August 2022 Southwest Edition

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Vol. 40 / Issue 8 / August 2022

Registration Open for Texas Auto Body Trade Show, Aug. 26-27

Texas Poll Shows Majority of Young Voters Own or Want to Own EVs

Registration is now open for the Texas Auto Body Trade Show, to be held Aug. 26-27 at the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas, 500 W. Las Colinas Blvd., in Irving, TX.

by William Johnson, Teslarati

Presented by the Auto Body Association of Texas (ABAT), the

Texas Auto Body Trade Show is an annual two-day trade event, featuring exhibits, education, competitions and more, strategically crafted to foster the success of all levels of the automotive repair industry across Texas and the Southwest region. Bring the whole shop to premium education sessions, presented by internationally known speakers, designed to take your shop to the next level in 2022. There are sessions for everyone, and this year it is easier than ever to see who will benefit the most out of See Registration Open, Page 27

A Deeper Look at Crash Champions’ Merger with Service King by David Roberts, managing director of Focus Advisors

After months of speculation about the future of Service King, a blockbuster merger with Crash Champi-

ons was announced to Service King managers on July 15. The two consolidators will merge and create a 550+ shop operation with upwards of $2 billion in annualized sales.

See Crash Champions to Merge, Page 12

Recent polling showed more than half of voters under the age of 45 have bought an EV or are considering buying one. In the poll released by Texas 2036, a nonprofit voter polling agency in the state focused on gauging the interests of voters on a wide variety of topics, more than half of younger voters already own or are considering buying electric cars. The poll found those between the age of 35 and 44 were most likely to acquire EVs (56%), followed

by 18- to 34-year-olds (53%), then 45- to 55-year-olds (34%) and finally voters over age 55 (20%).

The poll also examined why voters were or were not interested in buying electric vehicles. SurprisSee Texas Poll, Page 14

The World Experienced a Pandemic—and Initial Vehicle Quality Got Sick In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, initial vehicle quality notably declined, according to the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Initial Quality Study, released June 28.

Buick was the highest-ranking brand in J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Initial Quality Study and the Buick Encore GX, shown here, ranked the highest in its segment.

The disruptions caused by the pandemic—supply chain issues, record-high vehicle prices and personnel dislocations---contributed to vehicle problems reaching a record high in the 36-year history of this benchmark study. Compared with 2021 results, the industry experienced an 11% increase in problems per 100 vehicles (PP100), which is 18 PP100 worse than last year, resulting in an industry average of 180 PP100. A lower score reflects higher vehicle quality.

General Motors bucked the trend with an improvement in initial quality that landed it in the highest rank position among automotive corporations. Among brands, Buick’s quality improved 17 PP100 year over year, vaulting it to ranking highest overall in 2022 from 12th place in 2021, while Genesis ranked highest among premium brands. Just nine of 33 ranked brands improved in vehicle quality year over year. “Given the many challenges automakers and their dealers had to face in the past year, it’s somewhat surprising that initial quality didn’t fall even more dramatically,” said David Amodeo, director of global automotive at J.D. Power. “In general, initial quality has shown steady improvement throughout the history of this study, so the decline this year is disappointing—yet understandable. Automakers continue to launch vehicles that are more and more technologically complex in an era in which there have been many shortages of critical components to support them.” See Initial Vehicle Quality, Page18

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CONTENTS

Advertise in our Classified Section for $50 per column inch!

REGIONAL

Cox Automotive Introduces Service Advisor ��� 42

3 Dallas Residents Receive Refurbished

Cox Automotive Lowers Full-Year New-Vehicle

Colorado Auto Thefts Up 18% So Far This Year ����������������������������������������������������� 11 First-Ever LEED-Certified Service King Facility Opens in San Antonio ���������������������������������� 10 Registration Open for Texas Auto Body Trade Show, Aug. 26-27 ����������������������������������������� 1 Tesla’s Original Cybertruck Prototype Stuns at CVPR 2022 Conference ��������������������������� 11 Texas Poll Shows Majority of Young Voters Own or Want to Own EVs ����������������������������� 1 TSTC Auto Collision and Management

Sales Forecast as Supply Problems Persist � 44

Falling ��������������������������������������������������������� 36

Costs, Demand �������������������������������������������� 22

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

Serving Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arkansas, Colorado, Arizona, Utah and adjacent metro areas. Autobody News is a monthly publication for the autobody industry. Permission to reproduce in any form the material published in Autobody News must be obtained in writing from the publisher. ©2022 Adamantine Media LLC.

asTech/Driven by Repairify ����������������������������� 12

Kia Motors Wholesale Parts Dealers �������������� 41

Audi Wholesale Parts Dealers ������������������������ 45

Larry H. Miller Ford Mesa ������������������������������ 26

Auto Data Labels �������������������������������������������� 17

Mac Haik Ford-Lincoln ����������������������������������� 23

AutoMart Mitsubishi �������������������������������������� 21

Malco Product, SBC ��������������������������������������� 11

Axalta Coating Systems ��������������������������������� 10

Mazda Wholesale Parts Dealers ��������������������� 43

BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers ���������������������� 42

Mitsubishi Wholesale Parts ��������������������������� 38

Bob Utter Kia �������������������������������������������������� 30

MOPAR Wholesale Parts Dealers ������������������� 29

Certified Automotive Parts Association ���������� 20

NOROO Paint & Coatings �������������������������������� 15

Chevyland ������������������������������������������������������ 35

North Freeway Hyundai ��������������������������������� 26

Christopher’s Dodge-Ram �������������������������� 6, 21

Northside Chevrolet ��������������������������������������� 27

Classifieds ������������������������������������������������������ 46

Part of the Club ���������������������������������������������� 21

Emich Chevrolet ��������������������������������������� 19, 21

Peak Kia ��������������������������������������������������������� 21

Emich Volkswagen ����������������������������������������� 21

Platinum Auto Trends ��������������������������������������� 6

Equalizer Auto Glass Tools ����������������������������� 14

PPG ���������������������������������������������������������������� 13

Fisher Acura ��������������������������������������������������� 21

Santa Fe Kia ��������������������������������������������������� 36

Fisher Honda �������������������������������������������������� 21

SATA Dan-Am Company ���������������������������������� 5

Flatirons Subaru ��������������������������������������������� 21

Schomp Mazda ���������������������������������������������� 31

Ford Wholesale Parts Dealers ������������������������ 37

Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center ������������������������� 8-9

Repairify Acquires ATG ����������������������������������� 42

Fowler Honda ������������������������������������������������� 36

Sorbothane Soft-Blow Mallet ������������������������� 16

Tesla, Hertz Help Uber Drivers Save Money

Freeman Mazda ��������������������������������������������� 32

Spanesi Americas �������������������������������������������� 7

Garcia Honda ������������������������������������������������� 28

Stevinson Toyota West ���������������������������������� 21

GM Wholesale Parts Dealers ������������������������� 33

Subaru Wholesale Parts Dealers �������������������� 39

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

Toyota of Laredo �������������������������������������������� 18

Horne Kia ������������������������������������������������������� 22

Toyota Wholesale Parts Dealers ��������������������� 34

Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers ������������������ 47

Volkswagen Wholesale Parts Dealers ������������ 42

Industrial Finishes and Systems ��������������������� 48

Wrenchers ������������������������������������������������������� 2

Elephant Insurance Implements CCC ��������������� 44 Elon Musk Confirms Tesla Cybertruck Design Finalized ������������������������������������������������������ 12 Ford Celebrates 75 Years of F-Series �������������� 46 Ford Reports Year-Over-Year Sales Increase of 31.5% in June ����������������������������������������� 42 GM Has 95,000 Incomplete Vehicles Just Sitting ��������������������������������������������������������� 46 I-CAR Offers EV Skills Course �������������������������� 38

Scholarship ������������������������������������������������� 10

Life Coach Uses Different Approaches to Help Auto Body Shop Techs, Owners, Managers � 35

Anderson - Collision Repair Shops Play Vital Role in Helping Reduce Vehicle-Related Deaths ��������������������������������������������������������� 26 Yoswick - 3 Collision Repair Business Leaders Find Ways to Develop Positive Company Culture �������������������������������������������������������� 28 Yoswick - DataTouch Offering New Service to Help Collision Repair Shops Manage Access to its Data ��������������������������������������������������� 34 Yoswick - What Your Auto Body Shop Needs to Know to Be Ready to Repair Evs ������������� 38

Lithium Supplier Liontown Signs Deal with Ford ����������������������������������������������������� 19 Lordstown Motors Continues Executive Shakeup, Working Toward Endurance Production ��������������������������������������������������� 36 Massachusetts Auto Body Shops Fight for Better Reimbursement Rates ���������������������� 20 Monthly Car Payments Are Soaring ���������������� 16 MSO Acquisitions Slowed Considerably in First Half of 2022 ���������������������������������������� 14 New-Vehicle Prices Set Record in June as

A Deeper Look at Crash Champions’ Merger with Service King ������������������������������������������ 1 Annual Report Says Bakersfield, Sacramento and Baton Rouge Are the Worst Driving Cities in the U.S. ����������������������������������������� 43 ASE Education Foundation Establishes Network ������������������������������������������������������ 22 Biden Administration Details $700M in Investments to Boost EV Charging Infrastructure ���������������������������������������������� 30 CAA Says a New Kind of Insurer Steering is Impacting the Industry �������������������������������� 31 CIECAST Explores What’s Driving EV Adoption and How Collision Repairers Need to Prepare �������������������������������������������� 4 Classic Collision Announces Acquisitions in Texas, South Carolina ������������������������������ 47

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

Luxury Share Hits New High ����������������������� 47 Nissan Frontier and Titan Owners Warned

NATIONAL

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Electric Car Prices Spiking Due to Rising

Technology Student Receives Nationwide

COLUMNISTS

ltedesco@autobodynews.com

AUTOBODY

Despite Increase in Demand, Gas Prices Keep

INDEX OF ADVERTISERS

Vehicles �������������������������������������������������������� 6 Classic Collision Adds 2nd Colorado Location ��� 6

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to Use Parking Brakes ��������������������������������� 43 Nissan Pathfinder Hood Latch Recall Follows Investigation ����������������������������������������������� 40 Non-Tesla Supercharger Pilot Launch Expected Late 2022: White House �������������� 40 Record Share of New-Car Shoppers Jumped Into a $1,000+ Monthly Payment in June �� 44 Register for ASE Summer Certification �������������� 4

with 15K EV Rentals ������������������������������������ 30 Teslas Get Updated Seat Belt Functions in New Update �������������������������������������������� 40 The World Experienced a Pandemic—and Initial Vehicle Quality Got Sick ����������������������� 1 U.S. Economy Has 11.3 Million Unfilled Jobs �� 22 Why Online Customer Reviews Are More Important than Ever ������������������������������������ 39

autobodynews.com / AUGUST 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 3


CIECAST Explores What’s Driving EV Adoption and How Collision Repairers Need to Prepare by Abby Andrews

CIECA hosted its latest CIECAST webinar on June 23, “Charged for Success: Understanding EV Trends and Their Impact.” Ryan Mandell, director of claims performance for Mitchell International, spoke about the trends in electric vehicle adoption and what is driving them, how EVs should be handled differently in a repair facility than their gas-powered counterparts, and what needs to be done to facilitate better, safer repairs. “This is a critical topic for collision repair and the industry as a whole,” Mandell said. Mandell said the last couple of years have been tough on new vehicles sales overall, due to parts shortages and supply chain issues—except for EV sales, which have been a bright spot. Gross volumes of EV sales grew 5% at the same time total vehicle sales decreased 15%, Mandell said. Bloomberg recently projected worldwide EV sales to grow from 6.6 million in 2021 to 21 million in 2025. “People are very bullish on EVs,” he said. Mandell said charging infrastructure is growing but has a long way to go. DC Fast Chargers—which will be key to making long-distance traveling feasible, as they can charge a battery to 80% in about a half hour—increased in the U.S. by 24% in 2021. Batteries are also improving to increase range and decrease “range anxiety” among drivers, Mandell said. The battery is 35% to 50% of the total cost to build an EV, so as mining for components becomes more efficient, it will drive down what consumers have to pay for an EV. However, the recent increasing prices for many of the metals that go into batteries, including nickel, lithium and cobalt, will offset some of those mining efficiency gains, Mandell said. “I think it will be closer to the end of the decade before we see price parity between EVs and ICE

vehicles,” Mandell said. As more EVs are sold, EVs will constitute a greater share of repairable claims coming into shops. They still make up less than 1% of claims, Mandell said, but that will continue to grow at an increasing rate. Repairers need to be ready, he said.

termarket tool can scan them. EVs also use a lot more lightweight materials, like aluminum and carbon fiber, for major component sheet metal parts to offset the heavy batteries, Mandell said. Those materials will respond differently in an accident, which will create the need for a new process to decide what can be repaired or has

“An EV is not just an electrified variant of an ICE,” Mandell said. “It really is completely different, and needs to be treated as such.” EVs have nearly double the number of semiconductors of an ICE vehicle, and a greater reliance on high-voltage batteries, which add to the complexity of repairs. “There are extra components (on an EV) and the systems are more interconnected,” Mandell said. Based on model year 2015 vehicles and newer only, the average ICE vehicle has 8.7 fault codes per scan, while an EV averages 13.8. Estimate lines also increase— the average ICE vehicle’s estimate has 35.5 lines, while the average EV’s has 47.7. “It shows how interconnected the systems are,” Mandell said. “EVs rely on more semiconductors, more digital systems, more advanced electronics to do the same tasks as mechanical systems in ICE vehicles.” A front impact on an EV has a far greater likelihood of affecting other systems throughout the vehicle, he said. Mandell noted the scan data he presented excludes Teslas, as no af-

to be replaced, and will need new tools. EVs also have significantly longer cycle times, Mandell said— on average, keys-to-keys for a drivable claim takes 8.4 days, compared to 6.9 days for an ICE vehicle. Mandell said there are new precautions that must be taken to avoid damaging the battery and keep everyone safe during the repair. “There are precautions that need to take place even before a basic teardown,” he said. Also, the battery has to be removed before going to the paint booth, due to the heat involved, which adds two

4 AUGUST 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

hours to the process. Mandell said it will be important to set appropriate expectations for the vehicle owner from the start. “This is likely most owners’ first experience repairing an EV,” he said. “You will have to help them understand why the repair process is so different from an ICE. Have a very honest discussion at the beginning about additional steps that need to be taken to repair it safely. I think that really sets up the overall outcome to be a positive one.” Mandell said he thinks estimates for EVs need to evolve, rather than just using the same template as for an ICE vehicle. “We need to make sure it’s built in a way to facilitate a safe and proper repair, and is efficient as well,” Mandell said. He suggested adding EV-specific categories that address the completely different chassis, and adding “EV” as a separate vehicle type, as it’s not only important to note if the vehicle is a truck, van or car. He also suggested creating new EV specific templates and qualifiers, like battery capacity. “EVs overall are becoming more widespread,” Mandell said. “There are 84 EV models in the U.S. now; there were 14 just five years ago. We are going to see the tech improve as well. Rising fuel prices will also be a tailwind for EV adoption.” Watch the full CIECAST on cieca. com.

