A number of shared business practice classes were conducted. A key focal point for the meeting was the issue of sustainability. Emphasis was placed on the growing importance of elevating awareness of business practices that can not only have an effect on the profitability of collision repair operations but also the environmental well-being
of both local and global communities. Other pertinent topics included using social media to market a business and an overview of the new HAPS VOC regulations detailing implications and actions required from shop owners pertaining to those regulations. In keeping with the “real world” focus of the Acoat selected program, two shop tours were conducted. Park Place Bodywerks of Dallas hosted the group for a tour of its 87,000 square foot facility, which generates in excess of $1.5 million in monthly collision repair sales. Representatives from International Truck Group toured the International Truck facility in Garland, Texas.
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Fewer Bays In A Service Market Growing In Size And Complexity Autobody News
by Jim Lang
The car and light truck service bay population in the U.S. shrank more than 50,000 over the past ten years. During this same time, the number of cars and light trucks on U.S. roads climbed by nearly 47 million units. Not only did the number of cars and light trucks increase over the past ten years, current vehicles are substantially more complex than those in operation just ten years ago. All these changes took place as the number of service bays in the U.S. shrank over 4%.
Big Decline In Dealer Bays The closing and cancellation of thousands of Dealers are dramatically changing the number and outlet mix of car and light truck service bays. Between 2009 and 2012, we at Lang Marketing expect over 36,000 Dealer service bays will be shuttered or converted into independent service bays. At mid-year 2009, there were just under 320,000 Dealer bays in the U.S. By 2012, this number will drop to fewer than 285,000.
From 27% of all service bays in 1999, Dealers will recede to only 24% of bays repairing cars and light trucks by mid-year 2012. Prior to 2008, Dealers annually accounted for an increasing share of car and light truck bays in the U.S. aftermarket. This trend was erased by Dealer closings during 2008. Between 1999 and 2012, the number of bays operated by Dealers will decline more than 55,000.
More Independent (non-Dealer) Bays While the Dealer service bay count will sharply recede between 2009 and 2012, the independent (non-Dealer) bay population is growing. Lang Marketing expects independent service bays will climb nearly 3% and expand their share from 73% to 76% of car and light truck service bays nationwide between 2009 and 2012.
Service Outlets Gaining Bays For the first time in nearly 30 years, Service Stations and Garages (primarily Garages) will add service bays between 2009 and 2012. During these three years,
Service Station and Garage bays will increase nearly 3%, a sharp contrast to the drop in Dealer bays. Repair Specialists Repair Specialists (outlets focusing on a limited menu of vehicle service and maintenance) will record the greatest service bay gain between 2009 and 2012. During these three years, Repair Specialists will increase their bay population over 5% and generate nearly half of “independent” service bay growth.
Foreign Specialists Foreign Specialists concentrate on the repair of foreign cars and light trucks (imports and transplants). They will rank second in service bay additions and first in bay percentage growth from 2009 through 2012. During these three years, Foreign Specialists will increase their service bay population 8%, operating one-fifth more bays by 2012 than during 2000. Independent Outlets Gaining Bays Tire Stores will moderately increase their
bay count between 2009 and 2012, about 1%; while Discount Stores/Mass Merchandisers with bays will expand their bay population approximately 3% during these three years.
Service Bay Losers Auto Parts Stores with bays will drop 11% in bay count between 2009 and 2012. The residual category of Other Outlets (which represents less than 1% of independent service bays) will recede approximately 3% in bay population. Importance Of Bay Shift This significant shift in service bay count and bay share from Dealers to independent service outlets between 2009 and 2012 ensures the Service (DIFM) market share growth of independent repair facilities, reversing a long trend of Dealer Service market expansion extending back through the mid-1970s. From Aftermarket Insight™ by Jim Lang, President of Lang Marketing Resources, Inc., www.langmarketing.com.
Large Texas Body Shop Uses Scan Tools for Profit in Diagnostics by Ed Attanasio
Lynn Johnson is a mechanical technician working for Roger Beasley Collision Center in Austin Texas, a 54,950-square-foot body shop with 40 employees. Roger Beasley Collision is approved on Mazda, Porsche, Volvo, Saab and Subaru, but they can work on any type of vehicle. Every month, Johnson, a 15-year veteran, performs diagnostics on an average of 50 cars for a shop that’s fixing approximately 250 cars month. Since each car Johnson touches brings in roughly $300 on average, adding diagnostics to their list of capabilities represents approximately $180,000 in added revenue for the shop, Johnson said. When Roger Beasley Collision opened its doors in 2003, the owners made a decision to incorporate mechanical repair into their menu of capabilities. It’s been a smart move, because the shop avoids send-
ing cars out for diagnoses and also picks up a significant amount of varied mechanical repair business from its collision customers, Johnson said. Johnson credits a particular tool for the jump in diagnostics revenue—the purchase of an iSCAN II diagnostics tool from Autoland Scientech USA, a Texasbased distributor of leading automotive diagnostics systems sold worldwide. The shop encountered the company and its tools when co-owner Dusty Wombel met the Autoland Scientech representatives at NACE and was introduced to the product. “Dusty told me about it when he returned from Las Vegas,” Johnson said. “We saw a demonstration here at the shop and I could quickly see that it was going to get into things that we couldn’t do with our other machines. It made a big difference. It opened our eyes and we’re very pleased. It turned our world around really.”
Since they’ve purchased the iSCAN II, Roger Beasley Collision Center has seen an overall improvement to the bottom line because an undiagnosed and uncleared tripped engine light can delay the completion of a body repair.
Roger Beasley Collision has seen diagnostics on its customers’ cars become more profitable, efficient and productive since they opened their doors in 2003.
“This machine will allow us to work on a wide range of cars,” Johnson said.
“It offers more coverage than anything else we’ve seen on the market. We work on everything, but most of the cars in here are less than five years old and the things we can do on these cars is outstanding.” “Looking at the income side, the tool does generate revenue,” Johnson explained. “We get diagnostics time every time we touch a car. We save the time and money we’d otherwise have to spend taking it to the dealership, and we save a lot because we don’t devote people to take the vehicle to a dealership every time. If you can’t do the diagnostics here, it’s a hassle when the engine light or an airbag light comes on.” “It’s a common thing—we’ll just be finishing up the job and then we see that either the engine light is on or an airbag has tripped. If your customer gets in the car and it’s got an engine light on, that’s obviously not good.”
www.autobodynews.com | APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 19
The iSCAN II has simplified Johnson’s life and increased his productivity. “If we see that light, we know we’ll make every effort to do the diagnostics inhouse. If we can’t do it here, we need to take the car to the dealership to let them do the work, which means we’ve lost control of the job. Then, if there’s a further problem, we have to order the necessary parts and now we’re waiting while the car sits. It messes up your CSI and delays your turnaround time. These insurance companies look at your turnaround times constantly. “Now, with the iSCAN II, we can bring the vehicle in, scan that car and find out what’s wrong with it fast. Then we can order the parts and, before the repair is complete, we have the parts in-shop and we’re not losing three days.” Sometimes it’s just as easy as simply clearing the lights, Johnson said. “There’s often nothing wrong with the airbag sensor, but you’ve got to clear that light. This iSCAN II machine will handle 85% of everything we touch. Most of the time, we can clear those lights and send the customer home without any problems. In that situation, we’ve already fixed the particular problem, so we just need to clear the light.” Avoiding trips to the dealership for diagnoses saves considerable time and
money, he said. “It makes life easier, that’s for sure,” Johnson said. “If you have to send a vehicle to the dealership, it’s going to cost you, say, $115 right off the bat. Then, you lose a day while you wait for it to come back to you. Not to mention the lost labor of two drivers to run the car out there and bring it back at the end of the day. Most of these dealerships are 15–20 miles from our location, so it’s not a quick drop-off and pickup.”
Roger Beasley Collision in Austin, Texas repairs approximately 250 vehicles per month.
Johnson said he also appreciates the support Autoland Scientech provides, he said. “Tech support is excellent. If we’ve got a problem, they’re just great. If I can’t figure something out, I can call and I’ll always get through to them with the initial call. If they don’t have the answers right away, they’ll definitely get back to me and in a reasonable time, usually within an hour.
20 APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
Johnson said that upgrading his iSCAN II is simple and a no-brainer. “Upgrades were very easy to get. We plugged into the computer and the update was uploaded in about 45 minutes. We didn’t have to sit there [watching it], it just happened.” “Their service is very responsive. If we want something, we don’t have to wait on them, it just gets done. You don’t have to submit a work order or any paperwork—they’re very good at following through. “We’ve seen our productivity improve dramatically. We’re more efficient overall and our cycle times have decreased. On top of it, our overall sublet work has decreased as well since we’ve had the iSCAN II. It’s a win-win.”
Autoland Scientech USA, headquartered in Cedar Park, Texas, is the American division of one of the world’s leading producers of automotive diagnostic tools. Since its inception, Autoland Scientech has emerged as a prominent player in markets across the globe and has brought together an international sales force of over thirty of the world’s most selective automotive distributors. Its products are developing a solid reputation for bringing technicians and mechanics the latest in automotive diagnostics at highly competitive prices.
Richard Zenteno, the Marketing Director for the Americas for Autoland Scientech USA has seen numerous body shops embracing diagnostics just like Roger Beasley Collision Center has, and for many reasons. “I’m seeing a larger number of shops overall that are becoming more open to diagnostics,” Zenteno said. “They’re realizing they can’t run a body shop [profitably] without diagnostics. In many cases, the iSCAN II can help them clear lights in five minutes and they can charge their customer for at least one hour of labor. “Roger Beasley Collision Center undoubtedly paid for their machine within the first month they owned it. It’s a smart decision and it’s paid off big for this customer and many others.” Roger Beasley Collision Center 10420 Metric Blvd. Austin, Texas 78758 (512) 233-0460
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Excerpted from Scott “Gonzo” Weaver's Book, “Hey Look! I Found The Loose Nut”, which provides a Good Laugh for Mechanics of Any Age. The book is available at amazon.com. Contact Scott Weaver at Gonzosae@aol.com and see his website at www.gonzostoolbox.com.
“My ‘Regular Mechanic’ Says You Didn’t Do a Thing” with Gonzo Weaver
Many specialists like me run into situations where the customer’s previous mechanic has referred the customer but hasn’t told the customer the whole story, including why he’s really referring the job to me. Many times the job does require a specialist but sometimes the “regular mechanic” just doesn’t want to look incompetent to the customer, and the customer doesn’t want to accept that their “regular mechanic” was incapable of fixing the problem. Even when you make the repair and the problem is solved, you can still be fighting a losing battle with the customer because of disinformation from the regular mechanic. Often the “mechanic” turns out to be a friend or relative or “Billy Bob” from next door. It’s when the mechanic is a supposed professional, but not acting like one, that I get a chapped hide. Here’s one of those situations.
A Chevy pickup with the anti-loc brake light stuck on showed up at my shop one day. Not a big problem, but it can beexpensive to fix, as I explained to the customer. Replacement parts run from several hundred dollars to well over $1000 for certain vehicles. The customer told me his regular mechanic had already checked it out and told him it was going to be expensive and take time to fix. Better send it to an electrical expert to have it repaired. (At this point I liked this regular mechanic.)
