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Vol. 39 / Issue 10 / October 2021
Americans Less Confident the Worst of the Pandemic is Over Entering Fall: Poll
The Paradox of ‘Clean’ EVs and the ‘Dirty’ Lithium Mining Business
Results of a newly released Long Island University Steven S. Hornstein Center for Policy, Polling and Analysis national poll reveal Americans’ confidence the worst of the coronavirus pandemic is over has decreased to 23% entering the fall, as compared to entering summer (53%), as the highly contagious Delta variant surges. Respondents were asked if they believe the worst of the pandemic is over. Overall, 23% of respondents said yes, which tracks significantly lower than 53% in June and 25% in February through national polls con-
by Christopher McFadden, Interesting Engineering
ducted by the Long Island University Steven S. Hornstein Center for Policy, Polling and Analysis. Respondents age 18-29 believe the worst is over at a higher rate (27%) than respondents age 60 and older (18%). Males believe the worst is over at a higher rate (30%) than females (17%). Respondents with the highest confidence level the worst of the coronavirus pandemic is over are Republicans (36%), followed by Independents (23%) and Democrats (15%). Americans were asked if they See Less Confident, Page 20
ADAS May Not Curtail as Many Accidents if it Doesn’t ‘Age’ Well by John Yoswick
In another indication the increased prevalence of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are not likely a death knell for the collision repair industry, a recently-published study estimates there will be about 790,000 “risk events” per year on the roads in the EU in 2029 attributable to reduced performance of lane-keeping assistant systems alone. Risk events are failures of the system that reduce performance. The researchers used lane-keeping systems as an example to investigate
the specific impact on the function of ADAS from age-related wear and tear, damage to the system or a lack of calibration of cameras after windshield replacement. “Assistance systems must function reliably for many years,” said Matthias Schubert of TÜV Rheinland, which conducted the study in collaboration with the British Transport Research Laboratory. “With our study, we have gained initial insights into the circumstances under which lane-keeping systems might function to a limited extent only―and into See Doesn’t ‘Age’ Well, Page 12
Electrical vehicles (EVs) are commonly hailed as something of a panacea to combating the issue of climate change. By dispensing with “dirty” and polluting combustion engines, these all-electric modes of transport are, so it is claimed, just the ticket for a greener, more sustainable future. But, is this really true? To answer this, let’s take a long hard look at the validity of EV’s “green credentials.”
What is the environmental impact of EVs? There are some very real environmental benefits to EVs on paper, in reality, there is no such thing as “free lunch”; they may not be that “clean” after all. A paradox, if you will. EVs, like anything manufactured, require raw materials in order to be produced, and some of these materials come bundled with very serious potential environmental costs. One of the most serious being lithium. Forming the cathode of See The Paradox, Page 4
Multiple Shifts Enable Auto Body Shop to Offer Overnight Repairs by John Yoswick
A recent webinar during Automotive News’ Fixed Ops Forum promised “Five Secrets of a Body Shop That Rocks,” though not all five were too much out of the ordinary. Dan Dayfer, manager of the Northtown Collision dealer-owned shop in Amherst, NY, for example, discussed the blueprinting and quality control checklist system his shop uses, procedures fairly widely adopted throughout the industry. But he also discussed the shop’s nearly round-the-clock operation, with one shift working 7:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, and a second shift working those same hours Thursday through Saturday. Once a month, those two teams switch the days they are working―meaning once a month, one team works six days in a row, while the other team gets a week off. A third team consistently works nights, 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday through Wednesday. That enables one of North-
town Collision’s other “secrets”: overnight repairs. Dayfer said any job considered “fast-lane” can be dropped off up until 9 p.m. and will be done by 7 a.m. the next morning. He said that generally includes jobs with 20 or fewer body labor hours― repair or replacement of a fender or bumper, for example. “Customers might go out to dinner, drop their car off after that, and it’s detailed and ready before they work the next day,” Dayfer said. “I would say eight to 10 customers every week will take advantage of this. Usually they’re just blown away. It works great, especially if someone doesn’t want to get into a rental.” One of the other ideas Dayfer shared was how the shop tracks materials usage. “All of our supplies are billed to each individual tech’s cabinet,” Dayfer said. “So for instance, if a tech turns 100 hours in a week, and he buys $400 worth of materials, that’s a $4 per hour cost in materials. Through the month we track this, See Multiple Shifts, Page 13
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4/1/21 8:27 AM
CONTENTS AsTech Hosts Industry Night of Education���������10 Colorado Springs Auto Repair Shop Shuts After 64 Years�����������������������������������������������14 Federal Money ‘Key’ to Rebuilding Louisiana After Hurricane Ida�����������������������������������������12 Foundation 45 Mitsubishi Presents Donation to Spring, TX, ISD Police Department’s Dream Makers Student Initiatives�����������������16 ProCare Collision Acquires 410 Collision in San Antonio������������������������������������������������6 Rivian Could Get $440M Tax Incentive for 2,000-Acre Texas Facility������������������������������18 Service King Prepares to Debut LEED Certified Facility in San Antonio���������������������10 The USAA Foundation, Inc. Donates $500,000
if it Doesn’t ‘Age’ Well�������������������������������������1 All-American from Concept to Collision Repair Shop: Pro Spot a Proud U.S. Manufacturer����38
Americans Less Confident the Worst of the
Pandemic is Over Entering Fall: Poll����������������1
Answers to Your SEMA Show Questions������������46 Apple Car Production Gets Potential 2024 Target Amid Talks with Toyota: Report�����������43 ASE Awards Busch Memorial Scholarships�������18 Automotive Industry Trend Continues Towards Use of Lightweight Materials�����������48 Axalta Announces Board Changes���������������������47 Behind-the-Scenes DCR Systems Tour Sponsored by AirPro Diagnostics, AkzoNobel & Car-O-Liner®����������������������������40 Car Insurance Costs for Men vs. Women
INDEX OF ADVERTISERS
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American Icon Automotive Finishes����������������� 16
Larry H. Miller Ford Mesa�������������������������������� 16
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Anest Iwata���������������������������������������������������� 56
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Audi South Austin������������������������������������������� 39
Mac Haik Ford-Lincoln������������������������������������ 19
Audi Wholesale Parts Dealers�������������������������� 49
BMW of South Austin�������������������������������������� 39
BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers������������������������ 44
Mazda Wholesale Parts Dealers���������������������� 50
Bob Utter Kia�������������������������������������������������� 42
Mitsubishi Wholesale Parts����������������������������� 46
Certified Automotive Parts Association������������ 18
MOPAR Wholesale Parts Dealers��������������������� 33
to UAW Officials��������������������������������������������54
NOROO Paint & Coatings��������������������������������� 27
FinishMaster, Inc., Reorganizes Sales Force������26
Christopher’s Dodge-Ram������������������������� 22, 35
North Freeway Hyundai����������������������������������� 40
Anderson - From the Desk of Mike Anderson:
GM Extends Chevy Bolt EV/EUV Plant
Classic BMW��������������������������������������������������� 21
Northside Chevrolet���������������������������������������� 31
Part of the Club����������������������������������������������� 35
Dynabrade, Inc������������������������������������������������ 17
Peak Kia��������������������������������������������������������� 35
Eagle Abrasives, Inc������������������������������������������ 7
Santa Fe Kia��������������������������������������������������� 36
Eckler’s Automotive������������������������������������������ 6
SATA Dan-Am Company���������������������������������� 15
Emich Chevrolet���������������������������������������������� 35
Schmelz Countryside�������������������������������������� 35
Finnegan Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram���������������� 2
Schomp Mazda����������������������������������������������� 30
Offer Overnight Repairs�����������������������������������1
Fisher Acura��������������������������������������������������� 35
Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center�������������������������8-9
Observations on Collision Works Sale to Gerber��55
Fisher Honda�������������������������������������������������� 35
Sorbothane Soft-Blow Mallet�������������������������� 18
PPG Provides Sales Update, Reports Worsening
Flatirons Subaru��������������������������������������������� 35
Steck Manufacturing Company����������������������� 26
Ford Wholesale Parts Dealers�������������������������� 45
Steve Landers Auto Group������������������������������� 20
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Stevinson Toyota West������������������������������������ 35
Freeman Mazda���������������������������������������������� 43
Subaru Wholesale Parts Dealers���������������������� 37
Garcia Honda�������������������������������������������������� 34
GM Wholesale Parts Dealers��������������������������� 41
Toyota of Laredo��������������������������������������������� 12
Honda-Acura Wholesale Parts Dealers�������28-29
Toyota Wholesale Parts Dealers����������������������� 47
Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers�������������������� 51
Volkswagen Wholesale Parts Dealers�������������� 55
JEN6 Equipment��������������������������������������������� 14
KECO Body Repair Products���������������������������� 23
Young Chevrolet���������������������������������������������� 32
to Assist with Hurricane Ida Recovery�������������6 Xcel Energy Drives Toward Electric Vehicle Future in Colorado����������������������������������������10 Zero Electric Vehicles, Inc. Finalizes Plan for State-of-the-Art Production Facility, New HQ in Gilbert, AZ�������������������������������������������13
Researching OEM Procedures for the Paint Shop����������������������������������������������������32 Yoswick - Honda Increasing Crash Parts Production, Transitioning Certified Auto Body Shops Over Time����������������������������������30
NATIONAL 1Collision Names Director of Location Development������������������������������������������������16 2021 SEMA Show Update: SEMA Affirms Commitment to Outstanding Show in November�������������������������������������������������55 2021 Subaru Impreza Owners Shouldn’t Drive Their Cars��������������������������������������������42 3M™ Performance Spray Gun is ‘Go-To’ Gun at Santa Margarita Auto Body����������������34 ADAS May Not Curtail as Many Accidents
in 2021���������������������������������������������������������50 Consultant Says CA Auto Body Shops Need to Know the Laws that Affect Them���������������36 Crash Champions Adds 3 Locations to Growing National Footprint����������������������������55 FCA to Pay $30M Fine for Illegal Payments
Shutdown Amid Recall����������������������������������30 Henkle Joins Elite Body Shop Solutions Team����51 Mitchell, Car ADAS Solutions Team Up to Provide Enhanced Calibration Support����������52 Multiple Shifts Enable Auto Body Shop to
Supply Disruptions and Customer Parts Shortages�����������������������������������������������������51 Proposed $42M Settlement Includes Removal of Takata Airbag Inflators in 1.35M Volkswagen and Audi Vehicles����������������������47 The Paradox of ‘Clean’ EVs and the ‘Dirty’ Lithium Mining Business���������������������������������1 Third-Generation MSO Steps Up Philanthropy During Pandemic������������������������������������������44
Kia Motors Wholesale Parts Dealers���������������� 53
autobodynews.com / OCTOBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 3
Continued from Cover
The Paradox most lithium-ion batteries, some of the ways that lithium is sourced are far from environmentally friendly. An alkali metal, lithium has seen enormous growth in demand over the last few decades. This is partly a result of the growth in demand for EVs, but also the fact that lithium is used in the batteries of many electronic devices, such as smartphones and laptops. Lithium is also an important raw resource for the production of glass and ceramics. And its use has been accelerating over time. According to some sources, between 2008 and 2018, annual production of lithium rose from 25,400 to 85,000 tons. Li-ion battery production aside (we’ll dedicate a section to that later), other environmental impacts include the kinds of motors used in EVs. Depending on the model, these will either be permanent magnets or induction motors. The former tend to be made of rare-earth metals which require energy-intensive extraction and refinement processes. The mining of these materials can also lead to the release of toxic byproducts that, in countries with less than ideal environmental practices, can be devastating for the environment. Another environmental impact of EVs is the method in which the electricity used to power them is sourced. For many countries, this still includes large amounts of fossil fuel power stations. Carbon dioxide emissions aside, the combustion of carbon-based fuels releases other noxious fumes, including sulfur and nitrous oxides, as well as particulate matter. This can lead to secondary environmental impacts like acid rain and can cause respiratory problems if the particulate matter reaches a certain threshold. EV vehicles, like combustion-engined vehicles, also release particulate matter from their braking systems. This so-called “non-exhaust particle emissions (PM)” can also contribute to respiratory diseases in built-up areas like cities. And the effects of this can be significant. According to some sta-
tistics, this form of PM may be responsible for thousands of premature deaths in the UK alone. It is important to note that these kinds of statistics rarely distinguish between the source of the PM, and include various sources including EVs and convention combustion-engined vehicles. Interestingly enough, asbestos used to be used as brake pads in many vehicles, but has since been banned in many countries around the world. But we digress. While generally considered a smaller contributing source than internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEs), EVs still require friction braking systems to operate safely. Regenerative braking systems can be used to alleviate the issue of PM generation when braking, but ultimately to stop any vehicle, some form of friction-based braking will likely be necessary. For this reason, a factor termed the “rebound effect” could come into play. As EVs become more popular over time, they are incentivized by authorities, their costs reduce over time and more people will be encouraged to use them. The result, as the argument goes, is we will see more of them on our roads, although since they release fewer PMs overall, this may be a benefit. The issue with PMs could also be mitigated, for all types of vehicles, with advancements being made in frictionless braking systems (like eddy current brake systems), although these are likely some years away from being commercially viable. What are the benefits of lithium-ion batteries in EVs? Lithium-ion batteries, Li-ion for short, are one of the most ubiquitous sources of portable power in the world today. You can find them in cellphones, laptops, power tools and, of course, electrical vehicles. The reason for this is varied but, in short, the technology is reliable, requires low maintenance, lasts a relatively long time, can be charged quickly and is usually safe and easy to use. All great attributes as a portable source of power. But one of the main standout features of this technology is the ability to recharge the batteries as
4 OCTOBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
needed. In fact, most Li-ion batteries can be charged, discharged and recharged hundreds of times before expiring. Compared to other common types of batteries, Li-ion batteries also tend to have a higher energy density and voltage capacity and lower self-discharge rate. This makes them a great way to store and transport energy efficiently and easily. Let’s expand on some of the technology’s main benefits: Li-ion batteries require less maintenance: With regards to maintenance, Li-ion batteries, unlike lead-acid batteries, do not need to be “watered,” meaning they require less monitoring and skilled operatives to conduct maintenance on them. They last a long time: Li-ion batteries, as previously stated, last a relatively long time. On average, a Li-ion battery can be expected to remain serviceable for eight or more years (depending on use). Li-ion batteries are rechargeable: Whether used for domestic appliances or industrial machines, the ability to recharge them at will is incredibly useful. Charging is also relatively fast, and getting faster, as we have seen with advances in super-quick charging in EVs. They are generally safe: As Liion batteries do not need the highly toxic chemicals found in more conventional batteries, such as acidic components in lead-acid batteries, they are relatively safer to use and dispose of. Li-ion batteries are relatively environmentally friendly: When compared to lead-acid batteries and to fossil fuel alternatives, Li-ion batteries are much better for the environment. Lithium isn’t a toxic heavy metal like lead, and directly replacing internal combustion-engined vehicles with EVs using li-ion batteries as a power source helps reduce emissions. However, as you are about to find out, the environmental benefits of Li-ion batteries may in some ways be shortsighted. What is the environmental impact of battery production and disposal? Possibly the most important environmental impact of EVs is the way lithium for their batteries are sourced.
