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Elon Musk Shares Update on Tesla’s In-House Collision Repair and Insurance Efforts by Maria Merano, Teslarati

Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently stated Tesla is building up its collision repair capabilities. He added Tesla Insurance would ensure collision repairs would make the experience smoother for customers. “Tesla is building up collision repair capability to help address the grief that you went through, but usually insurance companies make you go [ to] their ‘ approved’ collision repair partners. Tesla Insurance will make it smooth sailing,” Musk tweeted in response to a tweet from “Everyday Astro-

naut.” After Tesla Model 3 owner and SpaceX enthusiast Everyday Astronaut received his car from a Tesla certified body shop, he noticed the driver’s side mirror wasn’t working, and a loud whistling noise came out of his windshield. A Tesla Mobile Service technician fixed the side mirror and windshield in minutes. In 2018, Musk announced Tesla was bringing collision repairs in-house. He noted outside firms were ta ing too long on repairs, and it was “driving Tesla owners (and us) crazy.” Musk shared Tesla was aiming to complete repairs See Musk Shares Update, Page 6

GM, LG Energy Solution Investing $2.3 Billion in 2nd Ultium Cells Manufacturing Plant in U.S. Ultium Cells LLC, a joint venture of LG Energy Solution and General Motors, on April 16 announced a more than $ 2.3 billion investment to build its second battery cell manufacturing plant in the U.S. The facility will be located in Spring Hill, TN. Ultium Cells will build the new plant on land leased from GM. The new battery cell plant will create 1,3 00 new jobs. Construction on the approximately 2.8 million-square foot facility will begin immediately, and the plant is scheduled to open in late 2023 .

Once operational, the facility will supply battery cells to GM’s Spring Hill assembly plant.

AUTOBODYNEWS.COM Vol. 39 / Issue 5 / May 2021

President Biden’s $174 Billion EV Package Broken Down Dollar by Dollar by Joey Klender, Teslarati

President Joe Biden’ s $ 174 billion aid package for electric vehicles has been broken down in an email sent by officials from the .S. Department of Transportation. Biden’s plan to increase EV production and adoption across the U.S. is fueled by the massive spending package that aims to woo car buyers away from gas-powered engines, favoring electric cars instead. The $ 174 billion package can be broken down into several categories of different spending allocations.

The largest is the consumer rebates portion of the package, accounting for $ 100 billion of the $ 174 billion package, R euters said. The rebates would be a significant boost to U.S. automakers, especially ones like Tesla and General Motors, who cannot offer , rebates when a vehicle is purchased. Previous limits axed the EV tax credit after manufacturers sold 200,000 electric cars. The reintroduction of the , tax credit would undoubtedly convince some car buyers to consider all-electric options, bringing down See $174 Billion EV Package, Page 16

Autonomous Robotic Vehicle Starts Delivering Domino’s Pizzas in Texas by Chris Bruce, Motor1.com

The robots are coming, and they’re bringing pizza. Domino’s launched a real-world test in the Woodland Heights neighborhood in Houston, TX , for Nuro R 2 robots to deliver food. The autonomous bots will travel on public roads and will have to negotiate traffic on the way to their destination.

Early conceptual rendering of Ultium Cells LLC battery cell manufacturing facility in Spring Hill, TN. See GM, LG Energy Solution, Page 16



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To take part, customers have to place a prepaid order on Domino’s website from the restaurant’s Woodland Heights location and opt for the Nuro R 2 to perform the delivery. The company sends a text message with a PIN and the ability to track the robot’s location. When the bot reaches

the destination, the buyer enters the number to unlock the door and grab the pizza. “There is still so much for our brand to learn about the autonomous delivery space. This program will allow us to better understand how customers respond to the deliveries, how they interact with the robot and how it affects store operations,” D ennis Maloney , Domino’s senior vice president and chief innovation officer, said about the program. The Nuro is the first autonomous, occupant-less on-road vehicle to receive approval from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It does not travel on sidewal s or bi e lanes. As of December, the robot also has a permit to operate on public roads in California. The vehicle has a top speed of miles per hour. t has a - ilowatt-hour battery. The R 2 has a payload of 419 pounds. The sensor suite includes 3 6 0-degree overlapping cameras, thermal imaging camera, See Domino’s Pizzas, Page 12

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CONTENTS Autobody Solutions Peoria Wins 2021 ThreeBestRated Award..................................12 Autonomous Robotic Vehicle Starts Delivering Domino’s Pizzas in Texas ................................1 CARSTAR Collision Specialists of Brownsville Opens in Brownsville, TX .................................6 CAWA in Arizona Supports Bill to Shield Responsible Businesses from ‘Predatory’ COVID-19 Lawsuits .........................................6 How Jobs Will Change in Arlington, TX, as GM Moves to All-Electric Cars by 2035 ...........8 Sweeping Legislation to Overhaul Texas Electricity Market Heads to State House after Senate’s Unanimous Approval ...............14 Tesla Closes in on Direct EV Sales in Texas with Proposed Bill .........................................12

Sales Pick Up Pace Heading into Spring ........44 Elon Musk Shares Update on Tesla’s In-House Collision Repair and Insurance Efforts .............1 Erie Insurance National Survey: Americans

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Eager to Take Road Trips in 2021 ..................46 EV Market Declined in 2020 ..............................30 Farmers Insurance Finds More Than Half of Drivers Admit to Using Cell Phones While Behind the Wheel ..........................................42 GM Airbag Investigation Launched After Injuries .........................................................20 GM Earns 2021 ENERGY STAR Award................16 GM, LG Energy Solution Investing $2.3 Billion in 2nd Ultium Cells Manufacturing Plant in U.S....1 Government Investigates Passenger Airbag Recalls..........................................................30 Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs Recalled for Airbag Problems ......................................................36



Kia Recalls 2021 Telluride, K5, Forte to Protect Kids ..................................................46 Las Vegas Ready to Welcome 2021



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

Serving Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arkansas, Colorado, Arizona, Utah and adjacent metro areas. Autobody News is a monthly publication for the autobody industry. Permission to reproduce in any form the material published in Autobody News must be obtained in writing from the publisher. ©2021 Adamantine Media LLC.

American Icon Automotive Finishes ................. 20

Insta Finish ..................................................... 13

Audi South Austin ........................................... 37

Ken Garff West Valley Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram . 31

Audi Wholesale Parts Dealers .......................... 45

Kia Motors Wholesale Parts Dealers ................ 39

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

LKQ Corporation ............................................... 5

BMW of South Austin ...................................... 37

Marc Miller Buick-GMC ................................... 12

BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers ........................ 32

Mazda Wholesale Parts Dealers ...................... 44

Autobody News P.O. Box 1516 Carlsbad, CA 92018 (800) 699-8251 (760) 603-3229 Fax www.autobodynews.com editor@autobodynews.com

Service? .......................................................26

SEMA Show ..................................................44

Bob Utter Kia .................................................. 26

Mitsubishi Wholesale Parts ............................. 36

Phillips - How a Shop Owner Enhanced Employee

Maaco Launches Online Estimating Tool............20

Car-O-Liner..................................................... 15

MOPAR Wholesale Parts Dealers ..................... 33

MINI Will Switch to Fully-Electric Vehicles

Certified Automotive Parts Association .............. 8

NOROO Paint & Coatings ................................. 21

Chevyland....................................................... 14

North Freeway Hyundai ................................... 30

Christopher’s Dodge-Ram ............................... 29

Part of the Club ............................................... 29

Classic BMW................................................... 27

Peak Kia ......................................................... 29

Classifieds ...................................................... 46

Santa Fe Kia ................................................... 16

Emich Chevrolet.............................................. 29

SATA Dan-Am Company .................................. 17

Emich Volkswagen .......................................... 29

Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center......................10-11

Equalizer Industries, Inc .................................... 6

Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes .............. 7

Finnegan Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram ................ 2

Spanesi Americas ........................................... 48

Fisher Acura.................................................... 29

Steck Manufacturing Company ....................... 18

Fisher Honda .................................................. 29

Stevinson Toyota West .................................... 29

Flatirons Subaru ............................................. 29

Subaru Wholesale Parts Dealers...................... 41

Tesla Owner Involved in $100K+ Legal Battle

Ford Wholesale Parts Dealers .......................... 43

Sunmight USA ...........................................22-23

as Parking Garage Blames Autopilot for

Fowler Honda ................................................. 16

Toyota of Laredo ............................................. 19

Model 3 Crash ................................................4

Freeman Mazda .............................................. 18

Toyota Wholesale Parts Dealers....................... 34

GM Wholesale Parts Dealers ........................... 35

Volkswagen Wholesale Parts Dealers .............. 44

Honda-Acura Wholesale Parts Dealers .......24-25

Young Chevrolet .............................................. 28

Culture While Providing Outstanding Service During COVID-19 ..........................................38 Sisk - ASA Bonus Webinar Explores Value of Return to Work Programs ..............................40 Sisk - WIN Webinar Explores What’s NEXT for Auto Body in the Digital World ..................28 Yoswick - Deciding Between Leasing and Purchasing When Adding Shop Locations ......32

By Early 2030s .............................................27 New Vehicle Inventory Continued to Dwindle in March: Edmunds .......................................47 Nominations Open for NABC Awards .................41 President Biden’s $174 Billion EV Package Broken Down Dollar by Dollar .........................1 Record-Breaking 78 AutoNation Dealerships Certified as J.D. Power 2021 Dealers of


Excellence ....................................................20

asTech Acquires Red EU & Red Autocentres ......47

SEMA Scores State Legislative Victories ............42

Audi Just Halted Development of New

Tesla Alleged ‘Driverless’ Crash in Texas:

Combustion Engines .....................................18 Axalta to Host Virtual Capital Markets Day .........47 CAA Supports AB 471 for Accountability, Accessibility, Transparency ............................36 CCC’s 2021 Crash Course Report Offers a Glimpse of the ‘New Normal’.........................34 Cox Automotive March Forecast: U.S. Auto

What is Known So Far ...................................19

U.S. Auto Industry Pushes Biden to Move Forward with EV Adoption Plan........................4

Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers .................... 40

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Tesla Owner Involved in $100K+ Legal Battle as Parking Garage Blames Autopilot for Model 3 Crash by Simon Alvarez, Teslarati

A Tesla owner has found himself in the middle of a battle worth more than $ 100,000 in property damages after his Model 3 Performance crashed while being driven out of a valet parking garage. Despite being in the right and having the evidence to back up his claims, the Tesla owner has ended up in an uphill battle that could last for some time. It was supposed to be a routine process. After having his Model 3 parked at a multi-story garage, the Tesla owner asked for his vehicle to be returned. A valet then went on to retrieve the Model 3 from its parking spot. A Teslacam video of the valet driving the vehicle showed everything seemed normal, despite the parking garage employee driving a bit fast in such a cramped space. Moments later, the Tesla owner was shocked as part of the parking garage’s second-floor walls came crashing into the sidewalk below. Images taken by the owner after the incident revealed a vehicle had been partly pushed through the parking garage’s brick walls. Fearing the worst, the Tesla driver ran up to check on the valet and his Model 3 . hat he saw confirmed his fears. Smashed against two vehicles was his blue Tesla Model 3 Performance, its front end crushed as it collided with other parked cars. As the valet stumbled out of the Model 3 , he promptly claimed the Tesla suddenly engaged Autopilot and drove itself into the other vehicles. The valet was not joking. While those inexperienced with Tesla’s tech may find it easy to blame Autopilot to avoid accountability when something terrible happens, those familiar with the driver-assist

system know Autopilot could not be engaged in a number of places. One of these is, of course, a multi-story parking garage. The Model 3 owner then knew something was amiss when the valet told him Autopilot suddenly drove the Tesla into the other vehicles. The parking garage company claimed innocence by stating the incident was caused by “unintended acceleration” on the Model 3 ’s part. The company refused to budge, and the Tesla owner decided to fight all the way. Being familiar with how Tesla stores its vehicles’ data, the Model 3 owner decided to gather so much evidence that there will be no way his insurance company could lose the case. In cases such as these, which involve a party claiming unintended acceleration through Autopilot, it is always best to have a Tesla’s Event Data R ecorder (EDR ) report. The EDR is like the car’s black box, recording everything that has happened in the vehicle. Everything, from the driver’s weight, the vehicle’s speed, which pedals were pressed and how far they are pressed, could all be determined in the EDR report. The Model 3 owner then contacted Tesla for help in retrieving his car’s records. Much to his chagrin, Tesla refused, citing legal reasons because he lives outside of California. In a statement to Y ouTube channel Wham Baam Teslacam, the Model 3 owner remarked he is not really sure why Tesla refused his request, though he thinks if it were his lawyer who contacted the electric car maker, the results would have been different. Disappointed but not deterred, the Model 3 owner ended up hiring an EDR technician to retrieve his Tesla’s report. The move cost him

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$ 1,3 00. The EDR report was damning. A look at the data from the Model 3 showed the valet was not even wearing a seatbelt while operating the Tesla. The vehicle was also moving reasonably fast for a car being driven out of a multi-story parking garage. But even more importantly, the EDR showed the valet had applied 100% pressure on the accelerator and 0% pressure on the brake pedal all the way up to the crash. With this data, the Model owner figured he could ultimately prove the parking garage’s unintended acceleration claim was untrue. But despite the mountain of evidence provided by the EDR report, the parking garage company decided to dig their heels in the sand and stand by their claim of unintended acceleration. The Model 3 owner’s insurance company has paid out on the multiple claims for the damages that resulted from the incident and has pledged to reimburse him

after litigation is finished. ut that process could take quite a while. The incident resulted in $ 24,000 worth of repairs to the Model 3 Performance. Adding on the damage to the other vehicles involved in the incident and the damage to the building itself, the total cost of property damage from the crash is estimated to be far beyond $ 100,000. Ultimately, the Tesla owner’s experience with the parking garage highlights two notable things. One, parking garages and valets should know it’s tough to lie about what one does in a Tesla since data from the D would most definitely show the truth. And second, Tesla’s service has a lot of space for improvement, so owners who approach the company for help after such a harrowing, aggravating incident would not be turned away. An EDR request, especially one by an owner involved in an accident, is better off approved, after all. We thank T eslarati for reprint permission.

