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Fix Auto Sierra Vista Named March Taylor Award Winner by VeriFacts Automotive VeriFacts Automotive, LLC, announced Fix Auto Sierra Vista, located in Sierra Vista, AZ, and its store
Pictured, left to right, are VeriFacts Automotive Coach Robert Apodaca, Richard O’Leary and Ian Morton
manager, Richard O’Leary, are recipients of a March Taylor award for 2021, recognizing them as one of the top collision repair professionals in the country. O’Leary was honored with the March Taylor “Doing Things Right as a Shop Manager” award for his commitment to process, teamwork and performance. He has served as general manager for this location for the past 26 years. “It is a tremendous honor to see one of our team members recognized for their hard work and many conSee March Taylor Award, Page 18
Vol. 39 / Issue 11 / November 2021
Mitchell, Genex, Coventry Unite to Form Enlyte Mitchell, Genex and Coventry formally announced Oct. 13 the creation of their new parent brand, Enlyte. The three businesses have been moving toward this unification since the merger of Mitchell and Genex in 2018, followed by the acquisition of Coventry in 2020. This combination under the new Enlyte brand creates a one-of-a-kind organization in the Property & Casualty industry with technology innovation, clinical services and network solutions, all backed by an unrivaled collection of expertise across the entire claims continuum.
The Mitchell, Genex and Coventry brands will continue to operate as solution providers, making the entire collection of the companies’ trusted products and services available to all Enlyte customers. This new alignment allows the family of businesses to better serve the industry with a holistic point of view and expanded reach, while remaining focused on the individual needs of clients in the Auto Physical Damage, Auto Casualty, Workers’ Compensation and Disability spaces. “We are so pleased to share the exciting work our people have been See Unite to Form Enlyte, Page 28
Texas Instructor Felix Cano is Back to Win Another SkillsUSA Title
‘Who Pays for What?’ Survey: Many Auto Body Shops Don’t Bill for Labor to Drain, Refill Fuel Tanks, but Most That Do Get Paid
by Ed Attanasio
Industry trainer Mike Anderson of Collision Advice often suggests an auto body shop wishing to use the results of the “Who Pays for What?” surveys to train estimators or repair planners start by looking at the “not-included” operations listed in the survey reports for which a large percentage of other shops report being paid regularly. One such procedure from this past summer’s survey, for example, is the labor to drain and refill a vehicle’s fuel tank. About 70% of those repairers who charge for this work when it is necessary and performed report being paid “always” or “most” of the time by the eight largest insurers. But almost three in 10 shops (29%) overall acknowledge they have never sought to be paid for this operation. “Repairers should understand that the reason this isn’t included in any of the three estimating systems is because it’s so variable,” said Anderson, who conducts the quarterly “Who Pays” surveys in conjunction
A good racehorse trainer is always looking for the next Secretariat or Sea Biscuit to win the big races and maybe the Triple Crown. In the NFL, coaches are always looking for the next GOAT like Tom Brady. In this case, collision repair instructor Felix Cano is looking for his next thoroughbred in the form of a star pupil who can take the national title at next year’s SkillsUSA competition. Cano, 59, has been a technician for many years and proud of his ca-
Instructor Felix Cano, right, took his prize student Geronimo Medrano, left, all the way to become a national champion in SkillsUSA 21 years ago, and now he’s back to try and win again with a new star pupil See Texas Instructor, Page 20
with CRASH Network. “You have a book time to remove and reinstall a fuel tank. But draining, storing and refilling the fuel tank is not included in that time because the estimating system can’t know if a vehicle has five gallons of gas in it or 25 gallons of gas. Obviously, it takes longer to drain and refill 25 gallons of gas than five gallons of gas.” The final “Who Pays for What?” survey of 2021 is now open through the month of October. It focuses on labor operations related to scanning, system calibrations and aluminum repair. Shops can take the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XC67NPT Survey participants receive a free report with complete survey findings along with analysis and resources to help shops better understand and use the information presented. Anderson said the survey, which will take about 15 to 20 minutes, can be completed by anyone in a shop familiar with the shop’s billSee Who Pays for What? Page 15
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CONTENTS ‘Risky Business’ Porsche 928 Fuels Inaugural Barrett-Jackson Houston Auction’s $37.5 Million Sales Total �����������������������������������������10 CARSTAR Colorado Business Group Raises More Than $10,000 for Cystic Fibrosis with ‘Un-Golf’
Due to Supply Chain Shortages, Raw Material and Logistics Constraints ������������������������������55 BrightDrop Completes Build of its First Light
Classic Collision Announces Landmark Acquisition
Chevrolet Bolt EV Battery Production Resumes ��26
River Valley �����������������������������������������������������6 Colors On Parade Opens New Franchise in Houston ��������������������������������������������������������15 Mercury Insurance Launches MercuryGO for Arizona Drivers ���������������������������������������������16 Tesla Has Created 5,000 New Jobs in Austin This Year �������������������������������������������������������14
Publisher & Editor: Jeremy Hayhurst General Manager: Barbara Davies Contributing Writers: John Yoswick, Janet Chaney, Toby Chess, Ed Attanasio, Stacey Phillips Advertising Sales: Joe Momber, Norman Morano, (800) 699-8251 Office Manager: Louise Tedesco Digital Marketing Manager: Bryan Malinski Art Director: Rodolfo Garcia Graphic Designer: Vicki Sitarz Online and Web Content Editor: Abby Andrews Accounting Manager: Heather Priddy Permissions Editor: Randi Scholtes Office Assistant: Dianne Pray
Serving Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arkansas, Colorado, Arizona, Utah and adjacent metro areas. Autobody News is a monthly publication for the autobody industry. Permission to reproduce in any form the material published in Autobody News must be obtained in writing from the publisher. ©2021 Adamantine Media LLC.
3M Automotive Aftermarket Division ����������������� 5
Kwik Bench ���������������������������������������������������� 12
American Icon Automotive Finishes ����������������� 26
Larry H. Miller Ford Mesa �������������������������������� 36
ASP Clips �������������������������������������������������������� 10
Mac Haik Ford-Lincoln ������������������������������������ 19
asTech ������������������������������������������������������������ 18
Malco ������������������������������������������������������������� 22
Audi South Austin ������������������������������������������� 41
Markingpendepot.com ������������������������������������ 14
Audi Wholesale Parts Dealers �������������������������� 53
Mazda Wholesale Parts Dealers ���������������������� 54
Axalta Coating Systems ������������������������������������ 6
Mitsubishi Wholesale Parts ����������������������������� 52
BMW of South Austin �������������������������������������� 41
MOPAR Wholesale Parts Dealers ��������������������� 37
BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers ������������������������ 50
NOROO Paint & Coatings ��������������������������������� 21
Bob Utter Kia �������������������������������������������������� 51
North Freeway Hyundai ����������������������������������� 44
Car-Part.com �������������������������������������������������� 20
Northside Chevrolet ���������������������������������������� 39
CCC Intelligent Solutions ��������������������������������� 29
Part of the Club ����������������������������������������������� 35
Certified Automotive Parts Association ������������ 32
Peak Kia ��������������������������������������������������������� 35
Chevyland ������������������������������������������������������� 48
PPG ���������������������������������������������������������������� 11
Christopher’s Dodge-Ram ������������������������������� 35
Pro Spot International ��������������������������������������� 7
Classifieds ������������������������������������������������������ 58
Santa Fe Kia ��������������������������������������������������� 42
DeVilbiss Automotive Refinishing �������������������� 15
SATA Dan-Am Company ���������������������������������� 17
Dynabrade, Inc ������������������������������������������������ 60
Schomp Mazda ����������������������������������������������� 38
Emich Chevrolet ���������������������������������������������� 35
Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center �������������������������8-9
Emich Volkswagen ������������������������������������������ 35
Sorbothane Soft-Blow Mallet �������������������������� 18
Equalizer Industries, Inc ���������������������������������� 23
Spanesi Americas ������������������������������������������� 33
Finnegan Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram ���������������� 2
Steck Manufacturing Company ����������������������� 34
Fisher Acura ��������������������������������������������������� 35
Steve Landers Auto Group ������������������������������� 28
Fisher Honda �������������������������������������������������� 35
Stevinson Toyota West ������������������������������������ 35
Flatirons Subaru ��������������������������������������������� 35
Subaru Wholesale Parts Dealers ���������������������� 43
Ford Wholesale Parts Dealers �������������������������� 49
Sunmight USA �������������������������������������������24-25
Fowler Honda ������������������������������������������������� 42
Toyota of Laredo ��������������������������������������������� 16
Freeman Mazda ���������������������������������������������� 46
Toyota Wholesale Parts Dealers ����������������������� 47
GM Wholesale Parts Dealers ��������������������������� 45
Valspar Refinish ���������������������������������������������� 13
Honda-Acura Wholesale Parts Dealers �������30-31
Volkswagen Wholesale Parts Dealers �������������� 59
Longer an Option ������������������������������������������42
Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers �������������������� 55
Wrenchers ������������������������������������������������������ 27
Toby Chess Has Successful Kidney Transplant ��55
JEN6 Equipment ��������������������������������������������� 14
Young Chevrolet ���������������������������������������������� 40
Cox Automotive Forecast: New-Vehicle Sales Stall in September ����������������������������������������58 Fatality Causes Volvo S60 and S80 Airbag Recall �����������������������������������������������������������38 Ford Begins Pre-Production of All-Electric F-150 Lightning ��������������������������������������������56 J.D. Power: New Car Tech Goes Unused, People Don’t Intend to Use It ���������������������������4 Lordstown Motors Sells Ohio Plant to Hon Hai Technology Group, Announces Partnership
COLUMNISTS Anderson - Auto Body Shops Can Take Control of Credit Card Processing Fees ���������������������39 Phillips - Marketing Effort at Tony’s Body Shop Pays Off ��������������������������������������������������������32 Yoswick - Changes Ahead for Collision Repair Shops Based on AI, New Automotive Finishes �36 Yoswick - Lawmakers in 3 States Tackle Topics Impacting Collision Repairers ������������������������47
to Work on EV Programs �������������������������������52 Mitchell, Genex, Coventry Unite to Form Enlyte ����1 NAIC Report Shows Total Premiums Across All Lines Grew 6% In 2020 ��������������������������������48 New Hampshire, Montana Settle VW Emissions Claims ����������������������������������������������������������38 New Vehicle Sales Expected to Drop in Q3: Edmunds ������������������������������������������������������40 NICB Releases Annual ‘Hot Wheels’ Report: America’s Top 10 Most Stolen Vehicles ����������59
NATIONAL ‘Who Pays for What?’ Survey: Many Auto Body Shops Don’t Bill for Labor to Drain, Refill Fuel Tanks, but Most That Do Get Paid ��������������������1 2021 Cox Automotive Service Industry Study: Parts Shortages, Staffing Concerns Hold Back Dealership Service Departments �������������������54 ASA Announces New Membership Model ����������56 ASA Charts Next Steps on its Reorganizational Path ��������������������������������������������������������������34 ASE Fall Registration Open ��������������������������������48 AsTech® to Provide OEM Scan Report ���������������51 Auto Glass Week™ Returns to San Antonio Sept. 14-16, 2022 ����������������������������������������51 Auto Insurers Confront Rapidly Rising Claims Costs ������������������������������������������������������������56 AutoNation Appoints CEO and Director ��������������14 Average New-Vehicle Transaction Prices Top $45,000 for First Time ����������������������������������59 Axalta Expects $40M Less in Net Sales for Q3
CCC Forecasts Future of EVs and How It Will Impact Body Shops ���������������������������������������44
Colors On Parade Expands into the Arkansas
Commercial EV ���������������������������������������������50 Cars as Investments on the Rise �����������������������50
of ProCare Collision in Texas �������������������������18
Production of the Lucid Air Begins; Customer Deliveries to Start in October ������������������������23 Projected Health and Safety Requirements for 2021 SEMA Show ������������������������������������46 Retail Spending on Cars and Parts Surpasses All Other Sales ����������������������������������������������55 Sedgwick to Use CCC Intelligent Solutions’ AI to Digitize Auto Appraisals �����������������������������52 Tesla Asks New U.S. Buyers to Wait Until April 2022 for Model Y Long Range �������������������������4 Tesla Widens Legal Action Against Rivian Over Alleged Theft of Battery Secrets ��������������������51 Tesla’s FSD Beta 10.2 to Rollout to ~1K New Drivers ����������������������������������������������������������28 Texas Instructor Felix Cano is Back to Win Another SkillsUSA Title ������������������������������������1 To Scan or Not to Scan? CAA Says It’s No
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Kia Motors Wholesale Parts Dealers ���������������� 57
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J.D. Power: New Car Tech Goes Unused, People Don’t Intend to Use It While new-vehicle technology is a leading reason why buyers choose one vehicle over another, many new vehicles are equipped with some features that they want no part of, according to the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Tech Experience Index (TXI) Study, released Oct. 8. This ends up being costly to automakers and buyers alike. “New-vehicle prices are at an all-time high, partly as a result of an increased level of content,” said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of human machine interface at J.D. Power. “This is fine if owners are getting value for their money, but some features seem like a waste to many owners.” The study finds, for more than one in three advanced technologies, fewer than half of owners have used the technology in the first 90 days of ownership. Non-users most often say they don’t need these technologies. For example, 61% of owners say they have never used the in-vehicle digital market technology, and 51% of those saying they have no need for it. Owners feel similarly about the driver/passenger communication technology, with 52% saying they have never used the technology and 40% of those saying they have no need for it. When technology is effectively executed in a vehicle, it positively influences an owner’s decision to purchase another vehicle equipped with that technology. The highest execution scores in the study are for camera rear-view mirror and ground view camera, both of which are ranked among the top three by owners wanting them on their next vehicle. “J.D. Power has a wealth of transactional data showing that automakers suffer a hit to profits and sales velocity if they build the wrong mix of features on their vehicles,” Kolodge said. “The TXI research quantifies the benefits when there is alignment between what owners truly want and what the automakers produce.” Following are key findings of the 2021 study: Dealers can influence how owners feel about value of technology: Dealer demonstrations at delivery are
instrumental in keeping owners engaged with emerging technologies. For example, for safe exit assist technology, owners can get a very strong understanding of the system when they learn it from a dealer. Without dealer education, however, owners often do not fully understand the technology and its value, presenting a challenge for its overall acceptance. Similarly, when a dealer demonstrates trailer assistance technology, satisfaction improves to 8.69 (on a 10-point scale) compared with 7.83 for learning from an outside source. However, owners are more than twice as likely to learn about this technology from an outside source (71%) than from a dealer (30%). Some technologies make driving experience better, while others do not: Many owners indicate poor performance with interior gesture controls technology, which responds to hand motions instead of touch. Owners of this feature indicate an extremely high 41 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). This technology also has the lowest overall satisfaction score in the study for a second consecutive year. In contrast, one-pedal driving technology offered in some electric vehicles receives very high satisfaction levels and owners cite relatively few problems (8 PP100). Tech desires not always transferable across global markets: J.D. Power TXI studies for the U.S. and China include 21 of the same advanced and emerging technologies, but scores for owner satisfaction vary by country. While camera rear-view mirror technology receives high scores in the U.S., owners in China have the most problems (18 PP100) with this technology. For ground view camera technology, 62% of U.S. owners say they “definitely will” want the technology again, while only 24% of owners in China say the same. Tesla’s unofficial score is highest in study: Tesla receives an Innovation Index score of 668 (on a 1,000-point scale). The automaker is not officially ranked among other brands in the study as it doesn’t meet ranking criteria. Unlike other manufacturers, Tesla doesn’t grant J.D. Power permission to survey its owners in 15 states where it is sells vehicles. Based
4 NOVEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
on that limitation, Tesla’s score is calculated based on a sample of surveys from owners in the other 35 states. Highest-Ranking Brands Genesis ranks highest overall and in the premium segment with an Innovation Index score of 634, offering a high level of advanced technologies across its product lineup. In the premium segment, Cadillac (551) ranks second, followed by Volvo (550), BMW (545) and Mercedes-Benz (523). Hyundai ranks highest in the mass market segment with a score of 519. Kia (510) ranks second, followed by Nissan (502), Subaru (499) and GMC (498). Advanced Technology Award Recipients The TXI Study analyzes 36 technologies, which are divided into four categories: convenience, emerging automation, energy and sustainability, and infotainment and connectivity. Only technologies classified as advanced are award eligible. Cadillac Escalade is the premium model receiving the convenience award, for camera rear-view mirror technology. Ram 1500 is the mass market model receiving the convenience award, also for camera rearview mirror technology. Lexus IS receives the premium model emerging automation award, for reverse automatic emergency braking technology. Hyundai
Elantra is the mass market model receiving the emerging automation award, for front cross traffic warning technology. Lexus IS receives the award for infotainment and connectivity in the premium segment, for virtual assistant connectivity to vehicle technology. Kia K5 receives the infotainment and connectivity award in the mass market segment, also for virtual assistant connectivity to vehicle technology. The 2021 U.S. Tech Experience Index (TXI) Study is based on responses from 110,827 owners of new 2021 model-year vehicles who were surveyed after 90 days of ownership. The study was fielded from February through July. The TXI Study complements the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS) and the J.D. Power Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study by measuring how effectively each automotive brand brings new technologies to market. The TXI Study combines the level of adoption of new technologies for each brand with the excellence in execution. The execution measurement examines how much owners like the technologies and how many problems they experience while using them. For more information about the U.S. Tech Experience Index (TXI) Study, visit https://www.jdpower. com/business/automotive/us-techexperience-index-txi-study
Tesla Asks New U.S. Buyers to Wait Until April 2022 for Model Y Long Range by Mark Kane, Inside EVs
The disproportion between the demand and supply of the Tesla Model Y Long Range AWD appears to have expanded in the U.S.