These batteries tend to consist of lithium cobalt for the cathode and graphite for the anode. A typical EV lithium-ion battery’s electrolyte is also made of lithium salt. More than half of this lithium comes from the so-called Lithium-Triangle that lies under Argentina, Bolivia and Chile. To extract it, miners drill holes in the salt flats and pump the salty, mineral-rich brine to the surface, leaving it to evaporate in huge artificial lakes or ponds. This process uses a lot of water, more than 500,000 gallons for each ton of lithium produced. Such enormous consumption of water impacts not only the surrounding ecosystems but also has a huge impact on local farmers, for obvious reasons. Not only that, but these large evaporation pools are often far from sealed. This can, and has, led to the leaching of toxic substances into the surrounding water supply. As happened in Tibet a few years ago, the accidental release of substances like hydrochloric acid kills large amounts of aquatic animals such as fish. But EV batteries are not just all about lithium. There are some other key components that are just as potentially harmful to the environment as lithium, if not more―enter cobalt and nickel. The former is found in large deposits across the Democratic Republic of Congo and central Africa. And this is one of the main problems―its geographical location. It is relatively easy to extract cobalt, which has produced a large incentive to dig it out and sell it. However, this is often conducted unsafely and with little concern for the environment in enterprises termed “artisanal mines.” These informal mines often involve the use of child labor who extract the raw materials by hand with little to no protective equipment. Cobalt mining produces a lot of airborne particulate matter, which often contains toxic contaminants like uranium. Inhalation of these substances has been linked to serious health problems, including respiratory disease and birth defects. Cobalt mining sites also often contain sulfur-containing materials See The Paradox, Page 21
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ProCare Collision Acquires 410 Collision in San Antonio ProCare Collision announced it acquired its 45th location with the purchase of 410 Collision, which had two locations in the San Antonio metro area. “This partnership with 410 Collision will help ProCare strengthen its ability to service more of the surrounding San Antonio community,” said ProCare CEO Vince Brock. “410 Collision has an excellent reputation, and we are excited to build on that. We are also happy that George Arce and Juan Rodriguez, owners of 410 Collision, expressed their enthusiasm about joining the ProCare Collision team.” ProCare Collision will now service new areas around San Antonio in the Northwest area. ProCare Collision is I-CAR Gold Class certified and currently has shops throughout San Antonio, Austin, the I-35 corridor and Houston. The locations will retain their skilled employees and will receive ProCare’s additional resources to provide a streamlined customer experience. Source: ProCare Collision
The USAA Foundation, Inc. Donates $500,000 to Assist with Hurricane Ida Recovery The USAA Foundation, Inc. has announced a $500,000 donation to Team Rubicon and American Red Cross to help families and communities recover from the recent impacts felt by Hurricane Ida. Hurricane Ida hit on a particularly poignant day as it was the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a historic storm that hit the same region.
“Readiness and support for our members, employees and communities is our priority with any storm,” said Harriet Dominique, president of The USAA Foundation, Inc. “Team Rubicon and American Red Cross are boots on the ground helping those impacted by Hurricane Ida and we want to be right there with
them to help support as much as we can.” Team Rubicon already deployed volunteers to the impacted regions and will use The USAA Foundation’s funding to stand up operations in Hammond and Houma, LA. “USAA and The USAA Foundation have been some of Team Rubicon’s longest-standing partners and this donation will help us expand the services we can provide to the communities impacted by Hurricane Ida,” said Art delaCruz, CEO of Team Rubicon. “This funding will jumpstart our efforts to getting Greyshirts on the ground to assist in Louisiana and Mississippi’s recovery.” American Red Cross had approximately 650 volunteers on the ground prior to Hurricane Ida making landfall. “The generous gift from The USAA Foundation will provide so much comfort and hope to people experiencing tragedy across the country,” said Marty McKellips, regional CEO of American Red Cross. “The funds will ensure the
Red Cross has the resources we need to feed hungry people, deliver much needed medicine and supplies, and give people the strength to rebuild their lives.” In 2020, USAA and The USAA Foundation, Inc. committed $87 million to nonprofit organizations in support of pandemic-related relief, racial equality and other critical needs across our communities. Additionally, USAA employees gave more than $10 million to nonprofit organizations and logged more than 185,000 volunteer hours to support communities and those in need. For those interested in learning more about how they can volunteer their time or donate to relief efforts, visit usaa.com/help. To file an insurance claim, visit usaa.com/help for more information. Source: USAA
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Xcel Energy Drives Toward Electric Vehicle Future in Colorado Xcel Energy announced Sept. 9 a suite of electric vehicle charging programs is available, making EV charging easy, fast and more affordable for Colorado customers. In addition to the company’s new residential offerings, new EV programs supporting community charging, businesses and multifamily buildings are available to empower and assist customers in their EV journey and help them drive electric to save money and reduce carbon emissions. These programs and offerings are part of the company’s Colorado Transportation Electrification Plan and Xcel Energy’s EV vision to power 1.5 million EVs on the road in the states it serves by 2030. As Xcel Energy increases the amount of renewable and carbon-free energy on its system, customers are increasingly charging with cleaner, reliable and more affordable energy, allowing people to charge EVs for less than the equivalent of $1 per gallon of gas. In total, over a threeyear period, the programs will provide about 20,000 charging plugs in homes, businesses, workplaces, community charging hubs and other
public places in Colorado. “We are absolutely committed to making electric transportation accessible to everyone, and our innovative programs will make it easier for all Colorado customers and communities to consider going electric,” said Alice Jackson, president, Xcel Energy–Colorado. “Our new EV programs can help our customers and communities go even further to reduce carbon emissions by tackling the largest source of carbon emissions in the country―the transportation sector―and at the same time help them save money and enjoy a cleaner environment.” Xcel Energy’s EV vision aligns with Colorado’s goal to have 940,000 electric vehicles on the roads by 2030, while making electric transportation available to all customers at a range of income levels whether they drive an EV, take transit or use ridesharing. It also complements Xcel Energy’s vision to deliver 100% carbon-free electricity to customers by 2050. The company’s transition to more electric cars, trucks and buses will help keep bills low for all customers, including those who don’t
Service King Prepares to Debut LEED Certified Facility in San Antonio Service King Collision is set to introduce a sustainable, energy-efficient approach to the collision repair industry in San Antonio when it opens a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified facility at 7507 W. Loop 1604 N. in Alamo Ranch in early January 2022. The LEED certification is 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 recognizes 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 eager to complete this eco-friendly project,” said Service King Director of Development John Gageby. “We’re really proud of our new San Antonio facility’s comprehensive approach to sustainability and emphasis on strategies for environmental and
health performance.” When the new 13,600-square foot body repair shop opens, it will mark the 14th Service King in the San Antonio area and 95th in Texas, with more than 300 locations systemwide. “At Service King, we strive to improve the communities we serve by getting our customers back on the road with seamless repairs,” said Service King President Jeff McFadden. “As we open this new facility, we look forward to providing a best-in-class experience for our customers, partners and even more of the San Antonio community as we continue to expand further across our home state.” In the weeks ahead, the new facility will welcome up to 20 new teammates to join its family in delivering world-class customer service. To apply, visit careers.serviceking.com/jobs. To learn more about Service King, visit serviceking.com. Source: Service King
10 OCTOBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
drive an EV. In Colorado, customer bills are already 34% below the national average. The company launched four new residential EV programs in Colorado making it easier and less costly for all residential customers in Colorado to drive electric. Eligible customers can now have a charger installed at their house for a low monthly fee, save on energy with a $50 annual reward, get rebates for home wiring upgrades and, for income qualified customers, receive rebates for new or pre-owned car purchases/leases. For businesses, multifamily housing and communities looking to go electric, Colorado customers will have an EV concierge guide them on the journey of electrification while taking advantage of EV infrastructure support and the option of Xcel Energy-provided charging equipment. Businesses, governments and organizations serving higher emissions or income-qualified communities can also benefit from additional charging equipment rebates. More information about electric vehicles and these new programs are available at ev.xcelenergy.com. Source: Xcel Energy
AsTech Hosts Industry Night of Education On Aug. 24, asTech hosted an Industry Night of Education for auto body shops outside the Tulsa, OK, metro area. The event, co-sponsored by Sherwin-Williams and John Bean, was put on to help Tulsa area shops learn about the ever
increasing complexity of today’s vehicle and the future of automotive technology. Topics discussed during the Industry Night of Education included asTech products, including asTech Express, asTech and adasThink; how to know what level of support your shop needs; and how to generate revenue in your shop. Source: asTech
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Federal Money ‘Key’ to Rebuilding Louisiana After Hurricane Ida by William Patrick, The Center Square
the consequences this may have for road safety.” As part of the study, TÜV Rheinland drove a vehicle with simulated damages on the windshield or incorrect calibration of the cameras on a test track. Components were artificially aged. In one scenario, there were also changes made to the chassis. Researchers observed the function of the lane-keeping assistance system deteriorated when, for example, there were simulated stone impacts in the windshield. In rare cases, the system switched off without warning. The vehicle also drove over lane markings without warning or reaction from the system. Schubert believes too little is known about how accidents, improper repairs or wear and tear affect the functionality of assistance systems and thus road safety in the long term. The study found failures could lead to as many as 2.3 million risk events each year in Europe alone.
As Louisiana continues to recover from Hurricane Ida, lost economic activity could develop into a major concern without timely federal support, placing additional burdens on taxpayers and local governments. Nearly 1 million electricity customers remained without power as of Sept. 1, including nearly all of New Orleans and 10 surrounding parishes in southeast Louisiana, according to poweroutage.us. Another seven parishes are at least 60% without power. Emergency distribution sites for basic necessities such as water, tarps and food rations are available in place of shuttered or damaged grocery stores in devastated communities. A real-time Walmart store map shows 26 locations remain closed from greater Baton Rouge to New Orleans and throughout the southeast region. As relief efforts focus on survival needs, the storm’s impact on residents, businesses and local economies could lead to significant government revenue losses and associated services without immediate federal recovery aid.
“Federal funds are the key,” said John Gallagher, executive director of the Louisiana Municipal Association. Based on pervious storms, sales tax revenues decline from businesses being shut down, evacuations and damaged property, he said. “Once the recovery starts and federal funds come in to help rebuild and communities start opening up, I think you’ll see an increase in sales tax revenues,” Gallagher said. According to the Tax Foundation, a Washington-based nonprofit, Louisiana has the highest combined state and local sales tax in the country at 9.55%. The revenue raised from taxing applicable goods is used to fund public services. The more widespread the damage and the longer the natural disaster recovery persists, the less sales tax is collected. At the same time, the Louisiana Department of Revenue is issuing relief initiatives aimed at easing taxpayer obligations. A department spokesperson offered two examples: one extending tax filing and payment deadlines to Louisiana residents and business owners, and another exempting nonresident
employees and businesses from income taxes for activities directly related to the Hurricane Ida recovery. President Joe Biden approved a major disaster declaration for Louisiana on Aug. 29, authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist state and local recovery efforts. “Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster,” a news release said. An attempt to gauge funding timelines and dollar amounts was submitted to FEMA, however a representative was not able to respond by time of publish. “You’re always concerned, especially in devastated places. What’s the storm’s footprint going to look like when they come back?” Gallagher said. “But once the federal funds start coming into these communities and federal resources help citizens rebuild, people are going to go to those local stores and buy appliances, lumber and other things.”
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Zero Electric Vehicles, Inc. Finalizes Plan for State-of-the-Art Production Facility, New HQ in Gilbert, AZ Zero Electric Vehicles, Inc (ZEV) on Sept. 1 announced plans to complete buildout of its new 103,000-square foot, state-of-theart EV manufacturing facility in Gilbert, AZ, to better serve its electrification solutions for light and medium duty fleet vehicles. The company is targeting a move-in date of Dec. 1. ZEV has worked extensively with EastGroup Properties to architect the facility and production workflow to maximize space and power use, while delivering an innovative and modern work experience for ZEV employees, contractors and partners. “We are thrilled that ZEV have selected Gilbert Crossroads for their new headquarters and look forward to welcoming them to their new state-of-the art manufacturing facility in December,” said Mike Sacco, vice president, EastGroup Properties. EastGroup Properties is the owner and developer of the four-building, 318,000-square foot Gilbert Crossroads Business Park.
ZEV’s location is strategically positioned to capitalize on its partnership with Arizona State University to build on its incredible
talent pool while developing new relationships with Grand Canyon University and Maricopa County Community Colleges. “ZEV values the incredible talent coming through these college programs; we have more than four graduates with patent filings in less than six months of development―that is rapid innovation,” said Jim Maury, ZEV president. ZEV will expand its fleet vehicle conversion production to 40 vehicles per day by spring of 2022. This expansion will deliver more
than 300 new jobs to the city of Gilbert and surrounding area. ZEV has allocated 10,000 square feet to accelerate battery module design, development, certification and assembly to support fleet and passenger vehicle applications. This will bring high tech jobs, with expertise in battery cell chemistries, packaging, thermal management and control interfaces to maximize energy density, configurability and safety through the vehicle lifecycle. “It’s with great excitement that we welcome ZEV to Gilbert in their new 103,000-square foot standalone location on Germann Road,” said Gilbert Mayor Brigette Peterson. “ZEV plans to hire 300 local employees over the next 12 months. We are grateful that ZEV chose Gilbert and thrilled for them to add to Gilbert’s thriving business community.” Source: ZEV
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Multiple Shifts and everybody tries to be the lowest. We give out gift certificates or buy lunches for those who are lowest every month.” Similarly, the four-person paint teams on each shift are rewarded with a monthly bonus if their perhour paint and materials costs stay under $14. “So the two painters will share clear, and any extra base that’s accumulated they use as ground coats,” Dayfer said. “They really do a fantastic job.” Rob Gehring, a consultant who suggested Automotive News highlight Dayfer’s shop on the webinar, said Northtown Collision produces more than $1 million in monthly sales from an 18,000-square foot facility. “What I am so impressed with is that his gross profit margin on paint and materials is 70%,” Gehring said. “Frankly, I’ve never heard anyone do a better job than that.”
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Colorado Springs Auto Repair Shop Shuts After 64 Years ness, he decided to close the shop for good. Elwood Buster II’s workspace for “Competing with the internet is over 40 years at Speedometer and really hard,” Rusty said. “Now, peoAlternator Service Co. could be a ple can go online and buy starters goldmine or a heap of junk. It de- and alternators cheaper than we can pends on your point of view. fix them.” Jumbled car manuals are heaped Rusty stopped rebuilding speedon shelves. Countertops are strewn ometers, alternators and generators with screwdrivers and wrenches and in August and began liquidating the weighted down by alternators and store’s merchandise, with a plan to speedometers, and pieces of auto- continue fixing only speedometers at motive electrical gear are propped in his house. every nook and cranny. Rusty sold the property to a real estate developer who bought several surrounding properties, too. The developer told him there were no immediate plans for the plot, Rusty said. “When the developer came by and made an offer on the building, I weighed out all of this and decided that the offer to sell would let me close down that porElwood Buster II, who goes by Rusty, poses for a portrait tion of the business on my at his shop, Speedometer and Alternator Service Co., in Colorado Springs on Aug. 11. Rusty took over the speedown terms, instead of tryometer, alternator and generator repair business from his ing to ride it out another 10 father, Elwood Buster. He is closing the doors after 64 years years and then being forced in business and plans to continue fixing only speedometers to close down,” Rusty said. at his home. Credit: Chancey Bush/The Gazette As a teen, Rusty spent “It’s like walking back in time,” his summers and afternoons helpBuster said, looking around the ing his dad in the shop. He never planned to spend his career at his room. Buster, who goes by the nick- dad’s car shop, but one full year name Rusty, took over the auto spent working at the business after repair business from his father, El- high school turned into a lifetime. wood Buster, who bought the busi- “I just kind of fell into the rouness in 1957 and then purchased the tine,” Rusty said. “And then never building that housed the business, at left.” 449 E. Kiowa St. on downtown Col- The transition of the business orado Springs’ east edge, in 1961. from father to son, however, was not Previously a grocery store, the an easy one. 16,000-square foot shop saw thou- While in the shop one day in sands of collector and hot rod cars 1989, 74-year-old Elwood Buster roll through its garage over the was visited by several of his longyears. time friends. “Where the parking lot is, there “They were all just having a used to be a house,” Rusty said. bull session, like sitting around a “And when my dad bought this general store,” Rusty said. “And I building in ‘61, he bought the house didn’t get any work done that day, next door. So we lived next door to because I was just listening to all the the shop. So I was always in here stories.” The time came to say goodbyes, and grew up around guys that like and the elder Buster went home becars.” But like many retailers and cause he didn’t feel well. He died small specialty businesses such as that night. his, Rusty discovered in recent years “The hardest thing I’ve ever had he was losing the sales race to online to do was to call those six or seven competitors. After 64 years in busi- guys and tell them that he passed by Jessica Snouwaert, The Gazette
14 OCTOBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
away,” Rusty said. “And each one of them could not identify why they had stopped by. They just (said), ‘Hey, I haven’t seen him for a while. I’m going to stop and say hi.’” The family nature of the business went deeper than Buster and Rusty. Tom Nixon, who worked at the shop for 46 years, was a fixture of the store. “He would hang around and stop by after school,” Rusty said. “... My dad hired him in 1959, when he was 17, when he was a senior. And basically it was the only job he ever had.” Nixon, 79, said “old-timers” will miss the store when it’s gone, but even now, he misses working in the shop. “Buster was a great guy,” Nixon said. “I enjoyed working with him.” During the start of August, Rusty was preparing to clean out the shop when a customer walked in looking for alternator repairs. Rusty broke the news that the business shut down more than a week ago.