U.S. Auto Industry Pushes Biden to Move Forward with EV Adoption Plan by Steven Loveday, Inside EVs

Large automakers, related companies and the United Auto Workers (UAW) made specific requests to the iden Administration recently in a sixpage letter. The letter, dated March 29 , asked for a push forward related to tax credits and incentives for the future of the EV industry. President Joe Biden has been talking about his $ 3 trillion infrastructure plan, which aims to speed up EV adoption in the U.S. by pulling a number of levers. If the plan plays out as proposed, it will include electric car tax credits, EV charging infrastructure build-out and much more. According to R euters, via Autoblog: “As a candidate, Biden pledged to invest $ 2 trillion in infrastructure spending, including fixing highways, bridges and airports; encouraging fuel-efficient vehicle manufacturing and installing 500,000 EV charging stations. The letter noted there are currently 100,000 public charging outlets nationwide.” ith several automa ers officially announcing plans to go “all in”

on EVs, Biden’s plan, if passed, will help alleviate their previous apprehension. It has been proven for years that electric cars are difficult and expensive to produce. Legacy automakers fear losses going forward; with the help of the federal government, it could be a huge win-win situation in the future. The letter points out there are 278 million passenger vehicles currently registered on our shores. Only 1.5 million are electric cars. EVs account for only 2% of vehicle sales in the U.S. today. “To fully transition is going to require an enormous effort across the economy in every sector,” said John Boz z ella, head of the Alliance for Automobile Innovation. The letter highlights the need for a comprehensive plan based on reality. It points out in the current situation, there’s no way EV adoption can find success in the near term, and the possibility of transitioning to carbon-free transportation is not going to happen without a major change in policy and governmental support. We thank I nsid e E V s for reprint permission.

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Musk Shares Update within the same day or in under an hour. Having Tesla Insurance coordinate with the company’s in-house collision repair facilities would make the repair process more streamlined and convenient for EV owners. This could be a notable advantage for Tesla owners, as having a vehicle repaired after a collision is arguably one of the most stressful times in car ownership. A streamlined process between Tesla Insurance and the company’s in-house collision repair could be a game changer. Tesla has taken steps to expand its insurance program since Musk and Z achary K irkhorn expressed the company’s intentions for expansion during the Q 2 2020 earnings call. Tesla Insurance has expanded to Texas, Illinois and Washington in the U.S. The company has also set the board to launch Tesla Insurance in other countries, like Israel, China and some nations in Europe. We thank T eslarati for reprint permission.

CARSTAR Collision Specialists of Brownsville Opens in Brownsville, TX CAR STAR , North America’s largest multi-store network of independently owned collision repair facilities, announced the opening of CAR STAR Collision Specialists of Brownsville, located at 2124 N. Central Ave., rownsville, T . Owner of CAR STAR Collision Specialists of Brownsville, Joe Cantu, has been in the collision repair business for more than years. Cantu started wor ing on cars in high school and in his free time, helping his uncle at his facility. “I originally wanted to go to medical school, but I always had a passion for cars, and nothing seemed to beat the satisfaction of repairing a vehicle and bringing it back to its original condition,” said Cantu. “Now, I am a doctor, but a doctor of vehicles. We have been able to build an outstanding team here and joining CAR STAR helps us amplify our repair capabilities but allows me to continue to own and run my business here in Brownsville.” CAR STAR Collision Specialists of Brownsville is a 6 ,800-square

foot facility and an I-CAR Gold repair center. An I-CAR Gold Class certification is the highest industry recognition for repair standards and training. CAR STAR Collision Specialists of Brownsville is also certified for aluminum repairs, oftentimes needed for trucks.

“CAR STAR has built a reputation for being a network of premier collision repair facilities and it is because our shops are locally owned and operated by experienced professionals, like Joe,” said D ean F isher, collision group president, Driven rands. “The automotive industry continues to advance, requiring more training and education for collision repairers than ever before,

which is why we have owners like Joe, join our network, to ensure they can continue to provide the best for their community.” As a locally owned business, Cantu and his team work to give back to Brownsville through various community sponsorships and supporting the local high school’s auto repair department. The team is excited to continue serving the city they love in both collision repairs and community engagement. Please join us in celebrating the opening of CAR STAR Collision Specialists of Brownsville! CAR STAR Collision Specialists of Brownsville 2124 N. Central Ave. rownsville, T CollisionSpecialistsofBrownsville@ carstarusa.com a.m. to p.m. Monday to riday, a.m. to noon Saturday or more information on CA STA visit CAR STAR .com. Source: CAR STAR

CAWA in Arizona Supports Bill to Shield Responsible Businesses from ‘Predatory’ COVID-19 Lawsuits A bill to protect Arizona businesses, schools, health care providers, government agencies and others from frivolous CO Dlawsuits took another step forward March 17 when the Arizona House Judiciary Committee approved the measure. The legislation, Senate Bill 13 77, is needed to ensure responsible businesses and employees, particularly those on the front lines of the pandemic, are not targets of meritless lawsuits, said the sponsor of the bill, State Sen. Vince Leach, R -Saddlebrooke, who testified at the hearing. As federal lawmakers have failed to pass protective legislation, about half of U.S. states have taken the matter into their own hands and passed CO D liability protection bills, Leach said. “In other words, they are seeing the effect of sue and settle’ going after entities from schools to businesses to the medical community,” he said. Judiciary committees from both houses have approved the

legislation. The bill offers protection from reckless litigation for businesses and others who act in “good faith” to implement reasonable policies to protect their customers, clients and patients. S also offers protection for injuries that result from indirect causes, such as a patient who was unable to be admitted to a hospital when health care facilities were barred from performing non-elective surgeries during the public health emergency. Under the legislation, plaintiffs would have to prove “clear and convincing evidence that a person or provider failed to act or acted with wilful misconduct or gross negligence” in order to win a civil suit. Source: Arizona Chamber of Commerce


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How Jobs Will Change in Arlington, TX, as GM Moves to All-Electric Cars by 2035 by Gordon Dickson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

General Motors isn’t just one of Arlington’s oldest and largest employers. The 6 7-year-old GM Arlington (TX ) Assembly Plant is part of the city’s civic identity, right up there with the Texas R angers baseball club and Six lags Over Texas. But GM is in the midst of an identity overhaul of its own. The company’s chair and CEO, Mary Barra, announced in late January that GM would convert its automobile manufacturing lines to electric-only by . “The Start Button to an All-Electric uture has een Pushed, the company boasts on a website page explaining its commitment to eliminate tailpipe emissions in all its light-duty vehicles including pic ups and SUVs. Many people who follow the auto industry are sounding an alarm that the conversion to an all-electric assembly line will result in the loss of thousands of jobs at GM’s factories, including the Arlington plant. Electric vehicles have far fewer parts than cars that run on combustible engines, and require far fewer humans to assemble. or Arlington, the conversion to all-electric will require huge changes to the production lines. About , people wor at the Arlington plant, and the enormous facility is where GM makes many of its best-selling, gas guzzling vehicles, including Chevy Tahoes and Suburbans, GMC Y ukons and Cadillac Escalades. Jennif er K elly , research director for the United Auto Workers union, estimated that with the shift to electric vehicles or s the auto industry could lose as many as , jobs. However, that estimate was published during a GM workers’ strike in 2019 , and since then the union has ended its strike and reached a new contract with GM, and toned down its concerns about the impending changes. The union also recently issued a report labeled Taking the High R oad, in which the union expressed confidence that the transition to electric manufacturing will

go smoothly. But the UAW is calling for car manufacturers and the federal government to ensure that American jobs are protected, and that parts for electric vehicles are not outsourced to other countries. “As the automotive and tech companies begin to transform the automotive industry, it is important to ensure that companies do not use this shift as an opportunity to turn its back on workers,” UAW said in the report. “While everyone is familiar with the high paid leaders in the tech industry the vast majority of tech wor ers face a different reality. Electronics manufacturing is generally pushed to low-cost countries, where workers have few rights, while white collar jobs in developed countries are often staffed by temporary or contract workers.” GM officials say they are committed to preserving jobs, and training the existing work force to build the new EV cars. “We intend to bring our employees along with us through our transformation to an all-electric future,” company spokesman D aniel F lores said in an email. “Some job assignments will change but we will have opportunities for everyone to come along with us in this transformation.” The company also is building a battery factory in Ohio in a partnership with South Korean company LG Chem, and also is reportedly considering building a second battery facility as well. GM can build about one SUV per minute , per day at the Arlington plant, with employees working three shifts six days a week. The company managed to deliver , vehicles in , despite interruptions caused by the CO D pandemic. Statewide in Texas, more than , Texans wor for GM. n addition to the Arlington plant, the company operates a GM inancial headquarters in downtown ort orth, and also runs an IT Innovation Center in Austin. Arlington city officials say they’re not overly concerned about GM’s switch to zero emissions vehicles. The city is seeking more

high-tech jobs for its work force, and GM’s electric assembly line will provide an opportunity for a large number of those jobs, said Jim Parajon, deputy city manager. GM has received tax breaks from the city of Arlington over the years. In 2017, the city approved tax breaks with GM and landowner NP Arlington Industrial LLC to build a 1.2 million-square foot warehousing and logistics center at the former Six lags Mall site, not far from the plant. The logistics center houses GM’s suppliers, so parts can be delivered to the assembly lines in just minutes. The tax incentive agreements provided NP Arlington a 10-year, 100% abatement of city property taxes on the added value of the logistics center site, which could save the company an estimated $ 2.6 million. Another agreement makes NP Arlington eligible for up to $ 6 million in grants and up to $ 2 million for public infrastructure improvements to the site. The city also has an incentive

deal with GM for a 10-year tax abatement that would forgive 80% of business personal property taxes that the city would have collected. That could save GM an estimated $ 2.7 million. Council members said at the time the incentives were important because they tied GM to the city for a period of time. Parajon said the city’s agreement with GM brought in an additional new jobs, in addition to GM’s existing employment base, and those additions are to remain in place until at least 2028. He said the city has an open dialog with GM and is confident that the company wants to remain in Arlington for many years to come. “We’re an innovation city,” Parajon said, “so for mobility companies like General Motors that are transitioning to new products, we’re always excited about the opportunity for that job growth and value growth.” We thank the F ort Worth Star- T eleg ram for reprint permission.



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Domino’s Pizzas iDA , short- and long-range radar, ultrasonics and a microphone for detecting emergency vehicle sirens. Domino’s has been pursuing autonomous pizza deliveries for a few years. In 2017, it held a test in Ann Arbor, MI, where an experimental, self-driving ord usion carried food. The company later expanded the evaluation to Miami, . While it’s not quite as cutting-edge as a robot carrying pizzas, Domino’s also developed an in-car app for ordering a pie. Although, there doesn’t seem to be much reason to use this method when most people would have a smartphone on hand. We thank M otor1 .com for reprint permission.




Autobody Solutions Peoria Wins 2021 ThreeBestRated Award Autob od y Solutions P eoria has won the 2021 ThreeBestR ated award for one of the top rated auto body shops in Peoria, AZ . ThreeBestR ated is a multinational business ranking website that lists the top three businesses, professionals, restaurants, etc., using its -point inspection. ith more than

“For 2021, we are investing and training to be at the forefront of EV repairs.” — Shawn Deason 4 million monthly visitors, it is one of the most trusted sources for people to find the best business. “We are very proud to be listed as a ThreeBestR ated repair facility,” said Shaw n D eason, general manager of Autobody Solutions Peoria. “We appreciate that they have taken the time and researched each business listed as ThreeBestR ated® for the community.” Autobody Solutions Peoria has been in business since 2000. “We are a proud member company of Lunde’s Peoria Volkswagen. Our team is very experienced with

Tesla Closes in on Direct EV Sales in Texas with Proposed Bill by Maria Merano, Teslarati

Texas House Bill 43 79 , authored by state R ep. Cody H arris, R -Palestine, proposes automakers manufacturing cars powered by electricity or batteries should be allowed to act as dealers under Texas state regulations. The bill would enable all-electric car manufacturers like Tesla to sell their vehicles directly to consumers. Tesla has had a difficult time applying its direct sales strategy in Texas. The state prohibits car manufacturers from directly selling vehicles to customers and encourages automakers to sell via a franchised dealership. House Bill 43 79 could change the landscape for Tesla in Texas. The bill proposes adding a subsection to Section 23 01.476 of the Texas Occupation Code. The amendment, labeled Subsection i-1, would read: “(i-1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, a manufacturer or distributor may own or operate a dealership, may own, operate or otherwise act in the capacity of a dealer… ” The amendment also

multiple key employees that have more than years of tenure, Deason said. All their work comes with a lifetime warranty. The shop features O M certifications, which means it has access to and follows manufacturers’ repair instructions and guidelines.

states automakers will be able to obtain a “dealer general distinguishing number.” To get a dealer distinguishing number, carmakers must solely distribute vehicles powered by electricity or batteries and the manufacturer’s “line-make” must have never been sold in the state through an independent franchised dealership. Tesla meets the requirements of the amendment, along with other EV startups. The bill would probably also open doors for new car makers like R ivian or Lucid. Legacy automakers with upcoming entrees to the EV market may not meet the second requirement. or instance, ord had been working with dealerships for its Mustang Mach-E sales. In the last couple of years, Tesla has tried a few times to amend the law that prohibits manufacturers from directly selling their vehicles to no avail. However, House Bill 43 79 might find success, given Tesla’s growing presence in Texas thanks to its Gigafactory in Travis County. We thank T eslarati for reprint permission.

