January 2022 West Edition

Page 1

40 YEARS

WE ST EDITIO N

AUTOBODYNEWS.COM

AK / CA / HI / ID / MT / NV / OR / WA / WY

New California Laws Will Affect Auto Repairers in 2022 Every year, hundreds of new laws are enacted that impact California automotive repair dealers. Below is a brief summary of some of the key measures, in no particular order, that take effect Jan. 1, 2022, unless otherwise noted. Minimum Wage Increase: Reminder that effective Jan. 1, 2022, the minimum wage for employers with 26 or more employees will increase to $15 per hour. The minimum wage for employers with 25 or fewer employees will increase to $14. Please note local minimum wage ordinances may be higher.

Lead Acid Battery Fee Increase: Beginning April 2022, the current $1 California battery fee imposed on a person who purchases a replacement lead-acid battery from a retail dealer, including auto repair dealers, will increase to $2. BAR Auto Shop Locator Program Enhancement: Automotive repair dealers will now be able to provide BAR with educational certification credentials nationally recognized and industry-accepted (e.g. ASE, I-CAR, OEM certification) or approved by BAR. These certificates See New California Laws, Page 20

Bill Intended to Reduce Catalytic Converter Thefts Introduced in Washington State by The Chronicle staff

District 19 Sen. Jeff Wilson, R-Longview, has introduced a bill in the Washington State Legislature intended to target the growing wave of catalytic converter thefts in the state. If passed, Senate Bill 5495 would prohibit scrap dealers from purchasing catalytic converters except from commercial enterprises and vehicle owners. Scrap dealers who knowingly purchase or receive stolen catalytic converters would face misdemeanor charges.

The bill would also require scrap metal dealers to confirm ownership when catalytic convert-

District 19 Sen. Jeff Wilson, R-Longview, has introduced a bill intended to target the growing wave of catalytic converter thefts in Washington state. See Catalytic Converter Thefts, Page 29

Vol. 40 / Issue 1 / January 2022

7 Members of LA-Based Fraud Ring Sentenced for Multimillion-Dollar COVID-19 Relief Scheme Seven members of a Los Angeles-based fraud ring were sentenced for a scheme to fraudulently obtain more than $20 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) COVID-19 relief funds. On Nov. 15, Judge Stephen V. Wilson of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California sentenced Richard Ayvazyan, 43, to 17 years in prison; Marietta Terabelian, 37, to six years in prison; and Artur Ayvazyan, 41, to five years in prison, all of Encino, for engaging in the scheme.

Previously, Wilson sentenced Manuk Grigoryan, 28, of Sun Valley, to six years in prison on Oct. 25; Edvard Paronyan, 41, of Granada Hills, to 30 months in prison on Sept. 27; Vahe Dadyan, 42, of Glendale, to one year and one day in prison on Oct. 18; and Arman Hayrapetyan, 39, of Glendale, to 10 months of probation on Oct. 18. Tamara Dadyan, 42, of Encino, is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 6. According to court documents and evidence presented at a June See LA-Based Fraud Ring, Page 16

Classic Collision Adds 8 California Locations Classic Collision, LLC, a national multi-site collision repair operator based in Atlanta, announced a new closing Nov. 12—the acquisition of Platinum Collision Centers in Southern California. This acquisition will make Classic one of the largest collision providers in the region with a footprint of 24 centers throughout Southern California. At Platinum Collision, the goal has always been treating everyone as the most important customer, which is why the company has worked on highly sought-after manufacturer certifications. “This company delivers the very best to customers. This move to partner with Classic Collision will do just that,” said Tom Gregg, owner and founder of Platinum Collision Centers. “This acquisition is key for our growing California footprint and

strengthens our ability to service more of the Inland Empire community,” said Toan Nguyen, CEO of Classic Collision. “We are very pleased to add these eight shops that have highly trained teams and state of the art facilities with multiple certifications. Platinum has a great reputation, and we are excited to build on that.” Source: Classic Collision

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CONTENTS

Call or Email Now for Rates: AUTOBODY Apple’s AirTags Being Used to Track and

7 Members of LA-Based Fraud Ring

Steal Luxury ������������������������������������������������ 32

Sentenced for Multimillion-Dollar

ASA Announces Podcast Series ��������������������� 42

COVID-19 Relief Scheme ������������������������������� 1

Automakers Report Decreased November

BrightDrop Opens First Dealership in California ����������������������������������������������������� 19 Crash Champions Acquires 2 Collision Repair Centers in San Diego Metro Area ���������������� 19 NABC Recycled Rides® Program, Crash Champions, GEICO, Enterprise Donate 3 Refurbished Vehicles to Orange County Recipients ��������������������������������������������������� 22 New California Laws Will Affect Auto Repairers in 2022 ������������������������������������������ 1 PepsiCo. Receives Permit for Tesla Semi Megacharger Installation ���������������������������� 18 Steakhouse Owner Busted for Classic Car COVID Fraud ������������������������������������������������ 22

Anderson - When it Comes to Auto Body Shop Technician Compensation, Something Has to Change ���������������������������������������������������� 28 Chess - The Evolution of Dent Repairs ��������������� 6 Yoswick - Auto Body Shop Billing Practices

Serving Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming. Autobody News is a monthly publication for the collision industry. Permission to reproduce in any form the material published in Autobody News must be obtained in writing from the publisher. ©2022 Adamantine Media LLC.

3M Automotive Aftermarket Division ��������������� 5

Kia of Carson �������������������������������������������������� 36

Audi Wholesale Parts Dealers ������������������������ 37

Kia of Irvine ���������������������������������������������������� 19

AutoNation Infiniti Tustin �������������������������������� 34

Kwik Bench ������������������������������������������������������ 6

BendPak ����������������������������������������������������������� 7

Larry H. Miller Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram ������ 28

BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers ���������������������� 45

Lithia Honda Medford ������������������������������������� 16

Car Pros Kia ���������������������������������������������������� 14

Mazda Wholesale Parts Dealers ��������������������� 49

Car Pros Kia Renton ��������������������������������������� 22

Mercedes-Benz Wholesale Parts Dealers ������� 49

Certified Automotive Parts Association ������������ 8

Michael Hohl Motor Company ������������������������ 12

Classifieds ������������������������������������������������������ 50

MINI Wholesale Parts Dealers ����������������������� 45

Colortone Automotive Paints �������������������������� 20

MOPAR Wholesale Parts Dealers ������������������� 31

Courtesy Chevrolet San Diego ������������������������ 23

Niello Audi ������������������������������������������������������� 8

DCH Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram-Fiat �������������� 18

Nissan/Infiniti Wholesale Parts Dealers ���������� 43

DeVilbiss Automotive Refinishing ������������������� 10

Porsche Wholesale Parts Dealers ������������������� 48

Dynabrade, Inc ����������������������������������������������� 21

Pro Spot International ������������������������������������� 11

Equalizer Industries, Inc ��������������������������������� 12

Reno Buick-GMC �������������������������������������������� 28

FH Dailey Chevrolet ���������������������������������������� 18

Sandberg Volvo Cars �������������������������������������� 16

Ford Wholesale Parts Dealers ������������������������ 51

Santa Monica Audi ���������������������������������������� 14

Future Nissan of Roseville ������������������������������ 32

SATA Dan-Am Company �������������������������������� 52

Galpin Motors ������������������������������������������������ 35

Solera �������������������������������������������������������� 26-27

Garden Grove Kia ������������������������������������������� 19

Spanesi Americas ������������������������������������������ 15

the Limits’ the Auto Industry Can Sustain ��� 44

Glenn E. Thomas Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep ������������ 9

Subaru Wholesale Parts Dealers �������������������� 41

SUN Collision Adds New Features ������������������ 16

GM Wholesale Parts Dealers ������������������������� 47

The Bay Area Automotive Group �������������������� 33

Tesla Has an Estimated 1.3M Cybertruck

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

Valspar Refinish ����������������������������������������������� 2

Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers ������������������ 44

Volkswagen Pasadena ����������������������������������� 28

Kearny Mesa Subaru-Hyundai ������������������������ 29

Volkswagen Wholesale Parts Dealers ������������ 40

Axalta Among Most Responsible Companies � 22 Biden Releases Oil Reserves to Address Rising Gas Prices ���������������������������������������� 50 Biden Signs Executive Order on Clean Energy, EVs �������������������������������������������������������������� 48 Bill Intended to Reduce Catalytic Converter Thefts Introduced in Washington State ��������� 1 Car ADAS Solutions Joins CIECA �������������������� 44 CIF Elects Trustee from Axalta ������������������������ 46 Classic Collision Adds 8 California Locations ���� 1 Ford Only Major U.S. Automaker to Report Year-Over-Year Sales Increase in November �� 46 GM, POSCO Chemical to Build Factory to

Industry Veteran Establishes Pet-Rescue-AutoShop.com ������������������������� 41

Self-Driving Vehicles: Consumers Don’t Know What They Don’t Know �������������� 4 Miles Driven: September Numbers Show Americans Continue Mileage Increase

Procedures �������������������������������������������������� 30

Over 2020 ��������������������������������������������������� 20

Challenges, Increased Work-in-Progress ����� 40

Opus IVS Tools Approved by Subaru ��������������� 18 Retired Tech Looks Back at 67 Years in Collision Repair ������������������������������������������� 36

NATIONAL

Shepherd Joins Advantage Parts Solutions ����� 48

‘Retirement Vehicles’ Raise Risk of Crash

Stellantis CEO: EV Transition Costs ‘Beyond

Fatalities for Older Drivers ��������������������������� 49 3M™ Cubitron™ II Net Abrasives Created to Improve Collision Shops’ Productivity, Efficiency and Cleanliness ��������������������������� 34 4 Industry Veterans Form Automotive

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

J.D. Power Study on Fully Automated

Related to Total Losses, Not-Included

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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

Sales Amidst Supply Chain Shortages �������� 45

Process Material for Ultium Batteries ��������� 48 COLUMNISTS

ltedesco@autobodynews.com

INDEX OF ADVERTISERS

REGIONAL

Reservations Worth $80B ��������������������������� 32 Transportation Secretary Buttigieg Cites

Market Data ������������������������������������������������ 42

Gas Prices, Promotes EVs ��������������������������� 46

KECO Body Repair Products ��������������������������� 17

Volvo Wholesale Parts Dealers ����������������������� 44

Apple Reportedly Accelerating Car Development,

Volvo Invests in Imaging Start-Up ������������������� 34

Kia Downtown Los Angeles ��������������������������� 30

Wrenchers ����������������������������������������������������� 13

Wants Model to Be Fully Autonomous �������� 37

Kia Motors Wholesale Parts Dealers ��������� 38-39

autobodynews.com / JANUARY 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 3


J.D. Power Study on Fully Automated Self-Driving Vehicles: Consumers Don’t Know What They Don’t Know While the automotive industry continues to move toward fully automated, self-driving vehicles, the pace is not being matched by educational efforts that will help bring buyers into the modern mobility movement. According to the redesigned J.D. Power 2021 Mobility Confidence Index (MCI) Study, released Nov. 30, consumers possess inaccurate knowledge of fully automated self-driving vehicles. Survey respondents were asked to select one of seven possible descriptions to define fully automated self-driving vehicles. Based on the Society of Automotive Engineers’ definition of Level 4 and Level 5 self-driving, two descriptions correctly defined a fully automated self-driving vehicle, which only 37% of MCI respondents selected. More than half (55%) of respondents selected descriptions aligned with driver assist technology, which describe lower levels of automation currently available in many product offerings. The ability to accurately define a fully automated, self-driving vehicle is even lower (32%) among those with higher self-reported levels of automated vehicle (AV) knowledge. Survey findings show those who self-report knowing nothing at all about AVs are actually more accurate (37%) in defining fully automated self-driving vehicles. “This is a ‘Danger, Will Robinson’ moment for the fully automated self-driving vehicle industry,” said Lisa Boor, senior manager of global automotive at J.D. Power. “There is a significant gap between actual and perceived AV knowledge. Right now, consumers don’t know what they don’t know. Clear, consistent messaging from industry stakeholders is needed to improve the accuracy of consumer AV knowledge. The industry needs to be the catalyst for educating the public before running into such speed bumps. AV education must expand beyond current, traditional learning methods.” The study index is based on six unique attributes of consumer comfort with fully automated, self-driving vehicles. The comprehensive metric measures consumer readiness

for AV technology in several categories: personal vehicles; commercial vehicles; public transit; riding if unable to drive due to age or injury; sharing the road with other AVs; and consumer purchase intent. This year, the study has been redesigned as an annual offering from J.D. Power, MIT Advanced Vehicle Technology Consortium (MIT AVT) and Partners for Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE).

“The more people see and learn, the more they want to know. And we can help to quench that thirst for learning by providing clear, hype-free facts and simple, consistent terminology.” Today’s experiences build tomorrow’s customers and expectations: Leading the way for greater self-driving vehicle expectations and consumer acceptance are experiences with current Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).