“Are you going to keep working on speedometers?” the customer, Nathan Nash, asked. “Yeah, definitely―I’m still going to be doing speedometers,” Rusty said. Rusty tested Nash’s alternator, hooking it up to a machine on the wall to see if it charged the proper way or if it needed to be replaced. The machine started to whir and hum. “It’s definitely bad,” Rusty said. He told Nash he could probably find the replacement at Quality Alternator and Turbo Service, one of the last shops of its kind in town, now that Speedometer and Alternator Service Co. is leaving the scene. “Guys like him are hard to find,” Nash said. “And now they’re going to be harder to find.”
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Foundation 45 Mitsubishi Presents Donation to Spring, TX, ISD Police Department’s Dream Makers Student Initiatives This school year, Foundation 45 Mitsubishi has partnered with the Spring, TX, ISD Police Department with a donation of more than $4,000 to help support the Dream Makers project. Having recently distributed more than 3,500 backpacks full of school supplies to K-5 students within the Spring, Houston and Aldine ISDs, it was clear there is still a need to make a larger impact in their community. Foundation 45 Mitsubishi and Foundation Automotive Corp. are passionate about getting money into the hands of the people and programs who need it most. The Spring ISD Police Department spearheads many student-focused initiatives. Dream Makers is a flagship district-wide student leadership program that offers mentorship, encouragement, engagement and rewards for acts of leadership and kindness in students. Blue Santa partners Spring ISD police officers with 30 students from the school district, who each get dinner and a $200 shopping
spree. Programs like this strongly encourage relationship building with officers, students and the community. This year, Blue Santa will take place Dec. 13 in the Spring community shopping area. The Blue Santa program has a fundraising goal of $6,000, and Foundation 45 Mitsubishi’s contribution was able to cover more than half. Foundation 45 also sponsored a police chief, a lieutenant, a corporal and an officer for their Read With a Cop literacy program. Chief Ken Culbreath, Chaplain John Goodman, Detective Burk and K-9 Officer Flanley were all on location to accept the donation. “It’s businesses such as Foundation 45 Mitsubishi that help bridge the gap between law enforcement and students as they grow up and become productive citizens in our community,” said Goodman. “As businesses invest in our student programs, it sends a clear message that police officers are not just around for a negative
interaction. It also lets students and parents know that officers within the school district are on campuses and in the community to see that they obtain a quality education in a safe environment.” Foundation 45 Mitsubishi was established in 2020 within Foundation Automotive Corp. Foundation is a family business that will continue to give back to Texas with frequent giveaways to local residents, working with local charities, fundraising and unrivaled community focus and involvement. “It’s so important to support our first responders. We have an amazing group of individuals in the Texas area that have such a passion for people and put their own lives on the line every day,” said Chuck Kramer, COO of Foundation Automotive. Source: Foundation 45 Mitsubishi
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1Collision Names Director of Location Development 1Collision proudly announced John Hollingsworth as director of location development. Hollingsworth will be responsible for the continued growth and development of 1Collision expansion of independent single and multiple location collision repair centers throughout the U.S. Prior to joining 1Collision, Hollingsworth spent more than seven years in a collision industry training organization working with teams on their culture and leadership. “I’m excited to be back in a different capacity but one that still allows me to use my gifts,” Hollingsworth said. “Having conducted a national search for the right individual to lead the business development charge, we are delighted John has joined our team,” said 1Collision President and COO Jim Keller. Source: 1Collision
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ASE Awards Busch Memorial Scholarships The ASE Education Foundation announced the recipients of the Michael Busch Memorial Scholarships for the 2021-22 school year. The two honorees, Brendan Arthur of Huntington Valley, PA, and Najah Brown of Philadelphia, PA, were each awarded Busch Scholarships in recognition of their outstanding academic achievement. The Michael Busch Memorial Scholarship fund was created in memory of the son of a former collision shop owner and ASE board member, Jim Busch, who operated a shop in Issaquah, WA, until his retirement. His son, Michael, was an automotive technology student who tragically lost his battle with cancer. Each year, two scholarships are awarded in Michael Busch’s name. Qualified applicants should be a graduating high school senior or have graduated from high school or received a GED certificate, and be enrolled or planning to enroll in a two- or four-year-college or an ASE-accredited program. Source: ASE Education Foundation
Rivian Could Get $440M Tax Incentive for 2,000-Acre Texas Facility by Maria Merano, Teslarati
Rivian could benefit from a $440 million tax incentive from the City of Fort Worth, TX, if it meets specific requirements. Rivian’s potential Texas factory promises to deliver at least $5 billion in direct capital investment and more than 7,500 new jobs to the city. Fort Worth’s City Council was scheduled to vote on an economic development agreement with Rivian on Aug. 17. The meeting also included a public hearing and council votes to designate Rivian’s potential factory a tax abatement reinvestment zone. Local media reported the city council approved a $440 million tax incentive package with Rivian. However, city council records have not been updated and do not reflect the approval yet. According to city records about Rivian’s Texas factory, Fort Worth proposed to enter into an Economic Development Program Agreement (EDPA) with the EV automaker to provide up to 15 annual grants,
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Enterprise (M/WBE) company. If Rivian fails to comply with this requirement, there will be a 10% reduction in the maximum grant percentage. Rivian must also meet employment and salary commitments: Rivian must provide a minimum of 1,875 full-time jobs on the project site on or before Dec. 31, 2025. Rivian must provide a minimum of 3,750 full-time jobs on the project site on or before Dec. 31, 2026. Rivian must provide a minimum of 7,500 full-time jobs on the project site on or before Dec. 31, 2027. The average annual salary for all fulltime jobs required under the EDPA must be a minimum of $56,000. Rivian’s proposed facility in the City of Fort Worth spans approximately 2,000 acres within Walsh Ranch. It is located near I-20 and Bentley Road. The EV start-up plans to build on 12 million square feet of the site, including a vehicle manufacturing building, a vehicle component facility and a development center.
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Less Confident would recommend adolescents ages 12 to 18 get vaccinated with an FDA approved vaccine. 72% of respondents said yes. 90% of Democrats said yes. 66% of Independents/Other said yes. 53% of Republicans said yes. Respondents were asked if they support wearing masks in schools to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. 74% of respondents said yes. 92% of Democrats said yes. 71% of Independents/Other said yes. 50% of Republicans said yes. Respondents were asked if they support wearing masks in public areas to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. 75% of respondents said yes. 92% of Democrats said yes. 72% of Independents/Other said yes. 52% of Republicans said yes. Respondents were asked if they believe wearing face masks reduces the likelihood of contracting the coronavirus. 72% of Americans said yes. 91% of Democrats said yes. 68% of Independents/Other said
yes. 51% of Republicans said yes. Americans were asked how concerned they are about someone in their family becoming seriously ill from the coronavirus. 72% of respondents said they are somewhat or seriously concerned as compared to 57% in an earlier June poll. 84% of Democrats, 70% of Independents/ Other and 56% of Republicans said they are somewhat or seriously concerned. Americans were asked how concerned they are about someone in their family becoming seriously ill from the Delta variant. 73% of respondents said they are somewhat or seriously concerned. 85% of Democrats, 72% of Independents/ Other and 56% of Republicans said they are somewhat or seriously concerned. Americans were asked how concerned they are about someone in their family that has been vaccinated becoming seriously ill from a “breakthrough” infection. 62% of respondents said they are somewhat or seriously concerned. 71% of Democrats, 60% of Independents/ Other and 51% of Republicans said
they are somewhat or seriously concerned. Respondents were asked if they feel safe dining out in restaurants if they are vaccinated. 57% of Americans said yes, which held roughly steady from a previous poll in April (58%). 56% of Democrats said yes, 54% of Independents/Other said yes and 64% of Republicans said yes. Respondents were asked if they feel safe using air travel if they are vaccinated. 51% of Americans said yes, which held roughly steady from a previous poll in April (50%). 48% of Democrats said yes, 50% of Independents/Other said yes and 59% of Republicans said yes. Respondents were asked if they feel safe attending full-capacity stadium events if they are vaccinated. 32% of Americans said yes, which held roughly steady from a previous poll in April (33%). 26% of Democrats said yes, 30% of Independents/ Other said yes and 46% of Republicans said yes. On Sept. 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a new study that indicated a rise in child and adolescent
hospitalizations related to the coronavirus and highly contagious Delta variant during the summer. The study showed hospitalization rates of adolescents age 12–17 years were 10 times higher in the unvaccinated compared with those who were fully vaccinated. The CDC recommends everyone age 2 and older wear masks in public spaces, schools and childcare centers. The CDC also recommends everyone age 12 and older to get vaccinated to prevent the spread of coronavirus and the Delta variant, reportedly more than twice as contagious as previous variants. The CDC acknowledged that while COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing most infections, they are not 100% effective and breakthrough infections monitored by a CDC hospitalization rate tracking system. According to CDC data, 62% of Americans age 12 and over are fully vaccinated as of Sept. 4. 64% of Americans age 18 and over are fully vaccinated (up from 55% in June). Americans over age 65 are fully vaccinated at a significantly higher
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rate (82% in September; up from 77% in June), indicating a promising way forward for the most at-risk population. Each state health department has a tailored plan for vaccination rollout in the U.S. Currently, the three vaccines authorized and recommended to prevent COVID-19 by the CDC are Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. Source: Long Island University Steven S. Hornstein Center for Policy, Polling and Analysis
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The Paradox that can generate sulfuric acid when exposed to air and water. When this acid drains from the mines, it can devastate rivers, streams and other aquatic and terrestrial environments for a very long time. Where the batteries for EVs are made is also an important factor when considering their environmental impact. According to Forbes, batteries produced in China produce somewhere in the region of 60% more carbon dioxide than internal combustion engines. If China could be convinced to adopt Western standards for production, this could be significantly reduced. The report also found these factories could cut their emissions by up to 66% if they adopted manufacturing techniques used in America or Europe manufacturing techniques. If this were to happen, the extraction process and production of batteries would be on a par or slightly higher than the manufacturing process of ICE vehicles.
EV batteries also tend to be pretty heavy. This can result in other, often overlooked, environmental impacts like the need to attempt to reduce the weight in other parts of the car. Lighter materials like carbon fiber-based polymers tend to be more energy-intensive to produce and difficult to recycle. Another issue with EVs is the way in which the electricity used to charge its batteries is generated. While leaps and bounds have been made in adding renewable technologies to many countries’ energy mix, many are still heavily reliant on carbon-based power stations. This is not insignificant either. According to some sources, EVs, on average, emit around 4,450lbs of CO2 each year indirectly. To put that into perspective, conventional gasoline cars emit at least twice as much. However, it is important to note that this varies widely around the world. Battery production is only half the story, however. The way that batteries are disposed of at the end of their life can also potentially
damage the environment. At present, there are few countries that regularly attempt to recycle lithium-ion batteries. This has led and will continue to lead to large amounts of spent batteries ending their days in landfills. This is incredibly wasteful, as many of the main components, like lithium, could be recovered and reused. While recycling can be achieved, most of the current research has focused on improving durability, efficiency and reduced cost of production. Current practices involve simply smelting (high-temperature melting and extraction) of old batteries in a process fairly similar to the mining industry. This is a very energy-intensive process, compounding the hidden CO2 cost of EVs during their construction. Improving the methods of recycling these old batteries could be potentially very lucrative, however. It may also become ever more geostrategically essential as time goes by. Where does lithium come from? Lithium, one of the main com-
autobodynews.com / OCTOBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 21
ponents of lithium-ion batteries, comes from two major sources: brine and hard rock deposits. The former is generally found in salt lakes and is extracted by evaporating off the water to leave lithium-concentrated salts. Brine evaporation is the simplest and most common form of lithium extraction, but tends to yield the lowest grade of the material. At present, more than half of the world’s lithium resources lie under the salt flats in the Andean regions of Argentina, Bolivia and Chile. Extraction is conducted by pumping huge amounts of brine groundwater from drilled wells to be left to evaporate in brine pools or ponds. Also called salterns, salt pans or salars, here the lithium-rich brine water is left to evaporate in the sun. Depending on the makeup of the groundwater, this tends to lead to a concentrated mixture of manganese, potassium, borax and lithium salts. This is then filtered, and placed in another evaporation pool until a commercially viable amount of lithium carbonate salt can be extracted. These pools or ponds can become havens for some types of wildlife, including algae and some endangered birds. As a general rule of thumb, it takes about 2 million liters of water to produce a ton of lithium. Hard rock deposits, on the other hand, tend to produce the best yields of lithium. So, how is lithium mined? Hard lithium mining requires significantly higher investment costs as well as extensive geological mapping and exploration to find suitable deposits. Once found, drilling equipment is used to extract the lithium ore, which provides better quality lithium at the cost of increased monetary burden. There are various lithium ores including, but not limited to, petalite (LiAl(Si2O5)2, lepidolite K(Li,Al)3(Al,Si,Rb)4O10(F,OH)2, spodumene LiAl(SiO3)2. To date, the largest hard rock sources of lithium include Australia and Chile. Hard rock lithium extraction tends to require about three to four years of capital investment before becoming productive, and mines― depending on the ore reserves―tend
to have an average productive life of about 16 years. Brine evaporation extraction methods tend to require five or so years of investment prior to production but will tend to last much longer than hard rock mining, with average lifespans of about 30 years. According to some estimates, at the current rate of consumption and production, there is expected to be a shortfall in lithium by the mid2020s. Can lithium-ion batteries be recycled? As we have previously touched upon, lithium-ion batteries most certainly can be recycled. However, the current practices of Li-ion battery recycling, and projects currently in the works, are still very much in their infancy. For example, in Australia, only about 2% to 3% of spent batteries are currently collected and sent offshore for recycling. European and U.S. rates are not that much better, at around 5%, give or take. “There are many reasons why Li-ion battery recycling is not yet a universally well-established practice,” Linda L. Gaines, of Argonne National Laboratory, said in an interview with C&EN. The reasons include things like technical constraints, economic barriers, logistic issues and regulatory gaps, to name but a few. At present, most suppliers and their clients are currently focusing on improving the battery’s lifespan and efficiency and lower their costs rather than seriously focusing on recycling them at the end of their lives. The most common method of recycling the batteries is to melt spent batteries at high temperatures to recover the precious metals within them. This takes a lot of energy and is actually more expensive than extracting and refining new materials from raw sources. Research is ongoing, but most efforts are still small-scale projects conducted by independent research groups or startups. However, some government initiatives have also been launched to attempt to stem the growing tide of used batteries. For example, in January 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) launched the country’s first
22 OCTOBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
Li-ion battery recycling R&D center, the ReCell Center. The idea is to help make battery recycling profitable and allow the U.S. to become self-sufficient in battery resources it lacks, like cobalt. The U.S. DOE has also launched a $5.5 million Battery Recycling Prize to help encourage the free market to find innovative solutions for the collection, storage and recycling of spent batteries. Across the pond, in the UK, a group of researchers from various universities has also created a consortium to achieve a similar goal. Called the Reuse and Recycling of Lithium-Ion Batteries project, it brings together 50 scientists and engineers from eight institutions and 14 industry partners. What can be done to make EVs truly “green”? So, given the very real environmental impacts EVs have on the planet, what can be done to make them truly “green”? Here are some examples. 1. Dispense with Li-ion batteries altogether Since EV batteries are hazard-