“We are also an I-CAR Gold Class repair facility, which ensures that we are following the correct repair processes and procedures on our non-certified vehicle repairs, Deason said. The technicians are also experts in repairing Toyota, Lexus, Subaru, Mazda, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Land R over, Volvo, Jaguar and other models. “ e are certified to repair aluminum body vehicles, Deason said. The shop features an aluminum repair bay and the proper tooling to ensure any aluminum vehicle is repaired

back to the manufacturer guidelines for repairs. The experts at Autobody Solutions Peoria are also environmentally conscious. They only use the highest quality waterborne paint finishes that combine durability with excellent color matching. Deason also has big plans for 2021. “We are always working to stay current on the latest vehicle technologies and repair methods,” he said. “ or , we are investing and training to be at the forefront of EV repairs. The EV market is a game changer that requires many specialty tools, training and repair procedures that can not and should not be deviated from in any way.” To learn more about Autobody Solutions Peoria and its services, visit autobodysolutionspeoria.com. Source: ThreeBestR ated


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Sweeping Legislation to Overhaul Texas Electricity Market Heads to State House after Senate’s Unanimous Approval by Shawn Mulcahy and Erin Douglas, The Texas Tribune

The Texas Senate on March 29 unanimously approved a sweeping bill that would overhaul the state’s electricity industry and infrastructure, including mandating that power plants prepare for extreme weather and outlawing risky indexed retail electric plans. Senate ill , filed by epublican state Sen. Charles Schw ertner of Georgetown, now heads to the Texas House where its prospects are uncertain. Members in the lower chamber were to take up a series of related, standalone bills on March 3 0. “There were a multitude of failures,” Schwertner said from the Senate floor March , referring to the massive power outages during the deadly winter storm. “And we’re fixing the problems. SB 3 would require all power generators, transmission lines, natural gas facilities and pipelines to make upgrades for extreme weather a process nown as weatherization. Most power generators and gas facilities were not equipped to handle temperatures that dipped into single digits last month. Natural gas regulators and industry groups have claimed that the majority of the problems that caused a shortage of natural gas during the storm which worsened the problems for power plants was caused by power outages, and suggested that winterization of the natural gas supply system was unnecessary. The Senate bill reflects that concern, leaving it to the Texas R ailroad Commission, the regulatory body that oversees the state’s oil and natural gas industry, to decide what upgrades natural gas fuel facilities

would have to make. The bill does not address funding to pay for the mandated upgrades. However, other pieces of legislation in the Texas House have been proposed with various funding mechanisms. Experts say the process of retrofitting the state’s power plants for winter could be difficult and costly, but not impossible, depending on the types of upgrades eventually mandated by regulators. The bill would also ban indexed retail electric plans, whose rates fluctuate based on the cost of wholesale electricity. Customers in Texas who purchased indexed electric plans, li e Griddy which has since declared ban ruptcy saw astronomically high bills in the weeks following the storm due to a massive spike in wholesale electricity prices. Senate Bill 3 would also create a statewide emergency alert system in the event of future blackouts and would create the Texas Energy R eliability Council, modeled after a currently voluntary board by the same name. Known as TER C, the board coordinates state energy regulators, electricity generators and the natural gas fuel industry to ensure reliable gas distribution for electricity. SB 3 would formalize the body and require it to meet twice a year. Senators tacked on a handful of floor amendments, including a provision that would give the Texas Public Utility Commission six months to draft weatherization rules. The PUC regulates the Electrical R eliability Council of Texas, which manages the state’s main power grid. The Texas R ailroad Commission, which regulates the oil and natural gas industries, would be required to draft weatherization rules within six months upon completion

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of a map, detailing Texas’ natural gas supply chain to “designate priority service needs during extreme weather events.” Both the PUC and R ailroad Commission would also be required to conduct on-site inspections to ensure compliance. Another key provision of the bill would shift some of the financial burden of ancillary services, which help ensure the continuous generation of power to the electricity grid in the ER COT market, to renewable energy providers, an amendment proposed by state Sen. K elly H ancock, R -North R ichland Hills. Some power plants or large users of power, such as oil refineries, offer to either increase the supply of electricity to the grid or decrease the demand for electricity for a certain price in a day-ahead market. ER COT, the grid operator, purchases those guarantees to ensure extra power resources could quickly become available if there are any un-

expected interruptions to the grid. Currently, the costs of the services are distributed among customers. But some lawmakers say that the increasing amount of wind and solar generation could require ER COT to buy more of these services, and argue that renewable power companies should bear the burden of the additional costs. Hancock told The Texas Tribune that the provision was intended to be a “small tweak” to “level out the peaks and valleys” in market prices that he said are created by cheap and intermittent wind and solar power generators. The Advanced Power Alliance, a wind and solar industry group in Texas, called proposals to assign the costs to wind and solar power generators an “unnecessary, discriminatory policy” in a statement issued last week. We thank T he T ex as T rib une for reprint permission.

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“The addition of our second all-new ltium battery cell plant in the .S. with our joint venture partner G nergy Solution is another major step in our transition to an all-electric future, said GM Chairman and C O Mary Barra. “The support of the state of Tennessee was an important factor in ma ing this investment in Spring Hill possible and this type of support will be critical moving forward as we continue to ta e steps to transition our manufacturing footprint to support production. “This partnership with General Motors will transform Tennessee into another ey location for electric vehicle and battery production. t will allow us to build solid and stable .S-based supply chains that enable everything from research, product development and production to the procurement of raw components, said G nergy Solution President and C O Jong hy un K im. “ mportantly, truly believe this coming

together transcends a partnership as it mar s a defining moment that will reduce emissions and help to accelerate the adoption of s. The state-of-the-art Spring Hill plant will use the most advanced and efficient battery cell manufacturing processes. The plant will be extremely flexible and able to adapt to ongoing advances in technology and materials. GM’s proprietary ltium battery technology is at the heart of the company’s strategy to compete for nearly every customer in the mar etplace, whether they are loo ing for affordable transportation, luxury vehicles, wor truc s, commercial truc s or high-performance machines. ltium batteries are unique in the industry because the large-format, pouch-style cells can be stac ed vertically or horizontally inside the battery pac . This allows engineers to optimize battery energy storage and layout for each vehicle design. nergy options range from to ilowatt hours, which could enable a GM-estimated range up to miles

Continued from Cover


Continued from Cover

GM, LG Energy Solution

$174 Billion EV Package their car’s cost by a significant amount in some cases. There have been rumblings of the , credit being bumped up to , per unit sold. hile unconfirmed, several ashington D.C. sources have indicated the iden administration is considering a , boost to the previous tax credit amount. edbush analyst D an I ves commented on the possibility of the , amount earlier this wee . “ e are hearing from our contacts in the eltway that , tax credit could potentially be , in terms of a credit and that’s going to be a massive catalyst not just for Tesla, but for the ecosystem in the .S., ves told ahoo inance ive. ith billion out of the way and billion remaining, it appears billion will be used to accelerate the buildout of the electric vehicle charging infrastructure. iden’s campaign is targeting at least ,

charging stations. One of the main concerns and points of non- owners is the lac of charging options available throughout the .S. However, with more companies joining the sector, the focus on charging is becoming an evident focus of automa ers moving forward. Tesla has started to plan for larger Supercharger stalls in highly populated areas. New companies li e ivian are just releasing their charging plans a few months ahead of their first vehicles being delivered to customers. The final billion of the pac age will be divided into three subsections billion for electric school buses, aligning with iden’s plan to electrify the government fleet, billion for zero-emission transit vehicles, and the remaining billion going to “other tax incentives. ltimately, the pac age will greatly benefit nearly any car company that will begin developing electric powertrains for the passenger or commercial mar et. We thank T eslarati for reprint permission.

or more on a full charge with mph acceleration in seconds. GM’s future ltium-powered s are designed for evel and DC fast charging. Most will have -volt battery pac s and up to fast charging capability while GM’s truc platform will have volt battery pac s and fast charging capability. ith a -year history in the battery business, G nergy Solution has made consistent, large-scale investments to accumulate enough stability, credibility and manufacturing experience to invent its own cutting-edge technologies. The company established its first research facility in the .S. in the early s. n , the company built its first .S battery plant in Holland, M . Through ltium Cells, G nergy Solution and GM will merge their advanced technologies and capabilities to help accelerate automotive electrification. Source: G M www.autobodynews.com

GM Earns 2021 ENERGY STAR Award General Motors announced April it has received the NG STA Partner of the ear Sustained xcellence Award from the .S. nvironmental Protection Agency and the .S. Department of nergy for the th year. The Sustained xcellence Award is the highest honor bestowed by the N G STA program. n , GM committed to a reduction in carbon intensity by , which was met early in . And in January, GM Chairman and C O Mary Barra announced accelerated energy goals, including the sourcing of renewable energy to power GM facilities in the .S. by , and globally by . The company also recently announced plans to become carbon neutral in its global products and operations by and its aspiration to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by . Source: G M



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Audi Just Halted Development of New Combustion Engines by Brad Bergan, Interesting Engineering

Audi just halted the development of new combustion engines, according to an interview with CEO Markus D uesmann in a Frankfurter Allgemeine Z eitung (FAS) report. This decision came in response to the European Union’s (E.U.’s) plans for a more rigid Euro 7 emissions standard. “We will no longer develop a new combustion engine, but will adapt our existing combustion engines to new emission guidelines,” said Duesmann in the FAS report. The Euro 7 standard appears to be a “technically huge challenge with at the same time little benefit for the environment,” added the CEO. “This places extreme restrictions on the internal combustion engine,” added Duesmann. Duesmann didn’t say when Audi would sell its final new car housing an internal combustion engine. But the Audi CEO pointed to global regions where energy supply and charging infrastructure are underdeveloped during the FAS interview.

In light of these regions, Audi will continue selling combustion engines for several years, but will develop no further generations of gas or diesel engines.

Credit: hamikus/iStock

This puts Audi on a similar road to its rival auto manufacturer, Mercedes-Benz. R ecently, Markus Schä f er, a board member accountable for Mercedes’ development, said his company will also develop no more combustion engines. “This means that the bulk of the investments can now really go into electromobility,” said Schä fer to Handelsblatt, according to an Elec-

ultimately reduces the complexity trive report. Audi plans to follow the same of battery cells and lowers costs. Duesmann avoided definitive path, offering all-electric vehicles in the next five years. Ta ing a estimates of whether the new vecue from its parent company, Volk- hicle will be at the IAA this fall, swagen’s, MEB, Audi in Munich for the first time, but hopes the Q 4 e-tron will not because of the vehicle’s develbring in new customer opment: “[ T] he pandemic is progroups—since the large gressing so unpredictably that my SUV e-tron and the Tay- confidence is honestly limited at can-inspired e-tron GT the moment.” The auto world is transformwere released. Audi intends the Q 4 ing as world governments push e-tron to be “affordable for more sustainable or all-elecfor many people and the tric mandates and regulations on entry into e-mobility at the use of combustion engines and Audi,” said Duesmann in fossil fuels generally. While many the FAS report. “It will consider Tesla the current leadsell well and ensure sig- er in the all-electric rollout, the nificant unit sales, and coming decade could see other will be assembled at the VW facili- major automotive players rapidly close this lead, as the full manuty in Z wickau. During Volkswagen’s “Pow- facturing power of heavy-hitting er Day,” Duesmann also said the automa ers pivots to st century electric sedan—which began as technology. This was a breaking story and part of the Artemis project—would launch to the market at the end of was regularly updated as new in. He also suggested the vehi- formation became available. us about cle would be the first in Contact the group matching We thank I nteresting E ng ineering to use the new cell-to-packprice technolthrough the Mazda ogy of the unit battery cell, which Collision Parts for reprint permission. Advantage Program!

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Tesla Alleged ‘Driverless’ Crash in Texas: What is Known So Far by Simon Alvarez, Teslarati

On April 17, a tragic crash involving a 2019 Tesla Model S claimed the lives of two people, a -year-old and a 6 9 -year-old, both of whom are yet to be identified. Considering the nature of the case and partly due to the involvement of a Tesla, the incident has been covered by both local and national media outlets. This became quite notable in social media platforms, where the crash has been linked to Autopilot. This guide presents what is currently known about the tragic incident, as well as some commentary and videos from EV owners who have attempted to replicate, at least to a degree, the alleged events that led up to the crash. What happened? On April 17, a 2019 Model S crashed into a tree at about p.m. in the Carlton Woods Subdivision on Hammoc Dunes Place in Houston, TX . According to authorities, the Model S crashed into a tree after failing to navigate a turn at high speed


Hammoc Dunes Place. The collision resulted in a fire that too the local fire department about four hours and more than 3 0,000 gallons of water to extinguish. Investigators found two victims from the incident, one sitting on the passenger seat and another in the back seat. What did witnesses say? P C reporter Deven Clar e spo e to one of the victims’ brother-in-law, who stated the Tesla owner and a friend simply wanted to take the car out for a spin. The brother-in-law said there were just two people in the vehicle. He also added the Tesla owner backed out of the driveway and then may have hopped in the back seat before crashing a few hundred yards down the road. The owner was reportedly the person found in the back seat of the car. What have the police said? In a statement to KHOU-11, Harris County Pct. 4 Constable Mark H erman said deputies who recovered the Tesla are certain the vehicle had

no driver when it collided with the tree. He also emphasized some of the authorities who responded to the incident were reconstructionists, and they were very confident there was no one driving the vehicle when it crashed. “They are 100% certain that no one was in the driver seat driving that vehicle at the time of impact. They are positive. And again, the height from the back seat to the front seat, that would be almost impossible, but again our investigators are trained. They handle collisions. Several of our folks are reconstructionists, but they feel very confident just with the positioning of the bodies after the impact that there was no one driving that vehicle,” Herman said. Was Autopilot involved? Despite the inflammatory social media posts from some media outlets, it has not been determined yet if Autopilot had been active in the Model S when it collided with the tree. It should be noted the roads in the Carlton Woods Subdivision on Hammoc Dunes Place do not seem to have visible lane lines, which is

a requirement for Autopilot’s activation. R egular cruise control could be activated in such areas as per videos from Tesla owners, but Autopilot and ull Self-Driving features are generally inaccessible in a residential area, at least in their current state. Is the NTSB investigating the incident? In a statement to Bloomberg, National Transportation Safety Board spokesperson Chris O ’ N eil confirmed the NTS does not plan to open a new probe about the tragic incident. What happens when Autopilot in engaged and a driver unbuckles the seatbelt? One suggested scenario is the driver might have activated Autopilot and jumped into the back seat. This would have been a tricky maneuver as the driver would have had to unbuckle himself, which results in Teslas engaging their alerts and eventually coming to a stop. We thank T eslarati for reprint permission.