By merging the quarterly J.D. Power MCI Study with the annual MIT AVT Automated Driving Technologies Study, key metrics from both are maintained with a freshening of phrasing and survey terminology. The redesign also provides the opportunity to add several new topics not previously covered. The study is further strengthened by the participation and support of the PAVE coalition and its goal of raising public understanding of driverless vehicle technology.

Today, 41% of respondents are comfortable with driver assist technology being the maximum level of automation, which is 27 percentage points higher than those who would be comfortable with fully automated self-driving vehicles. Adding to the challenge is that 19% of respondents believe fully automated self-driving vehicles are available for purchase or lease today—an incorrect belief also shared by 16% of Tesla owners. “Tesla” was the most frequently mentioned word when respondents were asked what comes to mind when saying fully automated self-driving vehicles are available today. Consumer self-driving vehicle readiness rises: The score for confidence in fully automated self-driving vehicles improves to 42 (on a 100-point scale) from 34 a year ago and 36 two years ago. Positively trending is the excitement to use fully automated self-driving services when compared with the J.D. Power 2020 Q3 MCI Study: personal vehicles (+11 percentage points); delivery services (+3); taxi/ ride-hailing services (+4); and public transit (+2). Nearly one-third (31%) of respondents say they are very comfortable or extremely comfortable with transporting goods in a fully automated, self-driving vehicle, and the comfort level increases to 47% among those with an active driving assistance feature on their current ve-

Following are key findings from the 2021 study: Knowledge not the same as learning: Consumer interest in AVs increases 10 percentage points from the J.D. Power 2020 Q3 MCI Study, with 51% now having more general interest due to something they read or heard. However, only 29% of respondents have actively sought to find information about AVs. The majority (53%) of respondents believe the best way to learn about AVs is a driver’s education course for self-driving vehicles. A majority (58%) also say they are willing to complete specialized training for a special AV driver’s license. At the opposite end of the learning spectrum, 27% say they would prefer to learn by doing in a selftaught fashion. “These results demonstrate the power of knowledge,” said Tara Andringa, executive director of PAVE.

4 JANUARY 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

hicle. Respondents also see the benefit in fully automated self-driving vehicles for those unable to drive due to age or injury—a newly added index attribute for this year’s study—as respondents’ comfort levels are 27% overall and 45% among those with active driving assistance on their current vehicle. Consumer comfort is higher for AV applications that may not involve them: Of all fully automated self-driving modalities measured, consumers are most comfortable with goods being transported commercially and riding in a fully automated self-driving vehicle if unable to drive due to age or injury. The attributes more likely to affect a consumer personally—AV public transit and riding in fully automated self-driving vehicles—have the lowest levels of comfort. “Safety is paramount when building any self-driving experience,” said Bryan Reimer, Ph.D., research scientist in the MIT AgeLab and associate director of The New England University Transportation Center at MIT. “Organizations working as technology pioneers have the responsibility to create realistic and accurate consumer expectations for what their products can and cannot do. “Small setbacks in public trust triggered by misuse of systems or a failure of a system to perform based upon misconceived consumer expectations may hamper deployments over the coming decades, depriving consumers of the convenience and safety benefits the technology can potentially offer,” Reimer said. “Consumer overconfidence and lack of knowledge to date can lead to risk taking that will cause the AV industry to hit a lot of potholes.” The J.D. Power 2021 Mobility Confidence Index (MCI) Study is based on responses from 4,000 vehicle owners in the U.S. age 18 and older who completed a 15-minute online survey. The study results were balanced to basic census demographics to be nationally representative. The study was fielded in June and July 2021. Source: J.D. Power


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Hey Toby!

Toby Chess is an I-CAR program instructor, Training specialist, and former salvage yard operator. Toby is universally known in the collision industry for his work with first responders and advocacy for body shops and consumers. He can be reached at tcspeedster@gmail.com

with Toby Chess

The Evolution of Dent Repairs From the Ford Model T until the tedious process, as lead was melted 1970s, dents were a two-sided oper- over the entire dent. ation. You would push from the in- side with a dolly and hammer on the outside until you had a semi smooth panel. Until 1955, lead was used as the filler. The with health David risk of McClune lead filler was becoming evident, it was difficult to work with and it was a

ed to go through an evolution, from body over frame to unitized, and so did the body repair methods. Doing hand work took a lot longer and someone came up with the idea to drill a bunch of holes (See Fig 3) in the panel and use a slide hammer to pull out the dent, followed by a thick coat of Bondo. I remember when you looked at the back side of the panel and the bondo flowed through the back.

Max Spitznagel, from Dent Fix, introduced the stud gun and slide hammer to body shops in 1979. (See Fig 4)

California Autobody Association

Year in Quotes Bondo—plastic

Fig. 4

Fig. 2

body

filler—was

With holes no longer being drilled into the panel, it made a difference in the quality of the repair. (See Fig 5) This method of repairs took dent removal to a whole new level and was the standard for the next

with John Yoswick invented in 1955. Plastic body filler was becoming the material of choice and it was more widely accepted, as more auto body shops switched from lead to the lightweight plastic filler. In the ‘80s, the vehicles start-

Fig. 1

Fig. 3

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two decades.

The Maxi Multiple Pull Dent Station (See Fig6) is a 120V or 220V single phase dent-pulling station that provides the technician with the power to shrink, pull rocker panels and fix hail damage, creases and dents in hard-to-access areas. The major drawback for these machines is the heat affect zone and a corrosion hot spot on the back of the panel. (See Fig7)

through the oblong opening. (See Fig 10) Then a bridge pull was se-

set into motion. The deepest part of the dent was first to come up and as it was being raised, more and more of the eyes became engaged, thus pulling the entire dent out in one operation.

Fig. 5

In 1999, another dent pulling device hit the market. The Maxi by Dent Fit (see Fig 6) is still widely used today.

Fig. 8

Fig. 10

Fig. 7

To solve those problems, the Miracle pulling system was introduced around 2010. (See Fig 8) This system uses low voltage/ reusable pulling keys (See Fig 9). The keys were placed next to each other and a rod was inserted

Fig. 6

Driving What’s Good Your Trusted Audi Dealer Since 1969

Fig. 9

cured to the panel, and an arm or hook system was attached to the bar. The pulling part of the bridge was

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In my first try with the Pro Spot dent-pulling system, I attached the keys to a body line (See Fig 11), which should be the first item of repair. I attached the lifting bridge to the door and pulled the body line until it was straight, using a steel ruler to check my pull. I removed the keys and pulled attached keys to the dent and pulled it out. (This door was junk because the intrusion beam was destroyed in the collision). I got the

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dent out and used the hand puller to finish up the repairs to the door.

keys on large rings for the various lengths of the reground keys. Three years ago, Dent Fix introduced three items to the Maxi System, a bridge puller, hand pull and magnetic key holder, along with two styles of keys. (Fig 12-15)

I really like the magnetic header to hold the key in place.

Fig. 14

Fig. 11

Another manufacturer that hit the market was the Flatliner, followed first by Pro Spot Internation-

al’s Pro Pull Complete using the PR-3 A. The PR-3A has two guns. The pistol-type gun is a single-sided attaching gun. You can use it to attach body pulling pins, washers, bolts and nuts to panels. The long narrow attachment is the keys attaching unit. You attach the key and hold it on the metal and the timer in the unit will come on and in less than a second, the key will be attached. After the pull has been completed, the key will twist off. I reuse the keys by grinding a new point, usually necessary after three of four times. I have the reused

Fig. 12

Fig. 13

To use this attachment, first remove the pulling electrode from the gun and then attach the magnetic key hold. Put the key on the dent and pull the trigger. Done.

ENGINEERING MEETS ARTISTRY A New Generation of Spray Guns

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Fig. 15

Fig. 16


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Moving on, the next big thing in dent repair is the GDR or Glue Dent Repair.

less Dent Repair). See Fig 17. I am going to use Keco Tabs for my examples of GDP because they have the widest range of tools and tabs designed for GDP. Figs 19 & 20 are a small sampling of all the different styles and sizes glue pulling tabs offered by Keco Tabs.

Fig. 17

Fig. 19

repair: • Much of the original finish remains on the vehicle. • The dent is pulled out at one time instead of multiple pulls and attachments. • The same tabs can be used on steel and aluminum (Keco has tabs designed for aluminum). • It uses less body fillers, sand paper and primers when compared to stud welding, sometimes none at all. • No corrosion hot spots on the rear of the panel. • Easy to learn. • Small dents to a blend panel can be removed with original finish left intact. A lot of the time the dent is repaired by the repair facility at no charge to the customer.

Fig. 20

First off, GPR (Glue Pull Repair) is not the same as PDR (Paint-

Why GPR? GPR has a number of advantages over the traditional methods of dent

Fig. 21

• It’s a very low-cost investment compared with specialized aluminum and steel pulling systems. One thing Keco Tabs has over its competitors is it offers in-house training for a shop or multiple shops. The hands-on training is a six- to seven-hour class with a limit of eight techs. See Fig 21 for s class at Scandinavian Coachcraft. Barry Dorn of Dorn’s Body and Paint signed up for a one-day class. He was so impressed with the training, he kept the Keco Training team for a second day. “The training was unbelievable and product and service stellar,” Dorn said. Chris White, CEO of Keco Tabs, and Gene Fetty, lead trainer, recently conducted three training classes in Los Angeles. Twenty-three techs from 11 collision centers attended one of the three six-hour classes. Keco sent out three units for the hands-on training that were immediately sold at the conclusion. Ten of the 11 shops bought the system and three of those bought a second system after use in their

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shops. Fetty asked anyone at the three classes if they had used glue tabs. A couple of techs in two of the three sessions said they had. He then asked if they had any problems and both said the glue did not stick very well. He asked the tech at each class to put a tab on a panel and use the Keco Tab leverage puller to lift the dent. Both times, the tab gave way with very little pressure. Fetty introduced the 6 C Keco tab process and proceeded to put the same tab on a Tesla quarter panel. (See Fig 22)

Fig. 22

The result was the tab held with

all that pulling force.

part in Fig 27. You will notice one of the light tubes is bent, indicating damage on the door. I had him take

Fig. 25

Fig. 23

A side note: I used the PDR light to highlight the damage on the vehicle when taking a picture. Fig. 27

Fig. 24

Fig. 26

Fetty spent time with each tech on how to read a PDR light, which comes with the level 2 kit, and the use of it in the dent removal process. (See Fig 25)

In Fig 26, I had the estimator take a picture of the damage for the insurance company claim. It is very hard to see the damage to the left door. I put the PDR lamp on the

a marker and mark damage before sending the pictures. I have a few shops using the lights and the results have been terrific. It has reduced the friction time, as well as phone calls with the insurance companies. In conclusion, there is no one perfect system out there for every kind of dent repair, but having multiple systems, including the glue-on tabs, will give your technicians the best possible dent repair outcomes. www.autobodynews.com

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Continued from Cover

LA-Based Fraud Ring trial, the defendants used dozens of fake, stolen or synthetic identities—including names belonging to elderly or deceased people and foreign exchange students who briefly visited the U.S. years ago and never returned—to submit fraudulent applications for approximately 150 PPP and EIDL loans. In support of the fraudulent loan applications, the defendants also submitted false and fictitious documents to lenders and the Small Business Administration (SBA), including fake identity documents, tax documents and payroll records. The defendants then used the fraudulently obtained funds as down payments on luxury homes in Tarzana, Glendale and Palm Desert. They also used the funds to buy gold coins, diamonds, jewelry, luxury watches, fine imported furnishings, designer handbags, clothing and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. The conspirators sought to fraudulently obtain more than $20 million in

SUN Collision Adds New Features The latest release of SUN® Collision Repair Information, a brand of Snap-on Incorporated, includes exclusive features that have been added to its wiring diagrams, enhancing diagram navigation and making connectors, grounds and splices not only searchable, but also interactive. The new enhancements streamline navigation within a diagram set or from one diagram set to a completely different diagram set, as well as add interactivity to connectors, grounds and splices. Improvements also include a dropdown history that shows the previous 10 diagrams viewed in a session. Components, connectors, grounds and splices are searchable in 1Search and include active hyperlinks that take users directly to related content, such as location, connector views and replacement procedures. For more information, call 877-840-1973 or visit suncollision.com. Source: SUN Collision