ous to the environment, from cradle to grave, the most logical step to take would be to stop using them altogether. However, this is a lot harder than it sounds. There are, after all, good reasons why Li-ion batteries have become so ubiquitous (as we detailed earlier). That being said, there are some potential avenues to explore. One example is the salt-based batteries currently under development through a collaboration between the University of Nottingham and six research institutes across China. By combining the performance of oxide fuel with metal-air batteries, these batteries could prove to be a viable replacement for Liion batteries. The best part? These batteries would be fully recyclable, affordable, safe and, in theory, “green.” Other interesting examples include titanium-nitride batteries or using the “wonder material” graphene. Other exciting initiates include a potential “never-ending” battery, too. Made from recovered and reused nuclear fuel, these batteries could last for more than 28,000
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years, or so the developers claim. Currently in development by a California-based startup, these nano-diamond batteries are nearly indestructible and will be cheaper than existing Li-ion battery packs if they can be fully developed. Other more esoteric examples include eco-friendly, liquid batteries that run on vanillin. Currently in development by researchers at the Graz University of Technology, this interesting line of research would be truly sustainable. Another option could be by using Zinc-air batteries. These have been shown to significantly out-perform Li-ion batteries on all levels, and are also a lot better for the environment. However, it should be noted that zinc, if leaked into the environment, can be devastating for local ecosystems. 2. Make Li-ion batteries longer-lasting Another potential solution is to make the batteries as long-lasting as possible if a viable replacement for Li-ion is not found. This would help alleviate the need to extract new raw materials to replace spent batteries, and would also help reduce the need to either dispose of or recycle them at the end of their lives. And, thankfully, some options are currently being investigated to achieve just this. One example is to
add molybdenum and sulfur to Liion batteries to produce cheap, very light batteries with almost twice the energy density of existing Li-ion batteries. Currently in development by the University of Texas, molybdenum and sulfur would be used to replace the lithium electrodes while still providing a viable battery unit. Other solutions include the use of sulfide electrodes to help extend the working life of Li-ion batteries too. Currently being investigated at the University of Florida, sulfide-Liion batteries should be able to extend the number of charge-discharge cycles with little to no degradation of the battery. 3. Try to find lithium sources in places that care about the environment Failing either to replace Li-ion batteries or finding ways to extend their functional lives, another alternative could be to find more sustainable sources of lithium. Whether this is opening up mining and refining operations in countries with strong environmental regulations, or searching for sources with a high bar to entry for extraction, this would go a long way to reducing the environmental impact of lithium battery production and, by extension, the EV industry in general. Seawater, for example, is a po-
FinishMaster, Inc., Reorganizes Sales Force FinishMaster, Inc., a leading provider of automotive and industrial paint, coatings and related products, announced a reorganization to its sales team, transitioning from regional-based to a customer-focused sales structure. The new structure features three teams to better align the company with the marketplace and improve overall efficiency. Traditional Accounts represents the company’s largest cus-
tomer base in North America. Strategic and Industrial Accounts is a newly formed group dedicated to the growth of multishop operations and industrial businesses—including commercial vehicle, recreational vehicle, fleet and metal fabrication—and will enable the company to provide new value-added solutions. National Accounts will focus on customers with a nationwide footprint. Source: FinishMaster
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tential source of lithium, although it will require fairly sophisticated extraction methods. Refining the process to make it as cheap as evaporation pools is going to be a very real challenge. Other countries, like Portugal, are also pushing forward with finding ways to produce lithium domestically. But again, these all require the extraction and use of raw materials that have the potential to produce some form of pollution. This is where finding ways to use what we already have, with regards to lithium, might be the best option. After all, the damage to the environment from extraction has already been done. This would mean recycling old batteries. Many landfills around the world are literally packed with spent electronic devices from laptops to old smartphones. Could these be “mined” instead of removing fresh lithium from the environment? And that is exactly what researchers at the University of Birmingham, UK are proposing. They are hoping to use robotics technolo-
gy developed for the nuclear industry to safely dismantle potentially explosive Li-ion cells from EVs to extract the precious metals within. But that is really only half the story. Any battery that relies on electrochemistry, like Li-ion batteries, runs the risk of having its electrodes degrade and decay. You won’t necessarily know the condition of these materials without opening up the battery. This has led some other researchers to look into alternative ways to recycle batteries and recover materials like lithium in a more predictable manner. They propose a biological recycling process that would use bacteria to process the waste metals, coupled with hydrometallurgical techniques which use solutions of chemicals in a similar way to how lithium is extracted in the first place. If successful, this kind of initiative could be a very real gamechanger for lithium and EV industries. So, in conclusion, are EVs really that “green” and sustainable for the planet? We will let you make up your own mind.
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Please contact these dealers for your Honda or Acura Genuine parts needs. HONDA COLORADO
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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.
Honda Increasing Crash Parts Production, Transitioning Certified Auto Body Shops Over Time
Collision repair shops reporting dif- trying to get the common sheet metal ed to collision repairs. The vehicle, ficulties in getting replacement parts items out to shops on a timely basis. for example, has extended range this year may be glad to hear Hon- We are checking our back orders and blind spot information sensors on with Ed Attanasio seeing which [other parts] we can some trim packages. da is ramping up parts production. “The original radar saw, I be “As we all know, back orders are ramp up production on.” really hitting the industry hard, regardless of the manufacturer,” Dane Rounkles, manager of wholesale collision parts for American Honda, said during with a GuildEd 21 webinar Attanasio in late summer. “So we went to senior management, and anything we stamp here in the U.S., we’ve asked for them to increase production to make the parts available. “Now, some of you may still have some back orders on sheet metwith Ed Attanasio al, and that may be something we stamp in another country,” Rounkles Collision repairers need to be aware the replacement procedure for the laser-brazed roof panel on continued. “But we have increased the 2022 Honda Civic requires a combination of welding, adhesive and mechanical fasteners greatly the availability of sheet metal parts, and we will continue to do so. The automaker also used the lieve, 3 or 4 meters,” said Scott Right now, I don’t have Ed the quantities with Attanasio webinar to highlight some informa- Kaboos, collision technical specialthat we want of every part, but we are tion about the new 2022 Civic relat- ist for Honda. “This one can see 75
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meters. So it’s much more intense of a radar.” The system no longer requires a specific aiming inspection procedure, but instead is capable of self-learning while the vehicle is driven more than 18 mph. Those test driving the vehicle should be aware that until the self-learning is complete, the reset system is limited to 9.8 feet of detection. There are also new limits on what repairs can be made to the areas on the rear bumper through which the radar system operates. Honda provides a printable template technicians can tape onto the bumper to determine where the radar wave area is. “If within that area, there is a crack, a dent, a gouge, anything like that, it cannot be repaired,” Kaboos said. “As a matter of fact, they tell us we cannot even use touch-up
GM Extends Chevy Bolt EV/EUV Plant Shutdown Amid Recall
to continue. The battery maker is with Stacey Phillips
by Steven Loveday, Inside EVs
expected to prove without a doubt As was recently reported, Gen- the updated packs are defect-free eral Motors decided to idle its and not prone to fire risk. Orion (MI) Assembly plant while Thus far, the situation with it moves forward with the mas- the Bolt has cost GM nearly $1 sive Chevy Bolt EV and Bolt billion, and it will likely cost a whole lot more as everything proEUV recall. with Stacey Phillips GM is recalling every Bolt gresses. Autoblog writes due to ever built due to a handful of fires. “GM’s lack of confidence in its Now, the automaker has con- supplier, it seems unlikely that the firmed the factory will remain idle work stoppage will extend only through the end of September.” until at least Sept. 24. This all makes perfect sense According to a report by Au- toblog, GM is working alongside since GM has been dealing with with Stacey battery supplier LG Chem to Phillips fig- this for some time, and a previous ure out exactly how to progress fix didn’t work. If the automaker with the recall. Until some deci- goes to great lengths to replace sions are made, the plant will not the battery packs in every car, continue producing the electric and more fires occur thereafter, it could prove to be a devastating hatchback or crossover. GM has made it clear it has blow. no intention to produce new Bolt This is a developing story. with Stacey Phillips We’ll update this article or proEVs or EUVs―nor will it replace current vehicles―prior to having vide another once more informathe utmost confidence the newly tion becomes available. updated battery packs are safe. Of course, GM is looking to LG Chem to provide the necessary information to allow production
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paint in that area or it can mess with the radar. If it has some fine scratches, you can polish, but you need to polish that entire area evenly. The thickness of the paint affects the radar quite a bit.” He said that also means no blending of primer or color can be done in that area. “It is a challenge if you have damage near that area, I’m not going to lie to you,” Kaboos said. “There’s going to be more bumpers replaced than in the past generation of Civic.” Another change to the 2022 Honda Civic collision repairers need to be aware of is the resin composite front bulkhead, replacing mild steel one on the previous Civic model. The automaker says the design improves access to the engine compartment for assembly and service but also that it should be checked for cracks following a collision. “It can look fine, but when you wet it down, all of a sudden a crack can become apparent,” Rounkles said. “So you really need to pay attention to that. While the vehicle may not have gotten hit hard enough to hit into the rails, these [composite
parts] can crack and not be overly visible.” Kaboos concurred. “I know just spraying a little wax and grease remover on it to add a little gloss does make those cracks show up a lot better,” he said. Kaboos said the 2022 Civic is now the third Honda model with a laser-brazed roof panel that requires a combination of welding, adhesive and mechanical fasteners for replacement. Shops need to be aware they must order a number of brackets and bolts in addition to the replacement roof panel. Kaboos and Rounkles said they sought to have the parts bundled as a kit with the roof panel, but think because the parts come from different vendors, creating a kit wasn’t feasible for the automaker. Honda also doesn’t supply much information about the foam dam that must be used in replacing the roof― to ensure the adhesive, a specified 3M product, doesn’t flow out of the joint while it cures―but Kaboos found a Kent product that works. “If you skip that part of the step, there’s a good chance you’re not go-
ing to have enough adhesive left in that joint when you’re done,” Kaboos cautioned. The 2022 Civic also has a hem flange on the rear side outer panel the 2021 model did not. “Honda has a special tool to install these available in our Honda tool rental program,” Kaboos said. “Or you can buy it, but I’ll be absolutely honest: It is ridiculously expensive. It was designed in Japan, and by the time it got through the build process, they had put such tight tolerances on it, that it is extremely expensive. We are working on that. But probably your best solution is to go through the tool rental program and just rent it from us.” Rounkles also provided more information about the automaker’s auto body shop certification program, which will begin transitioning certified shops from ProFirst to the new Honda and Acura Certified Collision program on their next renewal date. He said the company hasn’t ruled out certifying additional shops in some markets. “We are currently technically full in terms of the number [of
shops] we wanted to have in our certification program,” Rounkles said. “But we will add shops as needed based on geographical and units-in-operation conditions. We do not have a specific radius of how close a [certified] shop can be to another one. We’re going to try not to put one right across the street from another, but I can tell you that I have actually seen four certified shops in a two-block area. But that’s because in the metro area, that’s where they put all the body shops. So we will have situations like that.” He said Honda maintains a waiting list for shops interested in joining the program. “As units-in-operation change, or shops decide to no longer be certified, we will reach out to the shops that we have on our list first before we go seeking other shops,” Rounkles said.
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From the Desk of Mike Anderson with Mike Anderson
Mike Anderson is the president and owner of Collision Advice, a consulting company for the auto body/collision repair industry. For nearly 25 years, he was the owner of Wagonwork Collision Center, an OEM-certified, full-service auto body repair facility in Alexandria, VA.
From the Desk of Mike Anderson: Researching OEM Procedures for the Paint Shop One of the things I think our collision repair industry has been making small strides in is researching OEM repair procedures. I don’t think we’re where we need to be on that yet―every repair on every vehicle every time―but we’re making small strides. But one thing I think even fewer people are thinking about and doing is researching OEM repair procedures from a refinish perspective.
mend baking the Volt vehicle for more than 60 minutes at 160 degrees. Damage to the high voltage battery may occur.” “During refinishing operations, the paint booth temperature must be set at or below 140 degrees with a bake time of 45 minutes or less,” Ford states about its 2017 Fusion hybrid. Hyundai’s time limits are even more limited for curing its 2017 IONIQ hybrid: heat treatment “must not exceed 70 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes, or 80 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes.” So it’s important as you repair electric and hybrid vehicles that you understand you need to make sure you research the procedures Audi says the lithium-ion battery in its 2017 Q5 Quattro from a refinish perspective hybrid can be damaged when the temperature goes above to understand the curing 158 degrees limitations. One example: This will hope- Another example: key fobs. If fully not come as news to repairers you read a lot of the owners’ manuin markets with significant numbers als or OEM repair procedures, they of hybrid and electric vehicles, but will say not to leave a key fob in a automakers generally have very de- spray booth because if you have the fined limits on the curing times and heat cranked up too much, it can temperatures for electric vehicles. damage the key fob. As with so many things, these limits Some other refinish-related recan vary not just by automaker, but search you should be doing: even among different models from the same automaker. ▪ Cure time limitation for adhesives. Audi, for example, indicates As with paint curing, there are often the lithium-ion battery in its 2017 Q5 Quattro hybrid is functional only up to 131 degrees, and can be damaged when the temperature goes above 158 degrees. “In order to not exceed 158 degrees, do not leave an Audi high voltGeneral Motors does not recommend baking the Volt age vehicle longer than 60 vehicle for more than 60 minutes at 160 degrees minutes in the paint drying cabin,” the automaker’s documen- strict parameters that need to be foltation states. lowed. Acura states when drying a 2016 RLX AWD hybrid in a heated ▪ Limited-use toners. With OEMs paint booth, “make sure the tempera- introducing more and more unique ture does not exceed 149 degrees.” colors, shops are more likely to have In documentation for the 2017 a need for a limited-use toner, one Chevrolet Volt, it’s clearly stated, they don’t keep in stock because it “General Motors does not recom- is used infrequently. If you don’t do 32 OCTOBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
the research early in the process to determine if there is a need for such a toner, you’re likely to run into delays in production.
clearcoat blending in any warranty or collision repair.”
▪ Paint precautions around sensors. Honda’s 2022 Civic has areas on both ends of the repair bumper where variations in paint thickness can significantly impact the performance of the blind spot information sensors. Honda provides a printable template technicians can tape onto the bumper to Honda’s 2022 Civic has areas on both ends of the repair bumper where variations in paint thickness can significantdetermine where the radar ly impact the performance of the blind spot information wave area is. That means sensors no blending of primer or ▪ Clearcoat blending. Visit www. color can be done in that area. OEM1Stop.com to download the clearcoat blending statements issued All this makes it pretty clear: We by many automakers. Ford’s state- need to be researching OEM proment, for example, says the auto- cedures from a refinish perspective, maker “does not approve the proce- not just from a body or mechanical dure of clearcoat blending or using perspective.
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3M™ Performance Spray Gun is ‘Go-To’ Gun at Santa Margarita Auto Body by Stacey Phillips
Nearly eight months ago, Mitch Barrett was researching spray guns as the head painter at Santa Margarita Auto Body in California. He learned about the 3M™ Performance Spray Gun from Stan Ehresmann, a regional business manager at 3M. “He encouraged me to try it and wanted to know what I thought,” said Barrett. “I’ve used it every day since then.” In addition to being cost-effective, Barrett said ease of use and dependability are of the utmost importance when choosing a spray gun, and the 3M gun meets both those requirements.