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Maaco Launches Online Estimating Tool

Record-Breaking 78 AutoNation Dealerships Certified as J.D. Power 2021 Dealers of Excellence

Maaco now offers vehicle owners a new, unique and easy way to obtain estimates and book appointments to have their car painted and have minor dents, scratches or weather damages repaired with the Maaco online estimating tool. One of the first estimating services of its kind, the online tool allows customers to input information that generates an estimate for the services they need. It even has the flexibility to adjust pricing based on geography and the difference in regional labor rates. Once the estimate is generated, the vehicle owner can use the tool to book an online appointment, making the entire process fast, easy and able to be done from home on a phone or desktop.To get an online estimate, customers simply answer a few questions about their vehicle. Then they receive a preliminary estimate. From there, the customer can book an appointment to finalize the estimate on-site with their nearest Maaco facility. Source: Maaco

Demonstrating its commitment to exceeding customer expectations, AutoNation, Inc., America’s largest automotive retailer, on April 15 announced 78 AutoNation stores have been certified in the J.D. Power 2021 Dealer of Excellence Program. This program recognizes a very selective number of retail dealerships throughout the U.S. that provide an exceptional customer sales experience and once again, AutoNation was the clear leader. “This certification is an outstanding accomplishment for our teams. Last year we set the bar with 54 stores receiving the J.D. Power Dealer of Excellence recognition. These 54 stores again received the recognition with 24 new stores added this year. We could not be prouder,” said Jim Bender, president and COO at AutoNation. “This recognition amplifies AutoNation’s commitment to providing a peerless customer experience as the clear industry leader and every member of our

team shares in this achievement.” Known for its “Voice of the Customer” research for more than 50 years, J.D. Power and, subsequently, its Dealer of Excellence Program help consumers identify leading retailers that will go the extra mile. According to J.D. Power, buying a vehicle is a significant financial transaction and can be stressful because there’s so much information to digest. The Dealer of Excellence Program assists auto buyers who are looking for an exceptional dealership where they can confidently buy a vehicle. Certified dealers also benefit by leveraging the J.D. Power brand and promoting their dealership’s commitment to an outstanding customer purchase experience. Dealer of Excellence is an exclusive program and not all dealerships can qualify. Those that do must pass a three-step process. As the first qualification criterion, J.D. Power limits the percentage of eligible dealerships by

nameplate based on each brand’s performance in the most recent J.D. Power U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study. Thus, proportionally more dealerships from top-performing brands can become a J.D. Power Dealer of Excellence. Second, dealerships must rank among their brand’s top performers in key customer satisfaction areas consistent with measurements found in the SSI Study. Finally, qualifying dealers must pass an audit to show they meet or exceed J.D. Power sales best practices. Those best practices include, but are not limited to, listing vehicle inventory and pricing on the dealership website, negotiating in an efficient and transparent manner, offering a fair trade-in value and presenting a clear and easy-to-understand menu of finance and insurance products. Source: AutoNation


GM Airbag Investigation Launched After Injuries by David A. Wood, CarComplaints.com

A GM airbag investigation has been opened following claims of injuries caused when the airbags failed to deploy in crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it opened the General Motors airbag investigation after receiving 15 complaints alleging six severe crashes where the airbags failed to deploy. According to NHTSA, the six GM vehicles suffered “significant frontal collision damage,” and all six incidents caused injuries. Additionally, nine airbag complaints indicate the airbag warning lights were illuminated. Included in the GM airbag investigation are nearly 750,000 of these vehicles: 2020-2021 Chevrolet Silverado 2020-2021 Chevrolet Tahoe 2020-2021 Chevrolet Suburban 2020-2021 GMC Sierra 2020-2021 GMC Yukon 2020-2021 GMC Yukon XL 2020-2021 Cadillac Escalade 2020-2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV

2020-2021 Cadillac CT4 2020-2021 Cadillac CT5 2020-2021 Cadillac XT4 GM issued technical service bulletin (TSB) 21-NA-005 in March regarding illuminated airbag warning lights associated with diagnostic trouble codes B0001-1B or B0012-0D. The GM airbag investigation will have federal safety regulators looking at what the automaker said in the TSB which was sent to dealerships. Specifically, GM told dealers rust particles in the connection terminal interface of the airbag inflator is what causes illuminated airbag warning light. It’s when the airbag warning light activates the airbag deactivates and won’t deploy in a crash. NHTSA said investigators will determine how severe and widespread the GM airbag problems are, and if the automaker should recall and repair the vehicles. CarComplaints.com will update our website with results of the GM airbag investigation. We thank CarComplaints.com for reprint permission.

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autobodynews.com / MAY 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 25

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with Stacey Phillips

From the Desk of Mike Anderson with Mike Anderson

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

Have We Handcuffed Employees from Providing Extraordinary Customer Service? I’m concerned some of you may read the first paragraphs of this column, and presume it’s about customer satisfaction indexing CS it’s not and decide to move on. Or you may think it’s about online reviews it’s not, really and decide to move on. So please stick with me here. I’m going to talk about CSI and online reviews, but only as an introduction. It’s no secret for years many insurance companies have conducted or as ed their direct repair shops to conduct CS surveys. Many body shops track CSI on their own, regardless of whether a job is done under a D P or not. And in recent years, more automakers have added CSI requirements for the shops in their certification programs. It all makes sense. Insurers and automakers want to make sure the mutual customers they refer to shops are being kept informed during repairs, are receiving their repaired vehicle back in a timely manner, etc. They want to make sure their brand is being protected. or shop owners, CS ma es good sense as well, particularly as a shop’s volume or location count increases. When I owned multiple shops, I used CSI to help identify “blind spots” in my business. Since I couldn’t touch every single car, CSI results helped me ensure my employees were providing the same quality of repairs and customer service I would personally. So to be clear: CSI is useful and valuable. It’s helped our industry reach “net-promoter” scores that are better than those found in so many other industries. But I believe online reviews are becoming equally important for shops. Consumers increasingly have a “trust but verify” mentality. In a column I wrote a couple years ago, I shared a story about the time my friend Greg’s son and daughter-in-law didn’t go to a restaurant Greg had highly recommended, because that restaurant’s online reviews

weren’t as good as others the son looked up. Greg’s son used online reviews to verify whether his own father’s referral could be trusted. Given that, do you think consumers are going to trust a shop re-

ferral from an insurance company or an automaker without verifying by checking the shop’s online reviews? Maybe my 84-year-old father isn’t going to do check those reviews, but my niece in her s definitely will. So that makes online reviews increasingly important as these generational shifts continue. Part of what this brings to mind is something I learned from R y an Tay lor at Bodyshop Booster: “People are more afraid of making a wrong decision than they are of spending money.” Think about it: Have you ever passed over a lower-priced option for something you were buying because you were leery the cheaper one could be a mistake? Have you ever sorted your search results on Amazon based on average customer reviews rather than price? I know I have. And think about this: How much are online customer reviews influencing your ranking in search results? State arm is among the insurance companies using a shop locator that now includes online review scores. Some of the automakers have done this as well. Anyone who Googles “best auto body shop near me” is going to see only shops with a four-star rating or better even if others are closer. That search may bring up four or five shops, but if the consumer conducts a voice-activated search, their device is li ely to suggest only the one shop

the one with the best online reviews. I think connected cars are only going to accelerate the use of voice-activated search. Try it yourself: Ask your phone something like, “Hey, Siri, what’s the best auto body shop near me? ” Is your shop the one that’s suggested? But as I said at the start, my message here is about something bigger than CSI scores and online reviews. t’s about figuring out how you can differentiate yourself by providing exceptional customer service, creating a memorable or not to sound li e Disney a magical experience for your customers. Why? I think as an industry, most shops have developed ways to ensure customers will answer the three or four basic CSI questions positively.

We’ve found ways to keep them informed, to ensure their vehicle is returned on time, etc. That’s part of how CSI has made us better as an industry. And of course those things are, and will continue to be, very important elements to our business. But as we’ve crafted our customer service around just those things, I think we may have handcuffed our team, limiting how much they think outside the box in terms of providing exceptional, memorable service. That’s why I think the additional power of open-ended online customer reviews will open new opportunities for your business to set itself apart. What does that memorable or magical customer experience look like? I’ll be honest: I don’t know. In talking about this with my good friend R ay Chew at CCC In-

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formation Services, he told me he thin s it has to start from that first point of contact, when we first get that assignment or referral. rom that point on, we need to be looking for opportunities to wow that customer, to turn what they might perceive as a bad situation into a great experience.

than I should have, I managed to drop one, cracking open a watermelon and most of a dozen eggs the equivalent of “one-time-use parts” in the world of groceries. About 20 minutes later, there was a knock at my door. There was the young grocery delivery guy with another watermelon and carton of

“People are more afraid of making a wrong decision than they are of spending money.” — Ryan Taylor An example: How often have we had a customer call to say they left their sunglasses or phone charger in their car when they dropped it at the shop? Once you locate the item in the car, do you just tell them how late you are open if they want to pic it up or does someone offer to drop it off at their home or wor t’s a little thing, but a kind, convenient gesture customers may well mention as part of a five-star online review. I can point to something similar in my own life recently. I had groceries delivered to my home, and in trying to pick up more of the bags

eggs for me. He wasn’t the person responsible for the busted groceries. He didn’t even work for the grocery store; he was a subcontractor who did this on his own. Y ou better believe that turned an otherwise mundane transaction into a memorable experience to share in an online review. That’s the sort of thing your employees need to be empowered to do. It will be key to helping your business thrive as online reviews expand the customer experience beyond the basic building blocks of CSI.

MINI Will Switch to Fully-Electric Vehicles By Early 2030s by Andrei Nedelea, Inside EVs

Automakers are scrambling these days to not only churn out more and more electric and electrified vehicles, but also to stop making fuel-burning vehicles as soon as possible. MINI seems like it’s one of the most ambitious in this regard, with the BMW-owned brand announcing its goal to launch its last-ever internal combustion-engined vehicle in , and to not have any more of them for sale by the early 203 0s. The news was broken by O liver Z ip se, BMW chairman, who mentioned it during the BMW Annual Conference 2021 that mainly focused on the reveal of the production spec BMW i4 electric sedan. If MINI does stay true to the claims, it will rid itself of ICE quicker than its parent brand, BMW, and it wants full EVs to account for half of its annual sales by the year 2027. R ight now, MINI only has one

pure-EV in its roster, the Cooper SE two-door, which will eventually be joined by a four-door hatch variant. However, MINI plans to launch more EVs after 2023 when it expects to complete work on a new electric car platform which it is jointly developing with China’s Great Wall Motors. The first model to be underpinned by this new platform is believed to be the next-gen MINI Countryman, which will be sold both with ICE power as well as a fully-electric powertrain. BMW says this new Countryman crossover will debut in 2023 and will be assembled at BMW’s plant in Leipzig; electric MINIs will also be built in China starting the same year, through the collaboration with Great Wall. We thank Inside EVs for reprint permission.



autobodynews.com / MAY 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 27

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Historical Snapshot with John Yoswick

Associations Assembling with Chasidy Rae Sisk

Chasidy Rae Sisk is a freelance technical writer from Wilmington, Delaware, who writes on a variety of fields and subjects, and grew up in a family of NASCAR fans. She can be contacted at crsisk@gmail.com.