According to the online configurator, as of Sept. 27, the expected delivery time for new orders of the entry-level Model Y is now April 2022. It was March a week earlier, and February a week before that. Now we understand why Tesla will start production in Texas with the Model Y, as it’s the most wanted car in the lineup. Those who would like to get the Model Y must spend $7,000 more for the Performance version, which can be delivered in November. The good news is at least the prices stopped increasing over the last weeks. There are also no changes in the case of other models.
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Colors On Parade Expands into the Arkansas River Valley Colors on Parade, the world’s largest eco-friendly mobile automotive reconditioning franchise, is pleased to announce the addition of its newest area developers, Eric and Breanne Yeager.
Caption: Breanne and Eric Yeager.
Carrying on a family tradition in the auto paint repair business, Eric and Breanne Yeager have purchased the Arkansas River Valley territory and will grow the Colors on Parade business in that part of central Arkansas. Their territory includes Crawford, Franklin, Johnson, Pope and Sebastian counties. The Colors on Parade franchise now covers the entire western portion of the state of Arkan-
sas. Eric and Breanne Yeager are partners in life and now in business. Breanne has a long history with Colors on Parade. Her experience in the business comes from growing up learning the trade from her father, Mike Nicholson, area developer in Tulsa, OK. More than two years ago, her husband, Eric, began learning the craft and got involved working in Mike’s territory as an employee. Now, the Arkansas power couple is developing their own area together and has just introduced a new young family member to the team, Evan Yeager. Eric, Breanne and Evan have recently completed the Colors on Parade paint repair training and certification program at the company headquarters in Conway, SC. “We are excited to continue the family tradition and grow our new business in the Arkansas River Valley,” said Breanne Yeager. “Colors on Parade provides a great source of income while also allowing for the ability to be flexible for family time and work at your own
pace, which is why we chose to take this next step in our lives.” “As we continue to grow Colors on Parade with more locations across the country, it is a goal to make convenient, affordable mobile paint and dent repair services accessible for our customers,”
With more than 30 years of experience and more than 250 operating franchises across the U.S., Total Car Franchising Corporation is consistently ranked by Entrepreneur magazine as one of the nation’s top automotive franchise systems. The company’s extensive
“Colors on Parade provides a great source of income while also allowing for the ability to be flexible for family time and work at your own pace, which is why we chose to take this next step in our lives.” — Breanne Yeager said Jeff Cox, president of Total Car Franchising Corporation. “A key component to doing so is our group of passionate franchise owners who provide a high-level of expertise and professionalism to our customers. We are thrilled to have this amazingly talented young family with us and look forward to watching them grow over the years to come!”
training and certification process allows new franchisees to provide customer services safely onsite while using an exclusive process. Franchise opportunities still remain available throughout the U.S. More information can be found at www.franchising.colorsonparade.com. Source: Colors on Parade
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‘Risky Business’ Porsche 928 Fuels Inaugural Barrett-Jackson Houston Auction’s $37.5 Million Sales Total Barrett-Jackson continued at full throttle during the inaugural Houston Auction Sept. 16-18 at NRG Center in Houston, TX, with $37.5 million in total sales. Strong prices for collectible vehicles combined with tremendous turnout led to many world auction records and a rising demand for American-made resto-mods, quality customs and vehicles with celebrity provenance. On Sept. 18, the auction arena was electric when a stellar group of vehicles crossed the block, led by a 1979 Porsche 928 driven by Tom Cruise in the film “Risky Business” that sold for $1.98 million, becoming the world record auction sale of any Porsche 928 from any year. Barrett-Jackson’s first auction in the Lone Star State featured a 100% no reserve docket with nearly 500 collectible vehicles that sold for more than $35.4 million. The Automobilia Auction featured 279 pieces that sold for more than $1
million, marking the most successful non-Scottsdale Automobilia Auction in the company’s history. Barrett-Jackson also continued to trailblaze with the auction of two NFTs, which brought in a combined $14,000.
A stellar group of vehicles crossed the Barrett-Jackson auction block led by a 1979 Porsche 928, driven by Tom Cruise in the film “Risky Business,” that sold for $1.98 million Credit: Business Wire
On Sept. 18, a 1956 Chevrolet 150 sold to benefit charity for $425,000 and was immediately donated back, igniting a second round of bidding that raised an additional $400,000. Another $175,000 was donated,
bringing the total raised from the sale of the Chevrolet 150 to $1 million benefitting Honor Flight. To date, Barrett-Jackson has helped raise over $135 million for charity. Barrett-Jackson’s inaugural Houston Auction total sales reached more than $37.5 million with a 100% sell-through rate and 34 world-record auction sales, surpassing more than 200 world records in 2021. “This was a banner year filled with historic events made up of over 200 world-record auction sales that are forever etched into automotive history,” said Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson. “Thanks to our sponsors, consignors, bidders and guests, our inaugural Houston Auction was an extraordinary extension of this year’s success. We’re far more than a car auction; we’re an immersive automotive experience with exhibitors, thrill rides and activities that rivals any event. We can’t wait for our Jan-
uary 2022 Scottsdale Auction, when we’ll celebrate everything we’ve accomplished over our 50-year history, in true Barrett-Jackson fashion.” The top 10 vehicles sold during the inaugural Houston Auction included: 1. 1979 Porsche 928 “Risky Business” Movie Car—$1.98 million 2. 2019 Ford GT Lightweight —$1,199,000 3. 2019 Ford GT—$1,001,000 4. 1966 Shelby GT350 Sir Stirling Moss Race Car—$495,000 5. 2006 Ford GT—$440,000 2006 Ford GT—$440,000 6. 2005 Ford GT—$412,500 7. 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Split-Window Custom Coupe—$396,000 8. 1967 Ford Mustang Eleanor Tribute Edition—$357,500 9. 1967 Ford Mustang Eleanor Tribute Edition—$330,000 1962 Chevrolet Corvette Custom —$330,000 10. 1956 Ford F-100 Big-Window
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Custom Pickup—$275,000 During the three-day auction, Barrett-Jackson sold 279 authentic automobilia items for more than $1 million, the highest sales ever achieved during a non-Scottsdale Auction. Top automobilia pieces in Houston included a 1940s-50s Flying A Service animated porcelain neon sign that sold for $77,050, and a 1950s Mobiloil Pegasus left-facing animated porcelain neon sign which sold for $69,000. “We rocked the house in Houston and delivered the kind of results expected from a state that likes to do everything bigger and better,” said Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson. “Our 100% no reserve docket reinforced the demand for American-built resto-mods and quality customs, and the strong prices underscored the trust we’ve earned from our consignors and bidders. We’re bringing new collectors to the hobby with every auction with diverse dockets filled with vehicles that enthusiasts can relate to and enjoy. Join us in Scottsdale in January to celebrate this incredible journey we’re on.”
Barrett-Jackson also continued to fill the demand for collector car NFTs with two movie-themed Motoclub SparkNFTs. The 1959 Cadillac “Ghostbusters Ectomobile” Re-Creation NFT sold for $8,000, and the 1994 Toyota Supra from “The Fast & The Furious” franchise NFT hammered in at $6,000. On Sept. 17, Jackson was joined by Aaron Shelby, grandson of Carroll Shelby and board member of Carroll Shelby International, for the historic presentation of the 1967 Ford Shelby GT500 Experimental (EXP500) “Little Red” and the only Shelby GT500 convertible built that same year, marking the first time in history these two vehicles were shown together in public. Source: Barrett-Jackson
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CARSTAR Colorado Business Group Raises More Than $10,000 for Cystic Fibrosis with ‘Un-Golf’ Event action. They staged the “Un-Golf Tournament,” in which vendors’ sponsorships of the tournament were converted into direct donations to cystic fibrosis. There was never a lost ball, a shot out of bounds or a missed putt, but the CARSTAR Colorado Business Group still had the winning score for the event. “The Colorado Business Group, with support from some of our valued vendor partners, was still able to present a check to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for $10,100,” said Steve Rigsby, business Steve Rigsby, left, business development manager development manager, for the CARSTAR Colorado Business Group; Carson CARSTAR Colorado Maczuzak, center, development director, Cystic Fibrosis Business Group. “ToFoundation Rocky Mountain Chapter; and Mike Turner, gether, we found a creright, executive director, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation ative way to support a Rocky Mountain Chapter. very important cause, When this year’s CARSTAR even if we didn’t get to play golf. Colorado Business Group tour- This was a winning round for everynament had to be canceled due to one involved.” the pandemic, CARSTAR and its valued vendor partners went into Source: CARSTAR The CARSTAR Colorado Business Group, which has held an annual golf event for the last several years to support cystic fibrosis, held its first-ever “Un-Golf Tournament,” raising more than $10,000 for cystic fibrosis research, care and advocacy.
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AutoNation Appoints CEO and Director AutoNation, Inc., America’s largest automotive retailer, on Sept. 21 announced it has appointed Mike Manley as CEO and as a member of its Board of Directors, effective Nov. 1. Mike Jackson will retire from AutoNation on Nov. 1 as CEO and as a member of the Board of Directors. Manley currently serves as head of Americas for Stellantis and sits on the group’s Executive Council. Stellantis is among the largest automotive OEMs in the world, formed in January by the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the PSA Group. Most recently, Manley served as CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. from July 2018 to January of this year. Manley holds an MBA from Ashridge Management College and a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Southbank University. Source: AutoNation
Tesla Has Created 5,000 New Jobs in Austin This Year by Joey Klender, Teslarati
Tesla has already created 5,000 new jobs in Austin, TX, so far in 2021, according to a report from the Austin Chamber of Commerce. Companies expanding or relocating to the city pledged to create 20,840 jobs from January to September, with 150 companies contributing to the growth. The data shows Tesla is the company to pledge and create the most jobs. After announcing Tesla would epand its North American production footprint by erecting a new manufacturing facility in Austin, speculation began to intrigue many of those interested with how many jobs the electric automaker would contribute to the region. Tesla chose Austin over Tulsa, OK, amidst the ongoing COVID-19 crisis that put many people out of work and many businesses into bankruptcy. However, Tesla’s ultimate pledge was to help Austin recover its economic dominance by offering a substantial number of jobs to those who reside in the area.
ed” company in the Austin Chamber of Commerce chart, pledged 5,000 new employment opportunities in the region. KVUE, an Austin-based ABC affiliate, stated Tesla also created 5,000 jobs in the region thus far. With Tesla already having announced its headquarters will move from Palo Alto, CA, to Austin, this number could already be increasing as more employment opportunities will likely be created due to the company Tesla Gigafactory Texas as of Oct. 8. Credit: @JoeTegtmeyer/ moving its administraTwitter tive operations to Texas. Other notable comeconomic platform and reigniting panies to pledge considerable ema region known for strong com- ployment opportunities include mercialized residency. Tesla also Amazon, which pledged to create announced during the 2021 Share- 2,000 new jobs at a Texas fulfillholder Meeting its headquarters ment center. would officially move to the City of Austin. Tesla has created the most jobs so far and has also pledged to do www.autobodynews.com so. Tesla, considered an “expand Tesla was projected to create 15,000 new jobs at Gigafactory Texas eventually, with 9,000 new employment opportunities entering the state, growing Texas’
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Colors on Parade Opens New Franchise in Houston Colors on Parade, the country’s largest eco-friendly mobile automotive paint and dent repair services franchise, is pleased to announce the opening of its newest franchise unit in Houston, TX. Servicing Houston and its surrounding counties, the new franchise is owned and operated by John Furman. Working alongside Area Developer Andrew Gilliam, Furman will bring ecoSMART automotive repair services to his community at an affordable price. In addition, the new franchise will provide car dealerships with the highest quality reconditioning services for their inventory with a quick turnaround time. A retired U.S. Navy veteran, Furman has been training with Gilliam and his team for the past several months learning the ins and outs of the Colors on Parade repair process. After discussing and learning about the earning potential of owning a Colors on Parade franchise with Gilliam, Furman decided it was time to invest in a franchise.
Prior to joining Colors on Parade, Furman served in the U.S. Navy, worked for Continental Airlines and ran a trucking operation. His mechanical background includes airframe and powerplant mechanics.
“As we continue to grow Colors on Parade with more locations across the country, it is a goal to make convenient, affordable mobile paint and dent repair services accessible for our customers,” said Jeff Cox, president of Colors on Parade. “A key component to doing so is our group of passion-
ate franchisees who provide a high-level of expertise and professionalism to our customers. We’re excited to have John onboard with us and look forward to seeing him grow in the business! Welcome John!” With more than 30 years of experience and more than 250 operating franchises across the U.S., Colors on Parade is consistently ranked by Entrepreneur magazine as one of the nation’s top automotive franchise systems. The company’s extensive training and certification process allows new franchisees to provide customer services safely onsite while using an exclusive process. Franchise opportunities still remain available throughout the U.S. More information can be found at franchising.colorsonparade.com. Source: Colors on Parade
Who Pays for What? ing practices and the payment practices of at least some of the largest national insurers. Each shop’s individual responses are held in the strictest confidence; only aggregated data is released. The results of previous surveys are also available online (https:// www.crashnetwork.com/collisionadvice). Source: CRASH Network
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Mercury Insurance Launches MercuryGO for Arizona Drivers Mercury Insurance announced the company has made its usage-based insurance app, MercuryGO, available to drivers in Arizona to help improve driving skills and traffic safety. The app acts as a virtual driving coach, providing skill scores that give real-time feedback about driving behavior.