After a lengthy conversation with the owner about how long it’s been like this... and how many different parts his regular mechanic had already tried… and how many times he checked the fuses… and that it had to be a ‘huge problem,’ otherwise his regular mechanic would’ve taken care of it. I put the truck in a bay and put it on the scanner. Huge problem or not, I’m the lucky guy who gets to follow up. The previous mechanic had left about everything that went to the ABS system unplugged. After getting all kinds of service codes stored in the computer, I had to go back in and reconnect all the different parts. Then I cleared the codes from the computer, and basically started all over again with the scanning and basic testing. (I was liking the regular mechanic a little less at this point.) After taking the truck around the block once, the ABS light came back on. Rechecking the codes led directly to a faulty ABS controller. (The controller is basically the brain box that makes the whole thing work.) I have changed several of these in the past, and, other than the part being ridiculously priced, it’s a simple repair. The trick to this one is that the unit is mounted under the car just below the driver’s area. If you unbolt the unit and tilt it slightly towards the center of the truck, you can get access to the screws that hold the controller to the mechanical part of the ABS unit. This
way you don’t have to undo any brake lines and bleed the brake system. Just install the new one, clear the codes, and do any “relearn” that needs to be done. Luckily, there wasn’t any “relearn” procedure on this year’s model and I had just saved the customer some labor time. Okay, job well done, but the customer is not happy with the cost. Like I told him, it’s not the labor that is expensive, it’s the parts. He left, somewhat satisfied. A few weeks later I get a call from the owner. The guy was furious. He wasn’t holding any words back. He definitely couldn’t care less if anyone else was listening. After he was done ranting and raving about the repair, it became obvious what was wrong. It wasn’t the repair. It wasn’t the cost. It was his “regular” mechanic. Seems he went over to see his buddy to have some sort of work done. That’s when his mechanic told them that it didn’t look like we had done anything and that he just paid for absolute absolutely nothing. “Hold on a minute buster!” I said, my blood pressure rising. “Let’s start over again. First off, is the ABS light off?” “Well, yeah, it is.” “And is the ABS system working?” I asked. “It’s working fine.” “Then what is the problem?” I asked. “My mechanic looked under there and said you guys never took the lines off
Weak Economy Favors Auto Parts Stores
In its recent research, Rothman cites two examples of stocks doing better despite the weak economy since last year—O’Reilly Automotive and AutoZone. Cost-awareness amongst automobile consumers has lead many to invest in servicing and repairing their current vehicles rather than buying new, due to the weakened global economy. And this means bigger gains to services sector stocks, says financial analyst Bradley McCoy of Rothman Research. O’Reilly Automotive Inc. is a publicly traded chain of auto parts stores that started with one store in Springfield, Mo., in 1957. It has since grown to more than 3,400 stores in 38 states. The corporate headquarters of O’Reilly is located in Springfield. The company nearly doubled in size and boosted its presence on the West Coast with the acquisition of CSK Auto in mid-2008. The growing base of stores resulted to strong sales and sent
profit soaring in the fourth quarter. O’Reilly earned $71.9 million or 52 cents per share, up from $42.7 million, or 32 cents per share, in the same quarter of last year. As the company expanded its operations from 3,285 stores and 18 distribution centers at the beginning of the year to 3,421 stores and 20 distribution centers by the end, O’Reilly’s sales grew by 36 percent to $4.85 billion. O’Reilly CEO Greg Henslee says, “As we are looking forward to 2010, we see consumer concerns over high unemployment and a challenging macro environment as signs that our customers will continue to maintain their current vehicles and, therefore, drive demand in our industry.” AutoZone, which operates as a specialty retailer and distributor of automotive replacement parts and accessories, has been reporting solid gains since last year. The company has seen double-digit EPS
growth for 14 consecutive quarters, which was propelled by a 565,000-share repurchase during the quarter. Over the long run, the continued improvement in operational performance has created tremendous value for shareholders, according to Rothman Research. Full research reports on both companies are available as free downloads from Rothman Research. Go to www.rothmanresearch.com.
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so you didn’t replace the controller like you charged me for,” was his answer. I told him that we most certainly did, because if we didn’t, his light would still be on, and the ABS system wouldn’t be working. “Furthermore,” I told him, “you don’t have to take the lines apart to put on the controller. The controller is the black electrical box above the thing you’re calling the lines. Not only that, it’s probably the cleanest part under the truck, since it’s only been on the car for a couple of weeks.” The customer called back later that day to complain some more, still not buying my explanation. Yes, he did see the new parts, and he was aware that everything worked, but “my mechanic knows you didn’t do anything, and you electrical guys know how to jack up the systems to make it look like you did something.” Exasperated, I asked him nicely to let me talk to his mechanic or bring the truck and the mechanic to my shop and I’ll show them both how the repairs were made. After the two showed up, I patiently went through the whole procedure.You could almost see the light bulb slowly brightening above their heads. They left somewhat satisfied. Later, when I thought about that ‘light bulb’ over their heads, I thought it should have been a neon sign instead, flashing “dumb ass”on and off.
Nissan Position Statement on Wheel Repair
Nissan North America does not approve of any repairs or the use of any repaired steel or aluminum wheel that involves welding, bending, hammering, straightening, re-machining, reforming, or adding new material as this can compromise the structural integrity of the wheel and safety of the vehicle. Any repair of steel or aluminum wheels must be strictly limited to minor cosmetic sanding or polishing that removes just the finish. Nissan North America factory warranty, replacement parts warranty or extended warranties do not apply to any part other than a Nissan Genuine original equipment replacement part. Nissan North America will not be responsible for any subsequent repair costs associated with the vehicle or part failure caused by the use of a steel or aluminum wheel that has been repaired.
www.autobodynews.com | APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 21
Texas-based Col-Met Spray Booths ‘Not Participating’ in Recession
Col-Met Spray Booths is a major Texasbased manufacturer of paint booths, spray booths, finishing booths, powder booths, air makeup units, mixing rooms, batch ovens and accessories for industrial, automotive, wood finishing and other applications.
The company’s home is in Rockwall, Texas and it has state of the art manufacturing facility there comprising about 130,000 square ft, where it builds booths for an extensive array of auto, truck, bus, and boat refinishing operations. This is done in sizes from small 4’ bench booths to the largest finishing facilities designed for trains. Col-met’s ATR Commercial Grade Booths are also available for construction equipment, recreational vehicles, and other large equipment applications, both custom and catalog. Col-Met is a “one stop shop” where paint booths are concerned. Autobody News conducted a phone interview with Vice President of Sales, Donnie Montgomery, and Regional Sales Manager, Billy Roche to learn more about spray booth sales and manufacturing and the current business environment, starting with some historical background. ABN ► How did Col-Met get started in the business of manufacturing Spray Booths?
DM/BR ◄ In 1996 Col-Met organized as a division of Collier Metal Specialties (a manufacturer of metal products since 1957). Col-Met Spray Booths Incorporated as a separate company Jan. 1st 1999. Eric Jones is the sole owner.
ABN ► What are the company’s specific areas of expertise? DM/BR ◄ Paint Spray Booths of all types for wet or powder coating: Industrial, Automotive, Truck/Equipment, Wood Finishing, Heated Air Makeup Units from 8,000 to 40,000 CFM that are specifically designed for the paint booth industry. ColMet has in-house Engineering that allows
us to be very flexible in providing paint booths for our customers individual needs ABN ► Does the company have related operations (that are not directly involved in spray booths) that support their booth technology?
DM/BR ◄ In addition to a full line of Paint Spray Booths, ColMet manufactures Heated Air Makeup Units (AMU) DM/BR ◄ Col-Met also manufactures Batch Powder Cure Ovens as well as Process (production) Ovens, Washers, and various related Finishing Systems components Col-Met’s Electrical Department is Underwriters Laboratories Certified (UL 508), primarily manufacturing Control Panels specifically designed for the paint booth industry
ABN ► With the recent rulemaking coming from EPA, what are you seeing in terms of interest or concern from customers. For example, is there a waterborne demand in Texas and other states that are not mandated to use the lowest VOCs? Is there a lot of interest now or is it more of waiting-to-see what is going to happen?
DM/BR ◄ The answer is yes. There is a lot of interest but not necessarily because the mandates. It’s more for economic reasons. I think a lot of the coating suppliers are doing a really good job of educating customers on the return on investment. The interest is in buying the system and going to a waterborne system if it’s done right. We are getting a lot of response on that, but not necessarily because of the mandates from the gov’t.
ABN ► I assume that anybody in these areas who is contemplating installing a new booth right now is thinking solvent but they are planning for an eventual waterborne transition. Is that fair to say?
22 APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
DM/BR ◄ Yes. We definitely see that. That’s why we are seeing so many of the conversion systems out there. At NACE this past November that was amply confirmed by customers, and we took multiple orders. A lot of questions were posed to us regarding all these new coatings. “We’re the ones that businesses call when they’re looking for a new method of refinishing - when they’re looking for a better automotive system altogether.” “We’re working to create products specific to our customers needs - specific to their goals and concerns, and incorporating them into our leading systems. That’s what Col-met does.” —Eric Jones, President, Col-Met Spray Booths
ABN ► What are the most unique aspects of Col-Met booths? DM/BR ◄ What really makes Col-Met Spray Booths unique in the paint booth industry is Col-Met’s employees and our dealer network. Our customers have become accustomed to personalized service before, during, and after the sale. Collectively our employees have several hundred person years of experience in the paint booth industry. We make a quality product at a fair price and offer outstanding service as an added value.
ABN ► What is the major technology difference between your waterborne and solvent Spray Booths?
DM/BR ◄ Faster flash time with waterborne coating is all about increased air movement over the surface area.
Col-Met has 2 systems available: 1. In the two-speed system the AMU is oversized allowing as much as 30% increased airflow into the booth during Waterborne Flash-off Mode. 2. The corner tower fan system increases the surface airspeed to as much as 400 feet at the vehicle during Waterborne Flash-off Mode.
ABN ► Do they represent a distinct price point in the industry, or is pricing highly variable based on customization?
DM/BR ◄ Our EVO Waterborne Flash Systems range in price from around $3,000 to $8,000. Col-Met’s waterborne
systems always represent a good value within their price point.
ABN ► What financing and other incentives might make Col-Met the best choice for a shop customer?
DM/BR ◄ Col-Met equipment offers an excellent return on investment (ROI) based on improved production and superior finishes.
ABN ► You mentioned your experience at NACE 2009. How did you judge the mood at NACE?
DM/BR ◄ They were upbeat. It was a promising show. One of the best NACE shows in the last 8 years. It was one of those where people were cautiously optimistic. Everybody is expecting 2010 to be a strong year in this market.
We normally sell through the distributors, but we actually took at least 7 booth orders at NACE. It’s been years since we’ve sold more than one or two booths there. It surprised us. We’re not in denial but our saying all along has been “we are not going to participate in this recession.” ABN ► We like that philosophy. If no one participated in the recession, we wouldn’t have one, would we?
DM/BR ◄ Right.
Col-Met Spray Booths 1635 Innovation Drive Rockwall, Texas 75032 Toll-free: 888.452.6684 Phone: 972.772.1919 Fax: 972.772.1833 Main e-mail: sales@Col-Metsb.com
ALL OEM Information with Tom McGee and Jeffrey Webster
Tom McGee is National Account Manager for ALLDATA Collision. He has had a long career with I-CAR, including as President & CEO. Tom is an ASE certified Master Collision Repair/Refinish Technician. He has also run his own collision facility and been a career and technical school instructor. He can be reached at Tom.McGee@alldata.com. For other Tom McGee articles in Autobody News, go to: http://www.autobodynews.com/tom-mcgee/index.php â€” JEFF WEBSTER is an ALLDATA Technical Writer.