WIN Webinar Explores What’s NEXT for Auto Body in the Digital World

Southeast News

On nternational omen’s Day on hicles involved in accidents will be March 8, Elaina F arnsw orth, CEO more expensive to fix. of The NEX Twith Education, shared Chasidy Rae Sisk“R ange of vision is important to insights on “What’s NEX T for the think about as a repairer. We need to uture Autobody or er in Our know how the sensors interact and merging Digital orld, during a what they’re expected to do, arnwebinar hosted by the Women’s In- sworth added. “Be careful of the dustry Network (WIN). sensors and the cameras when you “Never before have we seen repair connected vehicles these with Rae Sisk such a change in how Chasidy transportation features provide enhanced safety has been done, arnsworth began. and mobility. ach have different re“We are experiencing a wonderful quirements for speed, security, disperiod of growth, and the industry tance and bandwidth.” needs as many women as arnsworth believes it’s possible.” important for the collision Chasidy Rae Sisk repair industry to “underR eferencingwith technologies, such as intelligent instand where we are today frastructure, self-driving and but also where we’re going. autonomous vehicles and A lot of development is beconnected cars, arnsworth ing done around i i and pointed out, “If we Chasidy don’t Elaina G, which will come to fruFarnsworth with Rae Sisk have technicians who really ition in the near future. It’s understand the technology, all this important to understand all the ways great technology is worthless. We fo- these vehicles communicate because cus on growing the person, who can it could impact your diagnosis. then become an agent of change and “ epairers will follow a differgrow the industry.” ent diagnostic process with these vewith Chasidy Rae Sisk Connected vehicles (CV) are hicles, and we need to think about cars that talk to one another. Many how we will need to diagnose them modern vehicles already include a differently as vehicles evolve. variety of wireless communications, Although automated and auinformation and entertainment sys- tonomous vehicles (AVs) are often tems, such as GPS, smartphone grouped together, they are not the with ChasidylinkRae Sisk ing and automated incident reporting. same. CVs provide the ability to equip ve“Automated refers to vehicles hicles with bidirectional communica- that have a capability to steer, acceltion using any protocol connectivity erate and brake under certain road, wirelessly, as well as the ability to al- weather and traffic systems, while a withtoChasidy Rae Sisk low vehicles access both wireless fully autonomous vehicles does not and networked devices inside and require a driver for any road, weathoutside of the vehicle itself. er or traffic condition, arnsworth According to rost Sullivan, explained. “Currently, there are no 20% of vehicles in North America fully autonomous vehicles in the will have telematics capabilities by world; they are all level 4 and limitwith Chasidy Rae Sisk , and nearly of vehicles ed to dry, well-marked and generally will contain some sort of connected flat roads in good weather and usualcapability by 203 0. ly light traffic. Connectivity provides an oparnsworth provided examportunity to optimize traffic man- ples of systems found in automatagement, reduce collisions and pro- ed vehicles. Adaptive cruise convide travel information, according to trol down to a stop builds on basic with Ed Attanasio arnsworth. adaptive cruise control but allows “There are a lot of electronics the system to function down to a going on inside a connected vehicle, full standstill, “an important next and though the industry is likely to step to manage bumper-to-bumper see fewer collisions in the future, ve- traffic,” she said.

Western Associations

Southwest Associations Southeast Associations Northeast Associations Midwest Associations

Lane-center steering builds upon lane-departure steering assist, which only intervenes as a vehicle approaches or crosses the lane markings. The lane-center steering system actively centers the vehicle in its lane by tracking lane markings and/ or the vehicle ahead. Although these systems can often navigate mild curves, they typically require the driver’s hands to remain on the wheel and will issue warnings and eventually deactivate if they sense a lack of steering force. Hands-free steering centers the cars without requiring the driver’s hands on the wheel, though it still requires the driver to pay attention. OEMs are currently leading development, with GM leading in execution for connected and automated vehicles, while ord vaults ahead in strategy. “The news constantly reports

partnership announcements, as well as some mergers and acquisitions,” arnsworth said. “ n addition to the traditional OEMs, companies like Apple and Google are beginning to play a role in vehicle technologies; they’re even toying with the idea of building their own cars. Lots of new players are entering the market, and it’s definitely not going anywhere. As that segment of the industry grows, there will be more opportunities for others to join in.” Explaining why CVs and AVs matter to repairers, arnsworth said, “Sensor-based blind zone and cross traffic alerts get noc ed around in crashes, and ADAS are proliferating in lower-priced vehicles. All new light vehicles will have backup cameras, and the industry has agreed to make automatic braking and forward collision warning systems standard by 2022.

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28 MAY 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

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“ eplacing a sensor torn off a car’s front end and swept up at a crash site can require a body shop diagnostic technician to go far beyond loo ing up a vehicle identification number to see what ADAS technology was original equipment.” R epairing AVs also requires knowledge about repair and replacement of sensors, knowledge of electrical theory and information technology, and understanding of ADAS technology. “ADAS assist drivers in driving and par ing functions, arnsworth said. “Through a safe human-machine interface, ADAS increase car and road safety, using automated technology, such as sensors and cameras, to detect nearby obstacles or driver errors, and respond accordingly. ADAS are developed to automate, adapt and enhance vehicle systems for safety and better driving. Although cars with ADAS are involved in fewer collisions, these systems are the costliest to repair.” Discussing the number of sensors on a modern vehicle, which can exceed , arnsworth pointed out even the headlights and tires con-

tain sensors, and she predicted more sensors will be added to vehicles as they evolve. The addition of so many sensors necessitates scanning and calibration procedures. “Sensors are the eyes and ears of ADAS, and when ADAS need to be serviced, it requires special equipment, operated by a specially trained technican,” she noted. “Many previously simple repairs now require ADAS calibration, which includes cameras, sensors and controllers, and requires specialized tooling and equipment.” arnsworth reminded, “ADAS systems use multiple sensors, and all need to be validated to solve the problem. In addition to the increased cost, the vehicle often requires a recalibration of the entire system, an additional cost.” How does this impact the collision repair industry? “As connected, automated and autonomous and smart cars rapidly increase, so does the demand for nowledgeable leaders, certified and credentialed employees, and skilled workers with access to the latest information, since new technologies

Government Investigates Passenger Airbag Recalls by David A. Wood, CarComplaints.com

Incorrectly folded airbags have caused the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA to open an investigation into previous recalls of vehicles equipped with the airbags. Airbag manufacturer Joyson said the front passenger airbags may not have been folded correctly during production and could possibly fail to unfold properly in a crash. The problem could occur during times of high temperatures when the internal pressure could increase in the airbags. A portion of the airbag material could be torn when the passenger airbag deploys, or the airbag plate which mounts the airbag to the assembly case could be damaged. Certain automakers recalled vehicles since 2019 to replace the passenger airbag assemblies, but NHTSA has concerns about the replacement airbags and how they were folded. In August 2019 , Toyota recalled about 274,000 model year Corolla and -

Matrix vehicles to replace the passenger airbags because they may not have been folded properly. ncluded in the recall were 2008 Pontiac Vibes manufactured by Toyota in cooperation with General Motors. And in March, about 26 ,000 model year N NT and vehicles were recalled to replace front passenger airbags that could tear when they deployed. The cause was once again problems with how the airbags were folded. A total of , vehicles are included in the investigation, but the possible passenger airbag problems are not related to Takata airbags at risk of exploding. NHTSA will contact Joyson Safety Systems and the affected automakers to make them aware of the investigation and to ensure the recalls were adequate. CarComplaints.com will update its website with results of the federal investigation.

are being released every day, arnsworth said. “Collisions are projected to reduce, but the cost to repair will increase. The repair process will include the need to recalibrate sensors, which requires consistent up to date information on new technologies and real-world experience to stay relevant.” efore ending with a A session, arnsworth encouraged attendees to “Get involved ind out about the latest technologies available and where you can receive training. There are so many opportunities in this field, and we need to understand the various issues happening as we connect vehicles with G and satellites. Discover a new passion that will lead you into the new future of transportation.” or more information on The NEX T Education, visit thenexted. com. WIN will hold its 2021 Scholarship Walk virtually, April 18 through May 2. The 2021 WIN Educational Conference, also held virtually, is scheduled for May and . or more information on WIN, visit www.womensindustrynetwork.com.

EV Market Declined in 2020 hile the fleet mar et too a hit like most other industries due to the pandemic, the electric vehicle sales declined by only 14% compared to the overall vehicle sales decline of 28% in 2020, said eroe nc. The fleet management companies and car leasing companies are steadily increasing their dependency on electric vehicles as large MNCs have started framing electric vehicle policies. These car fleet management companies are piloting EVs in multiple countries and providing incentives to their staff for adopting this more environment-friendly mode of travel. This trend will see an upward surge in the next couple of years. The reason for the thrust on electric vehicles comes from the increasing interest in investing in alternative fuel options, said the report. Governments are offering tax subsidies and incentives that have driven up EV sales. The debate on carbon emission has pressed organizations to look at zero-emission options. Source: B eroe, I nc.

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30 MAY 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

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with Erica Schroeder

Industry Insight with John Yoswick

—John Yoswick is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon who has been writing about the automotive industry since 1988. He is the editor of the weekly CRASH Network (for a free 4-week trial subscription, visit www.CrashNetwork.com). Contact him by email at jyoswick@SpiritOne.com.

Deciding Between Leasing and Purchasing When Adding Shop Locations

Shop Showcase

Here’s a tip: Investors might be in- ment play,” while larger MSOs conterested in buying your shop’s real sider “efficiency of capital what estate. will get them a greater financial rewith Ed Attanasio Gary Chou, executive vice turn. president of commercial real estate “There’s no right or wrong,” said bro erage firm Matthews eal state Chou, as long as someone purchasing Investment Services, said outside in- considers whether they would do betvestors such as real estate investment ter freeing up that money to open adtrusts (R EITs) have recently begun to ditional shops. see collision shop properties “as a leW ill Johnston, chief corporate with Ed Attanasio gitimate investment product.” development officer for Service ing, “That’s helped push values of agreed there’s not one definitive ancollision properties up, because it swer to the purchase-vs-lease quesbasically increases the buyer pool tion. overall,” Chou said. “It really depends on where you Chou was speaking last fall are in your growth and how aggresduring the first MSO Symposium sively you’re growing,” Johnston with Ed Attanasio panel discussion in the event’s nine- said. “Y ou may decide that your year history focused on issues relat- pace of growth is such you want

Social Media for Shops

SEMA Show Goes On

an acquisition, it’s the third-party landlords that can potentially really gum things up. Because they’re not the ones about to make a big payday. They may very well see it as their chance to renegotiate items within the lease.” Think carefully even about an arms-length lease you put in place with yourself or an affiliate C, Johnston said, because a buyer of your business may look at that lease and “expect those same terms.” Panelist Ben H idalg o of Net ease Development agreed, suggesting anyone leasing commercial property to or from others find an attorney who understands leasing for a specific use. A collision repair business that has even just one poorly crafted lease among its two or three or 10 locations can get “held hostage” to that, particularly at the time the owner hopes to sell the business.

Media and Publicity for Shops with Ed Attanasio

“Get a good attorney, not just a friend who does it,” Hidalgo said. “Don’t s imp on that. Get an expert in retail leasing, to get a lease that will protect you long-term.” An attorney with sufficient leasing experience will know what’s been problematic for other clients in the past, he said. D ean F isher, president of Driven Brands’ collision group, which includes CAR STAR and Maaco, also offered his ta e on the purchase-vslease decision during the panel discussion. He said most of his company’s franchisees have fewer than 10 locations and tend to buy the real estate at most or all of their shops. “Most of them look at real estate as a form of the asset base that they’re building, utilizing the business to pay for the asset base,” he said. “So they’ll typically try to purSee Leasing and Purchasing, Page 41

Shop Strategies with Stacey Phillips

Body Shops Giving Back

John Walcher, top left, of Veritas Advisors moderated a panel discussion on real estate issues related to growing collision repair businesses

with Stacey Phillips

ed to real estate and the spea ers to lease that property because you focused on some topics that could be want to save capital to go after addiequally of interest to single-location tional shops. But if you’re growing collision repairers as well. with brownfields and ta e-overs and The new interest among inves- will be adding a lot of value to the tors in body shop real estate, for facilities you take over or that you with Stacey Phillips example, offers another option for build, you may want to benefit from a shop owner who sells the business the value [ in the property] you put in to a large MSO which is unli ely there as the operator.” to want to buy the real estate and The terms of any lease can be wants to cash out the property rather very important, Johnston said, parthan continue as landlord. ticularly when you decide to sell Much of thewith discussion centered your business. Stacey Phillips around whether a collision repairer “The lease you’re negotiating adding a shop location whether a now might be the lease that you’re second or th should purchase assigning over to a buyer of your or lease the new location’s building business later,” he said. “It will afand real estate. fect the valuation [ of the business] Chou said smaller MSOs often and certainly will affect the ease of view the purchased land as “a retire- getting that deal done. Typically in

Tips for Busy Body Shops My SEMA

Shop Strategies



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with Victoria Antonelli

32 MAY 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

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CCC’s 2021 Crash Course Report Offers a Glimpse of the ‘New Normal’ by Ed Attanasio

What will the “new normal” look li e and how will it affect the collision repair industry? The CO D- pandemic has forced businesses to evaluate key issues such as supply-chain sourcing, telecommuting and how to work with insurance partners, vendors and customers. Get ready for increasing ADAS technology, fewer drivers on the road and more severe accidents due to speeding and reckless driving. In addition, more people will continue to work at home and, as a result, change the types of car insurance they choose. R ecently, CCC Information Services, Inc. (CCC) unveiled its annual Crash Course report, the cumulation of a full year of research, analysis and looking for trends that can potentially impact the industry for many years to come. The person behind the report is CCC’s Director and ndustry Analyst Susanna Gotsch, who authors the report every year. She wrote the first one in , when ADAS was still in its infancy.Today, many shop owners worldwide covet the information presented in CCC’s Crash Course report. If you’ve been in the collision industry for more than a few years, you know CCC’s Crash Course report provides revealing industry-leading insights on the business, consumer, environmental and technology trends shaping the P C insurance economy. This year’s report provides a substantive view of how CO Dreshaped the industry with shifts in driving behavior, attitudes toward personal mobility, adoption of telematics-enabled usage-based insurance, and exponential growth in the digitization of operations across the claims and repair experience. “Crash Course illustrates how CO Dimpacted our industry and the trajectory of change moving forward,” Gotsch said. “CCC has published Crash Course for 26 years and this edition reveals unprecedented change. And though we expect some changes, like miles driven, to revert to pre-pandemic levels, we project other changes will

become the new baseline, as photos, mobile, AI and customer demands have reset expectations and changed how we work. “To help make sense of the rapidly changing market dynamics and accelerating innovations, the Crash Course team is evolving how we bring information to you,” she said. “We’re excited to deliver a unique Crash Course report each quarter in 2021, sharing the most current data

available and even timelier insights for the auto industry and related ecosystem, how people decide to buy, own, insure and drive their cars will determine, in part, how we move forward as an industry. “How these interconnected decisions and data points are shifting and changing as a result of the CO Dpandemic is important to monitor and frame in the reference of what we are seeing in the market right now.” The 13 0-page report draws insights from decades of experience from processing more than 200 million claims-related transactions, billion miles of driving data and millions of auto BI and PIP/ MedPay casualty claims. CCC is committed to providing the industry with information and data to create more visibility into what’s ahead, informing understanding to positively impact business outcomes. Key topics covered in Crash Course 2021 include: The rise of tech-enabled D customer experiences in insurance how CO Dbecame the spark for consumers to take another look at usage-based insurance; why 2020 saw more severe accidents and the impact on the repair process CO D- ’s impact on the casualty claims process and health care, and the role of vehicle technology in increasing repair costs. When people stopped driving

last March, Gotsch witnessed some very distinctive trends that appeared overnight. “Everything that happened was the byproduct of the fact that people stopped driving,” she said. “It meant that there was less congestion, which led to things such as erratic driving habits, speeding and more cases of distracted driving. “There were more younger drivers on the road than normal because elderly people were also driving less due to their compromised health and other reasons. Y ounger drivers equal more distracted driving, as well as drunk driving and drug-related driving. It led to a riskier, faster and more dangerous cocktail of driving behavior. “California and less-populated states such as Wyoming and Nebraska reported a huge spike in the total number of citations that were written for drivers who were driving in excess of 100 mph, for example.