Register for ASE Summer Certification The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) summer registration period is now open. More than 50 ASE certification tests covering nearly every aspect of the motor vehicle service and repair industry are available for ASE certification. Those automotive service professionals registering by Sept. 30 will have 90 days to schedule an appointment to take the selected ASE tests, whether registering on the first day of the registration period

or the last. ASE testing is available throughout the year and is conducted days, nights and weekends at nearly 450 secured, proctored test centers. To register, visit ASE.com, click on register and sign in. Once logged in, users can next click on “orders” and then “store,” where they can find the tests they want to take, add those tests to the cart, check out and complete registration. Source: ASE


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Classic Collision Adds 2nd Colorado Location Classic Collision, LLC, announced a new closing July 8— the acquisition of a Maaco franchise in Littleton, CO. Former owner Brian Greenley has not only been committed to building a team of talented and skilled teammates over the years at this location, but also always ensured overall integrity and safety in every repair. “I look forward to Classic Collision growing on the foundations we’ve created here, while continuing to serve our customers with the same quality repairs,” said Greenley. “We are thrilled to expand our Colorado team and to be able to offer more locations to the customers in the Denver Metro area,” said Toan Nguyen, CEO of Classic Collision. Source: Classic Collision

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3 Dallas Residents Receive Refurbished Vehicles On June 21, three deserving Dallas residents, including a veteran, were presented vehicles to provide them independence and the ability to work and take care of their families, thanks to the National Auto Body Council (NABC) Recycled Rides® program along with car donors and local representatives from Farmers Insurance®, Allstate and GEICO and repair partners DFW Collision, Crest Cadillac and On the Road Garage, all based in the Dallas area. The vehicle presentation was held in conjunction with the NABC Lone Star Pars for Cars Golf Fundraiser, presented by Enterprise, at Texas Star Golf Club in Euless, TX. “I’m honored and blessed, and this car will be a big help to me in my personal life and allow me the mobility to get back to the type of job I would like to do, which is process operations in the chemical industry,” said Charles Curry, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in Afghanistan. Curry has overcome many challenges and is currently employed at DFW. Not having a car limits the type of work he can do and the shifts

he can work. He was selected by the VA North Texas Healthcare System. The 2016 Hyundai Elantra he received from GEICO and On the Road Garage will allow him to get to work more easily and open up many opportunities for him. Yanoen Moreno, a breast cancer patient, was nominated by the Cancer Support Community North Texas. The gift of reliable transportation will allow her to get to treatment without relying on the bus or rideshare services. It also will help her return to school and work. She received a 2017 Ford Focus from Farmers Insurance and DFW Collision Center East. Edwin Munoz was left a quadriplegic after a diving accident in 2018, but this Dallas resident never let that affect his outlook on life. He recently got his driver license after relearning how to drive as a quadriplegic. The 2014 Mazda CX-5 he received from Allstate and Crest Cadillac will be outfitted with hand controls for him. “I’ve been dependent on my friends and family to get everywhere

since my accident,” said Munoz. “Now, with this vehicle, I can go places and continue the work with the charity I founded to help other people like me with accident-related disabilities.” NABC Recycled Rides is a unique program in which businesses representing all facets of the collision repair industry team up to repair and donate vehicles to individuals and families in need of reliable transportation. Since the inception of the NABC Recycled Rides program in 2007, members of the NABC have donated nearly 3,000 vehicles valued at more than $42 million. “On behalf of the NABC board and membership, we are so proud to be able to give back to these three deserving Dallas community members with the gift of reliable transportation,” said Scott Sampley, member of the NABC Board of Directors and co-chair of the NABC fundraising committee. “Everything we do to raise funds makes it possible for us to continue changing and saving lives with our member partners.” Source: NABC

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TSTC Auto Collision and Management Technology Student Receives Nationwide Scholarship A Texas State Technical College student has received a nationwide scholarship focused on women in the automotive industry. Kayla Walsh, of Arvada, CO, is in TSTC’s auto collision and management technology program at the Waco campus. She recently received a $3,000 Women in Auto Care scholarship, awarded by the Maryland-based Auto Care Association. “It’s super cool,” Walsh said of the scholarship. “My tuition is out-of-state. It helps a ton in helping to pay for that.” Walsh is in her third semester of working toward an associate’s degree in auto collision and management technology—refinishing specialization. “I love painting,” she said. “I’m a repetition kind of person. Painting is repetition, and I like that.” Kyle Pokraka, an instructor in TSTC’s auto collision and management technology program, said Walsh has shown a determination he seldom sees in his students. “She consistently sets the standard of quality work among all

of her classmates,” he said. Walsh said she does not mind being one of the few women in the auto collision and management technology program. “We are like a family,” she said. “We all support each other. I feel there is never any competition between us.” Randy Licea, of Comanche, TX, takes refinishing classes alongside Walsh. He said she stands out among the program’s other students. “She shows up early,” Licea said. “She’s always on top of her tasks.” Walsh said she wants to find a part-time internship for the fall and eventually get hired to stay to work in Texas. The Auto Care Association provides advocacy, market intelligence, technology and other services to the entire supply chain of the automotive aftermarket. For more information, go to autocare.org. Registration continues for the fall semester at TSTC. For more information, go to tstc.edu. Source: TSTC

First-Ever LEED-Certified Service King Facility Opens in San Antonio Service King’s comprehensive approach to sustainability and emphasis on strategies for environmental and health performance was brought to life through its first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified facility in San Antonio. Located at 7507 W. Loop 1604 N. in Alamo Ranch, TX, the new 13,600-square foot body repair shop features a LEED certification—recognized as the most widely used green building rating system in the world. San Antonio’s new collision repair facility earned its LEED certification, which identifies its achievements in area planning, sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, waste reduction, indoor environmental quality, innovative strategies and attention to priority regional issues. “Our team is incredibly proud to debut our first LEED-certified facility and introduce an energy-efficient approach to the collision repair industry,” said Service King

President Jeff McFadden. “Service King is committed to providing a best-in-class experience for our customers while abiding by leading sustainability practices, and our new San Antonio location reflects exactly that.” Service King’s newest San Antonio facility is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. This opening marks the 14th Service King in the San Antonio area and 95th in Texas, with more than 300 locations systemwide. To learn more about Service King, visit serviceking.com. Source: Service King

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Tesla’s Original Cybertruck Prototype Stuns at CVPR 2022 Conference by Simon Alvarez, Teslarati

Tesla has been showcasing the Cybertruck quite frequently as of late, with the all-electric pickup truck appearing at the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Conference (CVPR) in New Orleans recently. The Cybertruck’s presence at the event came not long after Tesla brought the updated pro-

Credit: Ashok Elluswamy/Twitter

totype of the all-electric pickup truck to Michigan International Speedway’s Formula FAE event. Tesla opted to bring its original Cybertruck prototype to CVPR instead. A photo of the original Cy-

bertruck prototype was shared on social media by Tesla’s Director of Autopilot Software Ashok Elluswamy, who invited attendees to visit the company’s booth. Just like in previous sightings, the Cybertruck seemed to attract a lot of attention from the event’s attendees. The original Cybertruck prototype features some differences compared to the most recent versions of the truck. The vehicle is still equipped with door handles, tires with aero covers, no side mirrors, no physical wipers, a fully-finished interior and a dashboard made of paper composite. Some of these components, such as the vehicle’s dashboard, appear to have been changed in the updated Cybertruck prototype. CVPR 2022 is expected to be the “largest gathering of professionals from across the world and from every aspect of the computer vision, machine learning and artificial intelligence industry,” per the event’s official website.

Colorado Auto Thefts Up 18% So Far This Year by Derek Draplin, The Center Square

Auto thefts in Colorado are up 18% so far this year, according to state law enforcement. The state saw record thefts reported last year with almost 37,000 vehicles stolen, data from Colorado Crime Statistics shows. More than 28,000 vehicles were reported stolen the prior year. Colorado State Patrol Chief Matthew Packard said Front Range metro communities have been hardest hit so far this year. “The most recent data shows that over 3,630 vehicles were stolen across Colorado in the month of May with metropolitan communities along with the front range from Ft. Collins running south through Trinidad feeling the impact,” he said.

Since January, 91% of vehicles stolen have been recovered, which CSP said is above the national average of about 50%. “This exceptional recovery rate does not lessen the economic, emotional and personal loss experienced by the victim,” CSP said in a statement. A 2021 report by the Auto Theft Intelligence Coordination Center said stay-at-home mandates, closed businesses and suspension of some court operations in part contributed to increased thefts in 2020 and 2021. CSP said residences and parking lots are the top locations where vehicles are stolen from. Locking cars, parking in welllit areas and not leaving valuables in cars are deterrents from theft, the agency said.

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Continued from Cover

Crash Champions to Merge While still smaller than Gerber and far behind Caliber, this new entity will be competing coast to coast with its two larger national competitors, as well as six smaller super-regional MSOs. For much of the last six months, Crash’s investment bank was circulating an extensive investment memorandum, seeking a new private equity sponsor. During the same period, the investors in Service King were looking for a resolution to its deteriorating financial performance. Clearlake Capital acquired a control position in the Service King bonds. This position allowed them to negotiate a debt conversion to new equity and an extension of other debt obligations. In addition, Clearlake injected a reported $200 million in cash. Crash was looking for capital to continue its rapid growth. Clearlake was looking for a partner to help manage a billion dollar investment in collision repair. The resulting

merger is a combination of a deep pocketed capital sponsor, extensive management team, geographic penetration and scale that now rivals its two biggest competitors. Crash Champions has gained a major influx of assets and probably some cash as well. We don’t know exactly what the combined balance sheet will look like, but total debt to capital will be much more reasonable for the combined companies. We would expect Crash’s acquisition program would be more subdued for a period as it integrates the Service King shops. However, given the success of their program in the last three years, there is probably a substantial pipeline of commitments that will be completed. And the deep pockets of Clearlake will likely allow Crash to contemplate many, as well as larger, transactions. Among the benefits of the merger are a huge increase in revenues and scale, complementary footprints, improved negotiating power with insurance companies, improved purchasing and spreading overhead.

Elon Musk Confirms Tesla Cybertruck Design Finalized by Andrei Nedelea, InsideEVs

Even though at first glance the Tesla Cybertruck most recently spotted looks almost identical to the original prototype/concept shown in November 2019, the electric truck has undergone some changes. However, no additional big changes are coming, according to CEO Elon Musk, who announced in an interview the Cybertruck’s design was “finally locked.” The most notable changes we observed over the last year or so are the new windscreen wipers— no, they’re not lasers, but they may extend somehow, since in the latest photos they look too short for the massive windscreen—the addition of rear-wheel steering, the appearance of production spec side mirrors and the disappearance of physical door handles, which the concept had. We recently also got a peek inside the Cybertruck at what appeared to be the final design of the dashboard, which features a similar setup to the Tesla Model

S and Model X, with a driver’s display complimenting the big central infotainment screen. The Cybertruck dash looks a lot like a Model S/X, but instead of rounded flowing shapes, Tesla made everything angular to match the exterior. During the Tesla Owners Silicon Valley interview where he made many other announcements, Musk said Tesla’s focus is now to try to finally start building the truck. However, he said no matter how hard the automaker will try, it will not be able to make up for the lack of semiconductors now plaguing the industry. This is why he estimates even though the Cybertruck’s design won’t be changed any more, so they can start preparing and tooling up for production at the Texas Gigafactory, its actual start of production is still 12 months away. And that’s just Musk’s estimate right now, which doesn’t take into account any additional hitch they may encounter on the road to production.

12 AUGUST 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

The challenges will be integration, technician retention and merging management teams. Crash Champions has been building out across the country in multiple attractive markets---Southern and Northern California, Florida, Colorado, Chicago, Wisconsin, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. Service King had an enviable footprint across the West, Southwest, Texas and Chicago. The two firms overlapped in some markets where neither was dominant. The combined numbers in these markets are considerably more scalable and efficient. In other markets, each had considerable scale without duplicating the other’s positions. With the merger, Crash enters 12 new states and several of the fastest growing metropolitan areas around the country. Texas is the grand prize, with 96 locations in a state where Caliber dominates and Gerber is a weak third player. The original Service King locations owned by Eddie Lennox are the core operations in the best performing region for Ser-

vice King. Crash already has a very strong position in Northern California with the acquisition of Mike’s Auto Body. With the addition of Service King’s South Bay and Sacramento shops, it is a strong No. 2 to Caliber. The combination of Crash’s 30 shops in Southern California with 25 of Service King gives them a stronger footprint in the nation’s largest market. However, even the combination of these two still leaves them a very distant second to Caliber. While 37 total shops is modest, the coverage across the Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia region is highly credible. Combined operations in Florida with 47 shops improves their penetration in that market. Source: Focus Advisors

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MSO Acquisitions Slowed Considerably in First Half of 2022 by David Roberts and Madeleine Roberts, Focus Advisors

The first six months of 2022 have been an unusually slow period for acquisitions by most of the consolidators. Aside from catching their collective breaths after a frenetic wave of closings at the end of last year, there isn’t a single explanation for the slow down but general industry conditions experienced by every operator have put more of a focus on current production rather than future growth. Extreme parts shortages resulting in significantly longer cycle times, an even more severe shortage of qualified technicians to do the work, and the increasing imbalance between insurance reimbursement rates and operator costs, have left every organization scrambling, improvising and struggling to meet current demand. Consolidators COVID has not slowed Caliber down. With more than 130 acquisiContinued from Cover

Texas Poll ingly, the top reason cited as why voters wanted to buy electric vehicles was “reducing auto emissions that contribute to climate change” at 41%, followed by “the rising cost of gas” at 28% and “new technologies or other features in EV models” at 19%. Voters who were not interested in buying an electric vehicle believed electric vehicles were too expensive (30%), while roughly a quarter preferred gas or diesel vehicles (23%) and a select few cited range anxiety as their top concern (14%). The reasons supplied by voters who were not interested in buying EVs should indicate that EV acceptance will likely be on the rise in the state over the coming years. Primarily, while price concerns are certainly valid, automakers now have more reason than ever to make their products more price competitive, much like the Chevy Bolt. And while many stated they simply prefer gas or diesel vehi-

tions and 72 brownfield and greenfield openings in the same period, Caliber grew more than 200 locations in the first six months of 2022. The company continues to shift its expansion focus to greenfield and brownfield openings. Of their total expansion efforts during 2022, we expect more than half will be acquisitions. Gerber (Boyd Services Group) slowed its pace fairly dramatically in the first half, with fewer than 14 new locations, compared with a whopping 48 in the first half of 2021. Combined with disappointing financial performance that impacted the share price of Boyd Services Group, Gerber has moved more cautiously in 2022. Service King—The recap by Clearlake Capital Service King opened two greenfield locations—one in the Chicago area and the other in San Antonio—but otherwise made no new acquisitions. The continuing saga of Service King’s financial problems has finally been brought to an end—or at least an intermediate conclusion. Under cles, only 14% of people cited range anxiety—a concern as old as time itself. This alone suggests EVs may have made it over a major hurdle for many potential buyers. The analysts at Texas 2036 cite a couple of other reasons why EV acceptance should be expected to grow over the coming years. First off, the analysts specifically pointed out the Ford F-150 Lightning is winning over wide swaths of the previously EV-opposed. Secondly, the planned growth of Texas’s EV charging infrastructure should bring many consumers more peace of mind while driving electric cars. Lastly, the opening of Giga Texas has sparked interest in EVs within the state. Such positive signs from a state that has traditionally been an oil giant show EVs are likely growing in acceptance in the U.S. Hopefully, automakers can work to address top concerns, especially price, as many seem willing yet unable to buy vehicles due to their cost.

