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38 YEARS

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Vol. 38 / Issue 2 / February 2020

California DMV OKs Light-Duty Autonomous Delivery Vehicles

Allstate Wins Victory in Whistleblower Suit Against ‘Sham’ Law Firm

by Eleanor Lamb, Transport Topics

by Jim Sams, Claims Journal

California has authorized the testing and commercial use of light-duty autonomous delivery vehicles on public roads.The California Department of Motor Vehicles announced Dec. 17 that, with an approved permit from the department, companies can operate autonomous delivery vehicles weighing fewer than 10,001 pounds. Qualifying vehicles include cargo vans, midsize pickup trucks and autonomous passenger cars. Companies can test their autonomous delivery service with or without a safety driver

in the vehicle, depending on the permit. To charge a delivery fee, companies need to apply for a deployment or commercial use permit with the DMV. “The adoption of these regulations means Californians soon could receive deliveries from an autonomous vehicle, provided the company fulfills the requirements,” DMV Director Steve Gordon said. “As always, public safety is our primary focus.” According to DMV’s announcement, autonomous delivery vehicles will be required to comply with the same application requirements that See California DMV, Page 19

Prevalence of Vehicle Scanning – and Insurers’ Willingness to Pay for it – Have Risen The industry’s adoption of vehicle scanning as an indispensable part of the repair process can be seen in the results of the “Who Pays for What” surveys conducted for several years by Collision Advice and CRASH Network. In the survey conducted this past fall, 11% of shops said they might skip a post-repair scan because no dash lights are lit – not a legitimate reason – but in the same survey in 2016, nearly half of all shops (44%) said that was a reason they might skip the scan. Likewise, three years ago, about 1 in 5 shops said they did-

Allstate Insurance Co. won an appellate court victory in a whistleblower lawsuit against a Los Angeles attorney whom it accuses of operating a “sham law practice” that conspired with “sham health care providers” to defraud auto insurers.

n’t perform scans because they don’t have the tools necessary to perform the scans. In the latest survey, 2% used that as an excuse. Payment practices have evolved as well. Back in 2016, a “Who Pays” survey found more than 30% of all shops said that one of the reasons they didn’t perform a post-repair vehicle scan was that insurers didn’t pay them for the procedure. Three years later, just 12% of shops say a lack of insurer payment is one of the reasons they might not perform a vehicle scan. More than 97% of shops See Vehicle Scanning, Page 28

The Second District Court of Appeal on Dec. 23 affirmed a trial court order denying a motion by attorney Kelly Casado to dismiss the

lawsuit because his actions, in sending demand letters to insurers, constituted “protected prelitigation activity.” Allstate’s attorney, Thomas E. Fraysse, said the decision is important because it expands upon a precedent set in other cases that have limited the circumstances under which lawyers can escape civil action by filing anti-SLAPP suits. The term is derived from the acronym for strategic litigation against public participation. A California law, known as the anti-SLAPP statute, provides a process for defendants to dismiss litigation that would chill the exercise of constitutional rights. “The presentation of an insurance claim is not a constitutionally protected activity,” said Fraysse, See Allstate Wins Victory, Page 16

What We Know About US Jobs and Other Details of Fiat Chrysler, PSA Merger by Breana Noble, The Detroit News

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and French automaker Groupe PSA said their boards unanimously supported a binding agreement to merge and create the world’s fourth-largest automaker. The deal is one step further than Fiat Chrysler got earlier this year with Renault SA, another French carmaker. The combination of PSA and FCA is expected to provide cost savings, create a hedge against cyclical downturns and have the scale to invest and compete in an electric and self-driving future. Although the companies are calling the deal a 50-50 merger, PSA would hold a board majority and appoint six of the 11 board members. That includes PSA CEO Carlos Tavares, who is expected to lead the

combined company. Here is what else to know about the deal: What comes next? With the binding agreement signed, the automakers can pursue obtaining antitrust and regulatory approval from the companies in which it operates. They also must receive approval from their shareholders. The process is expected to take 12 to 15 months. “We don’t feel we have any concerns with antitrust” laws, Tavares said. “We’ve reviewed this topic and are very comfortable we have no problem on antitrust” regulations. What is the name of the new company? The name of the new company has not yet been announced. Information See US Jobs, Page 28

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FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com


Dynabrade Introduces New Line of Air Power Tools

CONTENTS REGIONAL

NATIONAL

Allstate Wins Victory in Whistleblower

11th Circuit Court Dismisses Suit Alleging

ASA Northwest’s Sno-King Chapter Celebrates 2019 With Christmas Cruise . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Body Shop in Carson City, NV, Has New Owners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 CA Authorizes Light-Duty Autonomous Vehicles. 10 California DMV OKs Light-Duty Autonomous Delivery Vehicles. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 CIECA FNOL Committee Adds Scan to the BMS FNOL Message . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Contra Costa College’s Collision Repair

Conspiracy to Deflate Collision Repair Changes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 AirPro Renews Commitment to CIECA . . . . . . . 46 ASE Certification Registration Now Open. . . . . 57 Assured Performance Appoints Craig Seelinger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Audi Debuts the Audi AI:ME, a Fully-Automated

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

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. ©2020 Adamantine Media LLC.

Audi Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

Innovative Tools & Technologies, Inc. . . . . . . . 25

AutoNation Collision Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

Kearny Mesa Subaru-Hyundai . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

AutoNation Roseville. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-9

Kia Downtown Los Angeles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

AutoNation South Bay Wholesale . . . . . . . . . . 27

Kia Motors Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . 44-45

Axalta Coating Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Kia of Carson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

BMW Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . 57

Kia of Irvine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Car Pros Kia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

Larry H. Miller Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram . . . . 6

Car Pros Kia Renton. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

Matrix Automotive Finishes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Honda Becomes the First OEM to Integrate

Certified Automotive Parts Association . . . . . . 24

Mazda Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . 52

Cloud Diagnostics Into the CCC X Data

Classifieds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

Mercedes-Benz Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . 60

Colortone Automotive Paints . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

MINI Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

Courtesy Chevrolet San Diego . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

MontiPower Americas, Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Cutter Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram . . . . . . . . . 20

MOPAR Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . 37

Mitchell RepairCenter Now Offers Integration. . 35

DCH Auto Group Temecula . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

Moss Bros. Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge. . . . . . . . . . 31

Rivian Announces $1.3 Billion Funding

Downtown Motors of LA (Audi, VW) . . . . . . . . 35

Nissan/Infiniti Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . . . 51

ECS Automotive Concepts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

Porsche Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . 61

Enterprise Rent-A-Car . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

SATA Dan-Am Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21, 29

Equalizer Industries, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

Sierra Chevrolet-Honda-Subaru . . . . . . . . . . . 26

First Auto Group. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

Spanesi Americas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Ford Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

Steck Manufacturing Company . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Frank Subaru. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

Subaru Wholesale Parts Dealers. . . . . . . . . . . 53

Galpin Motors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

Sunmight USA Corporation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

in History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63

Garden Grove Kia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Tacoma Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep-Ram . . . . . . . . 23

That’s It! He’s Had It, Part 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

Glenn E. Thomas Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep . . . . . 15

The Bay Area Automotive Group . . . . . . . . . . . 43

GM Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

Tsunami Compressed Air Solutions . . . . . . . . 16

Honda-Acura Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . 32-33

Vintage Flatz/Cumberland Products . . . . . . . . 19

Hyundai Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . 52

Volkswagen Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . 50

Industrial Finishes and Systems . . . . . . . . . 7, 64

Volvo Wholesale Parts Dealers . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

Stresses Life Skills First . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Axalta Sponsors Event at Michigan

Program Receives Partnership . . . . . . . . . . 14

Science Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57

G & C Auto Body Never Stops Giving Back. . . . 11

Car-O-Liner Introduces Adapter and Software . . 35

Gerber Collision & Glass Acquires Nine

CARSTAR Celebrates Banner Year . . . . . . . . . . 57

CA Locations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 NABC Day in Palm Springs, CA, Showcases Programs That Help Save Lives. . . . . . . . . . 40 Northwest Autobody Helps the Hungry, Drives Awareness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 SCRS Welcomes Washington Independent Collision Repairer’s Association as Affiliate Association. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 SEMA Expands Regional Qualifying Events for 2020 Battle of the Builders Competition. . 22 Tesla Model Y Looks Close to Model X Size in CA Sighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Western Association Event Announcements: February 2020 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Women in Automotive Empower One Another at 2019 Winter Conference. . . . . . . . 6

hard-to-reach areas. A series of die grinders and disc sanders is also offered. A surface preparation tool, the nitrozip is also featured. A reciprocating saw, and a long neck cut-off wheel tool is featured for cutting away metal, fiberglass and other materials. A series of polishers for buffing and polishing operations is also available – great for final finish operations. The tools feature all the ergonomic and engineering benefits you would expect from Dynabrade.

Car With ‘Empathetic’ AI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Automotive Technology Department Head

CCG Enjoys Success in 2019, Plans Further Growth in 2020 and Beyond . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Chevy Shake Class Action Says Driveshaft is the Problem. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Driver Assistance Systems May Cause Distracted Driving . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Dynabrade Introduces New Line of Air Power Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

INDEX OF ADVERTISERS

Suit Against ‘Sham’ Law Firm . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

Dynabrade, Inc., of Clarence, NY, is proud to offer a new line of air power tools geared toward the automotive aftermarket – the nitro series line of power tools. Produced as modern, high quality, entry-level tools, auto body technicians now have various Dynabrade options for their automotive repair needs. The nitro series includes a wide range of power tools with the automotive professional in mind. The nitrofile abrasive belt tool is included and ideal for grinding into

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

GM Customers Rage as Automaker Struggles With Strike-Related Parts Delay. . . . . . . . . . 61 GM, Tesla Head for New Year Without Electric Vehicle Tax Credits . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Exchange . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Industry Veteran Shares Insight About Future of Collision Repair Industry. . . . . . . . 34

COLUMNISTS Anderson - Few Collision Repairers Are Separating Out Scanning Time Versus Diagnostic Time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Attanasio - “Booth Talk” is a Podcast Created by a Refinisher for Refinishers. . . . . . . . . . . 30 Attanasio - A Look at Body Shop Marketing With 2020 Vision . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Ledoux - The 1980s – The Formation of the SCRS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Phillips - Industry “Disrupter” Launches Collision Industry Book & Patent-Pending Test-Drive Technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Sisk - ASA’s Webinar Wednesday Addresses What’s Happening With Data Access Policy . . 52 Yoswick - MSOs Hear Positive Outlook for 2020, Discuss Mixed Impact of Photo Estimating. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

Mitchell Partners With UpdatePromisePay . . . . 18

Round Backed by Amazon and Ford . . . . . . 58 Rosen Law Files Lawsuit Against Towing Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Subaru Recalls 498,000 Vehicles for Takata Airbag Inflators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Tesla Autopilot Under Fire Once More From US Senator Following Accident . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Tesla Becomes the Biggest U.S. Automaker

Top Automotive Industry Stories of the Decade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 UNIBODY AutoTech Collision Center Joins CIECA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 WIN Scholarship Program Opens Applications. . 63

autobodynews.com / FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS

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Tesla Autopilot Under Fire Once More From US Senator Following Accident by Joey Klender, Teslarati.com

A United States Senator who has been vocal about his opposition to Tesla’s Autopilot software is doubling down after a driver utilizing the driver-assist feature in his Model 3

rear-ended a police cruiser in Connecticut on the evening of Dec. 7, 2019. Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts has been vocal regarding his discontent for the alleged “flawed system” Tesla Autopilot offers to drivers. After The Today Show reported the recent accident on its Twitter account, Sen. Markey responded with his thoughts. “Autopilot clearly can’t be allowed to replace drivers on our roads. This tech will continue causing harm until Tesla takes action to fix its flawed system and make sure drivers

are paying attention. That’s why I sent a letter demanding Tesla take action to protect the public,” Markey wrote on Twitter. According to police, the accident happened because the Model 3 driver was checking on his dog at the backseat. Thus, the Tesla driver was unable to use the driver-assist system in an appropriate manner. In late November, Sen. Markey called for Autopilot to be disabled because some drivers were falling asleep behind the wheel while the software was active. It should be noted that Tesla has never encouraged drivers to take their attention off the road when utilizing Autopilot. The company has taken numerous steps to decrease the possibility of this happening by adding safety features to the software. Tesla’s official website emphasizes this point, reminds owners that “while using Autopilot, it is your responsibility to stay alert, keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times, and maintain control of your car.” Tesla has added features to stop the vehicle from driving if it senses the person controlling the car is not paying attention to the road. If the

Driver Assistance Systems May Cause Distracted Driving by David A. Wood, CarComplaints.com

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) may cause drivers to engage in distracted driving, even when using basic systems such as lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. Researchers at the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found drivers with experience using driver assistance systems were nearly twice as likely to drive distracted compared to driving without the technology. Researchers at the AAA Foundation and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute looked at data from one group of drivers who owned vehicles equipped with advanced assist systems. Those drivers had more experience using the systems, but a second group of drivers were provided vehicles equipped with driver assistance systems. Those drivers normally didn’t have access to the systems, indicating they didn’t have as much real-world experience using the technology. During four weeks of testing, researchers found drivers who owned their vehicles were more familiar 4

with the systems and more likely to drive distracted. Drivers in this group were also more likely to play with the radios or use their phones for texting when the driver assistance systems were activated.

Credit: CarComplaints.com

But the drivers with less experience using the systems were more likely to pay attention to the job of driving. A lack of trust and knowledge of the systems likely cause drivers to not rely so much on the technology. But drivers who are comfortable with the systems rely too much on the technology and put too much trust in the systems.

FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

person operating the vehicle does not hold the steering wheel for an extended period of time, Autopilot will disable itself. Autosteer will also be

Credit: Facebook, Connecticut State Police

disabled for the remainder of the trip, forcing the driver to operate the vehicle normally. Autopilot is responsible for Tesla’s reputation for being involved in accidents over six and a half times less often than a traditional vehicle. Teslas that are utilizing Autopilot features were involved in an accident every 2,870,000 miles, according to the company’s Q1 report in 2019. This stands in contrast to the national average of one accident for every

Researchers determined these drivers are more likely to focus their eyes and attention on all kinds of things other than driving. AAA and Virginia Tech say the increase in distracted driving behaviors occurs because of an overreliance on the technology, or what can also be called automation complacency. Examples of this can be seen from multiple crashes involving semi-automated driving systems in Tesla vehicles. Even though Tesla’s owner’s manuals warn drivers to keep their focus and eyes on the roads and their hands on the steering wheels, the vehicles crash because drivers don’t pay attention. In December 2019, a Tesla driver allowed his vehicle to slam into a parked police car that had stopped to help a disabled vehicle. Although the investigation continues, the Tesla driver said the driver assistance technology known as Autopilot was engaged, so the driver felt comfortable enough to reach into the back seat to check on his dog. Other Tesla incidents include a

436,000 miles traveled by traditional vehicles without Tesla’s Autopilot software. Tesla has released updates and improvements to its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving software frequently. The company has been firm in the notion that it does not condone the practice of sleeping behind the wheel. Tesla also instructs drivers to always keep their full attention during driving to significantly reduce the possibility of an accident. Ultimately, Autopilot was not to blame in the case of the recent accident in Connecticut because the driver was admittedly checking on his pet in the back seat of the car. The police, for one, ticketed the Model 3 owner for Reckless Driving and Reckless Endangerment, according to the Connecticut State Police Facebook account. Now if only Sen. Markey could see the incident from this perspective. We thank Teslarati.com for reprint permission.

driver who was looking at her cell phone when the car crashed into a firetruck, and a crash of a Tesla SUV into a construction barrier after the vehicle traveled across the highway. Another Tesla SUV crash killed the driver when the vehicle crashed into a concrete barrier that could have been avoided, and then there is the case of another driver who was traveling 80 mph when the vehicle slammed into a disable car. The driver said he believed technology from Tesla would allow him to look at his cell phone while driving. In addition, a 40-year-old Tesla driver lost his life when his vehicle traveled under a truck trailer on a clear Florida day. We thank CarComplaints.com for reprint permission.

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Women in Automotive Empower One Another at 2019 Winter Conference by Chasidy Rae Sisk

On Dec. 15-16, 2019, Women in Automotive (WIA) hosted its 2019 Winter Conference at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort in Palm Springs, CA. WIA Board Member Scotty Reiss shared, “The big topic of this winter’s Women in Automotive conference was empowerment: how we empower ourselves, how we support each other and how we see ourselves. [Our presenters] shared not only how they have achieved their success but also, how we can help other women to achieve theirs, and how we develop leaders for the future.”

WIA’s 2019 Winter Conference attracted female automotive industry professionals from all over the country. Credit: WIA

“There was also a lot of discussion about how to develop Millennials into great team members, how to support each other by building a tribe, and how to empower people to do their best,” Reiss continued. “All the discussions on the main stage were supported in a series of workshops, so attendees could talk to speakers one on one and start to define how to implement the ideas they heard. People loved the speakers and topics! Most of the ideas went directly to the issues women are dealing with in their careers, so the ideas and workshops are a great way to refuel your career goals.” WIA’s 2019 Winter Conference kicked off on Sunday, Dec. 15 with a Thought Leader Roundtable Networking Session, moderated by Tony Dupaquier, director of The Academy. Panelists included RepairPal’s Jill Trotta, Robin Wilson of SCP Agency, eMentorConnect’s Nancy Wolk, Julie Kimes from the ODaniel Automotive Group, Kathy Cunningham of Advanced Marketing Strategies, author Melissa Burrow, and 6

Patricia Pidgeon from Spectrum Reach. Attendees then enjoyed an #IAmRemarkable interactive preconference networking session focused on empowering women and other underrepresented groups to celebrate their achievements, led by Google’s Lissette Gole. On Sunday afternoon, Eliana Raggio, who served as the event emcee, welcomed attendees and introduced Thomais Zaremba, director of automotive for Google, who presented “Finding Athena: Current Female Leadership and Developing our Female Leaders of the Future.” Next, Candice Crane of Crane Automotive Resources, discussed “Preparing Your Teams for the Future of Retailing,” followed by “Need a Mentor? Swipe Left, Swipe Right!” with Nancy Wolk of eMentorConnect. WIA then presented Northwood University with a Women in Automotive Scholarship. Northwood University’s Elgie Bright presented “Millennial Opportunity Seekers – Next Generation Leaders,” and Jill Ball and Jennifer Linder of ACV Auctions discussed “Work Life Balance: How to Excel in Your Career While Making It Home for Bedtime.” The Colors on Parade Scholarship was awarded before Brooke Skinner Ricketts of Cars.com talked to attendees about “Career Growth.” “Ensuring Dealership Growth & Stability in a Down Market” was presented by Dealerbuilt’s Michael Trasatti, and Lou Ann Hammond of Drivingthenation moderated a Trends Panel which featured Ford’s Sheryl Connelly and Alexander Edwards from Strategic Vision, Inc. After the Lorraine Schultz Spirit of Leadership Award was presented, Burrow discussed “The Power of Accountability” and offered a book signing for her new book, “Chasing Bentley’s.” Following the day’s closing announcements, attendees enjoyed a cocktail reception and hot air balloon rides, hosted by ACV Auctions, as well as entertainment by Dakota Music. The agenda on Monday, Dec. 16 began with a Sunrise Gentle Yoga and Meditation, led by Linda Webb of Amani Mind and Brenda Niedermaier of Mills Motors. Fol-

FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

lowing breakfast and the event emcee’s welcome addresses, Trotta talked to attendees about “Creating Your Tribe,” and she was followed by Dealerware’s Courtney White who presented “From Transactions Economics to Customer Economics: What Retail Automotive Can Learn from Amazon to Drive Growth.”