Mitch Barrett, the head painter at Santa Margarita Auto Body, used the 3M™ Performance Spray Gun to paint this 1958 Chevrolet Apache
“This gun is great,” said Barrett. “You can feel comfortable while using it and you don’t feel like anything is going to go wrong. It’s my ‘go to’ gun.” Barrett estimates he has probably spent thousands on spray guns over the last decade. Many of them have been complicated to set up and use. With the 3M™ Performance Spray Gun’s simple design, he believes someone with less experience can use the gun and deliver a consistent and professional paint job. Since using the gun, Barrett has found it is extremely versatile. With a change of the replaceable atomization heads, he can spray a full range of coatings, including primer, sealer, basecoats, topcoats and clearcoats. Because the paint doesn’t pass through the body of the spray gun, cleanup is quicker and easier than a traditional spray gun. “I’ve painted everything from a 1990 Honda Civic to a brand new Bentley,” he said. With multiple jobs taking place simultaneously at the collision repair facility, Barrett said it can get
overwhelming at times. “I may have six bumpers for six different cars in six different colors. Having a gun like the 3M™ Performance Spray Gun allows you to pop on every different color really quickly,” he said. “This makes the process go a lot faster, with a shorter amount of time spent in the booth.” Established in 2006, Santa Margarita Auto Body has a total of seven employees. Mitch and his brother, Tyler, work at the shop, owned by their father, Dennis. With its versatile design, the 3M™ Performance Spray Gun can be easily converted to spray from either a gravity cup or pressurized source for bulk spraying applications like RVs and fleet vehicles. The guns are made from an advanced impact-resistant, stainless steel-reinforced composite material to reduce its weight by up to 50% compared to conventional metal spray guns. “That’s important because any time you are working with plastic and air, it can tend to generate some static,” said Rob Blue, collision customer specialist, 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division. “The 3M™ Performance Spray Gun is all about precision.” He said the 3M™ Performance Spray Guns are easy to clean, and the company is receiving good feedback on transfer efficiency and coverage. “The transfer efficiency of most metal guns is in the range of 65 to 72%,” said Rob. “Third-party testing showed a high 78% transfer efficiency while spraying automotive base coat, exceeding the other leading metal spray guns tested.” He said this can equate to potential savings for shops on their coatings. Prior to the guns being released in 2020, a series of field tests were held with auto body shops across the country. “A lot of the painters in the industry like the lightweight 13.3-ounce gun because they are painting all day long,” said Brandon Russell, collision customer specialist, 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division. “They also love how easy the cleanup is.” The spray gun weighs 8.4 oz with gravity nozzles and 13.3 oz with
34 OCTOBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
pressure nozzles to enhance comfort without sacrificing performance or durability, according to Russell.
ing the atomizing head and wiping the needle clean. “The 3M™ Performance Spray
“Innovative quick-change replaceable nozzle technology means cleanup can be as simple as a twist and a wipe,” he said. “Every time a painter puts on a fresh nozzle, it’s like getting a brand new spray gun.” With quick-change replaceable 3M™ Performance Gravity HVLP Atomizing Heads, cleanup involves twisting the locking collar, remov-
Gun is so much different than the other guns I’ve used,” said Barrett. “It’s lighter, feels good in your hands and you just know that you are going to come out of the paint booth with a job well done.”
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Consultant Says CA Auto Body Shops Need to Know the Laws that Affect Them by Ed Attanasio
It all began with a poorly-painted Camaro, which led to a career as an industry consultant whose services are coveted by auto body shops primarily in California. When things go sideways and a shop owner or manager has more questions than answers, they don’t call the Ghostbusters―they call Juan Martinez. He learned the industry by working for top shops on primarily luxury brands in southern California over two decades. But the way he entered the collision repair industry happened literally by chance when Martinez was 12. “My sister had a 1970 Camaro and she wanted to sell it,” Martinez said. “I told her don’t do it, I’ll figure out some way to pay for it eventually. I painted it in forest green and showed it to my father and he told me it was mine. I didn’t have to pay a dime. “There was a mom-and-pop paint store in our town, and they helped me through the process. It cost me $500 to paint that car, and I started driving it before I was 16. The cops would spot me and pull me over, but they never gave me a ticket. They would say, keep the vehicle parked right where it is, and then I would walk home. But they always gave it back.” The experience led to a job at an auto body shop in San Diego, CA, as a prepper, and for the next 20 years, he worked as a painter, estimator, shop manager and regional manager. When he realized collision repair was in his blood, Martinez dropped out of college and went all in. He landed a job as an estimator at a prestigious shop in Beverly Hills, learning from great mentors and accumulating knowledge he could call upon throughout his career. Some years ago, Martinez started JM Business Solutions, Inc., in West Covina, CA, which helps body shops with fixed operations, business tactics, insurance relationships and customer service. Martinez trains how to write cleaner sheets, navigate through DRPs and make more money on parts and repairs, for example. He’s all about first-person,
one-on-one training, visiting 20 to 30 shops almost every week.
As a body shop industry consultant, what are your top con-
First, I would say safety and then insurance abuse are two issues that immediately come to mind. I encounter them literally every day. Some body shops are doing things right now that are not safe. They just don’t know when to say “I shouldn’t take this car in.” These shops are more concerned about making money. But if you’re not a Porsche-certified shop, don’t try to work on one. Their attitude is that they’ll figure it out, but in the end it’s unsafe for the owner of the vehicle. Not to mention that it’s also a bad business decision for the shop. In many cases, they’re not going to make money on the repair. It’s likely that they will also make mistakes, which is a liability issue. I can safely say that 80% of all the shops out there right now have at least one vehicle they should not be repairing. It’s no sin to admit you don’t have the training or equipment to work on a certain vehicle, so find a shop that can do it and give them a referral. I get calls all the time from shops who say we don’t know how to write an estimate on a higher-end vehicle, can you help us? Ninety-nine percent of the time they shouldn’t have taken the car in at all. I tell them to refer it, get your teardown money and a couple days of storage, and then move on. The insurance companies abuse body shops by operating with impunity and violating legislation that was created to protect consumers. Most shops don’t know the law. So, they can’t usually catch things, like paint caps that are illegal. But no one addresses them, so guess who pays for it? If you don’t have well-trained estimators, they won’t catch things and the insurance companies love it. They prey on the fact that most shops don’t know the regulations, so it’s to their advantage. I see so many poorly written estimates, it’s crazy. To make money, they must be cutting corners, because otherwise they
36 OCTOBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
would be out of business by now.
There’s a market for DRPs, but the problem is they’re not the same. The DRP game has changed so much in the last 10 to 15 years, and more and more shops are gravitating away from it. Unless you have other sources of revenue, DRPs aren’t profitable enough to keep the doors open. They used to be the main source of revenue for many shops, but now they’re looking for other venues, usually from dealerships or fleet work, for example. If you are a new shop and you don’t have a book of business, a DRP might be good for the short-term, but it won’t likely be sustainable. Every DRP contract I’ve seen within the last five years is so one-sided, I can’t understand why any shop would sign one. They take advantage of the less experienced
shops and thrive on their lack of knowledge. I’ve convinced some of my clients not to take certain DRPs on and they end up thanking me every time. One source of revenue for shops that’s fairly new in California involves working with attorneys, who want to represent their clients in personal injury cases. They find them on Yelp and are building business relationships with shops that are getting good reviews. It has become a viable source of business for shops because these lawyers are representing injury victims and want to make sure that their cars are being repaired properly. In southern California, everyone owns a Porsche, a Lexus, a BMW or an Audi. This means OE certifications are more important here than in many other parts of the country. Shops have to make certain their training is up-to-date and that they have the right equipment to do the job. Because if they can’t or won’t, there are 20 other qualified shops out there that can.
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What are some of the most common problems your clients have encountered while working with insurers?
The Fair Claims Settlement Act (Section 2695.8) states that insurers need to pay out in a “workmanlike manner,” but they don’t do it. When a shop writes an estimate, there are three things the insurance companies can do. First, they can adjust the claim, which means that they will write their own estimate. That means that the car has to be fixed using nationally distributed data― ALLDATA, Mitchell, for example― or the vehicle’s repair manual. The insurance companies don’t do any of it. In fact, they write the lowest estimate possible. They make it impossible to fix the car correctly. Then, when you request a supplement, they do it again―over and over. There are a small handful of insurance companies that don’t do it, but the majority of them do. It ends up being a complete waste of time for the shops, not to mention for the
consumers. The insurers would save a ton of money on rental cars without wrestling over every penny. They push cycle time through their DRPs, and then they choke them. Then they start calling the shop every day, asking when will the car be ready? In many cases, the vehicle is sitting there because the shop is waiting on the insurance company. It makes no sense. If they followed the legislation, then these problems would not exist. When a shop files a complaint, they will quickly discover that the California Department of Insurance (CA-DOI) employees don’t understand the legislation. Half the time, they will bail and send a letter that the dispute is over pricing and they can’t mediate. Most of the time, we’re not asking them to mediate, but to simply look at the legislation and the evidence provided. But, they don’t. The shop thinks the complaint didn’t go anywhere because the CA-DOI is on the insurance company’s side. But that’s not the case―they just don’t know.
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Steering does exist, but the insurance companies have gotten better at it. They don’t put anything on paper. When you file a DOI complaint, the DOI requests the claim file. In that claim file, the DOI won’t find any trace of steering. All steering communication takes place over the phone, using specific language to get a vehicle pulled out of a specific shop that won’t play by their rules. The solution to that problem would be for the DOI to request phone recordings pertinent to that claim file to hold these insurers accountable. Maybe petitioning or amending legislation to keep up with the electronic data of today would be beneficial.
Do your clients often encounter issues over the constant wrestling match between aftermarkets parts vs. OE parts?
The legislation states that aftermarket parts must have non-removable markings. But, most of them don’t―they use stickers. The legislation also says the
parts have to be the same in fit, quality, safety and finish along with the non-removeable markings. The majority of these aftermarket parts aren’t the same because if they were they would be counterfeit parts. Aftermarket parts have to be physically different, that’s the fact. That’s why they don’t fit and why you’ll see gaps and other irregularities. When this happens to one of my clients, I direct them to write a new estimate to re-repair the car and submit it with their final bill. It states that the shop used aftermarket parts and they don’t fit. The insurance company will then say hey―why didn’t you tell us? They wanted the cheapest parts they could find, and now they’re shocked. But they know they’re on the hook, so they have no options. Once they see you understand the legislation, they will never try that again.
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All-American from Concept to Collision Repair Shop: Pro Spot a Proud U.S. Manufacturer by Chasidy Rae Sisk
Growing up in Sweden, Ron Olsson believed his future would one day lead him to America. After moving to California, he founded Pro Spot International in 1986, introducing the collision repair industry to resistance spot welding, which OEMs already used while building vehicles. Since its inception, Pro Spot equipment has “always been manufactured in the U.S., under one roof, from start to finish,” Olsson said.
and manufacture all Pro Spot equipment under one roof. “We have to be fast-acting in this industry, and having everything in-house provides us with instant access to engineering and the production line when we need to react,” he said. “With everyone in the same building, feedback reaches the right team quicker, allowing efficient adjustments when needed, without relying on another facility’s response times. That’s priceless in this industry.”
sistent, yet we’ve had three strong quarters which help us feel optimistic that we’ll be able to return to normal soon,” Olsson said. Noting vehicle technology is rapidly changing with the inclusion of electric and autonomous vehicles, Olsson said, “Having the right infrastructure is vital to producing products that will keep pace with new technology coming down the pipeline and the increasing demands accompanying those advancements. At Pro Spot, we’re always thinking five years ahead so we can prepare for the next set of changes in vehicle technology.” With technology changing so rapidly, collision repair professionals know training is more important than ever before, and Olsson agrees. In addition to its Carlsbad headquarters, Pro Spot has training centers in Florida, Tennessee and Colorado, which “allows us to be more proactive in training our local and regional markets, while also offering convenience by saving clients from unnecessary travel expenses,” Ols-
son said. “Customers particularly benefit from training at headquarters where they can see how Pro Spot manufactures the equipment they’re learning to use effectively.” As vehicle design advances, Pro Spot continues to follow suit.
Ryan Swanson uses a pull tester to qualify spot welding strength results
“We’re adjusting our designs and technology as OEMs update vehicle designs and technology,” Olsson said. “Yes, Pro Spot is a welding company, but we’re more of a joining technologies company, and as vehicles change, we’ll adapt as well, ensuring that we provide our customers with the support they’ve come to expect from Pro Spot.”