Mercury auto insurance policyholders who enroll to use the app immediately receive up to a 10% participation discount. Then, when MercuryGO customers renew their policies, they could receive a discount of up to 40%, depending upon their driving score. “MercuryGO is an app that will help to keep Arizonans safe
while on the road,” said Mercury Insurance Director of Product Management David Lane. “Designed to keep drivers of all ages and experience levels focused on the road, MercuryGO may also help reduce the number of car-crash related fatalities and serious injuries.” The Arizona Department of Transportation reports there were 1,057 motor vehicle traffic fatalities in 2020 despite lower traffic volume. This is the highest level in 12 years. The MercuryGO app generates a driving skill score, calculated based on categories closely correlated with car crashes: excessive speeding, hard braking, distracted driving (i.e., phone motion and screen interaction) and road type. Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT), Mercury’s technology partner, is the world’s largest smartphone telematics provider, winning multiple awards. CMT is the pioneer of usage-based insurance with smartphones (in 2012), the measurement of phone distraction (2013), behavior-based insurance (2014) and real-time crash alerts
with roadside assistance (2015). “Mercury Insurance is utilizing the DriveWell platform to help drivers reduce distracted driving, speeding and hard braking by keeping them engaged and providing timely feedback,” said Ryan McMahon, CMT’s vice president of insurance and government affairs. “MercuryGO will help make Arizona roads safer and has the potential to reduce the number of car collisions, injuries and fatalities.” CMT’s research shows 37% of all car trips in the U.S. in 2019 involved significant driver phone distraction; between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., that figure rises to 41% of all U.S. car trips. MercuryGO will help solve that problem by using technology that has reduced distracted driving by 29%, speeding by 45% and hard braking by 17%. MercuryGO provides useful inapp tips to help users become safer drivers. Added benefits include: ▪ A sharing option for families, which allows all participating drivers to see who is the safest. ▪ The ability for parents to receive
real-time feedback about their teen’s driving behavior, including when, where and how fast they’re traveling. ▪ Licensed teen drivers, 18 years and younger, who are registered for MercuryGO will instantly receive a 10% participation discount on auto insurance. ▪ The opportunity to earn up to a 40% discount at renewal. Currently, MercuryGO is only available to Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma and Texas drivers. Visit www.mercuryinsurance.com/GO or contact a local Mercury Insurance agent to enroll. Source: Mercury Insurance
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March Taylor Award tributions to serving our customers with high-quality repairs,” said Ian Morton, owner of Fix Auto Sierra Vista. “We work closely with VeriFacts Automotive on training, process improvements and repair standards. Our dedication to quality and service, combined with the insight we gain through this relationship, is demonstrated in everything we do. Congratulations to Richard on this well-deserved recognition.” Each year, VeriFacts Automotive presents the March Taylor Award, named in honor of industry leader March Taylor, to individuals who contribute to the success of VeriFacts VQ facilities by excelling in their role. Source: Fix Auto
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Classic Collision Announces Landmark Acquisition of ProCare Collision in Texas Classic Collision, LLC, a leading national multi-site collision repair operator based in Atlanta, announced its expansion into Texas with the acquisition of all 45 ProCare Collision centers. Classic Collision now operates a total of 148 repair centers in Alabama, Alaska, California, Florida, Georgia, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas and Washington. ProCare Collision is a nationally recognized, state-of-theart collision repair company that started in 1999 with one location in San Antonio. Its commitment to provide exceptional quality collision repair and community involvement has cultivated a large base of loyal customers who recommend ProCare across the Sant Antonio, Austin and Houston areas. “After much thoughtful consideration, we feel the time is right to join forces with a major player in the collision repair industry,” said Vince Brock, CEO of ProCare Collision. “With Classic Collision we will be well positioned to maximize the growth
Texas market in partnership with Vince and the ProCare team,”said Ricardo Gonzalez, director
“With Classic Collision we will be well positioned to maximize the growth opportunities presented by the large, densely populated Southeastern Texas market.” — Vince Brock “As we establish our presence in yet another new market, we welcome the ProCare team to the Classic Collision family,” said Toan Nguyen, CEO of Classic Collision. "This is a monumental opportunity for Classic and we are confident these centers have the expertise, culture, management discipline and necessary investments to continue being successful as the industry and operating climate evolves. We have a lot more in store for the remainder of this year as we continue to advance our footprint across the country.” “We are thrilled to enter the
at New Mountain Capital. “They have built an exceptional operation with a strong foundation on quality, customer focus and exceptional service—all which match our ethos at Classic Collision.” “As Toan and the Classic team continue to execute on their strategic plans, I see a lot of potential ahead not only in Texas but nationwide for the benefit of our employees, customers and business partners through high quality repairs, customer satisfaction and reduced repair costs." Source: Classic Collision
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Texas Instructor reer, but the real satisfaction he’s received over the years has been as a collision repair instructor at various schools in Texas. He’s thought about retiring several times over the years, but the industry keeps calling him back for a curtain call. Cano has always had a passion for collision repair, an industry he entered in 1980 after learning the trade from his father, Felix Cano Sr. His career path was re-directed two decades ago when he became an instructor and a mentor at H. Grady High School in Dallas, TX, his alma mater. The satisfaction he said he gets from teaching students and watching them succeed gives Cano a feeling he can’t find anywhere else. As a former tech student himself, Cano had a sour taste in his mouth over his three unsuccessful tries at getting to the SkillsUSA national competition starting back in 1981. Every year, he improved his standing, but never got a shot at the national championship.
“I finished third in the district my sophomore year and got all the way to the state level my senior year,” Cano said. “I was the first person from my school to make it that far, but I finished second with the silver medal.” More than two decades ago, Cano started his teaching career and found his shining star almost immediately—a brilliant student whom
Cano is proud of his awards, but he is more thrilled every time he sees one of his graduates succeed
he believed could be a SkillsUSA finalist and maybe even a national champion. His name was Geronimo Medrano and Cano started training him to enter the competition right away. While learning alongside his
20 NOVEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
students during his first gig as a teacher, Cano always had the SkillsUSA competition on his mind. As a former SkillsUSA competitor himself who never got to nationals, Cano wanted to go with his prize student. At first, being a collision repair instructor wasn’t easy, but eventually Cano became comfortable in the role. When he taught his very first class consisting of 32 students, he was so anxious he rushed through his presentation. “I saw all these eyeballs on me and I realized I had to talk for the next 40 minutes, and hold their attention,” he said. “But I was so excited I raced through my presentation and 30 minutes into it, I was done and they were staring at me. I need to slow down, I thought, so I started with the basics and went from there.” SkillsUSA is a national membership association serving high school, college and middle school students preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, including collision repair. It’s a partnership of students,
teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA helps each student excel. More than 340,000 students and advisors join SkillsUSA each year, organized into more than 19,000 local chapters and 52 state and territorial associations. In 2017-18, 19,500 teachers served as professional members and SkillsUSA advisors. Combining alumni membership, the total number reached annually is more than 421,000. After working with Medrano to refine his skills, Cano was fairly confident he would excel at SkillsUSA. “I knew the kid was special,” Cano said. “He was so teachable and just an amazing young man. He won the district competition and then took the gold at the state level. But then he stopped coming to school.” Perplexed and confused, Cano went to Medrano’s house. “I found out that there were some issues going on in his personal life and it was time for him to grow up and help his family financially,” Cano said. “I felt awful, because
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here was a one-of-a-kind student, but now he wasn’t going to compete and he probably wasn’t going to graduate either.” Two weeks later, Cano entered his classroom and everyone was unusually quiet, he thought. “I looked in the back row and Geronimo was there! I could not believe it and I got tears in my eyes. It’s on now, I told him, so we started training and focusing on nationals. People told us he would not win, but I believed in the kid.” In a large arena with a big crowd, Cano and his best student entered the ring ready to rock and roll. “I told Geronimo don’t worry about anything,” he said. “He was so mature for his age and confident, but I know he was going up against the best in the country. When it was announced that Geronimo won first place, I almost had a heart attack. The crowd erupted—it was the first and only time someone from Texas had gone all the way to the top!” With a national champion now on his resume, Cano received multiple job offers and subsequently landed a position as the director of
Dallas CAN Academy and then later at Lincoln Technical College. Now a SkillsUSA judge, Cano can look back and see everything has come full circle, he said. “Geronimo has his own business, Dallas Star PDR, and many of my other students are out there in the industry and doing very well. I always focused on my students and that’s why I succeeded as an instructor,” Cano said. “I’m proud to say that I am still the only person in Texas to win a SkillsUSA National championship—a record I’ll hold until another Geronimo Medrano comes around.” For a brief time, Cano stepped away from being a teacher and became a Verifacts coach, a job he held for one year. Coaching was a lot like teaching, and he loved working with auto body shops to qualify for OE certifications. “It offered me a great opportunity to learn about all of the technology that is in these newer cars,” he said. “The job at Verifacts was fulfilling, and I had no intentions of going back to teaching.” And then the phone rang again.
A principal from the Irving School District just outside of Dallas called Cano out of the blue and planted a seed. “People were telling her that I was the guy who took a student all the way to becoming a national winner at SkillsUSA, so she wanted me to come and teach students from all of their four high schools in her district,” Cano said. “The auto tech program they had was in bad shape after the teacher quit. The principal described a two-year collision repair and refinishing program where students were bussed every day to a place called the James A. Ratteree Career Development Center. I liked the idea and it was a big pay cut from Verifacts, but I couldn’t resist.” Cano is the newest teacher at Ratteree, but he already has huge plans for some of his students, he said. “I have three young ladies who could go far in SkillsUSA,” he said. “They are smart and good with their hands, which is essential. They absorb the information fast. I also have a handful of young men who are gifted, so we are going to have a strong team when we enter this
year’s SkillsUSA competition.” This next district competition for SkillsUSA will be held in February at Texas State Technical College in Waco, TX. If any of Cano’s students perform well there, the next stop is the state competition to be held in Corpus Christi, TX, in April, and then the nationals will be held in Alabama in July. Will Cano be able to achieve his dream of having another Geronimo Medrano? Only time will tell, but there is much work yet to be done before the celebrations can begin, Cano said. “The competition is great for the kids, because it motivates them to get better and I’m also quite competitive, so it motivates me too,” Cano said. “I saw Geronimo’s life change when he won that title 21 years ago, and how he turned it into an amazing career. Every time I see him, I almost cry because I know that I helped him by teaching him about collision repair, but maybe most importantly, about life.” www.autobodynews.com
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Production of the Lucid Air Begins; Customer Deliveries to Start in October Lucid Group, which is setting new standards with its advanced luxury EVs, kicked off its Production Preview Week, a series of events during which Lucid opened the doors of its Advanced Manufacturing Plant (AMP-1) and Lucid Powertrain Manufacturing (LPM-1) factories in Casa Grande, AZ, to members of the media and investor communities, policymakers and Lucid Air Dream Edition customers. The first customer-quality Lucid Air luxury electric sedans rolled off the assembly line Sept. 28 during the event at AMP-1, which included a factory commissioning ceremony with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, who joined other policymakers and invited guests in highlighting Lucid’s local job creation and economic development, increase in high-tech manufacturing footprint and plans for future expansion in the state. Lucid’s Arizona manufacturing facilities are expected to bring a projected economic output of $9 billion to the state in 2024, as well as a projected 15,000 jobs annually by 2024.
During the event, customers, analysts, investors and members of the media were also given the opportunity to be some of the first to test drive the Lucid Air.
Lucid Air Customer Deliveries to Begin in Late October Lucid expects reservation holders of Lucid Air Dream Edition models will begin receiving their vehicles in late October, with customer deliveries ramping up thereafter. Grand Touring, Touring and Air Pure model deliveries are expected to follow. Lucid has thus far received more than 13,000 reservations for Lucid Air and increased the
planned total production quantity of the Dream Edition to 520 vehicles. The EPA recently released its official range estimate for the Lucid Air Dream Edition Range, the longest range for any electric car rated by the EPA: 520 miles on a single charge, more than 100 miles over its closest competitor. The Lucid Air Dream Edition Performance and Lucid Air Grand Touring also achieved EPA estimated ranges far beyond any other EV. With customer-quality cars now coming off the line, Lucid has confirmed the Air meets all the applicable regulatory requirements from the EPA and U.S. Department of Transportation. “The proprietary EV technology that Lucid has developed will make it possible to travel more miles using less battery energy,” said Peter Rawlinson, CEO and CTO, Lucid Group. “For example, our Lucid Air Grand Touring has an official EPA rating of 516 miles of range with a 112-kWh battery pack, giving it an industry-leading effi-
ciency of 4.6 miles per kWh. Our technology will allow for increasingly lighter, more efficient and less expensive EVs, and today represents a major step in our journey to expand the accessibility of more sustainable transportation. I’m delighted that production cars endowed with this level of efficiency are currently driving off our factory line.” AMP-1 Factory Expansion Lucid completed the construction of the AMP-1 factory, positioned on a 590-acre site in Casa Grande, in less than a year. As the first greenfield, dedicated electric vehicle factory to be built in North America, Lucid’s innovative AMP-1 was designed with a future-ready focus that has allowed the company to already embark on a massive expansion of the facility. This will add 2.85 million square feet to support an increase in Air production and establish production of the brand’s first SUV, Gravity, expected to start in 2023. Source: Lucid Group
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Chevrolet Bolt EV Battery Production Resumes General Motors on Sept. 20 outlined a comprehensive action plan to ensure customers can safely and confidently drive, charge and park the Chevy Bolt EV and EUV. The action plan includes both hardware and software remedies, some of which are in place with immediate effect. “We’re grateful for the patience of owners and dealers as we work to advance solutions to this recall,” said Doug Parks, GM executive vice president, global product development, purchasing and supply chain. “Resuming battery module production is a first step and we’ll continue to work aggressively with LG to obtain additional battery supply. In addition, we’re optimistic a new advanced diagnostic software will provide more convenience for our customers.” New battery production LG battery plants in Holland and Hazel Park, MI, have resumed production. In addition, LG is adding capacity to provide more cells to GM. As a result, replacement battery modules will begin shipping to dealers as soon as mid-October. The root cause of the rare circumstances that could cause a battery fire is two manufacturing defects known as a torn anode and a folded separator, both of which need to be present in the same battery cell. LG has implemented new manufacturing processes and has worked with GM to review and enhance its quality assurance programs to provide confidence in its batteries moving forward. LG will institute these new processes in other facilities that will provide cells to GM in the future. Prioritized battery replacement GM will continue to prioritize Chevy Bolt EV and EUV customers whose batteries were manufactured
during specific build timeframes where GM believes battery defects appear to be clustered. The company has established a notification process that will inform affected customers when their replacement modules will be available.
“Resuming battery module production is a first step and we’ll continue to work aggressively with LG to obtain additional battery supply. In addition, we’re optimistic a new advanced diagnostic software will provide more convenience for our customers.” — Doug Parks The new batteries will include an extended battery 8-year/100,000mile limited warranty* (or 8-year/ 160,000 km limited warranty in Canada). New advanced diagnostic software Within approximately 60 days, GM will begin launching a new advanced diagnostic software package that will increase the available battery charging parameters over existing guidance. The diagnostic software will be designed to detect specific abnormalities that might indicate a damaged battery in Bolt EVs and EUVs by monitoring the battery performance, alerting customers of any anomalies and prioritizing damaged battery modules for replacement. It is GM’s intent that further diagnostic software will allow customers to return to a 100% state of charge once all diagnostic processes are complete. This new software, which will be provided to all Bolt EV and EUV owners, requires dealer installation. Owners will be able to start to schedule installation at their Chevy EV dealer in approximately 60 days.
aware of any fires that have occurred where customers followed this safety guidance, in parking decks or otherwise. GM’s instructions remain: Set the vehicle to a 90% state of charge limitation using Target Charge Level mode. Instructions on how to do this are available on chevy.com/
boltevrecall. If customers are unable to successfully make these changes or do not feel comfortable making these changes, GM is asking them to visit their dealer to have these adjustments completed. Charge the vehicle more frequently and avoid depleting battery below approximately 70 miles of remaining range, where possible. Continue to park vehicles outside immediately after charging and do not leave vehicles charging indoors overnight. Customers who have additional questions can visit www.chevy.com/ boltevrecall or contact the Chevrolet EV Concierge 1-833-EVCHEVY (available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–midnight ET; Saturday and Sunday, noon–9 p.m. ET) or contact their preferred Chevrolet EV dealer. *Whichever comes first. Customers can obtain a copy of complete warranty terms and details at the time of the repair. Source: GM
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If customers are following GM’s instructions issued below, they can park in a location of their choice. In an abundance of caution, GM recommends customers leave ample space around their vehicle wherever they choose to park. GM is not
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Continued from Cover
Unite to Form Enlyte doing to bring our family of businesses even closer together,” said CEO Alex Sun. “Uniting our teams under Enlyte will make it easier for us to help customers manage costs while delivering quality service with an expansive collection of Mitchell, Genex and Coventry solutions from first-notice-of-loss to recovery.” The launch of Enlyte includes the creation of a Customer and Market Operations team, which will bring together the casualty sales, client services and marketing teams from all three organizations. The new team will be led by Nina Smith, who currently serves as executive vice president and general manager of Mitchell’s Casualty Solutions Group (CSG). “I am excited about the opportunity to work with my colleagues to create unprecedented value for our clients and the P&C market,” Smith said. As the casualty Customer and Market Operations team from all three businesses is organizing under a
single group, the Mitchell Auto Physical Damage group will continue to develop and offer the Mitchell-branded suite of solutions as they do today, dedicated to superior service and expertise in collision repair and claims. “We are proud of our legacy brands and the teams behind them,” said Sun. “Each of the three companies will continue to develop and grow the branded solutions that our customers know, with the same collaboration and quality they trust.” The changes were shared Oct. 12 with an invite-only audience of Mitchell, Genex and Coventry customers at the 2021 Virtual mPower Conference. Attendees were given a first-look at the new brand, and heard directly from Sun and other leaders about the new organization and the promise of a future united. “Aligning under a single, unified brand, while keeping the greatness of our legacy companies, reminds us that we must continue to deliver on our strategic vision of bringing an ever-expanding set of capabilities that positively impact claims outcomes,” Sun said. Source: Enlyte
Tesla’s FSD Beta 10.2 to Rollout to ~1K New Drivers by Simon Alvarez, Teslarati
Tesla CEO Elon Musk posted a key update to Tesla’s FSD Beta 10.2 rollout, saying the new iteration of the company’s advanced driver-assist system is poised for release Oct. 8. Musk also said the program would be expanding to about 1,000 new Tesla owners who have registered a perfect 100 rating on their Safety Score. Musk said the rollout of FSD Beta 10.2 would be put on hold for several days to evaluate the expanded program. If the results of the FSD Beta 10.2 expansion prove successful, then Tesla would start to gradually roll out the advanced driver-assist system to owners who have posted a 99 rating on their Safety Score. Rollouts to owners with Safety Scores of 98 and below should follow. Tesla’s strategy for the rollout of FSD Beta 10.2 is arguably cautious, but necessary. The company’s Full Self-Driving system, even in its Beta form, is designed to be a key safety feature, after all. For Tesla to be able to release FSD to its greater fleet, the advanced driver-assist system needs to be
validated and refined. Tapping into electric vehicle owners who wish to take part in the FSD Beta program could then be a key strategy that could eventually help Tesla achieve true autonomous driving in the future. In later posts, Musk confirmed the FSD Beta 10.2 expansion Oct. 8 would be a nationwide rollout. Musk explained, however, the quality of experience among Tesla owners operating FSD Beta 10.2 would likely “vary dramatically” as the company’s neural networks simply have far more training data in some parts of the country more than others. This disparity should be addressed as the FSD Beta program expands further. The Tesla FSD Beta program has so far been extremely successful. Since starting almost a year ago, the roughly 2,000 or so Tesla owners who are part of the company’s initial FSD Beta program have not met a single accident to date. While these statistics will likely be impossible to maintain in the long run, Musk has noted in the past Tesla would do everything it can to keep the FSD Beta program and its expansion as safe as possible.