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14 AUGUST 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

the terms of a deal announced in June, Service King will receive $200 million in new capital and reduce its debt by over $500 million while extending its remaining existing funded debt maturities until June 2027. When the deal is completed, the full equity and debt positions of the parties will be more visible, but the new control entity is clearly Clearlake. Hold the presses—Crash Champions is merging with Service King. The deal is scheduled to close at the beginning of August with Clearlake Capital Group as the investor. Service King’s 336 locations will combine with 225 Crash Champions locations. Their combined footprint of shops will establish strong market shares in Texas, the Pacific Northwest, Florida, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Chicago, forming the third largest U.S. consolidator. We will publish a separate and extensive report with more details and analysis of the transaction. Biggest transactions Crash Champions has continued its

breakneck pace of acquisitions with the recently announced acquisition of Mike’s Auto Body, one of the largest remaining independent MSOs in the U.S. With 17 locations in SF Bay Area, Mike’s Auto Body is a key platform for Crash’s continuing penetration of the California market. This acquisition followed more than 30 transactions by Crash in the first six months of the year. As of June 30, Crash appeared to be operating more than 203 shops. In another notable transaction early in 2022, Mahnke Auto Body with its eight locations in Colorado joined Kaizen Collision, which now operates 15 locations in that state. CEO Sam Mahnke has been announced as the regional operating executive. Kaizen continues its rapid expansion with a technician-centric approach to operations. Its total shop count at June’s end was 51 shops. Classic Collision Classic continued its steady growth with an additional 16 shops in the first half including Pro Quality

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Collision in Florida and Crystal Lake Automotive, each with two shops. CollisionRight In late 2020, the Dallas-based private equity group CenterOak formed CollisionRight. Since its founding under the leadership of CEO Rich Harrison, the company has been on an acquisition tear. In the first half of 2022, they acquired Select Collision Group, which operates four shops in Pennsylvania. CollisionRight now operates at least 62 shops in states in the Northeast and the Midwest. New Players VIVE Collision, formed by former H&V Collision CEO Vartan Jerian and former private equity investors Scott Leffler and Phil Taub, has been acquiring in the Northeast U.S. with two significant transactions in 2021: Crown Collision, a three-shop MSO in Rhode Island, and POC Collision Repair Centers, a four-shop MSO in Maine. So far, VIVE has acquired four shops in 2022 and expects to end the year with north of 20 total shops. California growth vehicles

Having beefed up its executive team and examined multiple targets, Chilton Carstar now operates 15 total locations in the San Francisco Bay Area, along with one in the Los Angeles Basin. G&C Auto Body, the largest independent MSO based in Northern California, acquired four new locations in the first half of 2022 and now operates a total of 26 locations with announced plans for three additional openings over the third quarter. Under the Radar Three new private equity-backed groups are in the process of acquiring their first platforms. They will be disclosed after closing their acquisitions. We expect more new entrants to come into the industry during the remainder of the year as the appetite for resilient, cash-flowing businesses increases. Why are Private Equity firms so interested in the collision repair industry? While there are multiple reasons why large pools of institutional capital are attracted to the collision repair industry, the overriding reason is sus-

Monthly Car Payments Are Soaring by Steven Symes, Motorious

One of the areas where people have really been feeling the pinch in the past year or so is car payments. Unsurprisingly, the average car payment in the U.S. reached an alltime high of $712 in May, according to Moody’s Analytics. While some might just shrug at such a figure, for some households that’s a crippling amount to be shelling out month after month. Helping contribute to the rising monthly car payments is the fact the average new car was $47,148 in May, according to Kelley Blue Book. It wasn’t that long ago the figure was just a little over $30,000. And as you likely already know, it’s not like household incomes have increased by an additional 50% suddenly. Worse, rising costs for fuel, utilities, groceries and other essentials are making plenty of people feel like they’re in a financial vice, getting squeezed more and more to the point of breaking. A recent Cox Automotive & Moody’s Analytics vehicle afford-

ability index report painted an even darker picture. Thanks to higher interest rates combined with more expensive cars, Americans on average can afford less. Quite literally, their dollars are buying less when it comes to vehicle purchases. Plus, increased lending rates mean they qualify for even less expensive options, a double hit which might mean a lot of shoppers are downgrading from one vehicle class to another while paying just as much if not more than before. Compounding the problem is of course the constrained supply of new cars, thanks in part to the microchip shortage. Demand for new vehicles is strong, causing prices to continue climbing. All this means it would cost the average household 41.3 weeks of income to buy the average new vehicle. That’s a 19% increase from May of 2021. These are sobering facts. Surely the market can’t continue to sustain this kind of price inflation, so something has to give, if not multiple things. Exactly what those would be is up for debate.

tainable cash flow. In good times and bad times, businesses with historically positive cash flows are attractive to large pools of capital whose primary objective is more predictable returns and lower risk. The Ubers, Airbnbs and other tech darlings whose shares have plummeted over the last three months don’t generate cash; they burn cash— billions of dollars of cash. Investors in these kinds of companies are not seeking stability. They are seeking hypergrowth and for much of the last decade the focus on top line revenue growth and market share gains among the tech darlings has propelled these stocks to extraordinary values. In markets where the wind is at one’s back, these kinds of investments do extraordinarily well. But when the wind shifts as it has over the last three months and the economy slows, there is more focus on companies with more stable cashflows. Whether or not we are currently in a recession, expectations for dramatic high growth opportunities in technology or crypto finance or other

sexy investment opportunities have diminished. This puts relatively more focus on cash-generating and defensive industries like collision repair. Institutions with large pools of uninvested cash continually search for the right balance between risk and reward. How much risk should I take for how much reward? During the past five years, with T-bills at very low rates, many value investors have been willing to accept relatively modest returns from more stable cash flow generating businesses. Collision repairers have decades of stable cash flow, albeit with gradually increasing investment requirements and declining numbers of participants. So with such strong demand from consolidators old and new, now is a good time for collision repairers to find sponsors to help capitalize their future growth or consider exiting while the demand for acquisitions continues to be robust. Source: Focus Advisors www.autobodynews.com

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Continued from Cover

Initial Vehicle Quality The U.S. Initial Quality Study, now in its 36th year, is based this year on responses from 84,165 purchasers and lessees of new 2022 model-year vehicles who were surveyed early in the ownership period. The study is based on a 223-question battery organized into nine vehicle categories: infotainment; features, controls and displays; exterior; driving assistance; interior; powertrain; seats; driving experience; and climate. The study is designed to provide manufacturers with information to facilitate the identification of problems and to drive product improvement. The study was fielded from February through May. “Supply chain disruption, especially the shortage of microchips, has caused automakers to seek alternative solutions to get new vehicles into purchasers’ and lessees’ hands,” Amodeo said. “In some cases, new vehicles are being shipped without some features installed. Communication with them about the changes in feature availability, as well as when such features will be re-

instated, is critical to their satisfaction.” Following are key findings of the 2022 study: • Deterioration goes beyond launch vehicles: Both all-new and continuing models increase in problems this year, though all-new models worsen the most (23 PP100). The initial quality gap between all-new and continuing models widens this year to 25 PP100 from 20 PP100 in 2021. The 2022 study finds four times as many new models performing worse than their segment averages compared with those that perform better than their segment averages. • Mass market vehicles experience fewer problems than premium vehicles: Mass market brands average 175 PP100, which is 21 PP100 fewer than for premium brands (196 PP100). Premium brand buyers typically purchase more technology in their vehicles, and the added complexity of that tech increases the likelihood of problems. Given the challenging task of launching new vehicles in the current environment, mass market carryover vehicles are most likely to achieve high-ranking initial quality.

“Owners of premium-brand vehicles experience more problems than mass market vehicle owners, continuing a trend that started in 2016,” Amodeo said. “But some brands, notably Genesis and Lexus, have largely been able to avoid that issue.” • Infotainment systems remain the most problematic area: The infotainment category continues to be the most problematic, with an average of 45.0 PP100---which is 19.5 PP100 more problems than the next-highest category. Six of the top 10 problem areas in the study are infotainment-related, including: Android Auto/Apple CarPlay connectivity (5.8 PP100); built-in voice recognition (4.0 PP100); difficulties with touchscreens/display screens (3.5 PP100); built-in Bluetooth systems (3.4 PP100); not enough power plugs/ USB ports (2.9 PP100); and inconsistent audio volume (2.7 PP100). • Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) more problematic: Owners of BEVs and PHEVs cite more problems with their vehicles than do owners of vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE). ICE vehicles average 175

PP100, PHEVs average 239 PP100 and BEVs---excluding Tesla models---average 240 PP100. (Tesla models average 226 PP100 and are shown separate from the BEV average because the predominance of Tesla vehicles could obscure the performance of the legacy automakers that have recently introduced BEVs.) • Driving assistance issues grow: Problems with advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) declined in 2021 but have increased in 2022. The most problematic ADAS system is lane departure warning/lane-keeping assistance with 4.1 PP100. • Tesla Motors officially included for the first time: Tesla Motors is included in the industry calculation for the first time, with a score of 226 PP100. However, because Tesla Motors does not allow J.D. Power access to owner information in the states where that permission is required by law, Tesla vehicles remain ineligible for awards. Highest-Ranking Brands and Models Buick is the highest-ranking brand in overall initial quality with a score of 139 PP100. Dodge (143 PP100) ranks second and Chevrolet (147 PP100) ranks third.

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Among premium brands, Genesis (156 PP100) ranks highest, and ranks fourth overall. Lexus (157 PP100) ranks second and Cadillac (163 PP100) ranks third. The parent corporation receiving the most model-level awards is General Motors Company (nine awards), followed by BMW AG (five); Hyundai Motor Group (three); Ford Motor Company (two); and Toyota Motor Corporation (two). Among brands, Chevrolet received the most segment awards (six), followed by BMW (four). General Motors models that rank highest in their respective segments are Buick Encore GX, Cadillac Escalade, Cadillac XT6, Chevrolet Corvette, Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Silverado, Chevrolet Silverado HD and Chevrolet Tahoe. The Chevrolet Corvette is the highest-ranking model overall with 101 PP100. BMW AG models that rank highest in their respective segments are BMW 2 Series, BMW 7 Series, BMW X1 and BMW X3. Hyundai Motor Group models that rank highest in their respective segments are Genesis G80, Hyundai

Accent and Kia Forte. Toyota Motor Corporation models that rank highest in their respective segments are Lexus IS and Toyota 4Runner. Ford Motor Company models that rank highest in their respective segments are Ford Ranger and Lincoln Nautilus. Plant Quality Awards General Motors Company’s plant in San Luis-Potosi, Mexico, which produces the Chevrolet Equinox and the GMC Terrain, received the Platinum Plant Quality Award. Plant quality awards are based solely on defects and malfunctions and exclude design-related problems. Toyota Motor Corporation’s Takaoka 1 (Japan) plant, which produces the Toyota Corolla, and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.’s Tochigi 1 (Japan) plant, which produces the Infiniti Q50 and Q60, received the Gold Plant Quality Award for Asia/Pacific, in a tie. BMW AG’s Regensburg (Germany) plant, which produces the BMW X1 and X2, received the Gold Plant Quality Award for Europe and Africa. Source: J.D. Power

Lithium Supplier Liontown Signs Deal with Ford by Maria Merano, Teslarati

Liontown Resources Limited secured an agreement with Ford after signing lithium supply deals with Tesla and LG Energy Solutions (LGES). Australia-based Liontown describes itself as an emerging Tier 1 battery minerals producer. As per the agreement, Liontown will supply up to 150,000 dry metric tonnes (DMT) per annum of spodumene concentrate, or lithium ore, to Ford for lithium-ion battery production. The deal is expected to commence in 2024, with 75,000 DMT in its first year, 125,000 DMT in its second year, and 150,000 DMT in its third to fifth years. Liontown’s spodumene concentrate will come from its Kathleen Valley Lithium Project in Western Australia. The agreement also said Ford would provide a $207 million debt facility to Liontown through one of the automaker’s subsidiaries. The proceeds will partially fund the development costs of Kathleen Valley. Ford’s agreement with Lion-

town is the third and final foundation offtake the company required to start developing Kathleen Valley, after the deals with Tesla and LGES. In May, Liontown signed an agreement with Tesla battery supplier LGES for 150,000 DMT per annum of spodumene concentrate. LGES plans to produce Tesla’s 4680 battery cells and increase the production of its 2170 batteries. Tesla signed its five-year lithium supply deal with Liontown earlier this year. Tesla and Lionwtown’s deal is expected to commence in 2024, similar to Ford’s agreement. Tesla agreed to purchase 100,000 DMT of lithium in the first year of its deal with Liontown and increase the order by 150,000 DMT in the following years. The Tesla-Liontown agreement is conditional, based on when the Australian company starts commercial production in Kathleen Valley. Liontown’s board decided to proceed with the development of Kathleen Valley, following its deal with Ford. Kathleen Valley’s first production of spodumene concentrate is scheduled for Q2 2024.