COVID-19 relief funds. “The defendants engaged in a scheme to steal critical relief funds intended to assist small businesses during the pandemic,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “This case, involving an egregious example of pandemic relief fraud, was the first in the country to go to trial. The Department of Justice, along with our law enforcement partners, will continue to use every available tool to combat and prevent criminals from exploiting national emergencies for their personal benefit.” Defendants Richard Ayvazyan, Terabelian, Artur Ayvazyan, and Vahe Dadyan were convicted after a jury trial June 25. Prior to the verdict, Grigoryan pleaded guilty June 7 to one count of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft; Paronyan pleaded guilty June 11 to one count of wire fraud; and Hayrapetyan pleaded guilty June 21 to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Tamara Dadyan pleaded guilty June 14 to one count of conspira-

s

cy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of aggravated identity theft but has since moved to withdraw her plea. That motion is still pending. Richard Ayvazyan and Terabelian absconded prior to sentencing and were sentenced by Wilson in absentia. They remain fugitives. The FBI is offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to the arrest of Ayvazyan and Terabelian. Trial attorney Christopher Fenton of the Justice Department’s Fraud Section and assistant U.S. attorneys Scott Paetty, Brian Faerstein and Catherine Ahn of the Central District of California are prosecuting the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Boyle of the Central District of California is handling forfeiture. The Fraud Section leads the Criminal Division’s prosecution of fraud schemes that exploit the PPP. Since the inception of the CARES Act, the Fraud Section has prosecuted more than 150 defendants in more than 95 criminal cases and has

seized more than $75 million in cash proceeds derived from fraudulently obtained PPP funds, as well as numerous real estate properties and luxury items purchased with such proceeds. Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at https://www.justice.gov/ disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form. Source: U.S. Department of Justice

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Opus IVS Tools Approved by Subaru Opus IVS™ announced Subaru of America, Inc. has approved the DriveSafe™ and ScanSafe™ diagnostic tools for use within the Subaru Certified Collision Network. The DriveSafe and ScanSafe devices both use OEM Subaru SSM3 and SSM4 software and the OEM Denso DST-vehicle communication interface. Opus IVS provides a dedicated support team to the collision sector, which includes scanning, ECU programming/ coding, ADAS calibration and brand-specific technical support. The Opus IVS tool suite also is integrated with CCC One® Estimating software, providing a streamlined and consistent workflow solution. The Opus IVS tool suite uses a guided workflow designed specifically for the scanning needs of a collision shop, including required pre- and post-scanning with automated reporting. Source: Opus IVS

PepsiCo. Receives Permit for Tesla Semi Megacharger Installation by Joey Klender, Teslarati

PepsiCo. has received the permit for the installation of a Tesla Semi Megacharger at its Modesto, CA, facility, according to public documents released by Stanislaus County. The Stanislaus County Planning Commission officially issued a permit for the Megacharger installation Nov. 22, the documents show. PepsiCo. has been attempting to receive installation privileges since April, when it initially submitted the application on April 21. The planning commission has performed regular inspections, including a fire review, in the months between the submittal of the application and the issuance of the permit. The permit approval was first shared by @MarcoRPTesla. PepsiCo. will be the first company to receive Tesla Semis later this year. CEO Ramon Laguarta stated on CNBC earlier in November the company would officially receive the first Tesla Semi units in Q4, meaning Tesla has about five weeks to deliver the vehicles to

PepsiCo. The Megacharger is what Tesla plans to use to charge the Semi and has been in development for several years. On Nov. 15, photos of a Tesla Semi prototype charging at a recently-installed Megacharger at the automaker’s Gigafactory Nevada facility outside of Reno were shared by @hwfeinstein on Twitter. The indication Tesla was installing a Megacharger at the facility occurred in mid-October when Sawyer Merritt shared photographs of a Megarcharger station. Now that PepsiCo. has officially received permission to install the Megacharger at its facility in Modesto, Tesla must begin to focus on the final touches of the Semi. Tesla only has a handful of weeks to complete the first builds of the Semi and get them to PepsiCo. if it wishes to remain on schedule with deliveries. The Semi has been in development for several years, but Tesla has been cell constrained for the duration of that period. Simply put, battery cells are available in limited qualities, even for the world’s larg-

ORIGINAL.

est manufacturer of EVs. And since Tesla’s passenger fleet has continued to grow at a rate the company is struggling to keep up with, evident with the growing backlog and delayed delivery projections, the Semi and other projects that would consume many battery cells with even a few production units have been put on hold for the time being. However, the Semi project seems to be somewhat of a priority for Tesla. During Q1 2020, CEO Elon Musk said it was time to ramp “volume production” of the Semi, but the plans were evidently scrapped as the cell constraint issue arose. Later in the year, during the Q3 2020 Earnings Call, Musk said, “We need to solve the cell constraint before ramping Semi to significant volume. That’s the only real constraint on Semi’s progress.” Now, limited production can begin, and PepsiCo. will be ready to charge its first units of the Semi it receives with its new Megacharger.

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BrightDrop Opens First Dealership in California BrightDrop on Dec. 7 announced the opening of its first dealership, BrightDrop Greater Los Angeles, in Fontana, CA, marking another step toward commercialization of the company’s electric light commercial vehicles (eLCVs) for integration into customer fleets before the end of the year. “BrightDrop aims to be a onestop shop for our customers,” said Travis Katz, BrightDrop president and CEO. “End to end, we are providing solutions for nearly every aspect of the delivery journey and establishing our first dealership is a major piece of that puzzle. BrightDrop dealers will support fleet operators in their electrification journey, providing electric vehicle expertise and service.” BrightDrop’s all-electric ecosystem of products, software and services is designed to help optimize productivity, drive down costs and slash emissions and road congestion. BrightDrop dealers are available to support fleet customers with ordering, upfitting and maintaining their purpose-built electric delivery vehicles. BrightDrop Greater Los Angeles is operated by Mike Caposio,

a leading dealer operator. Caposio and his management team bring more than 150 years of automotive and commercial fleet experience to BrightDrop electric vehicle customers. He also operates Caposio Buick GMC and Rotolo Chevrolet, the largest Chevrolet dealership in California and recipient of Chevy’s 2020 Dealer of the Year award. “We are honored to be selected as BrightDrop’s first-ever dealership,” Caposio said. “They have a world-class electric delivery van portfolio and share my focus on serving the fleet customer. I believe the era of all-electric fleets is here and I am committed to helping modernize America’s delivery fleets.” “Mike’s forward-thinking focus on serving the fleet customer is a perfect fit with BrightDrop’s mission to help fleet operators seamlessly transition to an all-electric future,” said Scott Young, BrightDrop vice president of vehicle distribution. BrightDrop plans to continue establishing a small, focused dealer network capable of serving fleet customers throughout the U.S. Source: GM

Crash Champions Acquires 2 Collision Repair Centers in San Diego Metro Area Crash Champions, LLC, one of the nation’s fastest growing independent collision repair companies, announced Nov. 19 it has acquired two collision repair centers in the San Diego metro area owned and operated by collision industry veteran Dan Greenwald and his family. This acquisition further strengthens Crash Champions’ presence in the Southern California region, now at 28 locations, and marks the company’s fourth location in the metro San Diego market. “When reviewing opportunities to expand our brand in the San Diego market, these two collision repair facilities owned and operated by Dan and his family clearly stood out,” said Matt Ebert, founder and CEO of Crash Champions. “Not only do they deliver professional level collision repairs from highly trained I-CAR certified technicians, but they also make outstanding service a cornerstone of their offering. “This emphasis on operational excellence and customer satisfac-

tion have helped them become a leader for collision repair in Southern California, and make them an ideal addition to our growing family.” “My family and I have proudly served the South County area of San Diego for over three decades, and after exploring our options with Veritas Advisors, our M&A advisor, I know that our customers are in good hands under the Crash banner,” said Greenwald. “Matt is an industry veteran with his roots on the operational side, just like me, and based on the commitment to excellence I’ve seen at every level of the Crash Champions organization, I am confident that this transaction will propel our collision repair centers to new heights.” For more information about Crash Champions, visit crashcham pions.com. For those collision repair companies interested in selling their business, Crash has made it easy. Visit crashchampions.com/ sell-your-shop to learn more. Source: Crash Champions

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Continued from Cover

New California Laws will be posted on the BAR website and will be part of the Auto Shop Locator program to help consumers easily identify those shops that have training and certification credentials. Independent Panel to Review BAR Citation/Fine Appeals: This new law will require BAR to create an independent three-member panel consisting of a representative from the BAR, the public and the automotive repair industry to hear all appeals from any citation and fines issued by the BAR. Remedial Training Process for BAR Citations: This new law will require BAR to establish a process for an auto repair shop, upon successful completion of remedial training, to prevent disclosure of the citation and fine on the internet and require BAR to establish a program to certify providers of training. Lien Authority for Storage Fees: This new law clarifies that BAR has authority to oversee and regulate disputes involving automotive repair dealers and consumers regarding charging of reasonable storage rates. Vehicle Safety Inspection Program: This new law will combine

the current brake and lamp program and create a new Vehicle Safety Inspection program for rebuilt salvage vehicles. Hazardous Waste: This law establishes a new regulatory board within the Department of Toxics Substances Control (DTSC), increases charges that support hazardous waste management, restructures and increases the tax that supports DTSC and provides funding to support brownfield cleanups and investigations across the state. Vehicle Road Usage Charge: This new law extends the Road Usage Charge Technical Advisory Committee until Jan. 1, 2027, and requires the state Transportation Agency to implement a pilot program to test a road usage charge. Automobile Dismantling: This new law re-establishes the Vehicle Dismantling Industry Strike Team and increases enforcement and fines for unlicensed vehicle dismantling. Failure to Pay Employees is a Crime: This new bill makes it a crime (grand theft) to intentionally fail to pay employee wages, if the wages equal more than $950 for one employee or $2,350 for two or more employees in any consecutive 12-month time frame. Employers Notification Requirements After COVID-19 Ex-

Miles Driven: September Numbers Show Americans Continue Mileage Increase Over 2020 by Rebecca Barnabi, glassBYTEs.com

Americans traveled 7.9% more miles on roads in September 2021 than in September 2020, according to the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHA) most recent numbers. September 2021 saw approximately 266.7 billion vehicle miles—19.5 billion more than September 2020. Seasonally adjusted, 265.4 billion miles were traveled in September 2021, an increase of 7.7% or 19 billion vehicle miles over September 2020. This also represents a 1.5% increase—or 3.9 billion more vehicle miles— compared to August 2021. According to the FHA, cumulative travel in 2021 changed to 11.7% or 244 billion vehicle miles, and the estimated cumula-

tive so far for the year is 2,335.6 billion vehicle miles. All U.S. regions saw an increase in miles driven for September 2021 compared to September 2020. The largest increase was 9% in the South Atlantic with 58.2 billion vehicle miles. The West region saw an increase of 8.8% and 56.5 billion vehicle miles. The North Central’s 7.1% increase is for 60.3 billion vehicle miles. The Northeast region experienced a 6.9% increase and 36.8 billion vehicle miles. The South Gulf’s 54.9 billion vehicle miles is a 7.4% increase. (C) 2021 by glassbytes.com. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. For more information contact www.glassbytes. com.

20 JANUARY 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

posure Clarification: This new law further clarifies employer obligations to its employees regarding COVID-19 related to benefits, disinfection and safety information after potential exposure to COVID-19 exposure. Cal-OSHA Violations and Fines: The new law expands Cal-OSHA’s enforcement powers, creates new categories of workplace health and safety violations and authorizes Cal-OSHA to issue citations and place additional fines for “egregious” violations. Expansion of the California Family Rights Act: This new law amends the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) to include parents-inlaw to the list of family members for which an employee can take leave under the CFRA. Employers Need to Retain Personnel Records Longer: The new law extends the current personnel records retention requirement from two years to four. If litigation has been filed, employers must retain such records longer. Settlement Agreements—Silenced No More Act: Broadly pro-

hibits public and private employers of any size from settling lawsuits using agreements that prevent disclosure of sexual assault, sexual harassment, workplace harassment and discrimination based on any protected status under the Fair Employment and Housing Act. Wage and Hour Penalties: Allows the labor commissioner to place a lien on real property to recover penalties owed for violations of the labor code. Electronic Delivery Workplace Notices: This law provides that whenever an employer is required to physically post information meant to apprise employees of rights it “may also distribute that information to employees by email.” The law merely allows employers to provide required notices via email and does not negate employers’ obligations to post physical copies of such notices in workplaces. This summary has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Source: CAA

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Axalta Among Most Responsible Companies

NABC Recycled Rides® Program, Crash Champions, GEICO, Enterprise Donate 3 Refurbished Vehicles to Orange County Recipients

Axalta, a leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings, has been named one of “America’s Most Responsible Companies” for 2022 by Newsweek magazine. The list recognizes the 500 most responsible companies in the U.S. across 14 different industry subcategories. Axalta ranked 138th overall and eighth in the capital goods industry classification. For Newsweek’s list of America’s Most Responsible Companies 2022, companies were selected based on publicly available key performance indicators derived from Corporate Social Responsibility Reports, Sustainability Reports and Corporate Citizenship Reports, as well as an independent survey. The key performance indicators focused on company performance in the environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) areas, while the independent survey asked U.S. citizens about their perception of company activities related to corporate social responsibility. Source: Axalta

In an event deemed the Holiday Rideaway, three deserving Orange County, CA, recipients were presented vehicles to provide them independence and the ability to work and take care of their families. The event was sponsored by the National Auto Body Council (NABC) Recycled Rides® pro-

gram along with Crash Champions collision repair, GEICO and Enterprise. The presentation was held in early December at the Crash Champions’ Brea location, 436 N. Berry Street, Brea, CA 92821. The deserving recipients were selected by Family Promise,