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Please contact these dealers for your Honda or Acura Genuine parts needs. HONDA COLORADO
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autobodynews.com / NOVEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 31
Stacey Phillips is an award-winning freelance writer and editor for the automotive industry. She has 20 years of experience writing for a variety of publications, and is co-author of “The Secrets of America’s Greatest Body Shops.” She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
with Stacey Phillips
Marketing Effort at Tony’s Body Shop Pays Off
Body Shops Giving Back
a long time ago. When I moved to Tony and Isabel Flores opened To- learned a lot. ny’s Body Shop in Oxnard, CA, in I encourage people to leave this building 15 years ago, it was their cubby or shop and go some- twice the size of my prior location 1965. Considered to be hard-workwith Stacey Phillips ing business people by their friends where to sit in a classroom and and I wanted to ensure all of my past and family, the couple taught their learn. By talking to industry partici- customers knew we moved. I didn’t children good work ethics from an pants and touring shops, it helps you want to lose my customer base. I’m build a better business. Business is no different than an insurance comearly age. pany that wants customers Their son, Jay, found they were to renew and re-sign their struggling financially and began with Stacey Phillips policy. I’m looking for cusworking at the small mom-and-pop tomers to come back and shop after graduating from college. tell their family and friends He now operates the family business about us. with his wife, Evelyn, their children, I’ve been successful with Jayson, Jaycob and Jasmine, Jay’s it so I’ve kept it going. My older sister, Maria, and his cousin, father was once told by a Adrian. with Stacey Phillips man in Argentina that if The family business is located you do the best job you can about two miles from where it origi- Tony’s Body Shop is located in Oxnard, CA, about two miles for the car you are working nally opened more than 50 years ago, from where it originally opened more than 50 years ago on today, don’t worry about and the Floreses pride themselves on providing a quality repair to custom- business; it doesn’t matter if you sell where the next car is going to come pizza, work in a janitorial company from. In essence, he meant that if ers by following OEM procedures. Autobody News talked to Jay or in collision repair, you need to un- you do a good quality job, you’ll alwithsmall Victoria Antonelli derstand basic accounting. ways be busy. It’s a very basic conabout the challenges businesses face and how Tony’s Body Shop Why is it important to create has been successful through its mara business or marketing plan? keting efforts.
Tips for Busy Body Shops My SEMA
cept but so true.
In addition to television, what other types of marketing have you found helpful?
There’s no silver bullet. There are many facets. As the writer Tom Franklin said, “The spider that weaves the largest web catches the most flies.” In marketing terms, it simply means that the shop that “weaves the largest web” will capture the most business. One area where the majority of shops get an “F” is having a really good website. It seems everyone you know can build a website but people who truly understand SEO are hard to find. A professional website should include a blog or content about your business, make it easy to find the address and phone number and look good on a phone, tablet and
Q: Product Innovation A: with Ed Attanasio
Many businesses struggle because they have no business plan or marketing plan. They haven’t One of the biggest issues sat down and thought things through I see in the industry is that and don’t have accurate knowledge business owners truly don’t under- about what it takes to operate a sucstand financials and know if the boat cessful business. In order to survive in business, is sinking or floating. They don’t un- derstand their true costs to operate you need a marketing plan. How with the Gary so they may be giving farmLedoux away else are you going to bring people to your front door? There is no such and not even know it. About 20 years ago, I joined the thing as luck. It’s hard work and AkzoNobel Acoat Selected program planning. You’ve either written a to learn about financials. I was ed- marketing plan and are successful, ucated about profit and loss state- or you failed the plan and are strugments, balance sheets and writing gling. Staceyplan. Phillips I recommend writing a twoa business plan with and marketing The program really helped me and page marketing plan outlining how I’m still part of it today. It allows me you are going to get customers to the to meet with other shop owners and front door. Marketing is like a diatalk about what’s happening with the mond that has many facets. industry so I know what I need to do What types of marketing to stay current. I also participated in the 3M ARMS with Mike Anderson have you implemented at Tocourse, which is an older class that ny’s Body Shop? talked about capturing jobs when they I started using television as come to your door and basic busipart of my marketing plan ness practices. It was awesome and I What challenges are small businesses facing right now?
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32 NOVEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
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Overall, it’s important to make customers happy so they tell others about the great service they received and write a good review about it. The majority of time customers are good people and if you do a good job and make sure the car is repaired correctly, that customer will tells his or her family, friends and coworkers about their experience. I have built a tremendous following in Ventura County where I am located. In one of my commercials, we say, “Ask around. Ask your friends and neighbors The family business is run by Jay Flores, his wife, Evelyn, where the best place is to their children, Jayson, Jaycob and Jasmine, Jay’s older repair your car.” I can pretsister, Maria, and his cousin, Adrian ty much guarantee if not all writing thank-you notes to custom- three, two out of the three will point ers, spending time doing follow-up you in my direction. That doesn’t phone calls to ensure they had a happen overnight. It takes years of good experience and giving them a effort and includes everything from treat when you deliver the car. We how you answer calls, to how you give customers a bag of peanuts with repair and deliver the car. a tag that says, “Courtesy of Tony’s Body Shop.” We take a proactive What advice do you have approach because we want our cusfor shops as future vehicles tomers happy and coming back. evolve? Having good reviews is very important. People looking for a As time passes and a totaled body shop are going to Google you car is replaced with an ADAS and my business philosophy is that vehicle, I believe the claim count is customers are always right even if going to be less. As a result, shops they are wrong. You want customers owners need to focus on their capcoming back to your business and ture rate and ensure they are spendtelling others about it. Of course, ing time with customers up-front to there are exceptions when a custom- make sure all their questions and er is too hard to deal with but that needs are handled. doesn’t mean you have to fix that car A lot of people fail to write a the next time. marketing plan because they are on computer. I found it really helpful to have access to my website so I can fix an error and add content without being held hostage by a company. Marketing your business can even include simple things like
ASA Charts Next Steps on its Reorganizational Path At the end of September, the Automotive Service Association (ASA) announced it is transitioning to a new and innovative association model leveraging its expansive history to create a single, unified industry voice. Under the new model, a 50-state regional structure will take place to represent every member with one voice. As the next phase in that announcement, ASA unveiled its new organizational map of the U.S. To see the new regional map, visit https://www.asashop.org/asa-re-
gions/ In addition, ASA accepted resumes for the various regional director positions through Oct. 8. “We’re extremely excited about the new direction, the future of ASA and the opportunities it will provide for our members,” said Ray Fisher, AMAM, president and executive director. “We are seeking successful leaders who will provide excellent servant-leadership to our members.” Source: Automotive Service Association
34 NOVEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
DRPs that refer work to the shop. The challenge is that DRPs have evolved. In my experience, DRPs used to allow shops to provide a safe and proper repair. However, with cars like Tesla and all of the ADAS features in new vehicles, the cost of repairs has skyrocketed. I’ve found that the goal of most insurance programs is to minimize repair cost. That can be challenging
Shop has removed itself from most insurance programs that do not commit to OEM guidelines. The John Eagle Collision Center lawsuit in 2017 changed how auto body shops do business. We are held liable for all the repairs we perform, even after the car is sold and ownership transfers. In today’s world of complex cars geared to crash avoidance and occupant safety, a safe and proper repair following OEM repair procedures is the only way to continue to stay in business. Returning a car to its pre-accident crash worthiness for the safety of the customer and their family is our only option. This is why Tony’s Body Shop has chosen to be certified by many differThe team understands the importance of assisting ent vehicle manufacturers. customers with the claims process I often ask people if they with you have a car with ADAS fea- would repair an airplane or rebuild tures. Inherently, it can be viewed its engine without following the as two competing goals: lowest cost manufacturer’s repair procedures. possible versus highest safety pos- Of course not; people’s lives are at sible when OEM guidelines are fol- risk. Then why is a car any differlowed. For this reason, Tony’s Body ent?
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Be d l u o C u o Y ER! N N I W t Our Nex autobodynews.com / NOVEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 35
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.
Changes Ahead for Collision Repair Shops Based on AI, New Automotive Finishes
The impact for collision repairers single-car accident claims. “That’s of artificial intelligence (AI) and probably one of the things to think changes in automotive finishes were about: just because you have AI, it with Ed Attanasio among the topics discussed by pre- doesn’t mean that you’ve managed senters at the Collision Industry to make a supplement go away. Electronic Commerce Association (CIECA) conference held in September in Nashville. Jimmy Spears, head of automotive for Tractable, said the with Edcompany’s Attanasio AI (machine-learning) system has become adept at quickly determining from photos if a vehicle is a total loss. “One of things that AI does a wonderful job on is triage,” Spears said. “We’re in the high 90s of callPaint company representatives say auto body shops will increasingly need to take potential ing balls and strikes: Is this car rewith Ed Attanasio refinish issues into account early in the repair pairable or is this car not repairable.” planning process For insurers, he said, the system can produce 40% of initial estimates If there’s something behind that “without any further line items” [bumper] cover that’s damaged, it’s needing to be added. An equal per- going to be damaged. But it’s better centage require review of one or two not to write [for that] and assume it. with Ed Attanasio line items---with the estimate anno- But no, supplement percentages artated as to what an appraiser needs en’t any lower.” to review—while the balance will During another panel discusrequire being handled “old school: sion at the CIECA conference, paint have it towed, take the car apart and company representatives laughed go classic blueprinting.” when asked if the industry is close About a year Tractable to AI helping with refinish color withago, Stacey Phillips announced it was working with an matching. insurer in Spain to offer “straight- “It’s a fair question,” said Dan through processing” of some claims, Benton, global product director of such as single-car accidents with no color marketing at Axalta Coating injuries; the customer uploads im- Systems. “We’re chuckling because no, we’re not. There’s just so many ages, the Tractable system prepares with Stacey Phillips an appraisal and “between eight and variables.” Jeff Wildman, the North Amer15 minutes later,” the claim is paid and “as far as the consumer knows, ican manager of OEM and industry relations for BASF Automotive Reis closed.” Spears compared it to ordering finish Coatings, agreed, noting even and paying for a drink at Starbucks just spray technique, let alone paint with Stacey Phillips via an app and just picking it up, formula, can influence color match. versus going in to order and pay and “I can give three people the then waiting for the coffee drink to same exact paint, and the same exbe made. act gun, and they’ll spray and we’ll “I’d really like to see the U.S. get three different colors, because of start to do more of that” type of auto that human variable,” Wildman said. claims processing, Spears said. Phillips Colors are not going to get easwith Stacey He acknowledged while AI may ier for shops to match, Wildman be reducing upfront time for insurers predicted. Some new vehicle manto produce initial estimates, it isn’t ufacturers, for example, seem less resulting in more accurate estimates. concerned about addressing refinish “Supplement rates are still the issues upfront. same. That doesn’t change,” Spears “I can tell you they are looking said when asked about even those at colors…that are not easy to spray
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at the OEM level or at the refinish level,” Wildman said. “But their designers want these colors. As they’re now starting to paint some of these at the factory, they’re learning: ‘You aren’t kidding, these are difficult to paint.’ So they’re struggling at the factory, and we’re going to struggle in refinish with them. But they want these colors because color sells cars.” Even some “legacy” auto manufacturers, “trying to differentiate themselves using color,” sometimes haven’t shared enough information ahead of a vehicle’s launch to allow all the refinish systems to be prepared. “Mazda beat us all up pretty badly a couple years ago with some really tough colors, a red and a gray,” based on innovations in pigments and application, Benton said. “With U.S. and Western European
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auto manufacturers, there’s typically dialogue going on as colors are being developed so that everyone can formulate refinish match. In this case, it was Nippon working with Mazda, and the rest of us weren’t aware of it right away. That caught us by surprise. That doesn’t happen very often. “But Mazda was able to move the needle. They actually had great success with those colors, and it really drove some market share growth. So good for them. That’s how it should be. That’s what we should be doing as manufacturers: innovating in areas of color and that type of thing.” It’s another indication, however, Benton said, color match issues for shops won’t be ending any time soon. He said auto body shops also should be aware of the increasingly functional role automotive finishes
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are playing, such as coatings that dissipate heat, or those that include anti-fouling properties to make them easier to clean and more mar resistant. “We’re all still trying to get more volatile organic compounds out of our systems, and we’re trying to do more to create low-energy cure technologies,” Benton said. Wildman said ADAS is impacting refinishing as well. “Today we talk a lot about repainting bumpers with sensors behind them, and how much paint can go on those, but it’s not just about the amount of paint,” Wildman said. “It’s what’s in that paint. What are the pigments? What are the metallics?” He joked Henry Ford today would tell customers they can have any color they want as long as it’s white, because lidar can’t see black. “You’re already starting to see more transparent colors, and you’re going to see reflective pigments and primers, with transparent pigment so we can see that primer with lidar,” Wildman said. “So it’s going to become a more and more important
part of how you repair that vehicle.” His advice to the industry will sound familiar: “The biggest thing is you’ve got to follow the OEM repair procedures,” Wildman said. “Typically when do you think about painting the car? When it’s in the booth. You can’t do that anymore. You’ve got to think about it upfront.” The repair planner needs to know if the bumper can be refinished, he cited as one example. None of the estimating systems have a line item for a quad coat, so you need to know upfront how to document and explain that. If the right color primer isn’t used, that could impact color matching. If a specialized toner is needed, one that might only be needed once a year, it’s not something you’re likely to have on hand—and your distributor may not either, which means it could be days away. “You’ve got to think of paint not just as an afterthought once the car is in the booth,” Wildman said. “That’s where a lot of shops run into issues.”
New Hampshire, Montana Settle VW Emissions Claims by David A. Wood, CarComplaints.com
The states of New Hampshire and Montana will see more money from Volkswagen related to its emissions cheating that added more pollution to the atmosphere. However, neither state got anywhere near as much as they wanted. New Hampshire says it reached an agreement with VW for installing emissions defeat devices in diesel vehicles that caused excess nitrogen oxide emissions in the state. The state alleges Volkswagen violated the Air Pollution Control Act by causing certain diesel vehicles to emit nitrogen oxides 30 times more than the legal limit. According to the settlement, VW will pay the state $1.15 million, and the automaker is required to install one additional direct-current fast charging station in New Hampshire. This is in addition to the five charging stations VW had already installed or planned to install. Volkswagen had already paid about $204 million to the state, but New Hampshire officials say this is
the first time “a state that has not adopted California’s air emissions standards has received settlement money under state air pollution laws related to a ‘defeat device’ installed by a manufacturer.” In Montana, the Department of Environmental Quality reached a settlement with Volkswagen for penalties related to emissions defeat devices allegedly installed on 2009-2016 VW Jetta, Audi A3 and Porsche Cayenne diesel vehicles. Volkswagen has agreed to pay the state a total of $357,280, or $280 per car for the 1,276 cars sold in Montana that received emissions software updates. Montana says VW sent software upgrades that dealerships downloaded to the vehicles during maintenance. Those updates allegedly made the defeat devices worse by detecting when the steering wheel of a car moved, indicating it was being used on the road rather than being tested. Once on the road the emissions controls were allegedly turned off, emitting illegal levels of nitrogen oxides.