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Massachusetts Auto Body Shops Fight for Better Reimbursement Rates by Ed Attanasio

Collision repair industry leaders, along with a row of tow trucks, paraded outside the Massachusetts State House on May 18 to demand action on two proposed bills before lawmakers that would raise the state’s lowest-in-the-nation reimbursement rates. House Bill 1111 and State Bill 709 are an “Act to establish a minimum reimbursement rate to insurance claimants” and are currently being argued in a joint committee. According to supporters, both bills would set the rate for repair at approximately $78 per hour for reimbursement. The current reimbursement rate is $40 per hour, which, according to the group, is the lowest in the nation and just $10 more than it was in 1988. Both bills have until June 30 to clear the committee, after which the legislature would have just a month before the end of the session to approve and send them to Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk. AASP-MA Executive Director Evangelos “Lucky” Papageorg is excited about the two proposed bills that might actually level the playing field. He offered a little history on House Bill 1111 and State Bill 709. “In 1988, insurance reform led to the reimbursement rate being at $30 an hour, which made Massachusetts have one of the highest-paid reimbursement rates in the country and best reimbursement rates,” Papageorg said. “But, once the Insurance Reform Act went through, the reimbursement rates actually dropped from $30 to $28 per hour for about five years, based on contractual arrangements that shops had with the insurance companies. Today, they are at $40—35 years later. I wouldn’t call that a jump in rates, to say the least. “House Bill 1111 and State Bill 709 are essentially identical bills that take away the ability for insurance companies to stagnate the rates in the future, which is what they’ve effectively done,” Papageorg said. “It allows the insurance industry and body shops to be able to plan ahead as far as what they can anticipate

for expenses and income, because the reimbursement rate will keep pace with the consumer pricing index here, with the language in these bills.” Papageorg has witnessed the results of not providing a livable wage to body technicians, causing many to exit the industry with prejudice, he said. “One of our members and a top body shop operator, Brian Bernard, has lost several of his top techs to

A vocal group of more than 60 people gathered outside the Massachusetts State House to demand action on two proposed bills currently before lawmakers. Credit: AASP-MA

other shops or to the industry altogether,” Papageorg said. “He lost several technicians over the last few years to other industries in neighboring states because the surrounding states are paying a higher rate. “One vocational school teacher told us recently that students get into collision repair because it’s cool and they love it. It’s exciting. It’s constantly changing,” Papageorg continued. “But all those things don’t pay the bills. The collision repair students don’t stay with it, and those who do leave the vocational schools and get into a collision repair shop don’t last very long because they can’t make a decent living. “These bills have the potential to rectify a situation. I can’t find any other industry or vocation out there that can say they have only increased their skills by only $10 an hour over the last 35 years,” Papageorg said. “Insurance companies are reporting record-breaking profits, and yet they’re still applying for increases in their premiums, and some of their top managers have incredible salary packages. Cost containment has to begin at the top.” Bernard, co-owner of Total Care Accident Repair in Raynham, MA, sees the problem of underpay-

20 AUGUST 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

ing technicians causing a whole set of additional issues. “This should have happened several decades ago, so these bills are much-needed and can provide us with a much-needed boost in many ways,” Bernard said. “The cost of living keeps going up every year, and the insurance companies can tell us with straight faces that these wages are acceptable? What can you say to a young person who is trying to get into this industry and willing to work for inferior pay? It all comes from the fact that the insurers don’t want to compensate us properly for repairs, so we are in this unfortunate situation.” Former State Sen. Guy Glodis said the insurance companies are going to do everything they can to prevent these bills from passing. Nearly a decade ago, the collision repair industry in Massachusetts approached Glodis to tell the insurance companies their wages were ridiculously low. “Everything [collision repairers] told me has happened exactly the

way they described it to me in 2003,” he said. “They said workers would leave the state and that it would be difficult to get young people to join the industry. We couldn’t get any traction back then, but now we might be able to break through. It involves educating the legislature about the fact that the insurance industry has been successfully suppressing wages for more than 20 years.” Elias Akiki, owner of Akiki Auto Body in Hyde Park, MA, appeared on several news stations in the Boston area, speaking about a topic he knows too well. “The bottom line is that the insurance companies have been taking advantage of the collision repairers and insured consumers since day one,” he said. “They will always try to get away with whatever they can. It ends up creating a bad situation because many shops can’t afford to do an OE repair, and the customer doesn’t know any better. So, they settle for sub-par repairs, and all we’re doing is trying to do the job right.” Akiki, 47, entered the collision

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repair industry at 19, working with his father. He has seen the path these bills have taken and is ready for change, he said. “Back in 1985, we were a completely different company than we are today because the industry has changed so dramatically since then,” Akiki said. “Our obligation now is to learn, educate, evolve and do repairs the right way. For us, it’s the only way, but it comes at a cost.” Spiraling costs have hamstrung many shops, Akiki said, which makes it so much more difficult to make a profit. “We have more than 10 OE certifications; do you know how much that costs us?” he said. “The training, the diagnostics, aluminum repair—it’s not cheap. We have to pay for all of it at a reimbursement rate of $40? It’s not fair.” There is always a silver lining in every cloud, Akiki said with a chuckle. “One good thing is that we don’t have any MSOs here competing with us. They are smart enough to know that they can’t make money in Massachusetts.”

ASE Education Foundation Establishes Network Serving as liaisons between students, schools and ASE Foundation industry partners, ASE field managers are integral to the success of the initiatives established by the ASE Education Foundation. ASE Education Foundation field managers assist and coach schools to achieve and maintain ASE accreditation, collaborate with local employers to engage with schools, help develop advisory committees and assist in the placement of students in entry-level positions in the transportation industry. In addition, the field managers foster local employer partner engagement by connecting employers directly with schools and students. They promote the benefits of professional and entry-level ASE certification, advise on instructor development opportunities, and enable and cultivate relationships among foundation supporters and accredited programs, administrators and instructors. Source: ASE Education Foundation

Electric Car Prices Spiking Due to Rising Costs, Demand by Steven Loveday, InsideEVs

It comes as no surprise the price of electric cars is rising. It seems the price of just about everything is rising, and since the COVID-19 pandemic, it also seems it's simply harder to get the things we need and/or want, which leads to an increase in demand. As demand increases and materials are scarce or difficult to acquire, prices tend to rise. According to a recent article published by Autoblog, the average price of a new electric vehicle spiked to $54,000 in May, and buyers paid 22% more for a new EV year-overyear. Meanwhile, gas-powered car prices are up 14%, at an average of $44,400. The pricing information comes from a recent report by AlixPartners.The article said Tesla has increased the prices of its vehicles on multiple occasions this year, and now, some of Tesla's EVs cost almost 10% more than they did at the start of 2022. Startup electric automakers Rivian and Lucid have also increased prices, and that seems to be the story across much of the industry, even among legacy automakers, such

as Ford and General Motors. Automakers are citing a rise in material costs as a primary reason for the price hikes. Autoblog said material costs have skyrocketed by 144% since March 2020. According to the research, some materials have doubled in cost since the pandemic, and Ford Finance CEO John Lawler admitted the rising costs have made EVs like the Ford Mustang Mach-E essentially unprofitable. However, soaring demand is almost certain to push prices up as well. The report also pointed out research and development costs for new electric vehicles contribute significantly to the price increases. AlixPartners estimates that automakers as a whole will spend $526 billion by 2026 due to the transition to electric cars. Fortunately, there are still some relatively affordable EVs on the market, but that doesn't mean it will be easy to get one. In an automotive market where it's difficult to get just about any popular car quickly, it's likely more difficult to get a compelling EV, especially in some areas around the country.

U.S. Economy Has 11.3 Million Unfilled Jobs by Casey Harper, The Center Square

There are 11.3 million open jobs in the U.S., nearly two jobs for every American seeking work, according to newly released federal data.

That rate is nearly the highest on record as the number of available jobs per worker has sharply risen in recent months. The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the federal jobs data, which showed a decrease of nearly half a million available jobs in May. “On the last business day of May, the number and rate of job openings decreased to 11.3 million (-427,000) and 6.9%, respectively,”

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BLS said. “Hires and total separations were little changed at 6.5 million and 6.0 million, respectively. Within separations, quits (4.3 million) and layoffs and discharges (1.4 million) were little changed. This release includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires and separations for the total nonfarm sector, by industry and by establishment size class.” The job openings vary largely by industry and the size of the business. “The largest decreases in job openings were in professional and business services (-325,000), durable goods manufacturing (-138,000) and nondurable goods manufacturing (-70,000),” BLS said. “In May, the job openings rate decreased in establishments with 250 to 999 employees. The quits rate decreased in establishments with 250 to 999 employees and in establishments with 5,000 or more employees.”

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autobodynews.com / AUGUST 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 25


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

Collision Repair Shops Play Vital Role in Helping Reduce Vehicle-Related Deaths I read a sobering article in The Washington Post recently that I think offers some insights into where vehicle technology is likely headed. The article featured an interview with Jeffrey Michael, who spent three decades at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and is now at the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy. He’s a car guy. The article said when he’s home, he likes to tinker on the 1987 Porsche 911 he bought as a fixer-upper. While he was with NHTSA, he worked on issues related to seat belts, child restraints, drunken driving and emergency medical services. But the article also said this: “Michael saw the ability of federal programs to influence safety

The Ford

and cites a gradual reduction in road deaths over 50 years. But in an interview with The Washington Post—days after new NHTSA figures showed fatalities hitting a 16year high—Michael pointed to the nation’s failure and potential fixes.” Make sure you read that again. Roadway fatalities have reached a 16-year high. You have to believe NHTSA and other regulators are going to place an even greater emphasis on vehicle and roadway safety. You have to believe the automakers are going to be pushing forward on getting more and better ADAS and telematics features into vehicles. That’s going to impact the vehicles we have coming into shops. Michael also noted in the interview, “To improve things, we’re going to need to individually make concessions about convenience, about

driving a little slower, about taking a little more care, about personal responsibility, of using our seat belts, of driving at or below the speed limit, of driving responsibly, certainly driving without impairment, without fatigue, without distraction.”

The “using our seat belts” portion of that quote caught my eye. Our industry has a vital obligation to make sure those seat belts have been inspected after a vehicle has been in an accident. Every automaker has very specific requirements about this. Even when General Motors revamped its post-collision vehicle

inspection requirements, for example, its stance on seat belts did not change. GM wants “every seat belt of every [GM] vehicle inspected every time” a vehicle is in for repairs, “regardless of the [crash] severity level or what’s being done” to the vehicle, said John Eck, collision manager for GM. We’ve been asking about seat belt inspections in our “Who Pays for What?” surveys dating back to 2016. On the surface, the news is good. Back in 2016, close to twothirds of shops said they’d never billed for the labor involved in inspecting seat belts, and among those who had, fewer than one in four said they were paid for that work by the eight largest national insurers “always” or “most of the time.” In the seven years since, the percentage of shops not billing for the work has fallen, and the percent-

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age being paid regularly has grown. But looking at the numbers still keeps me awake at night. As of this year’s survey, there were still 28% of shops—more than one in four— that acknowledged never having billed for seat belt inspections. I have to believe many of those shops aren’t doing this critical work, perhaps because they’re not researching

not otherwise—obligated to do it even if they’re not paid for it, are insurer payment practices contributing to it not being done on every single vehicle? Ladies and gentlemen, it often doesn’t require any more than looking at the vehicle owner’s manual to document the seat belt inspection requirement. In the resources sec-

A “Who Pays for What?” survey this spring found only about 37% of shops are paid regularly when billing for labor required to inspect seat belts as part of repairing a collision damaged vehicle

and following the OEM procedures. And in the seven years we’ve asked, never have more than two in five shops billing for this work said the insurers regularly pay for it. How can the insurance industry deny payment for this needed step? And though shops are morally—if

tion of the “Who Pays” body labor report, we point to an excellent list of links to vehicle owner’s manuals, put together by the Database Enhancement Gateway (DEG). You can take the current “Who Pays for What” survey during July at www.surveymonkey.com/

r/3X7FDBP In some cases, in addition to a visual inspection, the OEM procedure may require the use of a diagnostic scan tool to check the pre-tensioners. On some Honda and Acura vehicles, for example, a deployed pre-tensioner does not trigger a diagnostic trouble code, so other “live data” from the scan must be checked. In these cases, it’s important to know I’ve read of instances where shops have found their aftermarket scan tool didn’t catch blown pre-tensioners an OEM scan did. I encourage you to check the NHTSA website, www.nhtsa.gov, for some sobering statistics about highway deaths, and some tools you can use to help educate your customers. But we also all need to make sure we’re not contributing to the problem, by repairing every vehicle fully and correctly, including the seat belt and other OEM safety inspections.

AUTOBODY

Continued from Cover

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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.

3 Collision Repair Business Leaders Find Ways to Develop Positive Company Culture

Shop Showcase

Three auto body shop owners spoke would be talking about who was goduring the recent Society of Col- ing to the hockey game that Friday lision Repair Specialists’ Repairer night. Honestly, that was one of the with Ed Attanasio Roundtable about their efforts to best team-building things that we’ve build a positive culture within their done, that’s been impactful for our companies. youngest employees to some of our Bruce Halcro of Capital Col- older ones.” lision Center in Helena, MT, said a Ron Reichen, owner of Precichange in pay plans was one step he sion Body & Paint, which is opening took a few yearswith ago. Ed Attanasio its fifth location in Oregon this year, “We were paying flat rate, and it said part of developing his compacreated more divisiveness than any- ny’s culture involves having second-year students from a local community college collision industry training program spend their threemonth co-op at one of his shops. “We try to have them touch with Ed Attanasio each one of the different disciplines within that 90 days,” Reichen said. “So they get to see where their appetite might be. During that 90 days, they’re learning the culture. They’re Montana shop owner Bruce Halcro said learning to come to work on time, to with Attanasio sponsorship of a youth hockeyEd team has been keep their work area clean, to read good for team-building within his shop the OEM repair procedures, to read thing,” Halcro said. “Everyone was and follow the repair plan. They undoing their own thing and saying, derstand they’re part of a team.” ‘That’s not my job.’ So we switched Other entry-level hires often everybody to hourly, working out a start off in a shop’s parts department, pay plan that gotwith them as close asPhillips we with opportunities for a career path Stacey could to the flat rate that they had.” laid out up front. Halcro said he tries to get out “You’re not going to be stuck to each technician’s work area every on the wash rack or with a broom the day to talk with them briefly. rest of your life,” Reichen said. “If “Sometimes it’s about the car they demonstrate a good work eththey’re workingwith on, butStacey most of Phillips the ic, then our master technicians will time it’s about family,” he said. “I say they are interested in taking on think that’s an important connection this person, being a mentor, to grow to have with employees. I think how them, whether their interest is on the you treat employees, showing them refinish or body side or mechanical.” that you value them, really builds a He said getting on a collision culture.” repair training program’s advisory with Stacey Phillips One thing Halcro said has sur- committee is one of the best ways prised him was the impact on his both to find entry-level employees company’s culture he’s seen from its and help with the industry’s overall sponsorship this past year of a youth technician shortage. hockey team. “We also look at the high “So we had our own section, schools with the SkillsUSA proa ‘Capital Collision the gram,” Reichen said. “We find that withsection,’ Staceyat Phillips games,” he said. “We actually hired even though a high school may not a couple of the players to come in a have an auto body or refinishing couple hours a day, twice a week, to program, they may have a mechanclean the shop, empty garbage. By ical program. And with our industry the end of the year, almost our whole changing, with more and more calicrew was going to these hockey brations and ADAS and things like games. By Wednesday, they all that, there’s opportunity there. You

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have to get creative.” He said his company also works with those being released from a state penitentiary. “That involves a certain amount of calculated risk,” Reichen acknowledged. “It’s a lot of work, but we’ve had a pretty good success rate with doing that.” Andy Tylka of the Tag Auto Group in Indiana acknowledged it has been a challenge maintaining his company’s culture while growing the business from six shops to 15 over two and a half years. “But those people decided to sell to me because our culture was very similar to theirs,” Tylka said at the SCRS event. “A single-family-owned culture. Knowing everyone’s name, having those conversations, knowing something about everybody’s life, them knowing your life.” He said rewarding loyalty is ex-

Media and Publicity for Shops

tremely important. “There might be a shop that needs a technician and they’ll just load [the new hire] full of benefits and pay, while disregarding

Oregon shop owner Ron Reichen said having students work in multiple departments during their first 90 days helps them learn the company culture

the loyal employees who have been there all along,” Tylka said. “I need to do a better job of that as well.” Growing your own new employees is a great way to instill your culture, he said. He spoke at sever-

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al Indiana Auto Body Association chapter meetings last year to share details about his company’s apprenticeship program, including how it’s structured, the check-off lists of what apprentices need to learn and how to find apprentices, not just through auto body job boards but those for construction and plumbing, etc. “Because there are people in those trades who are having a bad day or are looking for another industry,” Tylka said. “What shocked me was through all the chapter meetings, there were only two shops that had a structured apprenticeship program. All the others were deterred from getting apprentices because they just didn’t know what to do with them. “I think that’s what the industry needs is at least some kind of guideline to give a mom-and-pop shop some direction as to apprentices other than just putting a kid with a technician and hoping they learn something,” Tylka said. “I’m hoping as our apprenticeship develops to share that within Indiana, and that will start to have a snowball effect.”