A small glimpse of the Pro Spot headquarters’ Training Center
“We’re proud to be the only American-made spot-welding manufacturer. Living in this great country means something, and our distributors and customers can take pride in using products made in the USA.” For the past 20 years, Pro Spot’s catalogue of products has come to life in its 60,000-square foot facility in Carlsbad, CA. From design and engineering to prototyping, and then manufacturing and shipping its products, Pro Spot “dreams up everything we do right here. On-site engineers design our equipment on a CAD program, and after testing the prototypes, we manufacture the product,” Olsson explained. Originality and adaptability are key components to Olsson’s business philosophy. He places much emphasis on the ability to engineer
The adaptability Pro Spot enjoys by having the entire process under one roof was paramount while contending with the global pandemic. “We reacted and adapted quicker than other manufacturers because we control everything on-site,” said Olsson. “During the worst of the shutdown, Pro Spot supported our distributors by offering creative financing options to ensure our equipment was available to those affected by COVID and its impact on the economy.” Of course, the pandemic continues to present challenges, including a shortage of raw materials and an increase in freight prices. Despite rising costs, Pro Spot has not raised its product prices. “Our prices have remained con-
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Behind-the-Scenes DCR Systems Tour Sponsored by AirPro Diagnostics, AkzoNobel & Car-O-Liner® from multiple organizations, including vendors and representatives Members of the collision indus- from GM as well as other auto body try recently had an opportunity to shops. tour the DCR Systems location in “They were extremely imMentor, OH, prior to the July Col- pressed with the operation and took lision Industry Conference (CIC) in notes,” he said. “It was great workCleveland. ing with the other sponsors to put Founded in 2004 and owned this together.” by CEO Michael Giarrizzo, DCR “As a long-term partner with Systems is known for its progres- Michael Giarrizzo and DCR Syssive thinking and operating in a pro- tems, AkzoNobel thought that while the industry was meeting in cess-centered environment. The company helps dealerships Cleveland for CIC it would be a outsource their auto body shops by rare opportunity to showcase what having DCR team members run dai- Michael and his team have accomly operations while being co-brand- plished,” said Nada Jokic, business ed with the auto dealer. Currently, consulting services manager for the DCR Systems operates nine produc- West Region at AkzoNobel. “The tion cells in seven dealer-based col- feedback was extremely positive as lision repair facilities in four states: many had heard of DCR but few had Ohio, New York, North Carolina and actually seen the systems and faciliMassachusetts. ty in person.” The tour was sponsored by Air- Tim Ronak, senior services Pro Diagnostics, AkzoNobel and consultant for AkzoNobel, said the Car-O-Liner® and included trans- ability to share information about DCR Systems and the processes that support proper repairs aligns with AkzoNobel’s desire to educate the industry. “Process-centered environments are the key to optimizing throughput efficiency while ensuring an OEM repair methodology is central to repair decisions,” Pictured, left to right, are Doug Bortz, Car-O-Liner, North said Ronak. “Michael GiAmerica; Michael Quinn, AirPro Diagnostics; Pam and Miarrizzo has created a rechael Giarrizzo, DCR Systems; and Nada Jokic, AkzoNobel peatable and documentable portation, dinner and a behind-the- process to support OEM procedure scenes look at the Mentor facility. repair methods and is successfully executing with this model daily.” Doug Bortz, sales manager of Sponsors Showcase DCR Systems Car-O-Liner, North America, said Mentor, OH, Facility “One of our core principles at Air- the company welcomed the opporPro Diagnostics is education and in- tunity to sponsor the event, which cludes educating the repair commu- was overwhelmingly attended. nity on safe repairs and processes,” “DCR Systems and Car-O-Linsaid Michael Quinn, president of er have a long-standing relationship AirPro Diagnostics. “Knowing Mi- based on one synonymous philosochael Giarrizzo and his family for phy―to create efficiencies that conover 20 years, I’ve watched DCR tribute to healthier work environSystems evolve into what it is to- ments and better customer service,” day―a process-oriented operation. said Bortz. “There is a continued We couldn’t miss the opportunity desire for industry notables to parto share their highly-disciplined ap- ticipate, learn and share insights to proach with the industry at large in elevate industry processes and ulattendance at CIC.” timately serve all collision repair Quinn said the event was very shops and customers at the highest successful and included leadership level.” by Stacey Phillips
40 OCTOBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
ogy offers a very predictable and accelerated drying process that helps workflow run more consistently. “We are proud of our team’s vision for this industry, and it was an honor to share what we are doing with so many in the industry,” said Cheryl Boswell, CFO and managing partner of DCR Systems. “We have an amazing team and we are passionate about what we do,” said Giarrizzo. Many of the company’s technicians are homegrown. “It’s really gratifying,” Giarrizzo said. “It warms Pictured, left to right, are Jeff Hendler, J.D. Hendler/ my heart when you take Associates; K. Michael Bradshaw, K&M Collision; Todd Hesford, Mission Viejo Auto Collision; Kye Yeung, European somebody who has no clue Motor Car Works; Amber Alley, Barsotti’s Body & Fender; what they could accomTony Adams, AkzoNobel; Tim Ronak, AkzoNobel; and plish and within a couple of Jordan Hendler, Admin Concepts years, he or she can reach a master level of technician and do implemented into their daily work things and create a lifestyle they environment. Attendees also viewed didn’t think was possible.” the Symach equipment used in the Boswell said Carey Hehr, prefacility. Giarrizzo said Symach technol- op specialist at Classic Accident DCR Systems Team Shares Process Efficiencies After gathering for an Italian dinner, DCR Systems representatives took various groups through the facility highlighting the many process efficiencies they’ve developed and
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Repair Center, is one example of an employee who has developed into a skilled writer and production enthusiast. Hehr joined DCR Systems eight years ago as a customer service representative (CSR). “I enjoyed helping customers and making sure they understood their rights when getting their cars fixed,” Hehr said. After assisting the company’s dealer partner and addressing warranty claims and small jobs, she realized she enjoyed writing and wanted to learn more. “With this amazing company they gave me every opportunity to grow and learn,” said Hehr. “I now have been writing for three years and enjoy every day.” During the tour, Mandy Wynn, national training and support manager, and Arynne Giarrizzo, central claims specialist, shared information about DCR Systems’ production process. “The patented production process at DCR Systems is unique in that it streamlines all of the variables associated with collision re-
pair by eliminating waste, rework and stress, leading to increased profitability,” said Wynn. “It also empowers the team and allows everyone to continuously and creatively improve processes throughout,” added Arynne. Wynn first described the pre-op phase of the process. Here, all the variables related to the repair are thoroughly researched, investigated and discussed, so a one-time parts
Arynne said the production line is able to move continuously because it tells employees where they need to work. “The team recognizes where there may be a potential bottleneck in the production line and our team adjusts where they need to work,” she said. Wynn and Arynne also explained how the process differs from other collision repair facilities. One big difference, according to Wynn, is the strict structure and validations the company has in place during every step in the process. “Despite the random working environment, we have the same process that all cars go through to achieve consistent quality and performance on every single vehicle. This Pictured, left to right, are Roy Schnepper, Butler’s Collision; allows us to not only produce Dan Risley, CCC Intelligent Solutions; Ray Fisher, Automoconsistent quality but also an tive Service Association; and Jim Keller, 1Collision OEM-guided safe repair,” order can be placed before vehicles she said. “How we ultimately benefit are put in the production line. is in what our customers say about us “Pre-op is vital to ensure con- and our passion to fix vehicles.” tinuous flow in our production line,” Arynne described how the prosaid Wynn. cess enables the team to crosstrain.
“This allows us to use resources where the work is needed,” she said. “We train team members and educate them on OEM manufacturers’ guidelines to ensure their greatest potential.” Andy Warren, store support specialist, explained the virtual huddle to tour attendees. “The virtual huddle is the last step prior to the repair plan being finalized,” said Warren. “It is basically an estimate review but done virtually.” Using FaceTime, virtual huddles are used every day throughout the company. The repair planner goes over the repair plan that shows the damages to the vehicle. Then, it is scrubbed for any items that may have been overlooked and verified all repairs are being done per OEM guidelines. “Performing the virtual huddle on each job is important for us because having that extra set of eyes glance over each repair plan is so crucial in our world,” said Warren. “Repair planners often get pulled away and have plenty of distractions during the day, and if we can catch
2021 Subaru Impreza Owners Shouldn’t Drive Their Cars by David A. Wood, CarComplaints.com
More than 800 model year 2021 Subaru Impreza cars should be parked until dealerships can make repairs to the front left lower control arms. Subaru says the Imprezas may have lower control arms with faulty welds near the connection joints between the arms and the crossmembers. The front lower control arm can separate from the crossmember and even a partial separation can cause the tire to make contact with the wheel well. Subaru learned about a partially separated lower control arm in June, causing an investigation to be opened with the supplier, Yorozu Automotive Tennessee. Another Impreza control arm separated and Subaru found it was similar to the first report, the LOT number stamped on the arms were the same and the production dates were two days apart. The automaker found equipment on the control arm assembly
line was damaged, resulting in contact between the part ejector rod and the welding torch. This welding torch was unable to trace the proper welding path and resulted in an incomplete weld at the joint. The joint investigation determined 75 left front lower control arms had weld problems, enough to convince Subaru to recall the 2021 Impreza cars. Subaru says no crashes or injuries have occurred, but Subaru dealers will need to inspect the control arms to check the LOT numbers and replace any faulty front lower control arms. Model year 2021 Subaru Impreza owners should not drive their cars until the lower control arms are inspected and possibly replaced. Subaru Impreza recall notices are expected to be mailed Sept. 3. Impreza owners may contact Subaru at 844-373-6614 and refer to recall number WRI-21.
42 OCTOBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
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something on the front end, then we can keep our process flowing and not lose valuable days on the back end.” He said it has also helped DCR Systems by having someone verifying all stores are performing OEM procedures. Another highlight was learning about the DCR Claims Portal, developed by Warren and Harley Wegman, repair plan specialist. Dave Martin, operations director, said the DCR Claims Portal is a revolutionary interface that allows for a complete claims settlement package and has myriad benefits for all facets of the repair industry. This includes a shop looking to make sure they have assembled all the documentation needed for a repair and adhering to OE certification programs, an insurance company looking to settle a claim for a policyholder or a subrogation claim, and a customer searching for a better understanding of what will be done to their vehicle. “The application dynamically aligns the work to be done with the corresponding evidence in a single
view,” said Martin. “It is the most simple and intuitive way to present the information for a repair and eliminates the countless hours spent trying to decipher buckets of documents and photos to specific repair operations by aligning all of that for the user.” He said the assembly of the portal is a great self-check on the completeness of the repair plan. “It helps ensure that your team has pulled together all of the necessary information to restore the vehicle per OE specifications once up-front rather than multiple times when requested by insurers throughout the repair process,” he said. “This results in an impressive time savings overall.” The development of the portal was born from the idea of continuous improvement. DCR Systems had a virtual portal prior to this version, but Martin said it did not meet the company’s needs to streamline its process. “The portal is a prime example of the persistence and ingenuity of our team to come up with better ways of doing things, even when
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something doesn’t appear ‘broken’ in the first place,” he said. “It demonstrates what team members can accomplish when leadership encourages them to run with some of their ideas.” Most of DCR Systems’ processes have been created by team members. Arynne said working in a team-based environment empowers everyone to make continuous improvements. “We have a team of people who are game changers in our industry and we have a passion in what we do in collision repair,” said Wynn. “It’s a passion that’s contagious, especially when you have leaders such as Michael Giarrizzo and Cheryl Boswell.” Wynn said it’s not just about fixing a vehicle to collect a check at the end of the job. “We want to put safe vehicles back in customers’ hands, vehicles that we would trust to put our family and friends in and know about that we have repairedContact themus the price matching way the manufacturerthrough of that vethe Mazda hicle would have wantedCollision it done,” Parts Advantage she said. Program!
Continued from Page 37
Consultant Says Association’s Foothill chapter. Tell us about the importance of the organization and its role in the industry in California.
The shops that join CAA are always the top shops who see the value in the organization and what they do. The CAA provides its members with a lot of valuable information through people like Jack Molodanof, their lobbyist in Sacramento, and speakers we’ve had such as Michael Anderson, BAR representatives and industry leaders. I think the MSOs would benefit from joining CAA too. We plan on meeting again soon as opposed to Zoom calls, and we have some big plans for 2022, so now is the perfect time to join.
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Apple Car Production Gets Potential 2024 Target Contact us about Amid Talks with Toyota:mechanical Reportprice by Maria Merano, Teslarati
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Apple is reportedly looking to Asia as it lays some groundwork for the Apple Car. The tech giant reportedly plans to visit Toyota to discuss the Apple Car’s mass production, expected to start by 2024. Toyota isn’t the first legacy automaker Apple has approached since talk of the Apple Car reemerged in recent months. Earlier this year, reports emerged that Apple was taking preliminary steps in its EV project by talking with South Korean carmaker Hyundai. Apple seems open to partnering with traditional OEMs on its EV project. However, the company also appears to be exploring other manufacturing options for the Apple Car. For instance, Apple reportedly considered partnering with Magna International, a Canada-based company that offers EV manufacturing services. According to DigiTimes, Apple’s current efforts to visit Asian carmakers and suppliers are part
for the developproduction of its all-electric vehicle. One of the main focuses of the visits is rumored to be the battery supply chain for the Apple Car. In August, Apple was rumored to be talking to multiple EV component manufacturers in Korea. The California-based company reportedly talked with Korean battery manufacturers LG Chem and SK Innovation. While in Korea, Apple also talked with Hanwha, a company that offers its expertise in petrochemical technology and advanced materials. Hanwha also promises to provide innovative and sustainable solutions to its customers, hinting at Apple’s direction with its EV’s supply chain. Apple seems hyper-aware of the type of electric vehicle people want, down to its tiniest components. The fact Hanwha was considered an option for the Apple Car’s supply chain means the tech company knows the significance of sustainability to customers today.
autobodynews.com / OCTOBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 43
Third-Generation MSO Steps Up Philanthropy During Pandemic partnership. “NABC does a great job and Auto body shops all over the coun- the process is absolutely seamless,” try put their charitable efforts on Kendrick said. “They make it easy hold during the pandemic for ob- and that’s why we will keep workvious reasons. But a few shops out ing with them on these car presentathere took the opportunity to step up tions.” and do even more, by reaching out Here is a lengthy list of Kendto their local communities and find- rick Paint & Body’s charitable efing more ways to help. forts: A good example is Kendrick They recently delivered 50 Paint & Body, a third-generation boxed lunches from Fat Man’s to the MSO with eight locations in Geor- University Hospital Emergency Degia. partment in Augusta, with Kendrick there to assist. “We thank all the health care workers giving their all during this continued pandemic,” he said. A local promotional company, Showpony, designed a T-shirt for Kendrick Paint & Body, and donated $2,000 from the proceeds to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Augusta (RMCHA). “Since the COVID-19 Steve Kendrick Jr., center, stepped up his company’s pandemic began, the RMcharitable efforts during the pandemic HCA hasn’t been able to In 2008, owner Steve Kend- operate at full capacity due to occurick Jr. bought the shop from his fa- pancy and social distancing requirether, whose father had founded it in ments, and they have placed some 1950, and decided to scale the fami- families in local hotels,” Kendrick ly’s successful business. As a result, said. “The hotels were an additional, today they have eight locations with non-budgeted item, and that’s why 165 employees and fix approximate- we’re happy to help cover some of ly 1,300 cars monthly. the expense with our donation.” During the pandemic, Kendrick Kendrick Paint and Body decided to continue on the path his teamed up with Manuel’s Bread Cafe grandfather started. and delivered 100 meals to the staff Some shops put one person in at Augusta University. Kendrick, charge to coordinate all of their com- Manuel Carron, Ansley Kendrick pany’s philanthropy, and that’s why and Britton Zier delivered meals at Kendrick’s Operations and Market- lunch. ing Specialist Carson McLaughlin “We were happy to donate and is always busy. give appreciation for our incredible “She has done an amazing medical professionals,” Kendrick job,” Kendrick said. “We find new said. causes and organizations in need The company recently partall the time, especially here in Au- nered with David Goodbread and gusta, where we cover a large area FP Mehan of Insurance Services of in a fast-growing community. I tell Augusta and delivered meals to the people it’s a ‘small big town’ where North Augusta Public Safety, and everyone knows everyone. So be- also delivered 100 lunches to Aiken ing known for helping others, that’s Regional Medical Center. huge and something we’re proud Kendrick Paint & Body and the of.” JLA Group teamed up to help beau The business has been involved tify downtown Augusta by providwith NABC’s Recycled Rides for ing landscaping on the Broad Street several years and has given away medians between 13th and 15th eight vehicles since entering into a streets. by Ed Attanasio
44 OCTOBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
For the past several years, Enterprise has partnered with Kendrick Paint & Body to present a $2,000 grant to the American Red Cross Augusta Chapter. “The money helps the Red Cross continue operations in our area,” Kendrick said. “The Augusta chapter covers 15 counties with only three paid employees. The remainder are dedicated volunteers. “In 2018 alone, we had six natural disasters. As a result, the Red Cross sheltered more people in 45 days than in the last five years combined. The Augusta chapter sheltered more than 3,000 people during Hurricane Irma. The donations help keep these operations in place to ensure the Red Cross is able to help serve in disasters and tough times.” Every February, the company participates in the Red Cross Boot Scoot Boogie, an annual event that generates more than $100,000 for the Augusta Chapter of the American Red Cross. Each year, Kendrick Paint & Body supports SafeHomes Domes-
tic Violence Center by sponsoring the Fake It to Make It lip sync competition. The event has raised more than $160,000 annually to help fund SafeHomes’ mission. “SafeHomes is committed to ending domestic violence through advocacy, awareness and education,” he said. “They have an array of highly-specialized and comprehensive services to assist victims, regardless of the stage they are at on their journey. All services are completely free and completely confidential.” By constantly looking for more ways to give, Kendrick is proud to be a contributing member of his community, a role he wants to play as long as he can. “There will always be people and organizations out there that will need help, and if we’re in a position to do it, why not?” www.autobodynews.com
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Answers to Your SEMA Show Questions By Della Domingo, SEMA
SEMA vice president of events Tom Gattuso recently answered questions about the 2021 SEMA Show’s health and safety plans. Read below for more details, or visit www.SEMAShow.com for the most up-to-date information about the SEMA Show.
What is SEMA, AAPEX and Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week?
off-road, restyling, mobile electronics or another segment, this is the place to discover the new trends and products, and to connect with other businesses in your segment. Both events include seminars, meetings and events for the automotive industry, so businesses can get a lot accomplished while in Las Vegas during the week. It makes for a really busy week, but with the entire industry in attendance and so many activities taking place, it is the best place for businesses to be, and participation delivers the greatest ROI.