Fatality Causes Volvo S60 and S80 Airbag Recall by David A. Wood, CarComplaints.com
A Volvo airbag recall has been announced for more than 460,000 S60 and S80 cars after a driver was allegedly killed by an airbag that exploded. Nearly 260,000 of those cars are recalled in the U.S., and the recall is unrelated to Takata, the company that caused the recalls of millions of vehicles. The 2001-2006 Volvo S80 and 2001-2009 Volvo S60 cars are equipped with driver’s airbag assemblies supplied by AutoLiv, but the defective airbag inflators that may explode are manufactured by ZF Friedrichshafen. Volvo’s legal department received an attorney letter in June 2019 which said a Volvo driver had been killed by an airbag that exploded. According to Volvo, the driver-side airbags contain FG2 twin inflators with 5AT 148 N propellant, which is used to deploy the airbags. However, Volvo confirmed the propellant
can decay “over time in certain conditions potentially resulting in critical inflator combustion pressures.” The propellant tablets can decay and start turning to dust particles which increases the burn surface area and burn rate. Volvo says the higher burn rate can result in higher combustion chamber pressures and increased odds of the inflators exploding. The inflators are metal and a rupture can send shards of metal into occupants like a grenade. Documents submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration don’t provide details if the same inflators are used in vehicles built by other automakers. The inflators most at risk are those in Volvo cars exposed to hot and humid environments. Volvo dealers will replace the S60 and S80 airbags once recall notices are mailed Nov. 29. Volvo owners with concerns may call 800-458-1552 and ask about recall number R10125.
38 NOVEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
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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.
Auto Body Shops Can Take Control of Credit Card Processing Fees It came as no surprise to me our “Who Pays for What?” surveys have found the vast majority (95%) of collision repair businesses accept payment from customers by credit card. All of us as consumers have become accustomed to the convenience of using credit cards, and enjoying the rewards—cash back, travel points, etc.—we can receive by paying our bills with them. But have you stopped to look recently at what it’s costing your business to offer that convenience to your customers? Have you looked into what your options are for reducing or eliminating those costs? Now you might think I’m talking about shopping around among the hundreds of merchant processing options out there, most of which are all too eager to assure you they will meet or beat your current processing fees.
That is one option. But let’s look at some ways you might be able to trim your card processing costs without switching vendors. It’s a project one of my Collision Advice teammates, Mark Head, spearheaded this year. He’s a true financial specialist, working with our Collision Advice clients to dig into their profit-and-loss statements and really make sure they understand how to maximize their profitability and where they need to focus their attention. Mark first contacted our clients who are members of our “20 groups” to find out what the true cost was of their card processing, meaning the fees they were incurring monthly. As you’re probably aware, card processing fees can vary significantly. Some are based on a flat percentage. Some include a percent-
age plus a per-transaction fee. Some vary based on the type of card (Visa, MasterCard, Amex, etc.). Some differ based on whether the card was present at the time of the transaction versus a remote transaction. Did you know that? I sure didn’t! So Mark had our clients tell us which processing service they use—there were almost two dozen different vendors—and had them all use the same basis to determine their processing costs: divide the total fees paid in a given month, by the total sales dollars paid via credit card for that month. The bottom line on processing fees? “It ranged from a low of just above 1.5%—1.64%, to be exact--to more than 4%—4.2%, in fact,” Mark told me. “This is often an ‘unknown cost’ for a lot of shops. They know they pay something, but have
never really taken a close look at what it’s costing them to offer their customers that convenience. That’s what I wanted to point out to them: is it worth giving up 3 or 4% of the bill to allow customers to pay with a credit card versus cash or a check.” Remember this percentage erodes your bottom line! So what can auto body shops do about this cost? First, they may want to place a limit on the dollar amount a customer can pay using a credit card. Say a customer’s vehicle is in for a $3,500 repair, including their $1,000 deductible. Do you allow the customer to put the insurance payment into their own account and pay the whole $3,500 on their credit card? If so, you just paid $105 (if you pay a 3% processing fee) for that transaction. But what if you placed a cap of $1,000 on the amount the customer
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can pay by credit card? They still get the convenience of paying their deductible by credit card, but you paid only $30 in credit card processing fees because the insurance portion of the bill wasn’t included in the credit card transaction. In this example, the shop saved $75; multiply that by the number of credit card transactions you have per month, and it adds up to real money. There’s some indication a growing number of collision repair shops are placing such limits. One of our “Who Pays for What?” surveys in 2020 found 76% of shops had no such limit. This year, the survey found that had fallen to 61%. Limits of either $1,000 or $2,500 were the most common. But you might also consider under what circumstances you accept payment by credit card. Some insurance companies have pressed their direct repair shops to accept payment from the insurer by credit card. Shops that recognized what that 2% or 4% off the bottom line could mean for their business often found they were successful in requesting other forms of payment from the in-
surer. Some of those shops also said the insurance company allowed them to add the credit card fees to the amount they were being paid. I’ll discuss this later in this column, but I want to note here that is not something we confirmed ourselves, and neither Mark nor I are offering any legal advice here. But here’s another scenario Mark and I have been hearing about: tow companies who want to pay the bill at the shop by credit card when picking up a total loss vehicle. I just have to scratch my head thinking about any shop agreeing to that, particularly when our “Who Pays for What?” surveys consistently show more than half of shops are not marking up tow bills—that’s a topic for another column. When that tow truck driver pays that bill with a credit card and you’re not marking up the sublet tow charge, you’re not only not making any money on that tow, you’re actually losing money—the 2% or 3% or 4% you’re paying in credit card processing for that transaction. That just makes no sense.
New Vehicle Sales Expected to Drop in Q3: Edmunds The car shopping experts at Edmunds forecast 3,416,266 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in the third quarter of 2021, which reflects a 13% decrease from the third quarter of 2020 and a 22.7% decrease compared to the second quarter of 2021. “New vehicle sales in the third quarter have been a direct reflection of the worsening chipset and inventory situation. Although consumer demand continues to run high, sales have continued to slide downward each month because there simply aren’t enough of the vehicles that shoppers want,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ executive director of insights. “The entire U.S. auto industry—including the Asian manufacturers, which were doing a bit better than their domestic counterparts until recently—is in an incredibly volatile position right now and we are seeing inflated retail prices across the board. “It’s growing extraordinarily hard to predict who will come out on top heading into the rest of the year, as every automaker is at the mercy of its suppliers and chal-
lenged logistics around the globe.” Since Edmunds analysts expect this volatility to continue through the rest of 2021, they advise car shoppers to do extra research, be flexible and brace themselves for higher prices and increased competition if they know they need to make a new vehicle purchase soon. “If you’re one of the millions of Americans with a lease ending this year and are happy with the car you have, consider buying out your vehicle or extending your lease to avoid the hassle of making a new purchase,” said Ivan Drury, Edmunds’ senior manager of insights. “If you do need to get into a new vehicle and see anything you like at this point, it’s best to bite the bullet and make the purchase immediately. “Don’t wait as the situation could get worse, and don’t try to pit dealers against one another for the best price: You’ll more than likely end up empty-handed because there will likely be plenty of other shoppers vying for the same vehicle.” Source: Edmunds
40 NOVEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
So those are some ways—aside from shopping for lower processing fees—to limit or reduce how much accepting some payments by credit card is costing your business. But Mark also did some more digging into some other cost-saving possibilities for shops. “We found some processors allow a shop to offer what’s called a cash-discount program,” Mark said. “It implements a service fee on all customers, while giving a discount to the customer who pays in cash or check.” There’s an important caveat, Mark said: such a surcharge is not legal in 10 states, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Texas and New York, though we heard recently that may change in New York. But here’s how it can work in the other 40 states. “First, you have to post signage in your office or lobby or customer area explaining that all final bills include a 4% surcharge, for example, on top of the total bill,” Mark said. “The surcharge should be whatever percentage you actually pay in fees.
And you need to tell the customer up front. That’s very important.” It’s easy for a customer to avoid paying that surcharge: they just need to pay their bill with cash or a check. Basically, the credit card fee shows up on the customer’s end, not the shop’s; therefore the shop isn’t paying a fee. Mark’s presentation on this was a real eye-opener for a lot of our auto body shop clients who really hadn’t realized, first, how much credit card fees were eroding their bottom line, and second, that they had options. I’m so grateful to him for doing this research and being able to point our clients to some of the processors offering the cash-discount program if they are eligible to use it in their state. “As shop owners, you always want to grow sales, but you need to keep an eye on costs as well,” Mark told them. He’s the kind of “numbers guy” I’m thankful to have on my team. www.autobodynews.com
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To Scan or Not to Scan? CAA Says It’s No Longer an Option by Ed Attanasio
A car equipped with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) comes into your auto body shop. You keep hearing about the importance of pre- and post-repair scanning and re-calibrations, but you avoid them like COVID. You have had to take a few vehicles to the dealership to clear codes and in most cases, it simply delays the process and impacts your cycle time. You didn’t perform a prescan and then get stuck at the end of the repair because you can’t clear a code, and you don’t even know if it was from the accident. Auto diagnostics wasn’t something to worry about a decade ago, but now it’s the hottest topic on every shop floor in the country. So many questions. Do we have to scan every car and why? Will the insurance company pay us for them? If we opt out, can we get in trouble with the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR)? Should we do the diagnostics in-house or job them out? And finally—what are the OEs saying about these scans? A recent video produced as part of I-CAR’s Repairers Real series focused on these questions and searched for answers. In short, some insurance companies have agreed to pay for pre- and post-scans and programming while a small handful are still refusing to join the party. People often describe today’s cars as “computers on wheels” and every year the cost of these systems—the software, cameras and sensors—comprise more of the vehicles’ total cost. Electronics are responsible for 40% of a new car’s total cost, according to a Deloitte analysis, up from 18% in 2000. Computing technology has impacted every aspect of automotive design, engineering and manufacturing. Car designers have a wide range of digital tools and processes that enable the OEs turn out cars much faster and with more precision than ever. CAA Executive Director Rick Johnson recently browsed through position statements by 15 major carmakers and although the language differed the message was universal.
“They all state that if you want to repair a car properly, shops have to perform all of the diagnostics required—pre and post scans and re-calibrations at the conclusion of the repair,” he said. “The fact that we’re having this conversation now is a little ridiculous because this stuff should be part of the process with every car without question.” Johnson describes a wrestling match over diagnostics that will likely end up in the customer’s lap.
County, and chairman of CAA’s Legislative Committee, said, “An auto insurer denying payment for a pre- or post-scan that doesn’t contain Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) is like your health insurer denying payment for an X-ray because it didn’t show any fractures.” Etherton was denied payment from an insurance company in June, so he filled out a Request for Assistance (RFA) with the California Department of Insurance (CDI).
He believes his explanation letter and included documentation allowed the CDI to fully investigate the problem. In this case the CDI was able to resolve it—during the investigation, Fender Mender received full payment from the insurer for the denied scanning operations.
In his explanation letter, Etherton first described the entire issue succinctly. “‘Scanning’ (testing for Diagnostic Trouble Codes, or DTCs) is the process of using an electronic scanner (scan tool) to access and interpret computer module information within a vehicle,” Etherton wrote. “The diagnostic software in the scan tool checks the vehicle systems for fault codes or DTCs, and can even monitor systems while the vehicle is running to check performance. “(Unnamed insurer) has recently taken the position that they do not owe for ‘scanning’ unless damage has affected ADAS components. Examples of ADAS components are blind spot monitors, or collision avoidance sensors. This position contradicts industry standards. “Scanning with any repair is both an accepted trade standard for good and workmanlike repairs, and a recognized OEM service specification. All major vehicle manufacturers state that any vehicle being repaired by a body shop must be pre-scanned
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“During repairs, a DTC may be set in one of the vehicle’s computer modules by common operations such as removing a headlamp, a door handle or any component that is connected to the car electrically.” — Monte Etherton “Our position at CAA is if an insurer denies payment for any diagnostic procedure, the shop needs to explain the situation to the customer and then it’s up to them to pursue it,” he said. “You need to pass the cost onto the customer rather than eating it yourself or not doing it altogether. If the insurance company isn’t willing to pay, the shop still has to do the work because in the end they’re liable.” Without a pre-scan, shops are operating in the dark, Johnson said. “If the shop doesn’t do a prescan, how will they know what was wrong with the car’s electronics before the accident, or from it? Even if there aren’t any codes in the car, the shop is going create a bunch when they fix it, unplugging headlights and airbags, etc. So, if they don’t do a post-scan at the other end, they can’t clear the codes before it leaves the building.” Some insurers say if the car does not contain—or was not impacted near—ADAS, scans are not required, but Johnson said that’s not the case. “Cars have had computers on board since the late 1990s, so they need to be scanned whether they have ADAS or not. Some insurance companies are trying to say that cars made prior to 2010 don’t need to be scanned, which is obviously false.” Monte Etherton, owner of Fender Mender Collision Repair Specialists in North San Diego
42 NOVEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
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and post-scanned at minimum. “Why? Pre-scans are required so the shop knows what DTCs exist before they work on the car. DTCs that show in a pre-scan may or may not be related to the repairs at hand. In some cases, there may not be any DTCs on a pre-scan, but it still must be completed to create a baseline. “During repairs, a DTC may be set in one of the vehicle’s computer modules by common operations such as removing a headlamp, a door handle or any component that is connected to the car electrically. “After reassembly, a post-scan is required. This will show if any DTCs are still stored in the vehicle’s computers. Codes that were set from the damage (or the repair) are then cleared with the scan tool. A final-scan is needed to prove the DTCs are cleared, thus restoring the vehicle to pre-loss condition. “The laws are clear. The shop and insurer must follow OEM service specifications, and the OEM service specifications require scanning: “1. § 2695.8(f) Insurance Fair Claims Regulations: The estimate
prepared by or for the insurer shall be of an amount that will allow for repairs to be made in accordance with accepted trade standards for good and workmanlike automotive repairs by an ‘auto body repair shop’ as defined in section 9889.51 of the Business and Professions Code, and in accordance with the standards of automotive repair required of auto body repair shops as described in the Business and Professions Code and associated regulations, including, but not limited to, Section 3365 of Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations. “2. § 3365. BAR Regulations regarding Auto Body and Frame Repairs: The accepted trade standards for good and workmanlike auto body and frame repairs shall include, but not be limited to, the following: Repair procedures including but not limited to the sectioning of component parts, shall be performed in accordance with OEM service specifications or nationally distributed and periodically updated service specifications that are generally accepted by the autobody repair industry.
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“3. Excerpt from GM Position Statement on Scanning: General Motors takes the position that all vehicles being assessed for collision damage repairs must be tested for Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) during the repair estimation in order to identify the required repairs. Additionally, the vehicle must be retested after all repairs are complete in order to verify that the faults have been repaired and new faults have not been introduced during the course of repairs. “In their denial (unnamed insurer) attempts to put the burden on the shop by stating, ‘Shop Did Not Provide Documentation of Loss Related DTCs.’ (Unnamed insurer) is not only in violation of the law, it is doing a disservice to its customers by not paying for this legitimate and necessary process which allows the repair shop to make sure the customer’s vehicle is restored to its pre-loss condition to the highest degree possible.” Etherton is hopeful but cautious about getting compensated for scans in the future, he said.
“Everyone is on the same page with this—including I-CAR, the BAR, the CDI and all of the OEs,” he said. “Now if we can convince all of the insurance companies to come onboard, this can hopefully become a non-issue.” CAA Lobbyist Jack Molodanof has been working with the BAR and monitoring the issue carefully. “The BAR is definitely moving into the direction of citing and fining auto body shops that don’t perform work according to OEM service specifications including pre- and post-repair scans and calibrations,” he said. “They’re considering up to a $5,000 fine per citation, if they believe it’s something that is safety-related.”