Biden Administration Details $700M in Investments to Boost EV Charging Infrastructure by Christine Jean-Baptiste, Teslarati

The Biden Administration announced June 28 a few private companies have committed more than $700 million in investments to boost domestic production of more than 250,000 new electric vehicle chargers annually. According to the White House, this investment will create at least 2,000 well-paying jobs and make EV charging more accessible, affordable and fair. The $700 million in private investments will follow the $7.5 billion from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which aims to help the EV sector by adding more charging infrastructure throughout the country, among many other things. The White House said the most key investments come from Electrify America and Siemens, which announced an additional $450 million in investments the same day to help grow the infrastructure of ultra-fast chargers for EVs. While Electrify America’s in-

vestments will “support the rapid deployment of up to 10,000 ultra-fast chargers at 1,800 charging stations,” Siemens is on track to build 1 million EV chargers over the next four years.

Additional industry actions include ABB E-Mobility with 125 new jobs in two new facilities; ChargePoint, which will establish new production lines for Level 2 chargers at its Milpitas, CA, facility, and create approximately 250 new manufacturing jobs; and FLO, which will invest $3 million to build 30,000 charging stations annually. Tesla was also mentioned by the White House for its dedication to deploying fast-charging stations

and adding to its already industry-leading infrastructure. “More than 1,600 employees work at Giga New York producing the Tesla Solar Roof and Supercharger stations, which are capable of charging vehicles up to 250 kW,” the White House said. “Tesla is expanding production capacity of power electronics components that convert alternating current to direct current, charging cabinets, posts and cables. Later this year, Tesla will begin production of new Supercharger equipment that will enable non-Tesla EV drivers in North America to use Tesla Superchargers.” After Biden’s Build Back Better plan stagnated due to a lack of support from some, including vocal opposition from U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV, the White House has been forced to push the boundaries on what it can do to help create more EV adoption in the U.S. One of the most recent pushes is new guidelines for 500,000 additional EV chargers with a $5 billion federal initiative.

Tesla, Hertz Help Uber Drivers Save Money with 15K EV Rentals by Steven Loveday, InsideEVs

According to Uber via Electrek, some 15,000 rideshare drivers in cities across the U.S. have rented Tesla's EVs through Hertz. It was previously reported Hertz ordered 100,000 Tesla Model 3 sedans, though there was talk of additional orders going forward. At the time, it seemed it would take many months, if not years, to get Tesla's vehicles at Hertz locations throughout the country, but they're already available in 30 cities. After Hertz shared it had ordered 100,000 Tesla vehicles, it announced 50,000 Tesla rentals would be made available for use by Uber drivers. “To date, more than 15,000 drivers have rented a Tesla through this program—and they’re making a real impact,” said Uber SVP of Mobility and Business Operations Andrew Macdonald. “Together they’ve completed more than 5 million fully-electric trips and driven over 40 million electric miles.,” If the program plays out as planned, Hertz may expand its deal with Uber, and potentially order more Tesla EVs. It already appears

the program is a success, with Uber drivers sharing their satisfaction with the vehicles and the savings. It costs an Uber driver $334 per week to rent a Tesla Model 3, and the rate includes maintenance and insurance. Electrek said some Uber drivers are realizing savings of more than $160 per week due to not having to pay for gas. One Uber employee out of Boston said he would typically pay $25 to $30 per day for gas. The hope is the savings on gas will afford Uber drivers the extra funds to rent a Tesla. However, to make the program even more appealing, Uber provides an additional $1 for every trip in an electric vehicle. Uber drivers can make up to an additional $4,000 per year with the extra money that's provided per trip when they drive an EV. Uber has also pointed out 95% of its drivers who are renting Tesla's EVs at Hertz have never driven an electric car for their job before. Moreover, Uber said 92% of the drivers who have used the program are now considering purchasing their own electric car.

30 AUGUST 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

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CAA Says a New Kind of Insurer Steering is Impacting the Industry by Ed Attanasio

The California Autobody Association (CAA) recently held a one-hour Zoom meeting with the California Department of Insurance (CA-DOI), covering a handful of topics of interest to the entire membership. One particular subject that has been a pebble in CAA’s shoe for several years was brought up again during the meeting. You might be thinking that pebble was illegal steering, but you’d only be half right. When we talk about steering in this industry, it’s usually about insurers trying to persuade consumers to take their vehicles to DRP shops, because those shops offer the insurer more attractive labor rates, and in many cases, a promise to use the lowest priced parts available. Instead, this is about “parts steering.” Parts steering is where insurance companies search a multitude of different online vendors scattered across the country to find each part at the lowest price, and then cap

payment on their estimate based on that price. Sound reasonable? Monte Etherton, chairman of the CAA State Legislation Committee and state board member of CAA’s San Diego chapter, has been monitoring this situation for years and doesn’t think it’s reasonable at all. “Here’s an analogy,” he said. “Your 8-year-old car needs some work, so you take it to the dealer and they give you an estimate for $3,500. You tell them you’ll get back to them. Their estimate lists five parts that total $2,000 of the $3,500. Since you want to save some money, you start scouring the internet for those parts. “You find the cheapest parts from five different online stores, and all offer free shipping. Buying those parts instead of the parts from the dealer will save you almost $500. You make a neat list of all the store’s phone numbers and the prices and take it back to the dealer and ask them to buy the parts they need from those places so you can save some

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money. What do you think they would do?” Etherton cites “parts steering” as a major problem in the industry. “Some insurance companies will only pay us based on the price of the cheapest parts, so they are literally forcing us to buy certain parts from their vendors or lose money,” he said. “I did one job on a Volkswagen where the insurance company’s estimate had an aftermarket headlight from an out-of-town vendor, because it was cheaper than my local aftermarket supplier,” Etherton said. “I emailed them that they can’t require me to buy a part from a specific supplier, and they replied with this fallacy: ‘We can’t tell you where to purchase your parts, but we don’t owe more because you select a different vendor.’” In 2018, CAA received a written legal opinion from the CA-DOI in response to questions regarding several industry problems, including parts steering. Two paragraphs from the opinion explain how parts steering is related to customer steering, which is illegal in California: “No insurer may require that an automobile be repaired at a specific automobile repair shop. (Cal. Ins. Code §758.5(a)). If the claimant elects to have the vehicle repaired at the shop of his or her choice, the insurer may not limit or discount the reasonable repair costs based on charges that would have been incurred had the vehicle been repaired by the insurer’s preferred shop. (Cal. Ins. Code §758.5(d)). As a result, by refusing to pay any reasonable price for a replacement part that is higher than the price quoted by the insurer’s preferred parts vendors, the insurer is limiting or discounting the reasonable repair costs based on the charges that would have been incurred had the vehicle been repaired by the insurer’s chosen repair shop thereby preventing customers from using the repair shop of their choice and preventing the policyholder from using any shop other than those shops that purchase their replacement crash parts from the preferred parts vendors of the insurer. “Limiting or discounting the reasonable repair costs based on the

charges that would have been incurred had the vehicle been repaired by the insurer’s chosen repair shop is a violation of Insurance Code section §758.5(b) (3) and would constitute a violation of the Unfair Insurance Practices Act. Cal. Ins. Code §758.5(f). That is, if an insurer limits or discounts the reasonable repair costs based upon the replacement part prices available from a certain parts vendor, the insurer would effectively prevent a customer from using the automobile repair shop of his or her choice in violation of Insurance Code section 758.5(b) (3). An insurer would, however, be permitted to reasonably adjust a collision repair shop’s written parts price estimate for any part, including new OEM crash parts, if the insurer demonstrates that the price charged by the repair shop for the replacement part is “unreasonable.” 10 CCR §2695.8(f).” This opinion was also a topic of the Zoom meeting. Both the DOI’s deputy commissioner and the Claims Services Bureau chief urged shops experiencing this problem to send a copy of the DOI letter to the insurer with their supplement. Miscategorized Parts There is another facet to this problem. In California, the law requires shops only list parts on their estimate as new, used, reconditioned, rebuilt, an OEM crash part or a nonOEM aftermarket crash part. Insurers are also supposed to follow these regulations when writing estimates, but some do not. “A few months back, we had a 2021 Mercedes in the shop,” Etherton said. “It only had 1,000 miles on it and was hit pretty hard in the right suspension. The customer’s insurer specified 13 used, non-OEM or reconditioned parts from six different vendors located in California, Texas, Michigan and Oregon. The parts’ prices ranged from about $10 to $1,000. “Some of the part descriptions were really questionable, like a reconditioned upper control arm and a reconditioned engine cradle, and a used wheel that was also refurbished. By law, we have to be crystal clear about parts with our customer,

autobodynews.com / AUGUST 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 31


but how can I do that if I don’t even know what they are?” Etherton continued. “And none of these parts had a manufacturer’s warranty, something we would get if we bought them from the dealer. We ended up losing that job because we believed new genuine factory parts belonged on that car, and the customer didn’t want to pay the difference. She did tell me she was changing insurance companies though.” The Difference Between Opt-OEM Parts and Genuine OEM Parts Many parts on insurers’ estimates have been miscategorized with such terms as “alt-OEM”, “opt-OEM” and “surplus-OEM.” In reality, these parts may be over-production, blemished or damaged OEM parts. One thing they all have in common is none of them carry the original car manufacturer’s warranty. Every part sold by every vehicle manufacturer has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), which is the price a shop charges for the part. In contrast, opt-OEM parts do not have an MSRP, only a cost. When a part does not have an MSRP, insurers will allow a “markup,” usually 20%. Etherton thinks he knows how opt-OEM came into existence. “Let’s say a shop buys a bumper from a Chevy dealer that has an MSRP of $200, and the shop gets it for $140 wholesale. The shop will make a $60 profit,” he said. “Let’s also say an opt-OEM vendor—maybe a wrecking yard— has bought 50 of those bumpers on the gray market for $120 each. They offer the bumper to insurers for $150. The insurer marks the part up $30—20%—for the shop. The insurer now gets the $200 bumper for $180, but the shop loses half their profit, the shop’s Chevy dealer loses a sale and the customer loses the Chevy factory warranty because the shop didn’t purchase the part from the dealer. Who wins here?” Another issue is some vendors are mislabeling their parts to gain an advantage with insurers. “Something else we see is when the vendor lists a bumper cover as a used part when it’s actually a new ‘surplus part,” Etherton said. “Many new factory bumpers are raw plastic, which requires a special prep to

make the paint stick. That prep costs about $100. Since a used bumper is already painted and wouldn’t need that treatment, the insurer won’t put the treatment on their estimate. The problem is, the bumper isn’t a used part, and the work still has to be done.” How Shops Choose Which Vendors from Which to Purchase Parts Just like any business, body shops must choose their vendors carefully. Shops need to know a vendor will be in business next month or next year if there’s a problem. They need to deal with experts that will send the correct parts the first time, quickly and at no charge, whether that part is a $2.50 fastener or a $700 aluminum hood. Another problem Etherton brought up is the logistics of adding unnecessary vendors to his shop’s bookkeeping system and staff. “Most online vendors limit what they sell to big-ticket high-volume parts, so they can’t fill a complete order,” he said. “If you buy from one, you either have to pay COD or have an open account, right? Any body shop worth its salt has charge accounts with their vendors because you can’t afford to write a check for each invoice and have $100,000 tied up before you get paid. “Not being able to use our regular vendors means we have to pay upfront for the parts, either by check or credit card,” he said. “And when I call these vendors to see if they really have the part, I usually spend at least five minutes on hold waiting for people to answer the phone. Probably half the time they either don’t have the part, it’s not what they said it was, or they won’t deliver to our area. “And if you do buy the part and it’s wrong, they already have your money,” Etherton said. “Hopefully they’ll give it back, but you need to pay return shipping and wait. “The other option is to open an account with each of these vendors. Now if you know anything about bookkeeping, we already have like 50 various parts vendors on our list. If we had to add a new vendor to our database for every time an insurance company found a cheaper part, we’d probably have 200 more vendors, and who’s going to keep track of

32 AUGUST 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

that? Two hundred credit applications? Two hundred more monthly statements to reconcile? It’s ridiculous.” Doing the Insurance Adjuster’s Job Another subject discussed during the CAA CA-DOI meeting was how insurers are requiring more and more documentation from shops before they will pay the claim. The documentation is in the form of damage photos, work in process photos, purchase invoice copies and more. “What happens is that we have a customer who wants us to fix their car, so we write an estimate and send it to their insurance company,” Etherton said. “Now some insurance companies review our estimate and pay it to the penny, while others cut the estimate no matter what you send them. And it’s not uncommon for an insurer to start off low at $2,000 and end up paying an actual cost of $8,000. “I think the insurers that cut estimates are just trying to make our job so difficult that we will give up and accept their lowball offers,” he said. “They want pictures and copies

of everything, and as I said before, whatever the lowest part prices they can find on the internet is the most they will pay us for the parts we need to fix the car.” Etherton’s main point is this--other than allowing the insurer to inspect the car at his shop, he has no obligation to them to document anything. The obligation he does have is to the vehicle owner. “The law says if I fix your car, we will have a contract between us, which is my estimate,” he said. “I give you the estimate, and then you authorize the estimate so it becomes a work order. So, I repair your car based on that work order. If I don’t follow that work order while repairing your car, then I have committed fraud and could lose my license. “Even though these insurance companies have the right to inspect the damaged car, they choose not to. It’s easier to deny the claim from a distance than it is in person.”

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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.