Steakhouse Owner Busted for Classic Car COVID Fraud by Steven Symes, Motorious

The owner of a steakhouse in Shepherd, MT, has been caught using about $75,000 in COVID Small Business Administration (SBA) relief funds—supposed to be for his business—to instead buy classic cars. Michael Eugene Bolte, owner of the Feedlot Steakhouse, pleaded guilty to the theft of government money, property or records, a misdemeanor charge. Bolte used the government funds to purchase a 1916 Studebaker, a 1929 Franklin, a 1939 Ford Deluxe and a 1941 Ford Super Deluxe. According to U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson, Bolte purchased the classic cars as investments and not for personal enjoyment. That’s become a popular trend as the appreciation in value of certain models has skyrocketed faster than vintage wine, whiskey and other popular hard assets in recent years. Per the U.S. Attorney’s Office, a plea agreement was reached with Bolte. The government is to

recommend to the court at the sentencing hearing an indictment be dismissed. Further, the government will recommend Bolte be responsible for full restitution of $74,800 while agreeing to a criminal forfeiture of the classic cars. According to court filing documents, Bolte applied for an SBA loan on April 1, 2020. Then on May 24, 2020, he signed a loan agreement, expressly acknowledging the $74,800 he was receiving was going to be used solely as working capital for his restaurant. We’ve seen other business owners get nailed for this very thing as well as regular people making up businesses to get loans, then using the funds to buy dream cars. Pending further court proceedings, Bolte has been released from jail. The sentencing hearing has been set for April 13, 2022.

of Orange County, and the event included a 2018 Nissan Altima, a 2018 Hyundai Sonata and a 2017 Hyundai Elantra, all refurbished by Crash Champions. NABC Recycled Rides is a unique program in which businesses representing all facets of the collision repair industry team up to repair and donate vehicles to individuals and families in need of reliable transportation. Since the inception of the NABC Recycled Rides program in 2007, members of the NABC have donated more than 2,750 vehicles valued at more than $38 million. “For those that have been blessed never to have to worry about finding safe and reliable transportation, I’ll tell you, this is a very big deal,” said Merriah Dotson, one of the Recycled Rides recipients. “This tremendous gift will allow us greater work opportunities, more family time and the

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chance to do many of the everyday activities that most take for granted—from going to the grocery store to running to the pharmacy. We are all incredibly grateful.” “We couldn’t be more pleased to partner once again with NABC, GEICO and Enterprise on this wonderful program,” said Matt Ebert, CEO and founder of Crash Champions. “The fact that these deserving families are receiving their vehicles in time for the holidays only makes today that much more rewarding. On behalf of the entire Crash Champions team, we wish the recipients and their families’ smooth roads and easy driving.”

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autobodynews.com / JANUARY 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 25


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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.

When it Comes to Auto Body Shop Technician Compensation, Something Has to Change Something has to change. I’ll tell you up front: I’m going to be repeating those four words a number of times as you read through this article. Something has to change. I have a family member who graduated from high school and went to work for Amazon. He is now 21, making more than $100,000 a year. He has stock options and they pay 100% of his health insurance. And they pay for all of his college. That’s what we’re competing against when we’re trying to recruit young people into our industry. Something has to change. I know a body tech who got out of the industry to work as a truck driver. He’s making more than $100,000 a year now. And he doesn’t have to buy any tools. He told me, “I have a lot less stress, Mike.” Something has to change.

There’s a convenience store at the gas station near my home. That store starts people at $18 an hour. Just to work at a gas station convenience store. That’s almost $40,000 a year. Plus health insurance. There’s no liability in that work, and they’re

not exposed to hazardous materials. They also offer up to $10,000 a year for child care reimbursement. Yet I talk to auto body shops trying to start people out at $10 to $15 per hour. That model is broken. Our industry has got to be able to of-

fer a more competitive wage as well as better benefits. Something has to change. Now I understand: We can’t compensate fairly unless we are being compensated fairly. This is absolutely not an anti-insurance article. It’s not. But at the end of the day, either labor rates have to start to come in line with what we need to compensate more fairly, shops have got to be paid for more not-included operations, or some combination of the two. Somehow we need to collect additional funds to be able to recruit and retain people. I think we will see shops change who they do business with over this issue. They almost have to. I know one MSO has already told investors they’ve dropped some direct repair programs with “lower-margin clients that are not willing to increase pricing.”

I’ve also heard from shops saying a competitor in their market is offering signing bonuses of as much as $10,000. I don’t believe in stealing fish from another man’s pond. That’s not the solution. What we need to do is recruit by offering a more competitive compensation package. The problem is only getting worse. We all know body labor rates have been lower than those in the mechanical industry because of body techs being able to work at 135% or 150% efficiency. But as we see less “repair” and more “replace,” technicians’ efficiencies are dropping. If it pays you five hours to replace a door, it takes you every bit of those five hours. A technician can turn a screwdriver, wrench or other tool only so fast. The space required for the work has increased. It takes three times

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the space of an average auto body shop stall just to perform calibrations. The skills needed are also increasing. We need a much higher caliber person doing everything from the OEM procedure research to the final ADAS calibrations. “It’s not just body work,” Susanna Gotsch of CCC Intelligent Solutions said at the MSO Symposium in November. “It’s mechanical work, the knowledge of electronics, understanding how telematics and the systems of the car work, how to read the manuals from the OEMs. All of that requires a higher set of training and tooling. That cost will have to be passed on. So I think we’re going to see more inflation on labor. I think that’s going to start to find its way into appraisals as well. It just has to.” My friends and colleagues, the industry model we have right now is broken, in terms of labor rates and compensation packages. I don’t know the answer. I’ve got some ideas, I’ve got some thoughts. But I do know this: Something has to change.

Continued from Cover

Catalytic Converter Thefts ers are resold and maintain records of vehicle identification numbers. Cash payments could not be made on the spot, and would have to be delayed at least five days. Similar laws are being passed in other states as catalytic converter thefts sweep the country, said Wilson’s office in a news release. Wilson said he modeled his legislation after a similar law that takes effect in Oregon in January out of concern it will drive thieves north of the border. “Catalytic converter theft has become the crime of the day,” Wilson said in a written statement. “We see reports on every police blotter in every corner of the state. And the crime has exploded in just the last year.” Driving the crime wave are rising prices for precious metals used in catalytic converters, which filter tailpipe gases and convert them to less-toxic pollutants. A thief armed with a hacksaw or an electric recip-

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rocating saw can crawl beneath a car or truck and remove a catalytic converter in about a minute. The precious metals can be recycled, or in some cases the catalytic converter can be reused. Converters from some vehicles are in especially high demand. Wilson cited a report in The Daily News of Longview of 58 catalytic converter thefts by September of this year, compared to nine cases in 2020 and just three cases in 2019. About two-thirds of this year’s thefts had occurred since June. In one Longview case, thieves targeted a used-car lot and removed multiple converters. In another, a man who attempted to stop a catalytic converter theft in progress in downtown Longview was slashed with a knife. And in a wrecking yard near Wilson’s home, where catalytic converters are removed from junk cars, a burglar was caught tossing catalytic converters over the junkyard fence. Similar reports have surfaced in every community of the state, as thieves target parking lots and dis-

abled cars parked along roadways. “We live in an age in which some say we should look the other way at petty crime, because thieves are needy,” Wilson said. “But let me tell you, it’s not going to seem petty when you start your car and you hear a blast from the tailpipe. Replacing a catalytic converter is expensive, and even when it is covered by insurance, sometimes it can take weeks to get a replacement. This isn’t a nuisance crime. It’s an epidemic.” The bill will be considered during the 2022 legislative session, which convenes Jan. 10 and adjourns March 10.

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autobodynews.com / JANUARY 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 29


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.

Auto Body Shop Billing Practices Related to Total Losses, Not-Included Procedures

Shop Showcase

Disconnecting and later reconnect- connecting the battery often will set sought to be reimbursed for the change over time as the industry being a vehicle’s battery during col- diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs). procedure by eight of the nation’s comes more aware of the need for lision repair work is no longer the You can’t check for those without largest insurers. Among those who the procedure to be performed, and with Ed Attanasio simple operation it used to be—and doing a post-repair vehicle scan in did, just 19% overall found insurers as more shops regularly bill for it. auto body shops are increasingly un The survey also found adminderstanding the need to research the istrative fees for total loss processOEM procedures for doing so, and ing have become increasingly comseeking to be paid for the labor enmon. Direct repair agreements often tailed. prohibit participating shops from That was among the findings charging administrative fees related with Ed Attanasio of a “Who Pays for What?” survey to processing of total losses. Califorin 2021. The survey of more than nia shops are also prohibited by state 500 shops around the country last regulation there for charging adminsummer found about 61% of suristrative fees. But the “Who Pays” survey last vey respondents reported being paid summer found the percentage of “always” or “most of the time” by U.S. shops saying they are paid such the eight largest insurers when they with Ed Attanasio an administrative fee has risen, with performed and invoiced for the pro- “Who Pays for What?” survey last summer found nearly one in five shops say they are paid all or most of the time when they invoice for the labor to clear a customer’s data from a total loss a strong majority (72%) saying they cedures required to reconnect a bat- vehicle tery. are paid always, or most of the time, Overall, the eight insurers in- conjunction with reconnecting the covering the bill “always” or “most when they bill for this work. That cluded in the survey proved fairly battery.” of the time”—and most of those in- compares to just 46% back in 2015. similar in terms of likelihood of The first of the four “Who Pays volved non-DRP repairs. Likewise, the percentage of with Ed Attanasio covering the bill for this work. But for What?” surveys of 2022, one Anderson thinks that will shops that say they have never billed all eight insurers appear to be more focused on not-included refinish lalikely to reimburse their direct repair bor operations, is being conducted shops for this procedure. throughout January; shops can visit This was particularly true in the https://www.crashnetwork.com/colcase of State Farm. More than half lisionadvice to take the survey. (55%) of State Farm shops said Last summer’s survey also withDRP Stacey Phillips they were “always” paid by the insur- found although a majority of shops er for this operation, but only 23% of surveyed said they had not yet billed shops not part of State Farm’s DRP for the time entailed in clearing cussaid they were. Additionally, 24% tomer data from a total loss vehicle, said State Farm “never” pays them some of those who have reported the largest insurers were paying for for this procedure. with Stacey Phillips When shops were asked a fol- those charges. low-up question about how often “Clearing the vehicle owner’s they research the OEM repair pro- personal data from a total loss vecedures necessary after a battery hicle is something we need to start is reconnected, just more than half thinking about for our customers,” (51%) said they do it most or all of Anderson said. “A vehicle owner with Stacey Phillips the time. But more than one in four today may have their home address (28%) acknowledged they research stored in their navigation unit of the the proper procedure only “occa- vehicle. Their contacts can be stored sionally” or even “never.” when they sync their phone. Garage Large Inventory of Genuine Kia Parts “Researching procedures re- door opener codes might be stored. Experienced Wholesale Parts Staff quired when the battery is discon- So we need to be asking the vehinected and reconnected is criticalPhillips to cle owner, when the vehicle is a towith Stacey a safe and proper repair,” Mike An- tal loss, if they would they like us derson of Collision Advice wrote in to erase their personal information. 213.342.0980 Fax the report with the survey findings. The process for this can be found in 1834 S. Figueroa Street “I was analyzing the procedures the owner’s manual.” Mon-Fri 7am-7pm Los Angeles, CA 90015 called for by one Asian OEM recent- Fewer than 20% of the auto ly, and found 11 procedures required body shops answering the survey after reconnecting the battery. Dis- question last summer said they had

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for this fee also has declined steadily since 2015. Today, only 11% say they never charge a fee to process a total loss, but in 2015, that figure was 30%. “Processing a total loss has become more complex than it used to be,” Anderson said. “It can involve more teardown, more research of OEM procedures, vehicle scans and more.” According to the 2021 survey, 74% of shops itemize charges—as opposed to charging a flat fee—for total loss processing. In addition to the administrative time, these charges may include moving a non-drivable vehicle, covering the vehicle to protect it from weather, etc. Back in 2015, 38% of shops believed the top eight largest insurers in the “Who Pays” surveys “never” paid an administrative fee for total losses. Today, only 17% still think so. The “Who Pays” surveys also ask about a variety of other collision shop billing practices. A growing percentage of shops, for example, say they are using an invoicing system to track and bill for items such

as clips and fasteners, seam-sealer, eraser wheels or other shop supplies used during a repair. Slightly more than half of shops (54%) in last summer’s survey reported using some kind of commercially available invoicing system, such as those available from 3M, Kent Automotive or Wurth. That’s up from 41% in 2017. “Many of the items these systems can track, and generate an invoice for, are often inexpensive but one-time use items that may not seem worth tracking, like acid brushes or mixing nozzles,” Anderson said. “But added all together, it can be a sizable unreimbursed expense.” Virtually all shops (93%) using a system reported doing so generates additional revenue on their estimates. The survey asked shops to quantify that additional revenue. The largest group (37%) said it generates an average of more than $50 of additional revenue per estimate; the next largest group (29%) said between $26 and $50 per estimate.