Itâ€™s Still a MustangÂŽâ€Ś But in Name Only â€“ PART 1 of 2
As I (Tom) visit many shops each month, I continue to hear many of the same comments from the body shop owners, managers and staff. Some of the most common are: â€œIâ€™ve been fixing cars since 1960something and we know how to fix them.â€? â€œThey are still cars and nothing is really changing on them.â€? â€œMy technicians are great and they know how to fix cars.â€? Having heard similar comments many times, I decided to see just what has changed over the years with a car most of us are familiar with, the FordÂŽ MustangÂŽ. Through some research, I discovered that these were options on the 1965 Mustang: - Power steering - Power brakes - Manual front disc brakes (V-8) - Deluxe retractable front seat belts - Rear seat belts - Padded visors - Heavy-duty battery - Radio and antenna - Vinyl roof
- Tinted glass with banded windshield - Air conditioning What I didnâ€™t find on the 1965 Mustang was the need to de-initialize or re-initialize the door glass. Here is the procedure for the 2008 Ford Mustang.
WINDOW MOTOR INITIALIZATION NOTE: â€˘ Initialization is required to learn both the full up and full down positions and the profile of the glass as it travels through the glass channel. Once initialized, obstacle detection is enabled. The convertible rear window motors do NOT
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need to be initialized as they do not have one-touch up or one-touch down functions. â€˘ The LH or RH front window motor must be de-initialized, then initialized whenever the front window motor is removed from the window regulator, a new window regulator and motor is installed, a new window glass is installed or for any operation in which grease or lubricants are applied to the window regulator or glass run. â€˘ A new (original factory setting) or deinitialized LH or RH front window motor may allow one-touch down operation, but will not operate in one-touch up mode until initialized. If a new LH or RH front window motor has been installed, proceed to the initialization procedure. â€˘ If diagnosing a LH or RH front window switch problem, perform the window initialization procedure before replacing the window switch. â€˘ All front window components (window glass, window regulator, window motor and glass top run) must be installed/tightened and adjusted to specification before carrying out this procedure. â€˘ Excessive bounce-back (window reverses direction with no obstructions present) may indicate that a de-initialization procedure may need to be performed. â€˘ A battery disconnect does not require this procedure to be carried out unless the battery was disconnected while the window was operating. â€˘ The motor will only operate in the 916 volt range. If the voltage drops below 9 volts, the window will not function correctly or may stop moving. If the voltage drops below 9 volts while the motor is operating, the motor will become de-initialized and will need to be initialized.
De-initialization 1. The motor can be de-initialized in 2 ways: â€˘ Disconnect the battery cable from the battery while the window is operating. â€˘ Remove the window motor fuse while the window is operating. 2. After the motor has been de-initialized, reconnect/reinstall the battery cable or fuse and carry out the initialization procedure. Initialization
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WARNING: Keep objects and body parts clear of the glass panel when carrying out the initialization procedure. During the initialization procedure, the glass panel closes with high force and cannot detect objects
in its path. Failure to follow this instruction may result in serious personal injury. NOTE: â€˘ If this procedure is only partially completed, the front window motor remains non-initialized and may allow onetouch down operation, but does NOT allow one-touch up operation. â€˘ The door MUST be closed during this procedure (for convertibles, the top and quarter glass must be in the closed and up position) in order for the door window motor to initialize. â€˘ The windows must be in the full open position for this procedure to operate correctly. 3. Press and hold the window control switch in the UP position at the second detent until the window glass stalls into the glass top run for at least 2 seconds. 4. Once the top run is reached, hold the window control switch in the DOWN position at the second detent until the window glass stalls at the bottom of its travel for at least 2 seconds. 5. Cycle the window glass up and down once more to set the window soft stop for the down position. 6. Test for correct window operation by carrying out the one-touch up and onetouch down features.
RESTRAINT SYSTEMS â€“ 1965 vs. 2008 The â€™65 Mustang offered â€œdeluxe retractable front seat beltsâ€? as an option. The 2008 Mustang supplemental restraint system (SRS) contains dual-stage deployment (advanced restraint system) driver and front passenger air bag modules. It is designed to provide increased collision protection for front seat occupants, in addition to the three-point safety belt system. This vehicle is also equipped with seat side air bag that deploy from the outboard front seat backrest upon a side impact. The â€™65 sure didnâ€™t See STILL A MUSTANG, Page 28
www.autobodynews.com | APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 23
3Mâ„˘ Introduces Revolutionary Solution to Improve Paint Booth Performance
Almost all body shop owners are faced with the challenge of dealing with dirt and dust in their paint jobs and the time-consuming maintenance in their paint department. Until now. 3M has developed an innovative system to protect the paint booth and reduce paint department expenses. The 3M Dirt Trap Protection System provides a com-
perts in their shops, participating in their daily work to understand the challenges they face and the ways we can apply 3M solutions to help them,â€? said Pat Hager, 3M Division Scientist for 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division. â€œOur research showed that painters spend a great deal of time removing dust and dirt from paint repairs that stem from airborne contaminants
body shop owners protect the investment in their paint booth by keeping the booth clean and bright. This eliminates the need for repeated washing that can promote corrosion or the cost of repainting the booth to restore its appearance. It also saves maintenance expenses by eliminating cleaning tasks such as sweeping, rinsing and scraping windows. This reduction in mainte-
Before 3M Dirt Trap Protection System.
After 3M Dirt Trap Protection System.
plete paint booth solution that traps dust, dirt and overspray, reducing defects in paint jobs by as much as 50 percent. The Dirt Trap System features an adhesive-backed material that is applied to wall and floor surfaces and a clear film to protect lights and windows. Once the material fills with debris, it is simply removed and replaced. â€œWe spend a great deal of time working with body shop owners and paint ex-
in their paint areas. Our research also showed that painters needed help keeping a freshly painted surface clean and free of defects in their paint booth.â€? 3M was able to leverage several of its existing technology platforms to tackle the problem â€“ using advanced technology and an innovative green, solvent-free process to hold dirt and dust to the surface. The 3M Dirt Trap System also helps
nance increases booth utilization and minimizes the down time for maintenance. â€œWe were looking for a solution to alleviate time spent removing dirt and buffing vehicles,â€? said Michael Caruso, Jr., of Central Collision Centers in Oak Forest, IL. â€œWe maintain a very high standard of cleanliness in our shops. The dirt trap system allows us to reduce dirt in paint work and keep our booth cleaner. We track cycle
time quite frequently in terms of average days, hours per day and units per day. On average I would say we are able to produce one extra booth cycle per day in a two-man paint shop. That can amount to delivering four to five more vehicles per week, which helps financial performance and helps us deliver insurance company metrics.â€?
Installation, Replacement is Easy The 3M Dirt Trap System is easily applied onto the walls and floors with the magnetic dispenser. The material is easy to handle and allows the installer to reposition during installation, which should be completed in less than two hours. The 3M Dirt Trap System is designed with flexibility based on a shopâ€™s productivity. It can be simply removed quickly and without slivering when it becomes filled with debris. A body shop that is running four to eight cars through their paint booth each day would typically need to replace the floor material every two to three weeks, similar to maintenance on booth filters. The wall material would typically need to be replaced every 160 bake cycles. Contact 1-877-MMM-CARS or your local 3M Distributor or 3M Sale Representative for more information or visit the website at www.3M.com/dirttrap.
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24 APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
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Parts for Profit—How to Manage Your Inventory and Personnel Profitably by Larry Williams
This article is directed to dealership parts managers directly managing employees handling both mechanical and collision parts, however, the same principles Larry Williams apply to parts management in a body shop. Read on to see how to improve your parts and people management. Larry Williams is a former parts manager and consultant who has received national awards and over 40 years of experience in creating profitable departments. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Fact: The typical [dealership] parts department has more investment and returns less profit than any other department. Every other department can be financed, leased, depreciated, or leveraged. Automotive parts require cash—paid in full, every month. Many parts departments are sinkholes, sucking resources from the dealer, tying up capital in un-saleable inventory, maintenance, and personnel. This needs to change. Today’s parts department must be an asset to the dealership. Analyze your parts department’s profitability. Look at the ratio of net profit to inventory. A well-run parts department can generate annual net profit ratios of 50% or more, based on your inventory investment. Then show the dealer principal that your inventory is an investment, better than the bank when it comes to the rate of return. This should be your goal. Every inventory dollar working to produce more profit and every employee’s time managed to maximize their productivity. The first step is to analyze your inventory. You can easily check your monthend management report for stocking part numbers. I have found that an inventory of 1500 part numbers is all you need to cover your daily sales. This is based on a requirement that stocking parts should sell at least three times in a year, or for new models, two times, in six months. You can rationalize stocking dollars this way: After a part has sold three times, you have made enough profit to purchase the fourth part, effectively investing profit, not capital. A twenty-one day supply is more than adequate for all normal needs. All other parts should only be ordered when needed and when the sale is guaranteed. No money should be tied up in speculation. All excess inventory; all items unsold for twelve months or more, need to be converted to cash. Return them to the manufacturer as obsolescence if possible, or donate them to
the nearest tech school for a tax credit. All they do now is collect dust and absorb valuable resources. With today’s freight system you can balance inventory vs. freight. A small dealer will have smaller inventory with higher freight charges; a large dealer will have more inventory, but smaller freight bills. Never absorb all freight charges, do the paperwork necessary to recover charges from the manufacturer and always charge your special order customers for their freight. A flat percentage with a minimum starting charge will keep your costs at a minimum. Example: 10% with a $2.00 minimum. Remember, that is ten percent of your selling price, not your cost. This should allow you to make a profit on your freight. Find out what your manufacturer charges are and post your freight policy where your customers can see it. These simple guidelines will start you on your way to a department that is valuable to the dealer, and a steady source of needed revenue. Next, look at the physical layout of your parts department to make it more efficient and profitable.
Physical Efficiency is Essential A profitable parts department must be time efficient. Wasted time is wasted money. Reduce as much as possible the time required to go from the sales position to the part itself. Counter personnel must be able to go directly to the bin, find the proper location, and pull the correct part with a minimum amount of time and effort. Most basic of all, your efficient department must start with its physical design. Preplan your bin layout. Draw out a floor plan first. Know what your plan is and locate parts one time only. You must divide your inventory into fast and slow moving sections, not just large and small. Remember, only about 1500 numbers make up the bulk of your sales. These parts must be in your first section of bins. Use at least three sizes of bins in each section. You must be able to locate all fast moving parts in the bins closest to your counters. Make breaks in your rows; don’t force your people to walk the entire row before going to the next isle. No more than five bins between walkways. All isles must be perpendicular to the counter. All isles must be a minimum of 30” and a maximum of 36” wide. Do not crowd your walkways, no parts sticking out of bins. I found 18” deep shelves work better than 12” ones. Also, remove backs of bins and use struts for reinforcement. This allows more light on your shelves, and 20” parts are no problem. Vary your shelf spacing for small, medium, and large parts. “Front” all your
parts, it makes them easier to see and reach. Mark all part locations with movable tags, because your inventory is in a constant state of change. You want to be able to relocate parts easily. Leave bottom shelves empty, this is good for temporary storage of parts you will work into position later. Special attention needs to be made to the back counter area. Bins here must be used for fast moving filters, fluids, and other shop needs. You must also have a shelf here for your shop’s special orders, visible to your technicians. A separate special order section is also needed. These parts will also be moving out rapidly. Keep your special orders near your counters. Avoid stocking air. The biggest waste of stocking space is trying to follow the manufacturer’s numerical sequence on your shelves. Very few manufacturers keep like sized parts in sequence. With computer controls, you can mix parts, locations, size, etc. any way you want. The time spent creating the most efficient work area possible will be repaid ten fold in increased productivity.