Attendees enjoyed hot air balloon rides on Sunday, Dec. 15. Credit: WIA

The morning’s workshops included “Don’t Just Digitize, Humanize the Automotive Retail Experience” taught by Eric Schlesinger from ActivEngage, “Digital Dopamine: The Essential Ingredients to Create Marketing that Women will Crave” with April Rain of Fox Dealer, “Imposter Syndrome” presented by The Academy’s Laura Black, and “How to Use Technology to Make Your Employees Happier (and Retain Them)” from Erica Hansen of Conversica. Maria Espinoza and Joel Matteson from Dealer eProcess taught “A Cardi B guide to dominating digital at your dealership,” “How Personality Types Affect Change” was presented by Gabrielle Young of Mighty Distributing Systems of America, and automotive Mastermind’s Giorgia Favaretto-Illig discussed “Mentoring Mastermind.” Moderated by Kerri Wise of TrueCar, a panel on “Culture is Key: Inspiring a Women Friendly Culture in Your Workplace” included panelists from Del Grande Dealer Group: Laurie Johnson, Elwira Wilczynska, Andrea Schulz and Joanne Burgherr. Digital Airstrike’s Erica Sietsma presented “Creating a Better Dealership Experience for ALLfrom Dealers Who’ve Done It,” “Recruiting in the New Age – How to Recruit and Hire More Women in a Male-Dominated Field” was presented by ACV Auctions’ Paige Masteller and Gina Maisano, and certified life coach Dara Moore lec-

tured on “Breaking Out of the Box.” “Dealership Culture: Uncovering, Evolving, Resolving Bias” was presented by CDK Global’s Kathryn Kittel. After lunch, a speed networking event was facilitated by Raggio and Wilson. Another panel discussion focused on dealers, entitled “Women Leading Women” was moderated by Eve Knudtsen from Knudtsen Chevrolet and included panelists Julie Kimes from ODaniel Automotive Group, Cherie Watters of O’Gara Coach Companies, Sandra Marchetti of Georgetown Kia, CarNation Canada, and Deanna Reynoles from Team Mazda El Cajon. Following the presentation of the Keiser University Scholarship award, Upasna Sharma from Knorex shared her thoughts on “Cross-Channel Optimization,” before a WIA Board Fireside Chat and Honorable Awards Mentor with Reiss from A Girls Guide to Cars, Wise from TrueCar, and CDK Global, Inc.’s Kathy Gilbert. Paul Faletti, Jr. from NCM Associates presented “Empower your


autobodynews.com / FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS

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Employees and Increase Retention through Employee-Ownership and Diversity.” After Skye Nguyen from NCM Associates, Inc. presented NCM’s Scholarship Award, “Building a Lasting Brand” was presented by Cunningham from Advanced Marketing Strategies, and Dr. Renee Matthews of MEGA LLC discussed the “Power of Intention.” WIA’s 2019 Winter Conference concluded with the emcee’s closing remarks. “The event exceeded all our expectations!” Reiss said. “This is our second time in Palm Springs and the third event we’ve held in California, and each time, the enthusiasm is almost hard to contain. Women love to connect, socialize and learn in a stress-free, pressure-free environment; they love expanding their networks and discovering how their passions can build a career. The event is designed to elevate the industry by elevating the role of women in it. Because so many women are either the only woman in their department or one of only a few in the company, it can be hard to find a mentor or professional network; WIA provides not

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only that network and mentoring opportunity, but also educational opportunities that help women to build a career.”

In addition to a multitude of educational opportunities, WIA’s Winter Conference provided many networking events for attendees to get to know their industry peers. Credit: WIA

WIA’s next conference will be held in Orlando, FL, on June 14-16. According to Reiss, WIA expects to “host 500+ women who work in automotive. We are just starting to plan this event but stay tuned for news on what will be a dynamic and impactful event!” In addition to WIA’s two annual conferences and Women-Powered University continuing education, WIA is also preparing for a day of

FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

learning at the New York Auto Show, and the organization plans to participate in “What Drives Her” at the Chicago Auto Show on Feb. 7. Reiss shared, “This one-day program will feature speakers including Angela Zepeda, chief marketing officer of Hyundai, Jessica Egerton, chief marking officer of Cooper Tire and Brooke Skinner Ricketts, chief marketing officer of Cars.com. They will join other speakers to inspire women working in automotive in Chicago and beyond to see ways they can build a career in the automotive business.” For more information on WIA and its future events, visit womeninautomotive.com.

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CA Authorizes Light-Duty Autonomous Vehicles

California will allow the testing and commercial use of light-duty autonomous delivery vehicles on the state’s public roads with an approved permit from the Department of Motor Vehicles. Under revised regulations approved by the office of administrative law, companies with a DMV permit can operate autonomous delivery vehicles weighing less than 10,001 pounds. The DMV can begin approving new applications in 30 days. Qualifying vehicles include autonomous passenger cars, midsized pickup trucks and cargo vans carrying goods such as pizza or groceries. Autonomous delivery vehicles will be required to comply with the same application requirements currently in place for testing and deployment of autonomous passenger vehicles. “The adoption of these regulations means Californians soon could receive deliveries from an autonomous vehicle provided the company fulfills the requirements,” DMV Director Steve Gordon said. “As always, public safety is our primary focus.” Obtained via dmv.ca.gov.


G & C Auto Body Never Stops Giving Back by Ed Attanasio

If you met the late Gene Crozat, founder of G & C Auto Body, an MSO with 15 locations in northern California, you knew right away he was bigger than life. With his gray mustache and a big smile, he wasn’t afraid to tell you he had the best shops in the area. He also had a passion for making the collision repair industry better by working with trade organizations and political representatives and by giving back to the community in every way possible. Crozat started the Crozat Family Foundation in 2004 and it’s still going strong. He used to like to say that “it is our responsibility to help our fellow men.” It all started as a ‘Car-A-Month Giveaway’ on various local radio stations and has grown into a foundation that provides different levels of support to the individuals and families they encounter when they meet through the company’s various car giveaways, according to the foundation’s web site. There have been a few setbacks for the Crozat family within the last few years, but the business is still growing. Crozat passed away right around Thanksgiving in 2016 and all

of his remaining family members lost their homes during the North Bay fires. Teri Crozat had just recently purchased a home to be near her children and grandchildren, but had yet to move into it before it burned down.

This year, G & C wrapped 200 presents, assembled 100 bikes and created 2,100 hearts with gift wishes from deserving people for the Secret Santa Program organized by the Volunteer Center of Sonoma County. Credit: G & C Auto Body

One thing that Gene taught his four children (Shawn, Josh, Jamie and Patrick) and even his beloved granddaughter Maddie is to make helping people a priority. Crozat took philanthropy to the next level, giving people cars, cash and even jobs at one of his shops in some instances. Sometimes Crozat would think outside of the box with his charitable efforts. He gained national acclaim for a program he started more than

two decades ago when he received a parking ticket unfairly. So, he started the G & C Meter Beaters in downtown Santa Rosa, CA. During the ten days right before Christmas, the G & C Meter Beaters saved drivers from getting parking penalties by feeding their meters before the City of Santa Rosa’s parking enforcement officers were able to nail them with a $33 parking ticket. He hired local high school students to scramble around town with bags full of quarters and every time they saved someone from a ticket, they left a little note with happy holiday greetings. A few years ago, the Crozat family decided to discontinue the program, but that doesn’t mean they are slowing down when it comes to charity. When the parking meters in Santa Rosa were upgraded and could no longer accept change, the Meter Beaters program became more and more ineffective. So, now the company is using that money for other charitable efforts. The company has given away 150 cars since they started the’ CarA-Month Giveaway’ 15 years ago. “We hope to help our recipients to get back on the road of life, giving a reliable ride and additional support to

those who have fallen upon misfortune or endured catastrophic, unforeseen events,” Gene said when he established the program. “We always strive to help create success where failure may have seemed inevitable.”

Since 2014, G & C has donated 274 barrels of food to local food banks, as well as donating $100 for every barrel filled by their employees and guests. Credit: G & C Auto Body

In 2015, G & C got involved with the Human Race, a nationwide community fundraising event and the largest collaborative fundraising event in Sonoma County. In just five years, G & C and their team have donated approximately $78,000 to this non-profit organization.

autobodynews.com / FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS

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Body Shop in Carson City, NV, Has New Owners by Ronni Hannaman, Nevada Appeal

Contrary to popular belief, not all new residents relocating to Carson City, NV, come from that huge state just west of us. Some travel as far as 2,888 miles to create new beginnings in a community they only passed through on their way to a Yosemite. Another myth often touted is that most who relocate here are aged 65 plus retirees looking for a better quality of life in a state/community where they can pay less taxes. Scott Carey and Susan Maroc are myth busters. They traveled the 2,888 miles from Marlborough, MA, in October to begin a new life and bring their expertise in automotive body repair focusing on restoration of the 1960’s muscle cars. The two are in their mid-50’s and excited to begin a new journey in a community they have already come to love. How did they settle on Carson City? Taking a break from their busy lives in Marlborough, they decided a road trip was in order. They packed up their RV a year ago to tour the national parks. Carey had never traveled much beyond Massachusetts

buyer. They remembered Carson City as a desirable place. As Maroc stated, “It seemed fate was drawing us here.” For 38 years, Carey had worked in the family auto body shop in Newton, MA, and Maroc had worked there for ten years, buying and selling real estate on the side. Carey’s passion is working on classic cars, most especially 1960’s Chevys, restoring them to their former glory. Learning the trade while a part of the family-owned five-star rated shop, he knew he could be an asset in this growing area that is known for the love of clasNV Auto Body is under new ownership. From left are sic cars. Owner Scott Carey, employee Brooks Hutchins, and The couple didn’t just co-owner Susan Maroc. Credit: Ronni Hannaman, want to buy the business, Nevada Appeal they wanted to buy the land City for lunch and in Maroc’s words, and building, and once negotiations were completed, they packed up their “We thought the city was cute.” After the trip, they decided it dog and belongings and headed west. NV Auto Body is a full- service was time to start their own business — somewhere. Perusing Craig’s List, certified body shop, and Carey hopes a fateful ad caught their attention. to put his personal stamp on the busiNV Auto Body, located by the airport ness through his restoration work. As in Carson City, was looking for a Maroc asserts, “Scott knows what he thus this trip was quite a change from his comfort zone. Little did either think the journey would be life changing. On their way to Yosemite, the couple decided to stop in Carson

SCRS Welcomes Washington Independent Collision Repairer’s Association as Affiliate Association

The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) announces Washington Independent Collision Repairer’s Association (WICRA) as the latest state association to affiliate with SCRS. WICRA was established in April 2019, and announced to the industry in November with industry advocacy work kicking off in the state capitol immediately following the association’s launch. The focus of the association is to improve the business climate for its members – automotive professionals and businesses throughout the state of Washington. “WICRA is taking steps to protect the rights of the small businesses we represent, and ultimately the consumers in Washington that they serve,” shared WICRA President, Jeff Butler. “WICRA’s reasoning for joining SCRS is simple; SCRS is THE National Collision Repairer’s organization that represents the best in auto repair and education within the industry.” “As every volunteer around the 12

SCRS board table knows, associations are the result of people willing to show up, roll up their sleeves and get to work for the industry,” added SCRS Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg. “We’ve all got a lot of admiration for individuals who

Credit: WICRA

go to work not for themselves or their own betterment, but to support the industry around them. We look forward to watching this association grow and to be able to offer support through the peer-to-peer network we’ve established within our Affiliate structure.” For more information about SCRS, or to join as a member, please visit www.scrs.com.

FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

is doing when it comes to restoring classic cars and his dream is to work on the classic Chevys he so loves.” They retained former employee Brooks Hutchins and work with various insurance agencies. What do they like most since relocating here two months ago? The relaxed atmosphere and the residents they have met through socializing their dog at Sonoma Dog Park. They love the many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and like the small town feel and hope to be able to join in community activities once they settle into their new home and business. Most especially, they are looking forward to milder winters. As Maroc states, “We are excited to begin exploring the area and being a part of our new community.” We thank Nevada Appeal for reprint permission

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Contra Costa College’s Collision Repair Program Receives Partnership by Daniel Hernandez, The Advocate

Students and instructors of the automotive department’s collision program can expect to see changes to the shop and the learning curriculum for the coming years. On Dec. 3, executives of Service King Collision Repair came from their headquarters in Richardson, Texas, to Contra Costa College, located in San Pablo, CA, to present a $5,000 grant to the collision program in hopes of establishing a well-founded partnership with the shop. In collaboration with the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF), Service King hand-picked CCC from only a handful of schools to give the donation. The CCC collision center applied for the grant via CREF, which was awarded in November at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) event in Las Vegas. Around 25 collision program students gathered in front of the Automotive Technology Center for the ceremony, where Roy Villarreal, the learning program director for Service King, spoke about the benefits of working in an automotive career and

shared advice on entering the industry. “We’re going to create a partnership that is going to hopefully create a pipeline of entry-level technicians to the [automotive] industry,” Villarreal said. He said the automotive educational opportunities at CCC were diverse, secure and well-crafted, all outstanding qualities that cemented them as top candidates. Included with the partnership are plans to develop a strong curriculum and help identify the best opportunities for students after they graduate. Lakeitria Luter, senior manager of strategic sourcing at Service King, said, “One of the things we look at is the school’s commitment to students and the relationship the school has with our partner, CREF and us.” The collision center also serves as a recruiting hub for Service King. Collision auto body repair major Akim Henderson said, “Getting the grant is outstanding. There have been so many blessings coming though this department.” Henderson sees himself landing a better position in his future career and finds it imperative that students have a good workplace and learning

environment. He also said, “As a student, it shows that the work that I put in is not only being recognized, but is also appreciated. Personally, it gives me a better drive.” Service King executives and collision program instructors gathered for a conference to discuss a “recruiting action plan” after the ceremony. Here, the first topic of discussion covered the hiring goals and expectations Service King wants maintained — such as hiring five or more students per graduating class. Mentorship programs between students and industry professionals, classroom presentations, tours of local collision shops and ultimately recruiting events are laid out in the strategy to meet the goal. The executives emphasize that they seek commitments from students who will follow through with a career path in auto collision repair because thousands of dollars are invested into their sponsorship. In turn, they want to develop a student’s social skills needed for working in a real shop by hosting workshops where mock interviews between students and shop managers are arranged. Henderson believes that Service

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King will build a facility that is accessible for all students that include new floors, equipment, production and education with the partnership. The donors are planning on following through next year with a shop makeover that could involve anything from new machines and technologies to remodels. Along with the $5,000 grant, Service King has also paid material expenses for a new epoxy floor to be laid out.The Automotive Technology Center includes the collision center, auto services room, tool rooms and closets. Materials for the new floor are expected to arrive over winter break and be applied during the summer session. A new epoxy floor will bring additional safety to the shops when handling chemicals. In the meantime, the search is on for a contractor to professionally apply the new floor. “We are extremely pleased to be providing CCC with this check for $5,000. We hope that it truly helps and benefits the students to further their education here,” Luter said. We thank The Advocate for reprint permission.

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Continued from Cover

Allstate Wins Victory

with the Knox Ricksen law firm in Walnut Creek, CA. “What they said is there is no litigation protection for lawyers.” Casado declined to comment. Fraysse said although the 2nd District decided the case with an unpublished opinion that doesn’t set legal precedent, he will ask the court to publish the decision because it expands on existing case law. The California False Claims Act allows insurance carriers to file whistleblower lawsuits — called qui tam actions — on behalf of the government and receive a share of the treble damages that can be awarded. Allstate in 2016 added Casado as a defendant in a qui tam suit that accused two law firms, two chiropractic clinics, a medical management company and nine individuals of participating in an insurance fraud scheme. “This case illustrates why California law prohibits non-professional ownership of law offices and health care facilities, as the profit motive in this case trumped the interests and well-being of the clients and patients,” Allstate’s civil complaint states. “Indeed, the sham law offices and sham health care providers prey upon and use personal injury victims

(as) a fungible commodity to steal from insurance companies.” Casado argued that his activities were protected by the anti-SLAPP statute. The trial court denied his motion to dismiss, finding that Casado

“This case illustrates why California law prohibits non-professional ownership of law offices and health care facilities, as the profit motive in this case trumped the interests and well-being of the clients and patients,” — Allstate’s civil complaint had sent demand letters to Allstate “in the regular course of business,” even if litigation were only a possibility. Casado appealed. In its analysis, the appellate court said that a statement could protected by California’s anti-SLAPP statute if it concerns the subject of the dispute and was made “in anticipation of litigation contemplated in good faith and under serious consideration.” But there is no protection for demand letters that are sent as a routine part of the claims process, the court said. Casado admitted that he would send demand letters before knowing whether Allstate intended to pay the claim. “Unless and until informal negotiations with Allstate failed or Allstate denied payment, litigation was

Honda Becomes the First OEM to Integrate Cloud Diagnostics Into the CCC X Data Exchange CCC Information Services (CCC) and American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (American Honda) announce that the OEM becomes the first to integrate its diagnostics scanning cloud technology into the CCC X data exchange, simplifying scanning and reporting for Honda and Acura vehicles. Honda diagnostics data will be ingested by CCC X and passed seamlessly into CCC ONE; the platform repairers use to write millions of estimates. “First and foremost, we want to ensure quality repairs for Honda and Acura customers,” said Kevin Prettner, assistant vice president of service operations for American Honda. “By making the diagnostic process easier and direct, this new platform has the potential to improve repair accuracy for our customers

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purely theoretical,” the court said. “Indeed, prior to receiving correspondence from Casado, Allstate may not have had any knowledge of his clients’ injuries or claims against one of its insureds.”

while reducing workload for repairers.”

“We’re excited to work with Honda to help our shared repair customers gain easy, integrated access to diagnostics data for Honda and Acura vehicles,” added Mark Fincher, vice president, market solutions for CCC. “CCC is committed to advancing technology to solve challenges and improve efficiencies for repair facilities.”

FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

The appellate court ruling removes a hurdle that has delayed Allstate’s day in court, after more than five years of litigation. Fraysee said the 2nd District’s decision comes on the heels of another appellate court win for Allstate in a lawsuit against a Southern California fraud ring. The 2nd District in June affirmed a jury’s award of more than $11 million in damages to Allstate in a qui tam suit against Christine Suh, her mother, Christina Chang, and other defendants. The jury found that

the Suh fraud ring paid seven Los Angeles-area attorneys $3,000 per month to use their state Bar numbers to file insurance claims and pocketed insurer’s payouts. The fraud ring would deposit insurers settlement checks into trust accounts set up in the name of the sham law firms, but then use remote check-cashing facilities to withdraw untraceable cash, according to Knox Ricksen. “Chang and Suh rented office space, named the firms using the lawyers’ names, hired staff, opened firm bank accounts, obtained clients, presented demands to insurance companies for settlement and negotiated settlements, all in the name of licensed California attorneys, falsely making it appear as if a lawyer represented the client and claimant,” the law firm said. Fraysee said the case now returns to the lower court and can proceed to trial sometime next year. We thank Claims Journal for reprint permission.

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Northwest Autobody Helps the Hungry, Drives Awareness pairs each November, Northwest Autobody and Towing is continuing The Bonner County, Idaho, Commu- its annual tradition of donating $50 nity Food Bank assists approximately from each such repair done through4,200 individuals each month, prima- out the month. “We started this in 2016, and rily with food, but also with other resince 2016 we have donated a grand sources when available. total of $5,200,” said Eric Donenfeld, who co-owns Northwest Autobody with his brother, Cory Donenfeld. “... This is to not just bring a lot of awareness to the food bank, because that is a lot of what we are trying to accomplish, but the other part of it is to bring awareness that in the month of November, there are more animal accidents than any other Northwest Autobody and Towing presented the Bonner month — we want to Community Food Bank with a check for $1,450. Each bring awareness to safety year in November, Northwest Autobody donates $50 as well.” from every animal collision repair done throughout the This year, 29 vehicles month to help the food bank, as well as raise awareness were repaired, totaling about the increased number of animal collisions this $1,450 to help the huntime of year. Credit: Mary Malone, Bonner County Daily gry, which is, coincidenBee tally, the same number as Because of the food bank’s last year. Also, coincidentally, Northcontribution to the community, and west Autobody repaired 23 cars each the increase in animal collision re- year in 2016 and 2017 for two donaby Mary Malone, Bonner County Daily Bee

tions of $1,150 to the food bank. “They are helping to feed a lot of people at the Bonner Community Food Bank, and we really appreciate that,” said Carol Warren, vice president of the food bank board. “We have seen an increase in need, and with Northwest Autobody making this an annual contribution, it is very appreciated and helpful,” added Debbie Love, food bank executive director. “They have been wonderful to work with every year.” Moreover, this year, Northwest Autobody donated $150 to the Community Action Partnership food bank in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, and $50 to the Libby Food Pantry as part of their promise to donate to the community from where the claim originated. While food donations are always appreciated, monetary donations are preferred by food banks, Eric Donenfeld said, because with their buying power, they can stretch each dollar much further than the ordinary citizen. We thank the Bonner County Daily Bee for reprint permission.

Mitchell Partners With UpdatePromisePay

Mitchell International has partnered with UpdatePromisePay powered by UpdatePromise to be their Merchant Services Provider for Mitchell Cloud Glass. “We chose UpdatePromise because our two companies are aligned when it comes to consumer experience and technology. The alignment between our two organizations positions our glass technicians to provide customers with simple, seamless payment processing options,” says Mark Bennett, product manager for Mitchell International. UpdatePromise began providing merchant services to the automotive industry in the year 2016. Chief Operating Officer of UpdatePromise, Rich Pannazzo, comments, “We saw a gap in the automotive space when it came to consumer payments. There was no true point of sale system available for business to provide a smooth, seamless and integrated payment process to their customers, who today, expect to pay everything on their phone or on a smart device capable of texting and emailing their receipts to themselves,” on the background of developing UpdatePromisePay.

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California DMV

are in place for the testing and deployment of autonomous passenger vehicles. Autonomous vehicles that weigh more than 10,001 pounds still are excluded from DMV’s regulations. To test with a safety driver, companies must certify that vehicles have been tested in controlled conditions that replicate the driving environment in which they are designed to operate. Companies also are required to maintain a training program for test drivers and ensure their test drivers have clean driving records and are capable of manually controlling the vehicle as needed. The companies need to submit collision reports to DMV within ten days. Driverless testing requires companies to certify that local authorities, whose jurisdiction covers where the vehicles will be tested, have been provided written notification. The autonomous test vehicle must be equipped with a communication system that links the vehicle and the remote operator, as well as the vehicle and law enforcement. Law enforcement officers must

receive a copy of a “law enforcement interaction plan” from the companies. Additionally, those looking to test in driverless conditions need to certify that the vehicle satisfies all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and meets the technology description of a Level 4 or Level 5 vehicle as spelled out by the Society of Automotive Engineers International. Companies also must certify that vehicles have been properly tested in controlled conditions, inform DMV of the intended operational design domains, maintain a training program for remote operations and submit collision reports to DMV within ten days. Tested vehicles must be equipped with an autonomous vehicle data recorder and meet industry standards for withstanding cyberattacks or false vehicle control commands. According to DMV, some 65 companies, including Tesla Inc., TuSimple, Honda and Ford Motor Co., have valid permits to test autonomous vehicles with a safety driver on California public roadways. Waymo holds a permit to test driverless autonomous vehicles. Used by permission of Transport Topics.

CIECA FNOL Committee Adds Scan to the BMS FNOL Message CIECA announced that the First Notice of Loss (FNOL) Implementation Guide and Appendix C have been updated to include instructions on how to include a scan to the Business Message Suite (BMS) First Notice of Loss (FNOL) message. Clint Marlow, chairman of the FNOL Committee, said the committee recently recognized the need to include a scan with the FNOL message. The committee is responsible for developing and maintaining the processes related to FNOL business flow. “An increasing number of OEMs have incorporated telematics data capabilities into their vehicle offerings,” said Marlow. “Leveraging connected car technologies, many current model year vehicles have the capability to generate a vehicle health scan that includes diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs).” The FNOL message was first added in the 2017R1 Release of the CIECA Standards. “FNOL messages provide business partners the ability to no-

tify and be notified of accident information to and from multiple parties,” said Charley Quirt, CIECA’s project manager. “These FNOL messages are focused on shortening the claims process.” Quirt said all industry segments will benefit from this update, including insurance companies and agents, repair facilities, fleet companies, information technology providers and third-party administrators (TPAs). The FNOL XML Implementation Guide (IG) provides standardized messaging for CIECA members who are implementing XML messages to send and/or receive FNOL messages. “The guide helps users successfully migrate from their own internal format to the CIECA Standard’s format recognized throughout the industry,” explained Quirt. More details can be found on the CIECA website, www.cieca.com, under the Committee Work and Documents menu selection.

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autobodynews.com / FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS

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Tesla Model Y Looks Close to Model X Size in CA Sighting by Randell Suba, Teslarati.com

Tesla fans and future owners of the Model Y cannot help but think about how the upcoming all-electric crossover compares in size versus the flagship Model X SUV and the mass-produced Model 3 sedan. While recent sightings of the upcoming vehicle have given the EV community a general idea, the latest snapshots of a Model Y prototype parked next to a Model X in California just helped paint a clearer picture. The anonymous tipster spotted a Model Y parked next to a Model X at the Manteca Supercharger, roughly 55 miles east of Tesla’s Fremont factory in California and a charging stop near the main corridor between San Francisco to Los Angeles. The Model Y was covered in tarp when it was photographed, but one could see that it was just as tall as the Model X. A recent sighting of the Model Y in Mountain View, CA, revealed that the crossover’s height is about 65 inches. The Model X, on the other hand, has an overall standard height of 66 inches but can vary depending on the air suspension height setting. The ground clearance

of the Model X ranges between 7 and 9 inches. In the latest image showing the Model Y next to a Model X, the difference in width between the two vehicles was quite evident. The latter looks heftier than the former as the Tesla flagship SUV has an overall width of 89.4 inches with the side mirrors included, or 78.7 inches when the mirrors are excluded.

Tesla Model Y next to a Tesla Model X. Credit: Anonymous Tip via Teslarati

These recent sightings are quite encouraging for customers looking to purchase the Model Y. As the vehicle closes in on its production date, it is starting to become evident that the Model Y offers a lot of space for its price. This could make the vehicle extremely popular for buyers, as it is essentially an almost Model Xsized crossover at a price that’s just slightly above the Model 3. That’s a very good deal, and it would allow it

Western Association Event Announcements: February 2020 by Chasidy Rae Sisk

CAWA Leadership Meeting On Feb. 20-21, the California Automotive Wholesalers Association (CAWA) will host a leadership meeting at the Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa, CA. For more information, visit cawa.org.

ASA Northwest’s February Meetings and Events ASA Northwest’s chapters will meet in February to discuss industry issues.

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• Feb. 6 – Pierce Chapter Meeting at LaQuinta in Tacoma, WA. • Feb. 12 – Eugene Chapter Meeting at Lane Community College, Automotive Technology Building #9 in Eugene, OR. • Feb. 13 – North Sno-King Chapter Meeting at Bob’s Burger & Brew in Everett, WA. • Feb. 18 – Yakima Chapter Meeting at River Ridge Golf Course in Selah, WA. • Feb. 20 – Spokane ChapteMeeting at Mirabeau Park Hotel & Convention Center, Lilac Room, in Spokane Valley, WA. • Feb. 20 – South Sno-King Chapter Meeting at Bellevue Brewing Company in Bellevue, WA. • Feb. 25 – Southwest Washington Chapter Meeting at South Puget Sound Community College, Building 27, Percival Room in Olympia, WA. For more information, visit asanorthwest.com.

FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

to undercut rivals from more experienced carmakers, such as the Jaguar I-PACE and the Audi e-tron. It is also interesting to see how the Model Y stacks up in height and width compared to the Model 3. The Model Y is expected to start production in Fremont by Summer this year and Tesla CEO has also formally launched the Model Y program at Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai during the first public deliveries of the Made-inChina Model 3. Gigafactory 4 in Germany will also start its operations with the production of the Model Y, which will likely be distributed across European markets. Musk sees the Model Y as an essential key to success in its push towards the global market. The Tesla chief also believes that the demand for the electric crossover might be higher than the demand for the Model S, Model X, and Model 3 combined. The Model Y will come in several variants and will have enough space for seven adults. Tesla’s electric crossover will start at $48,000 with the top-tier going for $61,000 before potential incentives and options. We thank Teslarati.com for reprint permission.

Assured Performance Appoints Craig Seelinger Assured Performance is proud to announce the appointment of Craig Seelinger as vice president of technical compliance & network support. Seelinger has extensive industry experience leading teams in similar capacities over the last 25 years. For the last nine years, Seelinger was the vision and program manager for BASF, and prior to that he was director of training, and director of eBusiness at SherwinWilliams. “Craig adds a layer of professional management that is critical to the next phase and stage of development for Assured Performance as an organization,” said Scott Biggs, CEO of Assured Performance. “Also, Seelinger is undoubtedly one of the most talented professionals in the industry especially when it comes to business systems and process management; the exact areas of focus for our certified repair networks.”


autobodynews.com / FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS

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SEMA Expands Regional Qualifying Events for 2020 Battle of the Builders Competition SEMA has expanded its partnership with event producers across the country by increasing the number of scheduled qualifying events to 13 nationwide. Young builders (age 27 or younger at the time of the

Credit: SEMA

2020 SEMA Show) will have additional opportunities to participate in a regional event for an opportunity to win an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2020 SEMA Show held in Las Vegas. Industry professionals whom themselves have previously participated in the SEMA Battle of the Builders competition will select one winner from each event to advance to the 2020 SEMA Show, taking place Nov. 3–6 at the Las Vegas

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Convention Center. All eligible runner-up candidates will have the opportunity to take part in an online fan vote in which the Young Gun with the most votes will take the final spot in the Battle of the Builders Young Guns competition. “We continue to see an increasing level of craftsmanship, ingenuity and dedication from the young builders competing at these regional events,” said Ira Gabriel, SEMA vice president of marketing, PR and communications. “It is so rewarding to see these Young Guns recognized for their abilities, and the opportunities that this competition can open up for them are huge.” The four finalists of this year’s Battle of the Builders competition will be highlighted along with other featured builders in a new TV special, “SEMA: Battle of the Builders,” scheduled to debut on A+E Networks’ FYI and HISTORY’s DRIVE block, Jan. 26, 2020. For more information, visit www.sema.org/botb or www.sema youngguns.com. Obtained via sema.org.

FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

ASA Northwest’s Sno-King Chapter Celebrates 2019 With Christmas Cruise by Chasidy Rae Sisk

On Dec. 11, the Sno-King Chapter of ASA Northwest hosted its annual Christmas party aboard the Argosy Cruise on Lake Union through the Ballard Locks and

The Sno-King Chapter of ASA Northwest enjoyed its annual Christmas party on a cruise. Credit: ASA Northwest

out to Lake Washington. According to Chapter President Glenn MacMillian, “We had about 35 people attend which made for a very nice cruise and no line at the

AUTOBODY

bar. A great barbecue spread was catered in from 3 Pigs Barbecue in Bellevue, and we had a white elephant gift exchange with only a few bottles of special juice stolen back-and-forth.” MacMillian continued, “A big highlight of this event was the Kid’s First auction, with Todd Ainsworth as our auctioneer. We auctioned off a Segway NineBot which was donated by Eastside Autoworks. The Segway NineBot was semi-professionally paraded for all to see by our own Bryan Kelley. With Todd Ainsworth doing the auctioning and getting our group participating, we ended the winning bid at $500. We were all happy to see this donation happen for Kid’s First. Thank you again for everyone who attended this event to celebrate the holiday season.” For more information on ASA Northwest, visit asanorthwest.com.

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GM, Tesla Head for New Year Without Electric Vehicle Tax Credits by Keith Laing, The Detroit News

General Motors Co. and Tesla are about to become the first automakers that will have to sell EVs without the benefit of a $7,500 federal tax credit. Congress failed to include legislation in a spending bill that would have tripled the 200,000 cap on the number of EVs per manufacturer that qualify for tax credits. The legislation would have allowed GM, Tesla and any other automaker hitting that ceiling to offer a slightly lower tax credit of $7,000 for another 400,000 plug-in cars. Now GM and Tesla, which pioneered the development of electric cars while other automakers sat on the sidelines, will enter 2020 at a disadvantage. Competitors such as Ford Motor Co., which has the batterypowered Mustang Mach-E SUV coming in late 2020, will effectively have a $7,500 discount over comparable GM and Tesla vehicles. “Seventy-five-hundred bucks less than your competitors is a good thing,” said Brett Smith, director of propulsion technologies and energy infrastructure for the Center for Automotive Research. “It’s a little bit unfair in that both of these companies went out and really developed and pushed this technology, and now they are not going to have any federal discounts to offer.” GM and Tesla might have to cut prices to make up the difference — but Tesla could be more insulated because of the high demand for its cars. “For GM, I think it’s a bigger deal than it is for Tesla,” Smith said. “The Volt is a very nice electric car, but it’s not really an aspirational car. It can be cross-shopped a little bit more than Tesla vehicles.” GM and Tesla both hit the lifetime ceiling of 200,000 electric vehicles per manufacturer that qualify for the tax break in 2018, triggering a phase-out process that saw the number of tax credits they could offer falling by half every six months until they hit zero on Jan. 1, 2020. Tesla, GM and Nissan accounted for 62% of the 1.18 million electric vehicles that were on the road as of March, according to the Edison Electric Institute, which represents U.S. investor-owned electric companies. 24

Carmakers sold 236,067 electric cars from January to September 2019, down from 361,307 in the same period of 2018, according to the Electric Drive Transportation Association, which lobbies for policies that promote electric-drive technologies.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment. Trump has tried to kill the EV tax credit entirely in the past, and he has expressed skepticism about GM’s large bet on plug-in cars. “This is a missed opportunity to further advance electrification in the United States,” GM said in a statement. “The EV tax credit provides a proven pathway to establish the U.S. as a leader in electrification, helping make electric vehicles more accessible for all customers.” Tesla did not respond to From 2010 through June 2019, GM sold 216,702 EVs; a request for comment. In Tesla sold 436,548, according to EVAdoption.com, which its third-quarter filing with tracks electric-car tax-credit use. Credit: AFP Contributor, the Securities and ExAFP/Getty Images, File change Commission, the Electric vehicles have been el- Silicon Valley automaker said it was igible for federal tax credits under likely the impending phase-outs a program that was first estab- caused some buyers to purchase a lished by the George W. Bush ad- Tesla sooner than they otherwise ministration. The program was might have. later expanded by the Obama adThe EV tax credit has been a ministration, raising the amount of point of contention since its establishthe tax credit from $2,500 to $7,500 and instituting the current 200,000 EVs per manufacturer limit. The incentives were intended to encourage EV development by sweetening the deal on vehicles that are typically more expensive. From 2010 through June 2019, GM sold 216,702 EVs; Tesla sold 436,548, according to EVAdoption.com, which tracks electric-car tax-credit use by manufacturer. Nissan is expected to become the next automaker to hit the cap in 2022 or 2023, according to the website. U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, DLansing, who introduced the bipartisan legislation that would have raised the ceiling on tax credits, blamed President Donald Trump for blocking the measure from being included in the government funding bill. “President Trump promised to invest in Michigan workers, but just recently, we saw the opposite,” Stabenow said in a statement. “He blocked the next generation of vehicles and technology by saying no to the electric vehicle consumer tax credit. I want these clean energy jobs here in Michigan, not China.”

FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

ment 11 years ago. Conservatives have argued the federal government should not be propping up electric vehicles at a time when buyers have demonstrated a clear preference for gasoline-powered SUVs and pickups. EV supporters say the tax credit has helped spur the market for plugin vehicles. They argue that killing it would strip carmakers of a key incentive to convince drivers to cut dependence on gas pumps, and it would be harder for car manufacturers to hit government fuel-economy requirements. “The electric vehicle tax credit has helped to put more than a million clean cars on the road, creating thousands of jobs along the way,” Sierra Club Legislative Director Melinda Pierce said. “We must extend these investments for flourishing technologies like EVs to continue growing our economy and protecting the health of the planet.” We thank The Detroit News for reprint permission.


autobodynews.com / FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS

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In Reverse

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

with Gary Ledoux

The 1980s – The Formation of the SCRS At the dawn of the 1980s, the collision repair industry was going through some fundamental changes with the advent of business computers, cars with unibody construction, advances in paint technology, repair technology and the introduction of aftermarket parts. Business processes and repair protocols that had been virtually unchanged since the 1940s was quickly becoming obsolete. “In the early 1980s, body shops had it rough,” said industry veteran John Loftus in a January 2018 interview. “They needed someone or something to pull them together and represent them on a national scale. They needed some cohesion. Every shop owner was fighting their own individual battles with insurance companies.” At the time, and with few exceptions, auto body associations were mostly run at the state level. What

was needed was a national organization to give the collision repair industry a unified voice. On Sept. 25, 1982, the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) was formed with goals of providing body shops with technical training and management education, improve the quality standards of col-

lision repair services, raise the professional standing of those engaged in the collision repair industry and secure the financial position of individuals within the industry. SCRS also wanted to work on programs to certify the professional ability of each individual member. John Loftus was appointed exec-

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lision repair community. We jokingly called it the organization of the three Bills – shop owners Bill Bailey, Bill Eveland and my husband, Bill Wickland. At first we were thought of a rogue outfit.” It was very common at that time for the insurance industry to look at the burgeoning auto body associations with disdain. Insurance adjusters thought auto body associations were just “out to get them.” In fact, it got to a point where adjusters would avoid shops and would avoid sending cars to shops who were known to be part of any auto body shop association; but, eventually they realized that everyone had the same goals. The fledgling young association wasted no time getting engaged with the industry. The SCRS announced in June 1983 it would hold its first international convention on Aug. 57 at the Michigan Inn in Southfield,

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utive director and Rosemarie Kitchin was the executive vice president. Loftus had spent 13 years as the owner and operator of Hawthorne Auto Body in Hawthorne, CA, and several years serving in various volunteer roles for the California Autobody Association (CAA). Loftus was a key player in the formation of the CAA for southern California and spent a year as their director. In a recent interview, Rochelle Wickland, wife of one of SCRS’s founding members, Bill Wickland of Wickland CARSTAR Auto Body of Liberty, MO, noted, “John Loftus came to Missouri to meet with us. We all went over to Park’s Auto Body in Riverside and it was there that SCRS was born. The organization itself had to earn its reputation and credibility. But we had some good people to start out with – people who were already well-known and respected in the col-

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MI. The meeting would feature seminar presentations from representatives of Chrysler and Ford regarding new car technology. These were to be followed by a half-day seminar on repair techniques at the General Motors Service Center in Warren, MI. Loftus noted that the meeting was being held in Michigan to show support for the big three automakers who had “…been a mainstay of our business for many years.” But the convention never materialized. Loftus felt that engaging in a smaller, regional gathering was more effective. In an article appearing in a trade magazine in the summer of 1983, Loftus wrote about the importance of auto body associations. He said in part, “Without some organizations’ contact, shop owners miss threequarters of what goes on in the industry. In the last five years, we’ve seen more changes than we’ve seen in the last 50. By 1985, all we know now will be obsolete.” Then as now, SCRS did a lot of training and consulting. Of her husband Bill, Rochelle Wickland noted, “Often times, Bill would be on the phone with shops until all hours of

the night advising them and consulting with them on what to do about this and that. He was dedicated – as we all were.” People from other collision repair associations were singing the same song. Dick Schoonover, chairman of the body shop council of ASC created a cover letter and a brochure to send to any shop who inquired about ASC services. Part of the brochure says, “Only ten percent of the collision repair business belong to a trade association, think how strong our industry would be if the majority of shops would belong to an association…” In March 1984, the SCRS held their national convention with the theme “Changing Times and Changing Attitudes.” Among the different events were:

• A panel discussion about unibody sectioning featuring Don Cameron, Ben Parr, Rex Womble, Harry Melia and Dave Baltz. • A panel discussion about the collision industry press featuring several trade magazine editors. SCRS announced its second annual

national convention to be held in San Diego on May 30, 31 and June 1, 1985. In 1986, SCRS made available a brochure titled “Insured Motorists Rights.” Also, in 1986, SCRS reported it completed 60 seminars during 1985 attended by about 2,400 industry personnel. In the spring of 1986, a trade magazine article announced the upcoming 3rd Annual SCRS convention to be held in Kansas City, MO, on June 6-8, 1986. The article notes, “On Friday, Chuck Sulkala, a 3M Auto Repair Management Systems instructor and owner of Acme Body and Paint, and Van Takemoto, trade magazine contributor and owner of Island Fender shop will chair a ‘Show and Tell’ session.” By the fall of 1986, the New Hampshire Collision Repair Association, the California Autobody Association and the Rocky Mountain Collision Repair Association had recently affiliated with the SCRS. SCRS Executive Director John Loftus said they were now associated with 14 state auto body associations and a membership of about 3,000.

Industry veteran and SCRS chairman Brett Bailey recalls, “My dad Dan, and uncle, Bill were deeply involved in the SCRS startup. It was about the time I came into the business, so I have never known the industry without SCRS. The ironic thing is, over 30 years later, we still face some of the same issues: parts identification, how to get properly compensated for our work, and keeping up with technology. Many of the initiatives taken by SCRS over the years has helped, but it’s tough to get the message to everyone.” SCRS has made some tremendous strides since those early days. Current Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg elaborates, “All those early foundations and accomplishments really paved the way for some of our modern success stories; building internationally recognized free resources like the Database Enhancement Gateway (DEG), forming and publishing a highly respected news source like Repairer Driven News, and pulling the industry together under one roof at the SEMA Show with our Repairer Driven EdSee The 1980s, Page 36

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Would Fiat Chrysler retain its headquarters in Auburn Hills? The current Italian American automaker is incorporated in the Netherlands, headquartered in London and retains major operations in Auburn Hills and Turin, Italy, the home of the Fiat brand. Likewise, the combination of FCA and PSA would be domiciled in the Netherlands and continue to have operational headquarters in Auburn Hills, Paris and Turin.

combination will benefit its members and it is looking forward to hearing more details. The labor contract that UAW members ratified a week ago with FCA continues to include job security provisions in the instances of a merger, a union spokesman previously said. FCA’s previously announced investments, including the construction of a new assembly plant in Detroit, will not be affected. As for salaried employees, 20% of the expected $4.1 billion in cost savings is expected from the combination will result from redundancies in marketing, information technology, logistics and other areas, the companies said. But Groupe PSA does not have a retail presence in North America. Most of the cuts are expected to occur in Europe where there is overlap.

Are Fiat Chrysler employees’ jobs in jeopardy? Executives repeated statements from October that there would be no plant closures or loss of manufacturing jobs as a result of the transaction. United Auto Workers Vice President Cindy Estrada said the union hopes the

What does this mean for Fiat Chrysler buyers? The combined company is expected to maintain all 13 brands that Fiat Chrysler and PSA currently operate. The companies, however, plan to shrink the number of vehicle platforms they operate. Two platforms

Continued from Cover

US Jobs

provided to investors refers to the entity colloquially as “DutchCo,” but Fiat Chrysler representatives assured that is not the official title.

are expected to be the basis twothirds of the combined entity’s run for small and compact/mid-size vehicles. The convergence of these platforms could been seen starting in 20 months following the deal’s closure, the executives said. U.S. consumers could see the implementation of PSA’s technology and electrification platform in Fiat Chrysler vehicles, Manley said. The combination perhaps could speed the introduction of brands like Peugeot, Citroën, Opel and Vauxhall into North America. In 2016, PSA had established a ten-year goal to reenter the U.S. retail market. “We see the strength of FCA in North America,” Tavares said. “We have 12 months ahead of us to think what we would do after closing. So far it is premature. This is something that we will have to consider.” We thank The Detroit News for reprint permission.

www.autobodynews.com

UPDATED DAILY

Continued from Cover

Vehicle Scanning

now say they are at least negotiating to be paid for vehicle scans, and 88% say they are being paid regularly when they do. “There are very few shops not seeking to be paid, particularly for post-repair scanning.” said industry trainer and consultant Mike Anderson of Collision Advice. “This is different from some of the other ‘not-included’ procedures where a significant percentage of shops aren’t getting paid because they’re not seeking to be paid. But the industry also needs to keep in mind that an insurer refusing to pay for a scan does not remove a shop’s liability for not conducting one.” The first of the four 2019 “Who Pays for What?” surveys, which focuses on “not-included” refinish operations, is open now through the end of January at: www.surveymonkey .com/r/JHPCT8B. To find the results of previous survey, please visit crashnetwork .com/collisionadvice.

Audi Debuts the Audi AI:ME, a Fully-Automated Car With ‘Empathetic’ AI by John Loeffler, Interesting Engineering

Audi introduced their latest concept vehicle at CES 2020, the Audi AI:ME, exploring the company’s vision for the autonomous luxury car we can expect to see in the coming years. The AI:ME, accord-

Credit: Audi

ing to the company, will represent the “third living space” alongside the home and the workplace of the consumer. Audi AI:ME Gives Occupants the ‘Audi Intelligence Experience’ The Audi AI:ME, the company’s newest concept car, debuted at CES 2020 to explore Audi’s vision for 28

the future of luxury vehicles in the coming autonomous future. Pushing beyond a standard AI interface, Audi is hoping to push their in-car AI system to another level of interactivity and sophistication. Hoping to create an “empathetic” AI, the company said that AI:ME “knows its user and their habits and uses intelligent functions combined with artificial intelligence to increase the passengers’ safety, wellbeing, and comfort... In the future, the car will also conduct a precise analysis as to the functions and settings that its user prefers, ranging from the seat position, media, route guidance, and temperature to the fragrance of the interior. After a short time, the empathetic Audi is familiar with the user’s preferences and implements them autonomously.” We thank Interesting Engineering for reprint permission.

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Social Media for Shops with Ed Attanasio

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

“Booth Talk” is a Podcast Created by a Refinisher for Refinishers In the old days, we were almost always stuck with whatever was on the radio. But, now with Sirius/XM satellite radio, Pandora and the growing number of podcasts, we can listen to content that is both relevant and specialized to our interests. As a result of this podcast evolution, there are now a handful of different podcasts and more in development. Many deal with collision-repair related topics like parts, painting, training, new products and repair processes, just to name a few. The podcast universe is growing with no end in sight. There are more than 700,000 active podcasts and more than 29 million podcast episodes. In 2018, these numbers stood at 550,000 and 18.5 million respectively, according to Edison Research. To connect with experts within the collision repair industry from different capacities, Jeremy Winters, a

start a weekly podcast to unite refinishers together to share stories and information. At the outset, he broadcast the show using the Instagram live feature (@that_ painter_fella) for the first three months and subsequently found a new home @boothtalk. Every Saturday night at 8 p.m. EST Booth Talk is recorded live, but each episode is saved so people can listen to them at their leisure. Winters said 200-300 people listen to the live with more than 2,000 downloads every month. “We are doubling our audience every year, as more and more folks find out about it,” he said. “It’s a thrill every time I get some positive feedback from a fellow painter or a tech or a company rep about the podcast.” Winters is always excited every time he hears about a new listener. “We get people from literally every aspect of this industry, including celebrity painters, reality show stars, car rebuilders, hot rod people, company reps and even students and apprentices who want to learn more. With zero experience in the world of podcasting, Winters had to do extensive research and learn by doing, he said. “I invested in some Jeremy Winters, a veteran painter with 17 years of experience hosts Booth Talk, a podcast whose mission recording equipment and is to unite refinishers and share valuable information. asked my friend Tony Credit: Ed Attanasio Larimer from Dan-Am if refinish technician with years of ex- he would be my first guest. Tony is perience started ‘Booth Talk.’ It’s a so highly-respected in the industry podcast for the automotive refinish and everyone knows SATA, so getcommunity by the refinish commu- ting him on the first show was a nity, according to its founder. good move looking back.” It all started when Winters, a vetAfter re-connecting with Mike eran painter with 17 years of experi- Miller, an old high school friend ence from Bonaire, GA. decided to with experience as an audio engineer,

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Winters was able to take Booth Talk to a whole new level. “We started gaining momentum and got more and more guests from the industry, like

such as Polyvance.” Winters never went to voiceover school, but many listeners think he’s a seasoned professional. “I was a little comfortable on camera at first, but I eventually learned that if I just jump into a conversation with a guest, it works well. It takes focus and you have to avoid crowding your mind with too many things and now have it down. Now that I have done 120 episodes, it’s like second nature.” What does the future At SEMA, Winters interviewed Charley Hutton for Booth hold for Booth Talk and its Talk. Credit: Ed Attanasio creator? “If I could do this Ron Clan, Charley Hutton, Kristen full-time eventually, that would be Felder, Kevin Tetz, Tim Briggs, great,” Winters said. “I’m trying to Gabriel Merino and others,” he said. get a major sponsor and partner with “Now I also interview companies some paint companies. We are growthat manufacture equipment or prod- ing rapidly, so hopefully that can hapucts for the collision repair industry, pen sometime in 2020.”

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P HONDA CALIFORNIA

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Please contact these dealers for your Honda or Acura Genuine parts needs. CALIF O R N I A

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autobodynews.com / FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS

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Industry Veteran Shares Insight About Future of Collision Repair Industry by Stacey Phillips

During a recent VeriFacts Guild 21 webinar, industry veteran James Spears talked about the future of the collision repair industry. Spears, an insurance and automotive consultant and founder of Spears Consultant Group, talked about the largest autonomous and connected car testing facility in the country, the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and the OEMs’ involvement in First Notice of Loss (FNOL) reporting. Throughout his 30-year career, Spears has assisted the top ten property and casualty providers across the country. His experience includes leading the USAA Auto Experience and the USAA Global Auto Physical Damage operations and strategy. Prior to that, he headed the Strategic Initiatives team at Farmers Insurance and worked for Nationwide Insurance. Currently, he assists the American Center for Mobility as well as a number of other clients and is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF). The following is a summary of Spears’ comments during the webinar, which was facilitated by professional speaker and consultant George Avery. Avery: As an advisor and consultant for the American Center for Mobility, can you tell us about the organization?

Spears: The American Center for Mobility (ACM) was established about 18 months ago. It is the largest and most sophisticated autonomous and connected car testing facility in the country. Located near the Detroit airport, the center is built on more than 500 acres at the Willow Run site in Southeast Michigan. This is where bombers were built for WWII. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been put into building the tremendous facility. Supporters include the State of Michigan, the University of Michigan, Michigan Department of Transportation, Subaru, Hyundai, Ford, Toyota, Intertek and Microsoft. The mission of the organization is to enable the rapid, safe development and deployment of future trans34

portation systems by offering leading programs in testing, standards, and education as a national technology innovation center. The facility focuses on testing vehicles with Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS). You might be

about how claims are adjusted and protecting the consumer. When breaking the vehicle down, we need to make sure we cover all the components that are important after an accident and ensure the customer’s car is repaired properly.

The American Center for Mobility (ACM) is the largest autonomous and connected car testing facility in the country. Credit: Guild 21

surprised to hear that these technologies perform differently on models. They do not all stop the same or act the same. A lot of consumers believe ADAS technologies are all equal, but some far outshine others. We’re very fortunate to have the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) provide star safety ratings; however, there are no such ratings when it comes to ADAS platforms. The two organizations have different focuses. The American Center for Mobility is where manufacturers and tier one, two and three parts suppliers test their equipment during the development stage. In contrast, IIHS conducts testing once the equipment is already in vehicles. I think our industry needs to align with the American Center for Mobility. We currently don’t have any collision repairers or insurance companies that are represented, and they can really have an impact on the vehicles before they go to market. I encourage collision repairers to reach out for more information: https://www.acmwillowrun.org/. Avery: How is the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) impacting the collision repair industry?

Spears: We’re now seeing AI being used in a number of ways, such as the appraisal process. I hope we’ll continue to see a shift using AI technology in the blueprinting of appraisals. However, I’m concerned

FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

We might also start using AI with the parts ordering process so shops can order major components quickly. I’m fortunate to work with a company that uses AI to generate prospects over social media. I recommend that shops take a closer look at using AI in their businesses

and reach out to companies that specialize in this area to help find customers in an unconventional fashion. I don’t believe we’ll be 100 percent reliant on AI software in the future; however, AI can expedite the industry.

Avery: What are some of your predictions in terms of OEM involvement in First Notice of Loss (FNOL) reporting?

Spears: There is an absolute battle in positioning going on right now in regard to the way that the models of vehicle ownership will change over time, particularly as the middle class abort their own cars or a 7-8-year loan becomes the norm. In cases such as these, people will never own their vehicles, because they are not paying them off but rolling them into the next loan. This lays the groundwork for manufacturers to keep connectivity to the automobile. When I first came into the industry, the average age of a car was 5-6 years old. Today, vehicles are an

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average of 9-11 years old. It’s not uncommon for a loan to be stretched out that long. When you take a look at the new Car-Net mobile app Volkswagen recently debuted, the information needs to stay active as long as the person is paying for a subscription. If there is a collision and the airbags deploy, the Car-Net service will report if there is an accident. Certified shops that focus on having the right tooling, facility and training, are going to do much better than facilities that don’t. I believe we’ll see OEMs own FNOL in the future. They will be able to call a carrier to report an accident, let them know which store it was towed to and find out if the carrier wants to have someone look at the vehicle or if the OEM should do the appraisal. That’s going to give them time to break the car down and not just do a rudimentary digital evaluation. They will be able to have a much more processed, highly detailed blueprint-type of appraisal… and customers won’t know the difference. Companies such as Enterprise, with its Entegral program, are starting to get into post-accident process-

ing. Consumers could very well be a fan of that program, being able to have a replacement car readily available. By offering alternative transportation and being able to meet that immediate need, it will have higher payoffs for carriers.

Avery: Will it become more common for vehicle owners to allocate a repairer of choice?

Spears: An OEM could open up the possibility for customer choice and we may very well see owners being able to assign themselves to a repair shop, particularly through a manufacturers network, like Volkswagen’s Car-Net mobile app or GM’s OnStar system. However, customer choice might lie beyond the customer’s geography in some cases. For example, if a consumer has an Audi or a complicated Volkswagen to be repaired and there isn’t a certified shop nearby, the car will have to be towed to a certified shop outside of the area the carrier offers. For more information, email Spears at James.spears@gmail.com.

Mitchell RepairCenter Now Offers Integration

Mitchell, a leading provider of technology, connectivity and information solutions to the property & casualty (P&C) claims and collision repair industries, now connects with Intuit QuickBooks Online within the Mitchell RepairCenter solution. This collaboration adds Intuit’s market-leading, cloud-based accounting to repair facilities’ complete facility management capabilities within the RepairCenter solution. “Mitchell’s integration with QuickBooks Online is an embodiment of our foundational vision to partner well, and delivers great value for our repair customers,” said Jack Rozint, SVP repair sales & service, auto physical damage, Mitchell. “Furthering Mitchell’s collaboration with one of the most robust accounting solutions demonstrates our desire to continuously invest in both our core repair product suite and cloud technology to drive innovation in collision repair. We look forward to the positive impact this will have on our customers’ businesses.”

Car-O-Liner Introduces Adapter and Software

Car-O-Liner is pleased to introduce the adapter and software that allows the A-Tong to be connected to the CTR9. In order to support the use of the A-Tong partnered with the CTR9, a new adapter is now available for the A-Tong and the welding machine’s software has been updated to include functions for Auto 1, Auto 2 and Manual modes. To perfect the welding process, the new software paired with the new adapter is designed to improve welding through tougher combinations of cured adhesive electrophoretic coating (e-coat) on new vehicle panels and a higher welding duty cycle. Users can now expect less expulsion during repairs when welding through adhesives. The A-Tong allows increased accessibility in hard to reach areas of sheet metal parts on today’s vehicles. Popular areas for the ATong on vehicles include the front radiator support as well as on rear quarter panels. The 1-to-1 electrode pressure allows consistency throughout the welding process to ensure quality repairs.