Tesla Has an Estimated 1.3M Cybertruck Reservations Worth $80B by Steven Loveday, Inside EVs

The Tesla Cybertruck story is really outright crazy if you think about it. The truck arrived on stage at its reveal and many people thought it was an Elon Musk joke, which would come as no surprise.

They were waiting for the “actual” electric pickup truck to appear on stage, but the crazy metal wedge was the real deal. Clearly, the wild, stainless steel behemoth has grown on many people, to the tune of more than a million. Tesla recently made it clear it won’t begin producing the Cybertruck for about another year. People have already been waiting two years, and it may be years before all 1.3 million reservations are

filled. Meanwhile, people are still adding to the reservation list. Sure, not all these folks will follow through, but even if only half of them move forward, it’s triple the number of Ford F-150 Lightning reservations, which are incredible as well. The fact nearly 200,000 people have reserved an electric pickup truck from Ford is something many people would have never believed in the recent past. However, to put it into perspective, 250,000 people reserved a Cybertruck during the first week after it was revealed. According to a recent report on Electrek, Tesla’s roughly 1.27 million Cybertruck reservations add up to some $80 billion in future value. It’s important to note there’s no way to know for sure how many Cybertruck reservations exist, though a crowdsourced system is working to keep track. An analyst’s report from six months ago put Cybertruck reservations at 650,000, but orders continue to come in at a ridiculous pace.

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Apple’s AirTags Being Used to Track and Steal Luxury by Loukia Papadopoulos, Interesting Engineering

In August, there was the story of a cybersecurity expert in Brooklyn, NY, who was able to recover his stolen bike by tracking it down himself, thanks to an Apple AirTag he had hidden inside the bike. In November, however, we reported the story of an unidentified woman in Jonesboro, AR, who turned on her iPhone in her car only to get a notice informing her there was an AirTag somewhere nearby. She was being tracked without her consent or knowledge. The stories highlight both the advantages and dangers of AirTags. Recently, Canadian police reported car thieves have been using AirTags to track and steal luxury cars, according to a report by Ars Technica. York Regional Police shared the tales of five incidents in which thieves have hidden AirTags on vehicles parked in public in order to be able to track them down later and steal them. The incidents had

all taken place in the last three months. For the few who may still not know what they are, Apple’s AirTags are tiny tracking devices with a speaker that can be stuck on things most likely to be misplaced. The user can then activate them using their Apple device and easily locate them. It is obvious how such a device can be problematic. Apple has said it has engineered some anti-stalking functions into AirTags. However, they only work if you’re running iOS 14.5 or newer. The functions allow you to detect if you’re being followed by an unfamiliar device by alerting you of this fact. For some, these added functions are too little, too late. Robert Sexton, a Criminal Investigation Department (CID) detective with the Paragould Police Department who was in charge of the stalking case in Jonesboro, AR, said these types of events are becoming increasingly more common and people should watch out for such incidents.

32 JANUARY 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

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3M™ Cubitron™ II Net Abrasives Created to Improve Collision Shops’ Productivity, Efficiency and Cleanliness by Stacey Phillips

For decades, auto body shops across the industry have faced a quiet and sometimes unrecognized choice in regard to dust extraction, according to Nick Oberle, application engineer specialist in the 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division. “To get the maximum benefits of dust extraction, body shops needed to sacrifice their overall productivity,” said Oberle. “Net abrasives, which capture more than 95% of the dust they create, often don’t deliver the cut and life of traditional abrasives, which have poorer dust capture.” As a result of this challenge, 3M introduced a solution, 3M™ Cubitron™ II Net Abrasives. Oberle explained 3M™ Cubitron™ II Net Abrasives use the company’s patented Precision Shaped Grain mineral to power the new discs. Each micro replicated grain is a sharp triangle he said cuts through material easier than traditional abrasive grains. “The Cubitron™ II Net family of abrasives cuts twice as fast and lasts twice as long as other net abrasive families and captures more than 95% of the dust they create,” said Oberle, who tested the new discs against the competition. Oberle says the reception has been great. “It’s exciting when you introduce a never-before-seen product and then watch technicians embrace

it in their shops and quickly realize its many benefits,” he said. Dust extraction is required in many countries across the globe. Five years ago, Oberle and the 3M engineering team began researching potential regulation changes to abrasives and dust extraction in the U.S. “When you look at global regulations, the United States is far more lenient than Europe,” said Oberle. “The last time the U.S. rewrote any type of regulation around particulates in the air was in the early 1970s.” According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), airborne shop dust “…may contain hazardous substances, such as lead and chromium from surface coatings and abrasives from sanding discs, that are harmful to the lungs and nervous system of workers.” “Technicians are not going to notice a negative health effect the next day, but over time, dust could cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, cancer and neural toxicity,” said Oberle. “Getting dust away from the tech, from a human perspective, is important to 3M.” NIOSH recommends what it calls “ventilated sanders” for auto body shops “…because they have been shown to be effective in reducing total dust concentrations during the sanding of body filling compounds … ventilated sanders have cut total dust concentrations to

one-tenth the levels produced using unventilated sanders.” Currently, dust capture is not a requirement in most of the U.S. “The moment that changes, there is going to be a very quick shift in the market to create dust extraction products,” said Oberle. Even without regulation, interest in dust extraction in the U.S. has been growing at the same time as the drive for reduced cycle times and greater shop efficiencies. Oberle said dust capture helps reduce loading, which can rob abrasives of their cutting power and shorten their life. In addition, less dust in the air can help reduce the risk of rework caused by dust settling into fresh paint. “The market is becoming more interested in dust extraction,” said Oberle. “3M is ready to satisfy that interest today.” In 2016, 3M partnered with Festool to develop dust extraction for the auto body industry. Oberle said the 90-year-old company has a long track record of creating high-quality,

dependable products. Festool was a pioneer in dust extraction tools and today, Oberle said it only sells sanders equipped for dust capture. “3M™ Net Abrasives allow Festool tools to achieve their maximum dust capture potential, which is great news for shops,” said Oberle. The family of net abrasives is offered in 3-, 5-, 6- and 8-inch discs as well as 70-, 80- and 115mm sheet rolls. The 3M™ Hookit™ hook-and-loop attachment allows unused portions of the abrasive to be used on a future job. The open net abrasive pattern means these net abrasives work with self-generating vacuum sanders, central vac systems and portable dust extractors. Overall, Oberle said the goal is to remove dust at the source. “3M™ Cubitron™ II Net Abrasives can help lead to less in-air dust-related contaminants, less rework and cleanup time, improved cycle time, process efficiency and technician mobility within the body shop,” he said.

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aging and optical infrastructure spanning materials, hardware and software, enabling a wide variety of advanced optical capabilities. One of the company’s core solutions is the multi-layered thin combiner (MLTC) which is a new type of thin optics “film” applicable to see-through surfaces of all shapes and sizes. Integrated into a car’s windshield or windows, the technology could be used to overlay imagery on the glass. Source: Volvo Cars

34 JANUARY 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

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Retired Tech Looks Back at 67 Years in Collision Repair by Ed Attanasio

Over the years, I have interviewed a lot of collision repair professionals as they retire from the industry. If someone can work in this business for 30, 40 or even 50 years, it’s obviously an impressive run. But when I heard Felix Cano Sr. of Texas retired after a 67-year career as a metal technician, I was shocked and pleasantly surprised.

The Cano family has always been all-in when it comes to becoming the best techs they can and imparting their knowledge to others. Pictured here is Felix Cano Jr., left, and his father, Felix Cano, Sr.

Longevity is always a factor with technicians or painters. They need to be adaptable and willing to learn, and—maybe most importantly—they need to be durable. The physical work associated with these jobs is what often becomes the deciding factor. The average veteran body man ends up experiencing injuries and wear and tear to his body over the years, and it adds up. When Cano entered the industry at age 16, he knew nothing, but at $8 an hour, he was the richest kid in school. He started out working for a collision center for a Chevy dealership in Texas as a body man’s helper. To say the learning curve was steep is a major understatement. “I learned fast and the guys I worked with were willing to teach me,” Cano said. “Bondo wasn’t even around back then, so I was doing mostly lead work. The cars back then didn’t have all of the plastic that they have now and fixing them was more straightforward. Today, you have to scan the vehicles and techs

are more like computer programmers compared to what we did.” Life wasn’t always a walk in the park for Cano and his family, as his father worked multiple jobs with the economy struggling. At one point, his parents and two siblings were one step away from homelessness. “For three weeks, we lived in our car, an old Bonneville, under a tree,” he said. “We bathed in an ice chest and it was a tough period. My first pay check was $488 for one week, and I thought I was wealthy. We got an apartment and things got better.” The only problem was Cano’s parents moved the family into an apartment where children were not allowed. “We had to hide the kids from the landlord so he wouldn’t find out,” he said. “We hid in the closet and under the bed. The apartment manager knew what we were doing, but he covered for us. After a while, my dad got enough money to buy a brand-new home for $40,000.” Wherever he worked, Cano was well-liked and highly respected, according to his son, Felix Cano Jr., who had a long career as a tech himself and is a collision tech teacher today. “When he was working for Chuck Fairbanks Chevrolet in DeSoto, TX, Mr. Fairbanks asked him to rebuild his personal car and was often recruited as a ringer for the company golf tournaments,” Cano Jr. said. “Dad was a decent golfer, so Mr. Fairbanks always wanted him as a partner. My father would also cook breakfast every Wednesday for the whole crew, regardless of where he worked. It was chorizo, bacon, eggs, tortillas—a big spread—and he usually paid for the whole thing himself.” Cano Sr. was working at three auto body shops at the time, repairing high-end luxury cars like Porsches, Ferraris and Lamborghinis. His average workday started at 7 a.m. and often ended at 2 a.m., he said. “I learned how to do the lead work and realized that I had a skill that was much-needed,” he said. “I pretty much was able to set my prices and soon I was taking home $800

36 JANUARY 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

to $1,000 every week.” Not bad for a guy in his 20s. Lead work is a lost art and used primarily by car restorers today, but Cano was able to turn it into a moneymaker over the years. “It requires more training and practice to perfect and it’s a much

Part of Felix Cano Sr.’s retirement plan will include a little golf now and then

slower process,” he said. “Lead seals much better than body filler. You can apply it straight over welds, section locations, pillars or anywhere else where you need a solid seal. Lead will flex well without the metal cracking. Body fillers have

improved through the years and they flex as well, but lead is better for flexing without cracking.” Cano planted a seed and it sprouted when two of his six sons, Felix Jr. and Greg, decided to enter the industry. Felix Cano Jr. has made a name for himself as an award-winning instructor and is known for turning many of his students into winners at SkillsUSA competitions. The legacy continues with his son, Felix Cano III, who works for a body shop in Texas after learning the trade from his father, grandfather and uncle. The Canos treasure their roles as teachers. Cano Sr. was an instructor with I-CAR for several years. Just like his son, he’s anxious to share his knowledge and experience with anyone willing to learn. When Cano Jr. was 8 years old, he started going to work with his father and that’s when he realized he wanted to be like his dad. “I had one of the best teachers anyone could have and the one-onone instruction that I have from him

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was so beneficial,” Cano Jr. said. “I teach my students the way he taught me. One great thing about my dad was that he never yelled at me when I messed up. During all the years I’ve worked by his side, he never got mad and his patience was amazing. What he did for me was better than any apprenticeship because I could ask him questions all the time.” If it was his decision, Cano Sr. would still be working, he said. “Everyone wanted me to retire, except for me. But my wife wants me around the house, so what can I do? I go down to the shop every once in a while, to stay connected,” he said. “Like many other people who reach retirement age, I don’t want to stay home and die. I want to still be involved.” Cano Jr. is very proud of his papa and hopes he will live past 100. “He still wants to give back— that’s just the way he is. He was one of the old school ‘metal men’ from that era; the crème de la crème and true tradesmen,” Cano Jr. said. “He turned us into teachers because we wanted to be like him, and we still do!”

Apple Reportedly Accelerating Car Development, Wants Model to Be Fully Autonomous by Michael Gauthier, CarScoops

The Apple Car is the unicorn of the automotive industry as it’s often talked about, but never seen. That trend continues as Bloomberg is reporting the tech giant wants to speed up development of the vehicle and has refocused the project around its “full self-driving capabilities.” The publication goes onto explain the project has explored two possibilities for the model with the first having “limited self-driving capabilities focused on steering and acceleration.” The report doesn’t elaborate, but this sounds like relatively common features such as adaptive cruise control and lane centering. However, Apple has also been considering a “version with full self-driving ability that doesn’t require human intervention.” This suggests it would have a Level 4 system that could operate autonomously under certain conditions or even a Level 5 system that can operate fully autonomously.

While the company was said to be looking at both possibilities, Apple has now reportedly concentrated their efforts on the latter. The move would seem to make sense as a semi-autonomous vehicle wouldn’t really stand out in the market.