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CCC Forecasts Future of EVs and How It Will Impact Body Shops by Ed Attanasio
When it comes to repairing EVs, there are auto body shop owners out there who look at them differently. Some view EVs as something to invest in with little chance of making a profit. Others believe they represent a golden opportunity for shops to differentiate themselves from the pack. With any new technology, there will be those shops that will embrace it, but many will drag their feet or reject it altogether. The time to decide whether or not to jump into the EV game is now. Despite a recent ramp up in sales in the U.S., there are still only a small number of EV auto claims and repairs out there, with the majority being in California and other Western states. The latest CCC Intelligent Solutions Trends Report, “Electric Vehicles Go Mainstream, Implications for the P&C Insurance Economy,” analyzes emerging trends in electric vehicles. Senior Director/Industry Analyst Susanna Gotsch from CCC is the keeper of invaluable data and this report is surely no exception. This year, the U.S. has joined numerous countries using the pandemic as an impetus to shift their vehicles in operation from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles (EVs). Driven by new federal requirements from the Biden Administration, as well as competition with China’s aggressive goals to move to an electric vehicle fleet, automakers and many of their suppliers have announced they will be making significant investments in electric vehicles and battery technologies. Consumer acceptance of EVs is expected to grow, and sales in the U.S. have already begun to ramp up, according to CCC’s Trends Report. EVs are only a small part of our national fleet, but those numbers are climbing. Over the four quarters ending Q2 2021, EVs accounted for only 0.54% of CCC’s national industry repairable appraisal volume. However, as sales ramp further, claim and repair volumes will grow, so understanding how EVs will
change things like frequency, costs, cycle time and repair requirements is important. The simple fact is EVs are here to stay, despite all of the misinformation out there. The No. 1 complaint is EVs do not have sufficient range. Americans drive an average of 40 miles a day,
Senior Director/Industry Analyst Susanna Gotsch from CCC Intelligent Solutions Inc. recently published a report, “Electric Vehicles Go Mainstream, Implications for the P&C Insurance Economy
according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, so range is not going to be an issue, according to experts. Even the shortest-range electric vehicles can travel more than twice that distance before needing to be tethered to the power grid. The Nissan Leaf can run for an average 150 miles on a charge, while the Chevrolet Bolt EV can cover 238 miles, Hyundai Kona 258 miles, Tesla Model 3 310 miles and the Tesla Roadster 620 miles. With battery prices reportedly falling 73% since 2010, electric cars are expected to cost the same or even less than fuel-powered cars in the foreseeable future. The International Energy Agency reported by 2020, there were up to 20 million electric vehicles on the road, a number expected to go up to 70 million by 2025. People believe EVs are slower than gas-powered vehicles, but in fact, they’re generally quicker than their gasoline-powered counterparts. Others claim EVs are too expensive, but if you live in a state that’s offering an income state credit or other incentives, they’re definitely price competitive. Some folks say EVs are unsafe, but those that have been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) generally
44 NOVEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
get good marks. Many assume EVs are greener than gas-powered autos, but some people say no. In fact, EV motors convert 75% of the chemical energy from the batteries to power the wheels, while internal combustion engines (ICEs) only convert 20% of the energy stored in gasoline. Other doubters claim EVs are expensive to fix and maintain, but that’s another misnomer. It costs less because EVs don’t require regular oil changes or tune-ups, and there are far fewer moving parts to eventually fail and need replacing. They also use a simple one-speed transmission and eschew items like spark plugs, valves, a fuel tank, muffler/tailpipe, distributor, starter, clutch, drive belts, hoses and catalytic converter. Will EV batteries end up in the landfill, people ask? The answer is a definitive no. Once depleted, EV batteries, like 99% of the batteries found in conventional cars, can be recycled. For example, used EV power cells can be used to store solar and wind energy, or they can be
broken down with their more-valuable elements reused. And finally, will EVs suck up all of the available electricity once they start dominating the market? That’s another urban tale because the U.S. can add millions of electric cars to the current power system without having to build any new power plants. Much of this has to do with the fact most electric vehicles tend to be charged at night during off-peak hours when power demand tends to be the lowest. Up until now, most of the data about EVs has been derived from one OE—Tesla—but that is changing at a rapid rate, Gotsch said. “Many OEs are going to introduce EVs to the public within the next few months and others are going to step up their production, such as the Chevrolet Volt and Bolt EV, as well as Nissan’s Leaf. There are 40-plus different companies currently in production of EVs, including Ford, Volkswagen and Kia. “In states [like California], where there is a large number of
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EVs being sold, driven and crashed, body shops working on EVs will experience a return on their investment obviously quicker than in those states where EV sales will be slower,” she said. “It’s going to be very much like the advent of aluminum vehicles that happened back in 2015 when Ford released the F-150. Body shops at that time had to decide whether or not to pursue aluminum repairs. The challenge is how will this pay off over time and will it justify the investment?” As repairers consider when they should make the investments in tooling and training to be able to repair EVs, it will be important to consider both the ramp in sales in their markets and how long it will take to ramp up capabilities to repair EVs. These are tough decisions for any auto body shop, especially when you consider all of the other rapid evolution happening in our cars today, Gotsch said. “We’re at a juncture where the technology is moving faster than ever before, with ADAS, autonomous vehicles, aluminum vehicles—EVs are just another challenge for the repair-
ers,” Gotsch said. “You’ve got to think about automotive diagnostics and re-calibrations now more than ever. Do you do it all in-house or contract with a company to outsource them? Keeping up with the technology is going to accelerate, and involves new tools, equipment and training. Also, with new technology comes the potential for increased liability.”
“We’re at a juncture where the technology is moving faster than ever before, with ADAS, autonomous vehicles, aluminum vehicles—EVs are just another challenge for the repairers,” — Susanna Gotsch Nearly 40% of the total number of EV auto claims nationally for the four quarters ending Q2 2021 were in California, where EVs accounted for only 1.5% of its overall repairable volume. Only one other state saw a larger share of its repairable volume from EVs: Hawaii at 1.6%. California will be the country’s poster child or its guinea pig—depending on how you look at it— when it comes to the future of EVs.
Projected Health and Safety Requirements for 2021 SEMA Show Based on current COVID-19 indicators and trends in Clark County, NV, attendees at the 2021 SEMA Show can expect face masks will be required while indoors during the event taking place Nov. 2-5 in Las Vegas, NV. SEMA Show organizers will adhere to the safety measures required by state and local health authorities. Forecasts indicate masks will continue to be required indoors when the SEMA Show is held in Las Vegas in early November. Currently there is no requirement to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for trade shows, and there is no indication these measures would be in place in November. Las Vegas’ COVID-19 health and safety requirements, currently set by the State of Nevada, are dictated by key indicators, including average number of tests per day, case rates and test positivity rates. Numbers and ratings must reach and maintain specific levels for 14 days in order for requirements to change. While key indicators continue to improve in Las Vegas, the current health and safety requirements
California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order requiring sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035 and additional measures to eliminate harmful emissions from the transportation sector. The transportation sector is responsible for more than half of all of California’s carbon pollution, 80% of smog-forming pollution and 95% of toxic diesel emis-
are not expected to change before the SEMA Show takes place in early November. Therefore, SEMA Showgoers should plan on wearing masks while indoors; masks would not be required at the SEMA Show features located in more than 1 million square feet of outdoor space. Inside the LVCC, operators have installed hospital-grade air filtration systems and earned the GBAC Star Certified rating for cleaning and sanitization for event facilities. Expansion into the new West Hall provides more show space, so there will be wider aisles and reduced crowding throughout the entire convention center. Hand-sanitizing stations will also be placed throughout the event, and high-traffic areas will be cleaned daily. SEMA Show organizers are continuing to monitor the COVID-19 landscape and will keep the industry updated of any unexpected changes. Details will be posted on the official SEMA Show website at www.semashow.com and on official SEMA Show social media accounts. Source: SEMA
46 NOVEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
sions—all while communities in the Los Angeles Basin and Central Valley see some of the dirtiest and most toxic air in the country. “California has more EVs than any other state and a large concentration of non-domestic vehicles,” Gotsch said. “When we look at things like registrations and insurance claims, we can clearly see that more and more consumers in California are buying EVs.
“For body shops in California, gearing up to work on EVs is more immediate than with other states. But the payoff is better with a faster return on investment. The shops that are looking to expand their businesses have likely already made the investment in aluminum repairs and EVs, so they will obviously have a distinct advantage.” For auto body shops that don’t have the tools, equipment and training to repair EVs, potential challenges will await them. “We found out that there is definitely going to be a learning curve with EVs,” Gotsch said. “Some shops report that it’s taking longer to fix these cars, when you include diagnostics, for example. Getting paid for the added procedures will also be more universally accepted over time. Once shops become more comfortable repairing EVs, their cycle time will go down and make these repairs more profitable.” So, if you’re an auto body shop owner and sitting on the fence when it comes to repairing EVs, maybe this report from CCC will inspire you to plug in.
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—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.
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Lawmakers in 3 States Tackle Topics Impacting Collision Repairers
Lawmakers in multiple states have violations, similar to traffic school,” taken action in recent weeks on leg- as a means to avoid having such ciislation impacting auto body shops, tations made public. with Ed Attanasio including new regulations related to The new law also calls for addilabor rates, non-OEM parts and pub- tional safety inspections in order for lic disclosure of regulatory citations a salvage vehicle to be registered. against shops. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, for example, has signed into law a bill callingwith on that BuEdstate’s Attanasio reau of Automotive Repair (BAR) to create a system to give businesses receiving minor BAR citations not involving fraud a way to avoid having those made public. The California Autobody AssoLegislatures in three states in recent weeks ciation and the Automotive Service with Ed Attanasio have taken action on proposed laws related Association were among 11 trade to auto body shop labor rates, dealerships’ groups supporting the bill, which sale of non-OEM parts and public disclosure of regulatory citations against shops creates an independent panel to review BAR citations, and would allow “shops to attend compliance and The industry associations say that remedial training for minor record will help “protect consumers from with Ed Attanasio keeping and documentation citation unsafe, revived total loss salvage
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vehicles” that currently only require “a brake and lamp inspection, smog check and CHP inspection to make sure there are no stolen parts—nothing else.” At the other end of the country, Massachusetts legislator comments during a committee hearing in Septmeber could indicate repairers there are finally getting their message across about the need to address collision repair labor rates in the state. The state legislature’s Joint Committee on Financial Services held the hearing to collect testimony on a number of auto repair-related bills that propose setting a minimum reimbursement rate for labor by insurers to claimants. “Massachusetts has the lowest labor rate reimbursement in the nation,” Evangelos “Lucky” Papageorg, executive director of the Alliance of Automotive Service
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Professionals (AASP) of Massachusetts, told the committee members. “The number of shops has dwindled by 1,000. But there’s also been an increasingly fewer number of individuals getting into the collision repair industry as [technicians] because they can make more money working as an unskilled laborer than they can [as a] skilled repairer in a collision repair facility. Working at labor rates that are 30 years old is absolutely ludicrous.” Also testifying in favor of the bill was Brian Mountain, body shop director at Collision 24 in Brockton, MA. “The hourly rate of reimbursement in 1988 was an average of $30,” Mountain said. “Today it is an average of $40. The rate has gone up approximately 33% in 33 years while my other business costs have skyrocketed. I’ve seen insurance
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premiums go up 261%, the minimum wage increased 270% and the consumer price index increased 124% during the same period of time.” “You cannot repair today’s vehicles based on the rates that were being paid 30 years ago,” Papageorg told the committee. Frank O’Brien, vice president of state government relations for the American Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (APCIA) represented the insurance industry at the hearing. He followed up Papageorg’s testimony by telling the committee, “There is no free lunch…If you add cost to a system, it puts price pressure on the product…It’s common sense. If you add cost to the system it’s going to have an impact on price, and that impact is not going to be to lower prices.” Before moving forward with passing new legislation, the joint committee is in the process of establishing a commission to study the issue, “whether that means more hearings or visits around the commonwealth,” said Rep. James M.
Murphy, the House chairman on the committee. “Evidently there is an issue because the body shops are all saying the same thing.” At the conclusion of the testimony, Murphy sounded skeptical about insurance industry arguments against the legislation. “I’ve heard today, and I’ve heard in the past, that any increase to the cost of the labor rate is going to automatically increase premium costs,” Murphy said. “I don’t necessarily accept that. You’re going to have to show me why increasing a labor rate is going to increase premiums, because there are other ways that money can come out of the system to not increase premiums. “The goal is not to raise premiums for consumers in the commonwealth,” Murphy concluded. “The goal is to make sure these body shops are still there to support all of the insurance companies that need these cars fixed…I think now is the time to really roll up our sleeves and get to the bottom of this issue before the industry itself, in regard to the repair facilities, actually collapses. Then you’ll have no one to fix the
cars.” In Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed House Bill 2435 into law, prohibiting an auto manufacturer from either requiring or prohibiting a dealer to sell any “secondary product,” defined to include non-OEM parts. The bill initially also prohibited an automaker from requiring dealers “to provide a customer with a disclosure not otherwise required by law,” but a later amendment removed that clause. “It is important that consumers are properly informed about the parts to be used on their vehicle,” said Wade Newton of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, which represents automakers. “This legislation with our amendment will continue to allow an automaker the ability to require such disclosure to help ensure transparency.” Pritzker just three weeks earlier signed into law another measure, House Bill 3940, requiring automakers to pay a dealer for warranty repairs an amount no less than the amount a retail customer pays the dealer for the same services.
ASE Fall Registration Open The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) reminds service professionals fall registration for certification testing is open now through Dec. 31. More than 50 ASE certification tests are offered for automotive, collision, medium/ heavy duty, school bus, transit bus and truck equipment repair, and more. ASE tests are conducted days, nights and weekends at nearly 450 secured, proctored test centers. It is recommended service professionals coordinate testing with their employers and check test center availability before registering. To register, sign into myASE at https://my.ase.com/ or call Prometric at 877-3469327. Those with active automobile certifications (A1-A9) can also use the ASE Renewal App for recertification. Source: ASE
NAIC Report Shows Total Premiums Across All Lines Grew 6% In 2020 The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) on Sept. 29 released the second volume of the 34th edition of the Insurance Department Resources Report (IDRR). The report includes premium volume by type and state and demonstrates a healthy statebased insurance market for 2020. The first volume of the 2020 IDRR was released Sept. 8. This report includes information by state on the number of departmental staff and their functions, annual budgets, revenue flows, the number of insurers and insurance producers, and the number of consumer complaints and inquires.
of business, California is the leader, followed by New York, Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania, which collectively represent 41% of all insurance premiums in the nation.
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Top 10 State in Terms of Premiums for 2020: California: $371.6 billion New York: $244.6 billion Texas: $193.5 billion Florida: $181.8 billion Pennsylvania: $122.6 billion Ohio: $109.7 billion Illinois: $97.9 billion New Jersey: $82.2 billion Delaware: $79.4 billion Michigan: $76.8 billion
Significant Findings in IDDR Volume Two Include:
Premium Volume by Top Lines of Business in 2020:
Total premium collected nationally across all lines of business was $2.7 trillion, representing an increase of 6% since 2019. In terms of states with the most premium written in all lines
Health insurance—43.9% Life/annuity—30.2% Property/casualty—24.8% Source: National Association of Insurance Commissioners
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BrightDrop Completes Build of its First Light Commercial EV BrightDrop, the technology startup decarbonizing last-mile deliveries, on Sept. 28 announced the completion of the first production builds of the EV600, a key milestone to deliver its first electric light commercial vehicle (eLCV) to FedEx Express in time for the holiday season. The build completion is the fastest vehicle program to market in General Motors’ history and comes amid global supply chain delays and shortages. The company also unveiled a new addition to its vehicle lineup, the EV410, a mid-size eLCV designed for smaller, more frequent trips. Verizon, one of the largest fleet operators in the U.S., is the first customer slated to integrate the EV410 into its field maintenance and service fleet. “Getting our first electric vehicles on the streets in record time before another peak holiday shipping season is the best gift we could receive this year, especially when we consider the supply chain headwinds the world is facing right now,” said Travis Katz, BrightDrop president and CEO. “This is
a strong statement to the market of how our unique operations setup, which marries the cutting-edge innovation, agility and focus of a technology startup with the scale and manufacturing might of a major automaker, can deliver real value to both customers and the planet.” BrightDrop’s EV600 record-setting development timeline of just 20 months was made possible by leveraging GM’s highly flexible Ultium battery platform, innovative virtual development processes established by the GMC HUMMER EV program, and an agile approach to manufacturing development. In addition to the segment-leading range and safety features, fleet managers can also expect an estimated yearly savings of $7,000 by going electric with the EV600 when compared to a similar diesel-powered vehicle—a good thing for both the bottom line and the environment. “As e-commerce demand continues to increase and the effects of climate change are felt like never before across the globe, it’s imperative that we move quickly to reduce emissions,” added Katz. “Bright-
Cars as Investments on the Rise by Steven Symes, Motorious
Wealthy people don’t just stick all their piles of cash in bank accounts and in a house. They often invest in tangible objects, be it real estate, a business or collectable cars. A new Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index (KFLII) sheds light on why we’re seeing the value of certain collectable vehicles shoot through the roof. In the KFLII, wine and watches do come before cars, thanks to the two top items boasting a 13% and 5% 12-month increase in value, respectively, versus 4% for cars. However, when looking at the 10-year figures, cars boast an enviable 180% increase versus 119% for wine and 87% for watches. This doesn’t mean the good times will roll on indefinitely. After all, some items which used to be hot have fallen out of
fashion. According to Andrew Shirley, editor of the KFLII, there are two items which were at the top but have fallen from those spots: rare bottles of scotch and Hermes handbags. Still, it’s important to note handbags enjoy a 91% 10-year growth rate and rare whiskey sits better than anything else in the top 10 with 483% increase in the past decade. Those two items have seen a negative 3% and negative 4% growth in the past 12 months, showing the market can be volatile. We understand that for enthusiasts who don’t have piles of cash, seeing the value of a dream car skyrocket well beyond anything they can ever afford is maddening. Many hold ill feelings for those who, through prospecting, have caused what used to be within reach to become unattainable. In other words, while some are celebrating this trend there is a downside.