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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.

Few Collision Repairers Are Separating Out Scanning Time Versus Diagnostic Time It’s been just over a year since I wrote about the inconsistency in how shops are billing for scanning, and it’s still an issue that concerns me. The results of our “Who Pays for What?” survey this last October related to scanning charges are similar to those from a year earlier. In 2019, among the more than 800 shops responding to the survey, about 1-in-4 of those who perform scans in-house charge a flat fee. Nearly 50 percent charge up to 1.0 labor hour at a mechanical labor rate; but, the remaining 25 percent of shops scanning in-house were all over the map. There was similar variety in how shops bill when they use a remote scanning service. The real problem, I believe, is the inconsistency in what shops are including in that scanning charge. Shops need to separate scanning time from their diagnostic time. Scanning involves performing the output or functionality test on the vehicle to gather the diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs). The diagnostic time begins once the scanning is complete. For example, say I scan a vehicle and it has seven DTCs. For each of those codes, I have to search for that code in the OEM repair procedures. I have to find out what it means. In some cases, it may be simple and clear, an indication that a certain part needs to be replaced.

Oftentimes, the diagnosis is more complicated. The OEM information may site four to six or eight potential causes for that DTC, and I must go back to the vehicle and go through that list, one-by-one, to see which is the cause on that vehicle. The OEMs sometimes offer a flowchart for this process and navigating that takes some time. So, that vehicle with seven DTCs will require ‘x’ amount of diagnostic time, far more than the vehicle where the scan finds no DTCs, but less than the vehicle where the scan finds 50 DTCs, each of which needs to be researched. It’s that variation in research or diagnostic time that I think many shops are missing. Here are some tips that may help with the diagnostic step. First, be aware that across manufacturers, DTCs begin with a letter that helps point you to the origination of the code. A DTC that begins with a “P” is powertrain-related. One that starts with a “B” is body-related. A “C” at the start of a DTC indicates it is chassis related. The one that’s a little less obvious is a DTC that begins with a “U,” which indicates it is network related. This refers to network communication, and collision repair work frequently causes such codes. It happens, say, when we unplug a component when we remove a door

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scope, but who we are focused on has never wavered. We are here for the collision repairer who seeks information and who needs a voice in rooms where they wouldn’t otherwise have one. SCRS has such a rich history of grass roots volunteer activism and support for the small businesses it was formed to represent. It’s really such an honor for everyone involved in carrying that torch forward today. The roots of SCRS are so strong, and the current energy is high, but none of it compares to what comes next. Nearly 40 years in, and there is so much more to come.”

The 1980s

ucation series and associated events. I think for everyone sitting around that board table today, we really appreciate that it wasn’t just the establishment of a professional society, but rather the establishment of a culture within this industry that revered those willing to roll up their sleeves for others, in an effort to bring the industry together and leave it better than when we entered it.” Schulenburg continues, “The objectives and projects have grown in 36

FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

mirror or handle, remove a headlight, or then drive the vehicle from the body shop to the paint department. The control module is looking for that component we’ve unhooked and can’t find it, so it stores a “U” code for lost communication. These codes need to be cleared, much like a dirt nib needs to be taken out of the refinish. Such codes are sometimes referred to as a “cyber fingerprint,” because if you don’t scan the vehicle post-repair and clear those codes, someone down the road who scans the vehicle will be able to see what you’d removed without clearing the codes. The other tip I would offer is whether you are scanning vehicles inhouse or using a third-party provider, make sure you collect and save the “freeze-frame” or “snapshot” data. This varies by vehicle manufacturer. Some automakers capture “freeze-

frame data” that tells you the exact date, time and mileage when the fault code occurred. This can clarify what was crash- or repair-related, and what DTCs may be unrelated. Other manufacturers capture “snapshot” or “key-cycle” data, which tells you only how many times the keys have been turned on and off since the fault code occurred. This can be a little less definitive in determining what is claims related, but is still helpful to have. Capturing this data when you do a scan, or having your scanningprovider capture and provide it to you, can be a critical resource in billing for your scanning and diagnostic labor. I hope a year from now to be able to say I’m seeing more consistency in the industry in terms of separating the time for scanning and the time for the resulting diagnostic work.


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Automotive Technology Department Head Stresses Life Skills First by Ed Attanasio

Collision repair facilities today demand that technicians are well-trained and know how to repair sophisticated automobiles using modern techniques. Dayne Hosier, assistant professor at Vincennes University in Vincennes, IN, aims to do just that, but maybe even more importantly, he also strives to instill foundational life skills in his students as they progress through their technical training. He stresses soft skills like communication, punctuality, accountability, thoroughness, and an eye for detail in every class he teaches.

Student Derek White (left) and Dayne Hosier, assistant auto tech professor at Vincennes University, working at the basics. Credit: Ed Attanasio

As a 2011 Vincennes University collision repair graduate himself, Hosier prides himself in providing education and instruction to the next generation of auto body technicians. He knows that imparting the basics is essential, but it’s only the beginning. “As an educator, I feel that I have an obligation to make my students as employable as possible,” he said. “We can show students how to apply fillers, paint, weld sheet metal, estimate cost, and blueprint vehicle repair, but can we also condition our students’ attitudes? How about their vision of a project when it’s in pieces or maybe their perseverance when struggling to resolve a problem that has a complicated solution?” Being a collision repair professor offers up many challenges, Hosier said. “Students can be distracted by all the communication opportunities offered by the cell phones they carry. Although the phones can be a distraction at times, they can also be a handy tool in the collision repair industry. They are great for documenting damage via pictures and linking the students to service information needed. I also teach students how they need to understand 38

flat rate hours and what it means to be organized and efficient in order to turn more hours. This is very important later in the students’ careers when they are supporting their families and not just themselves.” Hosier is always looking down the road and works continuously to set up his students for long and rewarding careers. “I want my graduates to enjoy what they do, make a comfortable living, and enjoy time with their families. Other challenges can be direction and motivation. Not every student wants to be a do-it-all technician. Some students are dead set on being only a painter; some are interested in management, and others gravitate toward estimating. I can’t decide for them what their career path will be, but I can provide the instruction and open pathways to help students make an informed decision about their opportunities. It’s a great time to enter the collision repair industry for several reasons, Hosier said. “Having so many available career paths in collision repair keeps me on my toes, in order to make sure that all my students find value in what I teach and get exposure to as many aspects of collision repair in the time we have together. I help students find specialty training programs after graduation, bachelor’s degree opportunities, certification training, internships, career networking events, and so much more.”

Collision in Evansville, IN, and graduated VU with his Associate Degree while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Three other students, Zac Lewis, Landon Vannatta, and Jose Enriquez continued their education in the BMW STEP Body and Paint program, which only accepts 20 students per year nationwide. Lewis and Vannatta also went into a secondyear leadership role for BMW.

Hosier’s classes focus on employability and stress life skills at Vincennes. Credit: Ed Attanasio

These students are some of the top performers out of Hosier’s program, but others find success in many other aspects of the collision repair industry or other careers, he said. “I would say 40%-50% of my

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students like these gentlemen are allin and passionate about making a career out of their training with me. They will get hired at shops, and many of them will have fantastic careers. 50% of them are interested, but not 100% dedicated to making a career out of it, and they may or may not enter the collision repair industry directly. A small percentage of my students find that the collision repair industry is not what they had envisioned and decided to pursue other career paths, and that is okay.” In every class he teaches, Hosier emphasizes the bigger picture and the responsibility that’s associated with collision repair. “Hands-on training that is put into practice will make students money,” he said. “Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and texting are all distractions in our industry. Those are the types of distractions that can lead to poor repair quality, employee turnover, and substandard customer service. We teach our students to be responsible and technically proficient and what it See Life Skills First, Page 41

The right part makes the difference.

Hosier, at age 19, studying collision repair at Vincennes University. Credit: Ed Attanasio

A few notable examples that Hosier provided are students like Jared Whitaker, a former Southern Indiana Career and Technical Center graduate, who completed Vincennes University (VU) dual credit through the career center and entered its program as a second-year student. His willingness to learn and persevere earned him the Indiana Vocational and Technical Education Award for Excellence, an internship at Gerber

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National Associations with Stacey Phillips

Stacey Phillips is a freelance writer and editor for the automotive industry. She has 20 years of experience writing for a variety of publications, and is co-author of “The Secrets of America’s Greatest Body Shops.” She can be reached at sphillips.autobodynews@gmail.com.

NABC Day in Palm Springs, CA, Showcases Programs That Help Save Lives formation on the latest technologies and materials in late-model vehicles. Since its inception, the program has provided extrication opportunities for more than 1,600 First Responders. This was the first year NABC hosted the F.R.E.E.™ program in Palm Springs. During the event, first responders from the area had the opportunity to learn new cutting and extrication techniques on vehicles donated by USAA; the program instructors were provided by Hurst Jaws of Life. Through both of these events, Garoutte said the organization and its volunteers were proud to give back to the Palm Springs community with the gift of reliable transportation for three deserving local families and advanced education for the first responders. Following the golf tour(l to r) Linda Sulkala, program manager for Recycled nament, a reception was held Rides®; Maryjane Cano-Cruz, Dean Seif, CARSTAR to honor all of its industry Allstar Collision; and Lizette Moreno, respite and partners and the first Recycounseling program manager for United Cerebral Palsy cled Rides® presentation of president and CEO of NABC. “We are 2020 took place. Three vehicles were grateful to all of our collision repair in- presented to local families in need. dustry colleagues for playing in the The recipients included Maryjane golf fundraiser to support our key pro- Cano-Cruz, Ashly Potter-Twiford grams. We were also excited to show- and Melissa Lozano. Linda Sulkala, program mancase two of our premier initiatives – the NABC Recycled Rides® program ager for Recycled Rides®, said the veand NABC F.R.E.E.™ program.” Industry professionals involved in the Recycled Rides® program collaborate to repair and donate vehicles to deserving individuals and service organizations in local communities throughout the United States. NABC has gifted more than 2,400 vehi(l to r) Heidi Maldoon, executive director of Variety – the cles since the program was Children’s Charity; Belen Zamora, youth education guidance counselor of the Torres Martinez Tribal TANF (Temcreated in 2007. porary Assistance for Needy Families); Melissa Lozano; “It’s important to showMia Vicente; and Zeff Mendoza in front case this powerful program to more of the industry and encourage hicles aren’t given out to just anybody them to host events in their own com- who needs a car. munities,” said Garoutte. “It’s those people who are workThe F.R.E.E.™ program offers ing hard to change the lives of their first responders and rescue squads in- families and themselves,” she said. As the National Auto Body Council (NABC) celebrates 25 years of supporting the industry, the non-profit organization held “NABC Day” at the Tahquitz Creek Golf Club in Palm Springs, CA, on Jan. 14. The day consisted of a Pars for Cars golf fundraiser, presented by Hertz, a Recycled Rides® vehicle gifting and First Responder Emergency Extrication™ (F.R.E.E.) program. “It’s was honor to kick off the 25th anniversary of the National Auto Body Council with our second annual NABC Day,” said Bill Garoutte,

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FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

“You’ll find that these recipients aren’t just changing their own lives; they do it because they want to change the lives of others.”

counselor of the Torres Martinez Tribal TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). “We partner with different organizations here in the valley to make sure we are selecting people who have a true need,” said Heidi Maldoon, executive director of the organization. Maldoon said the amazing part for Variety is that they are able to help connect a family who has a specific need, whether that’s getting During the First Responder Emergency Extrication™ (F.R.E.E.) their child to a health care demo, first responders from the area had the opportunity to facility or therapy or going learn new cutting and extrication techniques back to work or school. Variety – the Children’s Charity Cano-Cruz received a 2013 Ford nominated the recipients, along with Fusion SE, which was donated by its partners: Lizette Moreno, respite State Farm and repaired by CARand counseling program manager STAR Allstar Collision. She is curfor United Cerebral Palsy, and Belen rently attending California State Zamora, youth education guidance University, San Bernardino, where

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she is earning a bachelor’s degree and a teaching credential to become a special education teacher. As a respite worker who works at United Cerebral Palsy, Cano-Cruz provides supervision and care for children with special needs. She said she was grateful and excited to receive the vehicle. “The idea of having a car is more than I could afford,” said Cano-Cruz. “It will impact my life in a significant way. I will be able to take more classes and work more and the ability to work more hours will allow me to continue to pay for my own studies.” Potter-Twiford, the second recipient, received a 2017 Toyota Camry SE, which was donated by Hertz and repaired by Fix Auto Cathedral City. Potter-Twiford is a mother to five-year-old Case who was diagnosed with Autism when he was three years old. With an unreliable vehicle, Potter-Twiford lost her job and Case’s special needs have required her fulltime support and intervention. She found it has been challenging to use public transportation to take her son to therapy sessions and doctors’ appointments. When Potter-Twiford found out

she was receiving a vehicle, she said she was in disbelief. “I love my son so much and want the best for him,” said PotterTwiford. “With this vehicle, a blessing was truly given to me and I can

Hamblins Body, Paint, & Frameshop. Lozano is the mother of 13 and said her children are her life. She dropped out of school at age 14 but was determined to return and earned her General Educational Development (GED) to motivate her children to become their greatest selves. Transportation has played a major role impacting her family to be successful and there have been times that it has affected her children’s school attendance. Lozano expressed her deep appreciation and said that having a (l to r) Ann Gonzalez, vice president of strategic development at I-CAR; Marie Peevy, owner of Automotive Training reliable vehicle will make it Coordinators; and Jeff Peevy, president of the Automotive easier for her to transport her Management Institute (AMi) and chairman of the Collision children to school, activities Industry Conference (CIC) and stay on a positive path get my son back into his therapy and forward. “I want thank everyone who had school when he is ready. I can’t begin to describe the gratitude I feel a hand in making this possible,” she and how thankful I am for this op- said. “My children and I are forever portunity. I’ve been struggling for a thankful and grateful for this opporfew years and this is going to open tunity given to us.” so many doors.” The third recipient, Lozano, re- For more information about NABC ceived a 2018 Honda Civic Sport do- and its programs, visit http://nationnated by GEICO and repaired by alautobodycouncil.org/.

Continued from Page 38

Life Skills First

means to be accountable for their repairs. Lives are on the line in many cases when vehicles are put back into service. Just because a technician thinks a repair is good enough doesn’t mean it meets the manufacturer’s specifications.” Hosier wants the next generation of collision repair technicians to know that the things he is teaching them today may not be applicable in five-ten years, he said. “The collision repair industry is changing nearly every day, and graduates must be willing to adapt and embrace change to maintain their earning potential. This industry can be very rewarding and profitable for those that have the drive to succeed, manage time effectively, are well organized, and have the willingness to put hands-on skills and broad-based technical knowledge together. Technicians that are compassionate about the needs of the customer and take pride in what they do will always be in great demand.”

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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 Hear Positive Outlook for 2020, Discuss Mixed Impact of Photo Estimating A positive forecast for the collision repair industry in 2020 was among the presentations at the eighth annual “MSO Symposium” held in Las Vegas during SEMA. Susanna Gotsch, director of industry analysis for CCC Information Services, said with new-car sales in 2019 again at $17 million for the fifth year in a row (a first), and scrappage rates at historic lows, a growing vehicle population on the roads should mean “we will see the overall number of vehicles in accidents grow.”

Susanna Gotsch of CCC Information Services sees other factors offsetting some of the downward impact ADAS has on accident frequency in the short term, and collision repair costs rising healthily this year. Credit: John Yoswick

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) will likely continue to have a modest impact on that, she acknowledged. About 56 percent of 2019 model year vehicles include frontal crash warning with emergency braking (up from 29 percent for model year 2017), meaning an estimated 60 million vehicles on U.S. roads have that technology. That’s only about 20 percent of the total vehicle population, but a much higher percentage of vehicles that are 3years-old or newer, which have previously accounted for a third of the estimates CCC processes. Gotsch calculates if emergency braking cuts those vehicles’ likelihood of a front-to-rear collision by 50 percent, that technology is reducing overall frequency between 2 percent and 5 percent. There’s some potential offset; however, vehicles with emergency braking have a 20 42

percent higher frequency of being rear-ended by another vehicle when the emergency braking kicks in. That’s the upside for collision repairers during this period when there are still plenty of vehicles without much in the way of ADAS. In the short run, she said, the industry can expect to see slightly fewer but more complex and expensive repairs. “We expect repair costs to accelerate about 5 percent [in 2020] on average, versus about 3 percent growth two or three years ago,” she said. As more driver assistance systems are introduced and work better in more situations, there should be more of an impact on frequency and severity, she said. “Even if the vehicle doesn’t avoid the accident, [emergency braking] may at least minimally reduce the damage incurred if the speed of the vehicle is mitigated before impact,” she added. But Gotsch also echoed those who have said autonomous vehicles aren’t going to put collision repairers’ livelihoods at stake any time soon. She cited Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, now age 69, who said last fall that fully self-driving vehicles likely won’t be ready for the real world “in my lifetime.” In the meantime, Gotsch said, automakers are looking for new ways to generate revenue from vehicles such as in-console ads or announcements promoting (while potentially distracting drivers) easily-accessible gas stations or doughnut shops the driver and vehicle are approaching. “So despite all the talk about vehicle autonomy changing our landscape and eliminating the need for personal auto insurance and vehicle repairs in the future, I think most of us, as I look around the room, are probably pretty safe with a career in this industry, at least until we retire,” Gotsch said.