The report goes on to say that Apple is planning to launch the vehicle in four years, which means it could arrive in late 2025. That’s an ambitious target and it remains unclear if the company can achieve that goal as engineers were reportedly expecting the launch to occur in 2026, 2027 or 2028. Bloomberg goes on to suggest if the fully autonomous technolo-

gy isn’t ready in time, the company could still move forward with the launch and sell the vehicle with a less advanced semi-autonomous driving system. However, that seems somewhat doubtful as Apple is reportedly eyeing a vehicle with a lounge-like interior that lacks a steering wheel and pedals. While a number of questions remain, the project seems to be moving ahead as the publication says the team recently hit a “key milestone in developing the car’s underlying self-driving system.” The company is also said to have “completed much of the core work on the processor it intends to eventually ship in the first generation of the car.” The updated technology is expected to make its way into the company’s fleet of 69 Lexus prototypes, which have spent the past few years helping to refine Apple’s driving technology. However, the company has a long road ahead as more testing will be required.

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Industry Insight with John Yoswick

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

MSOs Discuss Collision Parts Challenges, Increased Work-in-Progress

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A panel of representatives from a in parking lots, waiting to be finalnumber of multi-shop collision re- ized.” pair operations at the MSO Sympo- Amberson, too, said his comwith Ed Attanasio sium in Las Vegas in November dis- pany has seen an increase of becussed how disruptions in the parts tween 10% and 20% in his compasupply chain are impacting their ny’s work-in-progress compared to pre-pandemic. business. “It’s a mixed blessing because All agreed the parts challeng- es are not limited to any particu- in today’s world we almost have to lar parts segments, new have more work-in-progress to keep withincluding Ed Attanasio our people busy,” Amberson said. OEM, used and non-OEM. “I think we have problems in all “Because there are too many jobs categories,” said Marty Evans, an for which we’re waiting for insurMSO operator in Washington who ance authorization or parts. But the also is COO of the Certified Colli- downside is it creates a lot of chaos, and delays for the customer, more sion Group banner network. cycle time for the insurers.” with Ed Attanasio In some cases, other panelists acknowledged, it is impacting their customer satisfaction. “As a general rule, yes, we are seeing CSI going down, with Ed Attanasio The panel discussing parts supply chain issues at the and that’s very painful,” MSO Symposium included, pictured left to right, Mark Evans said. “As much as Miller, Shawn Hezar, Darrell Amberson and Marty we try, as much as we be Evans proactive and communi Shawn Hezar, chief client offi- cate, you sometimes get the head cer for Caliber Collision, agreed all nod or yes, that they understand, but the parts industry segments are facthe survey goes out and that converwith Stacey Phillips ing the same challenges, in terms of sation never took place. We’re all labor and logistics. doing everything we can to commu “I live in Los Angeles where we nicate, but you’re not going to win can actually see the ships lined up, every time.” Hezar said Caliber was “knockwaiting to be docked,” he said. “And of course once they get docked, you ing it with Stacey Phillips out of the park” in terms of still need trucks and people to un- CSI in 2020 when work loads were load them. It’s evolving, and it’s down, but said 2021 “has been pretty painful.” tough.” That in turn, he said, can Darrell Amberson, president have an impact on employee morale. of operations for LaMettry’s Colli- “Our teammates aren’t feeling sion, which has 10 collision repair as good about what is taking place with Stacey Phillips shops and three mechanical shops in either. We have to remember that,” Minnesota, concurred. Hezar said. “We’re seeing it among Asian Parts supply chain challenges, manufacturers, Europeans, domes- the panelists said, are impacting tics,” Amberson said. “It often feels their costs in various ways—inlike we can build three-fourths of creases they will likely need to pass the job or even with more, Stacey but too often on. Parts delays, for example, can Phillips there’s that one critical part—even lead some jobs to expand beyond a a common part, like a bumper cov- customer’s rental car allowance, a er—that we’re waiting months for.” cost repairers can’t always bear in Hezar said that type of situation the name of customer service. now means Caliber has “somewhere “I want to be clear: We’ve about $50 million to $60 million of picked up a lot of rental car expenswork-in-progress…with cars sitting es. Our rental car expenses have

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gone up by millions of dollars,” Hezar said. “At some point you have to say, ‘It’s just no longer feasible. We can’t do that.’ You’re hoping the end [to the parts delays] is in sight, but based on everything we hear, these challenges are going to continue well into 2022. At some point, you have to stop.” Are the MSOs seeing changes in parts discounts? Amberson said he sees parts prices increasing overall but not changes in his agreements with suppliers. That wasn’t the case among other panelists. Hezar said parts margins get squeezed when a part has to be sourced from a supplier with which his company has not had a long-time relationship. “It’s very common that it’s not going to be the same discount. So in a lot of cases we do see it cost-

ing us more,” he said. But suppliers have also come to Caliber this year to say their costs are escalating and they “have no choice but to lower” Caliber’s discount. “We’ve seen that from time to time,” Hezar said. Evans joked he thinks Hezar jinxed him on the topic of changes to supplier discounts after they spoke about it the week prior to the symposium. “I hadn’t heard a lot about it before then, but now it’s becoming more and more common,” Evans said. “Even with those you have a relationship with, we are hearing they are reducing [the] discount, which is very painful.”

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Industry Veteran Establishes Pet-Rescue-AutoShop.com by Ed Attanasio

Steven Schillinger of Reno, NV, has worked as a collision repair industry consultant in different capacities for more than 40 years, as a compliance expert focusing on permits, license protection and record keeping. As a member of the Government Regulatory Compliance (GRC) Board of Directors, Schillinger has tried to retire several times over the years but has failed miserably. He thought fishing and golf would be his activities after retirement, but discovered both are “boring,” he said. Losing his dog also created a void in his life. During the COVID pandemic, Schillinger lost his beloved friend and canine mascot, George, at age 14, and it hit him hard. As a result, he began looking for a way for body shops and other auto repair businesses to help displaced pets. Many people have been abandoning their pets during the pandemic by dumping them in the Nevada desert. When Schillinger kept

seeing news stories about it, he decided to act, and that’s when he founded the Pet-Rescue-AutoShop. com campaign to help and promote animal rescue and shelter groups in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Pet-Rescue-AutoShop.com is an exclusive automotive aftermarket program in support of Adopt-a-Pet. com to help pets and people in local communities all over North America, and with auto repair facilities— including body shops—playing an integral role. Approximately 7.6 million companion pets are surrendered to a shelter every year in the U.S. alone. That includes 4.2 million dogs abandoned—1.4 million of which are euthanized annually. “Animals have no voice of their own, no social safety net and very few rights under the law,” Schillinger said. “They are vulnerable and, unfortunately, mistreated more often than most of us can even imagine. The Pet Rescue Campaign is focused on automotive service and repair shop owners in North Amer-

ica that has gained recognition with regulatory agencies and insurance partners as well as community leaders.” When Schillinger saw a sudden surge in pet adoptions during the COVID lockdown, he was encouraged, he said. “It has definitely gone viral nationwide. Shelters, nonprofit rescue organizations, private breeders and pet stores have all reported more consumer demand than there were dogs and cats to fill,” Schillinger said. “Rescues were accepting dozens of applications for individual dogs and breeders were compiling waiting lists well into 2021. Dog lovers kept trying to fill voids with canine companions, either because they were stuck working from home with children who needed something to do, had no work and lots of free time, or felt lonely with no way to socialize.” American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) President Madeline Bernstein reported adoptions doubled during

the lockdown, with 10 or 13 adoptions a day. A waiting list formed for certain types of dogs and for puppies in general, because so few were left in the shelter. But now, shelter directors are wondering what will happen as Americans start returning to school and work. Bernstein foresaw at the start of the pandemic many of these adoptions could potentially lead to more dogs being abandoned. She has also seen many people bonding with their pandemic pets and providing them with forever homes. “Like so many things concerning the pandemic, the territory is uncharted,” Schillinger said. “Just as nobody predicted that the start of a pandemic would lead to a huge spike in the number of adopted pets, nobody is quite sure what the end of a pandemic will mean for many of them, and that’s why we see some genuine value in the Pet-Rescue-AutoShop.com campaign.” Animal rescues are typically privately-owned, and do not have a facility—often, they are run entirely

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by volunteers, including people who volunteer as fosters. Fosters care for animals at their homes for a few weeks or months until the animal gets adopted. In the last few years, a lot of rescues have shifted to promoting their animals on Instagram and Facebook, which serve as free marketing for getting their animals adopted. The Pet-Rescue-AutoShop.com campaign is also supported by many members of the Alliance of Auto Manufacturing that are partnering with animal shelters. In addition, Subaru has joined with the ASPCA to help find thousands of animals their forever homes, and donated nearly $16.5 million to support shelters and adoption events. In conjunction with their dog rescue efforts, Pet-Rescue-AutoShop.com supports local volunteer organizations that are too small to raise substantial funds themselves, and would fall through the cracks without us. “We network online 24/7 with business owners to provide instant assistance, boarding, medical care, food, medicine, training and trans-

port for desperate animals,” Schillinger said. “We are the place to go when there is nowhere else to turn. We rescue pets, and we rescue the rescuers—shelters and other animal welfare groups that are currently inundated with new pets.” You’ve likely heard about AMBER Alerts. Pet-Rescue-AutoShop. com has developed the same system for pets—Area Missing: Pet Emergency Response (AMPER) Alerts—which connects auto body shops with an assigned AMPER area-alert team to offer advice and assistance for confidentiality, as well as to transport pets to shelters, rescues and private owners. “It is designed to achieve a uniform, interoperable network of plans across the country, and to minimize potentially deadly delays because of confusion among varying participants,” Schillinger said. Every authorized AutoShop facility will have an email contact and telephone number assigned for AMPER alerts. Participants receive alerts of a recently lost or missing pet. If the pet is found/rescued, most do not go back home but instead go to a transitional facility, a Pet Halfway House.

As the name implies, it is not a dog pound, but closer to a foster home. For an AMPER Alert to be effective in recovering a missing pet, Pet-Rescue-AutoShop.com must have enough information to believe an immediate broadcast to the public will enhance the efforts to locate the pet. This element requires as much descriptive information as possible about the lost pet. Issuing alerts in the absence of significant information that the pet is actually lost could lead to abuse of the system and ultimately weaken its effectiveness. Vice President of Industry Relations at Automotive Service Association (ASA) Tony Molla sees real value in the Pet-Rescue-AutoShop. com campaign for several reasons. “It’s a great idea and much-needed,” he said. “We have two dogs, Luna and Lola, and if we ever lost them, we would be crushed. It’s simple—a dog is found and quickly an alert goes out and shops get to play an important role. Pet-Rescue-AutoShop.com is a great way for shops to help people and dogs to find their homes or new homes for dogs who have lost their way and just need a break.”

ASA Announces Podcast Series The first episode of the Automotive Service Association (ASA)’s Technology and Telematics Podcast Series was released Dec. 6 on the ASA podcast channel. The episode features a discussion between Wayne Weikel, senior director of state affairs for the Alliance of Automotive Innovation, and Bob Redding, ASA’s Washington, D.C., representative. Redding and Weikel give an overview of the political issues surrounding electric vehicles, including an update on the recently passed infrastructure package and the in-progress budget reconciliation package. This podcast is the first in a series of podcasts entitled “A Changing Fleet,” which will feature conversations with industry leaders about the automotive industry’s shift towards electric vehicles. Source: ASA

4 Industry Veterans Form Automotive Market Data by Auto Remarketing Staff

Industry veterans Brian Reed, Steve Greenfield, Andrew Gordon and Pete Batten formed a team they’ve called Automotive Market Data. And the team launched what it believes is the first-ever digital retailing market share database to inform dealers, investors and vendors—in real-time—about the automotive digital retailing landscape. According to a news release, the database evaluates more than 35 digital retailers each day across approximately 18,000 U.S. automobile dealer websites to identify the top digital retailers among dealers, predominant digital retailers by brand and leading technology providers in the automotive space, as well as unique digital retailing trends and emerging technologies. “The pandemic hyper-accelerated automotive digital retail adoption, which created a need for comprehensive, up-to-date information to help industry professionals make highly informed decisions,” said Reed, who is an industry advisor at Automotive Ventures and partner at Automotive

Market Data. “More than ever, dealers need to know which digital retailing tools to use, investors need to know where to commit their money, and vendors need to know how they stack up against the competition. We provide answers to these questions and more.” The group shared a sample list of the independent, third-party reporting provided by Automotive Market Data, potentially including not limited to: • Digital retailer growth rate, churn rate and market penetration. • The digital retailing tool(s) currently being used, or have just been added, to particular dealership websites. • Digital retailer dealer count changes over specified periods of time and within specific geographic regions. • Digital retailer market share by automotive manufacturer. • Dealer and/or manufacturer customer longevity among digital retailers. The Automotive Market Data team also is looking to provide the industry with dealership contact informa-

42 JANUARY 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

tion, vehicle-specific data, new and used-vehicle market pricing, cost of ownership information and vehicle history reports. “Despite its importance, a complete picture of the digital retailing landscape didn’t exist until now,” said Greenfield, founder and CEO of Automotive Ventures and partner at Automotive Market Data. “Historically, it’s been next to impossible to identify top digital retailers by dealer and OEM market share, yet information like this is vastly helpful to industry professionals who are looking to get ahead of the technology curve and stay there,” Greenfield continued. “This is the precise reason we created the digital retailing market share database.” Automotive Market Data is a collaborative of veteran automotive industry professionals who have served in various leadership and entrepreneurial roles throughout their careers. Reed spent 18 years at Daimler-Benz before serving as president of PeopleFirst.com, which was acquired by CapitalOne. He was also the founder and CEO of F&I Ex-

press, which was acquired by Cox Automotive. Greenfield served as TrueCar’s senior vice president of strategy and business development, and Autotrader’s vice president of product management and business development, overseeing the acquisitions of vAuto, Kelley Blue Book, HomeNet Automotive, VinSolutions and DealerScience. Gordon, adviser at Automotive Ventures and partner at Automotive Market Data, is a third generation Honda dealer. He served as founder and CEO of DealerScience, acquired by TrueCar in 2018. Batten is a dealer retail technology and data advisor with more than 20 years’ experience in vehicle retailing who has served as general manager for several automotive software brands, including Cox Automotive Digital Retail, Chrome Data and Automotive Lease Guide. He was also chief product officer at LeadVenture. To learn more about the information Automotive Market Data offers the industry, visit http://www. automotivemarketdata.com.


