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37 YEARS

SOUTHWEST EDITIO N

AUTOBODY AZ / AR / CO / LA / NM / OK / TX / UT

AUTOBODYNEWS.COM

Vol. 37 / Issue 7 / July 2019

Southern Automotive Repair Conference Brings Three State Associations Together to Address Common Concerns, Including Insurers and Legislative Action sippi’s Consumer Guide to Insurance and Auto Body Repair, a document The 2019 SARC meeting wrapped up developed by Hood’s Consumer Proin New Orleans on Saturday, June 15, tection Division and available for having engaged attendees with talks download at www.ago.state.ms.us. and panels featuring Jim Attorney General Hood Hood, the Mississippi AG described his early experiwho is currently running for ence with the industry when governor, Aaron Schulenhe was forced to personally sue an insurer for seizing his burg, Executive Director of SCRS, as well as Pulitzer property post accident. He was emphatic that this prize-winning political caropened his eyes to some of toonist Marshall Ramsey. Attorney General Jim Hood of the abuses routinely carried Ramsey hosted a panel Mississippi out by insurance companies. with Burl Richards, Doug Officially hosted and organized White and Matt Parker on Missis-

by MSCRA (Mississippi) and their Executive Director, Ricki Garrett, and President Doug White, the event catered to repairers from Mississippi,

Fix Auto USA Annual Conference Celebrates Focus on Family Value(s)

Speaker Says Verdict Being Used by OEMs to Limit Use of Non-OEM Parts

by Stacey Phillips

by John Yoswick

by Autobody News Staff

More than 20 years ago, Erick and Shelly Bickett set out to create a national network of high-performing independent body shops. The collision repair visionaries wanted to ensure it was supported with a unified and branded infrastructure of systems and processes offering the best quality and services. The first locations were established in Denver, Portland, Los Angeles and San Diego in 2011. Rapid expansion soon followed. Fast forward to 2019 and the San Diego-

based company now includes over 150 locations in ten states across the country: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Oregon, Minnesota, Nevada and Washington. “We did and are doing what everyone said couldn’t be done,” said Paul Gange, president and CEO of Fix Auto USA, during the organization’s annual conference. “We took a fragmented industry—independent entrepreneurs with their own ideas, attitudes, desires—and we asked them to come together as one.” In June, more than 275 attenSee Fix Auto USA, Page 27

The Seebachan’s burned out Honda Fit was shown live at the MSCRA-sponsored SARC Conference

Automakers are pressing for state laws requiring the use of OEM collision repair procedures as part of their effort to limit the use of alternative parts, a representative of LKQ Corporation told a gathering of non-OEM parts manufacturers and distributors. “This is about money and profit,” Ray Colas, director of government affairs for LKQ Corporation, said at the Auto Body Parts Association (ABPA) convention held in May in Fort Lauderdale, FL. In the effort to pass state laws requiring the use of OEM procedures, automakers and repairers are pointing to the John Eagle Collision lawsuit, in which a dealership collision shop was successfully sued for not following OEM repair procedures on a vehicle in which a Texas couple, Matthew and Marcia Seebachan, were subsequently injured, Colas said. State lawmakers are being told that OEM procedure laws are needed

Louisiana and Texas in particular, but all repairers and vendors were welcome to attend then and in the future. See SARC 2019, Page 4

to prevent insurers from calling for the use of non-OEM part and industry-accepted repair practices, he said. However, he said, the dealership

LKQ Corporation’s Ray Colas said automakers are using a verdict against a shop related to OEM repair procedures as part of their efforts to limit use of non-OEM parts

shop sued by the Seebachans was “unable to provide evidence that [the repair process they used] was provided by the insurer.” “The insurer did not force them to follow a certain procedure,” Colas said. “They chose not to, because they didn’t feel they would get paid See Non-OEM Parts, Page 26

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JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com


CONTENTS Body Shop in Colorado Springs, CO, Has Car for More Than a Year . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Body Shop in Loveland, CO, Sells For $6.2M . . . 6 Car Odometer Rolled Back 45,000 miles by Denver-Area Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

Phillips - FCA Certified Collision Care Program Elevates the Focus on Proper Repairs . . . . . 18 Sisk - ASA Annual Business Meeting and Conference Exceeds Expectations . . . . . . . . 34 Yoswick - Consumer Advocate Gives Industry New Voice With Insurance Regulators . . . . . 36

Fix Auto USA Annual Conference Celebrates Focus on Family Value(s) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Gerber Collision Acquires Location in Watauga, TX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 HABA Celebrates 10th Annual Industry Appreciation Event . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Hodges Collision Centers based in The

NATIONAL ‘Tesla Fighters’ Audi E-Tron, Jaguar I-PACE,

3M, CREF Grant Collision Education Programs . 52 ABPA Voices Concern to Introduction of State Bills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Auto Part Distributors Meet at the Latin Expo . . 4

Collision & Body Shop’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Chrysler Recalls 343,000 Ram 1500 Trucks . . 50

and Senate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Louisiana House Bill 437 Creates Backlash Among Body Shop Owners . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Texas Auto Body Insurance Accountability Bill Defeated by Clock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

CIECA Announces Executive Director Departure . 10 Claim Genius Joins CIECA as a Corporate Member . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 ClaimsCorp Inc. Renews Commitment to CIECA Standards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Evaluating AI Tools and Applications:

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

Alloy Wheel Repair Specialists, LLC . . . . . . 8

TSTC Collision Repair Students, Alumnus Receive Recognitions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 UTI in Houston, Texas, Announces 2019 Scholarship Recipients . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Vehicle Reman in Tyler, Texas, to Buy Edwards Collision Center. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Tips From Tractable AI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 FIAT Chrysler Automobiles Submitted Proposal to Merge With Renault . . . . . . . . . 50 Fix Auto USA’s Paul Gange Named as a Finalist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Ford Explorer Police Interceptor Carbon Monoxide Lawsuit Filed. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Georgia Insurance Commissioner Suspended

COLUMNISTS Anderson - Vehicle Owner’s Manuals Help

as Result of $2M Fraud Case . . . . . . . . . . . 24 GM Digital Vehicle Platform Debuts . . . . . . . . . 54

Educate and Negotiate Need for Various

onPeak Returns as SEMA Show Provider. . . . . . 3

Procedures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

Recycled Rides Go to Three Moms . . . . . . . . . 46

Attanasio - Are You as High-Tech as Your Customers? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Ledoux - The 1970s - Part 2 - The OE’s Become Their Own Worst Enemy. . . . . . . . . 32 Ledoux - The HD Collision Market – Challenges and Opportunities . . . . . . . . . . . 44

www.autobodynews.com AUTOBODY

Speaker Says Verdict Being Used by OEMs to Limit Use of Non-OEM Parts . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Tire Tax Bill AB 755 Defeated in CA . . . . . . . . . 52 Veterans Encouraged to Become Entrepreneurs. 43 Your Future Self-Driving Car Will Be Watching Your Every Move, Says New Study. . . . . . . . . 4

Serving Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arkansas, Colorado, Arizona, Utah and adjacent metro areas. Autobody News is a monthly publication for the autobody industry. Permission to reproduce in any form the material published in Autobody News must be obtained in writing from the publisher. ©2019 Adamantine Media LLC. Autobody News Box 1516, Carlsbad, CA 92018 (800) 699-8251 (760) 603-3229 Fax www.autobodynews.com editor@autobodynews.com

Honda-Acura Wholesale Parts

Audi South Austin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28-29

Audi Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . 53

Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . . . . 48

AutobodyLaw.com. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

Kia Motors Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . . 47

AutoNation Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-

Launch Tech USA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

Ram NRH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 AutoNation Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram

TSTC Auto Collision Students Receive Toolkits. . 16

“SEMA showgoers have options as to where to stay during the SEMA Show,” said Tom Gattuso, SEMA vice president of events. “Through onPeak, attendees have dozens of hotels from which to choose, all at the lowest possible cost.” The 2019 SEMA Show taking place Nov. 5-8, 2019, in Las Vegas, is the premier automotive tradeonly show in the world.

Face Recalls Over Fire Risk, Faulty Brakes . . 54

Woodlands, Texas, Named ‘Best

Louisiana Anti-Steering Bill Passes House

The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) is partnering with onPeak to provide SEMA attendees with affordable and reliable housing options for the 2019 SEMA Show. Available through www.sema show.com/travel-and-lodging, hotel room reservations may be made at nearly 40 hotels throughout Las Vegas, NV. Housing in Las Vegas during the SEMA Show has been known to sell out and may be limited. Rooms booked through onPeak include guaranteed low rates, no hidden fees and may be canceled without penalty.

INDEX OF ADVERTISERS

REGIONAL

onPeak Returns as SEMA Show Provider

Matrix Electronic Measuring . . . . . . . . . . 25 Mercedes-Benz of Littleton . . . . . . . . . . . 23

of North Phoenix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

Mercedes-Benz Wholesale Parts Dealers . 46

AutoNation Collision Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Mitsubishi Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . 44

Axalta Coating Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . 7, 19

MOPAR Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . 31

Big Mike Naughton Ford . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

North Freeway Hyundai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . 50

O’Reilly Auto Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

Bob Howard PDC. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

Part of the Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

Chevyland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Peak Kia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

Christopher’s Dodge World . . . . . . . . . . . 23

PPG Refinish . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Classic BMW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

Ray Huffines Chevrolet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

Classifieds. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54

SATA Dan-Am Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

Covert-Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram. . . . . . 10

Schmelz Countryside. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

Dallas Dodge. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center . . . . . . . 14-15

Dent Fix Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33

Sorbothane Soft-Blow Mallet . . . . . . . . . . 12

Diamond Standard Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

South Pointe Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge . . . . . 18

Eckler’s Automotive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

Spanesi Americas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

ECS Automotive Concepts . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

Stevinson Toyota West . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

Emich Chevrolet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

Subaru of Little Rock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

Emich Volkswagen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

Subaru Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . 51

Equalizer Industries, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

Symach. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

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

Toyota of Laredo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

Fisher Acura . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

Toyota Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . 46

Fisher Honda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

U.S. Chemical & Plastics . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

Flatirons Subaru . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9, 23

Volkswagen Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . 52

Ford Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . 42

Watson Chevrolet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

GM Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . 49

Young Chevrolet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

GYS Welding USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 autobodynews.com / JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS

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Claim Genius Joins CIECA as a Corporate Member

Claim Genius recently joined the Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association (CIECA) as a corporate member. The company’s patent-pending GENIUS suite provides insurance carriers, salvage firms and car leasing companies with an integrated AI damage estimation platform. Raj Pofale, senior technology executive and product development leader at Claim Genius, said this enables clients an instant AI assessment of claims based on photos uploaded from a carrier’s mobile app. Claim Genius first learned about CIECA through another member and decided to join the organization shortly after. “We believe that bringing the best technology practices and standardization to the industry are great initiatives by CIECA and we are excited to contribute to this goal,” said Pofale. Pofale said CIECA standards are important for the industry because they make everyone’s jobs easier. Continued from Cover

SARC 2019

Burl Richards addressed The John Eagle Case, recounting Attorney Todd Tracy’s efforts in the $42M judgment against the Texas body shop. Looming nearby was unheard but visible testimony, silently delivered by the now famous John Eagle Honda Fit. The car, delivered to the Jung Hotel, sat on a trailer outside the meeting rooms and was frequently cited during the talks as a potent reminder of shops’ liability if an accident reveals an improper repair. The meeting was relatively small, with an estimated 400 in attendance along with approximately 50 exhibitors, but the energy was good and the speakers were prompted by the audience with questions. SCRS’ Aaron Schulenburg led an active panel discussion focusing on headlines in the media drawn from Repairer Driven News. Panel ists and industry veterans Burl Richards, John Mosley and Boyd Adams, gave input. They emphasized the 4

Your Future Self-Driving Car Will Be Watching Your Every Move, Says New Study by Loukia Papadopoulos, Interesting Engineering

Future autonomous car firms may choose to harness personalized customer information through geospatial and navigation technologies resulting in high surveillance. When we think of self-driving cars we think of the ease of not having to drive. We are transported where we want to go and can spend our time checking our email or even watching our favorite TV shows. However, self-driving cars come with one caveat and that is increased surveillance. By their very nature, the new autonomous cars would have access to all details about your whereabouts and possibly more. Harnessing personalized customer information Will car companies and others choose to harness personalized customer information through geospatial and navigation technologies? If so, your new comfortable ride becomes a very adept method of surveillance according to new research. “Self-driving cars will represent a new mode for surveillance. Through a self-driving car’s global positioning,

need for shops to focus on the important issues they have in common, and not on infighting for customers between shops. The message given was “the threat is outside your shop, not from your competition down the street.” Mike Ganske gave a presentation on Cycle Time which was repeated due to popular demand.

One particularly well-attended session was given by GM’s Sarah Booth on the GM Collision Repair Network and the associated Partner Perks program. Mitchell was also represented as it’s responsible for managing enrollment and reporting capabilities as it relates to the program KPIs. Site audits are handled by VeriFacts. GM Partner Perks is a parts loyalty program that provides benefits extending beyond redeemable points to include national marketing support, training resources and business

JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

system, navigational tools and other data collection mechanisms, companies will be able to gain access to highly contextual data about passengers’ habits, routines, movements and preferences,” explained Luis F. Alvarez León, an assistant professor of geography at Dartmouth. “This trove of personal, locational and financial data can be leveraged and monetized by companies, by providing a data-stream for companies to target customers through personalized advertising and marketing,” he added. It’s not just your locations that will be tracked. As autonomous vehicles enable passengers to spend more time engaging with media in a vehicle, the media you consume could also be tracked. Digital platforms for media companies This will also change the very nature of cars transforming “the car into a bundle of services rather than just a product.” “Automobile manufacturers may essentially become digital platforms for media companies, search engines, retailers, vendors and other companies, aiming to

tools that GM says can help drive profitability, productivity and the bottom line. Benefits accrue from the first purchase. The focus of the GM Collision Repair Network is to: ● Create an engaged network of collision facilities that are focused on proper and safe repair of all GM vehicles ● Increase visibility into collision repairs ● Ensure technicians are properly trained and prepared to handle today’s complex vehicles ● Increase customer brand loyalty The GM Collision Repair Network will evaluate several KPIs that are not typically measured by other OEM collision certification programs. The major difference is that it will be metrics-driven and dynamic, meaning that the Dealer, MSO, or Independent Repair Facility will continuously undergo audit checks, ensuring that they maintain the proper requirements for the GM CRN program. A future article will provide more detail on the program. See also www.genuinegmparts.com

offer services to passengers through a car’s infotainment system,” reveals the study. The growth of self-driving cars will see a merging of different technologies. “Through autonomous cars, the automotive and technology industries are likely to become more integrated with synergies across geospatial, navigation, artificial intelligence, ride-hailing, automotive and other industries and technologies,” said Alvarez Léon. However, this will make us all ever more vulnerable to tracking. Privacy and security concerns abound when it comes to self-driving cars. These are further exacerbated by the fact that specific governance mechanisms have yet to be defined by federal regulations. As the age of the autonomous car approaches, shouldn’t we be looking into effective legislation to ensure the privacy and safety of citizens? What do you think? Are selfdriving cars a more convenient form of transportation or an impending disaster of invasion of privacy?

www.autobodynews.com

Auto Part Distributors Meet at the Latin Expo

Thousands of auto part distributors attend the Latin Auto Parts Expo every year. This event provides a great opportunity to meet them. The sixth edition of the expo will be in the ATLAPA Convention Center in Panama July 17-19, 2019. Max Douglas of Berryman Products said about last year’s event, “The show buyer turnout was great! I was personally pleased with the results and leads accumulated for my aftershow follow-up. This show filled a niche for my distribution into the Latin American countries.” Registration is open and free. In this edition of the expo, it features new product categories, several training sessions and an increased number of educational conferences on new technologies in the automotive industry. For more information, view the conference schedule and visit the Expo’s website at https://www .latinpartsexpo.com.


autobodynews.com / JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS

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HABA Celebrates 10th Annual Industry Appreciation Event by Chasidy Rae Sisk

On May 14, the Houston Auto Body Association (HABA) hosted its 10th Annual Collision Industry Appreciation event at Jackson Street BBQ. The event attracted nearly 200 Houston-area shop owners, technicians, industry vendors and I-CAR representatives who enjoyed “the best BBQ that Texas has to offer.” “This year’s event was a great time for all with good food, comradery and a chance to get to know each other and attract new members, as well as door prizes and more,” HABA president John Kopriva said. “HABA thanks all the collision centers, technicians, vendors and sponsors who attended the event.” HABA held a brief business meeting during the event to update attendees on the association’s recent accomplishments and upcoming initiatives which include growing the association’s membership and addressing legislative issues in Austin. According to Kopriva, “We included a business meeting during this year’s event because we wanted everyone to know exactly what we’ve done since last year’s event.”