DataTouch Offering New Service to Help Collision Repair Shops Manage Access to its Data

Shop Showcase

Pete Tagliapietra is sympathetic to probably have an unauthorized data collision repairers whose customers pump, or more likely multiple data have found accident information pumps, that are sucking the repair with Ed Attanasio about their car on a vehicle history line information and personally report. identifiable information off of every But Tagliapietra said that’s only estimate they write.” a small subset of what he sees as a A shop may have authorized much larger concern of shop esti- the installation of some or all of the mate data being obtained, used and data pumps running on its computer sold by unauthorized withthird Ed parties. Attanasio system, because they can help auto“It’s my belief that most shops mate some shop processes, such as are oblivious to how much estimate sourcing alternative parts, subletting information is being scraped off their repairs or materials. In other cascomputers, giving third parties a es, the shop may not be aware of a wealth of knowledge about how that third-party vendor installing a data shop does business,” said Tagliapi- pump, or that a data pump installed etra, founder of the newly-launched by a company the shop is no longer with Ed Attanasio DataTouch, LLC. “Even just a small doing business with continues to set of a shop’s estimates tells some- scrape estimate data from the shop’s one whether or not the shop has computers. DRPs, and if so, which ones. It tells “But the data pumps themthem the labor rates the shop has selves are only the first part of the negotiated withwith different Ed insurance Attanasio problem,” Tagliapietra said. “The companies. It shows who the shop is real issue is that shops can’t conbuying parts from, and at what price. trol what portions of an estimate It also shows what kind of cars the get scraped by those data pumps. shop repairs, and what cars the cus- A parts vendor doesn’t need your tomers in that geographic area buy labor rate information or the cusand drive.” tomer or insurer name nor even the All that, Tagliapietra said,Phillips is entire VIN, yet they get all that. A with Stacey even aside from the customer’s CSI provider doesn’t need anything personal identification information other than the basic customer conon the estimate, which a growing tact information, yet they get all the number of states have mandated estimate line items and subtotals. A businesses take adequate steps to remote scanning company doesn’t protect. need anything other than the comwith Stacey Phillips “If I owned a body shop, I plete VIN to identify the specific wouldn’t want third parties to know vehicle and the ADAS functions on all of this—how I run my business that vehicle. and with whom—and to be able to “Too much of a shop’s inforuse it or sell it without my authori- mation is going to too many third zation, and clearly even in ways that parties---often without the shop’s with Stacey Phillips are not in my best interest,” he said. knowledge or consent---and that Tagliapietra said it’s his belief information has significant value to “the CARFAX issue”—estimates those companies that can get it.” resulting in entries on a vehicle’s Tagliapietra founded NuGen history report—and all the other IT and sold that company to OECothird-party use of shop information nnection in 2020. He is launching are the result ofwith thousands of “data DataTouch this summer as a potenStacey Phillips pumps” running on shop computer tial solution for a shop that wants to systems across the industry. get a better handle on who has ac“Data pumps have become pro- cess to its data. For a one-time fee, lific,” Tagliapietra said earlier this DataTouch can audit a shop’s comyear. “It’s gotten out of hand, from puter system to identify what data my point of view, because the data pumps are operating on it. has become so valuable. Most shops “They’re often hidden well

Social Media for Shops

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enough that unless someone knows what they’re looking for, they’re not going to find them,” Tagliapietra said. The shop then has the option to subscribe to the DataTouch monthly service, which enables the shop to administer by trading partner which portions of estimate data go to each third party. A recycler, for example, may only receive a parts list and the year, make and model of the vehicle, and the first 11 digits of the VIN. “That’s enough information to run it through a parts exchange and supply the part,” Tagliapietra said. “When a shop picks up a phone and says, ‘I need a left front fender for a 2004 Chevy Tahoe,’ the recycler doesn’t say, ‘Give me the VIN.’ So why when ordering electronically does the shop send them the entire estimate and all of that information?”

Media and Publicity for Shops

DataTouch also will assist a shop in deleting data pumps that are obsolete or not approved by the shop. Tagliapietra said he believes DataTouch will put collision repairers back into better control of their estimate and business information, and better able to protect their customers’ privacy as well. “We can help shop eliminate the possibility of trading partners sharing repair information to unauthorized entities, such as vehicle history reporting companies and so much more,” he said.

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Life Coach Uses Different Approaches to Help Auto Body Shop Techs, Owners, Managers by Ed Attanasio

Claudia Morgillo has multiple titles, including certified professional leadership coach and trainer. She and her husband own six Fix Auto locations in the Ontario, Canada, area, two Novus glass companies and a centralized head office.

Q:

As a woman and a leader, what communication and other skills you’ve developed over the years to be a manager in a male-dominated industry?

A:

I have developed a lot of processing modalities, including learning how to communicate, train and motivate the people that I work with while being a female in this industry. I think as a woman, knowing how to communicate with different people in general is a real plus. My dad has been in the industry for almost 50 years and he introduced it to me; I followed him around at a young age and later

challenges our industry was facing. In the end, it comes down to attaining the right skills to motivate people in general. For instance, how do you create buy-in, build comfort and trust, and all those things? So, I went back to learn how to build and use the tools needed for these essential skills and, most notably, the neuHow do you motivate your roscience behind them. people? Do you take I became a professiondifferent approaches with al coach and a leadership each person? trainer to motivate all these people individually. Every person requires a different Four main groups approach, so if you try to are impacting our treat everyone the same, it industry—Generation Z, ages 7-22 (born between Claudia Morgillo will likely fail. I have de1997 and 2021); Millen- helps body shop pro- veloped tools that are tried, succeed nials, ages 23-38 (born infessionals tested and true. But in the an ever-changing between 1981 and 1996); end, it comes down to peoindustry Generation X, ages 39-54 ples’ motivations and how (born between 1965 and 1980); and they feel appreciated. How do they our Boomers, ages 55-73 (born be- understand caring, because everytween 1946 and 1964). body understands caring differently? I went back to school and Everybody’s going to respond earned a lot of different training and to buy-in in their own way, so how coaching certifications to help and do I create that for them? That’s my support my teams through the real approach—it’s individualized and that’s why I went back to school to find out about how I can achieve that for all these people. I’ve been doing that for more than five years now full-time within my organization and for external clients as well. I have also been working closeToll Free: ly with David Luehr at Elite Body 800-551-8189 Shop Solutions, as well as different Parts Direct: 318-425-3417 industry leaders, and owners of othFax: 318-425-1705 er shops to help them identify and build their skills and grow into being an MSO or whatever they’d like to do. worked alongside him in his jobber business. At this point, I’ve been in collision repair for more than 25 years. Thirteen years ago, my husband, Claudio Chiodo, and I purchased our first body shop, and have grown from that point on.

Q:

A:

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Q:

What are your three main concerns about the collision repair industry?

A:

Everyone is talking about supply chain issues, hiring and retaining good people, and how to fix today’s sophisticated vehicles. My perspective on this is that it will always come back to people. Years ago, someone shared an equation with me that said, “Process plus people equals profits.” I thought, what does that really mean? So, the process part is self-explanatory, right? We’re always constantly looking at process building

and tweaking processes, but what are people doing about that? You never get to check the box because it’s all about training, retraining and retaining people in this industry. Where are their mindsets for them? Do they want to be retrained and stay in our industry? So, my concerns will always come back to what we need to do to find, hire and train all of these people and keep them motivated. Because as much as we want to continue moving forward and pursue all of these new advancements being thrown at us, we can’t just tell people they need to move forward. It’s about how do we support these people to do these things? That’s always my main concern— the people part of it. How do we keep them engaged and interested in training that’s changing with the times and still be motivated without getting exhausted? That is my concern for this industry because everything else seems to fall into place if we can do that.

Q:

How can you help shop owners and managers to retain their workers with poaching rampant in some areas of the country?

A:

I tell people it all starts with leadership, including self-leadership. So, we are ideally going out into the world and showing other people what we’d like them to see and know about us, which of course, takes a lot of self awareness to be developed. If we can’t lead ourselves, we can’t effectively lead others. So that’s why I help and support shop owners and managers by showing them how to lead themselves appropriately. People want to work for empowered leaders and learn from them. If you’re leading by example, your people will follow you through good times and bad times. The main causes of stress are often due to a lack of skills in those areas. For instance, weak time management skills are often a result of poor self-regulation and awareness. In my opinion, productivity is most often affected by gaps in someone’s communication skills. Those things get in people’s

autobodynews.com / AUGUST 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 35


way, sometimes regarding attitude and knowing how you show up in the world. How do you turn someone’s perspective around when things are getting hard? Because we all get there eventually, but how we choose to go forward can make or break an entire day for some shops. So, it’s about creating that self-awareness and giving them tools they can put in their toolbox so that when they do get in the thick of it, they will be OK to get through successfully.

Q: A:

Why do some shops excel and others struggle?

I think it pretty much goes into that same sentiment, that some shops struggle because of culture and a lack of self-awareness. I feel it always comes back to culture. You can have all the OEM certifications and DRP relationships you like within your business, but if your team doesn’t know your organization’s “why,” they will sometimes struggle to understand “why” they are doing what they are doing every day, week, month and year

alongside you. That’s trouble if they don’t know why they’re there and the culture isn’t being solidified. They know what they’re there to do and nothing more; that is where you run into gaps. I can see that some shops struggle because they don’t have the shop’s culture on their radar and don’t know what they don’t know. So, they don’t even know what is not working because they don’t even know what to look for. Ideally, we need to ask some basic questions. How do we communicate with each other? How do we want to communicate with each other going forward? Why do “we” choose to repair cars as a career? Do we feel like a team? What does our ideal team look and feel like? These are just some of the possible empowering questions we ask our teams to help support and build better cultures within our organizations.

www.autobodynews.com

Despite Increase in Demand, Gas Prices Keep Falling by Ellen Edmonds, AAA

Pump prices declined again, falling another 12 cents since the previous week to $4.67 as of July 11. The dip in the national average for a gallon of gas occurred despite a slight rise in demand, likely due to robust July 4th holiday automobile travel. AAA forecasted 42 million people would hit the roads for the holiday weekend, a new record. “Usually, more people buying gas would lead to higher pump prices,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson. “But the price for oil, the main ingredient in gasoline, has fallen and is hovering around $100 a barrel. Less expensive oil usually means less expensive gas.” According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gas demand increased from 8.92 million b/d to 9.41 million b/d ahead of the 4th of July holiday, while total domestic gas stocks decreased by 2.5 million bbl. Typically, these supply/ demand trends would put upward pressure on pump prices; however,

falling oil prices have contributed to lower pump prices. The July 11 national average of $4.67 is 32 cents less than a month ago and $1.53 more than a year ago.

The nation’s top 10 largest weekly decreases: Texas (-18 cents), Ohio (-17 cents), Illinois (-17 cents), California (-16 cents), Wisconsin (-15 cents), Indiana (-15 cents), Kentucky (-15 cents), Alabama (-15 cents), Virginia (-14 cents) and Florida (-14 cents). The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets: South Carolina ($4.18), Georgia ($4.18), Mississippi ($4.18), Louisiana ($4.22), Texas ($4.22), Alabama ($4.25), Arkansas ($4.26), Tennessee ($4.28), North Carolina ($4.31) and Kentucky ($4.37). Source: AAA

36 AUGUST 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

Lordstown Motors Continues Executive Shakeup, Working Toward Endurance Production by Joey Klender, Teslarati

Lordstown Motors announced July 12 it promoted several of its executives, continuing to mix up its front office in preparation for the production of the Endurance all-electric pickup. Daniel Ninivaggi, who assumed the role of CEO after Steve Burns was relieved of his duties, was elected to serve as Lordstown’s executive chairman of the board. This will put Ninivaggi’s new focuses on corporate strategy, strategic partnerships and capital raising as Lordstown continues to battle with the somewhat typical challenges of an electric vehicle startup. Edward T. Hightower, who previously served as Lordstown’s president, was elected to the “additional role” of CEO, effective immediately. Hightower will remain the CEO of MIH EV Design LLC, Lordstown’s joint venture with Foxconn, the company that bought the automaker’s Ohio factory earlier this year. Lordstown also announced the arrival of Dr. Donna Bell, who will assume the role of executive vice president of product creation, engineering and supply chain. Bell has

nearly 30 years of automotive experience with Ford, where she dealt with numerous tasks related to automotive product development and technology innovation leadership experience. Along with Bell, Andrew Reyntjes joined the company and will become the senior vice president of commercial sales, service and marketing. He has more than 15 years of service in various roles throughout the fleet industry, including with GM. Jill Coniglio-Kirk recently joined Lordstown as vice president of people and culture. Jane Ritson-Parsons is also transitioning away from the chief commercial officer role she assumed a year ago when she joined Lordstown. She will become an advisor for the company. “Jane’s leadership in several of our functions was instrumental to the progress we have made over the past year,” Ninivaggi said. “I thank her for her many contributions to the company and look forward to her support as an advisor.” Lordstown plans to begin production of the Endurance pickup truck in Q3, with initial commercial deliveries slated to begin in Q4.

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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.

What Your Auto Body Shop Needs to Know to Be Ready to Repair EVs

Shop Showcase

The Alliance for Automotive In- Many shops in the past have had novation reported in June almost to upgrade the electrical service to 200,000 electric vehicles were sold their building in order to accommowith Ed Attanasio in the first quarter of this year—a date the power needs of some weld4.2% increase over the previous ing equipment. Putting in one or quarter—representing 5.9% of over- more EV charger stations will likely all light-duty vehicle sales. Is your require yet another upgrade. shop gearing up to repair them? “The answer they are mostly Repairers, trainers, automakers getting [when shops inquire about and others participated a recent any necessary electrical upgrades] with Edin Attanasio panel discussion at the Collision In- is: You only have just enough power dustry Conference (CIC) about what coming into the building to run the EVs will mean for auto body shops. things you have there right now,” Here are some of the highlights from said Bob Augustine, co-chair of that discussion. CIC’s Emerging Technology Committee hosting the panel discussion. Consider Your Lifts with Ed Attanasio “The normal two-post lift is not go- Other Possible Changes to Processing to be the future, in my opinion,” es and Facility said Virginia shop owner Barry “It’s a lot of Go-Jaks,” Dorn said Dorn, whose company is certified to of the dollies needed to move EVs repair a number of automaker’s EVs. around the shop once they have His reasoning: Shops a lift been powered down for repairs. “We withwill Ed need Attanasio that can be used when an EV’s main had to reconfigure the drains in the battery pack need to be removed. floor because they get caught up “When you consider the width on that. We had to reconfigure our of the battery you are going to take paint booth because you’re pushing out, at least for the Audi brand, the a dead vehicle. There are literally batteries are the size of a queen-size times we have to have a tow truck mattress and weigh to 2,000 pull an EV into the booth.” withclose Stacey Phillips pounds,” said Mark Allen of Audi Shops also need to know what of America. “So you’re going to EV repairs require powering down need a lift that has at least 67 inch- the vehicle. Even something as es between the posts. Not the arms, seemingly minor as paintless dent the posts. And then a flat floor un- repair (PDR) may require de-enerderneath so youwith can get a lift table gizing the vehicle, Dorn said. Stacey Phillips underneath.” “Depending on the vehicle, there are some areas that are literally right Expect to Need a Power Upgrade beside a fender or right under the hood

Social Media for Shops

SEMA Show Goes On

that are very close to areas you don’t want to be,” Dorn said of PDR. Trying to Save Money Could Cost You Jason Norman of Enterprise RentA-Car said he’s seen instances of people thinking they can reduce the cost of charging cables or adapters by getting one available online at a quarter of the cost of the OEM part. “It’s very tempting, and it turns out they look very similar,” Norman said. “But the reality is this is one of those times when the OEM equipment and procedures are critically important. A lot of those [cheaper] adapters and cables don’t have the embedded technology to do things like measure heat and current. So you end up with significant problems.” The panel shared a photo of the charred remains of electrical con-

Media and Publicity for Shops Shop Strategies

nectors inside a charging system installed some years ago by a California shop. The heat involved in EV charging also can lead to expansion and contraction, which can loosen connections over time. “There is a certain amount of maintenance you’re looking at on these chargers,” said Oregon shop owner Ron Reichen. “You have to go in and retighten things from time to time.” Darrell Amberson said his multi-shop collision repair company in Minnesota repairs a lot of EVs, and it’s not something shops should avoid. “It’s no big deal. We’re still fixing cars,” Amberson said. “But on the other hand, it does require a difference from the start to the finish of the process. And every person in the organization has to have some different understanding, especially in terms of safety.”