Virtual Claims Handling Will “Normalize” Repair Costs In another presentation during the

FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

MSO Symposium, Allstate’s Clint Marlow said he believes “virtual inspections” will continue to become more common. “It costs an awful lot of money to have staff that gets in a car in the morning and travels from repair facility to repair facility,” Marlow said. “From the studies we did, they spent half that time driving, sitting in traffic, etc.” He said cutting back on staffing costs is part of what’s driving the push for virtual inspections, but he also said more and more consumers are finding it an easier and faster process, and shops are seeing faster supplement approvals using Allstate’s “Virtual Assist” rather than waiting for in-shop reinspections by an adjuster. However, Marlow did acknowledge that some challenges with virtual inspections still exist. With just

photos, he said, you “can’t get under the car or lift the hood.” “And the consumer may come in [to the shop] thinking this is a minor loss, and all of a sudden at tear-down it’s like, ‘Wait a minute. Why is the repair this much? Who is trying to get one over on me? Is it the insurer or is it the repairer?’ When really, it’s just additional damage,” Marlow said. But increased use of “big data” will help resolve more of those issues, he predicted. “What are the parts that you’re not seeing [in a virtual inspection] that you think may be damaged,” Marlow said. “You can start to [use historical claims data] to put a confidence weight on that. No one likes [parts] returns. But if I said [based on data] there’s a 90 percent chance of you needing this part, how many people would not order that part in their initial parts order? And you might


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45


even do it at 80 percent. Lower than that, people may start to get squeamish. So, you’ll start to see these types of predictions on the damage you don’t see to augment the virtual estimate.” Marlow predicted that one outcome of the shift toward photo estimating and remote or “virtual” handling of supplements will be that

Allstate’s Clint Marlow predicted “big data” increasingly will help offset current limitations of photo estimating. Credit: John Yoswick

“repair costs are going to normalize across the industry.” He said when companies such as his had local claims offices throughout most markets, “different market practices evolved over time” in each of those markets. “Judgement times,” for ex-

ample, evolved differently, particularly in areas like California where labor rates vary from market to market. “They all still kind of get paid the same money to fix the car [despite the differences in labor rates] because the judgment times have evolved a little bit differently,” Marlow said. “That probably isn’t going to be a good model going forward when California claims are handled [remotely] by someone in Atlanta or somebody in New York. That’s my hypothesis on why you’re going to see things normalize across the industry, because you’re losing local market knowledge.” Mixed Views of Photo Estimating MSOs themselves offered a little less enthusiasm for photo estimating during a panel discussion at the event. Vince Claudio of the Gerber Collision chain did say his company has run almost 10,000 photo estimates last year, but he sees it mostly as a customer convenience or a way for the company to potentially handle a “catastrophic event where you have resources strained” and could “work

KEARNY MESA

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with a central review team to complete some estimates.” Mark Sanders, president and chief operating officer for the Caliber Collision chain, said his company also offers photo estimates as a customer service, but only “for very small claims, where we can write an estimate, have the customer accept repairs, and we pre-order the parts,” enabling the customer to make only one trip to the shop before repairs begin. “But I do think you’re seeing [photo estimating] getting abused, where it’s being used as a cash-out tool for a lot of customers, some with pretty significant hits,” Sanders said. “To me there’s a risk there of writing an estimate for a customer with what appears to be minor bumper damage, but without notifying that customer that the vehicle could be unsafe to drive because the [sensors or ADAS] systems are knocked out of calibration.” Claudio concurred. “It feels like it makes it easier for them to interact and do business [with you], but by the same token you could be creating significant risk,” he said.

AirPro Renews Commitment to CIECA

AirPro Diagnostics renewed its commitment to CIECA and the CIECA Standards. AirPro Diagnostics is headquartered in Jacksonville, FL. The company’s primary area of focus is to deliver OEM-level diagnostics, calibrations and systems services to the collision repair community in North America. Chuck Olsen, AirPro’s SVP Operations & Automotive Technology Solutions, said the company joined CIECA to ensure it had access to the CIECA Standards as well as to participate in the important work of standards in the scanning, calibrations and programing arena. “Standards continue to develop in all segments of the collision repair industry including diagnostics, calibrations and vehicle safety systems,” said Olsen. “As the various stakeholders continue to learn and adjust to properly and safely repair motorists’ vehicles, it is imperative we have standards for communication.”

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Shop Secrets and Strategies with Stacey Phillips

Stacey Phillips is a freelance writer and editor for the automotive industry. She has 20 years of experience writing for a variety of publications, and is co-author of “The Secrets of America’s Greatest Body Shops.” She can be reached at sphillips.autobodynews@gmail.com.

Industry “Disrupter” Launches Collision Industry Book & Patent-Pending Test-Drive Technology Many in the collision repair industry and implemented leading-edge techare familiar with Frank Terlep, an nology for the automotive, collision experienced executive, entrepreneur, repair and claims industries. Autobody author and self-proclaimed “dis- News recently sat down with Terlep to rupter” of the automotive industry. In find out what prompted him to write December 2019, Terlep launched his his book and learn more about the new book, “Auto Industry Disruption, patent-pending test-drive technology Who and What is Being Disrupted he and his team are launching. and What to Do About It!” How did you get in“I started disrupting volved in the collithe auto aftermarket in the sion repair industry? mid-1980s when I raised $100,000 from an angel inBefore attending univestor to develop a software versity in the late application for the automo1970s, I was in the United tive aftermarket,” said TerStates Army. A friend of lep. “It was one of the first mine was attending Southsoftware applications of its Frank Terlep launched his new ern Illinois University (SIU) kind that helped automotive book in 2019: and often sent me pictures aftermarket companies man“Auto Industry from the school. I always age their businesses using Disruption, Who liked cars and SIU was one of computer software.” and What is Being Since then, Terlep has Disrupted and What the only universities at that to Do About It!” time offering a four-year dedesigned, developed, sold

Q: A:

FIRST HONDA

gree in automotive technology, so I enrolled. Although I originally planned to be a civil engineer, I earned my degree in automotive management and technology in 1980. After finishing school, I worked as a service advisor at a Chevy dealership. Throughout my 40-year career, I’ve spent time as an auto mechanic, service manager, shop owner, salesperson, software designer, chief technology officer, senior executive, entrepreneur, author, educator, industry volunteer and disrupter. When the Apple IIe came out in 1983, I got hooked on computers and began selling automotive diagnostic equipment to repair vehicles. I launched a company and built my first software after raising money from an angel investor. I eventually sold that business, but the experience started my long history as an entre-

preneur. From 1999 – 2001, I helped raise tens of millions of dollars from venture capitalists on Sand Hill Road in Silicon Valley, CA, to design and develop one of the automotive industry’s first online parts procurement platforms for the collision industry. For the next 16 years, I built my second and third companies, Summit Software Solutions and Summit eMarketing Sherpas, developing software to help the automotive businesses market, manage, and operate their businesses. At the end of 2016, I sold my software companies and joined asTech as their chief technology officer to help build their online and mobile app platform. I recently left asTech after finishing that project to write my book and start a new company—Auto Techcelerators, LLC.

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What prompted you to write “Auto Industry Disruption … Who and What is Being Disrupted and What to Do About It!”?

Q:

I wrote my first book for the collision industry in 2007. It was called “The Digi-Lean Collision Repair System, Combining Lean Thinking, Processes, and Digital Tools to ‘Find’ $10,000 or More per Month in Your Collision Repair Business.” The concept was how to use digital technology to implement lean processes in your business. I’ve always been intrigued by software and computers and how to dramatically improve business performance with the right processes. During the two-and-a-half years I worked at asTech, I was dealing with a lot of vehicle technology. I started to do a ton of research on what was coming down the pike and realized that the whole industry is going to change … every aspect of it. I looked into what companies and car manufacturers are doing in response. That’s what prompted me to write the book because I was so interested in the changes expected to happen. Technology is going to be rampant across all industries and everyone is going to be affected, not just the collision repair industry. The book is written for anybody in the automotive industry, including CEOs, dealer owners, shop owners, shop businesses, and those in manufacturing.

A:

Without giving away too much, what is the book’s main takeaway?

Q:

The message I want readers to walk away with is if you are in the business, whether you are an employee, manager or owner, you are going to experience disruption of some type. My book is the CliffsNotes version of some of the things that businesses should consider addressing to handle the disruption that is coming their way.

A:

Can you tell us about the new company you started—Autotechcelerators?

Q:

I’ve worked with a lot of shops over my career, especially during the last few years. One of the things I kept hearing over and over

A:

48

again is that cars are not only becoming harder to repair, but they require calibrations. I also kept hearing that taking a car out for a test-drive is not the same as it used to be. Technicians and shop owners would tell me, “Frank, you can’t just take the car out and drive it around the block and make sure the car goes straight and there is no noise anymore.” After I left asTech, I filed a patent on vehicle repair test-drive processes and technologies. During the upcoming Collision Industry Conference (CIC) in Palm Springs,

Frank Terlep, executive, entrepreneur, author and self-proclaimed “disrupter” of the automotive industry

CA, my team and I will be launching a solution for performing, managing and documenting test-drives. The patent-pending product and service will change the way test-drives, road tests and dynamic calibrations are performed, managed and documented forever. The Test Drive CoPilot event will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 15, at 5 p.m. at the Palm Springs Hilton in California. To R.S.V.P for the event, visit https://www.testdrive copilot.com/launch-party-rsvp.

Q: A:

test-drives, ensure they are being done according to OEM recommendations and get reimbursed for their work processes.

What are some of the changes you predict will occur in the automotive industry?

Q:

One of the major things I see coming is that I don’t think a typical independent collision repairer is going to be able to be a generalist anymore. The growing complexity of the vehicles is going to force them to become part of something bigger and become specialized. The vehicles are too complicated to repair. I also think the rise of remote technician services is going to be huge. I say that because there is a shortage of people joining the industry, as most of us already know. With that being the case, cars are becoming more complicated. I believe that you’re going to see technicians from other countries helping us diagnosis and repair cars remotely over the Internet. That’s going to be a big opportunity and the industry itself is going to shrink. We’ve been saying this for years.

A:

You can look at any service business industry, for example, in terms of a pyramid organizational structure. At the top of the pyramid, you have the best and the biggest companies, which is a small percentage. At the bottom, you have a larger number, but they are usually not the best and revenue is small. A typical service business is in the middle. What happens is a business either moves up or down and eventually, there is no middle and the pyramid becomes an hourglass shape. I think that’s happening in our industry as well. I cover these ideas in more depth in the book. I am scheduled to talk about five major disruptions the collision industry will face in 2020 and beyond during a Dave Luehr’s Elite Body Shop Academy webinar on Thursday, Jan. 23 at 1 p.m. CST. To register for the free webinar, visit https://events.genndi.com/channel /Jan2020EWS. “Auto Industry Disruption, Who and What is Being Disrupted and What to Do About It” is published by BookBaby and is available from the BookBaby store as well as Amazon.com in paperback and ebook versions.

Kia Downtown Los Angeles

What can attendees expect to see at the event?

We’re going to introduce new technologies and processes to those in attendance that will allow businesses to fully document every test-drive, road test or dynamic calibration as well as generate detailed reimbursement documentation. They will also provide employees with the detailed test-drive recommendations, track and manage costs, implement quality controls, and create documentation to reduce an organization’s liability. If you think about it, the only place left today that isn’t being measured, managed or documented is the test-drive. It’s the only time a vehicle typically leaves a shop during or after a repair. The idea was to create something simple and inexpensive for a shop to quality control

FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

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That’s It! He’s Had It, Part 1 by Gary Ledoux

Social media has changed the way we interact with each other, with our peers, and with the world. The originators of Facebook thought it’d be fun to share a good experience you had at your favorite restaurant or share a picture of your little leaguer hitting the winning run, but it’s gone beyond that. Monitoring the various collisionrelated Facebook pages, hardly a week goes by when some shop owner doesn’t create a post, lamenting their seemingly hopeless situation, dealing with insurance companies, dealing with customers that want everything “thrown-in,” including the deductible, and trying to find and keep good help. The post usually ends with “That’s it. I’ve had it!” Then, the conversation usually goes like this: “I could close my shop, but then what would I do … work as a line tech for another shop? I’m still in my 40’s but the challenges of body work have wrecked my back and standing on concrete all day has wrecked my legs. This is the only job I’ve known since I was 16. What do I do now?” The answer is – there’s plenty to do. Being a shop owner, you have experience and knowledge that is transferable to other corners of the collision repair industry. Stop and think of all the companies that produce products and services that support your efforts as a collision repair shop, and all the managers, representatives, and other workers they employ. Your experience as a shop owner (or technician, or painter) is invaluable to them. Here are a few to consider:

HD Truck Repair: Consider the heavy truck and specialty vehicle industry if you enjoy working with your hands and seeing the physical results of your efforts. This includes repairing tractor-trailer rigs or specialty vehicles like fire trucks or ambulances. The work is no less strenuous than working on automobiles, but insurance adjusters rarely question an estimate. The labor rate runs $100 to $150 per hour, and with a guesstimated 2,000 heavy truck shops in the country, there is less competition as 50

opposed to the 35,000 auto collision shops. Insurance Adjuster: Yes, it almost feels blasphemous to work in a corner of the industry you have cursed since day one. How many times have you said, “I wish these guys knew something so I didn’t have to train them!” Now, you can be that rare adjuster that truly knows the business and can relate to the shops.

MSO Field Manager: Depending on the MSO, it might be necessary to manage anywhere from six to eight shop locations to hundreds of locations. This requires coordination, manpower, and an intricate knowledge of the industry. A former shop owner or manager could be invaluable in any number of positions in an organization as such.

Equipment Manufacturer / Distributor: Tim Morgan, a former body shop owner, and former training manager for another equipment maker, and trainer for a technical college, is now the chief operating officer for Spanesi Equipment for North America. Asked about the role a former shop owner could play in his organization, Morgan noted, “We, and our independent distributors, need people to sell, install, demonstrate and train people on the use of Spanesi equipment. We sell everything needed to outfit a shop including pulling and measuring equipment, welding equipment, spray booths and so forth. Former shop owners, managers and techs make excellent candidates for this kind of work. I have hired several since 2012 … and wish I could find a few more.”

Estimating Company: What better person to conduct training or serve as a field rep for an estimating system than someone who has worked, probably with all the different systems, and different generations of systems, than a former shop owner or manager?

Paint Manufacturer: John Bosin, now retired but formerly a representative with AkzoNobel and DuPont paint companies noted, “Initially DuPont wanted people with a bach-

FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

elor’s degree in business. Eventually what they, and other paint companies realized was, they needed people who were versed in the business and the products they represented. Today, former shop owners not only make great account representatives, but paint companies also need people to serve in training and consulting roles to manage their body shop programs such as Akzo’s A-Coat program.” PBE Jobber Rep: Gay Bargnes, one of the principals for Painter’s Supply, a paint and body supply jobber with 52 stores in eight states is well known in the industry and is the immediate past chair for the Collision Industry Conference. He said there are many positions on this side of the industry that can be and are filled with former shop owners, techs and painters. Bargnes added, “Being a rep or a trainer for a paint jobber is a quasi-technical position. It requires a combination of technical skill, sales skills, and people skills.” Bargnes “guesstimates” that there are about 1,500 Paint Body and Equipment

(PBE) jobber companies in the country with a total of 4,000 locations. This is not counting the many auto parts jobbers who also carry PBE products. According to Bargnes’ estimation, “This provides former shop owners, painters and technicians with the most opportunity of any shop employment alternative in the industry.”

Consumer Advocate: Consumer advocate is an all-encompassing way of describing a professional who will conduct post-repair inspections and assist in diminished-value claims. Many consultants do this, but some, like Collision Safety Consultants based in North Carolina and Wreck Check Car Scan (owned by a former shop owner) based in Las Vegas specialize in it. With cars becoming more sophisticated and people becoming more litigious, post repair inspection, and looking after the rights of the consumer is a growing business. Given the John Eagle case of two years ago, the stakes could not be higher. See That’s It!, Page 53

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National Associations with Chasidy Rae Sisk

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

ASA’s Webinar Wednesday Addresses What’s Happening With Data Access Policy On Dec. 18, ASA’s monthly Webinar Wednesday featured a discussion on “What’s Happening With Data Access Policy” with Robert L. Redding Jr., ASA Washington, D. C. representative and Greg Scott from the U. S. Vehicle Data Access Coalition. The webinar began with ASA Vice President of Industry Relations Tony Molla welcoming attendees and introducing Redding and Scott. Redding began with a review of service information and vehicle data access which started with the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments which required independent repairers to have access to the same information as dealers. Subsequent EPA regulations, what Redding called “attempts at getting it right,” proceeded to the ASA and Automaker Service Information Agreement which facilitated the creation of OEM websites and landed the industry where it currently is today. “The Massachusetts Right to Repair led to a memorandum of understanding with aftermarket and automaker associations. Finally, in the 115th Congress passed Autonomous Vehicle Legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, but AV legislation containing Vehicle Data Access stakeholder language failed to reach the U.S. Senator floor,” Redding explained. Moving on to data access, Redding asked Scott when the U. S. Vehicle Data Access Coalition was formed, and Scott said, “In 2017, as Congress began looking at autonomous vehicle legislation, European automakers threatened to shut down data access due to autonomous vehicles. The Coalition was founded and is comprised of members of the automotive industry, the aftermarket repair industry, consumer groups, insurance industry groups and others who believe the owner of the vehicle should control the data generated by that vehicle and be able to grant permission to repairers to access that information.” “At the time, there was a belief that the data belonged to the OEMs who could then grant access to the

52

vehicle owner,” Scott continued. “The Coalition was formed as a necessary political animal because our voices are stronger together and allows us to offset the power of motor vehicle manufacturers.” Explaining that the Coalition is now examining a broader set of data, Scott discussed how data impacts consumers and insurers. “Consumers need to be able to know where their vehicles are, and insurers are involved in this topic as they reconstruct accidents or try to write policies. There is all sorts of data that different parties need access to. Telematics companies pull data that’s important to fleet management companies but irrelevant to a collision repair shop. ASA members are most interested in only one data set that vehicles pull, and the many other data sets are important to other groups, but we all agree that the owner should control data access.”

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The Coalition became involved with the subject when the House was moving the autonomous vehicle legislation which talked about cybersecurity being housed with National Highway Safety, and the Coalition managed to secure two legislators willing to sponsor the Coalition-backed amendment in the fall of 2017. The autonomous vehicle legislation did not move to the Senate floor based on issues unrelated to data access. “We need to talk about the issue of data access, including who controls it and what use cases are allowed,” Scott said. “We moved from having discussions with OEMs to thinking that’s insufficient and deciding that we’re going to need to do affirmative legislation.” Redding noted that the collision repair industry has relied on thirdparty providers and OEM websites

for years, and he pondered what path should be taken to move forward, identifying this as a critical concern for the second session of the 116th Congress. “We need a path for vehicle data access because there’s too much at stake,” Redding stressed. “We want to keep our small businesses viable and allow them to plan for the future. It’s important for their strategic planning that we figure this out.” Referencing the California Privacy Act, Redding questioned why shops in other states should be concerned. Scott explained, “We need to start by dividing access to data with usage of data. How can you use sensitive, personal data? California has adopted this law that goes into effect on Jan. 1, but the use of data is irrelevant to an ASA member, fleet operator or consumer if they don’t have access to that data. We need to begin by regulating data access, and then

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it’s appropriate to regulate use of that information.” Scott also hypothesized about which pieces of legislation could include data access issues, besides legislation pertaining to autonomous vehicles. Addressing NHTSA’s role in data access, Scott noted, “The NHTSA’s concern is safety. Data access is related to privacy and competition. If data is restricted, competition disappears, and prices increase for consumers. Congress hasn’t given NHTSA the authority to regulate data access; as of 2019, the Federal Trade Commission regulates data access.” Anticipating that 2020 will see the introduction of data access legislation that the Coalition will be supporting, Scott predicted, “We’re going to shake up the OEMs on this topic. At the end of the day, as ASA members well know, negotiation will always include a bit of a confrontation, but if we can reach an agreement between the OEMs and vehicle owners to ensure data access for everyone who needs it, that would be the preferred outcome. The Coalition wants everyone to know we are out here beating the drum on this.”