Kopriva said HABA accomplished many of its goals this year and people were shocked. “We had almost 100 people join us in Austin,” Kopriva said. “We talked about House Bill 1348 and I

sung Smart TV, a guided fishing trip, a golf bag, two Yeti coolers, a crawfish cooker and a sports watch. Darrell Dobbs of Scott Street Auto Parts donated a live auction raffle prize which included a bottle of Crown

told them to not to be disappointed –more people know who we are now and we made a lot of headway.” Additionally, Kopriva presented Larry Cernosek with the association’s President’s Award. “As HABA’s Legislative Coordinator, Larry worked tireless hours helping to prepare for House Bill 1348 and organizing Collision Day at the Capital to support and advance the bill known as the Auto Body Insurance Accountability Bill,” Kopriva said. “Thanks to Larry, we got a lot done in Austin this year.” Among the many door prizes, attendees received a 65-inch Sam-

Royal Whiskey in its original blue and gold braided bag. The bag was stuffed with an undisclosed amount of money. “Tasco Auto Color placed the winning bid for the bag and then donated the money back to the Houston Auto Body Association,” Kopriva said. “PPG Automotive Refinish then matched their donation.” HABA’s Board of Directors will be meeting in June to plan the training calendar for the remainder of 2019 and to set a date for HABA’s Annual Fall Conference. For more information on HABA, visit habaonline.org.

“We included a business meeting during this year’s event because we wanted everyone to know exactly what we’ve done since last year’s event.” — John Kopriva

Body Shop in Loveland, CO, Sells For $6.2M by Lucas High, BizWest

The Caliber Collision autobody property at 5486 N. Garfield Ave. recently changed hands for $6,241,652. The buyer was Californiabased RC Horizon LLC, according to Larimer County public records. Thomas Fazekas with Roessler Investment Group represented the buyer. The seller was Drake Collision Partners One LLC, a company registered to the Denver address of Drake Real Estate Services Inc. The seller was represented by Kevin Matthews and Troy Meyer with brokerage SVN Denver/Commercial, according to an SVN news release. We thank BizWest for reprint permission.

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Vehicle Reman in Tyler, Texas, to Buy Edwards Collision Center by Staff, Tyler Morning Telegraph

Vehicle Reman LLC announced that it has entered into an asset purchase agreement with Edwards Collision Center (ECC). Following the close of the transaction, Vehicle Reman will be in a better position to serve fleet owners, fleet management and insurance cus-

tomers for collision repair with the company’s increasing vehicle reconditioning and remanufacturing work, according to a news release. Franky Edwards, the secondgeneration owner of Edwards Collision, said he is excited about the opportunity to grow the paint and body operation. “I believe the combination of ECC and Vehicle Reman creates a powerful offering to insurers, auto dealers and the buying public across Smith County,” Edwards said, ac6

cording to the news release. “Vehicle Reman’s state-of-the-art paint operation has refinished old work trucks, vans and SUVs for business owners across the USA for three years.” Steve Belden, Vehicle Reman’s director of sales and marketing, said, “Edwards’ experience and brand recognition with auto dealers, commercial fleets, insurance companies and consumers in and around Tyler will enhance Vehicle Reman’s capability.” Vehicle Reman in Tyler is a complete vehicle remanufacturer. The company uses remanufactured parts and components to return vehicles to like-new condition. Remanufactured vehicles cost 30 to 50 percent less than new and are backed by a three-year powertrain warranty. Vehicle Reman specializes in Class 1-5 trucks, vans, SUVs, box trucks, flatbed trucks and specialty vehicles up to 19,500 pounds.

We thank the Tyler (Texas) Morning Telegraph for reprint permission.

JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

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7


Gerber Collision Acquires Location in Watauga, TX

The Boyd Group Inc. (the “Boyd Group”) announced the June 11, 2019 opening of a collision repair center in Watauga, Texas. The location previously operated as PlanetPaint Collision Center for almost five years. Watauga is a northeastern suburb of Fort Worth in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, the economic and cultural hub of North Central Texas with a population of more than 7.5 million people. “We are excited to continue to provide the outstanding service customers have received from this location,” said Tim O’Day, president and COO of the Boyd Group. “The opening of this repair center expands our brand in this market and better positions us to serve our customers and insurance partners.” The Boyd Group is continuously looking to add new collision repair locations to its existing network in Canada and the U.S. Interested collision repair center owners are asked to contact Stephen Boyd at (204) 594-1176 or stephen.boyd@ boydgroup.com for more information. Obtained via Newswire.

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TSTC Collision Repair Students, Alumnus Receive Recognitions

Two students and a recent graduate of the Auto Collision and Management Technology program at Texas State Technical College (TSTC) in Waco, Texas, have been nationally honored for their academic work. Edward Hernandez of Killeen and Jennifer Watson of Moody are U.S. military veterans who received 3M Hire Our Heroes tool grants valued at $4,500 each. Hernandez also received a $2,000 scholarship from the 3M Hire Our Heroes fund.

Hernandez is studying in TSTC’s refinishing specialization. He said receiving the tools is a relief. “Now you just worry about getting the job and starting work right away,” he said. Hernandez came to TSTC because he always wanted to learn how to paint vehicles.

JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

He recently received a Sears Votech tool grant, which includes an industry-size toolbox. He was surprised when he opened his new toolbox and saw an assortment of drill bits, wrenches, sockets and other items. “I am stoked, really excited,” Patterson said. He said in five years he wants to start his own collision, repair and refinishing Texas State Technical College (TSTC) students Jennifer shop. Watson (left) and Edward Hernandez (center) and “The main thing is I just TSTC alumnus Samuel Patterson (right) were recently want to work for myself,” honored by the Collision Repair Education Foundation Patterson said. and 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division. Credit: Courtesy The recognitions are of TSTC sponsored by the 3M AuWatson was a helicopter me- tomotive Aftermarket Division and chanic in the Army and worked at the Collision Repair Education FounDynCorp (now DynCorp Interna- dation. For more information on Texas tional) before coming to TSTC. “Coming into a completely new State Technical College, go to tstc.edu. career, I realized the tools I have are not useful,” she said. “I have to build a new tool inventory now. For me, AUTOBODY it’s a passion.” Samuel Patterson of Waxa4x Monthly E-Newsletter. hachie graduated from TSTC’s Auto Subscribe Today! Collision and Management Technology program in April. www.autobodynews.com “This is my second life right now,” he said.

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CIECA Announces Executive Director Departure CIECA announced on June 6, 2019, that Fred Iantorno, CIECA’s executive director, has officially resigned from his position effective July 31, 2019. “We are incredibly appreciative of the contributions that Fred has made to CIECA over the years and he will be truly missed,” said Steve Betley, CIECA’s chairman of the board. Iantorno became executive director of CIECA in July 2002. During his leadership, Iantorno helped build over 200 messages and all of the codes needed to provide meaning to those messages. In addition, he was instrumental in the implementation of the messages to improve the operation and bottom-line of CIECA’s member organizations. “Where I have taken CIECA has been an accomplishment of which I am most proud,” said Iantorno. “We are now a financially-viable organization playing key roles in impacting the industry.”

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UTI in Houston, Texas, Announces 2019 Scholarship Recipients by Chasidy Rae Sisk

The Universal Technical Institute’s (UTI) Houston campus, announced that students enrolled in its collision repair training program received $23,000 in scholarships in 2019 so far.

of these scholarships may include internships and other types of assistance on the job. In addition, students will have peace knowing they are better prepared for their first job.” Service King bestowed two Mario Malcura Memorial Scholarships in the amount of $1500 each to Jonathan Bailey and Jim Zamora. Ricardo Ochoa Quiroz received a $3000 Michael Salvatore Memorial Scholarship from CCC One.

Our Heroes Scholarship from 3M. 3M’s $4500 tool grants were bestowed upon Pedro Dominguez and Christopher Jackson.

Pedro Dominguez received a $4500 tool grant from 3M. Credit: Chasidy Rae Sisk

Jim Zamora received a $1500 Mario Malcura Memorial Scholarship from Service King. Credit: Chasidy Rae Sisk

“These scholarships have positive effects on our students,” said UTI instructor Keith Schieffer. “Students are able to acquire the tools they need to be an effective entry-level technician. They can also pay down tuition and other educational costs they may be responsible for in the future. Some

JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

Jonathan Bailey received a $1500 Mario Malcura Memorial Scholarship from Service King. Credit: Chasidy Rae Sisk

The Houston Automobile Dealers Association chose Jordon Sanders and Blake Serpa to receive their $3000 scholarship; Christopher Jackson received a $2000 Hire

Schieffer encourages his students to apply for scholarships from all types of companies, networks and associations including 3M, the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF), and the Women’s Industry Network (WIN), each year to assist in furthering their educations. “Scholarships make a huge difference and change the lives of many students,” he said. “UTI would like to send a big thanks to the supporters of the scholarship programs.”


Hodges Collision Centers based in The Woodlands, Texas, Named ‘Best Collision & Body Shop’ by Linda Freede, Woodlands Online

Continuing to build on their sustaining values of “Car Repair by People Who Care,” The Woodlands-based Hodges Collision Centers has claimed the special distinction of winning the Woodlands Online Best Collision & Body Shop the first time that the category was offered and on the 10th Anniversary of the Woodlands Online Decade of Excellence. “I am so proud of our entire team for this recognition, especially since the voting came from the community,” noted Steve Guinn, president/CEO of Hodges Collision Centers. “Each of our locations has won awards for their customer service and quality work, but what puts us on top almost every time is how our Hodges Collision team goes over and above to support not only our customers, but the communities where we are located. We are grateful to all of the people who voted for us and realize the honor of being named the Best of The Woodlands and all that goes with it.” He continued, “I have been in this business a long time and have seen the industry go through major

changes. I am appreciative that we are in a position to give back—we enjoy supporting those non-profits in our communities that may touch our hearts, need a helping hand or a sponsorship that makes a difference.” Guinn started his organization with the purchase of one autobody shop and has either acquired or built them from the ground up to create the Hodges Collision Centers organization, the largest independent body shop in the Houston area. It is owned and operated by professionals who combine extensive automotive experience with successful practices of customer care and marketing borrowed from other service industries. Guinn has been recognized by various organizations for his professionally run organization. The Houston Business Journal named Hodges Collision Centers a finalist for the 2014 Fast 100 awards, which honor Houston’s fastest-growing private companies with finalists coming from every corner of the Houston economy. Hodges earned citywide recognition as Houston Chronicle’s “Ultimate Body Shop” for 2003 and 2004, and

they were named Best of the Woodlands 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019. Because Hodges Collision Centers are ASE, I-CAR Gold and I-CAR Welding certified, their technicians receive regular training to help ensure proper repairs. The I- CAR Gold Class is the most difficult certification that can be obtained within this industry and the first five Hodges locations are I-Car Gold for 2018 & 2019. The Hodges Collision—Rayford Road location was recently named the prestigious Liberty Mutual Insurance ‘Shop of the Year’ 2019 for the State of Texas. And the Hodges Collision Lane Ln, The Woodlands location was named as a Geico ‘Shop of the Month’ three out of four months. Huge accomplishments in their industry and each location met rigorous criteria to achieve their honors. At each of their six locations, Hodges Collision uses state-of-theart equipment, quality parts and materials, and always meets a series of stringent standards that are audited on a regular basis, ensuring the quality of their service. A member of The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce, Guinn

also sits on the Liberty Mutual and the Safeco Advisory Boards. As part of their company culture, Hodges Collision Centers supports many community non-profits such as Montgomery County Youth Services, Texas Autism Academy and Inspiration Ranch, as well as other local community events. No matter which location, Hodges Collision offers its customers a lifetime guarantee on their work and provides a Customer Satisfaction Audit program. Their six locations at Lane Ln, The Woodlands; Rayford Road in Spring; HWY 249/1960 West Tomball location; a facility on FM 1488 in Magnolia, Nichols Sawmill Rd, Magnolia; and the newest location in Deer Park, Texas offer hours of operation from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information visit www .hodgescollision.com We thank Woodlands Online for reprint permission.