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Stellantis CEO: EV Transition Costs ‘Beyond the Limits’ the Auto Industry Can Sustain by Maria Merano, Teslarati

Stellantis CEO Carlos Taveres said the pressure for legacy automakers to accelerate the shift to electric vehicles could threaten jobs and vehicle quality as traditional carmakers struggle to manage the higher costs of producing EVs. Taveres said the costs of transitioning to EV production are “beyond the limits” of what the current auto industry can sustain, in an interview with Reuters Next. He also highlighted the pressure legacy OEMs get from governments and investors to speed up the transition to EVs. “What has been decided is to impose on the automotive industry electrification that brings 50% additional costs against a conventional vehicle,” he said.” “There is no way we can transfer 50% of additional costs to the final consumer because most parts of the middle class will not be able to pay.” He said traditional automakers would have to either charge higher prices and make fewer cars or accept lower profit margins to keep up with

Car ADAS Solutions Joins CIECA Car ADAS Solutions has joined CIECA as a corporate member. Founded in 2020, Car ADAS Solutions is a new technology and services business. The company’s mission is to make the world a safer place to drive by certifying vehicle safety systems operate as engineered. With more than a century of automotive leadership experience, the Car ADAS Solutions executive team has had close affiliations with CIECA. Greg Peeters, CEO of Car ADAS Solutions, said having standards in the collision industry saves resources and creates efficiency. “We are thankful for CIECA and happy to be part of this great organization,” he said. For more information about Car ADAS Solutions, visit https://caradas.com/ Source: CIECA

the additional costs of transitioning to electric vehicles. Taveres emphasized both paths lead to cutbacks. Many union leaders in Europe and North America agree thousands of people could lose their jobs if the auto industry transitioned to EV production. U.S. President Joe Biden is trying to tread the line between pushing legacy OEMs towards transitioning to EVs and providing job security in the auto industry. Biden has openly supported the Detroit Big Three’s—Ford, General Motors and Stellantis—EV goals, while puzzlingly ignoring Tesla’s role in the current electric vehicle revolution. Biden seems keen on only promoting automakers affiliated with unions in his bid to make the U.S. a powerhouse in the global electric vehicle market, all while ignoring the powerhouse that is Tesla, which already operates within the country. In the summer, the Detroit Big Three announced their commitment to increase each of their electric vehicle sales by about 40% by 2030. Some may argue the Detroit Big Three’s EV transition goals go

against the current tides, considering a few countries have already committed to banning fossil fuel cars by the end of this decade, while others are seriously considering the move. In his recent interview, Tavares said automakers need time to test and ensure electric vehicle technology works. He said speeding up the process “is just going to be counterproductive. It will lead to quality problems. It will lead to all sorts of problems.” So far, Ford seems to be the only automaker in the Detroit Big Three taking serious steps to becoming an electric vehicle producer. The Ford Mustang Mach-E has proven to be a favorite amongst the OEM’s customers. The Mustang Mach-E is still far from perfect though, as some owners do have critiques about the vehicle and its infrastructure support. However, Ford seems to be failing forward and learning from its mistakes and improving on the fly--similar to Tesla in some ways. As for Stellantis, it has invested $30 billion into its electrification strategy. On Nov. 30, the company invested in solid-state battery startup Factorial.

“We can invest more and go deeper in the value chain,” Tavares said. “There may be other [investments] in the near future.” In July, the company held Stellantis EV Day 2021, where it announced intentions to become a market leader in low emissions vehicles (LEV) by 2030. Stellantis aims to make more than 70% of its sales in Europe and 40% in the U.S. be comprised of LEVs. The company also said all 14 of its brands are committed to offering best-in-class fully electrified solutions. “Over the next five years, we have to digest 10% productivity a year … in an industry which is used to delivering 2% to 3% productivity” improvement, Tavares said. It wasn’t clear whether he was referring to productivity in electric vehicle development only. Stellantis stills seem adamant in slowly transitioning into an electric vehicle producer. However, the CEO did get one thing right on the bullseye. “The future will tell us who is going to be able to digest this and who will fail,” Tavares said. “We are putting the industry on the limits.”

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Automakers Report Decreased November Sales Amidst Supply Chain Shortages were down 97% and were less than 1% of total volume. “Consumer demand remains exceptionally high, and our dealers are doing a fantastic job of turning vehicles quickly and selling many before they even hit the lot,” said Randy Parker, senior vice president, national sales, Hyundai Motor America. “Lingering availability issues persisted into November, but we are optimistic that we will close the year strong.” Hyundai sold 44,073 retail units during the month, a decrease of 4%. Hyundai eco-friendly vehicle retail sales increased 172% on the month, while SUV retail sales were up 7%. Hyundai set new November retail sales records for Venue, Nexo, and Ioniq hybrid and plug-in hybrid.

Car makers on Dec. 1 began reporting November sales results. Mazda Mazda North American Operations reported total November sales of 20,602 vehicles, a decrease of 5.3% compared to November 2020. Year-to-date sales totaled 313,334 vehicles; an increase of 26.4% compared to the same time last year. With 24 selling days in November, compared to 23 the year prior, the company posted a decrease of 9.2% on a Daily Selling Rate (DSR) basis. CPO sales totaled 3,847 vehicles in November, a decrease of 25% compared to November 2020. Year-overyear, CX-30 sales increased 66.3%, with 4,404 vehicles sold, and CX-9 sales increased 17.2%, with 2,311 vehicles sold.

Kia Kia America announced November sales of 45,318 units guaranteeing the company will set an all-time annual record before the end of the year. November sales were led by Telluride and Sorento with 7,767 and 6,845 units delivered. In addition, Kia sold 77% of available inventory and continued to see increased demand for its hybrid and

Hyundai Hyundai Motor America reported total November sales of 44,345 units, a 20% decrease compared with November 2020. Hyundai eco-friendly vehicle total sales grew 165%, including November records for Nexo and Ioniq plug-in hybrid. SUV sales represented 76% of the total sales mix. Hyundai fleet sales

battery-electric vehicles, sales of which have nearly doubled since this time last year, further demonstrating Kia’s commitment to electrification. Honda American Honda auto sales totaled 85,055 units in November, due to limited inventory of key Honda and Acura models. The Honda HR-V set a 10th consecutive monthly sales mark, establishing a new annual sales record in just 11 months, while the CR-V topped 20,000 units with record hybrid sales and the Ridgeline posted its best November in five years. Honda electrified vehicles set a new November record and are on pace to surpass 100,000 units for the year. Acura brand sales topped 9,300 units with low supply slowing the hot-selling MDX flagship. The RDX topped the lineup in November with nearly 4,000 units, as refreshed 2022 model begins sales, and Acura TLX Type S demand remains strong, contining to represent a quarter of TLX sales. Subaru Subaru of America, Inc. reported 33,045 vehicle sales for November 2021, a

35% decrease compared with November 2020, when it sold 50,413, as Subaru continues to face supply chain shortages. The automaker also reported year-to-date sales of 532,664, a 3% decrease compared with the same period in 2020. “As we head into the final month of the year, we are thankful for our retailers, whose sales efficiency is absolutely unparalleled,” said Thomas J. Doll, president and CEO, Subaru of America, Inc. “Like other automakers, our vehicle production has been impacted by the global semi-conductor chip shortage, but our top priority is meeting the demand for Subaru vehicles.” In November, Outback was the top performer by volume with 10,454 vehicle sales. Impreza sales for November 2021 increased 36%, while BRZ sales increased 292% over the same month in 2020. Year-to-date (YTD), Outback leads by volume with total sales of 141,980 vehicles. When compared with the same period in 2020, Outback posted a nearly 4% increase YTD, while Crosstrek and WRX/STI carlines posted YTD increases of 13% and 31%, respectively. Source: Mazda, Hyundai, Kia, Honda, Subaru

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Transportation Secretary Buttigieg Cites Gas Prices, Promotes EVs by Steven Loveday, Inside EVs

Gas prices have had a tendency to rise and fall over the years, and they’re spiking again of late. Many EV advocates have noted if gas prices rise enough, people will be compelled to buy an EV. In the past, when gas prices soared, there weren’t a whole lot of compelling electric cars on the market, but times have changed. According to a report from our friends at Teslarati, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg mentioned people who buy an electric car will “never have to worry about gas prices again.” Still, gas prices aren’t that high right now. While they’re high enough that many folks are struggling, they’ve been higher in the past. If Buttigieg would work with President Joe Biden to keep his promise of doing away with the massive gas and oil subsidies, then prices at the pump would surely skyrocket. Buttigieg said soon EV buyers will get to take advantage of a $12,500 discount when they buy

an EV. However, few compelling EVs exist that would actually get such a credit. If passed as is, the full credit will only apply to union-made EVs. According to Teslarati, there’s currently only one—sort of two— cars in the U.S. that would qualify for the full credit, the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV, neither of which is currently in production. Fortunately, buyers of other EVs may get a $7,500 or an $8,000 credit. It’s certainly interesting that in its mission to save the climate, the Biden Administration is putting all of its eggs in one basket, banking on only GM and CEO Mary Barra to be the leaders in EVs, though companies like Tesla, Ford, Hyundai and Volkswagen have already done a much better job proving they’re up to the task. Back to gas. A recent AAA report shows average gas prices in the U.S. at $3.39, though they’re much higher in states like California. A year ago, the average was just over $2. Some folks argue public fastcharging and Tesla Supercharg-

ing aren’t much cheaper than paying for gas. While that’s not necessarily true in many cases, most EV owners charge at home, which is much cheaper and exceptionally more convenient than driving to the gas station. Buttigieg went on to say via Teslarati: “The people who stand to benefit most from owning an EV are often rural residents who have the most distances to drive, who burn the most gas, and underserved urban residents in areas where there are higher gas prices and lower-income. They would gain the most by having that vehicle. These are the very residents

a bestever November sales performance on record sales of our allnew Bronco family. “We expect growth to continue, thanks to adding an additional 74,000 new vehicle orders in November.” Ford’s electrified vehicle sales in November grew at a rate more than three times faster than the overall electrified vehicle segment, taking Ford’s electrified vehicle share to 10% compared to 5.4% last year. This set up a record November on sales of 11,116 electrified vehicles—up 153.6%. New products are providing the boost, with Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Hybrid sales of 3,088 and 4,767, respectively. For the month, Ford took in 74,000 new vehicle retail orders, up 64,000 vehicle orders over November of last year. Customer orders continued to be filled at record rates. In November, 29% of Ford retail sales came from previously placed customer orders. Ford brand SUVs achieved record November retail sales on the

46 JANUARY 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

With all of that said, even with the upcoming credit, EVs are still more expensive upfront than gas cars. It’s hard for people on a tight budget to afford the initial cost of an EV in the hope that it will save them money over the longer term. Buttigieg said the goal is to make EVs more affordable, and the credit is a step in the right direction. However, since the full credit doesn’t apply to any currently available EVs in the U.S., the legislation is arguably flawed, at least until vehicles like the Ford F-150 Lightning come to market.