“The numbers of people who die every year in this country are equivalent to a 747 crashing every day without any survivors, but people don’t seem to want to understand how broad the devastation actually is,” Gotsch said. “People say that it’s more dangerous driving to the airport as opposed to getting on a plane.” As previously noted, the CO D- pandemic led to a significant decline in claims and congestion, logically leading to fewer but more expensive claims. Consumer preference for light trucks and vehicles loaded with the newest technology forged ahead, further driving repair complexity and higher costs. When a claim did happen, insurers offered customers new curated digital capabilities embedded with AI, helping accelerate overall cycle time at the front end by enabling the customer to make faster and more informed decisions. In 2020, carmakers didn’t slow down when it came to developing new ADAS technology, which

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34 MAY 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

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means shops have to be more knowledgeable than ever about the newer models in order to survive. “With rising repair complexity and costs, repair cycle times continue to grow,” Gotsch said. “Customer satisfaction with a repair typically falls as repair costs rise, as does a customer’s corresponding satisfaction with the insurer’s handling of the claim and the customer’s willingness to recommend that shop or insurer. As repair costs rise, consumers may need more frequent updates to feel informed, and potentially increase the average service score.” Post-pandemic changes in people’s lifestyles will directly affect shops’ car counts for many years to come. “No one really knows how long it will take before people will feel safe enough to return to something resembling pre-pandemic life; what is clear is that things are likely to be different, Gotsch said. “ ith the option for more individuals to work from home in the future, people may choose to relocate to be closer to family, find less expensive housing or other reasons, as we saw early in

the pandemic. “This could potentially slow the shift toward urban areas that the U.S. experienced over the last decade. Many do anticipate some share of remote work in the U.S. will be permanent.” People will continue to work at home or virtually in 2021 and beyond. If approximately 40% of jobs could be done remotely, but workers chose to do so only one day per week, there would still potentially be an impact to daily travel. Overall miles driven and trips taken might not see a significant decline, but more telework would still lead to fewer rush hour trips, less congestion in urban areas and freer movement of remaining traffic, Gotsch said. “In many ways, the pandemic environment has actually given us some idea of what the future may look like, and what that means to our industry, she said. “Despite an estimated $ 18 billion in auto premiums returned to customers because of the pandemic, the percent of consumers that indicated they were ‘ very satisfied’ with their auto insurance carrier fell from 6 8% in late March 2020


by the end of August. As of early December, a study conducted by ENGINE CAR AVAN found of vehicle owners continued to drive less, with of those who reported driving less posting at least a decline in miles driven, according to CCC’s Crash Course report. Not surprisingly, interest in user-based insurance (UBI) policies grew as people recognized they were driving less and wanted more transparency around how their policies were priced. In their annual reports submitted to NHTSA, automakers also showed just how far they have come toward equipping vehicles with the building blocks for full vehicle autonomy and ADAS. ADAS includes technologies such as front crash prevention or warning, lane departure warning, blind spot detection, park assist, back-over prevention, obstacle detection and autonomous emergency braking. The reports are submitted annually by the 20 manufacturers that pledged to equip at least of their light-duty cars and trucks with a gross vehicle weight of , lbs. or less

with the crash avoidance technology by the production year of 2022. “ hen ADAS technology went mainstream a few years back, the collision repair industry was put out on the front lines first, versus mechanical repair, which is unusual,” Gotsch said. “The main challenges for body shops are daunting because the O s have different names for these systems and with consumer demand high, they’re all packaged differently and operate differently. “So, understanding what’s going on with a car when it comes into your shop and then trying to fix it these are some pretty significant challenges. The question is where and what should you invest in, or should you use a third-party company to do your diagnostics? ” 2020 was a year of questions; will 2021 provide us with some of the answers as we emerge from these uncertain times To find out more, get a hold of the CCC Crash Course report to anticipate trends before they affect you. www.autobodynews.com


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autobodynews.com / MAY 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 35

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CAA Supports AB 471 for Accountability, Accessibility, Transparency To this end, BAR has responded and has successfully developed AB 471 is a multi-faceted piece of the Auto Shop Locator, a new molegislation created to address con- bile-friendly search tool that alsumer protection and transparency lows consumers to perform locawithin the automotive repair indus- tion-based searches for automotive try. repair dealers, filter results by the Among other things, it will sig- type of services needed and quickly nificantly enhance state ureau of verify if a licensee is on probation or Automotive R epair (BAR ) programs the subject of a pending accusation. for consumers, protect consumers One of the goals of AB 471 will from unsafe salvage vehicle repairs, be to support and expand the consumer protection and transparency of this platform. Jack Molodanof , registered lobbyist for CAA and the president of Molodanof Government R elations in Sacramento, CA, has watched this bill as it’s gone through several reincarnations. Molodanof believes the California Assembly Member Evan Low authored AB 471 to bill will be good for all address consumer protection and transparency within the automotive repair dealers, automotive repair industry including auto body shops, improve the current citation and fine that go by the rules, while making regulatory program and allow for a shady operators responsible for submore efficient and expediated disci- par repairs. plinary processes. “One of the goals of AB 471 is The California Autobody As- to make it easier for consumers to sociation (CAA) supports this bill find out which shops have training because it protects consumers, im- and educational credentials to propproves the current BAR citation and erly and safely perform repairs befine process and streamlines disci- fore they decide where to take their plinary hearings while preserving vehicles,” he said. due process. AB 471 will allow BAR to colThe bill was authored by Cali- lect additional information from aufornia Assembly Member Evan Low tomotive repair dealer application, th Assembly District, San Jose including educational and training and Silicon Valley.) Last year, AB certifications that are nationally rec, also authored by ow, was in- ognized and generally accepted by the troduced but paused in order to allow auto repair industry AS , -CA , A to address the Trusted Dealer etc. It also will combine the current Certificate portion of that bill. brake and lamp program and rename by Ed Attanasio

it the vehicle safety inspection program, provide BAR the authority to develop additional inspection criteria standards for safety systems through regulations and allow for electronic transmittal of the brake and lamp certificates to DM . Among other things, AB 471 will enable BAR to establish a fair appeal process for citation and fines by establishing an independent review panel that includes a consumer, BAR representative and representative from the auto repair industry. In addition, it will provide for an automotive repair shop that receives a citation to attend educational training, certified by A , which will remove the citation from BAR ’s website, similar to traffic school. The bill will allow BAR to certify these remedial training providers. It will also allow administrative law judges to be pre-assigned to hear BAR cases. “This will allow for expediate hearings for auto repair shops rather than having to wait for years to resolve,” Molodanof said.

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Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs Recalled for Airbag Problems by David A. Wood, CarComplaints

Ten Hyundai Santa e vehicles are recalled because the front passenger airbags may not deactivate if child seats are in the passenger seats. The Santa e S s need the occupant detection system mod-


ules replaced once the recall begins May 14. Hyundai Santa e owners may contact Hyundai at - and use recall number 202. We thank CarComplaints for reprint permission.


It will allow BAR to hire inhouse attorneys to handle preparation of accusations to revoke auto repair shop licenses, rather than the attorney general. “This will streamline the current process and resolve cases quicker while maintaining the auto body shop’s right to due process,” he said. A also clarifies a person required to have a valid BAR license shall not have the benefit of any lien for labor or materials, including the ability to charge storage fees or right to sue, unless the person possesses a valid BAR license. Along with CAA, these associations support AB 471 and applaud Low for his leadership in authoring this important legislation: Automotive Service Councils of California, California Automotive Wholesalers’ Association, Auto Care Association, Coalition for Automotive R epair Equality, Automotive Service Association, Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association and Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association.




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autobodynews.com / MAY 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 37

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with Ed Attanasio

Shop Strategies

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

with Stacey Phillips

How a Shop Owner Enhanced Employee Culture While Providing Outstanding Service During COVID-19

Body Shops Giving Back

ing time looking at disaster loans or We got stuck on all reading one Clay H oberecht, owner of B est B od y Shop in Kansas, said he is crazy about Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) book for a while, but now we’re loans and figuring out what the best choosing separate books. I’m readthree things: his with customers, their cars Stacey Phillips fit is. Other times, it is wor ing on ing “Never Split the Difference by and his team. “We want rabid fans, not just the shop flow, learning how to fix Chris Voss. A couple of guys just vehicles better, training or spending finished reading “Can’t Hurt Me by satisfied customers, said Hoberecht. D avid Gog g ins. With a passion for repairing ve- time with the team. We shut down for 40 days and Another good book is “The hicles correctly, Hoberecht said his ive Dysfunctions of a Team by team works hard to provide outstand- used that time as an opportunity with Stacey Phillips ing customer service by maintaining to continue moving forward in our P atrick Lencioni. That author also wrote a book called “Geta culture of humility and expertise. ting Naked,” which is about “We are driven to succeed and being transparent with your have a hunger for knowledge,” he teammates. That one, in said. particular, has made a sigHoberecht and his wife, Barbanificant difference in our ra, started the Wichita business in a with Stacey Phillips shop’s culture. 2,700-square foot facility in 2014. R ecently, I was talking Over the years, the operation exto Mike, my painter, about panded. They eventually purchased being vulnerable and transthe building next door, increasing parent with each other. We their space to 10,000 square feet both felt that our team now and focusing on collision repair, Clay and Barbara Hoberecht opened Best Body Shop in has a better level of trust body painting, paintless dent repair Wichita, KS, in 2014 with Victoria Antonelli than we ever had. There PD , car restoration, hail damage business and not retract it. During was obviously a milestone of educaand other services. Autob od y New s asked Hoberecht that 40 days, we rebuilt the en- tion that has made a major change in how the shop owner has enhanced tire shop, invested in new Spanesi our shop’s culture. his culture with employees during equipment and tools, and focused How did you adapt your busiCO D- while providing outstand- on training and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). ness once it opened again? ing customer service. with Ed Attanasio Timothy W. Morgan, chief opWhen we opened the shop hen the pandemic first erating officer at Spanesi Americas, back up to the public, it was broke out a year ago, how did was instrumental in helping Best Body Shop achieve this. Things are li e a frenzy. e offered a discount you and your wife react? going exceptionally well right now. to customers, which was a big part of how we became busy really quickly. Without a shadow of a doubt, What steps did you take to That busy-ness stayed for quite a few the last year has been intense. with Gary build a team environment and months. Between the political issuesLedoux and During the presidential race, we CO D- , the mar et has been how has it impacted the culture at your shop? noticed a major slump and the shop volatile. slowed down. There was a lot of tenThe No. 1 thing Barb and I did I wanted to get to know my sion in the air and I don’t think people right off the bat when we very first employees better and found cared about the aesthetics of their vestarted seeing a downturn in the economy is we immediately went this was a great opportunity to do hicle. Once that passed whether or withwith Stacey Phillips that. As a team, we began to read a not you li ed the results it seemed into protection mode our business. We made the decision to have lot of books about culture, trust and there was a little bit of pressure reno retraction whatsoever and agreed building a team that can reply on one lieved in the market and business another. Then we discussed what we ramped up again. to move forward no matter what. We’ve also noticed a ramp-up rom then on, we made sure learned. I shared my heart with the team in our production ability because of that every move we made was not a retraction. We were able to hold each and told them that I didn’t want to the trust we built with the employother accountable, and Mike the team was be the one picking out the books all ees. I felt like we had a strong culwith Anderson the time. This isn’t a school and I’m ture before, but it is mind-blowing able to hold us accountable. Sometimes, moving forward not their dad. I wanted to see their that enhancing it during CO D has doesn’t mean getting a lot of cars interest in personal growth and I’m made such a difference. t’s li e we are a well-oiled machine. in the shop. It might mean spend- happy to say that we’ve seen that.

Tips for Busy Body Shops My SEMA

Shop Strategies

Product Innovation



Q: A:

OE Shop Certification


A: Product Innovation

From the Desk of Mike Anderson


What are some of the procedures you’ve implemented for customers?