The SEMA Show and AAPEX are two different shows that take place during If the two events share regthe first week of November in Las istrations, why are there two Vegas each year. Together, they different health and safety policies make up the automotive industry’s (or strategies) in place? Wouldn’t leading trade gathering—it’s an ex- it be easier to just have one policy citing weeklong event that we call that applies to both events? Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week, or AAIW for short. The COVID landscape is Both events are B2B, and they complicated, and organihelp companies succeed and grow. zations are making decisions and They are conveniently co-locat- planning in their own ways. SEMA ed within a few miles believes that we will of one another, and a serve our industry best single attendee regisby having the benefit of tration allows access some time, which will into both events; but, give us more current as mentioned earlier, and reliable decisions from state and local authe SEMA Show and thorities for the event AAPEX are two unique taking place in Novemand different events. AAPEX takes place ber. SEMA Vice President of Nov. 2-4 at the Venetian We’ve seen a lot Events Tom Gattuso Expo & Caesars Forum, change in the past few and it features aftermarweeks, and we anticiket replacements parts—the type of pate more changes to come. We’re products that are required to keep working with Nevada authorities your car or truck running. to understand what will be needed The SEMA Show is a four-day for the SEMA Show. We believe we show taking place Nov. 2-5 at the will have a better read in the weeks Las Vegas Convention Center, and ahead and will act accordingly. it features products and services that enhance the performance, stylIs there a chance SEMA will ing, comfort, convenience and safeimplement the same meaty of cars, trucks and SUVs. sures AAPEX and other events are It’s where you’ll find the eye implementing, and require proof of candy and discover the newest vaccination in order to attend? products available to modify and personalize your vehicle into a oneIt’s not possible to know with certainty today what of-a-kind creation—from superchargers and performance brakes the Nevada requirements will be to seat covers and custom paint or in November. Rather than specbedliners. The SEMA Show covers ulate on what may or may not be ever market niche, so whether you required, we are closely monitoring work in racing and performance, the COVID landscape and working
46 OCTOBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
with state and local authorities, and we will share details that the industry can rely on as soon as we can.
How long will we have to wait until SEMA makes a decision?
We don’t have a specific date at this time, but we can tell you that we are 100% committed to having the Show in November and helping the industry and our customers succeed. As soon as we learn the specific measures that will be required in November by state and local governments, we will share those details by posting them on our websites, in our social media channels and emailing registered participants. We will do everything we can to notify our customers as soon as possible.
It sounds like masks are required at all indoor events in Las Vegas. Should I be prepared to have to wear a mask all day long
while at the SEMA Show?
Currently (as of this Sept. 1 interview), Nevada does require that masks be worn by everyone while indoors in Las Vegas, but that may change. We will have to assess the situation and the requirements that will be place, and it’s just a bit too early to make that determination. We’ll know more in the coming weeks. Also, there is more than a million square feet of outdoor activation space, including feature vehicles, displays, drifting and ride and drive experiences, where masks are not required.
Doesn’t SEMA have an option to require proof of vaccinations from attendees, and then not require masks to be worn the entire time?
That is not currently (as of Sept. 1 interview) an option for events such as trade shows in See SEMA Show Questions, Page 51
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Axalta Announces Board Changes
Proposed $42M Settlement Includes Removal of Takata Airbag Inflators in 1.35M Volkswagen and Audi Vehicles
Axalta Coating Systems, a leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings, on Aug. 30 announced Mark Garrett has stepped down as a member and chair of its Board of Directors, effective Aug. 26, due to his increasing professional commitments in Europe. The board has appointed William M. Cook as its new chair, effective upon Garrett’s resignation. Cook joined Axalta’s board in 2019. He previously served as executive chairman of Donaldson Company, Inc. until 2016, and prior to that served as chairman, CEO and president of Donaldson for more than 10 years. During his 35-year career at Donaldson, Cook held various roles of increasing responsibility, including senior vice president, international, CFO and senior vice president, commercial and industrial. Cook also brings to the board strong public company board experience. Source: Axalta
Plaintiffs in the Takata Airbag Product Liability Multidistrict Litigation on Sept. 1 filed a class action settlement agreement resolving claims against Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. and Audi of America, LLC, and its affiliates that will accelerate the removal of dangerous airbag inflators from approximately 1.35 million affected vehicles while also compensating consumers for their economic losses. The proposed $42 million settlement will provide numerous benefits to current and former owners and lessees of the affected vehicles, similar to agreements previously announced with Toyota, BMW, Mazda, Subaru, Nissan, Honda and Ford. The agreement was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division, as part of the multidistrict litigation being overseen by Judge Federico A. Moreno. “We are pleased that after three years of hard-fought litigation we have reached a settlement with Volkswagen that will bring significant monetary and other relief to more than a million class members,” said Peter Prieto, court-appointed plain-
tiffs’ chair lead counsel, who, along with other members of the plaintiffs’ leadership, negotiated the settlement on behalf of consumers. “This agreement will not only expand awareness of the Takata recalls and improve driver safety by accelerating the removal of defective airbags from our roads, but will provide compensation to affected VW and Audi consumers,” Prieto said. “We will continue to vigorously prosecute our claims against Mercedes Benz, General Motors and FCA to ensure that our clients obtain the relief they deserve.” Among the benefits provided for in the settlement is an outreach program overseen by an independent settlement special administrator that enhances and expands upon VW’s and Audi’s outreach efforts to significantly increase recall remedy completion rates. The program will regularly contact class members through direct mail, phone calls, email, internet ads and social media to educate them about the settlement and incentivize them to receive the recall remedy and exercise their rights under the settlement agreement.
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The settlement also provides compensation to class members for their economic losses resulting from the recall in the form of reimbursement for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses, a possible residual distribution payment of up to $500, requirements to provide rental cars to class members while they wait for their recall remedies and the provision of a customer support program for repairs and adjustments on the replacement inflators, including an extended warranty. This settlement is subject to court approval. If preliminary approval is granted, class members will receive more information about the terms of the settlement. The benefits of the Enhanced Rental Car Loaner Program will be provided no later than the date of preliminary approval. When and if the court grants final approval, the claims process will open to eligible class members pending any appeals that are filed. Personal injury claims related to the Takata Airbag Litigation are not covered by this settlement. Source: Schwartz Media Strategies
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Automotive Industry Trend Continues Towards Use of Lightweight Materials by Stacey Phillips
Since the early 20th century, steel has been the material of choice by auto manufacturers worldwide. Almost every vehicle model has been designed using steel due to its strength, cost-effectiveness, workability and availability.
Ryan Mandell, director, Claims Performance, Auto Physical Damage Solutions for Mitchell International.
“Automakers are now moving away from the use of mild steel, which was a core substrate used for automotive construction for a long time,” said Ryan Mandell, director, Claims Performance, Auto Physical Damage Solutions for Mitchell International. Instead, OEMs are increasingly using lightweight materials such as aluminum, high-strength steel, ultra-high-strength steel and plastic. Mandell has worked in a variety of industry segments over his career. He joined Progressive Insurance as an adjuster after graduating college in 2004 and then worked for a medium-size MSO, Precision Collision Auto Body, based in Washington. Before he was hired by Mitchell in 2017, he was in charge of five wrecking facilities owned by B&R Auto Wrecking in the northwest for four years. Autobody News talked to Mandell about the use of lightweight materials in current and future model vehicles and how this shift will impact collision repairers.
Why are automakers moving away from the use of mild steel and using lightweight materials?
Manufacturers are moving away from the use of mild steel for a couple of reasons. First, they want to improve fuel economy in response to the National High-
way Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, which regulate how far vehicles must travel on a gallon of fuel. The current requirement is for automakers to raise the average fuel efficiency of new cars and trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. With an increased focus on manufacturing electric and hybrid vehicles, lightweight materials are being used to offset the weight of the batteries. Many people believe electric cars are lightweight because they don’t have an engine, but lithium-ion batteries are really heavy. According to a study conducted by a global transportation company named Kar-Tainer, the company found that if you look at the average weight of an internal combustion vehicle versus an electric one, the electric vehicle on average was a little over 400 pounds heavier. Lithium-ion batteries have a low energy density ratio. In order to produce the kind of range and performance and be competitive in the market, you have to have a large battery. Until we get to the point
where we’re using solid-state battery technology with a higher energy density, this will be the case for some time. The shift away from steel is also about improving crashworthiness. A university study compared structural aluminum to mild steel, which has been used in structural applications for an extended time. They found that aluminum absorbed twice the crash energy than steel.
Can you tell us about the trend toward lightweight materials and if it’s expected to continue in the future?
The use of lightweight materials has ramped up over the last decade. When I worked
48 OCTOBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
in a body shop in 2008, the incidents of aluminum in our facility were minimal. By the time I left in 2012, it was becoming more common. Looking at Mitchell data from our estimating customers, we see a couple of percentage points growth every year in terms of the major component parts constructed of these types of materials. Looking ahead, it is predicted that this trend will continue to evolve. A study conducted by IHS Markit showed that over the next 10 years, we’re going to see highstrength steels have higher percentage content in vehicles than mild steels. Higher tensile strength steels are fired at higher temperatures, which produces more rigidity, so the material is not only lighter, but also stronger.
How is this shift expected to impact collision repairers?
As manufacturers continue to use more non-traditional materials, it will ultimately impact collision repairers. When Ford manufactured the all-aluminum F-150 in 2015, there was much discussion around the use of this material. As a result, some collision repairers have already set up their facilities to accommodate aluminum repair with a clean room and dedicated tools, dust evacuation systems, etc. In addition to aluminum and lightweight steel, I think we’ll also see a shift in the use of composite plastics. All these changes are likely to affect the repair versus replace decision-making process. Certain materials are simply going to create a different pattern of damage than steel. With some parts of the car comprised of ultra-high-strength steel, for example, a repair is prohibited because it will ruin the vehicle’s structural integrity. Other parts, such as composite plastics and even carbon fiber, can be repairable in certain instances but this is rarer than if the panel was comprised of mild steel. The properties of the metal in the vehicle dictate how it will respond in an accident. Because alu-
minum becomes more brittle when impacted, it’s more likely that it will crack versus deform. When mild steel is impacted, it dents. It deforms the energy and continues to travel through the rest of the car because that energy hasn’t been dispersed quickly enough. When you have something that cracks, that energy disperses much more efficiently. If you have a fend-
This Audi structure at the SCRS booth during SEMA consists of stamped and extruded aluminum with carbon fiber reinforcements. Credit: Tim Ronak
er with a dent, it might be repairable; however, it probably can’t be fixed if it has a crack. Take the 2018 Audi A3. There’s an A3 with a gas engine and an Audi e-tron, the plug-in electric vehicle. With the gas engine version, the fenders are made of mild steel. The fenders on the plug-in version are aluminum. The front ends look identical and there is no difference cosmetically. However, when those cars are in an accident and subjected to impact, the fenders are going to respond very differently. There will be different patterns of damage simply due to the materials. That’s at the core of why this is important. The chief engineer of the Ford Explorer, Bill Gubing, said that weight was a factor in every decision they made on the 2020 Explorer, according to FordAuthority.com. The engineering team looked at every part and how they could achieve weight savings and still achieve the same type of performance or better in a crash test. Ford uses aluminum in the 2020 Explorer, but it also uses steel, magnesium and plastic. This is a great example of how automakers are looking at all the components in the vehicle to deSee Lightweight Materials, Page 52
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Car Insurance Costs for Men vs. Women in 2021 by Aaron Besson, QuoteWizard
On average, QuoteWizard found men pay $720 per year for auto insurance, while women pay $739 per year. The cost difference between teenage men and women drivers is easy to explain. Men pay significantly more for car insurance than women in their teen years, while women pay slightly higher premiums in later years. On average, we found men pay $720 per year for auto insurance, while women pay $739 per year. But these rates depend on age: during their younger years, men pay more for auto insurance than women. This cost difference usually evens out at age 25 for both genders. However, women see a comparatively slight hike in their rates by age 35. Why women wind up paying more for auto insurance over time is not really known, and some states have already started taking steps to eliminate gender as a rate factor. Our research found men pay an average of $720 per year for car insurance, while women pay $739. Which gender pays more for auto insurance at any given point in time depends on the age of the driver. On average, young men pay much more for car insurance than young women. This is because car insurance providers find men to be riskier drivers than women, especially when they are younger. When they are older, women start to pay slightly higher rates. Besides age, other factors that can affect the car insurance rates of either gender include driving history, where you live, car make and marital status. In order to defray higher auto insurance costs regardless of your age and gender, make sure to compare multiple auto insurance quotes from many companies. Rates and coverage offerings can vary widely. Getting a broad overview of what’s available can save you a lot of money. On average, men pay $720 a year, or $60 a month, for auto insurance. At age 18, a male driver pays an average of $5,124 a year, or $427 a month. At 18 years old, men pay more
than $1,000 more per year on average than an equal-aged female driver. The key reason for this? Teen males show a higher level of crash risk than women of the same age. According to a 2018 CDC study, the rate of fatal car accidents for men between the ages of 16 and 19 was almost twice the death rate for equal-
cantly more than men depending on where they live. Our analysts found 31 states where women pay more than men, 15 where men pay more than women and four where men and women pay the same amount. We also found when women pay more, they tend to pay substantially more. Women pay more than
ly-aged women drivers. Auto insurance providers take this into account when factoring risk levels to calculate premiums. Men’s auto insurance rates decrease significantly around age 25. After that, rates stabilize, then stay fairly constant for many years if a clean driving record is maintained. Women pay an average of $739 a year, or $62 a month, for auto insurance throughout their lifetime. Eighteen-year-old female drivers can expect to pay an annual average rate of $4,118, or $343 a month. Women have safer driving records than men overall. At age 35, however, women see slightly higher average rates. Since they show a better reputation for safe driving than men, women tend to pay cheaper rates when they’re younger. At age 25, both genders see fairly equal rates due to maturity and more experience behind the wheel. Then why do women see higher rates than men when they’re older? There is currently no clear answer. In 2017, the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) found women between the ages of 40 and 60 paid more for minimum liability coverage than men with similar histories. Looking at the underlying factors used to calculate claim risk level, there doesn’t seem to be a clear and constant risk factor in women drivers’ histories to reveal a reason for the cost difference. Women may also pay signifi-
$100 more than men in four states, while the most men pay more than women is $64. Women, however, tend to see a slightly smaller increase in their insurance premiums after a driving incident. We found on average, men will see a larger increase in their insurance premiums after a speeding
50 OCTOBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
ticket, accident or DUI. Given the vagueness of the reasoning underlying the rate differences between men and women, states have started putting laws on their books to prohibit insurers from using gender as a rate factor when calculating premiums. The removal of gender when calculating auto insurance premiums could go a significant way towards equalizing rates, especially car insurance rates for younger drivers. States that currently have laws that prohibit gender from being used as a car insurance rate factor are California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. The average rates used in this article are based on thousands of quotes for full-coverage car insurance in random ZIP codes across the country for drivers 18 and 35 years old with excellent credit and no accidents. The vehicle used for data is a 2012 Honda Accord LX with 16,000 miles in annual mileage. Source: QuoteWizard
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Henkle Joins Elite Body Shop Solutions Team An expert more than 30 years in the making, Brent Henkle joined forces with Elite Body Shop Solutions, the most prominent business in auto body shop leadership and management training. Henkle obtained hands-on experience with Price’s Collision Centers, working closely with every department to optimize performance, grow the business and elevate employee engagement. During his 34 years in automotive, he dedicated 13 years to collision centers alone, specializing in process and management optimization. With Elite, Henkle will focus on his role as training manager. He will use the position to help auto body shops harness the power of their management systems, which are often the most underused and yet the most essential tools in the business. Source: Elite Body Shop Solutions
Continued from Page 46
SEMA Show Questions Las Vegas. Nevada recently announced an option for fixed-seat event organizers—such as concerts and football games—to require proof of vaccination from attendees in Las Vegas, and not require masks be worn. It seems that many do not realize that this option does not apply to trade shows—the current requirement in Nevada is for masks to be worn by all individuals while indoors in Las Vegas regardless. This is an example of the confusion that recent changes have created. We will have greater clarity about the November requirements for trade shows in the coming weeks, and will announce details at that time.
Lots of people are saying they want proof of vaccination, masks, pre-event testing. Why not set those requirements now?