50 NOVEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
Drop’s holistic delivery solutions are designed to help tackle these challenges head on. We’re excited to get these world-class electric vehicles on the streets in record time.” To hit this production milestone, BrightDrop is partnering with a U.S. supplier partner for initial low-volume production while the conversion of GM’s CAMI Assembly Plant in Ingersoll, Canada, is completed. CAMI will serve as the large-scale production home of BrightDrop’s EV600 van starting in November 2022. BrightDrop’s newest vehicle, the EV410, combines many of the same features of the EV600, boasting more than 400 cubic feet of cargo area, a shorter wheelbase of just over 150 inches and length of under 20 feet. This new, mid-size delivery van offers exceptional curb management and maneuverability and can fit into a standard-size parking space—a key feature to reduce street congestion in urban areas. Well-suited for faster, smaller payload deliveries or as a service vehicle—from online grocery delivery to telecom maintenance—the
EV410 offers versatility for a myriad of use cases and expands zero-emissions driving to companies like Verizon, helping them meet their sustainability goals while opening new and exciting markets for BrightDrop. “Mainstream EV adoption by businesses will require the largest fleet operators to work together with innovators like BrightDrop in the development of vehicles that meet the particular needs of our business,” said Ken Jack, vice president of fleet operations for Verizon. “Adding the EV410 to our fleet is the latest step in our commitment to Verizon achieving net zero operational emissions by 2035.” The EV410 is the latest vehicle in BrightDrop’s ecosystem of lastmile solutions, joining the EV600, the company’s first eLCV slated to hit roads later this year; the EP1, an all-electric smart container designed to replace the age-old dolly; and a software platform for fleet and asset management. BrightDrop plans to begin EV410 production in 2023 at CAMI Assembly. Source: GM
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Tesla Widens Legal Action Against Rivian Over Alleged Theft of Battery Secrets by Simon Alvarez, Teslarati
Tesla Inc. is widening its legal action against fellow electric vehicle maker Rivian Automotive Inc., with the former accusing the latter of continuing to poach its employees and stealing “highly proprietary” technology related to batteries. Battery tech is among Tesla’s most closely-held innovations. According to Tesla, the lawsuit it filed against Rivian 14 months ago has not stopped the pickup truck maker from poaching its employees and acquiring intellectual property. To highlight this point, Tesla said this summer, there was an instance where defectors to Rivian were “caught red-handed” stealing the core technology for its next-generation batteries. Tesla said batteries are the “most essential element for any electric vehicle.” “Now apparently under pressure from investors after nearly a dozen years without producing a single commercial vehicle, Rivian has intensified its unlawful ef-
forts,” Tesla said. Tesla is particularly secretive about its batteries. Even with the company’s open patent program— which arguably helped companies like Xpeng Motors from China launch their own EV efforts— Tesla has been very careful not to
share the intricate details of its batteries, from the 18650 cells used in the Model S and Model X to the 2170 cells used in the Model 3 and Model Y and to the 4680 cells currently being ramped in the Kato Road facility in Fremont, CA. In comparison, Rivian uses 2170 cells from Samsung SDI for the R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV. The truck maker has been silent about its battery strategy, however, so it remains to be seen if Rivian’s 2170 cells are off-theshelf or if they feature proprietary
chemistries similar to the 2170 cells produced by Tesla and Panasonic in Gigafactory Nevada. The company has also not revealed any plans to shift to another battery form factor in the future either. Rivian has so far declined to comment on Tesla’s widened lawsuit. The company is currently planning an initial public offering. Previous Bloomberg reports said Rivian is looking to raise about $80 billion for its IPO. Tesla’s initial lawsuit against Rivian, filed last year, alleged the truck maker was engaging in trade secret theft through employees reportedly being poached from Tesla. The California-based EV maker accused Rivian of acquiring proprietary information related to its recruiting process, bonus and compensation plan for sales personnel, and manufacturing project management systems. Rivian formally requested to have Tesla’s claims dismissed in court, but a California state judge in San Jose allowed the case to continue.
AsTech® to Provide OEM Scan Report Repairify, Inc. d/b/a asTech®, a portfolio company of Kinderhook Industries, LLC, announced starting in October, asTech’s remote scanning and diagnostic service will provide comprehensive diagnostic scan reports along with official OEM tool reports, a first for the industry. asTech is a global leader in the provision of remote diagnostic solutions with a library of more than 1,000 OEM scan tools and growing. Now, following an asTech remote OEM scan, customers will have access to a copy of the official OEM tool report. asTech provides further value with a customized scan report that includes additional information and insights such as diagnostic trouble codes, repair recommendations, recall check information and professional input from the company’s team of more than 400 ASE and I-CAR certified master technicians. Source: asTech
Auto Glass Week™ Returns to San Antonio Sept. 14-16, 2022
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Auto Glass Week™ (AGW) is the only event dedicated to the original equipment and aftermarket auto glass repair and replacement industry. With expanded exhibition and competition space and its industry-leading educational and professional development agenda, the 2022 show will be the largest to date and a must-attend event for leadership, management, technicians, shop owners, manufacturers, suppliers and more. “Everything is bigger in Texas and AGW 2022 will be no different,” said Tricia Lopez, Auto Glass Week senior events director. “The event will feature new competitions, larger prizes, outstanding speakers and a few more surprises. We encourage everyone in the industry to mark their calendars now.” New programs on deck for 2022 include a Dealer Spirit Competition, designed to showcase the strong comradery of individual shop teams with prizes for most spirited, most creative and best overall; a “Can You Take the Heat?” hot sauce competition; a one-day vocational event with local schools to engage future employees; and additional company sponsorship and branding
opportunities. Every AGW includes the industry’s must-see competitions in auto glass repair and replacement highlighting new technologies and focusing on important safety protocols, process compliance and customer service. Auto Glass Week will be held in conjunction with the annual International Window Film Conference and Tint-Off™ (WFCT). Exhibit space and sponsorship opportunities are now available with more information on early-bird specials and agenda highlights coming soon. To learn more, contact Barry Atkins at email@example.com. To receive updates directly to your inbox, sign up here and follow AGW on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, LinkedIn, and online at www. autoglassweek.com. Auto Glass Week™ is co-sponsored by AGRR™ magazine, Auto Glass Safety Council™, Independent Glass Association and National Windshield Repair Division. (C) 2021 by glassbytes.com. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. For more information contact www.glassbytes.com.
autobodynews.com / NOVEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 51
Lordstown Motors Sells Ohio Plant to Hon Hai Technology Group, Announces Partnership to Work on EV Programs Lordstown Motors Corp., a provider of electric light duty trucks focused on the commercial fleet market, and global technology company Hon Hai Technology Group (Foxconn) on Sept. 30 announced they reached an agreement in principle to work jointly on Lordstown Motors’ electric vehicle programs in its 6.2 million-square foot production and assembly plant in Lordstown, OH. The parties on the same date entered into a subscription agreement, under which Foxconn will purchase approximately $50 million of Lordstown Motors’ common stock directly from Lordstown Motors at a price of $6.8983 per share, and retain these shares for a specified period. The agreement between both companies would allow Lordstown Motors to leverage the technology and manufacturing expertise of Foxconn, as Lordstown Motors pursues the production of electric vehicles at its Ohio facility. The goal of the partnership is to present both Lordstown Motors and Foxconn with increased market opportunities in scalable electric vehicle production in North America. The agreement provides as follows:
Lordstown Motors and Foxconn will use commercially reasonable best efforts to negotiate a definitive agreement pursuant to which Foxconn would purchase the Lordstown facility, excluding Lordstown Motors’ hub motor assembly line, battery module and packing line assets, certain intellectual property rights and other excluded assets, for $230 million. Both entities would also negotiate a contract manufacturing agreement, which would be a condition to closing of the facility purchase, whereby Foxconn would manufacture Lordstown Motors’ Endurance full-size pickup truck at its Lordstown facility. Lordstown Motors would also agree to provide Foxconn with certain rights with respect to future vehicle programs. Concurrently with the closing under the definitive agreements, Lordstown Motors would issue warrants to Foxconn that are exercisable for three years for 1.7 million shares of common stock at an exercise price of $10.50 per share. The parties have agreed to explore licensing arrangements for additional pickup truck programs. Following the closing under the
definitive agreements, Lordstown Motors would enter into a long-term lease for a portion of the existing facility for its Ohio-based employees, and Foxconn would offer employment to agreed upon Lordstown operational and manufacturing employees. “We have high expectations through this partnership that we will be able to successfully integrate our resources with Lordstown Motors,” said Young Liu, chairman of Hon Hai Technology Group. “In addition to achieving the goal of moving ahead our timeline to establish electric vehicle production capacity in North America, it also reflects Foxconn’s flexibility in providing design and production services for different EV customers. This mutually beneficial relationship is an important milestone for Foxconn’s EV business and our transformation strategy.” In addition, this facility would serve as a speed to market asset that would also support Foxconn’s partner and customer, Fisker Inc. “We are excited about the prospect of joining forces with a worldclass smart manufacturer like Foxconn and believe the relationship would
Sedgwick to Use CCC Intelligent Solutions’ AI to Digitize Auto Appraisals Sedgwick, a global provider of technology-enabled risk, benefits and integrated business solutions, and CCC Intelligent Solutions Inc. (CCC), a SaaS platform for the property and casualty insurance economy, announced a multiyear agreement whereby CCC’s mobile and artificial intelligence (AI) claims capabilities will power Sedgwick’s auto appraisal offering and related workflows. The agreement will help redefine Sedgwick’s auto appraisal capabilities, enabling the auto claims services provider to offer clients the next steps towards a digital end-toend automobile physical damage evaluation experience, streamlining and improving their policyholder experiences. “Working with CCC to bring proven AI and mobile innovation into our process marks the next milestone in the strategic growth and advancement of our auto physical damage management solutions,” said Chris Bakes, Sedgwick managing director for auto appraisals. “On the heels of several key acquisitions, the CCC cloud will help
scale our auto business by extending our reach and our technology capabilities, allowing us to elevate the appraisal process in this industry to a new standard of excellence.” Sedgwick will leverage CCC’s suite of cloud-based AI solutions, helping its clients deliver an enhanced digital experience from first notice of loss to resolution. “Digital and AI-first experiences are being activated across the industry and CCC is proud to be powering this transformation, improving the lives of millions of drivers,” said Shivani Govil, chief product officer, CCC. “The CCC advantage combines leading AI and vast network connections to help our customers scale their business, deliver differentiated value, and achieve better business outcomes. We’re excited to provide Sedgwick with the technology and tools to support its next phase of growth in the auto appraisal space.” More about Sedgwick’s auto solutions can be found at sedgwick. com/autoappraisals. Source: Sedgwick, CCC
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provide operational, technology and supply chain benefits to our company and accelerate overall scaled vehicle production and increase employment in the Lordstown facility,” said Daniel Ninivaggi, CEO of Lordstown Motors Corp. “The partnership would allow Lordstown Motors to take advantage of Foxconn’s extensive manufacturing expertise and cost-efficient supply chain, while freeing up Lordstown Motors to focus on bringing the Endurance to market, developing service offerings for our fleet customers and designing and developing innovative new vehicle models.” In connection with the Foxconn announcement, Lordstown Motors also provided an updated production outlook. The Lordstown Motors team continues to move forward with its plan to build a limited number of Endurance vehicles for testing, validation, verification and regulatory approvals during the balance of 2021 and the first part of 2022. The company will provide an update on its production plan during its upcoming Q3 2021 earnings call currently slated for mid-November. Source: Lordstown Motors
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autobodynews.com / NOVEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 53
2021 Cox Automotive Service Industry Study: Parts Shortages, Staffing Concerns Hold Back Dealership Service Departments Despite current headwinds and market conditions, dealership service centers remain resilient and continue to be among the most preferred service providers. According to the 2021 Cox Automotive Service Industry Study released Oct. 11, 34% of consumers prefer dealership service centers, a 1 percentage point increase from 2018, and ahead of general repair shops. And while this is great news for franchise dealers, there is still a majority of the market dealerships aren’t capturing—translating to $214 billion in potential revenue. Dealership service centers are the most preferred because of their existing relationships. In fact, 55% of consumers say it is because the dealership knows their vehicle. On the other hand, dealerships continue to combat the perception they are overpriced and expensive. The top barriers to returning to the dealership are not only cost, but also location according to consumer rankings, all of which makes way for what owners consider easier and more convenient options, like general repair shops. On top of that, nearly one in four consumers also say their dealership service visits take longer than expected, adding to their frustration. Exacerbated by the pandemic, service departments cite part delays from manufacturers (58%) and finding or hiring the right technicians (45%) as their top operational frustrations, and both can directly impact the consumer experience, including the notion that service
departments take longer than expected. On average, dealerships cite a decline in the consumer satisfaction they deliver, with only 55% of dealers believing satisfaction has improved in the past 12 months (down from 71% when surveyed in 2018). Specific to staffing, 57% of dealership respondents say their service department is not fully staffed, and 80% expect these labor shortages to continue or worsen in the future. The majority (60%) also say the service technician is the top role they plan to grow this year, so there is a focus on investing in this area of the business. “The industry is ripe for transforming the consumer experience,” said Tracy Fred, vice president of operations for Xtime. “Despite a challenging marketplace, opportunities exist to better leverage digital tools to deliver on and even exceed consumer expectations, while also offsetting some operational challenges. Elevating the entire service experience with a consumer-first mindset and the use of technology can help raise overall profits, capture additional market share and help mitigate the frustrations service departments are currently facing.” Dealership service centers offering digital features have a more positive outlook. Of the dealers saying the experience has improved in the past year, they more often offer services like service pick-up and delivery, ridesharing, progress tracking, online cost estimates, mobile check-in and other digital services. Not only are they offering
these conveniences, but they have the added benefit of meeting consumer demand for a more digital service experience. Car owners particularly want the ability to schedule their appointment online, and it seems the dealer is striving to meet consumer needs there with 74% of dealers offering this option today. Of those owners scheduling online, 91% are highly satisfied with the experience; however, a third of consumers are unsure if their service provider offers this feature, which is consistent with the 2018 Cox Automotive Service Industry Study. Consumers also want to review and approve repair estimates online (67%) and access their vehicle service history (66%), which according to those surveyed are among the most critical digital features a service center should offer and provide an added level of transparency and convenience to the service experience.
54 NOVEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
Source: Cox Automotive
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Top performing service departments have a consumer-first mindset and use technology to enhance the experience by offering digital tools and convenience-focused services, like rideshare and reviewing and approving repair orders online. Nearly all top-performing dealers surveyed (99%) agree that improving consumer experience is an important focus moving forward. “Consumers continue to stress the importance of a digital experience, and dealerships must evolve and offer flexibility by enhancing online capabilities,” said Fred. “Meeting consumer demand for convenience by considering new service lines like ridesharing also can help combat location as a barrier. These same services can also be leveraged as new staffing strategies, like enabling Lyft for service pick-up and delivery to allow your existing staff to focus elsewhere.”
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Axalta Expects $40M Less in Net Sales for Q3 Due to Supply Chain Shortages, Raw Material and Logistics Constraints Axalta Coating Systems Ltd., a leading global coatings company, provided an update to third quarter and full-year 2021 financial guidance given the ongoing supply chain issues its Mobility customers are experiencing, as well as continued raw material inflation and supply chain and logistics constraints. Axalta expects net sales for the third quarter to decrease by approximately $40 million relative to volume levels assumed in previously communicated guidance, and for adjusted EBIT to be reported between $130 million and $140 million, benefiting from positive business mix, ongoing price increases and continued cost actions. The prior guidance for Q3 adjusted EBIT (noted as ~20% of the full year target) was $138 million at the midpoint of the range. For full-year 2021, Axalta is withdrawing its previously communicated guidance due to the uncertainty related to these factors and expected financial impacts during the fourth quarter. Since Axalta provided its third
quarter and full-year 2021 guidance on July 26, net sales volumes have continued to be impacted by customer supply chain disruptions, most notably in the light vehicle end-market, where semiconductor chip and other supply shortages have continued largely unabated. Industry forecasts for light vehicle production now call for these disruptions to continue into 2022, and Axalta now anticipates global production impacts to total approximately 11 million units for the full year 2021, compared with the previous assumption of 7 million units. In addition, recent weather events in the Southeast U.S. and ongoing global raw material supply and logistics constraints have resulted in continued cost inflation and supply constraints in excess of that anticipated in previously provided guidance.
Despite the impact of Mobility customer component shortages and supply chain challenges, underlying demand in Performance Coatings end-markets remains strong. Inventory on hand in customer channels remains below normal levels, which Axalta expects will support a net sales recovery as COVID-19-related impacts and supply chain dynamics ease over time. Axalta expects net sales volumes in both Refinish and Industrial end-markets to remain consistent with previously communicated guidance. On a consolidated basis, Axalta believes strong global demand, supported by active growth initiatives, and a focus on addressing inflationary pressures with price increases, will support a continued recovery in both net sales and profit during 2022 and beyond. Source: Axalta
Toby Chess Has Successful Kidney Transplant
Our well-known collision consultant Toby Chess underwent a successful kidney transplant on Oct 12 at UCLA
Ronald Regan medical center, courtesy of his brave daughter Stacy Nicole Torres, 40, who donated an organ to her father based on their compatible genetic profile. The operation required 2.5 hours of surgery for her, and 4 hours for Toby. Both are doing well and Toby no longer has to endure weekly dialysis. For more information contact https://www.kidneyfund.org/.