We’ve had an appreciation for our customer base but that has grown over time, especially now. Customers come in and tell us that they want to support small businesses and we want to show our appreciation to them. As a result, we have done anything and everything we can to go above and beyond for customers. This includes providing a concierge service. We have been a lot more open to picking up and delivering people. Our customer service representative (CSR )’s main focus is to build relationships with customers. We spent a tremendous amount of time consistently going over what can we do that is above and beyond. Once a month, Barbara, myself and Josh, our CS , sit down and pic five customers who have either referred work to our shop or had their car repaired here. We do tremendous research to find out what they li e and purchase a gift for them. We’ve bought autographed jerseys, baseballs, barbecue kits and even a gun holster. We want to show our appreciation to those who are supporting our business. During times of extreme behavior, such as CO D- , there are extremes on both sides. As a result, I’ve seen more giving hearts and more empathy and sympathy than I’ve ever seen. We want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem no matter what is going on that is creating this craziness in society. We have no desire to compete with other shops. We want to dominate and compete with ourselves.


What is your advice to other shop owners who are reinventing their business right now due to CO D-


I receive a tremendous amount of phone calls from shops across the country. Many people I See Service During COVID, Page 41

38 MAY 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

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ge 41 autobodynews.com / MAY 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 39

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Historical Snapshot with John Yoswick

Associations Assembling with Chasidy Rae Sisk

Chasidy Rae Sisk is a freelance technical writer from Wilmington, Delaware, who writes on a variety of fields and subjects, and grew up in a family of NASCAR fans. She can be contacted at crsisk@gmail.com.

ASA Bonus Webinar Explores Value of Return to Work Programs

Southeast News

On March 3 1, ASA hosted a spe- according to DiCarlo. “This tends of the program, making adjustments cial bonus webinar, “Importance of to create a stronger sense of loyalty where needed. a R eturn to Work Program for Y our long-term. Also, employees are able inally, distribute the plan. with Chasidy Rae Sisk Bottom Line,” featuring N ick D i- to maintain a productive mindset be- Make sure the R TW program is easCarlo, vice president, regional sales cause they feel that they’re contribut- ily accessible to all employees. director, AmeriTrust CONNECT. ing to the team, and that will benefit “Make sure everyone underExplaining the purpose of a them personally more than sitting stands it’s in place and how it works,” return to work (R TW) program, he around, doing nothing.” DiCarlo said. “ mployees, including defined it as “a return to health and with Chasidy Rae Sisk happiness.” “Getting back to work and doing their job within their When employees are absent on workers’ compensation insurance, it physical limitations helps them recover faster and get impacts the productivity of the shop back to their regular duties quicker.” — Nick DiCarlo and the business’ bottom line. R TW programs allow employees to return Chasidy Rae SiskSo how can a shop put a R TW new hires, should sign and date acto their normalwith or modified job duties as quickly and safely as possi- program in place? knowledgement forms to reduce the ble, minimizing the indemnity of a irst, now the facts conduct shop’s liability.” claim. preliminary research about R TW Being back at work aids in reIn addition to lowering costs of programs to learn about the potential covery. workers’ compensation, studies have for costs savings and how to adapt “Often, people on workers’ with Chasidy Rae Sisk proven allowing injured employees the programs to meet your compa- compensation are just sitting around, to return to their regular schedule ny’s needs. which doesn’t help them recover,” and environment, albeit with possiNext, gather data by asking co- DiCarlo said. “Getting bac to wor ble limitations based on doctor rec- workers their thoughts on R TW pracommendations, helps them get back tices to determine how much work to their normal with duties faster as well. will be needed. Chasidy Rae Sisk DiCarlo explained the benefits Then, demonstrate a commit“R TW programs reduce employee ment to early R TW, but be sure to days away from work, enables them clarify the company is committed to to recover more quickly, and it fos- the recovery process above all else. ters a positive work environment, Create clearly defined goals and obalso showing other jectives for the program so employwithemployees Chasidyhow Rae Sisk Visit these Genuine much you care. These programs re- ees know what to expect, and appoint Hyundai Parts Dealers duce the financial impact of wor - a team to lead the R TW initiative, setplace injuries, improve your ability ting expectations and communication to manage an injury claim and any channels. restrictions, and increase produc“In a small shop, the owner may with Rae Sisk Texas tivity by getting yourChasidy experienced be the whole team, DiCarlo acemployees back to work. R TW pro- knowledged. AUTONATION HYUNDAI grams also allow you to keep in reguDevelop a wor flow chart that North Richland Hills 7724 North East Loop 820 lar communication with your injured outlines the R TW program, and use 800-888-2079 employees, while keeping them pro- the wor flow to identify the next 817-589-7882 Fax ductive.” steps, eliminating confusion in the with Chasidy Rae Sisk Mon-Fri 7am - 7pm; Sat 7am - 4pm The employee also benefits. ith R TW process. reeda2@autonation.com R TW programs, the employee retains Next, develop and maintain a full earning capacity; in most states, job bank to include a list of possiemployees on workers’ compensa- ble transition roles for injured emtion make about 6 6 % of normal wag- ployees returning to work. A comes. They maintain their regular work munication and education plan is schedule, do notwith need to on a also needed to ensure employees Eddepend Attanasio disability system and have a greater are aware of their job responsibilisense of security and stability. ties, both before and after an injury “R TW programs make team occurs, both while limited and folmembers feel that you care about lowing recovery. Keep a transitional them and getting them back to work,” duty database to measure the success

Western Associations

Southwest Associations Southeast Associations Northeast Associations Midwest Associations

and doing their job within their physical limitations helps them recover faster and get back to their regular duties quicker.” The employee’s doctor will determine what limitations exist and an appropriate guideline for them to return to work. The employee will agree to provide this information to the shop owner as part of the acknowledgements; however, the shop owner cannot reach out to the employee’s doctor directly. DiCarlo wrapped up “ T programs provide a positive financial impact on the company’s bottom line, which allows for things like raises and bonuses. It’s important to show your team that this benefits everyone, not just the business. Before the webinar concluded, DiCarlo briefly mentioned the upcoming launch of AmeritrustconSee ASA Bonus Webinar, Page 42


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Advertising Advantages with Ed Attanasio

40 MAY 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

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ge 42

Continued from Page 32

Leasing and Purchasing chase the real estate as part of their retirement or sale model.” He said real estate in this industry is unique, often requiring many modifications to a property, lease-holder improvements that may make leasing less advantageous. “When you purchase a piece of property, often that mortgage is less than you would be leasing it for on a triple net lease,” he said. “There can be some profitability that you can specifically ta e out of that payment to yourself that creates some favorable tax opportunities for you.” All that said, there are some risks involved in purchasing the real estate, isher noted PA ris s if it is a brownfield, zoning issues, easements, tying up too much wealth in the industry even if it’s in two different asset classes. “Too many don’t weigh the potential cost of all that,” he said. He also cautioned anything driving up real estate values does not automatically increase the lease payment

a shop owner who sells the business but retains the real estate can expect from the new shop operators. That remains “contingent big-time” on the cash flow of the business, so a period of business retraction “devalues the lease value as well, isher said. Johnston said there is one set of circumstances when it is often in your best interest to purchase shop real estate: when your landlord on a property is considering selling to someone else. “Y ou might have had a cozy relationship with that landlord. It might even be someone who sold you the business,” Johnston said. “ ut if they’re now flipping that real estate, you have to consider whether the person buying that real estate is buying it because they want you there as a long-term tenant, or if they are buying it because they want to redevelop that property. “It may be advantageous to you to consider buying it if you think there’s a risk of losing what is otherwise a very valuable operational asset. No one wants to have to go find another body shop and relocate a successful operation.”

Nominations Open for NABC Awards The National Auto Body Council announced it is opening the nominations for its 2021 awards, the NABC Changing and Saving Lives Award and the NABC President’s Award. The NABC President’s Award is designed to honor the NABC member company that supports the vision of the National Auto Body Council through donation of their time and resources. Companies will be nominated by the NA C oard of Directors, and members at all levels of NABC membership are eligible. The NABC Changing and Saving Lives Award recognizes the individual in the collision repair industry who has delivered exemplary service in the NABC mission of Changing and Saving ives very Day, far beyond their role in the industry. Individuals may be nominated by a member of the NA C oard of Directors or by the public. The winners will be named during the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Nominations will run through Aug. . Source: NABC

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tal to struggle with how to fix a car correctly or find time for the training needed to learn how do it. Now is the time to do that. I see too many people utilizing this time as an excuse to fail. During the most challenging times over the last year, there were nerve-racking times. We reminded ourselves that the only way to fail was to quit. So, as long as we didn’t quit, we should be good. And if we’re not, at least we left it all out on the field. ltimately, that was a successful strategy for us. Throughout this time, I’ve grown a passion for helping the industry and I welcome other shops to reach out to me. We’re all in this together.


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Farmers Insurance Finds More Than Half of Drivers Admit to Using Cell Phones While Behind the Wheel The vast majority of drivers understand the danger cell phones present on our roadways, but survey data from armers nsurance reveals a significant gap between this belief and drivers’ actual behavior. According to the survey, 87% of drivers surveyed believe that people who use their phone behind the wheel pose a danger to others. et, of those drivers admit to making a call behind the wheel and percent admit to sending, reading or receiving a text message. Gen Z and Millennial drivers surveyed also admitted to participating in video chats (3 2% collectively), posting to or viewing social media (28% ), playing a game (27% ) and streaming video (24% ) while behind the wheel, suggesting younger drivers could face continued driving distractions as technology continues to evolve. “It’s understandable that today’s drivers feel a conflict people know that phones, and the distraction they introduce, pose a risk and can interfere with safe driving; however, phones can be tempting and pull our attention and focus,”

said Carolyn Wald, head of product innovation integration for armers. “ ith April being National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, we want to remind people that there are a few precautions and tools we can all use to help keep our attention focused where it belongs, and to help keep the roads safer for everyone.”

armers offers its safe-driving app, Signal, to help drivers recognize behaviors that may be taking their attention off the road and earn a discount for focused driving. The insurer also recently launched CrashAssist within the Signal app, a feature that can detect crashes and help connect drivers to emergency and support services. Signal users can receive push notifications should a crash be detected then be connected with emergency services, and get help reporting a claim. After 2020 saw an 8% spike in

traffic fatalities according to the National Safety Council, this month’s observance of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month hits even closer to home as all drivers share a responsibility to practice focused driving when behind the wheel. Wald recommends the following tips to help people stay safe when they hit the road: Make your car a “no phone zone”: It may seem like a no-brainer but limiting mobile phone use is one of the easiest ways to become a more focused driver. And don’t forget, hands-free calling and voice texting can still be a distraction while you’re on the road. If you find it helpful, use an app to silence phone calls and texts when you’re behind the wheel. Multitask later: The last place you should be multitasking is behind the wheel of a car. Avoid eating, glancing at your calendar, searching for dropped items or anything else that can take your attention away from the road. Chat light: Take a cue from the 3 3 % of those surveyed who believe that talking to passengers, includ-

The 2021 state legislative sessions are in full swing and SEMA’s Government Affairs team is wor ing non-stop to ensure positive outcomes for business.

Below is a summary of SEMA’s most recent hard-fought victories. To receive the latest breaking news from your home state, be sure to join the SEMA Action Network (SAN) for free. After receiving hundreds of opposition letters from SEMA-member companies and enthusiasts, the Nevada legislature did not act on a bill that would have restricted the registration of hobbyist vehicles. S MA testified in opposition to a Nevada bill that would have

outlawed most vehicle exhaust modifications. The bill failed to advance prior to a key legislative deadline and cannot be considered again until 2023 . In the face of SEMA’s opposition, the Wyoming legislature killed a bill that would have significantly restricted antique vehicle registration eligibility. Thanks to SEMA’s effort, Kansas Gov. Laura K elly signed into law a version of SEMA’s model legislation to allow for the registration and on-road use of surplus military vehicles. The Kansas legislature passed a SEMA-supported bill to ease restrictions on antique vehicles. The bill is sponsored by SEMA State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus member R ep. Leo D elp erdang and awaits Kelly’s signature or veto. After an outpouring of support from the industry and enthusiasts, Montana Gov. Greg Gianf orte signed into law legislation to expand single license plate usage.


armers nsurance

Continued from Page 40

SEMA Scores State Legislative Victories by SEMA Editors

ing those in the back seat, poses a danger to others on the road. Save serious conversations and important news with passengers for when you’re off the road. nstead, eep the chatter light so you can focus on the road ahead. Buckle up children and pets: Make sure children and pets are properly secured in their seats before starting the ignition. In many cases, the safest place for your children and four-legged passengers is in the back seat of the car. Park it: Always pull over and park in a safe place before adjusting controls in your car, tending to a pet or child, sending a text or talking on your phone. Get an app for that: Consider downloading an app that rewards you for focused driving behaviors, li e Signal from armers. Households who enroll in Signal will automatically have access to CrashAssist. A Signal discount is also available in some states. or more information, visit https www.farmers.com/ signal/ .

At the urging of SEMA, Virginia Gov. R alp h N ortham signed into law legislation to expand imported foreign-market vehicle titling. With SEMA’s support, Idaho’s legislature passed a bill creating a new custom vehicle registration class. The bill awaits Gov. Greg Little’ s signature or veto. With backing from the industry, Mississippi Gov. Tate R eeves signed into law SEMA-supported legislation to expand titling eligibility for older vehicles. * West Virginia approved SEMA-supported resolutions calling for the creation of an interstate off-highway vehicle trail system. The measures were sponsored by SEMA’s 2018 Step hen B. McD onald Legislator of the Y ear Award winner Sen. Mark May nard and SEMA State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus Chairman Del. Gary H ow ell. or more information, contact Christian R obinson at christianr@ sema.org. Source: SE M A

ASA Bonus Webinar nect.com, a new consumer portal being launched in conjunction with ASA, which allows shops to purchase workers’ compensation insurance online. “This is going to be great innovation we’re bring to associations that will save shops time and money,” he said. “Y ou’re buying directly from us. Simple, fast and direct is the goal here.” On April 21, ASA’s next Webinar ednesday, the first of a two-part series, will feature R ick Escalambre of Independent Contract Technical Training, as he talks about “Identifying Difficult-to- un Monitors sing n- se Performance Trac ing. or more information or to register, visit asashop.org/ asa-webinars.