Numbering and Location of Bins Quick and easy access to your 1500 fastest moving parts is your key to efficiency and profit. Bin numbers should be mental guides to the actual location, easy to visualize and travel to. Direct travel between bins and isles in easy to remember location codes, not just numerical sequence. Give your team a mental picture of exactly where the bin is and they only have to remember the part number. The best numbering system I have found is row, side, bin. Example: Bin “3L4” is isle 3, left side, bin 4 from the front. This gives a mental picture of exactly where this bin is located in the department. When necessary, use the shelf number also. 3L42 now indicates shelf number 2 as the part location. All parts on that shelf are in numerical order. Small parts need to be in 4” bin boxes with dividers. Don’t waste shelf space going wide when you can go deep. Again, logical bin numbering, 3L4D4 means drawer 4. Use logical letters to help locate parts, R,L,N,S,U,B,M, etc. means right, left, north, south, upper, bulk, molding, etc. Put like items together, tune-up section, cooling section, fuel section, etc. Make the job as easy as possible, the less time taken per sale means more sales per employee. The best floor plan possible is wasted, however, if you have sloppy housekeeping. Details are important! All parts must be in sequence, with adequate room for all like parts. Every location has a bin tag, magnetic ones are best. Every bin tag is printed in the same font. All tags legible
from a five feet away. Your employees must be able to scan a bin and find their part in seconds, not minutes. No multiple locations except for bulk overstock of extremely fast moving parts, filters and fluids, for example. After working out the main bin locations, parts locations, traffic patterns, sales patterns, do the individual work stations. Again, you are maximizing the selling time per counterperson. Every employee should have all the tools he or she needs within arm’s reach. If you have three employees working at the counter, and only two catalog stations, you are cutting one third of your sales potential. Custom-tailor each workstation to the individual. Right-handed persons need the phone on the left, calculator on the right. Left-handed people need the opposite! Cordless phones and headsets are good ideas. Buy the extra stapler. A physical layout plan: 1. Divide your inventory by movement 2. Divide your inventory by sales area 3. Create isles, bins, and bin numbers 4. Create work areas 5. Supply all tools for each individual
Profitable Inventory Control Philosophies Inventory control courses have always been promoted by the manufacturer, and inventory specialists know who signs their checks. Because of this, all inventory philosophies have naturally been biased in favor of the manufacturer. Stock order vs. special orders, designated stock order days and minimum percentages are good for the manufacturer, not the dealer. Extra days supply, inventory of new model parts, all are good for the manufacturer. None of these policies make the best use of the dealer’s dollars. However, a slight change of philosophy will result in better profits, the dealer’s main need. New philosophy… Lean and Mean! Policy And Procedures Sample Parts For Stock: (tight control system) Part must sell at least 4 times in 12 months. Part must sell at least 1 time in last 60 days. Part must have no more than 30 days supply on shelf.
Parts For Stock: (normal control system) Part must sell at least 3 times in 12 months. Part must sell at least 2 times in 6 months. Part must have no more than 60 days supply on shelf. As I have said before, all these parts have permanent locations, in bins close to your sales counters.
Other Inventory Control Guidelines Keep all your controls as simple as possiSee PARTS FOR PROFIT, Page 31
www.autobodynews.com | APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 25
Toby Chess is an I-CAR program instructor, Welding specialist, and former salvage yard operator. Toby is universally known in the collision industry for his charitable works, worthy causes, and magic tricks. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Taking a Good Look at your Shop’s Welding Equipment with Toby Chess
Hey Toby—Thanks for the conducting the SPS 05 (Required test for the Porsche Certification Program) for my techs. One of them told me that he needed a new welding helmet. I decided to get everyone in the shop new helmets. Can you recommend one I should buy? —Luis from Pan American Body Shop, San Jose, CA.
Hey Luis—I can’t recommend any specific brand because I make it a policy not to do that, but I will give you an honest assessment of products of which I have direct knowledge via in-shop use. I personally purchase all my own equipment (welders, gloves, helmets and jackets) that I use in the I-CAR Welding program and I receive no compensation from any welding manufacturer. This is my experience from conducting nearly 3000 welding tests and, I repeat, is not a paid endorsement. Let me start with some of the problems I’ve encountered in the shops. I have been teaching welding principles to students over the last 4½ years. I have conducted well over 2900 I-CAR MIG Qualification Tests and what I have encountered is a lack of welding knowledge in body shops. Recently I-CAR has adopted the same program that I have been using (Inhouse welding). I-CAR’s In-house program consists of filling out a questionnaire about the equipment in the shop (helmets, welders, power, etc.) It must be filled out prior to performing the in-house test. For this I bring in my own equipment, but I do go over the welding equipment in the shop with the owners and managers and point out any deficiencies that exist. What I have observed is that many, if not most, of the welders are in poor condition. Commonly the flow rate and volume gauges are not functioning. The covers are usually missing and the needles are bent or missing. The flow rate for Argon/CO2 gas should be set between 15–25 CFH. If you can’t tell what the rate is, than you are probably wasting gas. If you need a new meter, I would recommend a Victor Flow Meter. I have used this meter for my testing with only 2 problems in 4½ years and one was fixed under warranty. Most of the MIG guns that I have inspected are in poor condition. The neck
welding machine maintenance procedure is to take the gun off and blow air through the liner. Also checking the tension on the spool of wire. It should stop without unraveling when you let off the trigger.
and trigger area are usually wrapped in tape, because they are in need of repair. What happens is that the techs usually bang the gun against a hard surface to remove porosity from the nozzle instead of using a proper tool—MIG Pliers These pliers will clean the nozzle (for proper gas flow), tighten all the parts on the gun, cut the wire and remove the nozzle (it gets real hot during welding). The nozzle is another part of the gun that is underlooked. Nozzles are considered a consumable item and they do wear out. After a period of use, the nozzle end starts to curl under and this restricts the amount of shielding gas to the weld, which in turn, leads to more porosity. (Porosity in welding is a result of oxygen and water being released during the welding process, that is trapped in the metal when there is insufficient time to escape prior to solidification.) Porosity in a weld will lead to a weak weld or even a failure under stress. Sometimes the end of the nozzle wears away and a hole develops on the lip. As the gas passes over the hole, water and oxygen are sucked into the weld, which in turn leads to porosity in the weld. I have found during my welding machine inspections that the tension on the drive rollers is wrong.
The next item is what you asked about—the welding helmet. I carry 8 welding helmets in my trailer (4 Performance series and 4 elite) and, in virtually every welding test, they are used instead of the ones that each tech brings. I ask the question: would you go to a swap meet and buy the cheapest set of sockets? They respond—no. Then, why would you buy the cheapest welding helmet when you have the only two eyes you’re going to have, to protect? There are two types of welding helmets: passive and auto darkening. The passive type you need to snap your neck so that the helmet comes down before the arc is struck. It usually comes with a shade 10 lens. As the name suggests, the auto-darkening helmet automatically darkens when the arc is struck and this type of helmet is recommended for the collision industry. Let’s look at some of the features that you should take in to consideration when purchasing an auto-darkening helmet. First is the number of sensors in the mask. There are between 2 and 4 sensors. As the number of sensors increases, so does the price.
This helmet (Lincoln Viking) has 2 sensors.
To check the tension, I put the wire between my fingers and adjust the tension until the wire feed stops slipping. The wrong tension can lead to bird nesting (wire jambs in the rollers). Also a knicked or clogged gun liner can cause bird nesting too. Part of the
26 APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
This unit (Miller Performance) has 3 sensors.
As the sensor number increases (3 & 4), so does the coverage especially for outof position welds—when you’re on your back welding in a rail, for example —where a sensor could be blocked. Another consideration is viewing size. The helmets that I use have a 7 square inch screen (Miller Performance & Lin-
coln Viking Series) and over 9 square inches for the Miller Elite Series. Another feature to look for is the capability of holding a magnifying lens in the unit. Both the Miller Elite and Performance models have such a feature, as well as the Lincoln This helmet (Miller 700G. Elite) has 4 sensors. I have found that most of the techs in our industry need that additional magnification to help them see the welds. Having a magnifier is easier and better than wearing glasses when welding. A couple of other features that are necessary for today’s helmets are Adjustable Sensitivity control (the ability to adjust for different lighting conditions) and Adjustable Delay control (The duration that the lens stays dark after the welding has stopped because harmful rays as still emitted until the weld has cooled). Let’s look at gloves next. Nearly every tech that I have encountered uses the wrong type of glove for MIG welding.
The above gloves are for Arc welding. They are heavy for heat protection, but they don’t have the flexibility that is necessary for MIG welding. I have tried over a half a dozen different types of MIG gloves, but the best ones have been the Tillman #42. Great feel and extremely durable, but that is just my opinion. Next I want to look at welding jackets. There are a number of different types of welding jackets. Full leather, half leather jackets, cotton jackets, and hybrid jackets.
This is an excellent jacket. It protects the arms and has an add-on front chest protector. I prefer this type of jacket over the full leather because it is less restrictive than the full leather version. Another type to consider is a cotton jacket. It is lightweight and cooler than leather. It is fire resistant, but not resistant to hot molten metal, which will penetrate the material. I can show you some scars to attest to that fact. I think the best jacket for collision techs is a hybrid. It has leather sleeves with cotton construction. I have tried different brands, but the best one I’ve tried is the one made by Miller Electric. It is lightweight, comfortable, and it wears like iron. I love it. The last thing on my list for welding essentials is the welder itself. I have been in hundreds of shops and there is a myriad of different types of welders present. One of the things that we teach in I-CAR’s Cycle Time Reduction class is to standardize the equipment and have consumables (wire, tips, gun liner and nozzles) in stock to prevent down time due to equipment failure. A proponent of this defensive thinking is Tom Williamson of Marina Autobody
Repair in Marina Del Rey, CA. Tom now uses only Miller 110 welders. He only has to stock 2 types of contact tips and 1 type of nozzle. I convinced him to buy Hobart’s 2 lb spools of ER70S6 wire (he orders it by the case). I have tried the larger spools (10 lb spools), but the windings have been inconsistent and they have a tendency to put a lot of pressure on the 110 volt machines. I have yet to have a wire problem in 4 years. I have used Miller 110 welders for the I-CAR steel welding qualification test and the Millermatic 350P with a 15A spool gun for the Aluminum welding qualification test. Every time I conduct the steel test, the welders run anywhere from 4 to 5 hours continuously and I had only one welder stop functioning (with a bad fan motor) in nearly 5 years of testing. I might add that Miller repaired it under warranty. Here is my recommendation—the Miller 140 with Autoset for most welding applications in the body shop. It works on 110 volts and the auto set feature is the best. You select the wire and thickness and the machine does the rest. I would recommend that you upgrade the cart. The Miller 140 will handle .023 wire and .030 wire, but when welding on vehicle frames, you will need .035 wire. With
the use of .035 wire, you need to increase the amperage of the machine and that can only be accomplished by switching to 220 volt units. Miller introduced last year the 211 welder. It works on both 110 volts and 220 volts. It has the auto set feature (.030 wire and .035 wire) and it will handle all three wire sizes from .023 to .035. The best of all is the price. Check with your local welding supplier for pricing. I would like to conclude the article with a little known I-CAR Welding Qualification Test, SPS 05 Structural Steel test. I started conducting this test because it is needed for the Porsche Certification Program. This test is not for everyone. It takes about 7 hours to complete and it does separate the men from the boys. The following pictures were taken a DC Autocraft in Burbank, CA (DC Autocraft is certified center for MB, Audi, Jaguar and BMW).