The COVID-19 landscape is changing week to
week. We need to rely on the health experts and believe that the safety measures that will make sense to the greatest number of people are the measures that Nevada health authorities will have in place after a few more weeks pass, and we get closer to our November Show dates.
What are the other health and safety measures for the SEMA Show that are in place?
The basics for a successful 2021 SEMA Show are already in place and we are prepared for the industry to reconnect in November. Inside the LVCC, there is an upgraded GBAC Star Certified Air System. This is a hospital-grade system and represents the highest standard for daily cleaning and sanitization. The new West Hall also provided us with higher ceilings and 25% more space, so we can spread out more and have wider aisles throughout the entire convention center and accommodate attendees to distance more freely.
We will also have hand-sanitizing stations throughout the event, and daily cleaning in high-traffic areas. We also know that, unlike a year ago, trade shows today are taking place successfully throughout the country. A year ago, gatherings were limited to no more than 250 people. At the Las Vegas Convention Center, 17 events are scheduled to take place between now and the SEMA Show. The health and safety of those at the Show is important to us, and we are confident that the 2021 SEMA Show is going to be an amazing event that will provide the industry with the best opportunity to reconnect and do business. There is two years’ worth of pent-up demand from the industry to reconnect in person, and the 2021 SEMA Show will give the industry with the best opportunity to do that. Source: SEMA
PPG Provides Sales Update, Reports Worsening Supply Disruptions and Customer Parts Shortages
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PPG on Sept. 7 announced it expects sales volumes in the third quarter 2021 will be lower by $225 million to $275 million, compared to what the company anticipated at the start of the third quarter. PPG’s sales volumes are being impacted by the increasing disruptions in commodity supplies; further reductions in customer production due to certain parts shortages such as semi-conductor chips; and continuing logistics and transportation challenges in many regions, including the U.S., Europe and China. In addition, raw material inflation for the third quarter is trending higher than previously communicated by about $60 million to $70 million. The coatings commodity supply disruptions have further deteriorated since the company’s earnings announcement July 19, due to several additional force majeure declarations and lower material allocations from certain suppliers. The company also continues to assess the full impact of Hurricane Ida, which could include additional
supply chain effects. The company reported aggregate global economic demand remains robust, and inventories in many of the company’s end-use channels are at very low levels. When supply conditions normalize, the company continues to expect strong sales growth into 2022. In addition, the company reported it continues to make measurable progress implementing selling price increases to help offset the elevated raw material costs, and is seeking further increases. Overall price increases for the third quarter are estimated to be about 5% with similar contributions from both operating segments. Based on the uncertainty created by these continuing and evolving disruptions, the company has elected to withdraw previously communicated financial guidance for the third quarter and full-year 2021. Source: PPG
autobodynews.com / OCTOBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 51
Continued from Page 48
Lightweight Materials termine how it can be made lighter. For repairers, this means the opportunities for fixing the components in a collision repair setting are reduced. You don’t have as much decision-making capability due to the
A BMW i8 using carbon fiber. Credit: Tim Ronak
materials being used. Subsequently, your potential profit margins are reduced and cycle times will likely increase.
How do you recommend collision repairers educate themselves and prepare for these
As we see the use of these mixed materials increase, understanding the materials and the makeup of vehicles is key. In addition to having the proper tooling and equipment, training is critical. Although it can often be challenging to do in a shop environment, over the last 18 months during the pandemic, many shops have had more time to educate technicians. It’s also important to include customer service representatives, estimators and managers. I-CAR is going through a revamping of its content, which will be very valuable for the industry. There are also a variety of webinars and classes available that can be helpful. A huge component of education involves referencing the OEM repair procedures, which are changing all the time. That’s why we are working hard at Mitchell to integrate those in the estimating platform so it’s not so cumbersome for shops to do that research. Shops also need to set appro-
priate expectations with customers. This starts with the estimating process. When writing the initial esti-
insurance clients wanting to understand more about how vehicles are constructed and the decisions that need to be made.
Q: A: A McLaren using carbon fiber. Credit: Tim Ronak
mate, it’s important to educate owners of newer model vehicles about the types of materials used. Consumers are unaware of many of these changes and don’t understand the impact of the materials when they are in an accident. Having those types of conversations up-front is an opportunity for collision repair facilities to put themselves in a position where they are the experts and demonstrate they are looking out for their customers’ best interests. We’ve also seen interest from
What are some of the opportunities available for repairers?
In the future, I think there will be more specialization in the market. By training employees to repair vehicles with these types of materials, shops can create a healthy profit center. It’s not going to be for every shop but depending on the market and the customers you serve, there could be some opportunities, whether you are an independent repair facility or part of a consolidator.
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Mitchell, Car ADAS Solutions Team Up to Provide Enhanced Calibration Support Mitchell, a leading provider of technology, connectivity and information solutions to the Property & Casualty (P&C) claims and collision repair industries, and Car ADAS Solutions, an ADAS technology and services company, have joined forces to offer enhanced support for dynamic and static ADAS calibrations. Mitchell’s MD-500 scan tool and MD-TS21 target system combined with Car ADAS Solutions’ onsite evaluation, training, implementation and support services can help North American collision repair facilities reduce cycle time and generate additional revenue by opening their own ADAS calibration centers. With at least one ADAS feature on nearly every new automobile, recalibration of radar, ultrasonic, LIDAR and camera sensors has become essential to proper, safe vehicle repair. Instead of subletting the work, repair facilities can invest in the equipment and operational support required to perform calibrations onsite. This can assist them in managing existing repairs more efficiently while accessing new revenue oppor-
tunities as a retail calibration center for other collision repairers, mechanical repair shops and glass installers.
“With the significant increase in ADAS, calibrations are required on a growing number of repaired vehicles, with many necessitating multiple calibrations,” said Greg Peeters, CEO and founder of Car ADAS Solutions. “Together with Mitchell, we help shops build an ADAS calibration business, thereby creating an entirely new profit center―one designed to service their repaired vehicles, as well as their surrounding market.” Car ADAS Solutions provides onsite evaluation, technician training, proprietary calibration manage-
52 OCTOBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
ment software, ongoing auditing, quality control and technical support. Through its collaboration with Mitchell, the company will work directly with repair facilities using the MD-500 and MD-TS21. Mitchell’s computer-based ADAS target system leverages Bosch’s diagnostics expertise, best-in-class vehicle coverage and patented technology― delivering a complete solution for static and dynamic calibration, pre- and post-scanning and repair blueprinting. Since it works with Mitchell Cloud Estimating and its Integrated Repair Procedures, repair planners can also use the equipment to write estimates, take photos, link directly to OEM repair information from Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) and automatically upload pre-scan, postscan and calibration reports. “ADAS calibrations are one of the fastest growing and most complex elements of modern collision repair,” said Jack Rozint, senior vice president of repair sales at Mitchell. “Car ADAS Solutions, along with Mitchell’s latest generation of diagnostic equipment and software, offer an end-to-end solution for repairers
seeking comprehensive assistance with setting up and successfully operating their own calibration centers.” “Having access to the right tools and services becomes even more critical now that ADAS calibrations are a key part of the repair process,” said Michael Simon, director of strategic accounts at Bosch Automotive Service Solutions. “Connecting Bosch technology, Mitchell software and Car ADAS Solutions support can assist technicians in the delivery of proper, safe repair for the cars of today and tomorrow.” Additional information can be found at www.mitchell.com/ products-services/collision-repair -shop-solutions/car-diagnostic-system and caradas.com. For collision repair and property casualty updates and perspectives, follow Mitchell on Twitter @Mitchell Repair and @MitchellClaims. Source: Mitchell International
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FCA to Pay $30M Fine for Illegal Payments to UAW Officials FCA US LLC (FCA) was sentenced Aug. 17 in federal court in Detroit after pleading guilty in March to conspiracy to violate the Labor Management Relations Act, also known as the Taft-Hartley Act, by making more than $3.5 million in illegal payments to officers of the UAW between 2009 and 2016. FCA’s sentence requires payment of a $30 million fine, triple the base amount provided for the offense by sentencing guidelines. In addition, FCA will serve a three-year term of probation and be subject to three years of oversight by Frances McLeod, an independent corporate compliance monitor selected by the U.S. McLeod is a founding partner of Forensic Risk Alliance and head of its U.S. offices, and recently served as the independent compliance monitor for IAV GmbH, a German company recently prosecuted in connection with the Volkswagen emissions conspiracy. FCA is one of the big three American automobile manufacturers and the North American operating subsidiary of Stellantis. The illegal payments to UAW officials took various forms, including extravagant meals,
rounds of golf, lavish parties for the UAW International Executive Board, an Italian-made shotgun, clothing, designer shoes and other personal items paid for with credit cards issued by the joint training center. FCA executives also paid off the $262,000 home mortgage of former UAW Vice President General Holiefield. Holiefield and his widow also received hundreds of thousands of dollars funneled through Holiefield’s purported charitable organization, as well as sham companies under Holiefield’s control that had lucrative contracts with the training center. In many instances, FCA passed the illegal payments through the UAW-Chrysler Skill Development & Training Program d/b/a the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center (NTC). Ostensibly, the NTC was supposed to provide training and health and safety protections for FCA workers. The sentencing was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Saima S. Mohsin. “The sentencing of FCA marks a significant milestone in this historic case,” said Mohsin. “Congress enacted the Taft-Hartley Act
to ensure that union members could have confidence in their union leaders. FCA violated these principles through corruption. By lavishing millions of dollars in gifts and cash upon UAW leaders, the FCA sought to improve its relationship with UAW leaders, and FCA thereby harmed the hardworking men and women of the UAW. “A compliance monitor and a significant fine are important steps towards ending this type of systemic corruption and deterring future corporate malfeasance.” Thus far, as part of this investigation of illegal payments by FCA to UAW officials, as well as fraud and embezzlement by other UAW officers, 14 individuals have been convicted of federal crimes, including three former FCA executives: Former FCA Vice President for Employee Relations Alphons Iacobelli (66 months in prison) Former FCA Financial Analyst Jerome Durden (15 months in prison) Former Director of FCA’s Employee Relations Department Michael Brown (12 months in prison) Former UAW presidents Dennis Williams (21 months in prison) and Gary
Jones (28 months in prison) Former UAW vice presidents Norwood Jewell (15 months in prison) and Joseph Ashton (30 months in prison) Former UAW Region 5 Director and UAW board member Vance Pearson (12 months in prison) Former UAW Midwest CAP President Edward “Nick” Robinson (12 months in prison) Former senior UAW officials Virdell King (60 days in prison), Keith Mickens (12 months in prison), Nancy A. Johnson (12 months in prison), Michael Grimes (28 months in prison) and Monica Morgan, widow of Holiefield (18 months in prison). Holiefield died in 2015. Mohsin commended the outstanding work of the IRS-Criminal Investigations, the U.S. Department of Labor–Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General, and the FBI in conducting a comprehensive criminal investigation into labor corruption activities involving a vital sector of the local and national economy. Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Michigan
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2021 SEMA Show Update: SEMA Affirms Commitment to Outstanding Show in November by SEMA Editors
“At a time when COVID is back in the headlines, SEMA wants you to know that the association is 100% committed to holding the 2021 SEMA Show, Nov. 2–5, and showcasing two years of product innovations, vehicle trends and industry-leading education,” said Tom Gattuso, SEMA vice president of events. “The SEMA Show is the only place in the world that brings together the people, products, vehicles and ideas that drive the aftermarket industry.” Concerning safety measures, the COVID landscape and state and local requirements are changing week to week. With this rapid pace of change, SEMA expects to know more in the coming weeks about the specific measures that will be required in November. “Meanwhile, the basics are in place. The Las Vegas Convention Center has been awarded the GBAC STAR certification, which demonstrates the highest standards
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for daily cleaning, air filtration and sanitization. It is the gold standard for safe facilities,” said Gattuso.
Select aisles have been widened for enhanced attendee flow. An updated floorplan will also make the Show easier to navigate and allows for optimal locations for new and returning event features. “SEMA is committed to delivering an event that exhibitors and attendees can rely on to network and conduct business,” said Gattuso. “We are working with Nevada authorities amidst an evolving landscape to deliver an outstanding event consistent with local health and safety requirements in November.” To register and learn more about the 2021 SEMA Show, visit www.SEMAShow.com. Source: SEMA
Crash Champions Adds 3 Locations to Growing National Footprint Crash Champions, LLC, one of the nation’s fastest growing independent collision repair companies, announced Sept. 14 it has acquired Robbie’s Auto, located at 238 Route 46 East in Dover, NJ; Total Auto Body, located at 1635 N. Port Washington Road in Grafton, WI; and Racine Auto Body, located at 1100 S. Airline Road in Racine, WI. With the addition of Robbie’s Auto, Crash Champions marks its first entrance into the New Jersey market, a natural complement to the Pennsylvania presence the company gained following its acquisition of Signature Collision Centers earlier this year. The additions of Total Auto Body and Racine Auto Body strategically supplements the company’s recent acquisitions of D&M Auto Body, Quality Auto Body, Silver Spring Collision Center and Gillette’s Collision Center, bringing the company’s number of locations in Wisconsin to eight.
“With these three acquisitions, I am excited for Crash Champions to enter the New Jersey market and strengthen our presence in the Milwaukee market,” said Matt Ebert, founder and CEO of Crash Champions. “What unites these three facilities is that they each possess highly trained technicians that work in state-of-the-art facilities and provide the highest quality repairs. Their dedication to the customer experience and commitment to safety exemplify everything that we stand for at Crash, making each of them a natural addition to our growing national footprint of locations. “I am pleased to welcome them to our championship team, and I look forward to leveraging our resources to further enhance the services provided to customers and partners.” For more information about Crash Champions, visit www. crashchampions.com. Source: Crash Champions
Observations on Collision Works Sale to Gerber By David Roberts, Focus Advisors Automotive
The following is a letter sent Sept. 1 to Focus Advisors’ clients and colleagues by Managing Director David Roberts. Gerber’s recent acquisition of Collision Works (CW) is the largest acquisition of an independent MSO in the last three years. Combined with the acquisition of John Harris Body Shops in South Carolina, we estimate Gerber has added nearly 10% to its overall revenues with these two large acquisitions. These two acquisitions by Gerber reflect the continued strength of large consolidators in growing their businesses. It takes a lot of revenue to move the dial on a big enterprise like Gerber. We estimate Collision Works’ revenues in the $100 million range in Oklahoma and Kansas, three fast-growing Midwestern markets (Oklahoma City, Kansas City and Tulsa), and a host of smaller adjacent markets. John Harris operated 16 shops with an estimated revenue of $40 million with large and small shops across South Carolina
and parts of Georgia. The growth of Collision Works is a template for other rapidly growing MSOs Jake Nossaman and his team built a solid foundation, beginning with large well-located operations in and around the Oklahoma City market. They continued to grow with both greenfield and acquisition strategies. CW entered a second large market, Kansas City, with a greenfield development and proceeded to acquire shops in and around that market. With an eight-shop MSO acquisition (Auto Craft), CW expanded its reach into the Wichita market and continued adding single shops to reach the full complement of 36 shops upon sale to Gerber. To finance some of its initial growth, CW teamed up with a substantial capital partner—Bank of Oklahoma. In 2019, it refinanced its real estate portfolio to acquire $50 million in additional capital and used these resources to pay down debt, continue buying and integrating shops across their markets.
Exit Strategies Along the way, Collision Works also looked at the possibility of joining forces with a very large private equity firm. In the end, because of its scale and infrastructure, Collision Works had multiple exit opportunities—from selling to a consolidator to recapitalizing the company with a large private equity investor to merging with other strong operators. With few remaining regional MSOs left in the U.S. approaching the size of Collision Works, we expect the scarcity value will allow those remaining operators with more than $50 million in sales to continue to find enthusiastic buyers—or private equity investors. For rapidly growing regional and super-regional MSOs, scale, infrastructure, relationships with insurers and access to capital will be the primary elements determining future success. Source: Focus Advisors
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