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Texas Auto Body Insurance Accountability Bill Defeated by Clock by Chasidy Rae Sisk

The Texas Auto Body Insurance Accountability Bill, House Bill 1348, failed to receive a second reading by the end of this legislative session, simply running out of time rather than being defeated by the bill’s opponents. House Bill 1348 was only six bills away from being heard in the House Chamber when the clock signaled the end of the session, but proponents of the bill are still optimistic about the progress that was made. John Kopriva, president of the Houston Auto Body Association (HABA), said, “The 86th Legislative session is in the books. Looking back over the last couple of months, a lot of time and effort was spent in Austin at our State Capital in support of HB 1348. This bill was well on its way for approval, but the legislative clock ended the session before it could be presented.” “Our platform, ‘Safety before Profitability,’ is strong and we will be back. We count this as a successful legislative session. During the months ahead, we need to keep our momentum going. Join your local collision associations and help move our industry forward,” Kopriva added. Though she acknowledged that it would be “easy for us to feel defeated,” Jill Tuggle, executive director of the Auto Body Association of Texas (ABAT), said there’s plenty to be proud of. “The bill wasn’t voted against. We made it far in the process, but our work isn’t over. We’re excited about the future.” House Bill 1348 was written to hold insurers to OEM repair procedures, forbidding an insurer from “disregard[ing] a repair operation or cost identified by an estimating system, including the system’s procedural pages and any repair, process or procedure recommended by the original equipment manufacturer of a part or product.” In addition to defining “kind and quality” for aftermarket parts, the bill also defined a reasonable and necessary amount as “the amount determined by the original equipment manufacturer’s manufacturer and estimating systems required to repair a vehicle to the condition before the covered damage to the vehi12

cle occurred.” During the April hearing, bill sponsor Rep. Travis Clardy (R) addressed the need for lawmakers to give the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) the authority to “do the right thing” for consumers. He insisted, “Consumers should be protected by state law and should not be subjected to unsavory business practices that can lead to catastrophic events. Automobiles are among the biggest purchases our constituents make. After a collision or damage event, Texans expect their vehicle to be repaired to its pre-accident condition. Repairs need to be made safely, using safe parts and by following safety procedures.” Recounting his three meetings with the TDI in 2018, ABAT President Burl Richards told the committee, “We have exhausted every effort before we came here. We continually were told that the TDI has no jurisdiction.” A key testimony was provided by Marcia Seebachan, one of the occupants of the infamous Honda Fit case of 2017, resulting in a $42 million verdict, who spoke about the importance of safe repairs for the consumer. Both the body shop and the insurance company replaced the roof with a 3M adhesive instead of welding it into one of the appropriate places, where the OEM specified, she said. This deliberate choice is what cost her—both physically and financially, she added. “It is exceptional that we’re alive today … The effects of the wreck on our health, marriage, family, careers and finances were devastating,” Seebachan said. “This pain was exacerbated when we were told that [our] CARFAX report was completely inaccurate and the car had in fact been repaired poorly before we owned it.” During the hearing, Tuggle said the ABAT isn’t forcing body shops to do OEM repair procedures. However, she said, the shops that are taking the time to do them, deserve to be reimbursed. “If we’re going to use aftermarket parts, then these parts need to be tested, so we know they’re safe,” Tuggle said. “Shops can make more money if they use an aftermarket part, but it’s not about the dollars—

JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

we need to know that we’re putting safe parts on our customers’ vehicles. Right now, the burden of proof on whether that part is safe or not is on the body shop and that’s not fair.” Ware Wendell, executive director of consumer advocacy group Texas Watch, provided letters from 1,100 Texans supporting House Bill 1348. He expressed, “I feel we’re on the right side of the law and on the right side of the issue. Those who are arguing that [this bill] is going to raise rates are ignoring the fact that if people are in safer vehicles, their injuries are going to be far less severe when they’re in collisions. That’s really what we should be keeping our focus on—protecting families and making sure that our kids and loved ones are safe.” Advocates of House Bill 1348 plan to revise the bill language with an amendment to exempt OEM parts recommendations from the procedures insurers must reimburse. The revised bill will be submitted in the next legislative session of 2021. The bill’s supporters are very hopeful that

the amended version will be successful, especially since there was little opposition to House Bill 1348 from legislators this year. Compared to previous legislative endeavors, Tuggle said ABAT was “so much more well-equipped this time around. We’ve garnered a lot of support.” “We are proud of the support from so many collision repairers from across the state who joined in the legislative effort,” Kopriva said. “Members of ABAT, HABA, the Southeast Texas Collision Group, and the Rio Grande Collision Group all joined in passing out fliers and going from door to door in the Capital to make our bill known. A special ‘thank you’ goes to Representative Travis Clardy who sponsored HB 1348, Lobbyist Jacob Smith and Ware Wendell, executive director of Texas Watch. All spent many personal hours working behind the scenes to educate and promote the bill.” For more information on the collision repair industry in Texas, visit abat.us or habaonline.org.


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TSTC Auto Collision Students Receive Toolkits A typical day for Jose Villarreal includes hopping into his car and hoping he has enough money for gas to drive 45 minutes every day from Pharr, Texas, to Texas State Technical College for class, but Tuesday, June 4 was anything but normal for the 22-yearold student. Villarreal and four other TSTC Auto Collision and Management Technology students were awarded Sears Craftsman toolkits valued at $360 through a grant awarded by the Collision Repair Education Foundation and Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR). “This was a great surprise,” said Villarreal. “There was no way I would have ever been able to afford something like this; I make just enough for tuition and gas, so this is a huge help.” Villarreal said he has wanted to work in this field since helping his grandfather refurbish and maintain cars as a child. “With graduation in August, this toolkit came at the right time. It will help me finish the semester strong and hit the ground running when I enter the workforce,” he said. “And I’m glad to still be able to share all of this with my grandfather.”

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Villarreal, along with Andy Mendoza, Marco Castro, Brandon Martinez and Leonardo Lozano, who were also awarded toolkits, had applied for this tool grant last semester and all agreed they had given up hope.

lision and Management lead instructor, said these toolkits are motivators and an important part of a student’s success. “Many times students are unable to afford these kits on a student budget,” he said. “It can take a while before they can afford a full set. Now, these five students have a leg up in the industry because of these kits.” Students had to complete an application, write an essay and collect auto collision shop recommendations by visiting industry professionals, conducting interviews and submitting the shop’s recommendation to be considered for a toolkit. Five TSTC Auto Collision and Management Technology “It took a lot of effort and students were awarded Sears Craftsman toolkits. time on our students’ part and Credit: TSTC I’m proud that despite every“So much time had passed since thing, they persevered,” said Vasquez. submitting my application; I wasn’t “And thank you to I-CAR and the Coleven thinking about it anymore,” said lision Repair Education Foundation for Mendoza. “I didn’t think I had re- their continued support of our students ceived one, but now that I have, it’s a and program.” In addition to the toolkits, the relief because this is going to take me far and have a huge impact on my fu- Collision Repair Education Foundation and I-CAR also donated 14 Toyture career.” Jose Vasquez, TSTC Auto Col- ota Highlander back doors that will

JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

be used for training purposes in areas such as refinishing, corrosion, dent repair and painting. Each back door is worth at least $600, a price tag that Vasquez calls a big investment for the program’s future. “These back door donations will allow us to continue giving our students real-world, hands-on training so they’re well-rounded and highlyskilled when they enter the workforce,” he said. “This will impact our program and its students for years to come.” The Collision Repair and Education Foundation and I-CAR annually donate essential parts, supplies and equipment to the program and have award grants to assist and support TSTC Auto Collision and Management Technology students in their journey toward a successful career in the industry. Auto Collision and Management Technology is also offered at TSTC’s Waco campus. For more information on the program or to register for fall 2019, visit tstc.edu.

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Stacey Phillips is a 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.

National Associations with Stacey Phillips

FCA Certified Collision Care Program Elevates the Focus on Proper Repairs Autobody News recently reached out to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to learn more about the FCA U.S. LLC Certified Collision Repair Program and the role of Assured Performance Network. FCA shared

how body shops can find out more information.

Can you please tell us what prompted Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to establish the FCA Certified Collision Care Program?

Q:

In 2011, we recognized the importance of assisting our Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep®, Ram and Fiat customers through every stage of the ownership cycle, including the unfortunate occurrence of an accident. With vehicles that feature ever-increasing levels of technology and complexity, it was important to offer customers a network to turn to for safe and proper collision repair. In July 2012, we launched the FCA U.S. LLC Certified Collision Repair Program. It is the first OE certification program managed through Assured Performance Network, the largest OE

A:

The FCA U.S. LLC Certified Collision Repair Program was launched in July 2012. Credit: FCA

highlights about the program as well as the type of training offered and

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JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

certification group in the U.S. We currently have 1,847 shops that are part of the program.

shops have the right tools, equipment, training and modified facilities to be able to provide a proper repair. What are some of the highlights you would like to share with collision repairers and others in the industry about the program?

Q:

Mopar, established in 1937, is the official service, parts and customer care brand for FCA U.S. vehicles — Chrysler, FCA said its certified shops utilize the right tools to safely and properly repair vehicles to FCA standards Dodge, Jeep®, Ram and and procedures. Credit: FCA Fiat. Mopar’s top priority is to deliver owners the confidence and What is the role of Assured peace of mind that comes through rePerformance Network? pairs made at an FCA certified body shop with the use of OEM replaceAssured Performance Net- ment parts. Our program seeks to be work facilitates the program a convenient OE partner for repair See FCA Certified, Page 24 on behalf of FCA and certifies that

A:

Q: A:


Louisiana House Bill 437 Creates Backlash Among Body Shop Owners by Chasidy Rae Sisk

State Representative Kirk Talbot (R), chairman of the Louisiana House Insurance Committee, has sponsored a bill that proposes to prevent insurers from writing a first estimate based on photos. The bill would also require shops to acquire the vehicle owner’s signed acknowledgment before using non-OEM aftermarket crash parts in a repair. House Bill 437 was pre-filed on March 29 and was formally sent to the House Insurance Committee the following month. House Bill 437 states: A.(1) No appraiser shall secure or use repair estimates that have been obtained by the use of photographs, telephone calls, or in any manner other than a personal inspection. (2)(a) An appraiser shall not require the submission of photographs or videos in order to obtain an appraisal. (b) An appraiser or an insurer as part of the appraisal process shall disclose to the owner of the vehicle that there is no requirement to submit photographs or videos in order to obtain an appraisal.

Regarding the use of aftermarket parts, the bill says, “At the time of delivery of the disclosure document required by Paragraph (2) of this Subsection, the insurer shall obtain a separate written statement, signed by the insured, acknowledging that the insured has received and understands the disclosure.” In the event that a supplement is necessary, House Bill 437 would also require the insurer to “promptly inspect damaged vehicles prior to the repairs in question.” It also allows for that inspection to be made “by personal inspection or by photographs, videos, or telephonic means, except that a personal inspection shall be required in the case of disputed repairs.” Doug Reed, owner of Complete Collision Centers in Baton Rouge and Zachary, LA, weighed in on how this bill could affect local repairers. “I agree that the initial inspection should be completed in person. Initially, I accepted virtual claims as they became more common because it had the potential to streamline the process, but we quickly found it was being used as a deceptive practice to minimize the severity of the damage,

which deceives the customer for the sake of profits.” “It seems that insurance companies write such low estimates that it deceives the consumer into thinking they have little damage to their vehicle, so they either take the cash and never repair the car or they never file a claim at all, because the estimate amount is less than their deductible,” Reed added. Frank Rinaudo of Frank’s Accurate Body Shop in Slidell, LA, agreed. “The biggest concern with photo estimates is the risk to the consumer— both physically and financially—due to frequent underpayments and the likelihood that a repair will not be pursued,” Rinaudo said. Louisiana’s current laws require disclosure to the vehicle owner when aftermarket parts are used, but House Bill 437 would take it a step further by requiring the consumer’s signed acknowledgment. Reed doesn’t believe this change will make much of a difference: “If they don’t sign it, it doesn’t matter because there’s no law protecting them against aftermarket parts if they object. Choosing OE parts will cost them more money, but all of this information should be

disclosed in the policy upfront in a way the consumer can understand.” “Every time a customer walks in with insurance estimates, we review them, and 95 percent of the time, the insurer didn’t explain the difference in parts to them. We’re always the bearers of bad news. I’m all for having the customer sign off on aftermarket parts so they understand what they’re getting,” Rinaudo shares. “What happens if the consumer doesn’t sign? Are they obligated to pay the difference?” Rinaudo asks. “There’s verbiage on the estimates, but none of that is explained to the consumer, and most of them don’t understand body shop terminology.” “There’s a lot of language in House Bill 437 that I don’t agree with as a shop owner, said Reed. “I’m against anything in the bill that has language pertaining to how a body shop conducts business with an insurance company. We’re here to fix cars for the consumer, not the insurer.”

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Car Odometer Rolled Back 45,000 miles by Denver-Area Business by Chris Halsne, KDVR News

The U.S. Justice Department calls it “clocking”: intentionally rolling back an odometer to make a vehicle appear less used. Odometer rollback is “the single most common fraudulent issue in Colorado and nationwide.” That’s a bold statement made by one of this state’s top auto enforcement regulators. So, based on a tip from one of our viewers, the FOX31 Problem Solvers decided to take a closer look at a business which advertises “odometer correction.” Odo-Pro is a licensed business registered to the address of a corner house in Littleton. State records show its owner is Peter Petrov Rains.

The FOX31 investigative team then printed off a single-sheet form we found on Odo-Pro’s website. It said “Odometer Correction Form” at the top. We requested our odometer be programmed backwards—rolled back to 150, 839—a 45,000-mile reduction. The form required us to acknowledge that “altering the odometer for personal gain is illegal.” And that “owners have a legal obligation to notify prospective purchasers if the vehicle’s mileage has been altered.” We mailed our instrument cluster, an $89 cashier’s check from a local convenience store and that form to Odo-Pro in Littleton. Four days later, our digital odometer came back in a box with Rains’

“Rolling back an odometer is certainly something we don’t even think about doing in our industry,” — Brad Pellman

He sells parts and auto repair services, mostly through via mail. Odometer repair and adjustment is permitted in some instances under the federal law. However, “if the mileage on the odometer cannot remain the same as before the service, the odometer must be reset to zero.” What is not permitted is rolling miles on a vehicle backwards with the intent to defraud. Here’s part of the federal law which says so: 327.03 A person may not

(2) disconnect, reset, alter, or have disconnected, reset, or altered, an odometer of a motor vehicle intending to change the mileage registered by the odometer; (3) with intent to defraud.

The FOX31 Problem Solvers tested to see if Odo-Pro would reduce the miles, no questions asked, on one of our old news cars: a 2005 Dodge Durango. We had a mechanic remove the odometer, which had 195,839 welldocumented miles on it. 20

business card. The mileage was altered per our request: backward 45,000 miles from the original 195,839. When the Problem Solvers team went to Odo-Pro to ask about its business practices, a man we’d seen working at Odo-Pro answered the door. He said he didn’t speak English. However, FOX31 was able to reach Rains by phone from the front porch of the business address. FOX31 asked Rains: “We had some complaints about your OdoPro business. That you’re essentially just rolling back odometers.” Rains responded by telling our reporter, “What we do mainly, uh, we work only with parts. We don’t work on any kind of vehicles. We reprogram clusters that have been replaced. So, we do pretty much what dealerships do. Just at a much lower cost.” When FOX31 asked if he’d like to do an interview to explain how Odo-Pro’s “correction” program works, Rains declined. While we were standing in front of Odo-Pro, it was hard not to notice the piles of boxes and packets heading to other states via the U.S. Postal Service: Florida, Virginia, Michigan and Pennsylvania, among others.

JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

FOX31 called customers listed on packages, who confirmed some of the boxes indeed contained instrument clusters. None admitted to requesting rollbacks.

Brad Pellman, chairman of the automotive association of Colorado, had never heard of Odo-Pro or Rains before FOX31 called. Pellman was curious how Rains was able to conduct a seemingly vibrant parts-and-services business correcting odometers. “Until you brought it to my attention, I wasn’t even aware that this was being done by anybody but

dealers or some kind of licensed secured facility that had the rights to do it,” Pellman told FOX31 during a recorded interview. Pellman said that once in a great while, an auto-repair facility might re-set an odometer backwards for a vintage car or some other unique reason, but he says it’s not very common at all. “Rolling back an odometer is certainly something we don’t even think about doing in our industry,” said Pellman. “The incentive seems to be that it would put less mileage on the odometers for a purpose I would consider fraudulent.” FOX31 spoke with state and federal authorities who regulate and investigate reported cases of fraudulent odometer rollback services. Although declining on-camera interviews, agents said based on what happened with our TV vehicle’s odometer alone, they have serious questions about Odo-Pro’s business practices. We thank KDVR News for reprint permission.


autobodynews.com / JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS

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Body Shop in Colorado Springs, CO, Has Car for More Than a Year by Katie Pelton, KKTV News

We are getting some answers about why it’s taking a local body shop more than a year to repair a car. The owner reached out to our Call for Action team because he wanted his car back. “I’m frustrated,” Gary Allen told 11 Call for Action Reporter Katie Pelton. Allen said his car has been at a Colorado Springs auto body shop called ‘Wreckmasters’ for more than a year. According to the police report, a driver hit Allen’s car the night of the Super Bowl back in February of 2018. “It was hit in the back end so the whole trunk area was just pushed in. When I first saw it I thought it was completely totaled,” he said. His insurance company wrote a check to Wreckmasters last March for more than $8,000, according to documents. Allen said his car has been at the shop now for more than a year. Allen: “I don’t have anything in writing, but they told me it was about a three-week job.”

Pelton: “Three weeks? And it’s been more than 12 months?” Allen: “It’s been more than 12 months ... I feel like I’ve been lied to for a year.” We reached out to Wreckmasters and the owner admits the work should have been done by now. He said they have been dealing with a lot of cars with hail damage and that they have been short-staffed. “They received the check and it was already cashed. So they have the money to repair it—they have my car and it feels like I have nothing to hold against them,” said Allen. “I just want my car back.” Gary told 11 Call for Action that after we got involved, his car is being towed to a new shop where his insurance company will decide what to do next. If you ever have a problem with a company, you can reach out to our Call for Action team of volunteers at 719-457-8211. We thank KKTV News for reprint permission.

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Louisiana Anti-Steering Bill Passes House and Senate by Chasidy Rae Sisk

Louisiana House Bill 411, an antisteering bill which would require consumers to be notified of their right to choose a shop, passed the state’s House of Representatives and Senate in May. In order to become law, the bill merely needs to be signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards. According to an email written by Edwards’ communications director Shauna Sanford, “The Governor is inclined to sign the bill given the overwhelming support of the measure by the Legislature. There was no objection to the bill by the House or Senate.” House Bill 211 was introduced on March 29. Sponsored by Louisiana State Representative Terry Landry (D), along with 20 co-sponsors, House Bill 211 unanimously (88-0) passed the House of Representatives on May 15. It moved to the Senate without amendments. On June 1, the Senate also passed the bill unanimously (36-0). While Louisiana law already prohibits insurers from requiring policyholders to repair their vehicles at a specific shop, the bill adds lan-

guage, stating a carrier “shall not recommend the use of a particular motor vehicle service or network of repair services without informing the insured or claimant that the insured or claimant is under no obligation to use the recommended repair service or network of repair services.” Additionally, House Bill 211 prohibits insurers from using “any act or practice of intimidation, coercion, or threat to use a specified place of business for repair and replacement services.” If Gov. Edwards signs the bill into law, it will increase fines for steering. Current law fines up to $500 per offense, but under the new law, the Insurance Commissioner could fine an insurance company $1000 for the first offense, $2500 for a second offense within a year and up to $5000 for a third steering violation within the same 12-month period.

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6025 Arapahoe Ave // Boulder, CO 80303 6025 Arapahoe Ave // Boulder, CO 80303

Toll-Free: (800) 274-0985 ext 228 Parts: (303)-443-3883 Fax: (303) 998-6274 Hours: M-F 7:30am-6pm; Sat: 8am-4pm wholesaleparts@fisherauto.com

Toll-Free: (800) 274-0985 ext 226 Parts: (303)-415-1528 Fax: (303) 443-8826 Hours: M-F 7:30am-6pm; Sat: 8am-4pm wholesaleparts@fisherauto.com

2033 South Wadsworth Blvd // Lakewood, CO 80227

Parts: (303) 986-2245 Fax: (303) 989-3490 Hours: M-F 7am-6pm; Sat: 8am-4pm gmcollision@emichauto.com

150 South Havana St. // Aurora, CO 80012

5077 South Wadsworth Blvd // Littleton, CO 80123

Toll-Free: (800) 876-0977

Parts: (303) 904-7820

Parts: (303) 343-1396 Fax: (303) 361-9278 Hours: M-F 7:30am-6:00pm; Sat: 8am-4pm parts@bigmike.com

Fax: (303) 904-7836 Hours: M-F 7am-6pm; Sat: 8am-4pm parts@peakkia.com

350 S. Santa Fe Drive // Denver, CO 80223

Parts: (303) 758-7739 Fax: (303) 928-6108 Hours: M-F 7am-6pm; Sat: 8am-4pm vwparts@emichauto.com

5995 Arapahoe Ave // Boulder, CO 80303

Parts: (303) 443-2919 Fax: (303) 442-1342 Hours: M-F 7am-8pm; Sat: 8am-5pm parts@flatironsimports.com

780 Denver West Colorado Mills Blvd. Lakewood, CO 80401 1180 Highway 36 // Maplewood, MN 55109

Toll Free: (866) 869-0481 Parts: (651) 766-5630 Fax: (651) 203-1664 Hours: M-Th: 8am-6:30pm Fri: 8am-6pm; Sat: 8am-4pm

Parts Direct: (303) 277-0293 Fax: (303) 278-8503 Hours: M-F: 7am-6pm Sat: 8am-5pm dwallace@stevinsonauto.com parts.stevinsontoyotawest.com autobodynews.com / JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS

23


Continued from Page 18

FCA Certified

centers while requiring industryleading adherence to OE repair methods. For example, FCA has developed a list of the necessary equipment that is driven more on capability specifications rather than specific brand name tools. For all of our vehicle owners, Mopar is there every step of the way on their customer journey, and that includes safe and proper collision repair through a trusted network.

Q: A:

is access to a network of shops where they can feel confident the focus is on safe and proper repair. Our certified shops have the right tools in their toolbox to safely and properly repair vehicles to FCA standards and procedures.

Mopar is the official service, parts and customer care brand for FCA U.S. vehicles. Mopar-modified Ram 2500 Heavy Duty and a Jeep Gladiator shown in photo. Credit: FCA

FCA works closely with our shops to spread the word that they are part of our trusted network, and we feel this is another great benefit of our program. We host a certified shop locator on the Mopar owner website and the owner mobile app. We

Georgia Insurance Commissioner Suspended as a Result of $2M Fraud Case by Chasidy Rae Sisk

Georgia Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck (R) was indicted in May on 38 counts of defrauding a former employer, the Georgia Underwriting Association (GUA), for a total of more than $2 million over a fiveyear period. In a statement, U. S. Attorney Byung J. Pak said, “Beck allegedly pocketed a substantial amount of money to which he was not entitled while he was the GUA General Manager for Operations. To be clear, the grand jury has charged Commissioner Beck with crimes that occurred before he was elected to his current public office.” Beck denied these allegations which include money laundering as well as wire and mail fraud. His attorney, Bill Thomas of W. H. Thomas Firm, said, “Jim strongly denies these charges and we intend to mount a vigorous defense. Jim is proud of the 24

Q: A:

What type of training is offered for certified shops?

For 2019, we have continued to invest in both web-based and in-person training on how to correctly repair, scan and recalibrate FCA vehicles. We are taking a closer look at our network’s performance/capabilities and ensuring we have the right shops in the network for our customer experience.

What are the benefits of being part of the certified program?

Participation in the program elevates the focus on proper repairs. Through our partner network, we are able to require repair methods and training levels that only about 10-15 percent of the industry can meet, and we feel that’s a great service for our customers. Another benefit for our Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep®, Ram and Fiat owners

also partner with certified shops to offer customized mailers to Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep®, Ram and Fiat vehicle owners in certain zip code proximity to their locations.

work he did at the [GUA]. Any accusation that he defrauded the GUA is false. He acted legally and in good faith. Under his leadership, for the first time in its history, GUA made millions of dollars of profits.” According to the indictment, Beck, while working as the General Manager of Operations for the GUA, allegedly convinced four associates to form four separate businesses supposedly supplying necessary services to the GUA, including residential property inspections and water damage mitigation. Beck then allegedly produced false documentation and fraudulent invoicing to approve substantial payments to the four new companies, and under Beck’s direction, his four associates paid the fraudulent invoices from a portion of the money they’d been paid by GUA. Between February 2013 and August 2018, Beck is accused of defrauding the GUA of over $2 million. See GA Insurance, Page 30

JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

How can collision repair facilities find out more details about the program?

Q:

For more information on the FCA U.S. LLC Certified Collision Repair Program, visit http:// www.certifymyshop.com/fca.

A:

For more information about Assured Performance Network, visit https:// www.assuredperformance.net/.

Fix Auto USA’s Paul Gange Named as a Finalist The San Diego Business Journal has named Paul Gange, Fix Auto USA’s president and CEO, as a finalist for the “CEO of the Year” award. As a finalist, Gange is recognized among San Diego’s business elite for propelling Fix Auto USA forward and driving the

business to new heights within the collision repair industry. “It’s quite an honor to be considered as a finalist for this award, especially given San Diego’s business community is quite large and brimming with other successful CEOs,” said Fix Auto USA President and CEO, Paul Gange. Gange was selected as a finalist for his professional achievements, contributions towards Fix Auto USA’s growth, innovation, marketing activities, and relationships with Franchise Partners, and the marketplace at large.

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autobodynews.com / JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS

25


for the [automaker repair] process which is why the verdict was against the body shop. They chose profits over morals.” The reality, Colas said, is that nothing prevents body shops from

for the use of OEM parts as called for in their position statements, he added. “Our position is, as creative as they are, with utilizing this mechanism to restrict the use of aftermarket parts,” Colas said. “Why don’t they use that same level of creativity to get paid [for following OEM procedures]?”

following OEM procedures. The industry regularly uses “best practices” in the many situations in which a documents OEM procedure doesn’t exist. It is “hypocritical” of the repair industry to back legislation mandating insurers to pay for OEM repair procedures if shops aren’t also required to follow them, he said. “There is no penalty against the body shop” in most of the proposed state bills, Colas said. “They’re going after the deep pocket—it’s the insurer’ fault.” Such legislation is being backed by automakers as part of their push

Colas acknowledged that proponents of some of the state bills calling for the use of OEM procedures offered assurances that the legislation was meant to address repair procedures only, not to impact parts choice. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said in December it views the OEM procedure issue as “separate and discrete from the question of what parts are used. In March, the alliance urged Connecticut lawmakers to amend the bill to make it clear it is not an effort to limit the use of non-OEM parts.

Continued from Cover

Non-OEM Parts

Colas said opponents of such legislation “should have never trusted them,” because automakers and shops only sought to amend the bills after the non-OEM parts industry opposed the bills in several states. The

“What we’re trying to do is make the consumer process better,” — Bill Langley

26

JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

CCC’s Bill Langley said results of a survey the company commissioned showed consumers feel uninformed about choosing a collision repair shop

proponents of OEM procedure legislation want to use their own wording for any amendment related to parts rather than letting the alternative parts industry “write the exemption language” that it wants, he added. “The problem is we don’t understand the terminology they are using in different states, and what

loopholes they are creating [in the legislation],” Colas said. “They are several years ahead of us. They know what they’re planning to do— utilizing technology and processes five to ten years from now—whereas we don’t have that insight. So obviously we’re very concerned with anything they propose on our behalf. Let us propose what’s best for us and our industry.” Bill Langley, director of strategy at CCC Information Services, discussed a consumer survey commissioned by CCC that may signal the company is looking to play a larger role in how vehicle owners choose a collision repair shop. Langely said CCC worked with Magid to interview 7,000 consumers who had collision repairs to a vehicle in the previous two years. “They were very unsatisfied about finding a repair facility,” Langley said in summarizing the survey findings. “They were more satisfied with the end repair than with the process they were going through” in choosing a shop. Consumers were asked about See Non-OEM Parts, Page 35


Continued from Cover

Fix Auto USA

dees gathered in Carlsbad, CA, at the Omni La Costa Resort for the 17th Annual Fix Auto USA Conference: Family Value(s). They included Fix Auto USA Franchise Partners and their co-pilots as well as executives representing every collision and insurance industry segment.