The techs are given a detailed set of instructions and 2 rails. One rail to act as the original damaged part and the second as the replacement part. Thirty different welds are performed (plug welds, tapered fillet, flanged fillet and a butt weld with backer) in vertical, horizontal and overhead positions. The final rail is measured to plus or minus tolerance of 1 ½ mm before each and every weld is inspected. Here are some pictures showing the test. To take the test, a tech needs to have taken and passed the MIG Qualification Test. If your tech is requalifing, I would highly recommend that he/she take this instead. It really is a true test of one’s ability to read, follow precise instructions and perform to the highest level of performance. This is the ultimate test that the collision industry has for technicians. If you want more information on the test or you want to conduct the test in you shop, give me a call at 310-995-7909.
www.autobodynews.com | APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 27
Continued from Page 23
Still a Mustang
have the following list of SRS items to inspect and repair following a collision: WARNING: Remove restraint system diagnostic tools from the vehicle prior to road testing. If tools are not removed, the supplemental restraint system (SRS) device may not deploy in a crash. Failure to follow this instruction may result in serious personal injury or death in a crash and possibly violate vehicle safety standards.
NOTE: • After diagnosing or repairing a supplemental restraint system (SRS), the restraint system diagnostic tools (if required) must be removed before operating the vehicle over the road. • Deployable devices (such as air bag modules, pretensioners) may deploy alone or in various combinations depending on the impact event. • Always refer to the appropriate Vehicle System procedures prior to carrying out vehicle repairs affecting the SRS and safety belt system. • The SRS must be fully operational and free of faults before releasing the vehicle to the customer.
All vehicles 1. NOTE: Refer to the correct removal and installation procedure for all SRS components being installed. When any deployable device or combination of devices are deployed and/or the restraints control module (RCM) has the DTC B1231 (Event Threshold Exceeded) in memory, the repair of the vehicle's SRS is to include the removal of all deployed devices and the installation of new deployable devices, the removal and installation of new impact sensors, and the removal and installation of a new RCM. DTCs must cleared from all required modules after repairs are carried out.
Vehicles with occupant classification sensor (OCS) system 2. NOTE: After installation of new occupant classification sensor (OCS) system components carry out the OCS System Reset procedure. Refer to the appropriate Vehicle System for OCS system removal and installation procedure. When a vehicle has been involved in a collision and the occupant classification system module (OCSM) has DTC B1231 stored in memory, the repair Unibody Figure 1. of the OCS system is to in-
clude the following procedures for the specified system: • For rail type OCS system, inspect the passenger side floorpan for damage and repair as necessary. Install new OCS rails. • For weight sensor bolt type OCS system, inspect the passenger side floorpan for damage and repair as necessary. Install a new seat track with OCS weight sensor bolts. • NOTE: Most bladder type OCSM do not store a DTC B1231 in memory after deployment. The DTC B1231 is stored only by the RCM. For bladder type OCS system, inspect for damage and repair as necessary. If installation of an OCS system component is required, an OCS system service kit must be installed.
02501 LH / 02500 RH
A-pillar assembly – high strength steel
02509 LH / 02508 RH
A-pillar reinforcement – high strength steel
24301 LH / 24300 RH
B-pillar inner – high strength steel (part of 27791 / 27790)
28061 LH / 28060 RH
Quarter panel upper rear extension – mild steel
Wheelhouse inner panel – mild steel (part of 27791 / 27790)
02039B LH / 02038B RH
02505 LH / 02504 RH
3 5 6 7 8 9
28 APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
All vehicles 3. When any damage to the impact sensor mounting points or mounting hardware has occurred, repair or install new mounting points and mounting hardware as needed. 4. When the driver air bag module has deployed, a new clockspring must be installed. 5. New driver and/or front passenger safety belt systems (including retractors, buckles and height adjusters) must be installed if the vehicle is involved in a collision that results in deployment of the driver and/or front passenger safety belt pretensioners. 6. Inspect the entire vehicle for damage, including the following components: • Steering column (deployable column if equipped) • Instrument panel knee bolsters and mounting points
UNIBODY FIGURE 1
Cowl side panel – high strength steel A-pillar inner – high strength steel
27791 LH / 27790 RH
Quarter panel inner – mild steel
28059 LH / 28058 RH 02B67 LH / 02B66 RH 02733 LH / 02732 RH
Quarter panel lower extension – mild steel
Rocker panel reinforcement – high strength steel
• Instrument panel braces and brackets • Instrument panel and mounting points • Seats and seat mounting points • Safety belts, safety belt buckles and safety belt retractors. • SRS wiring, wiring harnesses and connectors 7. After carrying out the review and inspection of the entire vehicle for damage, repair or install new components as needed.
Unibody – 1965 vs. 2008 Besides both vehicles being referred to as a unibody, that is where the construction similarities stopped. The 2008 Mustang unibody contains a wide variety of steels and plastics.
Unibody Figure 2.
10177 LH / 10176 RH
on the ’65 without OE technical information, but you cannot work by memory on today’s version of the Mustang, or any other vehicle for that matter. You definitely need the proper OE technical information. Watch for Part 2 of this article in next month’s Autobody News. We’ll talk about sectioning the lower frame rail and the Mustang’s tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).
©2010 ALLDATA LLC. All rights reserved. All technical information, images and specifications are from ALLDATA Collision. ALLDATA is a registered trademark and ALLDATA Collision is a mark
UNIBODY FIGURE 2
Gusset – high strength steel
Bumper cover(front) – Thermoplastic polyolefin(TPO)
Bumper cover(rear) – TPO
Rocker panel moulding – TPO
Decklid spoiler – Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene(ABS)
It’s still a Mustang, but it has definitely changed since the 60’s There have definitely been changes in this vehicle since the ‘60’s. And we haven’t even touched the diagnostic trouble codes, changes in the drivetrain, or even the number of exterior colors available. We might have been able to set the points and timing
of ALLDATA LLC. All other brand names and marks are the property of their respective holders. Ford and Mustang are registered trademark names and model designations of Ford Motor Company. All trademark names and model designations are being used solely for reference and application purposes.
Toyota Addresses False Claims Regarding 2002 TSB Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc., addressed false claims regarding a 2002 Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) published by Toyota, as reported by CNN's special investigations unit. On the CNN segment, plaintiffs' attorneys involved in litigation against Toyota and others, including Clarence Ditlow of the Center for Auto Safety, allege that the 2002 TSB proves Toyota knew of problems in its vehicles' electronic systems that could cause unintended acceleration, and that the company and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conspired to keep this information from the public. Both claims are patently false. The 2002 TSB and software release in question were issued to remedy a drivability issue at speeds of between 38 and 42 miles per hour at light throttle. This condition was strictly related to a function internal to the transmission torque converter under certain throttle conditions. It manifested as a slight rocking motion, or surge, while holding steady throttle at the specific speed window. This issue was in no way related to any kind of sustained acceleration. The term surge has been used across the industry for many years to describe a condition where there is a very slight slowdown and speed-up perception (typically two miles per hour or less) while holding steady throttle at low to moderate speeds.
Powertrain software updates (typically released with TSBs) are designed to eliminate drivability concerns, including surge. Toyota's 2002 TSB software release was not issued to resolve any computer software concerns or problems with the electronic throttle control system and was not related to unintended acceleration. Drivability concerns related to momentary surges are not unique to Toyota, and nearly every major auto manufacturer has published TSBs to address this type of issue in their vehicles. In the last ten years, nearly 80 TSBs related to this issue with corresponding repairs and/or software updates have been released across the industry. Mr. Ditlow's claims that the 2002 Toyota TSB is a secret internal document that has not been made public are simply wrong, as are his allegations that Toyota and NHTSA kept this document from the public eye. Federal law requires that TSBs from every vehicle manufacturer be made available to independent service providers and the public. From the published date, the Toyota TSB in question was publicly available through Toyota at https://techinfo.toyota.com as well as through a number of independent and government portals. This 2002 Toyota TSB has also been previously reported on by other news outlets, and was also publicly discussed by Jim Lentz, President and COO of TMS, during recent Congressional testimony.
Honda Against Aftermarket, Salvaged Structural Parts
American Honda says it does not support the use of aftermarket, salvaged or recycled structural parts in collision repairs of its vehicles because the parts could compromise the way these vehicles absorb collision energy and put occupants at risk in future collisions. The company explained its reasoning in the following position statement: “Honda and Acura vehicles are engineered and manufactured to exacting standards and, as such, are designed to help protect vehicle occupants in the event of a collision. All elements of a collision-energy absorption system including but not limited to any structural components such as bumper reinforcement bars, bumper energy absorbers, frames, rails, fender aprons, Apillars, B-pillars and body panels must work in concert to protect the vehicle occupants and maintain cabin integrity. All elements of an occupant supplemental restraint system including but not limited to airbags, side-curtain airbags and airbag deployment sensors must work in concert
Toyota has sold more than 40 million cars and trucks with our electronic throttle control system with intelligence (ETCS-i), and the company is very confident that the system is not the cause of unintended acceleration. Toyota engineers have rigorously and repeatedly tested Toyota's ETCS under
with energy absorption components to provide proper timing for airbag deployment. Compromising any element of a collision energy absorption system or an occupant supplemental restraint system in the repair of a collision-damaged vehicle may have an adverse effect on occupant safety in any subsequent collision. Therefore, American Honda does not support the use of aftermarket, alternative, reverse-engineered or anything other than original equipment Honda or Acura parts for the collision repair of any Honda or Acura vehicle. Further, American Honda does not support the use or re-use of structural components that have been removed and salvaged or recycled from an existing vehicle that has been previously damaged. Although the parts may appear equivalent, it may be difficult to tell if the parts have been previously replaced with a non-OE part, or if the part has received collateral damage as the result of a prior collision. Further, the part may have been subjected to severe weathering, rust or other detrimental environmental exposure.”
both normal and abnormal conditions including electromagnetic interference and have never found a single case of unintended acceleration due to a defect in the system. Customers can contact at www.toyota.com/recall and 1-800-331-4331.
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These Dealers are Genuine Wholesale Parts Specialists. www.autobodynews.com | APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 29
Kia Genuine Parts Value Never Looked So Good
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30 APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
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Continued from Page 25
Parts for Profit
ble; a manager should not spend all his time on inventory reports. Use as few sources as possible, used not only for ordering, but also for pricing. Use the minmax, per job, and full bin fields to keep your parts at the proper levels. Watch out for phase-in parts, the computer has no idea of multiple part needs. Example: shock absorbers, spark plugs, etc. will phase in as a suggested order of one only. Manage your inventory by exception, use the hi/low value on reports, the middle will take care of itself. Other inventory control issues: Tape updates, part number changes, bin location changes, negative and zero on hand, phase in and out, should be weekly or monthly activities, with regular schedules. Missed sales and outside purchases are probably the second most important loss of dealer profits. You must have honest input of these parts in order to keep your inventory current. All shop purchases must be entered as missed sales. Every counterman must record every missed sale. If a man has to take the time to look up a part, it should be recorded. Buying a part from outside instead of taking it from your
own supply is always a loss, a loss of time and manpower. The many details of inventory control can take up thousands of words, but if you adhere to these principles, keep your inventory lean and mean, profit will be the natural result.