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Why Online Customer Reviews Are More Important than Ever by Ed Attanasio

Every transaction has a value in terms of both human resources and money, and online reviews from customers play a significant role in both for any business. Many auto body shop owners and managers use review sites to connect with customers and get feedback. But many are still skeptical about the authenticity of the reviews posted. Before the online consumer review industry gained momentum roughly 18 years ago when Yelp was founded, people had to rely on recommendations from friends, neighbors and associates. Word-of-mouth worked pretty well, but now we can access hundreds of reviews within minutes, rather than polling the mailman or the checker at your grocery store for the best restaurants, movie theaters or body shops. As a body shop owner or manager, ultimately, all you want is to acquire new customers, retain existing ones and increase revenue. But

like many, you’re probably a little overwhelmed by the speed at which technology evolves and how to respond to it. Recently, I saw this powerful quote from the Harvard Business Review: “Many companies need to dramatically shift their marketing

Megan Fulkerson of 3P Marketing said shops that have negative reviews and do not acknowledge them appear to not care. She suggests responding to every review, positive or negative

strategies to account for the rising power exerted on future customers by the opinions of existing customers.” I had a friend who used to say opinions are like a certain orifice we

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all possess. It still applies, but now everyone’s opinions seem to count more than ever, especially online. For companies that do an exemplary job and garner high CSI ratings as a result, online review sites are a wonderful thing. On the other hand, what happens if you’re a good company, but you’re not getting a significant number of accolades from the public—or, worse, negative bogus reviews from competitors and disgruntled former employees? Megan Fulkerson, managing partner and strategist at 3P Marketing in Evansville, IN, works with body shops and other small businesses on their online reviews and how to set them up for success. “While managing reviews can seem daunting, taking care of your customers and providing safe and proper repairs is what we try to do every day,” she said. “Taking things one step further and by having CSRs or estimators ask the customer to provide a review is a great way to have current responses added to your list of online reviews.” Online reviews are crucial in the collision industry because people want to be comfortable before they trust a body shop with their vehicles, Fulkerson said. “The collision repair industry is especially important because vehicles are most commonly the second largest asset one possesses in their lifetime. For most, it is critical to the success of their day—ensuring the kids are at school and they make it to work on time,” Fulkerson said. “Because of this heightened importance and cost endured when getting collision repair, many are extra hesitant to entrust their vehicle at a shop that does not have recent and good reviews.” Fulkerson said shops always need to respond to reviews, both positive and negative. “Another important aspect of getting reviews is responding to them,” she said. “The only opportunity we have as a business owner to dispute a review is to leave a response. By remaining cool and calm but potentially shedding some light onto the negative experience mentioned, you can show that you stand by your work and will always make

it right. “Businesses that have negative reviews and do not acknowledge them appear that they do not care,” she said. “While many aspects of marketing and advertising are evolving, the need for good reviews remained unchanged.” Those shops that embrace online reviews and pursue new marketing techniques such as geofencing, SEO strategies and digital advertising are excelling, Fulkerson said. Here are some more interesting numbers and analysis from ReviewTrackers: Google remains the No. 1 review site of choice. Nearly 64% of consumers say they are likely to check Google reviews, through Google Maps and Search, before visiting a business location—more than any other review site. Yelp ranks second at 45.18%, followed by TripAdvisor and Facebook. Google’s review growth is driven by the volume of zero-click searches, which rose to 65% in 2020. By showing review snippets and star ratings in organic search results without having to send users to a third-party website, Google has effectively cut in line ahead of other websites in the online reviews space. Eighty-eight percent of all reviews come from only four review sites—Google (73%), Yelp (6%), Facebook (3%) and TripAdvisor (3%). Approximately 75% of new business is influenced by only a handful of business review sites and directories: Google, Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Apple Maps and Bing Maps. Review interaction is up by 50% from pre-pandemic levels. It’s one of the many signs demonstrating consumers’ heightened sensitivities about where to go or what to purchase in the wake of the pandemic. If your shop is missing the boat when it comes to sites like these, I would suggest to not try to do it yourself. Hire a knowledgeable company that specializes in leveraging these review sites to deliver solid leads and increase your car count. www.autobodynews.com

autobodynews.com / AUGUST 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 39


Nissan Pathfinder Hood Latch Recall Follows Investigation by David A. Wood, CarComplaints.com

A Nissan Pathfinder hood latch recall follows a federal investigation into why the hoods suddenly fly open while driving. The 2013-2016 Nissan Pathfinder hood latch recall involves nearly 360,000 SUVs in the U.S. and Canada. The government opened an investigation into Pathfinder hood latches in December 2021 after receiving 14 reports which said the hoods opened when the latches failed. According to Nissan, the hood can open while driving if the primary hood latch is inadvertently released or the hood is not closed properly with the bell crank lever in the open position. Trying to drive a Pathfinder with the hood blocking the driver's view may be a challenge. “On certain Pathfinder vehicles, dust and dirt contamination may accumulate on and around the bell crank lever pivot joint,” Nissan said. “Over time, the build-up of contamination combined with a

lack of proper inspection and maintenance of the bell crank assembly (as described in the Owner’s Manual) can create mechanical binding that could cause the lever to remain in the open position after it has been disengaged.”

Nissan also said the contamination can scratch the bell crank protective anti-corrosion coating, which allows corrosion of the metal in the pivot joint. Even though the investigation continued for months and Nissan has ordered this recall, the automaker is still trying to figure out how dealerships will repair the

Non-Tesla Supercharger Pilot Launch Expected Late 2022: White House by Maria Merano, Teslarati

The Biden-Harris Administration released a fact sheet suggesting the non-Tesla Supercharger Pilot program will be available in the U.S. later this year.

The White House fact sheet briefly mentioned Tesla’s contributions to expanding EV charging stations in the U.S. It acknowledged Tesla’s investments in Giga New York, which produces Supercharger stalls and Solar Roofs. “Tesla is expanding production capacity of power electronics components that convert alternating current to direct current,

charging cabinets, posts and cables. Later this year, Tesla will begin production of new Supercharger equipment that will enable non-Tesla EV drivers in North America to use Tesla Superchargers,” the fact sheet said. The pilot program would open the Supercharger Network, with more than 35,000 Superchargers worldwide, to non-Tesla vehicles in the U.S. As of this writing, the non-Tesla Supercharger Pilot is available in most of Europe. The Supercharger rates for non-Tesla drivers vary by site but can decrease with the company’s charging membership. Prices for the Supercharger Pilot program are listed in the Tesla app. Tesla also charges idle fees to vehicles, ensuring Supercharger stalls are always immediately available once customers finish charging. Charging fees vary by country. In the U.S., Tesla charges 50 cents per minute when the Supercharger station is 50% full and $1 per minute if the station is 100% occupied.

40 AUGUST 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

Pathfinders. Nissan mailed interim recall letters to a selected sample of 40,000 Pathfinder owners beginning June 30. This hood latch recall letter will invite the owner to bring their Pathfinder to a dealer to have technicians inspect the bell crank and hood lock assembly and replace them if needed. But the replacement parts will be the same hood latches and components as originally installed in the Pathfinders. The collected components will be used by Nissan to create a recall remedy. Nissan will then mail interim Pathfinder hood latch recall letters to all other affected owners by Aug. 3. The recall letters will show owners how to properly inspect the bell crank assemblies and hood lock levers for proper operation. If the lever moves freely, the Pathfinder owner can clean the

lever based on the Nissan Pathfinder owner’s manual. The owner can also bring the Pathfinder to a dealer for the cleaning and maintenance. However, if the levers don't move freely, Nissan Pathfinder owners should take their vehicles to dealers to have the bell crank assemblies and hood lock levers inspected. The dealers will clean and lubricate the parts if the levers are working properly. The components will be replaced with new like-for-like hood latch components if the levers and locks aren't working. “When the final remedy plan is available, Nissan will mail final remedy notification letters and include a statement concerning reimbursement for the cost of obtaining a pre-notification remedy for a subject vehicle that was no longer under warranty at the time of a repair,” Nissan said. Owners of 2013-2016 Nissan Pathfinders can call 800-867-7669 and ask about hood latch recall numbers R22A2 and R22A3.

Teslas Get Updated Seat Belt Functions in New Update by William Johnson, Teslarati

As part of a recent over-the-air (OTA) software update, Tesla improved its vehicles’ safety and comfort by introducing improved seat belt and suspension enhancements. The seat belt enhancement is an update that uses the vehicle’s onboard cameras to detect when a crash is imminent to automatically tighten seat belts in the cabin. This feature already existed in a limited capacity, as Tesla’s seat belts would tighten as airbags were deployed. However, this update now allows vehicles to act more proactively to protect their occupants. Tesla already benefits from a low center of gravity, making it hard to tip over; myriad safety features; and, despite what some news outlets would argue, an increased level of safety due to a reduced number of combustible parts. These updates prove there is more that can be done to prevent automotive deaths, and Tesla is implementing changes to address these risks. While the seat belt enhancement applies to all vehicles, the suspension

enhancement only applies to the Model S and Model X with adjustable air suspension. These vehicles will now, also through the use of the onboard cameras, be able to detect rough roads and potholes. Similar to the vehicle’s ability to detect debris on the road, this system uses the suspension to raise the vehicle proactively to protect the body panels and occupants from being jarred when going over rough terrain. Also included in this update is the green light chime and the return of the range at destination feature. The green light chime alerts the driver when the traffic light they are waiting at has turned green, or when the vehicle in front has started to advance. The range at destination feature, while previously available on vehicles, returns to allow drivers to see how much battery they will have left when they reach their destination. These updates mark the first 2022.20 series of updates Tesla is releasing to vehicles and follow a long stream of 2022.16 updates that included everything from autopilot max speed increases to driver profiles to updated visualizations.


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Ford Reports Year-Over-Year Sales Increase of 31.5% in June

Repairify Acquires ATG

Ford’s total U.S. market share in June expanded to 12.9% as its sales outperformed the industry. While overall industry sales were down 11%, Ford sold 152,262 vehicles in June, a 31.5% improvement over June 2021, despite ongoing industry semiconductor chip and supply constraints. The market share gains came from the F-Series, Explorer and Expedition, along with continued strong expansion of battery-electric vehicles. “Amid industry-wide supply constraints, Ford outperformed the industry, driven by strong F-Series, Explorer and new Expedition and Navigator SUV sales,” said Andrew Frick, vice president of sales, distribution and trucks, Ford Blue. “Combined, these vehicles represented just over 56% of our sales in June—up about eight percentage points from May. F-150 Lightning was America’s best-selling electric truck in June in its first full month of sales, while our overall electric vehicle sales were up 77% over last year.” Demand for new vehicles re-

Repairify™, Inc., a portfolio company of Kinderhook Industries, LLC, on July 6 announced the acquisition of Automotive Training Group (ATG), a leading technical training company known for its unmatched curriculum and experienced instructors. With live and virtual classes offered in all 50 states and internationally, ATG is dedicated to automotive professionals by offering highly technical training backed by quality instructional materials and experienced educators. Founded in 2004, ATG has found success in the market by presenting its technical courses in an understandable and interesting manner that challenges even the most experienced technicians. Curriculum is developed with a diagnostic approach, combining OEM support information with real-world technician experience using actual case studies where possible. Source: Repairify, Inc.

Cox Automotive Introduces Service Advisor Kelley Blue Book, a Cox Automotive company, on June 29 announced Service Advisor, now available for car owners nationwide. Service Advisor is designed to help car owners identify local auto repair shops and find fair prices for services rendered. Referencing data stemming from millions of services performed, Service Advisor answers key ownership questions like what services are needed, when to have them performed and, most importantly, how much it should cost based on similar repairs in the area. With inflation on the rise and both new and used vehicle inventory still constrained, the cost of keeping their current rides on the road is a major concern for most motorists. Additionally, according to the Cox Automotive Monthly Repair Order Revenue Index, the cost of repairs is on the rise. Average revenue generated per repair order rose for the sixth consecutive month after levelling off in November 2021. Source: Cox Automotive Inc.

mains strong. The number of retail sales coming from previously placed orders continued at its record pace of about 50% in June.

F-Series sales were up 26.3% over a year ago, representing 37.9% of Ford’s overall sales mix—up from 32% in May. F-Series has been expanding its truck leadership through the first half of the year, outselling its second-place competitor by about 40,000 trucks. Almost 60% of F-Series retail sales came from previously placed orders, as it continues to turn at record rates. Ford total pickup sales, including F-Series, Ranger and Maverick, were up 26.3% over a year ago, with total pickups sales of 66,663. Ford’s total pickup share gained approxi-

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mately seven percentage points over last year—at 29% in June. This is the highest share of any brand in the total pickup segment. Sales of Ford electric vehicles jumped 76.6% from a year ago, totaling 4,353 for the month. Going into July, both F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach-E dealer stock is higher than last month, positioning both for a stronger July sales month. Ford brand SUV sales totaled 60,894, which were up 35.3% over last year. Bronco continued to add to Ford’s total sales, selling 8,681 SUVs, while Explorer more than doubled sales. On an improved mix of F-Series, Expedition, Explorer and Navigator, Ford’s average transaction pricing expanded approximately $1,900 per vehicle in June relative to May. This compares favorably to an industry increase of about $150. These vehicles represented just over 56% of the mix in June and was up about eight percentage points over May and three percentage points from a year ago. Source: Ford

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Annual Report Says Bakersfield, Sacramento and Baton Rouge Are the Worst Driving Cities in the U.S. QuoteWizard on July 13 released a report on the 70 best and worst driving cities in the nation.