More than 275 attendees gathered in Carlsbad, CA, at the Omni La Costa Resort for the 17th Annual Fix Auto USA Conference: Family Value(s). Credit: Fix Auto USA

“Moving forward, we want to continue attracting high-performing, forward-thinking operators who want to stay and compete and be part of something bigger than themselves

while we hold them accountable to an unparalleled standard of excellence on behalf of the vehicle owners and insurers we serve,” Gange added. Gange joined Fix Auto USA as president and COO in 2009 and was later named president and CEO in 2016–the same year Fix Auto USA celebrated its 100th franchise location. Today, the company is driving towards the goal of operating over 200 locations. “While we further develop our footprint, we continue to be a top performer for our insurance and vehicle manufacturer partners who are looking for quality and efficient service for their customers. All of our locations are owner-operated, and our culture is that of a family. We truly have one common brand and we deploy a team of Fix Claims Solutions (FCS) professionals unlike any other brand in the industry,” said Gange. Throughout the four-day conference, presentations were given on a wide range of topics to educate attendees and help them continue to build successful businesses. These included building a talent strategy, developing a new generation of estimators and

technicians, ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) and elevating the customer experience through valuesdriven leadership. “The energy and thought leadership at our conference is extraordinary,” said Dennis O’Mahoney, vice president of business development. “It is exciting to facilitate the dialogue

(l to r) Erick Bickett, co-founder of Fix Auto USA, and co-owner of eight Fix Auto USA locations, and Paul Gange, president and CEO of Fix Auto USA. Credit: Stacey Phillips

between our Fix Auto USA franchises and our industry partners as we work together to solve the issues of the industry today. “Each of our franchise locations views the next as a ‘collaborator’ versus a ‘competitor’ even if they’re in the same market. So, bringing together our entire family is not only critical to

our success, but to our culture,” he continued. “When you have our entrepreneurs—the franchise partners— working together towards a common objective, the outcome is a tighter bond that delivers better results.” Jim Huard discussed the Fix Auto Dashboard, which was developed by Erick Bickett, co-founder of Fix Auto USA and co-owner of eight Fix Auto USA locations, and Huard, regional managing partner of three of Bickett’s locations: Fix Auto Anaheim, Fix Auto Costa Mesa and Fix Auto Irvine. Over the last three years, Bickett and Huard built the dashboard with the assistance of other franchise partners. The dashboard consolidates data points from multiple disparate systems onto one screen and refreshes the data in real time. During the event, VeriFacts Automotive co-founder and CEO Farzam Afshar presented Fix Auto USA an award for achieving the highest percentage of VeriFacts VQ Medallion shops of any collision repair brand in the world. VeriFacts’ VQ Medallion represents the highest level of shop repair quality and expertise.

autobodynews.com / JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS

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P HONDA ARIZONA

L

Chapman Honda Tucson

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

Earnhardt Honda Avondale

800-350-6537 623-463-4380 Dept. Hours: M-F 7-9; Sat 7-6 gluna@earnhardt.com COLORADO

h

N

Mike Maroone Honda Colorado Springs

888-431-0294 719-785-5045 Dept. Hours: M-F 7-6; Sat 7-5 rick.williams@mikemarooneauto.com

Mile High Honda

D

O

Denver

800-548-4730 303-369-7800 Dept. Hours: M-S 7-6 lhoover@autotree.net

D

ACURA ARIZONA

Acura of Peoria Peoria

866-347-4507 623-792-2559 Dept. Hours: M-F 7-6; Sat 7-5 dcavanaugh@vtaig.com COLORADO

Mile High Acura Denver

800-548-4730 303-369-7800 Dept. Hours: M-S 7-6 lhoover@autotree.net

Pikes Peak Acura Colorado Springs

800-456-9568 719-955-1715 Dept. Hours: M-F 7-6; Sat 8-4 joe_benson@pikespeakacura.com 28

JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

T


m

Please contact these dealers for your Honda or Acura Genuine parts needs. LOUISIANA

OKLAHOMA

TEXAS

Superior Honda

Fowler Honda

Honda Cars of McKinney

Har vey

Nor man

McKinney

Houston

800-943-4227 504-368-5687

866-369-5376 405-573-5719

972-569-4276 972-569-4222

800-833-0180 713-663-4266

Dept. Hours: M-F 7-5:30 parts@superiorhonda.net

Dept. Hours: M-F 7-9; Sat 8-4 parts@fowlerhonda.com

Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 7-5 Gene.chenault@hendrickauto.com

Dept. Hours: M-F 8-6; Sat 7-4 ggregory@russellsmith.com

Honda of Frisco

Rusty Wallis Honda

Walker Honda Alexandria

318-448-8255 318-445-6677 Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-5:30 hondaparts@walkerautomotive.com NEW MEXICO

Garcia Honda

TEXAS

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

Killeen

800-677-6632 505-260-5002 Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8:30-5 Jscott@garciacars.com

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-5 parts@cleobay.com

Ardmore

580-226-1000 Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 7:30-2 travis.pierce@fentonmotors.com

877-466-3272 214-328-3891

Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 7:30-5:30 cedgar@mcdavid.com

Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 8-5 darryldotsy@rustywallis.com

Honda of San Marcos

Wholesale Parts Direct

San Marcos

Austin

866-392-1313 512-392-1313

800-234-4441 512-458-2910

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 9-5 csmith@hondasanmarcos.com

Dept. Hours: M-F 8-6 sales@wholesalepartsdirect.com

Cleo Bay Honda 877-253-6229 254-699-2478

Fenton Honda of Ardmore

Dallas

866-442-2711 972-731-3176

Lewisville

Albuquerque

OKLAHOMA

Frisco

Bankston Honda 800-344-8611 972-219-0021

Kelly Grimsley Honda Odessa

Fiesta Honda

844-453-5594 432-334-6632

San Antonio

800-727-8705 210-340-0831 Dept. Hours: M-F 8-5; Sat 8-5 hondaparts@safiestahonda.com

Russell & Smith Honda

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-12 april@kellygrimsley.com

McDavid Honda Irving Ir ving

800-492-4464 972-790-6003 Dept. Hours: M-F 8-6 srichardson@mcdavid.com

LOUISIANA

TEXAS

UTAH

Acura of Baton Rouge

David McDavid Acura

Baton Rouge

Aus t i n

S a l t L a ke C i t y

866-733-2861 225-756-6166

800-575-3553 512-401-5976

800-234-0875 801-323-0492

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-5 dlavigne@acurabr.com

Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 8-5 mkratky@mcdavid.com

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-5 rick@jodywilkinson.com

Walker Acura

David McDavid Acura

Mike Hale Acura

Metairie

Pla n o

M u r ra y

800-359-8555 504-465-8555

972-964-6044

800-292-4595 801-263-0202

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 8-2 parts@walkeracura.com

Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 8-5 dgrajczyk@mcdavid.com

Sterling McCall Acura

Jody Wilkinson Acura

Dept. Hours: M-F 7:30-6; Sat 7:30-5 pgoold@mikehale.com

Hous t o n

TEXAS

Autonation Acura League City

800-749-6227 713-371-4700

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

Dept. Hours: M-F 7-7; Sat 8-5 CarranzaB1@autonation.com

autobodynews.com / JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS

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This year, more than $50,000 was raised for the Fix Auto USA— Tim Clark Memorial Scholarship, which awards scholarships to those looking to enter the collision repair industry. The scholarship was named after Clark, the Fix Auto USA executive responsible for giving FCS’s initial framework and charter.

(l to r) Erin Tallant, Axalta Coating Systems; Holly Bickett; Erick Bickett; and Jim Ocampo, Axalta Coatings Systems. Credit: Stacey Phillips

A highly-valued component of the conference’s agenda included recognizing and rewarding accomplishments by franchise partners. This year, Selvi Rizk received the Franchise Partner-of-the-Year award. Rizk operates Fix Auto Brea and Fix Auto Moreno Valley, both of which are located in Southern California,

30

and also participates on the brand’s Market Leaders Advisory Council. “Being named Franchise Partnerof-the-Year is a distinct privilege and is a career highlight for me,” said Rizk. “I was thrusted into this business ten years ago into the daunting task of turning around a troubled business. I’m happy to have been able to overcome the challenges of the past and focus on a brighter future.” During the conference, Rizk talked about her experience in the industry and becoming a franchise partner. The following awards were presented to Franchise Partners who exemplify Fix Auto USA’s Family Values: Marvic Vila, operator of Fix Auto Daly City and Fix Auto San Francisco – South of Market, received the Vision Award; Operatorof-the-Year was presented to Huard, regional managing partner of Fix Auto Anaheim, Fix Auto Costa Mesa, and Fix Auto Irvine; Rookie-of-theYear was given to Arthur Mercado, operator of Fix Auto Alameda and Fix Auto Castro Valley; and John Kimpton, operator of Fix Auto Springfield, received the Arrow Award.

JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

Locations demonstrating marketleading performance and individuals going beyond the call of duty were also recognized. The Best Length of Rental award was presented to Fix Auto Irvine for the second consecutive year; Fix Auto Modesto received

(left) Selvi Rizk, operator of Fix Auto Brea and Fix Auto Moreno Valley, received the Franchise Partner-of-the-Year award. Credit: Stacey Phillips

the Best CSI award for the second consecutive year; the Best Estimator award was given to Tina Perez from Fix Auto Oceanside and Fix Auto Irvine received the Going Green Top Shop award. For more information about Fix Auto USA, visit fixautousa.com or contact Marketing Manager Jonathan Herrera at jherrera@fixauto.com.

Continued from Page 24

GA Insurance

Despite Becks’ denial of charges against him, Gov. Brian Kemp called on Beck to resign in a letter which said the indictment “severely undermines your ability to fulfill your official obligations … In light of this connection [to GUA] and the possibility of new revelations, it would be inappropriate for you to continue to hold public office. I ask that you do what is right for our state and step down immediately.” The call for Beck to resign is reinforced by the fact that, as Insurance Commissioner, his job includes dealings with the GUA, and though Beck offered to recuse himself from anything related to the association, multiple legislators supported the governor’s belief that Beck should tender his resignation. Gov. Kemp has since signed an executive order for Becks’ immediate suspension, leaving Georgia without an Insurance Commissioner until the governor appoints someone to fill the role.


autobodynews.com / JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS

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In Reverse with Gary Ledoux

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

The 1970s - Part 2 - The OE’s Become Their Own Worst Enemy See Part 1 in June, 2019

The American fleet had grown exponentially by the 1970s. This growth has led to an influx in business for many body shops. Vehicle manufacturers were all about new cars, new models and the next great gizmo to help sell more cars. However, little thought was given to parts and service. Manufacturers had developed their network of dealers—and, it was up to those dealers to take care of the customer after the sale. The problem was that there were not enough dealers with body shops to handle the level of business the new cars created. It would be years before the OE’s realized they had to provide better support to the industry and to independent shops. Availability of parts from automakers was limited and therefore, it was not an OE’s first priority. Fred Jones, Pennsylvania shop owner, testified before a Senate Subcommittee, investigating the high cost of auto repair states. Jones continued to say that repairers cannot depend on parts deliveries from the big three automakers. He said he waited 28 days for parts on a Ford, 69 days for Buick parts and 37 days for Plymouth parts. He noticed that many new parts came in damaged. The repairer can go back to the dealer who claims the damage was produced by the trucking company, but it is difficult to make a claim. Even if a claim is made, the trucking company may or may not pay it. If the dealer will not compensate the shop for the repair, the shop must eat the cost. Jones continued to share his input on pricing. He said many dealers now receive wholesale compensation to help defray their reduction in gross profit when they discount parts to the independent shop. However, many deals do no avail themselves of the program and continue to sell parts to shops at a price, which gives the dealer-owned shop an unfair advantage. At the time, a dealer could give an independent body shop a discount of 10% off the MSRP 32

price and 15% off if the shop was a great customer. Furthermore, insurance companies are having cars towed from Jones’ yard to have them repaired at other shops, for what is claimed to be a lower price, without knowing what his price was, Jones’ said. The pressure for American automakers to provide better parts availability began to surge in the spring of 1970. Roy Lovell, claims manager for Nationwide Insurance, instructed all of his field people to alert him of any parts delays. Lovell planned to document any delays and bring the information to Senator Phillip Hart, the man in charge of the Senate Subcommittee, investigating the automotive industry. The industry has made it clear: the need for expedient parts delivery to collision shops is increasing. American Motors Corporation (AMC) heard the industry’s cry and announced the creation of an expanded corporate parts distribution division. Michael Lonergan is now the division’s general manager. In March of 1971, AMC announced that they had a new computerized parts ordering system, which enabled them to maintain an order performance level of 92%–higher than any other domestic car company. A part ordered through the system can be in the dealer’s hands within 24 to 72 hours. This all sounds good, until one realizes that this was part of an intricate distribution system—driven at the OE dealer level—a level with less technology and sophistication. In the early 1970s, dealers had four different ways (and slight variations thereof) to generate a parts order: Computerized system – ADP and Reynolds and Reynolds (R&R) came up with similar programs designed to control inventory and generate parts orders. Expensive systems as such can be effective for those larger dealers who can afford them. Pad system – Both ADP and R&R had systems whereby the dealer’s entire parts inventory was up-

JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

loaded onto a computer along with the amount in stock. The results were printed on a “pad” of paper and delivered overnight to the dealer. The dealer then noted additions to and deletions from the inventory by placing “tick” marks in the proper column next to each part number. Periodically, the pad was returned to the computer at the company headquarters and a new, updated pad returned to the dealer. Based on parts movement, the system could then be used to generate a suggested parts order. This system was slow, prone to inaccuracies and not very efficient. Cardex system – Some of the smallest dealers kept track of their parts inventory by generating a 3X5 card for each part number in their inventory. Each day, a clerk would have to review every repair order and retail parts ticket generated the previous day, and mark on each card

what was sold, or what came into the inventory from an incoming parts order. Then, the clerk would review each card and determine if an order for the parts was needed. Seat of the Pants system (SOTP) – This system suggests that the dealer had no order-generating system at all. Except for the periodic ordering of some very fast moving items like oil filters or spark plugs, nothing was ordered until a customer requested it. The dealer also had a few different ways to order parts from their OE warehouse. Again, depending on the OE, these methods had different variations. Stock order – This order type was designed to allow the dealer to replenish their own stock. Typically, it provided the most benefits to the dealer—free freight, additional disSee Their Own Worst Enemy, Page 40

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33


National Associations with Chasidy Rae Sisk

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

ASA Annual Business Meeting and Conference Exceeds Expectations On April 30-May 2, the Automotive Service Association (ASA) hosted its 2019 Annual Business Meeting and Conference at the Hurst Conference Center, in Hurst, Texas.

and where we are going. In addition, new officers are sworn in and election results are announced,” said Tony Molla, ASA vice president. The meeting began on Tuesday, April 30, with a joint meeting of ASA’s Board of Directors, Affiliate Executive Directors and Affiliate Board Chairman/President of Collision and Mechanical Opera-

Bob Cooper of Elite Worldwide presented a two-part class on pay plans. Credit: Chasidy Rae Sisk

“ASA’s Annual Business Meeting is a combination of business management and technical training. It allows members and leaders to network and to learn the latest information on what the association is doing

Roy Schnepper, ASA outgoing chairman (center), is flanked by his wife, Roseanna and Ray Fisher, ASA executive director, as he is presented with the traditional ASA Chairman’s Ring. Credit: Chasidy Rae Sisk

tions Committees. There was also an Advanced Driver Assist System (ADAS) calibration class for both collision and mechanical members, provided courtesy of Standard Motor Products.

Jeremy O’Neal of Advisor Fix did double duty at the meeting in serving as co-moderator of the Recruitment & Retention panel and providing two classes for the shop-owner attendees. Credit: Chasidy Rae Sisk

On Wednesday, April 30, additional training opportunities included a class on pay plans presented by

Bob Cooper of Elite Worldwide and a vehicle design and technology class taught by Tom McGee, courtesy of Spanesi USA. Sarah Fraser of Haas Performance Consulting provided a presentation on Generation Z—outlining the difference between Generation Z and millennials.