Pictured: Hayley Torres, granddaughter (l); Hunter Torres, grandson, (c) ; and Stacy Torres daughter and donator (r)
Retail Spending on Cars and Parts Surpasses All Other Sales
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Automotive is the single biggest retail segment in the U.S., accounting for 20%—more than $1.2 trillion— of retail spending in 2020, according to the new Retail Trends Report from SEMA Market Research. The report highlights U.S. retail spending and includes new findings on the retail side of the specialty-equipment market, including specialty-automotive shopping behavior and trends. Retail is a huge part of the U.S. economy, representing more than $6.2 trillion in 2020. While online sales are growing, it is a small slice of the total, growing to roughly 14% of total retail sales, up from 11% in 2019. To help businesses understand automotive aftermarket retail trends by product and retail channel, as well as consumer and shopping behavior, the SEMA report contains additional findings, including: The specialty-automotive aftermarket is ahead of the curve on online sales, with just over half of the $47.89 billion spent on specialty parts in 2020 going through online retail channels. SEMA expects the share of online retail sales will level off, then return to its historical trend
of gradual growth over the next couple years. In the longer term, retailers should keep an eye on how the vehicle population evolves. Light trucks like pickups, SUVs and CUVs are expected to represent 80% of new vehicles sold through 2028. Alternative-fuel vehicles (e.g., hybrid and electric) are a small but growing share of new vehicles sold, expected to account for 25% of new vehicle sales by 2028 and 45% by 2035. In recent years, specialty-automotive consumers have most-commonly bought parts in a “mixedmode” fashion—i.e., buying both in-person and online, with smaller portions favoring exclusively in-person or exclusively online. For many consumers, high-performance chemicals along with specialty wheels and tires represent the “gateway drugs” that can lead to more ambitious modifications to the vehicle’s appearance, performance and handling. For more data on the state of U.S retail and retail in the automotive specialty-equipment market, download the 2021 SEMA Retail Trends Report for free today at www.sema.org/research. Source: SEMA
autobodynews.com / NOVEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 55
Ford Begins Pre-Production of All-Electric F-150 Lightning As the first pre-production F-150 Lightning trucks roll out of Ford’s new Rouge Electric Vehicle Center and demand soars for the all-electric truck, Ford on Sept. 16 said it will increase investment and add jobs to boost production. Ford is investing an additional $250 million and adding 450 more direct jobs across the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, Van Dyke Electric Powertrain Center and Rawsonville Components Plant. The investment and added jobs will help increase production capacity to 80,000 trucks a year. “We knew the F-150 Lightning was special, but the interest from the public has surpassed our highest expectations and changed the conversation around electric vehicles. So we are doubling down, adding jobs and investment to increase production,” said Bill Ford, executive chair, Ford Motor Company. “This truck and the Ford-UAW workers who are assembling it in Michigan have a chance to make history and lead the electric vehicle movement in America.” F-150 Lightning, with a start-
ASA Announces New Membership Model The Automotive Service Association (ASA), the oldest and largest association representing the independent automotive repair industry, announced Sept. 27 it is transitioning to a new and innovative association model leveraging its expansive history to create a single, unified industry voice. Insights from industry innovation, technology transformations and public policy continue to impact the businesses of ASA members, making it imperative for the association to refine its membership offering to better meet members’ needs. Implementing a new model not only simplifies and expands member benefits around advocacy, education and communication, but will also help drive the association’s impact and influence. Under the new model, existing state affiliate agreements will be dissolved, and a 50-state regional structure will take their place. Source: Automotive Service Association
ing MSRP of $40,000 and targeted EPA-estimated driving range of 300 miles with the extended range battery, is aimed at the heart of the U.S. auto market. Ford has taken more than 150,000 reservations for the trucks to date. “Electrifying the F-Series— America’s best-selling truck for 44 years—and assembling it at this high-tech facility in Michigan represents a significant step toward mass adoption of electric vehicles in America,” said Kumar Galhotra, Ford’s president of The Americas and International Markets Group. “F-150 Lightning is intended to be more than a no-compromise zero tailpipe-emissions truck. It’s packed with ingenious features and technology that will improve over time, it’s exhilarating to drive and it can power your home and worksite.” Ford confirmed construction of the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center a year ago as part of an initial $700 million investment in the historic Ford Rouge Center, creating a manufacturing home for the F-150 Lightning. Now Ford’s pre-production F-150 Lightning trucks are
leaving the factory for real-world testing, with the truck available to customers next spring. Ford’s $250 million additional investment will create 450 additional hourly direct jobs, with most of those workers assembling the F-150 Lightning at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center. Workers at Rawsonville Components Plant will assemble the batteries and Van Dyke Electric Powertrain Center will increase its capacity to supply electric motors and electric transaxles for the F-150 Lightning. Ford hosted government officials including Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell to celebrate Ford’s commitment to Michigan and assembling electric vehicles in Michigan as the first pre-production F-150 Lightning trucks start to leave the factory. “We’re standing on the edge of an era of electrification that will be built in factories like this one by hardworking UAW members and the innovative minds at Ford,” said Whitmer. “I am proud of Ford for committing to invest $30 billion
in electrification through 2025, including this additional $250 million today to create 450 jobs in Dearborn, Ypsilanti and Sterling Heights supporting the production of the new F-150 Lightning. I will stay laser-focused at the state level on making investments in the future of mobility and electrification too, and together, we can create good-paying, high-skill union jobs and lead the world in electric vehicle development and manufacturing.” The Rouge Electric Vehicle Center is in the Ford Rouge Center, which sets the benchmark for sustainable automotive assembly. This new center supports Ford’s vision of sustainable production as a zero waste-to-landfill site. The center uses natural lighting, as well as LED lighting and the primary forklift fleet will use hydrogen fuel cells with a zero-emission profile. The Rouge Electric Vehicle Center is built on the site of the old Dearborn Assembly Plant, using its recycled foundation and construction materials. Source: Ford Motor Company
Auto Insurers Confront Rapidly Rising Claims Costs Sharply higher costs to repair and replace vehicles will cause insurance companies’ underwriting profit margins to narrow significantly, projects S&P Global Market Intelligence’s annual US Auto Insurance Market Report. Published by S&P Global Market Intelligence’s Financial Institutions Group (FIG) Research team, the report spotlights the unprecedented effects of COVID-19 on the personal and commercial auto insurance business. The analysis finds the benefits fromlower levels of motor vehicle travel may be as fleeting as they were significant. The number of automobile crashes is rebounding toward pre-pandemic levels, and the average cost to settle claims is rising as costs for motor vehicle body work and used vehicles increase rapidly. “Auto insurers provided estimated premium relief of as much as $16.4 billion to their customers in 2020 as COVID-19 curtailed commuting and leisure travel,” said Tim Zawacki, principal analyst for FIG at S&P Global Mar-
56 NOVEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com
ket Intelligence. “In 2022, some of those customers may face higher auto insurance rates as carriers respond to a return to normal driving patterns and claims costs continue to climb.”
industry underwriting profitability, will normalize in the personal and commercial auto insurance businesses in 2021 due to inflationary pressures and the year-over-year increase in the number of vehicles
Key highlights from the report include: Greater use of technology favors more stable and predictable auto insurance results over the long term. The various ways technology will benefit the industry include increased consumer and trucker acceptance of telematics and the continued deployment of advanced safety equipment across the domestic vehicle fleet. But the industry must first navigate near-term volatility related to the pandemic. Combined ratios, the key measure of property and casualty
on the road. Over time, the outlook assumes resolution of the underlying supply chain disruptions that are driving the rapid inflation. Some auto insurers will continue to pursue sizeable rate increases in response to the adverse claims trends. The report projects growth in personal auto direct premiums written of 3.1% in 2021 and 5.4% in 2022. Commercial auto premiums are projected to rise 14.2% in 2021 before slowing to 8.4% in 2022. Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence
“In 2022, some of those customers may face higher auto insurance rates as carriers respond to a return to normal driving patterns and claims costs continue to climb.” — Tim Zawacki
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autobodynews.com / NOVEMBER 2021 AUTOBODY NEWS 57
Cox Automotive Forecast: New-Vehicle Sales Stall in September September U.S. auto sales are forecast to be significantly hampered by an ongoing lack of new-vehicle inventory. According to a forecast released Sept. 27 by Cox Automotive, the pace of auto sales, or seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), is expected to finish near 12.1 million, the slowest pace since May 2020, when much of the country was closed during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The September sales pace will be down from August’s 13.1 million pace and down from the September 2020 pace of 16.3 million. Sales volume is forecast by Cox Automotive to come in near a notably low 1 million units. The low volume expectations for September put the month on course to be among the worst in the past decade. Sales volume is expected to be down nearly 26% from last September and down 8.5% from last month. The sales pace in the U.S. market has fallen every month since reaching a peak of 18.3 million in April. “After a strong spring selling season, the supply situation has wors-
ened precipitously and is dragging sales down with it,” said Cox Automotive Senior Economist Charlie Chesbrough. “The monthly declines have been large—the sales pace has declined by more than a million units in each of the past five months. Available supply on dealer lots is now 58% lower than last September, down nearly 1.4 million units.” The new-vehicle supply shortage is impacting the market in many ways. Manufacturers have cut back significantly on incentives, and transaction prices have risen as a result. In addition, the lack of new-vehicle inventory is steering many dealers and consumers into the used-vehicle market, resulting in higher prices for both wholesale and retail used vehicles. Q3 2021: The Auto Industry Finds the Bottom With lower sales forecast for September, the third quarter of 2021 is forecast to finish with auto sales down 14% versus Q3 2020 and down 22% compared to the same period in 2019. Cox Automotive will officially revise its full-year forecast, with new projections scheduled to be released
Sept. 30. The underlying economic conditions in the U.S. are currently healthy enough to support higher new-vehicle sales levels. The demand is there. Inventory levels, however, are the unique problem facing the automotive market right now, with disruptions to the global supply chain challenging all automakers, severely impacting available inventory, and pushing many would-be buyers out of the market. In recent research by Cox Automotive’s Kelley Blue Book team, nearly half of would-be buyers indicated in August they will likely step back from the market, many for three months or more. Inventory conditions, however, are anticipated to improve in the coming months. “The expectation is that OEM supply issues will improve such that Q4 should have better selling SAARs than the September rate, but that doesn’t mean good selling rates,” said Chesbrough. “Vehicles are getting produced, and some OEMs have improved their supply situation. In recent months, OEMs seem to be
managing the situation better now that they’ve had time to adjust. For example, automakers are improving their ability to redirect existing chips to the most important vehicles in their portfolios. This strategy should support better sales in the fourth quarter compared to the third quarter.” September 2021 Sales Forecast Highlights New light-vehicle sales are forecast to fall to 1 million units, or down 357,000 units, nearly 26% from last year. Compared to last month, sales are expected to fall 92,000 or nearly 8%. The SAAR in September is estimated to be 12.1 million, down from last September’s early COVID recovery pace of 16.3 million and down from August’s 13.1 million supply-constrained level. No segment saw a sales increase in September with the Mid-Size Cars and Compact SUV/Crossover segments seeing the largest year-overyear decreases at -41.0% and -33.7%, respectively. Source: Cox Automotive
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NICB Releases Annual ‘Hot Wheels’ Report: America’s Top 10 Most Stolen Vehicles The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) on Oct. 12 released its annual Hot Wheels report identifying the top 10 most stolen vehicles in the U.S. in 2020. For the second year in a row, the Ford full size pick-up was the model most targeted by thieves, followed by the Chevrolet full size pick-up, which supplanted the formerly second-place Honda Civic. “Auto thefts saw a dramatic increase in 2020 versus 2019 in part due to the pandemic, an economic downturn, law enforcement realignment, depleted social and schooling programs and, in still too many cases, owner complacency,” said David Glawe, president and CEO of the NICB. “For many people, a car is the second largest investment they will ever make behind a home. No matter what kind of vehicle you have, take steps to protect your investment—lock your car and take your keys.” Thefts for all models in the top 10 were up in 2020 compared to 2019, but only Ford, Chevrolet and GMC full size pick-ups and the Honda CR-V saw double digit theft
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increase percentages. In this year’s list, six of the top 10 most stolen vehicles were Japanese models. Top 10 Stolen Vehicles in 2020 (number of thefts, most common model year stolen) 1. Ford full size pick-up: 44,014; 2006 2. Chevrolet full size pick-up: 40,968; 2004 3. Honda Civic: 34,144; 2000 4. Honda Accord: 30,814; 1997 5. Toyota Camry: 16,915; 2019 6. Nissan Altima: 14,668; 2020 7. GMC full size pick-up: 13,016; 2005 8. Toyota Corolla: 12,515; 2020 9. Honda CR-V: 12,309; 2000 10. Dodge full size pickup:11,991; 2001 The annual Hot Wheels report examines vehicle theft data submitted by law enforcement to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and determines the vehicle make, model and model year most reported stolen in 2020. To guard against thefts of vehicles, NICB recommends drivers
follow these four layers of protection to guard against vehicle theft: Common sense—the common-sense approach to protection is the easiest and most cost-effective way to thwart would-be thieves. You should always remove your keys from the ignition, lock your doors/close your windows and park in a well-lit area. Warning device—the second layer of protection is a visible or audible device which alerts thieves that your vehicle is protected. Popular devices include audible alarms, steering column collars, steering wheel/brake pedal lock, brake locks, wheel locks, theft deterrent decals, identification markers in or on vehicle, VIN etching and micro dot marking. Immobilizing device—the third layer of protection is a device which prevents thieves from bypassing your ignition and hot-wiring the vehicle. Some electronic devices have computer chips in ignition keys. Other devices inhibit the flow of electricity or fuel to the engine until a hidden switch or button is activated. Some examples
are smart keys; fuse cut-offs; kill switches; starter, ignition and fuel pump disablers; and wireless ignition authentication. Tracking device—the final layer of protection is a tracking device which emits a signal to police or a monitoring station when the vehicle is stolen. Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles. Some systems employ “telematics” which combine GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle. If the vehicle is moved, the system will alert the owner and the vehicle can be tracked via computer. Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800-TEL-NICB (800-835-6422) or submitting a form at www.nicb.org/how-wehelp/report-fraud Source: NICB
Average New-Vehicle Transaction Prices Top $45,000 for First Time New-vehicle prices hit another alltime high in September 2021, marking the sixth straight record-setting month and surpassing $45,000 for the first time, according to a new report from Kelley Blue Book. At $45,031, the average transaction price (ATP) for a new vehicle was up 12.1%—or $4,872—from one year ago in September 2020 and up 3.7%—or $1,613—from August. The all-time-high prices accompanied the fifth straight month of a slowing sales pace. Total sales last month numbered just 1,012,797, a 7.3% month-overmonth decrease and one of the lowest volumes in the past decade. On top of supply dynamics, the vehicle mix shifted in September away from lower-priced sedans, compacts and entry-level segments toward more-expensive pickups, SUVs and the luxury market. “The record-high prices in September are mostly a result of the mix of vehicles sold,” said Kayla Reynolds, analyst for Cox Automotive. “Midsize SUV sales jumped in September compared to
August and full-size pickup share moved up as well. Sales of lower-priced compact and midsize cars, which had been commanding more share during the summer, faded in September. As long as new-vehicle inventory remains tight, we believe prices will remain elevated.”
Incentive spending fell in September to another record low, dropping to 5.2% of ATP last month, a decrease from 5.6% in August and well below the 10.0% of ATP recorded in September 2020. Porsche, Land Rover, Genesis, Subaru and Toyota had among the lowest incentive spend last month,
all 3% of ATP or lower. On the other hand, Alfa Romeo, Buick, Fiat and Infiniti each had incentive levels above 10% of ATP. ATPs in September continued to be driven higher by strong luxury vehicle sales. Luxury sales accounted for 16.6% of total market sales, up from 15.1% in September 2020. Luxury share in September was among the highest in the past decade, and luxury buyers paid an average of $60,845 for a new vehicle last month. Further, many luxury brands, notably Acura, Cadillac, Genesis and Mercedes-Benz, achieved year-over-year ATP gains in excess of 20%. Cadillac, for example, saw ATPs jump up more than 32% in September, reaching $81,939. Consumers continue to pay nearly $100,000 for a new Cadillac Escalade. More than 3,500 were sold in September, a jump of more than 50% from August. Source: Kelley Blue Book
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