QuoteWizard sets out each year to see which cities have the worst drivers in America, by analyaing data from 6 million car insurance quotes from drivers in the top 70 cities in the country, then evaluating cities on four factors to determine overall driver quality and taking a composite ranking of overall incidents. Incidents include accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs and citations, like running a red light, using

a cellphone while driving, etc. Cities rated among the worst were those with the highest rates of incidents, and the best driving cities had the lowest rates of incidents. To view the full report, visit https:// quotewizard.com/news/ posts/the-best-andworst-drivers-by-city Worst Driving Cities 1. Bakersfield, CA 2. Sacramento, CA 3. Baton Rouge, LA 4. Los Angeles, CA 5. San Francisco, CA 6. San Diego, CA 7. Fresno, CA 8. Riverside, CA 9. Richmond, CA 10. Jacksonville, FL 11. Salt Lake City, UT 12. Milwaukee, WI 13. Cleveland, OH 14. Tampa, FL 15. Columbus, OH 16. Colorado Springs, CO 17. Richmond, VA 18. Virginia Beach, VA

19. Dayton, OH 20. Greenville, SC 21. New York, NY 22. Providence, RI 23. Honolulu, HI 24. Miami, FL 25. Omaha, NE 26. Baltimore, MD 27. Denver, CO 28. Orlando, FL 29. Columbus, SC 30. Portland, OR 31. Madison, WI 32. Kansas City, KS/MO 33. Indianapolis, IN 34. Wichita, KS 35. Phoenix, AZ Best Driving Cities 1. Louisville, KY 2. Hartford, CT 3. Little Rock, AR 4. Oklahoma City, OK 5. Tulsa, OK 6. Dallas, TX 7. Pittsburg, PA 8. Detroit, MI 9. Houston, TX 10. Chicago, IL 11. New Orleans, LA 12. Charlotte, NC

13. Greensboro, NC 14. Rochester, NY 15. Memphis, TN 16. San Antonio 17. Nashville, TN 18. Allentown, PA 19. El Paso, TX 20. Lexington, KY 21. Philadelphia, PA 22. Rochester, NY 23. Durnham, NC 24. Austin, TX 25. Birmingham, AL 26. Minneapolis, MN 27. Albany, NY 28. Seattle, WA 29. Tucson, AZ 30. Boise, ID 31. Greenville, SC 32. Atlanta, GA 33. Boston, MA 34. Charleston, SC 35. Las Vegas, NV Source: Quote Wizard

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Nissan Frontier and Titan Owners Warned to Use Parking Brakes by David A. Wood, CarComplaints.com

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More than 180,000 Nissan Frontier and Titan trucks are recalled because they could roll away even when the trucks are shifted into PARK. Nissan is warning 2020-2022 Frontier and Titan owners to engage the parking brakes every time they park their trucks. Nissan received a report in June 2021 alleging a 2020 Frontier began to move after the driver shifted into PARK, but the dealer was unable to replicate the problem. Nissan took the transmission and sent it to the supplier, JATCO, but the company found no problems. The automaker thought it was just a random incident until Frontier and Titan warranty claims began arriving. Nissan collected the components but engineers couldn't duplicate the issues, and neither could JATCO. JATCO finally duplicated the problem that was caused by the parking pawls. "Due to dimensional varia-

tion during the manufacturing process, reduced clearance may cause contact between the edge of the parking pawl and the boss on the transmission case, which may result in non-engagement of the parking pawl," Nissan said. Nissan is aware of four allegations of minor injuries.

Nissan is trying to determine how it will repair the Frontier and Titan trucks. Interim Nissan recall letters are expected to be mailed July 20, and second letters will be mailed once dealers are ready to repair the trucks. Nissan Frontier and Titan truck owners may contact Nissan at 800867-7669. Nissan's recall numbers are R22A2 and R22A3.

autobodynews.com / AUGUST 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 43


Record Share of New-Car Shoppers Jumped Into a $1,000+ Monthly Payment in June Financing a new vehicle purchase is growing more expensive for consumers, according to the car shopping experts at Edmunds.

New data from Edmunds reveals: • The average annual percentage rate (APR) on new financed vehicles in Q2 2022 climbed to 5% for the first time since Q1 2020. • 12.7% of consumers who financed a new vehicle purchase in June committed to a monthly payment of $1,000 or more—the highest level that Edmunds has on record— compared to 7.3% in June 2021, 4.6% in June 2019 and 2.1% in June 2010. • The average amount financed for new vehicles hit a near-record level in the second quarter of 2022, climbing to $40,602—compared to $39,726 in Q1 2022 and $36,215 in Q2 2021. Edmunds analysts note that the first and only other time that the average amount financed for new vehicles surpassed $40,000 was Q4 2021, when

the average APR was just 4.1%. • An influx of luxury shoppers are turning their backs on leasing and choosing to purchase their new vehicles. Edmunds data reveals new-vehicle lease penetration fell to 18.5% in June, down from 30.5% in June 2019.

sumers the new car market is growing increasingly out of reach.” To help guide car shoppers, Edmunds analysts calculated how much additional interest consumers can expect to pay over the course of a $40,000, 72-month car loan.

“A single percentage point increase might not seem like much at first blush, but that adds up to hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars over the course of a 72-month (or longer) loan—a significant cost considering consumers are financing as much as ever,” — Ivan Drury “Low interest rates used to be one of few reprieves for car shoppers amid elevated prices and supply shortages. But the Fed rate hikes this year are making finance incentives far costlier for automakers, and consumers are starting to feel the pinch,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ executive director of insights. “Although there appears to be a steady stream of affluent consumers willing to commit to car payments that look more like mortgage payments, for most con-

They note that jumping to a 5% APR from a 4% APR would cost consumers $1,324 more in interest over the course of the loan. Jumping to a 6% APR from a 4% APR would cost $2,672 more. “A single percentage point increase might not seem like much at first blush, but that adds up to hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars over the course of a 72-month (or longer) loan—a significant cost considering consumers are financing as much as

ever,” said Ivan Drury, Edmunds’ senior manager of insights. “Seeking out finance incentives was less necessary during recent years in which finance rates had been low, but shopping around for lower APR offers from dealers or third parties could make a difference in today’s market.” Edmunds analysts also note consumers are opting for loans with longer terms to make monthly payments more palatable. Edmunds data reveals 36.1% of consumers who financed a new car purchase in June opted for a loan term of between 73 and 84 months, compared to 32.8% in June 2021. “Consumers are exploring every possible avenue to make their next vehicle purchase affordable, and longer loan terms are a good example of that, even if that choice poses risks considering vehicle wear and tear and greater negative equity (the amount by which their loan balance exceeds their vehicles’ value) as their vehicle ages,” said Drury. “The best moves shoppers can make are staying as informed as possible and not relying on car financing strategies of old—because buying a car in 2022 is a whole different ball game.” Source: Edmunds

Elephant Insurance Implements CCC

Cox Automotive Lowers Full-Year New-Vehicle Sales Forecast as Supply Problems Persist

CCC Intelligent Solutions announced Elephant Insurance will extend its use of CCC technology to include its AI-powered, digital claims solutions. Specifically, Elephant will leverage CCC’s technology to help digitize and further transform total loss resolution, advancing the insurer’s ability to deliver straight-through processing across the claims experience. Total losses have been increasing in recent years, driven by a confluence of factors including surging new and used vehicle prices, growing complexity of the cars themselves and supply chain disruptions driving up the cost of replacement parts. With CCC, insurers can proactively engage policyholders following a probable total loss and guide them in capturing important information. Leveraging photos of vehicle damage, AI and the CCC Cloud, insurers can more quickly make decisions and digitize connections and information sharing with participating auto lenders to achieve faster resolution. Source: CCC

June U.S. new-vehicle sales are expected to show a market still constrained by a lack of supply and one that is virtually unchanged since January. According to the Cox Automotive June sales forecast released June 28, the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of new-vehicle sales this month is expected to hit 13.8 million, up from last month’s 12.7 million pace but well below last year’s 15.5 million level. The sales volume in June is expected to finish near 1.2 million units, down 7.5% from last year’s volume of 1.3 million sales. However, this is an increase of 7.5% from May’s volume of nearly 1.1 million units. There is one more selling day this June than last year and the same number as last month. Tight inventory continues to negatively impact new-vehicle sales. Since June 2021, monthly sales volume has been stuck in a tight window, with little deviation, averaging 1.1 million units a month and peaking only at 1.3 million in June 2021.

44 AUGUST 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

With no clear timeline for any notable recovery in new-vehicle inventory levels, Cox Automotive is lowering its full-year 2022 U.S. auto sales forecast to 14.4 million

Credit: Shutterstock

units, down from its current forecast of 15.3 million. The current forecast now is for new-vehicle sales volumes to fall below the 14.6 million sold in 2020 when the market was initially ravaged by the global COVID pandemic. “Last June, I wrote that the concern about the supply situation could not be overstated, as we were in untested territory for the market,”

said Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist, Cox Automotive. “That sentiment remains, as there has been no significant shift in the conditions on the ground since last fall. Even though economic conditions have worsened in the past months, the lack of supply is still the greatest headwind facing the auto industry today.” June 2022 Sales Forecast Highlights Second-quarter 2022 sales are forecast to fall 19.3% compared to Q2 2021 First-half sales are forecast to be down 17.3% from the same period in 2021. General Motors is forecast to outsell Toyota in Q2, jumping back into the top-seller position. Tesla is the only major brand to increase sales year over year in the first half. Honda, Nissan and VW all see first-half sales drops in excess of 30% year over year. Source: Cox Automotive


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Ford Celebrates 75 Years of F-Series

GM Has 95,000 Incomplete Vehicles Just Sitting by Steven Symes, Motorious

To celebrate 75 years of F-Series trucks, Ford is introducing the 2023 F-150 Heritage Edition—a modern take on the timeless 1970s and ’80s two-tone exterior paint offerings featuring the classic style combined with the outstanding durability, capability and technology today’s F-150 customers love. Available on XLT series F-150 trucks, the design represents a fresh interpretation of the classic A-B-A exterior paint pattern, with an A color encompassing roof and pillars, a B color for the midsection, then A repeating on bumpers, lower door and lower body. Interior offerings in slate gray and black complement the expressive exteriors. Distinct seat trim covers featuring unique inserts, plus embossing on the console lid further enhance the uniqueness of the Heritage design. A white “75 Years” logo appears in the upper center windshield and is included in the center screen startup animation and on the center console. Source: Ford

A wise man once said it’s best to face the awful truth of your situation than to lie to yourself that everything is just fine. Well, the automotive industry is in a bad place and has been since the pandemic shutdowns. One of the most shocking indicators of where we’re at now is the revelation General Motors is holding onto about 95,000 unfinished vehicles at the end of Q2. Many news outlets are blaming the glut of unfinished cars, trucks and SUVs squarely on the microchip shortage, but they’re missing the big picture. Many raw materials and hence a whole array of components have been in short supply in the automotive industry since early last year. Try ordering enough car parts and you’ll find that fact out real quick. Per a press release from GM, most of the unfinished vehicles it’s sitting on were assembled in June. Consider this: according to a report from The Wall Street Journal, new vehicle sales in the U.S. fell

about 17% for the first six months of 2022. However, demand for cars remains high, so the problem obviously is a constrained supply. With prices soaring in the new and used markets, that’s what we’d expect to result.

Other automakers have suffered all kinds of supply chain problems, ranging from shortages in microchips to constrained availability of glass and aluminum. Toyota, which in December returned to full production capacity, has since seen many manufacturing setbacks, resulting in a 19% drop in sales for Q1 and Q2 of 2022. Worse, Nissan saw a 34%

drop while Hyundai Motor Co. said sales decreased 16%. Everyone is suffering. Another problem is creeping up, one that threatens to make this industry tailspin even worse: rising interest rates. The Wall Street Journal report claims automaker executives believe despite this, sales should level out through at least the end of 2022. Beyond then, well things could get ugly, although automakers seem to think they don’t have that far to fall if a deep recession does strike. Where things could get even more complicated is the projection by Intel’s CEO and others that the chip shortage will last well into 2024. Even once the supply of chips returns to pre-pandemic levels, it will take some time to produce enough new cars to even out the auto market. Plus, shortages of other raw materials or manufactured components could still put the squeeze on production.

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New-Vehicle Prices Set Record in June as Luxury Share Hits New High The average price paid for a new vehicle in the U.S. in June was the highest on record and marked the first time the average transaction price (ATP) surpassed the $48,000 mark, according to new data released by Kelley Blue Book, a Cox Automotive company. The new-vehicle ATP increased to $48,043 in June, according to Kelley Blue Book, beating the previous high of $47,202 set in December 2021. June prices rose 1.9% ($895) from May and were up 12.7% ($5,410) from June 2021. New-vehicle inventory days’ supply inched up to the high 30s in June after being in the mid-30s since mid-January. Customer demand remains strong given continued supply issues. These conditions enabled most dealers to continue selling inventory at or above the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). The average price paid for a new vehicle has been “over sticker” throughout 2022. In June, new vehicles from Honda, Kia and Mercedes-Benz were transacting on average between 6.5% and 8.7% over MSRP. On the other side

of the spectrum, Buick, Lincoln and Ram were selling at nearly 1% below MSRP. The average price paid for a new non-luxury vehicle in June was $43,942, up $615 from May, the highest price for a non-luxury vehicle on record. Car shoppers in the non-luxury segment paid on average $1,017 above sticker price. Consumers have paid roughly $1,000 more than MSRP in each month of 2022 versus only $158 over MSRP in June 2021. “While prices for the industry are, on average, higher than MSRP, there are some non-luxury segments that are more affordable, such as compact cars and compact SUVs/ crossovers,” said Rebecca Rydzewski, research manager of economic and industry insights for Cox Automotive. “These segments are selling for more than 30% less than the industry average transaction price.” In June, the average luxury buyer paid $66,476 for a new vehicle, up $1,097 month over month, the highest price for a luxury vehicle ever. For comparison, luxury vehicles were selling for nearly $825 under MSRP one year ago.

Luxury vehicle share remains historically high and increased to 18% of total sales in June, up from 17.3% in May.

The average price paid for a new electric vehicle (EV) increased in June by 3.8% compared to May and 13.7% versus a year ago. The average price for a new electric vehicle—more than $66,000, according to Kelley Blue Book estimates—is well above the industry average and more aligned with luxury prices versus mainstream prices. Hybrid/alternative energy vehicles are selling at just over $39,000 in June, a $3,593 increase over May, and an $8,453 increase versus a year ago. High gas prices are driving consumers to consider electric vehicles, hybrids and smaller, more fuel-effi-

cient gas-powered models. New-vehicle average transaction price changes month over month by segment saw prices mixed in terms of increases and decreases. With an ATP of $39,040, hybrid/alternative energy cars saw the largest increase of $3,593. Hybrids have been in the lowest supply lately of any segment. With an ATP of $66,997, electric vehicles saw an increase of $2,444 in June, while vans increased by $658 to an ATP of $50,126. The different car segments showed nominal increases in average transaction price in June versus May. Also in extremely short supply, compact cars were up only $146 or 0.6%, while mid-size cars were up 1%, or $325 for the month. Luxury cars showed a 6.4% decrease in ATP and full-size cars showed a 0.2% decrease. Meanwhile, electric vehicles had the lowest incentives (as a percentage of ATP) of 0.4%, and entry-level luxury cars had the highest of 3.4%. Incentives dropped to a record low level in June, averaging only 2.3% of the average transaction price. Source: Kelly Blue Book

Classic Collision Announces Acquisitions in Texas, South Carolina

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Classic Collision, LLC, a leading national multi-site collision repair operator based in Atlanta, announced two new closings June 24—the acquisition of Jones Auto Wrecking Company in Florence, SC, and Gabe’s Collision Center in San Antonio, TX. Jones Auto Wrecking has been in business for more than a century. “We’re proud to be the oldest, most-trusted auto wrecking company in Florence, SC. Our company is rooted in family values and customer satisfaction, and we look forward to serving the community under the Classic name,” said Stewart Jones, former owner of Jones Auto Wrecking. Gabe’s Collision Center’s friendly staff and expert technicians have been serving the San Antonito area for almost a decade.

“We are committed to making the customer experience as smooth as possible and our certifications by manufacturers hold us to a higher standard of vehicle repairs. We are excited to be part of Classic’s growth in Texas and will continue providing high-quality repairs in our community,” said Rodrigo Valencia, former owner of Gabe’s Collision Center. “We are excited to welcome the Jones Auto Wrecking and Gabe’s Collision Center teams to the Classic family,” said Toan Nguyen, CEO of Classic Collision. “We believe their expertise in the collision repair industry will greatly contribute toward expanding our service offerings. With a steady pace, we will continue to advance our presence and growth across the country.”

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