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Ford Only Major U.S. Automaker to Report Year-Over-Year Sales Increase in November New breakthrough products and inventory improvements made Ford America’s No. 1 selling automaker for the third month in a row in November. Ford was the only major U.S. automaker to report a year-overyear sales increase in November— up 5.9% over last year, a total of 158,793 vehicles. Retail share totaled an estimated 13.8%—2.7 percentage points higher than November last year. “Our new products continue to roll, making Ford America’s best-selling automaker for the third consecutive month, a feat last accomplished in 1974,” said Andrew Frick, vice president, Ford sales U.S. and Canada. “Ford was also the only major U.S. automaker to beat year ago sales results for November. “On the strength of Mustang Mach-E, Ford delivered record electrified vehicle sales, growing more than three times faster than the overall segment,” Frick continued. “Retail sales were up 4.5% over a year ago, with SUVs having

who have not always been connected to electric vehicles that are viewed as kind of a luxury item.”

ltedesco@autobodynews.com www.autobodynews.com

CIF Elects Trustee from Axalta

success of new products. Sales were up 25.6% over a year ago on total sales of 66,390 vehicles. The Bronco family had its highest combined sales since launch, totaling 19,773 SUVs. Mustang Mach-E sales were up 8.4% from October on sales of 3,088 SUVs. Combined, Ford’s newest musthave vehicles, including Mustang Mach-E, Bronco, Bronco Sport and Maverick, have the fastest turn rates on dealer lots. Ford’s newest products are having their best sales since launch and all are turning in under 12 days, with Maverick turning in just five days, essentially trailer-to-customer. Maverick Hybrid recorded its first sales at the end of November and more hybrids are on their way to dealers. Ford total pickup truck sales climbed 15.8% compared to a yearago, with sales totaling 70,839. F-Series sales rose 14.6%, expanding its leadership position over the second-place competitor to 144,049 trucks for the year.

The Collision Industry Foundation (CIF) is proud to announce the election of Jim Ocampo, industry relations/strategic sales manager at Axalta Coating Systems, to the CIF Board of Trustees. CIF provides emergency relief by securing and distributing donations to collision repair professionals who have experienced significant losses due to natural disasters or other catastrophic events. During his extensive career at Axalta, Ocampo has been involved with numerous industry organizations and served on several boards such as CIECA, NABC and California Auto Body Association. He also brings fundraising experience. To become a CIF annual donor, visit www.collisionindustryfoundation.org and or reach out via email to collisionindustryfoundation@gmail.com. All donations are tax-deductible.

Source: Ford Motor Company

Source: CIF


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autobodynews.com / JANUARY 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS 47


Shepherd Joins Advantage Parts Solutions Advantage Parts Solutions, a global leader in delivering strategic automotive parts solutions, is pleased to welcome David Shepherd to its global team in the role of non-executive director. Shepherd will work closely with Advantage’s global executive leadership team to help guide its long-term strategic business plan to remain a dominant brand in the OEM parts supply chain as it continues to deliver unrivaled value to the marketplace. Shepherd, a seasoned industry executive, joins Advantage’s global team after spending 13 years as regional managing director of Solera’s international region, where he was directly responsible for accelerating the company’s reorganization outside North America. Before Solera, Shepherd was an executive consultant for various collision repair brands, Thatcham Research and the Institute of the Motor Industry. Source: Advantage Parts Solutions

Biden Signs Executive Order on Clean Energy, EVs On Dec. 8, President Joe Biden signed the executive order on Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability. The order is meant to make the federal government carbon neutral through the use of renewable power sources and building materials to construct and run federal buildings, and the purchase of electric vehicles for the federal fleet. Throughout Biden’s campaign and administration, environmental issues have been a major priority. This week’s executive order sets a timetable for the implementation of many policy goals. The order requires the federal government to achieve: • 100% net-annual carbon pollution-free electricity by 2030 • 100% zero-emission vehicle acquisitions by 2035 • Net-zero emissions from federal procurement, including a Buy Clean policy that will promote the purchase of environmentally friendly building materials • Climate-resilient infrastructure and operations, and a climate and

GM, POSCO Chemical to Build Factory to Process Material for Ultium Batteries General Motors and POSCO Chemical on Dec. 1 announced plans to form a joint venture through which the parties will construct a factory in North America to process critical battery materials for GM’s Ultium electric vehicle platform. The joint venture will process cathode active material (CAM), a key battery material that represents about 40% of the cost of a battery cell. The location of the facility, which will create hundreds of jobs when it opens in 2024, will be announced later. “Our work with POSCO Chemical is a key part of our strategy to rapidly scale U.S. EV production and drive innovation in battery performance, quality and cost,” said Doug Parks, GM executive vice president, global product development, purchasing and supply chain. “We are building a sustainable and resilient North America-focused supply chain for EVs covering the entire ecosystem from raw materials to battery cell

manufacturing and recycling.” “We are very pleased to participate in the global battery supply chain project with General Motors,” said Kyungzoon Min, CEO of POSCO Chemical. “Through close partnership, we will innovate battery materials and contribute to accelerate the adoption of EVs based on our world-class product development, mass production capacity, and raw materials competitiveness.” The new facility will supply the Ultium Cells LLC facilities GM and LG Energy Solution are building in Lordstown, OH, and Spring Hill, TN. Two more U.S.-based Ultium cell plants are planned by mid-decade as GM drives mass adoption of EVs with high-volume Ultium-powered EVs, including a Chevrolet crossover priced around $30,000. GM and POSCO Chemical have signed a non-binding term sheet to create the joint venture and expect to execute definitive agreements soon. Source: GM

48 JANUARY 2022 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

sustainability-focused federal workforce Not only does the executive order require federal agencies to purchase exclusively zero-emissions vehicles by 2035, it also requires them to comprise an annual zero-emission fleet strategy that includes deploying zero-emission fleet vehicle refueling infrastructure. This means the federal government will be investing in electric and other zero-emission charging stations. This initiative goes hand-inhand with the U.S. Department of Transportation initiative to use the $7.5 billion allocated for electric vehicle infrastructure, in the recently passed infrastructure legislation, to create 500,000 new public zero-emission charging stations across the U.S. The same week, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation released “Recommended Attributes for EV Charging Stations,” which provides guidance for installing publicly available electric vehicle charging. The recommendations focus on 10 key elements for public charging

stations: charging speed, charging connectors, payment methods, reliability and redundancy, accessibility, station layout, network and communication requirements, EV charging on federal highways, EV charging signage, and a standardized approach to communicate pricing. The Automotive Service Association (ASA), in partnership with the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, recently released the first episode in the Technology and Telematics Podcast series, featuring a conversation between Wayne Weikel, senior director for state affairs at the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, and Bob Redding, Washington, D.C. representative for the ASA. During the podcast, the pair discuss the legislative and regulatory environment for electric vehicle implementation, building a national network of electric vehicle charging stations and challenges and opportunities for the automotive industry as it moves toward an “all-electric future.” Listen to the podcast to hear about all these EV issues and more. Source: ASA

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‘Retirement Vehicles’ Raise Risk of Crash Fatalities for Older Drivers Older drivers, who are less likely to survive severe crashes than any other age group, also tend to drive outdated vehicles that lack crucial safety features, recent studies from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety show. Healthier than ever before, Americans in their 70s and 80s are driving more miles and crashing less often than in past decades. But age-related fragility still makes older drivers less likely to survive crashes than other demographics. Drivers 75 and older are about four times as likely to die as middle-aged drivers when they’re involved in a side-impact crash and about three times as likely to die in a frontal crash, a previous IIHS study found. Two new studies show drivers 70 and over tend to drive older, smaller vehicles not equipped with important safety features. The first study compared the vehicles driven by 1.5 million crash-involved Florida drivers ages 35-54 and 70 and older between 2014 and 2018. The

second surveyed 900 drivers in those age groups from various states about the factors that influenced their most recent vehicle purchase. “Persuading older drivers to take another look at the vehicles they’re driving could reduce crash fatalities substantially,” said Jessica Cicchino, IIHS vice president of research and a co-author of both studies. “One big challenge is that, for those on a fixed income, cost often overrides other concerns.” The study of Florida crashes found drivers in their 70s and older were significantly more likely to be driving vehicles at least 16 years old than drivers ages 35-54. The older drivers were also substantially less likely to be driving vehicles less than 3 years old. In addition, as driver age increased, vehicles were less likely to be equipped with electronic stability control (ESC) and head-protecting side airbags as standard features. Vehicles without ESC were associated with 37% higher odds of driver fatality for drivers 70 and over, while

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vehicles without standard head-protecting side airbags were associated with double the odds of an older driver fatality. Sedans and hatchbacks were also more common among older drivers, with the proportion of people driving midsize passenger cars increasing and the numbers driving SUVs declining with age. Along with vehicle design and safety features, vehicle size and weight are important factors in crash survival, since the occupants of smaller vehicles are exposed to greater forces in collisions with larger ones. Finally, drivers 75 and older were significantly less likely to drive vehicles with good ratings in the IIHS moderate overlap front and original side crash tests than drivers ages 35-54. “All these vehicle characteristics have big impacts on crash survival rates, and older drivers are more often driving the least-safe vehicles by every parameter,” says Cicchino. “This only gets worse as their age increases, since many older adults stick with a single ‘retirement vehicle’ for the remainder of their driving years.” By comparing the average fatality risk for the vehicles driven by drivers age 70 and older and drivers ages 35-54, the researchers determined crash fatalities could be reduced by 3% for drivers 70 and older and 5% for drivers 80 and older if they drove vehicles with the same safety profile as their middle-aged counterparts. Based on the crash data for 2019, that would translate to about 90 lives saved a year. One reason older drivers have less safe vehicles is they don’t understand the value of advanced safety features or good safety ratings, the survey showed. When choosing their current vehicle, drivers 70 and older were less likely than middle-aged driv-

ers to have required ESC, blind spot monitoring, side or curtain airbags, and forward collision warning or automatic emergency braking (AEB). Only about a quarter of older drivers said they required AEB, compared with 40% of middle-aged drivers, for example. Similarly, about 10% of older drivers said safety ratings are not at all important, compared with 4% of middle-aged drivers, and fewer older than middle-aged drivers ranked safety ratings as extremely important in their purchase decision. In all age groups, most drivers agreed a 10-year-old, well-maintained car with low mileage is just as safe as a new one—though drivers 70 and older were substantially more likely to report owning a vehicle of that vintage. Notably, the older drivers who owned the newest vehicles were most likely to disagree with that statement, as well as to report more than $75,000 in annual household income. “The older drivers who participated in the survey didn’t appear to understand the value of today’s vehicle safety features,” Cicchino said. “At the same time, they perceived less need to replace their older vehicles because they don’t drive many miles per year and think of low mileage as synonymous with overall vehicle safety.” That’s especially problematic because statistics show crash risk per mile is higher for drivers who drive less, particularly those who travel fewer than 3,000 miles a year, than for those who log more travel. Driving on local roads is in fact riskier than highway driving, so the tendency of older drivers to restrict their highway travel and stay within their local areas means they accumulate most of their mileage in riskier conditions. Source: IIHS

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Biden Releases Oil Reserves to Address Rising Gas Prices by Casey Harper, The Center Square

President Joe Biden announced Nov. 23 his administration will release 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help address skyrocketing energy costs. The announcement is part of a joint plan with China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom, and it comes as gas prices in the U.S. have risen about $1.20 a gallon in the past year. The White House said “32 million barrels will be an exchange over the next several months, releasing oil that will eventually return to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in the years ahead. “The exchange is a tool matched to today’s specific economic environment, where markets expect future oil prices to be lower than they are today, and helps provide relief to Americans immediately and bridge to that period of expected lower oil prices,” the White House said. “The exchange also automatically provides for re-stocking of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

over time to meet future needs.” The American Automobile Association gas prices tracker reports the average price of gas at $3.40 per gallon of regular gasoline, up from $2.11 at the same time last year. Other energy costs also have risen sharply, according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “The energy index rose 4.8% in October after rising 1.3% in September,” BLS said. “The gasoline index rose 6.1% in October, its fifth consecutive monthly increase. The index for natural gas rose 6.6% over the month, its largest monthly increase since March 2014. The electricity index increased 1.8% in October, its largest one-month increase since May 2014, while the fuel oil index also rose sharply, increasing 12.3%.” The White House said the rising prices are the result of a surge in demand after a dip during the pandemic, but critics point to Biden’s energy policies, including shutting down the Keystone pipeline, discouraging drilling on federal lands and implementing stricter regula-

Biden in that election, blasted Biden after the news and took credit for the oil reserves, saying he is responsible for “filling them up” in the first place. “For decades our Country’s very important Strategic Oil Reserves were low or virtually empty in that no President wanted to pay the price of filling them up,” Trump said in a statement. “I filled them up three years ago, right to the top, when oil prices were very low. ... We were energy independent one year ago, now we are at the mercy of OPEC, gasoline is selling for $7 in parts of California, going up all over the Country, and they are taking oil from our Strategic Reserves. Is this any way to run a Country?”

tions. “President Biden killed the Keystone pipeline and greenlit Putin’s Nord Stream II. Then he begged OPEC to produce more oil,” said U.S. House Republican Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-CA. “Dear Mr. President: Let us produce our own energy and create jobs right here at home. Stop putting America last.” Biden released the reserves as his job approval numbers continue to decline and Americans become increasingly concerned about the economy. He made the announcement alongside news he will seek reelection in 2024. Former President Donald Trump, who may face off against

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