Sara Fraser from Haas Performance Consulting presented an informative session on the differences between millennials and Generation Z. Credit: Chasidy Rae Sisk

“The interesting takeaway here proved valuable as an employer and

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as a customer,” said Ray Fisher, ASA executive director. “It really helped you understand why their thinking process is different from boomers— not in a ‘bad way’ either, just different influences.” Molla moderated a Recruitment and Retention panel, on the afternoon of April 30, featuring panelists from TechForce Foundation, ASE

Education Foundation, AMi, Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) and the U.S. Department of Labor. Jeremy O’Neal of Advisor Fix also taught two informative sessions. In addition, a variety of board meetings and committee meetings were held throughout the conference. Lastly, ASA hosted its annual awards dinner on the evening of April 30. “The ADAS training and Recruitment and Retention Panel discussion was well received,” Molla

said. “We were glad to receive some suggestions for next year along with positive feedback. The event exceeded our expectations.”

ment, most of our news and information is delivered electronically. While this is certainly efficient, it can’t replace the value of personal interactions and networking as part of a robust involvement in the industry—it’s always better when you can put a name to a face.” During the ASA updates, Fisher announced the launch of its new ASA app, which can be found in any phone’s app store. The Recruitment and Retention panel explored the resources “We partnered with Moavailable from a variety of organizations to help shop owners bileSoft to develop a new find the talent they need. (l to r: Tony Molla, ASA VP of tool for our members to get Industry Relations; Christen Battaglia, CREF; Trish Serratore, ASE Education Foundation; Jeff Peevy, Ami news and information on President; Roxann Griffith, US Department of Labor; the go, with additional feaand Jennifer Maher, TechForce Foundation). Credit: tures like an ASA Member Chasidy Rae Sisk Shopfinder, industry events, The ASA’s goal is to advance legislative news and member beneexcellence in the service and repair fits,” said Molla. “MobileSoft can industries. Molla said one of the ben- also provide a customized mobile efits of the meeting, aside from the app for any ASA member business at training and education, is the ability a very affordable price as part of our member benefits.” to network with like-minded peers. “It’s important for our members to have the opportunity to meet face- For more information on ASA and its to-face at least once a year,” Molla future events, visit asashop.org/ansaid. “In today’s connected environ- nualmeeting.

Non-OEM Parts

their comfort level with getting a variety of tasks accomplished, such as home or vehicle repairs. Nearly twothirds (64%) said they felt “knowledgeable” about getting a home structural repair, such as roof damage from hail or a fallen tree, handled. A similar percentage felt knowledgeable about dealing with a home appliance failure (63%), a vehicle failure that left them stranded (61%) or another major home repair such as a furnace or air conditioner failure (61%). However, only about half (54%) felt knowledgeable about how to handle vehicle body damage requiring a body shop. More than 21% of consumers said they felt “uninformed” about addressing vehicle body damage. Moreover, 15% felt uninformed about addressing a home structural repair and 17% felt uninformed about what to do when a home appliance or furnace failed. “What we’re trying to do is make the consumer process better,” Langley said.

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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.

Consumer Advocate Gives Industry New Voice With Insurance Regulators Ohio attorney Erica Eversman, insurers, such as the health insurer who has long been an advocate for covering the costs of medical care consumers and collision repairers for the couple hurt in the accident in legal battles with insurers, has that led to the John Eagle lawsuit or recently become one of about 30 the garage-keepers’ insurer covering volunteer consumer liaisons to the the shop. National Association of Insurance Eversman said California InsurCommissioners (NAIC). The con- ance Commissioner Ricardo Lara sumer liaisons attend the NAIC’s seemed particularly receptive after three meetings per year that draw her presentation to work with her state insurance commissioners and “on solving some of these issues for their staff, along with inconsumers,” and she sensed surance industry represen“immediate opportunities to tatives. be able to make a change” The NAIC focuses on in New York, North Carinsurance regulatory issues, olina, Colorado and Missisoften drafting or, at least, atsippi. tempting to draft model leg“This is not to say other islation states may adopt. In states wouldn’t be interOhio attorney Erica the early 2000s, for examested, but I didn’t have any Eversman ple, the NAIC unsuccesspersonal interactions [at the fully attempted to draft a proposed NAIC meeting] with some of the regulation for states to consider the other states,” Eversman said. use of non-OEM parts. Mississippi is one state in which Eversman said the NAIC is now repairers shouldn’t have trouble being largely focused on healthcare issues. paid for OEM repair procedures, she “There is nothing going on right said. Following her presentation, now at the NAIC involving auto insur- Eversman spoke with Deputy Insurance, but we intend to change that,” ance Commissioner of the MissisEversman said. sippi Department of Insurance, Mark Presentations made at NAIC Haire. meetings help lead the organization “Our commissioner already manto have one of its committees take on dates the use of OEM procedures. We a particular issue, she said. She pre- don’t have that issue,” Eversman said sented at NAIC on the John Eagle Haire told her. “That was the first I’d Collision Center lawsuit. The lawsuit heard of that. That could be true, I referred to the dealership collision don’t know, but that was the position shop that was sued for not following they took.” OEM repair procedures on a vehicle, Eversman acknowledged that in which a Texas couple was injured many collision repairers and shop asby, she added. Eversman said she fo- sociations have become frustrated cused on the need “to have insurance with trying to get their state insurcompanies pay for OEM procedures ance regulators to address their conthat affect safety.” cerns about some claims practices by When asked if that would drive auto insurers. up insurance rates, Eversman said it “Unfortunately, as I think we’ve may or may not. all experienced, sometimes it seems “But even if it did, would you as if the insurance commissioners are rather have insurance rates go up or there to protect the insurance compawould you rather have unsafe cars go nies [rather than consumers],” Eversback out on the road just so we can man said. “I certainly have had that keep insurance rates down?” Evers- experience.” man asked. One message she said she reShe also said auto insurers de- ceived at an NAIC meeting centered clining to pay for “proper, safe re- on the idea that shops should file pairs” has repercussions for other complaints about insurer practices

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JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

with their state regulators. “I told commissioners we sometimes get push-back—we’ve been told there are some states in which the department of insurance won’t take complaints from collision repairers—only from consumers,” Eversman said. “They told me no, that isn’t true.” She said if shops are told that, they should contact her so she can address it with the state agency involved. Complaints directly from consumers may be better, she said, “but how is the consumer supposed to know why a roof needs to be welded rather than glued? They can’t know that.” One state regulator told her they don’t have the authority to make factual determinations about who is at fault in some disputes, she said. Getting complaints from multiple shops around a state—rather than a lot

from one shop—can help demonstrate a pattern or practice and thus trigger an investigation, she added. When submitting a complaint about an insurer’s refusal to pay for a necessary OEM repair procedure, she recommended shops to stick to the facts. “Do not whine,” Eversman cautioned. “Tell them the proper way to repair the vehicle and let them know it’s a safety issue.” The NAIC website offers links to each state’s insurance regulatory agency, including a link that shows how to file a complaint in each state. Eversman also suggested that collision repairers support the re-election next year of Mike Causey, a retired life insurance executive and a former lobbyist for the North Carolina Autobody Association of Collision and Autobody Repair (NCACAR). See New Voice, Page 40

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Shop Management with Ed Attanasio

Are You as High-Tech as Your Customers? No one wants to take their car to a body shop. The customer is either mad someone hit their car or embarrassed, thinking the accident was their fault. Collision repair is not an impulse buy, but it’s a service that is needed; so, people want the process to be fast and convenient. Now, collision repairers are leveraging technology to better accommodate customers. Consumers used to utilize any form of technology that made their collision repair easier. Nowadays, people expect technology to make their lives easier in every realm. Everyone—from seniors to millennials—are no longer afraid of cutting-edge technology they don’t understand, but do value, such as computer-based systems, automation, robotics, artificial intelligence and more. Tech-savvy customers are hard to impress. The true test of any new form of technology is when it becomes a daily part of our lives. Megan Williams, chief marketing manager at Lefler Collision & Glass Repair oversees marketing for this 66-year-old MSO with three locations in Indiana and one in Kentucky. “While the collision repair industry as a whole is outdated in terms of processes, we are experiencing a shift in service due to the addition of technological advancements,” she said. Technology is changing the world every day and body shops tapping into it are benefitting as a result. Body shops on the cutting-edge will excel, while late adopters will suffer. Below are three types of technology that can help make body shops become accountable and efficient while creating consumer confidence and trust.

Videos In the old days, you dropped off your car for repair and wouldn’t see it AUTOBODY

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again, until the job was complete. Now, however, thanks to video technology, you can play a significant role throughout the entire repair process. Vehicle manufacturers are developing video technology that will empower car owners to find out about things such as scratches and dents that occur during transit, including the date and time of the incident while overseeing the repair process. Mercedes is a company that offers an IP solution, incorporating video surveillance software and IP cameras. Exterior cameras are able to record every aspect of the vehicle being loaded onto the showroom, including every license plate number. This technology allows users to access live video via the Internet instantaneously.

Apps People have an average of 35 apps on their devices. As a result, developers worldwide are clamoring to meet the demand. Collision repairers realize that apps used to transmit data about their various services and specials is a great way to get more business. Today’s car owners are more aware of technology; therefore, body shops are looking for ways to cater to today’s mobile customers. Apps are gaining momentum, Williams said. “Thanks to the ‘Amazon effect,’ consumers, like us, are looking for ways to incorporate technology into our everyday lives,” she said. “You can see this in our day-today behaviors such as ordering Starbucks from their app, so it is ready for us upon arrival, Prime shipping on Amazon and Target with their new order and drive-up service.” Apps help make body shops more responsive to their customers through software techmology such as UpdatePromise, the 3M Free Collision Repair App and Bodyshop Booster, among others. Williams sees value in the colli-

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Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist based in San Francisco, California. He can be reached at era39@aol.com.

sion repair industry’s plethora of new apps. “Applications such as Bodyshop Booster make it possible for us to capture business during times where we are not open, but people still need to get in touch with us,” she said. “36 percent of individuals want to do business with us while we are closed, according to Mike Anderson’s research. We are seeing more individuals prefer to have text updates via CCC rather than phone calls, as it allows them to be updated more frequently and not have disruptions throughout their day.” Blogs Blogs are playing a major role now too, as shops educate consumers about their cars with helpful tips about different aspects of their vehicles and how to repair them. Blogs create a smarter customer—they have to tap

into technology to satiate their hunger for more. Experts forecast that the rapid evolution of in-car technology and consumer-focused mobile apps will place consumers firmly in the driver’s seat when it comes to repairing their cars. At the end of the day, technology makes our lives easier, but superior customer service remains crucial, Williams said. “As CCC reported in their 2019 Crash Course, consumers who are provided opportunities to ‘save a trip’ and make the collision repair process less of a hassle are more likely to return due to the superior service they received,” she said. “Other potential benefits include reduced cycle time due to the ability to plan for the vehicle prior to its arrival, increased employee productivity due to fewer phone calls and time spent writing estimates in person.”


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Continued from Page 32

Their Own Worst Enemy

counts, etc. The downside was a slow processing and delivery time, and a far time in between ordering dates. A dealer may only be able to order parts once a week, or possibly once a month. Daily order – Some OE’s allowed a dealer to order parts on a daily basis, so the parts would arrive quicker. In order to do that, the dealer must give up additional discounts and pay for the freight. Vehicle off Road (VOR) – This is the most expedient way for a dealer to get parts. A part ordered via this method could arrive at the dealer within 24 to 48 hours. The only problem is, the dealer must forfeit any extra discount they may have received, and they must pay premium fright costs—sometimes way more than any gross profit they may have made on the part. So, despite what the OE’s did with their own internal parts systems, parts availability was no better than the dealer who invested in an equally

sophisticated system and a parts manager who knew how to use it. Parts pricing was also coming under scrutiny. According to a survey conducted by the Insurance Services Office, an insurance industry trade group, the price of auto parts had risen from 6% to 30% for 1972 models compared to 1970 models. The survey was broken into two broad categories—collision-related parts and wear-related parts—for three of the most popular models on the road: the Chevrolet Impala, the Plymouth Fury and the Ford Galaxie. For the collision category, the Chevrolet Impala recorded the highest change in prices at 30%, followed by the Ford Galaxie at 16% and the Plymouth Fury at 9%. For wear parts, the Ford Galaxie was the highest at 15%, followed by the Plymouth Fury at 9% and the Chevrolet Impala at 8%. To emphasize the high cost of OE parts, studies were conducted by various entities to see how much it would cost to build a car—from the ground up—with individual parts purchased from an OE dealer. Although that information from the 1970s could not be located, a simi-

lar study in 1996 conducted by the Alliance of American Insurers. This study found that a 1996 Chevrolet Lumina with an MSRP of $19,340 would cost almost $73,000 if all the parts were purchased through the dealer network. Sadly, back in the 1970s, again in 1996 and in a similar exercise in 2001, no mention was made, by the OE’s or anyone else, about what contributed to those costs. There was no mention that parts get delivered to a car-building factory—hundreds or thousands at a time—decreasing shipping and handling costs. Conversely, no one mentioned that for a dealer to receive a part and make it available to a shop, each part must go through multiple levels of shipping and distribution, and each must be individually boxed and accounted for, all adding to cost. The price of an OE part will always present an issue. However, with the advent of the 1980s, the OE’s and dealers have increased parts availability and put a stop to shipping damage.

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New Voice

Causey, a Republican, was in the news earlier this year after he alerted federal law enforcement about what he saw as an attempt to bribe him. The chairman of the Republican Party of North Carolina—one of four people indicted in the scheme—allegedly offered campaign contributions to Causey to help ensure special treatment for an insurance firm. All those indicted have denied the allegations. “Mike is the guy who wore a wire for the FBI” after he told authorities of the alleged bribery attempt, Eversman said. “Mike is a friend of this industry. He’s willing to help the industry, but we have to keep him there.” Eversman said that like the other consumer liaisons, she has a one-year term in the position at the NAIC, but can reapply this fall for another term. “Some of the consumer liaisons have been with NAIC for 15-plus years and really know the various departments and how they operate,” she said.


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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.