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Cox Automotive March Forecast: U.S. Auto Sales Pick Up Pace Heading into Spring March U.S. auto sales, when reported the last week of March, will show strong growth over ebruary’s pace and a significant increase over last year’s pandemic hit numbers. The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR ) of sales this month is forecast by Cox Automotive to hit . million, up from ebruary’s

were reported. The sales recovery has been choppy since September. The SAAR has bounced around between the upper- to mid- million levels over the past six months. A return to the higher end is expected in March. The sales pace should improve this month after being hampered by winter storms that disrupted much

“Supply chain disruptions that continue to plague the industry are adding to the short supply situation. — Charlie Chesbrough . million pace and well above last March’s dismal 11.4 million level. Sales volume is forecast to increase nearly over last March and reach 1.48 million units. hile sales in the first quarter have been healthy, they remain below pre-pandemic levels. Total sales in Q 1 2021, forecast at 3 .77 million units, will be up 8.7% versus Q 1 2020 but down 4.9 % from Q 1 2019 , when 3 .9 7 million sales

of the country in ebruary. ith the deep freeze impacting markets as far south as Houston and disrupting millions of lives and businesses for days, many sales were likely delayed into early March. Also, the distribution of stimulus checks is well underway, and we’ve already noticed upward movement in our daily sales tracking numbers as a result. “Inventory levels are tight right now, though, and this could hinder

the market in coming months,” said Charlie Chesbroug h, senior economist, Cox Automotive. “Supply chain disruptions that continue to plague the industry are adding to the short supply situation. Although lean inventories have not had much impact on buyers in the first quarter, that will likely change as we move into Q 2. The production disruptions happening now will turn into even lower inventory in the months ahead.” March Sales F orecast H ig hlig hts • In March, new light-vehicle sales are forecast to increase by 49 0,000 units, or nearly , compared to March 2020. When compared to last month, sales are expected to rise nearly , units, or . . • The SAAR in March 2021 is estimated to be . million, above last year’s 11.4 million level and an increase from last month’s . million pace. There are 26 selling days this month, one more than last year and two more than ebruary, so additional time will also help lift sales. • Y ear-over-year comparisons will

become less relevant in the months ahead as large year-over-year increases are reported. Compared to March 2019 , sales volume this month is forecast to be down by more than 8% . March 2019 had one additional selling day than March 2021. irst-quarter sales are forecast to be up 8.7% compared to Q 1 2020 but down 4.9 % versus Q 1 2019 . Cox A utomotive Q 1 2021 U . S. A uto Sales W ebcast The Cox Automotive Industry Insights team will host a webcast at a.m. T March . During the event, the team will discuss key economic indicators driving the auto market, review the 2021 forecasts and offer analysis of new- and used-vehicle sales for March and the first quarter. The presentation will be followed by a A session. R SVP to attend. Source: Cox Automotive


Las Vegas Ready to Welcome 2021 SEMA Show by SEMA Editors

ith more than five wee s to go before the SEMA Show space agreement deadline, show management reports more than 1,000 exhibitors have already been confirmed for the 2021 event. The news is significant, and underscores the work Las Vegas and its businesses are doing to welcome back large-venue events like the SEMA Show. The Las Vegas Convention Center’s newly constructed West Hall, a 1.4-million square foot facility, was completed in January, and will house exhibitors from the estyling Car Care Accessories, Powersports tility ehicles and Truc , S Off- oad sections. As the city continues to ramp back up to host events, the buzz among exhibitors anticipating the return of the in-person SEMA Show for 2021 has increased significantly. “People are eager to get back to the SEMA Show and reestablish their in-person connections with colleagues and customers,” said Vice President of Events Tom Gattuso. “The groundswell of excitement among

exhibitors increases each day, and the show is the ‘ main event’ that the industry is looking forward to in 2021.” The 2021 SEMA Show is a little more than seven months away, and show management continues to work closely with the convention center authorities and the state of Nevada to help deliver the best SEMA Show ever. SEMA Show D ates to R emember The Exhibitor Services Manual (ESM) will be live in May. The ESM contains all of the forms and applications required to prepare for the show: feature vehicles, new products, booth vehicles, celebrity appearances, etc. Deadline to submit Exhibit Space R ental Application and deposit is May 7. SEMA Show Space Selection: June 7-23 . R eserve booth space for the 2021 SEMA Show at www.SEMAshow. com/ exhibitor. or complete information about the 2021 SEMA Show, visit www. SEMAShow.com. Source: SEMA

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Kia Recalls 2021 Telluride, K5, Forte to Protect Kids

Erie Insurance National Survey: Americans Eager to Take Road Trips in 2021 While the pandemic cancelled vacation plans in 2020, cooped-up travelers are planning more road trips this year, according to a new national survey from Erie Insurance conducted to support Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April. More than half of respondents plan to take at least one road trip this year. Another 3 0% say they would like to but it depends on the status of the pandemic. Of those planning to pack up their car, truck or SUV, more than half plan to travel more than miles from home. “We commissioned this survey to better understand how the pandemic has impacted road travel, and what distractions are impacting driver safety,” said Jon Bloom, vice president of personal auto, Erie Insurance. “Based on data collected, there will likely be more people traveling by car who may be distracted by a number of factors, both inside and outside their vehicle. We want this to serve as a reminder for drivers to be safe and aware on the roads at all times.” What’s driving this year’s trav-

by David A. Wood, CarComplaints.com

Model year 2021 Kia Telluride, and orte vehicles may have problems with the occupant classification systems used to detect when children are in the front passenger seats. This could cause the front airbags to deploy when they shouldn’t, namely when children are in the seats. The airbag may cause injuries even if the crash doesn’t. The 142 recalled vehicles need their classification and detection systems replaced, but owners may call - . Kia’s number for this recall is SC207. We thank CarComplaints.com for reprint permission.


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el trends? The urge to see family and friends is real. When asked where they plan on going during their road trip, the majority (41% ) will visit loved ones, while many others are beach-bound (21% ) or seeking outdoor adventure at a national park (12% ). Most (76 % ) expect to travel with just one other person, typically their spouse or partner. Write-in destinations included many outdoor, socially spaced locations li ely a reaction from the pandemic including campsites, lakeside resorts, lodges and cabins to parta e in fishing, golfing, hi ing and overall sightseeing activities. More than any other age group, the crowd expects to travel long distances this year one-third plan to travel more than 1,000 miles. As the first age group to be fully vaccinated, they may feel safer to travel and are eager to finally hug their adult children and grandchildren again. Nearly half the respondents (44% ) said they are distracted by other passengers in their vehicle

when driving. Of those, 40% say children distract them the most, followed by a spouse or significant other. The greatest distraction for drivers in the three older age groups - , - and was their spouses or significant others complaining about their driving skills. In the three younger age groups - , and - , their greatest distraction was noisy children. The older the age group, the less distracted drivers are by things inside their vehicle. Drivers , for example, are distracted seven times more by what they see outside than they are by cell phones. Men and women responded similarly to all distractions except trying to eat and drink and using their phone’s GPS. Nearly twice as many men (23 % ) are most distracted by trying to eat or drink compared to women (13 % ), while twice as many women are distracted by their GPS (nearly 7% ) compared to men (nearly 4% ). Source: Erie Insurance

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asTech Acquires Red EU & Red Autocentres R epairify, Inc. d/ b/ a asTech, a portfolio company of Kinderhook Industries, LLC, announced March 24 the acquisition of R ed (EU) Limited and R ed Autocentres. R ed (EU) Limited is a leading distributor of aftermarket electronic devices designed to run diagnostic tests and calibration services on automotive electrical systems, spe-

R ed provides a complete suite of solutions for the service, maintenance and repair, collision and automotive insurance industries through diagnostic scan tools and automotive electrical system services. Services include local, car-side and remote diagnostics along with sensor calibration, programming and vehicle health support.

“Red is an exciting acquisition that enables asTech to further broaden its suite of global tools and solutions for customers.” — Paul Cifelli cifically advanced driver assistance systems ADAS . ed Autocentres is a leading provider of automotive diagnostics, calibration and programming services for the collision and mechanical markets. The combined companies will operate as R ed EU, and represent the 11th add-on acquisition for asTech and inderhoo ’s th automotive-related transaction. inancial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“R ed is an exciting acquisition that enables asTech to further broaden its suite of global tools and solutions for customers. With demand for ADAS repair and calibration services rising, asTech looks forward to continuing to be the solution provider of choice for customers seeking to properly repair today’s sophisticated car parc,” said P aul Cif elli, managing director of Kinderhook Industries. “R epairify is thrilled to wel-

come Martin Brow n from R ed, who will be joining the R epairify team as technical director, R epairify Innovations,” said Cris H olling sw orth, president of R epairify. “Expanding into new markets and augmenting service offerings to better serve all customers is key to asTech’s global growth strategy. We look forward to integrating R ed, a leading market expert in the United Kingdom, which will enable us to further execute on that strategy across the UK, Europe and internationally.” “The merger between R ed and R epairify will provide tremendous value and benefits to all of our ed global customers,” said Brown, CEO of R ed EU. “R ed customers will benefit from having access to a complete portfolio of world class tools, products and services rapidly being integrated under the R epairify global solutions platform.” Mishcon de R eya LLP and ir land llis P served as legal counsel to asTech. Source: asTech


Axalta to Host Virtual Capital Markets Day Axalta invites investors, analysts and other stakeholders to a virtual Capital Mar ets Day, a.m. to p.m. T May . CEO R obert Bry ant and members of the Axalta leadership team will present the company’s growth strategy, the business and financial outloo and detail plans to drive long-term shareholder value. Presentations will be followed by a A session where participants can post questions and engage with Axalta’s leadership team. Presentation materials will be posted to Axalta’s website at www.axalta.com/ investors on May prior to the event. A recording of the webcast will be made available following the event. Participants are requested to pre-register their attendance and can do so here: https:/ / www. bigmarker.com/ tv_ / Axalta-Capital-Mar ets-Day or questions or more information, contact Axalta Investor R elations at Christopher.mecray @ axalta.com. Source: Axalta

New Vehicle Inventory Continued to Dwindle in March: Edmunds Consumers in the market for a new vehicle will likely have a harder time finding what they want at an affordable price right now due to severe supply shortages affecting the automotive industry. According to the car shopping experts at Edmunds, new vehicle inventory on sale at dealerships nationwide was down by 3 6 % in March compared to a year ago, and prices are rising for both new and used vehicles as a result. Edmunds analysts forecast the average transaction price (ATP) for new vehicles will climb to , in March compared to $ 3 8,6 01 a year ago; the ATP for used vehicles is expected to hit $ 22,6 6 3 compared to $ 20,273 last year. “The chipset shortage has snowballed into a bigger crisis for the automotive industry,” said Jessica Caldw ell, Edmunds’ executive director of insights. “Major auto manufacturing plants are implementing temporary closures, and we’re seeing the industry being hit hard on both sides: R etail customers are being offered fewer choices and paying higher prices, while fleet customers

are likely seeing their orders delayed as auto manufacturers shift their focus to serving consumers.” Edmunds analysts note full-size trucks and large SUVs are among the vehicle categories most disproportionately affected by these shortages. According to Edmunds data, full-size truck inventory was down by 6 0% in March compared to a year ago; the average transaction price for new full-size trucks is expected to climb to , compared to , a year ago, while the average transaction price for used full-size truc s is expected to climb to , compared to , a year ago. Large SUV inventory decreased in March compared to last year the average transaction price for new large SUVs is forecasted to climb to , compared to , in March 2020, and the average transaction price for used large SUVs is expected to climb to , compared to $ 3 1,23 2 a year ago. “ ull-size truc s and large S s have been a bright spot for automakers throughout the pandemic because of their profitability, but unsurprisingly these high-demand vehicles have

also been the quic est to fly off the lot,” said Caldwell. “Unfortunately, these supply shortages translate to a bigger financial hit for automa ers, and the Detroit Three are li ely the most affected. In spite of these shortages, Edmunds analysts note a uent consumers have continued to drive a significant portion of financed purchases throughout the first quarter of the year, as indicated by increases in average down payments and the average amount financed for both new and used vehicle purchases. According to Edmunds data, the average down payment for new and used financed vehicle purchases is expected to climb to $ 4,729 and , , respectively, in compared to $ 4,246 and $ 2,6 79 a year ago. The average amount financed for new and used vehicles is expected to climb to , and , , respectively, in Q 1 compared to , and , a year ago. “So far, automakers have been able to comfortably count on financially stable consumers focusing their spending on bigger-ticket vehicle purchases during the pandem-

ic,” said Caldwell. “But as vaccines continue to roll out and consumers crave new experiences and products to spend their money on, automakers and dealers will need to prepare to get more creative in marketing the limited inventory that they have on hand.” Edmunds experts advise consumers in the market for a new car to start shopping sooner rather than later, as they anticipate the chipset shortage is li ely to affect pricing and inventory through at least the second half of 2021. “Americans looking forward to their newfound freedom this summer in the form of a road-trip vehicle should be doing their research now,” said van Drury, dmunds’ senior manager of insights. “The summer sales that consumers can typically look forward to might not look the same this year, and even with stimulus checks on the way, the only relief that price-sensitive car shoppers might find might be in lower interest rates and the increased value of their trade-in.” Source: Edmunds

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