Managing Your People You now have your 1500 part numbers arranged in bins close to your counters, in easy to remember locations, correct quantities, and are ready to make some money. No, not yet. You’ve only done the easy part. After inventory-investment control, productivity is the next issue. Productivity is limited by time. Wasted time cannot be reclaimed. Every decision, every procedure, every plan should be based on time. Training your people will be the hardest, longest, and most frustrating part of your job. No one wants change in their life, especially not at work. Some are actually frozen in their patterns. Your ideas will be met with resistance of all kinds. You must not quit. You must be the unstoppable, irresistible force. Here are some guidelines to help you. Write it down. Verbal instructions are almost useless. We use our eyes first, our ears second, our memories last. When you
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write down your policies and procedures, you create a lasting effect, one that cannot be “forgotten”. Write it all down. When you are ready to start your program, do it all. Isolate yourself, start thinking about how a perfect department functions, and start writing. Don’t worry about priority, that will come later. Think about the position, not the person. Think about efficiency, volume, quick and easy procedures and how to provide them. Create plans. Break down overall plans into separate detailed plans. Give yourself time to brainstorm, and write everything down. Let your enthusiasm be your guide… if you start to over-detail one subject, continue. You can always go back to the beginning, if you have written it down. The important thing is to keep the ideas flowing. Stop writing only when you can’t think of anything else. Make your list. Now comes the time for priority. Sort all your ideas into groups. Sort all procedures by positions. List changes in order of priority, and list everything you want to do. This list will become your guide in the months to come. If you do not have a guide, you will become mired in routine, and be unable to remember the wonderful ideas you used to have, all the changes you wanted to make. Schedule your changes. People can only handle a maximum of three new ideas at a time. It takes twenty-one days to make or break a habit. Use these two facts to make up your schedule of changes. Take it easy, one or two steps at a time. Wait until things have settled down before stirring the pot again. That is why you must have a list of all the things you want to change. Now you see why I say this is the longest and hardest part of your job. Change yourself first. Next come some guidelines to help you lead your people, but you must be the example they follow.
Employee Motivation Be a leader, a teacher, and a problem solver. Each person in your department must be as productive as possible. An unhappy employee is not a productive one. Do your people come to work with smiles? Do your people stay late to “BS,” or to finish jobs, or to prepare for the next day? If you answered yes, 90% of your work is going to be very easy. But if you have an unhappy workforce, the first thing you have to do is to change their attitude. Negative criticism is the worst tool you have. Use it as a last resort, when trying to save an employee from termination. The manager’s attitude will be the attitude of the employees. They look to their leader for clues about how to perceive their jobs. If the top man is unhappy, everyone else will follow him down the hole and so will your customers. You must be a positive leader. Smile, laugh, and joke with your people.
Not enough to interfere with them, just enough to get them smiling also. Create positive feelings between employees and get them working together. A few simple ideas: Ask each one to fill out a short form once in a while about themselves or each other. A simple questionnaire: name, position, year’s experience, their own idea of a job description, their proudest accomplishment, suggestions for improvement of their job. Do not ask for criticism; ask positive or neutral questions only. Talk with each one in private about how they perceive and feel about their job and place in department. When presented with an opportunity to implement one of their ideas, do so and give them full credit for the idea. Encourage them to want to improve the department. Create a “pat on the back” award, one that the employees themselves contribute to. A simple form, with all employee names, and a check box for good, better, and best. Ask a simple question: Rate your fellow employees for most helpful, or most cheerful, or best problem solver, etc. Only one question, no possible negative comments, a take-home and mail in form with a stamped and addressed envelope. No ratings except for an award to the winner. Get your people thinking positively about each other. Post all department goals based on prior years and update daily. Make every effort to praise good work publicly, and when necessary to have a negative session with an employee do it in private behind closed doors. Once you have fully developed a positive attitude in your department, changes will be easy to make.
Things to do: ● Establish inventory controls ● Establish training program ● Establish pricing policy ● Establish expense accounting ● Analysis of wholesale income ● Analysis of discount structure ● Check for maximum stock order discounts ● Check for dealer wholesale incentives ● Check fleet accounts and rebates ● Check for best part return policy ● Review possible promotions ● Review pay plans ● Create policy and procedure manual ● Establish schedules for inventory maintenance ● Schedule freight credits
The parts manager is the key motivator in the department. Also, he has the most complex job. You need all the help you can get, and it needs to be good help. Very few employees will train themselves. Most of the time they rely on “on the job” training, and when they have learned enough to keep up with the everyday flow of business, they stop. The problem with this is that “just enough” is not
www.autobodynews.com | APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 31
good enough. You must institute an ongoing training program until everyone is as qualified as possible. The more your personnel know about the entire department, the better they will work with each other. Most manufactures have a certification program of some kind. Set a goal that every employee will get the highest certificate possible. Set aside time for training. For individual employees, afternoon sessions are best. Training for a group is best done after work. Group training is difficult. None of your people are going to be enthusiastic about staying after work. You must be firm. Let all of them decide on which day they want, except for Friday, no one should have to stay late on that day. After the day is decided, have a firm goal for each meeting. One manufacturer I worked for had short manuals, approximately thirty pages, with twenty questions at the end. Having a “classroom,” with each one reading and answering by themselves would have been a boring and painful experience. Instead, I passed out that evening’s manual, and immediately assigned one of the questions to each person. I instructed everyone to look through the manual for the answer, and when found to tell everyone what page the information could be found, and read it aloud. They then were given the next question to work on. All persons were given the same number of questions. This created a team effect.
At the end of that session, everyone had all the answers, and all had contributed evenly. If one or two had not found answers by the end, all contributed to the effort. Although this would seem on the surface be shorting them on the complete course, in reality they had to read the manual, cover to cover, over and over to find the answer to their own question. Turning to the page, reading the answer to another person’s question, writing the answer down, gave them the knowledge without the “pain” of a structured class. All shared the work, the knowledge, and the reward. Here is a general training outline: 1) training on parts system, number system, group system 2) training on computer system-interface with accounting 3) training on posting, part number control, dollar control 4) training on customer relationswholesale, retail 5) training on accounting, expense and sales accounts 6) training on parts control-monthly obsolescence, parts ordered in error, part number changes, credits 7) Overall objective, have everyone know everything… and why. 8) Create a team
Comments? Contact Larry Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Homeland Security Company Carbon Motors Partners with BMW Group’s Powertrain
On March 22, Carbon Motors Corporation and BMW Group jointly announced a strategic partnership in a press conference held outside of the 2010 Government and Security/U.S. Law Conference and Exposition. BMW will supply Carbon Motors with advanced clean diesel engines, complete with cooling and exhaust gas systems, and automatic transmissions for the Carbon E7, the world’s first and only purpose-built law enforcement patrol vehicle—designed by law enforcement, exclusively for law enforcement. “America’s largest, and most visible fleets of government-owned vehicles, now in excess of 450,000 units, deserve the most durable, efficient and reliable powertrain available,” said William Santana Li, chairman and chief executive officer, Carbon Motors Corporation. “The strength of BMW as a partner will allow us to provide our women and men in uniform with a diesel engine capable of the performance they desire along with the significant reduction in fuel consumption and emissions that U.S. taxpayers need.” It is estimated that the U.S. law enforcement fleet consumes an estimated 1.5 billion gallons of gasoline and emits an es-
timated 14 million tons of CO2 annually; the Carbon E7 will cut that by up to 40% using clean diesel technology. Clean diesel is the technically correct solution for law enforcement operations due to its inherent performance, safety, operational, fuel efficiency, and durability characteristics. “We are delighted to support Carbon Motors Corporation with our engine expertise,” said Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG. “BMW Group diesel engines have a clear lead over the competition when it comes to fuel consumption, emissions and performance. Today’s agreement with Carbon Motors marks an important milestone in BMW’s 35-year commitment to the United States market.” Also in attendance at the announcement were U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (RIN) and Indiana’s Secretary of Commerce E Mitchell Roob, Jr. “Carbon Motors has exhibited relentless and unwavering determination in its efforts to put Hoosiers back to work,” commented Sen. Lugar. “Today’s announcement brings us one step closer to proving that America is back and is turning Indiana into the Silicon Valley of the auto industry.”
Parts Parts you you Need. Need. People People you you Trust. Trust. Genuine Genu Ge nuin nu inee Mitsubishi in Mits Mi tsub ts ubis ub ishi is hi replacement rrep epla ep lace la ceme ce ment me nt Crash CCra rash ra sh Parts PPar arts ar ts are are close cclo lose lo se at at hand hand through tthr hrou hr ough ou gh the the following follllllow fo owin ow ingg quality in qual qu alit al ityy dealerships. it deal de aler al ersh er ship sh ips. ip s. They TThe heyy offer he offer exceptional eexc xcep xc epti ep tion ti onal on al customer ccus usto us tome to merr service, me serv se rvic rv ice, ic e, wide wid w idee id selection sele se lect le ctio ct ionn of in-stock io iinn-st nstoc st ockk parts oc part pa rtss and rt and the the experience expe ex peri pe rien ri ence en ce necessary nnec eces ec essa es sary sa ry to to ensure ensu en sure su re your yyou ourr ou repairs repa re pair pa irss proceed ir proc pr ocee oc eedd smoothly. ee smoo sm ooth oo thly th ly.. ly
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32 APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
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Hang ‘Em in the Town Square with Lee Amaradio Jr.