From the Desk of Mike Anderson with Mike Anderson

Vehicle Owner’s Manuals Help Educate and Negotiate Need for Various Procedures My friend Danny Gredinberg at the Database Enhancement Gateway (DEG) recently made available a document that includes links to each automaker’s database of online vehicle owner’s manuals. I am blown away by how useful a tool this can be. If you haven’t taken some time to review some of these manuals, you’re missing out on awesome content that can help you or your estimators with damage analysis. I know from the “Who Pays for What?” surveys I conduct with CRASH Network that only about one-third of shops say they are being paid regularly to inspect seat belts when they do it—and bill for it—as a necessary and “not included” repair procedure. However, nearly half of all shops say they’ve never sought to be paid for this critical step. The owner’s manuals are a great tool to educate your customers about

the importance of this necessary step. For example, take a look at the owner’s manual for the 2017 Nissan Armada. It states that “All seat belt assemblies, including retractors and attaching hardware, should be in-

spected after any collision. Seat belt assemblies not in use during a collision should also be inspected and replaced if either damage or improper operation is noted.” If a seat belt pretensioner has activated, “it cannot be

The 2017 Nissan Armada owner’s manual indicates when seat belts should be inspected or replaced. Credit: Mike Anderson

reused and must be replaced together with the retractor.” Now, keep in mind, this doesn’t apply to every Nissan vehicle. The manuals are specific to the model and year of the vehicle. That’s why, like the OEM repair procedures themselves, the owner’s manuals can be more effective than automaker position statements at demonstrating the need for certain procedures to take place. I’m sure many of you have had an insurance company say they don’t want to pay for a vehicle scan, right? They may say, “I don’t care what the automaker’s position statement is.” So, again, take a look at that same owner’s manual for the 2017 Armada. It very clearly states: “If there is an impact to your vehicle from any direction, your Occupant Classification Sensor (OCS) should be checked to verify it is still functioning correctly.” The OCS, it says, “should be

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The owner’s manual for the 2017 Nissan Armada says the occupant classification sensor should be checked after any vehicle impact. Credit: Mike Anderson

A “Who Pays for What?” survey of more than 600 shops found that about 34% of those who bill to inspect seat belts are paid regularly for the procedure by the nation’s largest eight insurers. Credit: Mike Anderson

checked even if no airbags deploy as a result of the impact. Failure to verify proper OCS function may result in an improper airbag deployment resulting in injury or death.” That’s a pretty strong statement. The only way to check your OCS is with a vehicle scan. Some automakers also require a scan as part of the seat belt inspection. I think you will be surprised by some of what you can find in the owner’s manuals. One of the things I would encourage you to do is review the owner’s manual for each vehicle with the owner when they are dropping it off for repairs. If you’re certified by the automaker and equipped to conduct the inspections, you can let the customer know you will do this as part of the repair, or you can let them know you will sublet it to a dealer. Using the owner’s manual is a great way to educate your customer early in the process. Furthermore, customers want to do business with someone they trust and this is a great way to help gain their trust. In my next column, I’ll dig more into the topic of building customer trust.

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Truck Topics with Gary Ledoux

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

The HD Collision Market – Challenges and Opportunities Most people in the auto collision industry agree that the collision industry was born around 1946. It was during this time that service men and women were returning from the European and the Pacific theater of operations. A lot of these men and women did not have existing jobs to return to, so they would start their own business. Oftentimes, it would be an auto and collision repair business. During the 1960s, each shop was on its own. Shop owners worked independently with little to no input from other shop owners, associations or industry leaders. No one knew what was going on in the industry, because there was no means of communication. It seems as though the HD collision market is facing similar challenges the industry faced over 70 years ago. However, there are a few distinct differences. First, at the time, there were fewer HD shops than auto shops. Unlike the auto shops that seemed to be at war with everyone, the truck shops seem to want to work together. The size of the market and the desire to work together should help push the industry along at a quicker pace. Chris Sterwerf is an industry leader who argues that HD shops work better together. Shops should cooperate and speak up when needed, he said. “Shops must paint a clear picture to vendors, equipment providers, OEMs and information providers on what is needed to make sure these behemoths operate safely,” said Sterwerf, chief finance and operations officer for Fairfield Auto and Truck Service in Fairfield, Ohio. Sterwerf, chairman of TMC’s Heavy Duty Collision Repair Guideline Task Force, mentioned that in the past, HD shops rarely shared information with competitors. “Car shops tended to collaborate with shops out of their market area,” he said. “HD 20 Groups and the HD Repair Forum are now helping to connect the dots to give HD

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shops the megaphone that has been needed for decades. Technology is pushing the HD collision industry along and it won’t wait. Repairers won’t have years to catch up. Training is paramount and needed now. ADAS systems are installed on the majority of new Class 8 and 9 trucks and they need repair and recalibration. All-electric trucks

could also guide policy, creating organizations like I-CAR or TMC to create training for HD repairers.” Challenge: According to some in the trucking industry, ADAS systems threaten to make trucks completely autonomous—eliminating drivers and making accidents almost non-existent—greatly reducing the need for HD collision shops.

are now operating on our highways. An inexperienced or untrained technician, making the wrong move, working on such a truck could injure or kill the technician, Sterwerf said. “CNG, LNG, Hydrogen and Propane are explosive fuels that shops need to be trained on to keep employees, property and neighbors safe,” he added. “ELD (Electronic Log Data) equipment and tracking can be difficult to deal with. Safety systems must be integrated with the tractor/power unit from the trailer and, or utility bodies. HD collision technicians need to know how to deal with these systems.” Here are a few other challenges and opportunities HD shops create. Challenge: Within the HD collision world, there is little to no formal training available. Opportunity: I-CAR has created new training content. I-CAR has also adapted existing training materials to accommodate the HD collision world. In April, Penske Collision Repair in Norcross, GA, became the first HD shop to achieve Gold Class status. It is now up to the industry to support I-CAR’s efforts, allowing them to grow and expand. “It might be possible to get collaboration between I-CAR, ASE and TMC, so the wheel doesn’t have to be reinvented, possibly creating delegations from various associations,” Sterwerf said. “The HD Repair Forum

Opportunity: In her address to the HD Repair Forum held in April in Fort Worth, Texas, Susan Alt, senior vice president of public affairs for Volvo, said fully autonomous cars and trucks of sci-fi movies will be a

“Shops must paint a clear picture to vendors, equipment providers, OEMs and information providers on what is needed to make sure these behemoths operate safely,” — Chris Sterwerf

JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

long time coming, if ever. Alt said airplanes have had autopilot since the 1940s; yet, we still have pilots. Trains run on a very narrow pathway and can operate with little or no human intervention. However, engineers still are needed when negotiating populated areas or rail-switching yards. In addition, trucks can operate with little to no driver assistance on open highways; but, in a construction zone, warehouse yard or loading yard, a driver is still needed. The opportunity to make collision repairs will still exist, but the nature of the repairs will change. Gone will be the horrific crashes creating bent and twisted frames; much of the damage will be small. The biggest challenge will be the proper replacement of sensors, cameras, etc. to allow the ADAS system to operate properly. “Mother Nature—weather, animals, road infrastructure, etc.—still

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damages vehicles and creates the need for HD shops,” Sterwerf added. “These trucks will always need corrosion protection and reimaging— operations performed by HD body shops.” Challenge: Communication and cohesiveness between HD shops, except for shops operating in the same city, seem to be lacking. There is a gap both in communication among shops and a lack of knowledge about what is happening within the industry. Opportunity: The auto side of the collision industry operated the same way from 1946 to the early 1960s. Three things happened almost simultaneously to promote communication and cohesion within the industry. One, trade magazines began to emerge giving the industry a voice. Two, trade associations began to emerge to represent an industry as a unit and three, leaders within the industry began to emerge. On the HD side, AutoBody News has begun to bring you news of the industry. It is one column per month, but it’s a start. Trade Associations such as the TMC has begun to recognize the collision side of the business. Leaders

Recycled Rides Go to Three Moms

Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO), Caliber Collision and Enterprise combined their efforts to present three military moms with vehicles that were refurbished to like-new conditions. Receiving vehicles were Gloria Crothers, a volunteer and a member of the Maryland Chapter of Gold Star Mothers. Her son Michael Heed, Jr., Marine Sargent, was killed in action on July 13, 2009, serving in Afghanistan. Janice Chance, president of the Maryland chapter of Gold Star Mothers. Her son Jesse Melton III, Marine captain, was killed on September 9, 2008, serving in Afghanistan, and Lafreda Scurry who honorably served in the Army for eight years was the third recipient. “GEICO has a rich history of working with our military customers. This event is an example of our strong commitment to the military,” said Angela Rinella, vice president of GEICO’s claims operations. 46

like Joey Fassett and Chris Sterwerf have begun making strides towards consistent and safe collision repairs. Challenge: Currently, no codified collision repair procedures exist for the HD market, which is dangerous. Some shops may be making safe repairs, but others may not. Ultimately, the shop is responsible for the repairs they make and any subsequent problems that may arise. An example of this is exemplified in the following case. On October 2, 2017, a Texas jury awarded Matthew and Marcia Seebachan a $42M settlement for the botched repair on their Honda Fit. Repair procedures from Honda existed, but the shop chose to ignore them. Had they followed the correct procedure and the car crashed with the same or similar result, chances are there would have been no lawsuit. Opportunity: Every HD shop has the opportunity to work with and support the TMC’s HD Collision Task Force to create RP’s (Recommended Practices) for safe and complete HD collision repairs. Once these RP’s are established, it will be up to every shop owner to follow them and raise the repair standards within the industry.

Challenge: While several HD collision estimating systems exist, they all seem to be lacking parts and pricing information. During a panel discussion at the HD Repair Forum in Fort Worth, one shop owner said it could take him up to two weeks to get pricing and parts availability information from an OE dealer. Meanwhile, the truck is down, not generating any income for the company, exacerbating the cost of the repair. Also, some OE’s make parts pricing available online only to a select few independent shops, as determined by the OE dealer. Some OE’s make it available to anyone; some make it available to any estimate provider, while others do not. Opportunity: Estimating information, including parts pricing and availability, is a basic tenet of collision repair. It should be a priority for all OE’s to provide this information to estimating companies, dealers and independent collision repair shops. The OE’s would do their customers great service by ensuring that their truck can be repaired in the least amount of time possible. Challenge: After hearing several

OE truck representatives speak about their current and future products, there is no question that Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are installed on a majority of new trucks coming off the assembly line. Given their acceptance within the trucking community amongst fleet owners, managers and safety officials, these systems will soon be on every new truck, retrofitted to some older fleets and become more integrated into existing systems. Trucking and HD truck repair is going to get more complicated. Opportunity: The opportunity exists to create/grow a new kind of technician—someone who will learn ADAS systems and other new technology and will be able to repair, replace and recalibrate those systems. Performing these operations in-house will create a faster repair—saving time and money for your customer with less downtime for the truck. It could be a service element that separates your shop from every other shop. The entire HD collision industry is sitting at the on-ramp of the next phase of the industry’s growth. There are plenty of opportunities to “grab a gear” and move forward.

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autobodynews.com / JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS

47


Evaluating AI Tools and Applications: Tips From Tractable AI by Chasidy Rae Sisk

Technological advances in the collision repair industry are an ongoing challenge; however, when utilized properly, many of these advances, such as artificial intelligence (AI), can be a huge benefit during the repair process. Advances, such as Tractable, help develop AI for accident and disaster recovery. “Tractable’s market-leading tools use photos to automate damage appraisal—allowing partners to improve accuracy, reduce turnaround time and deliver a revamped customer experience,” said Ahmed Zifzaf, senior partnerships and marketing manager at Tractable. “One of Tractable’s AI tools is their ‘review product,’ which helps automate estimate desk reviews, by comparing the photos of a collision with the estimate that was written.” Although it’s common knowledge that AI photo-analysis solutions are increasingly being marketed across the industry and promise to lead to major changes in the repair process, it isn’t always clear how well these solutions work. While it may seem daunting to determine how well an AI photo system works, Tractable’s educational video shares three simple steps collision facilities can use to test such solutions. The first step is to obtain a set of photos the AI has never seen. Secondly, upload the photos on the spot to the AI system and lastly, evaluate the results yourself. Tractable’s AI tool generates estimates of repair or replace decisions and a likely range of labor hours, based on the uploaded photos. During a demonstration earlier this year, Alex Dalyac, Tractable CEO, noted that the range is meant to address the “notoriously ambiguous task” of determining labor hours since experts will estimate different labor times for the same procedure. Users can configure their AI tool to specify the number of hours for a certain function. “Our AI can predict bodywork, R&I and paint time,” said Zifzaf. “In general, these need to be adjusted to the client as opinion times vary greatly across North America (e.g. based on the type of insurer, repair 48

facility, etc.). In the demo, our AI outputs a range of hours instead of specific hours, but in production, we calibrate to the particular client or market area.” When it comes to the decision of repair vs. replace, Tractable AI begins with part recognition, then moves onto damage assessment and then lastly, it makes a recommended decision based on its confidence level. The system’s confidence level will depend on part visibility, photo conditions and extent of the damage. This means the AI can also interact with the person taking photos to request specific additional photos on the spot. “Confidence level can be seen as a proxy for how certain the AI is making the correct decision,” Zifzaf notes. “The decisions made can be calibrated to specific geographic areas, carriers or shops.” Tractable’s AI technology specializes in exterior damage, but it can also be used to predict damage to things like sensors via decoding the VIN and predicting the damage associated with an impacted panel. However, Tractable recommends that shops still perform a diagnostic scan on the affected components that are unseen by photos. “Our research is driven by visual algorithms, so we can get an accurate assessment of what happened to the exterior, but we recommend that shops still do their due diligence to see what other damage there may be internally,” said Zifzaf. Tractable’s AI software is able to “learn” from previous photos, said Zifzaf. “The AI is trained on millions of photos from opt-in customers and partners,” said Zifzaf. “Algorithms can work on any make and model to look at different photos and severities. This is how it learns to calculate the corresponding damage and labor hours in the future.” AI photo technology can benefit shops in several key ways. Shops can use AI for triage, Zifzaf explains, “It is inefficient for body shops to receive vehicles that are total losses. AI total loss appraisals take seconds and can help ensure the right vehicles make it to the salvage yards instead of the shops.”

JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

AI technology can also be used for self-auditing purposes, especially for larger MSOs. Zifzaf says, “They can get started by augmenting or automating desk reviews using photo AI systems. This can allow shops to self-manage accuracy; while, allowing shop employees to spend more time focusing on customer needs and repairs. It can also help MSOs identify and promote top-performing shops.” Additionally, shops can use AI to automate and streamline estimate writing and interactions with insurers. “Body shops can calibrate AI to their accurate repair standards and reduce supplements and unnecessary interactions with the insurer,” according to Zifzaf. “This allows them to spend more time repairing cars and taking care of customers, instead of wasting precious time on other tasks that can be automated.” Zifzaf said using AI photo technology for audits can reduce risk and liability “by increased compliance and standardization across estimates.

As algorithms give consistent answers, it allows for consistent decisions to be made and therefore reduces risk and liability. A well calibrated and accurate AI is at the core of this.” Tractable is not the only AI technology available on the market. CCC offers an AI photo-estimating product, and in 2017, Audatex announced its partnership with hail photo-estimating provider CSI. When it comes to evaluating which system to invest in, Zifzaf advises, “As a first step, make sure the photoanalysis system really works. Ask to upload your own photos to the system and judge the results for yourself.” “Tractable was found in 2014 and is backed by $30M in venture capital,” said Zifzaf. “We are in production with top insurers globally and have processed over a million auto claims. Now, we are looking to engage with repair facilities on how our technology could best help them.” Feedback can be provided to ahmed@tractable.ai.”