“If you’re not at the table, you tend to be on the menu,” Scott continued. “We have to push our way into this debate and line up our champions. Legislators need to hear from their constituents to know they care about this issue. We need to make as much noise as we can so that OEMs and legislators have to pay attention. If we don’t speak up together, we won’t get the attention we need; it’s up to us to affirmatively pass legislation to prevent OEMs from shutting it down … As vehicles advance, there will be more data, and repairers will need more access. We are trying to cover current and future vehicles as we strive to address the data access issues facing the industry.” ASA’s next Webinar Wednesday will occur on Jan. 15 at 1 p.m. EST and will feature Becky Witt, AMAM for George Witt Service, as she presents “Would You Take a Job for $200 an Hour?” Witt will apply accounting principles to demonstrate how pricing should be determined, thereby providing attendees with the tools necessary to increase profits. For more information or to register, visit asashop.org/webinars/.

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Continued from Page 50

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Executive Director of an Auto Body Association: In 1982, John Loftus owned a body shop in Hawthorne, CA, and was already active in his state’s auto body association. He knew something more was needed – something on a national scale. Long story short, he, and a few other shop owners were responsible for founding what is known today as the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS). Loftus became a paid “employee” of the organization serving as executive director for 19 years. Is there a body shop association or similar organization in your area that needs an executive director?

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Industry-Related Technology Company: Curt Nixon is a former collision shop owner who saw several needs within the customer-experience initiatives for body shops, mechanical shops and dealership service departments, and is working hard to fill those needs. He operates a company called Update Promise, providing a suite of products to help shops build business and profits and enhance the customer experience. Among these are verified third-party shop reviews, integrated payment systems, data analytics, and customer contact. Be sure to check Autobody News next month for part two of this two-part series with a few more ideas on related alternatives to shop management, and the conclusion of this article.

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Media and Publicity for Shops with Ed Attanasio

A Look at Body Shop Marketing With 2020 Vision Do you remember Aesop’s old fable, “The Ant and the Grasshopper?” In short, the story is about a grasshopper who played all summer long while the ant worked hard to have enough food to make it through the winter. I’ve updated it a little to make my point about body shop marketing, so my apologies to Aesop. In my version, the grasshopper had a few DRPs and his car count was consistently high, so he was happy and not worried about marketing. On the other side of the hill, the ants were out there creating a brand and working hard to build their business through year-round strategic marketing. When the business climate changed and the grasshopper lost his number one DRP, he jumped through the roof while the ants added another location. I don’t recall exactly how this story ends, but I’ve always remembered that the message was to be prepared and plan for the worst. When it comes to body shop owners, there are too many grasshoppers and not enough ants. They jump around all willy dilly to try things they saw their competitors do and wonder why they don’t work. As a result, their businesses start to lose momentum and then pretty soon, they hear crickets instead of grasshoppers.

Stay on the online track: The numbers are strong and growing. There are currently 4.1 billion internet users on the planet, as compared to 3.9 billion users in mid-2018 and approximately 3.7 billion in late 2017. As more people search for you online and write reviews about your business, search engine optimization (SEO) is now more important than ever. Many shop owners aren’t scrambling to optimize something they don’t fully understand. To see which shops are committed to longterm SEO, conduct a general Google search (like collision repair in Dayton, Ohio, for example) and see where you sit. If you’re not on the first page, you’re in trouble, but you can turn it around faster than you think by start54

ing an SEO program. Once you get a favorable spot, it’s easier to maintain your position; but, getting there requires an investment in both time and money and it needs to be treated as a priority.

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

monthly users and 400 hours of video are posted on YouTube every minute. People are more comfortable watching as opposed to reading and they will sit through a short clip without protesting, as long as it’s engaging. Entertaining and informaConsumer education: In an age of tional videos lead the way. Videos such as “Watch a Full full transparency and accountability, body shops are now creating signage Body Shop in 90 Seconds” (100k to answer their customers’ frequently views); “How to Spot a Scam at an asked questions. To educate his Auto Body Shop” (554k views) and clients, Frank Barnard the owner “Everything You Need to Know About of Almost Everything Auto Body Re- Ceramic Coatings” (871k views) will pair & Paint in Fremont, CA, has a create a buzz. In the end, it’s all about services board that hangs from the attracting new customers and strengthwalls of his reception area and it re- ening your relationships with your exportedly works well. It provides in- isting client base. Peter Bizaca has worked for formation about his paintwork, collision repairs and other details MSOs in different marketing cathat can eliminate speculation in pacities over the years and is a former producer for CBS and HBO. He has witnessed the evolution of streaming and respects the power of video for several reasons. “The technology has made it so much easier to create videos that look like they’re professionally produced,” Bizaca said. “You More and more shop owners like Frank Barnard at Almost Everything Auto Body Repair & Paint in Fremont, can use an iPhone or a very CA, have a services board that hangs in the reception inexpensive camera and the area to educate customers. Credit: Almost Everything editing software is easy-toAuto Body Repair & Paint use. You don’t have to be many cases. When it comes to col- the next Francis Coppola to make lision repair services, he has two something that people will want to categories— “The Best Way” and watch. But, be different and make certain that your videos inform first “Budget-Minded Compromises.” “We deal with frequently asked and sell second. If they look like ads, questions and offer options,” Barnard people will opt out within the first said. “If people want to ask us about 15-20 seconds.” things like OEM vs. aftermarket parts; blending paint; polishing and Be selective with technology: How color matching, it’s all on the wall. many apps does one business really It’s a real timesaver and ideal for our need? You bought that software to techs and estimators who always get help you with your marketing and a lot of questions.” now no one knows how to use it! Shop owners want to be out there on YouTubing it: YouTube has experi- the cutting-edge, so they acquire a enced unprecedented growth since it piece of technology and then expect was founded in a garage 14 years great results almost instantly. If we ago. After one year, it was getting build it, they will come, they think more than 65,000 new video uploads and then scratch their heads when the and 100 million video views daily. customers don’t flock to use them. A few years ago, there was Today, the numbers are 1.9 billion

FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

what I called “the aluminum rush” where shops clamored to become aluminum-ready. They got the right tools and training, and got ready for the avalanche of aluminum vehicles that never came. And that’s why there are a lot of aluminum welders collecting dust in the corners of body shops all over the country right now. The point is, take a close look at any type of technology before you decide to acquire it. Ask yourself questions like “Do we need this or just want it?” or “Will we follow through in order to optimize it or abandon it after a while?” There are a lot of products out there in the marketing space that are neat and perform a specific task, but are they essential to your business? I got a garlic press and an electric cheese grater for Christmas, two things I will never likely use. Why? Because knives and manual graters work just fine. Giving back pays off: Some shops have stepped away from marketing and advertising and now put their lion’s share of money in philanthropy. If you’re looking for the top body shops in any region, I will bet that they’re doing more than a few charity-related events and programs every year. Giving away fully refurbished cars and new bicycles or raising funds for nonprofits by sponsoring car washes, truck pulls, food drives, chili feeds and other charitable events is a win-win. Helping other people gets your company’s name out there and shows that you care about the community. Peter Richard has been overseeing all public relations at G & C Auto Body, an MSO in northern California since 2015. “We began gravitating more and more away from conventional advertising and marketing and put that money into philanthropy,” he said. “The late Gene Crozat set a foundation many years ago here at G & C and all of his children have taken it to the next level. We do these things for others, but the positive publicity we receive as a result is a huge plus.”


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CCG Enjoys Success in 2019, Plans Further Growth in 2020 and Beyond by Chasidy Rae Sisk

The Certified Collision Group (CCG) experienced a substantial amount of growth and success in 2019, adding 164 affiliate shops and five new vendor partners in addition to increasing its internal team significantly. On Dec. 17, CCG hosted a teleconference to review the year’s successes and discuss plans to sustain and enhance their growth in 2020 and beyond.

The teleconference featured CCG’s CEO Tom Matlack and COO Marty Evans, as well as Vice President of Affiliate Services Bob Cornelius, Vice President of Vendor Procurement Ernie Laky, Vice President of Insurance Services Chris Sestito, and Vice President of Marketing Jeff Ingalls who served as moderator for the discussion. Prior to the call, Ingalls had informed attendees via email that “CCG more than doubled its internal team in 2019, including bringing on a new CEO as well as four VPs across both insurance services and marketing.” “In the last month, four CCG affiliates have earned national awards/ recognition,” Ingalls’ email continued. “Dalton Collision was honored at SEMA with the I-CAR Russ Verona Memorial Award for Gold Class Shop of the Year, and when the annual Verifacts Automotive ACE and March Taylor Awards were handed out, CCG affiliates took three of six awards. Eurotech Refinishing and Collision in Bellflower, CA, received the 2018-2019 ACE Award for Outstanding Shop of the Year, Outstanding Craftsmanship as an Advanced Materials Technician Award went to Chris Sandoval of Car Crafters Auto Body Shop, and Outstanding Craftsmanship as a Paint & Refinish Technician was awarded to Dave Hoehler from Mahnke Auto Body. We also just announced our inaugural CCG National Conference for September, 2020.” Ingalls, who joined CCG in Au56

gust 2019, kicked things off by welcoming attendees: “This is an exciting time for CCG. Our growth and news were both big in 2019. CCG has a lot of great reasons to share our story within the industry.” Ingalls then introduced COO Evans who has been with CCG since 2017. Evans said, “Because CCG is owned and operated by collision repair shop owners, we see the market through the eyes of repairers. In 2014, our founders saw a need for industry shops to stay relevant and thrive due to the threat of consolidation in many markets, so they began aligning a network of shops, offering a low-cost option that brings value that is otherwise unattainable by independent repairers. We are largely driven by two key components: insurance relations and a robust procurement program that’s become a very viable option for independents to get to scale without having own multiple locations.” When asked how CCG’s business model differs from that of consolidators, Evans explained, “Shops that participate in our program are independently owned and operated. They don’t brand as CCG because they maintain their own identity and complete control of their operations. The shops are brought together by performance, and CCG gets involved in the performance management side so we can jump in to help with issues that arise. Our network is comprised of the top 10 to 15% of independents in the business, including some dealerships.” Ingalls next introduced Sestito, vice president of Insurance Services who joined CCG in early 2019. Sestito stated, “CCG is strongly positioned in this industry. From our leadership to our roster of affiliates, we set ourselves apart from the competition. In Insurance Services, CCG leaders are taking their experience and working with affiliates so we can live up to the commitments we make when partnering with insurance companies and becoming their repairer of choice. We want to grow mutually and provide the best customer experience and the best repair in the industry. We work with insurers to find out what they need and where they have a need, and then we

FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

demonstrate that we have affiliates to live up to those commitments. CCG partners the right affiliates with the right insurers to return our mutual customers back to their normal lives.” Expressing pride in CCG’s vendor partners, Ingalls introduced Laky, vice president of Vendor Procurement since 2016, who explained how CCG is able to leverage vendor partner relationships to bring value to affiliate shops. “When an affiliate can’t get a service issue resolved locally, we can escalate the concern to the

basis and try to meet their needs and provide extra value by partnering with those vendors. We’re always looking for additional vendors and ways to add value,” Laky stated. Cornelius, vice president of Affiliate Services since 2016, described his role of vetting affiliates next. “Prospects are shops that are referred to us, and we only take prospects by referrals, which come from our affiliates as well as our vendor and insurer partners, because they know what we’re looking for and only send

“We added over 150 affiliates in 2019, and we’re working to maintain that growth” — Marty Evans vendor’s corporate office for resolution. This is typically something an independent repairer can’t do on their own.” CCG partners with well-known industry providers, such as AkzoNobel, PPG and 3M, to provide valueadded benefits on a variety of products and services. “We look at the types of products our affiliates use on a regular

the top ten to 15% to us. If the prospect successfully passes our vetting process, they become an affiliate. This is what we call a win-win-win; it’s a win for CCG, a win for our vendors and insurers, and a win for the new affiliate because we help them grow their business,” he explained. After CCG receives a prospect’s application, the business develop-

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ment group explains the process to the prospect, and once a non-disclosure agreement is signed, CCG vets the prospect by examining the shop’s KPIs, CSIs, I-CAR status, current DRPs, community involvement, business practices, certification status, equipment and more to acquire a “pretty good idea of who that prospect is so we can make a recommendation about whether to offer them a contract,” Cornelius shared. “If they’re not a fit, we share information on where they need to improve and ask them to contact us in the future if they’re still interested,” he continued. “If they are a fit, we move forward with making them an affiliate. Once the contracting process is complete, we have an onboarding call to set up their accounts and profile. Then, my team becomes the single point of contact going forward to make it easy for them to settle in while still having consistent discussion going back and forth.” Again, referencing CCG’s significant internal growth in 2019, Ingalls introduced Matlack who came out of retirement in July 2019 to accept the position of CEO at CCG.

Matlack noted, “This is our coming out party. We’re doing something pretty cool, and we’ve been doing it quietly for a while, but now we want to put it out there and explain how it’s unique. We have a different business model which has particular power. In our network, we have affiliates, vendor partners, insurance partners and ourselves, and by participating in this network, all four parties are better off. That fact is visible in the rapid growth of this business.” Since it was founded, CCG grew relatively slowly at first but has exploded over the past couple years, a fact that Matlack believes “speaks to the absolute desire of the top independent shops to remain independents but compete with consolidators. They see a threat in the marketplace and feel the need to do something. We get them access to discounts and help them navigate the top end of KPIs, but they retain ownership of their business.” “CCG is focused on investing in people and employing technology. We have the highest quality network out there based on the number of certifications and the actual performance

of our affiliates,” Matlack continued. “CCG’s shops are not like our competitors’ shops, so that affords us leverage when negotiating with our vendor and insurer partners. Our goal and track record show we have the highest performing group, so the insurer is happy, the customer is happy, and we’re happy to bring more volume to our affiliates. CCG is growing rapidly, and I foresee that continuing into the future.” At the time of the teleconference, CCG boasted 419 affiliates, but Cornelius explained, “There’s a number in the vetting process, and our number of affiliates fluctuates daily. We started 2019 with 273 affiliates and experienced 72% growth over the course of the year.” Evans added, “We added over 150 affiliates in 2019, and we’re working to maintain that growth. We’re increasing our infrastructure to support the growth, and we’re focusing on investing in the right people and technology to grow our affiliates’ businesses in 2020 and beyond.” For more information on the Certified Collision Group, visit certifiedcg.com.

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General admission to the Michigan Science Center (MiSci) will be complimentary on Jan. 11 thanks to a generous sponsorship by Axalta Coatings Systems in support of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and environmental stewardship. Axalta will also display its 2020 Automotive Color of the Year at the exhibit, which will be announced on Jan. 7. On Saturday, Jan. 11, the Community will have free access to MiSci between 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM to experience “Conserve This Colorful Planet”, which aims to inspire guests to learn about water conservation in a colorful and engaging way. “We’re thankful for the opportunity to partner with Axalta, Ducks Unlimited, and Six Rivers Conservancy,” said Christian Greer, president and CEO of the Michigan Science Center. “Conserve This Colorful Planet will help teach our community about the importance of water conservation and our colorful planet.” Obtained via PR Newswire.

CARSTAR Celebrates Banner Year

CARSTAR owners experienced an average of 20 percent sales growth across North America, which translates into over $1 billion in profitability. “Consistently putting customer experience and repair quality first, while giving back to the communities we serve are the founding values from 1989, that got us to this position we are in today,” says Dean Fisher, president, CARSTAR. The brand celebrated its 30th anniversary by doing something unique each month to thank its customers, franchise family and colleagues for their continued support throughout its history. “We are grateful for our customers and franchise family, so it was such a joy to take a moment each month to celebrate our valued relationships,” continues Fisher. “We are excited to close out the year on such a high note and motivated to raise the bar for excellence even higher 2020.”

ASE Certification Registration Now Open

ASE winter registration is now open through March 31. Those registering will have 90 days to schedule an appointment to take the selected ASE tests. ASE tests are conducted days, nights and weekends at nearly 500 secured, proctored test centers. Each test costs $45, except L1, L2 and L3 tests which are $90 each. For recertification, a one-time $36 registration fee is paid during the registration period, and tests are $45 each, except L1R and L2R tests which are $90 each. “From entry-level certification to master status, ASE offers a broad range of test series covering automotive, collision, medium/heavy duty, school bus, transit bus and truck equipment repair,” said Tim Zilke, president & CEO of the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). “The prestigious ASE blue seal patch identifies service technicians as knowledgeable, proficient and committed to excellence.”

autobodynews.com / FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS

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UNIBODY AutoTech Collision Center Joins CIECA

UNIBODY AutoTech Collision Center joined CIECA as a corporate member. Established in 2008 by Michael Chong, the company offers auto repair and maintenance in Honolulu, Hawaii. Chong said that he is continually looking to expand his knowledge of the industry so he can bring information back to Hawaii and his team at UNIBODY AutoTech Collision Center. “Today’s vehicles are like smartphones on wheels,” said Chong. “CIECA seems to be ahead of the game when it comes to technology and I look forward to gaining knowledge and meeting great people at CIECA.” Chong said that with technology and safety systems growing every day, he and his employees recognize the importance of refocusing on how vehicles are repaired today while consumers are demanding instant satisfaction. “CIECA standards are important,” said Chong. “As technology continues to evolve and collision repair businesses adapt, standards help us better communicate and evolve in our changing industry.”

Chevy Shake Class Action Says Driveshaft is the Problem by David A. Wood, CarComplaints.com

A so-called “Chevy Shake” classaction lawsuit alleges GM vehicles suffer severe vibrations because the automaker uses aluminum driveshafts. The GM class action includes all consumers in the U.S., except Florida, who purchased or leased any of these GM vehicles. • 2015-2020 Cadillac Escalade • 2014-2019 Chevrolet Silverado • 2015-2020 Chevrolet Suburban • 2015-2020 Chevrolet Tahoe • 2014-2019 GMC Sierra • 2015-2020 GMC Yukon/Yukon XL Florida consumers are not included because a separate Chevy Shake lawsuit (Weiss v. General Motors) was denied nationwide class action certification, but the judge said the lawsuit could proceed for GM customers in Florida. According to the two plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit, the aluminum driveshafts cause severe vibrations that cause drivers to lose control of the vehicles. The plaintiffs claim the problem occurs while driving high-

Rivian Announces $1.3 Billion Funding Round Backed by Amazon and Ford by Nursah Ergü, Interesting Engineering

Electric vehicles are in great demand now and Tesla is leading the way. But it seems like Tesla will have a big competitor in the electric vehicle game; Rivian, which is an electric truckmaker. The company was founded in 2009. And the start-up has closed an investment round of $1.3 billion. The investment round included participation from Amazon, Ford Motor Credit: Rivian Company, and funds managed by Blackrock. Rivian Founder and CEO RJ Scaringe said, “This investment demonstrates confidence in our team, products, technology, and strategy – we are extremely excited to have the support from such strong shareholders.” This new investment is the fourth round of the company in 2019. In February 2019, a $700 million funding round led by Amazon. In April 2019, Ford Motor Company invested $500 million in 58

Rivian and the companies would collaborate on a vehicle project. which would utilize Rivian’s skateboard platform. In September 2019, Cox Automotive announced that it invested $350 million in Rivian, and the companies have plans to collaborate on logistics and service. Apart from these investments, in September 2019, Rivian announced that it was collaborating with Amazon to develop an electric delivery van by using Rivian’s platform technology. Rivian’s launch products R1T and R1S aren’t on sale yet, just like any other products of Rivian. However; the cars will enter the market with customer deliveries expected to begin at the end of 2020. By then, we’ll follow the brand and its activities closely, but it seems like Tesla has a strong component coming to town, which is supported by Amazon and Ford. Let the race begin. We thank Interesting Engineering for reprint permission.

FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

way speeds, and over time the driveshaft can deteriorate and finally drop to the ground. GM allegedly sells and leases the vehicles while knowing the aluminum driveshafts will cause violent and dangerous vibrations that can send the vehicles off the roads. Instead of warning customers about the dangers, the class action alleges General Motors conceals information about the Chevy Shake to continue selling and leasing the vehicles. The automaker also has allegedly refused to recall the vehicles to replace the driveshafts and hasn’t offered to reimburse customers who spent their money for repairs. One of the plaintiffs purchased a 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and claims the truck experienced the so-called Chevy Shake when about 25,000 was on the odometer. According to the plaintiff, the “center console aggressively shakes left to right such that if a cup were placed in the console without a lid, it would spill.” The plaintiff also says she has paid more than $1,400 in an effort to fix the truck but the vibrations and shaking continue. The dealer-

Gerber Collision & Glass Acquires Nine CA Locations The Boyd Group Inc. announced that it has entered the state of California via two acquisitions representing nine locations in the suburban Los Angeles area. Six of the shops are in Corona, Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Moreno Valley, Murrieta and Palm Desert and previously operated as International Auto Crafters. The locations in Newhall, Santa Clarita and Valencia operated as Centre Pointe Collision. All of these shops are located east of Los Angeles in Riverside County, the fourth-most populous county in California and 11th in the U.S. “We are excited to enter a new state and expand our footprint on the West Coast, reinforcing our brand and providing the high-quality service customers in this region have come to expect,” said Kevin Burnett, COO of Gerber Collision & Glass. “With these acquisitions and our new locations, we also look forward to better serving our insurance partners with their West Coast needs.”

ship allegedly finally said the vibration was normal and no repairs were needed. The class action says owners have replaced the aluminum driveshafts with custom-made steel driveshafts which completely fixed the problem. The lawsuit says it’s clear GM knows about the so-called Chevy Shake because dealerships have been issued technical service bulletins (TSBs) related to the driveshafts. GM issued TSB PI1354A in 2014 and TSB PI1354C in 2015 which said, “There have been many cases of dented propeller [drive] shafts.” GM told each dealer to inspect the driveshaft and replace it if damage was discovered. However, the lawsuit alleges the aluminum driveshafts were replaced with equally defective aluminum driveshafts. The automaker also sent dealerships TSB PI1354I in 2019 entitled, “Information on Vibration Analysis and Diagnostic,” something the class action alleges is proof GM is still having problems with the driveshafts. We thank CarComplaints.com for reprint permission.

Rosen Law Files Lawsuit Against Towing Company

A complaint was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York against a towing company which the complaint claims has overcharged consumers who required towing services from a towing company that is the exclusive towing company authorized by the New York City Police Department to tow vehicles on seven highways. According to the Complaint, instead of charging New York’s consumers and businesses $125 to have their cars towed up to 10 miles off of the seven New York highways, Runway Towing Corp was charging up to $400 for the tow that they are only permitted to charge $125 for. It is alleged in the complaint that the New York City Police Department and the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs knew that Runway Towing Corp. was overcharging consumers and businesses, but Runway Towing Corp. was permitted to continue their scheme to overcharge. Obtained via PR Newswire.


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Top Automotive Industry Stories of the Decade by Tara Taffera, glassBYTEs.com

As we head into 2020, glassBYTEs .com took a look at the most popular stories of the 2010s. Five of them had to do with shattering or faulty sunroofs—a big topic of the past decade. The top ten may not be what you expected but they were the most read based on page views. 1. Honda Requires OE Replacement Windshields for Some Models With Driver Assist, Safety Systems It may seem as if ADAS technology has ramped up in the past few years, but back in 2014, Honda was already requiring original equipment replacement windshields for certain Honda and Acura models equipped with ADAS features. “While non-OE parts may look the same and fit in the same physical space on the vehicle, their use may present unforeseen circumstances causing the driver assist or other safety systems to operate abnormally or not at all,” according a statement by Honda. 2. NHTSA Receives More Complaints of Shattering F-150 Back Lites Reports of shattering sunroofs were also extremely prevalent back in 2014 when more than 30 owners of the 2010 Ford F-150 model complained to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that an alleged glitch in their rear defrosters had caused their back lites to shatter or spiderweb in cracks. 3. Can Repairs Be Successful in Cold Weather? With the cold weather already hitting many areas of the country, perhaps you will want to refer back to this article from 2014 which talks about tips for performing repairs and replacements in cold weather. 4. Dwyer-Owens Steps Down as CEO of the Dwyer Group In 2014 Dina Dwyer-Owens left her role as CEO of The Dwyer Group, parent company to Glass Doctor, a position she held for 15 years. She then moved into the role of executive chairwoman of The Dwyer Group. 5. Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Chrysler Over Alleged Sunroof Defect 60

Before 2014 ended, six Chrysler owners filed a nationwide class action lawsuit against the automaker in U.S. District Court of New Jersey alleging that a defect in the sunroofs caused them to leak.

daycare, I heard a large pop and then smelled burning rubber. I looked and saw the right rear glass shattered and it was shortened out by the heating element,” reported one owner to NHSTA on Dec. 15, 2013.

6. Is This the Beginning of the End of the Giant Glass Brand? In November of 2015, three years after purchasing North Andover, MA-based Giant Glass Co., Safelite AutoGlass moved to co-brand its name with the company. Prior to this, Giant Glass’ five locations continued to operate under the existing name, and Safelite rebranded its Falmouth, MA, store into the Boston brand. “We have leveraged the local brand position held by Giant Glass for almost three years,” said Tom Feeney, Safelite Group president and CEO. “While all the people became Safelite associates operating with Safelite systems and tools, Giant and Safelite operations remained separate. It has now become clear that bringing all our resources in the market together is best way to serve our customers in the future.”

9. BMW Asks Court to Dismiss Lawsuit Over Alleged Sunroof Defect Just three months prior to publishing our number eight story, BMW asked the U.S. Northern California District Court to dismiss a class action lawsuit in which the plaintiffs, two BMW owners, claimed that drainage tubes installed to pull water away from vehicles’ sunroofs did not properly work, leading to water damage. “Recognizing that there is no warranty coverage for water leaks in their used BMW vehicles, plaintiffs (Monita) Sharma and (Eric) Anderson seek to impose on BMW NA an obligation to fix their cars for free, ad infinitum, by claiming that they— and a large group of owners and lessees of BMW vehicles sold in the United States over more than ten years—were ‘defrauded’ by BMW

7. Cadillac Hit With Lawsuit Regarding Leaking Sunroofs In 2017, Cadillac Automobile Company, a division of General Motors (GM), was hit with a lawsuit alleging the company manufactured and/or designed 2010-2013 Cadillac SRX models with leaking sunroofs and had denied warranty coverage for certain year models. Plaintiff Kelley Gaines, a resident of California, claimed the vehicles were manufactured or designed with defective sunroof seals or drains, allowing water to enter the passenger side of the vehicle. 8. Several Ford F-150 Owners Report Shattering Backlites to NHTSA A story in 2013 detailed more than 20 F-150 Ford owners of the 2010 model year who complained to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that an alleged glitch in their rear defrosters had caused their backlites to shatter or spiderweb in cracks. “On a 40-degree morning, I turned the rear defroster on to clear the windows and mirrors. As I was driving my son to

FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

NA through an alleged design defect in their sunroofs that may result in water leaks,” BMW’s attorneys claimed in court documents. 10. GM Extends Headlamp Module Warranty You never know what will appear in the top stories, and this number ten of the decade may be a surprise. It was the story following a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation, stating that General Motors (GM) had extended its headlight warranty to cover problems related to its headlamp driver modules recall. The initial recall was for defective low-beam headlights and daytime running lights on certain GM makes and models that were prone to failure. After receiving 128 consumer complaints following the recall, NHTSA opened an investigation on April 30, 2017, to see if the recall fixed the affected vehicles. We thank glassBYTEs.com for reprint permission.

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GM Customers Rage as Automaker Struggles With Strike-Related Parts Delay by Jamie L. LaReau, Detroit Free Press

Buick owner Ben Baby is on his third and last Buick. Baby, 41, has been waiting since Oct. 4. for General Motors (GM) to supply a Texas body shop with the parts needed to repair his 2018 Buick Enclave. The delay, caused by the UAW’s 40-day strike that started Sept. 16, has made Baby increasingly frustrated. More than 20 parts are backordered, he said, and neither GM nor the body shop manager can estimate when Baby will be back in his car, he said. “I’m done,” said Baby, who lives in McKinney, Texas, about 30 miles north of Dallas. “All of this happened because of the GM strike. GM should have taken care of these things and been prepared, offered rental cars or something … it is their responsibility.” A GM spokesman said preparing for a parts shortage is difficult, given that the automaker did not expect a strike. GM is sorry, the spokesman said, for the inconvenience that strike-related parts delays have caused some customers. “We are doing our best to recover as quickly as possible,” spokesman Jim Cain said in an email to the Free Press. GM is running its parts plants in “emergency status” with

maximum overtime, among other things, to return the parts operations to normal, said Cain. But it’s a massive, complicated task to get caught up and fulfill back orders for specific parts.

“GM should make sure parts are available if something happens. They didn’t know a strike would happen, but they should offer some customer care, provide a loaner car or something.”

Exhaustive Waiting On Oct. 4, Baby was driving on the Sam Rayburn Tollway in Dallas when a driver three cars ahead of him suddenly stopped, triggering a four-car pileup. Baby was the last car in the chain reaction. He was uninjured, but his Enclave had extensive damage to the front. His insurance company said it was repairable and refused to total the car, he said. The body shop manager told him it would be a long wait on repair parts because some 48,000 UAW workers at all of GM’s U.S. plants had been on strike since Sept. 16. For more than two months now, Baby and his wife have shared one vehicle. She drove it to her job, he worked from home. Finally, his insurer agreed to total the Enclave so Baby can purchase another vehicle rather than continue to wait for GM parts. Baby has not decided what new vehicle he will buy, but it will not be a GM brand, he said. “I’m totally upset. I paid almost $55,000 for this Enclave as a new car,” said Baby.

Customer Service Maryland resident Benny Tucker, 41, has been without his 2016 Cadillac Escalade since Oct. 17, the day he was involved in an accident in Westminster, MD, that caused $18,000 in damage to his front end. It also set off the air bags, destroying the dashboard. He had owned the Escalade for four weeks at that time. The repair parts for the exterior damage did not arrive from GM until Dec. 5, said Tucker. But GM told his dealer it had to use an outside vendor to make the limitedproduction dashboard, Tucker said. “That dealer said it’ll be at least four months,” said Tucker. “They didn’t have a production date and then it takes three to four weeks to ship it, then it has to be installed.” He cannot drive the SUV because the dashboard will hold the air bags, so it’s a safety feature, said Tucker. “What’s upsetting to me is my $855 a month car payment — all my payments have been made on my Escalade while it’s been

in the body shop,” said Tucker. “I paid $50,000 for this, and they can’t get a part for it. I can’t even get somebody on the phone to give me a date. That’s all I want. I’m in limbo. It’s terrible customer service on their part.” GM’s Emergency Status It’s been nearly eight weeks since the UAW’s 40-day nationwide strike ended. Most parts remain affected in some way, including collision and powertrain, because GM was not producing them during the strike, Cain said. “For 40 days, we could not receive inbound inventory and we were very limited in our ability to ship from our warehouses and distribution centers, which, under normal circumstances, stock close to 400,000 unique parts numbers and ship about 325,000 order lines each day,” said Cain. GM said it has made progress in its parts distribution since the strike ended on Oct. 26.“We have reduced the backlog of customer orders by nearly half and we continue to run our facilities in emergency status with maximum overtime to speed the recovery,” Cain said. “We have also been providing dealers with regular updates on our recovery progress.” We thank the Detroit Free Press for reprint permission.

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11th Circuit Court Dismisses Suit Alleging Conspiracy to Deflate Collision Repair Changes by Jim Sams, Insurance Journal

A federal appellate court affirmed a decision to throw out a racketeering lawsuit brought by a group of 126 auto body collision repair shops against seven of the largest U.S. insurers. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta agreed with the district court that the repair shops failed to state a valid claim that the insurers had conspired to commit a fraud by demanding that they accept lower rates for their work in order to participate in their repair networks. The 11th Circuit noted that the 9th Circuit had rejected a similar pleading brought by small business owners against Yelp for allegedly manipulating user reviews to “extort” advertising revenue. “The Ninth Circuit’s reasoning fits the facts here well, and we conclude that, at most, these defendants drove a hard bargain,” the 11th Circuit panel said in an opinion written by Judge William Pryor. The case is titled Crawford’s Auto Center v. State Farm Mutual Insurance Co. Allstate, Geico, Progressive, Farmers Insurance, Liberty

Mutual, and Nationwide were also named as defendants. The repair shops first filed the lawsuit alleging an insurer conspiracy in a Chicago federal district court in 2014. The case was assigned as multi-district litigation to U.S. District Judge Gregory A. Presnell in Orlando, FL. The body shops alleged that the insurers used third-party information providers — ADP Claims Services Group, CCC One and Mitchell — to establish “prevailing rates” for auto body repair work. The carriers referred policyholders to repair shops that agreed to accept the prevailing rates. The lawsuit alleges the insurers conspired to suppress the rates charged by their industry be creating deflated prevailing rates, a violation of the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. What’s more, the carriers violated antitrust laws by working together to lower their costs. In its analysis, the 11th Circuit noted that a group of auto body shops has filed a similar lawsuit that was also rejected. In Quality Auto Paining Center of Roselle v. State

Subaru Recalls 498,000 Vehicles for Takata Airbag Inflators by David A. Wood, CarComplaints.com

A Subaru Takata airbag inflator recall has been issued for nearly 498,000 of these vehicles to replace the passenger frontal airbag inflators.

• • • •

2009-2013 Subaru Forester 2003-2006 Subaru Baja 2004-2011 Subaru Impreza 2004-2014 Subaru WRX (including STI) • 2003-2014 Subaru Legacy • 2003-2014 Subaru Outback • 2006 Saab 9-2X The action is part of a recall of 10 million Takata airbag infla-

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tors in vehicles manufactured by at least 14 automakers. The vehicles had their passenger airbag inflators replaced during previous recalls. It may be the final Subaru recall to replace Takata inflators after multiple automakers were forced to replace the inflators after deaths and injuries caused by exploding inflators. Takata airbags contain metal inflators which can explode into shrapnel when the airbags deploy. The Subaru recall is expected to begin in January 2020. Subaru owners may contact Subaru at 844373-6614, and Saab owners may call 800-955-9007. Subaru’s recall numbers are TKC-20, TKB-20 and TKA-20.

We thank CarComplaints.com for reprint permission.

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Farm, the appellate court dismissed a suit that alleged that insurance carriers were violating anti-trust laws by colluding to improperly pressure body shops to accept lower repair prices. The court said in order to pursue a claim under the RICO act, the repair shops would have to show that they there were the victim of a fraud or extortion. The fraud alleged in the complaint, however, consisted of nothing more than “vague allusions” to misrepresentations made by the insurers. There was also no allegation of extortion, which means to use force, violence or fear to obtain property. “Plaintiffs could have refused to perform the requested repairs at the rates set by defendants, but they did not,” the panel said. “They went ahead and performed those repairs. This is not extortion.” The panel also rejected plaintiffs’ arguments that the district judge erred by not entering several exhibits into evidence and by refusing them an opportunity to amend their complaint a third time. We thank Insurance Journal for reprint permission.

WIN Scholarship Program Opens Applications Women’s Industry Network (WIN) is committed to supporting females who demonstrate their desire to excel in the field of collision repair through the WIN Scholarship Program. Applications for the 2020 program will be accepted now through Jan. 31, 2020. The program for 2020 will offer the College Student Tuition and Conference Scholarship Award. This scholarship is presented to students enrolled in a post-secondary collision repair technology program. Each recipient will receive a $1,000 scholarship to continue their post-secondary education and a one-year WIN membership. “WIN understands that the cost of education, or continued education, has the potential to be a hurdle for students,” says Debbie Menz, 2020 co-chair of the Sponsorship Committee. “But with the support of our sponsors and members, WIN is able to offer scholarships to multiple female students each year to help them advance in the collision repair industry.

Tesla Becomes the Biggest U.S. Automaker in History by Loukia Papadopoulos, Interesting Engineering

Tesla just became the biggest automaker in history. Its market capitalization on Monday, Jan. 6 was valued at $81.4 billion, beating Ford’s peak market value of $80.8 billion. Beating the Competition It was already bigger than General Motors but now also surpassed Ford’s. “They caught their competition in the U.S. just dead flatfooted,” Paul Holland, a general partner at Foundation Capital, said Tuesday, Jan. 7, regarding Tesla on CNBC’s “Squawk Alley.” “I don’t think it’s quite going to be the same in China … but nonetheless, a terrific day for Tesla and well-deserved because they’ve innovated with a product that many of us love.” Tesla shares have had a very promising beginning of 2020. They increased by almost 10% in the first week of the year as the first Model 3 sedans rolled off the assembly line at the firm’s China factory. The firm also boasted a record number of deliveries in the fourth quarter. Tesla delivered an impressive number of 112,000 vehicles during the

final three months of 2019. Tesla CEO Elon Musk spent the New Year working at the Fremont, CA, factory to deliver the last few cars of the year. A Good Year This year also saw the introduction of the Cybertruck. The car received 146K orders just two days after its unveiling. The firm also delivered China’s Model 3s early on Jan. 7. “China is by far the largest market for mid-sized premium sedans. With Model 3 priced on par with gasolinepowered mid-sized sedans (even before gas savings and other benefits), we believe China could become the biggest market for Model 3,” said Tesla in its third-quarter earnings report. Although Tesla’s toppling of these two American auto giants may come as a surprise to some, it was already predicted a Bloomberg article of 2014. Entitled “Tesla Can Topple the Car-Dealer Monopoly,” the article attributed the firm’s success to Musk’s desire to “build a retail network free from the franchise-dealer monopoly.” We thank Interesting Engineering for reprint permission.

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FEBRUARY 2020 AUTOBODY NEWS / autobodynews.com

Profile for Autobody News

February 2020 West Edition  

Auto body information for industry in western United States.

February 2020 West Edition  

Auto body information for industry in western United States.