One of my favorite movies was the WestDid they hang him for taking part in the ern miniseries Lonesome Dove, starring murder of two sod-busters or for not doing Tommy Lee Jones and Lee Robert Duvall something with Amaradio Jr. to stop the murders? They hung along with Robert Urich and Danny him because he had breached their code of Glover. This was a story of the legendary honor and did nothing while watching two Texas Rangers and the old West. There innocent men die. To these men their honor were several great parts but a theme meant more to them then their own lives. throughout the entire movie was that these Jake knew this and excepted his fate. With men had a bond that was all about integrity the noose around his neck he spurred his and honor. There with is a scene that comes to own horse so his friends wouldn’t need to. Sheila Loftus mind where they were forced, because of The meaning was clear. He was saying ‘I their integrity, to hang one of their friends understand’ and ‘I’m sorry.’ He may have because he had stepped outside of the law been trying to alleviate whatever guilt they and, most importantly, he had breached may have felt. These are the kind of men their unwritten code of honor. that formed our country. Men that wouldn’t In a statement just before being stand for injustice. These men were men of hanged, Jake says to Gus, “Hey Gus, I was honor and integrity and valued their word with Sheila Loftus just trying to stay alive” and Gus replied, “I above all else. Today, we have drifted so far believe you, Jake but you know the rules. away from honor and integrity that unless ‘If you ride with outlaws you die with you are watching a vintage war movie we them.’ You stepped over the line Jake.” rarely even hear the words. Another movie comes to mind, starThe interesting thing is that Jake did know the rules and that was pretty much ring Sean Connery, called The Wind and the end of the discussion and so they the Lion. There was a scene at the end with Janet Chaney hanged their friend. In fact, Jake helped where Sean Connery’s counterpart says, them hang him by spurring his own horse. “Great One we have lost everything,” and
Action Counts Your Turn Your Turn
Shop Showcase Shop Showcase A Work Of Art. with Janet Chaney
Industry Overview with Janet Chaney
Industry Overview with Janet Chaney
Isn’t Industry it time others seeInsight her the way you see her? with John Yoswick
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Industry Interview with Janet Chaney
Lee Amaradio, Jr. is the president and owner of “Faith” Quality Auto Body Inc. in Murrieta, California. Lee is president of the CRA as well as an advocate for many other industry groups. He can be contacted at email@example.com
Sean Connery smiles as he replies, “My friend, have you found nothing in life worth losing everything for?” With that they both let out big smiles and were on their way. The meaning that I got was, yes, I have lost everything! But it was worth it, because they believed in what they stood for. It was all about their honor. Integrity and honor are priceless. They cannot be bought or sold. Either you have them or you don’t. Either you’re doing it the right way, or you’re not. It’s not about telling everyone how honest you are it’s about owning up to your mistakes and being accountable. My Dad taught me that my word was my bond and a handshake was something honorable and to keep my word because it is the most import thing I have. Somewhere we have gotten off track and most gang members have a better sense of honor than most businessman. If this were not true we wouldn’t need to put everything in writing. It’s because our honor has diminished to a point where a man’s word means very little. What I liked about the old west was that judgment was swift. They didn’t have child killers becoming celebrities with a ton of lawyers waiting in line to defend them. I liked it better when they would storm the town jail and drag the bad guy out and hang him in the town square. We were still under the same constitution and it was still the same America, except there was swift accountability that was driven by honor and integrity. I was telling my wife that because of the recession all of my efforts to help change the collision industry have been for nothing. I was complaining that nothing has changed, except now I have a giant bull’s eye on my back. She set me straight and told me what I accomplished wasn’t about everyone else. It was about me doing what I thought was right. I could lose everything and still hold my head up knowing that I did, or tried to do, the right thing. Everything isn’t always about money and “success is only a matter of one’s own perception.” I mean, no matter how successful I may think I am, there are many social circles where I would not be considered very successful. So everything becomes about who we are and what we stand for and how valuable our integrity and our honor are to us. I know that there are many people that say, “it’s just business,” or “I don’t make the rules.” Well, I have news for you. If you don’t make the rules who does? Does this mean now there are no rules? No,
there are rules and there is accountability and we will reap what we sow. Remember the ‘Golden Rule.’ “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. “We want the buck no matter what” is just not right. Where did this all go wrong? We have all watched a subtle change throughout our financial world and we have come to accept the lack of integrity and honor as acceptable business practice. We need to wake up and go back to the Lonesome Dove days when our “word” not our “net worth” was what defined us. My Dad once said to me, “Hey son, it won’t do you any good to be the richest guy in the graveyard.” It took some time for me to understand what he was telling me. Were my priorities mixed up, or was I just working too hard? What he meant was I was working too hard for the wrong reasons. It’s not about our stuff, it’s about who we are, and money doesn’t make the man. It really doesn’t matter how much money you make, but it does matter, how you make it. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? When we are required to sell ourselves out to stay in business then it’s time to get out of business. We need to regain our perspective and add honor and integrity to the way we repair vehicles. How much money will someone trade for their life? The answer, all of it. So when we start talking about safety and the safety of others excuses will not cut it. If there were a hospital director that hired a staff of doctors that continued to harm patients because neither he nor they had the proper training or equipment necessary, they would be removed from their positions. They could have the best intentions but intentions mean nothing without the training and equipment necessary to do the job. When it comes to collision repair, “safety” is a big issue and knowing the proper way to repair a collision-damaged car and using the proper equipment is a priority. There are too many shops that think they can remain in business with the “status quo” and really aren’t investing in their futures. It is “wrong” if you “fail to do what is right” when you repair your customers’ vehicles. We need to quit making excuses and give our customers the repair they trusted us for and start wearing our integrity like a badge of honor. Otherwise, when the victims say “get a rope,” and we’re under the tree, we’re going to have to spur our own horses.
www.autobodynews.com | APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 33
with Ed Attanasio
Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist based in San Francisco, California. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greenway Automotive Group’s Management of $30 million in Parts
Greenway Automotive Group, headquartered in Orlando, FL, owns and operates 14 car dealerships located in Tennessee, Florida, and Alabama, representing Ford, Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge, Hyundai, Mitsubishi and Honda. Overseeing the company’s parts departments is Brian Grady, 42, who’s been the group’s parts director since 2003. He supervises 70–80 employees, managing more than $30 million in parts inventory.
Greenway Automotive Group’s Parts Director Brian Grady met his wife Karen while selling parts to her father’s shop, Larry King Body Shop (see p. 37)
Having 28 years of experience in au- tage of,” Grady said. “With Web sites and under the belt. We’re constantly familiartomotive parts, Grady started his career at e-mail and all the information that’s avail- izing our crew with the new models and age 14, working in a parts warehouse for a able and easily accessible, we can contact familiarity grows over time. It builds condealership in Memphis, TN, and learning our customers quickly and follow-up al- fidence. We want our people to know what most instantly. Service to the customer is they’re talking about when a customer the industry from the bottom up. “I started back in 1982 working at by far the top priority we have here. Price calls in and it makes it easier if my counter people know the vehicle, including Pryor Oldsmobile for my father its assembly, and the parts inDan, who was the parts manager “we brought our sales reps volved.” there, and it was a great experiGrady said he’s always looking ence,” Grady said. “The business back in-house, but eventually it for top people to add to his crew. has changed on every level hurt our bottom line. They’re “We want folks who’ve been there. throughout the years, but in the We wouldn’t put someone inexpeend, most of the important aspects back out there ...” rienced on the counter, because it of this industry have remained the wouldn’t be fair to our customers. same. It’s still about the people, the details, and the problem solving. If you and availability are important and every- We’re always in search of people who can want to make it in parts today, you have thing works in conjunction, but if our serv- bring us value to our operation. We’ve had to be willing to do whatever it takes to ice isn’t the best we can offer, we’re not a lot of success getting great people from where we need to be. We know that other dealerships that have closed their doors for help your customers succeed.” Grady stresses service over every- companies have these same parts, so we whatever reason.” Knowing the collision repair industry thing else and constantly drills his crew have to do whatever we can to be different so well over many years on the front lines, about the importance of timely delivery and better.” Knowledge feeds the system and helps Grady to think like a body shop and finding the right parts for their cusstrengthens any parts department’s day-to- owner or a front office person, he said. “I tomers. “We have so much great technology day operations, Grady said. “Experience is always tell my people that we have to look at our fingertips that we can take advan- crucial and there’s no substitute for time at things from their perspective,” he said.
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“And that means getting the right parts on that delivery truck each and every time. In many cases, it comes down to communication. If there’s an issue, we want to know what it is so that we can remedy it. You don’t want to take an order from a customer and then ship them a partial order. That doesn’t work and we won’t likely retain that customer if we do it that way.” Grady prides himself on a consistently high fill rate in all his parts departments, he explained. “Each situation varies. It’s different based on the particular department, depending on how much they participate in the wholesale aspect of their business. But overall we’re better than 90%. If we don’t Dennis Perkins is an have certain parts in outside parts rep for stock, we can get Greenway Automothem typically within tive Group. one day without issues. Delivery by the manufacturers is so much better than it was even ten years ago. They’re so many different car models today that it’s literally impossible to have everything in our inventory all the time.” The ongoing question of using OE
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parts as opposed to tapping into the aftermarket and used/re-manufactured parts, Grady’s position is clear. “The aftermarket is a reality, so we need to address it and figure out how we can happily co-exist. The quality of aftermarket parts has gotten better and their availability is significantly improved, so it’s harder to compete with them. We will price-match whenever we can, but only when we can still make money. “We’ve learned not to force our parts onto the insurance companies’ invoices, just because we want to get the business, because otherwise we’re spinning wheels and it’s a waste of everyone’s time. Pricematching can create a bookkeeping and paperwork nightmare too, so we have to weigh each situation before we’re cutting prices to make sales.” Greenway believes in reaching out to body shops to build strong and lasting wholesale relationships, achieved via print advertising, periodical mailings, constant phone contact and by utilizing the ongoing efforts of outside sales reps. “We know the value of employing these outside sales people and getting them out into the shops to get a bead on what they want and need,” Grady said. “When the recession hit, we brought our sales reps back in-house, but eventually it hurt our bottom line. So, they’re back out there
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again and we’re pleased with the results. Nothing can replace personal touch and using these reps is extremely valuable to our overall marketing strategy.” How have Florida body shops fared during this downturn in the economy?
didn’t recognize that simple concept when they should have and now they’re not around anymore.” What’s Grady’s sense of how wholesale dealership parts will play out for the remainder of 2010 and into next year? “We’re aligned with some great brands that are getting good response for building outstanding vehicles, so we anticipate good numbers that will get better as the economy improves. Our attitude is, if we keep doing things right, we’ll benefit and build loyalty with our body shop customers, regardless of their size or role Greenway Automotive Group manages $30 million in parts. in the market. It’s an ongoing en“Everyone is down maybe 30% in Florida. deavor, but we’re primed and prepared to Some shops have folded, but the ones keep plugging away.” who’ve survived will most likely be here for a long time. If I were to give advice to Greenway Automotive Group shops in our area, I’d offer them some 9001 East Colonial Drive common sense—keep your expenses Florida, Florida 32817 down and your grosses up. Many shops (407) 275-3200
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Florida Autobody Collision Alliance Picks Up the Issues by David M. Brown, Special to Autobody News
Fragmentation, frustration and apathy once characterized Florida’s various collision industry associations. Regional groups were created but eventually withered; others started up briefly then stalled. A strong statewide group, fully supporting the individuality of its regional chapters, was unable to get traction. The Brevard Autobody Association is illustrative. It operated from 1989–2002, with approximately 35 active members. “We were probably the longest running association in the state of Florida at the time that we disbanded,” recalls Steve Long, whose Rockledge-based Long Wholesale Consultants has been serving the state since 1990. The Brevard association spun off from an Orlando association which operated approximately from 1989–1999. Today, dissolution and distrust in Florida is patiently being replaced by unity and a commitment to longevity. Long is the treasurer of the new Space and Treasure Coast Chapter of the growing Florida Autobody Collision Alliance (FACA). FACA comprises six state chapters centered by larger cities. Formed in August 2009, Long’s Space and Treasure Coast represents collision-industry members from Titusville south 100 miles or so to Stuart along the Atlantic Coast. The other chapters are FACA of Jacksonville, Mid-State (Lakeland), FACA of Tampa Bay, Central Florida (Orlando) and South Florida (Ft. Lauderdale). Approximately 200 members regularly attend regional meetings statewide. This year, FACA plans to open chapters in the Miami, Ft. Myers, Pensacola, and other areas. hold a first state convention and hire a full-time executive director, says Dave McBroom, president of FACA and the Jacksonville chapter. FACA is an affiliate of Prosser, Wa.based Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) and the National Auto Body Council, headquartered in Princeton Junction, N.J. McBroom notes that George Avery and Chuck Sulkala at NABC and Barry Dorn and Aaron Schulenburg at SCRS have been particularly helpful during the formative period. “We receive a lot of guidance and assistance from both those organizations,” he says. The association started about six years ago. “I walked into a restaurant about the same time as a dealership shop manager and another new shop owner and asked if they would mind if we sat together. Two hours later, we agreed to meet again the following week,” recalls McBroom, owner of Jacksonville-based Sunbeam Autobody since March 2000. A retired Army major and helicopter pilot, he had moved to nearby St. Augustine from
Colorado four years earlier and purchased Sunbeam. The group met weekly for several months, joined by a fourth member, Steve Carey, an insurance re-inspector and local I-CAR chairman. They decided to meet regularly and discuss topics of mutual interest, McBroom says. He had been an SCRS member for a few years and asked then current executive director, Dan Risley, to speak to the group about the advantages of unity. In Jacksonville at the time, shop owners and managers didn’t communicate or work together, he explained. “We sent out invitations and, wow!, we had over a hundred in attendance for that meeting.” For the next few years, the group met informally bimonthly. Vendors sponsored the meetings with meals, and McBroom secured speakers from the EPA as well as vendors, manufacturers and politicians. Two years ago, two shop owners from the Fort Lauderdale area, Eddie Quintela, owner of Collision Concepts in Boca Raton, and Mike Pierro, owner of Ideal Collision in Hollywood and currently chapter president of the 50-member-and-growing FACA South Florida, called McBroom. About six months earlier, they had heard about FACA during a meeting in Pittsburgh, PA. Inspired by the guidance on forming a local autobody association, they asked McBroom to visit and help them start a chapter. John Mattos, president of Pro Finishes Plus in Temple Hills, MA, Mike Anderson, owner of Wagonwork Collision, Alexandria, VA, and Aaron Schulenburg, SCRS executive director and treasurer of the Washington Metropolitan Autobody Association, also attended. “What a great meeting, with so many eager people wanting to be involved,” McBroom recalls. Then, two weeks later, another call came in from George Mantzaris and others from the Tampa Bay area. FACA vice president Mantzaris, collision center manager of Toyota of Tampa Bay, is today also the Tampa Bay chapter president. David Hesser, owner of Gulf Coast Collision in Port Richey, is the chapter’s vice president. In 2008, after contacting Risley at SCRS, McBroom invited the other two groups to meet in Ocala; they incorporated, wrote bylaws, elected a board, chose the FACA name and joined the national organization. “It has been fantastic to watch their growth and development throughout the state in a very short period of time,” saidSCRS’ Schulenberg. “I am continually astounded by how well they have done to bring together such meaningful and well-attended meetings, with members who are so driven to motivate positive change within the industry.”