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49


Chrysler Recalls 343,000 Ram 1500 Trucks by David A. Wood, CarComplaints.com

A Ram 1500 recall has been ordered for nearly 343,000 trucks that need repairs to prevent the airbags and seat belt pretensioners from failing.

The 2019-2020 Ram 1500s have software problems related to the occupant restraint controllers which can disable the airbags. Nearly 296,000 of the recalled trucks are in the U.S., 38,884 Ram 1500s are recalled in Canada, another 1,817 will be repaired in Mexico and 6,154 trucks are recalled outside North America. Fiat Chrysler (FCA) says the 2019-2020 trucks have software with vulnerabilities “during powerdown memory clean-up events which can corrupt flash memory.” According to Chrysler, once

the truck ignition is turned off the occupant restraint controller begins under its own power, but data corruption is possible if the controller powers down and interrupts a memory erase process. However, the process doesn’t occur every time the ignition is turned off. If the problem does occur, a driver will see an illuminated airbag warning light, and the truck will result in fault codes internally. The real issue is the deactivation of the seat belt pretensioners and airbags. The model year 2019 trucks were built from October 31, 2017, to April 29, 2019, and 2020 model trucks were manufactured between April 8, 2019, to May 21, 2019. FCA says the recall is expected to begin July 20, 2019, when dealers will reprogram the occupant restraint controllers or replace them. Ram 1500 owners with questions should call 800-853-1403. Chrysler’s numbers for this recall are V61 and V71. We thank CarComplaints.com for reprint permission.

FIAT Chrysler Automobiles Submitted Proposal to Merge With Renault Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. has delivered on May 27 a non-binding letter to the Board of Groupe Renault proposing a combination of their respective businesses as a 50/50 merger.

The FCA proposal follows initial operational discussions between the two companies to identify products and geographies where they could collaborate, particularly as they develop and commercialize new technologies. These discussions made clear that broader collaboration through a combination

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would substantially improve capital efficiency and the speed of product development. The case for combination is also strengthened by the need to take bold decisions to capture at scale the opportunities created by the transformation of the auto industry in areas like connectivity, electrification and autonomous driving. The proposed combination would create a global automaker, preeminent in terms of revenue, volumes, profitability and technology, benefitting the companies’ respective shareholders and stakeholders. The combined business would sell approximately 8.7 million vehicles annually, would be a world leader in EV technologies, premium brands, SUVs, pickup trucks and light commercial vehicles and would have a broader and more balanced global presence than either company on a standalone basis.

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Ford Explorer Police Interceptor Carbon Monoxide Lawsuit Filed by David A. Wood, CarComplaints.com

A Ford Explorer Police Interceptor carbon monoxide lawsuit alleges two California officers were killed in a crash caused by defects found in the Explorer. Stanislaus County Deputy Sheriff Jason Garner and civilian Community Service Officer Raschel Johnson were killed responding to a call, but without the lights and siren activated. According to court records, the crash occurred on May 17, 2017, when officers Garner and Johnson were traveling with Garner behind the wheel. The lawsuit alleges carbon monoxide allegedly entered the passenger compartment and caused Garner to lose consciousness. The Explorer crossed a yellow line and went off the road, accelerating to about 89 mph when the SUV struck a steel post and other wrecking yard debris. The lawsuit says the Explorer hit a storage bin and caught fire, with both occupants pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy showed Garner’s blood carboxyhemoglobin saturation level was 19 percent and Johnson’s blood carboxyhemoglobin saturation

level was 27 percent. According to the lawsuit, both levels are “alarmingly high and toxic” based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The plaintiffs claim the Ford Explorer police vehicle allowed exhaust fumes and carbon monoxide to poison the officers, because of numerous defective areas of the SUV. Alleged problem areas include: • Behind the bumper and within the interior and exterior panels • Defective rear air extractors • Rear liftgates that used defective drain valves • Sheet metal panels, overlaps, joints and seams • Rear auxiliary air conditioning parts that were defectively designed and/or located too close to the driverside rear air extractor According to the lawsuit, Ford Motor Company sent multiple technical service bulletins (TSBs) to dealerships concerning exhaust odors in the cabins of Explorers. TSB 12-12-4 was sent in December 2012 and titled, “Explorer Exhaust Odor in Vehicle,” and tells technicians, “[s]ome 2011-2013 Explorer vehicles may exhibit an ex-

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haust odor in the vehicle with the auxiliary climate control system on. Customers may indicate the odor smells like sulfur.” The bulletin was followed by TSB 14-0130, titled “Exhaust Odor in Vehicle,” which added 2014-2015 Explorers to the list. According to the lawsuit, this is important because this TSB included the 2014 Ford Explorer modified for use by police departments. However, the plaintiffs claim none of the repairs in the bulletins fixed the exhaust problems and neither TSB mentioned carbon monoxide dangers. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) investigated the crash and more than a year later concluded Garner crashed the Explorer due to a health-related condition not related to carbon monoxide. An autopsy shows the driver had an enlarged heart and investigators couldn’t rule out a heart-related event caused the crash. According to the Modesto Bee, the pathologist who performed the autopsies ruled out carbon monoxide as the cause or even a contributing factor of the deadly crash. In addition, the pathologist determined both Explorer occupants had elevated levels of carbon monoxide in their blood

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due to smoke from the vehicle fire. The Bee says Johnson’s autopsy report shows soot was found in her airway while Garner had no soot in his airway, a possible reason why Johnson’s carbon monoxide levels were higher. Ford denies carbon monoxide had anything to do with the crash and referenced official reports from the coroner and the CHP Multi-Disciplinary Accident Investigation Team which said carbon monoxide wasn’t a contributing factor of the crash. The automaker has faced prior lawsuits after Ford Explorer police vehicle incidents allegedly caused by carbon monoxide poisoning, including lawsuits filed by three officers in three states. In addition, Ford created a program to repair Police Interceptors after numerous agencies across the country complained about their fears. The Ford Explorer Police Interceptor carbon monoxide lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Stanislaus - Garner, et al., v. Ford Motor Company, et al. The families are represented by the Matiasic Firm, P.C. We thank CarComplaints.com for reprint permission.

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The following dealerships are eager to serve your needs. Call your local Subaru collision parts specialist today! autobodynews.com / JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS

51


Tire Tax Bill AB 755 Defeated

The California Auto Body Association (CAA) is proud to announce that AB 755, a bill which would have increased the tire change fee from $1.75 to $3.25 per tire has died on the Assembly Floor. At the request of its sponsor, the bill was shelved on Wednesday, May 30.

The CAA and its allies have been working tirelessly to defeat the bill which would have negatively affected our industry and has been referred to as a “regressive” tax. We would like to thank our lobbyist Jack Molodanof who played a key role in the bill’s opposition and our membership that supported us by contacting their legislators in order to express their opposition to the bill. Our grassroots efforts make a difference.

3M, CREF Grant Collision Education Programs

ClaimsCorp Inc. Renews Commitment to CIECA Standards

The grant funds will be used to pay for tools and equipment to enhance the training opportunities they provide to the next generation of collision industry professionals studying in the schools. “We are excited about this opportunity to continue our support of CREF and the communities in which 3M has a large presence,” said Kelly Lunder, U.S. channel marketing manager for the 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division.

Wilder, president of ClaimsCorp, has been in the industry for 30 years and has been a CIECA member through various organizations, most recently the last four years with ClaimsCorp. ClaimsCorp is data-based and works closely with many systems. “CIECA has been a mainstay standardization solution and we value standardization, consistency, security and reliability when it comes to data we handle and pro-

3M and the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) announced the establishment of the 3M and CREF Grant. The new grant program, funded by 3M, will provide two collision schools with $10,000 each. The two schools that will receive the grant include: • Greenville Technical College, a CREF Benchmark Tier 1 school in Greenville, S.C.; and • South Central College, a CREF Benchmark Tier 2 school in North Mankato, MN.

ClaimsCorp Inc. recently renewed its commitment to CIECA and the CIECA Standards. Established in 2004, the company’s executive ownership of Sam Malatesta, Tim Wilder and Francesco DiGiuseppe focus on industry-related data aggregation, analytics and business performance improvement.

tect for our customers,” said Wilder. “CIECA has helped provide a more productive and reliable way to structure, process and map our customers’ data to drive value to their business and staff.” Wilder said that randomness breeds inaccuracy and inconsistency, and CIECA helps to reduce the impact of having too many ways to do the same thing. “CIECA helps attract data interfacing and integration among insurers, shops, supply chain and consumers,” he said. “The more that can be done to increase the number of securely integrated partners, the more we increase the number of solutions to help improve what’s available to help shop owners and operators run their businesses and drive improvements for the industry stakeholders and vehicle owners.”

For more information about Claims Corp, visit http://www.claimscorp inc.com/cci./ For more information about CIECA, visit www.cieca.com

ABPA Voices Concern to Introduction of State Bills The ABPA is concerned with the accelerated introduction of OE Repair Procedure bills in multiple states that are tying in the exclusive use of OE Parts. Though noble intentions were behind their origination, we are seeing an increase in the addition of anti-aftermarket language, which is not only detrimental to an important segment in the collision repair chain, but it will also affect the American consumer. “The current wave of OE Repair Procedure legislation many times contains embedded language that in effect limits repair competition” Christopher Northup, ABPA chairman, adds, “Consumer rights around safe, quality and economic repairs are threatened with these proposed bills. The result would be a detrimental effect on the cost of repair, the total loss valuation outcome and in time insurance premiums. All of which hurt consumers as well as threaten the vehicle repair supply chain.” Automobile manufacturers are becoming more assertive in their efforts to eliminate the aftermarket collision repair industry 52

through their use of repair procedures and position statements. These self-serving methods claim that only OE parts can be part of the official repair procedure. In 2019, there have been 13 states that have introduced OE Repair Procedure requirement bills. These include the states of CT, Hawaii, IL, IA, KY, LA, MN, MS, MT, NV, NH, Texas, & WV. This is in addition to similar bills in nine states in 2018 and six states in 2017. Comparable legislation will be introduced in 2020 in other states. “As always, the ABPA will continue to address any legislation that looks to restrict the aftermarket,” said Edward Salamy, ABPA executive director. “The ABPA would also like to stress that having a healthy aftermarket ensures competition and helps protect the wallets of American consumers.” Obtained via ABPA news.

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gualotunao@autonation.com www.audiplano.com

sstallcup@audigrapevine.com cmartinez@audigrapevine.com www.audigrapevine.com

Texas Audi Dallas Dallas 866.327.2318 214.438.0894 Fax M-F 7am-7pm Sat 9am-5pm larry.elliott@audidallas.com www.audidallas.com

Audi North Austin Austin 512.219.3172 512.219.6214 Fax M-F 7am-6pm Sat 9am-4pm mmitchell@audinorthaustin.com www.audinorthaustin.com

Audi Fort Worth Dallas/Fort Worth 817.632.6709 817.632.6747 Fax M-F 7:30am-6pm Sat 8am-3pm

Audi San Juan San Juan, TX 956.475.3801 956.475.3817 Fax M-F 8am-6pm Sat 8:30am-5pm davidh@audisanjuan.com www.audisanjuan.com

Audi South Austin Austin 888.703.4305 512.660.5388 Fax M-F 7am-6pm Sat 9am-5pm www.audisouthaustin.com

omarr@audifortworth.com jasons@audifortworth.com www.audifortworth.com autobodynews.com / JULY 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS

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‘Tesla Fighters’ Audi E-Tron, Jaguar I-PACE, Face Recalls Over Fire Risk, Faulty Brakes by Simon Alvarez, Teslerati.com

The Audi e-tron and the Jaguar IPACE were recently hit by twin recalls over potential safety concerns. Both companies have opted to proactively issue the safety recalls before reports of any untoward incidents concerning the vehicles emerged from owners. In the case of the Audi e-tron, water can get into the all-electric SUV’s highvoltage charging port, which could then make its way to the vehicle’s

electronics, resulting in a potential battery fire. Michael Forson, Audi etron owner and ServiceNow Director, recently noted on Twitter that not all of the electric SUVs are affected by the major electrical fault, but the German manufacturer is nonetheless taking the issue seriously. With this in mind, it would not be surprising if Audi ends up inspecting most, if not all, e-trons that have been delivered to customers thus far. The Jaguar I-PACE, on the other

hand, was recently hit by a recall over the vehicle’s regenerative braking system. According to investigators, the I-PACE’s regen brakes could ex-

hibit an “increased delay” between the point when a driver hits the brakes and when the vehicle actually begins slowing down. Jaguar is recalling all of the I-PACE that it has delivered so far, such as the 3,083 units it has sold in the United States. While Audi has yet to issue a statement about a potential fix to the e-tron’s major electronic safety issue, Jaguar has announced that it already has a solution to the I-PACE’s braking fault. According to the British carmaker, a software update is expected to address the increased delay in the all-electric crossover’s braking system, though this would not be rolled out through an over-the-air update similar to Tesla. Instead, the software update will be distributed through Jaguar’s dealer network at no cost to I-PACE owners. Jaguar is expected to

start implementing the firmware update next month. Both recalls being faced by Audi and Jaguar for the e-tron and I-PACE involves features that are among the fundamentals of electric vehicles. Charging port protection and regenerative braking systems, after all, are basics that more experienced EV makers such as Tesla, and GM for that matter (thanks to the Volt), have learned and mastered over the years. Ultimately, these recalls show that designing and producing electric cars are not as easy as Tesla skeptics might think. While credit must be given to Audi and Jaguar for recalling the e-tron and the I-PACE even before any untoward incidents happened, it should also be noted that Tesla had exhibited the same proactive reaction in the past. Last year, for example, the electric car maker voluntarily recalled 123,000 Model S built before April 2016 due to excessive corrosion in the aluminum power steering bolts supplied by Bosch. This issue, according to Tesla, could make steering the Model S heavier than usual due to the loss or reduction of power assist steering. We thank Teslerati.com for reprint permission.

GM Digital Vehicle Platform Debuts

Today, Mark Reuss, General Motors (GM) president, debuted the company’s all-new electronic platform necessary for its next-generation of vehicles, EVs, active safety, infotainment and connectivity features, and the evolution of the Super Cruise driver assistance feature. Debuting on the recently-unveiled 2020 Cadillac CT5 sedan, the electronic platform will go into production later this year and should be rolled out to most vehicles within GM’s global lineup by 2023. The new architecture also provides more rapid communications within the vehicle itself and to outside sources thanks to Ethernet connections of 100Mbps, 1Gbps, and 10Gbps. “The critical role of software and its importance to our vehicles, both now and for years to come, cannot be overstated,” said Reuss. “Our new digital vehicle platform and its eventual successors will underpin all our future innovations across a wide range of technological advancements, including EVs and expanded automated driving.”

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