36 APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS | www.autobodynews.com
SCRS has more than 39 affiliate associations across the U.S. and Canada, representing 6,000-plus collision repair businesses and 58,500-plus individuals employed within the industry. “Our chapter decided to join FACA because we felt we would have greater success being a part of a much larger state association rather than trying to go at it ourselves: Strength in numbers!” Piero says. He adds that this year’s chapter goals are to grow membership awareness about FACA and to promote regulations that will protect consumers when filing a claim. Representing consumers is also important at the Mid-State chapter, where Michael Meisner serves as president. Coming together as a group helps them, the chapter members and the industry, he says. “This is the best way for a customer to get the best repair possible,” says Meisner, whose Meisner Paint and Body in Lakeland is a third-generation collisionrepair business. In 1942, his grandfather started repairing vehicles on the same street the business is now on. “If shop owners are not ‘back-stabbing enemies’ but are instead associates, they are less likely to undercut each other
for the job and do inferior work on the consumer’s vehicle,” Meisner says. The shopowners benefit in various ways as well. For example, if the owner believes that an insurance company is not treating him or her correctly, the shop can call fellow members to see if they are being similarly handled. “This closes the gap that the insurance companies hold between shops,” he says. “There is still competition in our association, but healthy competition.” Ray Gunder, owner of Gunder’s Auto Center in Lakeland (see cover story), agrees. “FACA has opened up communication between shops that never existed before in our area. The amount of ‘knowledge’ that is shared with a phone call or email is tremendous. We are no longer on an ‘island by itself,’” explains Gunder, who started what is now a full-service collision and mechanical auto center 41 years ago. He is the sergeant at arms for the Lakeland chapter and, what McBroom calls, the “conscience of FACA.” “We can now visit each other’s shops and be welcomed—instead of being leery —looking at a demo of new equipment together,” Gunder adds, noting that the chapter holds monthly lunch meetings at different shops. “We have all gained a new respect for each other’s business and have been able to ‘bury the hatchet.’”
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Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist based in San Francisco, California. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mississippi’s Larry King Looks Back at 44 years in the Business with Ed Attanasio
Larry King is a 44-year veteran of the col- floors and pretty quickly I was doing it lision industry and a shop owner who has all.” In 1965, King started Larry King seen the businesswith changeEd in many ways. Attanasio He still believes in Body Shop in Corinth, Mississippi, a small running a clean oper- four-car shop with two employees. “Both my workers were helpers baation that’s focused more on customer sically. So, I did every job imaginable on service than pursuit my own from start to finish. We were of the almighty buck, getting three to four cars in there every he told Autobody week and business was good. It was a different business back then, without News. King, 66, began computers or even calculators. I kept his career in the col- everything in my head and all of the eslision repair industry timates were visual.” In 1976, King’s father, R.C. died after in 1958, when he began learning how running his own shop for several decades, Larry King, owner of to fix cars in a high he said. “For 11 years, we were competiLarry King Body shop school co-op study tors, but he was a great body man and he in Corinth, Missistaught me a lot. I followed his footsteps program. sippi, has seen the collision industry “I went to school and got into this business because of him.” change dramatically Larry King Body Shop today fixes half the time and the since he started his rest of the school day 20-25 cars per week, employing four body shop in 1965. I worked in a local men while his wife, Betty, and his son, body shop. I learned how to be a pretty de- Todd, run the front office. “Todd grew up working in body cent body man from my school learning and by just doing it. First, I was sweeping shops, so he learned this business by doing
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it,” King said. “And my wife has been here The struggle between insurance comworking with me on and off for many panies and body shops when it comes to years. We’re three generations in the body wrestling over labor rates and the costs of shop business and, man, parts hasn’t changed in four decades, King we’re proud of it.” said. How has King “The insurance companies are reachieved such longevity questing used parts more and more, bein a tough business? cause they’re trying to save money and I “How do I do it? It’s sim- realize that. But I also want to put out the ple. No drinking, no best work that I can, so it goes back and smoking and no cussing,” forth. I’ve had DRPs in the past, but he said. “I’m a Christian right now I don’t have any. We’re still and we run a family oper- busy, so it hasn’t affected my business ation. We’re fair with much. It’s more valuable to me to retain everyone that works with control of my shop and run the business us or comes in through the way I want to run it. We’re pretty Larry’s wife that door and that’s just close to full capacity right now, so we’re Betty helps run the way we do things. It’s fine.” the shop’s front the way I’ve done it since King has hired many body techs over office with their ’65, so why would I start the years, so he knows the qualities that son Todd. changing now?” good ones possess,. “A good body guy is King is a past customer of Brian like an artist really. Creativity is definitely Grady, King is a past customer of Brian the trait of a top-notch body person. A Grady, currently the parts director for the good one will also have a lot of pride in his Greenway Automotive Group (see p. 29). finished product. The best ones I’ve seen After ten years of King buying parts from are craftsmen who are really never happy him as the parts manager at Dobbs Pontiac with a finished job. They always want it to GMC in Memphis, Tennessee, Grady also be better.” acquired another one of the shop’s strongest assets—Larry’s daughter, Karen. It was a collision of love and—this time —insurance companies weren’t involved. “I introduced Brian to Karen and they got married in 1997,” King laughed. “I always stress good customer service, but that was more than I expected.” How has the collision industry changed since the late ‘60s? “PaintLarry King Body Shop fixes 20–25 cars per week and ing the cars was a lot harder and we employs four body techs. had to buff them out back then, which was time consuming,” King said. “And back then those cars had actual At 66, other people might be considframes on them. Now 95% of them have ering retirement, but Larry King hasn’t unibody frames, so it’s changed in many even stopped long enough to even think ways.” about it, he said. One thing that has become more of an “What? Why retire? Don’t rush me. I issue today is the question of using OE still feel great and my health is good, so parts in repairs as opposed to buying less they’ll have to pull me out of here before I expensive parts from the aftermarket, King retire.” said. “I will use the original parts from the Larry King Body Shop manufacturer in almost every case if I can. 2008 Corinth Street I’ll go that way, even if I don’t make as Corinth, Mississippi 38834 much money as I could by using an after- (662) 286-8011 market part. I’ve seen problems with aftermarket headlights that aren’t as good. And re-manufactured bumpers and some hoods have issues. If they don’t fit, I have to spend time fixing them and then I’m www.autobodynews.com losing money.”
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www.autobodynews.com | APRIL 2010 AUTOBODY NEWS 37
PPG Shares Environmentally Friendly Auto-Refinishing Technology This article first appeared on the Pennsylvania College of Technology website. It is reprinted here with permission.
Technology with the potential to change the auto-refinishing industry—on par with the introduction of the spray gun 75 years earlier—is in the hands of collision repair students at Pennsylvania College of Technology, thanks to the generosity of a longtime corporate partner. PPG Industries Automotive Refinish, a major equipment and training contributor to the college’s School of Transportation Technology, recently donated an Envirobase High Performance waterbornecoatings system to the collision repair program in College Avenue Labs. “PPG is one of the premier industries in collision repair refinishing, and its generous donation of cutting-edge, waterbased refinishing technology will enhance our students’ overall learning to a profes-
sional level,” said Michael R. Bierly, a member of the college’s collision repair faculty. “Our students will be able to enter the workforce with a whole new technology and be ready to apply it.” Primarily used in Europe, Canada and California, where air-quality regulations require lower levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), the system replaces solvent-based paint with a waterborne latex basecoat that is as efficient as it is environmentally conscious. “We believe that, by January 2012, all body shops will be mandated to be waterbased,” said J. Todd Warren, a sales representative for PPG Automotive Refinish, whose sevencounty territory includes the Penn College community. “PPG is ahead of the crowd on this one, among the earliest adopters of this new technology.
There’s a lot of loyalty among our customers. They know and trust PPG, and we’re making a huge impact on the industry.” Warren acknowledged that the switchover can be daunting for body shops, but he said the advantages—both for the environment and for business— transcend the learning curve. Some recognizable names, from the Blaise Alexander dealerships on the regional landscape to Penske Racing on an international level, already have made the conversion with no inclination to turn back. On the “green” frontier, the move to Envirobase High Performance saves more than 300 pounds of VOCs annually for an auto-body shop that mixes an average of one gallon of basecoat per week. “That is the equivalent of eliminating emissions from more than 1,000 vehicles per year,” said Warren, a member
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KMC on Demand™ and I-CAR Partner to Deliver Online Training for Auto Collision Industry KMC On Demand and I-CAR have announced a memorandum of understanding to establish a strategic partnership under which KMC will provide the training platform and I-CAR will provide technical course content to create a new online learning opportunity for the auto collision industry. “This collaboration brings together two industry leaders to seamlessly integrate the e-learning capabilities of KMC On Demand and the training expertise of I-CAR,” said Colm Keenan, V.P. of knowledge management for KMC On Demand.
“We are very proud I-CAR selected KMC to partner on this initiative. We share with I-CAR a similar vision that every person in the collision industry has the skills to achieve a complete and safe repair by increasing access to knowledge-based training directly related to his or her role in the field.” Currently, I-CAR offers individuals the opportunity for instructor-led classes that cover vehicle-specific collision repairs and general collision concepts. These classes are complemented by a limited offering of online training. KMC and I-CAR
will offer the automotive industry a broader curriculum of online learning modules with improved access and functionality. “Partnering on this initiative with KMC On Demand is a critical development in I-CAR's plans to deliver role- and segment-specific training in the both the classroom and online,” said John Edelen, president and chief executive officer of ICAR. “The KMC technology will enable I-CAR to bring more of our existing and future training to the industry, when, where and how the industry wants to receive it.”
Collision repair professionals and insurance appraisers will benefit from improved performance in the field as the KMC On Demand platform provides tools and resources to directly support learning and performance, bridging from the learning environment to the work site. Individuals and collision repair facilities will be able to maintain their I-CAR training recognition status and state continuing education credits, as both CE credits and ICAR points will be awarded for completion of the appropriate coursework on the KMC platform.
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